Hi- In case you wondered where the “Chronicles of Pagan Place” letter was, we just got the power on again after 3 days. There was an ice storm here on Monday- which luckily we didn’t have to drive through- it was over by the time we got back from Etheracon, but Star told us that the power had gone out around noon, and still wasn’t back on yet. We figured that it would be back the next day, but no, and not Wednesday either. They finally got us back on line again today around 11:30, so we had some “enforced inactivity”.
As usual, it was pretty, but one does worry about the trees that are weighed down. We are set up pretty well to deal. We still have the 55 gallon drum in the cellar as reserve water for the animals, and to flush the toilet, although we don’t care for the chlorine we use to keep it safe and went out Wednesday to buy a bit more drinking water for ourselves.
The town all bands together- Megan called at one point- their power was out too, and Dennis bought them a generator. The Michaela’s, across the street, have a generator too (I’m getting the impression we are the only ones around here who don’t have one) and they called and offered us water, as mostly they use theirs intermittantly to pump. We all have wood stoves I guess. Even the Lorvigs down the street have a generator for their 3 room house. They stopped by when they were heading out to get more oil for it to see if we needed anything. The firemen also came by (to all the unlighted houses) to make sure everyone was OK and didn’t need anything. I really love the people in this town.
With the wood stove in the kitchen, and the one in the living room, we do OK, although not having water to wash with, we deserted the kitchen Wednesday, and stayed in the living-room. We can cook on that wood stove although it’s not a cook stove, and boiled water for tea, and potatoes and heated baked beans to go with the hot dogs Willow roasted over the flames. We found the grill was perfect for toasting buns, or toast. We even made s’mores. Proper s’mores that are roasted rather than micro-waved have a touch of caramel flavor I’d forgotten. (We came up with an idea- a caramel sprayer- you could spray it over micro-waved s’mores, or on icecream or all sorts of things you might want caramel flavor on.)
I’d forgotten how much light a single candle can throw, although I think there’s a certain psychological effect going on when you compare the effect that one candle has on a dark room, compared to two candles in the same room. The difference between total darkness and light, is so much greater than the difference between the light created by one candle and two. On the other hand, we brought in the candelabra and were burning a dozen at a time- plus oil lamps and occasionally propane- although we don’t care for the color as much. So we were warm, and had light, so it was fairly cozy- we just had computer withdrawals.
Willow was distressed because she couldn’t update Stupidity in Magic, which she does 4 times a week, and has only missed once or twice in the past 3 years. I have people trying to buy stuff (Raven put my cookbooks up on the Asphodel Press site and got requests in the first 24 hours, and someone wants a goddess sculpture- we’ve really got to get the website going right), and the computer is part of my “working for a living”. Also it provided another reminder of why one backs up. We do have one non-radio phone for times like these, (and took to putting a candle in a jar to find it if it rang- because it’s not in the living room) and I’d keep thinking “I’ll call so-and-so” but their number is in the computer. Sometimes you just have to have a hard copy.
So I knit, and the kids drew. Star took care of the errands and carried wood and water. Oh- apparently the gods heard my request for firewood. During the ice storm a couple of the trees in the goat yard (they do tend to girdle them, so the tree dies) fell down on the barn- luckily it didn’t seem to have taken damage- although Willow found Cobweb apparently dangled in the branches just outside the door. Personally, I think the other goats just pushed her out- they do that to low-status members of the herd. Here’s a pictre that shows the main downed tree. As you can see, the branches kind of block their door. Can you see that some of the branches are still sticking up over the top?
The ice really stuck around a long time- after all- these pictures are from today (Thursday) and the ice storm was Monday. Usually by that time it’s shaken off. That probably accounts for the extent of the power outages and how long it’s taken to get them fixed.
If it hadn’t been for that, this letter would have been all about Etheracon. Sadly, we didn’t make money because it has been shrinking over the years, and not as many people came as used to come, and should have. The things that made it my favorite con (lots of high quality workshops, and not as much emphasis on big name speakers, partying, etc.) are apparently not what other people like, so this was the last of them- although Tom and Debbi (the organizers) hope to reformat it and make it viable again in another incarnation. We were the only vendors except Jane and Black Lotus took over Diccon’s table, since he died.
I taught RunValdr again, and did a workshop on what I’ve discovered so far on Subtle Pagans, and also one on simple embroidery- which is useful. Also all of us ganged up on a humorous hour where we printed out pagan satire, and everyone read it (I’ll append my Yankee Charge of the Goddess at the end of the letter so you can get the idea. Of course, you won’t totally get it unless you have encountered the original C.o.t.G.) In between my classes I went to others, and had a pretty good time. The kids didn’t get to any classes except one given by Tom and Debbi’s daughter- her first workshop- on Growing up Pagan. Apparently she had some pretty traumatic experiences, although Willow isn’t sure she just didn’t take the teasing more seriously than my kids tended to. Let’s face it, they learned that teasing isn’t about who you are, it’s about who the people who tease you are. They don’t call you dirty for being ugly, or gay, or stupid because you are any of those things, but because they know it bugs you when they do it, and they are trying to get you upset. I guess being accused of stupid, untrue things often enough made my kids understand that getting the insults “right” was nearly accidental.
There was a wonderful concert Sunday night by a band called Aisling- they play traditional Celtic music on modern instruments: electric guitars, drums (and electric bagpipe!). The kids danced, and I did too- twice, although I couldn’t keep it up as long as I felt I should be able to- and I really wish I knew how to jig! I am going to have to find some way to dance more.
They also had an evening block for playing games- one of the games they had was Lord of the Rings version of Trivial Pursuit. I definitely have to get one of those! At least the girls will be willing to play it with me. (Checked out the 80s version- none of us knows anything about it. Trivial Pursuits used to be about fun facts- not real trivia like sports, TV shows etc. I think modern life should only be one category.)
Because both Jane and we Taylors were feeling frugal, we opted to eat in the hotel rather than going to restaurants- Jane brought her microwave and disposable plates, cups, etc. as well as sandwich meats for lunches and other stuff like a can of dolmas (of which I think Willow got about half), and I brought casseroles- Tuna Noodle, Tortellini, and some dynamite lamb curry and rice. Black Lotus and Alexi Kondratov ate with us, and we had a jolly time, and didn’t blow the budget on food.
Willow went over to visit Christine A. Taylor (Catsama) and her daughter had outgrown some cool boots, so she sent them to Kat. Neat, eh?
I meant to send a picture of the “Dr. Who”ish scarf last time, but forgot to take it. It’s 20 feet long, and I’m going to have to take about 4 off to make it useful- as you see, Willow has to hold up one end to keep it from dragging. Long is cool, too long is stupid.
Oh, and the repairman did come and fix the oven- it was the igniter, and he just replaced it. It’s good to have the oven again. (Had meat-loaf tonight- and Steve came up so I made gingerbread)
With the power out I actually read a fiction book this week- Childe Morgan, another Kathrine Kurtz novel, and we found Stiff, a book Megan was reading at the war, at the Library, which is about neat things about cadavers and what we can learn from them. Also I’m reading a fascinating book on depression- it’s got lots of stuff about seratonin uptake receptors and such. I was impressed when at the beginning he had a couple of case studies in which he had one woman who was depressed, and another in which he had to tell the worried parents that no, the symptoms you are seeing are just because she’s a teenager, she’s not depressed. Of course, I am not thrilled with the concentration the author has on medicines and ECT, but what can you expect, he’s a doctor. I’m sure if I wrote something, he’d think I didn’t cover that well. Depression is so complex- you have to deal with the fact that the situations are making stress which effects your brain chemistry which affects your ability to deal with the situations you have to cope with, so they get worse, so the brain gets worse… I think meds can be like a crutch- absolutely necessary to help a person recover from an injury- but you have to address the problem (set the leg) first, and have a plan to wean them off the drugs after. I’m not sure that many doctors remember to do that with the pressures on them to see so many patients “efficiently”.
I watched the presidents address last week. It is depressing. He seems to really think we can actually “use up” the number of terrorists and then there’ll be a population that can be safely left behind. The urge to help those who were being hurt and to protect ourselves is understandable. But there is no such thing as killing all the terrorists. Terrorists are individuals. We can never be safe from terrorists. What we are doing over there is just fighting a war that is never-ending. There is so much hatred in the Middle East there will always be fighting there- now we are in it. We can get out, and they will continue to kill each other. Or we can stay, and they will continue to kill each other and us. I see no benefit in our people dying unless they can make an improvement, and they can’t.
Ah well, there may be more to say about this week, but it’s already Friday, and I should get this letter out.
Charge of the Yankee Goddess (Ayah)
Pull up a chayah and poah y’self a mug a coffee from the stove, and find y’self somethin to work ahn, `cause idle hands’ll find somethin’ stupid to do. And listen while we go ovah the wu’ds of the Great Mothah, who’s been called by many names, and if you ahn’t cayahful which ones you use, you may be eatin’ standin’ up foah mo’n a week. (It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it) but foah now, hush up and listen.
Those at know what’s what have known who I was foah time outa mind, and when you find folk with moah sense than to shake a coon-cat, you can get togethah with’em as often as you can. If you do it when the moon is full, you’ll save on kerosene, and do it somewheah outta sight, heah? No need to upset the neighbahs.
If you have a lick a sense in you, I’ll teach you all you need to know, cradle to grave, because when you undahstand what you ah lookin’ at, you can go with the current, not against it, and you will be able to “get theah from heah”.
You can worship me dressed in your birthday suit, like you was goin’ skinny dippin’, but if you do it before the last frost, afta the fust frost, or durin’ black fly or mosquita season, know that the sound of rumblin’ in the distance ain’t thundah, it’s Me laughin’ at you. I want all my children to laugh and dance and sing, and eat and drink, but use yoah heads- that’s what they’ah theah foh.
You may not be the brightest or the best, but you can always DO yoah best, and I’ll be with you foah the whole trip, and when yoah done, you come back home to my place to rest and put yoah feet up with friends befoah I send you off again.
I will tell you a mystery- sometimes life is hahd, but yoah makin’ it hahda by thinking it is. I want you to wohk hahd, play hahd, love hahd, and I want you to enjoy it all, the good with the bad, and afta you die, I’ll welcome you home, and explain the pahts you still don’t get, and let you do it ovah if youah a trifle slow.
Don’t you be wastin’ any of the blessings I give you in this wohld by way of sacrifices- if you need it, keep it, that’s why I gave it to you. If you don’t need it- pass it on to yoah kids and family and friends. I gave all these blessin’s to you foah you to use and shayah, and if you waste it, I’ll make shuah you want it latah. Ask Me foah what evah you might need, but be cahful what you ask foah, because I have a wiccid pissah sense of humah, and get a good laugh outta watchin’ slow lehnahs!
I want you to get together to lehn and to celebrate, and to get things done, and have a good time, and know Me. Do it often enough that you don’t fohget how, but also know that every single thing you do that is good, lovin,’ and useful is done in my honah and tickles me sumpthin’ feahce, so if you can’t do somethin’ foahmal, just go out and watch a sunset oh kiss ya’ sweethaht or enjoy a cold one, and know I’m theah with you, even if you haven’t tine to slow down between jobs. If you cahn’t get off on what I’ve set in front of yoah eyes, you ahn’t goin’ to find it in a ritual or building or book. I’m in theah already, always have been, always will be. If you don’t know that, ya cahn’t get theah from heah.