I guess the weather is the big news of the week. Yes, it snowed here too.
We’d heard about the storm coming, so we went out to Costco on Monday, to make sure we had all our staples- bread, milk, salad supplies, etc. Willow is changing their prescriptions over to Costco since Walmart no longer has a deal with AAA, and without that discount their costs are much higher. We didn’t actually get much, as we don’t tend to let ourselves get low on anything but the most fresh staples.
During the storm we never lost power and I noted whenn Shema posted that she was going out to see to her goats “if I’m not back in an hour, send a rescue team”. While I miss the goats milk, and I miss the goats and other animals, I must say that I don’t miss having to put their needs ahead of mine when the weather is awful, and you have to make sure that they are warm enough and fed and their water hasn’t frozen. As in order to keep your goats in milk, they need to keep having kids, Shema has been getting rid of her extras and it’s been hard for me to keep from starting up again. Last week I saw Louanne Witty and she says they have 44 kids this year. I remember one year they had over 100. It all started with one goat her daughter got as a 4H project, and multiplying goats became a business- a source for milk and then goats for us. I do miss it, but when we were going to events most weekends, it wasn’t fair to make John do the work on something I liked and he didn’t. And goats give more when the same person milks them every day. Oh well.
The snow started over night and snowed all day- sometimes with whiteout conditions. John had filled the wood closet, and kept the woodstove going, and I think I spent most of the day on the computer. Also peeling. I’d picked up what I THOUGHT was another (non-red) corned beef. The one we had last week was sort of insipid, so I figured I’d get the next price up, not the $1.69, but the $2.69 a pound and see if that tasted better. I saw what I thought was New England Corned beef (grey- without sodium nitrite) and grabbed that, but when I went to boil it, it was corned beef ribs. How odd! So those are cooking. I shouldn’t have been trying to be so brisk. (I was avoiding going all the way up to the $3.89 a pound brisket.) Besides, I still have fond memories of when Haywards was open and their butcher made SUCH good corned beef- New England Style, of course!
We pay Steve LaPlante to plow for us, and we’ve told him to not come until the snow is done, because I hate paying twice for the same storm. It does allow it to get rather deep in cases like this though. He got here today around 3. Luckily John had reached the road by then. I’d cleared the stairs. (I like to do that part because I feel you should be careful not to step on the new snow and compress it and make it harder to clear.) John dug from the stairs up along side my car to the road, so once Seve had run along in front of the cars, we were able to get them out of the driveway and he could plow the rest. Willow did get a little stuck because there was still a lot of blown snow under her car- and Steve attached a chain to pull her free without telling her, which made her very nervous. Also, I have to admit that not wanting the ornamental cinder blocks at the edge of the herb garden pushed in on top of the garden makes it harder for him. I’ve put those reflectors on stakes up to show where the small garden plots I put in a few years ago are. It’s OK to cover them with snow, but I think that if they were plowed the wooden frames would break easily. I think it’s nice that Steve is willing to drive all the way over here (about 25 minutes each way, plus the plowing) for $30. And thank goodness John does most of the shovel work! I will admit that it’s really hard on my back to lift snow up from the step below the one on which I’m standing. And very funny to see the step on one side, and the snow pile on the other! Well, that’s done, and will probably melt away in another week. If people didn’t work outside their homes, snow storms wouldn’t be such a big deal. On the other hand, the Hillbilly says there may be another coming next week. I could have told you that- we almost always have one after the daffodils are blooming. Have I mentioned the Hillbilly Weatherman It’s an occasional weather report on youtube. Rather crude language, but very much the way most of us think about the weather when the storms are coming up! He talks about what type of Storm, How it’s coming, Intensity, and Timing, as well as accumulation (which doesn’t go into the acronym).
We were supposed to have voting yesterday, but the down put it off until Thursday. (School closed, the library closed, as one would expect.) Last Thursday we were down for the local blood drive. We got a call telling us that it had been moved from the VFW (usual spot), but at the Church. I thought they’d said Congregational, where they’d had it before, but there was no one there. I called home and asked John to look it up, he found the Milford United Methodist. We went there, and still no one (he did say that the Red Cross had called again, and everything was going to be a half hour late). I called Willow and she found a location- yes, the Milford United Methodist Church, but not the one in town, a new one (I think we watched it going up on the back road between us and Milford.) Apparently whoever was going to unlock it for them was late, so we weren’t too late for them, just late for ourselves. Kat didn’t have a high enough iron count this month. She can try again next month with Willow. (Willow was over with Bianca who’d been sick the night before.) That’s where I saw LouAnne.
Friday the girls took the Gold Key bins up to Manchester. It is a great relief to get them out of the living room. Now to get the rug vacuumed, and the dining room cleaned up. It’s clean enough that Willow’s been able to use it for sewing, indeed the other night she caught Ambian on the table and threw him outside. It’s more satisfying to toss the cats into a snowbank, and worrisome when there is no snow (also a bit risky as it makes the cats flail.) One thing we agree on- it’s very hard for a cat to look innocent while sitting next to a semi-shredded roll of toilet paper, with a piece of it hanging out if his mouth! We think it’s probably Ambian sucking holes in cloth- today Willow found one in the center of a dress. Luckily centered well enough that they’ll put a lace window in the hole and it will be OK. On the other hand, the tablecloth he got at is going to have to be cut down into aprons. Not that I don’t always need more aprons. While they were out, Mark came over and read me more from the Whateley Acadamey universe. While I read a lot, I am not really comfortable reading books on the computer. I prefer bed for reading, although I’m getting more comfortable with reading on a kindle/tablet/ electronic device. Whike we were driving to Nashua, I discovered that there’s a book on my phone- it’s about prison ministry to pagans. I clearly asked for it, it’s the kind of thing I like, but I’m not sure how it got there. When I finish it, I’ll have to put something else on. I can’t imagine wanting to watch a movie or show on something as small as a phone, but reading is better than being bored while one waits in line.
It’s been a quiet week. I’ve been trying to catch up on cleaning, also working on my websites- I split up the New Normal Archives into more easily checkable pages. I may tend to chew on the problem shows, but I have certainly talked to a lot of interesting people about a whole lot of stuff! Tonight’s show was with Starwolf, carrying on with the “We live in interesting times” theme, I thought some more suggestions on energetic/magickal protection would not be amiss. We had a fellow call in- but not for long because his phone wasn’t working well. I must say that I don’t care much for listening to myself- I sound like a flake, and I stammer a lot. Oh well, I expect I’m getting better.
I’ve been having amazingly powerful dreams recently- I wake up and brood on them nearly every day. I mention it because I’m wondering if it’s something in the air, or just me. Today I asked my facebook friends if they knew what the average number of books the “average” American household owns. I’d spent nearly an hour trying to extract that information from the internet with no success. So barring that, I asked them how many they had. I had about 50 answers, and most were reconning in the thousands, between two and ten. Given the way averages work, that makes it more likely that if the average is only a couple dozen or hundred that there are houses out there with only three or four. One car can off balance a lot of Barbie dolls when they are figuring out how much the “average” American spends on Christmas presents. It is not surprising that my friends read more than most people, since I met them in the SCA and pagan circles. After all, what is the common complaint among pagans? “There aren’t/didn’t used to be any books for us”? Now, of course, because the right answer is to write the book you see a need for, I know dozens, if not hundreds of authors. (OK, maybe not WELL, but I know them to talk to.)
My friends read. My friends have eclectic tastes in music. My friends have interesting hobbies. My friends think for themselves. My friends memorize songs and poems. My friends get around to doing things, and dare to do things that are “different”. (Thank goodness!)
The other day at supper John was humming something to himself, and we asked what it was, and he’d suddenly had a bit of classical music come into his head, and was trying to place it. We all recognized it, and could hum quite a deal of it- but none of us could remember the name or the composer! How frustrating! and how wonderful that we have heads full of stuff like that!
Speaking of not recognizing things. Sometime during the fall or winter I got a bag (half bushel?) of small round yellow apples. I didn’t like them as much as some of the others, so that was what was left this week when I had the urge to make a pie. I made it, but it doesn’t taste “right”. They taste more pear than apple like. I should have used nutmeg, and maybe some almond in the crust. I really do wish I knew what kind it was. Did you know that apples don’t grow true to parent from seed? If you plant an apple seed, you never know what you’re going to get. So when John Chapman was wandering around the wilderness planting apple seeds, he was making sure that the settlers to come would have apples to make cider with- not eating apples. But you probably knew that. I will say that it’s mid-March, so the fact that most of those apples were still sound was impressive. I shall have to ask at Fitch’s when they are staffed again and see if they know what they are. So this week I can share some food chat with you. The girls found Skyr (an icelandic sort of soft cheese, this being packaged as a yogurt alternative) which was fun (and pretty good). I made some lovely soup with the goat legs Shema sent me. Along with the goat shanks, I used onions, carrots, and barley- but after a while the barley swelled so much it was almost a cassarolle. Luckily, the flavor was good enough to survive thinning. Anyway, I added peppers and celery and some curry, and it was very remeniscent of curried lamb. Sadly when I had eaten most of it, and moved it to a smaller tupperware, I dropped it, and spilled the last of it over the pantry floor. I’m so sad, I shall have to look around for more to make it again. Bones do make the best soup! But the most amazing food thing was the “corned beef ribs”! Who would DO that to innocent beef ribs? My only thought is that it was someone doing a bunch of corned beef, and seeing some ribs they had around from butchering and decided to throw them in “what the hell?”, and see what happened. That makes sense with do-it-at-home, but not in a grocery store. Frankly, I’ve got nothing. They were not good. It’s like “mint chocolate covered bacon”. Separately, they’re great, but together no. Don’t go there.
Time is passing so fast. The balloons Willow got me for my birthday have finally sunk (well, two out of three of them). I remember back when balloon were rubber, they never stayed up for more than a day. I always wondered how the balloons in Mary Poppins stayed up when the balloon lady blew them up, but I suppose it was magic.
Today was the Ides of Trump, and we sent out our post cards to the White House. I felt like using the quote from 1776. If you don’t remember it, the exchange went like this: Steven Hopkins tells Ben Franklin “I want you to see some cards I’d gone and had printed up. Oughta save everybody here a lot of time and effort, considering the epidemic of bad disposition that’s been going on around here lately. “Dear Sir, you are without any doubt, a rogue, a rascal, a villain, a thief, a scoundrel, and a mean, dirty, stinking, sniveling, sneaking, pimping, pocket-picking, thrice double-damned no-good son of a bitch.” and you sign your name – what do you think?” Franklin replied: I’ll take a dozen, right now.” I didn’t because I didn’t think he’d get the reference. Also, the whole point of this particular “protest” was to have people comment on policy without being insulting or rude. I understand it was started by someone who’d printed up a bunch of pink cards addressed to Trump that said “Your fired” (referencing his time on TV), and her friends liked the idea of sending them. As they said on their fb page, we have no idea how many people are participating. The idea is that there should be so many that they couldn’t be ignored. On the other hand, pro-Trump people have decided to send cards today too, to dilute the impact. Unless someone wastes a whole lot of taxpayer dollars going through and sorting them, each side will be able to tell themselves that their people had done it. I’m sure the people who are taking care of his tender ego will bring him a few samples of the nice ones to make him feel better. We also sent some to Ryan, since we’ve read that not only is he not accepting petitions, he’s turned off his phone to avoid hearing from the people who he doesn’t want to. This is not what being a Congressman is about.
While I have been rather of the opinion that Trump and his cronies were intent on taking down a lot of the government, it wasn’t until the most recent (that I remember, it was the 13th) Executive Order to Reorganize the Executive Branch- by reducing and eliminating as many as he can. Well that makes his choices to head the departments clear. Put in someone who doesn’t like civil rights to be your AG, someone who hates the EPA to take it appart, ditto Education. What I don’t understand is taking apart the State Department, unless he really does intend to let Russian run things. I never really thought I NEEDED to pay this much attention to politics. Someone else was handling it.
Kasich just told people that they were going to cut Social Security and “You’re going to have to get over it.” Does he expect to get re-elected while saying stuff like that? Given that people have put into the program and if they didn’t “borrow” from it, it woudl be quite solvent, that indicates a callouse level of confidence that really bothers me. Not only do they not care about what effects they are creating, they don’t seem to be aware of them they don’t understand science or economics or diplomacy. Trump is the only president who removes the Ambassadors and Lawyers and other people who keep the government going without replacing them. No wonder he thinks it’s OK to repeal and replace the affordable care act. He was perfectly willing to not pay people who built his buildings, causing their businesses to fail, their workers to be out of work. He doen’t care if his consituents die or suffer. But I think many types of change take time, and it may be possible to limit the harm he can do. Certainly the people around him are becoming implicated in criminal activity at an amazing rate. Did they not foresee this? I spend far more time recently reading articles, and watching news shows. I was left wondering when someone handed Spicer the note saying “You have just committed a felony” (unless that was fake news) during the press briefing, who had passed it to him? He was in a room full of reporters. Certainly one of them noted who handed him the note. Meanwhile I’ve tripped over a news show called “The Young Turks”. Wikipedia says it’s an American news and commentary channel, “the Largest Online News Show in the World”. Are they unware that historically The Young Turks were the perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide? Yes, they worked in secret to overturn the rule of the Autocratic Ottoman Emperor, but they also are known for GENOCIDE! You don’t take those guys as your role models!
OK- subject change! What did I watch this week? I saw The Secret Life of Pets, which was charming, which is as I’d expected. During the storm I watched part of The Shining, which, although not as good as the book, has held up pretty well over the years. In the collection of 30s movies, I watched the comedies: Bringing up Baby and It Happened one Night. OMG was the Hepburn character annoying! She did anything she chose, running over everyone and everything around her, confident that she could get away with stealing cars or walking off with other people’s purses- because she was rich. I suppose when she drags in the hostile leapard, that’s supposed to prove that she actually is capable and determined, but the wretched things that she did to Grant’s character- “because she loved him” were insupportable. It Happened One Night was about another spoiled rich girl. I suppose they have the same trope in modern movies. In this one they let you in on the reality that there were poor people about. She got to see them, but I don’t suppose that even experiencing it, she really got what she was looking at. No, I doubt that that particular romance was going to last long. The only really appealing character was her father, who seemed to have some sense. Grand Hotel was wonderful- complex, with many characters lives brushing up against each other. The performances were marvelous, as one would expect with the big names involved. I was please with the happy ending, the poor hardworking man and woman finding love, the horrible rich man getting arrested. But it was nicely balanced with an array of interesting characters.
In many ways it reminded me of the most recent book in the Rabbi Small series I read this week, One Fine Day the Rabbi Bought a Cross. Inasmuch as I’ve now mentioned reading so many, I figure I’ll give you an idea of how Kemelman writes. Each chapter is very short- 3 to 5 pages. This makes it really hard for me to resist reading “just one more chapter”, when I really need to go to sleep, or get up. Each chapter seems to introduce a new character, along with the people around him or her, and what’s going on in his or her life. This does not tend to include the previous characters, they only begin to interact gradually as the story unfolds. So, in this book, a brief description of each chapter might be described this way: Barry Berkowitz wants a bar mitzvah (at 70) in Jerusalem; David discovers that Miriam has arranged another trip to visit Gittel while the kids are at camp; Ibin Hosni visits professor Hassan El Dhumouri in disguise; Rose Goodmen worries about her son who can’t seem to “find himself”; Abraham Grenish has an anurism detected; Moussad agents watch everyone; Amy Lanigan mentions to the Smalls that she wants a Jerusaliem Cross; James Skinner gets a ride from the airport to his home next to the American Yeshiva (where young Goodman is); David meets Aharon Purlmutter at morning minyan; Skinner calls a plumber who digs a trench; Ishtor smokes pot on the roof if the Yeshiva with Cohen; Asher from Antiquities finds a body; Adumi and Luria argue jurisdiction; Khan worries about Archeology…. This continues until the story all comes together, with the major clue being the Arab servant using his employer’s first name. Kemelman describes many various subcultures, and how we live in a multifacetted world, and each little thing we do has an undetected impact on those around us. I really like that.
The other novel I read this week was Alias Grace, an historical novel based on the case of a 15 year old girl convicted of Murder in 1853. The story revolves around an early doctor of mental problems trying to figure out whether she really did it, or whether she couldn’t remember, as she’d claimed. The focus of the book was that people say different things at different times depending upon what seems appropriate under the circumstances. For the helpless, this means trying desperately to say whatever will keep you from becoming even more of a victim. No one is quite sure what other people really mean even when they hear what they say, and of course, in those days, people knew even less of the things the mind can do that we do now. I was amused at how Mesmerism was “disproven” but “neuro-hypnoism” was an up and coming thing. I was also struck by how the rich people were to a certain extent dependent upon their servants. They didn’t know how to fend for themselves, they’d never been taught. But they were allowed to play with work because they were in charge, even when that meant more work for the servants to clean up after. Similarly Grace suggests at the end that when one asks for forgiveness, they are forgiving the person they are asking it for having made them feel guilty. It was a thought provoking novel (by Margaret Atwood, the author of the Madd Addam series). I also re-read The BFG because the movie was so good, it’s definitely a book I would want in a child’s library.
I continued to read the non-fiction books I’ve mentioned before, chapter by chapter. I’ve finished the “founding” sections in American Nations and am moving into the chapters explaining how they interacted. I think that at least some of this aught to be getting into school curricula. I didn’t realize that how we did things locally was not universal, and I think kids should be made aware of that. In Dark Age America I discovered the term “illth”, as opposed to “wealth”, and also the concept (which resonates) that Ecology trumps Economy (and cannot be bribed or bought). Gosh, I hope people realize that in time. It’s like trying to violate the law of gravity. Not going to happen guy, no matter how much money you have. The section of Life During the Holocaust I’ve read this week talked about how refugees were refused, and the mechanisms they used to dehumanise the Jews. It’s worse when I see it resonate with current events. I read about liquors made from corn in The Drunken Botanist, as well as the effects of storing whiskey in oak barrels. I really didn’t expect this to be as much fun as the books on bugs and plants, but it’s fascinating. I have to admit it makes me want to taste the strange drinks they are describing.
Having spent time doing other things today, I have finished this Thursday- which means that today is Everything you do is Right Day.
Until next week,
(BTW, how many books do you think YOU have?)
To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting. Edmund Burke