2-14-2007 Pancake Week

And Happy Valentines Day. We are “celebrating” the big snowstorm happening right now. They are predicting a foot or two in our area, but so far we only have a few inches. We went out yesterday to get feed and perishables so we wouldn’t have to go out until the roads are better. So now we are snug, and smug and enjoying watching the snow fall outside. So far, there is little enough that the overgrown back yard looks horrible, but if the expected snow comes, it will be better looking tomorrow.
I am half expecting kids today. Goats do have this tendency to give birth when there’s a horrible storm happening. I don’t know if this is simply an addled perception (on the order of “things are always in the last place you look”) or if something about barometric pressure changes or precipitation reducing danger from large predators by washing away smells, means that it’s a true perception. But since this year we had Michalangelo (the buck) doing our “heat spotting” for us, (since we never managed to catch any of them last year), we can be pretty sure they are expecting, but aren’t able to look up in records when they were impregnated, and therefore when they are due, so it could be any time now. Vanadis is certainly quite huge! (I think I showed you last week)
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We celebrated my 55th birthday with my favorites: curried lamb and stuffed angel food cake. Steve came up (as you can see from the picture) and Willow got to be the one hiding behind the camera.
Presents are being scaled down now (as I have almost no room to put anything) so I got books (and movies). Dan actually found a copy of The Pathfinder, which I’ve been trying to get my hands on for years- but the people at the used booksellers forgot to seal the envelope, so it arrived empty. We’ve got them looking for it, but I am less than hopeful, and the senders were less than responsive when Dan told them. (I scanned the envelope showing that they hadn’t taken off the little anti-stick strip over the adhesive line for her to show them.) My big present was a set of books on magick and witchcraft thorough history that I am very excited about.
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Other than that- well, I accomplished very little this week. Remember Willow had a cold last week? I got it- kind of. I experienced it as rather a “shadow cold”- probably because I took massive amounts of vitamins, and gallons of tea, and slept as much as I could; so I had a tickle in my throat Friday, lots of sneezing Saturday, a runny nose Sunday, and other than the fact that I tired easily and got so weak I had to have people open bottles and such for me, (and got really stupid) I wouldn’t really have said I was sick at all. I suppose if I worked in an office, I would have been able to go in and sit there and look as if I were there, although answering questions would have provided more amusement than information. I certainly couldn’t have done anything that required standing up all day, so it would depend upon the job I guess. I didn’t stay in bed because that makes me creaky- then Monday I mysteriously had a severe ache in my shoulder- couldn’t lift my hand up far enough to tap my own neck (for the Dynamind healing technique). It was weird. Then Tuesday that went away. Now, for some reason my tooth, which hasn’t been giving me trouble until now, is rather painful. Enough that it’s kind of hard to write. Luckily, the appointment is made for the root canal, but I am left wondering what strange little things determine when something is going to hurt or not. After all, as far as I know, I didn’t do anything to my shoulder- and one day it hurts, one day it doesn’t. One day the tooth is fine, one day it hurts. So who knows whether it will hurt tomorrow? I can see why people study it- it’s a fascinating subject. Meanwhile, codeine is my friend.

The other big thing that happened to make me less productive was equally mysterious. My computer mail program stopped working about a week ago. SOME email got in an out- and we could reach the internet, but instead of my usual about 50 a day and 300 junk, I was getting one or two and only about 50 junk- and none of my lists. So Friday I put in a request for help at their website which they indicated would be responded to the next business day (Monday), but nothing happened. So, Tuesday, yesterday, I called tech support- sat on hold for about an hour- which wouldn’t be so bad, if they didn’t interrupt the music about every 3-5 minutes to tell you someone would be getting to you soon. When I got through, he fixed it right away- by deleting my address and typing it in again. He said it must have disintegrated/deteriorated/corrupted? some such term I would only have used for something organic. Weird. Then all the old mail (I assume) came pouring in (and now I have to try to quickly scan it and see if any of it is worth reading). I resent how I have become so dependent upon e-mail so quickly. I don’t have physical addresses for most of my friends.
I was supposed to be sending in descriptions of workshops I’d be teaching at the Mensa Regional Gathering- but didn’t know how to contact the organizers any other way but by e-mail- and couldn’t tell if my messages were getting to them, but not the other way around, or if it was a two way block. Finally messages were carried by mouth and phone and it was taken care of, but it made me aware of my over-dependence on one method.

Moose came down from Bristol (NH) and Bella came up from Hubbardston this weekend and chopped up the downed tree from the ice storm and even chopped it up for us. Star had to carry it all around to the woodshed- I’d have preferred that he actually do the cutting himself, but at least it’s not being buried as I type. I can think of no greater sign of friendship than to travel long distances and do chores for a friend.
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I have lost another friend this week- although we were no longer close, Patri had a deep impact on my life.
Sir Patri du Chat Gris, who was such an icon of the early east kingdom, finally succumbed to the hepatitis that he had so valiantly defeated for so long. One of my dearest SCA memories was sitting next to him at high table at a feast in Fenmere (I think). Someone, I forget who, was offering him some new drink he had just redacted- I don’t think it was horolka, but something else with an unfamiliar name, and I was pretty sure that Patri didn’t know it was alcoholic. So I quietly leaned closer and whispered behind my fan “it’s booze” and he thanked me without the gentle in front of us even knowing, and went on to accept it so incredibly graciously that I don’t think the fellow realized that sharing it was the Baron NOT actually tasting it himself. I will also always remember several ladies serenading him at I think it was 12th Night AS 8 or 9, to the tune of “Duke of Earl” “Gris Gris Gris, du Chat Gris Gris Gris, du Chat Gris Gris Gris, du Chat Gris Gris Gris (counterpoint) Meowwwww, Meow meow meowowow…” He met this with admirable aplomb- as always. Patri was one of those who founded Carolingia back when California didn’t even know there was any SCA on the east coast.
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Patri taught the SCA to dance. Patri fenced on top of tables like Errol Flynn. Patri climbed into Wellsley dorm windows with a sword and a rose and a cape. Patri showed the world that a good fighter didn’t have to be huge, he could be small and fast. Once at a demo in RI, a reporter took a picture of Lord El (about 6’6″ and 275 pounds) and Patri fighting, and got their names from someone on the side, along with who won the bout. They ran the picture on the front page of the “Living” section with the caption “Sir Patri bludgeons Lord El into submission”. God, we laughed! People who assumed that size was the only thing that mattered didn’t know about the Patri, Akbar, & Cariadoc types!
We moved up to NH, and lost the close contact we’d begun, but Patri was such an inspiration to all of us- the SCA would not have been the same without him, nor would I. My major regret is that the kids never got to know him even as well as I did. But enough of that- I certainly don’t want obituaries to become a regular part of this letter! Thinking about my younger friends and the new life they carry is what helps me deal with such losses. (I found out about a new baby coming Monday a few hours after hearing about Patri, and it helped a lot, but not having been given permission to share, I shall allow my friends to let everyone know on their own. Within 9 months it won’t be much of a secret anyway!)

It will come as no surprise that mostly I have been reading my new books this week, and watched far too much TV while I knit- mostly series: I finished the second season of Medium that Steve loaned me, and we’re watching the first season of Angel and the last season of Buffy. I LIKE watching a whole season at once, although I worry that doing so gives me a false sense of interacting with people because it feels like you are getting to know the characters. I really like the family life on medium- they are so very in love, and so normal, and they have to deal with a world in which their psychic talents are real, but so amorphous that they are and aren’t reliable, at the same time, which is frustrating for both kids and adults. Our energy working abilities are like that, (I think Willow’s finding is actually the most reliable psychic ability I’ve encountered, although I’ve come to depend upon my healing abilities) so I really relate to them. I have a feeling the show wouldn’t have gone on to multiple seasons if there weren’t more families like us out there grooving on what a good job they do with this type of challenge. The only Movie I watched, as such, was The Ice Storm, even though I’d never heard of it. I figured would be great because it had a great cast, Kevin Klein, Sigourny Weaver, Toby Maguire, Elijah Wood, Christina Ricci, David Krumholtz… on and on. But it wasn’t that good. Maybe the acting was good, but that wasn’t enough to save it. It didn’t seem to have much of a plot, no matter what happened. It was about families in the 70s when people were exploring the “free love” concept (with key parties in this case) and finding out it doesn’t work for most people. Covered the old theme- you can hurt your families most easily because you care about them the most. It seemed to be a period piece where they were as excited about getting all the little details of dress and bric a brac right to remind people of the period (like Far From Heaven was about the 60s). They seem to have missed something- if you want people to care about the horrible things that happen to people- you have to make the audience LIKE them first. Just saying- this is a family of nice people dealing with horrible stuff isn’t enough to make a plot or theme. I guess I resented it because it could have and should have been better (in my opinion). Guess that’s it- except for re-watching old movies because they are good. Well, why do we keep a library of old movies around except to re-watch them, eh?
Books- when we stopped at the Library yesterday, I took out a book on the Staff Picks shelf: Widdershins. I think I’m going to have a lot to say about it next week I think. The first page caught me, the first chapter had me, and I was in love with it by chapter 4 when we met the artist character and the author expressed how I feel about art so well.
I feel like there should be more- at least I could express some opinions about current events because we all share that, but frankly, I am too brain dead to care about real life- except the weather. Oh- and guess what? There’s a new bee epidemic killing off colonies of bees. Swell. Mead brewers are whining about prices going up. What about crops getting pollinated? Why are we all so focused on our own concerns?
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*If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. –Marcus Tullius Cicero

PS- At 7:30 when Star went out to do the evening chores, Vanadis had a kid. By nine she’d had three. I took out towels and helped dry so they wouldn’t chill so badly, but eventually brought them in to get really dry. We took them out again and made them a little canopy in the corner. I’d feel better if they’d nursed before we gave up but we’ve tried shoving the teat in their mouths, and squirting milk on their noses, and everything I can think of, but they aren’t cooperating. I am torn between not wanting to let them die because I’ve screwed up, and wasting the effort if they are going to stubbornly die anyway- which sometimes it seems like what they are up to. Since the heat lamp burned down the old barn I’m not willing to use them anymore- but it’s 11º out there- less, I hope, in the goat’s room, and baby bunnies have survived getting born when it was MINUS 20º, protected only by insulation and their body heat- so I am hoping plenty of clean bedding will be enough. I’ll know in the morning. Sigh. (I came in so I could sleep instead of sitting out there watching them not nurse, but will I be able to sleep?)
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