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.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Always The Knitting

Yes folks, there are three projects in the basket right now...even though there's usually only one project "live" enough for the honor. I stalled out on the whole Mitten Project at the fourth row of the thumb as you can see above...but won't they be nice if I can get another few hours of motivation before the first frost?

The dull-by-comparison brown striped bits of knitting are a couple triangles for the Endless Afghan I started ages ago; normally it lives in its own zippered plastic bedding bag but I was sick of working with two colors and couldn't figure out what Tiggers liked to eat next...

...till the new-project bug bite finally started to wheal up into something:

The "something" started out with a punctum: "y' really need a purple sweater. Not only did you just get that promotion but Eldest is always saying 'you need a little more color' and you've actually admitted that your fashion statement seems to be 'camouflage.'"

Swatching led me to realize that the rapidly developing itch was not going to be satisfied at a gauge anywhere near five stitches to the inch--for me that's US zeros, ones and twos. Solved that problem when I realized I'd serendipitously acquired TWO bags of purple yarn for the stash and combined one strand of Ray's Down-Home worsted with one strand of KnitPicks Crayon.

I also liked that option because I find all-wool to be hot but all-cotton to be not very bouncy. The combo-ball knits up at 3 stitches to the inch (my US size four needles) to produce a lovely cuddly-soft fabric with miserable stitch definition. What you don't see is my three nights worth of playing with knit-purl patterns all of which vanished into the color and texture.

What you also don't see is anything more than a back because I don't know where the thing is going yet. I've never started the Actual Knitting with so little plan before; I haven't even figured out whether I'm making a pullover or a cardigan. I got as far as "seed stitch makes a nice border" before "oh let's just start knitting already" took over.

So I did.

And now for something completely different:

Go watch THIS

The truth can be SO very funny, can't it?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Oh Yeah, Senator Craig:

He may not be "gay" but having same-sex encounters in public restrooms which he kept hidden from his wife certainly isn't the accepted connotation of "straight." At minimum it makes him repeatedly "bi-curious" which is hard to accept semantically: once curiosity were initially satisfied then one would know whether one leaned that way or not, no?

Oh screw all that tolerance bullshit. He's a self-hating hypocritical as all hell fucked in the head individual who needs to get his head out of his ass and just BE who he sexually IS because life is short and love is good....but that would mean giving up his privileged life on the public dole.

The sleaziest part of the whole thing for me was giving the undercover officer his business card. What I think about THAT is that he's an arrogant prick.

Okay, that whole "naughty boy" bit about then-President Clinton runs an awfully close second.

The horrible slam against all of us as theoretically civilized humans though, is the incredible HYPOCRISY.

Obi-wan was right: Never trust a politician.

It's beginning to look like "U.S. Republican Party" is a synonym for "the closeted homosexuals club."

Hey females: Anyone know a public restroom frequented by sex workers?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Gee, Who Knew?

The Minnesota airport, Union Station, Georgetown Park -- I had no idea public men's rooms were all whorehouses.

Oh, forgive me, I meant "places frequented by sex workers."

I'm not offended mind you, just surprised: women's rooms aren't like that.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Garden Is Winding Down:

That's the very last pink Asian lily dying on the vine:

And here's the very last of any of the Asian lilies, which concludes the flower beds on that entire side of the house.

The carnations which I thought wouldn't bloom at all actually did on their first year out:

Far more than I expected them to do.

The Red Perennial Garden was a great success its first year out,although you can tell I cheated a couple weeks ago and only weeded the side that shows from the road.

Monday, August 20, 2007


...that previous post was quite dated as we're now BACK from the Philly trip and have been since Saturday night.

Good trip but there's been a lot of life happening faster than usual so regular blogging isn't likely to return all that quickly. In the meanwhile I give you Logan Square.

First by day...

And then by night...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Quickie Text

Went to the neighboring county fair on Sunday for the sole purpose of riding rides. Good stuff till the Big Two got sick (in one case literally) of riding rides.

Asian lilies on the way out but damned if the beebalm didn't send up a whole bunch of new shoots after the phlox bloomed. Then the carnations started after I didn't even think they would. For the first year of a perennial bed it's been just incredible.

I finally managed to finish the body of the Mitten-for-Eldest which has been on the needles for simply ever...but have only done about three rows of thumb. Hoping to get more excited now that fall is sneaking in at the edges up here.

Am playing Famous Local in an upcoming parade complete with vintage costume.

Off to Philadelphia for a long weekend including the Four Seasons and King Tut...first ANY kind of vacation in a year and three months and first HOTEL vacation since 2004. Excited I am. Like Yoda it makes me speak.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

More Lilies

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Flower Power

The County Fair

It had been more than twenty years since I'd been to a county fair and the Ducklings had no idea what I was talking about so we went to the Hinterlands County Fair last weekend.

The fairgrounds were about forty-five minutes away and aside from "animals and rides and food" my kids didn't have a clue what to expect. We parked at the first place I saw which was a big yard with a hand-lettered sign saying "Park all day $3.00" put there by a redheaded kid who replied to my "we pay you?" with "yeah I gotta get my truck fixed" even though he didn't look old enough to drive.

The Ducklings were completely underwhelmed by the parking and the fact that they couldn't see anything "festive" from the road so I messed with their heads further by starting them off in the 4-H Exhibition Building and making them look at aprons, pajama bottoms, woodworking and animal-science posters for a while...the Big Two had nothing but scathing comments for that. You might be interested to know that 4-H seems largely unchanged in thirty years---sure they're doing pajama bottoms instead of drawstring skirts but the apron is intact, the 10x10 gardening is intact and the chocolate chip cookies are still the same.

Livestock barns was absolutely uncanny how much the poultry all hated Eldest Daughter. I mean not just a little but enough so that every single bird in the barn got all edgy and every exhibitor straightened up in his or her seat to see what was messing with their critters. Weird! Youngest thought it was all just great but the Big Two weren't that impressed with our feathered friends...except the big tom turkey in full display.

Turns out Middle Duckling saw a friend of his in the poultry barn but didn't stop to chat--typical guy. We did rabbits briefly and were sad because they reminded us of Candy but there were also some HUGE giant rabbits which were pretty big as a beagle for sure. They reminded me of that story from England.

The Midway didn't open till noon so we poked around the exhibition buildings which are the same everywhere. The Hinterlands County Fairgrounds were exactly like the State Fairgrounds of my childhood but on a much smaller scale...except for the prices. Large lemon shake-ups are now $4.50 which I thought was a lot, but given that they were $1.10 in 1983 I suppose it's not too bad. I finally tried a Blooming Onion which is way more food than even two people can manage and not as great as they look in the Outback Steakhouse ad but worth the one-time novelty value. Got some fudge too thinking we'd save it for the family members who stayed home but we ended up eating most of it.

While I was eating (or rather "eating on"; never got more than about a sixth through it) the onion, the kids checked out a T-shirt shop with great tie-dye mostly because Eldest ran up to me saying "Mom, MOM! There's a T-shirt slogan I just HAVE to have!" which turned out to be I may be a cold heartless bitch but at least I’m GOOD at it!

I let the kids have a highly-supervised but technically independent shopping experience in the T-shirt booth where they all got souvenir shirts---Eldest got her slogan on a blue tie-dye, Son got a neat quasi-caduceus on red and Youngest got dolphins on multicolor tie-dye. The shopkeeper was a guy about my age who looked startlingly like an ex-boyfriend of mine (but wasn't, praise be.) He was an awfully good sport about my indecisive Youngest Child and did in fact notice Mama Hen keeping watch with her worm--I mean onion--from the doorway.

Found the wildlife conservation booth run by the family of Eldest's Best Friend--I admire them no end for being willing to put their livelihood where their ethics are but it looks like kind of a tough way to make a living. The mom was chatting up a potential client so we didn't stay but instead went to the "Antique Farming" building nearby. It was a real log cabin about the size of a one-car garage and full of the kind of farm implements that would fit therein--I didn't recognize any of the freestanding stuff other than it looking horse-powered but I was very much reminded of a scene from Prodigal Summer where the protagonist explores an old barn attic.

There were hay hooks and woodworking tools and all sorts of iron things and even Eldest thought it was reasonably interesting. The exhibit was being run by an older guy with a beard who perked right up when I made sure to point out the rigid ox yoke to the children as "the Wii of the year ONE thousand" and how important it was. When Youngest Duckling asked "but why?" I explained "two bulls could work together without choking themselves so you could plow more land and not starve to death in the winter." Eldest tends to poke gentle fun at "Mom's into all that farming stuff" but I think even she gets that we need to remember our agricultural roots…no I won't start quoting Animal, Vegetable, Miracle or anything.

Once our bearded host saw he had a Live One he went over and pointed out another ox yoke made by an acquaintance of his which had the improvement of a wooden turnkey latching system and "washer" for the hoop parts. He and I had a brief discussion about how farming had changed wherein he said "used to be you could work 25, 30 acres and make a living at it; now you have to have hundreds of acres and contracts with this one and that one..." so I shared that my grandparents had an entire farming career on 40 acres in central Indiana. Nice to pay homage to one's roots. It was only on the way out that I clued in that the old man was probably some flavor of Amish.

So after the antique farming implements we did another loop of the grounds wating for the Midway rides to open at noon. Found the public restrooms on the agricultural side to have three nice shower stalls one of which still smelled like Dial soap from a recent user; that was sort of neat. The women's room also had an attendant busily sweeping with her less-than-two-months-old baby girl in a carseat on the counter and a tip jar nearby--Youngest and I paid a buck total to use the facilities and I considered it money well-spent.

We skipped the "famous pig races" to get back to the Midway then turned out to be THE FIRST people on the Ferris wheel because Middle Duckling, having seen many but never been on one, was really keen to ride. (You've already seen the good picture from the top.) It was a good carnival company (Gillette) but damn the rides were expensive---$3 per person meant $12/ride so we did the toboggans (really good superfast ones) and called it a day…but not before I purchased my first "funnel cake" which is a more Northeastern form of fried dough than the "elephant ears" with which I grew up. Of course it was loaded with additives one could taste with every bite but since I'd never had one before it was worth the indigestion. The guy working the booth couldn't take his eyes off Eldest; it was a wonder he didn't deep-fry a couple of fingers.

A great time was had by all…we're considering hitting the nearby county fairs when they occur. Good chat on the way home which started with the Darkmoon Faire, worked its way through medieval Europe and ended up with how our Hinterlands County Fair is the current living incarnation of something dating back to the ox-yoke-equals-high-tech kids seem to be getting the connection.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

55 Days:

June 11, 2007

August 4, 2007

42d 43' 15" N 75d 00' 08" W

100 - 120 frost-free days per growing season.

Life Goes On

When I put the camera card in the printer just now I discovered this photo taken by Eldest and liked it quite a bit:

I had been looking for the pictures of my new perennial garden:

The glads are so pretty I think I've forgiven them for needing dug up every fall.

My Asian lilies FINALLY started to bloom... of course I took the obligatory close-up shot.

Also we went to the County Fair.

Loads of fun, that...might even give the story a post of its own.