1/21/2010 Hot Tea Month

I have been shoveling snow today. Mike, across the street, has got a mini-tractor which has a plow and a snow-blower on it. This neat toy may in some way relate to the sign out front that says he does landscaping. We move the snow the old fashioned way- with shovels. This week’s snow is perfect for snowmen and snowballs- it sticks to itself beautifully. Sadly, that’s not what we have in mind. It’s much heavier than the powdery stuff. It also stuck to all the trees, and outlines them, so it’s easy to see the ones that were damaged in the ice storm last year. Very pretty for us, but I keep thinking it may be dangerous for the trees, and I am SO happy I’m not some squirrel or rabbit out in it, looking for a way to stay warm and eat.
This is the period in between the Yule holidays and the Midwinter celebrations of Imbolc and Carnival and Valentines Day. We are hunkered in, eating simple foods: potatoes, macaroni and cheese, meat-loaf, pot roast, tuna noodle casserole, “glop” (tuna, cheese and rice); occasionally when the wood-stove has made a nice bed of coals we can grill a steak over them.
The East Kingdom 12th Night was in Vermont this year, very close and the people organizing it are wonderful, but it was against the Arisia convention, so I didn’t get to go. Recently they seem to have discovered cookie sales as a fundraising technique to help subsidize the Royalty travel expenses. Ragnar was nice enough to come by and pick up a batch to take in from me even though I couldn’t make it there. For weeks I pondered what sort to make: I’ve heard Chocolate Chip Cookies referred to as “coin of the realm”, certainly many mercenary armies are paid in them, but I’m an “old fart” and should do something authentic. Finally, time grew very short so I opted for Madelines. They are very yummy, and cook up very fast, and may be authentic- I’m not sure. I’ve spent years trying to find out when cake pans were developed.
Aside from packing and cookie making, we were also making our contribution the “food plan”. Apparently some people can’t deal with the smell of tuna, so that was out. After a great deal of e-mails back and forth about who was allergic to what, we decided to go for the Chicken Fiesta, as Suliman and Gizallah joined the plan and brought a couple of roasted chickens, which could serve those who couldn’t deal with the varied ingredients in the casserole. I know I’ve told you the recipe before, but in case you lost it and are curious, besides it’s a great comfort food without being bland.

Fiesta Chicken
pre cook 2 cups rice in 6 cups water
saute 2 chicken breasts, chopped into bite sized piece
melt 1/2 lb. Velvetta (you may need to add a little milk)
add 16 oz sour cream
1 can fiesta corn (or you can use normal if you can’t find it)
1 jar (16 oz) salsa
Mix it all together and serve, or save and reheat.

The other main dish we made was curried lamb- I basically take a lamb and roast it, then cut it up because I first learned to make it as a “leftover” dish- but I like using the drippings from the roast to make gravy. We brought frozen peas and a big tray of Jasmine rice to go with it. I also made a tray of brownies, but we were so full at the end of the meals (Jane also made salads, and had various munchies, and Kirstin kept making bread in her bread machine) that no one was really interested in them- an unusual situation with my brownies. Willow also made some of her vegetable salad which we thought would be good for people who got hungry between meals. Another member of the group, Jessie, didn’t bring food, but did all the washing up, so we didn’t even have to deal with that. Jessie was dressed (some of the time, not while washing dishes) in a wonderful Vulcan costume- she won the Guest of Honour’s hall costume prize.
While I was cooking, Kat was dealing with the Yudo machine- it’s a fancy screen printing gadget. They keep coming up with ideas for T shirts, and made one up before Darkover- an image of Vlad The Impaler with the words “Apparently I sparkle”, everyone there loved it, so the girls ordered the machine (having checked local stores first) and it arrived Wednesday morning while they were out doing the errands. There was some learning curve- how to get it right- basically Kat got it down around midnight Wednesday night, and spent Thursday morning making T shirts. RAther than having to cut the film with an razor knife, now you can make your image on the computer and it and that applies a solvent that eats away the part you don’t want, and then something fixes what’s left. Very cool, and once you have figured out the technology, much easier than the old way. Kat has a couple of other designs she’s planning on doing, but didn’t have time for Arisia.

In theory the rooms were available at three, but I wonder if they were ready before that, because Jane went in the night before. The dealers were all on the third floor, and many had the beds taken out to better display their wares- we did. (We brought our inflatable mattresses and tucked them away during the day.) I actually didn’t bother going to look at the other merchants rooms. Stuff is wonderful and appealing, and I’m sure I’d have wanted to buy it had I seen it, so I didn’t. Jane’s room was right next to ours, and we were only a few steps from the stairwell. Arisia was in the Hyatt Regency- it’s shaped like a step pyramid, and part of the stairwell is a direct line under the roof, so you can see the stairs ahead of you going up (at the bottom it’s the usual stacked stair cases going around and around). One of the things you can do at the con is Climb Mount Arisia- go up the stairwell from the bottom to the 16th floor. They give you a token at the bottom and at the top you get a ribbon to show you’ve done it. If you do it more than once, you get a star on your ribbon. I did it last year, and again this year, just to say I could- but I am not ready to do it multiple times! (On my way back down there was a fellow who just went up and down again and again- he had 28 stars!)
Because we were next door, it was easy to pop over for supper. Jane put a sign on her door closing up for an hour- set up a table in the middle and we all got to eat together- except of course that we tended to be all running off anyway, but it was jolly while we were there- crowded though, and the girls generally filled their plates and ate over in our room. In with Jane was Ed Dragonslayer and Morwenna, Berowne of Arden (their SCA names, I think they are called Ed, Jeanne and Jim, and Jessie. Across the hall was Kirsten with Suliman and Ghisallah. They are selling buttons to raise money to fight Alzheimer’s that say Disembugger Terry Pratchett, since that’s the word Pratchett uses for his condition. (There were also several fund raising things for Haiti at the con.) Cathy and Sean had a room somewhere else in the hotel but ate with us- they brought a lovely spicy rice dish, I forget what it was called. Not on the foodplan, but just down the hall were Andrew and Tish of Alchemy. It’s gotten so a lot of our friends are other merchants we see at shows. Our room was facing the Charles- and we were right across from BU. I could recognize Marsh Chapel and 700 (Commonwealth Avenue, one of my old dorms), and see the Citgo sign in Kenmore Square. It was a lovely view, and we kept the curtains open except when the sun got too bright for the customers.
We’d had the bed, TV etc. taken out, with the addition of assorted tables we had all the room we needed to display our wares- the main problem was the obvious one that hotel room doors are not store fronts, and customers have to come in to see what you’ve got. We put a bin of stockings outside the door, the brightly dyed silks just inside, and signs (“Come in, We’ve got Sparklies!”)
The packing was so tight that Willow opted not to bring her Maleficent outfit for the Masquerade (which is what they call the costume contest). There are over 20 yards of fabric in the robe, and then there are the tall shoes, the horned headdress, and the staff. We just didn’t have the room- so I guess she’ll do it next year. She’d like to put together a “program disc” anyway. The most impressive costumers have background music and lighting instructions for the techies running the show, sometimes multiple people have little skits. If she’s going to have a fantastic costume, she might as well do it Magnificently.
We didn’t get there much after three, and were off loaded by five, at which point, when Willow got up from parking the car, I realized that the bin in which we’d put the stuff for the Art Show wasn’t there. We called Jon and he found it on a chair in the dining room. So poor Willow got back into the car, and drove through Boston Rush Hour, and got back with it at 10, too late for me to put the art up. The artists reception was up there from 9-11. I did go to that even though my work wasn’t up yet. I got to see the other artists work, which was incredibly varied. Sarah Clemens was the Artist Guest of Honor, whose work I’ve admired for years. My favorites are the Magnus and Loki series: paintings of a pair of pets- a cat, and a dragon about the same size doing the kind of things pets do. There was another artist who made beautiful jewelry of silver wire- so beyond the usual chain-mail jewelry one sees so often it’s not the same thing at all. (Rather than rings, his links are trefoils and quatrefoils, and his work is in sterling silver and gold.) We chatted and he gave me a knotwork bracelet (in cotton). In the morning I took the pictures up and hung them, which only took about a forty-five minutes. While Jane brought the paintings I’d made for her book covers last year, this year I just did a selection of my portrait sketches with the rack of flyers offering to come do them at the con if they called my cell. I’ll be honest- since the flyers cost a buck each, I was worried that people might just take them as I’ve seen kids do- taking one of everything that’s free, to chuck it as soon as they got home, but I needn’t have worried. Only twelve were taken all weekend.
The up side of that was that I didn’t get interrupted during the panels I attended, and as much as I love doing portrait sketches, I would have been ambivalent about being pulled out of them. As opposed to the workshops they have at many events I attend, at Arisia they have panels- which generally consist of three to six people sitting at the front, each expounding on the topic of the panel, and then taking questions about it from the audience. Last year I volunteered so much information at the one on Modern Pagans that Starwulf was moderating. He said he wanted me on it this year, but I didn’t know how to put my name in. This year I asked at the programming office, and now have to come up with a description of myself that doesn’t look lame next to all the nerds and geeks to whom I enjoy listening.
I didn’t get to any of the Friday panels (most vendors don’t get to any unless they are panelists, so I shouldn’t complain- I think Cathy did six panels, and Starwulf five, I know some did a dozen), but I did reserve a spot in the Blood Drive the next day, and got to the artists reception, and we got the room set up. Saturday I got to the end of Self Healing (after setting up my panel in the Art Show), Non-Feudal political Fantasy, I gave blood, and attended the Ask a Geek panels on Biology and Medicine, and Sociology and Culture. One question was about the difference between generic and name brand drugs (it mostly has to do with the fillers, and colors they use). The Ask a Geek panels are some of my favorites, but I missed the Physics one because there was an art panel against it.
I made a push to go to ones that might help me make a living as an artist; there are enough of us aspiring artists out there that there were quite a few panels in that area. How to Price Your Art contained the usual warnings to remember to track all the time you put into the non-art part of the art business, and then they point out that you can’t charge as much as your time is worth because you won’t get it. No really useful information there. The Business of Art talked a lot about how selling jewelry off websites and mailing your paintings to shows you can’t physically get to. Charisma is not a Dump Stat was about presenting yourself well. [The reference is to Gaming terminology. In Role Playing Games all characters/people are described by giving points to their abilities- strength, wisdom, intelligence, dexterity, constitution, charisma etc. 10 is average, 18 exceptional, and 5 or less means you are working under a handicap. In order that games work, people are given an equal number of points. There are obvious advantages to having a lot of points in strength, or intelligence, if you’re a fighter, you want strength, and dexterity and probably constitution (for healing quickly), but don’t need the intelligence and wisdom as much. A Cleric needs more wisdom, but less strength. Most people tend to steal points from charisma (how people react to you) to put into other categories, hence “dump stat”.] The good part was that they didn’t say “lose weight, wear $300 suits, and get your hair done professionally.” What they mostly were saying was be reasonable, respectful and kind, be clean, spell correctly, be nice to people. (Artists can’t afford to be temperamental until after they’re rich and famous.) By the end of the day I was “this close” to just chucking the whole idea of art, and looking for a 9-5 job so I could support myself and do art on weekends, although, of course, part of what they said was that almost no one can manage to find time around the edges of a normal work week to be an artist, and art is probably my most unique ability- I don’t have 20 years to work my way up through the ranks to shine at something everyone else does. I missed Making your own Way because I was giving blood, and had signed up for it because I didn’t recognize the title as an artist panel. I just skipped Branching Out in Art because I know that I am trying to tighten my focus, so I don’t want to get into other types of art, and besides, I was disgusted with the discouraging, non-useful other “art” panels. (That night I had dreams about people giving me advice that didn’t address the problems I was actually having.) I can still imagine that maybe one of the people who took flyers made decide they want me to do a book cover for them, and I did do the first sketches for doing a logo for Cathy and Sean’s Foresight.
I went to a panel on Disabilities in Science Fiction (I thought it was the one about depictions of disabilities in SF, but that was a different panel, this one was about making cons accessible to the handicapped. The one about handicapped heros like Miles Vorkosigan was during one of our dinner breaks.) Actually I took more away from that than many other panels. The description by the blind panelist about how most people won’t respect her guide dog’s needs to not be touched when working (“Sorry, I just HAVE to pet your dog!”) and how she needs to keep taking him away for breaks from having two thousand people around him, reminded me why Kat doesn’t much like going out into the halls either.
There were lots of panels on Fairy and Folk Tales this year. I went to the Inherent Darkness in Fairy Tales where they deplored Disney a LOT. I got to share one of my favorite quotes: “Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.” (That’s by G. K. Chesterton, although of course, I didn’t remember it at the time.) As odd as it seems, fairy tales teach kids how to negotiate the real world, studies have shown that people who hear, read or have fairy tales told or read to them in their childhood become more stable, capable adults. (I would so LOVE to know the mechanism whereby this happens!) I really enjoyed the panel Fairies of Color- non European Fae which talked about the supernatural folk in American, African and Asian tales. I chose Bioethics over Myth and Fantasy but caught Analyzing Fairy Tales, Mythology, and Folklore. There was a great graph with one axis being time from the recent remembered to the distant unknowable past, and the other axis was the level of supernatural in the tale, and all the various subgroups of stories were placed on this chart. I was personally amazed (in many panels) at how much some people seemed to care about what a sub-genre of story was called. They even differentiated between SiFi, Esseff, and Science Fiction, which are apparently, in their lexicon, NOT the same.
Other panels I went to included Climate Science, which was mostly about Global Warming. I think the most interesting part of that is the effect where while the glaciers are melting at the edges, especially near the oceans, the moisture over the arctic is making more snow and cold over Canada and Russia (or I should say the northern parts of the continents, which may or is leading to a build up of ice inland. Very complex, but basically- looks like some hard winters coming. The Undead and the People Who Love Them, was comparing zombie and vampire stories (I guess mummies are not undead). Someone at some point seems to have done a study which correlates whether there’s a Democratic or Republican administration and whether more zombie or vampire movies and books come out. Apparently Republicans are associated with vampires and Democrats are associated with zombies. Come on guys, was this in the Onion?
Resisting Social Networking was about people like me who are not really comfortable with the electronic spin on interacting with other people that has become prevalent. I went to one where the panelists debated whether HG Wells or Jules Verne (the “small gods” of the Steam Punk generation) were greater. Their enthusiasm was fun. (It wasn’t a favorite panel, but there were only two chairs in the room, so there was nothing for me to do but stand around and take up space if I went back there, so I went to a panel almost every block.) Morality in SF and Fantasy explored why these genres are more comfortable with morals than mainstream literature. I think Relationships 101 was aimed at the less socially astute among the crowd. I went because Cathy was on the panel, and they did have some decent advice- like be yourself, be enough, be respectful. I contributed what I’ve learned about speech styles- speed, etc. I think the best advice was “We aren’t mindreaders- speak!”. Stories that Changed Everything were about stories like Star Wars that changed how the genre was viewed by the general public, or by the people who write it. I think it was very similar to the one called Primary Sources, which I figured would be about how to do research, but basically seemed to be a panel of fans who could recall the first time a certain thing was done n SF: transporters, battles between space ships, time travel, etc.. Metaphors, Memes and Mainstreaming was about how so many of the things posited in earlier Science Fiction is now just normal stuff- like the world wide web and our various kindle, twitter and other gadgets (and what next?).
There was one called Subculture Mash-ups which discussed why the various subcultures within fandom manage to coexist. They mentioned not just Fantasy and Science Fiction fans, but also Pagans, SCAers and other reenactors, other Role Playing enthusiasts including gamers and LARPers, Comics geeks, Anime and Manga fans, Steampunk, general costumers, folk music and art fans, furrys, poly, S&M/B&D, and other kink groups…. Let’s face it, Arisia is billed as the most diverse SF con, so maybe others aren’t as diverse. Most of these groups had panels talking about them at some point on the program. Yes, they certainly do create a venue for people with myriad interests to get together and enthuse about them. Frankly, I think it’s nice to not have to go to one event for one interest and different ones for other interests since really bright people often have many interests (as I learned at the Mensa Regional Gatherings.) I think that The Modern Pagan was one of those where one subculture tries to explain itself to those who may not have encountered it yet. The Ephemeral City had panelists who’d worked on the Pennsic Wars, Burning Man, and Rainbow Gatherings (which I’d never heard of before, but have now googled, and they are fascinating). They also mentioned Boy Scout Jamborees, and archeological digs, which although smaller share many of the same challenges). These are “events” where over ten thousand people come to stay for a few weeks or months, but although they have the population of a city, they are intended to be temporary.
Hallucinating Shakespeare wasn’t a panel, it was a one man comedy show. One of his bits was Hamlet (or Dane of the Dead) as a Zombie movie (Hamlets father and Yorik as zombies, etc.) Another bit was a tale of two twelve year old boys who did the death scene of the Duke of Clarence where they’d rigged up a blood bag under their costume (without the knowledge or consent of the teachers) and how that played out. Another tale was from his own life when he’d used his Shakespearian Talents to try to help his friend impress a girl. I especially remember him explaining that the summer day was one of those perfect for baseball, and hot dogs and beer are proof that God exists, he loves you and wants you to be happy. It was marvelous! The actor’s name was Michael Anderson, and if you get a chance to see him perform, do!
There were others of course, but I’m not sure how much you care. I didn’t bother looking at the vendors, or go to the Masquerade, or various parties. For all I know there may have been people there who didn’t go to any panels because they were too busy doing other things- talking to their friends (I saw Jack and Kris Page, Ki-Lin, and bunches of other SCAers in their non-SCA modes). I’d like to have gone to the “Stitch and Bitch”- where people who knit, crochet, and sew get together and chat. Andrew seemed to have spent most of his time in the Gaming Room. There were movies and old TV shows going the whole time, all night long. People differ in what they find entertaining- from having nothing to do, to enjoying loud chaos. I prefer a planned activity, and gaining new information, and accomplishing something. I know there were people walking around in costumes a lot- but more in the evenings. Kat and Willow went to the gaming room for a while, and Kat went down to the Steampunk “elevenses” (a Victorian themed brunch). There’s a lot of “steam punk” around. I think it reflects an appreciation that science doesn’t have to be cut down to the simplest (although early space travel did require doing the most with least), but can be elegant. I think another aspect of the appeal of Steampunk is of the self-educated tinkerer, inventor or scientist, because back in the day, many of the disciplines had not been formalized yet.
I’m having to come up with a description of myself to let them know what I’ve got to offer. As Starwulf noticed, I have extensive knowledge of both historical and current pagan cultures, and of the use of magick throughout history. If I take Megan’s advice I can mention my booklets as “books”, so I’m the author of books on magick in the Middle Ages, and on Anglo-Saxon culture. I am an artist and a popular speaker on divination and history and healing. I’ve taught many basic healing techniques, from herbalism to energy healing. This returns to my describing myself in my resume- how does one describe what I have I done in my life?
The con ran from about Friday afternoon until Monday afternoon, taking advantage of the holiday, which I’m sure made our trip home easier. Getting out was a trick mostly because the hotel has only three elevators, and there were probably 50 of us (and who knows how many simple fans) trying to get out with all our gear at the same time. Once we cleared the city we stopped at a Chili’s and ate and relaxed. Poor Cathy was taken by a stomach bug in the wee hours of Monday morning, and I think our always carrying immodium may have improved her trip home. Jane and Berowne, sadly had her car engine die on them- luckily she had the premium AAA and was able to get it towed to her own mechanic. But as she said, she’s glad she sold a lot of fudge this weekend, and knows where all that money is going, although she’d been hoping to pay down her credit cards.
As for mine, my father, bless him, has made me the loan I was going to get from the bank, so a lot less paperwork, although I do want to draw up something so I don’t lose track of it at all. I suppose that it’s what he worked so hard for all those years- to be able to help his kids. One subject that we discussed was the movie My perspective that it was made by baby boomers who have lived through trying to do well by their children, but no matter what they did, they still screwed up, because people are all unique individuals, and no matter how hard you try, neither parent nor child is perfect, and there will always be regrets. The kids thought that it was about —– This reminds me of so many of the panels this weekend where people noticed that every book or movie or work of art is a collaboration between the writer/artist/maker and the audience. Each person gets something different out of it- indeed, a truly great work can be read over and over and you get something different out of it every time depending on what you are going through when you are reading it. I think that collaboration is not quite the right word- that implies that they are working together, I would say rather that there is effort required of the reader or viewer, and that we all see everything we experience through the filter of our own constantly changing perspective. No piece is going to have the same affect on everyone, and I’m not sure that this isn’t the difference between the kind of art that is a magazine cover, and the kind that is a painting that people can stare at for hours (or re-read).
When I called to talk to Dad, I got a chance to talk to my sister Liz- she’d just had dental work done, and commented that as we get older the maintenance on our bodies gets much more time consuming. Having just been noticing my teeth, I had to agree. At this point I’m still pretty healthy- I could climb the stairs to the sixteenth floor, and am now carefully shoveling again. I’m not taking anything but vitamins and I’ll be turning 58 in a few weeks. Most of the people I know take some drug or other to help them be healthier. My life is certainly overshadowed by the necessary surgery I’ve had. As Liz said, the older we get, the more we have to work at maintaining our bodies, and the less easy to use they become. While I do expect, looking at Grammie and Dad, to live another twenty or thirty years, I have to admit that the chances are that like her, I could end up in a wheelchair, or shuffling a bit rather than striding, as Dad does these days. I remember him teaching me how to walk on ice- to slide with it, not try to tip along not sliding. It’s good to be able to talk with and share with and to help the people we love, but at some point, that may not be worth it, and I feel really good that we can dump the worn out old body and move on. Heck, even if I didn’t believe in reincarnation and I thought we’d just be gone, it would be a good thing to be able to ditch a non-functional body. Of course, it’s not like we have a choice, but I personally am pleased with the system (that life ends with death). I guess the thing is to remember that all years are not the same- the amount we can accomplish in a year in our 50s is not the same as what we are able to do in our 80s. I need to figure out what I want to accomplish and how best to do it in what I can reasonably expect to have for time and resources left. Given that, there are not many books or pieces of art that seem that important. I keep coming back to wondering how I can create a school for “talented youngsters”. That would be something to have accomplished.

Obviously, Since we spent Thursday prepping, and left for Arisia Friday and got back on Monday night, we didn’t do much else this week. Thursday, Jonathan went over to see Avatar in 3-D with Megan and Dennis. We haven’t let him talk about it much as we are still hoping to get to see it ourselves. He had the house to himself all weekend, but did dig us out a hole so we could get it when we arrived. I had no idea that we were having a “significant” snow fall. Yesterday I kept waiting for the snow to stop before shoveling out so we could empty the car, but it never did. I have to remember that for most people in the modern world, whether it snows or not, they still have to dig their cars out and get to work at the same time. We are able to set our own schedules- rest after exertion, consolidate and start getting ready for the next show. Willow got into Artists Alley at Anime Boston. Kat for reasons that I’m sure have a lot to do with being 22 not 57, did a “Gaia-thon” stayed up doing stuff on the Gaia website for 24 hours straight.
I did the unpacking, laundry, catch up on the paperwork, start on the German lessons again. Take the pictures out of the camera, write up the expenses and take for the show (TRY to be organized!) I started reading the book Jane got for Christmas (and I’d love to get for my birthday but don’t expect as it’s $90 down from $120), Lady with a Mead Cup. It is really cool stuff, mostly from documentary sources. I do worry when they find similarities between things centuries apart- that seems to me more likely to be similar reactions to similar stimuli than evidence of lack of change over centuries. And I keep thinking about the physical aspects of the culture. The size of available timber and their traditional architectural methods defined how a great hall was built- it was rectangular, and could only really be as wide as the beams that spanned it, although they could go long- 70 feet long in the case of the hall at Yeavering. But think about it. The Lord sat in the middle- why? so everyone could see him. If he was at one end, the people at the back couldn’t see him, it would have been too dark. The veterans and youths of the war-band were seated by rank around him. The Lady comes in- from where? Stories tell of a dais- and also of a high seat, which is apparently NOT on the dais- is the high seat brought in for an honored guest to put him at the level of the king who is on the dais? Does he have a seat, like those in some of my books, that is raised even though it is on the dais? How the heck is it all lighted? They talk about tables- and yet central fires. Where the heck do the tables go? There is so much we don’t know, and more than that, we are trying to find a one-size-fits-all answer to a large range of time and geography. Anglo-Saxons had a lot in common with the Old Norse, but they also had things in common with the Romans, and the Native Americans. If you build with trees, you tend to have squarish walls. If men pass on their possessions to their children, they want to be sure that their wives children are theirs, so they get attitudinal about who their wives sleep with. These things are fairly universal. So I’m enjoying this book a rather lot, and since the author has a LOT of untranslated footnotes from German sources, (and Latin, and Anglo-Saxon) I’m being very excited about my German lessons- hoping that by this time next year I may be able to read some German books- at least with a dictionary by my side. I hope that’s not too optimistic.
Of course we couldn’t watch movies while we were gone- while I was cooking before we left I got to watch an old Vincent Price movie The Abominable Dr Phibes. While the costumes were pretty cool, and the clockwork mechanisms fun, it wasn’t scary at all. I doubt I would have found it so back in the 50s. But when we got back a disc for the TV show Eureka was here. I’d assumed it was the public TV physics show the kids enjoyed so much that they used to fake being sick in order to stay home and watch the educational shows teachers used to show in class- they’d wheel a TV into the classroom, and then have the show be part of the lesson. Frankly, that’s why we got our first VCR. once we could tape those educational shows, the kids didn’t have to stay home “sick” to watch them. I saw the name and assumed that was it, and put it on the queue in a moment of nostalgia. (apparently many episodes are available on Youtube). But this show turns out to be a 2005 science fiction show (and very funny). Willow had heard of it and looks forward to seeing more. I do too.

I am so bummed- I am probably missing some technological trick, but for some reason the pictures I’ve taken with my new camera, while they show up in my iPhoto file, don’t seem to come out of it again, so I can’t put them on Flickr to share, or anything else I’ve tried yet. I’ll keep trying, but I think it’s probably a compatibility problem. Maybe I’ll need to use a new program. I’m so psyched about having the camera that I’ve been taking lots of pictures- anytime I think it’s something someone would want to see- like cakes made in my new cake pans, or our room at Arisia. I had Starwulf take a picture of me in the audience of a panel he was on, to illustrate what I do at Arisia. (I also kept losing track of the camera, which made me feel very dumb. I just need to come up with a place it belongs.) Anyway, I was hoping to share some of those with you and I can’t yet. Big sulk.

20 Buttercrunch Day, Camcorder Day, Disc Jockey Day
21 Hot and Spicy Foods Day, Granola Bar Day, Hugging Day
22 Blonde Brownie Day, Celebration of Life Day (Roe vs. Wade Day)
23 Rhubarb Pie Day (must be canned), National Pie Day, Handwriting Day
24 Peanut Butter Day, Compliment Day, Belly Laugh Day
25 Irish Coffee Day, Burns NIght, Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day, Room of Ones Own Day
26 Popcorn Day, Peanut Brittle Day, Toad Hollow Day of Encouragement
27 Chocolate Cake Day, Holocaust Memorial Day, Thomas Crapper Day

“Friends are people who help you be more yourself.” Merle Shain