9-20-2017 Gibberish Day

I’m a bit appalled that it’s suddenly the “end” of September. Well, the final third, but this upcoming week is all in the 20s, and that feels like “late September”. Summer will finally be over. On the other hand Buddy, the Pennsic Rose, and Miles are both blooming again. Gotta love those everblooming ones! There are a lot of asters, but so far more white ones than the blue NH asters around here. The backyard has more jewelweed and goldenrod and knotweed than anything else, which sure helps me appreciate the roses!

We are deeply into the New England fall thing where the days are so hot you can hardly bear it, but the nights chill off enough to make you add another layer. This is not to say that I still don’t have a fan going in my bedroom.
I hate to admit it, but I’m feeling a bit draggy lately. Sadly, having been actively sick last year, when I have less strength (can’t grip something the way I think I should, or lift what I expect) or am tired or achey, rather than assuming it’s just being over 65, I worry that I might be relapsing. Sadly, there is no test for that- your blood shows that you’ve been exposed forever, you have to simply mentaly compare symptoms  I have to say that 65 doesn’t seem quite as old to me as it did when I was not there yet! I figure it’s like when you’ve had your house broken into, you keep having that jolt of adrenaline when you open your door- “Is it going to have happened again?” I don’t know how long it takes to get to a point of comfort, although I doubt we can ever go to the innocent expectation that everything’s going to be alright again. Willow’s still draggy, but soldiering on. This week was Kaylen’s birthday. They are gradually getting back to normal after backsliding a bit while she was in Maine. She had the not-unmixed compliment from her therapist that “she’s doing all the right things.” Given that, shouldn’t she be doing much better? Or perhaps they are only guessing at what the right things are.  Kat seems to be doing a bit better, which may be in part because the weathers cooling enough for her to leave her cooled room.

This week John and I went over to Mark’s place again. John does provide lifting and reaching high things, I’m not sure that I’m not just moral support- that having me there isn’t simply a commitment to work on the organization that day. The big achievement that day, I think, was that he cleared his desk top, which, of course, he had to do himself, even making phone calls to figure out whether old bills were paid or not. Meanwhile I worked in the kitchen, scrubbing the stovetop, walls, woodwork etc., clearing out drawers. We brought away more cookware that Bruce had, and Mark will never use. While we were out for lunch we also stopped at Staples and he got two new office chairs, that John and I assembled while he did the paper sorting. Did you know that they recommend you tighten the bolts every month? I hadn’t heard that before. So the Allen wrench, and warrantee are taped to the bottom of the chair. Far more organized than I’ve ever been for myself. Of course, we usually get our chairs from the Recyling center. Like Mark, many people seem to discard theirs while they’re still good enough. We took away his rejects and disovered that as of now, our current chairs are in better shape than his were. I do want to try to see if his wheels will fit on my chair base.

 I think I mentioned getting stamps when I went to the post office- I thought that the heat-sensitive eclipse ones were cool, but also got sharks, Disney villains, pollinators, food, jackolanterns, assorted pets, & corsages. It makes me wish I were sending more physical letters still, although I’ll admit that’s extra work. There are only two people left who don’t get these letters by email, and I often forget to print them out.
Friday Mark came over just to socialize, and also drove me over to Winkles to pick up the car when it was done. So now the dashboard has been replaced, and I will be able to tell how much fuel I have, how long my trip was and, most importantly, how fast I’m going. (or maybe how much fuel is the most important). This represents us giving up on trying to find the electric fault, or banging on the dashboard to make it (sometimes) start working.
When we got home John and I loaded the car- mostly- for the event on Saturday. Mark got burgers and corn (I have now tried the “throw the whole ear in the microwave for three minutes, hold on to the silk end, cut off the base and shake it out” technique, and it seems to work.
Friends are being really productive, I finished “beta reading” (I think it’s called) Cathy’s new book, and Morgan Daimler has been posting on fb to let us know as she closed in on finishing hers, which she did today. I will try to take this as encouragement to get my butt in gear. I HAVE actually done the initial sketch of painting of Anne Bolyne- with a modern person’s face, of course. Cathy has basically written the book and is letting several friends read and comment so she can do the final edit. She is hoping to have it out by CTCW. The plans for CTCW are progressing. Lois is working on rebuilding a database with contact information for UU churches so we can send them flyers. This makes me sad (and sympathetic) because I did the same thing a few years ago- but lost the information in a computer crash, sigh. It’s getting close. I am torn between being thrilled that I’m not doing everything myself, and wishing I knew better what everyone else was doing.
Saturday Willow and I went to a small “Renn fair” to benefit the LARP (Live Action Role Playing) group at Pelham High School. As Willow said, “ I went to the wrong school!” Avi pointed out that the two of them WERE the whole LARP group for the school. The fair was organized by Deb Jarvis who works there, and I think may be the faculty advisor for the school group. It wasn’t as big as we’d hoped- they were having a Home Days parade (we saw the marching band coming in), and even saw leftover roadside parking within a half mile. Deb was worried that closing the road for the parade would make it hard for the vendors to get in, but we had hoped that they’d be close enough to come check the fair out after the parade. Frankly, I was totally confused, I would assume a parade goes through the center of town, but while we saw the school, I saw no town, no stores, no town hall, or anything like that. Still we had fun talking to the other vendors and the occasional players who came through- I think mostly they were in the woods doing their module/quest whatever they call it. At the end of the day a Monster came out of the woods that was pretty cool. I guess that’s why they need to raise money, to pay for the materials for things like that. Beth Washington was there, with a very nice new tent, and Rufus and his lady, who we haven’t seen since we did the NH Renn Fair. I’d expected to see a lot more high school students (maybe they were in the woods), but mostly the people were middle aged- they’d probably joined Ampgard or Realms 20 years ago. There may have been fewer people because until noon it was VERY cloudy, and looked like rain. Willow told it not to, and it didn’t. But it was very hot and humid.  I’d worn a red linen gown with a blue linen robe over it and red veil- very impressive looking. Except that I immediately took off the robe and never put on the veil. In fact I fell asleep several times during the day because of the heat and inactivity. I also managed to spill juice on both the gown and robe. Oh well.
I had to take a picture of the monster- the “arms” were extensions with “claws” made of the same stuff them make weapons out of, and I think it was at least 8 feet tall (you know how there’s a screen to look out the chest of these things. Very cool indeed! It will probably be bigger next year. I hope cooler, maybe Pennsic isn’t that humid, but it was pretty awful.
Steve came up on Sunday and replaced my back-up drive. Apparently the one I’d been using wasn’t big enough. It’s so good to have someone who knows what’s going on to help me with that. I have many talents and skills, but computers are not near the top of the list. As usual I feel so flattered that he’s willing to come all that way just to hang with us.
Inspired by Mark’s cleaning, I’ve been trying to go through our messes, slowly. A few days ago I went through the cereal cupboard, sampling each box of cereal or crackers, and chucking a huge amount because they’d gotten stale. I guess we don’t eat as much cereal as we used to. I’ve been working on the refrigerator, one shelf or bin at a time. (I feel like I should be able to do the whole refrigerator in an hour or so, but that’s just a fantasy!) I got some produce bags to put the salad stuff in, and hope that will help. We have been having and awful time this summer with the spring mix going slimy in one or two days- sometimes when it hasn’t even been opened yet. That’s a horrible waste of money, but it shouldn’t do that! (We’ve also managed to accumulate about 3 pounds of radishes by forgetting we already had them. Radishes, unlike lettuce, don’t go bad.) I am just confused by how quickly the salad is wilting because it used to last several days, and now it doesn’t.
The New Normal didn’t drop my connection last week for the first time in months- maybe it LIKES having a lot of solar flares! (sadly I didn’t see any Auroras). I didn’t lose the call this week either, so that was a pleasant surprise. This week I had Thor on again talking about ethnocentrism, which I spun a bit to keep it in the Paranormal theme by referencing how words have power. Jane called in too, and I think it went well. This week Jane and I have been lined up to be on someone else’s podcast- all the way in February. It’s about runes, with three people who use them. The other woman she got also mentioned how they weren’t originally a divination system- before Jane and I got to it. So it should be good, … when it comes around.
Tonight I reviewed the Clan letter for Twilight Covening this year. They are letting Miriam and I go forward with the Tortoise Clan- about moving more slowly for both aging or chronically ill people, even though not as many people have signed up for it as they usually want. I think it’s going to be good for those who do come. I’m a bit disoriented because I’m so used to TC being on Columbus Day weekend, and this year it’s the week before.
I also got a note from Lorraine, it turns out that the reason I keep getting notices about the old house is that I didn’t fill out some release form (or it got lost somewhere). So I have to go get another copy of Aelfwine’s Death Certificate to enclose with it. I filled out some on-line form and at the very end it told me that I couldn’t do it on line, but have to go to Nashua. That’s when I discovered they wanted $65 for it. I sure HOPE that the form I got 12 of after he died for $2@ is going to at least be in that ballpark if I go to Nashua for it.
I’ve been thinking about the old houses I’ve lived in. They had large tubs for laundry- in the back room in Farmington, and the basement in Winchester. Isn’t it wonderful that we have machines to do the laundry these days? At the same time, I am SO done with the idea that everything should be new, or look it that we have going these days. I repair my clothing when they get ripped, and if something is stained or worn, it’s work clothes. I don’t think most people have the concept of “work clothes” these days. No, there’s clothes for work- which means dressing to make it look like your boss pays you more than you get. As I try to reduce the STUFF in my life, I look at things that should be tossed and want to keep the sturdiest, even if they are mended, if they are mendable. Things should be mendable. I thought about saying that on facebook, but figured I’d get a lot of unwanted suggestions that I should like myself well enough to only want to wear “nice” things. I didn’t post because I didn’t want to feel like “unfriending” people who don’t get that I feel worse about throwing away good items because people can tell they’ve seen use than I would about keeping and wearing them. I doubt I’d actually unfriend them, but it would bother me if someone thought that there was something wrong with wearing mended clothing. And I expect that there would be. After all, there are a lot of different opinions out there, and I know I’m frugal.
I’m actually considering taking a week long break from Facebook because as marvelous as the stories I read there are, and as much as I like hearing about my friends lives (as scared as I am of missing an important announcement about a birth, wedding or illness, that I can probably live with because I miss them anyway), I do spend more time than I want to on it, and I could get more cleaning, painting etc. done. The trick is not missing messages! There are phones, there is email, there is surface mail, there is texting, there is Live Journal, and Facebook and Twitter and so many other social media, and I can’t spend all my time chasing from one to another. I think it’s better to pick one or two (phone, mail, email) and tell people that if they want to get in touch with you, that’s how to do it.  When I was young, there was ettiquette- you didn’t call someone at work unless it was a real emergency! Now people get angry with you if you don’t check which-ever social media they used frequently to get back to them. It used to be that if you mail someone a letter and get an answer back in less than a week, that was good. If you called someone and they didn’t answer, you’d keep calling until you got them. The idea of text messaging, like that of an answering machine, is that not as many calls get missed, and you can answer them when it’s convenient for you (and they can reply when it’s convenient for them). There’s nothing in there that implies that it’s going to be instantaneous. But because people get annoyed, and we know that they will, we want to make sure that they don’t, so everyone is checking their phones ALL the time. Phooey! It’s out of control and needs to change. Given how quickly things change, it probably will. I have no idea what will come next.
Willow shared a lovely set of “Life Hacks”  his week- we’d have called them “tips”, and they came from cigarette ads a hundred years ago. On the other hand, some of them require you picking up chemicals from your local apothecary that probably aren’t available these days!
I was surprised by generating a rather heated discussion about “gun control” on my page. It didn’t occur to me that there was a problem suggesting that we need to look at the culture of violence more than the availabilty of firearms, but my goodness, I was mistaken! I said that a gun is a tool, and the person who uses it is in control of it, so it’s the people that need help. Apparently there are people out there who seem to think that guns make people shoot each other. I’ll give you that more guns will increase the numbers of accidental deaths and injuries. I’ll even grant that guns are designed to kill from a distance rather than up close. (Whether you are shooting a bear or a person, you don’t want to be the one who dies in the encounter.)
But whether the tool was designed to “kill the other guy first” or not, it’s still a tool, that requires the user to make decisions about who to point it at, when pull the trigger. There are a lot of tools that do things that we cannot see any good use for- other types of weapons, the machines used for frakking, many industrial pesticides, etc. We don’t have to agree with the motivation of the people who developed or use these things, but I don’t feel that their simple existence means that they must be used, or even that they might have some utility. It’s how people use anything whether it’s a method of killing or a method of healing that needs addressing.There are people who said that trains that carried people more than 20 miles an hour would kill them. (They were simply mistaken.)  There were people who promoted the extensive use of DDT because it would save millions of lives from Malaria. (They weren’t mistaken about THAT, but we didn’t know what it would do to the environment.) Sometimes we don’t know what the result of an invention is going to be. I will agree that threatening to, or actually harming someone so you can get what you want is wrong, but the tools aren’t the problem, the treating people as though they aren’t important is. You could eliminate all the weapons and potential weapons on earth, and if you didn’t change the way people deal with their feelings, they’d invent ways to hurt each other. Anyway, that’s how I feel about it. But apparently no amount of that sort of logic is going to change the minds of the people who think that simply having so many guns is bad.
Another thing I posted this week was this statement: “Doctors of America, I want you to think about this: I know more than a few people who believe that it is easier to deal with chronic pain than dealing with the medical system.” Sadly, the reaction I got from that one was a lot of people agreeing with me. I have started reading An American Sickness: How Healthcare became Big Business and how you can take it back again. It’s illuminating, but depressing. It’s really sad that so many people who get medicine get caught up in the same machine and crushed as much as the patients- if in different ways. It’s heartbreaking. As with the government, where we need to deal with gerrymandering, and campaign finance, and so many other things, the medical industrial complex is huge and so many of the systems work with each other that it seems like it can’t be fixed, only collapse and start over. But that’s like looking at a really messy house and thinking it’s easier to bulldoze and build a new one. I think that it actually makes more sense to work at fixing things as you have to deal with them, and as you can. I expect some level of prioritization would help- triage. Start by stopping making things worse. But it’s going to be hard.
So, back to non-fiction. I have now finished re-reading the whole Sookie Stackhouse series, which was sort of a mental vacation. I think this week I finished Deadlocked, Dead Reckoning, and Dead Ever After (the last book). Also I read A Touch of Dead (the collected short stories), and After Dead, (what happend to characters after) the Sookie Stackhouse Companion book with map, recipes, and other bits for fans. I really admire that she finished up the series and didn’t let it simply go on until she couldn’t deal with it anymore.  I plan to start her next series Midnight Crossroad at some point soon, but have some other books to read first. Before the war I was reading Moon over Soho, the story about the London cop in the magickal unit, and stated the next one, Whispers Underground. Aaronvich’s writing is very good. I’d love to share this book with my Anglophile daughter Kat, but it had too much sex. I keep thinking there should be a way for me to highlight all the sex scenes, so that she can just see them coming and skip them. In honesty, I don’t think they further the plot much. Yes, Peter does get romantically involved with the Jazz Vampire, but that’s all you really need to know. I’ve also tripped over Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions, the third book after the Girl Waits with Gun books Mark recommended. I’m going to be very embarassed if it turns out that I have actually read it last year, but so far what I’ve read doesn’t seem familiar, except that it’s the same characters, which I like about series. 
It may be similar to the way I put on old TV shows or movies I’ve seen before when I’m working in the kitchen. I still haven’t finished the Mill and the Cross, because that would require me to do nothing- not peel apples, not paint, not look away from the movie in order to catch the beautiful images and the important plot points the director built in making the movie. I watched Superman v Batman for the first time this week, with the audio description on, so I wouldn’t miss important points. That worked pretty well. I also watched a few more episodes of Xena, but it didn’t really seem to be filling in ongoing plot and character development, so I have lost interest. Perhaps some day I’ll find a set in sequence and watch as the great romance unfolds.
Well, that’s it for this week. See you in the fall!
Te nisi oblectas, perperam facis.
(If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.) – Sir Ernst


Holidays next week:
þ 21 Pecan Cookies Day, World Day of Peace, Gratitude Day, Miniature Golf Day, Rosh Hashana
F 22 Ice Cream Cone Day, White Chocolate, Hobbit Day,  Love Note Day, Car Free Day, Rhino & Elephant Day
S 23 American Pot Pie Day, Batman Day, Rabbit Day, Checkers Day,  Bisexuality Day, Hunting & Fishing Day
⨀ 24 Cherries Jubilee Day, Punctuation Day, Deaf Day, Rivers Day, Kiss Day, Daughters Day
M 25 Lobster Day, Comic Book Day, Cooking Day, Family Day, Dream Day, World Pharmacist day
T 26 Pancake Day, Better Breakfast Day, Lumberjack Day, Voter Reg Day, Johnny Appleseed Day
W 27 Corned Beef Hash Day,  Chocolate Milk Day, Ancestor Appreciation Day, World Tourism Day