5/8/2014 No Socks Day

I am writing on Thursday because I spent most of yesterday out with “the kids”. It was Kat’s birthday, and she was twenty something (she was born in `87, you work it DSC01160 out). Her big celebration is going to be the Karoke party with her friends next weekend, and since I had to be home to tape my podcast, we took her out to lunch. We also had a lovely waffle breakfast. I fear that my belgian waffle pan needs replacing, which is very frustrating since it still is perfectly good except for one broken handle. They don’t sell replacement handles, and I don’t know how to put one on if they did. My nice cast iron saucepan also has a wooden handle that over the years has been burned and should be replaced if I could only figure out how to do it. Ælfwine would have figured it out!
We had accumulated over $50 in “rebates” from Staples, but they go away if you don’t use them, so we used them to offset the cost of a new camera, I guess hers had died, or didn’t do the things she need do do with it. We also stopped at the mall toDSC01164

see if there was anything she wanted at Hot Topics- there wasn’t, and the comic book store. I found a copy of the Dr. Who 50th Year Special Book for her there. Willow had found her a wig and dress (probably from her wish list). I got her an anime movie Wolf Children, I’d found some shoes, but wasn’t sure what size she’d take and never got the nerve to send for them. I have given and received far too many “almost right” gifts to want to add to the collection. Her “big” gift was a download of a huge number of episodes from Big Finish who do the Dr. Who audio plays.
She and Willow got a couple of blank books last week and gutted them to make covers for their tablets. That’s Kat’s with the Seal of Rassilon on it. Today she put in a lever to turn the pages without taking it out of it’s cover. Clever- like her father.
You can see in the picture that Kat is doing better- she was able close her eye sufficiently to not wear the eye patch last Saturday. We went to see the Captain America movie- I’d just gotten cabin fever and had to GET OUT. We enjoyed it. Willow explained to me why they’ve attached the Howling Commandos to Cap instead of Fury, because it’s gotten far enough from the forties that it’s not realistic that even a man who was young in WWII, could be running SHIELD without having spent 70 years in stasis. It still bugs me because when I was reading them in college, Sgt. Fury led the Commandos, and it’s hard to adjust that in my mind. This is one of the things that bothers me. I’m thrilled that young people enjoy the things I did, but it bugs me that they understand them in a totally different way than we did at their ages. Sigh. I’m getting old.
We had a roast with popovers, and a cake and a balloon. The sad part was that none of my bells is tall enough to fit over the cake because it’s five inches tall. Who’d have thought that five inches was taller than most cakes? Not I. I used the 6″ pans which led to the layers rising to 3″ high, and even when I cut one flat, it was apparently too high. Eventually we put the tallest dome over it, crushing the sugar pearls into the lavender icing. Kat prefers boiled icing, and made it herself, carefully avoiding making over-tinting it.  I convinced her to put some sprinkles on too- rainbow butterflies.
I also got a flash drive to back up my computer. The “genius” at the Apple store, the Geeks at Big Buy, and the techies at Staples all agreed that a flash drive provides more stable back-up than a disc, and I found a 64 meg flash-drive for less than $50, so that’s a good thing, and we’re trying to set it up to automatically back me up on a regular cycle. I really don’t want to lose any more pictures.

The peas in the raised bed have started sprouting. I also planted the lily-of-the-valley corms, saffron crocus bulbs, and horse radish roots this week.  I don’t know how much more I’m going to plant this year. I’ll put salad stuff (lettuce, spinach, scallions, radishes) in the other raised beds, and I am hoping for climbing beans on the front of the woodshed.  The Lilacs are budding, and the bleeding hearts are bushing out. I’ve seen dandelions and my first violets today. Last week I saw coltsfoot flowering, but it’s gone now. Most of the early daffodils are gone, but later varieties are coming, and there are still some hyacinth “to sooth the soul”. I’ve enjoyed having enough to pick. DSC01137


Lyrion and Raven came over Thursday and cut down the dead tree. Sadly I didn’t think of calling to Willow to get the camera until Lyrion John and I were all pulling on the rope, so it was down by the time she got out. Now I need to drop the chainsaw at the shop to have it sharpened and oiled so we can chop it up. If we can I would also like to put some ventilated walls on the woodshed to make it look better. That was May Day. Mark came over for a May Day dinner. Willow found the maypole for the Walpergis Cake.
Friday I figured if I had to leave the computer at the store, I should get it in quick so it’d be back by Wednesday, and took it to get looked at. Sadly, they confirmed that the photos are gone with no hope of recovery. Also, annoyingly, the Milford Apple fixers are gone and I had to go all the way to the Pheasant Lane Mall to get it looked at. As I was leaving Mark got a package delivered- he’s only going to be here a few weeks, so he didn’t have them change his mail back to Nashua, so I tried to drop it off at his place, and missed him twice, mostly because my cell phone battery is too old to keep a charge and I couldn’t call him to let him know I was there. Sadly, I left the bag of mail in the car and we haven’t seen it since. I am afraid it may have been tossed out at the dump because Willow and John did a run over the weekend.
Sunday it was warm enough that Willow and Avi went out to the waterfall to hang out. We were supposed to go to Stonemarche Curia, but neither Kat nor I had anything to report, and I didn’t want to drive two hours each way and not be able to stay for the mini-event they were having afterwards, which would have been fun, but I don’t drive after dark any more. At least I got to put in time on the painting.
Monday we used the excuse of Cinquo de Mayo to have a lovely supper on Monday. We made chicken enchiladas and beef tacos. Willow has been craving guacamole recently and has decided that the fresh store made guacamole from Shaw’s is better than that made at Market Basket. I was surprised at the amount of pepper in one of them. I was also surprised at how much I liked the enchiladas. I think we’ll have those again!
I’ve been spending FAR more time than I’d like on the simple ‘housework’ of updating websites (my blogpost this week was inspired by my working on the painting), scheduling people for New Normal, and submitting proposals for the places we’re going. (By the way, this week I was talking to Lyrion about “muses”, but I messed up with the Skype technology, I think I had us “on hold” for the first 21 minutes, so if you want to listen to it, skip that part!)
I am finally making headway on the cover for Jane’s book. The hardest part is MagMeddraftthe part the audience never sees- the part where I have to get the composition right. For example, I had to move the hand with the spoon down to provide more room for the title on the front cover. I’ve also decided to move the knees (of the person who’s lying down holding the bowl with the round bread on his belly) down flat, and I’ve played with the composition of what’s out the window, and what that light might do coming it. I’m sure the reason most painters stand by their easels is so they can walk away from them easily to look at the painting from across the room. I have to wiggle out from the chair behind the table without hitting the wet paint with my hips, walk around to the other side of the sink to look. Kat showed me how to mock up a cover to see if there’s enough room for the words. It’s really amazing how much “empty” space one needs to leave on a cover.
Painting has allowed me to get through most of the first season of Person of Interest, although I’d have gotten through it faster if I’d actually watched it. Sadly, as I’m mostly listening, I keep missing plot points where someone reads an important message on his cell phone, which can precipitate a fire fight leaving me to wonder what started it. As the producers said in the commentary, they’re portraying a level of technology that is believable- and frankly I appreciate when they CAN’T do anything they want (something I’ve seen less of on NCIS or Bones). Also, while in theory their machine points out people who are about to have something awful happen to them, and they say in the intro each week “They see you all the time, wherever you are”, the contrarian in me objects every time I hear it. Sorry, I’m sure they can get at all the stuff I put on the internet, but out here in the boonies, we are not constantly covered by surveillance cameras.
I’m now reading Anglo-Saxon bools for my Pennsic workshops. I’ve just finished reading a book about Offa  (something about The Battle of Otford) on my Kindle. Also reading a book about Offa & the Mercian Wars and Penda, have a couple staged about Harold. I am going to have to I am more than moderately psyched about the new stuff I’m learning, the new books I’ve sent for: I’ve got a lovely facsimile of a 1875 book on Grave-Mounds and Their Contents: A Manual of Archaeology, As Exemplified in the Burials of the Celtic, the Romano-British, and the Anglo-Saxon Periods , AN ALTERNATIVE HISTORY OF BRITAIN: THE ANGLO-SAXON AGETHE ANGLO-SAXONS AT WAR , Warfare in Northern Europe Before the Romans: Evidence from Archaeology, The enigma of Hastings, Blood of the Isles, and I also indulged my fascination with the Greek Dark Ages with 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed (Turning Points in Ancient History). That’s an incredibly yummy batch of books and I’m so looking forward to reading them.
On the other hand, I’m cross because the bank turned off my card in case the large order could be fraud. But did they call me and ask? NO, they just shut it down! I guess they figure that if you suddenly can’t access your own money, you’ll call them and let them know. Feh! When they got back to me, the next day, they told me that they’d fix it, but while the normal books went through the kindle ones didn’t. WTH? Amazon is so freaking automated that I can’t contact them and tell them that the bank is supposed to be fixing it.
On the other hand, Liz tells me that she’s managed to push her way through the bureaucratic nightmare of the stupid undervaluation of her home by the bank. The bank assured her that the assessors were independent and didn’t give preference to the bank, and didn’t use the previous sale price, and that they didn’t make assumptions about whether it was foreclosed on, etc. etc. When the guy got back to her, he told her that yes, he’d used the price from the previous sale, and that he’d assumed it had been foreclosed on, and leaned toward protecting the bank, and just about everything the bank had said they don’t do. He also freaking asked her where the lake was. Excuse me?! If he came to her driveway he could see the lake  about 400 feet from her front door. My guess is, that he didn’t even look at it, although he may have driven by. If you plug her address into Google Maps (which we acknowledge is sometimes not accurate), it takes you about a mile and a half down Industry Road to a place with a few other houses. I think he used Google Maps or Mapquest, drove there, looked around, didn’t see anything much and used the sale price on file (which he admitted to, although not to not finding it). But if he had to ask where the lake was, he wasn’t in the right area. At all. The bank refused the loan based on his mis-quote, so Liz argued back. Anyway, he’s going to come and actually LOOK at the house. I am so proud of her for not being bullied by lazy jerks.
We also got sucked into a virtual tour of our old house on Court Street. It’s not surprising that most of the rooms have been repainted, but it’s still freaking gorgeous. They don’t show the bathrooms, although they do show the jacuzzi room that was added off the master bedroom. I wish I had the money to buy it, but it really should have a family in it. They seem to have done the second floor of the carriage house as some sort of big room- suitable for dancing or a chapel. Wow! Sadly, getting caught in stuff like that keeps me up WAY to late, and these days I feel it when I don’t get enough sleep!
When I want to rest my brain, I’ve been reading the second book in the Young Wizard series: Deep Wizardry. I rather wonder if I hadn’t been run through the cetacean extensive by Jon when he was going through his fascination with whales period if I’d have known how to picture the various whales they mention. I wonder if part of the reason the author wrote that book was because they’d just learned about the Hudson Canyon. Fascinating stuff. There’s something reassuring to know that there are another seven books in the series, and that she’s still writing them. They may not be brain candy, but maybe “brain nachos”, not good for you, but enjoyable and not bad for you unless you over indulge.

DSC01166    Drat! Willow reminded me that I was supposed to have given blood today, (we weren’t up to it last month) but I spaced it; this would have been my 60th pint! And we spaced making more acupuncture appointments for Kat, probably because she’s doing better, but I want her to recover totally. (Willow went to another dentist appointment today. I sure wish we’d managed better maintenance.)
I watched a movie called The Purge. It reminded me of that thing that goes around the internet that suggests that everyone has someone they know who’s only alive because it’s illegal to kill them. In this distopian near-future movie, they have instituted an annual “purge” where all crimes are allowed for 12 hours. You can kill, rape, steal, or whatever for 12 hours. The justification is that this allows our aggressive urges out and purges them. Other theories are that it’s a way to reduce the number of poor because they can’t afford defense systems. I was pleasantly surprised that they actually addressed some of the issues. Morning Glory
Final thought- I just read that Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart has died, and not.  Yesterday Oberon wrote that he was bringing her home to die, and I’m pleased she’ll get some time alone with her loved ones. Dying is something better done with intent and support. Whether she’s finished or not, good luck to her and bless Oberon and all those who love her as she goes through this. She’s been an inspiration to me for much of my life although I only got to talk to her once.
Ah well, must finish this and get back to work. or bed, whichever comes first.


Rather than a quote this week, I’m going to leave you with this quiz. I’ll send the answers next week for the ones you haven’t got, or you can google it. I got down to four left then Liz helped me with the last ones. I’d love to hear how you do.

An Exam to your WITS

This test does not measure your intelligence, your fluency with words and
certainly not your mathematical ability. It will, however, give you some
gauge of your mental flexibility and creativity. In the three years since
the test was developed, few people could solve more than half the 23
questions on the first try. Many, however, reported getting answers long
after the test had been set aside, particularly at unexpected moments when
their minds were relaxed; and some reported solving all the questions over
a period of several days.

INSTRUCTIONS:   Each question below contains the initial of words that
will make it correct. Find the missing words.

Example:   16 = O in a P.  Ounces in a Pound

1.   26 = L of the A
2.   1001 = A N
3.   7 = W of the W
4.   12 = S of the Z
5.   54 = C in a D (with the J)
6.   9 = P in the S S
7.   88 = P K
8.   13 = S on the A F
9.   32 = D F at which W F
10.  18 = H on a G C
11.  90 = D in a R A
12.  200 = D for P G in M
13.  8 = S on a S S
14.  3 = B M  ( S H T R )
15.  4 = Q in a G
16.  24 = H in a D
17.  1 = W on a U
18.  5 = D in a Z C
19.  57 = H V
20.  11 = P on a F T
21.  1000 = W that a P is W
22.  29 = D in F in a L Y
23.  64 = S on a C

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