Daylight Appreciation Day

Personally, I’d have thought that we’d appreciate Daylight more on the Winter solstice, when we don’t get enough of it!

The weather today has been gorgeous! Not too hot, and not too cold.  It’s been going back and forth this week between really hot, and chill and rainy. Willow prefers the warm, Kat prefers the cool, I mostly stay inside reading, and think I SHOULD get out, but then I don’t. Shame on me.

We had irises this week, always a brave show, red and white Sweet William has come back in a couple of places, there are still pansies, a few bleeding hearts have persisted, a fox glove in a strange orange and violet has survived. The roses are growing both the cultivated ones and the wild ones. Sadly, the wild roses are not as fragrant this year- it could be the rain. Buddy, the pink rose we got at Pennsic last year is blooming profusely. The white multiflora rose out front is as well, and Miles has a golden pink bloom. There are Columbine, and mallow and looks like daisies are coming. The comfrey has spread a bit. I blush to admit that I still haven’t put anything in the raised beds. We have used the clothesline,… when it’s not raining. At the moment, all that’s on it is the banner I made for the soothsayer’s guild.

I’ve been trying to ressurrect the guild- all we need is a way to stay in touch with each other. I scheduled a meeting for the Great Northeastern War, and one for this weekend at the Palio, and I need to figure out how to schedule one at Pennsic. It occurred to me that a banner might make it easier for people to find the meeting, so I took some push-pins and tacked it to a canvas and painted it. I figured it would only take me an hour or so- I was overly optimistic, it took me all day (Thursday). I hung it out, hoping the wind and sun would dry the paint more quickly. Then it rained. Luckily, that’s not going to hurt oil paint.

I also came up with a proposal for a clan for Twilight Covening this year- The Tortoise Clan, exploring the potential benefits of slowing down.

This weekend was the Stonemarche midsummer event- The Palio. We’d assumed we’d just take the trailer with the tent and goods, and take the other car with the Gold Key stuff, but first we decided to day trip, which meant we didn’t need the tent- only a pop-up, no tent, no bedding, no cooking stuff. Then Willow managed to puzzle everything into one car, which was pretty darned amazing. Kat wanted the Gold Key stuff there early, but while it had been really hot last week, it started raining Friday morning, and I woke up with a sore throat. I’d been feeling really good- almost normal, finally. But either the weather, or some subconscious aversion to the event seemed to have thrown me back to a nasty, very productive cough. Willow took Friday off and we headed up to the Fairgrounds. They are doing many improvements (during walk through, Kiaya, who’s autocrat this year, discovered they’ve put up a building in the field we always used for archery), and this year we weren’t given a hall for the merchants to set up in. Hence bringing a pop up.

Since it was raining we had to set the tables up a foot in from the edge, so rather than a 10×10 it was an 8×8 space. Willow had picked just our best selling stuff to take, and our thought was to go set up, then come home and sleep in our own beds. Willow did go out after the initial set-up to get a roll of clear plastic to make walls for the tent- I’m not sure if once those were up she was able to move the tables back. Meanwhile Kat was hanging up curtains in the main hall for a changing area for Gold Key. The ceiling was so high they had to get twine to hang the curtains low enough to provide privacy- and somehow the hangers had gone missing again- Willow picked up more. I mostly chatted with people- had a wonderful talk with Patty about her Morgan horse, Tubal (I think his name was- gorgeous animal, huge eyes!). We were outside, so I’m hoping that if I had a full relapse and was contagious, it wasn’t VERY contageous. But by the time we got home the girls were reinforcing my feeling that maybe I needed a day of sleeping as much as possible. And that’s what I did.

I think I slept until after noon, I got up and found some old friends on Facebook from the Process (Church of the Final Judgement- I was in it in college). If you know me, you know how bad my memory for names is, and as I chatted and tried to remember people we used to know- none of whom used the same names then and now anyway, but one should be able to name the people you’re talking about. Possibly because my head was full of mucus, I couldn’t remember the name of one of the babies I nannied back then- when I went to bed, of course it popped back in, but it was so frustrating. I think the harder you try to remember something, the more it’s blocked. The kids got home to report that not that many people had come because of the rain. I know Friday night most of the people I’d talked about were talking about going home to sleep. At 6, Willow called me so I could talk to the Soothsayers Guild meeting- which happened without me. Sadly, I wasn’t there to take down names and information. I spent most of the time I was up taking a gram of vitamin C every 15 minutes to try to blow whatever it was viral or bacterial away.

I still hoped I might make it for the Golden Sword Tourney the next day, but when I woke at around 7 I had a coughing fit. I actually felt a whole lot better, and think I might have just breathed in a bit of cat-hair or something like that, but it was intense, and exhausted me. I feel back to sleep, and the girls had heard it, and didn’t even ask if I wanted to come. Willow passed along the sword blank, and spoke for me- when she was done Kat told her she’d made it sound like I’d died. She put her hands over her face, and Brian who was doing the fencing award was afraid that he’d said something awful. While it had continued to rain, it was still hot, and Kat had taken off her over wrap- but she was called into court with the Order of the Furision, of course. Why do we always get called in when we aren’t dressed as well as we’d like?! So we got through the day, and I did get better, but DARN this thing that’s going around is really awful. (Other’s I know who’ve had it agree!)

Willow also is charmed with the idea of taking up SCA fencing, except with what energy?

I think I told you that Mark had given us a gift of a new air conditioner for Kat’s room, and one for the main rooms of the house. We have found a place for it (although we haven’t set it up yet. Kat is VERY pleased to be able to fuction again. When I was in my middle years my brain would turn off at 80º; you could practically tell temperature by it. Apparently Kat takes after me in that way. And it’s been hot and moist. The painted floors feel damp from condensation when the fans run the air in over them. It’s been uncomfortable.

Last night the power went out around 6. My guess is that while it was cooler, it had been really hot on Monday, and I think maybe many people bought and installed air conditioners and turned them on when they got home from work? I don’t know. So we finished up supper, and went to bed. Apparently the power came back at 8, but I’d gone to sleep by then. I woke up around midnight and showered- boy do I love having the fan blowing across my bed! Read for an hour and slept another seven hours. I guess I’m still fighting this thing off! And to be honest, I still don’t do well in heat.

We’re solidly in summer cooking mode now. Mostly stir-fries for supper. Cold salads and sandwich rolls in the fridge for tea. At breakfast I’ll often chop up melon so that we’ve got something cold to eat. I’ve discovered that you can tie the rolled lavash up with a chive, which is a huge improvement on using a toothpick. One has to eat around them, then find a way to dispose of them. The chive you can just eat. I also have a new one- slice cucumber very thin (with the mandolin) and lay them on spread cream cheese. Willow suggested adding salmon, and we’re going to try it with guacamole. When it’s so hot, it’s hard to think about eating, and having something to grab without thinking about it is helpful.

Friday morning I made strawberry shortcake for breakfast. I think the day before was Strawberry Shortcake Day, and Willow had discovered the first local strawberries were in at Fitch’s, so I had to make it. It seemed like a better breakfast than dessert. (We never have room for dessert). Luckily I’ve learned how to make 4 biscuits at a time, so we don’t have a bunch left over, and the Bakewell Creme biscuits only cook for 5 minutes plus five minutes of waste heat, so the kitchen didn’t heat up much.

That reminds me, here are some holidays you may wish to celebrate this week:

Thursday 22nd will be Chocolate Eclair Day, Onion Ring Day, and VW Beetle Day

Friday 23rd is National Pink Day, Pecan Sandies, Day, Take your Dog to Work Day,

Saturday 24th is International Faerie Day, World UFO Day, Pralines Day, American Picnic Day

Sunday 25th is Strawberry Parfait Day,  Decendents Day, Eid al Fitr, Beatles Day,

Monday 26th is Chocolate Pudding Day, Canoe Day, Please take my Children to Work Day

Tuesday 27th is Pineapple Day, Sunglasses Day, PTSD Awareness Day

Wednesday 28th is Tapioca Day, Caps Lock Day, Paul Bunyan Day, Body Piercing Day

Another discovery we’ve made is that our paletes have changed. I tried mixing up some powdered Iced Tea- we used to drink it by the gallon. We’d have lemon, raspberry, green tea… well, so far we don’t care for any of the ones we have on hand. Two years ago we’d found an iced tea maker- put in ice and teabags (or herbs), and get fresh Iced Tea. Often we don’t add the ice until the sugar has dissolved. At any rate, it’s so much better. We don’t drink frozen lemonade either- mostly because it’s made with corn syrup, but we make our own with sugar, water and lemon juice (sometimes fresh). I’m fairly certain we use a lot less sugar than commercial drinks.

Having been sick, I haven’t been out much, and thus have not had my phone out. Liz finally called and asked me why I hadn’t commented on the pictures she’d sent me. She’d sent them to my phone, and I hadn’t seen them, as I hadn’t looked at my phone in weeks.

The dock at camp has apparently been crushed by the ice- as happens some winters. I’d share it with you, except that somehow the connection between my phone and facebook has gone down and I can’t figure out how to reconnect them again. That’s probably why the pictures didn’t appear in my facebook messages. Who knows how much it’s going to cost to repair it. We first put in the “stone crib” style dock back when my brother was a teenager- I remember because of his accident. He and Rolly Holman rolled a VW bug. He had a scar over his eye for his graduation picture, and Rolly’s hand was crushed between the wheel and dashboard. The next day Rolly was back working on the dock- tossing basket-ball sized rocks into the crib made of trees spiked together with nails that I remember as being ten inches long. That would make it around 1967, so I guess it lasted pretty well.

But it’s pretty well collapsed now. And they won’t be able to put in the boat until it’s fixed. The thing that bothers me most, is that there hasn’t been a group discussion among my sibs- the co-owners of the camp about what to do about it. Whether we re-build it as it was, whether we replace it with a dock of the sort the Murrays replaced theirs with. Trish has her own summer cottage, and I hardly get there any more, but we should be talking about it. Owning even part of a second home is “one more thing”.

I finally emptied my share of my father’s IRA. They’d been telling me that I had to within five years, but the guy I talked to this week finally explained that it was DAD’s IRA and had to be liquidated. I hadn’t gotten that. I spent way too much time trying to get the fax machine to work. I wish I was better at technology. Sadly, it was just enough to cover the overage from when we went into the red last month and accumulated nearly $700 in bounced check fees. We don’t have that much leeway. Once you’ve put off car repairs, dental work and house maintanence, the only thing you can give up is food. I wish there were some way to explain that to the Congress.

Frankly, between bills to make civil political protests illegal, attacks on the media and the courts, and trying to get this health care bill passed without letting anyone but the committee know what’s in it- I am seriously concerned about the country. I wouldn’t think it would be possible to put a bill forward without allowing it to be debated, but if the Republican majority is willing to vote for it without seeing it, and have enough votes to pass it, that’s an incredibly awful precedent. What congressman would vote for something he hadn’t read? This is a scary idea. If they keep pushing to see how far they can push back to the mythical “old way” that they remember America, where women and minorities accepted “their place”, and no one demanded equal rights, or a living wage, (no, because in those days, the jobs were here, and the unions were strong, only minorities had non-union jobs), we’re going to find out just how far people are willing to be pushed. They are like children whose parents are gone and are stuffing themselves with sugar quick before they get back. But their view of what’s good rejects reality, and they may trash the house before the parents get back and make them play nice even with the kid brothers they don’t like.  Analogies fail.

I have mostly been reading werewolf books. A week ago I was convinced that the “Wolfman” who walked on two legs was a result of Hollywood’s need to put actors in wolf suits. Now I have discovered that that’s not true, there were examples of werewolves that were men with wolf’s heads before that. I continue to learn. Every period’s view of werewolves does inform us about the culture as much as the subject. I’ve finished The Werewolf Delusion, Werewolf, the Occult Truth, O’Donnell’s Werwolves, and Yenaldlooshi: The Shape-Shifter Beliefs of the Navajos, and mostly done with Baring-Gould’s Book of Werewolves. I’m enjoying A Lycanthropy Reader, which has a lot of the most common accounts (translated, of course), to which the others refer. I’d like to get the paper written before GNEW, not just before Pennsic, and that only gives me two weeks.

When I need a break from wolfmen, I continue to read An American Sickness: how Healthcare became Big Business, which frankly, is a lot more horrible. Luckily it is well written, and full of touching stories of how people’s lives have been damaged by a system that sees people as sources of revenue, not as people that need help. When I feel a need for fiction, I’ve been reading the Falco Companion, which isn’t really, but it goes over the whole 21 book series talking about the development of the story line, and the characters, as well as how Davis came to write about them.

While sick I sat at the table and colored once again. I have now seen the fifth season of Grimm. As the sixth is recently released, the library doesn’t have it yet. I understand that they haven’t renewed it, so this will be the end. Too bad, I loved the characters. I watched Sharpe’s Mission, Sharpe’s Revenge, Sharpe’s Justice and Sharpe’s Waterloo this week. In Waterloo, the “chosen men” Dan and Harris died, and my heart is broken; I find it hard to put in the last two DVDs, although I’m interested to see what he does in India. When he started in Sharpe’s Rifles, I thnk there were 7 chosen men, and we’ve watched their numbers dwindle. It’s very sad. But I think a fair representation of the brutality of war and how it brings out the worst in the men forced to participate.

There were two Disney movies this week from that batch I’d sent for (more arrived today).

I feel that Jungle to Jungle, which I’d seen before (I think), and Old Dogs, which I hadn’t, were pretty much the same story.   The only difference was that Robin Williams was given two suprise children, and Tim Allen got one. Both are stories of men who discover that children are more important than business. The highlight of Old Dogs was the scene where the partners Williams and John Travolta had gotten their medications mixed up, and had to deal with the side effects that they weren’t used to. I found it less funny than I think their target audience would have. Seth Green was also in Old Dogs playing essentially the same role he played in Without a Paddle, as a civilized guy having to deal with large potentially dangerous animals- this time in a zoo rather than the wild, but having seen the routine before, it lacked humor.

That’s about it. Tonight the New Normal featured Sarah Livermore talking about Paranormal Cleanup. The technology behaved, and we even got a caller. She told the great story about the house she went into where there was a little wooden statue of Jesus that was jumping around on the table (which freaked the family out, as you might guess). The only thing that didn’t work well was that her young son kept interrupting to ask for help with his video game. That puts it above several shows I’ve done.

Onward and upward- I wish I had more fun stuff to share, but I think I’d have to get out of the house to do it. We did take a walk this week, to inspect a road kill porcupine. Once the maggots are done with it, there may be some interesting bones that can be salvaged. But sadly, that’s about as interesting as my week has been (if you don’t count fascinating reading).

Tchipakkan

“To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.” Edmund Burke

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