5-16-2018 Love a Tree Day

 The weather has been lovely- cool enough that I often put on a sweater, warm enough that I dress in my light clothing, and usually leave the front door open so the breeze can come in. We have closed the upstairs window again since it’s not yet “too hot’, and Kat hasn’t yet installed the air conditioner. We are, on the other hand, not storing anything in the cool room that needs refrigeration. We don’t really expect to in May, though April it was cool enough and that doesn’t happen often. Sometimes we’ll get crocus and daffodils in March, but this year everything is coming at once!
This year (at least until the road crews come by again) the lilacs are big enough across the road near the mailbox that they’ll be blooming this year. The road crews usually come by and flat cut down all growth near the road, so it doesn’t happen. I wonder if I could put something there to discourage them from doing it? The lilac blooms are formed- but not opening yet, although that’s beginning down in Milford.
  The lily of the valley we kept planting until they finally took, are now spreading- first into then beyond the cinder blocks we put around the strip of garden on the south side of the house by the driveway. Narcissus I don’t remember putting in are growing up along that edge, and I’ve put in the Mother’s Day pansies Willow got for me. There are a few tulips- and odd nearly iridescent purple. There was one bright one over near the stairs, but I picked it to make Willow less nervous as she installed the new wrought iron trellis. We are still trying to tame Kate’s climbing rose. I fear that it will never climb up to her window- I think 6-7 feet may be it’s limit, although it seems quite willing to get long if allowed to be recumbent.
I did go without stockings a couple of days, but now that the gus are out, ever fly that alights on me anywhere is a Lyme disease bearing tick (at least to my monkey brain) and sends a shot of adrenaline through me. (It’s going to be a long summer) I have seen my first black fly, and had my first moth “attack” while reading my kindle. It’s actually a lot less attractive to bugs than reading by a lamp, so that’s nice. Moths only can be said to “attack” inasmuch as they get tangled in my hair. The cats love going out, and often don’t want to come in at night. Peri still hasn’t returned, but remembering how Freya was gone for over a month keeps our hopes up. Pyewacket continues to terrorize the Hollands dogs when they walk by. While he’s the low cat on the status pile in the house, he is apparently quite terrifying to Karen’s dogs as they pass. I’ve only seen him glaring at them, but apparently he has charged at them and scares them a lot. Zoloft is shedding as if she were paid for it, I only wish she were!
I continue to be disoriented by the increase in light. If you think about it, we are only about a month away from the summer solstice, so we are getting the same amount of daylight as we do at the end of July, but since that’s “the middle of summer”, that seems natural. Especially with the cold lasting so late, it feels like spring has just started. I suppose with the lilac coming and the apple orchards in full bloom, I have to accept that it’s spring, but I keep looking up and thinking it’s time to start dinner, and it’s almost eight.
I have finished the cover painting (am I satisfied or or am I sick of working it?) and am starting the next portrait. It occurs to me that the PBS auction happened last week (since I don’t have TV I tend to forget about it) and I’ll be getting an order for the next one soon, so I should finish this up and get it out.
Meanwhile I’ve started the handout and booklet on Vampires. As usual, the hard part is figuring out what needs to be kept in and what gets left out. Ordinarily I’d only put in the pre-17th century bits for a Pennsic workshop, but since I’ll also be using this for Changing Times, I should probably include some of the stuff that happened in the last 300 years. About half of the “Vampire Epidemic” happened then- about the same time as the Witchcraft Hysteria. I hate to say it, but I think there’s a strong correlation between the use of the printing press to circulate propaganda and these waves of mass hysteria. I’d also like to include some information on decomposition- I’ve read Stiff (and Spook) and I can’t help thinking that knowing what’s normal about dead bodies would help explain what people who were assuming vampires were seeing when they saw weird stuff. I am thinking that they had a lot more experience with dead bodies than most of us do these days. But enough of that!
Kat and I finally felt good enough to go donate blood last Thursday. While everything went fine for me, Kathryne slowed and stopped- and also hurt- again. This time she discovered that when you can’t give the full pint, they give the usual amount for the various tests they do, and the rest they use to train those dogs that search for humans in disasters.  That’s good to know. I think she’s having a harder time with her CP than usual.
Willow is still tired when she gets back from work and didn’t go with us. This week she got the kids some polymer beads that absorb water and get 200x their size, and they bounce like crazy. I seem to be the only one that hasn’t head of these things. She says that it’s the bet buck she ever spent to amuse them. I thought they were pretty cool too.
I left the car at Winkles after the blood drive so they could get the Air Conditioning going again. (By dropping it in the evening, Willow could grab me on her way back from Avis. Robert called me Friday to tell me that he’d checked it out and it worked fine. “Did you turn it off and on again?” he asked? “Well, no, it’s not a computer.” Apparently there’s enough computer stuff in the car that when you turn it on for the first time after the winter, it has some sort of impact. He was very nice though and only charged me for 45 minutes of his time. I think he actually spent most of the the afternoon.
Mark came over twice this week and read to me (First time I finished the painting, the second time I was just cleaning.) He even brought dinner! Steve didn’t come up this weekend, but he called and we chatted. He called again last night when he got caught on his return commute in that severe weather and had to pull off. We got only a sprinkle. Weather is weird. I’ve been watching the Outer Limits, since Steve gave us a copy. I loaned Mark our Tremors movies, (And am re-watching the TV show- not as good as the movies, but still fun!) Also Brother Cadfael– clearly I am doing mental “snack food” but maybe it will be like popcorn scrubbing your digestive track and get me all ready to do more serious study.
Kat finished up the blouse she had commissioned and sent that off. She is now doing the handwork on a pair of fancy spats. John’s organizing the woodshed for the next load of wood. He has something going on with his foot. He says the ball of the foot hurts. Were it the heel, I’d suspect plantar fasciitis,but it’s not. We hope he hasn’t gotten something stuck in it, as he rarely wears shoes unless we’re going out, or he’s chopping wood.  So he’s soaking it with Epsom salts, and he says it’s getting better.
In theory I’m updating the holidays for the CTCW blog and working on the panel descriptions, but I’m afraid that between the vampire reading and the Nero Wolfe, I haven’t done much else.
 Mark has loaned me a pile of Nero Wolfe mysteries and I have plunged into them off the deep end. I might even say I’m wallowing in them. I looked the series up on the internet and discovered that there have been movies & TV shows (requests put in), and there are even radio shows from the 40s (I now listen to these while I post to Holidays that might get overlooked.) They are pure brain candy! Such delightful characters! Such elevated snarkiness!
I also finished Buried too Deep, another historical mystery from Roman Britain, nice, but there’s nothing like something that’s OK to make you appreciate good writing. I continue wading my way through Montague Summers ponderous prose about vampires in Vampire,his Kith and Kin, and the much more readable Vampire Forensics. I have to quickly review In Search of Dracula, as I haven’t looked at it in a couple of decades, while the whole Dracula mythology is modern, Vlad Tepes was in period, so I should be able to include the basics on that. But rather than writing about it, I should get back to working on it. I’m afraid I have not been working hard this week.
I did start talking with Liz and Kate about the camp- apparently along with getting married this summer, Kate and Alexis are hoping work on putting in a deck up there. While I’m good with repairs and maintenance, I’m not eager to spend much on putting new things in, on the other hand, I’m not up there much, and not doing the physical work, so I’m open to being discussion about it. Since I’m looking at having to get a roof installed over my back landing (it’s not big enough to be called a porch) because the rain seeps in, I do want to get the back porch that they took off replaced- especially since if we wait too long it might require more stringent permits to rebuild it, and we do need to keep it solid. Liz has been down the road and says it’s in good shape- and the ice ‘went out’ last week (or the week before, it’s hard to recall). Far more exciting, a family of otters has come out in the stream behind her house, so she can watch them play. That’s very cool!
Now I just need to get some self discipline and keep my recreational reading down to reasonable levels. Since my feet are doing better, I need to start getting the house back in shape as well.
I should have mentioned this last month, but I only think it when I upload the letter to my website. I have now written (over) twelve hundred weekly letters. Not that I’ve found all of them, as I didn’t start saving them on disk until, well, after we switch from the big to the little floppy disks, and even then I think most of them are lost. They’re only saved on Live Journal back as far as late 2005. I’d love to see some of those old ones from the 20th century (when Aelfwine was still around- during our early adventures in animals and when we still had kids in school, but at the same time I don’t expect people to have saved them. So there are at least 4-500 missing. The oldest one I’ve got is the last one from December 1999. That’s a long time.

Tchipakkan

I can dodge folly without backing into fear. – Nero Wolfe
A guest is a jewel on the cushion of hospitality. – Nero Wolfe
I don’t answer questions containing two or more unsupported assumptions.- Nero Wolfe
Another image of Kat as Adric from Regencon
Upcoming holidays: There are several paired ones this week.
Thursday 17 Cherry Cobbler Day  Notebook Day, Day Against Homo/Bi/TRansphobia
Friday 18 Cheese Souffle Day, Pizza Party Day, Visit your Relatives Day, & No Dirty Dishes Day
Saturday 19 Devils food Cake Day, Whisky Day, Learn to Swim Day &  River Cleanup Day
Sunday 20 World Baking Day, Quiche Loraine Day, Eliza Dolittle Day & Flower Day,
Pick Strawberries Day is the day before
Monday 21  Strawberries and Cream Day, Waiters Day & I need a Patch for that Day
Tuesday 22 Vanilla Pudding Day, World Goth Day, Buy a Musical Instrument Day & Solitare Day
Wednesday 23 Taffy Day, Lucky Penny Day, EMS for Kids Day, Turtle Day (followed by Snail Day)

Happy Love a Tree Day