10-7-2015 Frappe Day

DSC02149The rain has ended, but the silly thermometer on the front porch says it’s 90º when it’s actually around 70º because of the way the doorway catches the heat of the sun. This makes it rather useless for figuring out how warm or cool it has gotten. Maybe it does cool OK, although I suspect there may be some heat leakage through the door. It’s reading around 45º at night. I am thrilled that the pantry is now hanging in the fifties again. Soon we will be into the time of year when we won’t need the refrigerator, just the pantry shelves. On the other hand, it does make it a bit nippy for John when he makes the salads. We have a “station” in there for that, which is lovely, but until Indian Summer is over and the screen door comes down, he doesn’t wear shoes unless we’re leaving the house for some reason. I guess he’s just a hobbit in the large economy size.

DSC02150The garden looks horrible- I have done nothing with it. I did get a pumpkin for the front step. I used the rule we used to use on the kids- “you can’t have it if you can’t carry it!” and sadly, it was close. I need more exercise!

I have actually turned the heat on (in the past I’ve waited for November first). I realized that what the body feels as cold, the emotions interpret as fear or sadness, and frankly, Depression doesn’t need the help, so what the heck, I put the thermostat up to 68º. It also helps that oil prices are low.

I am finding my good intentions to “not get stressed about and spend too much time on the conference” this year very hard to keep. My personality is very much oriented toward plunging into a project and doing nothing else… until I get distracted, and then I do whatever got my attention.  I surround myself with to-do lists, calendars, reminders and such, but still tend to only see what’s right in front of me!
Speaking of which, when I went to the eye doctor, the new lenses he wanted me to try to squish my corneas back into shape seem to have worked as they’d hoped. Also, this pair with one distant/one close seem to be good enough that I don’t need the bifocal contacts I’ve been buying (four different prescriptions to provide focus at four ranges) so I won’t need to order those lenses, and they’re sending me a refund for the difference. That was a pleasant surprise!

It’s October. Time for Pumpkin Spice everything, over-the-top halloween decorations, (the beginning of Christmas sales yuck), less salad/more hot tea, and bringing out the warmer clothing. And for a few of us, getting ready for Changing Times Changing Worlds. Today a HUGE box arrived- it contains new bags for Cabochons, and we’ll be donating some of them to the con for goodie bags, which we are trying this year.  (John & Willow mugging for the camera!) DSC02145
Willow and Kat are getting ready for Another Anime Con– (spoken of for clarity as “AAC”) which means Willow comes down every so often and cuts out some fleece, takes it up to her room, and stitches it into blankets; and of course, they must have new cos-plays. I will try to get pictures of them for the letter, but they are SO bad about getting pictures at the events!DSC02146
Another thing coming up this weekend is Twilight Covening, and this year neither my clan or Jane’s got filled. Theoretically that means I don’t have to go, but have decided that a few days off from the con planning would be theraputic for me. (Last night was an online organizational meeting and I totally forgot it until Maryalyce called to remind me!)
I had promised myself that I’d have the schedule done by the end of September and was quite cross that I didn’t get the first draft done and out to the speakers until the third. Since then I’ve been getting back the usual “that class is scheduled after my train back home has left!” and “I won’t be able to get there until late Friday!” replies. This is expected, and I’ve been fixing the issues this week. What bugs me is that I haven’t heard back from some of the speakers, and while I realize that sometimes I  don’t always check my email daily, and even when I do am capable of missing important missives in the huge pile of spam, it still bugs me. Last year I scheduled a speaker, Roxie Zwicker, who never showed. She’d never replied, but she had sent in a proposal, and I saw her at Celebrate Samhain, so I figured she was just someone who had poor correspondence manners. Now I figure that I probably did something that made her cross, and she wrote us off, chucking all further correspondence. Now I’m worried when people don’t respond. Before I leave for Twilight I’ll try to get the final corrected schedule onto the website. (I won’t be surprised if I get corrections after that though….)
DSC02153It’s time for drinking more hot tea- and making apple pies. (I think there should always be apple pie in the house at this time of year.) We cleared off the woodstove, and moved the rolling board that’s been on it back over to the counter. We haven’t fired it up yet though. I think it’s mostly because each of us spends most of our time on our computers. Sadly, the oven seems to be dying. We replaced the thermostat last year (or the year before) which didn’t stop it from running low, and now it just won’t come up to heat. I do NOT want to have to buy a whole new stove, but also don’t want to go through winter without being able to bake!
I made a quiche last week and want to make another- it’s really convenient to have something with protein all ready to just pick up and have for breakfast or lunch!  “Pick up” food is harder when you’re avoiding breads. Nothing on or in bread, nothing with a crust. Also, the girls are having problems eating. With Kat we know it’s her meds, Willow is suspicious of the  Sam-e, a supplement that’s supposed to be helpful with depression, fibromialgia, and other conditions. As it’s expensive and we weren’t seeing any significant improvement, (it’s sure is hard to tell when moods change almost as quickly as New England weather!) I can’t really mind stopping. One does hope that these remedies will help though. We had a fascinating discussion the other day likening anti-depressant medications to oven cleaners. We hate them when they work but have horrible side effects/are dangerous, but we also hate them when they’re safe but don’t have any useful effect. (Did you ever hear that all you need to do to clean your oven is put a dish of vinegar in it overnight and then wipe everything off? This is bull, I’ve tried it and it didn’t work.)

A while ago I saw a mug shaped like a fox that I picked up for Willow, and DSC02152sometime after that she found a “matching” plate. This week she found some adorable little bowls that actually match better. I think they are so cute we should get four more of them! (We don’t have dishes to go with our fall plates.)  We are eating on brick/ rust/ cinnamon/ burnt orange colored plates. We only have two of the fall leaves plates and one bowl from that set left, so we are using them for serving dishes.
I am getting better at cooking only enough food for four, but it’s still hard when I like cooking for “an army.” I wrote an essay on my blog about how we all need an audience. (I do, so of course, I assume everyone does.)

Steve came up on Sunday. He reinstalled the office/database program on my computer, so now it works. (I wonder what people who don’t have computery friends do when their computers don’t work?)
Aside from that we watched the new Avengers: Age of Ultron that John had in from Netflix. I enjoyed it, it was nice to see more of our favorite characters, and it was like the previous really good Avengers movies- but after a while “More of the Same” just doesn’t thrill you even if you really liked it the first time around. There was nothing wrong with it, it was just – the same. I was satisfied with the Vision though, and as he was one of my favorite characters, that says something. Sadly, it was too long. Wow, I just looked it up, it was three hours and 15 minutes. Now wonder dinner was ruined! You figure a movie for about one and a half to two hours, and we kept expecting it to finish, and it didn’t. (They really could have had less battle scenes!- it was like the quiddich in Harry Potter.) The poor meatloaves were dried out, the mashed potatoes were gooey. One should not hold dinner. If we hadn’t expected it to be “almost done” any second now, we’d have just turned it off and eaten. Too bad we didn’t. I hate ruining good food.
I think the only other thing I watched this week was Dracula, the BBC version from the 70s with Louis Jordan. I’d read that it was closer to the book than most- but while it did have some really good quotes, it only had two of Lucy’s suitors, and I found that annoying.
I tripped over a series on Netflix called Haven that’s apparently based on a Stephen King story- weird stuff going on in a small town in Maine. I needed something else because I think I’ve come to the end of the Midsomer Murders, which I’ve really enjoyed. Such excellent writing and acting! And I love image of a slice of English life (and especially the multitudinous subcultures they explore), which I have no doubt provides just as accurate a reflection of the English as Americans are portrayed in Murder She Wrote! When I get tense because I can’t make the computer do what I expect it to do, or start feeling like my personal inadequacies are dragging the conference to doom,  I watch Netflix streaming and play solitaire until I stop feeling like that. I wonder if that’s why other people play solitaire.
I really need to be careful, I’ve been seeing two other symptoms of stress/depression in myself. One is over-sleeping. It’s rather hard to decide what constitutes over-sleeping when 8-9 hours is good. 12-22 hours is obviously bad, but a lot of people only get six, so 9 would look like oversleeping to them. If I don’t get eight I don’t feel good, and if I only get six I feel nauseous. The other danger signal for me is buying too many books on Amazon- not just an occasional recommended book, but lots of books. I am afraid I’ve gotten rather more books (blessedly, most less than a dollar and the cost of shipping). It is not that I am NOT really looking forward to reading them, but my recent indulgences include many of the series Daily Life in the time of X series, and I have not only gotten the ones for Ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt, but even the Edwardians and WWII. Mother bought shoes. The theory was, that if she had shoes for summer, she’d live until summer. Perhaps my subconscious says that if I buy these books I’ll have time to read them. This does not follow.
I continue to read Ramlin Rose, the story of the canal woman, one chapter at a time (to make it last). It’s possible that the changes she mentions may be what spurred my interest in modern history. I’m reading The Earth, the Gods and the Soul, which is about pagan Philosophy and reinforces my listening to the audio course: Odyssey of the West II (Athens to Rome to the Gospels), which if not about  philosophy per se, covered a lot of it in this section. I’ve got the whole series of 6 (“a classical education through the great books!”) queued up at the library, although I don’t know if I’m going to get all the way through it. I tend to get annoyed with when the Enlightenment comes along. Given how interesting they’ve made Plato and Ovid, they may be able to make Kierkegaard and Nietzsche palatable as well.  Covering so much in only 112 lectures has to be cutting them down to the REALLY “good parts version”! If they inspire me, I will probably take some more out of the library. I do finally want to go and actually read the Aeneid and some Plato- although I’m not ready yet to learn Greek to read it in the original!
I mostly skimmed How to Raise an Adult, which was mostly about how parents need to stop being over-protective. (I heard about it on NPR) Since it wasn’t directly applicable to my parenting challenges right now, I wasn’t as interested as I would have been when I was younger. Also, we really weren’t over-protective. I read Fly by Night, a juvenile book (by the author of Well Witched, so I guess that’s how I encountered it). The premise was that “in a world where books were banned, Mosca could read. (Mosca means fly- hence the title.) Apparently that isn’t quite accurate, there was simply a very institutionalized level of censorship, but the real appeal of the book was the language. As the girl and her adult mentor, Eponymous Clent, both loved words, hardly a chapter went by without some lovely turn of phrase worth pausing to enjoy. I should find you an example, but as I quickly flip through it, what I’m struck by is how, in a book with so many long words, I expect some modern readers would get bogged down in them. Still, the details are marvelous, such as how after a sleepless night Mosca woke with her stomach “raw from lack of sleep” or how she cleaned her nails as she waited to be shown in to see the Duchess.  I’ve started a short story in my kindle: Son of Sobek by Rick Riordan- a fun little cross over between his Percy Jackson and the Olympians and the Kane Chronicles (Egyptian) that I found while buying the first in his new series about the northern gods. Is there anything more fun than starting a new series? The pleasure is ameliorated by having to wait for each new book to come out- something you don’t have to do with old series.

John has started his annual October attempt to watch every horror movie in the house or on the internet. (this had something to do with why I saw that new (to me) version of Dracula. I also watched a few bits of the more recent one- uh oh, I notice that “more recent” in my mind was actually the Gary Oldman one from 1992, oops.)  I suppose we shall have to check out last year’s Dracula Untold. Meanwhile we can enjoy the old ones like the Pit and the Pendulum and Fright Night.
Kat remembered that it’s been TWO years since she started her Dr. Who blog “Why my companions are screaming”, not one year. Impressive. She has a LOT of followers, and that’s not counting her Adric blog. (or her fashion blog, or her comics). I guess we know what she does in her room all day: art. She continues to analyze the various all natural gums we got her. I expect she’s posting the results somewhere.
Tonight in the New Normal I talked to Cassius, the founder of the Julian Society, named for the Emperor Julian the Blessed, the last openly pagan Emperor of Rome (grandson of Constantine). It didn’t take more than two generations to move from legalizing Christianity to passing laws against not being Christian. There is great risk in allowing people with power to try to enforce their view of religion through law. Our founding fathers were fairly brilliant when they legislated separation of Church and State. The Julian Society is “dedicated to the restoration of Paganism as a respected major world spirituality”. I invited him after reading an essay he wrote after the DAESH destroyed the temple of Bel at Palmyra. While religious extremists may be a minority, their actions can have much greater effects than majorities who behave themselves, and history has shown that there have been repeated attacks on various populations- more importantly in my view, it shows the techniques that are often used to “eat away” at the target groups rights, so that they can get away with it. I believe it behooves all of us to protect the rights of everyone so that we don’t get into the habit of letting self righteous bullies get their own way simply so that we don’t have to fight them over it. Sadly, while Cassius had hoped to get to the con, he wasn’t able to find someone to take over his shop for a whole weekend. Maybe next year.
Well, I guess that’s it for this week. I wish I could share with you the recipe for the delicious pasta Willow made last night when I found myself suddenly in the meeting. It had chicken and a cream sauce, but that’s all I remember because I was busy trying to keep up to braided conversations on the chat.
I expect that once again, Kat’s cat Peri will come and sleep on my feet, as she has done for the last week or so, while my cat, Zoloft, tries to get into Kat’s room and sleep on her sewing table! Well, you can’t herd cats! At least I don’t need to pack and leave for Twilight tomorrow; not being a leader I have until Friday. I simply have to make sure that everything is scheduled and caught up on the website before I leave.
I hope you get a chance to enjoy the gorgeous fall weather and scenery!
“Do you not think that there are things which you cannot understand, and yet which are; that some people see things that others cannot? But there are things old and new which must not be contemplate by men’s eyes, because they know—or think they know—some things which other men have told them. Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain.”

―Bram Stoker, Dracula