6- 4- 2014 Cheese Day

Dear Liz,                                                                                 June 4th, 2014
We’ve had an assortment of days of nice weather this week, some cool enough to work in the attic, some very warm, some rain. The irises have bloomed, and the flowers of May have passed. I should not mourn them, but enjoy what is blooming now. The buttercups in the back yard are really cheerful.
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The peas are growing, not blooming yet, but the lettuces should be harvestable soon. Sadly, the raised beds do need weeding, we didn’t fill them with sterile soil, and it’s hard to tell which seedling I planted and which I didn’t until they get big enough to recognize. I have identified some sprouting nasturtium and morning glories, and can see the hollyhock coming up.  This is a very frustrating time of year. You see flowers and know which one’s you are anticipating, but they aren’t here yet. It is almost two months until Pennsic, which I associate with morning glories, but I keep feeling they should be beginning to climb. Heck the roses aren’t even here yet!
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We’ve continued to sort the cloth- the last bunch we’ve brought down has had to be washed. (I’m enjoying my pully clothes line to hang up the laundry. John less so since I send him down the ladder leaning against the stone wall when something falls down. Actually the last time we had a lovely breeze and it managed to wrap a piece of denim (5 yards long by five feet wide, was that heavy when it was wet!) around both of the lines, so I couldn’t reel it in. He had to use a pole to poke a dozen feet up to get it unwrapped. We’re deciding what to keep and what to offer to other people.
We’ve even cleaned up the part of the attic where the bins go- well, nearly enough. (Something like the way I clean the refrigerator.) The floor up there is pathetic. I suppose the people who put it in figured it was just for storage and didn’t need more than a simple covering. I personally feel one should be able to safely walk across a floor without looking at ones feet. But soon we’ll be putting up the sorted bins. They are much better sorted now, and we’ll have a lot of stuff to get rid of. I have to say I feel rich and guilty. After the fire I salvaged a lot of the fabric I hadn’t gotten to using, and that makes me feel badly. old bunny fursAs when cleaning the refrigerator and finding some food that had gotten lost at the back and went bad- wasted. Willow found a basket of furs this week that I thought I’d used, and I found a barrel with the 200 pelts we got from Johan von Traubenburg about 35 years ago. Many were just the color of Ælfwine’s beard (orange), and I was going to make him a cloak lined with them. Never got to it. What a waste! Better to pass stuff along to people who’ll use it than have it sit there and get fragile.
I discovered back when the kids were young that you can wash cloths with fur trim, it just gets stiff after a few times, and you shouldn’t put it in the dryer. I’m not sure whether there’s any good left in the old rabbit furs even for kids clothes that they’ll grow out of in a few months. Well, I can offer.
Meanwhile, we’ve gotten it down to twenty two bins- that’s down sixteen! I think maybe one of them is the one into which I have picked the fabric for the two outfits I want to bins of linenmake for the war this year. (There’s a third one I want for when it gets a bit cooler- a wine colored wool with a saffron under-gown and veil, and I’ve got that gold thread I got from Kirstin Landsknecht for some spectacular embroidery.)
It’s been somewhat of a stroll down memory lane. Some of those pieces of cloth remind me what I made with them… way back when. If there was enough fabric left for collar and cuffs, I’d save it. I’ve enjoyed the remembering, but am not willing to even invest the amount of time it would take to make a quilt out of the scraps. Wow, I’ve gotten old!

I continue to think that I’m spending too much time updating the websites. And facebook (I know I spend way too much time on posting the holidays. I’m just worried that I’ll pass on bad information!) But how did I end up doing so much of what is essentially “office work”? For example, for each New Normal show I put up an event page on fb, issue invitations, and send out emails to various webgroups (does anyone even go there anymore?), and put announcements on the CTCW website, AND my website, and put up a page with the link so people can freaking find the archive if they want to listen to the podcast, AND put up a news spot on LiveParanormal.com. I’m actually looking forward to tonight’s show. Rob Nolan is back talking about the ecology of the spirit world. Last time we mostly talked about the house (why is it that certain creepy things tend to be attracted to “under stairs”?), but tonight we’ll be talking about the wider world. The shows I like, it’s just the promotion I wish I could get someone else to handle! I haven’t even mentioned writing blog posts (something I try not to do), getting in offers from speakers for the con, sharing those with Jane and updating the Speaker and Workshop pages. This is NOT what I thought I’d signed up for!
Willow and I both went to the dentist this week. I hate that no matter how I try I still get build-up on the back of my incisors!
tall sneakers   Willow’s knee-high red sneakers arrived today. She ordered them (from California) at about the same time as the silver chains she found from China, and those got here first so it’s been frustrating waiting for them to get here! Kat already had some.

I’ve started the handout for the Anglo-Saxon Kings workshop. The hardest part will be picking my favorite stories and keeping it from getting too long. I’ve been reading the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and have noticed that at different points the chroniclers seemed to focus on different things. Of course, it has an ecclesiastical focus- there are whole charters copied in there in places, but sometimes you’ll get a decade or so where they were fascinated with eclipses, and other phenomena in the sky. It’s VERY clear that it was done by a “Wessex oriented” intent (just as Bede was Northumbrian oriented). I’m also enjoying a book  called An Alternative History of Britain: The Anglo-Saxon Age. So far it’s speculative inasmuch as the author talks about what facts we have, and what we know about them, and what they might mean. I am SO going to have to read his If Rome hadn’t Fallen (when I have time).
For light reading I’ve continued with the Young Wizards series: Wizard’s holiday, and A wizard of Mars (one to go in the series). Willow’s just picked up the newest Harry Dresden, and all my friends who’ve read it assure me that it’s good, so I have something to which to look forward.
Since I’ve been painting, I’ve gone through a few more films, although I do wonder if I’m missing important visuals. I watched a couple more Bob Hoskins films: Felicia’s journey, and Maid in Manhattan. I was actually hoping that Felicia’s Journey was an American Girl movie, but it was a weird psychological film about some very disturbed people’s problems making each others worse. I really don’t like “dark” films, give me honest horror any day. I watched Arctic dinosaurs, a fun Nova program, and the recent film Gravity, which wasn’t bad, but as the kids said “Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are NOT the first people I’d think of when imagining astronauts.” On the other hand, I do think of astronauts as the hotshot “fighter pilot” types we see in The Right Stuff, not, for instance, Edgar Mitchell when he started I.O.N.S.. I remember reading a few years ago that the perfect astronaut would be a physically fit post menopausal woman (on the other hand, I don’t see Sandra Bullock as postmenopausal.) If I’d recommend one movie that I’ve seen this week, it would be About time, a lovely movie about what life’s about, explored through the life of a young man who can travel through time and therefore get “do overs”. First he uses it to avoid embarrassing situations, as he gets older, to spend more time with the people he loves. It is really charming and I liked it a lot.
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So today I’m writing a “very fast” letter, packing for the American Society of Dowsers Conference, doing the show tonight, and I hope going to bed early. I’m signed up for a nine a.m. class, and will have to leave before six to make it on time. Willow’s gone out to return my library books and gas the van for me.  (I’ve put up this reminder on my desktop. Something has messed with the program and it crashes every time I use the spell check. I used to open mail to use the spell check when I needed one in other programs, but now it’s messed up. Who knows why?) Feh. I’m also frustrated that for some reason when I want to add a picture, the iphoto SHOWS the most recently added ones, but they don’t come up when you click “attach”! I remind myself that this ability to take and share pictures was just not available for most of my life and I shouldn’t allow it to frustrate me that it isn’t as easy as other things. Our technology is truly amazing. Now to make sure it’s safe!

Vermont passed the GMO labeling law a couple of days ago. A couple years ago they voted it in, but the Governor vetoed it because Monsanto had said that they’d sue the state if he signed it, and they had more money than VT and would bankrupt it. The people once again insisted they wanted to know what’s in their food, and this time he signed it. Now Monsanto says they’re going to sue. Good. It’s about time it goes to court and judges up the line say that a corporation doesn’t get to set policy for the people, only the government gets to do that! At least that’s what I hope this is going to mean. Good for them for standing up to Monsanto. For goodness sakes, we have a right to know what what we’re eating. Personally, as I diet, I’m thinking we really need to look at things like the anti-biotics in our food (which are there to make the animals gain weight!), the micro-organisms in our guts that we’re missing (I would SO have a fecal transplant from a skinny person if I could do it, they say that causes people to lose weight), as well as other ways our modern food is not what we used to eat. Every time a culture that is fit starts to eat the “normal” American (processed) foods they get fat, so don’t try to tell me it’s all about calories in/calories out. That’s SO been disproven. The thing that bothers me about GMO food is that we don’t know what the long-term effects are, and wait, there are LOTS of things that bother me about GMO, from fraudulent marketing, to studies that show they are dangerous, to trying to use them to get a monopoly on freaking food (in third world countries). There is SO much wrong with GMOs. But given how long some problems have taken to surface (remember DES?), I don’t relish being a guinea pig in this experiment. It’s one thing to say that using vaccines to create herd immunity is worth the collateral damage, it’s something entirely different to say that it’s justified by wanting to maximize profits.

Tiannaman Square Last night over dinner we talked about twenty-five years ago. I wanted to talk about it since the Chinese are not allowed to. Kat was a baby then, John was just in school, first grade maybe, Willow was old enough to have a vague recollection in that way kids have of not caring about politics, especially foreign politics. I remember painting while watching the Tiannamen Square news unfold on TV. There’s something really humbling about seeing people put their lives on the line for something we have and don’t think about much.
I also remember listening to the NPR reporters talking about trying to get out of Ruanda, then trying to find out what was happening once they were out during the disasters there. I remember scoffing about how lost some pilot must have been to have hit the Trade Towers before we turned the TV on, and I got to watch the second one go down live. I mostly remember a few days after that when Ælfwine and I heard the first plane go overhead in days after the no fly period, and how most people didn’t seem to remember how we’d been warned that this was coming for years.
I suppose, at 62, I am now like the people I used to think had lived through so much history- my grandparents and other “old people”. Now I am the one reminding kids that there was a time before cell phones, and movie collections. I imagined the idea of pay-per-view, flat screen TVs (although I pictured them wall sized), and self clearing roads back in my teens, when I was writing more Science Fiction. (I am thinking of that because of seeing clips on “Solar freaking roadways!” on facebook. Yes, once in, they will save money and solve so many problems, but the change-over will be hard and expensive, and probably made more so by those who used to provide what we now use, and don’t want to lose their income. I suppose it’s significant that it’s the changes in daily life that strike me more than the big political changes.

Well, I’ve done it again, run on at the keyboard. I’d wanted to get some more painting done before the show tonight, but now I think I have barely time to pack and make supper. I hope I was interesting for you.

Tchipakkan

Anyone who has a book collection and a garden wants for nothing.~Cicero

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