6-27-2018 Orange Blossom Day!

 Summer greetings: Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The weather has been cooler this week. I think we only turned on the AC once, and even closed the door to keep the cool out, not in several days. How the heck did it get to be almost July‽ We had one thunder storm, but nothing too exciting. The best part of this time of year is that the local strawberries

We’ve got mallows and yellow lilies blooming in the garden, and for wild stuff, I’ve seen yarrow around. Also the Comfrey is blooming. Poor Buddy (the potted rose bush) doesn’t look like he’s going to make it, and Miles- the peach and cream colored one, is fighting off some sort of chewing insects. We’ve had SO many white roses on the bush in the front, and the pink ones across the street are beginning to come back from when the road crews did a major cutback, which is nice.

Kat and I went out back so she could take some pictures of her in front of one of the dog rose bushes in one of her white lace summer dresses. After wading through brambles and poison ivy, we realized we could have gone out the bulkhead door where there’s a huge one, but we’d spaced that the door was there, and there was too much swamp between us and that bush from the other side.

Willow has been having a feud with Kate’s (a previous owner) climbing rose bush, which mostly prefers crawling, putting out thorns under other plants. We tried string, then a wooden trellis, then a plastic one, and now Willow found an iron one, which she’s been tying it too, as well as strenuously chopping out any of the ground runners that are so annoying (and painful). This week it’s started to bloom. I think it likes the new trellis. I haven’t gotten any morning glories growing yet, and I would like that. I haven’t given up yet.
Last week Willow saw that they’d torn off the front of our old house. They might have been going to stop there- the town has always wanted to widen the road, but this week they took down the main structure. barn section is still there, but will it last? I can see that the pear tree is still there, but the beech tree where we had the tree house in the yard is gone. Oddly, the chain link fence is still up- perhaps to keep gawkers out. It’s fascinating to see the actual bones of the earth. Where the machine is sitting is what was our old pantry with stone walls- I now see it’s a retaining wall, like the one between the front of the house and the yard. It’s easier to see the space under the old house, where the firemen wondered if the fire had started back in `95. It makes me sad to see it go. It was a good old house. I have no idea what they are going to put there now. It’s right on 31, so they might want to put something commercial, but there’s no place for parking, unless they paved the back yard- or, <shudder> cut down the grove. I suppose the town might buy it just to pave for more parking. Ouch.
Friday night we talked about going to the Meet and Greet. It seems we all agree that we were excited about the idea of Kiaya and Dierdre being Baronesses, so I thought we’d left it as an unnecessary trip, but Willow thought that we’d left it that we were going- to show support. Oops. So we got off late and had nothing for the pot-luck (we got some bread, cheese and fruit, which are no good for showing off). There must have been some milling around because we don’t seem to have missed much. Maybe we did and I just can’t tell. People wrote down questions for the candidates on cards and the seneschal (Leslie) put them to the folks: Eben, Brian, Sorcha, Dierdre, and Kiaya. (It seems Eben doesn’t have a lady.) My favorite question and answer was “what would you do if there was a problem dealing with the current SCA zero tolerance of harassment policy?”, and while Brian jumped in with “I’d listen to all sides, and try to make peace.” (paraphrased, of course), Kiaya simply said “That’s your job.” (to the seneschal) which it totally is. That’s a wonderful qualification for a position, knowing what things you don’t have to try to do!
The most exciting thing that happened there for me is that Sorcha, who’s in the Soothsayer’s Guild, wanted to know if she could edit the Complete Anachronist that we are trying to get together. Gods yes! I haven’t been able to pull it together, and it really should get done! It may happen! I’m so psyched! I also talked to Michael, and it looks like we’ll be caravanning with him- so I can help drive his car. He is the wonderful man who pulled the shop Lugh built (ten years ago?) down for us (with many adventures humorous in hindsight). Chatting with him on the road will be good.
Other than that, we haven’t done much- I’ve been working on the Witch Trials class- reading and putting notes into the computer. I really wish I’d learned to write a paper properly when I was in college. There is lots of fascinating stuff- this week I read a book on Heresies in the Middle Ages, and continuing with Witchcraze and  the Realities of Witchcraft and Popular Magic   I’ve now divided the “notes” file into sections and put anything I know I want to reference in the right section with the footnote. This should make it easier to collect properly. I am a bit intimidated by the people who think I’m so smart, trying to live up to that.
This weekend we’ll be headed for the EK50: the East Kingdom celebration of their 50th year anniversary. It’s a longer than usual event, starting Thursday, and ending Monday, although we’ll be headed home Sunday because Willow has an appointment at the Tufts Dental clinic on Monday. This means that tomorrow she’s re-packing the trailer, we’re prepping and packing garb and food. I’m hoping to finish the letter quickly to make a new gown. Sadly, my favorite black undergone has “cat holes” in the sleeves, and there’s one in the back of the red one I wear with my blue robe. Considering the amount of garb I have, I know I could just go out and grab four outfits, but I want to look Good. (Well-kempt and accurate.)  The girls will “just” be selling, but I’m on a panel on Sunday morning with the other oldest Easterners they could find talking about the early years. I would love to find some of our old pictures to share, but so far haven’t found many. I am sure there is a lot of cool stuff in bins that I can’t find. For the last two months I had “plenty of time” to look for it, but am now out of time, oh well. I have one class on Early Anglo-Saxons: “Overview of the stuff you need to be an Angle, Saxon or Jute during the Migration Period- up to Alfred the Great. What they wore, what they ate, how they fought, built, basic history, conversion from Heathenry to Christianity, trade, laws, medicine, women and child rearing… feel free to bring specific questions such as which way up were brooches worn, or how to wrap windingas, what art forms were used, or what feast gear should you have?” I am banking on being able to do all this without having to do any new research. (Hope I’m right about that! Ego much?)  I am also hoping to meet a bunch of other Anglo-Saxon nuts to talk to!  I guess I’ll know this time next week!
Willow has been doing half days with Avi’s kids since school got out. They alternate choosing an activity, with one day of a compromise between.This week Avi had a doctors appointment one morning, and house hunting another, so she’s put in two full days, which makes her feel better about cutting out for the event Thursday and Friday. The kids have decided they love going to the waterfall- Willow took them out to get water walking shoes. Modern kids! She and Kat are working on their cosplays for Canobie Con (July 7th), where they’ll be dressing as Thor and Loki. Sort of Thorish and Loki inspired outfits suitable for wearing on amusement park rides in summer. They’ve been doing this for over 10 years now, and the park people have come to look forward to the day they come. Kat’s got the most adorable little horns to wear! You’ll get pictures after they’ve been.
Liz called to brag about her girls. Meg who runs obstacle races for fun (it takes all kinds) took first in the race last weekend. This was a 10 mile race made harder by climbing over things, crawling under things, carrying heavy objects, etc. etc. She is SO flipping fit it makes me feel jealous- even though I’m much older and know it’s all due to hard work and effort that in no way would I be willing to do! A few days before she shared a clip of Ali, her eldest, passing out notebooks to kids in Cambodia. Jill has gotten a promotion, and meanwhile, Liz is working on a Breast Cancer fund raiser. That family is having a good run this week!
You may remember our friend Steve had a badger infestation? They established that no, animal control won’t come- not even during the week, if it’s not immediately dangerous. He’s having to spend some egregious amount of money to have some professional come remove them. They’ve looked, but haven’t even told him what he’s got yet, although they did their initial inspection. We have now run through badgers, raccoons, and now ground hogs. Heck if it’s ground hogs, I’ll go down and shoot and eat the buggers for what he’s probably going to have to pay. (One always get’s nervous when they take so long getting back with the estimate.) Steve was able to visit on Sunday, although we had to have soft food. He had a colonoscopy this week (again, awaiting good or bad news), and they’ve changed the prep- a much gentler flush, gatorade mixed with Miralax the night before, and four days of an increasingly restricted diet (clear liquids the two days before) before that. Sounds much better than the “drain cleaner” they used to make you take.
Mark came over this week too. Read while I did various small jobs. Willow fixed the mirror box that was broken, John and I replaced the screen on the front door (this time with “cat safe screen”). I finished my four new aprons and chopped up my old one (which was getting pretty ratty). I would like to try to transfer the embroidery to one of the new ones if I can.
When I’m doing handwork- like sewing button holes, or putting on patches, (or cooking) I’ve been watching old Outer Limits  I tell you this 60s show throws me into such cognitive dissonance. I know I was living then, and this all seemed normal, but now so much of it seems just … odd. (Not to mention the weirdness of Trump suggesting creating a Space Force, then seeing it.) It’s something like watching an old Quincy or other cop/crime show and watching people trampling all over the crime scene, not using gloves, not bagging evidence, etc. On the outer limits, a recent one had a spore found on the surface of the space station bought in and grown- without any containment. It was sitting in what looked like an open coffee can labeled “sample #3”). When symptoms started in the astronauts, there were no anti-contamination procedures, etc. etc. It’s like watching early Bond films where 007 smacks women on the bottom, and everyone smokes. It’s just hard to get used to. Kat and I were talking about it. This week they re-named the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award because the books displayed “racial insensitivity”. Those books were fine! They did reflect the way people thought at the time. If they want to make sure that kids know that these things are not acceptable, they can bring out Annotated versions and say so in the footnotes. Sure, if you read Tom Sawyer and Life on the Mississippi, he does use the “N word”. Huck also treats Jim with more respect than just about anyone else does, and the book portrays a clear awareness of his humanity. We could annotate Uncle Tom’s Cabin or any other “problematic” book,  possibly even replacing the offending world with n*****, so the kids reading it aren’t inadvertently acclimated to its use. But there is nothing in the Little House books that indicates that there’s anything wrong with First Nation people, only that Laura overheard some adults say that “The only good Indian was a dead Indian”. Well they did. We should NOT pretend that that didn’t happen. How will they learn where such sorts of bigotry can grow into something dangerous, if it is hidden from them? If you are taught that the Zoot Suit Riots were about using too much fabric in your clothes, you won’t see that it was racially based attacks on Mexicans, Blacks, and Asians. The whites attacking them (and police turning a blind eye) were behaving in a way consistent with their upbringing. Far better to let children see that there is bigotry in the world, and how sometimes it is fought, and sometimes accepted. That’s a hard pill to swallow, but easier than discovering later that the adults around you built a little fantasy world for you to live in, but when you hit 12 or 18 or whatever magick number they pick, you are suddenly supposed to deal with the hard facts of life. On the other hand- watching old movies and TV does showcase cultural differences in a fairly painless and amusing way.
Here’s my Political musing if you want to skip it:
It’s hard to believe that it’s only been a week since we discovered that they were separating kids from parents at the border. I say “discovered” because the last figures I heard were that there were over two thousand of them, shipped all over the country, without keeping track of their parents. This was clearly meant to be permanent. I believe it was also meant to be discovered. I think the administration intentionally does horrible things to gauge outrage, which comes, backs off a little, then hits us with another one, building up our tolerance so that we don’t respond to things that would originally have appalled us. I’ve seen so many people just taking “mental health breaks” from the news. How often can you let yourself be punched in the face (the heart) before you simply stay down?
(Time to re-watch Cool Hand Luke. Or not, as I recall he died, and nothing much changed.)
I personally guess that the tacky coat Melania wore was an intentional attempt to get the liberals upset. I am NOT convinced that she did it. After all, how likely is she to wear a $38 coat, much less one with words printed on it? Can you see her in a message-T-shirt? I’m guessing she wanted to do a “First Lady thing” and go visit the refugees, and was told she couldn’t unless she wore the coat, because someone (Miller?) saw it as provocative. I also don’t think they actually considered the reference to the old Facist line ‘me ne frego’,  
For one thing, I’m not sure they have that much history background. More tellingly, “I really don’t care” is not a good translation. It’s more likely that someone put it in front of the cameras (maybe Trump?) specifically so Trump could tweet that it’s about “fake news”. Yes, it doesn’t make sense, but so often, neither does he. The continual battery of the news is very troubling. Meanwhile, while we’re talking about the first lady’s tacky fashion choices, congress rolled back on Wallstreet regulations, Trump wants to combine Education and Labor departments, they take foodstamps away from veterans,  he OKs slaughtering Alaskan bear cubs and wolf pups…. Disturbingly, as Trump ramps up support for Republican races, his followers seem to like the crying children, and Trump complimenting Kim Jong Un, and saying North Korea is a “great, successful country”. (I guess now we know what he means when he says making America “great”.) I wrote a blog post about politics, here’s the link: Living in a Horror Movie. And that’s about as much as my stomach can take thinking about it. I haven’t read about this happening in 30s Germany, maybe it did. But I think Trump is moving VERY fast, which makes it both harder to take and harder to fight.
I guess that’s it, gotta go, I need to sew!
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

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Wed 4 Cheese Day, Cognac Day, Spareribs Day, BBQ Day,  Independence Day