The buds are coming out on the trees. I finally figured out HOW that poor tree out back could have buds when it’s bark is almost all off- it doesn’t, those are branches of a tree a few feet away. It must come down. Well, it shouldn’t be too hard to split, I’m betting it’s mostly dry. I am thinking of looking for someone to help so I don’t drop it on the house!
The hyacinths we have been buying in pots each spring, then planting in the strip in front of the house have been surviving (to say the least)! They are blooming gloriously. Not that Kat and I don’t each have a pot in our rooms- and Willow has an Easter Lily (she prefers that scent). We also have a lily with pink blossoms in the upstairs loo, and the air is heavy with the scent. I’ve really enjoyed watching the flowers open, and I do prefer the colors to white.
After the snow knocked over the daffs that had bloomed, I brought them inside, along with that first hyacinth. Those have pretty much passed, but the clump has produced more- very lovely. And we have a lovely clump of tiny fairy daffodils as well. I don’t remember them, but they are very cute! I have spotted activity from the bleeding hearts and hollyhocks, and we’ve got about half the herb garden raked. Sadly, I didn’t notice while I was raking that I’d raised a blister on my hand, and broken it (I thought I’d scratched myself- given the number of roses and raspberries I was removing, an easy guess), and it’s been slowly healing. I raked, dug, and planted half one of my raised beds with pea seeds. I accidentally bought snow peas when I was at the hardware store, so I plan to get a packet of normal peas for the other half. As soon as I have healed enough I’ll be digging over the other bed as well, but except for spinach, I’m not sure if there’s anything we could plant outside yet.
This week has been a cycle of doctor visits. Willow’s got Kat out now getting acupuncture, this morning she went down to the doctors offices by the hospital and had her arm x-rayed. They want MORE tests, but not only can the doctor not tell her how much they’d cost, the group that does them won’t tell them. Sounds fishy to me. I bet it’s because they charge patients with no insurance a lot more than patients with insurance! While she was there, I took Kat up to Dr. Baldassari’s and he took out her tooth. She said it was the best extraction she’s ever had, and she’s had too many! We are hoping that maybe the emerging wisdom tooth will slide forward and maybe she won’t need an implant. Willow has already had hers out, so she’s going to need one. Once we recover financially. Kat went to a different acupuncturist on Monday, while Willow saw her Primary Care doctor about her arm. Last week she saw two- a lady in Peterboro, and the one she’s at now, which luckily is cheapest since it’s in a clinic setting- several people at a time. She likes the lady best, but sadly, she’s on vacation next week. Luckily, we can go to the clinic until she gets back.
I have to say that I am not thrilled with the available information on Bell’s Palsy. The general consensus is that it takes about a month to get better, or three to six months, that you get better with or without treatment (she’s on her last day of Prednisone), that it clears up on its own, that it’s associated with Lyme disease, or Herpes, or Diabetes, or the flu may be related (I read this that any insult to the immune system can set you up for it and suspect that bad reaction she had to the Cephloxin), that most people completely recover, or most people show lingering signs of it, and today I heard (from the dentist) that it runs in families, and that it can return (much as none of the hernia doctors told me that they expect hernias to come back after a repair until after my second one). The alternative sites indicate that acupuncture helps, the naturopath recommended homeopathic Rhus Tox, and she got a B12 injection from the doctor Monday. (We’re also loading the water-soluble vitamins. If she has expensive urine it’s worth it so that her healing facial nerve has what it needs when it needs it.) The dentist also gave her another couple prescriptions- Vicodin for pain, and another antibiotic. We are all worn down with all this chasing around from one doctor to another. Oh, yes, yesterday we got to go to the eye doctor.
Apparently the major danger with Bell’s is that your eye doesn’t close so it can dry out. Dr. Mozumder had Kat using eye drops every hour, but they started hurting. The Optometrist suggested she use a gel in her eyes instead. I hope she will be able to get past this inconvenient stage where she has to protect her eye with a patch, taping it shut underneath, AND add wetting solution/gel every hour. She continues to look smashing every day even with the eye-patch. (check out her blog) Willow made her a velvet eye patch, but sadly it lacked the stiffness to stay convex over the eye, so mostly she’s wearing the one with the lace and the petunia. I think it was meant to be fancy, but it also covers most of her face masking the drooping side of her lip as well. She’s been wearing false eye-lashes to balance the dramatic effect of the flower eye patch.
Sadly, Willow’s nerve problem in her arm is NOT clearing up as fast as we’d like. I’m feeling a bit guilty because I didn’t start looking up nutritional and other supports for her healing. She’s getting them now, but mostly I think we’d love to stop going to doctors every damned day. On the other hand, because she got HER broken tooth extracted on Monday, we have lots of materials laid in for smoothies to get Kat through until she’s able to eat again. I was a little worried about combining it with the Bell’s Palsy, but he said it wasn’t counter indicated. I did notice that he told her to “open a little wider for me” while putting in the Novocain even though we’d just been discussing the palsy and of course he knew that she had no ability to do so. Old habits die hard. Inasmuch as these are not wisdom teeth, I’m hoping we can find a way to get implants. The girls are way too young to go through life unable to effectively chew their food.
I am pretty much recovered from my stupid trick of staying up until four am last week trying to get “one more thing” done. It took WAY too long to recover from that. As my father used to say “Too soon old, too late smart”. This week I’ve been trying to get the house cleaned and get Jane’s book cover painted, driving all over, and not having had as much help with running the house has cut into my time too. I did get the April Newsletter out, and even used Mail-chimp, although it was hard for me, and the girls had to help when I got frazzled and wasn’t thinking too well. I worked on the panels, spent WAY too much time writing the blog post for Sunday. I’d just written a short rant about a stupid poster on Facebook and thought I could quickly turn it into a guest blog, but it’s easier to say “Stop being an idiot” when you aren’t afraid of alienating people who’d be offended by being called idiots. There was a poster claiming that Easter was based on Ishtar. Turns out that it was coming from an Atheist site, which is actually a bit more insulting, because it’s saying that “you stupid Christians don’t even know that you’re doing pagan stuff”, because obviously polytheism is more stupid than monotheism. But their history was off, and frankly, I’m tired of people doing bad history.
What else has gone on? I finally found a source for Sparrow Chocolate and got some. It was less than the 25 pound box I got last time, but I don’t bake as much now, so the eleven pounds should last me. That came out to about two and a half gallons of chocolate powder. In my excitement, I immediately made some chocolate cupcakes. I also made a pineapple upside down cake, and a strawberry rhubarb pie this week. I do tend to bake when I get stressed. I’m pretty stressed right now because I can’t figure out what happened to my photo library. When I added the pictures of the garden the computer asked me to name a library to put it in, which it had never asked before, and now those are all the pictures I can find. At all. I sure hope that someone who knows how computers work can find it. Kat looked and was appalled to discover that my back-up drive wasn’t attached. I knew that it wasn’t, but don’t know how to attach it and have been waiting for someone who knew how to help me.
Kitty and Trish and Dana are going up to Dad’s house to clear it and get it ready for putting on the market this weekend. I have been trying to figure out how to go help, but Trish assures me that they don’t need my help. The goal is to have enough furniture in the house that it looks livable, but not have anything really personal in it. All the old junk must get thrown out. I’m always insecure about what someone else considers junk, as anyone who has seen my place can tell. I remember when Roy’s parents cleared out his grandparents house, Roy asked for a list of what they’d decided wasn’t worth trying to sell, and he figured they’d tossed many thousands of dollars worth of antiques because they didn’t know the value, or where to sell them. A lot of things fit into that category, nothing has value if you don’t know what it’s for, and it’s really hard to know how to find a market for something if you don’t have any idea where to look. I’d also like to see how the house looks after the company repaired the damage from the burst pipe. Kitty has seen it and says it looks great, Liz has seen it and says it looks terrible. Who knows what Trish or I would think, but the most important is the people who might want to buy it, and that’s really hard to predict. I think Trish said a realtor will be coming in to check it out this weekend.
Our friend Mark (Smokey’s master) is back in Nashua for a bit. We haven’t seen him yet. He came by briefly at Thanksgiving, but Smokey didn’t stick his nose out then. I hope he does this week, since Mark’s been paying us to watch Smokey, it’s only fair that he get to see the cat when he does get up here.
I was very surprised to hear that Phyllis Schlafly is still around, and still opposing women’s rights. I thought she was long gone!
Since I’ve been washing more dishes, and spending more time cooking, I watched more films this week. I think I started watching old Mickey Rooney films last week. I have to admit Evil Roy Slade with John Astin was funny in a lame sort of way. It didn’t take itself seriously, so it was easy to accept on its own level. Boys Town was really good, and thinking about it again, Words and Music was also very satisfying- I loved so many of the songs. But the 1935 Midsummer Night’s Dream with Rooney as Puck was amazing! I’d just spent three hours watching Fall of the Roman Empire over a couple of nights, and it just wasn’t worth it. I admired the sets, although I think there should have been more color in the Roman exteriors, but it really made me appreciate editting. Like modern 3-D films, they seem to be so excited about their “special effects”, in this case gorgeous sets and cast of thousands, that they just indulged in it- here’s a battle, here’s a chariot race, here’s a parade. Nice, but the plot should come first. I loved James Mason and Alic Guiness, but frankly the main characters were insipid. There should have been more continuity. After that when I saw what they did with the effects available in 1935, it was incredible. Midsummer Night’s Dream is Kat’s favorite Shakespere play, and it’s now her favorite version, and maybe mine too. The things they did with smoke (and mirrors?) was marvelous. The fairy court were really creepy in that good way. If you haven’t seen it yet- and it’s a looong wait on Netflix, check your local library. It’s wonderful.
I haven’t done as much reading. I’ve finished White Cargo and Colonists for Sale. It’s a fascinating subject and I was planning on talking about it a bit, but I’ve spent the last several hours trying to recover my lost photo library, so I’ll just share one interesting bit and send this off.
It’s always been a mystery to me how from the way slavery was done in almost every culture with a general acknowledgement that slaves were people, just people other people had the power to force to work for them, we got to the American system of pretending that blacks were slaves because they weren’t proper people. That was just weird. It’s pretty clear that the version of the “indentured servant” system we learned about in school is cleaned up a lot (as so many things are). We’re taught that it was like apprenticeship, they’d have to work for someone for a certain number of years, at the end of which, they’d be set up to go work for themselves. That is actually what it was supposed to be- on paper. But then you get to the nitty gritty part, the part where violence was an accepted part of life. If you could physically force someone to do something, you were allowed to, unless there was some sort of legal protection. Parents could beat children, husbands wives, masters servants. Guards could beat prisoners- to whom are the prisoners going to appeal? In the same way, if the slaves appealed to the courts because their masters abused them, or didn’t let them go after the allotted time, it was the master’s friends on the courts, and the slaves/servants were screwed.
In the colonial period, there was a LOT going on in Europe, and most of it seems to have had repercussions over in the colonies. For example, Cromwell decided to empty Ireland of Catholics, and resettle it with English Protestants. He killed some, but shipped the rest to the colonies. There were people with no place to live and work because of the Enclosures, the slums were full of people who couldn’t find work- transport them. The prisons were full and the plantations wanted workers- it’s a win-win situation. Every time an army was disbanded, you have a bunch of young men who were taught to fight and often couldn’t find work. Because the planters would pay for workers, there was a market, and kidnappers (called Spirits) really did steal young people and put them on ships and sold them off over here. There were Scots, Irish, Germans, English, all sorts of people. The people organizing the colonies often complained that they didn’t want “criminals” sent over, but the planters wanted the labor. There was a system called “headright” under which whoever paid for the person’s travel expenses was allocated 50 acres for himself, and the person he brought over would get 50 when he got out of his “indentures” (contract). The problem was, there was no motivation for the “master” to let the servant go. They’d come up with rules where infractions added to the length of service, or simply just ignore the time limit. If the average contract was seven years, the average lifespan of a servant was just over two years, so they didn’t worry. (One reckoning based on costs in Barbados was that it only took 56 days before the master had made up his investment- the rest was pure profit.) The Africans who were also bought, but had no thought of freedom after a span of service (although early ones did get that), were often treated better because the masters were trying to make them last long enough to maximize the gain. The “temporary” service led to the idea of getting as much as possible out while you had them (which led to their dying). It was pretty freaking awful.
But the thing that might explain the change was Bacon’s Rebellion. A young Englishman named Bacon stirred up a rebellion in 1676, poor against rich. Some of it was that the rich got all the profits from the fur trade with the natives, while leaving the poor to take the brunt of “indian” attacks. Part was the unfairness of the administration of the head-right system, again the poor doing the work, and the rich skimming the cream. At any rate, after the rebellion, they started working on the “blacks aren’t human” myth in a “divide and conquer” move to keep the poor from joining forces against the rich again. The several books I’m reading are full of details about how it was handled in different times and different places, but it’s clear that whether they were called servants or slaves, when people have such total power over another, it does bad things to their way of looking at the world. To a modern person it is nearly inconceivable the things they would do to each other, but at the same time, most modern people find the idea of living without running water, or phones, or modern medicine inconceivable too. There is a great truth that people accept what they’re used to. They might not be able to live through it, but they accept it. Then we tell ourselves stories about it to make it acceptable.
I’m about done with white slavery. I’m starting to read about the year without a summer (after the volcano), and the 6th (current) extinction. Also not un-depressing, but at least different.
For something less depressing, last week I started the book So you want to be a Wizard; it’s a nice little juvenile fiction. Sadly it got the song from Hercules “So you want to be a hero” stuck in my head, eventually after many days, I put the movie on, and now have “I won’t say I’m in Love” stuck there instead. Sigh. I am not sure about the basic premise that entropy is bad, although they seem to consider it wasteful, and I don’t like waste. I do agree that art is in the seeing, not the making. I’ve really got to get that book cover done.
When you feel yourself becoming angry, resentful, or exhausted, pay attention to where you haven’t set a healthy boundary. Crystal Andrus