As I’m writing late this week, it is Thursday, June 21st, which I think of as Litha, the Summer Solstice, first day of Summer. Tradition has it that it will be a wet summer if the cuckoo is heard today. On the other hand, most of Scandinavia celebrates the big Midsummer celebration over the weekend. (Astronomically, I believe this is still the “longest day of the year” and apparently the neo-pagans and druids descended 20,000 strong on Stonehenge for sunrise. (Shoot, that’s more people than attend Pennsic!) The Viking Festival (which Ælfwine and I always dreamed of going to one day) starts tomorrow. All the reconstructed Viking ships get together and there’s a big Viking Style camping event (in Norway I think). Even the Hobbit mentions Lithe as the midsummer holiday. I’m going to go out and find local Strawberries that usually come ripe about now.
For silly holidays, it’s Recess at Work Day
Tomorrow, Friday the 22 is Take Your Dog to Work Day (and Chocolate Eclair Day- I thought all Eclairs were chocolate- do they make some without, or do they put chocolate custard inside Chocolate ones?)
Saturday 23 is “Let it Go” Day and National Fink Day
Sunday 24 is Gay Pride Day, the culmination of G(BLT) Pride Week
Monday 25 is “Take MY children to Work Day” (which makes me wonder if there are other “take something to work” days). It’s also Strawberry Parfait Day, which I do intend to celebrate. As Donkey said in Shrek “Ain’t nobody don’t like parfaits” (that sounds like a triple negative- does it come out to be a negative again?)
Tuesday 26 is Boardwalk Day (go to the beach?) and Chocolate Pudding Day
The third week of June is Hug Holiday Week, the last week is National Camping Week- with Saturday as Camping Day.
Frankly- as we are coming into summer, that’s probably enough to celebrate.
As it’s late June, the roses are blooming- the little white wild ones, and the white rose bush at the front of the house. Miles- our favorite, we’d worried that it had been trimmed back to much, but he seems to be recovering. There are a lot of less impressive wild flowers blooming- daisies, clover, campion, yarrow, buttercups. In the garden the only thing blooming is a sole chive blossom (which we ate).
I think I mentioned last week that Alex’s car had died. Unlike so many of our previous boarders, he immediately found work, and leaves at 6:30 to be at Alene Candles at 7. I woke last week to the sound of his engine turning over but not catching, so I drove him to work (only one minute late that day). Thursday he called around and got Stoneys to work on it. Friday they came and picked it up (he’d heard that they didn’t charge for towing if they worked on the car, apparently that was not true) at 8:15, and it turned out it was the fuel pump. Willow picked him up that afternoon, and while she was out, they called to say it was fixed, so they turned around and picked it up (which is why we all love our cell phones so much and miss them when we don’t have them).
This means that he was able to go out over the weekend to his jousting practice. Apparently the man with the horses has hurt his ankle and can’t ride, so he’s thrilled to have Alex working his horse for him. Alex says the horse loves running at the targets and will actually take the lance in his mouth and adjust it if he doesn’t think you’re aiming properly. Since so much of what I’d heard about jousting was from it’s early years in the SCA and had to do with how horses don’t take naturally to this activity, it’s nice to know that when trained to it, they do enjoy it. Alex seems to as well.
On Saturday Alex made two gallons of Stormbrew which is now fermenting in the solar of the great hall. I think I should make some for GNEW.
Saturday, Mark came by to say goodbye. He’s headed off for Texas where his new engineering job is- I expect once he is working it he will have his usual “funny” stories about the foolish mistakes the designers or builders made which his job is to remedy. In the evening Brian and Darcy came by- at the Stonemarche event his tent stakes had mysteriously disappeared from his car, so we loaned him our smaller set; however his tent was still up when we wanted to leave, so we told him to bring them over later. He also wanted to tell me that he’s pushing for me to get a Laurel, that most of the people who he talks to just assume I have one and just don’t use it. I suppose that if it were true, that would be true. I just wonder why they think I don’t go up with the Laurels when they are called into court or go to Order meetings- I’m generally pretty compulsive about obligations. I suppose I don’t go to Crescent and Maunche meetings. Anyway, I was touched.
Sunday, Fathers Day, was pretty low key. I combat my resentment of Ælfwine not being here to celebrate by ignoring it- with the result that all I did was call my own father, as wonderful as he is. I downplay Mother’s Day in a similar way, all I want is pansies to plant. I understand that the “average household” spends about $100 combined for Mother’s Day, but mostly they send cards and give flowers, and some take Mom out to a restaurant. Considering how much eating at a restaurant or sent flowers cost, that’s probably the $100 right there without having to average in the occasional diamonds or large appliances that the stores push just before then. I don’t know anyone who gives that kind of gift. Oh, sure occasionally- Liz gave Mother ruby earrings when she’d just gotten her first good job, but I think that has more to do with the relationship and the job than the holiday.
Steve came up, and we had chicken kebabs on the grill (SUCH a releif after all that rain to be able to grill!) and Willow made her multi-bean salad (green beans, chick peas, pink beans, black beans, baby beets and corn- added at the last minute to keep it’s color in the beet juice- with vinegar). I’m rather fond of it.
Monday was the big day this week. I think I’ve mentioned that Kitty is moving to a new house closer to where she works. Apparently as lovely has her house on the cape is (and it is gorgeous), the 90 minute commute (in good weather) isn’t worth it. Her new house is smaller, so she’s getting rid of a lot of stuff. She gave me a spinning wheel, two captain’s chairs, and a propane “cauldron” for boiling large amounts of stuff- like lobsters or corn, as well as a bunch of art supplies. Liz and Cate were already down there helping, so all she wanted us to do was take the stuff and get out. So we did.
We’d decided over the weekend that we really need to work on our art more seriously. Art classes make you do things, use media, use subjects you ordinarily wouldn’t, and thus expand your skills. So we put a bunch of styles/subjects into a box and plan to draw one a week which we intend to do for practice. This week’s was “ocean scape”, so we took advantage of the extra hour to go to a place near Kitty’s and scetch. Star just ran up and down the beach, but Kat, Willow and I tried drawing the water. We need work. Maybe classes also give you instructions that help.
Kitty also insisted that we get ice cream at the little shop there- and she was right, it was lovely, although I think the portions were too big. If they make the portions such that it’s good practice to offer a bowl to put under the cone, the portion is obviously TOO big for a normal person to eat (and maybe they wouldn’t have to charge $2.75 each)! Still, it was good ice cream- Kat got crazy vanilla which is vanilla flavored, but streaked with pink and blue.
Then we headed up to Dan’s because it was Dan’s 31st birthday. On the way we stopped at Portland Pottery to pick up more “buff stoneware”. We got lost several times along the way- I can’t remember a day when we’ve missed more turns and had to backtrack as often. We got there 3 minutes before closing, and they were still wonderful. I like them. Of course, on one of those miss-turn-back-tracks we found a roadside stand selling watermelon, which Dan had wanted for his barbecue, so that was serendipitous.
We got to Dan’s a bit late. I want you to know that we remembered to print out directions, and used them but Mapquest missed a few things- like their changing the numbers on the exit we were supposed to get off at Kitty’s, and I don’t know what in Cambridge, except that it’s a darned good thing it hasn’t changed too much so I was able to recognize things like Mem Drive, and how to get to Harvard Square. Of course, the traffic patterns in the square itself much different since I was used to it. Still we made it to Dans- only a little late.
Dan’s hair is white just now- apparently has been for a month or more. I understand that he mentioned it on his Live Journal, and that’s supposed to let “everyone” know. Of course I only look at my friends pages about once a week, and don’t look back through everything, so I miss a lot of stuff- from hair changes to buying a new house. It looks good though.
Gradually a whole lot of people came by- mostly guys around 30, and couples, which makes sense since that’s what Dan is, but first I gave him a hard time “Don’t you know any girls?”. Eventually they showed up. As planned, there was assorted barbecue: hotdogs with cheese (a weakness of mine, although I generally burn myself on the molten cheese), burgers (boca burgers and dogs), chicken strips, and of course chips and drinks and raw veggies. Dan brought out his bocce set (Willow rocked!). Willow gave Dan the best present- a flying screaming monkey. I got figitty and sketched some of Dan’s friends- hope it didn’t scare them. It was good to see Dan so surrounded with friends.
Tuesday it was back to work on the book. It all runs together but some time this week I sorted the individual records which makes it much easier for me to find all the correspondence with any one person, and know who’s been sent questions, who’s sent them back and who’s been sent follow-up questions. I haven’t counted recently, but there are 1147 records, representing about 704 sent out, and about I think I’ve got more than 250 done. I’m getting really confidant about my view of what normal pagans are like (much like everyone else), although they do argue and disagree on almost any given term describing them (much like everyone else).
Yesterday, when I might have been writing the letter, I went over and chatted with Megan. She and Dennis have put a fountain in their garden (which made me thirsty sitting by it), which she says only took about three hours to put in. I know I really need to relax, and this was me making an effort. I liked it.
Willow has spent most of her time getting ready for PortCon this weekend. She’s sewed her cos-play shirt- which has come out really well (although she sees every place a seam went crooked or a snap wouldn’t attach). She also made some anime symbols from “shrinky-dink” material, and is printing out prints and cards and stickers, etc. We know that you have to go to these for a few years before you ever make money at them, which is discouraging, but it must be done.
At some point this week I made Jumbalaya for the first time with sausage that said “good for Jumbalaya” on the package. I was surprised to discover that all it was was rice with saute’d vegetables and some sort of meat- it had always sounded so much more exotic. While talking to Kerensa “baked eggs” came up, and neither of us had had them in decades, so I tried them. I tried his way- with sausage crumbled over the top, but I think I’d really prefer Grandmother’s way with bacon. I think the sausage way is like “scotch eggs” in a dish. I think the thing I liked best was that putting buttered bread on the bottom actually kept it from sticking.
I’m still reading about Magician, Witch and the Law, also reading a few other books on medieval magick to get ready for my workshop at GNEW. I read a book that was just a bibliography of books on magick, paganism, and the occult. Luckily I didn’t find too many that I feel I “must have”.
Aside from old TV shows (Kat’s going through old Simpson’s episodes recently) from Netflix, we got Aquamarine, On a Clear Day, and Mysterious Island. Aquamarine is a sweet kids movie about a mermaid who has to prove to her father that there’s such a thing as love. She falls in with a couple of pre-teen girls who try to use what they’ve learned from teen magazines about dating and romance to help her, but eventually, although the romance she’s aiming at doesn’t have time to get real, it’s the girls love for each other as friends that convinces the mermaids father. It was sweet- not worth buying but sweet. On a Clear Day is a mature movie, about relationships. Each of the many characters is trying to find his or her own value- the primary character is a middle aged man who gets laid off as his engineering position is moved overseas, and he decides to swim the English channel. The other characters each have their own personal challenges to overcome, and most of them do- as watching someone try something totally daft inspires them. I’d recommend this, but it’s not a fun adventure. Mysterious Island is a remake of the Captain Nemo story with Patrick Stewart and current level of special effects. Fun, but nothing special. Meanwhile in the evenings Alex is watching movie “classics” from our collection like The Magnificent 7, and MASH. It’s nice to see them being appreciated.
It seems like a lot of my “life” is happening over the internet- I work on the book, I pursue the bounced check from April (mostly recently I’ve been reminding people not to get so nasty about mistakes, just fix them), Kami and Michael have sent stories of their adventures in Spain, Joanna told me about about a wretched day in the hospital emergency room with the possibility that she had cancer hanging over her head, although eventually tests showed that there is no known reason for her abdominal pain- but she hasn’t got any tumors they can scan, Brynhild wrote to see if it was OK if they named their baby after Ælfwine- (this will only be decided once the boy’s out and able to give his reaction as well- a plan of which I highly approve), but she wanted to make sure it was OK with me first. I really do like hearing from people, but I rather wish I had more interesting things- well, GOOD interesting things, of my own to report. I suppose writing a book is not unlike being pregnant- things are happening slowly and steadily, but not where they can be seen, and the daily or even weekly progress isn’t impressive. Ah well- once the baby/book is out it can be exclaimed over, and then it will take on a life of it’s own.
`Til next week