The lilacs are passing, sigh, and so are the bleeding hearts and violets. May is over, and I don’t have anything that blooms for a while. Still, I enjoy the summery weather, and still hope to get some token garden in. At least a tomato and a pepper plant? Some variety of tree is dropping copious amounts of dried flower clusters, but I have no idea what it is. I suppose this should be the end of the spring pollen season.
I had another productive week on the book- on the other hand, it’s hard to tell- what is there to show for it? There are occasional moments of ego boosting when someone I respect tells me it’s a good idea- still, I can’t help feeling guilty that I’m not able to put in a decent effort on the book at the same time as I make product to sell, and keep the house clean, AND maybe also have some sort of job that produces an income. On top of that, I also feel guilty because I don’t have a balanced life- I really should rest more, relax more, exercise more, garden more, play more music, dance more- all the things I’d tell anyone else, and I know if I don’t will cause health problems… I tell the kids to create a balanced life, but I’m not much of a role model.
Megan and Dennis, who are my heros when it comes to making your life what you want it to be, are looking forward to their 25th wedding anniversary. They decided to celebrate by taking a cross country trip in a red mustang (I think) convertible. Having investigated how much it would cost to rent one, they have bought one and are going to sell it afterwards! Maybe it’s because Linda (Megan) was supposed to have become a helpless cripple and/or died years ago, they are incredible at figuring out what they want to do, and how to go about making it happen.
I’ve been thinking about that and how it applies to my life- if I were 25 and had to go to work for the first time I’d be in pretty much the same position, except that I would have more health to abuse while trying to get a business started (and a lot less accumulated knowledge, experience and wisdom). And if I were young, but handicapped, I wouldn’t just give up, I’d figure out how to work around the handicap to do what I wanted to do. So I figure I’m handicapped- I have a debilitating condition (not able to work as long hours or lift as heavy objects as I’d like) which is progressive (it’s called aging), but other than that, I’m like anyone else starting out- some advantages, some disadvantages. Of course, I’m not as pretty as I was at 25, so I won’t be able to play that card, but I know I’ve got about 30 and maybe 40 years in me, whether the insurance adjusters do or not.
Oh yes, and I did manage to get the house insured before it lapsed- just squeaked through. I think I may have played the “help me, I’m a poor widow whose husband used to take care of me” card on that a little, but it got the job done.
I kind of wonder if I’ve done the same again with Alex.
Alex Kuberry (younger brother of J. Morgan Kuberry), who we first met at Pennsic, is probably staying the summer with us. When he went home for the summer he found that his parents were having the usual “not adjusting to his being an adult” disparity, and he couldn’t find a job down there, so he’s staying in our great hall, and helping Star get the roofing done in exchange for lodging. He’s also looking for work around here, but I don’t think he quite got how out in the boonies we are, so maybe he’ll find something, and maybe he’ll have to find another place to stay, but meanwhile I get to take advantage of him (without taking unfair advantage- I hope).
Also Morgan and Rachel got married down in Pennsylvania over the weekend. Pretty soon they’ll be headed to Scotland for their honeymoon. Vivat!
Kitty has sold her cute little house on the Cape, and is in process of moving. She’s got some goodies to pass on to us, and I have to make time to get down there.
This weekend we went up to Vermont to PantherVale to Panteria (an SCA event). Some landlubbers may not have noticed, but the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie opened Friday night (when we were putting up our pavilion), and we REALLY wanted to see it, so as soon as it was up, we closed the tent-flaps and headed off to the nearest Bijou- sporting pirate outfits, which amused the management, and enjoyed the film. I don’t think it will spoil anything to say that the pacing was a bit chaotic for my taste. As the second movie seemed to be padded with “silly scenes”, to make it a full length movie, the third seemed to be both crowded and attenuated (although I’m very glad they didn’t decide to make it into a third and fourth movie!). There were bits I felt were just skimmed over, and the pace was incredibly fast, which on top of the shifting loyalties made it really hard to keep track of what was going on. Then there was a certain “been there, done that” feeling, as certain parts of it were reminiscent of both Erik the Viking and Sinbad- but after all, it was At the Worlds End, and how many ways are there to fall off the edge of the Earth? I was really happy to finally see Captain Jack’s father. I’d heard he was going to be in “the next movie” and I guess that was “the last movie”. (I still don’t think Bootstrap Bill looks anything, much less “the image of” Will Turner.) As expected, there were a lot of good quotes. So far, my favorite is “Nobody move! I dropped me brain!” and “King!” (as a one word explanation- of the same variety as “Pirate!” in the first movie).
Of course, because it was a half hour each way, and we went to the 9:30 showing, we got back “a trifle” late, and that may have had something to do with our being a bit tired. Got up in the morning and the girls sold stuff while I did classes. The autocrat had asked me to share my campfire cooking skills, so as at Harpers we had a whole series of classes by the fire-pit, and they had arranged that it be right behind our tent, so it would be convenient for me.
The first class was starting a fire with flint and steel- which I am OK at, but there was only one person who came to that, and usually I demonstrate and explain the theory and technique and then pass out the flints and circulate offering advice. With one person I couldn’t circulate very much, so I saw Ekkehart and Elinor passing by, and snagged him. As I expected, he was much better able to show the technique one on one. (Anna wasn’t able to be there because her mother was in the Hospital). Ekke also helped out by bringing us new wires for the trailer. They’d come loose again, as they had (but Willow fixed them) at Beltaine, but this time they’d dragged enough that they needed to be replaced. Sunday he also helped her do the replacing as well. Osgkar also gave us a hand when he was running to town for something, we mentioned that we’d left the chicken we’d been planning to cook behind, and he brought us replacement! Yay! It’s good to have friends.
We also got to see Cyndar and Ravenhair and Tristram (and her dogs). Cyndar has Italian Greyhounds, they are the little ones- but look like the large kind in proportion to Xander (Willow’s ball-jointed doll- who was also in his pirate wear).
There were two camp-cooking blocks (or was it three?) and I showed the people who came around the various cool wrought iron, and pottery, and other things I’ve collected over the years, and talked about ways to cook, and (I hope) showed that it wasn’t too hard. I made a batch of English Muffins, which have the advantage that their characteristic form comes from frying on a griddle or pan, and characteristic flavor comes from being “over-risen”. The samples were appreciated. I also showed a boiled (in a mold) cake, how to make and use jerky, and keeping meat in brine. There was also a block which some avoided, and some loved where I showed how to dress out a rabbit- which is what we had for dinner Saturday night.
Kat looked gorgeous in her garb, and there was a blossoming tree, so we got this great picture of Ælfthryth.
Willow took her firepots, but it turned out that the coffeehouse was going to be Sunday night, and we were already getting frazzled, so she lit them up and did some fire spinning in the clear space outside our tent. The Panteria site is wonderful- so big that people can camp all the way around the edge of the field and still have room for the battles in the middle, so I got a chance to see them (they sure looked like they were having fun!), and out the front of the shop Willow could watch the youth combat lists. So there was plenty of safe room for fire-spinning. Then some folks came by from Thunder Mountain (I think) and asked her to come spin at their camp, so she did. As she said- she suffers from Attention Deficit: people don’t pay enough attention to her! And Kat and her friends hung around the fire as it gradually sank down. I got to talking with people (Andrew, and several other pagans about my book) and personally, I was thrilled to get to bed before 11.
This is a shot Kat got of the “spooky tree” on the way into the site:
Sunday it got overcast in the morning, and started to sprinkle. The various weather reports ranged from “it’ll pass and tomorrow will be sunny” to “it’s drizzle now but will be downpour tomorrow”. Sadly, ever since that Pagan Pride Day in Amherst, whenever wind and rain come together (as it did when the front came in) Willow gets flashbacks, and kind of a post traumatic stress reaction, and she got really stressed, so we decided to leave as soon as my Sunday classes were over- even though I’m usually the one who complains about SCA events on 3 day weekends who only run two days. I did get to go to a class about dancing for demos, and loved it, but then I taught a series: Anglo-Saxon Magick, Anglo-Saxon Medicine, and Anglo-Saxon Herbalism. (While Kat watched the shop, Willow fixed the trailer.) By that time it was actually raining (which got the fire well out), but we had to take over the back of the shop since I couldn’t do them outside, and that put Willow in front of the tables rather than behind them, which she also doesn’t care for much. So when I finished at four, we started breaking down. We actually were packed by 20 past six, which is impressive. The PantherVale people did help us break down- only a little damp, but I’ll also point out that the other merchants also all bugged out (as far as I know).
We’d come up by 91, but went the way through Montpelier on the way back, and discovered this really cool old diner style restaurant on 302 on the Montpelier line. Apparently it’s well known (The Wayside) and the food (especially fresh pies) was great. If you are ever in the Montpelier area, it’s worth seeking out. So that was nice.
Not so nice was Willow had a problem gut and had to keep stopping, and then right after Exit 9, she noticed sparks and we pulled over and discovered that the left tire on the trailer had disintegrated. This would not have been very traumatic, but beside the chicken, we’d forgotten to pack the spare tire for the trailer. Usually we pack it on top of the load so that in case we need it we don’t have to unload to get at it, and we forgot to tie it on. Actually, we also forgot the live rabbit for the “dressing small animals” demonstration, because we’d wanted to not put it in the hot car until the last minute, and had to turn back for it. For the tire, we had to get permission from the State police to leave the trailer (“legally you have four hours, but if you want to come back in the morning, well, you can take the chance if you want, but we’re not going to guard your possessions for you.”), then drive 75 minutes back home, unpack the van and put in the good jack and the spare, drive back 75 minutes, change the tire, and then drive 75 minutes back home again. We’d been looking forward to being in bed in 76 minutes, but I guess adrenaline counts for something. I figured we could sleep then go back first thing in the morning, but Willow said she wouldn’t sleep anyway thinking about the possibility of someone could got through the trailer. It only had the damp tent and cast iron and shop displays, and other camping stuff, but it would be such a pain to lose any of it, and I knew she was right. Still, since it only needed one to change and one to hold the flashlight, Kat and Willow went alone, and I did get to sleep. They got in around four am as it was starting to get light.
I think they said someone did stop to help them- he was on his way to get a friend out of jail and didn’t even know what the friend had done, so he said that as long as he was up in the middle of the night he might as well help someone who deserved help. People are nice.
Willow, of course, is still recovering. About the only times I see her are supper times and when she comes down to update her comic. (“Neither stress, nor storm, nor lack of sleep will stay this comic artist from her appointed updates.”) The trial section is finally coming to a close- the judge gets to tell the lawyer for the muggers to look up “frivolous litigation”. It’s nice to have the world work the way it’s supposed to, and Willow’s fans are eating it up.
Since I slept, I got to spend Monday morning doing the laundry, dishes, the usual putting away stuff after an event, as well as drying the tent, since the weather was fine. Thank goodness Star was there to help me lift the heavy (damp) canvas. All the cars and lines were draped with tent sections, and table cloths!
Travis and Marie and little Alex came over, but because Alex needed a nap couldn’t stay for barbecue. Steve had thought about coming up, but wasn’t up to it. Trevor was working, but Avi had thought to come over with Bianca, but their car died. Actually, Avi had her first baby “crisis”- Bianca hadn’t moved her bowels for four days, so she spent many hours waiting in the emergency room to be told to wait until after the weekend to see her regular pediatrician- “it’s probably nothing”. (Not that they didn’t take X-rays anyway. I am SO glad I’m not doing babies anymore. So we had hamburgers and hot-dogs for ourselves, and watched a new (to us) Miyazaki film Travis had loaned us: Whispers of the Heart. Personally I prefer more fantasy in my Miyazaki, but it was good, as one would expect from Studio Ghibli. We’d thought about hitting the drive in again so that Star could see At the World’s End, but we were too tired, and what a waste (and how bizarre) it would be to sleep through it.
Also, Alex had spent the day driving up from Pittsburgh, so we were able to be there when he got in. (Of course, he’d been at Morgan’s wedding Saturday. His mother had actually suggested that he drive back with Morgan and Rachel since they were going the same way- had she forgotten that newly weds like privacy? Well, it gives her boys a good funny story to tell about their family.)
I got back to work the next day, breaking to start cleaning out the hall so Alex will have a place to stay. Kat and I have to trade off using this computer as she enters the data into the database, and I read and respond to the interviews. I am so relived that my initial premise seems to be borne out, and the book is firming up nicely. I hope (but don’t expect) I don’t get any huge divergent data that throws it off in the last group coming in. Actually, I’ve got to try and figure out how many I’ve got, at this point I’ve got no idea. At least I have not just wiccans and witches of all (well, many) sorts and generic pagans, but druids, heathen, stregera, Aztecs, Baltic, Roman, Hellenic, Celtic, Cannanite, and Egyptian reconstructionists, practitioners of Voodoo, Shinto, Hinduism, Buddhists, and Native Americans. It’s good. I am pleased.
What else- the world continues to do all it’s various things. Mark let me know about proposed legislation in NH which would make it possible to keep on excluding groups and individuals when someone is suing and looking for someone to get money out of, so that someone with very little liability gets stuck with paying. I wish they’d think these things through better. Another news item that surprised me a little was Bush assigning himself the ability to take over in any emergency. I’m guessing it goes back to Katrina when the Governor of Louisiana told him (rightly, I believe) that she wouldn’t let him take over the rescue efforts in order to get help from the National Guard. As I recall he told her that if he couldn’t direct everything she’d have to do without that help. I could be remembering wrong, but I understand on a much lower level that everyone wants to be in control of their own resources and doesn’t want to let someone else take over from them. It’s just too bad that the higher these insecurities are allowed to go, the more people suffer. I’m not surprised he wanted to do it, I’m just surprised that no one seems to be getting upset about it. It reminds me of when the Emperor- I mean Senator Palpatine- did just about the same thing as he started to dismantle the Republic in Star Wars- the Phantom Menace. Oh well, maybe there won’t be another hurricane, earthquake or other emergency (before the election)? That would kind of make trying to get my book done seem somewhat pointless, wouldn’t it? Maybe I’m just being a flake- not enough sleep. Read it for yourself.
I’ve been reading more back ground for the book: Her Hidden Children, which is about the history of the American early pagan movement (as Hutton’s covered the English), and a couple others although I can’t remember their titles (they do all tend to run together after a while).
On a lighter note, Calendar Trivia (because we need something to celebrate)
June is Rebuild your Life Month
The first week of June is National Fragrance Week and National Fishing Week
Wednesday, May 31st is What you think upon grows Day, and Speak in Complete Sentences Day
June 1st is Leave the Office Early, and Hug your Cat, Partners, and International Children’s Day
Saturday, June 2nd is Rocky Road Day
Sunday, June 3nd is Donut, Cancer Survivors, and Teachers Day
Monday, June 4th is Old Maid’s Day
Tuesday, June 5th is World Environment, and Festival of Popular Delusions Day