8/29/13 Lemon Juice Day

Another week has passed, and I am in a fog. I think at least part of that was the weather. Back on Saturday they said there’d be big storms coming in, and I think it’s the changing air pressure that has been making me feel “odd”. Willow’s been sensitive to it for some time, but either I’m getting more sensitive, or this had major pressure differences. I was SO relieved when it finally rained last night. It was like waiting for three days for the other shoe to drop. I enjoy watching the apples swelling on the trees, and we’ve had some lovely local corn.
The girls and their friends went up to the lake for the week and came back down Saturday night. Saturday morning Nancy buried Jay (Bob’s son) in the plot by the lake, so there was some major logistical planning to find beds for everyone who wanted to attend. Luckily Charley and Amanda offered the use of Grandmother’s camp. Liz told me not to bother to come up for the half hour ceremony, there were no more beds, and I’d have had to leave before six, then turn around right after. Still, when they shared this picture of “everyone” else in the family, I wondered if I should have gone anyway. Bless Liz, she found Willow waiting for the sheets they’d taken off the beds they used to dry and offered to put them back on for her. The mini-washer/dryer at the lake is a great convenience, but not meant for anything except the occasional item.

richards family(2)The girls say they enjoyed their “Cabin in the Woods Con”, but they didn’t bring me down any fun pictures. It is, I think, a real vacation for them. As I understand it, they hang around drawing and snacking, occasionally going down to swim or boat, (continuing drawing), play board games, talk comics and art, and don’t do much else. I know I called once when they were headed out to watch the full moon rise over the water, and they shot off some fireworks. Relaxing.

clearwater west viewThis is good because the fall season is upon us. I just moved the calendar up, and this is what we’re looking at for the next couple months (weekends)
Aug 31st- Harpers, an SCA event
Sept 7/8 Southern NH Pagan Pride Day, and Southeaster Mass PPD
Sept 14 Eastern Mass PPD
Sept 21 Mabon
Sept 28 WMAPPD (and TC leaders meeting)
Oct 5 Coronation (SCA)
Oct 12 Twilight Covening
Oct 19 Celebrate Samhain & Another Anime Con
Oct 26 free!
Nov 2 Boston MENSA RG & Bakuretsu Con
Nov 9 Changing Times-Changing Worlds
Nov 23 Stonemarche event
and we’re still trying to get in touch with the Darkover people.
Sadly there is only so much energy, and the kids are
Renovations continued this week. I’ve been putting up pictures every day showing Don’s progress in the pantry. Last week we had the cabinet bottoms framed, then he put up the frames for the shelves over them, then the shelves and the counter tops, then put ends on the cabinets. Yesterday he created the counter top to put in front of the window. They didn’t think we should put a counter in front of the window, I did, and a removable one is the compromise. Today Don is polyurethaning the cabinets. They are really gorgeous. Wally said he thought they were just doing shelves, but I have a “kitchen”.

pantry upper shelvesNot really, there’s no sink or stove. On the other hand, we will be putting the limestone slab in there when the poly is dry, and we may put in a single burner beside it for when Willow’s doing herbals.pantry honey shelves

We had them put in 4″ shelves behind the doors. They didn’t make them full width so that the door could open all the way. I’d told them not to worry about it- we used to have a foot wide shelf there and could only open the door halfway, but, oh well, it’s done now. Maybe we’ll keep the broom there, or something else. He also didn’t get the “make it just big enough for one can- here’s the can to use” instruction. Lots of wasted space unless I can find some tall cans!clothes line

Wally put up a clothesline off the back porch. Very nice. I like that I can grab the basket, go out the back and hang them. Of course, putting clothes up may have brought on the rain (if you put much stock in Murphy’s Law). I’ve asked Wally to also put some sort of stairs in so I can get down under there when- inevitably- something falls off. Meanwhile, it’s going to be great!

new counterfolddown shelfAlso yesterday Paul put in the gate-leg counter extension at the end of the counter. It’s a solid slab of wood, and has two gate-legs under it. He routed them so they can next together when folded. Actually I don’t think it needed to be quite so big, since the dish-racks aren’t that long- but it’ll only be up about an hour a day. Today he’s installing the foot-pedal under the sink, to save money and time washing dishes. I first saw those in the hospital at the stations where doctors wash up. It keeps things cleaner if they don’t have to touch the faucet after washing. My feeling is that for me it means that the water is off when I’m not actively rinsing a dish. I’m very psyched about it. They weren’t available ten years ago. Now that people are so freaking paranoid about germs, they make them for homes.
Wally told me they’ll be done by the end of the week. They can come back and finish anything we’ve forgotten after they do the next big job. Things like putting on the cabinet doors, and shelves under the sink, etc. Wally plasters, and has made the hall ceiling look great for the first time in years. As we can see, it’s still a little uneven, but this is a 160 year old farmhouse not a mansion. I want it to look cozy and welcoming, not imposing.
I’ll admit that I’m happy it’s getting close to done. I figure it’s like riding a roller coaster or some other amusement park ride: you wanted to do it, you paid for it, stood in line to get it, anticipated it, kind of enjoyed it, but it’s not entirely comfortable, and about half way through, all you want is for it to be over! At least that’s how I’m feeling right now. I know it’s going to be great when it’s done, but I just want to be able to go find a dish or a tupperware or whatever when I need it without digging through piles in the living room! I want to be able to put things AWAY! (wait- who said that?)ceiling

As I write Willow and John are packing the trailer for Harpers. I am NOT thrilled with the weather reports for this weekend, but am looking forward to using our new tent for the first time. Since Kat was still in Maine (or on her way down), I went to the Stonemarche Curia by myself to reassure them that Kat would be there with Gold Key. I also admitted that I couldn’t figure out how to attach a page for Stonemarche’s SCA History to the Barony page, so Kythe (the seneschal) had to set that up. Anyone who’s been in the SCA and has stories can add them, and I think my role is going to be to try to organize them, and motivate people to contribute.
I’m trying to convince Willow we can pick the bins up on the way to the event since we’ll be going through Manchester anyway. She’s worried that the parking lot by the storage facility will be full, and with the trailer backing is nearly impossible. (Give us another few years, we’ll get better.) The site we’re going to- Camp Birch Hill in New Durham, NH seems to be the same one as last year where they are so pissy about driving on their grass and have a lot of big rocks and trees that make it a real bitch to turn around. Even though I taught and we sold and saw friends and there was a feast and a bunch of other stuff, when we think about that event all we can remember was that last horrible hour trying to get out. They reassured us that there are easier ways to turn around. I sure hope so.
I hope the weather isn’t going to be rainy all weekend. Not that I don’t think the new tent won’t be snug, but packing wet canvas is awful, and drying it when you get home is just not something I want to do. As long as I was getting it, we got a tent repair kit, a fire extinguisher cover, and a couple of other little things. We’re packing the “Mr. Propane” heaters rather than the portable fire pit- they’re great to put under a table to warm your feet and dry your socks.

With the stuff from the pantry all over the living-room and dining room Willow hasn’t been able to get started on cutting out her blankets for the fall season, and she (and I) am worried about the schedule exhausting her. She also has plans to go to a concert next week, and down to NYC with her friends.
She has also started on the renovations of her mouth (as have I). She broke a tooth just before leaving for Maine, and I was only able to get her an appointment in three weeks, but then I accidentally scheduled my next appointment with the new dentist at the same time as one with Dr. Roy, so I gave her that and started her on her series of visits. At this point she’s got two root canals that they are able to predict. I’ve got a couple of crowns coming, and we haven’t even gotten John and Kat started. I must say I like the new dentist. He doesn’t seem to have any problem with not using anesthetic if it’s not needed. Dr. Roy always seems to cringe when I decline. Also, they schedule a week out, not 3 weeks, and I like that.

Steve came up for supper on Sunday. We tried a new recipe Megan shared. Cube tomatoes and keep them overnight (or longer) in a vinaigrette dressing. Willow calls it a chutney rather than Tomatoes Vinaigrette. Kat found it frustrating because even before adding any spices the mixed heirloom tomatoes smelled so good, and she’s allergic to raw tomatoes (which is why we usually only put cherry tomatoes in our salads- they don’t contaminate hers). We aren’t certain that she might not be able to eat some of the heirloom tomatoes- but testing something that might make you ill seems a bad idea. When it got low I got another batch including some that are green when fully ripe. (I should have taken a picture of those!tomatoes

This week I’ve continued reading about Merovingian and Carolingian Francia. One of the books on England and the Continent had a LOT of stuff about travel between England and Rome in the Anglo-Saxon period. I’ll have to add that when I get around to doing the booklet on travel. There’s stuff about the elephant Harun al Rached sent to Charlemagne- apparently he sent it before Karl was crowned Holy Roman Emperor, so that’s pretty cool.
I’m also totally excited about the books by Claude Lecouteaux. He’s a great scholar of folktales, and I’m devouring his books! I started with Witches, Werewolves, and Fairies: Shapeshifters and Doubles in the Middle Ages, but switched over to The Return of the Dead: Ghosts, Ancestors and the Veil of the Pagan Mind, since he often referred back to it. I suppose I should read them in the order he wrote them. Even in The Dead, he makes references to the wild hunt, so one can see why he eventually had enough material to write Phantom Armies of the Night a few years later. I love that he starts from the point of view of not immediately dismissing anything that old texts have to say, although he often mentions how culture or religion effects perception in these accounts. I want to share this with everyone. He’d be a perfect speaker for Changing Times-Changing Worlds, but a) he’s seventy, b) he lives in Paris, and c) I’m sure we couldn’t afford him. He is Professor emeritus at the Sorbonne, chair of their German Civ and Medieval Literature. The books are in translation, although I was able to read an interview with Lecoutaux in French, I worry how much I may have missed. I’m toying with the idea of getting an original French language version and seeing how I do with it. (Sadly, most of those are much more expensive than the translations.)
I have put SO much time on the con! I never thought it would take this much time! But there’s advertising (just got my copy of Spirit of Change- I still think the ad Kat did was better than what they turned it into), and registrations, and planning panels, and getting speakers and vendors, and readers, mapping the dealers room, talking to the hotel, and Jane, and answering questions, and fighting with the website…. I wish I could make it do what I want it to do. Worst of all is that we can’t seem to combine the registration form and payment, so people do one or the other, not both! This week I also discovered that Yahoo had decided to “improve” their sites. When I went to the CTCW site to fix a banner I’d put up with the wrong spelling of the hotel (Crown not Crowne) our picture was changed from an Aurora Borealis to the Kremlin Domes. When I went to check the SCA schedule, the Barony site picture was some Temple Dogs from somewhere in Asia. What the Heck?

And there’s also planning the workshops I’ll be doing at all the events we’re attending this fall. AND planning for the New Normal- by the way, next week, September 4th, instead of having a guest I’ve decided to have a “call in” show, so if anyone has a “The time I saw a Ghost” story, do call in (between 8 and 8:45 Wednesday evening) at 619 639 4606. In my experience most people have either seen/felt/heard/or smelled what they think may have been a ghost at some point, even if they aren’t sure. I do believe in ghosts (I don’t believe that THAT many people through out history can be wrong), although I don’t believe in orbs/ spirit photography. We’ll talk about it, but since I haven’t got a popular show right after mine anymore, my audience numbers are down- so if you have time and inclination, get on your computer next Wednesday, go to Liveparanormal.com, and you can listen there. If I don’t have anyone call in, I’m going to have to blither for an hour by myself, and oddly enough, I don’t want to do that.

John and I watched a very silly movie this week called Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters. It was totally for fun- they had steam punkish weapons, the witches were all weird looking and evil. They spoke very modern English unrepentantly, and basically had a bunch of fun with the idea. Since there was no attempt at anything but fantasy, leaving the history out didn’t bother me. I also watched an old movie Outland, kind of a cowboy movie in space with Sean Connery. It’s supposed to be a classic, but I’m not sure why. I also watched Horton Hears a Who, and wasn’t impressed with that either. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t as fun as H&GWH, and they tried to hard to develop the characters of the whos, and the theme of standing up for your own beliefs. Seuss did it right.

This week I had errands almost every day- something I try to avoid, and I listen to NPR when I’m in the car. Good heavens! I used to be addicted to listening to the news. Didn’t think I could bear not knowing what was going on in the world. (On fb they tend to pass around comments on which star has gotten which role, and what Mily Sirus wore- I wish I could filter that out!) Tuned in this week and Syria’s using chemical weapons on their own people (caught on phone cameras), and fires are burning down the west again, and people are griping about what we still need to do rather than what has been accomplished since Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech. I can now say for sure that my addiction is broken. I am not particularly interested in watching tragedies all over the world at once.
The course I’m listening to this week is “Events that Changed the World” with Kenneth Harl. I skipped ahead to the lecture on the Black Death- he concluded that while it was pretty traumatic for the people involved, he didn’t think that anything that changed afterwards wouldn’t have happened anyway. There are always epidemics going on, and the survivors move on. Personally, I’d disagree. Oddly enough I tend to side with the historians who spoke on the History Channel (yes, I usually disparage the History Channel). I took out the disc on the Dark Ages, which was pretty well done. It was directed by the team that did Engineering an Empire, and they may be better than some others. The special extras included a documentary on the Black Death- the 14th century plague, oddly, not the 6th century version Justinian’s Plague. I think that would have made more sense. Anyway, those professors said that they tended to believe the contemporary reports that suggested a 50% mortality not the more conservative 33% most scholars mention these days. Given that most epidemics get less virulent each time they strike, and 33% was good for the most recent one in 19th c. China, and in urban areas it was upwards of 90% in Justinian’s plague, I think 50% is probably about right. I also think it did have a lot to do with the “fall” of the Roman Empire.
Anyway, yes, survivors do start over no matter what horrible things happen, and horrible things are happening every day. But so are wonderful things. I suppose it’s really hard to predict which things are going to have major impacts later, but I do think that presenting new discoveries and solutions to problems is more important than trying to get people scared or angry or even amused. The news says that they are just trying to get people’s attention (so that they can sell advertising). I figure that if you need to use sex to sell “news” you’re not thinking about your target audience.
Well, I must get off and go to the Library and the dump. I’m not sure that the poly is going to dry more slowly in this weather than it would have in the hot humid weather we had last week. But when we get back, I should be able to put everything back on the shelves. Boy, am I looking forward to that!
Tchipakkan

“Right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance

and conscientious stupidity.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

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