3/26/2014 Peanut Month

The sky looks like a white sheet of paper, I slept in because I thought it was still early when I roused. We were bracing for another storm today, but it seems to have gone off to sea. I can’t say that I’m unhappy about that. Just about everyone I know is thoroughly sick of winter. I keep remembering that scene at the beginning of Eric the Viking where they talked about Fimbul winter- the winter that did not end. Of course if there is no summer and harvest people would go viking- go out and steal food from anyone far enough away that they can be considered “other”. I wonder if those without the ability to range wide would change their definitions of Other, in order to enhance the ability of their kith and kin to survive.
“Kith” is a lovely word. I always figured that the kith was the people you loved that you weren’t related to (kin). I think Kith would be a great word to use to describe what people these days call their “chosen family” (usually having given up on the family into which they were born). Apparently it comes from Old English “cyð” meaning known, and is related to “couth” meaning what’s generally known/acceptable. But I ramble, (and it’s WAY too early in the letter for THAT!)
The wind is wuthering around the house suitable for a horror movie. I took a break to make another pressed sandwich (whether it will be lunch or dinner, I do not know), and Zoloft came over to see what was happening with her usual stretch up my leg (trying to pull herself up by her claws in my hip). I expressed my indignation as usual and she dropped off, but apparently Kat, who’s upstairs watching a horror movie, heard me scream and then not respond when she asked what was wrong (I didn’t hear her), and she came downstairs to see if I was OK. We’re all a bit on edge. The pressure is very low in the weather glass.

This week on sunnier days we have tried to go without firing up the wood-stove. I have gotten very used to cooking on it, and having it as a bright spot of warmth in the house. Last night we had waffles for supper as I tripped over the amusing trivia that it is now a real holiday “Waffle Day”, but came from a mistranslation of
Vaffeldagen (Swedish), it means Our Lady Day. I love that it was based on mistranslating “Vårfrudagen” as “Våffeldagen”. Sadly, I am convinced that I should go back to the low-carb diet that was successful last fall. Since relaxing from it, (it’s REALLY hard to not want the potatoes, noodles, rice, and breads as winter drags on – and on), the weight has crept back, and I really would like to loose it again. First to where I was in January, then to where I was in my fifties, then, some day, down under that nearly mythical 200 pound limit. I suppose, as gorgeous as I am for a woman my age, it wouldn’t be fair of me to get down to my wedding weight, but maybe where I was in my 30s. Still, food is really wonderful, and I hate to give up any major food group.
One thing I have tried this week is turmeric tea. Yes, turmeric. A few weeks ago someone shared some panegyric about turmeric on Facebook, describing it as like a mild ginger, and I discovered that I could get a pound for $6 shipped, so I figured ‘why not?’. You know, a pound is a LOT of turmeric. I actually turn out to enjoy the tea- although I’m not sure it isn’t because it contains the same sorts of spices I put in chai. I think the next pot is going to be with lemon juice. And I’ll have to try it with carrots- that shouldn’t change the look so much that the kids get put off. It’s supposed to be good for you. It’s an anti-inflammatory, although I don’t know that it would have knocked down Willow’s finger problem (not that the steroid pills have either yet, although it’s a bit better). Well, I have another tool in my cooking tool kit.
I’ve been enjoying the The Everyday Gourmet video course. I tend to put it on while cooking. The last session I watched was on sauces. I think I haven’t thought much in terms of sauces. I know gravy, and white sauces, but some of the others sound rather appealing. The chinese one with honey, ginger, soy, and rice vinegar seems very simple- like a marinade or salad dressing. His enjoyment of the foods seems so RIGHT to me. We re-watched Ratatouille and I wonder if maybe some people just taste food more than others.

I haven’t done much this week. Far too much of my time has been sitting here at this computer. I do updates on the CTCW website, and this weekend I broke down and decided to put as many of the old letters as I can find on my website Tchipakkan.com. Actually, it’s Tchipakkan.wp.com, but I’m probably going to upgrade it so that I can make sure there’s room for all the letters. When I started thinking about them, I realized that there must be about a thousand. It’s been about 20 years since I started writing them, and I figure that since they’re weekly, there are probably about 50 per year. I don’t expect I’ll find them all. The first ones were saved on actual “Floppy” disks- 5 1/2 inch. I have some 3″ floppies in the fire safe, but when a friend tried to transfer them to modern discs, not everything came, so a bunch is lost. There have been people who saved the physical letters- but I mostly hear about it when they toss them.
I’m aware that people enjoy them, and I certainly try to make them interesting. At least as interesting as a chat with a friend, but I’ve always been surprised that anyone who wasn’t a friend or family member would be interested. I’ve had many arguments about whether they are a blog or not. I’m perfectly willing to admit that the posts on my website are blog posts, although before the term “web-log” was invented, I think we might have called them essays. When I think how much I hated writing essays in school, it’s rather funny. Stories I was happy to write, but to write about nothing?  I didn’t get it. Perhaps it’s because the young can’t appreciate an examination of a position and how you got there. To a certain extent, I think of blogs as public journaling. The idea of just opening your mouth and letting words fall out until you HEAR what it is that you are thinking is very familiar to me, although I know many people prefer to work things out in their heads before speaking. Some of us can’t get AT what we’re thinking without creating a flow of words to flush it out- like a clogged drain.
At any rate, that’s what I spent the weekend doing- putting the letters up on the site.
Copy/pasting them in, adding the pictures, scheduling them so they’d show up one per day. (I’m not sure I got that right.) Frankly, John and I sat kind of like lumps on our computers, and ate leftovers, because the girls had gone off to Anime Boston.
Thursday was full of much stress and soul searching. Willow had been invited to crash on the floor of the hotel with friends, and both wondered if Kat would be able to deal with the large crowds (22K+)at the con without having a table between her and the chaotic masses. They didn’t get into Artists Alley as in previous years, so it would be a money spending, rather than money making proposition, and they like having something to do while there. They did ultimately decide to do it, because they love seeing their friends and the costumes, and being around people who understand their joy in Anime.
I fear I was a complicating factor- I had just remembered that this was the year I was supposed to renew my drivers license. They sent me a reminder, and a form that said “call to see if you can renew on line” about two months before hand- around Christmas. I set it aside to deal with later and totally forgot it. Luckily, we haven’t been going out, no shows and pretty much waiting winter out. But having remembered, I had to run out and get the renewal, and being a “lawful” temperament, had Willow drive me. Happily, it only took minutes, although I also took John along to renew his non-driver ID; that will require more identification to renew since it had expired six years ago. (I think we got it so he could fly to Florida for his senior class trip.) Anyway, that cut it very close because they and their friends had opted to take the train in, because parking at the hotel is so expensive, and they had to catch the train Thursday night.Lunch with the doctors
All weekend long Willow posted pictures of them on fb, so I knew they were doing well. Willow wore her “Rider”/Alexander the Great  outfit on Saturday, and Kat wore her Third Doctor (Who) suit. Rider2014
When they got home on Sunday night they were still in cosplay- Willow was wearing her Leonardo DaVinci suit, and Kat was wearing Adric. I love the image of the bunch of them all going home on the train in full regalia. One has to wonder what the other passengers thought of it! Since they didn’t have a table to stow stuff under, they only got a few bottles of water at a time, and I think were rather dehydrated when they got home. Hotels are SO drying! I know that they dealt with Kat’s metabolism by stocking up on breakfast bars for her to keep in her pockets. They were both very happy to get home and sleep in their own beds. They’re Dr and Dalekyoung enough to be able to crash on the floor- but that doesn’t mean they really like it.

I’ve been feeling the first pokes of Spring Fever, and yesterday got really bit by it the first time. Kat and I went up to look for fabric in the attic. It “should” have only taken a half hour, but due to the chaos up there, not only were the bins not organized against the walls in neat stacks with labels out where they could be read, the contents rarely matched the labels. And I couldn’t seem to bring myself to put the gauze back in the linen bin, or the brocade in the wool, so I kept opening “one more bin” to try to find appropriate ones to put back the stuff I felt had been wrongly stored. There were bins with the wrong lids that didn’t quite fit…, there were lots of fabrics I decided I had no use for (we took three bins downstairs to get rid of the contents)…, It was a mess! It was also about 40 degrees and I think that helped us get to a “enough is enough” point, although I am more convinced than ever that I must go through the whole attic and get rid of stuff and create order! My first thought was to check her Wikipedia entry, and it was updated with her death date that day.

It may have to do with the end of winter, but it seems a lot of people are dying this month. Megan lost an aunt (although met some cousins she liked at the funeral).  Judy Harrow    died. One day she was posting about how she was doing better after an infection scare, and the next day someone posted a notice of her passing. I suppose death often catches us by surprise. I was looking through obituaries, and noticed how often they report that people died suddenly, but also at home with their family around them. Oh really? If it was such a surprise, why had the family gathered? Judy died on Ostara, I suppose that’s like the Christians who wait for Christmas before they move on. I met Judy at Etheracon, and I remember the last time we talked she had had some problems with her eyes that was going to leave her nearly blind for a year. I asked her what she was expecting to learn from that time of enforced introspection, and she mentioned how wonderful it was to be in a community where someone could see that possibility rather than just the handicap. Another pagan elder passed away earlier this month, although I didn’t know him (good heavens, and should that surprise me?). I figure that these deaths are a greater indication that over the last half century we have accumulated a lot more Elders now that we used to have, and elders die, but we’re still caught a little off guard because we got used to being young. Judy Harrow change

My sister Liz has been working on getting her life in order, getting a mortgage for her house, paying taxes (I should get to that), and doing all the things she’s supposed to do. She accomplishes a lot by breaking it into little steps. I should do that. I’m afraid I am not good at moderation, I do everything whether it’s a project or goofing off completely, and forget everything else I’m supposed to do. Even though I still have a hard time breaking It’s nice talking to her- we got to talking about bird feet- she’s always wondered how they manage to not get frozen when they have no protection, and are out in all weathers. She told me about one time when an overnight frost had trapped the ducks (or geese) in the pond up at Colby, and all the big jocks were so worried about them. She assured them that between their wiggling and the daylight sun, they’d be free by lunch-time, and she was right. It is pretty cool to see all the weird stuff in nature we don’t understand because we have separated ourselves so far from it. There is something wonderful about having someone you can talk with about cold bird feet or any other silly thing.
I was just thinking about putting on my stockings. I’ve always prided myself in being able to just stand on one foot and put them on. This year, however, with that mysterious pain in my foot, I stopped doing that. Now I have to, not lean, but touch the bureau with my butt while I do it; that gives me tactile feedback that helps me balance. I am very pleased to note that the pain has gone away- although it started to come back the other day after I wore one of my old favorite boots. I was pretty sure it might have something to do with which shoes I was wearing. Luckily I noticed that they had a hole in the sole, which makes it easier for me to chuck them. I shall miss them though, they were cuddly and I liked the style. Why is it that the styles I like seem to cycle through about once a decade, and I have to get enough to last until my tastes roll around again!?

This week I’ve mostly been reading the Sharing Knife books: Legacy, Passage, and Horizon. It reminds me in ways of the Dragon Riders of Pern books because it has to do with a group that’s become a sort-of aristocracy because they dedicate their lives to full time protecting from a deadly danger, yet it’s intermittent enough that the people who they protect are dubious about having to supporting them. The hero, Dag, realizes that staying separate breeds suspicion, and tries to bring the two groups into better understanding of each other. Personally, I think Bujold is over-optimistic about how easily cultures with long established customs can change, even when the change is both logical and beneficial. Change alone is enough to make many people resist any alteration in the way things are done. I do, however, like the way she portrays what’s seen as magic, by those who don’t do it, as seen as some sort of natural talent or ability by those who do.
There’s also the aspect of magick that people who don’t do it, always assume that if you can do one thing, you can do anything, and are afraid that the people with those abilities are going to take advantage of them. Yes, I expect that a jerk with magick will take advantage of that, just as he would with physical strength, financial advantages, or any other sort of leverage. Jerks are jerks and they exist. You don’t legislate the power away- oh wait, yes, you do if it’s guns. My mistake.
I also read the American Girl books about Josephina’s world and Kirsten’s world, and renewed my interest in early American cultures. I had hoped to be farther along in my Spanish lessons (I keep forgetting to do them), and took out the first book about Josephina in Spanish. I guess I’ll have to take it out again in a month or so. Ah well, time to turn in. I wish I had more funny stories for you this week, but maybe not- what’s funny could have been embarrassing or frustrating to live through.

Tchipakkan

“Contemporary Paganism is still mostly a first-generation religion. Most of us are here by conscious, adult choice. We have chosen a way that was long neglected. The forest trails are overgrown, even washed away in spots. We need to rebuild a few of the bridges, and draw some new maps.”  Judy Harrow in Spiritual Mentoring

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