6-24-2015 Lightning Safety Awareness Week

This weekend we went up to the Palio, a Stonemarche event. There are daisies blooming along the road everywhere and it’s gorgeous. (There is also a lot more road kill this week, so I suppose this may be either breeding season, or the time when mothers kick out the young from the nest/burrow, and they don’t have the brains to know about cars.) Our iris are past, and the yellow day lilies starting to bloom. I really prefer the wild orange lilies, but that’s not what we’ve got. The lettuce is not as healthy looking in the garden as it looked in the six packs, that’s sad. I suspect I should be going out daily and picking off slugs. The local strawberries are still available and we are getting some with almost every gallon of milk- why not while they’re so good?DSC02008

It was a bit of a scrabble getting out on Friday, we decided to take two cars, which allowed Willow and Kat to swing by the barony storage in Manchester to pick up the Golden Key  stuff, and start setting it up. When I got there, with the tables and goods they set up the Cabochons stuff in the Merchant’s Hall.
We decided to give up some of our living room curtains that have faded for the Gold Key to use to make a changing area- and a gold key banner. Willow got some gold paint and put a gold key on one. We grabbed the space next to it for Cabochons so the girls could support each other. The water on site is drinkable, but was causing a bit of tummy trouble, so they switched to bought water- thank goodness we’d brought some.
The girls came down and  helped unload the tentDSC02011
and all our stuff. When the tent was up, they went back up to the hall to man their stations and I put everything into the tent. Without the goods, the tent was huge! I could put the beds around the edge, the chairs and eating table in the middle, and the cooking area in a back corner. Most elegant! I do think that the huge plates which are so good at buffets, are too big for the tiny table though.DSC02006

I think we took too much food. In theory it was Supper Friday through Lunch on Sunday, minus the buffet.They had a lovely buffet on Saturday, which is why we grabbed the huge plates! At the end of the line was a grill and a gentleman churning out skewers of grilled lamb. But as happens too often, during set up we discovered several things we needed but hadn’t packed and ended up going out to pick them up, and while we were out we got supper at Friendlies. (I continue to avoid carbohydrates, but since it’s a “Rest of Your Life” diet, I allow myself the occasional indulgence when it would be really tricky. So instead I REALLY enjoyed the ruben sandwich I ordered.) So we had too much and had to bring it home. I’ll try to remember for next year. I did get a chance to use the new gas grill, although not the oven.DSC02013
We had lovely neighbors- Jeanne and Gideon on one side, Eowyn Elonwy across from us, and some folks with a German Shepard on the other side. Just beyond them were two new friends Alison and Liri, it was their first SCA event, but they were seasoned campers from the Renn Faire circuit. (They shared some pork ribs with us.) Eowyn and I remarked to each other that when you’ve been in as long as we have, by the time you’ve chatted with friends, there’s no time left to participate in the activities that drew us into the SCA. I did get to look at the arts display, and see the parade, but missed the rattan and fencing tourneys, the archery, children’s and equestrian activities. There’s also a “plant exchange”, and a  “yard sale”- I put out the thinning from my stuffed monster collection. I hope they all have good homes.DSC02022
The Palio is based on Italian competitions, and they’ve divided the barony into contrade- we’re in the West: Sole (purple) and there’s the coast (Hippocampus-red) and the Nashua area (gold) and the whole thing starts with a big procession with DSC02017twirling flags and people wearing livery of their contrades. It’s an equestrian event and there are horses too. The day is filled with competitions from equestrian contests to cheese rolling. Many of the events are done by the children (including a hobby horse race) and Frostalf had recruited a lot of kids for our contrade, so Sole took it this year. The winner gets to display the Palio banner.  (in the DSC02040picture above). Personally, I like the banners they twirl- like in Under a Tuscan Sun. (“Men throwing flags,… in tights”) Of course, I don’t think our guys have spent months practicing.
Being out in it, we got to enjoy the incredible stars, and fingernail moon. In the evening one of the competitions is the Golden Tongue (and the winner becomes the baronial war bard. This year it was won with a filk about the monumental hangover Corwyn had when he competed in the Goldensword last year. We spent a very pleasant couple hours chatting with Ekke and Julia in our tent- while it started to rain. Kat had a DSC02041clever idea- we now have a laundry bag for the returned loaner garb. Willlow made it by hand while we chatted. According to the weather app, it wasn’t supposed to start raining until noon on Sunday, but apparently it got here faster. Poor Shannon (who was autocrat) had her tent die, and had to spend half the night in one of the buildings. At one point during the morning Kat noticed that she was damp and shivering and threw a Gold Key cloak and hood on her. But she did a great job for her first autocratting (it’s a large and complicated event, even without thunderstorms!)
Once we’d realized we were going to have to take home damp canvas, we just dealt with it. The girls packed up their areas, and I packed the stuff from the tent into the van. At eleven I went to the Golden Sword Tourney– it’s my baby, so I feel I need to be there. It’s been going on since about 1980 I think.  This year there were only three competitors for the Golden Sword one was Brian, and they were all very good, having started in other martial arts, two were even on provisional authorizations. The winner had come from Concordia- Xabier I think his name was. I was reminded how much fun it is to watch the fighting when you know the people doing it. (Martin, a previous winner, and Frosti, who I had expected to be one, fought with the newbies. Great fun!) As that ended I saw the van and trailer go by and thought I saw it go out the gate. I figured the girls were in a hurry to get home, and left me Willow’s car. But I was wrong, they were just going down to take down the tent, so I didn’t help as I thought they were done. I waited until court- passed along the sword blank, and when we came out, found the girls waiting for me. So they took Willow’s car, and went off in search of fast food, and I drove the van home (munching on cherries, and spitting the pits out the window.)
By the time we got home, the sun was shining and John helped me pull tent sections over the van (and an e-z up frame) to dry. (and bless him, he also warned me a few hours later when it started to rain so we could bring them in.) Monday we finished drying them, and Kat started processing through the damp loaner garb. Yesterday we had, if you can believe it, Tornado warnings!  Still, Kat and I went over to Bedford to give blood. Sadly, when we got there, she discovered her wallet was not in her purse, but still in her room, so she couldn’t donate. Frustrating.

Oh yes, Willow drove Kat to check out the new therapist in Peterboro’, and she liked her and has lined up more visits. Sadly, they’re monthly, and I assume that weekly would be more effective. I would love for Kat (and the rest of us) to feel better right away.
Other than that, I’ve mostly been working on the book cover, still. Tamar asked if watching videos actually helped with my problems with the lighting, and mostly I just like to have something on in the background, so I’ve switched to audio course lectures. I hope they’ll be less distracting at least visually. The girls tell me that if I’ve got “artists block” the only way to get through it is to soldier through it.  I fear they are right. Since I’ve talked that to death, I’ll say no more, but get back to it.

A few final thoughts, we were all shocked by the shootings in Charleston, but I don’t like calling it “domestic terrorism”. Perhaps I don’t agree what terrorism is and how it should be dealt with. One sick person, even if supported philosophically by a subculture shouldn’t be allowed to represent more than himself. We have to be able to say: “He’s an asshole!” (or criminal, or madman). We can’t call all the people who judge people by their skin color terrorists, they are simply wrong. I was wrong. When I was a kid, my grandmother had grown up in Tennessee and told me that she had experience with “coloreds” and knew what they were like. I had none, so I accepted what she said until I grew up and discovered that if she had ever been right, the world was different now, and she may simply have been wrong. There you go. But I had a wonderful life. Most people in the world don’t have the advantages I have, and if your life is awful, many people respond by blaming it on other people. Thus: racism, sexism, religionism (why is that not a term we use?). The way to fix it is probably to help people have less miserable lives. Make sure people don’t live in poverty, unable to meet medical bills, terrified that they will be evicted and have no where to live, that the authorities who should be helping them will instead treat them badly and unfairly, (even shoot them). If we improve the world, they won’t need someone to blame. There is a similarity to terrorism in that this jerk, like a suicide bomber, has gotten to the point where he has nothing to lose. That’s very dangerous for the rest of us when we let large groups of people fall into that state.  But in this case, it looks like he’s just angry about blacks being better off than him, not trying to get people’s attention for some political change.
Is the Confederate flag a symbol of southern pride or of slavery? The answer is yes. Both. Symbols are flexible that way. It can be one thing to the person displaying it, and another to the person seeing it. A swastika is a sacred symbol of the sun in both Native American and Hindu faiths, and was in the Northern European culture- but it’s been preempted. Desecrated. As Southern Pride encompasses a view of an idyllic time where the luxurious life was based on the labor and abuse of their slaves, to glorify the one while ignoring the other is to look at any Gilded Age and ignore the suffering that is more comfortable to ignore. As we grow up we can be excited about the benefits of global interaction, but we MUST recognize how sometimes the benefits carry costs which are often borne by those who don’t share in the benefits. While we had no control over the spread of diseases that wiped out 90-95% of the Native Americans in the Columbian Exchange, the people who intentionally sent smallpox ridden blankets to the First Nations certainly are culpable for that action. People who decide to have a quick, cheap burger may be thinking more about what they have to do next, but we should also make ourselves aware of the policies that make those burgers quick and cheap, and what effects they are having on our planet as well as our health. Even if the people running the companies are trying to keep that information quiet so that their shareholders won’t suffer, it is our duty as consumers to learn as much at is possible for each of us, within our personal capabilities, to do so.
OK, enough soapboxing for one week.

This week I’ve been reading some Asterix books in French, some of the puns are even better in French, and I’m glad I can still get most (some?) of them. (I think most would be giving myself too much credit.) I would love to be able to be at least at this level in German and Spanish, but I fear I’d need to find someone with whom to practice on a regular basis.
I am reading America Bewitched and enjoying it a lot, although I’m not sure I could recommend it to everyone. I personally find the author’s skipping from case to case as he covers different topics rather than chronologically disorienting. I had a general awareness that there has always been an under culture of magic users, and people willing to call each other witches (and with apologies to all my Wiccan friends, Witch has traditionally been a pejorative term). Davies has dug up dozens if not hundreds of accounts from newspapers and court records of people who either were magic users, or were unfairly persecuted as witches. Salem was certainly not an isolated case, and many of them have continued to modern times. The scholarship is excellent and it gives a sad perspective into the lower and working class lives that is usually not covered in most histories. I shall probably get back to finishing The Archaology of Ritual and Magic, a book written by a retired museum curator because he knew that if he wrote it while still employed, he’d lose his job. It’s a darned pity that public opinion is so strong that truth doesn’t outweigh
it. As Kat says, why doesn’t the Red Cross simply ask if you have had multiple partners (who’ve had multiple partners), rather than if you’re gay? I’m afraid that they continue using screening questions to protect their reputation not so much as risk to the blood supply. Let’s face it “Have you ever accepted money for sex even once?” is not science. The money has nothing to do with the disease, it’s a statistical correlation, and for all I know may no longer be useful. But if the “public” found out that the Red Cross wasn’t screening to keep out “gay blood” (as if they were afraid of catching homosexuality from a transfusion), there would be an uproar. Feh. I wish I didn’t live in a world where what people think was taken so much into account. I haven’t been reading as much lately, but trying to learn to sleep when I go to bed.
On the other hand, when I’m ready to stop work, I’ve been treating myself to an episode of the Midsomer Murders, when my eyes are crossed and I can’t function any more. (Isn’t that when most people watch TV?) I’ve gotten to the sixth season, and Kat’s watching it too, so I have someone to talk to about it. I also sent the Roman Mystery books off to Julia, and I’m sure she’ll enjoy them and we can talk about them. BTW, I totally love to loan out books, movies and courses, so if you have time in the car and would like to borrow some of the historical courses, let me know. I figure sharing them justifies the cost.
I took out Odyssey of the West (part VI), a course on literature (I think I thought it was about the Odyssey) and have been listening to perspectives on the Great American Novel and Modernity. I think I’m going to listen to the one on Post Modernity and send it back. (I’ve always been confused about how those terms are used. I’m not sure that listening to this will really help- but I’ll have made an effort.)  I also made a mistake with the film the Starving Games. It’s a satire of the Hunger Games and some other modern movies, and is so inane I stopped watching after about 20 minutes. I should have known better. I knew the third book was called MockingJay.  Apparently the first half of the third movie of that book is still in theatres, so I’ll have to wait for it. I have now finally seen Righteous Kill, DeNiro and Paccino are good, no surprise there, the writing is tight, and I was thrown off by some of the red herrings, but it was depressing, and I prefer uplifting. Still, not watching as much, and must get back to painting. When Jane’s OK’d the final version, I will post a picture.

Virginia/Tchipakkan

“I wrote a long letter because I didn’t have time to write a short one.” Blaise Pascal.
(often misquoted – as I was about to do until I checked- as by Mark Twain) he did say:
“It is my belief that nearly any invented quotation, played with confidence, stands a good chance to deceive.” Mark Twain  (according to the site That’s what HE said)

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