3-25-2015 Tolkien Reading Day

It is thawing. You can tell because things are emerging from the snow- fallen trees, shovels, (lots of dirt), our poor quince bush that has been plowed over. On the other hand, while the thermometer has been suggesting it’s been in the 20ºs at night and 40ºs during the day, I have been colder this week than I remember being in February.  This may be because we resist fussing with the woodstove when it looks like it’s warmer.     Part of that may be because we are  out of the aged wood. For most of the winter we used the last cord of seasoned wood to start the fires, and the half- seasoned to keep them going. Now we’re using half seasoned chopped smaller to start, and it doesn’t catch as well. The half-seasoned has to be heated (pre-baked as it were) before it wants to catch. It’ll be great next year, but I’ve been freezing my dohickies off, and I’m so ready for spring!

Last Thursday I had Kat’s friend Douglas over for cleaning help again. We stacked wood in the shed for a while. Then He helped me drain the washer and check for blockages. We found a good deal of fibrous gunk and a broken safety pin, but when we put everything back together it still didn’t drain. The test load was the rags we’d used to mop up the floor. The problem is that you can drain the inner tub- the perforated one that holds the clothes, but there’s still some in the outer tub that holds the water, and that comes out when you tip it on it’s side. Oh well. DSC01816
One Youtube video showed how to open the pump and pull out the fibers that get inside and foul it. Our model doesn’t allow for that. Willow helped me take it out, and later drove me out to get a new one, luckily they keep them in stock, and Kat actually reinstalled it while I was going back to re-watch the how-to video. We are feeling competent (and maybe a bit smug)!
Willow had to drive because my car wouldn’t start- apparently when I brought it back from the garage, I left something on and ran down the battery. We attached the plug-into-the-house charger for a day (which didn’t work), then Gary, bless him, came over and got it working again yesterday. Wouldn’t take any money either- I owe him a pie.
Sadly, this meant I couldn’t take the microwave over when I picked up the pump- the microwave light was out, and only a service man can open the back to change it. (It’s got star shaped screw heads.) I’d put it in the car to have them open it while I was at the appliance place, but didn’t move it to Willow’s car. We’ve brought it back inside. We don’t need light to re-heat leftovers. They suggested we could get something to open a “security torx” screw at the hardware store.
DSC01817We picked up a set- they’ve opened up a new Ocean State Job Lots across from Shaws, and we are very excited! We used to have to go to Nashua or Peterboro to find one, now there’s one handy. We went over on Ostara (the equinox) because our tradition is that we should each have a new garment for spring, and hadn’t gotten them yet. They have some lovely looking rugs I wanted, but not this month.
I decided to make a cheese souffle for Ostara. Willow thought it was too fancy, but if you have a stand beater, they are less work than a cake. Not very exciting though. I needed a stronger tasting cheese. (It’s incredibly difficult to get a good picture of a souffle because they settle so fast!)
When Douglas was here, I took advantage of his 6’4″ is height: I got him to help change lightbulbs and clean stuff near the ceiling. We cleaned the inside of the living-room windows, and all the pretty colored glass bottles I keep on the window sills. Next time I want to tackle the library. This will be dangerous because I fear both of us are susceptible to the book sirens.

I have probably spent too much time reading this week. It’s so much more pleasant to lie comfortably in the cuddly, fur cocoon that is my bed, following the adventures of clever Romans like Falco and Libertas, than to come downstairs and shiver, and clean, cook, and try to dig out the art corner so I can get painting on my commissions. The Public TV auction is going to be selling another on on the artist’s board again this year. They started about the time we lost the TV so I have never caught it. Sigh.
I haven’t read any Tolkien today,  and as a matter of fact haven’t watched the DVD of the 3rd Hobbit movie, even though I’d pre-ordered it and it arrived yesterday.
This week my fingernails are sea-green or aqua, and sparkly of course. Willow points out most of my nail polish is sparkly. I love sparkles. I remember how entranced I was by anything with rhinestones and sequins or glitter when I was a kid. I still remember the Ice Capades-(probably about 1965?) so much sparkle! I was blissed out! Wondering if it’s still around, I find it isn’t. After enchanting us for six decades, apparently it quietly slipped away around the turn of the millennium. I guess sparkle isn’t enough for modern kids. My nails still make me smile when I notice them and they catch the light. In my world view, I am now old enough to wear them even though it’s not dignified.
Did I mention that I am now not using shampoo? For a couple of years I used whatever seemed least toxic from the health food store, now I’m trying the trick I got from Chris LaFond (who has gorgeous hair!), I use baking soda in water, then rinse with vinegar. It works great! This week I tried using lemon juice instead, so if there was any lingering scent it would be yummy. I haven’t noticed any, but then Photo on 2015-03-25 at 21.31 #2again, I don’t have anyone sticking his nose in my long, silky tresses either. I also looked that up on line and see that there’s a “No-poo” movement. I now find myself wondering how to make baking soda myself. (Another good thing about this, is that I can scrub the tub afterwards with the water and baking soda.) I notice my hair is nearly down to my waist- is this because of keeping it up all the time, not using shampoo, or the
Saturday Willow babysat for Avalon. She and the kids have moved to a bigger apartment, and she’s gotten her first couch! The pleasure in this has been somewhat dampened (ouch) by Caelin having wet it already. On the other hand, she found a gorgeous set of silver plate which has Willow salivating! She showed me pictures! I spent the day on the “on line” course on spirituality Kerensa suggested to me. This week they are on Sound: specifically Drumming. The professor apparently intentionally took the music out of the sound to talk about drumming which he equates to heartbeats. I know this because one of the activities we’re supposed to do is participate in “discussions”. With over 4000 people participating, we each just scroll through and read and comment on ones that catch our eye, and apparently he saw mine, and weighed in. It’s kinda cool to have had an interaction with the prof given the numbers. I am hoping that when we get to later sections I won’t be as cross and contrary as I have been with the incense and drumming sections.

I still haven’t gotten sick of reading Roman period mysteries, and have discovered that there are far more than I’d tripped over in the bookstore and library. To which should I give the honor of my attention and time? I found the
Mammoth Book of Roman Whodunnits on Kindle for $6. I could have gotten it for $4 used, but at this point I’m not sure that even if it does disappear after I’ve read it (I don’t quite trust the ephemeral aspect of ebooks), NOT having a volume around the house for which to find space is an advantage worth paying the extra two bucks. With this I can try a sample of the writing of 19 authors, see if I like their protagonists and style, and then I’ll get used copies of the ones I want to give house-room. I’ll admit a fondness for those set in Roman Britain (or visiting), but the cosmopolitan style of Rome works very well with modern mentality. Apparently there are several Mammoth book of XXX whodunits, but not all have kindle editions. (I wonder how much space I have left in mine?)
Mysteriously, I got a single volume (T) from a 1959 World Book Encyclopedia. The plastic bag in which it was shipped had stretched on the part where the return address was printed, so I have no idea who sent it. We can assume that it’s one of the second-party sellers I’d ordered used books from through Amazon, but they can’t tell me who it is either. I have to wait until I have only one unfilled order in my Orders, and that will be it, at which point we can find out what I’d asked for that this isn’t. Frustrating! At this point I’m guessing Historical Dictionary of the Elizabethan World: Britain, Ireland, Europe, and America , someone not paying attention could conceivably be working too fast and not read the title properly. It is, at least, a reference book. We’ll see.
Tonight I talked about Divination on the New Normal, also Mike Dolan called in and talked about the Magickal Marketplace, coming up in Nashua this weekend. He and Beth have managed to make a go of their event. I figure, what’s the point of having a podcast if you can’t use it to promote a friends event? The people who listen to LiveParanormal (if they are in the area) are just the right target audience.
Kat and I watched a really weird movie from Netflix called The Company of Wolves. It had a lot of really weird and evocative imagery, it had several different stories like Red Riding Hood intertwined like in the 1001 Nights, and in each one the transformation sequence of the werewolves was handled differently. I am not sure the story ever really resolves- it’s a mood piece. If you like such things, I can recommend it. We’ve now finished watching Upstairs Downstairs, and full of 20’s nostalgia watched The King’s Speech. It is a lovely movie, wonderful performances, and my take-away is that it’s not fancy degrees that make you an effective therapist, but being caring, observant, and willing to do what it takes (also stammering comes from trauma, which I think is fairly accepted now). I can think of no better lesson for a king than to learn that it’s not credentials that makes an expert.

I am so tired! I’m trying to switch my schedule backwards (always difficult) to get up when it gets light in the morning instead of staying up late to finish “one more thing”- then end up sleeping late. Kat’s doctor is shifting from one med to another to (we hope) reduce the stomach problems they’ve been causing. The “side effect” is that she should sleep better, but may be drowsy in the mornings. We’ll see. Her first reaction was that Kat should go back to her primary and get some drug to deal with the nausea and vomiting. I pointed out that since we know that it’s one of the drugs she’s taking that is causing it, it’s not appropriate to involve another doctor and add another layer of medication, but to find a drug that doesn’t cause problems. WHY is this not self evident? Ah well. We have lots of lovely light, and I hope I’ll be able to switch over to a schedule to enjoy it. Also get more active. I haven’t checked a scale recently, but I fear the last few months I’ve gained more weight. I need to be more active.

“War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his  glory. I love only that which they defend.”
– Faramir in The Two Towers, The Window on the West

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
– Gandalf in The Fellowship of the Ring, The Shadow of the Past

“It is useless to meet revenge with revenge: it will heal nothing.”
– Frodo in The Return of the King, The Scouring of the Shire

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