Happy Red Planet Day

(Prescript: my keyboard is still sticking, so I’m going to simply allow the times when the second letter of a word is also capitalized or other things that would add another hour to writing if I took the time to keep going back to fix them. Sorry if it drives you nuts; it drives me nuts too. … I also gave up at midnight on Wednesday and finished Friday at 1 am.)

We thought when it rained the other day that we might lose the snow. That’s normal for November, but it only created a crust, and then we got another two inches yesterday, and a flurry today. Poor John has been doing all the shoveling himself, luckily we haven’t had any huge falls yet. It got quite chilly around Thanksgiving- near 0º at night we had to close the window in the pantry to keep the food from freezing. I still haven’t closed my bedroom window yet, but I do put a fur over my head and pull it down over my nose. I still love the fresh air, and with the furs and down, stay cozy. (I also have a heating pad by my feet for the first hour until I warm the bedding up.) I do think it’s warmer this week than it was last week. I don’t think it’s been dipping below freezing, so it’s fairly bearable (although I don’t go out much so I suppose I have no say about it).

I miss my wood stove. We may have found one, but it’s up in Maine. Also, I’m not entirely certain my current car could take it. Previous ones could, but the Caravan’s a ‘Mom car’. Maybe if we emptied the trailer and put it in there… still I hate not having a wood-range. It makes a warm room, and another cooking place.

It was a little weird making Thanksgiving dinner without having the extra burners, but at the same time I was trying to reduce the amount of food I made. I tried to get a small turkey, although I got the number 12 stuck in my head because for 6 people a 12 pound turkey sounds about right.They say a pound per person, but that doesn’t include any leftovers, which we do want. Without leftovers there’s no turkey à là king, or turkey pot pie, much less sandwiches. But then I got a $!2 turkey- which means it was 18 pounds. MANY leftovers! But I didn’t make squash, or rutabaga, or any other vegetables except the peas and mashed potatoes. (Mark brought himself a can of the blue lake beans he prefers). I didn’t make stuffing, In previous years I have made cornbread to put into one end, with wheat stuffing in the other, but this time we just got a bag of ready-made. I did make both cinnamon and Parker House rolls- small batches. We didn’t have the ginger-ale and cranberry juice punch, just milk and cider. We didn’t have salad, and the only hor’s d’oeuvres  we had were stuffed celery. I only made two pies: apple and pumpkin, and no cookies. It was very pared down- and still the table was full. As much as it’s traditional, I’m thinking that maybe next year I’ll slice the turkey in the kitchen onto a platter that’s passable. But I also think I”ll make more vegetables. I like them, and they reheat well.

I had worked out that the 18 pound bird needed to go into the oven at 8am to come out at 2. (I learned 20 minutes a pound, 15 if unstuffed), Other charts say less, but that’s what I told John. So he knocked me up at 7:30, and I dawdled, and didn’t get down until 9, to discover that he’d put the turkey when I didn’t show up. He had removed the giblets, read the instructions, then followed (instead) the instructions from Garfield’s Thanksgiving: rubbed the skin with butter, and put it in at 400º. We pulled it out, mixed up the stuffing (with onions, celery and butter) and popped it back in at 325º. Then I started the buns, put on the giblets (I miss my wood stove!), peeled the potatoes, and apples, mixed the pie crusts, and the pumpkin filling. Kat came down and polished the silver. She has taken that as her special task, so the dining table shines! Meanwhile Willow finished cleaning the dining room out enough that we could eat in there. We still have to do more clearing around the wood stove before we can fire it up. But impressively, she replaced the broken pain in the china closet (got the glass, used the glaziers points to put it in.)  It had broken mysteriously this spring, no idea why. Best guess is that something was stacked poorly and fell down against the glass, because the glass scattered outward. I’m not quite sure how that would work since a stack of plates stack is pretty stable, and we don’t stack cups. Still, one can’t blame everything on pixies!

Mid morning it occurred to me that there was no reason to eat at 2, we had no game, or parade to watch. We might as well eat closer to dinner time. I called the guys to let them know and relaxed a bit. But the turkey button still popped at 1, so we ate when they got in, between 2 and 3. After Mark left Steve tried to help me with problems I’m having on the computer, and Kat’s having with her tablet. At this point mail won’t come into my computer again, and Kat probably needs a new tablet. (It’s not a standard tablet, I offered her mine, it’s a special one you can draw on.) He got some of the pictures off my phone, so in theory I can take pictures with it again, but I still can’t get the ones I took off my kindle, and forgot to take any of thanksgiving, or anything else this week.  I sent them home doggie bags (bachelor bags?) and as I recall, I worked on last week’s letter in the evening, and still didn’t get it done until Friday. (I may do the same this week too. I’m nodding off as I type. Still trying to adjust the schedule. There is so little light these days, I feel I want to get as much of the daylight as I can. I may actually set the alarm for 7 again.

The Great Mystery has been solved! For the last several weeks I have been dragged out of sleep by the bee bee bee (at increasing frequency and volume) of an alarm clock before 7 am. I Know woke up at quarter of six every day for years, but at that point we also went to bed at 9:30 or 10. These days I go to bed around midnight and am not ready to get up until 9, so it’s frustrating. First I thought it might be my kindle, or my phone, which is silly because the charger is downstairs for those. I kept grabbing the alarm clock and turning it off, but it didn’t work because I hadn’t set it. This has been going on for some time. For the last week I have been just putting a pillow over my head and waiting for it to finish it’s cycle- which is, I think, about one minute long. Still, I cannot sleep through it. I even pulled the battery out of the clock- even though I knew it wasn’t going off. I’d try anything! When I put it back in, it wouldn’t work and I need a new battery, oh well. For these several weeks I have been reminded of The House with a Clock in it’s Walls (a book the kids read back in the 80s, and we reread last month, and is a new movie which I am so looking forward to seeing!

At any rate, with that clock missing I moved the small digital from the dresser over to the bed, and this morning discovered that it was the one that had been going off! What a relief! By this time I’d come to the conclusion that I simply had to start getting up at seven, and going to bed by ten, so I wouldn’t have sleep deprivation. There was also another mystery going on. At Changing Times Changing Worlds  I taught a class on tapping, and mentioned that while I’d seen it do amazing things, I clearly hadn’t gotten it to work for weight loss- maybe because weight loss is not something where you can watch the pain or other symptom get better immediately. It’s going to take some time, so maybe you have to do it every day. When I got home I decided to try it and find out- after all, it only takes about 15 seconds to do one round. I don’t think I remember every day, but most days. Is it working? Don’t know. However, I have been feeling different. I have more energy, more ambition to get things done. I’m cleaning the house bit by bit. Are these two things related? I have no idea it’s another mystery.

Willow suggested that maybe it’s Mother Holle reasserting her claim now that the snow (her coverlet being shaken) is here again. It does feel similar to the time I participated in a dedication ceremony to her. *I* wanted to learn to spin flax, forgetting that She is the goddess of housework! I’m finding it hard to leave dishes in the sink, and cleaned the bathroom floor for the first time in recent memory. (I have been leaving it, hoping that someone smaller and less creaky would do it instead, but that hasn’t happened.) I also cleaned off the stovetop and am working on the various surfaces that have been collecting ’stuff’. This is a really hard thing because that which doesn’t get put away usually consists of that which has no place to be put away. So I’m having to figure out places, or throw things out. I’ve actually started going through the old herbs and chucking the old ones. (Go me!) And wiping down the storage jars and shelves. One thing leads to another; any mess looks worse when you clean the thing next to it.

This is exacerbated by my personal issues. I am very conflicted about chucking anything that 1) doesn’t belong to me or I don’t know who whom it belongs 2) is still good, or would be if it had all it’s parts, which I might find later. (I think it’s time to chuck the contents of the unmatched sock bin). 3) anything I got to use but haven’t yet, and can’t foresee getting time to, but I still want to do it. 4) anything that’s still good, even if I don’t want it. Waste is about as close to my definition of sin as I can get. What I’m coming up against now is that if something is taking up space that I need for something else, is that not wasting that space? Ah, inner conflicts!

We had enough turkey that there was some eaten reheated, and I made Turkey à là king on Saturday and Turkey pot pie on Monday. Tonight I used the last of the stock to make some mustard soup, which I love, but even so have a hard time eating over a half gallon of it on my own, as I’m the only one here who likes it.

I”ve also been making breakfasts more often- pancakes, crepes, I tried making hot-dog bun but they were not as soft as commercial white bread buns, so were a disappointment. We’ve also now tried the replacement fryer- this one has a basket which I much prefer for lifting fries from the oil. This one is billed as a frier or steamer, but I can’t see dumping out the oil every time you use it.

Gretel has come out of Kat’s room a couple of times, although Zoloft still goes after her, and she seems very tentative. I think possibly Kat may just “kick her out of the nest”, since last night after she went to sleep, the kitten knocked over her cistern (gallon container of drinking water) that she keeps by her desk. There was much cleaning up- especially as somehow it got onto the display rack of laces that hang on the wall beside the desk, so all those had to be taken off their rolls and dried, and then re-rolled back onto their rolls. No only was no one else awake, there wasn’t room enough in the desk corner for two people to have worked on it together, so she had to deal with that herself. Also it appears (by what’s on the screen) that Gretel walks on the keyboard. So far she hasn’t called up anything too terrible, but one doesn’t want to take chances. If she doesn’t evict the kitten, Kat must remember to turn off the keyboard every time she leaves it- and that seems unlikely.  Also, it looks like she MAY be in heat. Since she’s about 8 months old, I suppose that’s possible. So far I have not heard the distinctive yowl, nor has Kat mentioned her urinating on things, but she’s doing the wiggling and rubbing, which may be a “first time” thing. Time to get her to the vet! Luckily we have no males around.

I have been thinking “How did it get to be November? How did it get to be half-past November?” and now “How can it be the end of November?” Time passes and I find it hard to keep up. (The Red Queen Syndrome – it takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place)

Willow and I went to Michaels for something recently and I went back to the yarn area. We picked out a lovely brindled pink yarn for a new shawl for Willow, and I’ve been searching for a new pattern to use to make it. I practiced a few of the ‘lace pattern’ motifs to see how they’d work with the rather bulky yarn, and I think I found one, although I find it difficult to keep track of the pattern without losing my place. It’s slow going and I think maybe something simpler might be appropriate. I spent a few hours (?) far more time than I would have liked to have spent, looking at a website with every so many lovely patterns. It’s hard when you find a yarn you like and then look for a pattern- it works better to find a pattern then look for a yarn to use with it- or maybe not. I know it doesn’t work that way with sewing. They never have the fabric you pictured in your head when you designed the gown. I am also hoping to make myself another full-length quilted skirt this week. I’m more comfortable in the full length ones when it’s this chilly. I toyed with the idea of quilting one myself, but then thought about how much work that would be and decided that the cost of getting it pre-quilted is well worth the expense. (Kat and I went up to the attic and went through all the bins. It’s chilly up there!) I made another neck warmer while waiting for Kat at the doctors today- except for sewing it into a loop. Lovely blues, aqua, purples, totally synthetic, but soft and shiny.

I talked to Kerensa about it sometime this week. It’s nice to chat with another knitter. I wish my friends weren’t scattered over so much area but were close enough for drop-in visits. But it’s sort of nice having friends from all over.

The news continues to be a subject of fascination and dread. It’s the last thing any depressed person needs to hear, but I’m sort of afraid to stop paying attention. I have given up on Trump. He is like the old patriarch who no one wants to hurt his feelings, or arouse his ire by telling him it’s time for him to go into a home. He’s an embarrassment, but since he has power, he is able to do great damage if we continue to allow it, and there are many who do allow it as they are trying to further their agendas in his shadow. It was wasteful grandstanding to send troops to “protect” the border from the asylum seekers, but ordering the gassing of the families, including children, and denying Climate Change, and Ivanka doing what Hillary did with the email, having public tantrums…. It’s wracking. I don’t want to be a witness to history being made.  I find hope in Mueller’s progress with Manifort  and Cohen, with Trump canceling his meeting with Putin, but I worry about a war in the Crimea, and worse, the damage being done to the environment. Once you’ve given something to someone (like public lands to developers), it’s hard to get it back, and nearly impossible to reverse the damage done. The damage done to the economy is worse. I am totally not looking forward to living through a Depression. What will we be able to recover? I’d rather be thinking how much good we can do.

During the prep-work on Thanksgiving we rewatched Garfield’s Thanksgiving (“You know how we LOVE tradition!”), and Stepmom (which has a great, if brief, Thanksgiving pageant scene), sadly, I couldn’t find the Addams Family Values except as VHS. I was sure I had one! I also listened to two versions (the original and a later one) of Alice’s Restaurant.

I am doing the free trial of the Great Courses Plus, which allows you to watch their courses on the computer. I am trying to figure out if I get as much out of it when I’m checking Facebook as I do when I’m watching dishes, and whether it’s worth keeping when the free trial is over. There are certainly courses I want to hear, but I prefer the audio, as I go to sleep rather than something I have to watch, especially as most of them are essentially college lectures. The professor may put up the occasional slide (and I love maps!) but the bulk of the visual is a person standing in front of the camera talking. For more visual ones, I may have to take my knitting in by the computer- Kerensa says they have a knitting course. I have started watching The Black Death, that’s a fun subject (Kerensa says he’s watched it 5 times!)

Mostly this week while I was knitting I had nothing out of the library, and watched the dvds we have around: things that were fun, and it helps to have seen them before when I’m trying to follow a complex knitting pattern. Amusingly, I watched several discs of Buffy, including Hush, the one where there is no dialogue except in the first and last five minutes. I feel the Universe saying “made you look!”.  Other old, fun videos included  Dark Shadows, Adventures in baby sitting, and the Croods. I think the last thing I got from Netflix was The Invisible, the story of a kid suspended between life and death who could only be perceived by a girl who was socially “invisible”. It was so disappointing, with that premise it could have been so much better! Surprisingly enjoyable was this year’s Christmas fantasy: Christmas Chronicles with Kurt Russell as a pleasantly updated Santa. It was the usual kids-catching-Santa-and-having-to-Save-Christmas by dealing with magick, while adults who see it tie themselves in knots trying to explain it away. Still, as I said, I enjoyed it. I’m not sure quite how I watched it- I’m thinking I must have stopped to look “wait, is that Kurt Russell?” and then just kept watching. Usually we totally avoid all Christmas movies, music, decorations, etc. until at least December if not advent. I understand that the stores NEED to push Christmas this week because otherwise they won’t break even. Our poor farm stand hasn’t got it’s load of trees from Nova Scotia yet- the snows have delayed the trucks, and I fear that may have dealt a severe blow to them economically, as some families like to get their tree right after Thanksgiving. I have no idea how much of their business that represents, but one worries.

I got the next books in the Melendy quartet from the Library yesterday and am starting The Four Story Mistake. There is something very appealing about the books set in the 40s and 50s. I think kids had more ability to go places and do things. (As I think I mentioned when I wrote about the House with the clock in its walls.) Modern people reading it might feel disoriented and notice a lack of cell phones, or even television, (or parental paranoia) but having grown up in the fifties, it seems natural to me.

Did I mention reading the Ghost of Christmas Secrets? That’s the latest book in the Haunting Danielle series, and I fear I have gone back to re-read some of my favorite books. I like her matter-of-fact way she deals with spirits, although at this point she has encountered nothing but ghosts/ discorporated humans. Still, she mentions a variety of characteristics, which is consistent with what I know about them. We know they have different abilities, and so do humans have different capacity to sense them, and even those who are good at it in the books don’t quite know how it works. I think that’s as it should be. I finished the second book in House of Darkness House of Light, and am starting the third. I don’t need to go into it much since I covered the topic thoroughly after the first book. It’s pretty much more of the same, new anecdotes, new perspectives on how much the individuals learned while living among active spirits. Apparently one watershed moment was when Carolyn looked on a family dinner going on in the past and one of them saw her, and she realized that to them, she was the ghost. That makes sense to me. I think there is far more to be learned from accepting the reality of other beings and dimensions than the “evil wants to eat your soul” BS that they show in movies, and some people seem to believe. Sure, some are dangerous, but then, so are some living people.  I’ve also started reading Occult America, not the one I read a few months ago, but one written in 1972. (Again, it’s SO familiar!) and the two books are much about the same topic. Both cover the background, although I think Horowitz did more background, and Goodwin was looking into what was going on in the 70s. He also includes believers in UFOs, lost worlds, gurus, as well as psychics and satanists. Both of them left out several groups and movements I would like them to have covered, but I suppose at some point you just have to stop looking into history and write your book. He seems to be trying to figure out WHY we are so open to it. I can tell him why, it’s because you have to, at some point, when you experience it, decide whether you are going to believe your own experiences or what the mainstream story is. Given how often ‘what we know’ has to be re-written, it seems more scientific to me to keep gathering information and adapt what we think is real to what we’ve learned. It’s pretty hard whether you are in a haunted house or whether you are discovering that acupuncture reduces pain more effectively than morphine, that current science can’t explain everything without backing off from some of their basic premises, specifically “there is no such thing as spirit”. There’s a reason that every culture throughout history has believed in it, because it happens. Get over it, and get on with our lives. Can we figure out how it works please? Make it more useful? Electricity wasn’t all that useful when it consisted of lightning bolts and sparks from rubbing silk and wool. We found out more and now it’s a tool.

I read a book by a fb friend Dana Corby that she’d written called The Witches Runes. Now I need to get to putting up a review on it. It was, as usual, a collection of symbols put on stones and interpreted by their positions in a cast. What I found most interesting was her description of when she learned the system back in the 70s. We seem to have gone through many similar experiences. (Although I never embraced Wicca.) I continue reading Fantasyland, How America Went Haywire, which seems to be presenting example after example throughout American history of how people have believed “unbelievable” things (I just read about the Scopes Monkey Trial. Frankly, now AND then, the press/media has a lot to answer for as they select the most outlandish tidbits to print to sell their papers, which feeds the appetite of those who hunger for validation of their bizarre beliefs.) and reviews lead me to believe that the end of the book is going to indicate that since Americans have been historically gullible, they are irreparably exploitable.

It’s amazing how much I can say about even a non eventful week! Hope your week goes well!

Tchipakkan

“Those who have the privilege to know have the duty to act.” Albert Einstein 

Next  week’s holidays:

November

29 ♃ Chocolates Day, Lemon Creme Pie Day, Square Dance Day, Throw Out your Leftovers Day

30 ☥ Mousse Day, Sweater Vestival, Stay Home because you are Well Day

December

1 ♄ Pie Day, Earmuff Day, Christmas Lights Day, Rhubarb Vodka Day, Wear a Dress Day

2 ⨀ Fritters Day, Play Basketball Day, Advent starts, Business of Popping Corn Day

3 ☾ Apple Pie Day, Green Been Casserole Day, Let’s Hug.Day, Make a Gift Day, Start of Hanukkah

4 ♂Cookie Day, Dice Day, Sock Day, Wear Brown Shoes Day,Trick Shot Day, Santa’s List Day

5 ☿ Krampusnacht, Sachertorte Day, Volunteer Day, Bathtub Party Day, Ninja Day