Cheddar Day

The snow pretty much melted away this week. Over the weekend there as freezing rain, but since it was in the 50s yesterday, that ice coating went away. Then last night (Wednesday) we got a few inches, so it looks like winter again. John dug Willow’s car out, and mine Friday morning. (Yes, I didn’t finish when I wanted to again.) This has not been the harsh winter the Old Farmer’s Almanac predicted- at least not in New England. As usual, I took a picture of the new snow cover, since we’d gotten pretty brown and snowless, (also, when the trees are covered, it’s really pretty), but it wouldn’t sent. It’s amazing how quickly we get used to new technology. I EXPECT to be able to copy things and print them out- at home. I love having information of the world at my fingertips. I really dig having may friends suggest a new book, and being able to put a request in for it at the library and having it waiting for me, even when our library doesn’t have it, and they have to get it from another library. Of course, another thing I realized recently is “new” (we didn’t have it when I was a kid) but we are used to, is turning lanes. Those really keep traffic flowing. I think I like them as much as EZ pass technology, probably because I do more local than highway driving.

I love the idea of social media. Being able to send letters to a lot of people at once is brilliant. It was such a blessing when Ælfwine was in the hospital and everyone wanted updates. And I don’t have to run out to the copy shop to make 35 copies of the letter to mail to people, as I used to do. On the other hand, I have to check my mail (toss the junk mail), email (trash the spam), and check messages on fb (get distracted by both cool articles and posts by my friends. I wish there were a setting so that I could get nothing but what my friends are up to, and just go to the articles from magazines when I have time; but I interpret sharing as approximately the same thing as when someone suggests a book or movie they think I’d like. It’s not bad, it’s just that I am SO distractible it eats time. (Just watched a great TED talk on that!)

At least part of not getting the letter on is the computer (or modem?) is not working well. I have to reset the modem a lot, and it takes forever (or what seems like it) for anything to load, and they get dropped a lot. This makes everything take longer and be more frustrating. Sigh. It took me an hour to get the pictures from Facebook (from my phone) to the mail program. See how spoiled we are? (The image of the snow still hasn’t made it through. I blame it on the mountain we live on. The phone always has a hard time reaching the towers here at the house.)

My birthday was last weekend- sadly, since I was at the Feast of Lights, we didn’t get to share it as a family. We dealt with that by the kids giving me my gifts early, and I picked up Chinese on the way home, so that was our dinner. I started feeling sorry for myself that we hadn’t had my usual “Duchess Cake” (angel food stuffed with strawberries and pineapple, and covered with whipped cream), so I made one this week. I like it best for breakfast.

Me in blue tiaraI wanted the presents early so I could wear them down to FoL. Inspired by our friend Ray Taylor who wears cool hats to cons, I decided that rather than waiting for Tiara Day or the occasional “high tea”, I could wear tiaras at cons. Why not? So I looked on Facebook and put my favorites on my wishlist  and the kids each got me one, now I have a WARDROBE of tiaras and crowns. I still want a few more, so I’ll have one to go with anything I’m wearing. I still “need” a red one, one with amethyst, pearl, plain gold leaves (think greek goddess), and a black one. But frankly, if it’s pretty, well, it’s jewelry, and can be used to accessorize.

first crown feb 2020I will admit that they are probably fragile, since they are pretty inexpensive. One- the crown with multicolored stones- came in a nice box, that should help keep it safe, so I took another box (from, I think the cast iron casserole Willow got me for Christmas), put in some blocks to hold them in place. It’s big enough to hold two tiaras and a crown. I used the glue gun to cover it with some gorgeous velvet I saved after the fire (25 years ago), hoping to cut around the burns.tiara box I never did, but there were pieces big enough to cover the box. I think I’ll also cover the first box, maybe I can find a different colored piece of velvet.Inside of tiara box

John gave me the green one, Willow gave me the blue one, and Kat gave me the moonstone one. I sort of got the multicolored one for myself. John's CrownI also got a new book on the Staffordshire Horde.Hoard book I’d hoped it would be bigger since they’ve had ten years to study it, but it’s still pretty small. It does, however, cover analysis of the design elements of the interlaced creatures, which is the sort of thing I like.

Willow TiaraDown at Feast of Lights I also got gifts (I think Christmas, but I haven’t mailed the one I got Kitty yet, so totally understand) from Bob Bestwick. It was two cookbooks from restaurants that he and Diane went to and loved. I am looking forward to trying some of the recipes, although I have to admit that the kids prefer simple food. Whereas it’s more fun to try something more complicated.
One of the books is from the restaurant in the Native American Museum at the Washington Mall, and the other seems to be southern cooking. I really haven’t looked at that yet, except at the FoL. Yes, I’m someone who actually reads cookbooks for fun. Tough.Cookbooks from Bob Bestwick

The Feast of Lights was a lot of fun. We decided not to sell this year. The girls didn’t really want to go, and by rooming with Jane, I got the hotel fee covered. I taught RunValdr (the more healers around the better in this economy) on Friday afternoon. Since it was the first workshop of the day it wasn’t well attended, but the ones who came really loved it.

Kat's CrownSaturday I taught about Sacred Food. Sadly, much of the takeaway I have from Feasts this year is how chilly it was. The Sturbrige Host quite reasonably has the thermostats set to revert to 60º as a default, so when we’d go into one of the function rooms it would be really chilly, and the thermostats were usually set up to about 90º when I looked at them, as people tried to get the rooms warmed up. I certainly can’t fault them for not heating rooms when they aren’t in use, but I spent a great deal of the event feeling chilled, and wishing I’d brought my flannel slips. (I hadn’t, because usually hotels are overheated! At least I had a shawl, as well as a crown with each outfit!)

Sunday I taught Sacred Compost- basically a reminder that especially at this time of year, when FAR too many net-pagans are dancing around their altars (decked with flowers from hot houses) welcoming spring, it’s still the middle of winter and we should be appreciating how wonderful it is that Nature actually does break things down and recycle them for us. So we aren’t neck deep in food scraps and dung, but instead we get wonderful stuff that will nourish the seeds we will plant (When the freaking danger of frost has passed!) One of the people who came to that one has finally gotten her own place and the last part of the workshop was practical talk about dealing with composting and gardening. It has to be the full cycle, not just the growing part! I think Deirdre really liked my addressing the topic.

Sadly, she wasn’t there to enjoy the wonderful event she’d made. He mother died the Wednesday before, so her son Donovan, took her place in the familiar rituals. It is nice to see the torch being passed, but sadly, there are many faces missing from those we are used to seeing there. I was especially missing Sue this year, but it’s just that I’m 68 and ’that age’. Of course my friends are dying. The ones who are still alive are spending most of their time going to doctors! [Yesterday I learned the Megan has fallen are hurt ligaments in her ankle and knee so she has to stay in bed with them elevated for a month. Talk about putting a crimp in your plans!] I suppose this is the “our leaves are turning yellow and falling off” part of our lives (if we were trees. Better than our limbs are falling off, which does occasionally happen, even if it requires surgery…] Yup, I’m old.

Not selling meant that I was able to attend other people’s classes. One I thought I’d pass on was on sigil magick, I am not a fan of Ceremonial magick, but chatting with Tempest, the author  in the vendors room, I found out that her style isn’t the old Enochian style, (nor Spears Chaos Magick style sigil making) but one based on her art plus magick background, and WOW did it resonate with me. Sadly, I did my usual reminder that her book on the subject was available at the table, (I’d noticed) by asking how many copies she had left. Sadly for me, she only brought a few since she’d mailed most of what she had left to Pantheacon, which is this weekend. Oops, Only two left, and by the time I got there, two much younger and spryer people who’d been in her class were clutching them, and waiting for her to return and sign them. Oh well, I’ll get one later.

This year after the “Stag’s Masque” (a sort of ritual theatre), when most people started the dance, Miriam had brilliantly created another activity- a readers room, where people could go and get a reading from one of the diviners. She was doing Astrology, so Chris LaFond did Tarot, Jane had come in a day early to avoid the projected freezing rain on the  roads (you get older, you get cautious), and didn’t get the word until she got there, so read playing cards by the Swedish method (her family is Norwegian), and since I was figuring she’d do runes, I offered to do either palmistry or Chocolate casting. Miriam was enchanted by that idea, (the sign she put up was “Tchocolate Tchip Readings”) so that’s what I did. Frankly, it doesn’t give as good a reading as seed casting (or palmistry), but you do get a napkin full of chocolate chips at the end, and the clients seemed satisfied. Frankly the ones I got seemed to have specific problems that probably wouldn’t have been addressed by palmistry.Silk yarn

They gave us each 15 dollars per reading (and $5 for Earthspirit), so I was able to get a skein of silk yarn I’d been eyeing all weekend, and a deck of tarot that Steve actually didn’t have (I did call to let him check his database before getting it).

Trump scrub brushThere was one other gift Bob gave several of us- a Trump toilet brush. I have to admit I have mixed feelings about it. I do think we should stick to the issues, which are bad enough, rather than stoop to name calling. And as Willow pointed out, the handle is rather short for a toilet brush. I will not deny that I laughed when I saw it.

So I had a great weekend, and saw a lot of friends, and had a good time. I was still happy to see my own bed and family when I got back. (And there was one more hair ornament- which I’ll be wearing this weekend. The theme of the Mensa Regional Gathering is the Roaring 20s. I am rather taken aback by that. The twenties was not THAT long ago, it was when my grandmother was a young woman. She was a flapper. How could that be a hundred years ago‽ Yes, I know I thought she was old when I was a kid, but now I’m older than she ever got, and feel like if people had a 70s themed event as ‘historical’, because that’s when I was a young married woman. That’s not history, that’s just when I was younger. The forties was when Mother was in college, the 20s was when Grandmother was getting married. It shouldn’t be “history”!

Hair combSo Monday I spent several hours going through my email (meant to get to the physical mail, but haven’t yet.) Tuesday, of course, we went to vote. If you don’t live in New Hampshire, you may not know that there were 23 presidential hopefuls (not including Vermin Supreme, who I am pretty sure isn’t serious), on the democratic primary ballot. I love having the ability to vote for whoever I would really like creating policy, and not have to compromise, but I think the “first in the nation” law is foolish. I think we need a “Super Tuesday” for all the little states, then one or two for the middle sized ones, then the big one at the end. I think that would be more fair, although we certainly wouldn’t get the opportunity to meet as many candidates if they had to divide their time between the little states.

I think we should not just get the big money out of politics because it shouldn’t be there, but if we cut the run up to the election to three months, that would reduce the need for money. It would also put our governors and senators back working at their jobs instead of trying to sell themselves. We should be deciding on issues, not advertising spin. (Could we have an election based on that- pick 20 or so policies and click the ones you want, and the people who go with that get your vote- I took a test of ‘which candidate really supports your causes’ I would also like a “none of the above” option, with a run off that took no more than 3 weeks. And weighted votes- if I’m using the term right (where the votes of someone’s first choice get shifted to their second choice rather than being wasted- so someone who was everyone’s third choice could win even if they were no one’s first choice). We really need to work on our system. I am not sure about the electoral college. As long as people are voting based on what they hear from “faux news” sources, we should have some sort of more educated people deciding, but if those people are being bought, that’s not better. First we need to get the money out of politics. I am reminded of the joke about it being hard to remember why you’re draining the swamp when you’re surrounded by alligators.

Not going to talk about what I’ve read and watched this week- sadly, it’s time for me to leave for the RG. Happily, I haven’t had much time to read. Until next week- I hope to hear from you too.

Tchipakkan

What’s the plan?

-Rescue the damsel in distress, kill the bad guy, save the world.

(from The Mummy)