5/30/2012 hole in my bucket day

Last night there was an incredible thunderstorm that went through the area- apparently over most of New England. I heard about it over the radio at Winkles Auto, warnings of winds over 60 mph and tornados. We did get thunder and lightning and rain, but we brought in the propane lamps in case we had a power outage, and turned off the computers. We didn’t get a blackout, so I guess it worked. 😉

The Iris have been blooming this week- they are so proud and tall and dramatic looking. Part of me thinks they’d make great cut flowers, but since each only lasts one day- but then is replaced by a different bloom the next, I am afraid breaking that cycle would be like killing the goose that lay the golden egg. The tiny, yet fragrant, wild white roses have started blooming as well. We’ve brought some of those in, although they don’t last well. I usually expect them mid-June, so they are early. My border pansies are blooming, and so are the forget-me-nots Lyrion gave me. There’s even a lone blossom on the quince bush and a few tardy bleeding hearts, bless them! Wild flowers (besides the dandelions) are beginning to come up- campion, yarrow, ground ivy and self heal.

We haven’t yet gotten rid of the goats, but I have reconciled myself to the necessity. I hate giving up something I’ve loved, but the past is the past. Maybe someday I’ll be able to have goats again if I stop traveling. It’s a choice, so if I choose something, it must mean I like it more than the other thing. (I hope.)

This weekend we went up to Panteria, the eponymous event at Panthervale. Albreda, the lovely lady who invited me to come teach in the children’s track, corrected me on a point of order: “Panthervale isn’t a Barony – it is one of what we are now calling ‘The Five Shires’; namely Panthervale, Freehold, Coldwood, Glen Linn, and Outpost. We work together on stuff anyway, so we gave ourselves a common name. >:)” It’s up in Vermont. I had put off registering the trailer until we needed it, but now we did, so I did that, and finally put on the collection of bumper stickers I’ve been saving since we knew the old blue van was dying. I wasn’t eager to cover the back of my “new” car, and now that we’ve got the trailer, I figured that was a better place to display the collection. Many of them are political, (support the 2nd Amendment), and others are religious (I’m in the witchcraft industry, how about you?). Some I haven’t managed to replace yet (Have Pagans friends, they worship the ground you walk on). It’s not quite totally covered yet, but it is a fun collection. I did put the ones “support local farmers” and Nightcrawler radio show (from the old Forever Knight TV series) on the van. I doubt many people will recognize and remember it.

I got this month’s “fruit of the month” from my sister Trish’s christmas present. It was 18 perfect strawberries- with stems. They were encased in foam, like the parts of a gun one sees in spy movies. I suppose that strawberries with stems are meant to be dipped in chocolate, but I’ve always considered that a waste of perfectly good chocolate and perfectly good strawberries. (Something like the chocolate dipped bacon I’ve seen on the internet- ick! I’ve also seen donuts covered in crumbled bacon, bacon cakes, and bacon “turtles”. The world has gone bacon crazy.) Unlike the pears, we made short work of the strawberries.

I also realized Thursday night, about 10, that I’d picked up strawberries and rhubarb, and “quickly” threw together a pie, which we baked for breakfast Friday. Actually we didn’t need to leave too early on Friday. Panteria is just over two hours away, so we figured we’d still have time to put up the tent if we left by 4. (Three would have been better.) After all, part of the reason we got the trailer was to reduce the amount of packing and unpacking we’d have to do. Put in any food and clothing we needed, any bedding, or things that were variable from event to event, and leave the rest in the trailer. Among variable items are class handouts. This time I was doing runes and herbs for kids. I had a dozen copies of the Kids herbal handout on hand, but had to find and print the handout for the rune class. (I took the opportunity to post it to my website.) By the time we’d packed our garb, snacks for Kat, handouts, and everything else I could think of, it was four, so we hooked up the trailer and headed off.

The weather reports predicted rain all weekend, so we made sure we’d packed a tarp, in case the ground was wet when we got there. On the way we stopped at the library to avoid fines for several dvds. I wasn’t looking forward to trying to take their rather steep driveway and turn around in their lot with the trailer, so we asked the Universe to provide a couple of spaces in front of the library- and it did! Three, in fact, because we needed room to get in and out as well as have the trailer and van both fit. That worked so well we put in a request that there would be dry ground for us to pitch our tents on when we got there. As we passed through many bands of showers on the way up, we were bracing ourself to be philosophical, and glad of the tarp, but when we got there, it was sunny and dry.

We also got to park down with the horse trailers, since it was an equestrian event. The autocrat was so pleased to have us, he put us right along the edge of the tourney field- but facing the rest of the vendors. We know most of the vendors at this point. I was very pleased to see that Thor was there. He’s a blacksmith, and while packing I’d discovered that the chandelier I bought from him had broken during winter storage. I was embarrassed, but he did what Ælfwine would have done and just changed it out with a good one, and took the other home to fix. Often he has his forge with him, but apparently his big truck died.

Old friends Anne (of the Fuzzy Hat) and Daffyð were running the gate, so after we set up, I went in and talked to them for a couple of hours. Setting up was a bit stressful when we discovered that we only had two of our four sides. Apparently the last time I took the tent out, I’d put two of the sides into a milk crate “for ease of transport”, thus rendering it unrecognizable as anything but white canvas in a crate. We THOUGHT we had all the pieces of the tent. Sadly, both Willow and I had looked at it, and decided not to bring “extra canvas”. Oops. But as the kids say, the universe loves me, and the people running the event had opted to have the gate in the hall, so didn’t need their “troll” (gate) tent, so they loaned us two of those tent sides, which were just enough to keep us enclosed. The weather app on Willows phone kept insisting that thunderstorms were expected, but somehow they never hit us.

We had decided to go on the meal plan. For $30 apiece, we each got fed six meals including the feast, so we didn’t need to bring food or cooking gear or spend the time cooking and cleaning. We did go to some meals in relays to make sure someone was watching the booth in case a customer came by, but it certainly made life easier! Taz was running it, but delegated some of the meals to others. The menus were not published beforehand, at least partially because the camp had requested that the SCA “get rid of” some of the leftover stored food, which much extended their provisions. I remember the last supper was chicken and beef kebabs (with falafel, and other eastern goodies), The Feast had turkey, there was a two meat pie for one breakfast. Let’s just say that there was plenty of good food. I got tagged as “senior peer” to toast the King and Queen (we figured out it’s been about 30 years since we were on the throne!). A toast I’d have loved to been there for was scheduled for ten on Sunday evening. Sir Ernst (40 years ago), had earned a Silver Star and a Purple Heart by running through shelling and bullets to get medical supplies, taking it back and treating various other soldiers during some battle or other. As it was in Viet Nam and he was in combat, they’d pretty much just tossed the medals to him as he moved from one station to another, but this Memorial Day, he was finally getting them presented in a ceremony- along with lots of other heros from the war. Vivat, and well done.

One of the more amazing aspects of the menu was that assorted dietary needs were taken into account. Before a course came out Taz would say “whoever needs the no dairy/gluten free dish come get it!”, then “who needs the no onion dish?” “Who needs the vegetarian?” And when those were done, the servers would distribute the food to everyone else.  For breakfast, he’s learned to put the vegetarian and other special foods at the end, so that hungry folk don’t fill their plates with it just because it looks so good!

I joined the kitchen crew for breakfast on Sunday. Mostly I hulled and sliced massive amounts of strawberries, and sliced melons. (Cassandra was making mountains of pancakes.) I talked to Taz about my idea for a cooking contest and he’s had about the same idea, so it may happen. Ki-lin was there too- in the kitchen as usual, so we got to talk as well.

Other folk I saw included Ina and James. Apparently Ron/Merlin, no longer leaves home. This last year fighting with the town over his property rights has really taken it out of him. Ina told stories about the police chief threatening him (with his gun), and other examples of wretched prejudice and abuse of power. Guinness came down- just for Saturday- but we had a lovely talk. He’s much stronger than he was last year. I told him about my “Charge of the Yankee Goddess” and sent it to him when I got home. I expect it will go the rounds now!

Olaf came up on Sunday just for a few hours and spent it with me (very flattering!). He’s involved in some sort of contest associated with a TV program who’s name I didn’t recognize. It seems that people can pitch their money making ideas, rich people judge them and finance the ones they like. Olaf’s plan is to dredge gold off the ocean floor in the Baltic (during the few months a year it’s not iced in). Sounds just crazy enough that it could make good TV. I wish him the best of luck. As trivia, he explained to me that the word for those who ship out in submarines is submariner- pronounced like submarine with an r on the end, not like a mariner with a sub on the front. He says submariners say that “a sub-mariner is a sailor who’s not as good”. As I often say, a day when you’ve learned something is not wasted.

Sunday I did my classes. Rather than my usual talk about herbs, I did a “weed walk”, which meant I had to give the camp a walkabout on Saturday to find herbs I recognized from the list of the ones I was talking about. I had hoped to discover jewelweed, but couldn’t find any. While waiting for supper I checked down by the lake and found out why. I discovered a clump of it- but it is just sprouted, it had only it’s first set of true leaves. If I didn’t know it so well by now, I wouldn’t have recognized it. Luckily, there was lots of plantain. I’d say that more adults who wanted to learn herbalism to treat their kids came than kids, but both were flatteringly attentive.

After lunch I showed up for the rune class to discover the kids involved in a leather-working class with a gentleman named Eolh. It had been scheduled for earlier, but they were catching up. No problem, I could come back at four- which I did (and which gave me a chance to talk to Olaf while he was there), and they were still at it, so I gave them the handouts, and the introduction to Runes lecture while they continued to work on their projects. One girl had made a leather flower, a couple of kids made pouches, one ambitious girl was making herself a pair of shoes! This must be encouraged! Eolh wanted to know it the Eolh of the runes could possibly be related to the Greek Aeolus, from where he’d gotten his name. I have no idea. He was really cool, the day before I saw him teaching some kids smith-craft- HE had brought his anvil and stuff like that (and I saw Thor using it for something once).

There were other lovely conversations. I had a great time talking to people. Another thing the camp had asked the SCA to do was get rid of about 6 large bins of books that I think had been left at the camp over some years. I worked very hard not to look at them, but did spot a Steven King book I didn’t have, and picked that up. At one point Kris Spinster said she’d have to take them home if other people didn’t. I wonder if you can feed sheep with them?

Just before dinner on Sunday, Willow finished up her last blanket. (She’d brought five to stitch while sitting shop.) She’d also been keeping an eye on the weather app. Everyone had to be out of the camp by noon, so we didn’t expect to have a lot of business in the morning while people packed, so we decided to pack down after supper and head home. That worked. We were done just as the “coffee shop” opened, so we made our farewells and nibbled some of the snacks they’d put out, and were out not much after nine. We’d have made it by nine, but we stopped to play on the swings, which Willow hadn’t managed to get down to all weekend.

As we pulled out, it started to rain. The Universe loves me.

So we came home Sunday night, and had monday to decompress. Mostly I read a wonderful book Final Exam: A Surgeon’s Reflections on Mortality, that had been recommended to me by, I think, Fernando. This one contained both the over-mechanized deaths we dread, as well as the gentler ones for which we hope, and offered the hope that the medical community is getting better at, where possible, supporting the better ones. (I wish Facebook had a search function so one could find old posts, so I could be sure who recommended it. It’s a great book.)

We didn’t even TRY to back the trailer onto the causeway (where it lives so that the driveway will have more space until Tuesday. I tried for about a half hour, and Willow tried, and got it mostly where we wanted it. I am confounded. I know that the theory is that you turn the car a bit in the “wrong” direction to get the trailer backing in the right direction, then you even out and follow it in, but I was just not making it happen. You turn it one way, it goes the other, then you turn it the other, and it goes in the same direction. There is a trick, and I may yet learn it, but so far, I haven’t. Argh!

Willow continues to work on her collection of blankets for AnimeNext. She is now in the part she doesn’t much care for- backing them. That includes sewing another piece of polar fleece along the sides, turning it inside out, then cutting fringes on the ends and knotting them together. The last time we were in JoAnnes we saw a pink scissor that claimed it could cut through 23 layers of denim. I’m not sure about that, but she says it makes cutting through four layers of polar fleece much easier. But she’s still getting a blister on her hand. I’m not sure how many blankets she has now, but the stack is HUGE.

Tuesdays before my show I usually send out announcements about who’s going to be on, and call the guest to go over what we’re going to talk about. Yesterday I called up the New Normal file and discovered that I’d not made a firm plan with anyone, so spent most of the day calling and emailing the people who’d said they’d like to, but we hadn’t nailed down a date. Stress! I also went out to the library with more books to return, and stopped at Winkles to make an appointment for the van. We seem to have cracked some important metal piece underneath that needs welding. Sigh.

That’s where I was when I heard the severe weather warnings. What fun. During the morning Megan had posted about tornado warnings on Facebook, but I thought they were for London. But no, apparently she and Dennis are back, putting flowers in their garden, and looking forward to the war. WE just had a lovely thunder storm. (OK, it was somewhat flawed by the roof leaking again- where the two roofs come together. Sigh.) Up in Vermont Ekk and Eleanor looking at the downpour and erosion, joked about using it as a sluice to pan for gold- then Ekk found a gold ring washed down from somewhere. (They checked, there are no orcish runes on the inside. Can’t be too careful.)

Megan told me that she had spoken to Honour. She’s now got an apartment, but her plan to spell Alex watching little Nick has fallen apart, crashed on Zon’s intense dislike of her. She’s gotten a restraining order so that she can only see Nicky with them there and specific permission. Poor Honour all the work of moving just to help, and now she can’t. Oh well. I hope I’ll hear from her myself soon.

On the other hand, I hear from my sister that major excitement went on up at the lake this weekend. First poor Liz went out to open camp and discovered that it had been invaded by red squirrels. How would they know what did the chewing up of blankets and making nests and other destruction? She found decomposing, maggoty bodies in some of it. Oh, ick. I feel like I should have been up there helping! Both Kitty and Trish were there, and they had brought their dogs. Trish has the little Boston Terrier, Duke, I remember from Christmases in Winchester. Kitty has an Akita (the kind of dog they bred to fight bears, the kind you may have seen in the movie Hachi, about the dog who waited for his master “forever” until he died). I didn’t get the impression that anyone was there when it happened, but apparently Duke must have said something that translated into Japanese as a doggy insult, because they discovered him rather ripped up and bloody. He lived, but he had a chunk taken out of his cheek, and his ear ripped, and they had to run him off to Lewiston for surgery. (Do these things ever happen when it’s not a weekend?) Everyone up there is now worried about what might happen with other dogs or kids, and whether Kitty’s dog is safe to come visit. It’s so sad for everyone involved.

But on a “lighter” note, Facebook is sharing all sorts of stories about the guy in Florida who was chewing on another man’s face, and the cops had to shoot him. Willow says it’s not a single incident, and people are describing it using terms of the “zombie apocalypse”. The girls joke that at least it’s starting down in Florida, so that gives us time to get ready before it gets to New England. They also came up with the image of geriatric zombies chasing their victims both the victims and zombies using walkers. I have been hoping they’d do a cartoon of that! I also saw that Vermin Supreme (a political satirist/performance artist) is running for president again. He’s suggesting using zombies on treadmills with brains dangling in front of them to deal with the energy crisis.

On a more pleasant note I thought worth sharing, they say that if you put a baby bird back in the nest the mother won’t reject it because you’ve touched it. Isn’t that nice to learn?

Oh, and I should share the idea for dinner we had last night. Willow noticed the chives starting to bloom, so we had Mac and cheese, with chives AND BACON. (I suppose after ranting about over-baconing things, I shouldn’t get so excited about it, but it was VERY good!) Everyone who isn’t gluten casein intolerant should try it.

While I was reading Final Exam the original receipt fell out of the book. I could see that it was bought in Barnes and Nobles, on John’s birthday in 2007, and whoever it was got a copy of Stiff at the same time. I was overwhelmed with a sense of solidarity with original purchaser. How many degrees of separation do we totally overlook because we never think of it? What else might we have in common? This is much the same as what Facebook was about, finding people with similar interests. Final Exam is the only book I finished this week, while I’ve been reading back and forth through several.

I watched the English movie Death at a Funeral. Actually, while British humor works with the theme, I think I liked the American version better- they sort of fine tuned it. I did prefer Alan Tudyk’s version of Simon, although I mixed him up with Paul Bettany, who played Chaucer in A Knights Tale, probably because of the whole naked thing. I kept trying to remember if Wash ever got naked in Firefly. I watched My Girl (a story about a girl who grows up in a funeral home), which I found unnecessarily depressing. Can’t hold a candle to The Road. I figured Post-apocalyptic movie with Vigo Mortensen, it would be an adventure movie. I was so wrong! I am SO sick of depressing movies! I thought Driving Lessons with Rupert Grint and Julie Walters (who’d played Ron and Molly Weasley in the HP movies) would be fun. It was a basic coming of age story about a boy escaping his mother’s influence. I was especially impressed by how much his love interests looked like his mother, but still, I am reminded that I really prefer comedies, adventures and musicals. (and documentaries, but I seem to have used up most of what’s available on death locally!)

I’ve started reading a book called Wheat Belly. The premise is that wheat has been so altered over the years that many people don’t digest it well anymore. This doctor has treated many patients successfully by taking them off wheat, and tells dramatic tales of huge weight loss, digestion issues being resolved, men’s hair growing back… a real panacea. I’d be more inclined to try it if we hadn’t been wheat and dairy free all April. Of course he also indicates that some of the food we replaced the wheat with should also be given up, like corn starch, and popcorn, and potatoes and rice should be minimized. OK, eat more vegetables and less starch. I suppose it is possible that my sudden 15 pound gain at the beginning of May could have been in response to my body having gotten used to no wheat getting it again. My “giving up sugar” diet doesn’t seem to be working. It’s been most of a month and while I did lose 10 pounds the first week, 6 has come back. Perhaps the whole wheat I’ve accepted as healthy is something I should not be eating. Who knows? I may give it a try. I do believe that each of us has to figure out what our specific body needs to have and needs to avoid. Still, I’ve always wanted to avoid getting into a adversarial relationship with food. Food is one of the great pleasures of being human. I suppose I could give up modern wheat and only eat the ancient varieties that have been preserved. I could eat only wild strawberries, none of these modern huge ones. I’d rather be able to shop where it’s convenient, but it would be nice NOT to be morbidly obese.

Well, I’ve got a lovely corned beef cooking on the stove, and will be throwing in carrots, onions and potatoes soon, and having a great show with Dennis Windsinger (if they remember to plug me in this time). And clearly, the Universe loves me.


“I don’t see any use in having a uniform and arbitrary way of spelling words. We might as well make all clothes alike and cook all dishes alike. Sameness is tiresome; variety is pleasing.”
Mark Twain

Real 7 Deadly Sins:

Apathy, Cruelty, Duplicity, Hypocrisy, False Morality, Abuse of Power, Willful Ignorance