7-18-2007 Grilling Hot Dog Horseradish Month

Hi again!
It’s also Lyme Disease Awareness Week, which is a bit more in my mind because of Guiness having it. I’ll write more about that later, but my friend Guiness who works for the FEMA, was at GNEW this weekend, and was really slowed down because he’s caught it. A couple weeks ago he thought he had the flu, then a rash, then his face started to droop, and he went to the hospital and got diagnosed with Lyme disease. I knew about the flu-like symptoms and bullseye rash (and Guiness’ wasn’t bull seye shaped), but I didn’t know about the Bell’s Palsy or the heart or neurological problems. And apparently they are developing new treatments. So to aid awareness: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/lyme-disease/DS00116/DSECTION=2

The weather’s been hot with the usual occasional rain. We’ve discovered that while the plastic we put over the tarp is good enough even for a rainstorm while traveling, it’s not quite good enough to keep the rain out of the trailer for storage, which has reinforced our desire for an enclosed trailer that doesn’t need to be unpacked between weekends. Still- we had to unpack this weekend as we won’t be taking the tent to the war, but other stuff.

Last weekend we went up to the Great North Eastern War (GNEW- used to be the Stonemarche vs Malagentia war, but since that came out S&M, Gnew sounds so much better!) It was lovely. We left first thing Friday morning, stopping at Staples on the way to get the booklets for a new class: Magick in the Middle Ages printed. I didn’t tell the girls because I was embarrassed, but I think they guessed because I fell asleep in the back seat on the trip up, that I had never gotten to bed. In theory I just sat down to “finish up” an already done booklet, but first there was the editing for making sense, and accuracy, and spell and grammar checking (is it really true you’re supposed to say “something that happened”, not “something which happened”? which sounds more confusing to me). Then of course there was putting in the illustrations and formatting, and printing out a master, and when I finally had a good copy it was 5 a.m., so I just packed by bedding and garb and the cooler chest, and it was time to leave. I haven’t pulled an all-nighter in SO long. It may go without saying that I didn’t stay up late partying at the event.

I’m fairly pleased with how the workshops went- although there is WAY too much information about Magick in the Middle Ages than one can fit even in 90 minutes, so I split it into High Magick in the Middle Ages and left Low Magick for another workshop. The only complaint I got was that the fairly large audience said they didn’t want to wait until next year for the Low Magick, and could I have it ready for Harpers- which I think I can do. Another workshop was RunValdr- once again trying to increase the number of healers out there. And I did one on making Quick Mead with Bread Yeast, which I really should make a handout for- people took a LOT of notes. I mostly was trying to demystify it. You don’t need much special knowledge or tools- mostly just the recipe and ingredients and the main rule is Keep it Sterile! The other workshop I did was Runic Palmistry- which is not much different than normal palmistry- just a different symbol set.
The weather was lovely- the traditional front with shower came through on Friday evening (with a gorgeous rainbow- we took a picture, but I think rainbows like fireworks MUST be experienced rather than just looked at). It also showered just enough on Sunday morning to require us to take the tent out to dry when we got home. But most of the day was hot and sunny with lovely fluffy clouds.

At GNEW they include the noncombatants in working out the War Points (who wins) not just the heavy list fighters, archers, and fencers. You can get points for participating in most of the non-combat activities, and I’m afraid I tried to do too much. Every teacher got 5 points for each class they taught- and everyone who went to a class got one point for their side. There was an embroidery challenge where they distributed the exact same materials to everyone, gave you a theme (heavenly bodies) and the same amount of time (noon Friday to 4 p.m. Sunday) to work it, which has the advantage for judges of not having to try to compare wildly different stuff. I was not thrilled that each person got one length each of red, blue, green, yellow, white, silver and gold. I prefer the possibility of a dominant block of color somewhere on the piece. Kat did the embroidery challenge too (I’d forgotten that tunic with the incredible amount of embroidery she did for Hart) and she finished hers- a sun and a moon- although she wasn’t pleased with her satin stitch. I didn’t finish mine- inspired by the medieval magick research I attempted a chart of the heavens: the earth surrounded by the moon, the sun and the planets- but I only got out as far as the Mars. They also have a shopping war-point. Since they keep track of how much you spent, I figure that’s how they tally that one.
Willow picked up a piece of red leather to make herself some dancing slippers, and there should be enough for me to make myself a pair of Anglo-Saxon shoes, which I’ve been meaning to do, although I VERY much doubt I’ll get to it in the next week, so maybe I should get a slightly different colored piece of leather for me. As odd as it sounds, I rarely wear red any more. We were set up next to a blacksmith who usually does French and Indian events and Mountain Man Rendezvous. I got a over the roof beam hook, and a pot lifter for only $5, and he threw in a small S hook. I could have spent much more, but we were being good! I took one trip up one side of the merchants row, and down the other side. There were two weavers! One had a piece of diamond twill with a flaw in it that she was willing to sell for only $12 a yard (less than half the usual price)- and I think I can work around the flaw- make it look intentional, so I will finally have a gown in a proper Anglo-Saxon fabric. I bought it with the money I gotten for the Medieval Magick booklets, so I figured that was fair. Then I passed a lovely little shop where they were selling medieval sweets: tarts, comfits, baklava, pretzels, comfits (I HAD to try the candied garlic), shortbreads, moon cakes, and much more. I’ve never seen anyone else but me and Marion try to sell such authentic food before, and figured that the proper way to show my admiration was patronage. I had $4 left from the booklets, and got quite an assortment for us to nibble until supper.
In the evening we were invited to several camps, but I figured I’d look for Guiness’ while walking Willow over to Thunder Mountain, where she’d agreed to do fire-spinning. Their traditional camp is about a half mile down a road with trees on either side, and they’d hung about a hundred multi-colored glow-slicks from the trees all along the length of it! It was incredible- it reminded me of the floating candles in the dining hall at Hogwarts, and of images of fairyland from when I was young. Willow did beautifully- people are always impressed when she dances in gauzy skirts and tassels. It’s not like she’s going to be spinning fire-pots if she’s going to be hitting herself with them (much). I was amused to hear some kids who’d been called to watch going from “this is boring, can we go?” while she was stretching (although the gentlemen enjoyed that too) to being spellbound when she was actually doing it. They got some great pictures of it which in theory they were going to send us, but I’m not sure how to contact them. They gave us some bottles of lovely home brew (well, I’m not really that excited about fruity beer, but) I liked the ale as a thank you for her.
Kat actually party-hopped a little with her friends, but not being very interested in bellydancers or alcohol, they wound up helping themselves to some pastries and light-sticks and hanging out at camp Evil Duckie. (Cyndar’s) I always wonder if I’m “dragging the kids to things I enjoy”, but as they start to do more things in the SCA on their own, I’m convinced they actually like it.

SCA events are much more interesting to write about than what we do during the week. We continue to get ready for the work. This years workshops are on Anglo-Saxon Slavery (the one I’m writing up now), Anglo-Saxon Art, Anglo-Saxon Religion and Anglo-Saxon Leechcraft (I HAVE to share the new information from books I’ve gotten since I did AS Medicine a few years ago). Every so often I wonder if there isn’t a way to parlay all this fairly esoteric knowledge into a degree in history, but I’m left with the problem that there’s nothing to do with a degree in history, so I should pursue a more useful degree.
I continue to do the follow-up stuff on getting the loan (which in theory should be done next week), and insurance. (Their computer system keeps putting in default information that’s simply incorrect, but which must be corrected before the policy is accurate.) They sent me a form to sign saying that it was all correct to the best of my knowledge, and I had to correct SO many things! Their computer says that the house was built in 1920 because it doesn’t go back any further than that. It even changed my birth date! Just keep saying “Computer make our lives easier.”
The loan agent says the inspector says our house is worth more than we thought- but I forgot to ask him how much they said it was worth. I note that in my journal I wrote that the fellow looking into every room and closet in the house felt like I was paying someone to mug me.

This is our new money alter in the feng shui prosperity corner.
Our newly polished door guardian with the door green over cream that had been brown over cream.
Our kitchen with “witchy clutter” but clear counters- don’t blink!
Living room.
And of course Alex- who has locked himself out of his truck 3 times now (and finally gotten a spare key). There is so much crime at Alene candle, he has gotten into the automatically lock the car habit, but not yet the “take the keys with you” habit.

Freya came back. After Kat yelled at her for urinating on her bed she went up into the attic and has apparently been up there sulking. I’d think it would be too hot, but she doesn’t seem dehydrated. Kat found her by going up and sitting on the top of the stairs whimpering and emoting how miserable she was with Freya gone, so Freya came out to comfort her. Then slowly and sneakily, she scritch Freya on the head. If you have cats you know how they lean into a scritch, and she leaned it out over the stair until the cat fell down onto the stair below- then she slipped down onto that stair and started scritching again- step by step until Freya looked around, and realized that she was down on the second floor again. She apparently looked very indignant but rather than running back up the stairs, went back to Kat’s room. I, and I think Kat is too, am much relieved to see her safe. Sometimes something that’s only a trifle worrisome for a day or two becomes very disturbing after a week.

What I have I been reading? Pretty much the books for the workshops I’m researching. I find them fascinating, but would anyone else? Well, the people who come to the workshops I hope. What have I been watching? Nothing much- no time. Star’s been doing most of the Netflix watching- he has developed a great fondness for B flicks I can’t be bothered with. I did watch Dark Water because the trailer looked good, but I was disappointed. It was in the horror genre because it had a haunting (like the 6th Sense) but mainly it was the story of an incredibly stressed single mother trying to figure out what was really important. And as Willow pointed out, it left far too many questions (like her relationship with her mother) that had been raised unanswered. Kat’s been taking out the Home Improvement episodes. (They look so young!) Star has gotten very much into the show Pirate Master- he’d started milking the goats early so he wouldn’t miss any, but now they’ve moved it to 10, and he’s beginning to nod off before it’s over. I hate to admit it, but I’ve gotten interested in it. I find myself rooting for the nice guys, and against the game players. I guess it would qualify as a guilty pleasure.
Another guilty pleasure I’ve discovered is cheese hot dogs with sauerkraut.
I was talking to Kerensa and we started talking about nutrition! He reads packaging to avoid high fructose corn syrup (which I’d originally figured was good for you since fructose is from fruit- sigh. Will there ever be a time when I don’t believe things that I later find to be wrong?) One of his friends avoids the small bits of hydrogenated fats in many packaged foods, but doesn’t worry about commercial peanut butter and margarine because she can’t afford the fresh ground PB from the health food store or butter. (So she cooks with “butter flavored crisco”! wince!)
Then we started talking about the “technical” serving size they print on packages vs. what’s in a real serving. For example, he noticed that on a Hostess pie the “serving size” is 1.2 per package. Who do you know who’s going to not eat that last 1/6th of the pie because it’s not supposed to be part of a standard serving? He worked at a restaurant once when they were sending out samples of their meals to get the nutritional analysis, and the rep was asking them what they wanted for a serving size. They said the samples they’d given him were what they served, but he wanted to know what they wanted. It took them a while to figure out that the usual practice is to decide that the “serving size” of whatever the food is is 500 (or 505 or 495) calories, and from that figure out how many “servings” there are in the portion the restaurant serves (and then project the other nutrient amounts). That’s how one of my pregnancy books said that their lasagna recipe had 60 grams of protein in a portion- but adding up the ingredients, I realized that a portion was 2 pounds! Or more usually, a 3 pack of coconut snowballs says it’s 480 calories per serving. Most people I know would quickly figure that that must mean that since there are three, they are probably 160 calories each. But if you read it, you find that there are 3.5 servings per package, or 1680 calories if you eat all of them. He read his coffee creamer package (which shows the image of a light coffee) saying it contained 128 servings of half and half at 1.5 grams of fat per serving. If you were buying it figuring you used one serving per cup of coffee, and your family had 4 cups a day, that quart should last you a month. But of course, most people probably put in not 1 level teaspoon, but a tablespoon or two, which would mean not only that it would only last a week, but cost 4 times as much per portion, and really be 6 grams of fat per cup- which adds up if you are trying to keep your fat consumption down. Like the cream cheese ads. They show someone with probably 2 oz. of cream cheese on a bagel, and say “1/3 the calories of butter”. Who would put 2 ounces (4 tablespoons, 12 pats) of butter on a bagel? If you usually put even a couple of pats of butter on your bagel, that much cream cheese would be about four times the fat as you’d get from your butter. Drives me crazy.
He also mentioned that a trucker friend of his who was wondering why he was delivering a load of razor wire to what had been a closed camp, (and saw other truck loads of prefab concrete cells with barred windows). He was told it was emergency housing in case of another disaster like Katrina, but if so, why the bars? Why the armed guards? Are we not looking at something that maybe we should be? What did the Germans think was being built at Buchenwald in `37? Even thinking that makes me feel foolish and paranoid, but what if someone who has ideas of what’s good for the country which is horribly different than mine is starting something we would rather not have started? Isn’t denial of the possibility their best defense?

There’s always something to celebrate:
18 Railroad Day
19 Woman’s Day (& Feast of Cranks)
20 Chess Day & Moon Day (& Ugly Truck Day)
21 National Junk Food Day! (& Creme Brule Day- now there’s a combination!)
22 Ratcatcher’s Day
23 Vanilla Ice Cream Day
24 Tequila Day (& Pop a Wheelie Day- preferably not at the same time)
25 Act Like a Caveman Day

I keep trying to figure out where these holidays come from. Some are obviously promoted by whoever sells the product, but days like Act like a Caveman (or talk like a Pirate) probably are generated by greeting card companies- they did so well with Mother’s Day and others of that sort. So if someone says me instead of I and starts dropping articles next Wednesday, you’ll know that they are trivia buffs!

Mark came by- he’s off to North Carolina for his next job. He mentioned what made him give up on the Texas job- they wanted him to sign something holding them innocent no matter who did what or whether it was on purpose or not. I know that these things are just “standard”, and probably wouldn’t hold up to a challenge, but I always get cross when they ask you to say that you won’t sue if they screw you over. It implies that they intend to do it, and at very least indicates a total lack of their taking responsibility to fix it if they do it accidentally. Is it too much to ask people to take responsibility for their actions?

Oh, I don’t remember if you ever tried to send me an e-card but since spammers have turned to disguising their ads as e-cards, I no longer bother opening them, even when I recognize the address, because addresses are stolen so often. It’s really annoying that they can do that, but I suppose it’s part of a “free internet”. Hope this doesn’t mean I’ll be missing positive thoughts from you (I’m sure we all need cards to celebrate “act like a caveman day”) but in case you had started taking advantage of that option.

“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” – Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

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