Rhymes With Fuchsia

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Further Palinontology

Note: I wrote this yesterday but decided to hold off on posting it until today; Chris and Christi have already validated my tag line. Fine with me: the more women see through this shallow and insulting trick, the better.

The one thing the Palin pick did for sure was to drive Obama's acceptance speech — which I didn't see, but which apparently moved a lot of old political hands to tears, and even got the nod from sourpuss "move to your left, a little more to your left, please" Glenn Greenwald — off the front page.

The general take seems to be that Palin appeals to the hard-right Base with her NRA membership, creationism, climate-change denial, and extreme pro-life stance, while simultaneously attracting disaffected Clinton voters by virtue of being a woman standing up to the old-boy network. The first part I'll certainly grant, even though I think McCain's maverick image is largely illusory, being based on a very few votes and bill sponsorships, several of which, as Biden very cogently noted, he now repudiates. It's worked very well for him so far, though, to the point where a lot of people, including some conservatives, think he's pro-choice at the same time that NARAL gives him a zero lifetime rating on his actual voting record. There seems to be no doubt that the pick raises McCain's conservative cred with the Limbaugh crowd.

The second part is what makes me queasy. Does McCain really think Clinton voters are so stupid that he can attract them by picking a female James Dobson with a featherweight resume? I almost never read NYT columnist Gail Collins, as she seems to me to be 1% substance and 99% snark, but her column yesterday was that one in a hundred. After noting that symbolic candidates Shirley Chisholm and Geraldine Ferraro felt like a big deal in the '70s after 50 years of our having the vote but little else, Collins closed with this:
This year, Hillary Clinton took things to a whole new level. She didn’t run for president as a symbol but as the best-prepared candidate in the Democratic pack. Whether you liked her or not, she convinced the nation that women could be qualified to both run the country and be commander in chief. That was an enormous breakthrough, and Palin’s nomination feels, in comparison, like a step back.

The key word there is qualified. I'd have voted for Clinton in either position on the ticket; I'd as soon vote for Palin as for, well, James Dobson. Or Paris Hilton. That would be as soon as you can show me definitive evidence that hell has frozen over.

I strongly suspect I'm not alone.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Saturday Sky

Because you can never have too many blue skies, I'm saving further political commentary for tomorrow.

Friday, August 29, 2008

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Blog

As a rule, I don't mention politics often here, partly because I'm not a good enough writer to change any minds, dearly as I would like to, partly because the mere mention of a certain name reduces me to dumb, impotent, weeping, teeth-gnashing fury. (That might have something to do with the first part.) Nonetheless, I am a fairly heavy-duty political junkie, reading lefty blogs daily and praying as I visit this site that Obama stays in front — if the blue parts of the map start turning red I may have to practice adding "eh" to the end of every sentence.

At the moment, of course, the leftosphere is licking its chops at McCain's choice of Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska, as his running mate. She's relatively young (44), she has less than two years' experience in government even at the state level, defanging what has hitherto been McCain's strongest substantive argument against Obama, and she's embroiled in a scandal of her own.

What was McCain thinking? Kevin Drum has a go:
Their thinking is that she's a hard-right conservative who appeals to the base (David Brody was just on CNN telling us that Christian conservative leaders were high-fiving each other over the Palin pick), but not a famous hard-right conservative who's going to scare off independents. Soccer moms will like her. She's inexperienced, but no one can hold that against her this year — and anyway, her lack of a track record also means she doesn't bring a lot of baggage to the campaign. She's got great anti-corruption cred. She's young and vibrant and has an attractive family. Joe Biden will have a hard time going on the attack against a woman. She's unknown, but frankly, to most low-information voters (i.e., to most voters), all VP picks are unknown.

I dunno. I'm a soccer mom myself, but hardly a swing voter, so I can't be sure, but I can't imagine suburban women voting for McCain/Palin just because she has good-looking kids. As a bunch of commenters have already pointed out, "great anti-corruption cred" doesn't square with allegedly getting your ex-brother-in-law fired from his job as a state trooper because he's in the midst of a messy custody fight with your sister. Although surely McCain's people vetted her up one side and down the other? Maybe there's no more dirt there.

I'm watching the video of her acceptance speech on BBC News online, and she is well-spoken, engaging and attractive, but she won't blow anyone away. It's possible that I'm so clueless about political strategy that I don't appreciate the brilliance of this pick, but I just can't see how.

What am I missing? Your thoughts?

Thursday, August 28, 2008


It had been probably four or five months since I last went to spinning group, partly because the group hadn't met for over two months. So I wasn't about to miss tonight's meeting.

That's Miss B in the middle. She figured she'd better seize the moment, as she'll have ballet on Thursday nights starting next week. There were a bunch of people I knew there (note my brilliant photography of the back of Lynne's head) and several I hadn't met.

I finished Navajo plying a bobbin I spun in Rangeley; the single broke several times, so there are some wonky spots — I'm sure it's possible to deal with yarn breaks while Navajo plying so as to leave no trace that they ever happened, but I'm not there yet — but I'm pretty happy with the way it came out.

And, man, I hate to think of winter's approach, but there are definite compensations.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It's OK, You Can Look Now

Don't get your hopes up: I still have nothing interesting to blog about.

But, fortunately, I've also run out of injury photos. Miss B is back from a week's sojourn in Ohio with Grant's sister's family, bearing the fruits of back-to-school shopping and looking scarily grown up... but she won't let me take her picture. When all else fails, fall back on clouds, I always say.

Nice, no?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Digital Age

All right, so there hasn't been a whole lot of knitting going on around here. There's been spinning, but even there...

not so you'd notice. (Look, it's blue.)

Today's Ten on Tuesday is ten things you disliked about school. I have to admit that I really liked school; I'd have trouble coming up with even three.

So that leaves me fairly desperate for blog fodder. I looked high and low, and I saw... feet. Remember our trip to Small's Falls? While Miss B was disporting herself on the wild slide, I was trying to tell up from down and Grant was mostly sitting still, having stepped into a deep crevice while wading in the stream and nearly torn the nail off his big toe. It doesn't hurt any more, but it's a sight to behold. He's developing quite a collection of Interesting Nail Ailments.

My feet are very dull by comparison, but I'll show them to you anyway to give you an idea why I like ducks so much. There's obviously at least one in my ancestry.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Conan Explores the Medicine Cabinet

Help! Heeelp! Can anybody hear me??? I've been swallowed! Help!! Help!!!

Sunday, August 24, 2008


A few weeks ago Grant got this weird line on his thumbnail; he tried antibiotic ointment on it, but it didn't seem to help, so he finally took himself to the doctor. It seems he has an endochondroma, a benign tumor of cartilage. It's not often seen in anyone over 30.

Grant's taking a scientific view of the whole thing, saying every few days, "Oh, look what it's doing now." It has been sort of cool watching it go from looking infected to peeling off from the bottom.

Do you think we're weird?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Saturday Sky: Tough Choice

As usual, I took about a million pix of skies, lakes and mountains in Rangeley. One of these days I'll get a bunch of them up on Flickr, but for now I give you two sides of the same sky.

Only 49 more weeks.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Dizzy Brunette

When I woke up last Thursday morning I felt as if I were coming out of anesthesia, or as though I'd been to an extremely wild party the night before, neither of which was the case. I felt a little better during and after my morning swim, but still a bit askew. (This was really the reason why I didn't join Miss B in riding the slide at Small's Falls: the water was indeed much higher with a much stronger current than we'd seen them before, but quite a few people were happily frolicking in it. With my sense of balance off and the world tending to spin at odd intervals, it just didn't seem like a good time for me to be one of them.)

I figured it might have been something I'd eaten, or an oddity in my medication (could I have taken an extra dose and not remembered it? I didn't think so, but stranger things have happened), but when the condition persisted after we got home I began to worry a bit, and when I couldn't even turn my head this morning without setting off the merry-go-round effect, it was time to visit the doctor.

After asking me a few questions (any changes in medication? no; any other drugs or alcohol? no), he put a pillow behind me and had me lie back as fast as I could and turn my head to the left. "Dizzy?" he asked.
"Yes, a little," I said.
He had me sit up again and do the same thing once more, but this time turning my head to the right. "Whoa, yeah," I said as soon as my head hit the examining table. He told me to stay put until everything stopped moving, which took a while this time, but eventually I sat up and he smiled at me.
"You have benign positional vertigo," he said, handing me a sheet of paper. "Do this exercise three times a day and you should be fine in a few days." The exercise is to do the lying-down thing, wait for equilibrium to return, then roll to the left and sit up sideways.

I was pretty amazed at this — not to mention relieved, since I'd been wondering in the back of my swimmy head if I had malignant positional vertigo, or at any rate malignant something — I'd been expecting to be poked and prodded and unnervingly tested and, if lucky, prescribed yet more medication. Who knew such a thing existed, or that the treatment would be so simple? Apparently it can happen on either side, and the cause is unknown. With luck I'll be much improved by Monday, as staggering about the office doesn't usually inspire one's boss's confidence.

It would also be nice to be able to knit without having to stop after every few stitches.

With that happy thought in mind, I present some more flowers from Rangeley.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Slipping Away

Where did the summer go? lots of people have been asking. Excellent question. I signed up for the Summer of Socks and promptly developed a raving case of sloth, and nary a sock have I knit. I have knit other things, but not many. It must be the cooler nights we've been having, but all of a sudden I'm getting the urge to knit on purpose, as opposed to working a round here, a round there on the double-knit hat during waiting time. (I'd show you a picture, but it really is going very slowly.) If I knit, oh, about five times as fast as I normally do, I might finish a pair of socks before SoS vanishes like the last red glow of a summer sunset.

Last night at knitting Zana was working on a gorgeous pair of mittens from a pattern in a book. "I wish I had that book," I thought, and then I realized: I do have that book, EZ's Knitting Around. With perseverance, I might actually learn the Thumb Trick — or I might keep knitting "sore thumb" thumbs, since they work so nicely for me. So far I've found that using palm stitches for the thumb makes the mitten too narrow. Maybe I need to knit wider mittens.

And I still really want to make a shawl, and even have some ideas bouncing around. For once I may actually be ready for a change of season.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Environmentally Friendly

When in doubt or suffering from blogger's block, recycle, I always say. Herewith our trip to Canada, part deux — actually part trois if you count last Friday's flowers.

Lene remarked fairly recently on the fact that public recycling bins, ubiquitous in Canada, are hardly ever seen in the US. For some strange reason I'd never thought about it, but she's right. You see them now and then in restaurants and stores that have a greenish theme, but they're the rare exception. I've been known to take my recyclables home to dispose of them properly. Lene's right about Canada too: during our brief sojourn there we saw them everywhere.

We also saw some lucky sheep with a spectacular view.

See those trees on the left? The wheel, and the leaves, turn yet again.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Q is for Quack

My P post more or less wrote itself — I think I figured out along about February what letter would be up during our Rangeley sojourn, and what it would stand for. I had no idea what to do with Q, though.

Silly me. You can't stay long in Rangeley without seeing and hearing ducks. Q is for quack, of course.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Straight Up

Do you know the Boy Scout Oath? It says:
On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

To the Boy Scouts of America, morally straight means, among other things, heterosexual, or at least not noticeably homosexual. This has led them afoul of state and local governments that have added homosexuality to their nondiscrimination laws, which imho is a good thing: as a private organization, the BSA can in theory discriminate against anyone they like, but if they choose to exclude people on the basis of sexual orientation (or religion) they shouldn't benefit from public largesse in any form, including the use of public buildings. Since I have no intention of becoming a Boy Scout, though, the question doesn't concern me (although we have stopped buying Christmas wreaths from them).

News stories and blog posts on the topic have, however, gotten me thinking about the word straight, as in heterosexual. I never thought about it much, but undeniably the word connotes goodness or correctness, and its antonyms, bent, crooked, twisted, connote the opposite. Of the 39(!) definitions of straight given by Dictionary.com Unabridged, 11 have to do with moral value; here, for example, are definitions 5 through 9:
  1. without circumlocution; frank; candid: straight speaking.
  2. honest, honorable, or upright, as conduct, dealings, methods, or persons.
  3. Informal. reliable, as a report or information.
  4. right or correct, as reasoning, thinking, or a thinker.
  5. in the proper order or condition: Things are straight now.
Straight does have the virtues of clarity and brevity: everyone knows what it means in context, and it's one syllable as opposed to the six-syllable heterosexual (you can probably get the latter down to four and a half syllables if you're British).

So what do you think? Do I have something here, or have I gone all the way around the politically correct bend? If you agree with me, what term do you use instead of straight? I sometimes say het, but it feels a little too trendy to me; maybe I just need to get used to it.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Six on Sunday

Six reasons I'm glad to be home:
  1. I get to sleep in my own bed.
  2. The TV and the Internet are at my beck and call.
  3. Likewise the washing machine.
  4. The cats and I are very happy to see each other.
  5. We don't have to remember not to drink the tap water. (In Rangeley the tap water comes directly out of the lake. It's clean enough to wash in and even brush our teeth with, but we don't want to drink it.)
  6. Three bathrooms, no waiting.
We have a lot to look back on, like lakeside spinning and incredible sunsets, in this case complete with a seagull that drove me around the bend soaring and swooping, changing direction on a whim as I tried to get the perfect bird-in-sunset shot. (There are a number of seagulls in residence; they're a long way from the ocean, but they don't seem to care much.)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Saturday Sky: Fly Away Home

It is too too sadly true: all good things must end.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday Flowers

Before I get to the photographic portion of our program, I'd like to offer my sincere apologies: the medical emergency I referred to was that anyone who would ride that slide in such a strong current is clearly not in her right mind. Ahem. She did survive, however, and we are all fine. I did not mean to worry people. Rest assured that, to paraphrase the old comedy bit, had there been a real emergency I wouldn't have been sitting around blogging about it.

Flowers by Mont-St.-Joseph. I don't know if the cosmos-like flowers are feral or the wild ancestors of garden cosmos, but they're quite lovely.

On our last full day here the weather is spectacular. The National Weather Service says it's currently overcast, which shows you how much they know. For one thing the nearest NWS weather station is a good 50 miles away, and for another the mountains and lakes create all kinds of weather of their own. I've decided that, while it gets our hometown weather right at least 90 percent of the time, for Rangeley weather the NWS is completely useless. All three of us have been swimming today, and Miss B and I are off shortly for a final foray in the blueberry patch.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

It Runs in the Family

If memory serves, I promised to tell you about Canada today, didn't I? Well, Canada was lovely. On the way up we saw two moose, and Miss B saw one we didn't see, but I wasn't fast enough with the camera. We went to Mont-St.-Joseph, and did a short hike to an overlook point with spectacular views.

I took a ton of pictures, but you get the general idea.

I'll have more on Canada later, but I have somewhat of a medical emergency here, so I'm moving right along to our trip to Small's Falls today. You may recall that last year Miss B and I had a terrific time riding the bumpy slide. Note the rocks sticking out of the water. Have I mentioned that there's been a lot of rain here? Today the slide looked like this:

Note that in this picture those rocks are covered by water, which also extends further on the side from which one enters the slide — which I quickly decided I was not about to do, retaining my sanity and valuing my life and limb as I do.

Does anyone know a good psychiatrist?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Barbara Walters, Look To Your Laurels

Undoubtedly by now you've seen the knitblogger's husband interview here and there, around and about. I am nothing if not a sucker for easy blog fodder, so I made Grant do it too.

Me: What is your favorite thing about my knitting?
Him: When it's over?

Me: Ha ha. What is your least favorite thing about my knitting?
Him: The SABLE.

Me: What is something I have knitted that you recall as being good?
Him: Miss B's socks.
Me: Any particular socks?
Him: I thought one of the early pairs with the twisted cable pattern on the side was pretty good. (He's referring to these, one of the two most elaborate pairs of socks I've ever made.)
Me: Excellent choice.

Me: Do you think knitters have an expensive hobby?
Him: Potentially.
Me: Can you elaborate on that?
Him: It is possible for a knitter left to her own devices to go beyond the bounds of propriety, not to mention parsimony.

Me: Do you have any hobbies?
Him: Yes. (pause) Do you want more than that?
Me: Yes.
Him: You know what they are: music, languages and t-shirt design, just to name three.
Me: How about CD acquisition?
Him: I'm not actively pursuing that at the moment. I may actually have enough, or nearly enough.
Me: Sure, that's what they all say.

Me: Moving right along … Has my knitting in public ever embarrassed you?
Him: No. Annoyed, yes, embarrassed, no.

Me: Do you know my favorite kind of yarn?
Him: Uh... is this counting qiviut, or not?
Me: I've only knit with qiviut once.
Him: If it weren't expensive, would you use it more?
Me: Probably, but leave qiviut out of it for the moment.
Him: Not really. I know you're not fond of polyester.

Me: Can you name another knitting blog?
Him: Sure, there's Wooly Headed, and there's, um, what's her name, Crazy Aunt Purl.
Me: Anyone else?
Him: You want an exhaustive list?
Me: No, just wondering if you knew one or two others.
Him: There's Zeneedle. And I should mention the nice person who showed my Klingon shirt... um... kmkat? And there's Yarn Harlot.
Me: That's quite impressive.
Him: Do you count Ravelry as a blog, or is that more of an online community?
Me: The latter, I think.

Me: So, do you mind that I want to check out yarn stores everywhere we go?
Him: Sometimes.
Me: It does come in handy when there's a yarn store next to a bookstore, don't you think?
Him: That's true.

Me: Do you understand the importance of a swatch?
Him: It's very handy if you're trendy and want to tell time. Maybe it's not even trendy any more. Um... no, the answer is no.

Me: Do you read Rhymes With Fuchsia?
Him: Usually. I don't read every post, but I catch up occasionally.
Me: Have you ever left a comment?
Him: Yes. I commented on Ed's trying to climb on the counter, for example.
Me: Yes, that was a good one.

Me: Do you think the house would be cleaner if I didn't knit?
Him: That's hard. I know knitting takes up time you could be spending cleaning, but I'm not convinced you'd spend it cleaning if you didn't knit.
Me: I think you may have something there.

Me: Thanks so much for playing along. Is there anything you would like to add in closing?
Him: Yes, visit Cicero's Soapbox.
Me (rolls eyes): Aside from advertising.
Him: (laughs) Um... my mind's a blank.
Me: This is a good place to end, then.

Isn't he sweet? Note to self: always check LYS locations for nearby bookstores.

Only two more days of vacation. Tune in tomorrow for my report on today's visit to Canada. Miss B has now visited every country in North America, unless you count Belize.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ten on Tuesday

My apologies, sort of, for the wordlessness of yesterday's post. I just couldn't think of a single thing to write that would do justice to those pictures. The duck in the fog is my favorite so far from this year's trip.

On to business.

Ten Favorite Movie Villains (in no particular order)
  1. Prince Humperdinck/Count Rugen, The Princess Bride
  2. Lord Farquaad, Shrek
  3. Meredith Blake, The Parent Trap (1998 remake)
  4. The Wicked Witch of the West, The Wizard of Oz
  5. Randall, Monsters, Inc.
  6. Katherine Parker, Working Girl
  7. Michael Sanders, Outrageous Fortune
  8. Borg Queen, Star Trek: First Contact
  9. Zolo, Romancing the Stone
  10. Sid, Toy Story
Hmm, I guess I've seen quite a few kids' movies, not really a surprise given that I have kids. I looked through my earlier movie posts for inspiration for this one, and I notice that a lot of my favorite movies don't really have villains. What can I say? I'm a sucker for ensemble acting and happy endings.

A note on #8: As far as I know I've seen Alice Krige in only two movies, the other being Ghost Story, which I've seen only on TV. I picture Jonathan Frakes saying to himself, "I want an actress who can be devastatingly sexy and skin-crawling creepy at the same time," screening dozens of films, and finally leaping out of his chair at 3 am a few minutes into Ghost Story yelling "That's it!" (I didn't know Frakes directed Star Trek: First Contact until I looked it up just now. He's much better at directing than at acting, that's for sure.)

Monday, August 11, 2008

P is for Paradise

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Moosing Around

Part of our yearly Rangeley ritual used to be moose sightings, until about five years ago, when all of a sudden there was nary a moose to be found. In the last few years we had seen only one, and the pictures I got were so bad they weren't even worth photoshopping. So Thursday night when we headed off to one of our favorite local restaurants (local being in this case about 20 miles away; in our defense, the middle of nowhere is, if not exactly here, at least visible from here) through prime moose-watching territory, we weren't that optimistic, even though it had rained for two days, excellent weather for an evening stroll if you're a moose.

The trick to moosewatching is to keep an eye peeled not so much for moose as for small knots of stopped cars. By looking for both we spotted a total of four moose on the way to the restaurant, and one on the way back, which I suppose could have been one of the first four again, but it was a good distance away from the earlier sightings. The pictures aren't the best I've ever taken, but at least you can tell what you're looking at.


Saturday, August 09, 2008

Saturday Sky

The weather here so far has not been optimal, although we got a lovely treat of a day on Tuesday. That, however, was followed by three gloomy, dreary, drippy days, one of which we spent going down to Yarmouth to retrieve our van (so far, so good, as the plummeting optimist said) and have dinner with my folks. Thursday and yesterday we hung out here, taking many pictures of clouds — the upside of gray weather up here is that the cloudscapes are very cool and highly photogenic — spending lots of time at the library and checking out the local stores, including a new one selling exotic beer. Apparently some of it is very good, but you'll have to take Grant's word for it as I never touch the stuff (even without dietary restrictions).

There's a general store in downtown Rangeley that is going out of business, sadly, after 55 years; it used to sell pretty much everything under the sun (I have bought yarn there) and serve light fare and ice cream at an actual, real live soda fountain. The light fare is gone, but they still have a few flavors of ice cream left, so we took what will probably be our last chance at a classic bit of Americana. The ice cream was pretty good.

By far our weirdest vacation moment so far was emerging from the general store to have a large white van that looked exactly like our neighbor Susan's stop for us so we could cross the street; once we got on the other side of it we discovered that it was Susan, complete with her three teenaged daughters. "What are you doing here?!?" I asked.
"Stalking you," she replied without missing a beat, "but I can't talk, we have to go..." something, and off she drove. If they're stalking us, they're doing an excellent job of it, as we haven't seen them since.

According to the National Weather Service today's forecast was exactly the same as the previous three days', but instead my parents' arrival around midday heralded gorgeous weather in which we basked all afternoon; I swam with Miss B and spun in the sun.

Tune in for tomorrow's post, in which a moose is loose.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Friday Flowers

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Danielle Made Me Do It

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Brace Yourself

It is a strange thing, but I seem to have less time to blog, much less to read blogs, on vacation than I do normally. Hence I will be subjecting you to quite a few pictures, not much text.