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.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Yes I'm Still Around...

...for the eight or so of you who care, that is. The "work" part of life is particularly sucking right now so I'm uncheery and have nothing left to give to the blog.

Still knitting and have almost finished MY Mittens.

Still trying to stay additive-free since I feel so much better that way but it's damned tough. Am convinced the "less than 2% of..." crap really does trigger eating binges though--remind me to talk about grocery-bakery cake someday.

Speaking of the food...(oh gawd Martha, she's hauling out that damned soapbox!)... whatintheFUCK are "enzymes" ?!?! They're showing up in all the cultured dairy products (except for my beloved local Cora-brand ricotta cheese) now and not only is it a recent (less than 3 months) change but even though we're supposed to think the "enzymes" are the culturing bacteria, they aren't: anything imported lists "bacterial cultures" before and separately from the "enzymes."

We are going to be SOOOooo fucking sorry for letting Thorn Enterprises take over the worldwide food production.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Additive Free

That’s how I’ve been trying to live this week. It’s been interesting.

Anyone who knows me or has followed this blog for very long knows that I have Big Issues with agri-business, factory food and all the strange additions to the food labels over the past few years. (The most recent is "soy lecithin" but I digress.)

So fine, I thought I’d put my money where my mouth was…or in this case my mouth where my ideology was. One week with no additives at all, starting Sunday. MIL is only too happy to do the cooking for the rest of the house so I didn’t even have to take anyone along for the ride with me.

In post-millennial consumer-driven America it isn’t as easy to eat additive-free as one might expect. The first step is to accept up-front that there will be no prepackaged starches or sauces of any kind…and not as many dairy products as you’d think because all the yogurt and most of the cream or cottage cheeses have been adulterated. You have to read every damned label of every damned product since even the canned chicken has modified food starch now.

So fine. On Sunday I had old-fashioned plain oatmeal and a handful of sunflower seeds for breakfast then tuna mixed with sour cream for lunch. I hadn’t really planned to go Atkins so I was happy to see a big ol’ "Original recipe" banner on the plain Fritos and discover that they still contained only whole corn, corn oil and salt. (My hormones were happy too.)

I quickly learned that if you want a "clean" starch your choices are plain pasta or cooking a whole grain. I did some of both and remembered just how damned good plain pasta tossed with lightly salted butter really is…and how boring barley can be unless you help it with some sour cream and cracked pepper.

I got back in touch with my food and that was terrific. When I stopped at the grocery I was no longer thinking "meal" but "item" which is much healthier. Vegetables truly came into their own: on Tuesday night the biggest portion of my dinner was a sweet Vidalia onion sauted in olive oil with fresh sliced mushrooms, salt, pepper and a splash of balsamic vinegar cooked down. Very yummy and entirely additive-free. Wednesday night I sauted a fennel (anise) root in butter and that was just dandy also.

Lunch at work was saved by a reasonably well-stocked salad bar. However it was far more "dietetic" than I’d planned: no dressings, no lunchmeats, no prepared mac or potato salads (the mayo) no croutons and no chow mein noodles meant that I was grazing on peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli and mozzy cheese all dressed with salt and pepper. Healthy yes but also boring so I was glad for the made-on-site "grilled veggie burrito" which after being separated from its adulterated wrapper was a tasty meal of rice, black beans, tomatoes, zucchini and cheddar cheese.

By the third day I really did feel much better. By the fifth I dropped enough water weight to make snug clothes loose again and my mother-in-law comment "you losing weight. What you doing?" (I was a complete bitch: "Nothing—the scales say I haven’t lost an ounce.") I didn’t suffer from the nightly bloating and indigestion I had attributed to my chaotic household…nor did I wake up with the stuffiness I’d been blaming on the houseful of critters. As Arte Johnson
used to say, "Vee-r-r-ree-e-e-e in-ter-es-tink!"

Desserts were nonexistent but I couldn’t live without sweets entirely so I bought dried figs, which I love. I also had canned fruit (mandarin oranges, pears) a couple of times. I remembered that the chocolate pudding cake recipe from my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook was indeed "clean" since it used flour and milk and sugar and cocoa powder but I talked myself out of "that much work" for a sweet fix.

The problem with being out of the mainstream is that it’s hard to stay out of the mainstream. Thursday night the Ducklings had Jiffy-Pop (notice who makes it?) and I couldn’t resist.

After four days of the way food is supposed to taste, the "natural flavoring" synthetic butter was like Peruvian flake in the Eighties and the salt was just so damned very salty…ohboy. I only had three handsful since we were sharing amongst the family but if we’d had another pie-tin of the stuff I would’ve been first in line to get it on the burner.

An hour later I found myself eating the Polaner All-Fruit straight from the jar with a spoon. Coincidence? I think not. (Oh and that "all natural" thing? Load of crap.) Woke up all stuffy-n-puffy again the following morning too. It went away after hard boiled eggs and plain tea for breakfast but I sure thought that was an interesting bit of data.

The other interesting finding is that although I hadn’t planned for this to be "a diet" it ended up being one because there was so little I could eat. Those two things sure say a lot about food in our society as a whole, don’t they?

Yes but that can be another post; I have to go forage for some lunch now.

I Like...

...Yoda a lot.

I'm also very fond of Meatwad but it isn't the same relationship.

Oh and to get the Timmys straight once and for all: THIS one is cool; THAT one needs smacked around and sent to summer school.

Yeah there's been knitting and food and gardening and other General Living; I'll get 'round to it someday. Or not.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

My Favorite Devil Movie

Angel Heart

Watched it last night for the first time in years...had forgotten how much I liked it.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Yes... was a completely different mitten in the previous post. Shit happens. In this case a thumb three sizes too tight and a wonky palm design due to carrying the background yarn in the wrong hand.

Fortunately mittens work up quickly--finished this one shortly after the photo:

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

By Now...

...It should be self-explanatory.

(good proportion; sucky focus. Urgh.)

Yes of course I finished the Majin Buu Mittens. They mysteriously vanished early this week. Such is life.

Since I drafted this post I moved along to the thumb of the first mitten. Pictures to follow someday maybe; an operating system re-install is in my computer's near future.


...Took two good pictures of my Totally Excellent Shawl.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Some Thoughts

Father Mulcahy eat your rosary out:

There's suppression and then there's repression. Let's see now. I'm trying to remember, which one is the bad one? Oh, yes. Repression. That's when you say "I don't have a penis." That doesn't work. Then there's suppression, which is when you say "Down, boy!"

--Brother Vergil as quoted by Norah Vincent in Self-Made Man


My take on the whole Paris Hilton saga has been equal parts of "geez, and what's the actual news, like say from Iraq?!?" and "Poor little rich girl ain't had NO raisin'; what the fuck does anyone expect?!?" so it's no real surprise to me that her parents are only now making their presence known.


I think America is going to be very sorry for giving all its money to China in the form of cheap consumer goods.


I've been reading a lot of healthcare blogs lately and although many of them are good and some are intermittently funny I'm glad mine isn't one.


Can we just all agree that America broke Iraq and start from there? This quote from the blog "Baghdad Burning" (link on my sidebar) pretty much says it:

There are moments when the injustice of having to leave your country, simply because an imbecile got it into his head to invade it, is overwhelming. It is unfair that in order to survive and live normally, we have to leave our home and what remains of family and friends… And to what?


The older I get the more I realize how society as a whole is pretty much middle school only on a much larger scale....and I hated middle school.


I've recently learned that my workplace is having trouble getting our renovations started because all the raw materials are being diverted to the Mideast. So much for getting out of there.... these people and these people tend to agree.


Oh and also? I found a "draft" post from last week sometime I'd previously's now posted but you'll have to scroll down to find it.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Still More Gardening

As much as I go on about it you'd think I actually liked doing it wouldn't you?

Nope--don't much care for it. I only do it because I like flowers. Which is why I plant perennials: if I'm going to all the trouble of throwing something in the dirt on purpose it had damned well better KEEP making pretty flowers. Fighting the winter and critters of The Hinterlands makes it a challenge.

So I was particularly pleased to discover my "Enterprise" hybrid iris came back after all:

I'm also happy the peonies are finally popping:
(That dangly one on the far right is going in a bud glass on my desk tomorrow morning.)

They're nice close-up too...

Finally I give you the difference one month can make.

May 3, 2007

June 11, 2007

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Wise Words

You are known by your friends AND your enemies. Cherish them both.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Flowers With Other Stuff First

A huge snapping turtle wandered into our yard a couple mornings ago:

It was gone by the time we went out to catch the schoolbus. Those things can move pretty fast when they want.

I got this INCREDIBLE shawl from my Sister, see?

I just totally love does Eldest; she couldn't stop singing its praises all the first night.

Meanwhile the iris are still doing their thing--much better than the one bloom of last season:

FINALLY the peonies have started blooming--Youngest called me outside last night specifically to show me:

Those are the only two blossoms so far...but you can see all the budly glory waiting in the wings.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

MINE, Dammit!

Gentle Readers may not recall that the entire Fancy Mitten Project started when I wanted a pair. I know the Ducklings certainly don't.

I do.

After much thought and contemplation I found my mitten pattern. Astute historians will recognize an enlarged copy of a page from this book and also the oldest known knitted pattern: gold and maroon silk socks at some amazingly fine gauge.

My new mittens: See the Easter egg yarn? I'll use that with natural undyed.

The final pattern:

To reward myself for the rest of the weekend just past (visiting relative, big English project) I ordered new needles. Fourteen of them.

Oh and also? I give you the first of the Buu-Mitts in vivo:

The second isn't quite to the thumb-line yet.

(Yes that wretched photo was the best of a much larger lot...'s'what I get for attempting to show-but-not-show a child.)

Friday, June 01, 2007


On the 25th of May...

And the morning of June 1st:

Because I took the above picture on my way out the door to work you also get a gratuitous office shot.

I just got back from the local farmer's market. I was underwhelmed by the offerings and only saw two people I knew: the female half of the couple who own/operate the laundry/dry cleaning service I (occasionally) use and my COO, who called out a greeting from her open car window.

Tolerance and Forgiveness...

...can be seriously lacking at times.

This morning as I was parking in the work lot I was surprised to see one of the clinic nurses whom I know by sight but not name walking over to my car. She seemed to wish to speak to me.

Once I opened my car door this woman started in with a loud and angry voice saying "Did you know you just splashed muddy water ALL OVER me?! How COULD you be so careless?!?" She was clearly Seriously Pissed Off; her cap of gray hair was quivering with rage.

Well no, of course I -hadn't- known and felt terrible since that's happened to me (and you too no doubt) dozens of times. On the other hand I was rather startled to be greeted with such invective in the employee parking lot.

I looked at the pants to which she was gesturing and saw only two small quarter-sized spots of liquid, neither of which were muddy. Did a mental "hmmm" but still felt bad. So I immediately and sincerely apologized with the hand-to-chest gesture and "No I didn't know. I'm so terribly sorry." I've been told multiple times that it's easy to read my face so I'm sure if she'd looked she would have seen the genuine contrition.

That wasn't good enough for her. She went on to declaim "you were just speeding through here not paying a BIT of attention and got water ALL OVER me because you were being careless!" I stood there, still with hand on chest but now clearly taken aback and added another "I'm sorry; I really didn't see you." That still wasn't good enough: her parting shot was "well pay more attention!"

Despite the big green "doctor" photo-ID-badge the rules make me wear whenever on campus, I don't think she had any clue who I am or she might not have decided to dump her entire morning's worth of life-rage on me.

The thing which annoys me the most was her refusal to accept a genuinely sincere apology.

However the thing which also annoys me is that I'm certain had I been a male with gray at the temples she wouldn't have said one word. I'm sure she saw "young woman" (young to her anyhow) and decided "therefore below me in the pecking order and someone whom I can safely shit all over." Yeah, well Ageism is still an "ism" and therefore wrong.

I do hope she realizes she has definitely not made a friend today. She certainly will the next time we end up in the same meeting together; I intend to ever-so-sweetly inquire if she's "recovered from your terrible parking-lot trauma."

Even though she wasn't wearing her nametag (but mostly-strap sandals--had I caught up with her on the walk up the hill I would've kindly apologized a second time while pointing out that open-toed shoes were against dress code) I will find out who she is.

The Fates are going to bite that hateful person on the ass, mark my words.