10-24-2006 catching up after computer crash

Hi again.
I’m trying to think how long it’s been since I’ve written. I think it was September. First there was the computer dying, then I was busy (and when did that stop me before?) and last week I was sick.
Gee, ya think?
I over extended myself, and then I got sick. Like that doesn’t happen to people!

So I’m sitting here at the computer- mostly to avoid trying to get caught up on the housework, trying to take it easy, and figure out what I can say that people would want to hear.
For the last hour I’ve been trying to reconstruct the list of people who get the letter. As I pored through the list of e-mail addresses Steve was able to get out of the old computer, I had to wonder which people had changed their addresses. I know some have, but with e-mail, what can you do? With physical mail people give the post office a forwarding address, and mail can chase people. With e-mail, it’s just “the address doesn’t work- tough luck”.
I’ve changed my address as well. The eternalviper account Allyn set up for me years ago because the local account was being flooded with spam (get a loan! see young girls doing X! Enlarge your penis! Get better mobil phone coverage!) is now getting about 250-300 penile enlargement ads a day. Probably the young man who set it up no longer bothers to check it any more. At least if you go through a big company, they should care about making sure that the yucky stuff doesn’t get through.
I sent address updates to everyone in my mailbox I recognized. I am thinking of just dumping the rest, once I’ve figured out which ones are the contacts for the book- thank goodness most of my responses came in before I changed computers, so I shouldn’t have lost most of the interviews- I just have to extract them again. Sadly, when I printed them out to make my notes, the contact info is NOT with each interview, so I’ll have to go back through them one at a time. I wonder how many of them have changed addresses in this past year? At least I’ve got the outline started and should be writing soon. I’m planning to spend at least 4 hours a day writing. It’s got to get done.

Anyway- if I’ve sent this to you and you don’t want to get the letter anymore- or didn’t and I’ve misremembered, please let me know. There’s also the possibility of looking at it on my Live Journal account. I’ve gotten so I mostly remember to put it there almost every time. Of course, I can’t remember how to tell you to get there. I’ll ask Willow when she gets in. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that I have some sort of mental block keeping me from learning how to take advantage of computer communication. Very embarrassing and frustrating.
I look on the letter as a way of staying in contact with friends I don’t get to see enough. Frankly, it was depressing to wonder (as I did while trying to reconstruct the list) to think about being so out of touch with so many people of whom I was so fond at one point. We used to see people, do wonderful things with them almost every weekend. Now I look at the list of names and I’ve hardly seen a dozen of these people I love in the last six months. Some people may be willing to just make new friends where ever they are, but I hate to lose old friends- even lose track.
I do think that’s part of why I got sick. One has to have a balanced life, and mine is severely out of balance. You can get away with that when you are young, but not at my age. I’ve been trying to figure out why I drew in being sick- obviously I “took advantage of” the available germs. The simple answer is that “you get what you wish for” because I can remember being resentful as I did dishes, laundry, etc. without help from Kat and Willow who had it first. “Wish *I* could have someone take over my work just because I was sick…” Well, I have to say that I went to bed last Monday and pretty much stayed in bed most of the week while the kids brought me hot soup and tea and juice. Willow makes a fine “magickal potion” which made me feel better every time I had a bowl- onion and garlic soup with turmeric and a hot pepper. That’ll burn just about anything out of you! But I need to adjust my life style so that I have some down time- and make sure I get some time to just be with friends. I’m not sure how other people do it.
The pattern I grew up with was that our parents knew people in town, and they came over for bridge night, or visiting on weekends, or came out to see us at the lake. When there were kids, mothers could get together by bringing their kids to the same place. I guess people do things together. That’s why the SCA was so good for me. I never saw the purpose in “hanging out” or going to parties (of course, parties are less fun if you don’t like to smoke or drink, and think that any time you eat, people are thinking how fat you are). At SCA events, I could just do what I felt like doing- whether it was archery, or embroidery, or cooking, and other people would be doing it in the same space, and you’d talk, and come up with things to do together because it was projects that took more than one person. You helped people, they helped you- you were part of a group effort, and voila: friendship! I really think that friendship requires having pursued some mutual goal. Mutual interests simply makes the chance of finding mutual goals more likely. That’s why I find the idea of going to places where nothing is accomplished an odd way of trying to make friends. You make friends at a barn raising, not at a bar. What mutual goal can there be in drinking together? Of course, eating and drinking together is traditionally bonding. Perhaps because it occurs traditionally after working together. It certainly is easier to talk to people and discover what their goals are when you have the freedom to talk- which you may not have during hard work.

This past month we’ve been doing the Connecticut Renn Fair. I would say it went well, even though, again, people didn’t seem to want me to draw their pictures. The people who did were incredibly happy- pleased with both the price and the product. I don’t get it. People get their faces painted- one cheek $10, two cheeks $20: or what it would cost for a portrait. And then they go home and wash it off. It surely doesn’t take longer. The guy who does fantasy art has lines, and he doesn’t deliver his cartoons for months! And charges $60. maybe I should charge more. The stripey socks were hugely popular. And we sold the pointy hats I’d picked up in one day (4 to some of the guys in the group Blackmore-Night). But we were out straight. We’d go down Friday night, and come back Sunday night- and there were two three day weekends, and in between we made product: Willow dyed silk, I did sculptures… I guess we were selling them, so that’s good, but we need to be able to make more money with less time commitment. We are exhausted. Kat and Willow got sick the third weekend and spent that weekend recovering, then I came down with whatever they had (the night I went to do a psychic party- yeah, over-extended).
One thing to talk about is the cool collapsable drawing desk Gunnvir made me. It’s oak, sturdy and really gorgeous- I got lots of compliments on it, and breaks down without any tools to pack flat.

This last month I’ve been watching a lot of movies from net-flix based on Jane Austin books. It occurs to me that what’s going on in that culture was just a self selecting breeding program. As far as I can tell, the women did nothing but look for husbands, become accomplished so they could attract them, breed, then look for husbands for their offspring. What an odd life. Had to have been a very small part of the population, you can’t have that many useless people. Someone has to support them! I think you can tell that it’s the women who chafed at the role of uselessness dictated for them who appealed to Austin- and her male characters.
We got the DVD Beowulf and Grendel- as I expected, it was good enough that I’ll want to re-watch it a lot, although I’ve been really enjoying the way netflix lets us watch movies once cheaply. As so often happens in modern movies, they tried to reduce the magick to the absolute minimum. (If they do a sequel, how will they explain away the dragon?) Still, I liked it- the costumes and sets were marvelous. It WAS a bit disorienting that they chose to shoot a movie about Denmark in Iceland- the landscape isn’t the same. The weather really was a non-credited character. If you get it, do watch the special about making it. I loved the way they handled Hrothgar and Unfirth, and the various other characters. I liked it much better than the Tristan and Isoulde that came out this summer.
I’m trying to remember what I may have mentioned reading before. I know I was reading the book on Slavery in Anglo-Saxon England when I went to visit Dad in September. I’ve also been reading Leechcraft, by Pollington, and Runic Amulets and Magical items – great books, although I know most people wouldn’t find them as fascinating as I do. It’s kind of cool to know that other people out there are as interested as I in these topics- more so, perhaps because they actually do the research. (or, it may be that they just know how to write a grant to get the money to be able to do it!) The other book I’m reading is another little book on Leechcraft I got used because I’d seen it in so many bibliographies. It’s very small, but classy: gold edged, embossed leather cover- plates almost every page. When I first opened it I was annoyed because about half of the book is ads- apparently it was put out for a medical conference, and paid for by a company that made pharmaceuticals and medical kits (the inner flyleaf contains a map of Atlantic city with a little hand stamp showing where the hotel that the conference was being held would be found). Some of the ads were for the med kit that Stanley took when he was searching for Livingston, and there were other cool bits. If it were just recent, it would be frustrating that half the book was ads- but since it’s from 96 years ago, it’s still of historical interest- different period but still alien to me. And this particular book has stuff I haven’t seen in other books on leechcraft. The plates show lots of charts for points for cautery- places where the heated pins are to be placed. Sure looks like modern moxibustion to me. As with Cameron’s book, people who know the modern techniques make more sense than those who don’t of the ancient writings. I have to admit that I am often smiling ruefully as I read and can so easily spot the perspective of the writer. For example, he speaks of the Anglo-Saxon period as beginning in 596- a couple years before the conversion. I guess the centuries of Angles and Saxons in England don’t count if they weren’t Christian. He also displays the usual attitude of assuming that it’s OK to make inferences from one bit of evidence (i.e.. correspondence with St. Boniface from the 8th century) about the whole period. Oh- and that obviously there was no medicine in England when they couldn’t import herbs from the Mediterranean. Sheesh! Anyway, I should drop it, but you can see how much I’m enjoying it.

Yesterday we did the “do-over” for the NH Pagan Pride Day, my first full day out of bed. At least I had a voice (the last day of the CT fair I had a little sign which said “Yes”, “No”, “Thank you”, and “I’ve lost my voice, please ask my daughters”, so the people who saw me there (we are getting to know a lot of other merchants, were pleased at my progress. I did three workshops- one on energy healing (boy! did I feel like a dope teaching that!), Ethics of Magick, and Do-it-yourself-paganism. I’ve started writing that last up as an article. It’s really time for me to start getting paid more. Sadly, Star seems to be coming down with it now. Luckily, he is very cooperative as a patient. Stays in bed, takes his vitamins and soup and tea, and doesn’t complain much. I hope it doesn’t last as long for him. Willow has proclaimed that we are NOT camping next weekend- it’s only an hour and a half each way, and she’d rather drive it than camp in this cold. I’m good with that.

Feh. It’s five thirty, and getting dark. Next Sunday it will be getting dark at four thirty. Oh joy. We’ll be packing up from the NH Renn Faire in the Dark. Sigh. Not much we can do about it, I suppose. I’m truly not happy with less light in the evenings anyway, but I suppose it will be easier to get up in the morning.

Well, I guess I’ll give up on giving you a better report of what we’ve been up to, and send this off. It’s kind of like having had the house fire. Having had a computer crash I am terrified of what I’ll lose if there’s another. Even though Steve gave us and installed a back-up drive.
Ah well, enough for now.
Let me know if you get this. I am insecure about addresses, as well as who wants to get the letter.