9-8-2007 Healers Day

It’s also Waffle Week- so we had waffles for lunch (should have been breakfast, but I didn’t get around to it until late). I’m doing another round of giving everyone huge piles of vitamins and enzymes and probiotics and herbs and stuff, and a side effect of that is that you first have to pad your stomach with real food before you choke down a pile of pills. The hard part for Willow is that she really doesn’t feel like eating until nearly noon anyway. I do think that health depends on getting the nutrients you need, and that individuals have varying needs which allow supplements to help (although I do agree we should get most of our needs met from eating good food- people sometimes think I don’t). Anyway, I feel like a “nut” and have to wonder if we are getting enough benefit from it to make it worth the effort. It’s really hard to guess whether you’d have felt worse if you didn’t take them, or if you feel better than you did a week ago if there wasn’t something really specific, like a cold, going on.

The morning glories I planted early this spring have finally had their first bloom- very pretty, but very delicate- it was going along the ground and I shredded the flower while trying to move the vine over to the string up beside the house. I hope they’ll grow up some, they are so pretty.
The New England Asters are blooming along with the Goldenrod, and the back yard is awash with color- and fluttering with Monarch Butterflies. I thought they just liked milkweed- and I’d had Star cut all that down before it could go to seed (because of the danger to the goats). We’ve never seen so many in one place before (except in pictures of them wintering in Mexico). Kat took a short film of it and is planning on putting it on U tube.

I know I haven’t written lately- last week we hadn’t seemed to have been doing anything worth mentioning. OK, we went to the East Coast Thing (they’re not trying to be cute, a Thing is a word like a Moot- it simply means a gathering). It occurs to me now that I may have been kind of depressed. I did four workshops and the attendance was very bad- 2, 1, none- I’m not used to that. Money-wise we did OK. One odd thing happened, the other people in the cabin we were assigned included the young man who was hitting on Willow last year. I’m not sure she recognized him until he renewed his interest. Sadly, the best time I had was between two classes when a fellow asked if anyone wanted to go swimming with him. No one was going to take him up on it, and the kids had the table covered, so I went. It was fantastic- we saw an eagle think about fishing but it didn’t (probably just waited until we left). I swam in my linen under-dress so I was cool for the next several hours which was lovely. It only rained during the Thor blót (ceremony) which was started with a song about letting it rain on us, so what do you expect? Lots of thunder and lightning while the big chest of offerings burned. I’ll say one thing for the ceremonies at this year’s thing, they were run efficiently. Sometimes it takes so long I wish I hadn’t come. A heathen ceremony usually starts with someone blessing the gathering, then they pass around a horn of mead and everyone gets to say something and take a drink- and it can go around three times. When there are a lot of people, it can take HOURS! Then there may be an offering where people throw things in the fire for the gods. In this case there was a big wooden box people put their stuff in (a lot of people offer mead they’ve brewed, and the group figured if they just poured it in, there wouldn’t be any bottles exploding in the fire- good thinking!), and that burned. I have to admit, as I understand it there is a lot of drinking at these heathen gatherings, but I don’t go, so I can’t say for sure. On the other hand, one of the ECT “awards” is the Egil’s bucket. It’s a bucket (painted gold) on which they put each years “winner’s” name- and it’s given for the most heroic/impressive retching of the night. I can’t even imagine why anyone would drink that much intentionally or more than once.
On the way back home we stopped at the Crackerbarrel and found that they were selling various collections of nostalgic candy. The 60s candy had a picture of a red convertible on it, so we had to get it for Megan and Dennis. They left for their trip across country (in a red convertible) to celebrate their 25 years of marriage. Is that cool or what?
I also got back to the discovery that the people who gave us the loan didn’t send the part of the loan for the credit cards and town taxes directly to Mastercard- they FedExed them, and Star didn’t remember their arriving even though it was recorded. Willow did find them, but it was stressful until then. I hate stress.
The Thing was four days- Thursday through Sunday, and I had a class each day, so we left first thing Thursday morning. Honour called Wednesday night- her mother had had a stroke and they’d sent for the DNR papers, so she was flying out to the bedside in Maine. I told her we’d be happy to have her stay here if she got a chance- but of course, we were leaving in the morning. When we got back I was kind of afraid to call because it’s hard to call and find out if someone has died, but after waffling too long, I did. Their poor family, her mother held on all week. Honour finally called me Thursday as we were packing for Harpers to say that her mother had passed on. They’d be headed down to a funeral home in Dedham, but she and Suki would stop and see us on the way. We’d thought to go to Harpers on Friday, but decided to wait and see if we could take Honour with us. That was dependent upon when the funeral would be, of course. A week in a hospital on deathwatch has to be hard on anyone, and she’s hardly gotten a chance to see old friends since she moved out to Michigan. (Actually, we got lucky on that one, apparently they had a storm Friday night which didn’t hit us here.) So I kept working on the notes for my Magick and Witchcraft in the Middle Ages workshop, and they got in very late on Friday night. We did have to wait and figure out what was happening when, but it turns out grave diggers don’t work on weekends, so the wake would be Monday night. Suki didn’t feel like going (she only went to a few events back in the 70s), but Willow was totally wiped, so we just took Honour in her place, and left Willow and Suki (with their rented car) here.
It was nice for both of us- people had been wondering if our getting there late meant we had trouble, so I felt very cared for, and I think Honour did too. By the way, any of Honour’s friends can go to this website and offer condolences by e-mail. People are different, and her family seems to really like having people write in something. I personally hope lots of SCA folk write in because some of her sibs are still making snarky comments about the SCA, as if we were bad for her somehow not the support system I know we are. The

memorial book at http://www.gfdoherty.com/obituaries.html
click on Katherine M. Horne-Day and there’s a link to post a condolence.
If that link doesn’t work you can try the boston globe link:

Actually, I saw fairly little of Honour during the event. Kat and I set up the Pop-up with the help of Guiness’ boys (Guiness looks MUCH better- the advantage of catching Lyme disease early I guess). I think that meant that she got to go to classes. I meant to but mostly I just wandered around and talked to old friends- it was great.
There was a group of musicians there this year (and probably never again, apparently they had some problems getting a good safe place for their instruments during the rainstorm) who really were wonderful. The main fellow’s name is Wicherly, and he has made over 1100 folk harps or other instruments- as well as a Viking long house and a viking ship. (Darn, he’s already married! 😉 ) Also they live up at the Canadian border- Aroostik County, I think. Still, I’m going to have to get up to one of their events at the long-house! Andrew McRob was up from NJ and sang Pennsic 205, which I can remember hearing and singing for years- but didn’t realize he’d written it. Honour was able to share the origin of Cloved Lemons, and Kat did a new filk she wrote while we were there. Sadly I was off yakking a mile a minute with Catherine du Fay and Starwolf, and missed a lot of the singing- but I can’t regret a minute of it.
Kat ran the shop most of the weekend. I did do my workshop on Witchcraft and Low Magick in the Middle Ages- and am trying to get the booklet done so I can sell it as a companion to the High Magick one. I might be more motivated if I could sell them for a real profit. I just can’t bring myself to charge much for it when other people share their knowledge for free. There was some confusion with the packing. We have a list of all our camping stuff and goods in the computer, and each week we print it out- cross out the things we aren’t taking, and Star packs the van for us. Just before Pennsic I came up with the clever idea of putting big numbers on the bins so that we could easily say pack bins #3, 4, 6, 8 and 12- but it seems to have fallen down in that I didn’t put what goes in each bin in it, so when we packed up at the end of the Maine Pagan Pride Day, we didn’t get everything in the right bin. Star packed the specified bins by number, but we didn’t have what I’d thought I’d ordered when we got there. Also, we discovered that the cabins had power, so Suki brought up the missing stuff as well as Honour’s C pap machine (which she figured she’d just do without for one night of camping). Sadly, she got lost in the dark because of wretched Google directions. This was not good for helping her heal from her hellish week.
She came and got Honour again on Sunday afternoon so that we wouldn’t have to leave the event early and cut sales short. Turns out that she needn’t have done so- the 4-H Camp water system died midafternoon (no drinking or wash water), and most of us headed out before dark. I meant to go down for the funeral (if not the wake) but got tied up with other stuff, and didn’t make it. Not that funerals are fun, but that Honour could have used a friend.
First thing Monday morning I got a phone call- two ladies from Hillsboro wanted soothsaying, and were willing to come to me. So I got the kids to help and we cleaned up the public areas of the house- the living room was much more in need of cleaning than I’d thought. After much vacuuming I just had Star take the rug out- and we took it too the dump. It was too ugly and full of holes to deal with, and the wood floor is very attractive. We had to turn the couch upside down and fix the springs again. Apparently while the couch looks like the one my grandmother used to have- it isn’t as high quality. I wish I could tell what to look for to buy quality. Some people suggest just spending a lot- but I’m not convinced that that is a good test.
The ladies were both hearing impaired, but one was better at lip reading and acted as an interpreter for the other. I found myself beginning to speak with my hands more from watching them sign while speaking, and worried that what may seem like an expressive motion may be symbolic of something else with ASL, but they didn’t seem to mind. I expect it’s greatly akin to the way I pick up accents whenever I travel. The readings didn’t go as well as I’d have liked- mostly because one of the ladies was looking for signs of romance and there really weren’t any. It’s a hard thing to tell someone. I leaned hard on the “you make your own future” bit, but it’s not like you can force yourself to fall in love with someone.
Tuesday I was waiting for the plumber (I’d made an appointment with him when the loan came through- figured we might as well get the rest of the house fixed as well.) Mostly what I wanted was to get the pipe that was broken and just turned off last winter fixed while it’s still warm. Sadly- what we discovered (when he was here) was that the break was in the back hall- which required cleaning the back hall out. I’ve been just dumping stuff back there “to sort later” and it’s deep- very deep. He can’t do anything until we dig it out. But I’m pleased to report that Kat and Star have gotten it halfway dug out already- although Kat’s not feeling well and I suspect mold “poisoning”. I also set up an appointment for next week to get the sink fixed, so we’ll be able to use both sinks again which we haven’t for years.
I’d also called the electrician- which day did he come, Thursday? He fixed a half dozen little things. I’d called Paul Martin, and his son Chris came- he’d gone to school with Dan, and having done his time at another electrical company in Manchester, has come back to Lyndeboro to set up for himself. I think Dan would be amazed that people can really love it here, and come live here on purpose. I think most of our problems stemmed from putting 100 watt bulbs in fixtures that were only rated for 60. Why do such fixtures even exist? Chris’ perspective was that bulbs shouldn’t have interchangeable bottoms- but only bulbs small (read dim) enough should fit into the ones who can’t take more heat than that. What this means is that I pretty much have to replace all the fixtures with track lighting so that in order to get the light level that allows me to see comfortably, I can have 3 bulbs for every one I’ve got now. I hate the idea of track lighting- it’s not very consistent with the farm house style- but it would be nice to get rid of the florescent in the kitchen.
Also, if there’s enough money left over for it when the house is fixed, I should change the big box down in the cellar. I thought Paul had done that a couple of years ago, but Chris said no, it was just an expansion thing he’d done. I asked him about the computers- this old farm house wasn’t wired expecting computers- and let’s face it- each one wants to plug in it’s monitor, CPU, keyboard, speakers, printer, modem, etc. etc. and most of the rooms in this house have only two outlets. He can add more outlets (downstairs anyway) for only about $100 each. If I can decide where we want the computers permanently, I’m going to do it. The way they are all clustered in one corner here is a pain.
I’d called Wally, and he came by and looked at the sill. He said it looks like it’s been a long time coming, and can wait until after the roof is done. Well, duh. You can see daylight through half the upstairs, and a tarp isn’t perfect. He’s working on a barn now, but will come here when he’s done and finish the roof and fix the sill. We may have to redo part of what Alex did because apparently my explanation of what Kerensa taught me wasn’t good enough and it’s partially done wrong, but thankfully Wally is not averse to finishing up a half finished job. Now if the rain will just hold off for another week or two… I hate to think that when it’s been so dry, but I still do.
EMTs came by Friday morning (well, they did call first). They’d run out of the “green goo” the anti-poison ivy ointment we give them, and one of them had a bad case of it. As they said “it’s the only thing that works”. Good thing Arwen can sell it for us. It seems that a good product does sell itself- it just takes 5 years for word of mouth to create a reasonable demand.
Also last Friday we called in the new sock order and it arrived on Friday- they said they’d be sending it out Tuesday morning. They are good. We spent a good deal of the day rolling pairs of socks up and tying them with ribbons. (Ribbons are just about as cheap as rubber bands, and people like them.) I am not sure, but I think we sell more because they are easier to organize that way. Right now we have over two dozen color combinations. The more we have, the more we sell. Some I don’t know why they sell, but they do. Tastes vary.
Willow also sent for another bunch of my cookbook from Lulu to resell at fairs. In theory we got a distribution package which should have made it findable on the internet, but I haven’t seen it yet. I really have to stay away from sales.
My joy is in research and writing and teaching, that’s what I’m going to concentrate on. Kat has decided that her great joy is in telling stories- both the writing and illustrating. I think that’s the biggest hurdle, to actually decide what it is you want to do. Perhaps it helped her decide because she’s been spending so much time working on organizing the receipts- hours and hours. the theory is that when we
catch up it won’t take as much time to maintain- but I’m not sure. It’s like housework- I don’t think about it until it comes up. I suppose that’s what schedules are for. Sadly, none of us (but Star) is a schedule sort of person.
Earlier in the week, Kat was trying to do something on my computer and noticed that we were almost out of space, so we’ve been going through and taking out pictures and music that we don’t need in the computer. I guess I’m just so impressed with the 75 gigabytes that I’d pretty much not worried about it. So put things on back up disks and try and get those organized so you can find things later if you want. It occurs to me that some of the early letters are stored on 3.5 floppies. Actually I think the earliest were saved to the real (what were they, 5″?) floppies, which we probably couldn’t possibly read anymore anyway. I should see if maybe I should transfer the other to modern discs.
One think that won’t help was that someone sent me a connection for a free service called wowio.com . Their motto appears to be Free Books, Free Minds. You can download up to 5 books a day free. Obviously, most of us can’t read five books a day, so this is a source of huge temptation to fill computer space (or discs) with books I’ll never get to read. Right now I’m reading Fertility Goddess, Groundhog Bellies and the Coca Cola Company, it’s about the stories behind holidays- very cool, and well written too. Perhaps someday we’ll be able to tell each other about books and movies we’ve watched, recommend them and it will only be the time involved not expense or availability that will keep us from not watching or reading them. I can’t see any way to make available time infinite. Kind of makes it more precious somehow.
Kat’s (OK, we’ve) been watching horror movies a lot lately. I’m not sure I mentioned that she’s decided that Halloween is the best holiday, and fall the best time of year. (the weather, until today, has been good. Today it’s hot.) We’ve also come to appreciate Japanese horror movies- they are less in love with their special effects, and so tend to be the old fashioned kind of make you nervous type spooky. We’ve rented The Messengers, Premonition, Ringu, (the one they based The Ring on, Ju-on: the Grudge- the one they based -you guessed it, the Grudge on, Dead Silence, a modern American movie (safety depends on not screaming). We took out the 1963 movie The Haunting based on the book The Haunting of Hill House, which I then took out of the library. In the preface (by Stephen King) he says that the protagonist Eleanor is whiney and self centered, but I don’t see it. Sure she shows that she’s spent 10 years of her life cooped up with an invalid mother, and her sister wants to take advantage of her, but I don’t think that makes her whiney. The whole process of the book is how the house works its way into her mind- which is shown by following her stream of consciousness- which shows that she’s feeling rebellious and that she’s imaginative. I suppose it doesn’t matter- it’s kind of fun to see how the various characters are handled in the 63 movie and the 04 version. I’d love to see it made again with more made of the characters of the investigator and his wife- which neither movie explored, and I thought was one of the better parts of the book. The House on Haunted Hill, looked like it might be another version, but turned out to be a classic “locked door” thriller with Vincent Price (I’ll bet they used the name to cash in on the popular book though). Then I found Kolchak: the Night Stalker, and the Night Strangler, the movies that led to the TV show on Netflix- they’re still funny, and it’s such a blast from the past to see the old clothes and other stuff from the 70s. Since it was low budget they did very little with special effects, so bad specials don’t jar the way they do with a lot of old horror movies. I think The Bad Seed may still be one of the scariest ones ever made. I probably can’t get them to watch it though- I don’t think it counts as horror. Going back to “stream of consciousness” though, I watched The Weatherman, a not bad movie although I can’t figure out what category it might be, it’s one of those modern “life stinks, get used to it” type stories. I prefer the movies where the good guys kick the bad guys butt, or at least a happy ending.

Woof- it’s hot again. For a while we had fall like weather- cool and sunny, but it’s sticky again. Better than rain I suppose. Poot, I think I hear thunder…
I’ll write again sometime. When I sit down to the computer these days I do try to be getting the book finished.

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. ~~~Albert Einstein

this was funny:

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