10-22-14 Happy Nut Day

OK it’s officially fall, I have now set my shawl on fire while making tea (twice). I am going to have to re-learn to keep my fringe away from the burners when I’m wearing my winter shawls. Please do not picture a huge conflagration or holocaust cape, we’re talking glowing tips on the fringes- still, it’s embarrassing.
I am thinking we may be at peak color now, but it’s hard to tell when it’s raining. It’s all grey and damp outside, yes I can tell the trees are gold and orange, but it doesn’t knock your socks off the way it does when the sun’s shining. When we went out today we passed road crews doing their best to get the roads ready for winter- this is NOT a good day to be on a road crew. It’s not driving a snow plow on Christmas, but it’s sure chilly and damp. I wished I could have given them all mugs of cocoa! We are so lucky to have a system that keeps our roads in such good shape! We picked up a couple of pots of mums to put by the door, yellow and scarlet, and the nasturtium, bless them, are still blooming like crazy, orange like the maple trees. I’d eat them, but what would the late bees have to play in?
One of the cats brought us a baby mouse last night, I guess it’s the fall season for them. I hope we don’t get a lot this year. I’d rather the cats killed mice than “innocent forest creatures” (is there such a thing?), but I’d rather our house didn’t seem so appealing to mice. I expect they can’t tell the difference- all they’re looking for is dry and warm, and safe from predators (two out of three?).
We had some glorious days, when I’d have left the front door open- except that John took the screen door off over the Columbus Day weekend. But now it’s chill and dark (do you realize that we’re getting about as much light in October as we do in February?), and I’m making comfort foods as much as possible: mac and cheese, meatloaf, lots of potatoes… I am not happy with canned soup- it tastes canned. I suppose I’ve had too much real soup, and can no longer put up with what used to seem delicious. Oh well…

AAC2014Last weekend the girls went to AAC (Another Anime Con– this is their booth), and I did Celebrate Samhain I’m not sure how many blankets and buttons they sold, but even after paying for the hotel, meals, etc. they still brought money home (about enough to pay for that last batch of fleece!), and they had a great time. I don’t think they had time to make new cos-plays for this one, but they have so many nice ones, it’s good that they occasionally get a chance to wear them a second time. Even with the crowds, (although she did skip this Dr. Who photo-shoot), Kat didn’t have to take a panic pill which is pretty cool. Willow said she ran into so many people she knew she couldn’t remember their names- welcome to my world! (Since I took this picture I’m not in it) The speakers were on the other side of the curtain wall, so I could hear most of them, although there were so many customers I missed a lot. It’s hard to object to that!)
I don’t know if you can tell that the rack we hang Willow’s silks on is only half up. Willow told me after Western Mass Pagan Pride Day that we had to replace it, and I discovered why. There’s one button that’s fallen off, leaving nothing to depress the spring. It’s one of those where the poles get taller and are locked in place by a spring loaded button that sticks out through holes in the pole. Unfortunately, if you can’t depress the button, you can’t put the rack together. So for a tiny button cover, we need to replace the whole rack. At times like this I SO miss Ælfwine, he’d have generated a new one.
DSC01580John helped me pack my van on Friday, and get me out by 8 am. It’s only over in Peterboro,  so that’s good, but boy did I miss having the girls. We are usually a “well oiled machine” at putting stuff up. I got Jess’s twins to help, (and her son to help with breakdown), but what we usually do in an hour or less took two. As with Willow at AAC, there were all kinds of wonderful folks there, the locals who organize it, the locals who come, and people from farther afield. One of my favorite memories is Jess, the merchant coordinator, gliding around the community center on roller skates. I thought I’d gotten a picture of her, but didn’t check and when I downloaded them, there was just a blur at the edge of the picture where she was whizzing past!   Afterwards, since I hadn’t gotten out before dark, I went to dinner with Deb Miller and her husband and another friend, so I didn’t actually head home until after 9. (I got some great pictures, but haven’t seen my camera since I got home- maybe next week!)
On the way home (and to the restaurant) I saw several police cars heading west, probably aimed at Keene. Thanks to the wonder of cell phones we’d heard about the riot, and apparently they got back-up from as far away as Maine. The Keene Pumpkin Festival is a wonderful event, where people bring as many Jack-o-lanterns as they can, they try to hit the Guinness World Record for most pumpkins in one place. (This year was around 22 thousand.) I’ve always wanted  to go because it sounds amazing. Google images for the KPF and see some of the cool ones that have come before. Sadly, some jackasses (not to put too fine a point on it) decided that they would use it as an excuse to get drunk and destructive. After the recent Ferguson and other police brutality stories, I was predisposed to assume they’d over reacted, especially when I heard that they’d pulled out their “riot tank”. But really it seems they didn’t, it’s just a case of drunken mobs misbehaving, and as news stories have noted, a whole lot of “white privilege”- as drunken students figured they could vandalize public and private property, set fires, and throw things at police with impunity. I hope that with the help of cell phone photos, those jerks get arrested and are forced to pay the damages! (It’s possible that the news has concentrated on the stupidest possible quotes and images, and it’s not like Bob didn’t get pumpkins smashed over his head on several Halloweens just because teenage boys like to see what they can get away with, but when there are thousands of people in one place, that kind of thinking can be seriously dangerous. I hate to think what this year is going to mean to next year’s security costs, and whether they’ll be able to continue doing their event. It was such a great concept- fresh air, art, community involvement, family fun!

There’s a meme going around facebook that says: “October: The only tie of year I can shop for everyday household decorations and accessories.”
Willow and Kat have scored some really cool clothes at the goodwill recently- and also sent away for some. Today Kat got this really cool straw hat- with cat ears,Kat's new straw hat and Willow has scored some incredible horns. I want a pair for myself (they look great on me!). I have no idea where I would wear them, but they are gorgeous!

The girls have continued to do their ink sketch each day for Inktober. (I have not.) I found the adorable bat that Kat did last week, Inktober Batand this week she did a fun image of her with bubblegum. (She’s been chewing lately as a fidgiting mechanism.Inktober gum BTW, she tells me that she put extra food coloring in the gum in the photo to make it a better picture. So, that’s not a tomato she’s holding by its stem, but a brightly colored bubble gum bubble. Inktober autumn

Willow has been experimenting with colored inks, doing landscapes, characters, most of whom I do not recognize, and sometimes witty cartoons. I think this one with a cat and a little mermaid is from some other reference I don’t recognize, but I like the idea. How many people were confused by the mermaid on the Chicken of the Sea tuna can as kids?Inktober chicken of the sea

Last week my uncle Lonny died, apparently in his sleep, so that’s not too bad a way to go. The funeral was today, and I’d hoped to go, but I was driving Kat to the doctors, so will be sending my condolences by mail to his wife Charity, and Aunt Patty, the last of Dad’s siblings. Dad was the eldest, then Dewey, the Patty and Shirley, and Lonny and Johnny, the twins. Since Dad moved to Maine, they’d seen a lot more of each other. I was a bit confused because Lon (for Alonzo) was being called Al the last few years, and the brother I’d learned to call Uncle Dewey (named Albert Dewey Richards) started calling himself Al when I was in college. I think my grandfather was Al too- it’s like all the Katherines: Kitty, Kat, Cate, Kate in the family on the distaff side. I think it’s easier to get along with uncles and aunts when they no longer think they need to be standing “in loco parentis”. When we gathered for Thanksgivings, there were dozens of cousins, and, of course, all the adults wanted to talk to their relatives they didn’t see often enough. It occurs to me now, of course, that the twins were probably the babies of the family, and no matter how old you get, you can’t escape that. My (clearly self-involved) reaction was that that was one more link to my father and Grammie gone; there’s nearly no one left to ask questions about their lives. I also imagine that they had to go through the same thing, as they watched their elders die, back in their youths. I understand Liz was going to speak at his service, I know she, Al and Charity had gotten along well up in Maine.

I have been reading more, this week I’m reading chapters of Ceirsiwr Serith’s Deep Ancestors, about the Indo European Religion, Witchcraft in the southwest: Spanish and Indian Supernaturalism on the Rio Grande, in which I encountered some practices I recognized (in a tail of a “german” trader) from Charms, Charmers and Charming: international research on Verbal Magic (although this one referred to charms written down and sewn into clothing to protect from bullets), Phenomenon: Everything You Need to Know about the Paranormal. This book sent to me by Lyrion, I think so she could have someone to talk to about it. It makes me distinctly uncomfortable, as it’s a challenge to my general feelings that if we can just get past our vocabularies, we will be able to share similar experiences. But she expressed such a dismissive attitude (especially for a spiritual leader) about people who are are negative (“you just don’t need their energy in your life”) and a few other interpretations, that I am not sure that my previous assumptions will hold up if tested. Clearly the test needs to be made. I’m about halfway through the second Garth Nix book Lirael, and have read Feet of Clay, another of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books. (Let’s be honest, when real life is too hard to deal with, watching Sam Vimes deal with his problems is easier.) I’m still reading The Big Ratchet, which constantly reminds me about the cool things that make our culture possible, like being omnivores, and crop rotation. I’m still waiting to get to the part of the book where cumulative history gives the author hope for the future.  On the other hand, while we were checking out Kat found a pack of gum without aspartame, and I’d already swiped my card, and the lady behind us bought it for her, then another lady pointed out that my shawl was dragging so I wouldn’t get it wet when I went out. There are probably more good people in the world than jerks, but we sometimes don’t notice them, which is a pity.

I’d better finish up- In an hour I’ve got to do my show, (tonight I have Sha Stafford, who does Aura Photography and Tarot), and I have already taken nearly a week longer than I gave myself to get the schedule set for CTCW, and have to get back to it, I need it to be DONE. Last night we had our anti-penultimate organizational meeting. We are at the stage where we are giving up on things that we didn’t get to, but still trying to get people in through the door. Today the hotel liaison called to remind us that we hadn’t filled as many rooms as we’d contracted, and I’m torn between being terrified and depressed about it because I don’t know how to get more people in. Everyone has different skills and marketing is clearly not one of mine. The old saw “If you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door” feels like so much BS to me. I think we have created a great conference, and just about everyone I’ve ever met has some interest in the paranormal, although I’ve often heard “I’ve never told anyone this before”. Media is full of tales of the supernatural fiction, my shelves are full of books of hard science, as well as tales of personal experiences by mediums, shaman, and anthropologists, that show this stuff we pretend isn’t real is. But apparently only about 60 people want to actually shell out $75 for three days of talking about it. Deb’s friend Walter works on arisia (a huge diverse SF/Fantasy con) suggested that we put it at the wrong time of year. Early November is when everyone is saving both money and time off for the holidays “Can’t you move it to another month?”. Well, not this one we can’t. Oh well.

“Atheism is a denial of a god.” said Constable Visit.
“Therefore It Is A Religious Position,” said Dorfl. “Indeed, A True Atheist Thinks Of The Gods Constantly, Albeit In Terms of Denial. Therefore, Atheism Is A Form Of Belief. If The Atheist Truly Did Not Believe, He Or She Would Not Bother To Deny.”
― Terry Pratchett, Feet of Clay

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