9/14/2011 Mom and Apple Pie Month

(Well, so much for getting this out before noon!)

Gorgeous day again. What a wonderful season. I have promised myself a walk when I finish the letter- but it would be easier to rhapsodize about the local flora and fauna if I took the walk first… temptation, temptation. I can still enjoy the strip garden by the door when I let the cats in and out. (Mouse dropped by today- he hardly ever does. He was gone for a month after Pennsic and I thought we’d lost him, but he just is enjoying the great outdoors I guess. Zoloft often goes out for the night too.) I have a pink and a white “fragrant stock” plant. I hope that they will become clumps- we had stock down at the old house, and I do like it. The hollyhocks, having been confused by the weird weather, are still blooming, and so are the morning glories. That’s two bell shaped flowers, but the colors are different. We are beginning to see the very first colored leaves coming in, but it’s pretty summer-like. Must be awful for the kids who’ve gone back to school. And I suppose it is for the people who go to offices. I hope they drive with their windows down and have some lovely places to drive by. I am enjoying driving by the orchards- the apples are coming in- you can almost smell them as you go by- or maybe I’m suggestible.

Honour’s sister came up this week and drove her around to several stores. Last week when I went out on errands, she came with me, and she’d put her keys in the pocket of her dress, and they fell out at Staples. Of course we’d gone to nearly a dozen places, and she found them at Staples. She was lucky to have thought to check there. I’d gone to Staples to drop off (on the way out) and pick up posters for CTCW to distribute at the Pagan Pride Days, and she’d gone into the Dollar Store next to it. Of course she’d called the Dollar Store, and all the other places we went, but apparently they fell out while she was climbing into or out of the van, and were turned into the “wrong” store. What a relief- she’d had to spend the night at Megan and Dennis’, have her building’s emergency services let her into her apartment, and of course there were many other keys (like the ones to her car and trailer) on the ring. She’s now made some duplicates in case of emergencies. I suppose we should do the same. It’s always more convenient to learn from OTHER people’s difficulties.

As soon as we’d gotten home we’d packed the van because we had to be up in Manchester at 8:30 to set up. We were lucky because we were nearly on the end of the row, and the end person filled in a spot so people could approach our side. It’s really hard to fit everything we are offering under a 10×10 pop-up, but that’s what the standard space is these days. Tish and Andrew, of Alchemy, were right near us, so we got to chat off and on, and we know a lot of the others nearby- Kate, Mike, Chris, Cassie and Beth, Dawn, Angela, and Charles and a lot of the other merchants. Actually, the performers too- I think this “community” is too small, if we know that many. Tish has lost a LOT of weight. I’d be jealous if I weren’t so worried about her. She told me about a drink she’s found- 160 calories, and 40 grams of protein. That’s a great supplement, but you shouldn’t live on it. Maybe that’s just sour grapes because I love food too much to give it up. She looks fabulous! I was so psyched, Kali had picked two classes that I’ve wanted to give for quite a while but no one wanted them- How to Heal from a Cold, and Love Spells and why you shouldn’t (sub: how to really screw up your life). Sadly, they were up against a medium- the workshop I’d have loved to attend, and only her daughter came to mine. We had a lovely chat, but I feel as though I still really haven’t given those classes. We had subs from the sub-shop across from the Birka site, and I had a great chat with Chris Lafond, who offered to do the program for CTCW, so that’s another weight off my mind.

In an intro to one of her songs, Jenna Green told the story of a friend whose doctor told him that he had to have an operation or he’d be dead in three days. (Why do they say that sort of thing? That’s what they told Aelfwine- “You have to start chemo today or you’ll be dead in three days”, and they didn’t even do any treatments for three days. They must teach them to say that when they want compliance.) When she came to visit him he was fine “Either I’ll die, and I’ll be in the arms of the Goddess, or I’ll live and be in the arms of the Goddess, so either way, I’m good.” Maybe that’s the kind of perspective you get when you’re given three days. If they give you a year or a month, or maybe even a week, that can start you on a “what can I get accomplished in the time left” mindset. When you are “about to die”, I’m thinking acceptance may be easier. What would I do if I was given three months? Would I blow off the con, or try to make it work well so that it could go on without me? It’s an interesting exercise- what would you do if you were told you were going to die in a week, a month, a year? One thing, whether it was three days or three years, I’d stop wearing clothes I don’t like, and eating food I don’t like, so maybe it’s time to ditch some things.

I have been having a lot of “cooking fail” this week- the two most impressive ones were with some sausage I picked up at Market Basket on sale this week, so it could have just been a bad batch of sausage. One I’d put with beef into a mixed stew (after talking about many kinds of stews with some other cooks, and getting adventurous), but it turned out to have been mislabeled, sweet italian sausage, not garlic and cheese. The fennel was overpowering. My old standby, potato soup didn’t work out, and by and large, cooking hasn’t been working for me.

This really gets me where I live because while intellectually I know that I cook more and (usually) better than most, read more, and do more creative stuff, emotionally I feel like I’m not getting as much done as “everyone else”. “All the other women my age” (and since this is in my imagination, let me point out that that is late forties) manage to hold down a job that pays the bills including insurances, home repairs, vacations, and the other things I can’t afford, while keeping their houses clean (as clean as I see them on the rare occasions I visit other people, which means they probably cleaned for it), do at least a bit of crafts, keep abreast of the national and international news, care for their kids and spouses, support charities, exercise (regularly, of course) and have some time left for themselves. Intellectually I am aware that this is as much a fantasy as most feature films, but it has an annoying persistence in my subconscious. I suppose a lot of people don’t cook supper from “scratch” (basic ingredients) almost every day anymore, and not many people organize conventions. But that doesn’t change the way one FEELS, does it? As I write I’m working on a “chicken parmesan” variant. (I don’t bread the chicken, and I add extra onions, garlic and some mushrooms. Willow’s made some garlic bread.) Luckily, I seem to be coming out the other end of the funk I’ve been in for the last month. That or the backed up things I’ve been ignoring have finally become to pressing to ignore.

Sunday we had to get up even earlier- as with New Hampshire Pagan Pride Day, Southeastern Mass Pagan Pride Day opened at ten, so we were supposed to arrive to set up between eight and nine. It, however was two hours drive, so we had to get out at six thirty rather than seven thirty. Remembering the stress of the last hour last year, while I did get the chai I’m so fond of at Dunkin Donuts, I didn’t actually drink any for an hour. So not only did I not burn my mouth, I also didn’t have the stress of needing a rest room along that long stretch of I-495. (If I remembered it for a year, you can imagine the stress. We might as well laugh at it now!) We love SEMAPPD, it’s got a lovely site, and the people are great, and the locals seem to spend more than at other PPDs. That SO makes the trip worth it. They also gave me a voucher for lunch because I was speaking, which was really nice. (Come to think of it, I got the “bratwurst” there, and they didn’t have any of the sauerkraut or usual trimmings, so even that sausage was disappointing.)

For them I did my palmistry class- always a big favorite. People love the idea of learning something that’s such a good party trick, and so potentially useful. One can only give a basic overview in one hour, but it’s a good beginning, and they may move on from there. I also did my “healing without tools” workshop- lots of energy techniques from Therapeutic Touch to Dynamind to Dousing. That was also popular, but it was strange, no one asked questions, they just stared at me and scribbled notes furiously. That’s a little intimidating. At both PPDs I also went around and passed out the posters I’d gotten made and lots of cards for the con. I think Willow had printed up about 200 (and we already had some) and I nearly ran out. Of course, some of those went to other people to distribute. Sunday was easy because so many of the vendors were the same as the ones on Saturday (back to this is a small community). I did meet some new folks, and hope I got a few more speakers for the con. Since it was six by the time we got out and a two hour drive, we ate on the way home.

We’re going to see if we can do any errands in Willow’s car this week so we won’t have to unpack and repack the van for Eastern Mass Pagan Pride this weekend.

Monday was difficult. I wanted to get back and caught up on the con- especially as Thursday Josh and Raven got back from their latest tour and Josh told me (again) how to update the website. This is where I figure out whether not being able to do that was just an excuse, or the reason I was falling behind and felt I couldn’t do anything. So here I was, full of good intentions, but had one of those complications one never anticipates.

Do you remember that last week (or the week before) I complained about the cats not killing the rats I could hear scurrying around over my head? I put out rat poison and the scurrying stopped. I was happy. Then during the weekend I started smelling something- I think it was the dead rats between the floor and ceiling or maybe in the walls, making their presence known with olfactory rather than auditory means. Yuck!  Monday the miasma was really awful. Luckily, it was warm enough that I could open the doors and aim fans outward, but yuck. (again yuck!) I kept trying to figure out how to actually go after the cause of the problem, but wasn’t able to come up with anything that didn’t require ripping out part of the house. To my great relief, the smell started to disperse Tuesday, and I am not noticing it today- although next time Steve or Honour comes to visit, I may ask them. It could be that it’s still here but I’ve gotten used to it. (“Your soaking in it!” as Madge used to say.) Sadly, that’s probably what I’m going to remember of all the things that happened this week!

So, Monday I started to work on the conference. I’ve been a bit distracted from it getting ready for the PPDs. I’ve been working on new sculptures- although I didn’t get them fired- yesterday I did a bunch of cookie stamps, and hope to get a firing in tomorrow. I started checking my backed up messages- the workshop proposals and bios people have sent me, getting back to people who’ve called. Kat pointed out that maybe since the hundreds of press releases I sent out last year did nothing, I should be looking at electronic forms of media like Podcasts. She’s offered to help me look for them. (She’s also doing more dishes lately, and I’m loving it!) Cathy Kane has been coaching me too. Yesterday she suggested I put a facebook event announcement up, and talked me through it. Sadly, some of our reservations have gone missing, and I’m thinking there may have been some information dropped when I changed computers. Hmmm.

Today started with a call from Lori Bruno, a wonderful lady who I haven’t talked to in years, and we tried to make up for it for the next hour. She’s a marvelous personality, and I am thrilled that she’s interested in coming to my conference. She does a podcast called Hex Education, and she invited me to call in tonight to promote the con. I have been taking notes from her- (call so-and-so, this may be a possible way to promote, this may be a possible speaker) and Cathy on stickies and putting them around the edge of my computer monitor- because most of this is done either by computer or phone. Willow says it looks like my computer has grown a beard. I do better with lists of things I can check off. I’m hoping that the immobility that has plagued me for the last month is finally passing. Or, perhaps it’s like I just took a step down a slippery slope and am just running to keep upright.

While doing the sculpting I re-watched all the Harry Potter movies, and some of the third season of True Blood. It’s fascinating to see how the TV show combines new ideas and characters and still follows the books. While I am increasingly convinced that the Harry Potter series is really great books- it deals with serious themes and has complex, well drawn characters, I don’t see the same in the southern vampire books, I still enjoy reading and watching them (except for the sex- I don’t get why some people think that’s a spectator sport). Between those I’ve been watching the “Great Courses” Books that made History, Books that can Change your Life. Much to my relief, I have NOT been motivated by listening to them to run out and read them. Perhaps because I’ve already read much of the Bible, the Koran, Homer, etc.. I prefer listening to ‘watching’ them, but at the same time wonder why they bother putting them out on DVD rather than CD. There’s an occasional image, and names and unusual words are put across the bottom of the screen, but it’s not a visual type of program. Upstairs I’ve I’ve been listening to the Integrated History of Greece and Rome, which is VERY interesting. I don’t know why they don’t present it this way in High School. It makes more sense when not separated.

On fiction, I’ve started another Libertus mystery- Pattern of Blood. I suppose it’s my version of the Agatha Christies my mother liked so much. John took out the Making of the Alien Saga– a behind the scenes of the Aliens movie (I hadn’t noticed that there were four), which was enjoyable. Of course, since I was sculpting, I probably didn’t catch the best images of their great special effects. I also watched an old John Wayne Red River, in which he was VERY John Wayne, to the point that he was a pain in the butt (had to do what he’d said he was going to do even if it was to kill his own son- bozo). I have to wonder if people in the 40s (when that was made), were really looking at that sort of “what does being a man mean?” theme. The whole Cowboy genre offers such a wonderful frame work for exploring how people behave when the pressures of what society expects of you are apparently lifted, and you have to decide what to do without that support and pressure. Each person decides on his own what’s right to do because no one is going to make him or her do it (except, of course, what they think is right is SO decided by what they were taught before they went out west).

Ah well, that’s it for today- took me a LOT past noon to finish, but I’ve done a lot at the same time. Until next week, keep examining your life and finding it good.



“A garden should extend and not circumscribe nature.” Thomas Burnett Swann