I’d say Happy Chocolates Day, but I’ve used that holiday several times to designate a day, and I like to come up with new holidays for my subject lines. Look it up, I love that they are so honest about the description! I’m as much a sucker as anyone for taking a couple of pieces of candy corn and sticking them on my incisors and pretending to be a vampire as anyone. I do spit them out after rather than chewing and swallowing. I can’t imagine why they are so popular except for playing with!
The color is really coming out. Technically we are past peak, but here in our little microclimate we’re still enjoying a range of colors from green to brilliant reds. I’ve noticed something rather weird: when I get up and stumble to the bathroom in the morning the wall of leaves along the road is all red/orange. But when I go outside (usually later in the day), the trees by the road look green except for the very tops. Bizarre. Willow suggests it may be how the light’s hitting them. I don’t know.
This weekend our excitement was going to Celebrate Samhain, a local event over in Peterboro. John and I had gone over to help Mark with moving his locker on Friday because he had to go to the dentist on Thursday. Sadly, it doesn’t look like he’s going to manage to get everything out of the locker before the end of the month. We went over yesterday, and I THINK the next time we should be able to disassemble the metal shelving- I’m not sure where we’ll put the shelves though. Mark has SO many books! His last locker is full of stacks of boxes! He’s doing a wonderful job of getting rid of duplicates and ones he may not read again. We’ll be taking more boxes of books down to Ed Dragonslayer at the con, and he’s set aside 8 for Chip. John and I have learned to simply stop at the book repository on the way home to drop off the books that aren’t being saved. Still, we had to empty the car in the dark when we arrived, and put off packing it until morning.
Willow decided that she did have the energy to come help, and got up and loaded the car herself in the morning. We had to be off by 8 to get in and set up before the gate opened at 10. I was jealous- they had over 20 vendors, and we are having a hard time getting any for CTCW. I think part of that is that these were pretty much local artists, and Northampton is 2 hours south for me, and 1.5 hours north for Jane, so we don’t know their local craftsmen! Since they had only four workshops (and two concerts and a ritual) clearly the people were coming in to shop! I wish we could offer that as well. They also had readers. I wish we had those too. Since it’s all in a big ex-armory and the “walls” are curtains hung from pipe, we could listen to the workshops when we weren’t talking to someone. Actually I didn’t hear Dawn Hunt’s because she won’t work with a mic, and the concerts were (IMO) too loud- making it hard to have a conversation. I liked Jenna Greene’s better than Frenchy and the Punk’s music, but both were mixes of modern energetic styles and the more soothing music I prefer. Raven Grimassi spoke about working with Ancestors, and I actually went in, and sat down to listen to Ceisiwr Serith on rituals.
Because Willow was there I was able to wander around, pass out posters and business cards to the vendors and speakers, and generally promote CTCW. That’s pretty much why Willow came, so I could do that. That and she’s much better at sales than I am. I stressed at first because I couldn’t find the business cards (it’s my last event before the con and not only is it a good idea to pass out the cards, it’s SO frustrating to have many left over after the con is past! I couldn’t find them all month because I had “cleverly” tucked them into the drawer under the passengers seat of the Caravan.
I am still getting used to the caravan- the places to put things aren’t the same as with the Astro- I LIKE being able to open doors on both sides in the back, but it makes it more likely that someone will trip over the umbrella I keep between my seat and the door. There’s no place to put my driving atlases. I keep looking for things I “know” where they are- but they aren’t because of the car change! I still have bags of “stuff” we took out of the Astro that haven’t gone into the new car and are cluttering up the house!
So Willow sold and I “promoted”. Another difference between Celebrate Samhain and CTCW is that it’s only one day. The table beside us was a face painter, and they did a great business as people with kids came in- but they left at 4, so we turned our table (which had been in a u formation) sideways to make their space look less bereft. Beyond them was a potter who’d come up with a cool idea- the feet on his cups are carved with designs that make them look like ornamental stamps- but what it does is allows them to drain in a dishwasher! People are so clever! We actually dashed out at the end- before the ritual (which is a pity because Raven and Lyrion do great rituals). Kat was feeling fragile and requested us to come home, not stay to go to supper with my friends. Actually it was probably better for Willow too, as she’s running on willpower these days.
I guess I am too, to a certain extent. You know how you get up in the morning because you have things to do, and stay up too late finishing things (“It’ll only take another minute!” only suddenly it’s after midnight, or even one.) Last night when I got in I was really, really exhausted, went to bed at 7 and slept until nearly 10. I’m taking this as a warning not to get so far behind on my sleep again before the con. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is associated with sleep problems, even though they can’t figure out how it works or how to help it. I am SO glad I don’t have to go around feeling like I did yesterday all the time! And yes, I have noticed that it makes hot and cold more uncomfortable and pain tolerance go away. Sleep is SO underrated by those who can get it!
I took a lot of pictures at Celebrate Samhain, but discovered yet again that I am NOT very good at taking pictures. I took one of dinner on Sunday- it was lovely, we had macaroni and cheese with varicolored pasta, brocolli with purple and orange cauliflower accents, sausage, a lovely salad, and a spice cake. Steve came up and we were celebrating his birthday. Sadly, my hands wiggled, and it came out all blurry. Some day I will learn to check before putting the camera away! (Thinking again of how technology has changed our lives- we always used to have to wait until the pictures were developed to find out how the pictures came out! How spoiled we have become!) I had picked up the moon calendars I get every year at CS but didn’t wait until Yule to give it to him, because I couldn’t find the cards I’d gotten him at WMPPD. As with the new car, I am confused by not having the “mathom trove” (place to hold presents until they are given) in the closet that was taken out more than two years ago when we expanded the pantry. I keep heading into the pantry “knowing” where I keep something, but that place isn’t there anymore. I guess we moved here in 1995, so it had a while to sink in, but it’s frustrating because I should think I’d have had time to learn the new way by now!
What else have we done this week? The girls went up to get acupuncture today, and they continue to work on their daily pen and ink drawings for “Inktober”. Willow has a great sense of the dramatic- good for posters, Kat is more of an illustrator and puts in really fine details. Both are leaning toward the creepy images recently. (BTW- did you notice that there is no doll reflected in the mirror in Kat’s, and the cute little bat on the horned girl’s shoulder in Willows? I only mention it because I keep missing things like that. ) I continue to feel that I should be doing drawings every day, and never getting around to it. Phooey on me!
John continues to try to watch every horror movie ever made.
The house has really gotten quite out of hand. Part of it is the stacks of book boxes in the living room, mostly there’s no excuse, only reasons. We are trying to catch up. Some time in the past month the bank sent us new debit cards with chips in them to make them harder to hack, and we didn’t dig through the mail to look for them until they started refusing our old ones. Willow’s also been looking for medical records. Apparently when you go to the emergency room, they don’t tell your doctor. I was sure they did.
The cats are falling down on their part of the relationship. While the driveway up to the door is littered with the bodies of dead chipmunks, mice and flying squirrels, in the back hall, mice or rats have chewed holes in any bag or box they can find- including my entire stock of organic beef and chicken broth and almond milk. The lined cardboard containers may be lighter to ship, but they sure aren’t as vermin proof as jars and cans! As I dumped the contents (having gotten in, the stupid things rejected the food), I kept thinking about that commercial that “A tiger won’t eat what a tiger can’t smell.” Well, I think those are sealed pretty well, but apparently rats (or whatever) have learned that if it comes in a box, it’s probably edible, at least worth checking. And remember, rats teeth can chew through concrete! And I know they’ve gotten into my metal cabinets in the cellar. I am not sure if there is anything that’s really rat proof. I just wish they’d learn to read, and not go after the stuff they don’t want!
I’ve continued to be excited about baking since the oven was fixed, and leaning toward soups, stews and casseroles for suppers. The weather has been lovely (a little rain today), but getting colder, as one would expect. The dark comes on really fast- at least in part because we’re on the east slope of a mountain, so we lose the sun earlier than on a flat place. When the sun is gone, all the gorgeous colors leech out of the bright foliage. When you drive at night, you are floating through a black and white world, but where your headlights hit, the light reminds you that there are stunning colors simply waiting for light to send them back to your eyes.
Discussions over dinner always leave me grateful for my intelligent, witty, well read, and rather opinionated family. In the news this past week we griped about the news coverage for Hurricane Patricia. They kept talking about “stranded tourists”! What about the thousands of locals? Get some freaking perspective! It’s like when there’s armed combat going on, they talk about the American lives lost and pass over the usually many, many more casualties from other countries. Excuse me, most of us don’t know the handful of Americans who did die any more than we know the others. Yet every one of them also had loved ones who are grieving, and lives that have been disrupted. They count too!
Monday the internet was passing around a clip of a cop “flinging” a student. I am glad someone caught this on film (although should they have had a phone that convenient in class?), and while I could see how the officer could feel that he was simply pulling her sideways out of her desk and dragging her to a clear area to cuff her to remove her, it sure looked like excessive force to me. On the other hand, this girl had been disrupting class; in theory nothing the school could do would remove her, and the teacher and other students had a right to have her removed.
Clearly this girl knew how to maximize her disruption through non-violent resistance (something every toddler who goes limp and forces her parents to drag her understands). Generally, I think having more people recording other people’s actions will reduce physical abuse. It will also probably result in police calling for more backup- which would have helped in this case. That will slow things down, and give more power to those who know how to work the system, but if it prevents abuse of power, and that’s good. But I hate to see the way so many people are “coloring” the issue. White cop flings black teenager. It would be wrong no matter what the colors of those involved. I suspect that the story is based on whether police of any color are more likely to use excessive force with people of color- and I’m afraid the statistics show that they are. This is probably a more important story than that of these individuals.
Almost every night this week we’ve gotten calls that identify themselves as polls about the elections. But they really aren’t. We’ve had enough that it’s easy to tell what they are up to. First they ask you who you plan to vote for. Then they tell you “If I told you – Clinton flip flops on issues/ Sanders was a successful mayor” etc. “would that change how you feel about voting?” and at the end, having told you lots of things about the candidates, they ask “with this new information” how we feel about the candidates now. The very fact that they ask that means that the call was meant to influence the vote. I suspect that what these “polls” are doing is trying to figure out which issues are most important to voters and which they should concentrate their ads on. Either way, they are clearly being run by the candidates, and are meant to convince, and there is absolutely nothing that would indicate that they are a trustworthy source of information any more than any other advertisement. I don’t know why people pay any attention to advertising in an election, or to street signs. In front of a house it might tell you that someone who you respect or disrespect favors a candidate- which might give you information about them. But these are SO annoying- mostly because they pretend to be polls, and then pretend to be informative. Do most people not see through this? On the other hand, while we used to stop watching TV for a year one year out of every four in order to duck tidal wave of political ads, I’ve noticed that the internet has started inserting political ads in so many sites I’m beginning to wonder if I should give up the internet for the next year until after the election. We should be researching the candidates, listening to what they say, looking at their records, not just watching what we always watch and lapping up whatever BS that whoever pays for the time in front of favorite shows pays to put there and accepting it as facts.
In all honesty I have read too much and not much new this week. When I go to bed I’ve been indulging in brain candy: re-reading the Pern books of Ann McCaffrey. I have several on my kindle and I am really enjoying how light it is, especially as I remember reading The White Dragon, which was a seriously heavy book! It bothers me that often I can enjoy the stories because I seem to have forgotten what happened- remembering only the most general outlines of the plot. Also, while I remember when the first Pern books came out while I was in High School, the internet is full of images of dragons, especially cute little dragons- like the fire lizards, so beautifully done that if we didn’t know what special effects can do, you’d believe they existed in this world. I wonder what it is about dragons that makes them so appealing to us?
I finally finished Megan’s book on the canal boat-women Ramlin Rose: the Boatwoman’s Story. Combined with what I’m reading in Nature and Environment in 20th c American Life, it worked in with the looking backward themes that were so strong last week (with Back to the Future Day). Change is hard, we are used to things the way they are, then we get used to the way they are again after they’ve changed. We never really think about how the things we need get there (until there’s a dock strike, or some other disruption, even then we tend to only think about that link in the chain). In the old days, if you wanted something, you had to produce it, and you had to turn to nature to get the materials to produce it. Now most of what we use is so “produced” that we don’t even recognize what part of nature provided these things for us. Back in the 20th century, we used to play with things like that. Some people developed their own film and printed pictures using chemical baths and with a basic understanding of how the light hit the chemicals on the film and created the image. Ælfwine built his first computer with components that were fairly basic. Even I put together wires and circuits to learn how the switches we flipped turned lights on. Now they don’t even bother trying to teach us that stuff. We accept that we have no idea how our cars, our computers, our cameras, and other things work. I think this leads to more resistance to understanding because it requires faith that “someone else knows” “someone else is handling it”. When you knew that if you didn’t turn the soil and plant and water and weed and harvest and store properly, there would be no food, you knew what was going on. Even if you didn’t understand the word photosynthesis. We are isolated, and I think we need more contact. It is better to understand how one thing is made than to be able to produce many things with the help of machines.
Turning from understanding things to understanding people, I tripped over a lovely concept: the Ring Theory– this is presented as a method of not saying the wrong thing, and I like that idea. The theory is that each situation is a set of concentric rings with the person it’s happening to in the middle, and people who their experiences effect in the closer rings, and the further away the relationship, the farther out in the rings. The rule is offer help inward, dump outward. You can express your own frustration and pain to people farther away from the situation, but only express concern and offer help to those closer to it. I remember my poor mother having to try to comfort her children about losing their mother (a pretty traumatic event for anyone), while being that mother, and it being her death she was announcing to us. I guess that example shows that each person is in the center of his or her own ring, and sometimes the intersections require mutual support. But for anyone who’s further out, acquaintances, co-workers, and such, it’s probably useful. When Ælfwine was in the hospital, the young Jewish chaplain would come visit us when one of her cancer patients had died, and we’d help her through that loss- after she’d helped them through theirs. I comforted a health worker friend after she’d had to be the responsible one helping a family through post-rape trauma. At some point as it goes outward, the comforter is far enough from the situation that they don’t need help to deal with it. But there should always be someone there to help everyone at each level.
I discovered two lovely new songs this week. I was looking at an overview of a Tarot conference (what makes them think that just because Las Vegas is in the USA, all US citizens should be able to get to it?) and fell in love with the background song. We Grow by Tyler Stenson. I was struck by the phrase: “We’re entitled to change”. We, in the US, need to work on change, specifically learning that improvement, not growth is for what we should strive. Uncontrolled growth is cancer or obesity, not health; it’s an important differentiation. Having tracked it down, I discovered his This Too Shall pass. The phrase “Sturdy up your heart” sounds harsh, but it’s delivered with such love I can tell that it’s not really. I’ve also had Cat Stevens “Peace Train” and other songs I ignored while I was in college, but remember now fondly. Also I tripped over Mike Nesbitt (yes, the Monkee)’s song Rio. It was in the sound track of an old movie- Repo Man, I watched it because it was supposed to be a “cult classic” and I like to be culturally literate. Maybe I just wasn’t paying enough attention (I’m usually cooking or washing dishes or something similar) but it didn’t seem to have much by way of plot or character development. Frankly, when I was done I went to Wikipedia to figure out what I’d missed, and I hadn’t- it just didn’t make much sense. Similarly the movie Dark City, which at least had some lovely characters and compelling visual effects, was probably not worth the time needed to watch it. I am a sucker for a movie with psychic abilities in the synopsis, but it doesn’t always serve me well. One day I ran out of energy and watched the first episode of Midsomer Murders with the new Barnaby (speaking of feeling resistant to change). They dealt with the change over well- as one could expect. I will miss the Barnaby, Joyce and Cully of the first 13 seasons, but the writing is still excellent. Still, of all thing things I’ve seen most recently, the powerful woman archer from the Tremors: Bloodlines movie is what I remember best.
The wyrdest thing that’s happened this week is during the cleaning I found a bottle of kombucha I’d taken to the Equestrian event this summer (in my basket of handwork)- it had a huge “mother” in it (thick slime pad) which didn’t want to come out of the narrow neck of the bottle. Looked like a clam’s foot coming out of the shell. Live food. Gotta love it. (or not- it grossed Willow out something wicked!)
Need I say I’ve spent more time than I’d like working on the conference, and yet it’s all stupid little things that don’t really seem to get anything done, but have to be done. Chasing down mis-spellings. I’m still tweaking the schedule. A speaker can’t be in the Sunday afternoon because she needs to catch a train, another can’t get there in time for his workshop. Others are simply not answering their email and I don’t know if they’ll bring me a problem later. I feel useless and overburdened at the same time. That’s enough whining on that subject! Got to go and do the New Normal. Tonight is Thor Halvorsen talking about Ancestor Veneration
“Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.” ~Mandy Hale