24 April 2009

Fascinating article and a hairy week

The older I've gotten, the less I have found myself agreeing with "the party line" -- any party line -- about anything.

It's disconcerting, though I guess it suggests that I am more inclined to think things through for myself as I get more experienced at this life thing.

I came across an article recently that just fascinates me.
Liberals and conservatives conceive of morality in decidedly different ways. Jonathan Haidt has mapped out their competing ethical universes in hopes they can learn to peacefully coexist.


In a creative attempt to move beyond red-state/blue-state clichés, Haidt has created a framework that codifies mankind's multiplicity of moralities. His outline is simultaneously startling and reassuring — startling in its stark depiction of our differences, and reassuring in that it brings welcome clarity to an arena where murkiness of motivation often breeds contention.
I have been pouring over his work for a couple of days now, and I have to say that I think he may be my new hero. Not necessarily because he has it all right. I don't know enough about how "the other guy" thinks to know whether he has it right. But I think Mr Ault has hit the nail on the head for what we need to do if we're ever to get this country back from the brink of ruin that our current all or nothing political workings have wrought.

I am, again, late into the shower before work, so I don't have time to sort my thoughts and be erudite about this, but I wanted to share this with you.

It's been a wild week! I'm sorry I never got back to post last weekend. I try to post at least once a week to reward the patience of the 15 people who come by every day to see what we're up to. ;)

I will try to update everyone tonight or this weekend...but thanks for checking back!

13 April 2009

The Galileoscope™: An IYA2009 Cornerstone Project

Are you all aware of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s first astronomical observations through a telescope?

The astronomical world is all atwitter!

And in celebration, the Galileoscope Project, a joint effort of the International Astronomical Union's Galileoscope task group and the American Astronomical Society's Telescope Kits & Optics Challenges working group, with educational support from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, born in 2006, is working hard to see that everyone who wants one, can get their hands on a working telescope of the type that Galileo himself used.

The Galileoscope™ is a high-quality, low-cost telescope kit. With this easy-to-assemble, 50-mm (2-inch) diameter, 25- to 50-power achromatic refractor, you can see the celestial wonders that Galileo Galilei first glimpsed 400 years ago and that still delight stargazers today. These include lunar craters and mountains, four moons circling Jupiter, the phases of Venus, Saturn's rings, and countless stars invisible to the unaided eye.

The Galileoscope costs US$15 each plus shipping.

You can order one here.

You think you know who your socially conscious purchases support?

I recently came across an article that reinforces my determination to buy local and to focus on purchases that are of basci components rather than "manufactured" goods, whereever possible.

AlterNet ran an article, which Joseph Mercola picked up, about how all those old community co-op standbys are being gobbled up by MegaCorp.

What's wrong with that, you wonder? Just means broader distribution for a good product you say?

I wish.

When they buy a brand for its goodwill value, MegaCorp rarely leave its formula alone, and I doubt they have much concern for the values that made the product popular in the first place. It's all about the image.

When Coco-cola bought Odwalla juices, it stopped producing the fresh squeezed orange juice that had made it famous because the time and distance involved with Coco Cola's SOP was the ruin of the fresh squeezed flavor. When PepsiCo bought Naked Juice, the first task on the list was to pasteurize it.

If that's what you're paying extra for -- image with only what substance is convenient, that's cool. Buy away.

Me, I'm going to go buy some oranges and some oat groats for my porridge and OJ breakfast.

And the bedroom is painted!

We finished painting in fours hours, thanks to Bob. Not only is he fast, but he's so skilled that even moving like lightening, he did a much better job than I did.

Isn't it beautiful?
We spent yesterday Friday getting ready to paint. Saturday we did the painting, and on Sunday we put the bedroom back together.

I am utterly delighted with how it came out. (So is Rod. Every time he walks into the room -- even when he thinks I'm sleeping-- he says "This room is so pretty.")

It seems to me that the chocolate walls make the frilly, girly, "Pre-Rod" decor less girly than it was with red walls. That and the good solid 1950s bedroom suit add a decided masculine touch. Dontchathink?

The original plan had a subtle tone-on-tone stripe, but Bob recommends that we wait a few weeks for the base coat to cure before we tape off for the stripe.

I'm happy to do that because this looks just lovely the way it is. I still need some more art--this room is much bigger than the last couple of bedrooms I've had and the art that filled them up nicely looks pretty paltry in this one. Ahh, well, something will turn up, I know.

Now the major areas feel like home. Not bad for three years residence, eh? *grin*

Of course, there are still areas that could use attention -- like the peeling wall paper in the foyer (that has to be bad feng shui, doesn't it?) and the no longer possible to clean upstairs bathroom walls. But that's part of the fun of being a homeowner -- and the smaller rooms are less daunting. Painting them doesn't require that the house be thrown into disarray.

Oh, and through all of this, we played round robin with the flu, which I believe I mentioned in an incoherent post yesterday. We're all better, though none of us are back to optimal just yet.

12 April 2009

It seems like I should have something profound to say. But I don't.

I think it may be the fever. Fever always makes my thinking strange for a couple of days -- things seem like they should be important.

Jack was very ill on Thursday with a fever and a digestive upset. He kept us up all night Wednesday vomiting every 10 minutes, poor kid. Just as he was recovering on Friday morning, Rod came down with a very high fever and a headache. Just as Rod was starting to recover on Saturday (he was still not looking great), I came down with it.

The catch is, I had set this weekend aside to paint the bedroom. This was our third try. I actually bought the paint almost a year ago. Every time we set time aside for this job, one or another of us had been sick. I gave up and called in professional help. Bob is fast! I had set aside four days because that's how long these projects tend to take Rod and I. Bob was done in four hours, even with our ineffectual "help". I realized as I was cutting in the corners that I wasn't feeling so well, and by the time we were done, I was so sick I could barely stay upright. The guys ate lunch, and I crawled into bed where I alternated between the complete inability to get warm and feeling like I was going to set the sheets ablaze.

Anyway, I think the fever has broken, and I know that the bedroom looks amazing. Today, within the limits of the available strength, we'll put the bedroom back together.

Maybe later today I can be coherent.

06 April 2009


No, no, No!

I love winter, but it was spring! I know it was -- I was outdoors in spagetti straps! It's SPRING! It's time for spring!!!

Or... maybe not. I woke up to a white, white world.

Oh well. Gotta love April.

Jack and Oliver on the train after a hard day at Bus Fabriken
It was a good weekend. Well, give or take a mouse.

On Friday, we went to a party at Miss Debra's house. It was lovely to see everyone and we had a good time, though on Friday everyone is tired, and we all called it a night pretty early.

On Saturday, we made the kitchen mouse-safe by moving everything into glass or into the refrigerator. Then we dropped Rod off at the Ypsi Citizen gathering and Jack and I ran errands -- we got to the library to pick up some things we had on reserve, then we went to the coop and got the tea and sugar to make another batch of kombucha, then we went and had a snack and read our books at the Corner Brewery while we waited for Rod's meeting to be over.

On Sunday, we had breakfast with Steve and Maggie Pierce at Cafe Luwak's new breakfast buffet. That was lovely. I really enjoy their company and wondered why we haven't seen more of them! Then we ran off to get Grandpa John, and then Mark T. And then we went to the Great Lakes Primitives demo out in Chelsea. It was very interesting, not very crowded, and we all had fun. It took as long to get there as we felt inspired to stay -- but Jack scored an obsidian arrow-head and an animal bone bead, and I was able to watch a very talented lady make a basket from plant stems. I would have liked to have a chance to talk to her more about that, but the guys were getting restless, so off we went.

We had some dinner in Ferndale and then dropped John off and were home in time to get the pantry organized into glass before bedtime. It's funny how, with everything in jars, how little room it takes and how tidy it all looks. It took an uninvited boarder to inspire us to action, but I'm glad we did it. I think cooking is about to get a lot easier! (And I think fewer things will disappear into the stacks and go unused.) We may even have less duplication now that we can see everything easily.

I do find myself wondering whether Jack actually learned anything about flint knapping...but I did. I had a blast! Happy Monday, everyone!

04 April 2009


The sun is bright! The buds are bursting forth!

The squirrels and rabbits are bounding enthusiastically all over the yard, chasing the subeams and each other!

Spring has sprung beautifully (never mind the snow predicted for Monday.)

Of course, spring has sprung and now we have a mouse. Without the girls here, we have to figure out what to do about that ourselves. First step is to make the pantry just a little less welcoming. We have seeds and grains and dried fruits in paper and plastic packaging; it's time everything went into glass.

Then we can encourage them to leave. (We've seen one...but mice never travel alone.)

In the meantime, Rod and Jack have been digging in to Unit three with some enthusiasm - - and inventing projects on their own, which is even better! Jack was playing in the yard last week and he was able to get very close to a bird he didn't know. He observed it carefully, and then came in and mimicked it's song for Rod, and then they looked it up. It was a chickadee!

A few days later, they got a good look at a pheasant as it flew so close to the car that Rod was afraid they'd hit it. A few minutes later, Rod's bird totem (cedar wax-wing) drew their attention. I love hearing about their observations!

Instead of starting on one of the historical fictions about the unit they're on, Jack decided that he wanted to jump ahead to Rome, so we're reading Detectives in Togas. I am surprised at how much we're enjoying it. As with much formula fiction, the character development is a little weak, so it will never be a "classic", but it's en enjoyable book with lots of history and logic woven in. It's done very gracefully I have to say. Fortunately, it has a sequel, so we can get that one and read it when we get to Roman history. Next, though, we'll visit with Sheldra and Seth.

Tomorrow, we will be heading out to see the Great Lakes Primitives demonstrating all kinds of paleolithic and neolithic skills. It's a shame we won't be able to make it there in time to see the spear throwing contest at noon, but it has become far too complicated an adventure for that to be likely. It does seem to be a twice a year even, so perhaps another time we'll make it for that.

Now, off to clean the pantry and do laundry.

01 April 2009

Unit three is up

Finally, we have Unit Three up. In a few days, I hope to have the overview up as well. There isn't a lot there that isn't in the Units, but it does include a couple of planning tools.