Blogsam and Jetsam

Flotsam is the part of the wreckage of a ship or its cargo found floating on the water. Jetsam is cargo or parts of a ship that are deliberately thrown overboard, as to lighten the ship in an emergency, and that subsequently either sinks or is washed ashore. This is my personal blog version of the above. Loot freely.

My Photo
Location: The Hinterlands, Upstate NY

I'm annoyed that the world is going crazier faster than it used to be. But it's interesting to watch.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Brief Catching-Up

So let's see, why did I abandon the six of you all week?

Oh yeah, workstuff about which I never blog.

I suppose I could blog a little bit: my boss retired this week so I became Interim Chief-of-Department while simultaneously interviewing for the permanent position and squeezing all my usual work around the edges of meetings.

Thursday was the biggest day: interviews back-to-back followed by a traditional retirement tea for my boss followed by a meeting I had to chair...I would've loved to go home and stay there but after dinner the Big Two and I took The Critters to the free rabies clinic. Partly because the clinic was 6 to 8 pm and it's a huge hassle to make and keep business-hours vet appointments (I don't do my own health maintenance worth a damn either) but largely because our vet's Big Issue is animal obesity and the beagle was fat enough to generate a lengthy and unpleasant lecture last year. Fine, cats in carrier and Loki on was outside at the county garage and our thinks-he's-a-terrier hound was intimidated by everyone, four-pawed or two, so he squatted and left a huge river in his wake. Which was okay since it was blacktop but then while I was filling out the forms he took a HUGE crap right in front of the registration table. After a whole day of lofty talk about running a multi-million dollar department, nothing keeps you mortal like a dog-dump in public. Fortunately they had plastic bags; unfortunately they had no trashcans so we ended up taking the poo away with us in the back of the van. I left a hefty donation and praised up the people doing the actual injections profusely before beating a hasty retreat with my horde.

Friday's highlights included Youngest Duckling's school presentation and making the acquaintance of my work-buddy's toddler son...also more interviews.

Came home to three extra kids--MIL took BIL for a weekend getaway so the Big Two are hosting back-to-back sleepovers. It's the boys Friday followed by the girls Saturday and yes I expect to be completely brain-dead by noon on Sunday.

Oh but "dead" reminds me: I really wish my camera hadn't died so I could show you how much nicer that perennial bed looks with the ring of rocks completed and the black plastic removed. Also that my daffodils have started to bloom...and that I found a statue of St. Joseph when I relocated the hen-and-chicks. At first I thought it was one of those Renaissance chess pieces. Wasn't quite sure what to do* with it so he's on my kitchen windowsill sandwiched between a Russian matryoshka doll and a made-in-China leprechaun holding pink roses.

In the book world I've been reading Alison Lurie's Only Children in dribs and drabs...this time she does CHILD point-of-view and does it quite well. Lolly reminds me of Youngest Duckling something fierce.

*Did you see that? Actual spells in post-millenial America? Fascinating.

Manta Shawl

Before my camera was all-the-way broken I captured a knitting project. Because it was a gift I couldn't share till the recipient had seen it; because this week has been so busy you get the post now.

It's a start-small-then-grow project as demonstrated by this practice swatch.

The real item was Lisa Shobhana Mason's "Manta Shawl" (but I shamelessly used stash yarn rather than ordering new.)

It gets a little tricky while building up from the point, what with yarn-overs and decreases that slant both ways:

Once past row 12, however, it becomes smooth sailing for the rest of the way through the yarn:

As the shawl grew I switched over to my two plastic circulars and damn, it really did look like a manta ray:


That last picture was at about the 5/8 point, or more specifically "all but the last ball of yarn." I'm not sure I'll ever use the infinitely-increasing style of design again--rows that keep getting bigger and bigger get me down after a while. In spite of that it was still a soothing knit-up with all the garter stitch punctuated by that center rib.

Successfully managing those few (four every other row) yarn-overs with their associated decreases was the breakthrough act which led to the current Madeira Lace scarf project...that learning experience was the gift within the gift.

Monday, April 23, 2007

A Great Quote

This is ME through and through:

I'm angry, really angry, so seldom that it always takes me by surprise. At first I think it's fever and chills, that I'm getting the flu or something; and when I realize what's happening I don't know how to express it with the proper force.

Page 163 of Real People by Alison Lurie. Random House, 1969.

Oh and ten pages later? This is me too:

I never know how to meet a direct attack; am slow even to recognize one, to take in the fact that something irrevocably hostile has been said. I sat there stupidly, feeling disoriented and weightless, but stiff at the same time, as if I had just been in an auto accident.

The rest of the novel is also good...if you've ever thought of being a writer you'll want to read it.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

New Project

Ray has the fastest shipping ever; my new yarn came right away.

Here's a closer (though not as good) picture.

And here's an even worse picture showing that I really do prefer the chart...and that I tweaked the pattern a bit. (slanted one of the knit-three-into-one decreases the opposite way and added selvedge stitches.)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Saturday Morning...

I got my plants into the ground.

This being the land of Miserable Dirt I started by purchasing topsoil for four cents a pound at the local hardware store. I intend to finish by putting in a nice stone path, ringing the garden with more stones and eventually taking away that silly black plastic ring. Oh and mulching.

I also put a dozen poppies in a bed to cover up the basment "Bilco" door but they aren't a bit photogenic. (cover up the door...)

The crocus around the mailbox were in full bloom, too:

Thursday, April 19, 2007

More Swatch Play

After the mitten disaster I still really wanted to play with that fun orange yarn. I had also, while rummaging for something to make with the Easter Egg yarn, found a pattern that I'd liked ages ago but not ever made. So hey presto:

Not to worry; I've purchased some far more appropriate yarn for the actual project.
This was a grand time though...not only was the yarn pretty but I learned a lot too:

--when using two-tail cast-on, the free end of the yarn needs to be on TOP (this makes sense if you have yarn in hand, trust me) or you'll introduce twisting. Actually I'd noticed that before but thought I'd mention it today.

--however, one cannot translate that into doing backward-loop cast-on with a long free tail to satisfy a "very LOOSELY" criterion or your working yarn will be at the wrong end of the row.

--two-tail cast-on over both needles held together still works fine for "loosely."

--I MUCH prefer charts over words for anything patterned. Kept making mistakes till I could "see" what I was supposed to be knitting and then I had my Lightbulb Moment.

--that whole "severe blocking" thing for lace is looking to be completely true (as if I really doubted); I'm going to have an interesting time finding an appropriate space when the time comes.

Here's another shot (there were others all out-of-focus; I really should get a new camera):

And here's a shot of my knitting basket on the front sidewalk in the same place it was earlier this week:

Now that the weather seems to have finally turned the corner my new perennial garden might finally get into the dirt this weekend:

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Somewhat Better

I got rid of the Impending Mitten Disaster:

That yarn is swell but obviously hasn't declared itself yet.

Meanwhile it rained all night so the snow was reduced by just over half:

That plastic circle outlines the recently de-sodded perennial bed; astute observers will note it was completely covered in the last post.

Percy The Plow Guy never did show up on Monday (truck transmission still broken) so I got an entire Snow Day same as the Ducklings. Nice break. At around two Monday afternoon we took care of the driveway ourselves. Shoveling slush in the pouring rain is No Picnic but we got the job done:

Middle Duckling was particularly good help.

Monday, April 16, 2007

They DO Suck:

Both the weather and the design concept, that is.

Behold the horror:

Isn't it frightening? My knitting basket is sitting on my freshly-shoveled sidewalk.

Can't argue with the weather but the damned mitten idea is so-so-SO a "what WAS she thinking*?!" moment. See?

Imagine the completed left mitten. Don't worry, your eyeballs won't bleed (right away, anyhow.) Awful, ain't it?

The really scary thing is that I saw it coming and forged ahead anyhow. It wasn't enough warning that my first thought after the second round of ribbing was "this thing is gonna be huge; I hope I can shrink it" even though I hate deliberate felting even more than I hate two-alike. (Oh no, I'm not listening to that alarm, not this time. I like this.) Nor was it even warning enough that my mental response was "shit, despite all that rinsing those blues might still bleed."

I thought "but they'll be so cu-u-u-te!" and sewed the joining seam together.

(Knitting Veterans may freely laugh.)

Even as I was stitching the Still Small Voice of Calm said "y'know, that's gonna make it a real bitch if you've got to unravel it..."

Yeah. It will. Did I listen?

No, but I sure should have--here's another shot of the carnage:

Mitten pattern? Great.
Yarns? Great.
Using any two of the three together? Probably okay.
All three? DISASTER.

The snow isn't swell either.

On the "up" side I've learned that I do indeed want to try that mitten pattern (two different! Hooray!) but that I'll need finer-gauge yarn and smaller needles. Also a less...painful...color scheme. I've also learned that the Easter Egg Yarn definitely needs to incubate longer; it hasn't declared itself yet.

My Plow Guy hasn't come yet but I'm reasonably sure that's a blessing in disguise.

* Hormones. Two days too early. Horrible killer (like late pregnancy) PMS is my middle-aged payback for having not believed in the entity in my twenties. I surely believe now. Hand me that box of Kleenex and the nine-mil, would you please?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Swatching Around

I wanted to see how the Easter Egg Yarn would knit up so I played a bit:

While noodling around I was having a hard time with the "what" because I have only 100 yards each of both colors. So I thought I'd see what adding undyed yarn would be like.

Noticed right away that the gauge changed a LOT which made me realize that I had to decide up-front whether to go with traditional two-color stranded or one of the two-color slip-stitch variants. Went back to the "softer" (also much easier in back-and-forth) stitch patterns but still couldn't focus on an item. Kept thinking of mittens since they don't take much yarn.

Because of the "I hate making two alike" thing I tried to ignore that thought. Played around longer and contemplated "baby clothes" which is how that leftmost stitch pattern came about--isn't it adorable (if out of focus) ?

Yeah, but baby clothes shouldn't ever be made of feltable wool if it can be helped and I already have a Toddler Surprise Jacket (different yarn) in the queue. Also I really wanted to use the two colors of Easter Egg Yarn together in some way; I never get to play with complementary colors except at Christmas.

I also noticed that my previous swatch had been heavy on the blues and that I hadn't cared at all for the seed-stitch version of the oranges. So I ripped the whole thing out and started over:

This was more interesting to me. I liked how the orange looked but realized the fabric was far too bold. On the other hand the flecks of orange and white on a blue background (I had been thinking of water lilies or lotuses) weren't quite enough...and that whole "mittens" concept kept banging around my brain like an unknotted balloon.

So I finally decided on these.

I'm hoping they don't suck.

Post Scriptum: As far as the camera goes, it appears to be erasing the oldest images off the memory card in favor of whatever new ones I'm adding. I can live with that.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Because I Was Asked...

...This is not only how we dyed the Easter eggs but also how we dyed the yarn--the leftovers from the coffeemugs got poured over wet yarn and microwaved.

In other news I'm in mild gardening hell. The boxful of perennial garden and poppies arrived last night but the weather is going to get stinky: "SNOWFALL TOTALS OF 7 TO 12 INCHES ARE EXPECTED BY MONDAY MORNING...WITH ADDITIONAL SNOW ACCUMULATION LIKELY THROUGH MONDAY EVENING."

Of course I didn't even have the bed prepared much less any topsoil purchased. Just spent a good hour removing sod so that the snow will soak into the bare dirt (and didn't get all of the grass off, either.)

Even with a good spade it's tough work; makes you wonder how anyone ever got buried up here before diesel engines.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday Odds and Ends

T.S. Eliot must have lived in the Hinterlands.

Just finished Imaginary Friends by Alison Lurie and thought it was as enjoyably good as everything else of hers I've read. I'll spare you the details but will hint that the title is significant.

I am getting awfully sick of the media blitz over Imus (but I sure love that Wikipedia). Yes it was a horrible thing to say, the basketball team is justifiably outraged and there should be appropriate censure. However....
----from the outset it sounded like a whole lot of talking newsheads were really enjoying repeating the slur.
----he's know as a Shock-Jock DJ with a particularly mean mouth so why are we all acting so surprised?
----why have we elevated certain slurs into greater crimes than others? Do you really think there would have been as much fuss if the show had stopped at just "hos" ["whores"]? What about that "Hymietown" flap back in 1984? What about the pervasive use of "gay" to mean "lame" or "stupid"? Why wasn't there a call for total media reform over those things?
----that whole "media reform" concept sounds like censorship to me...and I thought we as a nation were against that.
----some individuals are getting a whole lot of self-righteous television time they wouldn't otherwise have had; is that personal gain from other's pain I smell?
----whatever happened to the concept of forgiveness? Much though it pains me to agree with the man, Pat Robertson made a good point last night with "He asked for forgiveness and they hung [sic] him" (and as far as I know he's the only "man of the cloth" who has made such a statement.)
----speaking of forgiveness, don't those with moral superiority issues realize that the position of "you're so unimportant and insignificant that I can forgive you and move on; you're to be pitied rather than hated" is one of much greater strength than "how dare you hurt me?"
----why is this stupidity more important to broadcast than the war getting our young people killed and the lies leading up to it?

Okay, I'll shut up on that subject now but not before commenting that I think this was a great response to a nasty slur.

Public Service Suggestion: If you use black pepper at all, switch from the ground kind to whole peppercorns nevermind that the grinder is more expensive than a shaker. Not only is the flavor on a whole new and improved level but you will no longer have to be concerned about the fact that the acceptable standard for insect parts and other extraneous matter is not zero.

This is a really interesting blog.

I don't believe ConAgra about the peanut butter or the Chinese about the wheat gluten. Caveat Emptor has never been more applicable.

You can buy these at the local drugstore now--blew my mind when I walked by the display last week.

I've decided I'm not a big fan of knitting designs that have you progressively increase till the yarn is all gone...reminds me of that wedding gown story I read a few years back.

Ray had an excellent post today with which I couldn't agree more.

Have a happy spring weekend and practice tolerance, y'all!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Yarn and Food

First the Easter Yarn all balled up in the basket:

And out of the basket.

I know the shots are wretchedly off-center; I'm still not used to adjusting for the difference between the viewfinder and the actual lens. Nor have I yet replaced the camera. Yes that is indeed snow in the background. Yes there's more on the way.

And now for some food ranting.

The latest "adulterated" foodstuff is yogurt. Went shopping on Monday wanting to get a nice tub of plain yogurt--you know, rotted milk. Couldn't find an unflavored brand which was JUST milk. Every single one of them had "inulin (a dietary fiber)" or pectin or modified food starch or sometimes all three. Every. Single. One. The cottage cheese is just as bad; Breakstone is so tasty because it's got modified food starch in it too.

I had to buy the local brand of whole-milk ricotta to get an ingredient label of "Milk, enzymes, salt." In the dairy products !! At least there IS a local brand I like. I am aware that option has become increasingly less available thanks to mega-agri-business.

I also quit letting the kids have ready-made breakfast foods. No more Pop-Tarts and Little Debbie Cakes much though I loved the ease and convenience. We're back to "healthy cereal" as defined by a pronouncable short ingredient list...and a whole lotta oatmeal. Fortunately MIL is willing to batch-produce the oatmeal (which suggests another rant for a different day about the time factor but I digress.)

It's all water under the bridge now but I don't think agri-business was the way to go. The additives are everywhere and they make the food damned tasty but they're also making us an increasingly larger nation. (Don't get me started on maltodextrin, mouth-feel and binge eating, just don't.) I still maintain that food additives are the biochemical equivalent of walking barefoot on Lego blocks all day every day...and they're mass-produced in countries not our own which means that entirely different sets of trade rules and corporate values apply.

I'd rant more but it's time to go to the office...I'll leave you with the word "insidious."

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter Yarn



(those are Eldest Duckling feet)

And after.

Eldest and I both like the orange one better--it's "Fire" which makes the other one "Water" and also nice but not as. We're splitting both skeins between us after they're dry.

That picture also demonstrates one of the Cabinet Hinges Made In Hell which I so despise.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Eggs 2007

We're Dyeing

It's snowing outside which isn't that uncommon up here for Easter but we don't care. BIL, The Ducklings and I just dyed up a couple-three dozen eggs. Good thing most of us love hard-boiled eggs in all their variations, huh?

I couldn't very well let those lovely cups of intense food coloring-vinegar solution go to I grabbed a couple hanks of natural wool, ran them under the hot-water tap briefly and threw one each into big Tupperware containers. I poured the yellow, orange and red dyes over one hank, covered it with plastic wrap and nuked it for about four minutes before putting it on the (snow-dusted) glass patio table. I intend to repeat the process with the blues and greens after Eldest has finished her last masterpiece.

Pictures will follow but they've become a finite entity: now that the viewscreen (and therefore camera/user interface) of my digital camera has died, I can no longer erase the memory card. Using the rectangular glass viewfinder (annoyingly off-center from the lens itself) we can still take pictures which will automatically save to the memory card but once that card is full it's full--I can read images from the printer but not interact with the card (to my knowledge.) It's an interesting artistic limitation.

Yes I know the real answer is a new camera.

Off to finish dyeing...

Book Review #4

A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style

Frequent flyers will know that Eldest Duckling and I have been huge Tim Gunn fans for quite some time. We wish he could be an honorary uncle so we could have him at all the family gatherings. We have loved how he could say "It sucks" in such kindly hopeful ways and of course he was always so very well dressed. When Amazon told me he had written a book it didn't matter whether it was autobiography, fiction or other; I had clicked the preorder button as soon as my hand could reach the mouse.

If you have watched even one episode of Project Runway then you'll recall Tim Gunn's voice. His vowels have a distinctive quality not quite nasal and not quite imitable (much though Eldest and I have tried.) His prose is therefore easily read with that accent in mind from the very first page. His text is true to his tone...and then some:

Halfway down page 18 I looked up to ask HBF "Could you please do me a favor? Would you google 'semiology' for me?"

"Okay, thanks...that's what I thought." Hadn't read that word in about a decade and a half. How completely delightful! Not only that but the word was being applied to fashion thus elevating that particular f-word from superficial to serious. How completely intriguing.

It was a wonderful read. Here's what I know:

He wrote a how-to-dress book and wrote it very well. His ability to teach shines through every sentence. Anecdotes from his own life illustrate his learning objectives in a very supportive way. He gifts us with objectivity in the form of useful phrases early in the book and references not just The Odyssey for a beach read but Kierkegaard as a fashion tool--KIERkegaard, people!! Absolutely my kind of fellow.

The asterisked footnotes are a story unto themselves. Kate Moloney sounds like one too; she's on my list to google right after Leontyne Price.

That wit comes through the print: "I attended a meeting recently at which someone (gender makes no difference in this case) was wearing flannel drawstring pants printed with soccer balls. Even deadpan me couldn't conceal my incredulity! I can't remember what was worn on top. The pants alone did me in."

One can read the warmth in the lines and also the humility: "Oh shut up, Tim."

He finally PRINTED it: "Vanity sizing is a contrivance of the retail world." See, I knew I wasn't anywhere near a fucking twelve nevermind what Land's End says.

The content is largely traditional Fashion Gospel; what keeps it from being one long women's-magazine article is the level of the language and the depth of the background. This is no lightweight throwaway text. Although there's much information the tone stays friendly and encouraging throughout.

Like any good text it has appendices.

Go get a copy; you'll be glad you did.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Reading Happiness

Just got my copy of Tim Gunn's book.

It's so good.

More to follow.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Best Spam This Week:

Cheese Appendix

Yeah, that's all for now.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Book Review 3

You've read about one book I really hated and one I kind of disliked so I thought it was about time to review a book I genuinely liked. Not just to prove that I don't hate everything like Grumpy Smurf but also to point out why I liked it.

The book is Alison Lurie's first novel Love and Friendship published in 1962 which makes it four years older than I am.

It's an incredible first novel. Not only because the subject (love and friendship; it's right there in the title) is timeless so the book isn't a bit dated after four decades but also because the writing is so fine.

Passes the First Sentence Test with flying colors: "The day on which Emily Stockwell Turner fell out of love with her husband began much like other days." Is that a grabber or what? Conflict is introduced with the very first verb!

The imagery is vivid also. The second sentence is "As usual, Emmy lay in bed twenty minutes later than she should have done, with her son Freddy playing cars over her legs and when she finally got up it seemed as if things would never be sorted out." Paints a vividly familiar picture, doesn't it? There's a whole lot of information packed into that sentence too--not only do we know about how our protagonist starts her day but also that she has at least one child who is allowed into her bedroom not just to cuddle but for routine play. Lurie always packs a lot into her sentences; she's the mistress of "show me don't tell me." She also slips in motive at every turn: on page 13 after some backstory has been developed (primarily the fact that Emmy comes from money) we get the wonderful passage:

"She loved to eat and now that she was relatively thin she could do it with a
clear conscience. She knew she would never be fat again; Holman, [her husband]
unfortunately, was not convinced of it. Whenever he saw her bring in a dish of mashed
potatoes with butter on top, or help herself to a second piece of pie, a nervous warning
look came on his face. It was as if he saw the ghost of the fat girl he had first met."

Interesting, no?

Another excellent feature is that the characters always have their own voices.
We meet the new cleaning lady early on and her dialogue stays recognizeably her own throughout the remainder of the book. None of that everyone-sounds-the-same business for this novel. The writing is also tight, and by "tight" I mean that the gun introduced in Act 1 gets used by Act 3--or rather in this case a seemingly dull monologue about old-fashioned appliances turns out to be foreshadowing for a major plot development later in the book.

This is a book with a "second narrative line" which often doesn't work. We've all read the kind of book where each chapter is told by or about a different person none of whom we really like all that well. Not here. In this case the second story line is a series of letters from the Visiting Novelist to a friend back home and his wry commentary is delightful. For example:

"But the short-story writing course is worse and worse and worse than you predicted. I was so delighted at first to find two or three reasonably intelligent ones that I forgot what the rest were like. That hour after hour and week after week I would have to sit and talk to thirteen hopeless idiots who have already proved over and over again that they will never be able to construct a sentence let alone a story."

She was as good as Miss Snark four decades ago! Even the letters have a twist: they are introduced as "from Allen Ingram to Francis Noyes" which isn't going to necessarily make anyone's eyes perk up but the first one casually closes with "...if we appear in public together it will simply provide the local harpies with a real-life demonstration of the love that dare not speak its name." Subtle but effective. It isn't in-your-face but in the early Sixties we have a strong openly gay male voice, which is a nice touch. She also let Allen Ingram have the best simile in the entire book: while visiting family in Florida he mentions "the sea like consomme." Isn't that just grand? Anyone who's ever been in the ocean on the right kind of day knows exactly what he means.

Although it was a far cry from Stephen King's Carrie, there was a decently gritty passage early on when Emmy's husband described his fraternity's initiation rituals at a dinner party. Nice not just for shock value but also to point out that Emmy's husband has unmentioned depths. Not only do Lurie's characters all have their own voices but they're delightfully complex and all of them have both good and bad features--none of that "good wife/evil husband" broad-brushstroke nonsense. The characters are deep enough that the things they do make sense, which is what storytelling is all about.

And speaking of telling the story, Lurie deals with sex well. Meaning that she spends a lot of time on the motivating factors and the leading-up-to-it details but doesn't dwell on the actual mechanics or--praise be!-- attempt to write dialogue for the throes of the characters' passion. We all know there are certain books specifically for highly detailed sex scenes but a complicated tightly-plotted novel isn't really one of them and although it's easy to have, sex is hard to write. As Robin Williams once said, "it's an industrial film covered in fur" and nobody ever said ANYthing during sex that would be a bit profound to anyone not also in the room at the time. Alison Lurie gets around that fact by leading us far enough along that we can fill in the gaps but remembers to point out the important conflicts:

"This time Will moved in so slowly and deliberately that she had plenty of time to turn away, but instead she found herself leaning forward, helping him on; she had her tongue in his mouth first."

That's a lot more interesting than "they kissed again, she more passionately this time." The rest is like that too--"why" is every bit as important as "how" or "where." She often uses the literary equivalent of fade-to-black: the first serious sex in the book is sketched with

"The background of cold bushes and sky past his head was replaced by one of car roof. She began to breathe in gasps. Well, anyhow, we can't possibly do it now here in the car, was her last, mistaken, coherent thought."

right before cutting to another Allen Ingram letter.

The story revolves around Emmy's affair but the sideline plots are intriguing in their own right and unexpected twists keep the book from ever becoming dull. It's an excellent read because ALL the ingredients are there: fully-developed characters, tight plotting, good use of the language, close observation of what humans really do all day and a good sense of humor.

It's like really hot gossip from a close friend. I'd gush even longer and more enthusiastically but I don't want to risk giving away too much because I want you all to go find your own copies as soon as possible. If not of Love and Friendship than of her later work--The Last Resort, Foreign Affairs and Truth and Consequences are all similar dishes from the same fine kitchen. Alison Lurie is too good to miss.

Nota Bene:
Another big and special thank-you to my dear friend V--the gift of a previously-unread author with a decent body of work is treasure finer than platinum or petroleum.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Flowers But No Tech

Yup, it's finally Siberian Iris and yellow crocus started blooming yesterday. I also have inch-high green shoots of daffodils, hyacinths, tulips and peonies.

I'd share a picture or two but my digital camera finally went to Camera Afterlife last night: the LCD screen won't work at all. Sure I tried taking pictures with the (gasp! shock!) viewfinder...

...but my computer's power supply ALSO died last night so I have no idea what's on the memory card. Could be flowers; could be the driveway blacktop. Clearly I've been techno-cursed.

MIL hasn't even been back two weeks yet and is already threatening to pack her bags and go. Fun times.

I know none of the above is a book review. It'll turn up eventually. Maybe.