Go Green Week

Happy Go Green Week
    I guess the big news this week was the weather- Nemo came through. Because we are all so used to it, we got ready for it, didn’t lose power, and came through with no problems. At the risk of repeating myself, or sounding smug, our road crews here in Lyndeboro’ ROCK!
The snow started Friday evening right on schedule. Zoloft went out as usual even though it was snowing, when we let her back in an hour later she had to squeeze herself out over the snow from under the car. We’d put the two cars end to end to make shoveling out easier. With the van only a few feet from the road, we only had to remove the berm to get it out, and we’d left only a foot between the cars to remove before getting that one out. John filled the woodbox, we had the propane lamps in, oil lamps filled, wicks trimmed, and were all set. After a while Zoloft didn’t go out any more.
Nemo had one difference over most storms. While, as usual, the wind in our driveway blew some snow into drifts and left other spots bare, it seemed to blow a lot from the south, up against the front door. I noticed that the barn roof was totally bare, and you can see that the woodshed roof (beyond the Cabochons trailer) was too. The roof of the trailer was nothing on the eastern end and about a foot on the west end. Our best guess is about a two foot accumulation, but it’s really hard to tell.
61 nbsp; The other thing that happened this week was my 61st birthday. By and large I am pretty happy with a low-key celebration. We had a roast chicken, which is really nice when mostly what we have is things made with the skinless boneless stuff. It’s very convenient, but still, I do like the roast! (Yesterday, for “Collop Tuesday”, one of the many variant names for Fat Tuesday, we had collops- chunks of grilled meat, as well as freshly made hot doughnuts. This was followed immediately by “Fashing belly”, a term we made up for the sudden realization that that last donut was one too many!) Other than a lovely dinner, and cake we used the birthday tablecloth and Kat found me a balloon that matched it, which is pretty cool. The kids ganged up and bought me a new camera (now I don’t have to bother Kat for hers when I want a picture of the weather, cool food, or when we change table settings.) Steve sent me a webcam and Dan sent me a book on terra cotta sculpture. I felt quite replete.

We celebrated with two cakes this year. Stuffed Angel-food cake is my favorite, and it’s always hard for me to decide whether I like the chocolate with almonds, or the strawberries and pineapple one better. So this year we just did both and ate them for about a week. They call the one with strawberries and pineapple a Duchess Cake, but as far as I’ve been able to figure out, the chocolate almond one has no name, so we call it a Baroness Cake. In case you’re wondering, you hollow out the cake and fill it with whipped cream (sweetened to taste) into which you stir about a pound of fresh chopped strawberries, about a half can of very well strained crushed pineapple, and a scant cup of mini-marshmallows (which melt in and disappear if you do it well in advance). The chocolate one has about a quarter of a cup of cocoa powder mixed in with the powdered sugar while you’re whipping it, and has sliced almonds and the same marshmallows added to the chocolate whipped cream in the filling. It’s just “coated” with the chocolate whipped cream, and topped with sliced almonds. Easy peasy.
Duchess cakechocolate cake
Yes, one has to protect them from cats.
This is a picture of Peripegelium looking confused by the snow on Sunday morning. Perhaps Zoloft stopped being willing to go out when she could no longer see into what she’d be jumping if she tried to clear the accumulation. We looked at the forecast, and since we didn’t have anywhere to go, decided not to worry about it until it was done. Sunday morning would be fine. It was 19″ (sticking the yardstick into it) on the front porch Saturday evening. It was 17″ Sunday morning, so you can see how snow settles.
Fix it!
I am NOT pleased with Peri right now. When I went to bed on Saturday I had a lovely little christmas cactus taken from a cutting of one from my grandmother. Aunt Patty had made each of us one and given them out at the funeral. It had taken root and was doing beautifully. When I got up Sunday morning, the pot was empty, and there was no sign of the plant. I fear she must have eaten it. I am QUITE put out. I never had a cat before Zoloft that chewed on yarn (and tinsel) before. And I haven’t had a cat that went after plants before Peri. I have taken the precaution of “mining” my few surviving plants with shortened shishkabab sticks so that she won’t try to sleep on them. Given that we have the nice lightweight soft recyclable cat litter, and Kat cleans the box every day, why doesn’t she sleep on that if she wants to sleep on dirt? Feh!
Can you tell from this picture that the ground around my car was bare, and the wind had carved the sides out as well? All we had to do was remove the berm. Willow’s car, on the other hand, had a five foot high drift burying it- nearly three feet of snow on top. To be honest, we’ve only been digging it out a bit at a time. She’s still really wiped out, and doesn’t feel a need to go anywhere, so we figure, why bother? It will melt. You may also notice the handles of the snow shovels leaning against the wall. Luckily we had one inside. Also it warmed right up, so those first few shovelsful one must take with the door open before one can step out and shut it didn’t cause too much cooling of the house. By and large, a lovely little storm. You know what I miss? The sound of snow chains. When I was a kid, when the weather was like this, cars used chains and that for me was always the sound of sleigh-bells. I bet they don’t use them any more because they’d hurt the roads.
But we did hear the plows going buy regularly, and the mail came on Monday. I noticed down at the bottom of the road there was a berm extending into the street a bit. Since it was freezing rain, the “anti-lock brakes” were doing their usual trick of “no, we don’t want to let you brake, you might start skidding, so we’re turning the brakes off”. I liked seeing that pile there I could aim for if other cars were coming and I needed to avoid sliding into the road.

Another thing I did this week was send off a package of school kid valentines. It’s amazing how that amuses me, considering I hated sending them in school and when my kids had to do it. It’s probably because in school you have to give them to people you don’t like, and that makes the ones you get seem pointless. I mostly sent them to friends I thought would be amused. I got the “Guardians of Childhood” set. I really liked that movie- especially Sandman.
In the news I was fascinated to see the Pope retiring. I was pleased to hear the President say that if the congress wouldn’t deal with climate change he would. Great! That’s what balance of power is about! All three branches! I was disappointed that the Boy Scouts put off the vote about allowing gays in, I have to wonder why they put it off. I’m guessing one side or the other thinks the delay will be a benefit for them. It’s kind of sad that Canada is discontinuing pennies; if they do, how long before the US gives them up, but I’m also following the Idle No More movement. I’m so impressed by the way the First Nations are finally standing up for their rights. I expect the US first nations will be following that lead. I can live without PO deliveries on Saturdays. They used to do morning and evening deliveries, we’ll adapt. They still deliver letters for a lot less than anyone else would be willing to. (I think it would be cool to work for the PO)  SCAers are psyched that they found Richard the 3rd’s body in a parking lot.  I was shocked to hear that they are dropping wrestling from the Olympics. Next you’ll tell me that they no longer have chariot races! The original Pentathlon events included running, jumping, wrestling, and throwing javelin and discus. The modern one includes running, fencing, riding, swimming and shooting (to approximate the skills of a then “modern” soldier). If we keep updating it’ll be running, shooting, driving, using a computer, and maybe piloting a drone! Come on, this is supposed to be sports, can’t we stay with tradition? Ah well. I do wonder how filtered the news I get is, since mostly I get it from the internet, and they tailor what I see to what I’ve looked at before.
On facebook this week I saw a really neat demonstration of how attention works: They had a film of three people in black, and three people in white, passing multiple basket balls around while they moved back and forth themselves. The subjects were told to count how many passes one team made- which was a little hard because sometimes the pass could be behind someone’s body. The thing was that while the subjects were carefully watching this, over half of them totally missed that a guy in a gorilla suit came into frame, stood in the middle of the ball passers, beat his chest and walked off. I have to wonder if they’d be more likely to notice if they’d been watching the dark team since they might have looked at the gorilla as a potential team member. This is very like the study where they played music into one ear while the subject was concentrating on, I think, a foreign language, and they totally didn’t hear it. The conclusion is that when we are concentrating on something, we don’t see other stuff even if it’s important. (This was with another study where they put a picture of a gorilla on an X-ray, and the doctors looking for cancer didn’t spot the gorilla. Well, neither did I for far too long.)

I started to get headaches- having checked to make sure that it wasn’t dehydration, I now suspect coffee. I tend to be hyper sensitive to most chemicals from Xylocane to beer, so it could be. I used to have about one coffee a year. Since we got the K cup brewer, I’ve been having about one a day, and that may be too much for me.
Tonight my show is going to be about Love Spells, and why they are such a bad idea. I hope we get a lot of people calling in with personal stories. If not, I’m sure Linda and I will come up with enough to fill the hour.
What else? We took Smokey to the vet on Monday- our first trip out after the snow. I find it amazing at how much attention the weather gets before hand, and how quickly we all move on. The visit cost (Mark) over $300, because Smokey got blood tests, and also he seems to have an infection in his eye, so now we’re putting in antibiotic drops four times a day. I’m very happy we have something to do for it, because I couldn’t think of anything. He’d dropped some weight but has gained it back now. The vet told me that most cats that are on dry food alone tend to be dehydrated because they don’t drink enough to counteract it. I find that odd. Don’t they get thirsty?

Because I’ve got so many books out of the library just now, I don’t have that many movies, so as we hunkered down I watched some recent favorites: Inkheart, Bedtime Story, Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. Mr. Magorium’s is becoming one of my favorite films just because of the way they deal with death. If you haven’t seen it, do. If you’re not going to let me share this speech: Magorium:
“When King Lear dies in Act V, do you know what Shakespeare has written? He’s written “He dies.” That’s all, nothing more. No fanfare, no metaphor, no brilliant final words. The culmination of the most influential work of dramatic literature is “He dies.” It takes Shakespeare, a genius, to come up with “He dies.” And yet every time I read those two words, I find myself overwhelmed with dysphoria. And I know it’s only natural to be sad, but not because of the words “He dies.” but because of the life we saw prior to the words. I’ve lived all five of my acts, Mahoney, and I am not asking you to be happy that I must go. I’m only asking that you turn the page, continue reading… and let the next story begin. And if anyone asks what became of me, you relate my life in all its wonder, and end it with a simple and modest “He died.”  ”
Because they kept talking about Nemo, during the storm I pulled out and watched Finding Nemo, and also 20000 Leagues under the Sea. Wonderful film! James Mason was always great! I doubt they could improve on what they did with models with CGI. (Although I did hear in the commentary that the original fake squid was very disappointing so it had to be replaced with the one they used- for a million dollars.) I also watched The League of ExtraOrdinary Gentlemen. I have to say that they are still making wonderful movies these days. For example: ParaNorman, which was as good as the kids said it was when they’d caught it in theaters. I really liked the attitude in it- Neil’s explanation of bullying just being part of human nature, is a wonderful thing for kids to hear- that it’s not anything they are doing that causes them to be bullied.

I have continued to read books on Roman and Greek art and culture- set aside the Celtic course temporarily while I go through the Integrated History of Greece and Rome again. I think what I really want in my mind is an integrated history of all the cultures. As I’ve learned over the last 40 years studying the Anglo-Saxons, you can’t understand them without studying who were before them, and who came after, where they were before we started calling them the Anglo-Saxons, and the peoples around them with whom they interacted. How can one understand the Egyptians without understanding the Libyans, or the Nubians or the Greeks. There are tons of people out there who don’t understand that Cleopatra was Greek as much as she was Egyptian, maybe more. How can we understand Europe without understanding the silk road?  One can’t understand magick without understanding medicine and physics and psychology and religion, or art without anatomy, or music, or… it’s all integrated. Specialization is a handicap, not an advantage. Ah well.
In between Colors of Clay, techniques in Athenian Vases, Fayum Portraits, Etruscan Architecture, Caesar’s Wives, and Portrait of a Priestess, I read See Delphi and Die, one of the last of the Falco novels. I’ve been doling them out for myself now that I’m pretty sure there will be no more. And now today I read that Charlaine Harris is finishing up the Sookie Stackhouse series. Better, I suppose, to finish it than to drop it unfinished, but I’ll miss it.
That’s about it for this week. I suppose if one just stays inside and reads, there’s not as much activity to talk about. It was a very good week though. I enjoyed it.

Aloha- To love is to be happy with – Huna Principle
and an extra:
Mr. Edward Magorium:  We Breathe. We Pulse. We Regenerate. Our hearts beat. Our minds create. Our souls ingest. Thirty-seven seconds, well used, is a lifetime.