Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Unraveled Wednesday

Even though I haven't knit much during the past two weeks, I'm joining Kat for Unraveled Wednesday. It's as much to spur myself on as it is to share my same old, same old knitting. Here's the Hitchhiker, looking much like it did a few weeks ago, except it's grown by a few teeth. 

My trusty turtle progress keeper is keeping track of any progress I make, and he's especially appropriate since it's at a turtle's pace. 

I'm picturing (possibly the right word might be imagining) going over to Ryan's house this weekend, relaxing on his recliner, with very few boxes to unpack, while Ryan prepares something delicious for dinner. I could get some knitting done, and it just might happen!

I have been able to do some reading. I finished Miss Buncle's Book and Miss Buncle Married after I switched to audiobook format so I could listen while I hoisted heavy furniture. I also read Wayward, an interesting novel about anger and feeling unmoored after the 2016 election, growing older, not being seen, breaking points, and Syracuse. I lived there for a decade in the 1980s so the descriptions of the city and its architecture spoke to me. 

The latest book that I read was unlike any other that I have read before. It's titled Personal Effects: What Recovering the Dead Teaches me About Living. Written by Robert A. Jensen, CEO and owner of Kenyon International Emergency Services, a  115-year-old disaster management company. I had no idea companies like this even existed, but they are an incredibly well-organized leader in crisis management planning and response. They provide mortuary services in mass casualty situations, including recovery, identification, and return of personal belongings. They have expanded to provide direct support to families by counseling, telephone inquiry centers and crisis communications. 

Mr. Jensen began his career in the Army and responded to the crash in Croatia that killed Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and others, and the Oklahoma City bombing.

Oklahoma City taught me an early and important lesson about large-scale catastrophes: Don't expect wisdom at the moment of death. Don't expect anyone to know where they're going or even what they're doing.

Later his company was involved with the bombing of UN headquarters in Baghdad, the September 11 attacks, the Indian Ocean tsunami, the earthquake in Haiti, Hurricane Katrina, and the Covid-19 pandemic. This book is not just a recitation of disasters and how he responded, but rather a careful recounting of the delicate procedures that Jensen and Kenyon have learned and perfected in dealing with multiple governments, local rules and customs, while maintaining respect and dignity for the victims and families. This book may not be for everyone, but it was educational, enlightening, and a valuable read for me.

One thing politicians, planners, and ordinary people need to remember is this: we don't control nearly as much as we think we do. Mass fatalities and crises expose that fact like nothing else. We have to learn to accept that fact in a way that we generally don't at the moment. But we also have more ability to respond than most of us realize. Don't fight the things you can't control. Focus on the things you can.

What are you making, reading, and focusing on this week?



  1. Turtle pace is a pace :) My knitting isn't very fast but then I'm doing what I can when I can. Lovely rustic like colors in your hitchhiker.

  2. I am chuckling at a turtles pace... I think I need to get one of those! Personal Effects sounds like a fascinating read.

  3. Your Hitchhiker may be progressing a turtle's pace...but it is lovely and just remember, the turtle won the race (not that our knitting is a race or anything). It seems like so many of us are knitting more slowly these days. I don't think "Personal Effects" is a book for me, but it does sound very interesting.

  4. I think Personal Effects is a book I want to read. I am not squeamish (good thing since I have been a nurse for 50 years), and I have always wondered how mass casualty situations are handled. It's life, you know? So I will put that on my list. I think you have been doing yeomen's work, so I think you will be able to appreciate your knitting a lot when you finally get to settle down to it. It's not going anywhere, and it is August! I hope you have a more restful rest of the week.

  5. That sounds like a fascinating book, Bonny. (Personal Effects, I mean.) I'm not sure that it's the best book for me right now, but maybe someday -- and I'm certainly glad to know that Robert Jensen is out there, doing the hard work (and sharing his perspective). I really enjoyed Wayward. I didn't know what to expect when I cracked it open -- but was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it. And I love the turtle marker for your (lovely) knitting at a turtle's pace. (I think I need one of those for my own knitting these days!). XO

  6. Slow and steady isn't such a bad thing with your knitting -- the turtle is a good reminder of that!

    That Jensen book sounds fascinating, though I'm sure hard to read at some points. I think it takes a very special kind of human being to help people at their worst, and he must be a really interesting individual.

    I am working on that double-stranded charity hat and socks for my sister-in-law while trying to finish a cover-all on my second bingo card.

  7. I love your turtle stitch marker! My current projects are moving along at a very slow turtle's pace right now. I'm ready for a break in this heat and humidity!

    1. A turtle's pace is all I can seem to manage in this heat and humidity. I always think that if I can last through August, September will have lovely cool fall temperatures. I hope that's true for both of us!

  8. Wow, that book sounds amazing. That work is obviously something that has to be done and I think we all know that it's being done... in the background and, well, it just sounds fascinating. I love your Hitchhiker, but you know that!

  9. I love the turtle (and he did win the race ... I've felt a little more like the rabbit myself lately, so thank you for the reminder!) and your dream for the weekend sounds lovely. Sara invited me along for the "pre-drywall" walkthrough of her new place this morning and it was completely delightful to watch her see her new home taking shape. I can't wait til she invites me over for a meal!

  10. I hope your dream of knitting at Ryan's becomes reality. Slow and steady, the turtle makes strides and wins the race. Sometimes the knitting goddess picks out exactly the right project, yarn, and progress keeper. The colors in that Hitchhiker are gorgeous.


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