Grilling Month

Hope you had a great holiday and have a good weekend.                                     7/3-7/9

(I started this the day after the fourth, “workaholic’s day”, probably because anyone who takes the day between the weekend and the holiday is working too hard. Spent so much time getting it out I decided to go for the Month in the title.)

 I haven’t written since the June 24th, so I have a lot to tell you about; I suppose I should not be surprised that when something actually happens it makes it harder to sit down to the computer. The first was going up to the dowsers conference (I’ll try to only share highlights, ditto our small Independence Day), the then   the cold from June seems to have trashed all our immune systems, last week my Lyme disease has reemerged, John got cellulitis, and Kat came back from CanobieCon with an infected tooth.

The weather has switched to full summer mode. We close the front doors and turn on the AC during the heat of day, open up and let the cooler air in at night. At least the heat wave has broken in Europe (wasn’t THAT impressive!) if not Alaska; and rains have finally come to India, although the Monsoon is extreme as well as late. I enjoyed the lightning storms that were photographed over the holiday. We might as well enjoy it, since we sure can’t control it. I cringe when I think of the rest of the world thinks of the USA and its resistance to addressing Climate Change. We are coping with the flooding and wild fires and storms, but we are among the privileged. These weather extremes are dangerous for so many people all over the world! I freaking hate being ashamed of my country!

Kate’s rose is blooming prolifically- it seems to like the new trellis. Miles looks to be starting his usual production. The garden is now blooming with assorted flowers (I think pink is the dominant color, although when you drive around the orange day-lilies catch my eye most.) A few years ago I borrowed an idea from Karen Holland, and started transplanting wild flowers to my garden. I love the way mallow’s look, also daisies, day lilies, Queen Anne’s lace, daisies, black eye’d Susan’s, and bee balm.

 Last I wrote we’d gotten the gay pride flag, last week we got the Earth flag I’ve been wanting for decades. We’ve also got an Asexual flag, a Transexual flag, and a CoExist flag. Sadly, while the flags are $6 each, the poles and brackets cost as much again for each, so we haven’t gotten them yet. We could simply get the cheap American flag sets (everything included for $9.95) and put the extra flags in storage, that would get the other pride flags up, but is depressing when things used together cost more separately than together. I suppose our family is generally careful about not flying the US flag when it’s worn, so having back-ups wouldn’t be bad.

We are using our Mr. Coffee Iced Tea maker daily again. I like making various herbal teas, and sweetening them with a bit of juice. Willow is really fond of the Red Rose tea- and I noticed when I grabbed the wrong pitcher once that there is an under taste of roses- no wonder it’s Willow’s favorite. She doesn’t sweeten it as much as southern Sweet Tea, but does sweeten it. She’s actually discovered that too much sweet tea can make her ill, so at Canobie she and Kat mostly stuck to the apple juice option. I’m glad that they have something to offer rather than just soda. I have to wonder whether America drinks so much soda because that’s what’s easily available, or whether it was made available because America wants to drink soda/tonic/pop so much.

The last weekend of June I went up to the American Society of Dowsers conference. When I first started going the con was held in Northern Vermont, at the college up near where their offices are, but this year that they were at Plymouth State College in NH, only “90 minutes” (more like two hours) from here (about a half hour north of Concord). They fed us in the cafeteria, and housed us in the dorms. I chose the cheapest option bring your own bedding, no air conditioning, and a double, open to any room-mate. I took our biggest suitcase with wheels, and managed to stuff bedding (luckily in this weather I didn’t need much!) in with three days clothing. Thank goodness they had elevators- the suitcase had lost it’s side handle! It also didn’t roll well, and when I got it home, I noticed that the bar in which the wheels is set is broken, so there’s only functionally one wheel! I think we can let it go to the dump even though the zippers still work.

I think I looked pretty good, although I didn’t get any selfies to prove it. Friday morning the first dress I’d ordered from eshakti arrived, a lovely navy stretch cotton; it’s very comfortable. (The skirt and other dress arrived a few days after I got back, of course!)  I’d also ordered a couple of the modern version of girdles: “compression panties” (one dark, one light). I hoped that maybe I’d look less lumpy. So I tried the dress with and without to see how much difference it made. It was, as expected, hotter, hard to get into, and sadly or happily, made almost no difference in how the dress looked. Willow, bless her, packed them right up and sent them back for me. So I didn’t have the extra heat and squeezing (and the refund).  I’d got the dresses I’d been yearning for when there was a bit of extra money at the end of the month.

Had I waited a bit I wouldn’t have, since Willow’s car, when she took it for inspection Thursday, so it will not (please, gods!) break down on the way to GNEW this year, needed serious repairs, which will eat up the rest.  We were also stressing because Willow hadn’t checked my schedule, and was dropping her car off over the weekend, figuring she could use mine if hers needed to stay over the weekend for repairs, not realizing I wouldn’t be there. Luckily, they did finish on Friday. Although it was after I left, they came over and picked her up so she could have her car. They guys at Winkles are so good to us! I guess it’s like not missing cell phones before they were ubiquitous, not having any car available makes one nervous these days.

I would have gone up Thursday night, and gone to the Friday classes, but we had a CTCW meeting about the website, which really needs major work. Several of us are working on it- we want to make it easy, useful, and attractive. I don’t think it’s bad, but each of us has a different view, so: committees.  I want help, and don’t know how to get it. I also managed to drop the yogurt I was having for breakfast and splatter it all over my skirt, requiring a change.  Also it turns out none of the pairs of sandals I could find both fit well enough to walk in. When I got back I put three pair of uncomfortable sandals in the recycling, and Willow picked me up a new pair. I was lucky in that each rubbed in a different place, so changing them prevented me really messing my feet up!

I got up there before supper, and checked in. I was given a key to a double, but when I’d hauled my humungous suitcase up to the room, the previous occupant was spread across both beds, desks, and dressers and filled every cubby. I left the case and went to supper, and the keynote lecture after supper. That was followed by a social event. I was a little sad because I only saw three people I actually recognized. However everything was terribly convenient. The pictures show the dorm and the dining hall from the steps of the Student Union; they were marvelously close! (Must be great midwinter for the students!)

The view from the window also shows the roof of the dining hall and the door to the Student Union, where half the classes were. (The big evening lectures were in the building you can see through the trees on the left.) There was another hall, on the other side of the block behind the dorms. If you didn’t want to walk that far, you could grab the college shuttle- the white bus in front of the Student Union in the window view. Even I didn’t bother with that! I have to admit that most of us were pretty old. I’m going to guess the median age was 60. But all the buildings were terribly close, handicapped accessible, and the food was all made from scratch, locally sourced. They had choices of basic stuff like chicken, pork or beef, with potatoes and vegetables, assorted vegetarian options, also grilled options (I got fish and chips once), and always pizza and pastas I walked by. There were also soup and salad, fruit, dessert, and ice-cream bars. Excellent for what it cost- about $35 a day. The social buffets (fruit, cheese, hot hors d’ouvres, baked goods) cost nothing extra. I think my room was $28. Good deal. Note, due to my “lawful” tendencies, I still only used the half of the room for which I’d paid.”

On the way out of the social, eager to finally meet my roommate- I was met in the lobby by someone who turned out to be her. There was also a representative from the college to help. The room mate was very disturbed to have been given a room-mate, she’d planned to ask for a double and use all of it. The poor woman from the college got me another room (also a double, to myself), a couple floors up, and was so apologetic for the inconvenience my heart went out to her. There was no inconvenience to me since I hadn’t unpacked.  Sadly, I couldn’t figure out how to open the window and spent the night sweating, (which later turned out to be the Lyme returning).

The next day was solid workshops. As usual the challenge was to figure out which of four at once seemed the most appealing. First I chose one on Chinese Medicine- she mentioned a man lamed Li Ching Yuen who died in 1933, and was supposed to have been born in 1677- they know he was alive in the 1820s. Basically she was talking about Chinese medicine keeping you healthy. Sounds good to me (and became more so).

I went to Trent Millet’s workshop on using harmonics for healing. I was sad to hear that Daryl Brann (another dowser who’d come to speak at CTCW) had died. Apparently his kidneys failed and he was trying to fix them with harmonics. Trent had suggested that he get one transplant, then work on healing the other- but he wanted to do it naturally, and it didn’t work fast enough. That’s sad. Really- use the best of both modern and traditional therapies!

I went to one by Mary Hardy on how to heal the planet grid (Ley lines) with Pyramids, Obelisks and Prayers. She said something about archaeologists removing the sand from tunnels in the Great Pyramid which was removing it’s insulation, and keeping it from working the way it was supposed to. A few days before I had seen a story on-line about the ’Inexplicable warming’ of the Great Pyramid. Is there a connection? I have no idea. While I am fairly well versed in some forms of energy healing, I have to say that this is far from anything I know much about. Archaeologists seemed to think the sand in the pyramids was either for booby-traps or nothing. I think we should respect the engineers who built them enough to leave them alone, or at least put it back when you’ve checked under the sand you take out!

Back Camera

I eagerly went to White Eagle’s Heal the Earth. His approach is so much closer to mine it made me feel more comfortable. He is an 80 year old Canadian Native American, and has the most grandfatherly energy I’ve ever felt. He explains the world with stories, and I GET them, and him. Apparently earlier in the conference there had been some unquiet spirits bothering people, and he, among other elders, calmed them. They were identified as natives who’d been killed by whites a couple of centuries before, and when the white people asked forgiveness for the actions of their ancestors, it settled the spirits down. Rather than passing over, they have chosen to stay and protect the people on the campus. (I was struck by the security of the modern campus- lighted public emergency phones, the shuttle, etc. I don’t remember it being that dangerous when I was in school. What I remember was everyone sleeping with everyone at the drop of a hint; this was before the herpes epidemic, much less AIDS. We’d ‘conquered’ syphilis and gonorrhea, and “free love” was the ideal when I was in college. Maybe even the guys who would have been incels got laid back then. I don’t know. I tend to think rape is not sex but assault, so probably not.)

The kids tell me I am a ‘demisexual’, someone who only experiences sexual attraction within a romantic relationship. I thought that was how it worked, but apparently not for everyone. I’ve always been confused by fictional romance where there was attraction without much of a relationship developed yet. I guess some people get horney for strangers. Sounds odd to me.  More significantly, at ASD I realized something more important. I don’t think it’s just sex and romance. As I sat in the lunch room with different people almost every meal, introducing ourselves, talking about the classes we’d gone to, where we were from, what we were doing there, I was reminded of every party or other social activity I have suffered through all these years. I look around and everyone else seems to be having a great time, and I never got it. I have a good time during activities (well, charades or cards more than water-skiing), but the “speed dating” style chatting leaves me cold (I suppose until you bump into the person you can talk to for hours until everyone else goes home. I thought that was what it was for.) But I am not interested in social interaction, “small talk”, without having something in common with someone.  I LOVE a good conversation- like the hour or more I spent talking history with Rakkauri last year. I can get into a deep discussion with just about anyone on history, food, or medicine, or a huge range of topics. But talk about nothing important? I guess one could say that babbling in a letter ‘each week’ is not important. I am sure most people skim until they find something that interests them, and ignore the rest. It seems to me that a lot of conversations consist of people agreeing with each other at the top of their lungs (or at least with emotional intensity) about something that bothers both of them. I know I do! I think the SCA was great for me because there was always something we needed to be doing, whether it was eating, or dancing, planning ‘shtick’, or camping activities. I need something to do with the other person, something of significance to talk about.  This was a revelation for me. It’s not simply the gender of person to whom you are sexually attracted, but how you relate to people. The autistic spectrum describes levels of how easily and well people get human interactions, how normal it seems to them. Just as I am quite normally ‘Demi-sexual’, I am apparently ‘Demi-social’ as well (if that’s a thing, and I’m adapting the terminology correctly). I need to feel a connection with someone to feel comfortable chatting with them. That many not seem like a huge deal to you, but it was probably the most important thing I took away from the conference.

Oh, that and the awareness that during the night Saturday I recognized the symptoms my body was having. On the drive up I had had a sudden but temporary pain- looking back it was probably the first symptom of the Lyme coming back. No chills the first night- it was probably too hot, but weakness and back ache, which I treated as I’d done when I had pain that couldn’t be touched with pain meds at Pennsic- hot showers. Saturday night I figured out how to open the window, and there was blessed rain that cooled things down to the mid seventies, and I got chills and fever, and weakness again. Also I think I recognized the taste in my mouth. Well, poot! Friday and Saturday I’d explained to those who recognized me (as usual, far more than the three I recognized) that I hadn’t come recently because I’d been recovering from Lyme. “Speak of the devil and he shall appear!” they say. But I don’t think I attracted it by talking about it. I was achey and weak enough to skip the evening meal and lecture and just head home.

Saturday evening there had been a great talk by a neurosurgeon who’d had a Near Death Experience, and he was doing more Sunday afternoon, but I didn’t have it in me to go. I bought his book for $17 (and have started it), but there wasn’t a doubt in my mind what had happened. “It’s Baaaaak!” I drove home and collapsed. (To quickly cover the morning classes: I went to the one about “columns of light” to clean water sources, (the teacher noticed me dozing off during class). The other was lighthearted- a woman was sharing a mystical vision she’d had visited the Land of the Peacocks where she was told to lighten up, enjoy beauty, and have fun. That was about all I was up for.) Someone else had suggested that I talk to the illness and find out what it wanted. I’m not sure what it wants, but I told it quite severely that it wasn’t getting any sugar. I am aware that sugar depletes nutrients, and while I’m sick I need them for healing. The first four days or so I had sugar withdrawals, now I simply miss ice-cream. I seem to be past the withdrawals, but have to be careful any in case a tiny slip activates the addiction again. I also think that the mugwort we’ve been drinking may have staved it off last week (until I stopped going to the con).

First thing Monday morning, 9 am, I was on the phone to Dr. Quirbach’s, and they got me in at 9:15 on Tuesday. I also messaged Kirk White about Chinese Medicine (good for rebuilding the immune system) and Lyrion who gave me teasel last time. We’ll be heading up to Kirk’s tomorrow. All of us (more below). I didn’t have the energy to get out and dig up some Japanese Knotweed root- which is said to be the best thing for Lyme. It’s sort of hard to go digging while you are during a flare up, but Willow got me some, and I hope to process it today. The biggest problem seems to be getting the dirt off. People either seem to have a handy stream or lake to rinse the roots, or a hose with a power spray. We haven’t hooked our hose up yet (It rained nearly every day in June.) As soon as I’d made the appointment I went back to bed and slept until Willow called to let us know the long list of errands she was running was not going to get her back in time to take Kat to her appointment. I managed that, driving and waiting is all sitting down, but I’m not comfortable with my mental focus, and have mostly let Willow drive for me when she’s available. Otherwise I go irritatingly slowly and carefully.

One of the issues with Lyme is that once you’ve had it, they can’t do a blood test for it anymore. On the other hand, they seem to figure that if you’ve had it before, you can tell when it comes back. No one is going to elect to take a month of Doxycycline for no reason. The best part for me was that Dr. Quirbach agreed with my plan to go find Chinese Medicine to try to rebuild the immune system. I said “Western Medicine is not good at that.” And he said sadly, “No, but we are good at knocking it down.” It must be so freaking depressing to be a doctor when you have a brain and can see what works that you aren’t allowed to use. I asked if he knew any practitioners locally; turns out that the one he knew was Kirk White. Oh, well. He seems to agree that it was probably the nasty cold knocking the system down that allowed the hiding Borrelia burgdorferi to come out and attack again, and thinks using Chinese Medicine to rebuild it is a good idea. It’s too bad that there’s no one closer he could work with on a regular basis.

As of Tuesday, I’ve been back on the anti-biotic cycle again- got the first pill at 11. Doxycycline is one of the ones that needs to be taken on an empty stomach, which means no eating two hours before and two hours after, because certain foods, especially dairy, but several, will bind to the anti-biotic and make it less effective, which I REALLY don’t want. If I’m going to get the inconveniences and potential risks (it makes you more sensitive to sun- no problem, I planted no garden this year, and won’t be taking walks for a while), I want the maximum efficacy. So I have an alarm set- at 8 am to remind me to get up and eat something (although I usually don’t), 11 am antibiotic, 1 pm probiotic and lunch, another reminder at 8 that if I haven’t eaten yet (and it’s often hard to get up and make supper), and another 11 pm antibiotic, and one at 1 am for a probiotic, although I usually just turn it off and go back to sleep. I find that when Lyme is active, the easiest way to get through the no eating sections of the day are to sleep through them, sadly, I didn’t notice the note that said ‘don’t lie down for at least 10 minutes after taking this’ until recently. I did remember to always take it with a big glass of water. I understand that most people my age are taking a half dozen prescriptions and have seen the shoeboxes full of bottles. If taking one is this complicated, how crazy it must be to take so many more!  I am assured that taking the pro-biotic as soon as the antibiotic is out of the gut is important even when it’s going to be killed off again in another 10 hours. Our refrigerator is full of yogurt.

The good news is that I didn’t get as run-down as last time. Last time, you may recall, I got to the point where I could only lift one pound, but not two. I tested and could still lift the ten pound weight. The bad news is that I kept getting weaker for a few days until the anti-biotic kicked in. I sure hope I can recover and rebuild better this time. I think part of my ongoing issue is just being over 65, and partly that I didn’t push to recover my strength enough after the last time. I know old people who stay active and that seems the key to maintaining your strength. Sadly, I don’t have the habit of gardening or dancing or tennis or any of those, and am not really interested in calisthenics or sports. But if I want to keep active until I die, I’d better come up with something!

At that point Canobie Con was looming- Willow was going as Black Canary, and Kat was making a new Loli sailor suit, every delay added stress, and we didn’t see her much. Wednesday John told me that his toe hurt- it was red, and we told him to clean and soak it. We checked but couldn’t see any splinters or cuts.

Wednesday Mark came over- I’d warned him off since before Panteria because that cold was nothing I wanted to share with anyone I liked. He asked me, when heading out, “what are you doing tomorrow?” I think that was my first thought about the 4th of July. I invited him to come if he wanted, and later Steve called and was pleased to come up. (At least Lyme disease is NOT contagious, and only wrecks my social life because I’m to tired to do much.) It was a very low key celebration. The grill turned out to be broken, and besides, John’s toe was hurting more.

We had hot dogs and hamburgers with appropriate condiments and corn on the cob. I’d made American potato salad the day before, and that morning I made the German Potato salad (with sour cream and bacon) that we prefer. I thought back over when we were kids and there were thirty or forty people at camp for the 4th (at least it seemed that way with friends from town and from the lake), and we readied mountains of hamburgers and hot dogs, chicken, ribs (later, when we got fancy), buns, chips, popsicles, drinks, beans, and other side dishes and salads of various sorts to deal with the crowd.  We were spread from out on the lake in various boats or swimming, on the dock, across the three camps and yards, near the grill, up on the screened porch, or inside- still organizing the food- which of course was eaten constantly all day long. As I recall, we also often ate more than one burger and or dog. It was a lovely chaos. They didn’t have private fireworks then. These days lots of people have them. Frankly, I think out over a lake is the best place to shoot off fireworks if the ground isn’t snow-covered. (Dogs may not agree if they live on the lake. I remember returning a lot of dogs who’d gotten scared and run off after fireworks!) When Steve called, I’d noticed that we didn’t have buns, and he brought some, and Thursday afternoon when I started to make the burgers, I discovered what we had was gone off (Willow had bought a huge package at ALDI’s last week- I thought they’d eat it while I was gone, and this must be fresh, but apparently not), Mark ran out and got some at the Village Store. Willow’d made sure that we had watermelon and corn on the cob. There were six of us, and five ears, but neither Willow or I had extra energy for chewing, so we had enough- even had leftovers to put away, and didn’t open the watermelon. But it was a nice relaxed day- perhaps more suitable for oldsters. (We did go off and set off ONE fountain in the street because we could, but so much of a celebration requires the energy to care, and our energy reserves were depleted.)

The next day Kat was busy finishing her outfit. Thank goodness, all the components of Willows arrived in time. She looked fabulous by the way. John’s toe was still red and sore, and I figured “of course it is, things always get to the point where they need a doctor Friday afternoon when the next appointment available is next week!” But Kat finished in time, and they got out just after 9 am.

There were reports of thunderstorms, and about two thirds of the people who usually go didn’t show up. I guess they’ll use their cosplay at other events. Raye and Joanie had arranged to bring a birthday cake for Willow- which Canobie kept in a refrigerator for them until they sprang it on her, along with a bunch of birthday cards. Since they had cake for 30, they shared it with other people in the pavilion- it was HUGE, which you can’t tell from the picture. They did get me pictures of their cos-plays, which is nice, and they did have some thunderstorms, but nothing that shut the park down, just chased them inside occasionally.

I got a call just after they left from Kerensa, and after talking about ‘everything in the world’ I mentioned John’s foot. Since he’d been a nurse he suggested I send him a picture of the toe, and walked me through how to send a picture with my phone. When I looked at it Saturday morning, I too was concerned, and was trying to figure out to which urgent care place to take him since it had spread beyond his toe during the night. Kerensa thought it looked like cellulitis, and I shouldn’t wait to get it seen. So I had him wash his feet again and we headed over to Monadnock Hospital ER. I’d checked and Saint Josephs Urgent Care in Milford is about the same distance as Monadnock. I don’t know if they have urgent care, but I wasn’t sure that the UC wouldn’t send us on to the ER in Nashua, and remembered that after my last stay in St. Josephs I decided that the only way I’d ever go there again was if I was unconscious and couldn’t tell the ambulance not to. So West rather than East, and I’m so happy I did. ”

There was an unsurprising concern at the intake. “Has he ever been here before?” They asked when they couldn’t find his name and birthdate in their records. “He was born here.” I told them, “but I don’t think he’s been sick since he was a little kid.” So they just started new a file on him and sent him in. The doctor diagnosed cellulitis and drew a line where the redness had reached.

Then they had the fun of putting in a line so that they could give him IV antibiotics. I warned them that John is pretty phobic about blood, and they had to deal with that. He looked away so as not to see any blood, and tried to cooperate, but wasn’t happy with the situation. Finally he just growled and went limp. We figured he’d passed out, like when he tried to give blood, and fainted at the finger prick (or when they showed a movie at school, and he fainted as he tried to leave the room). He says he wasn’t, that he could hear everything, he just didn’t want to deal with it any more. Anyway, they got the line in and hung the antibiotic. When they were done, the doctor asked us to come back again for another run the next day, and John opted to leave it in (they bundled it up well so he could sleep with it). Same as when I had cellulitis, keep it elevated, and soak it in Epsom salts occasionally. We actually had to came back for three days of IV, but even Monday, their emergency room wasn’t loud and chaotic, and the people were pleasant and competent. I’d heard wonderful things about the quality of care at Monadnock (the last time I was there was having John) and I will happily return.

I was surprised that they thought IV treatment was necessary- I’d only had oral for mine. He wasn’t really old, or young, or diabetic or with any other risk factors. So I asked the doctor, and she explained that when it’s on the hands and feet, the tendons and other systems make it easier to spread, so they jump on it hard. Apparently if it gets into your bloodstream and goes systemic, it can kill you fairly quickly.  The doctor had been pretty appalled that he liked to walk around barefoot. I figure, score another for that cold we had in June- when your immune system is down, any opportunistic bacteria can move in- as with me and the Lyme.

I hadn’t eaten before my 11 o’clock dose, and was pretty hungry by the time we got out again, around three. I’d expected to have to go by a pharmacy, but since we didn’t, we went home. I wanted to give him a treat (and didn’t feel up to cooking), so I got Chinese. We ate and I went to bed about 9, (remember I have Lyme? It reminded me) I woke up with the alarm I’ve set on my kindle to tell me when to take pills, and the girls were home.

It seems that at Canobie, sometime during the day Kat had developed a really awful toothache. Once again, of course it hit on the weekend. Aspen Dental advertises that they are available for emergencies, but their answering machine said call back during business hours. They say that you can always get walk in service, but when Willow talked to them first thing on Monday, they said they couldn’t see Kat until Tuesday. We did find an appointment Monday in Manchester, and Kat took her up there (while I drove John over for another IV treatment in Peterboro). It was less than satisfactory- they said it needed to be extracted, but they have no one who can do it until NEXT Monday- meanwhile, take take antibiotics. I think that’s three for three on the immune system being shot down and an opportunistic infection jumping in. ”

Willow hasn’t been hit by anything dramatic, but let’s face it- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is often combined with immune suppression and she seems to spend her life with it just switched off. She doesn’t seem to get colds, but she always feels like she’s got the flu, so how would she know if she got one? She just keeps plugging along, doing whatever needs doing no matter how she feels. Sadly we are none of us in good shape just now, and leaning on each other to stay standing, while trying not to know the other ones down. I am glad that her friends gave her a early birthday party. It’s hard to have the big “4-0” while putting up the Pennsic building.

What with spending tomorrow going up to Kirk’s, and leaving on Thursday for GNEW (the Great Northeastern War)  we are pushing ourselves pretty hard. This morning Willow went to Blakes to top up our silver, which was looking pretty picked over at Panteria. We would probably skip it, but Stonemarche couldn’t find a site for Midsummer this year, so the Golden Sword Tourney will be held up there, and I feel I should be there. I’m also teaching (Vampires and Witchtrials) the classes that got cancelled last year because the car died on the way. Also Megan doesn’t feel she can get to Pennsic this year, but is going to try to get to GNEW, and I’d like to see her. We’ll be getting back the 14th, and leaving the 25th for Pennsic. That’s about 10 days to get everything ready. I haven’t even put up the Pre-pennsic Prep calendar, haven’t thought that far ahead. I did think- OK, I can maybe cancel some of my classes at Pennsic and stay at the shop so we can rest more. But the thing is, that people would show up for the classes anyway, since they’ll be in the book, so I’d end up teaching them anyway, so I shouldn’t bother scramble to try to cancel them when it won’t work.

Last night I started making the jerky for the war (good to have it for GNEW as well), Market Basket was having a sale on the beef. The humidity was down, so Kat started to paint her new chair white. (Wicker sure does soak in the paint!) It’s the way we work- strike while the iron is hot. Do what needs doing now until you can’t do more. I’d better go in and get supper started. What we get done will be what we needed to do I guess.  I may not get much of a handout for Medieval Ghosts, and may not schedule Holidays that Might Get Overlooked ahead for when I’m gone. The world won’t end. One doesn’t like to think that what one does is unimportant, but I guess a lot of it is. I did do a blog post on my blog last week: “We don’t know that, sir.”

Just a bit on what I’ve been reading. Serious reading, is  Eichmann in Jerusalem: a report on the Banality of Evil. Goodness, the title says most of it. It is disturbing how familiar what Eichmann said sounds to Trump’s blithering. I compare it in my head to the South African Truth and Reconciliation, I think that not admitting what had been done is what has allowed Holocaust Deniers now. The more I think about it, the more powerful Mandela’s way of handling it becomes. The most important thing I think is to not bring evil into yourself, and that’s what happens when you try for vengeance. In one of the books I’m reading Fifty-one percent, a journey into Mediumship, the author speaks of a smell of evil that can be detected. There is something, just as the smell of decomposition has a smell. Maybe evil is the smell of a decomposing soul.  Less disturbing and more fascinating to me is that most times someone who can see ghosts does see them, they can’t tell that it’s not a real person, until someone asks them who they’re talking to, or they disappear faster than they could have left corporally; and yet, when mediums reach out to communicate with the dead- the messages and images are blurry, and often done in symbols, which are easy to misinterpret. I think this difference is important, even though I don’t know what it means. When I can’t deal with non-fiction (unsurprising, as I couldn’t during the spate of Lyme last time) I’ve been reading Lindsay Davis: Master and God and some of the Falco books. There was a new short story from her Invitation to Die, set during Domitian’s reign, so when the Flavia Albia books are set, which tossed me back into the series. There was also a new Ivy Morgan mystery- Wicked Respite, that came out while I was at the conference, or was that Ghostly Seas, a crossover between the Rowan Gray and Harper Harlow series. Brain candy is good when I’m not up to solid reading.

Kat also showed me a series Buzzfeed Unsolved, with people investigating haunted areas badly, and Sanders Sides- a Youtube series with a guy who shows how different parts of our personalities argue with each other. The one they showed me was about Intrusive Thoughts, and I liked it so much I showed it to Steve when he came up. It is absolutely true that you can think lots of contradictory thoughts at once, and that sometimes stupid things pop into your head and don’t mean much. I figure it’s like seeing something random, and it’s more your reaction to it than seeing it that is part of you. Who knows where these images come from? Are we picking them up from other people in some sort of telepathic static? Sometimes we want to remember them, sometimes we grab them and embellish them and make them our own. But just because they pass through our heads doesn’t mean anything more than passing them on the street.

Ah well, that’s it for now. I will probably only get one letter out before Pennsic- certainly not tomorrow when we’re off to see Kirk. I hope you had a nice holiday and have a nice month.


“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The Declaration of Independence.

W 10 Piña Colada Day, Kitten Day, Teddy Bears’ Picnic, Clerihew Day

þ 11 Blueberry Muffin Day, Mojito Day, Bowdler’s Day, Pet Photo Day

F 12 Pecan Pie Day, Motorcycle day, Simplicity Day, Different Colored Eyes Day

S 13 French Fry Day, Carver Date Embrace your Geekness Day, Beef Tallow Day

⨀ 14 Grand Marnier Day, Nude Day, Mac and Cheese Day, Shark Awareness Day

M 15 Gummy Worm Day, Be a Dork Day, Give Something Away Day, Hug your kids

T 16 Ice Cream Day, Snake Day, Fresh Spinach Day, Corn Fritter Day

W 17 Peach Ice Cream Day, Hot Dog Day, Emoji Day, Wrong Way Corrigan Day, Yellow Pig Day