Happy “Get A Different Name” Day,

It’s snowing again, and I have actually shoveled for the first time this year. It’s not much- looks like about 3-4 inches, however it’s really heavy, so I think it was 6” and settled, and probably got rained on. I’ve done two short stints, and may try a third if it doesn’t get dark, or the girls don’t get home. Yesterday I noticed that there was almost no snow left except in shady spots. We got some, but we hadn’t been out yet, and John is still recovering. He got “the cold” last week and is in that recovery period where you have no noticeable symptoms, but when you try to do something, you get tired quickly. It’s disorienting. Kat got it too- she had no voice last night. I hope she has today, Willow was taking her out to see her therapist, and she only came down just before they left.

She did come down to chuck Zolft into the snow once. Zoloft REALLY doesn’t like Gretl, the kitten, and any chance she gets sneaks into Kat’s room and chases her around, which tends to break things. This morning, before that, she was, perhaps, trying to get through Kat to get to Gretl, and clawed Kat nastily. This is unusual and disturbing! WHAT has Zoloft got against Gretl?  Whenever Kat’s tried to bring her downstairs, she has chased her into a corner or into the library, and she really does seem like she’s trying to do damage. We need a cat whisperer. Even Kat can’t figure it out.
This past weekend I went down to the Feast of Lights. I got two tables and was able to take in enough to cover the costs of going down and a bit over, which was nice. I wasn’t able to attend all the classes I’d have liked to have, but Jane watched my tables for a few, and I watched hers when she was teaching (she did three classes), and so I was able to go to a few. In between I chatted with the other folks in the dealer room and knit. I finished Willow’s shawl. Now we have to block it. Jane has a sweater she loves and I brought some yarn and patched a new hole or two. I really wish I were better at that technique.
I had a great time and actually got a chance to chat with Jane, Bob, Sha, Orion, Star. and Sue. I met Sha’s friend Granite, part Portugese, part Native American, although I forget which tribe, it’s one of the New England ones that’s recently decided to go for a Casino (“don’t get me started about that”). Another new person I met was a Steersman for the Troth, Robert Schreiwer. He’s involved both in modern net-heathenry, and also studying the old Pennsylvania Dutch traditions, crossing over with rune studies and hoodoo. I caught his Braucherei and Hexerei in the Urglaawe Culture, as well as Heathens Against Hate,  I’d have loved to have gone to Sues The Good, the Bad and the Mystery on Tarot, Moira’s talk about the value of Shadows and Tricksters in the Pagan Community, Sha’s Understanding your Aura,  Orion’s Children of One Mother, although I did catch his Refined Seven-fold Alignment (Co-creating an intentional Future). I was late to that one, but so was he, he’d fallen asleep. I loved the first part, but the second part was guided meditation, which as usual felt much like taking a nap, as I don’t remember anything when I trance.  I didn’t go to the ones on the Pagans at the Parliament of the World’s Religions; Earth Spirit is getting so focused on that, and while I’d love to attend the Parliament, I would go because it sounds fascinating, not as part of any crusade or feeling that I’d make a good spokesman. They are all so intent and spiritual, whereas I feel more intellectually and emotionally involved. Most of the Earth Spirit people really (seem to) like ritual, which I avoid when possible. I had a lovely chat with a woman and her daughter (whose names I’ve lost) who run a summer program for kids in Rhode Island, this year the theme is going to be Camp Half-blood, which I think is pretty cool. They were selling fandom oriented items- ornaments from Supernatural, Nightmas Before Christmas, Firefly, Dr. Who, and Comics. I got the girls pins with Asexual flag backgrounds and Tardis and Wonderwoman and Captain America logos on them. I thought they were cool. I also picked up an oracle deck she’d created because that’s my thing.
The theme for the Masque was Dark and Shadow, people were mostly in Black and White, or one of those. Luckily I’d picked the dress I wore to Kate’s wedding (without heels, so I had to be careful not to trip on the hem) and it’s black. The Summer King beat the Winter King in the Stag Dance, so winter should be over, and it was followed by a very medieval/traditional feeling mummers play. The banquet was OK- nothing to write home about, although I did take a picture of my plate and posted it to Facebook. They had an incredibly rich flourless chocolate torte and when it was too rich for the woman next to me, I ate hers as well as my own. When we got to the dealers room to set up,  they’d left each of us a small bag of chocolates, Dove, and truffles, and chocolate coins; I carefully avoided eating them, because if I start on chocolate it’s hard to stop, but if I don’t have a craving, it’s not an issue. I think it’s an addictive response. Frankly, just thinking of that torte makes me want chocolate again!
I roomed with Jane, and she brought her microwave. I brought a tuna casserole we had Friday night, and she brought bread and sandwich meats, and we had sandwiches at lunch. Since we got home we’ve been talking/messaging about possible venues for CTCW. They are all so expensive. One sounds good, but wants us to guarantee that attendees will spend $9K on food. That sounded OK, until we learned that that doesn’t include breakfast, because that’s included with the room. I love the Sturbridge Host, where Feast of Lights is held, and it has lots of function rooms- but they want us to guarantee $15K! The hotels would rather get a contract with a guaranteer amount sold and “throw in “ the function rooms “free” than just let us pay for the function rooms and assume that some of our attendees will use the hotel restaurant, and some will use the refrigerators they provide. It makes it very hard to figure out which hotel will cost less. But it’s now mid-February and we need to find some place so we can start letting people know where and when we’re going to be. (In one hotel the rooms would be $119 a night on the second week of November, but $109 a night the third. This is very confusing!)
  I’m not sure what the kids ate while I was gone, but they hadn’t died, so I guess they were OK. I did have dishes to catch up on. I’m sure John would have done them had he felt up to it. Frankly they were still on the chicken-soup and oranges part of the cold at that point anyway. I picked up four kinds on the way in- standard navel, something called pink navel, some moro (blood) oranges, and clementines. We have nearly finished them already. Having the ability to check them out Side-by-side, I couldn’t taste much difference between the pink and normal navels, although it was a pinker color, something like a pink grapefruit. But the moro oranges were quite bitter. I am not sure whether it was just this crop, but I would be hesitant to try them again.
While washing dishes I put in a history channel documentary on the History of Christmas. John came to the kitchen door at one point and asked: “Are you arguing with the documentary?” Why, yes, yes I was. I should have known that the History Channel was going to do bad research. They should feel ashamed.
Thursday I made a “Duchess Cake”, the angel food covered with whipped cream, and filled with strawberries and pineapple. This allowed me to have some for breakfast Friday morning before I left. I also had the last piece when I came back. Kat doesn’t care for whipped cream (except on coffee) and we always set aside the part of the cake I take out to replace with filling. It was still here under plastic when I got back, which reenforces my feeling that she may not have eaten much of anything while I was gone. (Jane also got a small cheesecake, but didn’t get around to putting the candles should brought onto it.)
I also didn’t open presents, being in a flurry of packing goods, clothes, etc. ; I spend them when I got back. They’d picked me up a length of quilted fabric to make a new winter skirt, and I also got a kindle cover (Hogwarts Spellbook design), a jar of chocolate wafers for making Hot Chocolate the European way. (Hot Chocolate is heated milk with chocolate melted in, Cocoa is made with powdered cocoa mix. I hadn’t known the difference!) There was also a package of 100 different colored sparkly gel pens (with another 100 refills), and a set of circular knitting needles and accessories. I will also count the new oracle deck since I got it pretty close to my birthday. Also, the latest Haunting Danielle book arrived (having been pre-ordered) in my kindle, and frankly I started reading Sunday night and except for stopping to sleep, didn’t get up until I’d finished it. It’s only about a 4 hour read anyway. This is book 20: The Ghost Who Was Says I Do, and in a pleasant change, although someone does die (by accident), there are no murders. It’s sort of a slow supernatural soap opera. No apologies.
I have worked up an outline for the Library of Alexandria workshop, and will have to review the other classes for the Mensa RG, tomorrow. I started a new fiction book (actually a couple) but this one is another silly one. A girl dies and wakes up in a different body in an alternate reality, sort of a medieval period. Having it not be actual time travel does release the author from the burden of research, and also allows her to speak the language. It’s your basic fantasy wish fulfillment self insertion story as she suggests everything from hooks and eyes to crop rotation to the people who she meets. (It’s good to be the Countess.) It’s called First Lessons: A Strong Woman in the Middle Ages, and yes, I do yell at it occasionally, but it’s still fun. (Like the History Channel.)
I’m still a bit sleep deprived, so I’m going to keep this short. I will mention one thing I’ve learned this month: I always wondered why in sets of wooden kitchen tools they’d have things that looked like wooden spatulas, or spoons with flat tips. It’s not like you can slip it under a pancake. But recently I’ve discovered these flat, non-scratch tools are perfect for deglazing pans. I’d always used the spiral gravy whisk like Mother used, but I have done several gravies just with the wooden spatula and it came out smooth, and got all the yummy goodness off the bottom of the pan. I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks!

Tchipakkan 

      “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.― Søren Kierkegaard