3-21-2007 Common Courtesy Day

Hello again! March 21, 2007

Calendar Trivia- to enjoy or scroll past:
21 (today) Agriculture Day, Memory Day, International Anti-Religious Discrimination Day, Common Courtesy Day, French bread Day , California Strawberry Day, Fragrance Day, and Tara was founded
22 Goof Off Day, World Water Day, Bavarian Crepes Day
23 Puppy Day, OK Day, World Meteorological Day, Chip & Dip Day, Toast Day, Organize Your home Office Day
24 Chocolate Covered Raisins Day, TB Day, Yo-yo Day
25 (Sunday) Old New Years Day, Pecan Day, Greek-American Day, Waffle Day, Lobster Newburg Day
26 Make up your own holiday Day, Nougat Day
27 Kite Flying Day, Quirky Country Music Song Title Day , Spanish Paella Day, and National “Joe” Day
The Third week of March is National Chocolate Week, and it’s Bubble Blowers Week, and Spring Fever Week
We are now fully in Spring- well, technically. I’m always confused by the “first day of spring” vs. first Full day of spring” foolishness. After all, if you are getting snow, it’s all sort of theoretical anyway. And Bruce pointed out that I made a mistake last week “the real Ides of March is 3/29. They changed the calendar when they added July and August. That took 6 days out of January and eight days out of February, making the date for the Ides of March 14 days later.”
The whole Gregorian Calendar change thing is right up there with Daylight Savings Time in annoyance value, except that mostly we don’t care about it much these days.
I note with some irony this past week was Animal Poison Prevention Week, since the news has been really full of the pet food recall this week. It’s really sad, people have such faith in produced products. I suppose it’s not totally misplaced, it’s just that there are so few things I would put that much faith in. I figure you always have to be ready to back up and say- “Whoops! looks like my best wasn’t good enough”, and change tack.
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Weather and Farm
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Well, we had another snow storm. Everything was thawing- Star put up the screen door because we were leaving the front door open to let the fresh air in. And we were thinking that maybe we could get the goat fence re strung. (We’re waiting for the ground to thaw enough to place new posts- but I think I already mentioned that.) it’s hard to say how much snow we got- it blows around a LOT in the driveway- one side of the van was 6 feet deep, one side was only a couple inches.
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One day, most of the snow was gone, and the yard was looking its usual messy spring worst, and then whump! All the mess is covered again. Sadly, this was a very heavy snow, between the last one and this, we’ve broken three shovels, so this time we had to go out and get replacements. Sigh.
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Kat came out to help and blinked at the brightness, but then remembered she was wearing goggles, (can you see the biohazard signs on the lenses?) I think the black spot near the barn behind her is a goat. We’ve GOT to get that fence up again. Tried to get pictures of the baby goats in snow up to their shoulders, but couldn’t manage. Another funny picture I didn’t get was a shot of the goats eating what looked like green snow (reminded me of the Cat in the Hat comes Back). There was this big greenish blotch, and the goats were nosing it. Then I figured out that that was where Star had dumped the compost. Usually the chickens eat it, and I saw this on Sunday- the day after Saint Patrick’s Day. As usual we had our Green Corned Beef Dinner. I think you’ve seen pictures of that- so here’s a shot of Kat’s breakfast- green scrambled eggs and OJ (which she remembers fondly from her childhood- Star still thinks it’s gross and won’t touch it).
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What we’re up to
I was still painting Thursday, so Willow and Kat did the errands. I was impressed because we’d gotten the check back from the Vermont Renn Fair (They decided that they can’t do it this year) and she deposited that $150, and managed to get everything on the list for only $167, groceries, feed, hardware, health food store, everything, mailing, art store- everything. They even split a sub. We’re doing our spring “herbal cleanse” (finishing tomorrow). I don’t have the faith that most Americans do that we live in an antiseptic world. Next week I think I’ll try a traditional “spring tonic”, and see if I can boost energy levels.
Olaf called, one of Willow’s shawls sold, and he wants to put our stuff on his website. I gave permission, but they aren’t there yet. We REALLY need to get a website going. I decided that that was a top priority after Ælfwine died- said I should get it done by November, and while we got a beginning one hanging off Willow’s comic site, it’s still not done. I’ve been looking at other people’s websites and trying to generate copy for it, but I keep getting side-tracked.
D. Sebastian called to make sure it was OK to hang Ælfwine’s name on a new legend- they’ve come up with a new relic- some grailish sort of thing which he was supposed to have turned water into mead in. Willow joked “yeah, he said, Arastorm, could you please brew some mead out of this?” So I said it should be shaped like that aluminum 15 gallon keg I used to use, and he’d carry into the halls. I can hardly wait to see it.
The big news of the week would be that I finished the painting- just before midnight on Thursday, and signed in Friday. Megan suggested that I should use bits of it to make note-cards etc. I wouldn’t have thought of that. So we tried getting it scanned at Kinkos, but they can only do stuff that’s on paper and can be “fed through” their machine, although they can do huge pieces on paper. So we scanned it at home, and have the bits on Willow’s computer. Now we have to figure out how to turn them into cards. Here’s the last picture- Hmm, I never noticed what a clear arc the clouds over Zeus’ arm make- I should probably pretend I did that on purpose. This is not scanned, it’s a photo- it really brings out the shine of the paint and does odd things to the color. You can see the string I taped over it to give me an idea of which part has to be plain because that’s going to be the spine where the title, author, etc. goes. Anyway- my first book cover, bought and paid for- another step into the future.
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We packed it up, and Willow sent it off Monday morning, (and picked up the mail which couldn’t get delivered on Saturday because we hadn’t dug out yet).
This week I’m tweaked at Netflix- I’ve gotten two discs. Last week we got two doubled, and sent them back with a heads-up to them about their mistake, and since then it all seems to have dried up. So we’ve been watching the movies we have around- hardly a hardship, I’m just annoyed because I’m spoiled. I did see Serenity- the movie sequel to the Firefly series. I wish it had stayed on. It was good. I am pretty much done with the deLindt books I got from the library. There are more out there- maybe I can get them through inter-library-loan. Unlike my usual research books, they’re probably willing to let them out. Of course, now I’ve started back in on the stack of non-fiction that’s been waiting while I have been reading the deLindt. A World Full of Gods is fantastic, and I have to bite the bullet and review my journals to get ready for the workshop on Cancer I’m doing for Ecumenicon- but I’ve also got some books to read for that.
They don’t combine well with watching TV- the commercials really get to me as I see them selling drugs to basically healthy people. You know I wouldn’t be annoyed if they were pushing nutrients, or improved lifestyles, but somehow they are pushing all these drugs- along with the warnings that should scare people off- and I keep remembering the ads in Joe Somebody “Making you better than you really are”. I think the ones I hate the most are the ones for the “One Less” ads showing all these pre-teen girls getting all excited about maybe being protected from cancer, and not mentioning at all that if they just don’t “put out” they have even less risk. No, they have to assume that if you are human you are going to be promiscuous. I don’t deny that it happens, but I just don’t buy that it’s universal. Nor that it’s as risk free as they present it.
I should just stop watching. Most of the shows we usually watch are on whatever channel has “March Madness”. Willow says they call it that because it makes anyone who isn’t into basketball mad. It is annoying- but not as though I’m not liable to turn off the tube if it’s a rerun anyway. Occasionally we check out the other channels (which honestly we don’t watch because we only get two channels in well- and not always two). We caught “Wife Swap.” Didn’t mean to watch- but it was something like a train wreck, you kept meaning to look away, and just kept looking and shaking your head. This week they paired a slob and someone who felt that cleaning was not something you let dominate your life. Boy, were they both miserable in each other’s places! Luckily for the home-schooling “slob” mother, the other one was allowed to bring in professional cleaners and repairmen who fixed a lot of the stuff they’d been “meaning to get to”. I’m sure she didn’t mind that. I have to wonder how crazy my life would make anyone trying to change places with me- and how insane I would go in a very controlled life. The woman who ran her life by “how you present yourself” tried to get the casual husband to make his wife get a job (and send the kids to public school) AFTER the two weeks was over. I wonder if they ever switch women who work, and how they deal with that? Weird.
I also watched Nanny McPhee again and thought how much I loved that house- all bright colors- maybe I could redo the front hall blue like theirs. But I keep thinking we should start to “vanilla down” the house so it will sell better when we get to the point when we don’t want to live together. Sigh. I LIKE bright colors. Why does the world like beige?
Speaking of life style change. Willow finally got the other half of her Yule present. It’s kind of like karaoke for your feet. They have a visual on the TV for you to follow, and it plays music, and you step forward or side or back, and they keep track of how many missteps you make (with “motivational comments” which Willow really wishes she could turn off) and how many calories you burn per song, and all sorts of stuff. Me- I’m just trying to get to walk once a day, meanwhile Willow and Kat and even Star are in jumping around on the spots on the mat. I’d try it, but they don’t have an “old, fat and slow” setting.
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I’ve also sent off a couple of articles to magazines, and made an outline for the weekend long RunValdr workshop. And am looking for the best flights. Basically, they are giving me everything they take in, so the more I can pare down the expenses, the more I make. Flights seem to be cheaper if I want to leave at 6 am- which I’d rather not, and different at all three airports I could come into Regan, Dulles and Baltimore. I’d like to do Baltimore, because that’s closest to Ecumenicon where I’ll be leaving from, and will have to find a ride to the fight from. All this writing back and forth and looking at schedules and prices, and trying to juggle going from here to there to Joanna’s to Ecumenicon is taking much longer than I feel that it should. Trying to reserve for shows, and make sure we have as many as possible booked is practically a full time job, and I doubt it should be. While working on the write up for their website I’ve been developing an expanded manual (to justify getting $40 each from them) and am now wanting to actually do the book I’ve been thinking of on RunValdr. No. No, other stuff first! (I’m always so excited about whatever I’m working on.)
Willow’s finally started rescanning in all her old comics to neaten them up and make them into a collection. What a job! She will deserve every penny she gets for whatever she sells. And it’s fascinating to watch how much she’s improved in just two years.
Willow went over to Avi and Trevor’s- she’s nearly due, and not going out. They say the baby is big and the doctors will induce her labor if she doesn’t have it by her due date. That seems wrong to me, one doesn’t induce if you’re within normal parameters, but I’ve learned not to say anything to pregnant ladies- why inject worry into an already hormonally unbalanced person? And the baby comes out one way or another. We are so looking forward to it- been sorting the gloves and hats and such and found two little ones which we will probably try to inflict on the precious thing.
I’ve been making cheese every other day since the goats started spring milking- a bit less each time, I am almost ready to go to every three days. But this week I found a site that talked about Mysost. That is apparently the real name of what I’d been calling Gjetost. (Gjestost seems to just mean goat’s cheese) Mysost is apparently whey cheese, and Arwen tells me it’s also called Brunost or “brown cheese”- which makes sense, because it is. (It caramelizes as it cooks down) As Arwen described it, it’s really hard- but apparently that’s a variation called Prim or Primost to which milk is added to the whey during the cooking. Anyway, I found a site that told me why mine came out grainy- you apparently have to treat it like fudge and cool it quickly while beating. This batch is nice and smooth, and very yummy on crackers. I’m planning on taking some to the event this weekend to show off.
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I had a thought this week- it’s more uncomfortable to feel “weird”, disoriented, as if you don’t know how the world works, than it is to feel “bad”, sad, angry, upset, as if you aren’t doing what you are supposed to be doing. Certainly people will put a lot more effort into arguing about how the world works, or to make sure that the way they understand it isn’t altered than they will into trying to make sure that something uncomfortable but they figure is at least understandable gets changed. To put it another way- someone would rather go to hell than accept that there might not be one for people who do wrong. I suppose this thought may ultimately derive from A World Full of Gods which examines a lot of the philosophy of religion, and how many arguments are circular. I am more familiar with such bad reasoning in the alternative health field, where you’ll get such zingers as (in The Cure for All Cancers) “All cancers are caused by liver flukes, our treatment gets rid of the liver flukes, and when they are gone, you are cured of cancer.” Right- if you totally redefine cancer as liver flukes… Or the wonderful louse comb that guaranteed that it was 100% effective if used as directed- and the directions were “comb until all nits are gone” (totally ignoring the fact that the tines were spaced such that it wouldn’t work on blonde hair). Re-defining the world to make it mean what you expect is far too common. Now that I’m thinking about it, it occurs in almost every facet of life of which I can think.

Ah well, back to work. I have to book my flight, and finish the napkin for this weekend, and do more scheduling stuff, and then get to the taxes… argh. I don’t want to think about everything I have to get to!
Tchipakkan
“From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.”
Arthur Ashe

“And the trouble is if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.” Erica Jong

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