When I went to the library there were leaves all over the parking lot and they crunched, and smelled SO good! I love the way fall smells! The leaves are at that wonderful stage when it’s still mostly green, so the occasional splashes of red and gold are more surprising.
The New England Asters are blue all over the back yard, and in the front yard the red hollyhock are STILL blooming- as are the morning glories – red ones decided to grow this year. Pity, it would have been nice to have some more variety. Deep in the foliage the Dayflowers are still bright blue, and of course there are white asters everywhere. Many houses have pots of mums out, and the pumpkins are starting to appear on front porches. Fall is coming to New England.
Sorry I’m late this week, although not much has happened. You heard from me last Wednesday, and Thursday we were packing for the CWPN Harvest Festival. It used to be held at a campground, which was pretty cool- but they’ve moved to an hotel- probably because we are an aging population. Creakier, and in theory with more money. It was a pretty good deal for us this year. They let me in free including the banquet, provided a room (shared with Jane), and even provided selling tables. Sadly, only two each, and Jane and I each usually fill three or four, so there was some discussion about what we were going to take- how to cut it down to fit on only two tables. Finally, I just didn’t unload the van from the pagan pride days, and we took it all (figured we wouldn’t put out everything.
Willow even packed Thursday, but I was caught up in stuff for my con, and spent most of Friday morning printing handouts for my classes. We’d hoped to get out by ten to get there by 1:30. We actually left at 1. But even Jane got there late- she’s only an hour away, but took three hours because of a bad accident slowing traffic on I-84. Most of it must have cleared up because we got in around five, so I think she was slowed more than we were. By the time we got there, Jane was already teaching her first class. (Willow came with me, since she could stay in the same room, and was only going to be watching the tables for us; she only had to pay for the banquet.)
When the CWPN (Connecticut Witches and Pagans Network) people got to the hotel, they discovered they were down one table in the vendors area- so we each got one and a half. Planning to go vertical as much as possible we’d brought an extra shelf, and put the socks on it- which was kind of odd looking. The books and sculpture was on another shelf, and the silver took up the rest of the space- we didn’t have room for all of it, and couldn’t put out the art- sigh. The silk rack moved around, mostly sticking out into the walking space- and Jane used cloth-covered bins to expand the surface area for her spices. Luckily Tinker was next to her and didn’t mind. Vendors are all pretty mellow (once set up is done. Set up is always stressful.)
Willow had brought a batch of Fiesta Chicken, and we had a microwave and refrigerator in our room, so we were able to warm it up. We ate in turns so the table would always have someone staffing it.
I was not as prepared as I like to be on the workshop about Seven Huna Principles- in the evenings I’d brought books and crammed- organized notes. I hate it, but I’ve learned that the more organized I am, the better the workshop goes. In this case, I was able to simply say OK- 7 principles, 10 minutes each, that leaves 20 minutes to introduce basic huna and wind up- and I had exercises for four of the principles, so it actually went pretty well.
I taught RúnValdr again- I intended to offer the new, Advanced RúnValdr, but only one of the people who came was a previous attunee- so we just blew through it as fast as I could. I prefer to get them to actually use it in class now. They are far more likely to keep using it if they’ve done it. I am SO looking forward to having all weekend to work on it at Twilight Covening (Columbus Day weekend). When I was done with each class for the day, I put the remaining handouts and notes into a drawer, and tried to stay organized that way- but it took me until today to find the paper I’d collected the email addresses on to invite them to the discussion group. I guess I need to keep working on my organization.
The other class I did was Anglo-Saxon Magick, which I can practically do in my sleep now. And that’s good, because it was at 8 am (or was it nine?). I think it might have been bigger if it had been later.
Between classes I talked up Changing Times to the vendors and other speakers. They had some really GREAT speakers, and I’d love to get some of them for our con. I went to Lon Milo Duquette’s workshop on Low Magic- which in his view was using demons for your heavy lifting rather than angels, which apparently don’t. (He’s into ceremonial magick.) Kirk White did one on shapeshifting. I’m not into shifting, (although I apparently do it, given the definitions in the class), but I enjoy his classes and hadn’t been to that one before. I went to a bind rune class, and dismayed the speaker, who’d been to my Anglo-Saxon Magick class and worried that he’d make mistakes that I’d catch (not that I noticed, but I told him to look on me as support staff). Morgan Daimler’s fairy workshop was great, and, to save time, I’ll say that I enjoyed all the ones I went to and was very glad I’d brought Willow to watch the table for me.
She was stitching away at the polar fleece blankets she makes. She finished the appliqué on Janes- sadly, she needs a machine to sew the backing on it, so had to bring it back home with her- I’ll take it with me and pass it along at Twilight Covening. She also got several of her “my little pony cutie mark” blankets done too.
Saturday evening they had the banquet- it was fairly indescript hotel fare, although the vegetables were not over cooked, and that was a pleasant surprise. It was a “costume ball”- I hadn’t paid attention to that in the descriptions, as I’m in it for the workshops, so not only did we not bring our suits for the hotel pool, we didn’t bring costumes. At the last minute I brought my “McGonagall Hat” with a matching scarf. I haven’t got an academic robe, and it would have been to hot anyway. Willow spent the weekend thinking of things she could have worn if I’d thought to tell her in time so she could have packed it. We didn’t stay much past the food though- we stayed to see the raffle drawn. We sort of won that- a gentleman had fallen in love with the faun and kid sculpture, but didn’t have the money to get it- and he won the cash raffle, so he was able to come get it the next day.
During dinner a lady at our table recognized Willow as having sold her the Greenman masks at Akashacon (back on 2003?) that they still have on the walls and love. Pretty nice to know that she is succeeding at her life goal of making beautiful things that make people happy.
Sunday the vendors closed at two and classes finished at three or four. Dear Willow let me finish attending them, then we went out (with Jane), stopping at the Blue Colony Diner for a very late breakfast/lunch/tea. There’s something about a long car drive that’s exhausting, and I went to sleep about as soon as we got home (and put in the wash).
Sadly since then I feel like I’ve done nothing- I’ve spent most of my time on line, working on the con, updating the website, I did confirm the ghostbuster we were trying to get, that sort of thing. WHY does doing this diddly squat stuff take SO much time!?
Most of my reading this week was trying to cram everything I needed to do a good job on my workshops into my head. Since I’ve gotten home I have mostly been “on vacation”, reading fiction- more Roman Britain Libertus mysteries. The one I just finished The Ghosts of Glevum was very striking. I’ve probably mentioned that I like the series because the hero is older, he frequently comments on being slower than his young slave, weaker than he wants to be- remembers being, and has the other aches and issues of aging. I’m at a point in my life where I can identify with that. He also is, while a Roman Citizen, an ex-slave, so he remembers being a Celtic noble, and a slave for much of his life. The author, Rosemary Rowe, incorporates the reality of slavery into her stories far more than other same period fiction I’ve read. I don’t know if one can really understand being a slave without having done it, but she addresses it, which so many don’t. To a great extent, other authors treat slaves, as the Romans treated them, as part of the environment; they’re there, and of course they have abilities- that’s what makes them useful, but you don’t even really notice them. Rowe talks about what it’s like to be in the position of the person who’s got to live in that situation. She’s also shown more about the whole “client/patron” relationship, and how that worked than I’d ever considered (while thinking about Roman history, art, mythology, etc.).
In Ghosts of Glevum Libertas is thrown into an even more appalling group- the poor. We don’t think about the poor much these days. They are the people on welfare- the deserving poor, the vets or the handicapped, and the undeserving poor who really should get off of welfare, and we don’t understand why they don’t. We talk about health care reform and just how much treatment for any given condition is a person’s right. For most of history- as shown in this mystery- the poor just suffered and died. The family who could catch eels, got to eat eels, the miller whose hand had been crushed picked up sticks one handed and sold kindling bundles, and his wife collected herbs and made herbal remedies- surviving as well as they could in their old house. When a house was burned down, tough- you could very well freeze to death. People stole each other’s shoes and ragged clothing if it was better than theirs, just to stay warm. I don’t think we think about that much these days.
I was just talking to Kerensa, and he mentioned how he doesn’t turn on his cell phone except when he wants to get or make a call, and people are offended because he’s not available to them 24/7. (I have to wonder if they use “call waiting”.) I was talking to someone recently who still hasn’t got a computer, and uses the post office for all her mail. I’ve almost given up looking at my mail- it’s nothing but junk mail, so why would I? (How soon will it take before advertisers catch on to that?) You get sick, you die. Ah the benefits of the modern world. You get hungry, you go to the freezer- take out a fish that’s already been cleaned and breaded, pop it in the oven, which you don’t have to build a fire for- don’t have to collect and haul much less ignite the fuel, and maintain the proper heat. No going outside, trying to catch a fish, if they are feeling cooperative, and if you do, cleaning it, and building a fire. Good heavens- what luxury, and we don’t even think about it!
This week I was making meatloaf and got creative with what we had on hand- I added chopped mushrooms (pretty nice), and put strips of bacon on top- also pretty nice. Then I noticed the last bit of the block of velvetta blanco- the new white velvetta. Since seeing it at a conference once, I now make individual meatloaves- it helps with the portion control, and speeds the cooking. So I took put a chunk of the velveeta inside each of the mini-meatloaves. If you use velvetta you know it melts beautifully. I didn’t tell the kids, so when they cut in and this white stuff started flowing out, they were a little surprised, but they dealt with it pretty well. Willow proclaimed it to be like a “lava cake” only with protein. It was pretty darned good! (The advantage, other than taste, of putting the bacon on top was that no one was expecting something special inside too.)
We got a post card from Morgan and Rachel who are, or were, in London. I expect Megan and Dennis will be there soon. Honour’s going to be watching Vito and their house for them.
This week I watched two movies about Buffalo Bill- one with Joal MaCrae and Maureen O’Hara- pretty standard heroic stuff, Anthony Quinn played a really cute indian. It was kind of interesting to see the internal double standard in the portrayal of the Indians. The battle scenes looked like adults playing cowboys and indians, but the writers clearly showed that the whites in power were cheating the Indians for their own profit. I also loved the scene where Maureen O’Hara sees the native girl trying on one of her gowns and offers it to her, but the indian refuses it (where the heck would she have worn it anyway?) possibly correctly pointing out that the white girl wouldn’t want to wear it after it had been worn by an Indian. (I forgot to keep track of whether we ever see her wearing that dress again.) Later, and she has to have her baby in a cave, helped by an old woman who’s been left behind (to die) because she couldn’t keep up, but while she complains that that’s horrible, she certainly doesn’t suggest they take the old woman along as a servant. (She probably wouldn’t have come anyway.) Then I watched Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull’s History Lesson. That was made in 76. Cody was played by Paul Newman, and Sitting Bull and other Indian’s played by Native Americans- except for the ones that were intentionally being cast out of race because of the plot. It got into the ubiquitous prejudice against Indians, “coloreds”, Mexicans, etc., as well as exploring (as did the other one) how Ned Buntline pretty much invented Buffalo Bill. In the later one, Bert Lancaster played Buntline. A lot more white angst (probably more on the writers of the 70s part than on that of the people of the 1890s), and to a certain extent a more heavy-handed treatment of the intrinsic exploitation. I think at that point we (the culture) were wallowing in how awful it was, rather than in the forties, when they were sneaking some awareness of it in, wrapped up in an exciting story. (I also got interested and have seen a bit about Annie Oakley- who was pretty darned amazing as a “sure shot”, and in her later life did a lot of teaching women to learn firearms to protect themselves.)
I got a little book on Milagros- votive offerings, am still trying to rebuild my collection of statuettes. I’m also still reading the book on the benefits of being in nature, and listening to the combined history of Greece and Rome, and something John sent for- a 70s British science fiction show Timeslip. I also got to the end of the History Channel show on Myths, when the covered Beowulf. Wow, THAT was painful to watch!
Ah, well, I should get this off.
America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter, and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.
— Abraham Lincoln