12-1-2014 Kalends of December

Hello again,                                     December 1st (should have been November 26th)

DSC01605OK, having thought about it, I’ve decided to write the letter today that should have gone out last Wednesday- before the storm took out our power.  I generally write on Wednesdays (Wednesdays are supposed to be under the influence of Mercury/Hermes/Woden- gods of communication, but also, it’s not when we’re packing for or unpacking from some trip, so they’re good for me!)
Wednesdays are also the day I do my podcast, and since it was the day before Thanksgiving I figured I’d talk about food, but we lost power around noon, got it back, and I posted on the announcement pages that if I didn’t make it, it would be because we lost power. I don’t know if I mentioned that the last couple of weeks I’ve had trouble with the  “station”. The producer, Rob Z, has changed something, but then a few days before this he fell on the ice(he was holding both his one year old and four year old) and broke his femur. At the time they thought he was going to need a hip replacement, but he’s just gotten home and may get away with pins and 6 months of rehabilitiation. If he’s lucky he’ll be able to hobble around by Christmas. I’m sending healing energy to him, but as you might guess, it doesn’t keep me from feeling annoyed about the inconvenience to me in dealing with the problems with the hardware. I keep thinking there should be another way to get in. (Come to think of it, since we’ve maintained the “land line”, if I had written down the number, maybe… Someone still would have had to turn it on.) But with no producer there, options were limited. I’ve gotten more used to the idea that for now I’m doing the shows by myself. I reminded myself that they are not unlike doing a workshop- only no feedback. I really miss the feedback! Meanwhile, I’m not going to “kick him when he’s down” by dropping the show, and if I do several of the workshops I’ve done at events in the past, it may bring us through the holiday season and CTCW speakers may be ready to join us again.
Glancing at the last letter, I see that I have really recovered a lot from where I was two weeks ago. I’m still full of the usual annoyance that I’m not 30 or even 45 any more, but I’m doing OK. Willow, on the other hand, is having a round Chronic Fatigue that makes it such a debilitating illness: the weakness, assorted and generalized pains, and, of course, depression that go along with that. She keeps plugging away at anything she can do sitting down, which is still pretty impressive.     Once again she’s painting individual holiday cards for about 50 friends, and she’s doing an “advent calendar” of art, where she asked for suggestions and is posting a piece of holiday art from now until Christmas using those suggestions. So far she’s gotten multiple ones about holiday sweaters. Goodness. Sweaters are hard!
Kat is doing a bit better, still not great, but better enough that she was concerned about sending me up to pick up the furniture in Maine alone, so she came along, and so did Willow- mostly because I don’t drive at night anymore and while the plan was to get home before dark, dark is VERY early these days. We did make it up to the Farmington U-haul before dark, but dropping the trailer off at Davis Street, we realized that we hadn’t grabbed the padding blankets, and had to go back to get them. By that time it WAS dark, so instead of starting to load, we went over to Liz’s house.
Liz’s house is “tiny”, but that’s sort of deceptive. There’s her bedroom and bathroom upstairs, a living-room and two level kitchen/dining room downstairs, (with porches off the back and in front), but she’s finished the basement so that it’s got a bath/laundry room, and two (small) bedrooms, with a large “foyer” which provides a separate entrance and a place to sit. She rents it out sometimes- sort of a bed & breakfast deal, or her kids can come visit. Kat and Willow shared the double, and I took the single. Sadly, Liz’s daughter Erin also was up, so she was going to take the couch, but Liz fell asleep on it, and she slept in Liz’s room. My girls went out during the evening to the local movie theater, and saw Big Hero 6, giving Liz and I a chance to gossip. They loved the movie and now I want to see it. Liz and I also watched another hour or so of the Hobbit, which she’d accidentally gotten in 3-D (so you have to wear glasses to watch it), and we’d watched the beginning when I visited last, and we may be able to finish it in a couple of visits. I really don’t think it being in 3-D helps the story. As a matter of fact, I think it hinders it, because I think they put in excessive segments that are there solely to show off the 3-D technology and, while they may sell the rides, they don’t do a thing to further the plot. When the girls got back and Erin arrived, Kat did a Tarot reading for each of them, and I was VERY impressed with how good she has gotten!
DSC01616The next day we loaded up the back of the van and the trailer. We seem to have picked the right size. (I took the one the same size as our trailer because I knew we could handle that one. We didn’t take ours to save us from having to figure out where to put all the stuff we store in it.) We got a stuffed chair and a lamp, Mother’s desk, the kitchen table and chair set, mother’s portrait, and all the photo albums I could find. There was a box of slides, and Liz found another when they were clearing the garage, but while I found the screen, I didn’t find a projector. I have no idea what technology I’ll need to transfer the ones I like to digital, but while I am pretty sure that I can find or create a light box to check them out, and the chances are I will only want a handful from the many trays of slides, I will want SOME. I would be grateful for any ideas on how to deal with that challenge.
My sisters had already gotten most of the stuff out. I got a couple of boxes of incidentals: tablecloths, the brown pitcher in which Mother kept her kitchen implements, the metal tumbler she used to cut biscuits, (Especially as we located some Bakewell Cream while up there,I am SO looking forward to using it, but can’t find the box in which I put it), a box of table cloths, and two of Mother’s Royal Doulton figurines. They are dangerous- while I recognize that they are not useful in any way (I wouldn’t dare call them an investment because they are fragile), but looking at them on the internet, I have fallen in love with the old ladies doing sewing, knitting, etc., and I’ve always loved the ones with the billowy skirts!  We’ve put our two in the secretary we got last year, and I fear I may get more if I can find them at good prices on ebay. I’m also going to probably try my hand at sculpting something that delicate.DSC01602
I found Dad’s college diploma. I left it, in case Kitty or one of the others wanted it, but we can’t keep everything. As a history nut, if not historian (I suppose it depends upon your POV), I feel that things like journals and documents should be preserved… but at some point, you have to recognize that whatever is in excess of the space you have for it is preventing you from using it or the stuff it’s stacked up against! Before we left, Willow took the old table (from Winchester) to the Goodwill, and one of the chairs that was here when we moved in (back in `95) to the recycling center. I VERY much doubt anyone would want it unless they know how to reupholster. I’m trying to learn the “one thing comes in, another must go out” rule, along with getting rid of enough stuff that I can find and use what I have.
DSC01603Liz and Ivan came over and helped load, which is good because I was having more trouble lifting things than I’d expected. It was pretty chilly too, although not in the house. We got out not much after noon, and stopped at a REALLY good chinese restaurant on the way home. Still, I’ll admit that when we got home we just curled up and did nothing until morning. In the morning, we unloaded both the van and the trailer, and dropped it off in Milford. (That’s convenient!) Sadly for Farmington, the guy up there told us that he was giving up doing U-haul because it was just too complicated. I can understand that, and am VERY happy that we got in during his last week!DSC01604
I think I mentioned that Mark took us out to lunch for his birthday, and we had him over for a home-made birthday meal. I made a Coke cake, and we had a lovely roast beef. While shopping for it we tripped over a grass-fed beef that was on sale, but too small for company, so we tried it for ourselves. I’m afraid that I actually prefer the flavor of the grain fed beef- although it may be that I’m just used to it. It was stronger, more like venison.
Kat’s working on her commission, we went out and took pictures of the fabrics available in our local store, and when the client had picked which she preferred, we picked them up. I’d be more comfortable if she’d actually sent the money to cover the materials already, but she also hasn’t sent her measurements yet, so I’m hopeful. Kat still has bad days, but we are seeing improvement. The other day she was doing well enough that she threw her hands in the air and called out “Everybody should be medicated!”. I enjoy her so much! This morning after having pie for breakfast, she told me “I couldn’t be more New England if you poured Maple Syrup over me, dunked me in Clam Chowder and I said ‘you can’t get there from here’!”. (I corrected her: “they-ah from he-ah”)

I am finishing The Invisible History of the Human Race, which I thought was going to be all about DNA, but started out with genealogy, and moved on through how people have looked at what get passed down, and measured it, and played with the information (very spooky stuff when looking at the eugenics movement). I suppose that part of Christine Kenneally’s interest may come from her Australian background, (do you remember the song Son of Scoundrel? I prefer the Clam Chowder version, of course) I know my perspective is informed by the books I’ve read in the last few years about how badly the Irish were treated- actually I suppose it is simple “class warfare”. At most periods of history the haves come up with justifications (ie. “God’s Will”) for treating the have-nots badly. Just today a friend was venting about how she’d had to deal with a guy who wouldn’t seem to get that the problem was not that the poor he saw in one city but not in another weren’t a problem with the poor, but with the tourist industry in the “nice” city that carefully cleared away the poor so no one had to see them.
Our friend Shema works with the homeless, and we actually discussed whether we’d go up to Concord (which, like too many other cities, has made it illegal to feed the homeless), and get arrested for Thanksgiving. We opted to instead send A Sacred Place some money so they could keep doing it. So many people are homeless, not by choice but by circumstance, and most are eager to get back into the more familiar situation of having a home. What bizarre line of reasoning convinces them that making it harder to get by is going to improve the situation in any way?! I am so annoyed by this.
I was also pretty depressed by the news from Ferguson. I’ve always heard that it’s possible to indict a ham sandwich, they had to have really twisted things around to make the grand jurors not even send that to trial. To deny taking that to trial is an horrible blow to justice, and I’m hoping that it will motivate people to make useful changes. I worry that it will make too many people feel that there is no hope.
I have started several more books- my mind is bouncing around, noting the similarities between the work of Serbian Charmers, Hawaiian kahuna, American dowsers, Japanese hado workers, and the “witches” of the Indiginous people of the Southwest. (Charms, Charmers, Charming, La’a Kea – The Lovelight, The Healing Mind, The Healing Power of Hado, Witchcraft in the Southwest). Comparing systems leads me to connections like this one: If dowsers move geo-energy streams with iron spikes, is that what’s going on in the human energy field with acupuncture?
We picked up a copy of the fifth book in the Roman series by Rick Reordan: Blood of Olympus, but luckily Willow likes to reread the previous books before she reads the new one, so I got to read it first. It was a satisfying finale, and I am really looking forward to the next series which they say is going to be about the gods of Asgard. While I’m not quite as bad as Willow on liking to see a series all together, I have many of the same urges. After watching the Hobbit (!) I feel like going back and reading the book. I also realize that I’ve been re-watching the second season of Person of Interest (Mark loaned me) before watching the third season. (John also remembered that there was a Thanksgiving episode of Buffy, and pulled it out, and I watched not only that one, but all the episodes on the disk. It was a good show! The copy of the 1981 Pennies from Heaven finally came in through Inter Library Loan.  I think I watched the British version with Bob Hoskins about six months ago, but it took a while for them to get a hold of the copy with Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters. As with the British version, the music was good, the cinematography was marvelous- it was visually spectacular. The acting was good, the dancing (I loved Christopher Walken’s striptease), but the characters, although they showed how each of them was dragged unwillingly into their bad behavior, were just not appealing. They were sordid and pathetic. Some of the dance numbers reminded me of old Busby Berkley musicals- but the whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth. I think it was a very good film, but I didn’t really like it.

That catches me up to last Wednesday, and I’ll write about this week’s adventures with the snowstorm and it’s aftermath on this Wednesday, as usual. It’s amazing to me that you seem to enjoy our families adventures. (Hmmm, did I tell you about Willow’s baked potato salad? Which week was that? I’ll tell you about it in the next.)

I am looking forward to scanning and sharing some of our great family pictures: There’s this one of my Great grandmother “Mammie”, Grandmother, and Mother as a baby.

ancestorshiresThis one is my father’s parents Albert and Nellie Richards. I always thought I looked just like Grammie, but I think now that I look like a combination of the two of them. (Where, I wonder, is my Murray DNA?)
They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it’s not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.
Terry Pratchett

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