5-10-2017 Trust your intuition Day

The weather this week has been chilly, and overcast most days, with occasional rain. (We are feeling able to use water.) I have to say it’s made a huge difference in the trees! My allergic friends are miserable- we suggest that what we need is tree sized condoms since the trees won’t “get a room”, but really, we’d be in touch shape if they didn’t pollinate, wouldn’t we? Because it’s been overcast I haven’t seen the Full Flower Moon (or Milk Moon), although it may also be the chill making it unlikely that I’d go out much at night. Pity, I like full moons. Instead of looking, we are hearing nature outside. Some local cat is in heat. People are better about spaying and it’s not something we are used to hearing anymore. Willow has seen the cat- apparently she has ocelot type markings, and it’s tempting to ask around the neighborhood in a couple of months to see if there are kittens with those markings available. Not that we need more cats, but pretty. Ambien is doing better. Willow tells him that she’s going to leave before she heads for Avis, and I try to reassure him when he wanders about crying. I also encourage him to go outside while she’s gone- he’s not going to suck holes in stuff while he’s outside.

The Bleeding Hearts have started really blooming, but the hyacinth are gone. I noticed that the ones I’d brought inside wilted at about the same time as the ones in the ground. I’d never have guessed that they’d be good cut flowers, but apparently they are. We have some type of daffodil that have started blooming now, and that’s cheering. The lilacs are out in Milford and starting to open down in the village, so ours should some in a week or so- early this year. Usually we expect lilac for Memorial Day. We’re going to have our first white lilac blossom this year- I can see it forming on the new bush. Willow’s going to look for more $5 lilac pushes to put along the road front since the last one took so well (although, not yet ready to bloom). Sadly, the garden is full of knot-weed that seems stronger than most things we plant there. It’s hard to root up. We have seemed to discourage the invading raspberries. I continue to “harvest” the leaves for tea in our eradication efforts. Luckily raspberry tea is much nicer than using young knotweed as a rhubarb substitute. (Tried it, I suggest you not bother.)

I stayed up late last week to finish the letter, and I’d been getting to bed and getting up earlier, so it threw me off. One day I woke with a headache and “slept it off”, waking past noon. It’s nice to be able to do that, but talk about wasting daylight! My problem is reading, I like reading in bed and that often keeps me up too late. I’ve been making an effort not to, but that cuts into my “study time”. We used to wake at quarter to six every day, and I’d be falling asleep at 10, whether I went to bed or not. I would like to get back to that. I’ve been waking from nightmares most mornings (I have to wonder if it’s indigestion?). They tend to be of trying to fix chaotic situations over which I have no control. In a recent one we were packing up from an event and I realized that we had not actually checked out of the hotel, and so were going to have to pay for another night. Nightmares make it easy to see what stresses one.
Spring has spurred a cleaning instinct in all of us (BTW, it’s also “Clean your Room Day”), and I keep getting distracted reorganizing cans and Tupperware (and whatever) in the pantry, and the back hall, clearing boxes of books from my bedroom (but have no where to put them!), and have started washing the dishes after dinner. When Kat was doing it, she was stressed out from dinner and preferred to do it in the morning, and when I took over, it was just me not being willing to wait for her to remember it. I realized if I was doing it, I could do it in the evening. (Doh! That took too long!) Willow has agreed that it’s happening to her too. Or it could be more like what’s happening to Avi. Now that she’s working at home, when she gets stuck with her office work, she washes the dishes. I may be doing cleaning to avoid working on the painting of the clockmaker. It’s frustrating because it’s so hard for me to explain that I can’t just paint from my imagination. I can’t take a picture of the left side of his face and paint it from the right, and trying to change things so that they all look like they were taken from the same point of view, with the same lighting, when the photos they send aren’t taken that way makes it REALLY hard. I have an entire “how to take reference pictures” handout, but no one seems to read it.
I am trying to embrace the concept that an unfinished picture is more of a failure than a bad one, but that’s hard for me to integrate.  That may be my “life lesson” for this incarnation. I have SO many unfinished projects. I need to learn to finish things. We all have our issues, I think that’s mine.
I’ve come up with a new “system” while cleaning. There’s nothing like doing something to make you discover a half dozen other things that need doing. So I’ve taken a index card box, and when I come up with something that needs doing, I jot it down on a card and stick it in. Next time I feel a need to do something, but have a “brain fart” and can’t figure out what to do first, I can go to that and there will be an assortment of things to choose from. There are only three divisions: Now, Soon, and Later. I’ll let you know sometime how it works.

May 4th was Star Wars Day- and the kids told me it was Glitter for Carrie Fisher Day. Apparently she used glitter to fight depression, so they encourage people to wear glitter to honour her and bring awareness to Mental Health issues. I just found out there’s a movement called Mad Pride, where people are advocating for the rights of those with mental illness. Certainly they should not be dismissed. There was also a mental health awareness day of some sort last week. If we can’t even talk about it, how are we going to look at it objectively?   Speaking of which, it’s Clitoris Awareness Week, another one where if we don’t start talking about it, we can’t get to a point where we can start doing something about things like female genital mutilation. I think to a certain extent, we have a problem because of positioning, a guy can look down and see his penis, a woman can’t really see what’s down inside her. But thinking about all the words there are for a Penis (today is Monty Python Day- they had a song about Penis), and I can’t think of many for clitoris. I’m actually not sure that I’d want to have our lady-parts mean negative stuff the way that most terms like Dork do. But it really should be something we can talk about as easily as skin and hair, or heart health without sniggering and feeling uncomfortable.
In case you enjoy holidays, here’s what’s coming up this week:
Thursday, 11 is going to be Eat What You Want Day, Twilight Zone Day, and ME/CFS Awareness Day;
Friday, 12 will be Limeric Day, Nonsense Day, and Fudge with Nuts Day, as well as International Awareness Day for Chronic Immunological & Neurological Diseases;
Saturday, 13 will be Apple Pie Day, American Indian Day, and Belly Dance Day;
Sunday, 14 is Mothers Day, of course, and also Crazy Day, (Dance like a Chicken Day), and Buttermilk Biscuit Day;
Monday, 15 will be Chocolate Chip Day, Straw Hat Day, “Relive Your Past By Listening to the First Music You Ever Bought No Matter What It Was No Excuses Day”!  (I might try that), Conscientious Objecters Day, World Baking Day, & MPS and TS Awareness Days;
Tuesday, 16 will be Piercing Day, SeaMonkey Day, and Honour LGBT Elders’ Day;
Wednesday, 17 will be Cherry Cobbler Day, and the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia.
It’s a nice balance between having fun and thinking deep thoughts. I have to wonder about putting Apple Pie day in late spring though. I just threw out the last of our “keeping” apples. It’s something like Plum Pudding Day being in April. How do they decide what day a holiday’s going to be on when it’s not the anniversary of something?

Last week I did my best to plan dinners around stuff from freezer. Sadly, while the Bells’ has left me with my sense of taste impaired, Kat’s is super-sensitive, and she can’t eat ‘freezer-burned’ food, even if it’s been spiced. (John and I have no trouble with it.) Willow just hasn’t got the energy to eat at all, so we’re evenly split. Even though I used my old, fairly strong “oven baked chicken” coating: one third dried parsley, one third grated parmesan, one third bread crumbs, Willow could still taste the freezer burn in the year old chicken. Actually, I didn’t have bread-crumbs so I put some shredded wheat through the blender, and that worked great. I season it with garlic/pepper/salt. We used to have it a lot, but I’d forgotten it until recently. Chili made the hamburger acceptable- mostly, Kat doesn’t eat it anyway. The marinated chevon, sadly, was not edible. I’m not sure I didn’t over-cook it because I’m not used to marinated meat. So I’ll be using fresh meat this week; I think I’ll need to alternate the stored and fresh foods. (One really must not let frozen food get lost the bottom of the freezer, it’s such a waste. Earlier today Willow caught me with a large sharp knife heading into the pantry. I told her I was “stalking wild jalapeño” (I’d made some lovely black beans with garlic and onion, but they were still to bland, so I picked up some peppers yesterday), and she told me to “be careful, they bite”. That should take care of my black beans! (I just tried it- that was exactly what it needed!)  It’s a pity the kids don’t find beans as delicious as I do, but I didn’t start liking them until I was middle aged, so it may come. I don’t think enough people who aren’t vegetarians have any idea how much variety in flavor there is in the many beans out there. I love chickpeas! But I detest black eyed peas! (I’m sure black eyed peas are beans, but I am not sure chickpeas are.) I will have delicious black beans shortly. Sadly, re-cooking them is turning them mushy, so they’ll be more of a bean spread. I should probably try that.
We have too many cakes right now, well, two because there’s still some chocolate cake left from Beltane, and lemon cake from Kat’s birthday. But when we had beans and hotdogs the other night, I steamed a lovely brown bread, and that’s under a dome too (the “cheese dome”, which is the right size for it). I have just made some buns for supper tonight. Market Basket cleverly put out some shredded beef with packets of sliced horseradish cheese from the deli right next to them, and I was inticed. Other than making the buns, it’ll be a quick easy supper.  Did I mention that I’d discovered the reason Monsanto puts the claim on the packages of Round-up that it’s safe to put on garden cops up to three days before you eat the food? That never made sense to me! Not only is it poison, but it’s an herbicide? Why would you want to kill your garden plants? Apparently, it’s common practice to spray it on wheat three days before sending in the mowers, because that makes the stocks wilt just enough to make it easier for the machines to harvest. Since it’s supposedly safe to use that way, most commercially grown wheat contains small amounts of Glyphosate. Perhaps it’s not some strange metabolic trait unique to 20th century humans that makes them suddenly unable to process wheat in their guts the way their ancestors have done for the last ten thousand years! Maybe this rise in wheat issues has something to do with the wheat (or what’s on it)?Anyway, given how fragile the kids are, I’ve bought “Organic” flour and intend not to buy more non-organically grown one what we have in storage is used up. The same also will go for pasta and other wheat products, although I am rather bummed at the lack of availability of pasta. I’ve gotten so spoiled with the dozens of available forms! I can make noodles and lasagna, but we’re going to have to look harder to get elbows and such. Oh well. Thank goodness I don’t consider cooking something odd. According to what I read, few people actually cook much non-processed food these days.
I thought I’d get more reaction the other day when I shared a realization I had. Kat asked for a lemon cake for her birthday. I couldn’t find our favorite one in my cookbooks, and looked on the internet. The first one was a yellow cake with lemon frosting- no lemon in it at all.  Really. The second, I kid you not, said take a box of yellow cake mix, and a box of lemon pudding… OMG! I did find one, and it included the cake recipe, as well as recipes for lemon filling and lemon butter cream frosting. Kat’s not as fond of buttercream as I am, she prefers old fashioned “seven minute” icing, and she made some- tinting it a very pale lavender like the dress she was wearing. Then we decorated it with fresh violets and lemon zest. REALLY good! But as I was making the “filling”, I realized I was making “lemon curd”, a popular scone condiment in the UK. And while talking about how lemon juice and butter don’t really like to mix together, that’s why the egg yolks, I suddenly realized that this is essentially hollandaise sauce- with sugar (and no pepper). Willow, who doesn’t care for Hollandaise, said “no wonder I don’t like it”, but I like it. You also don’t put zest into Hollandaise, although now that I’ve thought of it, I’m going to have to try it. But apparently not enough people do home-made hollandaise to know what’s in it. (Not knowing haw to make lemon curd didn’t surprise me, because I didn’t learn until fairly recently.)

Kat’s birthday was the big event of the week. First on Saturday, she and Willow went down to the Museum of Science with Raye and Joanie. I’ve been meaning to get down there since February when they sent me an announcement that they were doing a special exhibit on Chocolate- but I never went, and Sunday was the last day. Oh well. I’m not entirely sure that any of them would ve as nuts for it as I would have been, but they had fun. There were evidently other coming exits that they liked the look of, because when they realized they HAD TO come back, Willow got a family membership for the year, because it’s essentially the cost of two visits. And you get discounts at the cafeteria, and I think, the gift shop and parking.   I’m glad because I will probably get to come, even if I missed the chocolate show. I may get to go down with Willow if she takes Bianca and Kalen sometime this summer. Having at least one adult per kid is a good thing.

Everyone was in dresses, except Joanie who was wearing a cool T shirt, so that was OK. Kat got to pose confronting her nemesis: the sun. Then they went off to eat- Kat finally got to try Macarons, the latest thing in fancy shmancy food. I’ve never made them, although they look like fun. They come in SO many flavors (and colors). They sent Kat home with a box of assorted ones. I had to agree with them that the one with the green filling (identified as orange flower) reminded me of cleaning solution. John and I each tried some, but the girls had tried it down in Boston, and wouldn’t and that particular one didn’t get finished.

Sunday was Kat’s birthday, and we started it with waffles, then went out to see the Guardians of the Galaxy II which was as good as, if not better than the first. No one had told me to bring a hankie, and there were so many tender moments that I spent the last half hour crying (and wishing I had a hankie). It had humor and action all the way through, I can heartily recommend it. The more I think about it, the more I think it was a REALLY GOOD movie. Ordinarily, I don’t care for the idea that if you really like your friends they’re your “family”. (Your family is your family.) But this movie really went into how you treat the people in your family defines your relationship more than bloodlines. The characters were really well developed. And the music was great. I’d forgotten how much good music there was in the `80s. Friends have seen it in 3D and say that they did it well. I have never seen a movie in 3-D (except a bit of the Hobbit up at my sisters), and I don’t see how it would further either plot or character development. Indeed, in some movies they damage the plot and pacing just to show off their 3-D technology. They seem to be getting past that. I’m not sure whether it’s going to be something that I’ll be getting used to in my lifetime. By the time they relax into it, I may have had to switch from contacts to glasses, and currently those make me nauseous, so I’m not eager to add the weirder perspectives of “look how deep we can make this look!” that they’re currently playing with  to that. (I was able to pick up my other contact this week.)
Since the movie had just come out, we opted to pre-order tickets, in case the theatre was full. I got nervous when I saw they were having 10 showings of the same movie on one day! With new technology, you have to pick your seats, but oddly enough, the theatre we were in was half empty, new release or not. I love the new wide stuffed chairs, but I don’t like the reserved seating.
After the movie, we went off to the Sake House in Milford and had dinner. Steve met us up at the theatre and came to dinner with us. On the way the girls stopped to pick up fresh lemons, so when we got home I made the cake. Sadly, Steve missed the cake, as he’d been working from home over the weekend and had to check something that was running. As I recall, I had seshuan beef, Kat had spicy shrimp, Willow and Steve had sesame chicken, and John had seafood in a “birds nest” (fried potato shreds or maybe noodles- I’m not sure). We also got a pupu platter, and got to watch the performances over at the grill where they were playing with fire and tossing food around.

We managed to not get excessive presents this year.  Willow found her an ex-foliating brush- battery powered. There’s something about spring that makes you want to shed your skin like a snake (or a cat or dog shedding its winter undercoat)! They found her a cute little Tardis themed dress, although I haven’t seen it on her yet. She got  new flower crown of white roses, with pendant chains, and a stuffed Chloe, the lavender, sarcastic cat from the Secret Life of Pets.  It’s very soft, and only a shade darker than the frosting on her cake. I found her a decorative white birdcage, in which she has installed her charging station (and flowers). We’re hoping to get her a better sewing machine, but will have to save up for it. There’s a lovely one at the local Vac and Sew that even has a faux serging stitch. There were some other little things, like a pen for painting on nails. Willow made designs on her nails to match her dress. Very elegant!
Of course, she got balloons. (Mine, three months old now) has finally sunk to the floor. John’s a couple of weeks younger, is a trifle limp, but still at the ceiling. Mylar may be a recyling nightmare, but certainly makes good floating balloons! We also had icecream filled mocha- which are sweet Japanese rice cakes (traditionally eaten on the 5th, so I’d been thinking about them since then). Usually they are filled with red bean paste, but these were filled with ice cream. There’s a sort of spongey-rubbery texture to mocha that benefitted by being frozen and paired with ice cream. I liked them better than the macarons.

Today the kids went to the DMV. Kat needed to renew her Non-drivers ID so her Etsy shop would stay open. The took some letters to prove that they lived here, but Willow had to make an affidavit swearing that Kat lived with her. It turns out that John’s doesn’t expire for another year, and he didn’t mention it. (Bozo!) I know that this is for legal identification, but how are you supposed to get it if you haven’t got one, and they don’t count your old one? This is like the problem Willow is having with her credit. She can’t get a loan, because she hasn’t got a credit history- she does have a credit rating, in the 700s, but since it’s tied to mine, she hasn’t got one of her own, and that means no one wants to give her a credit card either. I suppose when we’ve gotten past this annoyance we should jump right back in and start trying to get credit histories for Kat and John as well. They need good credit scores because the worse it is, the highter interest you pay if you do get a loan. Argh!

It’s the little stresses that build up, isn’t it? Apple keeps having the computer tell me I need to run a “cleaning” program, but if you click on it, it tells you that it’s found X places you’ve visited that are problematic, click here to get the app to clean it for “only” $39.95! Jerks.
Of course, there are big stresses as well, like politics. Hardly a day goes by that there isn’t some new story of something wretched happening like the House Republicans passing Trumpcare without reading it (“That’s what staff is for”) or waiting for the cost benefit analysis. I suppose they just want to be able to say they’ve passed SOMETHING that replaces for “Obamacare” and gives tax cuts, no matter whether it will get past the Senate or whether the cost /benefit balance works. At least they get to say “we kept our promise” to whoever is still supporting them. Today Trump fired the FBI director, Comey, I’m guessing he’ll try to fire anyone who looks like they have the authority and will to investigate him. This week the administration had the USDA stop School lunch nutrition standards (let’s feed school kids on as little money as possible, like they do in prisons), and they’re allowing “for-profit” prisons again, that had been shut down. They dismissed the Scientists from the EPA, he’s trying to sell off National Monuments to his friends to destroy and make a profit on them. They want to slash medicade so old people won’t be able to be in nursing homes. I found a website that will ship your ashes to Representatives, if you die because of lack of health coverage. Will that impress them any more than the petitions and postcards they’ve been ignoring? I was amused that they took an “eleven day weekend” right after shooting down the ACA. I wouldn’t have wanted to go back to my district to when I’d just done that. (I suppose some of them still think their constituents wanted them to do that.) Some are still brave enough to meet with the people who voted them in (and will vote them out), including Labrador (R-ID) who said “nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care”  I saw the crowd respond with laughter and shouting in response to that claim.   But Ryan and Sessions and other people should be listening to constituents. I think they are only listening to their sponsors.
I really hate that my country is the bad guys, the only major country that won’t take care of its citizens, even though it’s the richest country, that we won’t attend the Climate Change conference (new diseases we haven’t seen in thousands of years are now thawing out with the tundra), that won’t support any medical advances if they don’t make money. I grew up in an America that was the voice of hope, the one who helped other countries, that supported democracy. We’re stopping our kids from learning, reducing protections for the environment and workers, trying to force the entire country into the position of share croppers in the old south- only with Banks instead of the Company Store. This “Move to another state” thing is such a horrible comment! That’s like telling a poor woman with children to “just leave” an abusive spouse, when she has no where to go, and no way to get there if she did. Trump is trying get around the separation of Church and State to allow Churches to donate to politicians. Since he has put someone who hates what each department does in to each Cabinet position, I can only assume he’s trying to take down the government. Thank goodness that so far the checks and balances are keeping him from causing too much trouble too fast. I hope they hold.
We try to tell kids to clean up their messes and they don’t want to do it. They usually say: “It’s not my mess,someone else did it”.  Companies are acting like kids. They don’t want to pay for the mess they make, they want to come in, get profits and leave someone else to clean up the environmental mess they made, to pay for the medical costs of the people their products hurt. I’ll admit that often it was done in all innocence. We loved DDT when it came out. It was going to end malaria, we loved asbestos that was saving us from burning. We loved pesticides and herbicides, and Thalidomide, and atomic power. We just always assumed that if something went wrong we’d make a new discovery and fix it. But we stopped making DDT in the 70s, and now there is no place in the world where it isn’t found in the ecosystem (they’ve looked, hoping for a “control group” to see what the effects are). We try to clean things up, but many companies are now gone, and if they aren’t, they whine that if they have to pay for what they did, they’ll go bankrupt. Well, if they were an individual, that’s what would happen. We should not let them act like spoiled children, but if we do, then like parents, we will have to clean up the mess, because somebody has to!
One thing of which I am certain, the Republicans have some good points and their intent is probably good, but they have lost sight of the full picture in focusing on some of their goals. That must not happen.

Rant (feel free to skip this)
I don’t know if anyone had a clue how awful Trump would be. Or maybe they did. Maybe that’s why the National Mall was so full that day after Inauguration.  How much damage can he do before the changes he makes can be undone. He’s taking credit for the good results from Obama’s policies. There’s always a lag time- political inertia because it takes so long to get things going, or stop them.  How much will Climate Change be made worse. How many more mountaintops will be removed, how much oil spilled, how much water polluted, how man spieces will go extinct that might have survived? How many blacks, gays, Muslims, and others will be injured or killed because he’s encouraged racism? How many women will be raped, assaulted and left with lifelong PTSD, how many more people will start distrusting the government and it’s representatives? How many children will become adults without an education that will allow them to function well? How many sick people will suffer and die, how many schools and clinics close down, how many Assholes will think it’s their God-given and governement supported right to be assholes? Just because we couldn’t manage fair elections, because we wouldn’t pay for them, so gave them over to be paid for by business interests, so now they have the power.

When I read about white house staff arresting reporters for yelling questions at them, I find it hard to deal with. So I go back and watch an episode or two of West Wing. It’s nice to imagine smart well-intentioned people are running the country. I need a positive image to hold in my brain. (I now up to season 4.) Sometimes I just want to roll up in a ball and shut the scary world out like a pangolin.

Ah well. this is what comes of reading too many news articles on the internet. I do want to know what’s going on, and think we all should, but one requires balance. Facebook has started to provide me with a warning, if I share too many things, they start making me fill a Captcha form before I do any more. I only have patience to do it a couple of times, so after that I go do something else. I do think it’s irritating. I try to share as much good news as bad, individuals and small groups are doing wonderful things. It’s just a pity that one small group has the ability to screw so many people over at once. Interestingly, I still would like a setting that would allow me to only see what my friends post, although I like the shares, I go to fb to see what they’re doing. One aquaintance has been trying to go to Canada to live with her Canadian husband but has been turned away at four different crossing points. I’d never heard before that they have a problem with black people, but that was her experience. So even if I had to go elsewhere for my news, I’d be getting some reflected through people’s experiences. It’s nicer to read about Ed and Carol’s restaurant visits, Kiaya’s art projects, Rachels babies, Peter’s building of his homestead, and Arthur’s world travels, and see the nature pictures Ed and Ruadh and Tom post. I feel better when I think about my friends living their lives and making their worlds better.

Since I don’t mail these letters out by post any more, and I still love the commemorative stamps, I thought I’d share the recent ones I’ve gotten- although Batman, Wonderwoman, and Star Trek are fairly old. The new ones are the Rock stars: Joplin and Hendrix, and the mexican food and posters from the WPA. I liked the fabrics from de la Renta. There’s also a book that has a posy of roses (and succulents?), but I immediately handed it off to Willow, and didn’t have it to scan.  There’s a booklet from last summerwith lace I missed with pierced paper lace, and another of soda fountain favorites, I’m going to have to ask the Postmaster to see if he can get for me. Or I may be able to get them on-line. I think stamps are so pretty and fun. It’s always going to be a regret for me that I never figured out how to get the US to issue a stamp for the SCA’s 50 year anniversary. There certainly are enough of us to notice.

What have I been reading this week? For fiction, Lindsey Davis’ Deadly Elections. It’s sort of exactly what I don’t need right now since it’s about politics, but as fiction it’s interesting and relaxing, and has inspired me to picture our political leaders in Togas when I want to lighten the mood a bit. Also, since they tend to snack on “takeout” in the form of “meatrolls”, I was inspired to try making some, and it was a fair success. More experimentation with different kinds of meat will be needed. I simply made a loaf’s (one pound) worth of bread dough, and wrapped it around sausages and baked them. I’d like to see what would happen if I added cheese. It would need to be especially well sealed. I wonder if other people are as suggestable as I am when they’re reading about people eating?
In non-fiction, I’m nearing the end of The AutoImmune Epidemic, which may be why I noticed Lupus Day. It’s sort of a hard read because it’s so depressing. Mainly it’s the many pollutants and other stresses in the modern world that are screwing with our bodies system for communicating with itself. The best image it uses is that of a barrel. Diseases emerge (symptoms manifest) when the barrel is full. It is filled by many things going into it, from the outgassing in our rugs, the fumes from drycleaning, industrial polluntion that the superfund ran out of money before it could clean up, simple stress, pesticides, herbicides, necessary medications, the coating on the inside of cans and of waterproofed cardboard carry-out containers, hair dyes, fingernail polish, and other cosmetics, household cleaners…. The list goes on and on, including things we can avoid, and things we can’t. Some people are more prone to some diseases, which probably accounts for all the stories of centenarians who smoke cigars, drink whisky and eat bacon every day and don’t get sick. Let’s face it, while tobacco is clearly a cause of lung cancer, 4/5 of people who smoke don’t get it. That’s apparently why they have different strains of lab mice, different strains are prone to different diseases, and they use the strain for the disease they are testing to see if a trigger changes the speed at which they get the disease. It speeds up the testing, which is good for us. Other things help strengthen our immune systems- like vitamins, but mostly what we have to do to reduce our body confusing bits of ourself with intruders is to reduce the number of things it has to deal with. So if we can’t prevent what we breathe (except to not smoke), we can avoid as many contaminents as we are able to. The list of auto-immune diseases is long, and I notice that I am more likely to relate to a disease like Lupus or MS or diabetes when I know someone who has it. Sadly, there are depressingly too many of those.
I’ve come up with another analogy, and I’m not sure which direction it’s going in: Autoimmune disorders remind me of when the NSA, Homeland Security, or the Police exceed their mandate. When they are overwhelmed, they get paranoid and see innocent people as potential threats and attack them, although they were put in place to protect them. Just being on high alert too much makes people and bodies percieve the world as hostile, and they are more likely to attack, just in case the threat is real, even though they are harming what they’re supposed to protect.  It sort of works in both directions. Perhaps if we figure out what works in one, we can apply it to the other.

The other thing I’ve been reading is Traveling between the Worlds: conversations with contemporary Shamans. There are so many, all over the world (although most of these are American). I keep checking to see if they live near enough to invite them to CTCW. There’s something marvelous about people who have come to terms with living in both worlds.
What have I been watching? Well, West Wing on the kindle in bed, but while working in the kitchen, Grimm. I’ve just finished the second season. Nick has settled into his role as a monster fighter, but still, he’s mostly a cop. The kind of cop we want them all to be, protecting the innocent, and not making judgements based on race, but on what the person does. In this case, the “race” is what kind of were or Wesen the person is. I’d be happier if they didn’t try to come up with a new one each show, but it’s fun to be reminded that there are lots of kinds. Monroe (the vegan clock-making, Big Bad Wolf) continues to be my favorite, but they are expanding the regulars, which is better, and the close (and not stupid) friends are figuring out what’s going on in a logical pace. It’s got to be easier when you don’t have to constantly pretend to everyone that you can’t see what you’re seeing. The larger arc of the second season is about his girlfriend and partner being read into the secret. At one point someone asks of some perp “Is he wesen?” and someone else says “Isn’t everyone?” It sometimes seems that way. I also like the way Rosalie’s Spice Shop reminds me of Giles’ library and later shop in Buffy. I really like that the stories don’t seem to be all about how spooky the occult is, but about relationship problems that are very like non-occult relationships.

Tonight Jane and I finally got to doing the spring planting magick discussion on the New Normal (If you missed the live show, here is the link to the archive.)

Until next week, here’s hoping for the best possible outcome for all of us.
“I don’t know how to act my age. I’ve never been this old before!” (Anon, shared by Elizabeth Julian)