2-17-2016 Cabbage Day

DSC02419Weird weather this week. On the weekend it was beastly cold. We stayed inside near the woodstove and didn’t really like to get far from it. Outside it reached into the 20º below range during the night and Zeroish during the day. (Really, what one would expect from February in New Hampshire- I was grateful, as I am not often, that we didn’t have animals. I remember one of our rabbits giving birth when it was -22º, and the babies all lived simply in the fur lined straw nesting box. The biggest problem was keeping fluid water available for them. As it was this week for us, but more on that later…)   Yesterday it was up in the fifties, VERY foggy! I tried to get a picture, but it wasn’t that impressive. All you can really tell is that we have almost no snow left. We got a few inches in flurries during the weekend, but it’s all gone now.
The big story of the week was waking up Sunday morning to no water. Our best guess is that the line from the cistern to the house is not buried deeply enough, and froze. It comes into the cellar at ground level, since the west side of the cellar is at ground level. We’re on a slope so while the ground floor at the east most part of the house is probably two steps up from ground level, on the other end, it’s a full story up. Usually we have a foot or two of snow on the ground in February, but there’s almost none this year, and I think that made it more susceptible to the nasty cold.  Anyway, we do keep both the 55 gallon drum of water (with a bit of bleach) in the cellar- and use that for flushing and washing dishes, as well as a few gallon jugs of water for drinking. Usually it’s the power going out that makes us need stored water, but not this time. So we were able to cook, and lose ourselves on the internet.

The first assumption was that pipes inside the house had frozen, but we didn’t spot any places where they might have done. We tried starting up the kerosene heater in the cellar, but it smoked, so we turned it off- I think we need to give it a thorough cleaning before we try using it again. But really, it never got below 30º down there. It got to 28º in the hall outside my bedroom, although it didn’t get below 40º in it. I finally did close my bedroom window though, for the first time this winter. We were able to keep the pantry at around 35º by leaving the track lights on. In theory they are supposed to be cooler, but I think they get hot. When we saw that it had gotten to 30 we turned them on and in an hour it was 34, so I guess that was all it needed.

DSC02416Still, it WAS cold, the cats didn’t want to go out, and I baked (pineapple upside down cake, chocolate cake) just as an excuse to be over near the woodstove and have the gas oven going. Ciardelli came by on Thursday and switched out our old propane tank for a bigger one. I think it’s because their biggest cost is paying men to fill them, so the less often they have to come, the better they like it. The poor guy had Pneumonia! I first noticed them by hearing him coughing out there.
I was a bit worried that maybe I had caught whatever virus or bacteria he had, and it would grow in me- and I could pass it along at an asymptomatic level when I went to the MENSA Regional Gathering. I’ve been teaching various forms of divination there for some years now. This year I actually taught Runes again, which I’d taught the first time. What I forgot was to arrange for a room-mate so I could afford to stay at the hotel. It was only in Portsmouth, so when I realized last Wednesday that it was coming up in two days, I checked the schedule, and was able to day trip. This meant that I missed out on all the incredible food Elizabeth always makes, and being able to go to the other workshops, but I’ve been so tired lately that sleeping in my own bed seemed worth it. I also did a workshop on RunValdr- 6 more healers out there! Having also failed to get a guest for the New Normal this week, I’ll be rehashing my rune workshop on the podcast tonight.DSC02422
I finished Willow’s green knit shawl, and added the loopy brown and tan yarn onto the edge. She likes it. (I got her to let me take a picture- she’s catching sight of a ladybug on the light. She notices so much that the rest of us miss!) I really like it and hope to make myself a red one like it. First I must “excavate” more of the library and get to the shelves where all my knitting pattern books are kept. I LIKE knitting, it gives me an excuse to sit still and accomplish “something”  without actually doing anything (scrubbing, going up and down stairs, that sort of getting something done).
Pyewacket, evil kitten, chewed through MY phone charging cord this week! I found one that is mostly retractable, which we hope will help. I’ve also put the ceramic kiln Tiberius gave me over it. I hope the kittens don’t see this as a temptation to go fishing inside.
Photo on 2016-02-15 at 12.32 #2Willow had already identified Crukshanks bad habit as sucking. Not wool, but one specific fake fur blanket of hers. He’s also sucked on one of Kat’s fake fur blankets, and when I added a “fur” vest during the chill of the weekend, he climbed up and latched onto my shoulder. Kat says they make “cat pacifiers” which are stuffed things made for cats who have sucking tendencies. I’ve never had one before, and I tell you he is LOUD! The kittens are now about half the size of Peri and Zoloft, but they are shaped like mini-cats, not like roly poly kittens anymore. They still play a lot, and Peripegilium has started to play with them, although at some point she usually decides “that’s enough” and leaves while they still feel like playing. It’s fun to watch.

I’ve been reading Micro a Michael Crichton novel I just discovered was published posthumously five years ago. It came up on my kindle “free/cheap books” list- and since I’d enjoyed all of his I’d ever read- Andromeda Strain, Jurassic Park, Eaters of the Dead, Timeline, and hadn’t heard of this one, I figured “Why not?” and have enjoyed it very much! Now that I know he isn’t writing any more I’ll probably go back and look at some of his others. I am sort of wondering why they haven’t made a movie of Micro yet- it cries out for cinematic treatment! One thing about this author is that he doesn’t follow the usual patterns of adventure fiction where you can predict which of the characters will survive and which won’t by what kind of people they are and what they do. I’ve been mistaken several times already.
A few weeks ago I was thinking about Gene Wilder, and didn’t remember his (small) role in Bonnie and Clyde, so I re-watched it this week, and was struck by two things. First, everyone in the movie was reprehensible. There was no one to admire, even worse than Chicago, they weren’t even good looking, and you couldn’t even feel sorry for them because everyone else had it as bad; the second thing was how well it portrayed the devastating effects of despair. The people who’d lost their homes to banks hated the banks, people pretty much hated everyone else. While I tried to forget the movie- I like ones where I can admire the characters, win or lose- I began thinking about so many of the things I’ve been thinking about as I watch the hate groups- against immigrants and refugees, against blacks and hispanics, against Muslims and almost every faith. People hate when they are ground down and seeking someone they can victimize to make themselves feel less like victims. Someone shared a clip on facebook the other day of the survivor of the “Black Wall Street” attacks, aka the Tulsa Race Riot, which was basically a bunch of white people attacking a black community with complicity of the authorities. The older I get the more I hear about things I managed to not know earlier- like the burning of black sections of Philidelphia. I lived through the race riots of the 60s, and I guess somehow my attention was diverted to protesting the war, and the “Occult Explosion”. Talk about white privilege!
I find it hard to convince myself that trying to make where-ever I am, and whatever I’m doing a bit better- to get the SCA to be a fairer and kinder place, to raise my kids well, to help the causes of right to homebirth and VBAC, healthy food…. I guess I always react to what’s under my nose, but I’ve lived a blessed life, and haven’t had to deal with even as much difficulties as my kids have. I attribute most of this to luck and the love and support of my parents and husband. If one is to accept the sillier interpretation of Karma, I would have had to have been awfully good in previous lives to get this one! Sadly, at 64 I don’t have the boundless energy I used to have, nor the financial ability to help people in those ways, so I guess I’ll just keep doing whatever is under my nose, and trying to make the world a better place in small ways.
This week was Valentine’s Day, a day for lovers to celebrate their love, for those who aren’t to wonder why not, and for sellers of candy, flowers, and cards to try to convince everyone that this was a perfectly good excuse to buy their products whether you were a lover or not. I love holidays, decorations, special foods, but I consider it an abuse of the very concept of a holiday to try to use it for monetary advantage or to make people feel badly because they are not a part of the group for which the holiday was intended. No, there’s no reason to make kids send cards to the ones they don’t like on Valentines, everyone is NOT Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day, Hannukah is NOT Jewish Christmas, and there’s no reason for us to celebrate other people’s holidays. We celebrate things- from cabbage to chocolate because we should appreciate all the great things we take for granted. I am motivated to create a holiday to celebrate running water. I suppose there is already a World Water Day on March 22nd, even if it’s about water not having it piped in. March 11th is World Plumbing Day, which is closer, so clearly, I’m not the only one who has noticed how great water is! I worry that this is trivial, and unimportant. But if I can get people to see reasons to be happy rather than to be sad, that’s not entirely a bad thing.
Anyway, I’m looking forward to bed. I love being in touch with people and as banal and silly as the stories I share are, I figure they’re better than ads and other spam you get. The only thing wrong with loving so many people is not being able to spend as much time with each of you as I would wish.
“Live Like a Cabbage: Live Close to the Earth, keep your head down, and Stay out of Trouble.” (also, feed people well)