5-28-2014 Gone-ta-Pott Day

DSC01266Wow! We’ve had a lot of rain and sun this week and things are growing! When I wake up in the morning, the view from my window is a mass of green! The garden beds are really showing it. The pea plants that we just showing second set of leaves last week are now 6-8 inches tall, and you can hardly see any dirt under them any more. The lettuces aren’t ready to harvest, but they are really beginning to look like lettuces.

DSC01267I guess the violets are mostly gone, but the lilacs are starting. I really enjoyed watching them as I drove up to Canaan on Sunday; New Hampshire clearly has a love affair with lilacs. Well, so do I, I find myself trying to figure out where to put more of them. I want the tall white ones and the pink ones as well as the lavender ones and the deep purple ones. I wonder if there are any that bloom earlier or later to extend the season? The bleeding hearts are still going, and the pansies that had faded back after their first flush are re-flowering. I can see some leaves of nasturtium, and the iris and hollyhock that will come later. The phlox have come up, but are looking rather wimpy this year- perhaps they need more space.

DSC01257The big projects this week was me trying (and failing) to finish Jane’s book cover, and sorting the bins of cloth from the attic. We pushed that because it allowed me to take a couple of bins of cloth to A Sacred Place to share with the people who make mittens and other stuff for the homeless. They were also very excited to get the accumulated hotel toiletries for them. I was pleased to be able to finally get them to the people who’d want them. I’d been meaning to mail them up there since the conference, but had never gotten around to it. I also was able to pass along our old scanner printer to Raven- they had room in their car because they’d brought donations up as well! I hope he’s able to make it work, I hate to share only frustration with a friend.
I had meant to take the big tent and go up all weekend, but the girls didn’t want to go, and I wasn’t looking forward to putting it up myself. Finally Willow pointed out that I was being very draggy and could make myself sick (and also could get more time in to paint) if I stayed home, and just day tripped. Shema was very nice and moved my workshops to all Sunday, and I did day-trip. This relieved me of having to pack bedding, or change of clothes, and I just took our two pop-ups, one for goods and one under which to teach. Most of the classes were under the hoop house- where the eating also took place. They’ve also improved the privies since I was there last. Shema continues to keep her fees down, so people can afford to come, but I’d like to see her charge a bit more to be able to afford a shower house. She and her friends built the hoop house- it’s really impressive!DSC01260
I did workshops on Runes and RunValdr, and didn’t get to the one on ancestors I would have done on Saturday. I missed all the rain (it was gorgeous!) they’d had to deal with the day before, but the schedule had become VERY catch-as-catch-can. Between teaching and watching the tables, I didn’t get much chance to talk to folks. Niniann, who’s going to be on the New Normal tonight about plants and nature spirits. I’d also hoped to talk to Brian, but only got a brief passing chat. I set up next to Beth and Cassie Washington. DSC01256Cassie’s in college now and we rarely see her at events anymore (she helped me set up and take down). As I mentioned, Lyrion and Raven were there, although I hardly saw Lyrion, she was doing readings. I was surprised to see Sha Blackburn, I think of her as being from southern Massachusetts. But basically, having left home at 8:30, gotten there at 11, and having to break down by five to get home before dark, I didn’t have a lot of time there. There’s a reason these events are usually camping. I suppose part of what I was willing to miss was rituals. While I adore the idea of pageants and processions and maypoles etc., I see that we modern folk with our small populations have a really hard time doing it successfully.
I am really impressed with how well we’ve done on the cloth sorting- mostly Willow went through and sorted, creating the first pile of “we don’t need this.” I went through that (only pulled out a couple of things that she doesn’t appreciate as much as I do), then went through the bins and tipped them on their sides, so I could stack them edges up (so you don’t have to unpack the whole bin to see what’s in it). Kat went through them too, although John was not interested. We’ve got three bins full set aside for the SCA yardsale at the Midsummers Event.DSC01264

When I had to refold something, I’d measure it, so some of the pieces are labeled with how much there is. Willow started putting new labels on the bins, but they fell off (the stickers were too old), so she had to buy a new batch. Now we know we have three bins of linen, one of wool (I think it should be two- it’s REALLY tight!), one of velvet, one of silk one of shirting, one of ticking, one of muslin, one of brocades, one of fake fur, (that’s all I can remember, but I think there are more). DSC01255
When I went up to the attic to start the cleaning process before taking the bins back up, I found the batch of orange rabbit furs we bought from Johan back in Malden (in the 70s). I’d wondered where they went, I wonder if they are at all useable any more. Before we take anything up, first we have to sweep, and before that, we’re going to have to bring down PILES of other stuff. I spotted the robot costume Jon wore one halloween- back in the 90s, and there are lots of old toys and kids clothes that probably need to go. Not to mention an old bed frame left by some previous resident, and who knows what else. And the whole mess is covered with black grit from when they re-roofed last year. Presumably it’s crumbled bits of previous shingles. Anyway, it should go. We want to get that job done in the brief time between too cold and two hot in the attic, but also have to find a time when we have the energy for hauling.
One thing we do agree upon is that we all feel very wealthy! We are now reminded of many of the projects for which we bought all that lovely stuff, and wondering how many we can reasonably expect to do before this Pennsic.
Last week I finished up the last journal, and started a new one. I use blank books, and there’s a lot of variety of how long one lasts. I think I’ve done about 20 now. Before I put it away, I checked last August for the “notes to self”, things to remember about Pennsic.DSC01269
So this year we decided to put up our “Pre-pennsic planning” calendar two months in advance- this year in color! (One of the notes suggested I should prepare the booklets for my classes in April because June and July are too harried.) We were also reminded that we need to replace a couple of the wooden tables Ælfwine made. I think Wally can do that. I’ve got at least three paintings, some pottery and four booklets to do before then, tucked between SCA events, Dowser’s Cons, CTCW prep, and podcasts (not to mention the usual dental appointments, blood-drives, car inspections, and the stuff of daily life). I do want to make at least two new outfits this year. I think I’ve been avoiding making anything new because I wanted to lose at least the new weight I put on when I started dieting when I turned sixty.
I’m continuing to avoid carbohydrates as much as possible, because that seemed to work last fall, although I have no idea if I’m losing any weight. As Kat said last week when she came down to exercise and found the living-room full of bins, “I guess I’ll skip my Wii for a while.” Willow says I just need more exercise, and has offered (threatened) to start walking with me again. Not this week though, as both of us are achey from the rain. So I am eating massive amounts of greens and salads, and when there’s a high carb main dish, I just stick to those and some meat or cheese, and just take the hit when there’s a birthday, or something else with carbs. Mostly I simply forget that I’m not supposed to have fill-in-the-blank, fresh fruit is the hardest to remember to avoid. DSC01263Baked goods the easiest. Yesterday the girls found ripe raspberries for 99¢ a package on the discount rack and wondered if they would make a good upside down cake. I obliged them, and yes, I took a couple bites. I prefer pineapple or rhubarb.
We’re putting away the winter clothes too. Willow washed seven sweaters a couple days ago. At this point they’re spread out across the dining room table drying on the cutting boards.
Except for the ones on the cool drying rack she found at the recycling center.DSC01262
Kat’s started taking her “nasty” potion again. We got a new pack of herbs and I boiled it up for her. She’d stopped when she started vomiting all the time when she was having that bad reaction to the antibiotics. By the time she’d stopped, it had gone bad. We might have started last week, but we were doing the spring tonic. Most Americans don’t think they have parasites, but from what I’ve read, it’s worth an annual herbal flushing to make sure. We seem to think that if everything is shiny it’s clean, but don’t seem to get that the dangerous bits are too small to see. We have massive amounts of self delusion, I’m sure I have as many as anyone else, but I give it my best shot to try to admit it.

It’s possible that’s why I have been exhausted this week- or it may have been being a bit creaky from the weather. It’s funny I am really quite indignant about having little aches. Seems to me that most of my friends are either younger, or or in much worse shape than me- or maybe they just don’t whine about it. But I’m always caught by surprise when something that’s just “normal for someone who’s 62” inconveniences me. On the other hand, I may be not getting enough sleep. We have as much light these days (about three weeks before the summer solstice),

I’ve read more of the Young Wizards series this week: The Wizard’s Dilemma, and A Wizard Alone. They deal, unusually, with the death of Nita, the young heroine’s, mother. The dilemma is, of course, that wizards use magick to preserve life, but Nita and her family have to deal with the problem of “at what cost?”. In the second book, aside from the story about an autistic wizard, she has to learn to deal with her loss, while her partner, Kit, has to deal with trying to respond to her withdrawal. These are pretty heavy themes to deal with in a kid’s fantasy book, and I was impressed with how well the author handled it. I have some argument with the basic premise of the book, which is that death and entropy are bad, but I am enjoying the series. Perhaps too much as I should be concentrating on my reading about Anglo-Saxon Kings (Æthelstan : the first king of England). I’d love to get hold of a copy of the “New Millenium Edition” of the first book, which came out thirty years ago, and the author updated!
I’ve watched a few more Bob Hoskins movies (nothing like having someone die to make them suddenly more appealing!), Hollywoodland was pretty good, although dark. Pennies from Heaven was so dark I decided not to finish watching it, although I did enjoy the music. It was a made-for-TV series set in the depression where the music of the period provides a backdrop to the rather depressing lives through which the characters stumble. (Let’s be honest, I didn’t watch the end of Othello either. While I love a good performance, I just don’t like watching disasters unfold. I had a much greater tolerance for tragedy when I was younger.) Also, I want to LIKE the characters, and most of them were not likable.
I caught an interesting version of The Wind in the willows (Hoskins played Badger) in which people played the animals. I think you had to have a good memory of the story to appreciate how well that worked, because, of course, the animals in Wind in the Willows were portraying people. I really enjoyed the David Copperfield with Hoskins as a brilliant Micawber, but I’d simply ordered all the Hoskins films our library had, and had no idea- young Copperfield was played by Daniel Radcliff, Betsy Trotwood was played by Maggie Smith, and Mr. Dick sure looked like Robby Coltrane (although it turned out it wasn’t). So that’s no doubt, where Radcliff was “found” to play Harry Potter.
I watched The Butler because my sister had recommended it (then I rewatched The secret life of bees because I wanted something with a slightly happier ending). The Butler took me on a trip down memory lane. I was there, although I didn’t participate in the civil rights movement, I watched it happen. This has been the backdrop of my life. I don’t like that we tend to time things by “Where were you when Kennedy was shot? when the Challenger blew up? when the Towers came down?” We remember those things, and and they serve as push pins in the cork board of our shared history. We are all off doing our separate things, but those events caught everyone’s attention.
A while ago I requested a lot of recent SF films, and they’ve been coming in over the last several weeks: Ender’s gamePacific Rim, Mr. NobodyMinority report. (Cloud Atlas blew them all away!) SF no longer seems to be a fringe genre, but is just part of popular films. I also enjoyed Mystery of the megavolcano, I can watch just about any number of old Nova programs! After I watched Mary Poppins while candying the violets last week, I decided to give a recent Disney animation The pirate fairy, a try. It was everything we didn’t like about princes in fairy tales: while it had humor and adventure, it was charming, but had no substance. This is the kind of movie that parents used to drop their kids off at rather than going in with them.
These are the violets I candied last week (I didn’t get a picture then). Note I left the stems on while I worked on them. I think it helped suck the moisture out of the petals. I cut the stems off after for storage, and we’ll see if they store as well as I hope.DSC01254
As a final thought, I’m going to mention the item in current events that’s turning up on Facebook and tumbler, and therefore in our family conversations. A few days ago a man in California who left recorded rants blaming women for his sucky life, killed a bunch of people including himself, and we’re getting the two usual spin offs. Some jackasses are commending his actions, and many groups are getting defensive, don’t blame the guns, don’t blame the mentally ill, don’t blame men, don’t blame geeks, and, oh yes, no one is demonizing the groups he was in because he was white (at least no one who didn’t already demonize them). I am constantly amazed at how people can turn any news story to support an argument that may have little to do with the occurrence, but is important to them. Remember I mentioned blind spots? We all have our filters!

I was going to try to do a quick letter today and get some painting and cleaning in, but now it’s almost time for the show. Hope this was worth reading. I’d love to know what you’re up to.

Tough choices face the biblioholic at every step of the way–like choosing between reading and eating, between buying new clothes and buying books, between a reasonable lifestyle and one of penurious but masochistic happiness lived out in the wallow of excess.~Tom Raabe, Biblioholism: The Literary Addiction

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