5-13-2015 Apple Pie Day

CFSFM ribbonsCan you imagine a time of the year LESS likely to have apples available to make apple pie? So how did today get picked for Apple Pie Day? Yesterday, I was posting links to the holidays on my LiveJournal (yesterday was CFS Awareness day, although they’ve changed the name to (I think) CIND Chronic Immunological and Neurological Disease- or that may be an umbrella term for all the Invisible illnesses- ME, FM, CFS/CFIDs, GWS, MCS, etc.), and I realized that not only do I spend (probably) too much time looking into these- I try to check the links I share daily to make sure I’m not passing around bad information. SO many holidays (like Mother’s Day, or Carnival) are based on a day of the week, and a lot of holiday sites simply share last year’s date without taking this into account. I try not to do that, and especially as I’m so distractible, that takes time. So I’m thinking of dropping that from my daily activities- as soon as I have a full year of checked holidays to get more time.DSC01979
It’s SO green! My bleeding hearts, and violets are burgeoning! So is the “bamboo” (knotweed). I was tempted to try to track how fast it grows in photos, but am not that organized! There are some new narcissus bulbs coming up. The quince is blooming- although it’s quite flat. We really should try to move it. Where it is tends to get the bulk of the snow that comes off the driveway piled (if not plowed) on top of it. I wonder how big the root ball is by now, and where would we put it? The lilac we put in by the barn seems to have survived, although it’s not as big as I’m looking forward to it becoming! Lilacs down in town are coming out (a week before up here on the mountain, two weeks in Milford), and under the forsythia there are pools of yellow as they come to the end of their cycle.
It’s been so hot we haven’t been able to burn off the trash. I’m thinking of putting the butcher board on top of the wood stove for the summer again, although last night it was cool enough that we could burn accumulated trash off. I hate in the summer having to take our dirty paper to the recycling center instead of simply using it for fuel! I washed the winter scarves and put away the fur hats. Some days are in the 70ºs and some in the 90ºs (and we shut up the house to keep  the heat out). Does it not seem that summer has come in awfully early this year? This is the days of the Ice Saints, when a cold snap is expected that could hurt anything you plant too early. The apple orchards are blooming, and every time I pass them I roll the windows down to try to catch the scent, but sadly it’s too subtle- maybe you have to walk past them. Once I did catch the smell of tobacco- it’s so frustrating that one person with a cigarette can be detected so far off, while acres of blooming trees are hard to catch!

Oh, today has been “Such a Day”! After writing for a bit in the morning,  I headed off to drop Willow at the Worcester Airport. Her flight to Florida to see Tyra for the month is at 11:50. It seems to be a lovely little airport, but there was room for only about ten cars in front of the terminal for pick-up and drop-off, and they were all full, so we had to drive over to parking and skibble back to the terminal. I am not good at skibbling. By the time I’d caught up with Willow, she was already getting her baggage checked through and I could only yell “I love you, have a good trip” and leave again. I also got a bit lost on the way out, but a nice policeman gave me directions. It wasn’t until I was getting back into the car again that I realized that I still have blue and red streaks in my hair. I do wonder what people think.
When I got back to Milford I had an appointment with Dr. Quirbach, which required my filling out a new patient form since I haven’t seen him in 4 years.  I finally wanted an official diagnoses of whether I’ve been suffering from depression for the last year. I made the appointment a couple of weeks ago, and am feeling better, but looking back over the last year, that’s happened several times, and then gone away again. Apparently that’s called Chronic Recurring Depression. I’m pretty sure I’m just looking for someone official to tell me I’m not imagining it. Sadly, his diagnosis was just about the same as what you get on line, how many of these symptoms apply to you? If there are enough, you’re depressed. Now what shall we do about it. Since I’m feeling better at the moment, nothing. It would be nice to get some talk therapy, but he admits that there isn’t nearly enough in NH for all the people who need it. (Hence Kat doing hers by skype to VT.) I am still hoping we may be able to get to Panteria next weekend, but Kat is worried about the heat. We were all hit pretty hard by the heat down in Williamsburg. When I got back my eyes were swollen and itchy. I thought maybe it was UV damage because I hadn’t worn my sunglasses enough, but someone suggested that it could be the pollen. There’s a lot of it around right now, and I suppose I could be developing a sensitivity. (Willow joked that her car is now yellow- well, there is a lot of yellow dust on it!)
We are hoping that although Willow will be helping Tyra’s family pack for Equador during, that this month away will be a bit of a “rest cure” for her. She won’t be worrying about us the way she usually does. Also Tyra’s mother is going to send them to an amusement park at some point. Frankly, a month without trying to hit all the local tourist spots sounds far more relaxing than her trip last year.  After my doctor visit, I spent another hour on the letter, and at four I had a live session in my on-line course on Myths. The deadline to decide to pay $50 for a certificate to say I’ve done it, is looming, and and I don’t think I’m going to bother.  I am having the occasional flash-back to college, remembering how many courses I didn’t complete, and how much money my folks paid for books (oh how Amazon would have helped with that!). I still have nightmares that I’ve gone back to college, but not gone to the classes I didn’t like and don’t even know where they are. IS it a virtue to accept my lack of degree, or laziness? If I got the certificate would it mean anything? If I got a degree at this point would it mean anything? On the way back I was listening to a show about commencement speeches. In one the speaker told them that they now were part of the 92% of people their age who had gotten degrees (I cannot find any reference to support this figure), which meant they had an advantage over the other 8%. (laughter dies down) of loser drop outs without degrees like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. (more laughs). Would a completed degree have changed my life? Probably after Ælfwine died, I might have been more employable. After all, as my mother said, getting a degree proves that you can finish something. Not surprisingly, even with these free courses, I hate the idea of not finishing them. I’m trying to live down my “drop out” past. I probably would like to get a degree, just to convince myself I can- although another story I heard today was on college debt. Maybe not.
I’m hoping to finish the letter before the podcast. Tonight I’ll be doing my podcast with Selina Rifkin on Seminary Education for Pagans at nine.  Getting ready for that I signed up for a class she’s teaching at the Cherry Hill Seminary on sustainability.
I am actually getting a bit concerned about the amount of time I’m spending on the on-line courses. The first one Kerensa suggested didn’t take too much time, and was fun, and not that rigourous. The ones I’m taking now on Coursera may only have about two to four hours of video lectures a week, but the tests are more serious, and have reasonable reading assignments for college courses. I think they are simply the courses from the University of Pennsylvania and University of Barcelona put onto the internet. Worse, I keep getting sucked into the online discussions. No surprise there, I have chosen courses that interest me: Magic in the Middle Ages, and Greek and Roman myths. I’ve been reading the Odyssey for the first unit, and picked up the Anthropology of Magic again. (This is one of the reasons I feel like I’m coming out of the depression, I’m feeling like reading non-fiction again.) This is not to say that I have stopped reading fiction. The next book in the Roman Mysteries series just arrived, the Colossus of Rhodes. I read the first seven from the library, but then they had no more, even in their extended network, so I ordered used copies on Amazon for 1¢ (plus $3.99 shipping). Sadly, this one came from England, and rather than arriving in 2-4 days, took three weeks to get here. Now that it has I discover that in this one, the children are taking a trip with lots of landmarks their pedagogue points out from the Odyssey (Argosy, etc.) which is fun synchronicity. Someone also shared a place on youtube where I can listen to Ian McKellen reading it. Lovely!  And I’m trying to decide whether to opt out of another course I apparently signed up for on Comic books as modern mythology (before I found the Coursera courses.) Thinking I am spending too much time on them is not to say that I don’t enjoy them, and 4-6 hours a week should be fine, but three of them could
cumulatively be a couple hours a day every day, and I fear it’s taking time away from cleaning the house, helping the kids, and “pursuing my career” as an artist (OK, it’s more fair to say completing commissions.)DSC01976
My work on Jane’s book cover was interrupted this week by a semi catastrophic failure of my painting desk. I’d noticed a problem last winter and couldn’t figure out why the “white thing” was “sticking out”. Apparently it had lost one of two screws, and this week it lost the other. Luckily Willow found it, and I was able to get a replacement and get it fixed. (I still have to get the area around it re-organized. One never notices the accumulation until one has to deal with it.) I had to drive 10 miles to Milford to get the screw, and that’s pretty much what I did on the trip. I really prefer to only go out once a week and to all the errands, but that missing screw stopped me dead in the water, and Willow convinced me that it was appropriate to go out and get it, and not use it as an excuse to not paint. She’s right, but I hate “wasting” gas like that. This is the choice when you live out in the boonies- you either wait to get things you need from elsewhere all at once, or spend more gas. I prefer waiting. (allow me to insert here that I totally love Fed-ex)
This week has been just one trip after another- after getting home last Tuesday, Willow and Kat went up to the acupuncturist on Wednesday, then Kat went to her psychiatrist Thursday (her meds were changed, simplified and reduced), but when we picked them up we just asked: “Is the prescription for Kathryne Taylor ready?” and since they had one, we didn’t realize until Kat was looking for it the new one at bed-time, that it wasn’t the new one. So, frustratingly, Monday Willow and Kat had to go back and get it.  It wasn’t appointments, but they went out Friday, and I went out Saturday, then yesterday Kat went to the dentist, (many fillings including two root canals are now scheduled!), and she’s seeing her primary tomorrow, and as I said, I saw MY doctor today. (Apparently my depression is “Chronic Recurrent Depression”.) I think I didn’t use a tank of gas between Birka and late March, but there were WAY too many doctor appointments this week!

For Kat’s birthday, she chose a Chinese food feast, which we all enjoyed.DSC01972
We found her a bunch of lavender roses, although I’m not sure in the same picture as my new tablecloth, you can tell how purple they are. She got new earphones, and Willow found her a new silver plated vanity set. She has some pretty new sheets (OMG, she must be an adult if this is the kind of thing she wants!) and I got her a really neat rotating multi hook coat hook for her room from the Vermont DSC01973Country Store. She will, of course, repaint it white so that it will go with her room better, but she likes it. (I think it’s cool too.) Steve came up Sunday and gave her an Amazon gift certificate. The next day her “fun” birthday present arrived: The set of Dr. Who figurines. dr who figurinesIt rather bothers me that they all seem to be the same size. Tom Baker was 6’3″ (I thought he was taller), so was Jon Pertwee, several of them (5,6,9,12) were 6′, but McCoy (7) was 5’6″, and I don’t think the figurines reflect that very well.
KatConDSC01975Usually “KatCon”- Kat getting together with her friends for cosplaying Karaoke- is one of the highlights of the year. This year the theme was Closet Cos-play, in other words, put together an outfit with nothing but what you have in your closet. If you are someone who happens to have old pink wigs around, I suspect that makes some characters a bit easier. Clearly it does, because Joanie and Willow picked the same one. It required the wig and a black sun dress. I don’t remember Willow having a knife, nor the name of the character. I don’t remember who Kat was doing either. Having a supply of jewels around made that one easier for us. Sadly, it didn’t really happen this year. They dressed and headed down on Friday, but one by one people kept dropping out, and it looked to be just Raye and Joannie, but when they arrived, Raye wasn’t
doing well enough, so they just hung out together. That’s good, but not the same.
Friday was when I discovered that the Magic in the Middle Ages class had started- so that’s what I did while they were out.
I have been reading the Odyssey for the Myths class. I’ve read it before, but it’s always worth a re-read. I also found a site on Youtube with Ian McKellen reading it- VERY nice! I’ve mentioned the Roman Mystery books. I’d stopped, waiting for the next in the series to arrive (from England), and it finally has. I was very amused to see that in the Colossus of Rhodes Fabia and her friends are sailing the Mediterranean, and their tutor is pointing out points where Odysseus is supposed to have stopped. I haven’t read much in the next Vespasian book-Vespasian False God of Rome– mostly because my kindle ran out of charge (and I started reading other things). I had a bit of a double take, when Vespasian’s brother Sabinus had to oversee the execution of a rabble rouser in Judea.  I tend to think of Vespasian in the Falco context, so had to remind myself that he’d have had to have been a young officer in 32 ce, and will have to have adventures from Britannia to Judea before becoming emperor in 69ce.
I took up the Anthropology of Magic again because of the Magic in the Middle Ages course. I thought maybe I should teach that class again at Pennsic and discovered I’d missed the deadline for getting into the booklet again. Poot! Oh well. I should pick classes and send them in (maybe after the podcast).
While I’m feeling a lot better, Kat is also improving. This week she set up the wii and started using it again. Oddly, the batteries were slimy when she checked them, and then this morning the balance board wouldn’t start and they were slimy again. The internet doesn’t offer any clues on batteries getting slimy, so I’ve sent for a new balance board.
DSC01977I do have another errand tomorrow. I feed us all lots of vitamins, hoping that they’ll help. I’ve seen first person what lack of vitamins can do, even though it’s hard to tell if they’ll help in any specific case. We each have a vitamin box in which we have B, C, E, Co-Q10, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Glucosamine/Chondrointon, or whatever seems appropriate for each person at the time. Each box holds morning and evening doses for a week, and since Willow was going to be gone a month, we got an extra one, and I’ve loaned mine to her and am using the pretty single day boxes we used to use. I used small plastic bags we got for sets of jewels to hold the fourth week, and I filled them all last night. Sadly, Willow had packed everything and couldn’t fit them in, so I must mail them down to her! That accounted for most of the watching I did last week. It was a wonderful BBC dramatization called Egypt rediscovering a lost world. The acting was quite good. The first two shows were about Carter and Lord Carnarvon and that lot and the discovery and preservation of Tutankhamun’s tomb. I decided I loved it when I saw the look of pain on the Carter’s face when the fool Davis was opening a pot in front of cameras. Carter worked so hard to move archeology to a science of discovery about the past and away from tomb robbing. The second section was even earlier, about Belzoni who was more of a showman and tomb robber, but marginally better than his rivals. This was a century earlier: 1816, and while I’d heard of him, I hadn’t read that his wife went with him on his digs. I haven’t yet watched the section on Champollion and the Rosetta stone, but I’m really looking forward to it. I wonder why they are going backwards in time like that. Now I’m wondering about tourists to the pyramids in the middle ages. They must have had them.
Oh, and I watched Guns Germs and Steel. I read the book years ago and thought it would be an easy review. It added the dimension of watching Diamond (with some jealousy) traveling around looking for the answers to why the whites “have so much cargo” and the third world has so little. Certainly the accident of fate that left the Americas without large domestic animals which over thousands of years living with Eurasian people managed to give us their diseases until we developed immunities had a huge impact on the Colombian Exchange. It was, I suppose, inevitable that when the people met that those without the immunities would die in huge numbers. Sad. But when he was being shown the victims of malaria in Africa and was confronted with the face of the statistics of those modern deaths because of crowding in the tropics without resources to combat it, I was beginning to tear up when suddenly he too broke down. Surely the “have nots” don’t deserve to be so adversely effected by even the natural results of climate and location when an application of money “cargo” would make it a non-problem.
Well, if I stop now, I can grab some pizza before the podcast starts.
Have a great week!

Palindrome weekRather than a quote this week I’m going to end with this chart.
This week is very cool. It’s Numerical Palindrome Date Week. Cool isn’t it?
Next year it will be in June, and in a few years we wont’ have one.

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