Happy Peanut Brittle Day!

Late again, but only one day this time. I threw my sleep schedule off, and frankly, I am not able to just “stay up until it’s done” anymore. Sadly, once you throw it off, it’s far to easy to go to bed and read until you fall asleep (when you didn’t the night before) then sleep later because of starting later. Phoeey! So yesterday I dragged myself up at a reasonable hour- made muffins, then waited three hours before anyone got up to eat them. Today I stayed in my snug bed and finished the book I was reading before getting up. I’m always dubious to count whether time spent in bed reading should count as rest rather sleeping.
The driveway is nearly sheer ice. John’s put down lots of ashes, but it’s still hazardous walking.  It’s cracked near the road where we’ve driven out over the ridge of the pavement. While I was out driving I saw some interesting effects where the ice coated the trees and plants around here in the last few days. I had mostly noticed it was raining (causing the snow to recede), but I guess it was freezing rain.   I expect there will be more snow before winter is over. Luckily the weather looks ok for driving to Birka. Tomorrow we pack up the van and load in.
Sunday was the “pre-Birka” planning meeting. Avi and Willow had been talking about having a day together, but they never solidified their plans, so Willow took Kat to the curia and I got to finish last week’s letter. This year they are letting Kat leave the Gold Key in the “gate-house” (registration room), so we can go up on Sunday morning and put the unused garb back in storage. That’s a relief. The last few years we’ve had a hard time fitting all the Gold Key AND the Cabochons stuff on the way out into a van that is filled by each alone on the way in, to the extent that someone has had to take some bins home with them (even after Willow got a roof pod).  So that will be an extra trip, but it’s SO much easier!
Saturday we went out to Doug and Phillip’s Dr. Who themed party. He had an odd “yankee swap” in which only one person didn’t want what they’d gotten. That was odd, but cool. We didn’t participate in that, for which I was a bit relieved, because most of the stuff was very classy. Because Willow drove we didn’t have to leave an hour before dark, and stayed until past six.  Willow and Kat did some “networking” and may be headed down to a Dr. Who conference in MD in a couple of months. Kat would get to meet Colin Baker and Matthew Waterhouse, and other actors- not to mention be able to hang around with others who speak her language (although she has worried that she might say “You’re my favorite character” in a frequency only audible to bats if she gets too excited). I think it sounds like a good idea. I got a couple of bad pictures on my phone, but since I tried to send them from here, of course they didn’t reach facebook so I could put them in the letter. Feh!

Today (Wednesday) I “put on my big girl panties” and went over to St. Mary’s (Credit Union) and got a new account, then I came home and set up the on-line banking, and attached it to my pay-pal account. This should not be so stressful. At 65 I still feel like I’m just pretending to be a “grown up”.  (Today- Thursday, I called Social Security to move then deposits to the new account.) Being an adult shouldn’t be so hard after forty-eight years. Yes, I’m nearly 66! Feel free to send me a card next week!

  Last Thursday I took Mark down to the clinic and he took me to lunch- I had the Fisherman’s platter. As he pointed out, it would easily feed two people! Why can’t they make a smaller version? I had the leftovers for lunch the next day, but in the evening there was a CTCW budget meeting. The good news is that we actually have a budget to work with this year. Friday, I FINALLY finished the commission. I felt frustrated about it because it was a  birthday gift and the lady’s birthday was Saturday, and I’d hoped to get it to him a week before so he could print it out and do whatever he wanted with it. I was a bit frustrated when I untaped the paper from the board and there was the edge- I’m sure there’s a way of dealing with that, but I don’t know it.
This week I read that before you do watercolor, you are supposed to “stretch the paper” – wet it and tape it down (or vice versa), why did I never hear this before?  Linda says that’s the sort of thing that you are taught in your first year of art school, which I didn’t do, having been convinced that one can’t make a living at art. (Or any of the other things I wanted to do…) But it might have been useful. So I’ve taken a bunch of basic art technique books out of the library to try to fill in the holes in my knowledge. I figure if I’m willing to sit through any class on Anglo-Saxon anything in case they mention one thing I didn’t already know, I can do it for art too. I fear when I was young I got a lot of ego boost out of telling everyone I was entirely self taught. Now it’s just embarrassing. I had a resource and didn’t develop it? How wasteful!
One of the next things is getting back into pastels. I’ve always loved pastels. I have now read that soft pastels are basically ground up pigments pressed with a little bit of gum binder, and hard pastels have more binder (and pastel pencils are between hard and soft with wood around them). I wonder what the ones I used when I was younger were? So I have picked up an inexpensive box of each, and will experiment. For Christmas I got a box of oil pastels- WEIRD! That’s where I started- with a book to explain to me how to use them, because they seem like fancy fancy crayons. They are bound with oil and wax rather than gum. Apparently you can blend them with turpentine. (Once again, probably the sort of thing they’d teach in art school.) At this point my biggest problem is putting aside my huge ego and being willing to learn a new way to do something that I have been faking for years.
Willow picked me up some new greyscale markers- I like them, but am not as good as I’d like to be with them. One problematic area is when trying to fill in large areas. Perhaps we’ve been spoiled by computer art, but it’s very difficult to fill a large space with color evenly. In an oil painting, you rarely have to- graduations within the large area are usually good, because they exist in a lot of what you see. But the grey scale pens get darker when you run over where you already went- which can be very good, unless it’s not what you had in mind. Also, inking has always been a problem for me. If I did comics, I could pencil and color, but not ink. I tried last week to do the commission in color, but it didn’t work out as I’d hoped- pastels couldn’t give me the detail I wanted, so I switched back to pen and ink. The end of the story is that he got it in time, and both he and his lady liked it, so Saturday I was finally able to get to the letter (after we got back from the party).
And that’s my week. I knit more “pussy hats” while I watched movies- I saw some images of the women’s marches and it’s good to see that we are still pushing back. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t hear about some new attack on our world the new administration has made. I remember wondering how Hitler could have risen in Germany, and I wonder if Trump can give enough power to people who are willing to abuse it that they can overpower a more rational majority. I doubt there I anything superior about Americans that would make us able to resist. Guilt is a powerful motivator, it demands that you justify your mistakes so you don’t have to look at them.
BTW, ether today or tomorrow, January 25/26 2018 (depending on which website you look at), is “Female Blackout Day from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. It’s a movement to show what the world might be like without women. Your facebook photo should just be a black square so that men wonder where the women are. It’s for a project against domestic abuse, It’s no joke. Share it on your facebook page.” The original in India was to show how many women are around, and was successful. If this goes on for several years, they may become more coordinated, but if no one knows about it, it’s not going to do well. That is the failing of social media, it gives people on it the idea that “everyone” is on the same venues that they are. One of the reasons that I changed banks is that I tried to log into my account, as usual, and they told me I required another layer of security, where should they send for conformation- my mobile, my twitter, or some other stupid thing I don’t use. Don’t make assumptions about what’s available to EVERYONE! (Grabitsnabits, grumpgrowl!)
Kat may have gotten a new commission for another dress. Willow has been making new garb for Birka. I’ve been meaning to go over my garb “as soon as I’m done with the letter”.
I’ve been going the “comfort food” route with the cooking this week. I’m not sure whether you count the “once a month” chocolate cake for Kat comfort food. I found three different varieties of Coke Cake in my cards- tried one that didn’t use marshmallows. And once again the boiled fudge frosting you are supposed to pour over the cake while both are hot may make it more moist, it still FEELS to me like I screwed it up somehow. Fudge frosting should be like soft fudge.
I watched the recent Planet of the Apes remakes- I enjoyed the references to the original, and the slightly better attempt to justify their scientific irregularities. (I’m still not sure where the other sentient orangutans are going to come from.) I finished the first season of Land Girls, very nice, and am starting the second season. I watched the Lego Batman Movie. I really enjoyed it- and didn’t really expect to. It’s really sort of a send up of all the comic book/SF movies lately, especially the dark “gritty” hero. Having watched It’s a Wonderful Life, I’ve ordered a bunch of Frank Capra movies. “I like corny. I could use some corny in my life.” (Two points if you recognize where that came from.)
I watched the thriller Split about a man with Dissociative Identity Disorder (what we used to call Multiple Personalitys) who kidnaps some girls. The psychologist who’s helping him is fascinating, and they edited out the side plot in which much of the exposition about the disease to her neighbor is made, since “it didn’t advance the story”. I think the way the mind has a huge impact on the body is what drove the plot, so I don’t know why they made that decision, I guess they didn’t care about why (any more than they did in the Planet of the Apes movies- it’s horror, who cares?) Kat tells me that when it came out many people with mental illness got very down on it in social media because it was an over-dramatized portrayal. Well, duh! I was amused at the end when they threw in a cameo from Bruce Willis putting it into the same world as Unbreakable, an earlier film by the same director. The Internet Movie Database tells me that next year they’ll be coming out with another movie Glass, with characters from both those movies. I’ll look forward to seeing that.
The first art book I’m reading is the Encyclopedia of Drawing Techniques. It’s very basic, but occasionally has something basic I had not yet encountered. I fear I am going to need to work on my hatching and cross hatching.
This week I’ve read The Ghost who Wanted Revenge, The Ghost of Halloween Past and the Ghost who Came for Christmas. I’m starting the Ghost of Valentine Past. These are light and quick reads, but they are also will spun stories with someone drawing me on from chapter- to chapter (when I really ought to turn out the light and go to sleep), lots of twists and turns, and references to things the author mentioned earlier. So far the paranormal activity is entirely believable. (In the Christmas one, she finally meets another person who sees ghosts. I DO object to the way almost everyone is described as good looking, but that may just be the way she sees people.  Due to this fun, I have not read much non-fiction this week.


Shall we amend that to say “HIS standard of living”?
First they came for the Jews, but I did nothing because I’m not a Jew. Then they came for the socialists, but I did nothing because I’m not a socialist. Then they came for the Catholics, but I did nothing because I’m not a Catholic. Finally, they came for me, but by then there was no one left to help me. Niemoller
And perhaps to update that one:
First they came for the Undocumented Aliens, but I did nothing because I’m not a Undocumented Alien. Then they came for the pro-choicers, but I did nothing because I’m not a pro-choice activist. Then they came for the “black lives matter” activists, but I did nothing because “all lives matter”. Finally, they came for me, but by then there was no one left to help me.