September 26th letter
It’s also Family Day, Pancake Day, Good Neighbor Day, and Mid-Autumn Day (a Scottish Holiday marking the onset of deer season)
The rain has held off- thank goodness but it’s supposed to rain tomorrow. Wally says he’ll be over here in a week- It will be a lot less stressful when the roof is finally done.
I keep thinking I should cut down the hollyhock stalks because they are past- but then one more will come out on top. Willow’s rosebush is also blooming again. Out by the barn there’s a ladies thumb that is gorgeous, I’ve been tempted to go pick some for inside, but I hate to detract from the symmetry. The Asters are all white puffs now, but the color is really coming out in the trees. Considering how little rain we’ve gotten this year, I’m surprised at how much color I’m seeing. I suppose they may have made the color during the spring flooding.
We’ve been cleaning. The long attic on the second floor is now totally empty- and will remain so until the roof over it is finished. It just seemed like a good time to clean it while there was light coming in through the cracks between the roof boards, and it was lighter than you would ordinarily get in a windowless area lighted by one bulb. Most of what was in there- aside from the luggage- was just “stuff”, a dozen tiles for a suspended ceiling I’d thought to paint a female version of the creation of Adam from the Sistine Chapel on back when Emerald City Arts was open- figured some feminist would like it on their ceiling, and having it on tiles would make it moveable. There was the gun rack, but we’ll move that to the back hall near the reloading stuff. Better to have guns where you can get at them easily if you are going to have them. On the other hand, I think I’ll start locking the door to the back hall- don’t want to create an attractive nuisance.
There were old clothes and rags (I do hope to get to doing the same in the main attic- I’m sure there are a lot of clothes up there that we were waiting for someone to grow into which they’ve now grown past), lots of old science type toys- things Ælfwine and I would have loved as kids but our kids didn’t get into- a model of the “visible” woman, several chemistry sets and electronic sets. I put those by the “available” table at the recycling center. I have no idea if the people who run it would immediately toss them in landfill- but I hope someone gets a chance to take them. Actually, I don’t remember putting the chemistry sets there- Star may have put those directly into landfill- pity the school could have used the test tubes, beakers, etc.
There was a box of broken china dolls (Elizabeth used to play with them, so they did get broken) which Kat finds properly Gothy spooky and will be using for Halloween decorations. Kat made one of the pictures into black and white and is making art prints of that and some of their graveyard pictures into cards to try to sell. Basically- lots of stuff that was useable- but we won’t be using it, so I am finally able to get rid of it. I guess I’ll finally be able to pitch the kids old Halloween costumes when I get to the third floor attic. There were some spectacular ones.
From now on we’ll use it to store the bins of art supplies that have been accumulating in the studio so maybe we’ll actually be able to use the studio. The reason they are in bins is because we tend to bring the stuff down to the kitchen to do the work. There’s a bin of candle-making supplies, a bin of ceramic glazes and paintbrushes, a bin of herbal tools, a bin of dyeing stuff… If we can get them properly labeled (there’s no head room in there) and maybe we should add more lighting, we’ll be able to have them for the three or four times a year we go after them without having them in the way.
Saturday we went down to the Rhode Island PPD- this is the first time we went to that one- in previous years it’s been against something else we were going to. My ego was hyper inflated- the RI people put my picture as well as bio on the website. <http://www.ripaganpride.org/index_004.htm> It’s also on the Celebrate Samhain website. <http://www.celebratesamhain.com/who.html> I worry that it makes me so excited. I suppose I’ll get used to it.
We didn’t make as much money as at the Eastern Mass PPD, but I suppose it’s not as big- it’s in a great park though- in Pawtucket, RI. A bit more than two hours drive- about the same as to Maine PPD, less than VT when they were having them. Probably less than the CT Renn Fair. It was a large site- I liked the way they put up the class tents at the other end from the stage where the entertainment was- it’s always hard to hear (or be heard) over the bands when the speakers are set to reach the whole site. The vendors were all lined up along one side about 20 feet in from the road, so that we could all park right behind our 10x10s, and never had to move our cars away, nor come into the main area to load and unload. That was wonderful.
I wasn’t thrilled with how well my workshops went. I think I should have been better organized. I did an introduction to runes- which was fine because I’ve done it so often. But I also did “I’m not a witch!” (“they dressed me up like this!” “We did do the nose, and the hat,… ” from the old Monty Python routine) which was about the various other types of pagans out there. I think that’s a very important subject for any pagan pride day, and I’m going to organize my notes better- maybe even make a handout showing various types: Heathens (several types), Druids and Celtic Reconstructionists (not the same thing), Hellenists, Khemetics, Aztecs, Cannanites, well, lots as well as trying to at least explain the basic connections or lack thereof to such faiths as Hinduism, Shinto, Gnosticism, and various indigenous faiths ranging from Native American, Huna, Australian aboriginal, African animist, and the some of the modern religions that are synthesized out of older indigenous ones and Christianity like Santeria and Ifa (and should I or shouldn’t I include some of the truly modern faiths like Spiritualism, and the Church of All Worlds?). You can see why I was just able to highlight some of the many variations there are. I think a handout with basic info about the major ones would probably allow me to go more into discussions of what makes each different from the others. The other workshop I did was on the Perceptions of Witchcraft- which somehow got morphed into Perceptions of Pagans, so I changed gears and ran with it although I was a bit off balance. One of the police that was providing security came over during that and I always wonder how what I say is going to sound when filtered through various individuals perceptions.
They had food- which sometimes they don’t- and while it’s often over-priced ($5 for a hamburger?) it’s nice to not have to take food with you. We had packed sandwiches before we left; but since we left at 6, we hadn’t had breakfast (other than the Mabon ring) and we ate them after set up. I’d made a corned beef and swiss with sauerkraut (not quite a Reuben because I don’t care for the sauce they usually put on them) from what I’d bought for last weekend. BIG MISTAKE! While it had smelled OK while I was half awake, I’d only gotten about half way through it when I stopped and threw it out. I felt nauseous pretty soon, and as I was about to do two back to back workshops (at the far end of the park from the privy) I gladly accepted the homeopathic Nux Vomica Starwulf offered me. It quite did the trick, I felt fine almost immediately and was congratulating myself and thinking I should pack a homeopathic first aid kit myself. Fast forward to Sunday night however, and I had such a bad belly ache. Apparently it shut off the signals to vomit, so the bad stuff went down instead- and when it reached my lower bowel, it kind of exploded (probably gas), I didn’t care- I was hurting, I was swollen, I threw up the poor innocent food I’d eaten Sunday. I’m sure I worried the kids. I took my temperature and neither I nor my poor belly was hot, so I figured I would be OK- and in a couple of hours I was, but the moral is- if you eat something bad- go get rid of it. I should have taken Ipecac instead.
I spent most of Monday recovering- of course, that may have been because I’m older, or it may have been because I decided to do fast to help my system recover- nothing but juice and tea, working up to broth and yogurt. Maybe I was just hungry. But the ancient Romans thought that any man who couldn’t fast for a day was not a man, and I have always agreed with that in concept. It’s just that intentionally giving up food feels different than getting so into what you are doing that you forget to eat. Or maybe it was because I was starting the day from “totally empty”…
Luckily I had an easy task Monday- the latest order of stockings arrived, and I spent the day rolling them up in pairs- we have been selling a LOT of striped socks at the Pagan Pride Days- actually, I remember that someone came to the spring fair that’s a fund-raiser for the NH PPD specifically looking for us to get more stockings- so I suppose it’s just one of those things- you have to stay with it long enough to get a following. Maybe it will work that way for the sketches this year.
Willow and Kat went down to the Blake’s Open House and got new silver stock- I expect that’s what they are doing today- pricing the silver. They also went to a couple of stores to get new tables. We’d switched from the lovely wooden ones Ælfwine made to cardboard and aluminum ones that are light and pack easily- but after a couple of years, they aren’t flat any more which is bad for our display. Actually, I haven’t seen the new tables yet- concentrating on writing and cleaning.
And baking. Last week I republished the Mabon cookbook- re-wrote and illustrated it, and noticed that I’d suggested making the Mabon Rings in the evening, letting them rise overnight, and baking them in the morning- so I tried the delay start mechanism on our stove. It worked beautifully, although I miss our old oven that allowed you to program when you wanted it to turn off as well as turn on. Still, it’s nice to wake up to the smell of baked goods in the morning, so I’ve been putting stuff in before bed several times this week. I did miss the farmers market Friday, but since we were home on Sunday, Star and I went up to a local orchard and got a bushel of drops. A bushel of drops is $20 these days! I was appalled. Still, I suppose we often pay $3 a bag for apples in the store, and I don’t want to denigrate the work of people who produce food. Last night I just peeled and cored some apples, filled the middle with cinnamon sugar and walnuts and threw a crust over the top. Very tasty.
This week I got copies of 300 and Pathfinder, both movie versions of graphic novels and you can tell by the art. They are totally beautiful to look at (and I’m not talking just about all those physically fit young men in the 300!). The palate for Pathfinder is almost completely cool colors, and 300 almost completely warm, so they make an interesting pairing. I was shocked to learn that Pathfinder was actually based on the old Pathfinder movie- all I really noticed was the Viking vs. Indian stuff, but the basic tale is the same: a young man returns from hunting to discover that a roving band of brigands has totally wiped out his village and is trying to use him to find the next village to wipe them out- and it even has the avalanche revenge. I was going to say that they are so different in mood, but I guess they are both young me coming to grips with the same tragedy and being taught by an old shaman. I figure it’s going to be hard for anyone interested in history to get past those horrible fantasy “viking” decorations though. Why? Especially when they were so respectful of the Native American costumes? The 300 was wonderful- of course, I loved the original movie from my childhood- and the idea that even if you die, the fact that you made the attempt may inspire others enough that your side has an ultimate victory. I’ll admit the movie was SO comic-booky I kept waiting for them to kill Xerxes, even though that didn’t happen in history- but heck, what’s up with making the Persians African? And the immortals looked like they were Samauri. Weird.
We watched a movie called Elizabethtown from Netflix. It starred Orlando Bloom (is he allowed to do movies without a sword?) and was charming. Like Pathfinder, it’s the story of a young man trying to deal with death and failure- in the modern world where failure doesn’t kill you outright and you have to figure out how to go on living. That may well be harder. Other than that Kat took out Whose Line Is It Anyway?, (season 1, disc 1) very funny if lacking in content. I took out Kolchak the Night stalker (disc 1- it didn’t have a long run). I find it funny, but the kids won’t watch it. I can’t help being a little embarrassed looking at the clothing (and hairstyles!) I can remember we actually wore. I suppose we’ll go back to the horror fest soon. Did get a copy of Monster Squad on disc- that was a great one. Star keeps taking out movies like Superinframan which the rest of us ignore. He is not pursuing any course of study I can discern unless it’s becoming an expert on Japanese animated b-flicks.
I’ve been reading books on magick, witchcraft, and history- big surprise. I finally broke down and got a “class” (book and CDs) to learn Old English- 20 lessons, I should be done with it by March. One more “useless” ability (that I’ve always wanted). I expect my listening to/doing the out loud part is going to drive the kids crazy. I do like that they promote this as a way of being able to go to the sources to better understand them, which is why I want it. One book I’ve been enjoying is on psychic/magical protection. I found another (used) book on a healing system called Hado- it’s Japanese, it’s much like other energy healing systems.
We have watched some of the new shows on TV. The Big Bang looks rather amusing- young nerds in love. Sadly, the overtly sexual humor in sitcoms is really beginning to annoy me.
I’m sure there is lots of other stuff I wanted to say, but I’ve decided to reduce the time I spend on e-mail so I can do more work. Also the guy is coming to do maintenance on the furnace, and I want to clear the spider-webs away from it before he gets here. I could just sweep them down, but it occurred to me that if I vacuum, maybe I’ll get the egg sacks and if I put the bag in the dump we won’t get them coming back so much. Sure as heck would be creepy to have a huge bunch of them hatching out in the vacuum bag though. (I shouldn’t leave you on that note…)
I read that the Massachusetts supreme court tossed out the appeal of the idiots in Middleford who were keeping Azure Green from building their warehouse expansion. They claimed they were trying to keep the small town atmosphere- but the signs around town were posted by the SAS (Sisters Against Satan), so there was probably some religious component. Probably a lot more small town politics of course.
And we continue to be barraged by pre-primary political requests for money and phone surveys. I love being in NH where we actually get a choice. There do seem to be some fairly good options at this point. Let’s hope that money doesn’t weed out the best of them.
We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don’t like? -Jean Cocteau