First Day of Spring

                                    March 21
There seems to be another snow on the way, although the weather maps make it look like it will mostly hit the coast. Yesterday, figuring it was probably as melted as it was going to get, I waded out to the Great Hall to find the Soothsayers Guild patches that had been put away after Birka. Someone had written for one.  Sadly, the snow was not quite as receded as I’d thought. I was wearing my low boots, and the snow went up to my knees. I had to go back and change boots and stockings. oops. I guess I didn’t appreciate the shoveling John’s been doing, which gave me a over-optimistic view of how the snow has melted.
The icicles hanging down over the back window are very impressive looking. I guess that means there’s been some melting on the roof. We had some warm days, but mostly I’ve been noticing that it’s been bitchy cold. In all honesty, I haven’t been out much more than to occasionally get the mail.
I’ve been very much a homebody- I have done some baking (I’ve learned how to make A single loaf of bread, which is better than several loaves that won’t get eaten before they go bad.)

I have spent a good deal of time this week working on the composition of the next book cover. This one has a viking fighting a grizzly bear. I think we’ve finally got it, and it’s time to start painting. Lynn likes the view with the bear grabbing his butt. I asked if she wanted him to be shirtless- I tend not to do clothes in the sketches because I need to know what the body is doing, and she does want it. Not a romance novel, but an adventure. I hope to have it done before the end of the month (Lynn is done with the book), so I hope to have pictures of the painting next week.

I’ve probably spent more time than I should have done reading this week.  For one thing, I had planned to go to the town meeting on Saturday, but the next Haunting Danielle book arrived in my kindle (I’d preordered it in February) and I spent the day reading it (and preordered the next one.)  I am now eagerly looking forward to going to bed and reading the Flavia Albia book Willow brought home from the library yesterday.
I did NOT put green food coloring in the corned beef and cabbage this year. I didn’t have the energy. Also, I had neglected to pick up a green cabbage, so we had a red one, and that would have looked odd. I console myself that the French Toast Kat made for breakfast was vaguely green, she wanted it to be subtle, and it was.
I did make some lovely oatmeal cookies over the weekend. Rather than raisins I added raisins (dried cranberries) and orange peel. I have already killed them and need to make some more. There are so many variations possible with oatmeal cookies. I’m sure I’d do more baking if my feet didn’t hurt. Willow picked up what looked like a lovely raspberry pastry from the bakery, but being used to my own fresh organic baked goods, it “tasted like regret” to me.
After initial improvement, I haven’t seen the response to the homeopathic remedy that I was hoping for. I’d really like to avoid having them stick a huge needle in my foot again. Liz tells me that she needs to have it done again every five years or so and to just go do it. I guess I’m a wuss. As I recall that sucker was as big (looked bigger) than the needles when I give blood! I am wondering if maybe the problem isn’t my computer chair. So many problems come from being in a state of tension a lot, and since they’ve been aching I’ve noticed that I often prop my feet up in weird positions.
To day is the first day of Spring, so Ostara. This morning I chopped up the last quarter of the cabbage and boiled it, and I boiled up a huge handful of onion skins, and some turmeric, and (since we have it on hand) a cup of hibiscus flowers. The colors aren’t bad- the hibiscus liquid looks really thick- like fresh blood, and feels sort of slimy, and it seems to turn dark as it dries. The onion skin, which I have discovered is how the traditional red eggs are made (I thought they were going to make yellow!) worked pretty well, and the turmeric made quite a good yellow. In order to get blue rather than pink, I added baking soda to the cabbage water, and got some lovely blue.
I couldn’t believe that people would just throw out food, so I buttered up the cabbage- even after it had simmered for a half hour, and had it for lunch. The others will probably be tossed, unless we do as Willow suggested and add sugar to they hibiscus and make it into a syrup. It was so sour that we didn’t have to put any vinegar in that one, although I really think I made it too thick.
The girls are packing for the ReGeneration Who conference this weekend in MD. Kat will get to meet Peter Davison and Colin Baker and Mathew Waterhouse and some of her other favorites. (Quick before they die.) Personally I’d want to meet Tom Baker, but I guess he doesn’t do these any more- or maybe this one is too far away.  Today Kat’s been packing, which cosplay’s are “good enough”, which of her fan art is good enough to get an autograph on? Sadly, the printer has gone wonkey and they’re going to have to stop at Staples on the way out and get the art she’s selected printed. Chances are that she could figure it out, if she had time, but it’s getting late.
I am still changing over the various auto payments from the bank changeover, I hope it doesn’t screw up my credit and run up too much in bounced check fees. I really resent how the banks set it up to take money from you, and when you don’t give them whatever they like they hit you with more penalties, and even send it to a collection agency if you close your account so they can’t automatically help themselves as soon as you put any money in. I know this because we’ve been getting calls that say nothing but “This is an attempt to collect a debt, please call 555-EAT-SHIT” (yes, I made that up) But really, we got that call a half dozen times before I happened to be somewhere with a pencil and paper and could get it down. They don’t repeat it, they don’t do it slowly, as far as I can tell, they don’t want you to be able to call them! When I finally did, it was from when Kat changed banks and they hit her up with huge fees for not telling them they way they wanted. Jerks!
So I read, and the other day I spent hours getting a mat out of Zoloft’s fur. It’s spring and she’s shedding a lot, especially her undercoat! Mouse came by to see us today. We hadn’t seen him since last fall. He looks good.
Someone shared a link to a free online course: A Free Yale Course on Medieval History: 700 Years in 22 Lectures. I already have all but one of the books. I don’t think the people seeing the free tapes do the papers, but we also don’t get credit for it, so I guess it balances out. I also checked out another one on “Home Health and Herbal Remedies” but the first couple of sessions were mostly the commercial teabags she keeps around for first aid, (many of which I do too, so I guess I agree with her), but I don’t think I’m going to bother watching the rest of that one.

Over the weekend I put in my classes for CTCW and for Pennsic. This year I’ll be doing Vampires in History (as I promised to when I did Werewolves last year), Anglo-Saxon Children (haven’t done that in a decade, Witch hunts in SCA period, (it’s the beginning, but I’ll be able to cover the background), and how to make your own rune sticks (with materials), also another round of RunValdr (because we can never have enough healing techniques available.)
I’m doing each class twice, one up at the shop, and one down at PU, and probably one war week & one war week.

Maybe I should have asked if there were any requests before posting them. I need to send in proposals for the local Pagan Pride Days.
Friday the girls went up to Curia (so John and I had fish sticks), Mark came over on Saturday and read to me while I worked. We’ve finished the Halloween battle at Whateley. That is one school you don’t attack! (Yeah, fiction).
I have been trying, unsuccessfully, to cut down on my fb time. First, I need to spend more time working, and second, the ones about Cambridge Analytica is disturbing. I don’t think any thinking person really didn’t figure they were data mining, but I hadn’t considered that they’d use the information to feed misleading news stories to work on peoples opinions. I don’t think a day goes by when two or three people don’t point out flaws in the stories that are being passed around. Given that I think my group of friends tends to be a bit smarter than average (and we still get fooled), how would the “average” or “below average folks fare, especially when being fed stories that support their already established beliefs? There was that study on Fake News in Social Media that points out that fake news tends to be more interesting (as it is designed to be) and circulates faster, and longer than true stories. It really stinks to have to check anything that looks like it’s designed to upset people. Frankly, often the articles are fine, but the headlines they put on them are inaccurate and misleading- designed as clickbait. I should probably  subscribe to the Times and Post and try to read that instead. Some of the things I found upsetting recently include that 30 states have put in bills to restrict protest. (Yes, I know bills are not laws, they may just be one bozo’s weird idea that will get no where.) I’m annoyed that they’ve gutted the rules to keep the banks in line that were put in after the 2008 crash- do they WANT to make another? That the Republicans are running several convicted criminals and at least one Nazi for office, that a Pew study says that 58% of Americans think that higher education is bad for the USA. I think a degree shouldn’t be necessary to make a comfortable living, and as currently financed, trying to have most people go to college probably IS bad for the economy (but I don’t think that’s what they meant in the study). I am upset that this administration is trying to dismantle the education system, and environmental protection. I am annoyed about Trump pushing for the stupid, wasteful parade, and admiring dictators, and so far seems to be above the law. I sure hope that Muller can get his case strong enough to get him out soon! And take Pence, and Sessions and Ryan and Mcconell with him. Trump isn’t doing it alone, the whole Republican Party is supporting these horrible actions. It’s a sickness at the core of our system. I must say that I continue to have hope when I see the kids organizing around gun control and the courts continuing to shoot down the more flagrant abuses.
As a tangent, when the asset company took down Toys R Us this week someone (Chase Holfelder) posted the jingle in a minor key, very creepy and beautiful. (I then listened to him doing covers of many other tunes in minor keys- from the National Anthem to Amazing Grace.) I also fell into another youtube series Because Science, which explains questions that come up in movies and TV and uses science to explain things why super strength would be problematic and the best way to kill zombies. I figure this is right up there with the CDC putting instructions for surviving the zombie apocalypse on their site which gets people to their site, and really is instruction on general disaster preparedness- but made palatable by putting a costume on it. But you can see why I have to be careful about getting distracted by interesting stuff.
Books I’ve read or started this week include Old world Easter egg coloring techniques, which was short, but cheap. Actually when I’d read it my reaction was “I paid $2.99 for that‽” I started DOPPLEGANGERS: You and Yourself, and Fairies: A Guide to the Celtic Fair Folk. I’m into the 6th book in the Chronicles of St. Mary’s (the one about historians) What Could Possibly Go Wrong? Although I did get distracted when the 17th Haunting Danielle came in, and then again when The Third Nero, the 5th Flavia Alia book arrived. I got James B. Comey: Testimony, on my kindle, but haven’t started it yet, being deep in fiction. Nor The Ruin of the Roman Empire: A New History, which I think is one of the texts for the free course. I have my first book for my Pennsic class:  The Weiser Field Guide to Vampires. This should be fun. I picked up a e book iPagan,  for a big 60 cents, so I didn’t expect much, but it’s an anthology from many authors and about 600 pages long. It covers druidry, shamanism, witchcraft, and ask sorts of paganisms, I don’t think I’ll get through it quickly, but I am so far impressed and would recommend it! On the other hand American Witches a broomstick tour through four Centuries, has a very light tone for which I don’t care, although it seems to have some good information I want. The tone of Witches of America  is more serious, and it’s a more personal perspective, as it’s someone who went around interviewing modern witches during this century and is sharing her observations. The other might actually have more useful information. As usual, my interests are dragging me from one thing to another and probably getting in the way of my painting.
Kat took out the Swan Princess, an animated story (of swan lake) from the 90s. A little nostalgia. I know we took it out back then, but I don’t remember watching it. It didn’t have any of the music of Swan Lake in it, but it was OK. It reminded me of The Frog Prince, so I rewatched that. And for some reason also re-watched Iron Man (one and two) and the Star Trek remake. I found that line going down from the space ship to the planet SO unbelievable, but a recent story indicates that they are planning on building one- a space elevator, starting in less that 5 years, and they hope to have it up and running by 2050. I STILL don’t see how you can have something solid going between space and a planet. But I suppose when they suggested laying a transatlantic line (for telegraphs?) that seemed impossible too. (How do you make a wire that long? In sections I suppose, but then how do you join it? And how do you fix it if it breaks a mile down?)
I took out Under Milkwood (MARVELOUS cast!) because someone had recommended it. I’m still no fan of Dylan Thomas. I like him in small pieces, not big ones. I did watch Thor Ragnarok, which was such great fun I expect will get a copy at some point. Thor seems to me the ultimate image of “privilege”. He has no conscious prejudice, but he is totally sure of himself and that he’s better than everyone else, and everyone knows it. I REALLY didn’t like their chopping his hair off, and don’t know why they did it. I didn’t like killing off characters I know and love, and while I liked the reference to “when Thor turned into a frog” which harkened back to the comics, I don’t know where they are going with trying to remake Thor into another Odin, as it seems at the end. They did Hela really well. Not the Norse goddess, but true to the comic, and that’s what I want in the movie.
Oh heavens it’s past midnight! That’s it for this week. Hope you had a good one!

Tchipakkan

“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’” Isaac Asimov?

Holidays
Þ 22 Water Day, Bavarian Crepes Day, Goof Off Day, As Young as you Feel Day, Sing Out Day
F 23 Chips and Dip Day, Tamale Day, Puppy Day, Cuddly Kitten Day, OK Day, Near Miss Day
S 24  Tortilla Chip Day, Chocolate Covered Raisins Day, Cocktail Day, Earth Hour (8-9 pm)
⨀ 25  Waffle Day, Pecan Day, Neighbor Day, Tolkien Reading Day, Palm Sunday
M 26 Nougat Day, Spinach Day, Purple Day, Falafel Day,  Make up your own Holiday Day
T 27 Whiskey Day, Paella Day, Theatre Day, Joe Day, Quirky Country Music Song Titles Day,
W 28 Black Forest Cake Day, Something on a Stick Day, Weed Appreciation, Hot Tub Day