9-16-2015 National Monte Cristo (Sandwich) Day

I know that I haven’t used that holiday before because it’s a new one. I wasn’t actually familiar with the Monte Cristo sandwich. It’s apparently a ham and cheese sandwich that’s batter dipped and fried. OMG, that sounds right up there with scotch eggs- dangerous and delicious! It would take a lot of confidence to tackle one of those!
I am thrilled to mention that I am wearing both contacts again. Four hours Monday, half day yesterday, all day today. Thursday I get to go and (I hope) switch into the normal bifocal contacts. After wearing these I’m not sure I really need the more expensive bifocal ones, but I’ll talk to the eye doctor about it. I like him, even if I don’t care for the way their office works. Why is it that I seem to have to choose between doctors we don’t care for but who have good support staff, and practices we don’t like that we put up with because we like the doctors? Ah well. Keeps us humble I suppose.

The weather cooled off, finally! I was actually able to sleep with out a fan running over me- put on blankets, wear long sleeves during the day! Drink hot tea! We did have a couple of days of rain. It was supposed to rain on Sunday at the Southeastern Mass Pagan Pride Day, and it was heavily overcast all day, which I think kept the crowds down, but we did OK,
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if not as well as we’ve done there in the past, and it didn’t start to rain until five. So we did actually get the roofs of our pop-ups wet, and had to dry them in the driveway on Monday, but it wasn’t bad. When we saw that rain was expected we brought a second pop-up which they let us put up behind our first for free to sit under. In fact we did let the goods drift back into that space as well. We really didn’t want them to get wet.

We have to get up at 5:30 and out at 6:30 to get there in time to set up, which is not our favorite thing. Also, when we got there a nearby merchant smudged his shop with sage, to which Kat has developed an allergy- but they put it out quickly when we complained; Kat took a benadryl, put on her face mask and that moment passed. Sadly the chair we’d brought for me broke on the way, so I didn’t have a place to sit, nor a chair to carry to workshops. I also didn’t have cards for CTCW to hand out- although I made us a bit late printing out a couple of posters before we left (should have thought of it the night before). So I didn’t feel really sanguine about promoting the con non-stop, as I probably should have done. Instead I went to workshops- Chris Lafond did a great one on Mansions of the Moon- how to find the right moment to make amulets for different purposes. Raven Grimassi did a lovely one on the interconnectedness of the world- how the plants and animals and fungus as well as people communicate. Rob Barton did a workshop on Celtic Polytheism, and during the middle of that, what should come by but a cardboard pirate ship, on its way to the ritual circle! In it was Kirk White and Chris Lafond and another “pirate”. I did not actually go join the ritual, but saw that it included a lot of “cannon balls” (tennis balls?) and people going “Arrrr!” a lot. Apparently while talking last year Kirk had mentioned some of the more light-hearted rituals they’d had up at his place  Laurelin Retreat Center, and Sha asked him to do one down there- and didn’t forget! So that’s why a Pirate themed ritual. Kirk is the one who does the “Ford Pinto Ritual” workshop on things that can go wrong during a ritual.
I talked to Mike Dolan and he showed me his new thing: he’s doing paintings with spray paint as street theater- and they are really pretty. Takes him only a few minutes, and he sells them for $15. I’m both jealous and impressed.
Anyway, great day was had by all, if a little damp at the end. Maybe not all, Willow was tired going in, and even more tired coming out- but on the bright side, she noticed a subway nearby so she could go out for subs mid-day and Kat didn’t crash and burn. She also had to drive both ways since I wasn’t ready to wear my “distance” contact yet. Some people don’t think driving is work, but I do. Willow also did all the errands, took Kat over to her therapists’ appointments this week. Sadly, yesterday while they were out her phone went missing, so she’s gone back to Walmart looking for it, and no joy so far. As the folks at Walmart said there are a lot of phones that look like that, and once it’s lost it’s charge, you can’t even call it to see if it’s the right one. Poor Willow can find things for everyone else, but not for herself! It doesn’t seem fair to me! She says she feels like she’s not accomplishing anything, but she bought another pile of fleece today and continues to make and sell her blankets. (she did one at the PPD, and mailed it out Monday.)

On the other hand Kuberry drove up today with his adorable little (five month old) daughter, so I got a baby fix. He’s the one staying home with her because his wife’s income is better, and since she’s young enough to sleep 90 minutes on 90 off, he could come up while she slept, we talked (ok I probably babbled since my hormones dictate that I go gaga over babies at this juncture) and he could drive back while she slept again. It was cool, he too has read about various theories- such as we’ve evolved so that humans past child bearing age have a compulsion to care for infants, so that the species will survive. We also talked about some of his non-parenting stuff. He’s been writing, and selling articles in every recent issue of Renaissance. He also told me about an upcoming event in Connecticut, Live Action Role Playing, (LARPing) a place called Arcane, which surprised me because he’s such an history nerd that he finds the lack of authenticity at the SCA frustrating. So this must be a more historical activity than I’d have expected from a LARP. I find it cool that there are so many cool things going on in the world, even if time and money constraints keep me from participating. Last week we found out about a Steam Punk event in Vermont I’d have loved to attend, but I’d certainly want to make an incredible outfit before to wear to one. What a lot of fun stuff to do- good books to read- people to talk to!

I’ve been reading the Very Short Introduction to Magic, and wow are there a lot of books he references that I want to buy! I have realized that I feel about fast food the way the girls feel about my book purchases. I look at what a burger, fries, and a drink costs and think “I could have bought two books for that!” (Well, when I get them used from Amazon at ridiculously low prices, but that IS the way I like to buy books. Sadly, the ones I’m not likely to find that way are often the research books I long for and find at the back of other research books.  I’ve also been reading The spirit level : why greater equality makes societies stronger, which is a fascinating study of how extremes in income disparity aren’t good. As if that wasn’t obvious, but this gives studies showing why. When that’s too heavy, I’ve also been re-reading old Prince Valiants. I hadn’t realized that Hal Foster actually had a time frame for the adventures (about 450-475 ce). He does mention some historical characters like Attila, emperors and popes, but he also includes groups like Vikings and arab types who pray toward Mecca (did they do that before Mohammed?), and the whole Chivalry thing is much later, not to mention all the stone castles. Not that the Romans didn’t work in stone, but he was doing an imaginative melange. Anyway, I enjoy it, and love re-reading it. John has introduced me to one of his favorite series of manga: Toriko, the adventures of a chef and a Gourmet Hunter, traveling through a fantastic world in search of the best possible food. And when I say fantastic, I’m talking about a world where there are animals who grow the equivalent of French Fries as spines. I’m halfway through the first book, and amused, although I’m not sure how many I’m going to read- John took about 28 volumes out of the library to re-read this week. Oh, I did finish Death and Taxes, the sequel to Fred the Vampire Accountant. Funny!
I also read several long articles this week- from the NYTimes magazine and the Atlantic. Good thought provoking articles backed up with solid research. One was on whether the level of trigger warnings modern college students are demanding are good for them. Trigger warnings are really important for people with PTSD, phobias, or other serious issues, but they seem to be confusing triggering an episode of severe uncontrollable and really painful reaction with being made uncomfortable. When you are in college, you are SUPPOSED to be challenging your expectations and moving outside your comfort zones. It’s a real and important difference and by ignoring it, they are both trivializing the seriousness of the mental health issues, and actually hurting the students who are not getting a chance to grow.   Another thing I saw was an image from a “science textbook” where “pre-flood” travelers had to avoid T-Rexs. Most of the people I know who home schooled their kids did it because they got a superior education that way. This is scary and sad. Another discussion around here introduced by the internet was about “fat shaming”. I am not happy when people belittle and try to make others feel bad, especially when they pretend it’s for the other person’s good. In theory the internet should educate us, connect us, and make us feel better. I think it fails too often.
I watched the recent modern version of Much Ado about Nothing. Sadly, it pretty much was. It’s the Joss Whedon versions, advertised as starring Nathan Fillion. That’s a bit like saying Branaugh’s Much Ado starred Michael Keaton. One of many! Fillion played Dogberry. Not the best clown act in Shakespere. All I can say is that I am glad I didn’t buy it since I like the play, the actor and the director. This version just didn’t grab me. It could be that I simply don’t care for modernization of Shakespere.

I told you last week I had misplaced my camera- it turned out to be in the new wooden cashbox. Sadly- the battery went dead when I took the pictures of SEMAPPD, and I can’t find the charger. But here is a picture of Cabochons at Harpers, and one of the fighting (what wasn’t in the woods), and one of Heart of Oak- Ekke and Julia’s booth, and one of the harpists over in the shade by the Arts an Sciences tent- or maybe that’s the dabbler’s guild. I took it and the fighting shot with a very long zoom, so I’m not totally sure what they were up to.
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So here am I, unable to take more pictures, and one of my friends has started doing what I like to do, and posting a picture of her yard- updated every couple of weeks to show the progression of the seasons. I’m touched that she finds that worth emulating.
Jane’s finally finished her move, although I’m betting there’s a lot of organization that is going to be eating into her time. My friend Debbie’s biopsy came back clean! We’re all really happy about that. Megan has flown back over to England and is on her narrow boat- until just before Thanksgiving. I found a great birthday present for her at the PPD, and didn’t get it to her before she left. Poot! It seems that way too many of my friends are having health problems. It makes me feel very small and useless.
Tonight’s New Normal went really well! Starwolf was on talking about protective magicks; hexbreaking, uncrossing, warding and curse turning. I had fun, even though no one called in. I spent most of my time this week working on the conference. It’s looking up- we have two entertainers booked, added another dealer today, and more presenters. I’m starting on the schedule- I wish the “maybe”s would confirm. We ordered the business cards and they should be here very soon, and Will offered us printing for posters.
I’ve been spending more than an hour every day trying hard not to fall behind on my email There are only a few real ones each day, and way too much spam. I’ll admit that I find it really frustrating, after a week of consistently going through my email and jumping through the hoops to get myself off various spam lists, I’m still inundated. Today I got four from the same company, addressed to payments@changingtimeschangingworlds.org, info@, programming@, and hospitality@. Feh! (I wonder if I can turn those off? It’s the old website). Another set of ads was for used car sales and apparently they send out different ones for every damned state, so I’m going to have to take my email address off 50 different spam generators! Phooey! Phoeey! Phoeey!

It’s almost midnight- I have to finish now. (Won’t tell you about making probably the worst dinner I’ve ever cooked.) Until next week, I wish you well!
“I’m alive because the fire within me burns brighter than the fire around me.”