6-11-2014 German Chocolate Cake Day

Hi Liz,                                 June 11th, 2014
This week’s new blossoms are the Iris, they are absolutely gorgeous. This year we seem to have some yellow ones. The phlox seem to be passing, and the lilacs are gone, but some of the pansies are blooming beautifully! Our comfrey plant is blooming, and I will have to start trying to divide it, because comfrey is so useful, I should have been harvesting the leaves before it bloomed. Oh, correct that, the lilac Willow put in by the road is blooming. It’s a Miss Kim, VERY pale, nearly white, and very fragrant. Apparently it’s a dwarf variety and will stay small.
DSC01287   I got to get another chance to enjoy lilacs because up there in Lyndon, VT, it’s about two weeks behind us. I was also confused by white flowers blooming along the highway that turned out to be Queen Anne’s Lace. It seems very early for it. And I got to discover peonies up there- one of the speakers had a bouquet. My goodness isn’t the scent magnificent?! Now can I find a place for a bush around here?
Willow got some green twine and knotted an extension for the lattice that we hope will let the “climbing rose” to climb up to her window. It’s taller than the support we have for it, but may not be able to climb more than ten feet- we’ll see. Oh, and the cats keep coming in with burdock in their fur. Fun (not).
We’re also occasionally eating our own lettuce from the garden, and the kids got the first local strawberries from a farmstand. As Willow said, when you’ve had local, the ones in the supermarket just don’t taste worth buying!

I really haven’t got a lot to talk about this week. I’m not sure how much you want to hear about the Dowsers Convention, and I left at six am Thursday and got Monday afternoon. Since then I’ve mostly been playing catch-up on my email and websites since then. (There’s some more on my blog about it.) I’ve gone to the dentist, and we’ve gotten Wally to see if he can make us up some duplicates of the tables Ælfwine made that are now 20 years old- or more, it occurs to me.
The year I was teaching on Wednesday I took a computer up with me and did the show from there, but this year I wasn’t, although I was going to a Thursday workshop that started at nine a.m., so I stayed home, wrote the letter, did the show (the show, Rob Nolan on Spiritual Ecology, was one of the better topics I’ve done!) and got everything in the van, so I got up at five to be out by six. All the kids managed to get up to hug me goodbye (flattering). Even though there was construction for the last five miles, I still managed to get in by nine, and was very relieved to see Sandee Mac (who was teaching the workshop I had signed up for) at the registration desk when I got in, because it meant that she hadn’t headed for class yet, and I wasn’t late. I did get my badge and key and go straight to the class, using the lunch break to move my stuff to the dorm room. Last year I was on the fourth floor, so being “only” on the third was wonderful. I also didn’t get a room-mate this year, which is convenient in some ways, but I enjoyed meeting someone new last year.
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The Lyndon College campus is lovely, if somewhat spread out. You could pretty much get from one end to the other inside (very convenient in winter, I expect), but I kept thinking DSC01281that the complex was like the Labyrinth at Knossos- buildings attached to each other and on all different levels… one of the rooms most classes were in was “400”, although it seemed like it was on the second floor. (My goodness, the view from that room is fantastic!)
DSC01280There’s an theater for the bigger events, and an auditorium at the far end for other big ones, as well as class rooms. This year I noticed a plaque explaining that the Twilight Theatre is named after Alexander Twilight, the first African-American college graduate- 1823.  That’s where they have the key note speeches and the previews of coming attractions. I really like that idea. Each of the speakers is given 60 seconds to let people know what their workshop is going to about (if they go long, a volunteer who’s timing it holds up a sign that says “Applaud loudly” to let them know). I think that’s a great idea.     One of our CTCW speakers, Ellen Evert Hopman, was teaching up there this year, and she urged me to have opening and closing ceremonies, as they do. I’m coming to think she’s right, it may  help the feeling of community.
I was pleased that they switched over to classrooms in another building because they had normal chairs instead of the ones with the built in desktops. I don’t fit comfortably in those anymore. Also while I took notes in some of the classes, in others I had brought hand-work, the couching for the gold linen under-gown I’ve been trying to get to for the last year, and that works better in my lap. I got 9 motif’s finished.
DSC01285   As usual, the food in the cafeteria was really good, and different chapters had refreshments (crudities, cheese, fruit, etc.) at ten. I wondered why everyone was so hungry, but as someone said, we were burning a lot of energy. As in previous years, I have come home in slightly better shape from all the walking, and hope to keep it up. There were actually two labyrinths up there, one with runes, and a more standard one out front.
The all day class I went to on Thursday was a new healing system by Sandee Mac, who’s the president of the ASD. You know me, with my total lack of respect for titles, I’ve been talking to her, and the other organizers, since the first. Who else would you go to with questions? On the other hand, me and names, it’s especially crazy in that group where there are WAY too many Sandy/Sandi/Sandees. I find it hard not to get involved, but have told myself not to until I’ve managed to pass along more of the duties on CTCW. Much of the healing in dowsing circles is called “radiesthesia”. Basically it comes from their understanding that dowsing is simply a way to perceive energy patterns, and then once you can see them, you’re able to manipulate them. Most of them, I think, actually feel that they aren’t manipulating them so much as asking disembodied beings angels, guides, and other powers, to do it for them. “For the highest good” is generally tacked on to most of these requests, in water-crystal-emotionsacknowledgement that it’s REALLY hard to know what the spreading rings of effect are when you change something. Examples of this would be the experiments Masaru Emoto did with water crystals, showing that the water crystalized differently when exposed to different emotions or suggestions, or experiments on plants showing how they are effected by emotions. You already know that I use lots of different healing systems (anything that works), from Reiki to RunValdr to tapping, and the one I took Thursday was on removing embedded objects in the energy field. I am as guilty as anyone of feeling a bit nervous and skeptical about this “crazy talk”, but like I said. If it works, I’ll use it!
The other classes I went to were Roxanne Louise: Dousing Goals and Habits- Aligning with the Soul’s Purpose, Susan Blackthorn: Intro to Reflexology, Glenn Cratty: Building Pendulums for Radiesthesia, and Dowsing Protocols in Psychotherapy, Pauline Pearson: Lighten Up!, Carol Gader: Why are some days so Strange (about attached entities), Graham Gardner (president of the British Society of Dowsers): Grids, Geomancy, and Gnosis, David Franklin Farkas: Everything you know about Ghosts is Dead Wrong (turns out it wasn’t), and Paper Dowsing Techniques for Clearing,  Barbara Allys Brant: Dowsing the Spiritual Gifts of the Periodic Table of Elements, Caroline Kelly: Orgone Energy to Heal ourselves, and Maureen Short: Living from the Heart.
As they run six at a time, I missed a few I’d have loved to have gone to- Wisdom of the Rock People, Earth Acupuncture (yes, adjusting unbalanced energy of physical places), Why Traditonal Diet plans don’t work, Harmonize the Body with Sound, Connecting to Spirit through Color, Ivan McBeth’s Dance of Life, Potter’s workshop on Past Lives affecting your abilities, and a few others- I’ll have to look for the recordings. I know they recorded, but they didn’t have the table dominating the central lobby with the Back Country Recording company as in previous years; perhaps, like us, they’ve opted to record for themselves, more cheaply.
What WAS there was the table with the “Water for Humanity” Raffle. I went in planning to give them $20, and did, just because I think they are such a great cause. These guys go out to the third world and dowse and build wells for them, as many as they can. As I understand it, the funds raised just go for the parts needed for construction. The people who do it pay for their own expenses out of pocket (the villagers also contribute labor, which makes sense to keep costs low and make sure they understand how to maintain the technology). This year I hear they have started a offshoot organization Water for America to help those affected by the drought. The first year I didn’t realize they had a new raffle every day. This year I knew to do spread it across the days. I actually got what I most wanted- they had a cute teapot shaped like an Elephant. DSC01286(Willow said “You brought home a White Elephant!”, but it’s not, it’s grey.) It seems they actually had three, and I got the one available on the last day. My tea is in it as I write!
I suppose I was most impressed with Glenn Cratty, a psychotherapist who’s started using dowsing in his conventional practice, and David Farkas, who is probably the most “low drama”  shaman I’ve ever met. He reminds me of me, he just “does” the stuff, and sees no need to dress it up. I didn’t get to go to Devin and /Sandy Isgro’s workshop on runes, although I got to chat with Devin a bit. I didn’t get to talk to Kathryn Klvana this year, but I do like  (she ran a battery test- got juice? where people dowsed to see if batteries had charge or not), Carol Gader and her husband are moving down to Florida, but I’m hoping to get her on the New Normal before she goes, she’s doing fun things with Crystal Grids, Trent Millet is too busy even to come on the show, but I got a chance to see some of the devices he’d worked up.

While I love that these folks are learning and spreading this wonderful stuff, I am kind of bothered by the way they seem to use their pendulums ALL the time. EVERY little thing seems to be an excuse to check things with the pendulum. As with so many tools, as soon as you’ve got it, you want to use it. I’ve seen a lot of them using it to find out what percentage of something is, so they can quantify what they’re doing. I’ve generally not found a need to quantify this sort of work, although I know it’s part of the process for some techniques. Measuring things is supposed to make things more “scientific”. On the other hand, since CTCW also runs six classes at once, leaving you trying to pick between several good things, I’m seriously considering putting a dowsing dial on the back of the program, because that seems a good use for dowsing.
It is possibly worth mentioning that while packing I decided that “they have plenty of pendulums available up there” and didn’t pack one, then when I got there I felt “I’ve got about 15 pendulums at home” and didn’t want to buy one (although I did eventually get one of the kind that the fellow used on himself to cure his pancreatic cancer). So I used the traditional “needle on a thread” whenever a class required me to use a pendulum.

Saturday night there was a meeting of the membership of ASD, and we talked about things like how to get more people to become members, whether to move the con to a more central location (or at least closer to an airport), and how to raise more money for things like the building, which is in dire need of repairs. (Apparently there was a problem this winter with a broken main, and the locals were very amused that the dowsers had to bring in their own water.) On Sunday there was a meeting of the Vision committee during lunch I went to. Admittedly, I understand the problem. Most of the people there seem to be retirees, about my age, so they kind of desperately need to attract younger people, but if they want to do that, they’re going to have to not make things more expensive. I also think they/we are going to have to do more social media- you tube, interesting stuff on fb, etc.

While I was gone, the kids were productive. They took the bins up to the attic, went to the dump, cooked, did laundry, and generally showed that they didn’t really need me (although they missed my cooking. Willow did come up with tacos with no cumin (a common spice in Mexican cooking) which meant that Kat actually liked them. Guess we’ve got a new family recipe, I’m eager to see what that tastes like myself.
As I said, Willow’s started making her Pennsic garb. She’s cut out a saxon coat in pink wool, and started couching interlace patterns on it in green (when she’s done she’ll be adding the green fur I picked up last year. Whether she’ll need the wool coat at Pennsic is open to debate. It used to get really cold for at least a few nights at Pennsic, but I don’t remember that happening lately.
I’ve lain aside the fabric for a couple of new outfits for myself, both gowns with “coats”, and a gauze under gown with sleeves gathered into cuffs. I should tablet weave them myself but will probably use trim, or buy some made by someone else at GNEW, because I don’t think I have the time. I really have to be very careful to always have everything authentic since I’m the one people look to for how to do Anglo-Saxon stuff, and they might copy the wrong thing. I hope I have time to make at least one pair of shoes before Pennsic. I also will admit that fitting garments reminds me of how big I really am, and I don’t like thinking about it, so that reduces the joy in making garb.
I really need to practice tablet weaving. Sooner or later I’ll convince the Order of the Laurel that I’m good enough and when that happens I’ll have to make myself a filet with an approximation of laurel wreaths on it. That’s the only think I can think of that’s appropriate for seventh century Anglo-Saxons, and while the SCA is quite comfortable with throwing generic “medieval” regalia on everyone no matter what their persona is, I am not. Honour used to paint on a “tattoo” of a laurel wreath for her Pictish persona, Onna, (when she’s in the Alizaunde persona she can wear a medallion just fine). The tattoo idea is what I call good Creative Anachronism! So since the only thing we know that Anglo-Saxon ladies wore on their heads were filets that sometimes had gold threads either woven in or embroidered on, that’s my option. I will probably first take that cuff I started for Ælfwine back in AS 10, with the Arnegunda gold thread embroidery, and stopped in frustration when I discovered that I was doing it on velvet and they didn’t HAVE velvet, and turn it into a “gold thread” filet. Eventually I think I’ll make one with some of the real gold thread I got from Kirsten, and silk thread, but I’ll need to get a LOT better at card weaving before I invest that!

We’re continuing our efforts to get “stuff” out of the house. This includes a major effort to empty the freezer. We’re alternating nights between the older and newer stuff- last night we had what should have been a beautiful piece of salmon, but it had gotten freezer burned. I am reminded that we need to make sure we eat the pork we got from Shema while it’s still good.
Last night I dreamed something about singing, and woke wondering if I did, actually, know the words to over 1000 songs. I’m pretty sure I do, actually, I think I probably know more than that, but now I’m trying to jot the names down as I think of them, and check to see if I really do remember ALL the words. If I know all but one line, that doesn’t count as knowing it (although if I look it up and fix that, I can add it later). I think I need to know the verses in order too, sometimes as with ballads it makes a difference. So I’m jotting them down on slips of paper and hanging them on a clip ring. Rather than having a thousand separate slips of paper, I’m starting with the musical comedies that form a significant part of my CD collection, so I can get about 10 songs on one card. I’m giving myself a pass if I know the version of a song that was in a movie, rather than the pop version that was on the radio. 40 musicals gives me a good start on 400-500 songs. I have to smile at my objection above to the dowsers quantifying things when I’m doing this!
Now that the bins are out of the living room I was able to get back to the wii and check my weight (there’s no other working scale in the house), to discover that despite sticking to the low carb diet that worked last fall, I’ve lost nothing in the three weeks since we brought the bins down from the attic. Feh, screw that then. In one of the workshops, I stood as a sample for how to lose weight by changing the energy. Let’s see how magic (and salads) works!

We’ve started scheduling who’s going to be at the camps when this summer up at Clearwater. Looks like it’ll be us for the 4th of July, although Kitty will be there as soon as her school term stops. I’m not sure but I think the local schools are still in. I cannot understand how when I was a kid we got out the first week in June, wen’t back after labor day and still had two week vacations. I suppose it has a lot to do with so many mothers working outside the home, and finding it hard to get child care for school vacations. I have to say I’m really looking forward to being at the lake again, however briefly. I really wish we’d spent more time up there when the kids were younger.

I have read almost nothing this week as I read nothing up at the con, and have hardly had time since I got back. Kat and I did watch The Conjuring, a movie “based on” one of the cases of Ed and Lorraine Warren (who I’m familiar with from my readings), and think it had better than average information in it, although it was typically dressed up for the medium. Director James Wan understood how building suspense was MUCH scarier than lots of “scare moments”, and Kat an I agreed that you don’t watch scary movies just before bed!
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Ah well, barring a barrage of proposals from dowsers for CTCW, time to get back to finishing Jane’s book cover!
Tchipakkan/Virginia

“The truth which makes me free is for the most part the truth which men prefer not to hear.”  Herbert Agar

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