4-30-14 Walpergis Night

It’s the “other Halloween”, over much of Europe May Eve is a big deal, and so is May Day, as I am painfully aware. Most mornings I post a list of the holidays that are happening that day (and the next day, in case anyone needed some sort of preparation for it), and while it generally takes about a half hour, today it took about three times that long. Off the top of my head I think it “should” only take five minutes or so, but I noticed last year sometime that many of the holidays I’d pulled off the internet were actually on the wrong day. Many of the people who enjoy sharing them weren’t being careful about checking whether the day had moved or not. It’s amazing how many holidays are the fourth Thursday of the month, or second Saturday of the month, or whatever. Admittedly, few are as complicated as the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox, but some of them are even annual events that aim for a certain weekend and don’t worry too much if they don’t hit it. This is tomorrow’s collection: Thursday, May 1st, 2014, will be National Chocolate Parfait Day, Batman Day, National Purebred Dog Day, Lei Day (Hawaii), Loyalty Day (US), Martin Z Mollusk Day, Mother Goose Day,  New Homeowners Day, Chimney Sweep’s Day, Executive Coaching Day, Keep Kids Alive, Drive 25 Day, Global Love Day, Save the Rhino Day,  Silver Star Day,  School Principals Day, Stepmother’s Day, Tammany’s Day, Law Day, and May 1st- 4th are Satchmo Days. If I were going to invent a holiday, I wouldn’t put it on the first of May because it’s already crowded with May Day/ International Labor Day/ Merrymoon/ Beltane/ Bealtaine/Moving Day/ Pack Rag Day/ ‘Obby ‘Oss Day/ Riding of the Bounds (Berwick-Upon-Tweed, UK)/ Rowan Witch Day/  Fairies Moving Day, and International Workers Day. Among other ancient holidays which may or may not be associated with those are the Bona Dea Festival, Braggi and Iduna Day, Festival of the Arvales (Roman), Festival of Bast (Egyptian), Floralia (Roman) continues, the Landing of the Tuatha De Danann (Celtic), and possibly a celebration for Tanat or Tanith.  The first Thursday  of May is National Day of Prayer,  and National Day of Reason. It’s the feast days of the Saints Brioc (patron of purse makers), James the Less (patron apothecaries; dying people; fullers; milliners), Philip (patron hatters, pastry chefs), and Joseph Worker’s Day (Patron against doubt, of bursars, cabinetmakers, carpenters, confectioners, craftsmen, dying people, emigrants, engineers, expectant mothers, families, fathers, happy death, house hunters, immigrants, interior souls, laborers, married people, people who fight Communism, pioneers, pregnant women, social justice, travellers. unborn children. wheelwrights. workers, working people), Marculf (patron against scrofula, skin diseases, rashes), and BTW It is NOT St. Walburga’s Day (that’s October 12 and February 25).
Everyone and his brother is celebrating tomorrow! (Well, not quite, tomorrow Mark is waiting at home for his phone to be reconnected, but then he’s coming over here for dinner.) Considering the rain, we should probably go burn off the brushpile in the back yard! But it’s chilly and I’m sure I can find something else to do (like finish that book-cover painting)!
Yesterday Raven and Lyrion came by, and while there was too much wind, he looked at the dead tree in the back and will be taking it down for me when the wind goes down and the sun comes back out. While they were here we saw a big rafter of wild turkeys going nuts up by the treeline. Looking up they saw a huge bird floating above that they identified as a turkey vulture. Whatever it was it was big. We also have a VERY large black crow living out back (we call him Jeremy). Not as big as a vulture, but pretty darned big.
Wally dropped by this morning to chat about politics, weather, etc. and he’s happy the tree’s coming down, but more worried about the branches of the four oaks, because those aren’t in great shape either. If I can find a tree guy who’s cheap enough I can get the boughs overhanging the house trimmed anyway.

I know what you probably want to hear is “How is Kat doing?” and she’s doing OK. There’s a bit more movement in her face, and today at the acupuncturist’s she actually felt the needles which she hadn’t before. You can think you’re being sympathetic and supportive and understanding, but since you don’t feel what other people feel, you really don’t. I’d forgotten that she’d lost feeling in her face until I heard her say that. That must be driving her nuts!
Last Wednesday Kat had her tooth extracted, with Willow having had one the same week, we had a lot of soft food. One night we had “loaded” mashed potatoes- sautéd onions, cheese, sour cream, crumbled bacon. They managed that. I thinkn we may even try it again when they can chew. A LOT of soup has been consumed. But Willow’s back on solid food, and Kat’s phasing them in.
Last week I made a strawberry rhubarb pie, a chocolate cake and a pineapple-upside-down-cake. I tend to bake when I’m down. I thought Kat could eat the cake, but I thought I’d decorate it with some gold glitter, and it turned out that the crystals were too large. Willow said it looked like the cake had some kind of fungus growing on it.
Last Thursday Kat felt a lot better, started doing her chores again, was able to actually think again, and then sadly, she lost the energy again. I think it’s the antibiotics the dentist prescribed. She’s started having diahria and nausea again, and I think we’re going to call her doctor in the morning. Since it’s the third antibiotics in a month, and she doesn’t seem to have any infection, I expect it’s going to be a “wait and see if something happens if you stop” situation. The Amoxicillin isn’t in the same family as the cephalexin, but is in the same family as penicillin, so the chances are good that she’s having another negative reaction. Sigh. I hope she never gets something worse. One of the things they ask about for negative side effects is whether the patient is pale, well of COURSE she’s pale, she works at it! I don’t want to see signs of jaundice!
John and I also went out Thursday, and got his non-drivers ID renewed, then Friday went to Nashua and had lunch with Mark. He got back last week, to find his phone had been turned off by mistake. After talking with dozens of departments (he had to call from here) for an hour he got them to turn it on again in a week (tomorrow). They called me tonight (probably because he’d talked to them from here) to tell him that they’d be over sometime between 8 and 5 tomorrow, so be waiting for them. I find it hard to believe that they can’t work it out better than this!

Last weekend she and Willow felt a bit better, so they went down to help Raye and Joanie run a yard sale for a relative who’d died. Since they are in Massachusetts and have to get a special license to have a yard sale, they had to have it “rain or shine”, and last week it was raining. Kat got chilled, but Joanie and Raye were very grateful. Willow got a new tea cup, and Kat got some lovely blue lace curtains for her room. I am happy she’s taken down the insulated winter curtains, but the way the weather’s been the last couple days, it may be premature.
At least the rain will soften up the peas in the raised bed. I put in some more morning glory seeds- one of these years they will reseed, but not so far. I also put in some flats of pansies. I can see the bleeding hards starting to come in. I have to finish raking the herb garden- wearing gloves. My hand is finally healed where I blistered it last time by not wearing gloves. I’m trying to figure out how much garden I dare put in this year. (Ruadh has baby rabbit kits, and I am jealous.)

Up in Farmington Kitty, Trish and Dana did the “staging” on Dad’s house over the weekend. (Liz stopped in but Erin was up visiting her, and Trish told me that more people would just be in the way when I offered to come up.) They’ve found a realtor- the one who sold it to Dad, and who loves the oak cabinetry, and what they’ve done to it. He’s got the listing up, and while the exterior is pretty drab, the interior pictures are gorgeous! It looks very friendly and inviting. Maybe once the grass greens up, the exterior picture can be replaced. Even better, when the contractor who’d fixed it (or had his men do it) came to check out the work, he agreed with Liz’s issues, and even “threw himself on his knees and begged forgiveness”, and promised to fix the bits that were not acceptable. That’s pretty good news. I’m also amused at the image. I guess it’s really embarrassing when you’re the boss and send your guys out and they don’t do you credit. I think whoever cut corners there is going to be in big trouble!

Yesterday Willow went out to the Blake Brothers spring sale and picked up some lovely new silver pieces. I stayed home to paint, and sent in my class proposals for Pennsic, Sunday I sent them to A Sacred Place for Beltaine. Kat is trying to get back to work and did a bunch of ironing.  Mark came by and loaned us the first season of a Person of Interest I think it will be interesting to listen to while I finish the painting.         As happens when I start working on Pennsic classes, I started reading about Anglo-Saxons again, this time I’m reading about Penda on my kindle and Offa in a book. I did glance forward through the index and noticed that the author hardly mentions Cynethryth, Offa’s Queen. She was the first English Queen to have coins minted with her face on them, for goodness sakes! It is shameful how the women are forgotten! I also enjoyed reading Morgan’s Fairy Witchcraft book that just came out. That’s what we talked about on the New Normal tonight.

I have a correction: last week I said I’d watched the 1955 Midsummer Night’s Dream with Mickey Rooney as Puck. If you thought about it, I’m sure you realized I got that wrong. It was made in 1935. I continue to be very impressed with how well they did with the thirties special effects. We saw another Midsummer night’s Dream, distributed in the oughts, but I think it was from 1981 on the BBC, the best part was Oberon and Puck. I also watched the Bridges at Toko-ri, very depressing. And I saw the movie Cloud Atlas in which Tom Hanks, Hugo Weaving, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Jim Sturgess, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant and a bunch of other actors each played five or six roles set in interwoven stories from many periods, it was incredible. I have now heard that it was not well received, but I thought it was fantastic! It requires us to think about how our efforts to do the right thing are necessary for the effect doing so has on us, not just the expectation of success for the sake of those we want to help.
I finished up the books about white slavery/ indentured servitude. I am fairly convinced that many indentured servants were treated as slaves, (if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck… is beaten, starved, sold, etc…., and that often they were called that as well at the time. To Hell or Barbados: the Ethnic Cleansing of Ireland, and White Cargo: the Forgotten History of Britain’s White Slaves in America, Colonists for sale: the story of Indentured Servants in America, The Irish Slaves: Slavery, indenture and Contract Labor among Irish Immigrants, and got part way through another one that I’d tripped over along with those, The Famine Plot. I finally put that one down, and sent it back to the library. My heart was too heavy with the weight of trying to puzzle out how people could be so wounded that they would be willing to hurt others so much. The final straw was, I think, the suggestion that `if the Irish could only be weaned of their taste for potatoes, then they would naturally return to a healthy appetite for bread and meat’. While nearly two million people were starving to death, their landlords responded by turning them out of their homes, and (this was hard to believe) exporting enough wheat to have fed them. And it goes back to Cromwell- this WAS “ethnic cleansing”. Oh what a horrid term for an unnatural action! Of course, Stalin and Po Pat did it to their people in this century; and the people in Ruanda took machetes and chopped up their neighbors. How much pain is required to make it possible for a human being to do that to another? All the wretched things I read about the past are echoed in things still going on. If we don’t find out why it’s happening, how can we stop it?
We try to be better people, but we end up angry and confused anyway. I try to “self medicate” with listening to music, and reading about fascinating or even trivial things. (I read the juvenile book: So you want to be a Wizard- it was fun, and there are more in the series if I need them.)
Tonight as I blundered through the close of my show, I felt I should come up with some good way to wind up and sign off. I feel that a bit now. I’d like to leave you with something a bit more uplifting. Sadly, I’m too tired and depressed to think straight. I haven’t been able to find the pictures that disappeared from my iphoto library last week, and what I’ve read on the boards indicates that this is not infrequent. The best advice is to back up next time. I will try to set an intention for a miracle, and hope, and perhaps take the computer to the Mac store and see if they can get me a miracle (now that the show’s done for the week I can afford to go off line for a few days). Hope is eternal,
Until next week.
Tchipakkan/ Virginia
“Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it.” ― Leo Tolstoy, A Confession

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