6/15/2012 Weed your garden day

IThe sun is shining, but the ground is wet, it’s been raining off and on all week. The white roses are blooming, and so are the pansies, but mostly we have wild flowers. The wild multiflora rose bushes look a little odd, because of the rain, most of the blossoms have been knocked off and the clusters that remain are all under overhanging branches. There’s campion, and buttercups, fleabane, red clover and fennel. The clover is burgeoning around the front steps, but I hesitate to cut it back because there are lots of bees in it, and I want to support them. I’m hesitant to harvest them because of the proximity to car fumes, but hate to go into the field and get wet to collect it there.  The climbing rose looks like it will open next week, and the hollyhock are growing huge, but not blooming yet. The morning glories may need to be replanted. While I was driving I saw lots of daisies, but I haven’t got any locally. I also note that the local corn has started to come up, something I find exciting, although I haven’t caught anyone doing haying; I love when I see that happening. It’s so real.

Raven’s contacting the Kenyan’s to see when they can take the goats. We are getting out of livestock and that makes me sad. I try to accept that what is good for one part of my life may not be an option in a different part, and I should just enjoy what I am doing now, but I do like the goats and rabbits and chickens, and garden, and hope I can re-encorporate them into my life again. If I take after my father’s side, I may have another 30 years to fill, so it’s possible.

Preparation and heading off to the cons, and recovery, has taken up most of this week. Kat and Willow left at 10 last Thursday for AnimeNext. The shared a room in an extended stay hotel with two of their friends, Joanie and Raye (Zodi-ack! Studios). When they got back they told me they’d had a good time, but only because of their friends. Apparently AnimeNext, while it was big, was NOT well run. They deal with the crowds by staying in Artists Alley. Willow says she exhausted herself trying to greet everyone who went by to get them to look at their table (and failed). Sadly the organizers didn’t turn on the air conditioning until the artists demanded it, and it got VERY hot- which reduced the appeal of fuzzy blankets. She also commented on how “stupid” this batch of people seemed to be. For such a big event she brings dozens of designs, so she puts up photos of them because she can’t display them all unfolded, and people apparently kept asking what she was selling, and if she had pictures of the blankets. As you can see from the picture, they are right there.
Kat sells art from her portfolio, and realized that it was time to refresh it, so that’s what she’s been working on since they got back (she says she has 20 half-finished pieces on her computer). Willow says that Friday, most of the sales were her art, and that people love Kat’s original stuff. Also, apparently there was nothing between “artist alley” and the area where the con had the performances but a curtain. Perhaps the idea was that this would allow the artists to get a chance to hear the entertainment. What it did was make them have to yell to be heard over the noise. You may well imagine how difficult that was for Kat who is always soft spoken.
They didn’t stay in the con hotel but an extended stay hotel nearby  (which was good, because the main hotel had a fire, and had to be evacuated at 4 am one night), it had a kitchen, so they could eat in. Sadly, they’d taken frozen pizza, but the kitchen only had a full size dishwasher, but microwave, no oven; luckily, it had a freezer, so they were able to bring it home undamaged. They did enjoy their friends. Willow’s new Cosplay was “Alexander the Great girl type” which consisted of a specific T shirt, and a red cape (and of course, playing the character, at which she excels).
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I got her to write a bit for me:
Long drive was long, badly organized con was badly organized, and I felt really lonely because the only people I really knew well I was rooming with. Oh and one other vendor, but shit kept happening so we didn’t get to hang out and anyway, I’m not much of a hanger-outer. Some people recognized me from Deviant Art, which was awesome.
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The most interesting story from the con I’ve heard is that when the dealers room was closed (before the con ended, to give them a chance to pack up), the lights were turned off- probably to “let the customers know that selling was over”. The problem was that the hall was a concrete block- almost no windows. You may imagine how well this went over with the artists who were supposed to be packing up. A cry of complaint arose from all the sea of voices over which Willow was able to make herself heard with her statement: “THIS is NOT acceptable!” The picture shows what it looked like after they’d opened the curtains as much as they could. It took them over an hour to get the lights turned back on, and most of them had been packing by the lights in their cell phones. Kat and Willow used our technique of singing to keep from snapping at everyone during the stress of set-up and break-down. Kat tells me they sang  “There’s a light”  presumably from Rocky Horror and “I will follow you into the dark”. and “Exit light” from Sandman.
As their hotel wasn’t as expensive, they stayed Sunday night, enabling them to relax a bit, and eight hour (?) drive back on Monday morning. They had arranged a little competition, each of them made a mix CD, and the one voted the best got an ice-cream (although they forgot), but afterward, they traded the CDs.
I was busy making the quilt for the Dowsers I mentioned last week. Putting it together was not that hard- I did have to hand piece the stars between the triangles, because the small variations from piece to piece meant that they weren’t perfectly symmetrical. I spent all last Thursday writing down the affirmations on the strips between the triangles. Thank goodness I don’t find calligraphy hard, and a sharpie made a convenient medium to do the lettering. <Mail Attachment.jpeg>It was not really a big deal to toss even a 55″x75″ quilt around while I was piecing and lettering, but after I’d pinned it to the batting and backing it got more difficult. Actually, I think I spent more time trying to figure out how to put the pieces of cloth together to back it than I did sewing it together. I had enough fabric, but it wasn’t enough without piecing, and I wanted it to look its best. This is the first one I’d done alone, although I did finish Lisa’s quilt for her father after she died with Honour’s help and Ælfwine made me a quilting frame that time. I was trying to remember how we’d done it. Eventually I checked the internet, and it got so late that I just gave up and did it without worrying about “best” anymore. (This is me pinning it together. John helped me smooth it out. In the official techniques, they tell you to leave lots around the edges to get taken up by the quilting- I had to cut most of that off when I was done.
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I also spent WAY too much time trying to figure out how to quilt it together. One usually likes to have some quilting every span or so, so the filler doesn’t settle badly. But when I got to that stage I realized that I didn’t have all the different colors of thread to go with the triangular panels, so I simply ran around the outsides of the long word strips, which were white, with the white thread. I did almost run out of thread on the spool I was using (I had to re-fill the bobbin a half dozen times), but after John found me another, I did make it on the original spool. The final effect on the back was to create the triangle and star pattern in quilting on the white back, and although I made a couple of mistakes that I opted not to pick out and re-do, it looked pretty good. This is what it looked like from my point of view:
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I have to admit that wrestling the whole quilt through the neck of the sewing machine around and around, got hard after awhile. My right shoulder was really sore for a day, and I can still feel it.
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I was supposed to leave first thing on Friday, but I didn’t get out until four, so I missed the workshops on the first day. Luckily, as nearly the summer solstice, so I didn’t have to drive after dark, but NEXT year I’m going Thursday night, so I can be there for all the Friday classes. I also enjoyed making the quilt enough that I want to make another for next year. I had that good a time! I also enjoyed making the quilt enough that I want to make another for next year. The people at water for humanity were thrilled with the quilt, and might have put it in the silent auction, but mostly they were doing a “cup”       raffle, and while they were trying to figure out how to hang it up, several people left strips of tickets to put it into the quilt cup. Of curiosity, I went by and we counted the tickets just before the drawing, and there were over 120 in it, so that’s that many dollars for WFH. I like that charity, dowsers raise money, then go over to third world areas dowse for wells and install them where people need them. Less than 1% of the money they raise goes for expenses, because they donating the traveling and dowsing themselves. Because of Water for Humanity women who had have to walk 10 miles each way for water, now can spend that energy on other things. Can you imagine spending six hours a day to have water? Sometimes we forget how blessed we are.
Sadly the only way they could figure out how to hang it, was to tape it to the window behind them with adhesive tape. The two times I came by and thought to take a picture of it displayed, it suddenly fell down, and they didn’t get it up before I ran off to the next workshop. So I don’t have a really good picture up. The best thing is that several people did remember the speech that inspired me to make it, and they really liked it.
The dowsers con runs 6 workshops at the same time as we do at CTCW, so it can be frustrating when there are several things at once you’d like to attend. On the other hand, it being a dowsers con, they had a fascinating solution. Each page with the time chart had a dowsing half circle so people could use their pendulums to dowse which room to which to go. I thought that was clever.
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It will not surprise you to hear that I went to as many workshops on healing as I could, and had a great time. This did result in my attending several classes with the same speakers as I saw last year, but if they were good, all I lost was the chance to see more variety. The biggest problem was that they start, entirely reasonably, at 8:30. It’s held at Lyndonville College in upstate Vermont. I guess there are no students there in June, so we can stay in the dorm rooms for $23 a night, and eat at the cafeteria for something like $5 per breakfast or lunch, and $12 for dinner. The food was good and healthy, although they did run out of the fish before I got there the day they had that, and they seem to usually have an ice cream cooler and ran out this year. I continued my no wheat diet, but sadly, I have not seen a result from that either. One of the techniques I learned is supposed to remove emotional blocks, and I chose to go for the ones associated with my gaining weight. Maybe that will help. Sooner or later something must. It was mostly during meals that I got to talk to people, and I am beginning to recognize some of the people from last year. As then, I passed out a lot of cards for CTCW, and hope that will generate interest. It’s amazing, while I was talking to my companions at meals, sometimes they seemed like the most educated, openminded, grounded, intelligent people I’d ever met. And sometimes I’d listen to them talk about something outside MY comfort zone like “the Illuminati” or “aliens”, and worry that I’d fallen in with a bunch of flakes. I expect I may have struck some of them the same way.
As I discovered last year, while lots of the dowsers are mostly interested in finding underground water, once your mind is opened to the concept of detecting energy, they become open to all sorts of other studies, like dowsing for energy in your body. They do dowse with the Y shaped sticks, and L rods, and bobbers, and no tools at all (my favorite). They study chakras, auras, ley lines, and Feng shui (how energy moves in your house, ghosts (human energy without bodies), energy healing (how energy affects the body), and all sorts of other things. Two workshops in the morning, two in the afternoon. Between them you could go into the gym where the vendors tables were set up, or down the hall they had the spa/healing center where you could get massage or psychic readings or various healing techniques. After dinner at 7 they had a programs. Friday night was the members meeting, Saturday and Sunday they had featured speakers. At 10 they had a social gathering with refreshments. Being a somewhat older crowd, there were crudites, sandwich meats and cheese as well as crackers and baked goods. This meant I usually didn’t get back to my room until past 11, and since breakfast was at 7, I was NOT getting enough sleep.
I’d planned to head down Sunday after dinner, but discovered that the speaker Sunday night was the author of several books I liked, so I paid for another night in the dorm, and got to stay to listen to her. In the morning, I headed off after breakfast, wondering if perhaps the four hours it had taken me to get up on Friday was extended because of the (brilliant) thunder storm I drove through in the Notch. In theory it was supposed to take just under three hours. I know I lost some time because Willow’s car wasn’t thrilled with going the speed limit. I suppose it’s because it was uphill most of the way, but it didn’t want to do more than 60. On the way back 65 seemed fine, but then, it was downhill. On the other hand,       somewhere around Plymoth St. College I pulled off for gas and stalled at the bottom of the off ramp. (Mostly I’d gotten the hang of driving the standard.) Sadly, it wouldn’t start again- seemed like the battery. Even the flashers cut out after a few minutes. I called AAA, and some locals helped push me out of the traffic to the gas station I’d been heading for across the road. AAA showed up, and jumping didn’t work, so he took the car the half mile to a garage. The mechanic diagnosed it as a problem with the connections on the battery- could be the       battery, but the only one available locally was $130 with a 7 year warrantee. I’m not sure the Kia is going to last that long, and he was willing to say that the charge he’d given it would get me home (but I’d probably need a new battery before winter). Apparently I ran into the same problem Willow had once- it doesn’t like to start when the lights are on. It had been overcast when I set out, although it got sunny, and I forgot to turn them off. Oops. It didn’t cost too much money, and only a couple of hours. On the other hand, I have no idea how long the drive took.
I got home around 4, the girls got home around 6, and we ate the pizza, then repaired to our individual computers to try to catch up on missed messages.
Tuesday was spent in a post-con fugue, unpacking, washing, and getting back into what we laughingly refer to as normal around here. I had to find a guest for this week’s New Normal, and get started on the cover painting with wolves (that unfortunately required digging out my artists table, which had become buried both on top and below with projects that had been set aside when we clear the table for dinner.
I was very lucky, Lyrion was available, and we had a wonderful discussion of death- the before during and after parts. She’s taught seminars on it before- she and Raven worked up a plan for a whole weekend, The Worm Clan, at Twilight Covening, although not enough people signed up for it. It was a great show. Robert, the producer, has told me I could go to weekly (which would be easier to organize) if I’m good with moving from 7 to 8, instead of 8 to 9. I am tempted.
I think I’m slowing down on the Death books a bit, although I still find the subject engrossing. I picked up a copy of Ric Riordan’s next series on the Heros of Olympus: the Lost Hero. It’s set in the same world, but different characters than Percy Jackson (hero of the first 7 books). The third one in the second series is coming out in the fall. It’s hard to wait for the next. I suppose I have to distract myself waiting for the next Hunger Games, the next Harry Dresden, etc. While I love non-fiction, there’s something wonderful about a story that just takes you away to another world with appealing characters.
While I was sewing the quilt I watched the series Kenneth Clark’s Civilization. The extras mentioned that it was a project the BBC undertook to show that color didn’t have to be garish. Remembering Lost in Space and some of the other early color shows, I can understand why they wanted to make that point. There were bits in it where I was introduced to things I’d never considered or heard of before, and others where simple historical facts he got wrong- because of the half century of archeology and history study that’s happened since. I really found some of his chauvinism hard to take, and had to remind myself that this was a product of the 60s, and he’d probably do it differently now. Monday and Tuesday I watched Eulogy– another family brought together by a funeral comedy, and Project Nim, the story of the first chimp they taught to sign. Eulogy was fun, and well done. Nim was heartbreaking. It’s hard to believe that they’d sell someone (even an animal) with whom they’d spoken (even in the context of a scientific experiment), to a lab for testing medications. But their experiment ran out of funding, so they stopped it, and Nim was seen as a commodity. I also watched a movie that I have to give very mixed reviews: Vanishing on 7th Street. It was simultaneously both a boring movie with neither well developed plot nor characters, and one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen. The horror story was that people in an urban environment were disappearing, leaving their empty clothes behind. This happened if they got caught in the dark, and the dark was sort of attacking them. Power was drained out of batteries, cars and other things that could keep lights going, the sun was rising later and setting earlier every day to leave less natural light. The dark sometimes moved in a black mist or shadow, that sometimes had human shapes in it, and sometimes voices of people you know called out of the dark, but it was only a trick. It was truly scary, but at the same time, not a good movie. Amazing. I also watched Young Goethe in Love– a movie I hadn’t been able to watch while working on the quilt as I don’t have enough German yet to follow it without the subtitles. It was charming, and the costuming and sets were great. I probably enjoyed it more having seen Clark’s discussion of Goethe in Civilization.
I’m sorry I haven’t got a whole lot interesting to say this week. I still feel tired, as though I haven’t recovered from last weekend. I love the idea of working a 40 hour week, but tomorrow we head to the Stonemarche Summer Solstice event. I’d hoped to get the cover done by the end of the week. I don’t think that’s happening, but I’m going to see how far I can get.
Until next week,
Civilization… wrecks the planet from seafloor to stratosphere.
Richard Bach