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Showing posts from November, 2008

Positives

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There are lots of words being written the past few days about being thankful. I think that I am tonight, or rather this morning. Although I am not thankful for insomnia.

I have sent my last scholarly paper off into the ether. I am thankful that I can now forget how to write a correct APA-style citation and reference.

I had a very enjoyable dinner at my son's house. Just a happy family holiday meal where we all ate too much. Our oldest grandchild was there, too, and she seemed to be glad to be part of the company. I even played Super Smash Bros. Brawl on the Wii with my grandson, and lost every game. It was the first time we have ever done this with Rob and his family.

We had a long phone call from our daughter. She officially changed her program today from pure math to probability and statistics after an hour-long discussion with the head of the department. She sounded happy and relieved. Pure math was turning into a dreadful grind, and she didn't like what she was learning about…

Walking in the Rain in Montreal

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What is the best thing to do on a rainy Saturday? Go to Montreal and walk in the rain. It's even better when you are visiting your daughter, and she has lined up a day's worth of stimulating experiences.

We got to Montreal smoothly, although a little later than planned due to a series of shopping stops made along the way. Once there, we found that rare gift, free legal on-street parking. Almost all parking spots in Montreal are restricted to cars that have purchased parking permits, but we have found a cul-de-sac just behind Ana's apartment building that has about six unrestricted parking spots. One of them was open and waiting for us.

We delivered an early Christmas gift, a rug for her bedroom, that was received with great joy. In return, Ana fed us. Also visiting was Michael, her boyfriend, who helped her install the rug. We then took off on foot, with umbrellas at the ready, and headed towards McGill University.



McGill the place and McGill the man. Ana told us not to go on…

Final Election Blog from '08: Report from a Small Town

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I never thought my little town of Russell, NY would go for Obama.

Some demographic information about my town, from the 2000 census:

* Population of 1,801 in 650 households.

* 99% white.

* Education of the population that is 25 or older, with national averages in parentheses: 76.2% (80.4%) have a high school degree or greater and 10.6% (24.4%) have graduated from college.

* Occupations, with national averages in parentheses: 25.2% (33.6%) are professionals, 23.3% (14.9%) have service occupations, 17.5% (26.7%) work in sales or an office, 2.4% (0.7%) are farmers, 13.5% (9.4%) work in construction or mining, and 19.1% (14.6%) work in factories or transportation.

* 29.7% of us work for the government (National average: 14.6%).

* 15.7% of the town's families are in poverty (National average: 9.2%).

* Median family income is $36,116 (National median: $41,994). Per capital income is $13,530 (National per capita income $21,587).


This paints a clear statistical picture of my town. We are poorer an…

Passing Along a Thought Provoking Blog

Does anyone remember Joe Trippi? The guy who helped Howard Dean use the Internet in his campaign for the Democratic nomination on '04?

I stumbled upon Trippi in Twitter, and started following him. He's a man of few tweets, so he catches my attention when he posts a link. Turns out he has a blog.

Cars, Oil, Entombing the Future, and Reform

Trippi posts a piece written by Joe Costello. It's well worth a few moments of your time. I promise.

Favorite Knit Objects: Going to the dogs edition

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In the absence of a new finished knit object, here is an item I knit several years ago, proudly modeled by its owner. Please meet Zoe, my stepson's half Poodle, half Bichon:








I can't even remember when I knit this, but it was several years ago. It's held up very well, though you can see a small area I had to repair a couple of years ago on the second pic. It's knit from acrylic yarn for washability. Of course, the name of the pattern is Dogasaurus.

Zoe visited us for a couple of days this past weekend, giving me the opportunity to take these pics. Increasingly, peace is reigning in the animal kingdom here. The cats have always detested Zoe, but this time they did not hide from her, and when I came up to bed Saturday night, Zoe was on the bed along with two of the cats! (There was scarcely any room for me.)

I'm still knitting away on the most luscious pair of socks I have ever made. And today I am ordering yarn for several projects. I am smelling the end of grad school,…

The early snow damages an old friend.

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We had a snowstorm in northern NY during the last week of October. Close to a foot of heavy, wet snow fell where we live, causing us to lose power for almost 24 hours.

Clearing snow on the morning after. We were scrambling, because Robert had to go to New York City that morning and power went down the night before while he was in the middle of setting up the logistics for the trip. He had hoped to fly out of Ogdensburg, but had to drive to Albany where he caught a train.



The next day, I woke up alone in the house. No heat, no power. Fortunately the house was still pretty comfortable - thermal mass rocks. The view from the kitchen window:



The view from the dining room window:



You can see that the snow is weighing down the evergreens.

After the snow had melted and the dirt road we live on was open, we discovered that an old friend took some damage.





This may not be the oldest tree on our property, but we believe that it is the biggest tree. This tree has a name - "the grandfather pine&quo…

This was really, really big

he election results were big. Even beyond Obama's win.

First, McCain's excellent concession speech. I saw that as Stringfolks tore down equipment at the close of the St. Lawrence County Democratic Committee Victory Party. It stirred me.

We got home in time to tune into Obama's speech. I listened to it from the dining room table, running in to catch a glimpse now and then, while I livechatted highlights to a dear friend who does not have TV or high-speed Internet. It worked even without the picture. A moving speech at an amazing moment in time.

Beyond that, two very important people won election to the NY state legislature. These two will be champions of the project that Robert heads - they included their support for the project in their campaigns. Because the NYS Senate flipped to Democratic control, the state now will very likely pass the bill needed to take this project one step closer to reality. Robert was following these races even more closely than the Presidential race…

The Vote, and my support of the electoral process

I voted on the way in to work today. The blessings of voting at 9 AM in a small, rural election district: no line, and friendly election workers who know who I am. I was number 75 in my district, and there are two districts in the town, so I would guess that about 150 people had voted so far in a town of about 1,800 residents total. I would have to ask Robert how many registered voters there are - he gets the lists every year.

My first presidential vote was for JFK, in a straw poll held in my elementary school. My first counted presidential vote was for George McGovern. I wear that history with pride.

I live in a town that splits its vote, and that is pretty close to even on the Democratic:Republican ratio, with an edge to the Republicans. Our strongest parties, however, are the parties of the native-born and of the redneck. The people who live in our town tend to work with their bodies - truck drivers and highway workers are many. There is little racial or ethnic diversity here, and …

Thoughts While Butchering Quarters of Venison

Follow the meat. Look at how the leg is put together, and disassemble the muscles. Cut the connective tissue between the muscles, and keep the muscles whole as much as possible.

A corollary to the above precept: the last thing to cut is the meat itself.

I can't get it all, but I have to try. The scraps and small muscles can be ground. It does get tedious, however, scraping tendon off of the calf muscles.

Be thankful. Deer are gentle beasts, even if they eat plants I wish they would leave alone. The deer I am taking apart would surely much rather be in the forest than in my freezer.

Be aware that my act has an impact on the world. And, it might be a healthy one. There are few predators here other than humans, and our forest is overpopulated with deer. There are few young trees except for beech and striped maple in our woods because the deer have eaten the black cherry, red maple, ash, and sugar maple saplings - nature is out of balance. I do not hold the life of a mammal to be superior…