1-31-2015 Squirrel Appreciation Day

    I actually am not quite sure what the weather has been like this week since I stayed inside. I don’t think there was much snow- but the uncleared driveway has turned into a rough sheet of ice which is going to be no fun at all to clear!
It has been a week of not much going on. I think I mentioned last week that Willow had been sick, and I had a sore throat. So Thursday I tried to sleep all day and maybe not get it. It didn’t work.
Sadly for the family, I am not a good patient. I am an “Im-patient”. I already had my cold for this winter back in November, so I was not amused. I know how to deal with a cold. Let it happen, try to learn from whatever it’s trying to teach you. Stay warm, drink lots of tea and chicken soup, take vitamin C, sleep as much as possible. It will go away.  It’s hardly surprising to get it when you’re in the house with someone who has it. I’d already done the first “OJ, oranges, & chicken soup run” for Willow, and John had it too by last Wednesday (I don’t know if I mentioned that). Willow had reached “the most dangerous part” of a cold- when you wake up feeling better, but if you over work yourself (for instance, by trying to catch up on all the stuff you’d let go when you were sick) you can relapse.  So really, she wasn’t really well, although she was “well”. Anyway, all my good taking care of myself seems to have had not much effect. They say that if you do nothing a cold goes away in a week, but if you treat it, you can get rid of it in 7 days. During the last decade or so I’ve generally only had three day colds- or maybe I was fooling myself or mis-remembering. I know that in my forties, if I got a cold, I’d be coughing for the rest of the winter, whether it started in October or March. Thank goodness that went away! I guess I’ve been spoiled lately.
So poor Kat took care of the rest of us, since we were all sick, and now, she’s got it. Saturday, Willow was recovered enough that they were able to go down to Joanie’s Birthday party, and Sunday Willow drove her up to the pre-Birka Curia, where she made arrangements with someone to help at Gold Key if it should come to that. Good thing.  On the way home they got Chinese. We really haven’t been cooking much.
My week was spent sleeping and reading until past noon, then looking at facebook until evening. The SCA provided some amusement for me. Sunday they had a Board of Directors meeting at which they voted down a proposal for a fourth peerage- for fencing. There’s been a LOT of discussion about that on the internet this week. I hope that there’s been as much on the State of the Union address, but it hasn’t been a big topic on my feed. I am severely concerned about how the way the computers feed you what they think you like is reducing our knowledge of what we really should be learning! I wrote a long essay on it. I started with my usual review of the history of peerages, and went on to suggest since change is pretty much inevitable we should try to make the SCA follow medieval patterns better than it did originally when it didn’t have the numbers to support it. I felt so pleased with myself, I posted it on my website/blog, where at least I’ll have a copy. I’m not sure how many people will read it there. Actually, I also posted one on SCA Feasts before the weekend as well. I suppose this is not unlike the way I drop things and occasionally choke on my own spit when I’m ailing; not only do my muscles get weak, my ability to hold back on “holding forth” gets weak too.
I have totally not “taken advantage” of my “week off” to get reading done. I’ve looked at some of the lovely books waiting for me, and curled up with Gordie Dickson’s Dragon Knight series. I have been listening to the  Great Courses discs  from the course Greece and Rome: An Integrated History of the Ancient Mediterranean. I’ve always thought there should be more integration in history. They always seem to talk about what’s going on in one area, and stop at the borders. For goodness sakes, you can’t separate the fact that while Alexander was off conquering the East, the Romans were expanding and taking over Italy. If Alexander hadn’t died on the way back, he could have pushed West and hit the Romans- no matter who won it would have had an impact (and made for great speculative fiction stories). But you can’t separate the cultures, although the Romans did pretty much wipe out Carthage, but wow. Anyway, each of these lectures covers some aspect of civilization- gender, religion, slavery, city life, etc. and it’s full of fascinating tidbits that rarely are included in books aimed at covering what territories were conquered when, and who was ruling. But that’s about as intellectual as I got, and frankly, I keep falling asleep and have to listen again. Mostly I’m curled up enjoying the fantasy England of Jim Ekert.DSC01751
I got a new toy in the mail: a russian waffle iron, which I haven’t felt up to standing up for a half hour to try it out yet- soon. Oddly the recipe that came with it wasn’t for waffles but for something called Oreshki which means walnut, and are apparently cookies made in irons that turn out walnut shaped (approximately) shells, which are filled with walnut and a caramel filling. Now I want one of those!

When I was sitting up I did “low-energy” activities like going through all our old batteries (the ones ready to go to the dump, and the ones in storage) and testing them with a battery tester, and hand sewing on my new quilted skirt. Quilted skirts are a pain because I have to get the the quilting unpicked in the seam allowance so I can remove the quilting material from that part, then sew it carefully so both inside and outside have finished seams. I suppose I don’t HAVE to, but I don’t want to deal with wearing it if it isn’t finished properly. I’ve been meaning to replace the cuffs on my new wool gown- embroider some new ones- but with only a day left, I think it’s not happening for Birka.
Last week during a discussion of great fantasy movies, someone on facebook suggested the City of Lost Children, and now I’ve watched it. Ron Perlman plays One, a gentle circus strong-man searching for his lost little brother. The evil genius is kidnapping children to steal their dreams, but is disappointed that all their dreams are nightmares because he’s scared them so much. (Some genius!) It’s a visually amazing film, but the weird characters are not appealing except for One and the children, and it’s unsettling, not exciting. I much prefer Thief of Bagdad. John and I were going through our movies, looking at the classic Arabian Nights films and I was surprised to find that missing from the collection. It’s THE movie of the genre I remember from when I was a kid- the magnificent genie with his pointy toenails, the mechanical flying horse, the blue rose of forgetfulness, and of course, the young thief Abu, played by Sabu. Rewatching it I realize how much of Aladdin (right down to the evil Jaffar) came from this film. Of course now, as when I was a kid, I have Abu’s song “I want to be a Sailor sailing on the sea…” as an earworm! I streamed a movie The Ouija Experiment, after hearing the gentleman who runs the Ouija board museum mention that he’d consulted on the movie.  It’s your basic dumb horror movie- too many people get killed for my taste, but it wasn’t bad, and the whole thing is done Blair Witch fashion as if it were clipped together from home-made movies. I did like that when the ghost hunters thought they’d caught the ghosts on film then showed their friends, the film didn’t show what they’d seen. That actually sounds like the way things would work! We got the next disk of Downton Abbey- it continues good, and am impatient for the last disc of Season 1 to arrive. I picked up season 2 at the library today. I’ve watched some Dr. Who: Armageddon Factor, in which Drax remembers his college nickname:Theet, and  Full Circle, in which Adric is introduced. I still think I like Tom Baker’s Dr. Who best.  At my most brainless, I read a couple of American Girl mysteries (one assumes they were aimed at 10 year olds, like the heroines), Secrets in the Hills, about Josephina as she progresses with her path as a curandera. I love that her sister is jealous of the time she has to spend learning about herbs. I also liked that they used an authentic legend of the southwest: La Llorena for the mysterious ghost.  The other was about Julie and her Chinese American friend Ivy: Puzzle of the Paper Daughter. They discover a crib note in the lining of an old kimono that leads them to find a precious necklace hidden in an old doll, but more importantly, they learn about the stories of the difficulties of immigration. Apparently Angel Island- the next island over from Alcatraz, was for Chinese immigrants what Ellis header-poetryIsland was over in New York. At the end of each of these American girl books they include some of the research that makes their stories so based in history.  Apparently while waiting, sometimes months, on Angel Island, some of the detainees wrote poems, and carved them into the stone walls. Just before it was torn down, these were discovered and they’ve been preserved.  The American Girls dolls seem to be shifting their focus from the historical collection, although the amazing accessories and furniture they made for the dolls is why they are so wonderful. I am sad that this kind of attention to detail and care for history doesn’t seem to be financially viable for them. The books may be aimed for young girls, but I still enjoy and can learn from them!
Last tidbid from a very low-key week. Today we had a gentleman in to change our filters and tune up the furnace. We talked about dryers, and he told me about going in the workings of his dryer when was only two years old, and finding handfuls of lint that hadn’t got caught by the lint filter. He (like me) always cleans the filters after every load, but still the inside was FULL of lint. This is an incredible fire hazard- especially if infused with fabric softener, especially the kind on dryer sheets. THAT I learned from our fire chief, and haven’t used them since. I’ve also read that the coating they leave also makes towels less absorbent, so they’re a bad idea all around.

Oh my, it’s gotten late, and I have to get to bed. I am now in “the most dangerous” part of the cold- recovery. (with a side helping of the part in which my stomach muscles hurt when I cough). That’s the way I’ve been tracking the days this week- this is the day when my nose runs like a faucet, this is the day it goes to my chest, this is the day the phlegm solidifies in my lungs….  No great thoughts while one is sick, unless you’re asleep, maybe.
See some of you at Birka, I may be helping in Gold Key.

“Half of the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important.” George Eliot

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