6/7/2012 Chocolate Ice Cream Day

In case you feel that Chocolate Ice Cream Day is too restrictive, the 18th (3rd Sunday) in July (Ice Cream Month) is National Ice Cream Day. January 15th is National Strawberry Ice Cream Day, July 1st is National Creative Ice Cream Flavor Day, July 7 is National Strawberry Sundae Day, July 17th is National Peach Ice Cream Day,  July 23rd is National Vanilla Ice Cream Day, June 2nd was National Rocky Road Day, June 20th is Ice Cream Soda Day, but August 2 is National Ice Cream Soda Day. August 2nd is National Ice Cream Sandwich Day, August 14th is National Creamsicle Day, August 21st is Spumoni Day. October 7th is National Frappe Day, November 25th is National Parfait Day, and December 13 is Ice Cream and Violins Day.

The weather has been lovely sleeping weather: cool evenings (Willow has had to take her electric blanket out for the third time this year), days temperate to warm. The intermittent rain has been wonderful for the plants. The white rose bush at what John calls the Road Garden is blooming, and I can still find occasional sprays of bleeding hearts in the under foliage. The Iris are still blooming too. I’ve seen daisies beside the road, which I find odd- I associate them with July. I’ve been collecting red clover heads and drying them for winter teas. I should probably be doing that with the raspberry leaves, but haven’t put the time in.
Thinking of our animals, we’re waiting to hear when the Kenyan’s will be willing to take them, and then we’ll be done with goats. Frankly, it makes me sad, as the part of my life with gardening and raising livestock was the happiest of my life, but I must accept that I have chosen the current phase of my life that excludes caring for the animals and garden. I always want to “do it all”, but have to accept that I cannot. On a brighter note, Mouse has been coming back to visit more often. It is good to see him so large and healthy. Even with all her fluffiness, he still makes his mother, Zoloft, look small.
This week I’ve been mostly working on the quilt I’m making for the dowsers convention. Last year after some of the personality politics that happen in any organization, (Someone who insisted on doing things himself wasn’t getting to them, but wouldn’t relinquish control without being forced. I think that story could be found in almost any group.) the president made a lovely speech trying to get the divided group back to feeling unified again.  She used the analogy of the platform on which the group stands as being made of triangles. One side of triangle was Wisdom, another Compassion, and the third Dignity, but each of these were the side of another triangle, with two more sides: Gratitude and Truth, Wisdom and Compassion, etc.. She requested suggestions from the audience for other attributes of the American Society of Dowsers, and I think it did help enhance a sense of unity. Being a visual thinker, I pictured that platform, and was inspired to create a representation of it. Within a week or two of getting home I’d run out to the fabric store and picked up “fat squares”- assorted quilting fabric. I chose to keep them to all natural patterns: leaves, water, stone, flame, snowflakes, etc. I got it well started, then it got tucked away, as I got involved in other things, and I have pulled it out, and been trying to get it done since early May. I’ve still got to back it, and regret that I didn’t leave enough time to actually quilt the piece.
Most people these days don’t realize that what we call a quilt is generally a piece of patchwork. Quilting, is the decorative stitching on a padded surface. When one puts feathers or wool batting or other insulating material within a decorative cloth cover, the quilting is not just decorative, but important for holding the material in place, so you don’t get cold spots in your blanket. I am reminded of that every time I sleep under a feather comforter with poorly designed channels. (I have one in which the center is almost empty, and all the feathers are in the edge channels that hang off the sides. Not warm.) Patchwork is often so dramatic that one doesn’t even notice the quilting, and often modern “quilts” are merely “tied”, with periodic bits of thread. Still pretty, but technically not quilts. I fear that’s what’s going to happen with this one.
I’m especially embarrassed because Willow has managed to make more than a quilt a day since she got into the artists alley at Anime Next. When they left this morning, she said that she had four duffle bags, each with “at least 12” blankets in it. She was regretting the amount of space four duffles takes up in the back of the van. It’s going to be worse behind her table, however, Anime Next is HUGE. There are over 350 artists, and while I can’t find the numbers on Animenext, other Anime Cons from from 15, to 20 to even 44 thousand attendees! Anime Boston (they were at in April) had over 15K. It’s unlikely that she’ll sell out over four dozen blankets, but we are not at all worried about her covering their costs. SHE was done with them last week, and since then has been able to make a new skirt, and finish up everything else she wanted to do.
I’ve been doing my usual jumping from task to task and, as I said, still have to back it. As usual, I’ve underestimated how long each piece of the project will take. For example, I spent almost all day yesterday writing the words on the panels between the colored triangles. (I think I was also slowed down by having the series “Civilization” but Kenneth Clark on, because while when he’s talking, it’s good background for me to keep my mind occupied while working with my hands, there are often visuals, and too often I’ve glanced up and then rewound to catch all of a certain display. Oops.
We had the van at the shop this week. A something bar cracked and needed to be welded, and we got it tuned up to improve the fuel milage. (The all wheel drive is broken, but we’ll put that off until winter.) Because they are driving Raye and Joanie and almost had have had someone else, they get the van. I’ve been practicing with her car- a standard- and I think I’ve finally got it. I expect I’ll move from an intellectual “knowing how” to being used to it and shifting without thinking about it by the time I get back. I’m looking forward to that.
I thought about taking it to Jess and David’s wedding Saturday, but took too long so I took my own car. Jess called all the guests first thing in the morning and let everyone know that they’d moved from their intended outdoor site to their apartment. It was pretty tight- about 45 people I think, but we fit. Lyrion and Raven officiated, tied the knot- literally. They did the Wiccan tying the bride and groom’s wrists together bit, as well as jumping a broom, lighting a candle, sharing tea and cake, and included Ryan and the twins in the ceremony as well. Afterwards we chatted and ate. Rather than a huge cake, Jess had ad a dozen standard cakes made, and put in boxes so that as I left she was able to send one home with me, and a few other folks.
It was a bit awkward for me as I’m experimenting with the diet from the book Wheat Belly, but she had one gluten free cake for Raven and I was able to have some of that. Mother always said that you must have a taste of a birthday or wedding cake because that brought luck to the person it was for. That’s a solid folkway. I’m on the meal-plan up at the Dowser’s con, and I figure I’ll just do the same- avoid anything that looks like it may have wheat in it, as people who really are gluten sensitive do. Having done the April no dairy-no wheat bit with Willow, I am pretty sure that none of the three of us are sensitive, but examination of the whole system shows it to be a simple low (not no) carb diet, also eliminating almost all processed foods. It does proscribe several of the alternatives we used in April- no cornstarch or tapioca. Actually he’s down on corn as well. His theory is that the grains themselves have changed so much our bodies don’t know what to do with them- and certainly that seems to be true with people who are sensitive to wheat and corn (or soy, or whatever else). But he also says no juice, or dried fruit, only small amounts of fresh fruit, keep the rice and potatoes, quinoa, etc. down to no more than 1/2 cup at a time, not too much peas, lima beans and corn… It’s your basic low carb diet. The book is full of stories about people who gave up wheat and dropped an hundred pounds in a year, their skin cleared up, hair grew back, digestion improved enough to avoid surgery, all sorts of wonderful health effects. The thing is that you get similar stories with most diets and therapies. If what you do addresses YOUR specific problem, you can get amazing results. If you don’t have a subluxation, going to a chiropractor isn’t going to result in your suddenly not needing glasses or whatever. If you don’t have an unusual metabolism, taking a given vitamin isn’t going to turn your whole life around. I’m sure it does for some people. But at least there’s nothing particularly harmful about this, so I’ll give it a try. I would sure be thrilled to weigh less than 200 lbs. again! Sadly, I think it’s going to take exercise, and that’s going to take my allocating time from other things to do it. Sigh. Sadly, despite the initial indicator of success with the “no sugar” month I tried in May, by the end of the month that loss had evened out again.
Willow has mentioned that she hates June because so many people talk about how much they don’t like their fathers and they “have” to do something for Father’s day. She loved her father, and misses her father, and wishes she had him to do something with. I love and miss my father, and he’s still alive, so I have guilt for not going up to see him.
Oh my goodness! Poor Liz has been working on opening camp, and has had to deal with all the accumulated stuff. It seems that last year, little red squirrels invaded, and Dad just figured that it was out in the woods, what can you do? As I recall, both he and Mother had a pretty good feud on with the grey squirrels, and all they did was eat the feed out of the bird feeder. But whether or not it would have done any good to set squirrel traps last fall, this spring there was both a lot of destruction- chewed sheets and blankets, and dead squirrel bodies in the nests- not decently desiccated, but with maggots. I feel so badly about not being there to help with that. I may have mentioned it last week, but poor little Duke (Trish’s dog) getting hurt by Kitty’s dog kind of over-shadowed that. Duke seems to be doing OK.
I did finish the preliminary sketches of the book cover with the wolf attack, and get them approved. I can start painting as soon as I get back from the con. When I’m going to get the projects I need to do before Pennsic done, I don’t know, but a project I get paid for trumps those I don’t, that’s for sure!
Mostly I’ve been watching old episodes of Bones and Civilization this week. While I’m enjoying most of Civilization, I have to keep reminding myself that it was made in 1966, and so, as I well know from my experiences over the last 40 years, “facts” change, so when he makes a mistake, it’s probably just the best information he had at that time. Also the subtitle is: A Personal View by Lord Clark. I suppose if it’s personal, I don’t need to get upset by the way he seems to dismiss all civilization that isn’t western and indeed Christian. The Euro-centricity seems smug to me, and makes me feel grateful to have lived in a time and culture where when something is called World History they don’t mean that they are going to deign to include Egyptian and Mesopotamian influences on Europe, but will include the achievements of China, India, Africa and the Americas as well.
I did also watch a disk of M*A*S*H– the one with “Sometimes you hear the Bullet” on it. I don’t know if I noticed while it was on the air how much incredibly powerful tension in the operating room they were using the madcap humor to balance. I’ll have to take out more disks. I watched Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada with Tommy Lee Jones. It was really slow, but I liked it. It’s the story of a wetback who is accidentally shot by a border patrol guard, and the officials won’t do anything about it. Jones plays a Texan friend of the Mexican who had promised to take his body back to the village he came from to be buried at home. The three burials are the first shallow grave (to hide the body after the accident), the second pauper’s grave by the Texan officials, and the third is back in Mexico. The story comes in when Jones, the friend, kidnapped the killer and forced him to come along and help carry and rebury the man he killed, which gave him a chance to come to terms with the killing, to see him as a man, not something dismissible. It’s not so much the killing, which was accidental, but the cover-up, and the dismissal of the importance of the life of the Mexican that was the real crime, and I think it was beautifully handled. It’s still a very slow moving, and depressing story. Oddly, it’s the on-going human tale in the Bones shows that I find an antidote to the potentially depressing aspects of the non-fiction stuff on death that’s been my latest focus.
I’m bouncing back and forth between At the End of Life: True Stories about How We DieThe Ultimate Journey: Inspiring Stories about Living and DyingLife Lessons: Two Experts on Death and Dying teach us about the Mysteries of Life and LivingIf that ever happens to me: Making Life and Death Decisions after Terri SchiavoA Family Guide to Wills, Funerals, and Probate: How to Protect Yourself and Your Survivors, and Heading toward Omega: In search of the meaning of the Near Death Experience reading a chapter in one, a story in another, then a bit of another. I find that makes a more natural learning experience.
I do want to make the point that I don’t find these books depressing. Much of the stuff about hospital deaths and the funeral industry can make you feel trapped in an out of control system, but many of the more recent ones do talk about how people have changed those systems and made them better. Frankly, the stories about deaths at home and hospice are beautiful and incredibly reassuring. (I expect the sad ones didn’t get into the books.) Hospice Care. Advanced Directives. Green Burials. Once again, looking at a problem leads to improving it. The world is getting better. I wonder if I donate my body to science can I specify that I’d rather have it serve a higher purpose than having plastic surgeons practice face-lifts on it? But maybe that is a good thing. Better than making a mistake on a living subject. This week I finished Spook, by the author of Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. When I read Stiff a few years ago, I found the author’s open discussion and often flippant descriptions of what we know about corpses so much better than the usual hiding of and from the subject, but this time I found her irreverent skepticism of everything she encountered annoying. Like Lord Clark, she is innocently willing to say without fear of contradiction that no one reasonable could believe THAT, about several things I do, in fact, believe, and I find the casual dismissal- even when done so anonymously, intensely aggravating.
Well, I must finish the quilt (I’ll take pictures before turning it in), and pack my bags
still, so if I’ve forgotten something important, I’ll just have to live with it. If there’s anything you wonder about, you can just hit reply and ask me!
“I don’t see any use in having a uniform and arbitrary way of spelling words. We might as well make all clothes alike and cook all dishes alike. Sameness is tiresome; variety is pleasing.”  Mark Twain