Greetings to my Kith and Kin! September 5, 2018
The weather today is lovely. Even the Knotweed (currently flowering) is lovely, although I could wish that it didn’t crowd out the native plants. The morning glories we brought back from the war are blooming. Sadly, the phlox have passed (mostly, the white ones were a few days behind the pink and aren’t quite gone yet). We’ve still got lots of goldenrod, jewelweed, and loosestrife, and the farm stand is putting out the pots of mums and ornamental kale. We are seeing the first few turned leaves… and the Halloween decorations are in “full bloom” already! Some of the days this week have been simply lovely- in the 70ºs, others have been hot. Makes me want to imitate the cats and just lie down in front of a fan and wait for the fall to come.
This weekend was Harpers Retreat, but the girls were too exhausted for another camping weekend. Luckily the camp where it was held was only an hour away, so Kat and I ran the Gold Key bins over there on Friday afternoon, after we’d done a quick visit with Doctor Musumbder, her Primary care doctor. She got some blood tests just to make sure none of the medications she’s taking are hurting her liver, kidneys etc. I think that’s a good idea. We simply dropped off the bins and clothing rack, Lady Fia had a pop-up and a rug to put it on, and luckily it didn’t rain. When it’s not Birka (and a thousand people) she just takes one bin each of mens, women’s, “youth”, and children’s garb- as well as one of accessories. This weekend folks just helped themselves. Anjuli told me a fun story of a trip she took to Caid where she had to borrow garb since she’d thought she’d be going to a single day event and it turned out to be a whole weekend. (Not surprising, when one realizes that she was Kat’s predecessor as Mistress of the Golden Key, she’s a bit of a clothes horse. Apparently over there they have an Hospitality Tent, (with their Gold Key bins in a corner) but mostly it’s fun stuff for new members and old members. That’s where she learned some of the card games she was teaching.
I was leading the Teacher’s Round Table. It started out with a discussion on line, and we decided it would make a good discussion at an event, and it did. There were about eight of us, all with some teaching experience, and we shared ideas, techniques and tips (and cautionary tales of less than stellar experiences). Anjuli and her gambling games was after that, and I stayed and learned one called “Laugh and Lie Down”- the only problem with it is that no one else in the house enjoys playing games as much as I do. Oh well. If you’re interested I’d love to show you!
After the classes I talked to a few people and attended the court. Kia and Jeanne were thanked for the work they did at the war, many new Baronial Officers were brought in. It was bitter-sweet as Jocelyn had to do the court alone since Dario died just before the war. There was another memorial service for Dorio at 9 am, but I didn’t get there in time to attend. (Just barely made my round table at 10:30.) Although the event technically went on until Monday, they’d taken down the gate tent and I took brought the Gold Key home- Fia said she’d bring whatever was turned in Monday morning to the Yule event. (This year since we’ve done Christmas and Solstice so often, they’re doing Hannukah!) I was sorry that I had to leave at six to get home before dark since we’d been vaguely aware of the rehearsal going on next door during our chatting. A lovely man named Gregor was coaching volunteers through a St. George and the Dragon play. He said most of them were under the age of ten. (The picture shows him and Susan, I don’t think she was in the play since I believe that this was her first time she’s been autocrat for a large event. I spent most of my time saying “hi” to friends- there are so many great people there that by the time I’ve done that, it’s hard to fit any other activities in! I did get to talk to Brian, and Frostalf. But a list of names isn’t much fun to read, although it was fun for me to see them.
Steve came up on Saturday, and it was cool enough that I was able to actually cook! I made a lovely blueberry pie. Three pints of blueberries- Willow thinks it’s not really appropriate to make “over filled” pies except apple. It was possibly over-juicy (over liquid?) as I didn’t put in as much cornstarch and sugar as many suggest. I want it to taste like fruit, not like paste. It was SO much better than commercial blueberry pies! I am very much looking forward to apple season and having it cool enough to bake again.
We are still having the Rat problem, although we’ve thrown away several bodies. When the cats didn’t handle it, we started putting out traps, but apparently haven’t yet caught all of them. Grrrr! I am going to have to wash every dish in the pantry now, once I’m convinced they’re gone!
I’m trying to think of anything else we’ve done this week. This morning, having procrastinated as long as I could, we went out and I got a dress to wear to Kate’s wedding. We didn’t get lucky at Goodwill- or rather we did, I found several items I’ll be able to use to replace cat chewed clothing that should have been chucked immediately it was damaged. But we did go down to the Mall (martyred sigh!) and checked out Torrid and Lane Bryant. Luckily I’d looked at the websites last night and got over the sticker shock at home. Liz tells me Charlie and Amanda won’t be able to make it as she fell down their stone steps at the lake this weekend. Well, poot! I was looking forward to seeing them!
While “ ying in front of the fan like a cat” this week, I read more Rosemary Rowe mysteries: Requiem for a Slave, theVestal Vanishes, and aWhispering of Spies. That may have motivated me to mischievously use an image of a Roman Slave Market for one of today’s holidays: Talent Acquisition Day. (Apparently it is a holiday for head hunters, excuse me, Human Resource Professionals. Sorry, we know what they’re trying to do, bet the best workers for the least money.) The only difference is these days we don’t “support the state” by warring on and enslaving other peoples, no, we just co-opt their resources, destroy their environment and culture, and act like they should be grateful because now they have machine made clothing, Coke, and whatever medicines we can trade to their governments in exchange for their water, wood, and other resources.
I listened to several stories related to Labor Day over the weekend. It seems that our system is really messed up- the people who we really need- from garbage collectors to bus drivers, to food producers, are not paid much and have low status, but people in highly paid, high status jobs don’t really have much to do. This needs to be fixed. First, we need to respect and pay the people who do necessary work more, and let the people who are not really doing anything go do something useful like art or philosophy, not stick around an office getting in the way of the people who are doing the work! Theres no good reason not to simply create a guaranteed income that allows everyone to stay healthy, and then let people pursue work and goals that aren’t just “justifying the handout”. The “justification” is that it’s really cheaper and makes the country work better when people aren’t sick and stressed! I would so much rather have someone going to classes or caring for their kids than riding busses to meet people to prove that they “deserve” the housing, food and medical care they need. People want to be useful, most government programs effectively keep them from doing anything useful by trying to force them into jobs that fill their time without providing enough money to support themselves. As an historian, I think our current system is simply a variation on slavery or serfdom with different words. I don’t know that we think very clearly when it comes to labor. We have latched so firmly onto the theory that we can judge how well the country is doing by how much money is changing hands, we have forgotten that how healthy, happy, and sane we are is far more important. We don’t value those who care for each other, only those who generate income. We need a new way of keeping track of how we are doing, not just using something because it’s conveniently numerical.
I am about a third of the way through Witchcraft in Early Modern Poland, the book I rented by accident. I now know more than I have in the past about the history of Poland. Why don’t they actually teach world history in school?! As happens so often, I’ve drifted into a new area of inquiry- Nazis and the Occult. Sadly, I don’t think this is a topic that many would be interested to hear me talk about. I have already learned that while Himmler was into the occult, Hitler wasn’t, and made fun of him for it. This should be fun.
I reread King’s The Eyes of the Dragon, a medieval adventure. I know I’ve read it before, but couldn’t remember it- which is disturbing for me, although it allowed me to enjoy it again. I loved that both the young king and the head minister (and an ancient queen) recognized that the only way to keep the country from failing was to keep the people from fighting each other, and keep them working. I’d have liked the story to go on long enough to see how they were going to make that work.
This week I continued watching documentaries on Lincoln, as well as Abe Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, just for fun. I think the Lincoln movies may be how I came to send for the Horse Soldiers, a movie with John Wayne and William Holden, set during the Civil War. (A daring long distance raid deep into the heart of enemy territory.) It’s got a lot of riding and shooting of course, but it’s mostly about personality and motivations. I wondered how they were going to destroy the train depot when I didn’t see explosives. They used crowbars to disassemble the track, burned the ties, heated the rails in the middle of each section, then ran against a tree, bending it in the middle, then threw them in a pond. Low tech, but effective. Wayne played a man who’d been a train engineer before the war, so he knew how to make the engines blow up. But it was watching the people learn about each other that made it a good film. I always like discovering good old movies. This week I also re-watched South Pacific. I was thinking about it and wondered how much of the theme of prejudice was intentional, and apparently, a great deal of it was. I expect that a lot of soldiers and sailors encountered “alien” cultures while away at war. I never really understood why Nellie was so repulsed to discover that he’d had children by a native wife, but now I realize that she was from Arkansas, and probably considered them “niggers”, easy to coo over, but not to accept as step- kids. Cable, being from the north, probably thought he wasn’t prejudiced, but he knew his family wouldn’t welcome Liat. Pretty powerful stuff for 1948=1958 (when the movie came out). Sadly, we’re still having problems with it, and I am not sure why. Steve and I watched Death at a Funeral , the American remake; I think the English one is slightly better- or maybe I just get the people more easily. Peter Dinklage is brilliant.
Well, that’s it for this week. Who knows what mischief we’ll get up to next week?
“Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now.” Thomas Jefferson
Oops- he was too right about that. The problem with “government appointed experts” is that they really don’t necessarily have the best information, and standard medicine is always practicing about 10 years behind current information, and adding legislation to that drags it out even longer!
Thursday 6th, Read a Book Day, Coffee Ice Cream Day, Barbie Doll Day, Fight Procrastination Day
Friday, 7th, Buy a Book Day, Beer Lover’s Day, Wear Teal Day, Feel the Love Day, Lazy Moms Day
Saturday, 8th, Kate’s wedding, Ampersand Day, Aunt’s Day, Iquana Day, Actor’s Day, Star Trek Day
Sunday, 9th, Teddy Bear Day, Pet Memorial Day, Wonderful Weirdo’s Day, Grandparents Day, Rosh Hashanah
Monday, 10th, Megan’s Birthday, Sewing Machine Day, TV dinner Day, Hot Dog Day, Make-up Day
Tuesday, 11th, Ali’s and Tracy’s Birthdays, Make your Bed Day, Hot Cross Buns Day, Patriot Day
Wednesday, 12th, Chocolate Milkshake Day, Video Games Day, Day of Encouragement, Day of the Programmer