3-2-2016 Old Stuff Day

The ice is out at the firemen’s pond at the bottom of Pinnacle Road, although most of the flooded pasture still looks frozen. We’ve had a bunch of wind lately, and when the water in the pressure glass has been going up and down impressively. Today was chilly 30s, and probably in the teens tonight. While the snow is gone, spring is not here yet.
Photo on 2016-02-29 at 17.23   I think I hibernated through February; I have no idea where it went. More like I read and knit through February. I did finish my version of the “spanish lace” pattern shawl. I’m not entirely satisfied with it, and expect I may make several more versions until I get one that satisfies the image in my head of what I want (or I have too many red knit shawls). I have got the hang of knitting with several colors, but “pattern knitting”  (well, other than simple cables) is something I haven’t done much, and am not very good at it yet. Some people might think it odd to be good at one sort of fancy knitting, and not other sorts, but I figure it’s like being good at Pastels and not watercolors, or oil but not acrylics- it seems like it’s the same skill set, but it SO isn’t!
DSC02427    I am currently attempting a round shawl, where you start in the middle, and add one stitch every repeat- with 8 repeats. Clearly it grows quickly at first. I tried the circular needles, but couldn’t make that work  Frustratingly, I have a kit with interchangeable cords and needles, but darned if I can find them! I tried using the double ended needles I use to make socks and mittens, but that made a visible difference when the pattern got big enough to switch to the circular, so that was a wash. I’ve ripped various attempts out now. The thing that has improved my knitting more than any other thing is learning to rip out anything I don’t want to look at forever. Then Willow helped me do what I’d been thinking about (Kerensa told me he’d successfully done it, which was reassuring), and cut a dowel into sections,  pointed them in the pencil sharpener, then sanded them smooth. This has resulted in some seriously pudgy (size 18?) double ended needles, and I was able to use them to start the circle. I have continued to rip it out and re-do when I mess up, but I have hopes to get it to work now.
I am flattered that Willow has been wearing her shawl almost continuously. I think she likes it. Or it’s cold.

She’s been working on the cosplay commission I told you about last week. Sadly she ran out of the trim she’s using about 18″ shy of what she needed! Kat is working on her commission- a lolly that apparently is going to require over 100 yards of lace.
They searched all the local fabric and craft stores, and finally she ordered some on-line. She also does a live screening of Dr. Who audios every Monday. The internet certainly has changed the way we live. I’ve seen the bodice- lavender with lots of lace across the front and a shirred back. I will try to get a picture before she sends it off.commission Willow march'16

The kittens continue to grow. The “disturbing discovery” for them this week is that two of the no longer fit in a lap together. They used to be able to play under the kitchen book case, and are now discouraged because they are too big to get under it any more, but the balls they like chasing around are not, and they’ve lost several. Poor kitties. We are now calling the tuxedo cat Pyewacket pretty consistently, although the other is still sometimes Ambien and sometimes Crukshanks. Since the weather is “springing”, we’re going to have to get them their first shots, so that we can get them “fixed” (which happens after the second shots). We’d like them neutered and rabies resistant before they go outside. Meanwhile, time to start the other cats on the anti-tick treatments again.

I have to admit that we haven’t done much this week. I seriously considered telling everyone about how Willow helped me to get a clog of hair out of the vacuum, thus explaining why it didn’t work, and saving us a trip to the “vac and sew” shop. That should give you an idea of the lack of accomplishments we are having. I am aware that most people’s lives consist of going to work, coming back, eating, sleeping, and cleaning. Why is it that you can do a huge pile of things you’ve been putting off, and still feel you’ve achieved nothing?! Between the nasty cold and having the Gold Key clothes in the van, we didn’t go to the recycling center at all during February, and it was a huge collection! I also took it out to get inspected and registered this week. Sadly, it’s going to be another big repair bill, and what do you do, except try to figure out what you can give up? I’m thinking we’ll take this opportunity to see how we do without vitamin supplements. Usually you can’t really tell whether they are having an effect unless you are in the throws of a deficiency (the way adding them to Ælfwine’s post- Guillain-Barre treatment accelerated his recovery enough to justify publishing a case-study). With everyone having some sort of medical problem, I don’t want to take a chance of letting a deficiency create a cascade of new problems, but I also hate the idea of wasting money on ones we don’t need. So we’ll see if there’s any change without them (when we run out).   Amusingly, we’ve got stuff in the van again because Mark has asked John and I to come over and help him clean out Bruce’s office again, and he dropped some stuff with us, and took the whole family out to the Sake House for supper Sunday. We’ll be starting when the van’s back from getting the new spring sockets or whatever it is that they need. Cars have a lot of parts, and they all rust except the glass and upholstery, I think.

To be honest, I’ve also gotten caught looking at various clips on the internet. I’m not quite sure what led to it, but I watched several episodes of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour . I had totally forgotten the Pat Paulson for President jokes. The ones I watched were from 1968, and aside from taking me back to a wonderful period in my life with great music and a reminder of what fun variety shows are, I was also struck by how little change has happened. Or maybe not. They had jokes about gays in the military. Apparently the censors (do we still have censors?) wouldn’t let Harry Belafonte sing “Lord Don’t Stop the Carnival” against images of the chaos of the violent `68 Democratic Convention. I sure hope we don’t have violence at a convention again. I remember being vaguely aware of the political background, but I don’t think I cared about it much. I still had the white liberal assumption that while there had been problems in the past, they were being fixed, so it would all be good soon. I am afraid I still have a good deal of that. I’m still surprised when I hear about shootings and abuse, or even cigarette smoking. After all, why would anyone still smoke cigarettes when they know they’re bad for you? Why would anyone let them selves get to 275 pounds obese? Some of the episodes on Youtube included the commercials. We get so used to things. I do think that TV does exert a huge impact on expectations. I remember after the assassinations of King and Kennedy they came down hard on any “acts of violence” down to counting every punch and slap as well as shot. I am not sure that made a huge difference in the amount of violence off screen, but I do think not seeing so much drinking and smoking helps reduce the expectation. Used to be that if you saw people in bed smoking, you knew that they’d had sex. That was just the trope.  I’m sure that the way movies and action shows have a murder and sex as near constants give a distorted picture of our world to both those from other countries, as well as people who don’t know much about the world outside their immediate experience. I was thinking about the young, but should probably include people like myself, and those who have traveled less than I have. I don’t need to rehash my complaint that the sorting algorithms on social media falsely reinforce the idea that everyone things the way we do. I intend to expose myself to other points of view, but I don’t often get around to it. I know I’m as liable as the next person to see the world through my personal filter; I figure all I can do is to make that filter help me make the world a better place- whether by seeing things clearly that I can do to help, and not seeing things when I can’t do anything about it.

Light is noticeably returning, and I think the energy is cranking up a bit. I really should have gotten started on the preparation for this year’s CTCW, but I hadn’t yet. Luckily Lois prodded and pushed and last night we had the first 2016 CTCW planning meeting. I have a brand new to-do list, and figure that as long as it doesn’t cost money, I should get to it. I also want to get to some old art projects and definitely organize the library and clean more. I HAVE to get up to clean the attic- as soon as it’s warmer up there!

I’d been thinking that we wouldn’t be buried in political stuff since our primary was over with, but I guess not. We weathered the excitement of Super Tuesday (certainly more Super than a football game IMO) and thinking about how we all seem to think that things were better when we were young. It doesn’t matter whether you grew up during the fifties, or the depression, or the nineties, “things were better” when you were young (unless you had an unusually crappy childhood). I think that’s not just because we have to deal with bills as an adult, but because we have to deal with all the unpleasant stuff, the unfairness we’ve had to learn to put up with,  because we didn’t know about the horrible things that happen in the wide world, because all we knew was our house, our family, our school, and community. What we learned at two, three, five, or ten was “how the world works” and every thing we learn after that, that not everyone shares our religion, or our parents beliefs, is “wrong” to our subconscious mind. We may have grown up comfortably believing that “men and men and women are women” and “this” is how they are supposed to act. That “natives are lazy” or “orientals are inscrutable” or “fill-in-the-ethnics” are dirty”. It took me years to realize that I had absorbed my parents assumption that anyone who raised goats was poverty stricken (like the ones in “Skunk Hollow” we’d visited), or “don’t talk to the cops, they’re are out to get you” which some of my urban friends took as a given. It didn’t matter if they knew better intellectually, or that they knew exceptions to those rules, they’d probably absorbed the dictum as children and didn’t question it either. What Trump offers is “let’s go back to the way it used to be” which feels really good to so many, because it doesn’t matter what your life was or is now, if you’re an adult, the past “used to be better”. This is why no facts will sway their supporters, they don’t care. They only know that they want that mythical better. We don’t want McCarthy, Jim Crow, and sexism, but we sure would like Ozzie and Harriet, and catching fireflies on the lawn, and having Mom waiting for us after school with cookies and milk- whether we ever had that life. (I was lucky, I did have it.) But when we walked into the room, sometimes the grown-ups would look uncomfortable and change the subject so we wouldn’t hear them talk about the stuff that worried them. Heck, they wouldn’t even talk about feminine hygiene, so how could we expect them to talk about politics or injustice? From movies and fiction of the time, it’s pretty clear that they thought that their adult lives were grimmer than their childhoods. 12771684_10154168155174384_997536715130721588_o
Another time this week I was thinking about my life (apparently I remember a lot more of when I was young than most people), and we often play with the concept of if you could change anything, what would you change? And there is very little I would change because I like the way everything came out (up until Ælfwine getting cancer, but not knowing the mechanism of that, I doubt I could pick anything to do differently). I am pretty pleased with my life. Thinking about how the internet has changed our lives, every so often someone (like Kathryn Goodwyn) shares an old photo. I think this one is from `77 or `78. Interestingly it is the middle section of my life, when I was busy with kids and the SCA that I remember the least.

I can’t think of watching anything this week except Man for All Seasons, which had some lovely costuming and sets, but didn’t impress me as much this time around as it did when it first came out. One way to look at is is a “man won’t back down on principles and ruins his families life”, another is “we don’t negotiate with terrorists/bullies”. It sure is difficult to see Henry as anything but the bad guy in this. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, that sort of thing. I also watched a bunch of NCIS while knitting, cooking, etc. I’m up to season 7. Still a few to go before I have to pick the next series to re-watch.
I am subscribed to Book Bub, which offers free ebooks every day, in genres you pick, and which for me is fantasy, historical mysteries, cookbooks, history, and occult. This is a very clever scheme because when I finished Miss Mable’s School for Girls, I discovered it was one of those execrable series where they take you to a semi-climax (tie up one set of loose ends) but the made plot is still unresolved. I could simply get it with one click- at the full price. I fell into that trap with the Pern books. I already own almost all of them, but kept downloading them just to see what happened next. (“It’s ONLY $7.99!”) True, but 15 books later that is quite a hunk of change! I am so cross about that “the first one is free little girl” system that I have, thus far, resisted buying the next book. Luckily, it’s not that or nothing.
I had just begun reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, when the disc came from the library. It’s a great treat, as the writing is highly decorated (I’m sure some would say ponderous), full of clever phrases and observations. It is not a book I’d sit and devour in one sitting, but has the lovely attribute of giving far more detail than one can get from the film version. In the mini-series, for example, I had a very hard time keeping the odious Mr. Lascelles and political Lord Pole separate in my mind, and have no trouble with that in the book. I have noticed that often casting directors have such a narrow esthetic that all their actors look the same, and I can’t tell one from another. Luckily most of the characters in Clarke’s novel are different enough that most of the characters don’t have that problem. I do love the names! As I have been attempting to organize and thin the library, I have tried to take better advantage of the Library and e-books. I REALLY prefer reading a book- one can’t do a quick “flip back” to check on something one remembers, or check the map at the front of the book as easily. I have been able to enjoy the footnotes in JS&MN, I expect one would need that with a Pratchett book as well. Still, with all their benefits, e-books will never replace physical ones.
I’m three books into the Fablehaven series; the writing is much better than Miss Mable series. Willow reads much more quickly than I, probably due to my fondness for recapitulating and stopping to examine points and phrases- once again, harkening back to my preference for books. Thus when I’ve finished another book, she and I can speak about and compare plot, theme and character points we enjoyed- or found annoying. Since it’s “young adult”, the heroes of the books are 12 and 15, talented and mostly appealing. The boy, Seth, is annoyingly reckless, to the point of reminding me of the origin of the word back when reck meant to pay attention. While these books are in a continuing series of five, each has a satisfying conclusion, and I’m having a hard time convincing myself that I don’t need a hard copy of the set in my library to re-read and loan! Luckily, I then look at my “to read” pile(s), and resisting is far easier.
Tonight I will be talking about hypnosis with Lugh- Dennis Windsinger Seavey, who recently got his certification in Hypnotherapy.

Tchipakkan
1960s-Troll-1000x788 45 adaptorsBetween it being Old Stuff Day, and the looking backward I’ve been doing, I can’t help thinking about all those memes they pass around asking us if we know what these items are: plastic adaptors for 45s, trolls, floppies, spirograph, polaroid cameras, drive ins,  things that were as natural as breathing, as accepted as grass, and water and streets.
But I remember getting our first color TV, my first reel to reel recorder, Ælfwine’s first computer, our first VHS movie, my first cell phone. I remember how inconceivable the idea of using a credit card for groceries, and automatic on-line payments was, and I think I’m still getting used to e books. I was close to my grandmother and remember her stories, own her books. Her childhood is fairly real to me, so the teens and twenties don’t seem that far away. The second world war was when my parents were young, it’s not like the Middle Ages or Ancient Rome, or even the Revolutionary War. It’s just a while ago. Old Stuff? I am old stuff! Somehow it seems irritating to me when people act like not having cell phones is inconsistent with life. Anything that wasn’t picked up recently because it’s “retro” is “stupid”. But that may be me projecting a disrespect that isn’t there.

I also tripped over this, which which has been stuck in some back-ante-room of my brain since I listened to WBZ when I was a kid. I have now discovered that I mis-heard three bits- I heard “Donald Fernald” tweezers, and heard “smut” rather than sloth, and “quivery” as “queezy”- it didn’t make sense, but how much did any of it?  Other than that, the rest stuck in my brain. (Go fig. Also, what else is skulking in there?) I also now know, thanks to Wikipedia, that it was designed to test people who wanted to speak on the radio to see if they could read and pronounce things clearly. I sang it for the kids, and they don’t remember hearing it before, so I guess it was dormant a long time.
One hen
Two ducks
Three squawking geese
Four limerick oysters
Five corpulent porpoises
Six pair of Don Alverzo’s tweezers
Seven thousand Macedonians in full battle array
Eight brass monkeys from the ancient, sacred crypts of Egypt
Nine sympathetic apathetic diabetic old men on roller skates with a marked propensity towards procrastination and sloth
Ten lyrical, spherical, diabolical denizens of the deep who all stall around the corner of the quo of the quay of the quivery, all at the same time.