3-14-2007 Pi Day

Happy Pi Day, (I am hoping that one of the girls will make pie, or maybe I will if I get enough other stuff done. Any excuse for pie.) Since remembering that I’ve got the “Beaver call” Ælfwine learned at MIT going through my head: “e to the u, du / dx, e to the x, dx. Cosine, secant, tangent, sine! 3.14159! Integral, radical, mu dv! Slipstick, slide rule, MIT!” How many MIT kids even know what a slide rule is, anyway? Less, if you want them to know how to use them.

It’s also Organize your Home Office Day (sounds nice) and International Ask a Question Day and World Book Day. Tomorrow is the Ides of March, the 16th is Freedom of Information Day, and Hiccup Day, but it’s also St. Urho’s Day, a kind of take off on St. Patrick’s day where Finnish Immigrants drink Purple beer to celebrate Urho driving the grasshoppers out ( I kid you not! check it yourself! http://www.brownielocks.com/urho.html ). Saturday is St. Patrick’s, but if you aren’t Irish, you can celebrate Maple Syrup Day or Quilting Day (or Evacuation Day if you live in Boston), Sunday is Mothering Sunday in England, and National Bio-Diesel Day and also St. Joseph’s Day which is one of the cooler holidays where huge piles of food are set out for the public, especially the poor, to help themselves. I approve of that. It’s also Supreme Sacrifice Day- which I suppose you could celebrate by going to see 300. Monday is National Agriculture Day and Act Happy Day. as well as the day the Swallows return to Capistrano, and the turkey buzzards to Hinkley, Ohio. Tuesday is the Spring Equinox this year, but I also heard that the 21st is the first day of spring (maybe it’s the first full day); this means that it’s New Years Day in many cultures. (Personally, I think that that’s more logical than mid-winter, but that’s just me.) The Vernal Equinox is also the Official Earth Day, not the one more commonly celebrated in April. ( http://www.earthsite.org/ ) But the 20th is also World Frog Day and Barbie Doll Day and the Festival of Extraterrestrial Abductions. (Isn’t it nice to know that there are people out there who are putting this stuff on the internet for us to find?)

If you like food holidays, this weeks are: 14- Potato Chips, 15- Pears Helene, 16- Artichoke Hearts, 17- Green Beer, 18- Oatmeal Cookies, 19- Chocolate Caramel as well as it’s Poultry Day, and 20- Ravioli Day.

The weather is gotten really balmy since the weekend. Every day Star goes out and checks to see if the ground has thawed enough yet so we can put the goat fence back up. When the tree fell down not only did it hit the barn, but part of the fence was attached to the tree with little plastic thingees that hold the electric wire, so we are going to have to re string the fence with new posts- but we can’t put it up until we can get the posts into the ground. SO FAR the goats are pretty much sticking to the area around the barn, but I am keeping an eye on them, as I don’t trust them any farther than I can toss the adults.

The kids are cute- of course, did I mention a fellow came by and wanted to buy a couple? Since I have such a hard time getting to butchering, I figure I can sell a couple and save money on feed once they start eating it. It’s not like we need the milk right now. I’ve been having to make cheese (which I make whenever we get more than 2 gallons ahead of what we can drink) every other day. We have had lasagna, stuffed shells, manicotti, and just plain soft cheese, and stirred it into nuvole with Alfredo sauce. Yesterday I made a couple of lasagna’s and put them in the freezer because we couldn’t face another pasta and cheese meal. I’ve been trying to drink the whey- it’s supposed to be very nutritious, but I kind of wonder about that. Yes, it could just mean pale- like whey, but there’s also the implication of “unattractive” when it was used in the old days, pallid not just pale. Remember, pale was attractive. I wonder if it didn’t refer to the kind of pallor that comes with malnutrition, because you are so poor that all the person got to drink was whey and never full milk. Still, you can fatten pigs on it- I suppose because it’s given as a supplement on top of everything else. But, as usual, I digress.

During the cold snap I made what I thought was gjetost, but apparently that’s what they call it in the US, but it’s really mytost- because you make it by cooking down whey until it caramelizes. I figured, the woodstove was going and I had all that whey anyway… the pictures I saw on the internet look a lot like how mine came out, and I found out why mine got grainy. If we get another cold snap, I’ll try again. It was SO nice to have the wood for the woodstove.

The painting is progressing… slowly. Once again I run into my aversion to finishing things. I have discovered that I am much more comfortable working with a subject in front of me than painting from my imagination. The gods were no trouble at all- it’s the clouds- I don’t have a lot of experience with landscape painting, and I’m having to deal with the whole “leave areas for the words” bit because it’s a book cover, and beside that- each of the figures (Thor, Adad, Zeus) have their own micro area which has to work with the overall cloud formations as well as with the shading on their figures. Were I to do it again, I think I’d do the clouds first then add the gods in after, even though they are my “easy” part, and the subject of the painting. You wouldn’t believe the number of pictures of lightning I’ve looked at! I show Thor with ball lightning, Adad with cloud to cloud, and Zeus with cloud to ground. And of course, the way lightning lights up the clouds effects lighting them, and interacts with the exterior lighting. I can’t say that I’m not enjoying it.

Tuesday were the town elections. They asked the voters whether to spend the money on the various things the school needs- mostly it looks like they want to add another couple of rooms to the grammar school. We’d finally have a kindergarten, and I think that would be a good thing. This time we knew both the candidates for Selectman. Lorraine, who bought our old house, is running again, and I think she’s done a good job. Martin, who’s our electric guy is running against her- thinks we should look for other sources of revenue for the town. I kind of wonder what other sources (than taxes) there could be?

Friday I had a “psychic party” for a kid’s sixteenth birthday, and although it was only four kids, the mother enjoyed it enough that she suggested she might have one for her friends. I would like that. It’s something I know I’m good at.

I’ve also been working on the summer scheduling more, which means sending in descriptions of the workshops I’ll be teaching. The Vermont Renn Faire (which was in Massachusetts last year) has decided to give up, and sent us back our deposit, so we now have to decide where to go those weekends. I’d love to go to GNEW again, and Willow would like to get to ConnectiCon- I think she should, it’s a big one. The only downside is that events at hotels are more expensive than ones where you camp. In theory they have more potential for profit, of course. Too bad about the VTRF, I understand they’d even bought land, and just weren’t able to make enough money to develop it. Maybe it’s just for this year. There’s another Faire that’s solicited our participation- personally, I prefer events where I get to teach. At Renn Faires I am supposed to be doing sketches, and would adore it if I really were, but just sitting and smiling at people who pass and spend money to be drawn ON rather than drawn is frustrating.

The older I get, the more organization becomes comfortable for me. I used to hate it, now it’s just a bit time consuming, but I know it improves the outcome of the workshops. Cleaning is also becoming more natural- or perhaps compulsive is a better phrase. Several times Willow’s been making herself a sandwich or something and as I walk past I notice a jar of mayonnaise on the counter and automatically stick it in the refrigerator without noticing that she’s making toast or otherwise mid-project. VERY frustrating for her. I think it may have to do with my having cleaned the pantry a week or so ago.

Then there’s the whole spring cleaning thing. We declared Broom Day, last week- got a new broom, and blessed it. This year’s broom is all natural- no paint on the handle, real corn bristles, and strikes us as having a male personality, whereas previous brooms have all been female. His name is Cosmic Sweepus. (a take-off on the name of the cat in Bedknobs and Broomsticks). I didn’t stop to make Broom Day Cookies, which I did when the kids were younger, but it was nice to have our family holiday. Next we are trying to figure out how to have something new for each of us to wear for Ostara (looking for stuff we may already have bought but not worn yet), one MUST wear something new on the first day of spring- it starts the new year right.

When the temperature gets above 50, we leaving the front door open (I opened my bedroom window as soon as the night weather no longer dipped below freezing), which airs out this poor winter-stuffy house. And I think the air creates a psychological change in people. I keep getting into those wretched situations where you notice something that needs cleaning, and take “a quick swipe” at it- but where you wiped off a smear, or the accumulated dust on horizontal carvings on the woodwork, it show whiter than the rest of the door- so you have to do the whole door- which means getting out the solvent for the smudges you’d stopped seeing around the doorknob- but if you do the smudges on the door, you have to get the door frame, and that takes you up to the ceiling, where you swipe at a previously unnoticed cobweb, which requires sweeping the whole ceiling, and maybe the ceilings in other rooms, and for goodness sakes, what am I doing putting books on shelves in the library when I am supposed to be getting the painting done, and I’d only stopped to have lunch, and wanted not to leave a mess behind?

Willow’s been mostly working on her comics this week, when not cleaning (the police did call back about the Troll, apparently they are trying to develop protocols to deal with such situations, but they aren’t in place yet). Kat is, in theory, sewing, but she has been spending a lot of time on the computer. Star noticed that I hadn’t been winding the schoolhouse clock in the library, and has gotten it going again. I finally don’t feel a wave of sadness every time I hear the chime. (Ælfwine and I used to kiss whenever it did- which was every half hour. We figured if we hadn’t kissed in a half hour, we were getting behind.)

Huh! I just heard a tapping and Star has put up the screen door. I think that’s a trifle premature- bugs don’t usually show up until late April, and opening two doors to come in or go out is a pain. But I do like it when he shows initiative like that. I think it’s a mother thing. I even get excited when I notice the kids have changed a light-bulb or toilet-paper roll, much less done laundry or cooked. Still, Star is good. If only he didn’t scare people with his bad social skills I’m sure he’d be quite employable. But how do you improve social skills without being around people- when they avoid you? There’s a catch-22.

Steve came up for dinner Sunday- a pleasure as always. I sent cookies down to his house-full of girls. Next to him, I’ve GOT a social life, because Morgan (and friends, but not Rachel, who was working) came up earlier in the week, and I went over to Megan and Dennis’ to drop off their share of the chocolate that came from the Chocolate Conspiracy- and we talked about the vicissitudes of painting clouds and lightning.

For my pleasure reading- since I haven’t allocated much time to it, I’m still reading the Charles de Lint books- just finished The Onion Girl. Boy, do I long to get art training when I read about people who have it. On the other hand, I long equally for history, parapsychology, healing and other sorts of training. I’m just a glutton for all kinds of learning I guess. Got in a couple new books that are also calling to me from the stack- Ann Hagen’s newest book on Anglo-Saxon Food, and a couple small scholarly ones on modern paganism. I practically salivate thinking about them.

This week I watched the series Firefly, which was as good as represented. I can’t imagine why it didn’t go on for many seasons. I’m also confused at why the Netflix seems to have slowed so much. Turn around used to be just a couple days, and now it’s more like a week. But since it’s good for the environment, I’ll probably stick with it.


Wisdom is the quality that keeps you from getting into situations where you need it.-Doug Larson

(I might say wisdom keeps you from situations needing intelligence)

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