9-23-2015 Deaf Awareness Week

Kat and I are energized by the fall weather, Willow is grumbling because it’s too hot, then too cold, and she has to keep taking her layers on and off and on again. Johns having a hard time trying to decide whether the front door should be open or closed- sometimes the door well seems to collect a lot of heat (the silly thermometer keeps saying it’s gone up to 100º, when it’s really been in the 70ºs), but if there’s a breeze, the air coming in may feel like 65º, so open or shut? Hard to decide.DSC02129

I’m going to be painfully honest and share with you an image of my little garden. Everyone shows images of how great their garden is doing. I’m afraid I never weeded it since leaving for Pennsic- with predictable results. Yes, there’s a lot of lettuce self seeding there. I’m hoping to later rip everything up and dig it in, and maybe see if we get any lettuce our tomato plants out of it next year. All I can say is oops. Tried to keep too many plates in the air at once!     Thank goodness for Fitch’s farmstand. I keep getting the local corn- waiting for it to be at the end of season and not fantastic. So far it’s still good. On the other hand, the corn (admittedly, feed corn) in Fitch’s fields has come down now, so we know the season is over. We’re getting flashes of color in the trees, and the asters are beginning to blue the back yard. I am NOT getting outside enough.

I have been told by those who were not unfamiliar with it, that the Monte Cristo Sandwich, by which I identified the letter last week, is not battered and deep fried. Rather, it is apparently a ham and cheese sandwich made with french toast. So yes, it’s soaked in egg and milk- but no flour, and fried, but not DEEP fried. I am now much more interested in trying it. Thank you to those who corrected me. Today is Pancake Day, but I think I’ve used that before, so I went for Deaf Awareness Week. There are always reasons to celebrate!HArpers feast2015

Today Xavier (in the back, with the towel over his shoulder like a regal butler) posted his pictures from Harpers, including me toasting the Baron and Baroness. He had some great shots, but while he and Maria did a great job as Baron and Baronessa, it’s really great to have them in the kitchen again! Because they aren’t my shots, I am not sharing his great pictures of the food- the huge prime beef they brought out and carved before high table, hot bread with molded butter, plentiful, delicious, garnished food with appropriate medieval pageantry, it’s what the SCA wants to be and often doesn’t manage.
washing up at harpersOK, I am going to share one more of his pictures- because it’s how (as we joke) we try to lure the young ladies in to help with the clean-up. Frostalf scrubbing pans with his shirt off. Personally, I expect he was just keeping his nice tunic clean.

I also had a bit of a SCAdian nostalgiathon this week when KAthryn Goodwyn 18th nightKathryne Goodwyn posted some old pictures from when we were young and pretty! Oh my! weren’t we?!

The velvet gown mitThat’s one of the best things  about having old friends. The memories stick in your mind, and while we may get old (and full of experiences and skills and wisdom- which we DO remember) we forget we don’t still look like that. She will always look like this in my mind, as we send each other the occasional emails and swap recipes like the “old ladies” we are.

And I expect she’ll always think of me as in this one of me in the burgundy velvet gown. I made that as a Victorian gown before I ever found the SCA, and took off the lace and the ribbons and added fake fur and pearls to make it Tudor. The purse is straight out of an old fairy tale book- as were most of my costume ideas. (and I’m not sure if Tudor ladies ever let that much of their hair show. Forelocks maybe, but the back should have had a velvet covering.) As I recall, most of our garb wasn’t that good- at least as good as the general garb is now, but we mostly took pictures of the most impressive, so it’s harder to document. Still, we sure had fun!Lady Moon poster.130

This week I’ve mostly been working on the conference- trying hard not to push myself too hard and used up before the con. Monday (I think) I mailed out a bunch of this year’s business cards to people who’d offered to pass them around. Yesterday we had an on-line (fb chat)
meeting of the various department heads and we got a LOT done.
I am currently trying to get the schedule done- you know, the bit where I put all the workshops on sticky notes, and move them around a grid on a posterboard trying to avoid scheduling speakers against themselves or in times they can’t be there. As soon as this is done, I’ll send it out to them, and they’ll point out where I did mess up (although over the years I’ve gotten better), and almost inevitably a few more will finally submit their workshops and can’t possibly come in the places where I have time slots open.  Actually, I’m feeling pretty good about switching from running 6 classes at once to 3 classes at once-as most events do. Maybe if we get hugely popular and have thousands of attendees we’ll add tracks again. Sorry, that sounds a bit sour, but I’m really quite hopeful for this year.  Also, after years of being told to have more concerts, we have scored Kelliana and Jenna Greene, and I’ve asked Kat to create a poster featuring them that we can put up in the area (and one of the wonderful volunteers has found someone to actually go around and post them for us!)  It’s really great to have so many other people taking over some of the jobs. Mary has offered to do the hospitality for Jane (Lydia had to drop out), and I was really afraid that she was going to be trying to do the co-chair duties (one of us has to be available at all times) while doing hospitality which is a full time job, AND teaching and doing panels. CTCW cardI figure if ONE of us is available, the other can do a class or panel, maybe even attend one, if there’s no other demands on our attention. Willow and Kat aren’t up to coming this year, so that means we need people we can trust to handle registration. Mary’s husband Chris, one of our speakers, he agreed to come on the New Normal tonight, and we talked Heathenry. It was a last minute thing because we’d had to push off Genise for a week because she had THREE funerals- yeah, she didn’t need one more thing to do!
Saturday I got to see Maryalyce who’d come up (from NY) to a retreat center in Massachusetts to do healings. Groton is only an hour from here, so I drove down and met her for supper. Sadly, while I had an address and directions to it, I’d neglected to find out the name of the place she was visiting. Apparently I found it, but couldn’t find anyone to ask if I was in the right place, so I went back to a gas station I’d passed which I really needed to do. I’m still getting used to the Caravan- I had to pull up another three feet to get the nozzle to reach the gas tank! From there I called Maryalyce and she found me and we chatted until 9.  On the way down I took their “shortest route” directions, but on the way back I took the main road from Groton to Townsend then back home from there.  Usually I try not to drive after dark, but the route home was sort of autopilot for me- the last hour of any trip what we term “points south”. Maryalyce has a healing center down in NY but drives all over to do teaching gigs. It’s a lot more driving than I’d want to do, but it was lovely to see her and get a chance to talk- which we probably won’t at the con.

My Twilight Covening clan didn’t make the final cut, and while I was looking forward to doing Snowy Owl (divination) again, I am afraid I’m not really too upset. It IS a big time and energy demand, and I’m feeling the stress. Not to mention that I’ve made NO progress on cleaning up the house which has been a pit since Pennsic (and before). I think I brought 6 bags of detritus back from the Astro van when we sold it, and I still haven’t emptied and sorted those. We also brought more stuff when John and I went over to Marks to help him organize his storage lockers. Sadly, as people discover when they come to help me clean, when it’s a question of “keep it or ditch it” only the person it belongs to can make that call. So John helps with the heavy lifting, and I make a few suggestions, and help repack boxes when he’s decided what to get rid of, but he has to do the hard part himself. Still, we provide moral support, right?

dschinghis khan

Kat discovered a Russian themed musical group from Germany: Dschinghis Khan who seem to have a song called Moskau as their theme song- possibly written for the summer Olympics in 1980 (ah the things you can discover on the internet!) She first showed it to me because in the `79 clip they looked like Russian Power Rangers. I later found them singing in 2008, a little grayer, but their guy was still doing kazatskis and full eagles! Impressive.
Today Kat came down and she’d found the translation of the lyrics with great lines like “Women are for kissing there”, “Throw your glasses at the wall”, and “Love tastes like Cavier”, and “Let’s Dance on the tables until they break”. As Willow says “yeah, White people don’t have culture!” I have to admit that my favorite was the dancing. Fun to watch and athletic!  Ooh, found a version that’s in English! Fun.DSC02128

I don’t know if you remember that Kat likes to chew gum, but it’s been increasingly difficult to find it without artificial ingredients- Aspartame, Sucralose, and Xylitol. So we broke down and ordered some off the internet- three brands, assorted flavors. Today they arrived and Kat is going through them, checking them out and she’s going to write a review talking about how they taste and perform. The Simply Gum came in Mint, Ginger, Cinnamon, Maple, Fennel and Coffee. The Tree Hugger comes in Tangerine, Classic Bubble Gum, Orange, Lemon/ Lime and Berry, Pomegranate, Watermelon, Lemoade, and Wild Berry, and the Pür comes in Wintergreen, Spearmint, and Pomegranate Mint (Kat says it’s a lot better than it sounds).  She’s only gone through three so far (although I tried the Fennel which wasn’t as strong as I’d liked), but the one she tried had flavor that lasted six hours, so given that, the slightly higher price is quite worth it. (and it’s like 9cents each, so not a big deal) That goodness for being able to get anything even if it’s not available locally.
We notice that Amazon is about to start selling Kindle Fires at $50@. I’ve been trying to reorganize mine- the books go in in the order in which you add them, and if you don’t put them in categories as you go, you have to go through all (in my case) 690 items in order to put it in. It might be nice to have another Kindle, maybe one for fiction and one for non-fiction. I think I can move what I’ve got now across.
Steve came up Sunday and we figured out how I could loan him one of my kindle books- it was actually pretty easy!
This week I finished the book Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better. The main part of the book was pretty much a collection of studies supporting the premise that there’s a bigger correlation between income inequality with of problems including violence, physical and mental health, education, drug abuse, and trust problems than there is correlation between those and poverty. Bummer. The last section of the book offers suggestions for trying to fix this problem, but they are even weaker than the evidence supporting the premise.  At one point they mention the French Revolution, and as Lady Bracknell says in The Importance of Being Ernest, “…contempt for the ordinary decencies of family life [which] reminds one of the worst excesses of the French revolution, and I presume you know to what that unfortunate movement led?” As I recall that revolution was violent, and only provided a temporary solution- one hopes we can avoid that. I’d have liked to see more and more useful suggestions. I was, of course, proud to see that New Hampshire was a bastion of income parity compared to the rest of the US, even though it’s not like I had anything to do with it other than moving here. The book was written by epidemiologists and there does seem to be a clear connection between income inequality and many categories of health. I think it may be because the inequality correlates with (I’m not going to guess whether it causes or is caused by) a system where some people can afford what all need and some can’t, creating stresses. Stress isn’t good for humans and other living things.
I also read two Then and There books: Roads and Canals in the 18th century and The Black Death. This series is aimed at English school children with suggestions for more study and what to think about. I am more familiar with the 6th century version of the Plague and found the ways they explained an horrific situation in a way suitable for children interesting. I have to say that I was disappointed that there wasn’t much about the canal system in the Roads and Canals book. It was mostly about roads, but it surely showed why people started paving roads, and why canals were such an improvement over even paved roads. I hadn’t realized what a huge difference broken stone meant. It throws a whole new light on all those prisoners breaking up rocks. I was impressed by the number of images from contemporary paintings and quotes from those who had to use the roads. I liked the suggestions made for thinking about what this information meant, and for going out and learning more about the topic.
An Antiquated Love was a sweet little romance that was free on kindle, about a guy who remembered past lives trying to get together with the woman he loved. More like a short story, but nice. I also read 80 eft statements for weight loss, another short kindle book. I think that the statements are one of the important things to focus when doing tapping, and I think I got some insight by reading this. Now to try tapping. (I know it’s effective, but it still feels like such a ridiculous technique! Ah well, like I’ve got any dignity to lose doing it alone in my bedroom, eh?) Apparently there’s an entire series of these “80 eft Tapping Statements” books that help you figure out which statements will work best for you, since we’re all different. The series seems to include anxiety and worry, self esteem, change, social anxiety, anger and frustration, abandonment, money and abundance. Sadly, I’m enough of a cheapskate that while I got it as a free book, I’m not ready to lay out 5.95 for the one on Procrastination, which I probably need. (I notice that while all the others seem to be 80 statements, the one for PTSD is 200)

OK, let’s face it, I’m spending a LOT of time on the computer, and this week on facebook there has been a series of memes making fun of Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who says that God told her not to sign marriage certificates for same sex couples. I know change and accepting that your views are not the same as the majority is hard, but deal with it. People have been circulating memes showing characters who are known for doing what they needed to do even though they had a hard time dealing with it. I even made one of my own. In fact, I finally broke down and put the collection on my website so other people could enjoy it.Mostly dead still does his job
Something is confusing me- the news is saying that  facebook is “adding dislike buttons”, although this is a new thing, but I had one for about a year a couple of years ago, then it went away. Maybe I was part of a test market? But still, it’s not new. And the last few days they’ve been sending me lots (dozens per day) of “friend requests” from people who I don’t know, and when I ask tell me that they didn’t make the request. I think fb is really messing up. They need to remember that they can be replaced. If they annoy us too much we will wander off and not come back, as we have done with other social media sites.

What else? I am annoyed about lightbulbs. Used to be you could get a box of 4 for a buck, or two bucks. A light bulb burned out, and you replaced it. No big deal. Then they decided people wanted to save energy. That’s true. But like the $600 windows that will help you save hundreds of dollars every year in fuel costs, it’s going to take more years than I’m going to own this house to pay for that many fancy windows, so the net gain is negative. They also need special disposal- I’m not going to intentionally support any industry that is increasing the toxic load on the planet- and when the dump will only take them on special days, that’s a huge warning flag! The old incandescents did use 80% of their energy on heat. But in New England, that’s not always a bad thing! Last year there were plans going around the internet showing you how you could heat a small room with a tea candle in a couple of stacked flowerpots. (Logic problem, no heat is being generated other than that which you get from burning a tea candle. All it’s doing is keeping the heat in the flower pot so you can put your feet near it, rather than have it dissipate through the whole room.) Clearly what we need heat catchers for our light bulbs, so we can feel frugal about their being dual purpose. But no, they have to say that they can’t be sold any more. Now all you can get is the flipping $5/$7/$15/$27 special light bulbs. They tell you that they’ll last longer. Three years in continuous use! Yeah, well the Centennial bulb has been going for 114 years. The trick is, don’t turn it on and off! But how much energy do you save if you leave it on? Anyway, they claim they last four to eight years, so you’d only be spending about a dollar a year. If that were true I’d be OK with it. The old ones burned out every few months- about a dollar a year to replace. The new ones burn out every few months too- but cost a LOT to replace. I don’t like the light the CFL bulbs give- they lie about how much light they produce and I don’t have the wiring or space to add more lamps to make up for the dimmer bulbs. I resent the expense, but I really hate being lied to about how long they’re supposed to last. (Checking the internet, I see that I’m not the only one with these complaints). They blame it on the fixtures, on the humidity, on vibrations, let’s face it, they are a worse product and they charge us more for it, and get away with it by making the old product illegal!
OK, I’ll admit that it’s not deciding to hike the price of a life saving pill from $7 to $700, but it still tics me off. And on that story, if even insured patients would be forced to pay $150 per pill out of pocket for 35 to 70 pills (suggested run for toxoplasmosis), that’s five to ten thousand dollars after insurance. Seriously, some people would have to use their savings, but other people would just not take the drug, they don’t have access to that kind of money. I know they theorize that there are provisions for exemptions, but they’re often unknown, or too hard to get to. People would die.
This country is suffering from a serious case of using profit as the indicator of value. It’s not. There are far more important things in life than making more money, and we have to stop using it as the way of analyzing what something is worth. Given that it’s a belief system, we could call it a religion. It’s dangerous. Someone joked recently that since the Right dislikes the poor and blacks so much, you’d think they’d support abortion and birth control for them so there’d be less of them. But they don’t want less of them, they want them to stop demanding to be treated as people, and be paid for their labor!

Oh my goodness, I just saw what time it was. Until next week: best wishes!
Sorry about the ranting, but
“In a room full of puppies and kittens, people pay attention to the rattlesnake.”