Rhymes With Fuchsia

Monday, November 30, 2009

All That Matters

Margene asked this morning for favorite memories from this Thanksgiving. I'm lucky enough to have quite a few good ones, even if some of them are a bit goofy. (Not that that should surprise anyone who knows me.)

But, as it happens, one of them does stand out.

Family time. There's nothing better.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Life As I Know It

in which it becomes clear why I don't send out those saccharine-braggy holiday letters

So, my Thanksgiving weekend: we plan to go up to my folks' Wednesday evening. Around 3:00 Wednesday afternoon, I discover that the fridge isn't really working, for the second time in two weeks. I call the appliance service people. A repairman miraculously shows up 40 minutes later. I go back to pie assembly. I finally put the pies in the oven around 6:30. Around 7:15, I discover that the oven isn't really working. I take the pies up the street, put them in my kind neighbor's oven, call my folks and eventually agree we should come in the morning. We plan to leave at 9 Thursday morning. Around 10:15 we pull out, barely fitting ourselves in our smallish car because our van has developed brake issues, especially on wet pavement, and we are experiencing a fourth straight day of rain. Luckily traffic is light, because they can't start the turkey until we get there with the roasting pan. We do get there, and dinner proves to be quite successful.

On Friday my sister Becca, Miss B and I decide to hit Tarzhay for new rain boots and then drive into nearby Brunswick for Indian takeout. At Tarzhay we buy scads of stuff we actually need, including the rain boots. We congratulate ourselves on our mad shopping skillz and head for Brunswick. I ask if we can stop by Halcyon Yarns; Becca points out that it's in Bath. Well, they both start with a B. Since we left my folks' I've been playing with Becca's iPhone and having a terrible time with the keypad, always typing a letter one away from what I want. Becca says I need to file my fingers to sharp points. "Including this one?" I ask. I persevere, doing my best to ignore Miss B's mockery, and eventually managing to find Google and type "yarn brunswick maine" into it. It spits back Purl Diva. I knew there was a yarn store in Brunswick I wanted to visit. According to the iPhone's GPS it's about half a mile away. We start to walk in the rain (by now Becca and Miss B are both wearing their rain boots), then decide to take the car. We drive in circles for several minutes, until we hit on the bright idea of actually calling Purl Diva — you can use an iPhone to call people? who knew? — and get the owner, Ellen, who very kindly guides us to her store over the phone, even though it's almost closing time. Luckily it's close by, although not in the direction the GPS wanted to take us (it had in mind right street, wrong town). It's worth the visit; Ellen is a sweetheart with a phenomenal memory — she met me for five minutes three Fiber Frolics ago, and she remembers me by name and blog — and a phenomenal collection of sock yarns common and rare. (Yes, of course I bought some; pictures later.)

The Indian food is yummy. Nothing else of interest happens until the following (yesterday) afternoon, when I pour all of Taz's dose of water (he is eating pretty much everything he needs by mouth now, but drinking, not so much) on my parents' living-room rug instead of into the boy. We decide to leave after dinner so as to minimize my chances of screwing anything else up. We pack, and Marjorie starts dinner, or rather tries to — only to find that their oven isn't working. Obviously I am contagious. We bid everyone a fond farewell and catch dinner on the road.

We arrive safely and get ourselves, the cats and our stuff into the house. We haven't been home five minutes when I manage to take out the downstairs thermostat. I bumped into it somehow, and the thing basically disintegrated. We have yet another phone call to make tomorrow morning.

Now imagine getting a Christmas card containing a whole year's worth of this. Right, I wouldn't either.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Saturday Sky

Except for the small matter of winter, dang, I wish I lived here.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Eye Candy Friday

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful Thursday

This is the big one! We left for Maine this morning, taking the Saturn because the van's steering seems to be a little wonky (are you getting the impression that my house sits in the center of an Entropy Zone? yeah, me too), a fairly tight squeeze for four people and four days' worth of gear, which involved my carrying an apple brown betty on my lap and resting a pie on my feet, a Thanksgiving penguin. But we got here safely, and I'm thankful for that.

I'm thankful for food.

And for family.

And for being here.

Warmest Thanksgiving wishes to you!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thankful Thoughts From the Kitchen

Today I spent a lot of time in the kitchen, baking pies and discovering that our fridge, which was fixed a couple of weeks ago, had once again lost its cool. So I am thankful for:
  • Refrigeration. In the old days they had iceboxes, literally; my dad recalls putting a sign that said ICE on it in big red letters in a front window to let the ice man know that he needed to deliver a new block of ice, which he would do, and it would last, I don't know, I think a week or thereabouts. A fridge is a much more convenient thing, except of course when it's not frigid. I'm also thankful for the appliance guy who showed up about 40 minutes after I called (on the afternoon before Thanksgiving yet) and didn't charge me for replacing the apparently defective part he put in a couple of weeks ago. Which is as it should be, of course, but I'm thankful to have an appliance service company nearby that actually knows the meaning of the word service.
  • The modern oven. Have you ever noticed all the wonderful things they bake in old books, with nary a thermometer to tell them when or at what distance from the fire the oven temperature is 350 degrees? It's a marvel. I am also thankful for my neighbor Linda and her oven, as ours doesn't seem to be working quite right at the moment. I suspect we may be seeing more of the appliance guy soon.
  • Stepping away from the kitchen for a moment while things are cooking (or not exactly cooking, as the case may be), our electric clothes dryer, as opposed to the solar-powered one, which doesn't work so well when there's no sol. I try to dry outside whenever possible, but when it's rained for three days straight and the Random Laundry Generator is going full speed, I'm grateful for the backup.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ten on Tuesday

Today's Ten on Tuesday is ten things I'm thankful for, and since I'm already covering that ground on Thursdays, Carole suggested that Thankful Thursdays participants do ten people we'd like to invite to dinner instead.

Well, I got to thinking about that, and all the people who first came to mind were at the center of various historical riddles and turning points. I'm therefore putting a slight twist on my list. I'm assuming, of course, that I have the power to bring these people back to life and to communicate freely with them. I've put these in chronological order, and each question assumes actual history up until that point. (To try to build one hypothetical on the next would boggle the mind. We can't even predict the weather more than a couple of days out, for heaven's sake, because the variables multiply with every hour.)

I could spin some of these out for pages, if not chapters, but since it's late I'll just do the 10,000-foot view.

Ten Historical Riddles and What-ifs
  1. In the early Christian church there was a dispute between St. Peter, who thought that Christians were subject to the Jewish law, and St. Paul, who thought that they were not. What if St. Peter had won that argument? Would Christianity have spread as fast and as far?
  2. What if Leonardo da Vinci had invented a motorized airplane? We know about da Vinci's experiments, and there's speculation that he did indeed fly, but what if he'd made general air travel possible almost 500 years early? Would he have started an industrial revolution? Would the explorers of the New World have come by plane? Would we be out of oil by now?

    Of all the people on this list, da Vinci is the one I'd most like to have dinner with, again assuming that we could communicate. He was truly amazing, the original Renaissance man.
  3. What if Columbus hadn't gotten financing from Ferdinand and Isabella? Who would have discovered the New World, and when? Would we celebrate Balboa Day or Magellan Day? (If so, could we do it in the summer?) (Incidentally, you know how we learned in school that Columbus's contemporaries thought he'd sail right off the edge of the earth and never be heard from again? Not true: they all knew the world was round, but Columbus thought it was smaller than his detractors did, so that he could get to India faster by sailing west instead of east. He was wrong, and he and his crew would have died of hunger and thirst long before reaching his destination if a continent hadn't luckily been in the way.)
  4. My first thought on contemplating the dinner question was to invite Arthur, Prince of Wales, and/or Catherine of Aragon, just so I could ask them, "So, how's married life treating you?" This question, specifically whether they were in fact married in every sense of the word, became contentious when Henry VIII wanted to divorce Catherine, and he claimed that she lied about never having consummated her marriage to Arthur. They were married for only six months before Arthur died, possibly of sweating sickness; Catherine got sick too, but she survived. (Sweating sickness is a great historical medical mystery in itself, but I digress.) There's no way to know the truth, of course, but when I came to think about it I realized the two great what-ifs here: what if Arthur had lived? What kind of ruler would he have been? The Philippa Gregory novel The Constant Princess presents Arthur as a wise and careful planner who wants to do what's best for England; as far as I can tell there's no real historical evidence either way, but if he'd lived his brother would have gone into the church, and there would have been no Mary and no Elizabeth, and England might still be Catholic. Alternatively, what if both Arthur and Catherine had died? Henry VIII would have become king, but he would have had to marry someone else, probably a younger woman who might have borne him sons. (Addendum: Catherine actually did have at least six pregnancies and one live-born son, but all of her children except Mary died in infancy.) Again, no Mary, and probably no Elizabeth, although it's possible that he might still have ended up with Anne Boleyn and his subsequent four wives.
  5. What if Mozart had lived longer? I don't know that the grand sweep of history would have been much affected, but I have to put this one in. Mozart was still learning, still highly creative, right up until his death. Can you imagine him and Beethoven having each other to play off of for 20 or 30 years? We'd have some amazing music, that much is for sure.
  6. What if the South had won at Gettysburg? A lot of historical accounts have it that Lee massively botched his strategy and didn't give clear commands, and that if he'd had it together he'd have had a good chance of winning. Would the South have gone on to win the Civil War? And what then? I've seen a couple of essays advancing the idea that this would have been a good thing, that slavery would have gradually withered away anyway, and that the Union would have been reconstituted sometime in the early 1900s. I'm not so sure; I think this takes far too rosy a view of the South.
  7. What if we'd foiled the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor? I think it would depend on what losses the Japanese suffered in the hypothetical battle. The Japanese had already been at war with China and expanding their influence elsewhere in the Pacific; we might have left them to their own devices, at least for a while. Since the actual Pearl Harbor led Hitler to declare war on the US, the course of the war in Europe would have changed as well.
  8. What if General Devers had crossed the Rhine at Strasbourg in November 1944? I read about this in the NYT just the other day: Eisenhower decided to be cautious and didn't let him cross. If Devers had successfully crossed and routed the Germans, as some historians then and now have thought likely, the war in Europe might have been over months earlier. The eastern and western European blocs might not have formed either.
  9. What if Al Gore had been acknowledged the winner of Florida in the 2000 presidential election? (I think he did win, or should have won, certainly if they hadn't had those confusing ballots, but I know opinions differ on this. Work with me here.) Would 9/11 still have happened? If it had, what would President Gore have done? Would he have invaded Iraq as President Bush did?
  10. What if we'd foiled the 9/11 plot? There would have been no war in Afghanistan and probably none in Iraq either, although by some accounts President Bush would have taken any excuse to make war on Iraq. (I really hope I'm around in 20 years or so to see what history makes of Bush then. I suspect that it will still think better of him than I do, but we'll have to wait and see.)

Monday, November 23, 2009


Lately I've been rereading The Shelters of Stone by Jean Auel. Grant first made the criticism about The Mammoth Hunters, but it still holds true: the Cro-Magnon people in the books seem like suburban yuppies with a strange predilection for living in caves. They (and Roxie's comment yesterday) do make me think about some of the luxuries I take for granted. In keeping with the holiday I plan to devote extra time to them this week.

So today I am thankful for:
  • Clean running water. Have you ever considered how heavy water is? A short hike with a water bottle is enough to convince me that hauling my own would be way too much work.
  • Water heaters. I've lived without hot showers for a week or two. You'll never get me to vacation anywhere that doesn't have them.
  • And, of course, the modern flush toilet. Thomas Crapper (yes, really), we owe you.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Exactly What I Miss

As the days get shorter and colder I am truly grateful for the simple things: food, clothing, a warm place to sleep, more than everything I need, being able to give something back. I'm looking forward to spinning a rainbow, knitting a garden full of the color that's fled from the landscape.

More than anything else, I miss the light.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Elvish Sighting

My husband is at it again.


Oh. So it is.


How's that?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Eye Candy Friday


For some reason lost in time, a few of the pictures I took with the new(er) camera ended up on Grant's laptop rather than mine, and I spent some time today while he was working uploading them to Flickr where I can get my grubby little paws on them whenever I want.

I didn't remember taking some of the pictures, including this one. Sometimes amnesia is a wonderful thing.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for cats.

Callie tries to blend in.

Achilles is a mighty hunter.

Fluffy knows how to kick back.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ten on Tuesday

Ten Things I Wish I Knew How To Do
  1. Cure poverty, disease, and humanity's inhumanity. Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, starting with my son. This one goes without saying. I wish I could do it; I wish anyone or everyone could do it. Since I know no one can, I do a little here and there, and I usually keep my mind on more mundane things...
  2. Sew. On a sewing machine. Make it go whirrrrrr and purrrrrr and tacktacktacktacktack and, ten minutes later, have a high-fashion wedding gown. I know it's just a matter of practice, it's like any other motor skill — well, maybe not to wedding-gown level — but whenever I sit down at a sewing machine it makes a fool of me.
  3. Sing. I totally love to sing, and I can barely carry a simple melody.
  4. Dance. Or any other athletic endeavor, for that matter. I was born a klutz, and if I practice an athletic skill a lot, I can advance to beginner level.
  5. Speak in public, without my words in front of me, and without having rehearsed them 50 times. I'm a professional writer because I'm too slow verbally ever to get the words right.
  6. Fly. All right, so this one's not so mundane. I used to dream I could fly all the time.
  7. Keep my house clean. Well, I could, but it would involve getting rid of stuff, and I'm a born pack rat. So are my husband and my daughter.
  8. Travel. China, India, Australia, every country in Europe, a million tiny islands.
  9. Learn every language there is or ever was. At least all the ones we know enough about.
  10. Travel back in time. Really far back. Meet Mohammed, Caesar, Hatshepsut, the First Knitter. (The languages would come in handy.)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Imaginary Knitting

For a knitblogger I've been a bit short on knitting content recently. (Although I did show you my Pine Street Inn squares, and I would like to mention that my fundraising page is still accepting donations.)There's the seekrit project that I'm working on right now, and there's the seekrit FO that will emerge from limbo soon, but not yet. The next sock swap hasn't gotten underway yet, and I think I may have reached my limit of Red Scarf scarves.

So what's left? I am reduced to talking about knitting I haven't actually started yet. One such item is a pair of fingerless mitts for Miss B. As you can see, I have the perfect yarn for Ms. Purple-and-Green (who btw seems to have a mild case of flu or some similar virus at the moment: wish us luck), so it's just a matter of coming up with a pattern. Yes, I know there are some lovely ones on Ravelry, some of them free, even, but you know how I am. It will be something with cables, of course, you know about that too, but they can't be too fancy since the color variation in the yarn is already pretty busy. (Not to mention that there's other holiday knitting on my list.)

Double, double, toil and trouble...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Watch the Birdie

No knitting I can talk about. No interesting stories to tell, no deep philosophical insights. (You don't really come here for those, do you?) See the bird? Pretty bird. Watch the birdie.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Saturday Sky

Miss B's soccer team played their final fall game at home today. At the start of the season each team is assigned a home field, and hers got the high school's recently installed artificial turf. This seemed like a good thing — no uneven grass, no funny bounces — until we realized that unlike grass, artificial turf doesn't mind getting tromped on in the rain, of which there was an abundance today. The last game is always followed by a party, and the hosts of last spring's pool party were kind enough to host again. Grant suggested another pool party since the kids were already soaking wet, but he was overruled.

In honor of good sports and not having to make sure she gives me her uniform to wash again until next spring, I give you a September sunset over their practice field, prettier and much drier.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Eye Candy Friday

About 20 years ago Grant took up bonsai as a hobby. He didn't get all that far with it, but during his first flush of enthusiasm a friend with a mature female Japanese maple in her front yard gave him half a dozen or so of its (her?) babies to work with. The lone survivor of his fiendish experiments, then maybe a foot high, moved with us to our current house. Our first summer here was extremely dry, and we didn't water until it was almost too late for the grass, not to mention several of the plants in the landscaped area where we'd planted the maple. All of its leaves had curled up and turned brown. That fall Grant saw me covering its roots with leaves and grass clippings and asked, "What are you doing? It's dead."
"Probably," I said, "but just in case."

Reports of its demise were greatly exaggerated.

See the brown leaves under and around it? Miss B and I raked today — and raked, and raked, and raked. The real eye candy for me — nearly all the leaves having now fallen off the Japanese maple, not to mention the &#$*^!! oaks in and around our front yard — is being able to see the grass again, but I can't show you that, because by the time we finished it was dark.

I'll tell you one thing: if I raked leaves for two hours every day I'd be in much better shape. I'd also be clinically insane, but at least the grounds of the asylum would look good.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for...

bountiful harvests...


having my camera when I want it. (Biggest sundog I've ever seen.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Old-Fashioned Way

Last winter at SPA Miss B tried a Ladybug in Amy's booth. "Oh, Mom, I really like this wheel," she said, clearly about to give me the sad-puppy face.

Whereupon Amy, may her name be praised, looked my daughter straight in the eye and said, "Start saving."

Which she did. I pay her a discounted family rate of $5 an hour to babysit her brother and $1 to clean a litterbox, and after months of saving diligently and only rarely buying a little something she was getting pretty close as Rhinebeck approached. It was clear that she wouldn't quite make it, but I arranged with Amy to pick up the wheel there anyway, because it's a long time between Rhinebeck and SPA, and I hate to pay for shipping if I don't have to. So I brought the Ladybug home to Miss B, but until tonight it was not entirely hers. Wednesday night is both choral rehearsal night for Grant and knitting night for me. On my return from knitting I went straight to the spreadsheet where I've been tracking Miss B's earnings, updated it, and, lo and behold, she was not only paid up but $11 to the good.

May we have a round of applause for Miss B and her hard-earned wheel?

And another one for Amy, without whom it would probably never have occurred to either of us that it could be done?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ten on Tuesday

Today's Ten on Tuesday is ten movie and/or song remakes, and I can't do it. When you remake a song, you of course want to put your own original stamp on it, which mostly these days seems to mean making it breathier, adding percussion, and/or slowing   the    tempo     down      to       an        infuriating         laaaaaaaarrrrrgooooooo. None of these things improves a song, imho. I end up just missing the original song that no one wants to play any more, because the remake is the one they're trying to sell. And succeeding, for some unknown reason. As for movie remakes, I really like The Birdcage and... um.... let me think... oh, yeah, The Birdcage.

I could do one of Carole's original topics from last month, except that my lists would be exactly the same as hers. So I'm left with rolling my own. You've probably all heard me rant about my Christmas-related pet peeves, the all-Christmas-all-the-time programming starting way too early on my favorite radio stations, the commercials, the stores all tarted up in October or even earlier, the pimping of all kinds of crazy gimcrackery, the relentless drumbeat of buy buy buy. (Over 50 years ago C.S. Lewis wrote an essay on the subject that remains all too sadly relevant. I don't share his religious perspective, but his remarks on the nuttiness of it all are still right on the money. As it were.) But in the spirit of accentuating the positive, let me try...

Ten Things I Like About the Holiday Season
  1. Food, cooking it and eating it. It shouldn't surprise anyone to find this at the top of my list. The turkey and gravy and stuffing and mashed potatoes and winter squash and... well. And I haven't even gotten to desserts.
  2. Decorating. In its proper time, which let me emphasize is not for several weeks yet, I find it great fun. I even like making ornaments, a predilection I think I was supposed to have outgrown around age 10, at least judging by the reactions of my family. But they smile tolerantly, since it's a harmless pastime, similar to...
  3. Holiday knitting. This, I admit, one can never start too early. As long as I don't bite off (much) more than I can chew, I quite enjoy the process.
  4. Online shopping. Much more fun than the brick-and-mortar kind, at least at this time of year. No crowds, no hurry.
  5. Caroling. Again, the time has to be right, but any way I can sing out loud without (much) annoying my friends and family works for me.
  6. Grant's choral group's Christmas concert. Watching him sing is always fun too, especially as they always have a good mix of serious and fun.
  7. Visiting family. Sometimes they visit us, sometimes we visit them. Either way, it's good.
  8. Blowing off the company Christmas, excuse me, holiday party. My employer's is always on a Thursday night, usually in downtown Boston. The Thursday part actually makes sense, because that's the only night the field people, who after all bring in most of the money, are in town, Friday being their one day in the home office. There is, however, no way I'm schlepping all the way into the city on a school night. I curl up with my knitting and revel in sloth.
  9. Hitting on the perfect gift. I don't pull this off even once every year, but when I do, there's nothing better. Especially if I made it.
  10. Finally, when it's all said and done, resolving to get an earlier start on my holiday knitting for next year.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Bringing Up the Rear

So... I still haven't told you about Rhinebeck, have I? Rhinebeck was, well, Rhinebeck: familiar scenes, vivid moments with people I see all too rarely, and a touch of the completely bizarre.

The bizarre was foreshadowed on the Friday morning, when I saw this next to my front walk after shipping Taz off to school. Snow, not just in the air but on the ground, on October 16. It didn't last long, though, and, inauspicious omen or not, Ruth and I couldn't wait to begin our adventure. We left around 3:00, and our trip out was uneventful.

And then we were there...

...and then it was time to go.

As we drove up the Taconic we admired the sunset over the Catskills, a strip of blue on the western horizon portending better weather coming our way.

Not soon enough, alas. The snow started in the Berkshires and followed us almost all the way home.

And what remains? A bunch of great memories, and, of course, the loot. Left to right: superwash merino fluff from a vendor I always visit but whose name I can never remember; Briar Rose Legend in a purple/mustard colorway that somehow twanged my color sense — I who steadfastly maintain that I hate yellows and browns could not resist this, probably because of the purple — Briar Rose alpaca laceweight; Bearfoot in a solid plum and a colorway called Heather that I'd never seen before.

Bring on the snow: I'm ready.

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Sunday, November 08, 2009



become strips...

become blankets.

That's why I've done the Pine Street Inn Knit-a-Thon three years in a row, and that's why I dragged Kathy and Rachel into it. (Many thanks to them and especially to Kathy's lovely daughter, whom Kathy dragged into it and who is an all-around good sport.)

My fundraising page will stay up for another few weeks.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Saturday Sky

Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

-- Robert Frost

Friday, November 06, 2009

Eye Candy Friday

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Last year, when I was posting every day, now and then I listed things I was thankful for. Now, with inspiration from Kate, the ever-inventive Carole has created a new weekly theme just for the month of November: Thankful Thursday. I never met a theme I didn't like, especially when posting every day, and I love to count my blessings, so I am all over this one. I am thankful for:

Grant, who is clever and creative, and also cuddly.

Miss B, who is bold and brave, and also funny.

Taz, who is just cool.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


You may have noticed that I haven't been blogging much lately, recently going over six weeks with nary a peep. Since it's November, I thought I'd try NaNoBloMo (or whatever it's called: I can never keep these things straight), and I thought I'd have plenty of material, since there was so much I failed to blog about, and some of it is still (reasonably) relevant. So today I was going to show you some nice Rhinebeck pictures, including my ill-gotten loot, but I find I'm not in the mood.

Last spring Maine became the fifth state to legalize same-sex marriage, but put actual implementation on hold until the results of a ballot question were in. I've spent quite a bit of time in Maine, and it is a fairly conservative state, especially the farther north and the more rural you get; but it's also a "you mind your business and I'll mind mine" kind of place, so I had high hopes. Yesterday voters repealed the measure.

I'm sad, and I don't understand. What possible benefit can come from depriving gay couples of a basic civil right? How is it your business that gay couples want to be able to be each other's emergency contact and insurance beneficiary, raise kids together, live together, sit at their spouse's hospital bedside? Your church doesn't recognize same-sex marriages? It doesn't have to perform or celebrate them. (In all states that have passed same-sex marriage so far churches can legally opt out.) You don't recognize same-sex marriages? You don't have to invite the happy couples to dinner, and I hope you'll forgive me if I don't invite you to dinner either.

One of my Facebook buddies brought this site to my attention this morning. The idea is simple: since most states don't recognize same-sex marriage, let's not recognize marriage at all. Now, I don't think I can pull this off, especially living in Massachusetts, but try a thought experiment: consider of some of the married couples you see all the time, your friends, your coworkers, your parents, your kids. Replace the word husband or wife with boyfriend, girlfriend, significant other, partner, or longtime companion. It diminishes them somehow, doesn't it? That's how it's always been for gay people. I can't believe I never thought of it in quite those terms before. What do you mean, boyfriend? He's my husband. Denying same-sex couples the right to marry doesn't make him more so; in fact I think it makes him less so.

The only comfort I can find is that time is on our side. As time goes on, as the sky over Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire stubbornly refuses to fall, as young people get older and the children of same-sex marriages continue to flourish, the tide will turn. It can't come soon enough for me.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Ten on Tuesday

This is an easy one.

Ten Ways to Waste Time on the Internet
  1. Collecting Shakespearean insults to hurl at my friends. Thou caluminous rampallian maggot-pie!
  2. Web Sudoku.
  3. Visiting favorite pron sites. (It's not what you think. OK, on second thought, if you know me it probably is what you think.)
  4. Working on my Internet startup business plan.
  5. Two words: Bejeweled Blitz. I'm not linking this one: if you don't know how to find it yourself, I'm not about to enable you.
  6. Facebook. See #5.
  7. Looking up my driver's license. (Yes, you can really do this online. Kinda scary in a way.)
  8. Online shopping.
  9. Blog-hopping. I read knitting blogs and political blogs, and I can start with one of either type and spend the whole day linking and reading and linking and.... Sometimes I can even go from knitting to politics and back again.

    And my all-time favorite...

  10. I'll bet you know without touching this link. And if you do touch it, I am not responsible.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Taking a Hike

Right after Miss B started school a call went out for volunteers to chaperone her team on a field trip to Mount Wachusett. I had chaperoned her second-grade class on two such trips, and I had fond memories of an easy hike up a wide, gently sloping trail. I was in better shape then, but I figured the exercise could do me good. Grant, who didn't go on the second-grade hikes but who has been working out three or four times a week for the last year or so, also signed up. Then we forgot about it until a week ago last Friday, when Miss B informed me that she didn't need lunch money because of the field trip. "What fie... yikes," I replied, and ran upstairs to put on my long johns. (This turned out to be my smartest decision all day. I may have been slow, but I was warm.)

The first thing we learned when we got to school was that the kids were divided into groups of five, and that we would be hiking several different trails up the mountain, with three or four groups assigned to each trail. "One trail gets really steep toward the end," said one of the teachers on our bus. "I hope I don't get that one."

The bus missed the trailhead the first time, so we began our hike a bit later than the other groups. We had a nice group of kids (not including Miss B, who preferrred to be in a different group), and the first two-thirds of the trail was easy.

The kids had a list of items to find and photograph, which included one interesting thing of their choice. They picked this enormous fallen tree.

Shortly after that the trail began to get steeper, and steeper, until we realized that this was probably the abovementioned "really steep part," and for the last couple of hundred yards I was very glad Grant was there: I wasn't talking to the kids, or anyone else for that matter, because I needed all my breath for breathing. I made it to the top, just barely, and I collapsed onto a picnic bench and enjoyed the view for a few minutes while the kids went off to explore.

It was some view, I have to admit. I recovered enough to take some pictures, and then I walked over to join everyone else. All the other groups but one got to the top before we did, and we were just pulling out our bag lunches when the teachers announced that it was time to start hiking down... except for us. Because of our delayed start we got to take a few minutes to eat, and then we rode the bus back down.

It was great fun, except of course for that last couple of hundred yards up. I would do it again. But just in case I get the chance I'm going to make a lot more use of the local conservation land from now on. Time for walkies!