9/19/2013 Talk like a Pirate Day

The fall weather is beginning. While we mark the calendar with absolutes- this date, this hour, things tend to slide in and happen gradually, especially the seasons. I was reminded on Facebook today that first frosts are to be expected this weekend, and to remember to harvest everything. I’m wondering if I can find a plastic sheet to go over my mini gardens at night. I don’t have as many flowers- but there are still morning glories, nasturtium, the horizontal hollyhocks, and yesterday I saw a hummingbird in the last of the phlox- I guess they are at least worth checking out. And there’s a blossom on the hibiscus. I fear I don’t respond to the prompts to go out and check the garden when they come up, and hope that the neglect isn’t hampering it too much. My harvest continues to be mostly chard and radishes.

We had some serious rain last week (nothing like that out in the Rockies, of course), and there was a leak. I called Wally, and he came over and found a place where he thinks the water may have been getting in and sealed it. We’ll have to wait for the next serious rain to see if that took care of it. Even running a hose over it would probably not be the equivalent of the way the rain was coming down that night!
Sadly, ever since then the screen door has been catching on the front step because it swelled in the rain. Once it’s dried enough, we’ll coat it with polyurethane, but meanwhile, the door catches. Wally says we should just shave the bottom of the door, but I think since it cleared it when the deck wasn’t swollen, to take some off would do nothing but provide access for mosquitos. We’ll be taking the screen door down soon anyway- as soon as we’ve finished with Indian Summer- probably after Columbus Day. Meanwhile, we have realized that our genius loci: the lion head door knocker came down when the door was painted, and hasn’t get gone back up. Where did we put it?
Kat and I went to the blood drive Thursday during the rain- it was almost empty, I guess people didn’t want to go out in the downpour. The lights kept flickering on and off, but the equipment was all battery powered, so we could give blood in the dark if we had to- which we didn’t. On the other hand the computers were in trouble.

As I was beginning to write the letter yesterday I got a call from Deb Miller. She has a weekly public access TV Show, and wanted me to come on and talk about the Changing Times Changing Worlds conference. Given that we are still trying to get bodies through the door, I went on over. (OK, first, I went to look for something suitable to wear. I’m afraid I need to get some new clothes. While most of what I own looks fine for around the house, I really need to have more than one or two outfits without a stain. I object to getting rid of outfits just because there’s a stain on them, but sadly, that’s the state most of mine are in. Clearly I need to learn to eat without spilling on myself.) Since we didn’t want it to be an “informercial” we mostly talked about my goals with the con: getting people together from different groups so we could build on each other’s discoveries, getting beyond beginner level sharing. I shared the analogy that as long as each group (dowsers, witches, parapsychologists, theosophists, reiki healers, etc.) stay in their own groups and don’t talk, we are like the people working on separate pieces of a secret government contract. We only know a piece of the total project, and aren’t able to figure out quite what it is we are doing because we don’t have context. Or perhaps like office workers in cubicles who aren’t allowed to talk to each other. If we could just talk to each other, we’d be able to progress so much farther and quicker!
They are editing the show now, and when it is done will put it on my You-tube channel. This does, of course, mean that I need to make a you-tube channel for Changing Times- Changing Worlds. I tried last night, but the age down as 4 years old, and that’s not old enough. … So I just got Kat to help me, and I have one now. Yay. She is SO helpful with the computer- so patient with me. Last week I discovered that the “contact us” e-addresses on the CTCW website didn’t seem to be attached to anything, and she helped me attach them to my email (and the hospitality to Raye’s and the Art Show to Joannies).
When I got back from Keene, John had the Pizza in the oven, and in a half hour or so I was doing my own show. This week Seanara was on, talking about how to get the best use from a psychic. I thought it went really well. I’ve lined up speakers for all the weeks between now and the show- except next week! (back to the internet to ask for more)

pantry 5Saturday we went to the dump, and took another set of dishes, ice-cream bowls, salad bowls, etc.. I do have too many, and as I keep trying to organize the pantry, and get everything in there, I pick things I don’t like quite as much as others. Clearly I’m not going to be able to do so. We have really been loving having the counter in there. We can fold and sort the laundry on it (although I suspect we will choose not to when it becomes a “walk in refrigerator” midwinter. I am working on a final list of the “last things” we want Wally and his guys to do before winter sets in. (I did make Wally a peach pie as a thank you.)

Sunday we went to the Eastern Mass Pagan Pride Day. The day was gorgeous. We got out a bit late, so were still setting up (although we are really quick!) when it opened. I kept losing track of the classes I was doing because I was talking to someone, but they went well, after I’d dashed down the hill to where I was doing them. One of the people who came to my talk on Dead Things (Ok, it was views of the afterlife in different cultures, but people who remember Goonies will know why I keep thinking of it as “Dead Things, Mikey, Killer Dead Things!”) remembered me from five years ago when she went to one of my workshops on Pagan Parenting, and this year was doing one on Pagan Parenting herself. Very cool! I also did one on Herbalism, and one on Dynamind, and both of those went well. Luckily the one I was very late for was Dynamind which one can really teach in about five minutes. The same whole group came back for the herbalism class as well. Lori Bruno was also there, talking about what it means to be Strega (apparently about the same as being Mafia: taking care of your own people- which seems very like ancient Roman patronage). Sadly, I wasn’t able to nail her down to speak at CTCW, which I was hoping to do. The day was a bit depressed because right after Kat had set it out, she noticed that our replica “one ring” had disappeared just after some kid had been there. We spoke to him when he came by again, but I remember stealing 35¢ once when I was about 7, (I thought it was just lost change), and how awful it was to try to get it back to the people who I’d taken it from when they told us that it had been left there for their paperboy. While I’m cross about losing the $80-90 it was worth, I still feel badly for the kid. I can only hope that this will make him feel the way I felt and he will avoid stealing in the future.
On the way home we stopped at the same Chinese Buffet as we had on the way back from Southeastern Mass PPD, and had another lovely dinner. I did much better at not over eating. This time I tried the crayfish because last time I saw so many people piling dozens of them on their plates. To my surprise, it was coated in a VERY hot sauce- once again I resorted to a crab rangoon to put the fire out!

Not surprisingly, my feet hurt after running around, Sunday, so I spent Monday doing computer stuff for CTCW. I didn’t think I’d signed up for this much “paperwork” when I started this mess. I am learning a lot more than I knew about website design and promotion, and this is NOT what I wanted or enjoy doing. I expect a lot of dreams are like that.
Another thing I’m doing is pre-reading Cathy’s latest book- this one on dream interpretation. Since this is something I feel very confident about I have offered a few hints, although it makes me feel a bit pushy. Having read this, I’ll be writing a review paragraph for her.

Tuesday I went out and got another root canal. I didn’t expect any problems, but now two days later it is beginning to hurt- I wonder if some infection got in. Willow’s doctor gave her a major dose of antibiotics when she got hers (and we’re still pushing pro-biotics since then). I’m going to “keep an eye” on it. The whole reason he did the root canal was because he thought he saw a tiny shadow of abscess on the tooth.
I keep thinking- when we were young, we were told floride would prevent our cavities, that shots would prevent diseases, that fillings were silver (not mercury), that nuclear power was so clean and cheap we’d all have “free” power by now, that the police were your friends. We didn’t know that the reason our towns were all white was that the police were running the blacks out (and probably were friends to us little white kids), the powers that be actually believed the hype about nuclear power and fluoridated water, and let’s face it, doctors and dentists don’t use products they think will harm their patients- they just manage to convince themselves that the amount of mercury in whatever they’re using is safe for their patients. They tell us because the people who make the products told them. But bit by bit evidence accumulates and we discover that yes indeed, our “safe” agricultural sprays are killing the bees, our accumulated exposures to mercury are causing a litany of ills, unbalanced power twists the minds of those who have it to unintentional abuse of that power, corporate profits come from exploited workers (gee, didn’t we already figure THAT one out?), and our wonderful modern lifestyle is creating problems we don’t want to think about because we LOVE our convenient food, light, heat, communication, and the rest of it. What we don’t know, we don’t know because we don’t WANT to know, because it would require us to change the way we live, to give up things we enjoy. Please, can’t we keep having the lovely dream world where what we are doing isn’t hurting ourselves or anyone else, because we really don’t mean to! All I can hope for is that I will gradually become aware of what I’m doing at a rate that doesn’t make me crazy and feel helpless to improve anything!

Old Guard Carolingian 20th anniversaryI have some fairly depressing news to share this week. El of the Two Knives, who was, with Ælfwine, Angus, Patri, Marian, Lisa, Tostig, Cariadoc and Diana, Asbjorn, and Goody, part of the SCA that I first encountered and loved. He’s been in a health care facility for the last couple of years, since his diabetic crisis, but now he’s been given a cancer diagnosis. I feel so greedy that I keep thinking about all the stories I want to hear that I won’t get to once he’s dead. But he’s now involved in one of the greatest projects of his life, and it wouldn’t do to dump any more pressure on him by trying to retrieve them. Instead I feel I should try to remember as many as I can myself. And, I want to get down and thank him for all he’s done before he gets too tired.
I’ve also been turning every day to Facebook to check up on Mike McKenney. At Harpers he got a cut on his foot, and ended up in the hospital with an infection. While fighting that they discovered he had diabetes and he even ended up in the ICU for a while. Perhaps I have “too many” Facebook friends, but it just seems that there are a half a dozen in this last week who have a parent or loved one dying, and while I can accept death as a part of life, I’m getting a bit sick of it. I was VERY happy when he reported that he was doing better.

What else? We did try eyebright tea in Smokey’s eye, and it’s much better. Makes me feel guilty we didn’t try it earlier. Interestingly, he now likes to go outside occasionally (and hasn’t gotten stuck in a tree since that first time). Why is it that I am always so surprised when an herb I’ve not tried yet works well? So many of them do, you’d think I’d get used to it. It may be because our parent culture keeps representing herbal remedies as just barely better than nothing, generally non-functional. Another example of your belief system keeping you from being able to observe without bias.
I started reading Women in Late Antiquity, a used book that arrived recently. I love to smell used books (unless they were used by smokers). There’s something that they carry with them about their previous owners, like the marginalia and highlighting. I feel connected with someone else who loved the subject (or at least read it).

I’ve been listening to the audio book Why we get Fat. I guess I took it out because it said the author had studied scientific articles to put it together; and I’ll admit he cites a lot of them, and gives a convincing argument. The simplified conclusion is that carbs make us fat- that having evolved as hunter-gatherers we are designed to be omnivores with a preference for meat. I think the most interesting thing he said was that during the day we turn food to energy, and it’s while we sleep we burn the most stored fat. (As Liz quipped “I’ll never get out of bed again!”) Of course, what he was talking about at the time was that sleep deprivation tends to make you fat (as does stress, and maybe that’s why), so anyone who has trouble sleeping is at risk of getting overweight.

I very much like that his research confirms my own observation that reducing what we eat doesn’t help lose weight. On the other hand, he went to great lengths to point out how that as soon as the “calories in/calories out” theory gained prominence, every study was then twisted to fit it, and I can’t discount the possibility that I prefer it not because it’s proves my observations correct, but only because I prefer anything that conforms to my world-view. I DON’T like that his conclusion/recommendation is that if I want to lose weight I should give up or REALLY cut down on carbs. I like bread and baking, and noodles and potatoes. I hope that reducing them will be sufficient to my needs. Yes, I expect I am going to give it a try- quick before the Christmas baking season comes in. If it works, I’m sure I’ll let you know.
Another thing that struck me was his pointing out that since the sixties, when obesity was decided to be not a physical disease but a behavioral one, anyone that was fat clearly suffered from sloth and gluttony, they were weak willed, not suffering from a metabolic imbalance. I’ve always really resented when thin people accuse me of over-eating when I can see how much they eat, and know what I eat, and they eat more. Not to mention that when I am actually working on reducing my weight, and carefully tracking every bite and swallow, that when I discover (again) that I gain weight when reducing calories, I am accused of either doing it wrong or lying. It is SO insulting to tell someone that because their results don’t agree with your hypothesis that they are either incompetent or dishonest! The thing is, once a premise has been accepted, it is rarely challenged or examined. They’d rather find someone to blame- whether the individuals, or the food industry, or anyone than to go back and re-examine the premise. It’s a bit like the people who’d rather blame the poor for being lazy than look at the influences that are making it too hard for them to work themselves out of poverty. Even when couched in less insulting terms obesity is blamed on saying that fat people have over-developed pleasure sensors/ underdeveloped appetite control, or that they were “trained” to over-eat by their parents or society. Those who just say “eat moderately” define moderation as whatever amount of food that would keep a fat prone person from gaining more weight than a lean person, even though those two amounts of food are different. Both human and animal studies have shown that even when literally starving, some bodies make fat in preference to making energy.
I’m ever so ready to embrace the idea that different people process food differently, and that things that impact our hormones will change the way our bodies use the food it takes in. I’m not quite ready to say that we aren’t built to deal with carbs- although it’s not a reach to say that our bodies haven’y been evolved to deal with refined sugar and flour, or fruit juice (or many of the other things we put in food today). I think that as a trial run, I might try to eliminate sugar and reduce starches a lot. At the beginning of the 20th century people ate about 25 pounds of sugar a year, as opposed to the current 150 lbs. Let’s see how hard it would be to get it down to that. A pound of sugar is 2 cups, so that’s about 50 cups of sugar a year, or one cup a week (a bit over an ounce a day). If I drank soda, I’d be in trouble because there’s 10-12 teaspoons of sugar in each one; me, I’m going to have to cut down on how much honey I put in my tea. Maybe I’ll put 2/3 cup of honey in a jar at the beginning of each week, date it, label it for me, and stop when it’s done (and only be able to cook with what’s left over from the week before). Maybe with frugality I could save enough for some Christmas baking. (yeah right!) It would have been easier in the past when you only had what you harvested. When you ran out of something, whether grain, or apples, or honey, that was it, nothing until next year. “Check our 21st century privilege!” as the kids would say.

I’ve still been reading books about the Merovingian period, and just finished the book Witches, Werewolves, and Fairies: Shapeshifters and Astral Doubles in the Middle Ages, by Lecouteaux, although I think he didn’t put in as much about fairies as I’d have liked. I’m really miffed, starting his Traditions of Household Spirits, I discovered in the introduction that this was the sequel to Les Nains et les elves au Moyen Ages, (Dwarves and Elves in the Middle Ages) which is not available anywhere that I can find it! Very frustrating! I have enough french that I could probably get through it (although I’d probably have to have a good french/english dictionary nearby). I also ordered the most easily available Frederick Pohl book from the library when I read that he’d died last week. It was Outnumbering the Dead, a story about a future in which most people are effectively immortal. This gives them the opportunity to change jobs whenever they get tired of one, gives them a strange attitudes toward death. The protagonist is one of the few who will die, and I guess the story is mostly about how he deals with it. I am not convinced that technology can make it possible to sustain a infinitely expanding population, but that wasn’t what the story was about. Yes, he wrote well. I hope he found his death not too unpleasant.

I do like facebook. Since they tend to feed you more of whatever you’re already looking at, I do get a biased view, but I also get pictures of the weather (especially if it’s extreme), and my settings are aimed at getting as much good news as possible. I’ve been ignoring as far as possible the brough-ha about the latest shooting. I agree with those who would rather talk about the problems of cutting funds for mental healthcare than talk about “controlling” access to guns. I’ll admit that a “madman with a gun” can probably hurt more people before he’s taken down than a “madman with a knife” or axe, but the problem is “madman”, not axes, or knives, or guns. Changing the subject now.
I’ve got to put in a shout out to Pope Francis, “Go your Holiness!”, or as someone commented “Finally, a Pope who acts like a Christian!” If you didn’t hear, he said that God didn’t care if people were gay. Pretty cool!

I’ve got to get dinner on. We try to have it early on Thursdays because Willow games. Even when she doesn’t tell me her adventures, I love to hear her laughing with her friends! Not too many pics this week- all the ones I took this week were of food. Kat does her fashion blog, why shouldn’t I have my foodie blog?
Tchipakkan

We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.

Edward R. Murrow

honey shelvesThere’s my honey and tea collection. I feel rich.

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