11-19-2014 Rocky and Bullwinkle Day

Dear Liz,
DSC01601The sun is shining brightly, but the wind is blowing. It blew down the flag, and John wondered if we should take it down for the winter. The temperature is around freezing, although the hi-lo thermometer says it was in the teens last night, it also says that in the sheltered doorway it was nearly 100º yesterday (or since the last time I reset it). The mums by the doorstep have died, oh well. I am given to understand it’s the cold. I suppose each plant has its own temperature below which it says “stuff it, I’m not putting up with this any more.” Bless the hardy ones, the dandilion and red clover, the kale and parsnips. The wind and rain has pretty much done for the last of the fall leaves. The pantry is properly switched over to winter “refrigerator” mode (we attempt to regulate it by opening and closing the window).
I suppose I should be grateful because Buffalo has been “hogging” all the snow. If it weren’t for the internet I wouldn’t even know about it. Six feet and 3 more feet in the forecast‽ The weather map shows this cloud about thirty miles wide and more than a hundred miles long just dumping the snow right on top of them. My goodness, it would be hard not to imagine that someone was picking on them looking at that! Whatever happens during the rest of the winter is going to seem less impressive (I hope) after this. I, of course, then looked at the weather for the trip up to Maine to pick up the stuff from Dad’s house. If not clear skies, at least I see no snow this weekend.
I hope the snow holds off, John’s been chopping wood, but I still haven’t chopped up the tree Raven took down this summer, and we’re going to need it. We’ve started firing up the woodstove more than occasionally this week, and once again, I am very happy we have it.
Mostly I continue with my “hunkering down for winter” urges. I want to clean. I want to make my nest or den clean, snug, and organized, and not go out again until spring. Sadly, by the time I’m done with dishes, laundry, cooking, (more dishes), I’m wiped out again, so it’s pushing uphill.
I wish I could say that I was feeling totally recovered thanks to my week of “hybernation”, but not so much. I am feeling better. I generally get up in the mornings feeling relatively perky, but fade about the time it gets dark. I’ll also admit that I am liable to spend most of the morning reading. I am pleased that my brain is now beginning to be able to deal with non-fiction again. The books I thought I would finish before the con- on Charms, South Western Witchcraft, etc. also some books by Ellen Dugan (who spoke at Celebrate Samhain) from the library.WML

Over in Milford big plans are being made for their library. For some of us, the 1986 extension seems like just a little while ago, but they are wanting to expand again. Last week when I went by they were taking a tour through the building, pitching the renovation hard. Apparently it still has to get past the town, so maybe it’s not as immanent as it seems. Our expansion took 20 some years to raise the money. They want to eliminate the front lawn and bring the front wall out to the street, which I’m going to say would be very disorienting for me. I go to Milford habitually because they are computerized.  I’d prefer to use the Lyndeboro’ Gregg Free Library, but as long as they aren’t part of a inter-library loan group, I’ll keep paying the $50 a year to use the Milford library. It’s probably a matter of money. Lyndeboro’ has a population of about 15 hundred, Milford 15 thousand. It doesn’t really mean that each person in Lyndeboro’ would have to pay ten times as much in taxes to get the same service, but there is an impact. Mostly it’s seen in the choices we have to make. (and taking twenty to thirty years of bake-sales to raise the money to add another room to the library). I have ordered my Christmas wreath through the library again this year. Since we won’t be going to Darkover, I’ll actually be able to pick it up right after Thanksgiving this time. And have Thanksgiving at home. I miss seeing my family though.

I would say that the big excitement this week was the girls going to Bakuretsu Con in Vermont. It’s a lovely little anime con that’s rather out-growing it’s hotel, but the girls love it. This year they opened a Dealers Row- where artists and others could sell out of their rooms.  They didn’t do as well as in previous years- it’s hard to get people to come into a room unless they see something amazing in the doorway. But they had a great time and Joannie and Raye were across the hall from them.IMG_0391IMG_0395
They also participated in some activities and won the “Iron Cosplay” where you have to make a costume with the materials availaible. (note the clusters of forks on Kat’s shoes!) Iron Cosplay means a team goes in and is given a picture of an anime character at random, and there are a whole bunch of materials around, but they must use certain ones (in this case “forks and corks”), other materials included duct-tape, there were a couple of sewing machine (for 8 teams) and hot melt glue guns. They say the competition was fierce.

This picture shows one of Kat’s lace cravats, very big with the Steampunk and Lolita players. The girl who bought this one also commissioned an outfit from Kat which she’s beginning- she started by getting pictures of the available fabric in Jo-Ann’s and sent that to the client. I have recommended that she get the materials costs up front, but I think she knew that already.
They left on Thursday and stopped on the way to get acupuncture, and got back Sunday night tired but happy. They had to go out and buy sweaters because they forgot their coats, and it was snowing up there. We were on the rain/snow line. (There was a bit of snow on the ground down here when I woke up, but it was gone before I went outside.)

This left John and I up to our own devices all weekend. I continued my resting up. This meant sleeping, reading, and Mark loaned me the third season of Person of Interest, which I’ve been watching a bit at a time. As my energy gradually returns (too gradually IMO), so does my “ambition”. This means small projects like taking the seeds out of the pumpkins we got for Halloween, but never carved. The seeds are the best part anyway. I console myself that this year we had the shriveled apple heads we carved on Martinmas.
I polished our porringers and cups. Whatever I’ve been using has that side effect that often happens of leaving a film on the silver that makes it tarnish faster. This time I tried the trick where you put them in boiling water with baking soda and aluminum foil. That got all the black tarnish off (and the foil looked very weird), but they were dull, so I polished them up with toothpaste, and now they look great! Other than that I’m beginning to clean the house (as energy permits).
I’ve reserved a trailer to bring my share of Dad’s stuff down from Farmington for Friday. I know we already own a trailer, but the idea of emptying it into the great hall, then having to put it back in the next time we need it (or even just trying to get around in there with another  hundred and fifty cubic feet of “stuff” on top of what’s in there now) was more than I could face. Liz warned me that by the time you’re done, it costs twice as much as you expect. I did look at trucks on the website- but I’d have to pay the milage both ways, or get my car back, so why not rent a trailer just like ours? At least we know the van can pull it, and we can drive with it. Between now and then I’m trying to create the space to bring the new stuff in. You know the rule, you don’t bring anything in the house without getting at least the same amount out. So I need to get rid of the old table that used to be in the kitchen in Winchester (not in great shape, but better than what we had), make room for a desk and a book case, and one of the old chairs that was in here when we moved in. And I’m thinking Bruce’s entertainment center. I like it because it has slots for records, but it’s not in the room I keep the record player in, and it’s huge.
Our current plan is to switch the dining and living rooms. Currently the “dining room” has the piano, sewing machines and three computers in it. I figure rather than the table, we’ll put in the comfy chairs, and put the dining table in the room we don’t go into as much. It’s still just out a kitchen door. I also theorize it may have originally been the dining room because it’s got that built-in china cupboard. I guess we’ll see how it works out when we’ve got things moved around. My only worry is should we move the sideboard in with the dining table? We’re currently using it as a liquor cabinet, and I’m thinking it shouldn’t be in the room where we use the wii and guitar hero, in case moving around shakes the floor too much. Clearly the way we use our living space is undergoing changes. Before computers came into the picture, there was no reason to heat the upstairs. It was only being used for sleeping and dressing. Now the girls work out of their rooms and the lack of heat is significant.
Steve came up on Saturday and we had a lovely supper. I made a pumpkin pie with the bits of the pumpkin flesh when I separated the pumpkin seeds. The pie was much softer and fluffier- not unlike a pumpkin chiffon pie- than the ones I’m used to made with canned pumpkin. I hadn’t noticed that before, but apparently Steve did.
I was also able to chat with him about Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison, a book Steve had recommended on his last visit, which is a fun urban fantasy book. Apparently this is the first book in a series. The premise is that some sort of mutated virus killed off enough humans that it took them down to about the same population as the paranormal folk- vampires, weres, witches (god I hate it when they redefine witches as not human!), so the balance of power is just balanced, magick is out in the open, just licensed. The protagonist is a witch who uses her skills to keep all the paranormal activity within legal parameters. That’s fine as far as it goes, but it really bothers me that despite this major depopulation, just about everything from the space race to JR getting shot seems to have happened just the same as it did in our reality. That jars my suspension of disbelief. This is not to say that I probably won’t read the entire series. I especially like the pixies.

I have decided to hold off on quitting hosting the New Normal until I’m sure it’s not depression motivating the decision. On the other hand, I haven’t got guests, so I’m simply talking by myself- doing workshops on air that I’ve done live before. It helps to have an interactive audience, or rather, is disorienting not to have one. Also, for the last couple of weeks they’ve had massive technical difficulties. This week my call kept getting dropped, and the audio cut in and out. I copied and pasted the link and it didn’t copy, but considering how poorly the show recorded, I’m not worried about it. Feh. (Tonight I was talking Grounding and Centering and the energy body.) I’m also getting sick of Wednesday Pizza (something we’ve taken up as it makes it easy for the kids to make dinner when I’m getting ready for the show and writing the letter).
Mark took us out to lunch today to celebrate his birthday. T Bones was a lovely place and we talked almost exclusively about books and food. I’m not sure our brains aren’t all foggy.

What is up with Black Friday? I’ve gotten used to people talking about Black Friday sales, but sheesh! Now I see people talking about stores having Thanksgiving Day Sales. I suppose it wouldn’t bother me horribly if some stores were open on Christmas, as long as I was pretty sure that they were being staffed by people who really didn’t care (were of another religion, and had gotten their holidays off), so why does it bug me that some people are not into Thanksgiving? The most obvious reason is because they haven’t got family to spend it with [or maybe food to celebrate- eep! I guess I’d rather not think about that one.]
I was born into a loving family. We had problems, but we worked on them together. Our family works (although Dan is somewhat of a mystery). While I was growing up our friends were loving and supportive, I think my parents gravitated to that kind of people. I find the idea of not having family in range to share Thanksgiving disturbing (which is probably why so many people travel). If you haven’t got family, you share the day with friends. I love Thanksgiving! No decorations, no presents, nothing but family, friends, and food, and the food’s healthy: turkey and vegetables!
I fear that my response may have a tinge of the dreaded “If you don’t share my values, you’re doing it wrong!” response that causes so many problems between people. We need more stories that remind us that people can do it lots of ways and still all be right! I’m probably laying a thick layer of “you’re spending too much money on stuff you don’t need!” attitude on it too. I read that 30% of the people who shop on Black Friday are at the doors at 5 a.m.. I remember Lisa’s glee at snagging those incredible deals. For her shopping was the equivalent of hunting/gathering; she studied the landscape, she knew the seasons of availability, and the habits of her quarry, and boy could she score! I was never in her league! If it’s done that way, as a joy, why not? At the same time, I wish people the most joy and fellowship possible this holiday, and I think getting together regularly is good for families. If it’s too easy to just avoid each other, we never get the problems we need to work on settled. Family is your drop-dead back-up. They have your back, no matter what.

Stuff on the internet that’s caught my attention is the bizarre way the discussion about fashion hijacked the news about the probe landing on the comet. There have been some thoughtful articles about how social media reinforces our perceptions to make us think that a greater percentage of the rest of the world thinks the way we do than really do. I like keeping track of what my friends are up to- although they are more “potential friends” than actual ones. There are many really great people out there with whom I’m sure I could be friends, if we interacted more, but we don’t, so really, we aren’t. It is a sad fact of life that I cannot possibly spend enough time with all the wonderful people I’ve met and like, much less the great ones I’d like if I ever met them. I do find this frustrating because I don’t want to give up a potential relationship even more than I don’t like to choose between the ice-cream sundae and the baklava. The problem is, since they don’t all fit, you can end up with a taste of each and while full, not satisfied. Choices need to be made, and I’m really not good at that. Another thing I did this week was update the facebook “invitations” to our Solstice open-house next month. We never know who’s going to be available, and at what point, so we just hope some of the wonderful people we know will come by. I found a copy of a printed out Christmas card list, and I’ve started putting it back into the computer. It depresses me how many people I know who’ve died, or whose addresses probably won’t work, so how will I ever get back in touch with them?

Ah well, I’m fading fast. I do look forward to having my usual level of energy and cognitive ability. If I thought this was going to continue indefinitely, I wouldn’t be depressed, I’d be morose and depressed. However, I still have hope. (As we say “I’m not vomitting.”)
Virginia

“Most witches don’t believe in gods. They know that the gods exist, of course. They even deal with them occasionally. But they don’t believe in them. They know them too well. It would be like believing in the postman.”
― Terry Pratchett, Witches Abroad

“The gods of the Disc have never bothered much about judging the souls of the dead, and so people only go to hell if that’s where they believe, in their deepest heart, that they deserve to go. Which they won’t do if they don’t know about it. This explains why it is so important to shoot missionaries on sight.”
― Terry Pratchett, Eric

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