8-3-2014 Welsh Rarebit Day

“Today is better than yesterday”, that seems to be today’s theme. Yesterday was SO hot and sticky! We were all so thrilled when it finally rained (even though I had to rush out and bring in the wash from the line).. Today is more in the expected level of summer heat.

I guess it’s a “gold” time of the year. The nasturtiums are blooming, and the back is full of goldenrod on the hills and jewelweed in the wetter spots.  I am impressed with the phlox- the pink ones are still going, and they last well as cut flowers.


I was hoping I’d be able to tell you about our adventures at Harpers last weekend, but we ended up not going. We were, we think, passing an illness around, but it’s hard to tell. Kat’s been having all sorts of unpleasant symptoms as “side effects” of the drugs she’s trying. Since Willow has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, she lives with a varied round of unexpected symptoms that come and go and encompass almost everything except bleeding.  Me? I am pretty darned sure I got sick from the stress of spending several hours straight dealing with voice mail and flappers receptionists, trying to find a psychiatrist that Kat’s primary wanted to add to her team that would take both Medicare AND a new patient.  When I did get past voicemail I would get friendly, perky receptionists who’d often give me numbers for someone else to call (more than voicemail would do), but the numbers would as often or not be to a fax machine. How do other people deal with it? I cry and take Rescue Remedy.

A lot of them wouldn’t (couldn’t?) talk to me because Kat’s over 18. (We now have a letter in her file we can get faxed from Dr. Mozumder to other offices saying that she has social anxiety that prevents her from talking on the phone.)  Sigh. Finally I called our lawyer, and we’re getting a “power of attorney” so I can legally talk to people for Kat. He thinks (of course, as he’s a lawyer) everyone should have one just in case, and I understand that no one wants their “loved ones” calling a psychiatrist on them behind their backs. I get that, but it’s still frustrating, and by the end of the day I was feeling quite ill.

I spent the next day sleeping almost all day, and was pretty much recovered by Friday, which we spent trying to figure out if we went to Harpers Retreat whether we’d give the other people there “Pennsic Plague” “Con Crud” or whatever else you want to call whatever opportunistic bacteria or virus hits people when they’re bunched up with high stress, less than optimal nutrition and rest, and foreign organisms. Against this we had the fun we’d been hoping for, plus the classes I was going to teach and Kat’s duty to run the Gold Key. We opted against it, and put a plea for help out on the internet. Within minutes (it seemed) someone (Captain Hobbs of TRM ship The Scorned Lady) had offered to pick it up “on the way”.

This gave us the free time and energy to rest more. (In a fit of remorse, I updated the handouts on my website for the workshops I missed teaching.) I was also able to put more time in on the banner. Let’s just say that I’ve learned not to jump right into a major project. With Willow’s help, I made four test squares, put the motifs on them, and we tried different variations of gold embroidery floss and cord on each. It turns out the one we like best is a totally pain to lay down. The second best is the one we picked, but has no good way to fill in the snake.

The theory is that I’m adapting an Anglo-Saxon blanket page with circular motifs that I’m turning into snakes so it approximates my heraldic arms, so you really do need to see the snakes against the background of gold “diapering”.  Having decided that (given that there were 15 fairly complex motifs) I’d do better to make a stencil first rather than drawing them all freehand, this became far too much of a production. I tried using a dremel and cutting the stencil from plexiglass- which didn’t work to well. Then I tried cutting one from a “craft foam” with an exacto knife. That worked better, but it’s not fine enough for a total trace, so it provides a guide for me to hand draw each of the fifteen motifs (sigh).

We tried a shiny type of embroidery floss, a fairly thick gold cord that would show up well, but looks frankly cheap, a good looking gold ribbon- that doesn’t curve well at all, a thinner craft “knotting cord” (the front runner) although it doesn’t lay down well for the filled in snakes. We did NOT try the actual gold- I’m not ready to invest THAT. (I’m saving it for garb.)

It will, however, look spectacular! Doing the test pieces has given us an idea of how long it will take to do each one (about 6 hours). We may get faster, but there’re also the bits between to work on as well. I also didn’t figure out how long it would take to actually draw (much less cut the stencils) on the banner.

Willow reminded me that I need to get my gown started, since I’ll be doing that while she starts on the banner. There’s always a bit of trepidation when cutting into really expensive fabric, but I got through it. Sadly, while I had a shirt to use as a pattern to make sure the fit was correct, I “adapted” it, using the pins I’d used to mark where the arms go, and will have to add gussets. Darn. But it moves beautifully.

Kat will be making herself an overgown with the handwoven fabric I got a few years ago because it was discounted for a weaving flaw, and never finished because there just wasn’t enough of it. Right now she’s cleaning it- I think the cats slept on in while it’s been waiting in the to-do pile. Most of the cutting is done, however I’m a bit discouraged because of the goof. I’m trying to decide whether to start with the neck, so it won’t ravel, or save it until I’m feeling more confident so that I do a neat job where it will be most visible. Decisions decisions.

Oh, and we decided that there was enough evidence that we were too tired (if not contagious) to cope, so it’s good that we didn’t go. We took lots of vitamins and rested as much as possible. Sadly, having rested, I’m now behind on lots of things- like posting the panels and doing the schedule for the con. And I didn’t schedule a guest for the show tonight, but luckily yesterday Sharon Morrison, who’s working on the New Hampshire Pagan Pride Day, was chatting with me and agreed to come on and talk about Animal Totems, so I lucked out on that!

This morning I went over to the Radisson in New Hampshire, for a walk through for 2015 CTCW. If we can’t find something significantly cheaper, 2014 will be the last one. Jane and I cannot afford to keep dumping money into it. If it can’t support itself, it doesn’t deserve my effort. I did like the Radisson, but we’ll have to see what kind of deal they offer.

Kat seems to be doing better this week, although she felt so awful on Sunday that we were thinking of calling the doctor. I suspect gas, when I had gas it was much more painful than labor or surgery, and is combined with a great feeling of “something is not right”. She does feel better now though, and her appetite seems to be returning a bit, which is reassuring.

While I was relaxing I read Terry Prachett’s Unseen Academicals. I loved the character of Nutt who has to go through the process (symbolic of everyman?) of deciding whether he has achieved worthiness. For most of the book he seemed to be asking other people if he was worthy, and finally seemed to decide that he was for himself. Perhaps that’s what we all have to do. It’s much easier when you have others who aren’t constantly suggesting that you are not.  I was rather hoping that Prachett, who seems to be able to explain a lot of things well, would be able to explain the appeal of sports to me, but as usual, it devolved to a suggestion that when you’re in “the shove” it possesses you, and that’s why people like it. Since I don’t particularly ever want to be in it, nor be possessed by it, I guess I’ll have to be satisfied with that theoretical explanation.

Last night I started Wickedly Dangerous, a modern mystery about a “witch” and sheriff solving a series of kidnappings. I’ve only just started, but I like the idea that Baba Yaga isn’t a character, but a job description, and that she travels around in a Jetstream. I am looking forward to reading the rest of it, but fear it may take a while since every minute is well booked. While working on the banner I’ve listened to both Hobbit movies, all the LOTR movies, and almost all of the Harry Potter movies. With at least a hundred hours of embroidery in the next two weeks, I expect to listen to a lot of movies (or maybe some audio courses).

Sadly, or happily, that’s about it for this week.


Those who will not reason are bigots, those who cannot, are fools and those who dare not are slaves. Lord Byron

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