Reasons to celebrate this week: It’s Remembrance/Patriot/Freedom/National Anthem Day (also Hot Cross Buns day- wouldn’t you think that would be in Spring?). Tomorrow is Video games Day and Chocolate Milkshake Day and Blueberry Buckle and Peanut Day , Wednesday is International Chocolate Day- or for those who don’t care for chocolate (I’d say “both of you”, but as I have two in my family alone I know there are many): Fortune Cookie Day and Defy Superstition Day. Thursday is Pregnant Women’s Day (like there are pregnant men?), and Cream Filled Donut Day. Friday is Sing-out Day and Remembrance for POW/MIA Day, also Beef Stew Day (if you know what food is being celebrated, you never have to actually think about what to make for dinner again). Saturday we get to a Remembrance Day for Hurricane Katrina, the Trail of Tears, and the Ozone Layer, and, less morbidly, Wife Appreciate Day. For food we have Eat an Apple Day.
What seemed to take up most of our time and energy this week feels like getting the washer and dryer in. Wednesday the washer was delivered. The poor guys had to lift it over the counter to get it in. Getting the new one in wasn’t too bad, but lifting the old one (about 600 pounds because it was weighed down with cement stabilizers) out was hard. I worry about their backs. I don’t ordinarily tip, but this time I did. One of the guys knew Travis- he recognized the dead car in the driveway. When they hooked it up the flip switch (to turn the water off at the wall) started leaking. I was cross for about a day, but then I figured that probably it was probably pretty much dead before they touched it, it was simply that no one had touched it in years. Luckily my plumber was able to come replace it Thursday, so it didn’t drip too long. (I guess most of plumbers work is “crisis” calls.) The delivery guys were pretty appalled by the spider webs in the basement, when they went down to look for another place to cut the water off to the leaky switch, but the plumber had been here before, and dealt with the century of accumulation of different (weird) plumbing with equanimity. Friday the appliance repairman showed up with the replacement liner for the door of the dryer. If I’d known it would only be $53 (less than the water cut off switch) I would have gotten it replaced a year ago.
As you might guess, as soon as the new machine was in, we did a “ton” of washing clothes. (Tuesday our big thrill was a major dump run.) The new washer has a large drum, and it looks odd to me, but I expect I’ll get used to it. It’s run with electronics, and has a row of flashing lights worthy of Star Trek. I personally expect the electronics to die before the washing mechanisms. The repairman assured me that yes, washers ARE supposed to last more than five years- ten or more is usual. It was only a defect in the model we’d picked that caused the problem in the old one. Good. The instruction book came with a disk to read in your computer! Sheesh!
He also looked at the stove on the way out and told me that the igniter is gone. We’ve been using a hand-held igniter, and he said that that was a good idea. It would be fairly expensive to replace. In a similar vein, the plumber looked at the shower stall and told us that the door pretty much needs replacing because the metal frame is twisted (which is why it’s leaking), but suggested that we could hang a curtain inside the door and keep the “look” without the cost of replacing the door. I love yankees who understand the virtue of economy.
The freezer is still frosting up. Before calling in anyone, I want to try cleaning out underneath and around it, and see if that helps.
We have decided that it is Fall. Kat has been longing for it since mid-summer. I decided that while 90 days is ordinarily a perfectly good length for a season, when you have a dozen days where it gets to 110º, it’s used itself up in about 60 days. In a similar vein, while it’s lovely to have three months of winter at 32 degrees, when it goes down to below zero too often, one is willing, nay, eager to have an abbreviated winter. So we are well ready for fall. And it’s supposed
Friday, after the repairman left, Star and I went out to get the feed for the week, and hit the Wilton Farmers Market. I miss it so often because we are often on the road between 3 and 6 on Fridays. I expect it’s timed for people to hit on their way home from work for the week. I dearly love the market, and spent, as usual, all the cash in my purse. We got apples- despite my feelings about fall coming early, there were still only Macs and Ginger Golds. Give it another week or two. But the peaches were ripe- and huge. I am SO sick of “sweet and crunchy” peaches from other-wheres. These were perfect. I got two bags, and then overheard the fellow tell someone else that all he had left on the truck were seconds. “Pie peaches?” I asked, and got a bag of those too. I also got a melon, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a bunch of lantern flowers for the altar in deference for Kat’s feelings, and a bunch of zinnias in a ball jar for me.
I also got a bunch of green beans- for dinner we just had new potatoes and fresh green beans. They only taste that good when fresh and new like this. And I made a peach pie of course, but the crust was soggy, poot. Made another one on Sunday when Steve came up and this time (having checked cookbooks) pre-baked the crust, and it wasn’t soggy. Aside from the pie I also experimented with a marble spice cake- which luckily was fairly small, and we had tuna noodle casserole- comfort food for a fall night.
We have also sent the summer plates (the colorful ones and the plastic and aluminum ones, and the shredded ice maker, and paper plate supports) up to the attic, and brought out the fall plates and glasses (with fall maple leaves around the edges). I also brought down one of the wicker Cornucopia to put the apples in. This disorients Star- he’s not ready for the summer to be over yet, but I understand we may get frost tonight, and that makes it fall in my mind.
The table would have been more lovely if Steve hadn’t noticed a damp spot on the tablecloth, which we thought was due to the cup we’d put our tea-bags in. But it turned out my beautiful melon had which had a hard shell was totally melted inside. Ick.
I actually read fiction this week (along with my more usual books on runes and Instant Magic). The rune book arrived and I commented with satisfaction “It’s by Nigel Pennick.” and will Willow asked “Oh, do we know him?” It occurs to me that we do know a lot of authors in the pagan section, from seeing them at shows. But Friday Pride and Prejudice (the one with Kiera Knightly) came from Netflix, and after watching it, I went into the library where I was pleased to find the book and spent most of the weekend reading it. I do identify with Lizzie- it is so easy to think too well of yourself and make truly stupid mistakes that you have to try to live down. It’s wonderful how the book remains so relevant two centuries later. Although I never cared for any Jane Austen when I was in high school. Steve and I talked about classics, he was blessed with a teacher who actually knew how to teach Shakespeare and figured that the only classics he cared for was Conrad. I really detested Dickens and most of them (even though I probably protested otherwise at the time in order to differentiate myself from my classmates). I think (forgive me if I’ve said this before) that the reason that classics are classic is because they are about universal human experiences- and most teenagers haven’t had those experiences yet, so they don’t relate to them. I wonder if they used to understand more at that age in earlier times? Nah. Austen wrote from her own experiences, and the 15-17 year olds were acting like teenage twits.
Another time-twist came in the form of the Pirate Movie, a very silly take-off on the Pirates of Pensance, which came out in the 80s about the same time as the movie version with Kevin Klein as the Pirate King. When we first meet the bevy of young girls who morph into the Major General’s daughters, they are walking down the boardwalk in bikinis. I expect that to each culture, it was about the same deal. It is honestly silly, and sometimes one does like a movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
It’s apparently been three months since we got the laptop for Cabochons. The free trial of Microsoft office seems to have run out, and as I’m sure they intended, we had to choose between scrambling to get a normal copy (which Willow managed somehow- I was just going to give up and buy the cheapest one I could find), or re-entering all the inventory we’d put into it in some other program.
She and Kat went over to Blakes to pick up a few things before the fair season starts- fill in holes in the inventory. I’ve got to order the stockings. And make more sculptures.
Willow went up to the lake over the weekend with Avi. Trevor works weekends, and I don’t think we’ve been up since Ælfwine got sick, and we used to go up the week school ended every year (including Avi for the last 6 years or so). We’ve been trying to figure out how to get away to do it again since Ælfwine died, but haven’t worked it out since we work so many weekends.
I’ve felt really badly about not going up to help Dad before and after his back surgery this summer, but my sisters have been doing it all without me. Then, miraculously, we had a free weekend (one of the Pagan Pride Days got cancelled), and I thought I could combine both reasons to get up to Farmington.
But it turns out that Dad doesn’t need that much help anymore- this Wednesday his doctor pronounced him fit to drive again. School’s started again so of course Kitty has gone back to Massachusetts (she’s also in the chaos of selling her house and getting a new one). So Dad said, “Love to see you, but I don’t need anything”, so I sent Willow “alone” (we love each other dearly, but 24/7 can get tiring for the best relationships), and I plan to go up during the week next week. Talking to Dad reminded me how much I miss him. And being back in Maine his accent has slipped back into the central Maine mode- every time I hear it on anyone I get all homesick inside.
Most of the pictures she brought back were of Xander, her doll, enjoying the lake.
Willow made him the swimming trunks.
But either he or Avi did get this one of her (which I think is pretty good).
Charley and Amanda loaned them their paddle-boat, and they went out and found water lilies- and discovered a cool thing. In the fall when they begin to close up and get ready for the winter- their stems start to curl up in spirals which pulls the heads down from the surface for winter. I think that’s really cool.
Avi had a firework that Tommy had left behind (at July 4th) and they set off the firework on the dock after it rained, and it made loud noises and sparks- which is what fireworks are supposed to do. They also took the sparklers we’d forgotten to use the 4th.
I’ve hardly seen Kat- she’s working on her novel (or is it a screenplay?) Vampires in Lyndeboro, which sounds pretty good so far. Even if it’s not great, it’s still practice, and that’s how a writer gets better. As I write Willow is sitting at her computer beside me, sorting out sheaves of pictures she’s done and scanned over the last few years, and she’s obviously improved over the years.
Saturday morning Kat came into my room looking for the waterbed patch kit because hers had gotten another leak. (Obviously, we spent the day washing and drying all her bedding except the feather beds.) We gave up on patching, and she and Star drained the bed, and put a box spring in the frame- so we are now done with waterbeds for the nonce.
Star still goes up on the roof every so often, but he really needs someone else to help him spread the ice shield- I wish I could go up, but my legs shake on the ladder. I’m too young to be this old- I’m sure it’s from lack of exercise, so I’ve decided (again) to walk every day, and I’m going to try to remember to do weight exercises too, until I’m “younger” again.
I’ve been working on articles, workshop handouts and proposals for other workshops. The last time I talked to Megan she suggested that I really should be doing more workshops and getting paid for them. She suggested I might check out the free magazines they distribute in the health food store, so I picked up a few- and discovered that while I wouldn’t mind much being taken for one of the speakers on alternative health, I cringe at the idea of being associated with most of the psychic “kooks” who advertise in those magazines. Choices, choices! Do I embrace my “inner kook”, and try to make it pay, or flee that scene in terror (embarrassment)? The Conferences don’t seem so bad, because I know that they are information exchange. And the Rennfaires are simple pleasure- with an historical twist, which makes it seem more palatable to me. I wish I felt I was actually making more money. I suppose that since I really need to make more sculptures before fair that means we must have been selling them, so I must be contributing something. I am just not sure it’s enough. I feel like my biggest contribution is cooking, cleaning and passing out vitamins. That’s fine, but women do so much more these days.
There’s a copy of an 1950s Ladies Home Journal article that’s going around the web these days so women can get all upset about how awful it was. It advises women to take a few minutes before their husbands come home, tidy themselves, the kids, and the house up, and try to make the man feel that home is a place where he can relax and be in control. Not bad advice at bottom. Sure, there are some pretty awful howlers amid the good advice, which indicate that the woman should subordinate her needs to those of the man who, after all, is making the money. Funny how the response to this stupid mistaken premise (that the money was the way you knew he was more important), was for women to decide that their contributions were worth nothing, so they should go make money too- and then they’d be just as important as the males. I have to wonder what kind of society we would have made if instead we’d done something to confer value on non-remunerated contributions. Can you imagine- “sure, you make $75K, but what have you actually done to help the family be happier and healthier? How much stress relief have you accomplished? How have you made family members feel proud of themselves? How much have you shared your knowledge? How much have you hugged and listened to?” I know- financial stress is real, and money can buy many things that make one happy- like those lantern flowers I got Kat. But I’m talking theoretically. Why do we allow money to be the way we put value on so many things?
Well, off to paint and sculpt. It is what I do, and I’m good at it. I guess I just fall into the same feeling that if I’m not getting paid for it, it doesn’t count. Phooey!
“What more is necessary to make us a happy and prosperous people? Still one thing more … a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from labor the bread it has earned.” Thomas Jefferson