3-28-19 Something on a Stick Day!

Dear Family:                                                                         March 28th, 2019
Once again I have gotten distracted and not sticking to my schedule. Not a big deal I suppose. I just responded to one of Vicki’s letters of their adventures in Čechia; Tamar and Kami wrote back on last week’s letter and I was reminded how much replies mean. I love the idea that my thoughts are reaching out to people, and it’s nice to know that they do actually get read. Since Vicki and Steve are in Europe chasing down her ancestors, her letters have lovely bits of foreign fun, like bike trips and visiting landmarks. I suppose if I want more interesting letters I should leave the house more often!
One of the distractions this week was Wednesday finding over a thousand spam emails had come in the last two days! I spent well over an hour deleting them (which might have gone faster if I hadn’t done it 10 at a time in order to get some idea of how many there were- I didn’t think until later to just use the number from the Junk mail box. When I emptied it it was 1341, although I think I have may have emptied it mid process. (I’m not sure.) I then switched over to clearing the “comments” section in the CTCW website (thank goodness Maryalyce, the chair, knew how to do that. I was, once again, only able to do it one pageful at a time. There were over 5K there. The other 3K are probably still in my mailbox. A CTCW friend’s identity got hijacked a couple years ago and so spam forwarded from the website comes to me with her name on it. But because of the technology of spam, if I put her name into the search function, those emails don’t come up since they came from the ever changing list of clients the spammers are servicing.  Because of spam, I’m not good about checking my email, it’s a pain to have to weed through a hundred ads for Canadian furniture, credit cards, insurance, cosmetics, or penile enhancement. It’s sort of easy to recognize as spam when the headline is in Russian. If I were only able to sort with Amy’s name, it would cut out most of my spam!  Usually it’s only two or three a day, but 700 a day seems excessive. I am wondering if it is because the FTC has decided to crack down on robot calls that the spammers decided that they were next and should get their licks in before it happens. (Or maybe they have a quota and it’s the end of the month.) On the other hand, while fb was full of stories about the robo-calls last week, this week there are stories about how the FTC is having a hard time trying to get at the ones doing it. Big surprise! You’d think though that if there are people who can come up with programs to generate robocalls and spam, the geeks would be able to come up with programs to block them. …. just like they blocked the Russian trolls during the election. I guess it’s pretty impossible to stop people from picking up the phone, checking their email, and believing horrible things about people that they’ve heard bad things about before. We are still human and curious after all.
The weather is sliding into spring, the snow melting, days getting warmer in the two steps forward one back manner of New England. We woke to snow last Saturday, but it wasn’t bad and had mostly melted by evening. The ground isn’t thawed yet, though- although I am checking for crocus leaves when I go out.
We went out Saturday to the Magical Marketplace and Psychic Fair, down in Nashua. Kat can’t take the press of people, so it was just Willow and me.  This year it ran two days- Saturday and Sunday, and the vendors could set up Friday night if they wanted. This would be great if you’re one of the ones staying in the hotel, but we weren’t, so instead we put the stuff in the car Friday, and headed out at 8 am Saturday morning. In the snow. (Uphill both ways) OK, this was deeply exacerbated by my having thrown my sleep schedule WAY off- frequently not going to bed until midnight and reading until one or two, and one night I think it was past four when I dropped off. This is not a problem when there’s no reason to get up in the morning, but Saturday was an effort!
We only had two six foot tables, with space at the corner for Willow’s painted silk, so couldn’t put out as much as we usually do. I did appreciate that the space into the center of the hollow square had room for me to walk through without knocking stuff off the tables- sometimes they only leave 12-14 inches and I’m much wider than that. On Saturday mostly I took cards for CTCW around to try to get people interested. (It was easier when it was in Massachusetts.) I also discovered to my surprise that although we are pushing to get the speakers lined up earlier this year, that when I told Sha and Granite to get their proposals in early, they sent them in the next time they didn’t have clients at their table! Unfortunately, the 2019 proposal form wasn’t up on the website yet, as Brian was volunteering for the MMPPF, and he’d been doing their stuff instead of ours. (He’s very busy- he also is involved with the Armored Combat League  and is headed off for Spain next week -although I’m not sure whether that’s for work, ACL or both- and active in the pagan community and SCA.) They’re up now. I had 500 cards, to share among those of us up here, but sort of pooped out when distributing them in the readers room. The Magical Marketplace IS billed as a psychic fair, whereas CTCW has readers as part of the whole thing. I think the vendors and entertainment are a bigger part of this event than they are at CTCW. We’re trying to be a place where people can talk and learn stuff. MMPPF had two classrooms and about five slots a day.
I am going to say that the music was much more to my taste (see how I didn’t say “better”) this year. More acoustic and acapella groups as opposed to heavily amplified stuff. Since the stage is in with the vendors, in previous years I’d complained about having to try to speak over the music to the customers, while the musicians had to try to play over the sound of commerce. (Apollo and Mercury not getting along.) Also, in the way of hotels, under the carpet there’s concrete, and my feet hurt, and hotels dry me out, so it’s hard to drink enough water to keep up. They sold lunches and drinks, but it’s a Pepsi place, and I’d remembered to bring a gallon of water. Luckily we got the volunteers to pick up some Coke for Willow when they went out on an errand.
This year they added more After Dark entertainment (including a masked ball) to which we did not go. Instead we opted to go straight home. Sadly, the car wouldn’t start, but Shema had cables and gave us a jump.
Sunday I pretty much deserted Willow and went to the workshops instead (having dropped cards with most of the vendors, and as many of the readers as I dared). The classes were great- Coyote Skywoman did a marvelous one on paganism showing up in popular fiction (she’s a English teacher); Rob did one on bringing ancient pagan ethics into the modern world. I really loved the workshop on herbs for treating Lyme disease, and while I have every intention of digging up and chopping the roots of the Japanese Knotweed as soon as the ground is thawed, it isn’t yet, so I bought a packet of her herbs. I was a bit disturbed to hear that 50% of people who manage to get rid of the lime with the doxycycline get it again. This makes sense since the bugs and the diseases are still there, so why wouldn’t you get bitten again? She also went into the other tick borne diseases that often accompany Lyme- apparently that was where the Rigors I was having when I got it came from, although I didn’t have symptoms of another one (whose name I wrote down, but have lost my notes). Another useful thing I learned was that the “white willow bark” we can get in health food places can be taken off the dropped branches of willow trees (when fresh) and removed with a peeler. That I didn’t know- I was picturing going in to harvest it from the trunk! Good to know. Willow bark tea is great against pain and fevers, and I know there are some around here. The last panel I attended had 5 panelists and only two in the audience- but was really good, and I want to have a panel with the same theme at CTCW: the media and paganism. (Lots of talk about the new Sabrina.) I also wrote down the names of the many friends I saw there- among them Kathy and Beth, Bear and Lee, Niffer, Ed and Carol, Deb and Rob, Lyrion, Don, Mike, Beth and Cassie, Tracy and her husband whose name I remember at the time but not now, Jeff, and piles of others whose names I spaced.
When that was done Willow and I packed up quickly and were ready to go- but once again the car wouldn’t start (although it started over in the parking lot to get to by the door where we loaded it). Once again Shema jumped us, but the dials started “spazzing out” and then went dead as we drove, and about a mile toward home the car died at a stoplight. After a LOT of people honking at us, and one gentleman offering help, we pushed it across the intersection, and called triple A. They got there pretty quickly, but we couldn’t think of anyone to call to drive us home from Winkles, so rather than dropping it there, we had the guy drop us at the house. This would also allow us to unload the goods from the car.  He looked at it the battery and diagnosed that the clamps that attach the wires to the battery were loose and needed to be tightened, but neither he, nor we had the right tool, so Monday I called Winkles and carefully drove it down there, where they replaced the clamp. More good news- Gary thinks he may have found me a replacement car!
We did fairly well at the show- not “we can afford to get Chinese Food on the way home” well, but pretty well. I think the favorite sale was the woman who got one of Willow’s Monarch shawls on Saturday, and never took it off- she was also wearing it Sunday. It feels good when you see someone loving something you’ve made. I also did a palm reading on Friday (a fellow who took my class on palmistry at the MENSA Regional Gathering came up for it). This reminded me why I don’t do psychic fairs- $50 for a reading sounds good if it’s a half hour, but I spent an hour on the reading, and two more hours talking palmistry with him, so that’s not a good return on time invested. It also reminds me that I shouldn’t give anyone a hard time about not charging enough for the time they put in, since clearly I’m not one to talk.
While it’s warmer (we no longer worry about pipes freezing) it’s still chilly, so I often feel motivated to turn on the oven and bake. I’m not sure it’s not just because the kitchen is cold. I made a really dark rich Parkin or gingerbread this week, and tonight I made waffles! Wednesday, when I “should have” been finishing the letter, I made jerky. Market basket had the roast beef at $2.99 a pound, so I made jerky, and we had steak and cheese subs with the pieces too small to dry. I don’t expect that’s going to be happening as much with the floods in Nebraska. I would anticipate higher beef prices, wouldn’t you?
I expect the reason I’ve been throwing my sleep schedule off is the supernatural romance/mysteries I’ve been reading. Each twist makes me want to see what happens next. I have a new respect for my mother who was an avid mystery reader, but (as I recall) read them for one hour every afternoon (her “nap”). How DID she put them down? I suppose she also read when she went to bed. So this week I’ve read more of the “fluff” books: Ghostly Tricks, Ghostly Distress, and Ghostly Despair (book 10 in that series), I’m up to book 5 Wicked Warning in the Ivy Morgan (not quite a witch) books, and started the Maddie Graves series  (I’m at book 3, Grave Delight). Maddie also sees ghosts and people in town think of her as a witch, but other than her mediumistic abilities, she seems fairly normal. I like them because they are all crazy in love, and that feels good to me.
I have sort of stalled out in my rereading of the Lord of the Rings. I got as far as just before the bridge at Khasad-dum and haven’t the heart to read on, even though I know Gandalf lives. I finished rereading The King Must Die, and started The Bull from the Sea. I must say that they hod up very well. I’ve also started three or four non-fictions, so my brain may not rot out of my head with all the sugar I’m feeding it. This week I heard that Ralph Metzner died, which sort was like the third shoe dropping for me. I used the recent deaths in the pagan community as the topic for this last week’s blog post Life and Loss. Metzner was not so much pagan as integrated into a whole earth concept; he studied the effects of mind expanding drugs, and created the Green Earth Foundation. I sent for his Well of Remembrance, which is about the mythic roots of the Western Worldview, and have started it. I’m also a few chapters into Raymond Moody Paranormal- my Life in Pursuit of the Afterlife, which begins with his suicide attempt and continues as an autobiography. I am so eager to follow it out the other side! John Michael Greer’s Occult Book is a history of the high points in occultism in Western History. While I’m enjoying it, I wish it had more content. It’s a coffee table type book with one page of story facing one large and gorgeous picture for each event. Since it goes from incident to incident, almost half of each story is providing context, and there are great holes, although I’m sure that it’s great for people who haven’t already studied the topic, and even has covered a few bits that I hadn’t heard of before. Still, I could say that nearly every topic covered on a page could do to have a whole book of its own, and I find it tantalizing.
My copy of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Workout book arrived and I’ve started doing it. In honesty so far I’m only doing the stretches. While she’s got 15 years on me, she’s been working out since then, and I have to get into it. The other bit is that while I have some weights, her workout uses “resistance bands” and now I’m waiting for those to arrive. But I figure that the old people who are active are the ones I want to be like and I’d better get my butt out of the computer chair regularly. I’d walk but my feet are still recovering from last weekend. They do not like standing on concrete at all! Maybe I should look into some hundred dollar shoes.
I have been watching old movies (improving my Cultural Literacy) this week. Kat and I watched City Lights– a Chaplin gem! I could see how similar the acting was to that in early talkies like Dracula. Everyone talks about Chaplin, but I loved his rich friend who only recognized him when he was drunk. Kat told me that the whole “slipping on a banana peel” thing was a euphemism for slipping on poop, which was, although common in the time of horse drawn wagons and free range animals, too crude for most audiences, so the banana peel was a clean version that was acceptable. I hadn’t heard that before.
I also sent for three Bogart and Bacall movies and have watched the first: The Big Sleep, I am somewhat disturbed by the lax attitude of both the police and the private investigator on evidence and crime scenes (and bodies), but given some things I’ve seen on youtube about giving police military equipment, and civil forfeiture as a police perk, I am not sure we’ve advanced so much. Baby steps I guess. I also caught the movie Inglourius Basterds, which I’d heard quoted- “We’re in the Killin’ Nazi business, and cousin, business is boomin’.” It’s rather liberating to see people being honest and open about hating each other. I also appreciated the twists with two sides going for the same objective and getting in each others way, and twist at the end, where the villain was trying to get away with it (sort of like the end of Air America).
I did finish the shawl I was knitting, and really didn’t like it. (Hence no picture) I may put it out again and use the yarn for something else. On the other hand the hand struck reproductions of the coins from Sutton Hoo arrived this week, and I am really psyched about that! They are gold colored- and tiny, as real gold coins would have been. (Our expectation of coins was seriously thrown off by Spanish doubloons!) Real gold coins were rarely bigger than a thumbnail. People had to buy things with them, and you can’t make change for gold with silver easily when it’s generally about 20:1. I don’t think people who are used to paper money realize that.
The other film I watched this week was a semi recent Journey to the Center of the Earth (with Peter Fonda), which failed on so many levels. Checking my account to make sure I hadn’t forgotten something I noticed that I’ve only actually watched 5 things on Netflix in the past year, although, I think that most people use it to stream rather than to borrow DVDs these days. I admit I would watch more if it was hooked to the TV and I could do it while I worked. The last thing I want is to either sit in front of my computer monitor more, or alternately to try to watch a movie on the tiny kindle screen in bed (which is, in fact, where I watched the ones I did stream, when I couldn’t sleep.) The idea of people watching movies on their phones boggles my mind.
Not watching or reading, but this week I listened to a lot of Gospel music on Youtube. Mostly the Tennessee Ernie Ford ones I loved as a kid.
The cats are going outside now (although not after dark since we lost Ambien), and shedding like crazy. I brush Zoloft and get a handful of fluff bigger than her head!
I’ve finally gotten around to sending in the reservation for Pennsic. I think inertia is the greatest symptom of depression. I am not sure I’ve done it right. I guess we’ll find out.
I heard that last weekend the Aurora Borealis were supposed to have been visible in NH, but I didn’t see them. Frankly, I didn’t look, since there’s no good view of the sky around here.
Well that’s it for this week. And month. Somehow when you don’t do anything the time goes faster. Good luck with April fools day.
Virginia/Tchipakkan
I tripped over this quote this week and loved it:
Upcoming Holidays
March
28 Thursday: Weed Appreciation Day, Black Forest Cake Day, Something on a Stick Day
29 Friday: Mom & Pop Businesses Day, Chiffon Cake Day, No Homework Day
30 Saturday: International Folding Laundry Day, Pencil Day, Hot Chicken Day, Doctors Day
                   Brothers and Sisters Day
31 Sunday: International Hug A Medievalist Day, Crayon Day, Clam Day, Backup Day
April
1 Monday: Fun Day,  Sourdough Bread Day, Soylent Green Day
2 Tuesday: PB & J Day, Ferret Day, Autism Acceptance Day
3 Wednesday: Chocolate Mousse Day, Tweed Day, Walking Day