12-6-2017 St. Nicholas Day

We have a moment of sunshine! I feel like running out and enjoying it while it lasts! In theory there’s snow coming this weekend, but partly clouding is as good as it’s getting for the foreseeable future. I especially need to work on getting the last of the wood into the shed before it snows. The big problem is that it’s so mixed- some pieces need to be split before they can use, some pieces are longer than 14” and some of the pieces are really short- 8”, and some are slanted, where Robert took the angled end off the log; it makes them very hard to stack in a stable way.

This year we decided that rather than bringing out shoes on the night of the 5th, we’d have a nice breakfast together (which we did- french toast and bacon), and pass out the “season oriented” gifts. John got a “I believe” Santa T, I got a cute necklace & earring set with tiny colored jingle-bells, and a new pair of gloves (which I really needed, having foolishly worn my old ones stacking wood), Willow got a sparkly necklace with snowflakes and Kat got clips with [something shiny] for her hair. The girls have also each found fifties style dresses for the party- but sadly, the one Willow got doesn’t fit, even though she used their chart and measured herself before ordering it!  As she said “never buy clothes on the internet”. This is our family tradition- if there are presents that would only be used during the holiday season, give them for St. Nicholas Day, so there’s a chance to use them. These days we don’t much want the candy cane or chocolate bishop in our shoes that used to be important to kids.

Thursday Kat and I went out to Saint Mary’s Bank, which is, despite the name, a Credit Union, and opened a new account for her. She wanted “overdraft protection”, but that’s not available until you’ve been a member for 6 months. As she explained, she wants to start building a credit history, and People’s Bank fees are making it hard for her, too often more than negating the amount of money she takes in as a seamstress. The gentleman helping us suggested she apply for a small loan (for which I will co-sign, he checked my credit and says it’s A+, whatever that means), and put it in a savings account. There’s an automatic “sweep” function, that wil take any overdraft from the linked savings account. Great idea! We’ll have to do the same for John as soon as we can. It’s ridiculously hard for an adult to get by without a credit history these days. So much for traditional financial responsibility. Apparently it doesn’t count unless THEY get to get a cut from it as well as track it. Feh. This did mean I had to go digging through my papers to find proof of my income, which is basically my Social Security survivors benefits. Since that’s so very close to what the mortgage is, there could be a problem with that. For goodness sakes, all this Brough-ha about Social Security and yet what I get (and I assume since Ælfwine was doing fairly well) may not be enough to get a small loan? At the same time, I could easily get it (at usorous fees) from my credit card. And I’m fairly certain my mortgage isn’t very large. (I did try to search the internet for what average mortgage or rent in NH is, but drew a blank. I think it’s mostly about a thousand dollars- most of what I get. All the internet is talking about is the tax bill and what it’s going to do to us. (I guess I shouldn’t write about that, it’s too depressing.)

John had tried to turn on the Christmas lights. Last year we had Wally put them up, and we never took them down (none of us wants to climb ladders), but plugging them in didn’t do it, and I don’t have a good way to figure out where the problem is. I’m bummed about that. I love our Christmas lights.

The big “event” of the week was a litearal event- the Baronial Yule party. It’s done at a small hall in Concord that’s fairly inexpensive, has a small kitchen and adequate parking. Sadly, the accoustics are horrendous, on top of it not being big enough for the number of people who come. It’s a small, relaxed event. There were classes I liked the sound of- but didn’t actually get up and walk down the stairs or even across the room to attend. I just sat there and knit. We sat with Kate the Wicked, and Lady Sorcha Dhorcha, who took pictures (she seems to be on a cast just now, but took pictures). I took some pictures with my phone, but forgot to send them to my computer while I was still out where they could reach each other. But mostly the day was for relaxing with old friends. (Kat, of course, came to take Gold Key in case any was needed.)

We’d hope Avi and her kids would be there, but they didn’t make it. It’s a pity as Father Christmas even had gifts for them! There were several tiny babies there: Michael (who I still think of as Dougal) has a new daughter (and I got to hold her!) Aislin Riversong, and Anjuli has a new grand baby- only weeks old, so tiny and still red, and I blush to discover that I’ve forgotten even the gender much less the name. Other grandchildren were running about looking cute- and just about the age I tend to think of the twins! People keep growing up! I know that’s a good thing, but it’s hard to keep track!

The main “entertainment”, was a mathom exchange. Each person brought something unwrapped to pass along, and people got to pick one. They didn’t call it Mathom, but that’s how we treated it, as the girls took old garb they didn’t wear any more, and I put in a cookie mold that was a dupicate, and Willow remembered the box of trim that we decided we weren’t going to use (“too good to throw away”, but we don’t want it). Vicountess Patty called out the years in the SCA- “Anyone who’s been in the SCA for a year or less, go pick something now.” and backwards until they got to us. I think I was the last (first to join the SCA)- or maybe Harold was, us old folks have a hard time remembering! Even the girls were among the most long-timers! There were lovely things, from books to garb to trim to weapons. I was delighted, and shocked, to get the one I’d had my eye on- an audio course to learn Italian!    (I may need to get a new disc reader for my computer to use it.) Kat got some lovely Victorian style picture frames, and Willow got a sparkly sweater-shrug that will go great with our 50s theme party. OK, so not everything was SCA appropriate, but we liked it! There was also leftovers and I snagged a couple of books on saints. (Yes, there are saints for Computers and Constipation!)

The feast was pot-luck. I brought a bunch of baked goods- I made a gingerbread cottage in my cottage shaped bundt pan with a new very dark recipe that uses coffee instead of hot water to get the mollasses out of the cup. I also brought Russian balls, and a tray of mince pies. I made more doughs- (I was feeling ambitious on Friday, and figured I could get a start on the cookies- mixing the dough and only baking a few of them, but I ran out of energy.)

Part of that was because I spent FAR too much time fighting with the internet. When I got up John had been signed out of his yahoo account, and so couldn’t get to his email. He couldn’t remember his password (turns out Kat had set it up for him years ago, and it wasn’t written down anywhere.) The problem was that the system is set up to retrieve your password by either sending a code to your mobile phone, which he doesn’t have, or another email account, which he doesn’t have. We tried sending it to mine, but when I tried to use it, it kept setting up MY yahoo account (which I rarely use). We finally called, and basically discovered that the only way to get it was to make another email account for him- so now he has a gmail account), and THIS time, his new password(s) are written down! After that, I tried to go to my Social Security account to get some documentation for St. Mary’s, and got a very similar run-around. I still haven’t gotten into it. They alternate telling me that I haven’t got an account, or that there’s already an account with that email, so I can’t get to it or open a new one, since it already exists, except when they say it doesn’t. ARGH! I remind myself that when everything was on paper, it was just as bad only in different ways. Still, it’s emotionally exhausting. We also brought in the pumpkins and processed them into roasted seeds and reduced pulp, and I made stew, and English Muffins. That ate up a lot of the time I was hoping to spend baking. I’m bummed that I didn’t get to make wafers- which I know are period. I’m pretty darned sure that bundt cakes aren’t, and as far as I know, Mince pies became a Christmas thing in the 18th century. Another mistake I made was forgetting to put a knife with the cake. Someone said people weren’t eating it because it was too pretty to cut, but I think I just needed to have left a knife there, and didn’t think of it until after the line had gone through,  so about half of it came home. If I were to bring cookies again, I think 4 dozen would be more appropriate than two dozen of each, since that’s closer to the number of people who came.

Pot lucks are lovely, and they even had non-alcohol drinks (which is often a problem) because there are so many children. People DID bring various home-brews to share and taste. Anjuli’s daughter (Barbara, I think) had made her first hard cider mead, and Danamas brought a lovely ale over. There were a LOT of different brews to taste, and I need to remember to bring a tiny tasting cup. When you hold out a 8 ounce goblet, people tend to want to fill it at least half way! Next year I think we’ll bring a stew, because even though there were about 8 crockpots there, at the end of the line almost all the meatballs, ham, turkey, … basically the non-baked goods… was gone. Speaking of “gone”, when we went out for the feast chest, we discovered that mice (we think- could be chipmunks) had chewed up the edge of the box trying (I think) to enlarge the finger grip into an entrance hole. We are going to have to get a new one. Willow found a smaller one, that would just barely hold 3 plates, bowls and cups- no candles, and the other stuff we often take. The down-side of having so much stuff!

Yesterday John and I went to Marks and helped him sort through his excess stuff. He’s still finding stuff that was Bruce. I shudder to think of the sorting that will be needed when we finally decide to leave this house. Mother always told me that “mess expands to fill the space allowed it”, and also that I was never so happy as when surrounded with chaos. I actually think it’s chaos that shows potential- she had noticed me sighing with bliss when we brought down the holiday decorations. The same thing happened to me in a theatre before the curtain. It’s not the chaos, it’s the infinite potential that seduces me.

Sadly, I think I’m having a hard time adjusting to my current energy levels. I still think it terms of what’s “normal” for me for the last 30 years or so, and apparently I had more energy than “normal” people. That would be the people who were always amazed at how much I got done. I still have the same inability to do nothing, I just have to pick sedentary things to do. So when I don’t have the energy I expect to have, I am surprised, and start projects I can’t finish in the time I expect to take. I must learn my new levels, although my preference would be to “recover”. I fear that may be as unlikely as losing weight by dieting!

Sunday Steve came up for breakfast. We had pancakes and bacon. It was a lovely relaxed day. I sort of needed a day of not doing much, because I was dizzy. I’m thinking it may have been caused by dehydration. The water in Concord tasted strongly of chlorine and I couldn’t drink it! Usually I spend all day drinking water and tea. Mark also came by for a while, so it was a very social day. For supper we had pork pies, of the English cylindrical type that is mostly meat. I did put in some potatoes. It’s just a different sort of flavor than the Cornish pasties, because they’ve got lots more vegetables in them. Steve, who has a great capacity for watching while I work, provided moral support while I went through a box of old mail, and I hate to think about it, but I still have more to go. Kat’s been cleaning, and keeps finding piles of it lying around in bins where I’ll “get to it as soon as possible”. I really need to get a filing system- or maybe figure out what things need to be saved and what tossed. One things for sure, three quarter of what is delivered is junk mail and I sure wish I could stop it.

This weekend Willow’s going up to Nor’geekster Geek Holiday Fair and has been busting her butt getting ready for it. Aside from new blankets, she’s made a bunch of the cutest little capes, and in theory was thinking of doing a huge production of getting pictures of everything. She was a bit handicapped by getting a gouge in the web between her first finger and thumb while cutting something. Ouch! Those special H shaped “fingertip” bandages we didn’t have when I was a kid are very useful!

Another thought Willow had this week- if we put those “cat runs (basically a shelf 8” below the ceiling around the tops of rooms) Zoloft’s tail is so like a duster that we wouldn’t have to dust the cobwebs anymore- wherever there were runs. (Of course, the spiders might just make webs UNDER the runs. Darn, that would have been a great trick!)

I have been SO tired lately that I haven’t read too much. I finished Charms and Chocolate Chips (a magical Bakery mystery). It sort of bothers me that the titles of this series don’t tell you anything about which is which! I don’t think it was Some Enchanted Eclair- the one where the bakery is catering a film being shot locally. Could have been Magic and Macaroons? No that’s the one I’ve just started. I remember her explaining the difference between a Macaroon and a Macaron to someone.  I’ve sort of started the Cozy Cookbook, a book with recipes and short mysteries by assorted mystery writers. I thought I could read that over breakfast with Willow, who likes the company, but not talking while she’s waking up. I finished Poppy Done to Death, #8 in the Aurora Teagarden series. My favorite bit was the “Uppity Women” group. Roe is as hard on friends and relatives as Jessica Fletcher. Dangerous to know! Next up, All the Little Liars, and that’s about the end of that series.

I’ve also continued with my re-reading of the Earth’s Children- sort of skimming to find my favorite parts. Auel REALLY got worse about long descriptions of landscape and sex in Plains of Passage. The one, I figure to share all the “fascinating stuff” she found while doing her research, the second, I figure because her publishers asked for it. But really, sex is sex, and as nice as it may be for those involved, descriptions of it are as boring as reading about the flora and fauna they are passing. I find the descriptions of what plants she’s using for what medical treatment far more interesting than where they are kissing each other! I decided to put on the movie the Clan of the cave bear,  to see if it was better than I remembered. It wasn’t. I guess it was a book that wouldn’t transform well to a movie.

Another disc of True Blood came in from Netflix. By the fourth season the characters and stories had diverged so much it’s hard to relate them to the ones in the books. And I found a documentary on Nelly Bly, although I’d rather have heard more about her “stunt reporting”- on Ten Days in a Mad House, than her trip around the world in 73 days. John had Doctor Who: Robots of Death and I watched that with him. (It was a 4th Doctor- Tom Baker cycle from 1977.) Yes the special effects aren’t up to current levels, but it’s still fun to watch. Baker has such delight in the role.

This weekend Willow’s going up to Nor’geekster Geek Holiday Fair and has been busting her butt getting ready for it. Aside from new blankets, she’s made a bunch of the cutest little capes, and in theory was thinking of doing a huge production of getting pictures of everything. She was a bit handicapped by getting a gouge in the web between her first finger and thumb while cutting something. Ouch! Those special H shaped “fingertip” bandages we didn’t have when I was a kid are very useful!

One of the CTCW speakers Amy Wilson called, and had time to come on the New Normal this week. I had her cover Emotional Transformation  how to use your fear to understand yourself better), which was a workshop she did at CTCW that I didn’t get to. I really need to find another venue, I’m just concerned that if I do they may ditch my archived shows. I want to make sure that doesn’t happen before I move. It’s like my putting off switching my bank account to St. Mary’s because I don’t want the bother of switching all my automatic payments over. I am so lazy! (Or exhausted, but I don’t want to admit that.) I had a brief glimmer of hope over an article that headlined that the Republicans had screwed the tax bill up so much that they were going to scrap it and start over, but by the end I realized that it was simply a litany of all the math mistakes they made, and the conclusion was simply wishful thinking. I don’t think messing up their math is going to bother folks who don’t mind screwing over most of the Americans for the benefit of their rich friends. Oops, sorry, didn’t mean to drift into politics.

Until next week-


“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” Theadore Roosevelt

6 Wednesday  Pawnbrokers Day/St. Nicholas Day, Gazpacho Day, Microwave Oven Day,
7 Thursday  National Cotton Candy Day/ Fairy Floss Day, Bodhi Day, Letter Writing Day
8 Friday Brownie Day, Christmas Tree Day, Pretend To Be A Time Traveler Day, Cremation Day, Official Lost & Found Day,
9 Saturday Gingerbread Decorating Day, Christmas Card Day, Pastry Day,  Anti-corruption Day, Weary Willie Day,
10 Sunday Lager Day, Dewey Decimal System Day, Human Rights & Animal Rights Days, Worldwide Candle Lighting Day,
11 Monday Noodle Ring Day, Mountain Day, Kaleidoscope Day, Green Monday, Have a Bagel Day
12 Tuesday Hanukkah first night, Ambrosia Day, Gingerbread House Day, Cocoa Day, Lost Day, Poinsettia Day
13 Wednesday Lucia Day, Cocoa Day, Ice Cream Day, Popcorn String Day, Violin Day, Day of The Horse