Love Your Pet Day

Hello again!                                                                February 20, 2020
There has been some snow. (And melting, and more snow…) There was actually snow that had an impact on our lives. Willow headed out on Tuesday, as she does twice a week; and managed, with 4 wheel drive, to get down Pinnacle, and Center, but when she turned up Center Road (31) she spun out, so she turned around in the driveway of what used to be Charlie’s garage, and came home. She called Avi and told her she wasn’t ready to deal with going over Dublin Mountain, and Avi loves her, so she was fine (and Willow went Wednesday instead). I’d been planning on going out too, but decided that I would just pay whatever the library fines were, and stay put. However I forgot the other reason I was going to go out. I had to get some of that “industrial strength” laxative, because I was scheduled for a colonoscopy at 8 Wednesday. Oops. About the time it was time to start, I remembered that I hadn’t gotten the stuff, so in the morning I called and explained that I’d been caught on the mountain by the bad weather. That’s sort of what happened, although I figure they assume that I was talking about that morning. As you might guess, I wasn’t particularly eager for that test anyway. But we will reschedule.
I think I was a little thrown off by being away for the weekend. When I’m away I try to pre-schedule the holiday posts before I go, and when I get back I have to wade through days of accumulated email and messages. It took me most of Monday, although part of that may be that I am SO distractible. The result was that even though I knew it had to be Tuesday because of Willow working, I felt like it was Monday all day. I also made a cherry pie- since it was President’s Day, not a big one, but it was at least partly symbolic.
Last night I decided to try the experiment I’ve been meaning to get to- I made a batch of the Beignet dough and let it rise slowly in the (admittedly cool) kitchen overnight, and fried it up in the morning. It worked great. Sadly, the next experiment had better be trying to adjust the recipe to make half as many. There are only four of us.

I had a great deal of fun at the Mensa RG last weekend. After posting the letter, I got in the car and drove over to Portsmouth. I used the GPS because I wanted that back-up in case I got distracted and missed a turn. I was only really concerned about picking the correct exit off the Portsmouth traffic circle. So of course, just as I drove into it, the screen went black and it went silent. I went around the circle, hoping it would come back on, and finally poked it. At which point it asked “are you driving?”. Of course I’m driving! That’s why I’m using the frakking GPS! Argh! Luckily I have been there before and managed to recognize the back way in.

There are a lot of familiar faces up there since I’ve been going for the last ten years. (Sadly, very few names I can recall easily, but luckily, we wear tags.) These are the folks that came up with the Hugging code of dots. Red: don’t hug, Green: please hug, Yellow: ask first. They have come up with a use for the blue dots that are sold with the traffic light colors. They have designated this one for people looking for dates. Interesting. We really only need the three, but what do you do with the leftover blue dots?

As in previous years Elizabeth (who I know as Anjuli) was running the hospitality, basically feeding people. Constantly. There was chili (and alternative soups) with homemade bread about the time I got there. At 8 there was an ice-cream sundae bar, and 10 they had shrimp and champagne. When I got there the shower was full of defrosting trays of shrimp! Sadly, that was the only picture I remembered to take.
I don’t need to go into it all, but they made omelets to order for breakfast, deli sandwiches for lunch, and lasagna (etc) for dinner. HOMEMADE lasagnas, in assortment of options with and without meat (or gluten I think. I know they had non-dairy ice-cream on request.) There were open bars Friday and Saturday and always buckets of sodas, & beers, always chips, popcorn and other snacks, usually home-made cookies out. Evening Saturday had a Chocolate Dessert table that had so much chocolate (cake, candy, brownies, cupcakes, cheesecakes…) that I couldn’t bring myself to try everything that appealed to me. Bless them they also generally had crudité trays out too, and salads with the meals.
I didn’t get a virgin mudslide, as I have in previous years, nor participate in the sundaes; the hotel was having trouble with it’s heating unit, and I think that the door was having an issue- it looked like they’d try blocking drafts with towels. At any rate, in that particular room, it was 40º when someone checked, and many of us went up and got our hats, scarves, and coats. I’d brought lighter clothing because hotels are generally too warm for what I wear at home. I appreciated my shawls, and off and on wore my fuzzy boots and hat! I did NOT wear crowns this weekend, instead work the pretty combs I’ve collected as “flapper” hair jewelry. The Trivia contest was held Friday evening in that coldest room, and I didn’t think to go up for my coat that night, and got very chilled. A very nice gentleman seemed to be willing to share his body heat with me, and I was so chilled that I let him! (I sort of felt guilty about taking advantage of him, but I expect it was mutual. I felt worst Saturday night when they had the speakeasy, and many of the women were wearing light flapper dresses!
I did two talks, one was on the Weirding 20s, since the theme this year was the Roaring 20s. The other was a workshop on Dowsing- and I brought lots of toys for them to try.  I got to go to a workshop on Barbershop Quartet singing, but the one on breaking the incarceration habit was against one of mine, darnit! When they were having the auction for their scholarship fund, I slipped up to the movie room and watched the Downton Abby movie. Now I want to go back and rewatch the whole series!
Sunday I slept in (missed the French toast) but got down in time to be there when they thanked the speakers. I learned more about Mensa this year. Apparently they are not too far from the pattern of the SCA. Each group does it’s own regional gatherings (aside from Elizabeth and a couple of helpers in her kitchen, there are full time guys keeping the beer, wine, coffee/tea stations, and snacks filled. Then I did as has become traditional, and washed dishes, while they packed everything up and got it into the trucks. This is a wonderful time for me. There were extra lasagnas left, and I bought a meat one and a “white” one (cheese and spinach), which came with a loaf of bread, so dinner was taken care of, and I got a mixed box of fancy ales for $10 too. I also came home with bags of tossed salad, credités, fruit pieces, cookies, cheese slices, popcorn, & cans of whipped cream. We share the attitude that if there aren’t leftovers, you didn’t have enough food. And we still got off by three! But the way they are like the SCA, beyond being run by volunteers, is that people go to the Regional Gatherings of the other Mensa Groups- Maine, Massachusetts, NY, CT, etc. And once a year there’s the AG or Annual Gathering, at which there are two thousand attendees. I salivate mentally at the idea of the wonderful workshops they must have there! I have noted before that each state (or region) group seems to have it’s own character. The folks in NH seem to be pretty much partiers. I think they joined Mensa to find someone who got their jokes. Or it may simply be the asset they have in Elizabeth that allows them to party so well. But apparently some of them do go to a different RG every few weeks, so they can see their friends. I hadn’t realized that.
When I got back from the RG I did the holiday posts for the next day, and in looking for some presidential images and quotes  and I found some good ones, so ended up collecting one (or more) each. I have the thirteen I’ve lived through, although I doubt my memories of the early ones reflect anything about who they were, and what sort of a job they did. I remember hearing a bit about the ones my parents remembered, but once we get back to the beginning of the 20th century, I know almost nothing about them that didn’t come out of movies. (Honestly, I stopped paying attention in history class when men started wearing trousers and carrying swords.) When I was younger, I loved Jackson- or rather Charlton Heston playing Jackson in movies, now, of course, we know that he and Van Buren presided over the removal (genocide) of the Cherokee people. At the same time, I hardly think it’s fair to blame the whole thing on just the leaders. They were the products of their times, and had be trained since childhood to consider their ways sinister.  I’ve always loved Teddy Roosevelt as a character, and still do. I have to wonder which presidents from my lifetime will end up as fictionalized characters, and how they’ll be portrayed.
Looking at the quotes, I’ve decided that I rather like Taft (all I knew about him four days ago was that he was fat). Anyway, I took the collection and posted it on my website if you’re interested. As I assembled them, I thought about the people who voted for them, and how they were going through trying to make a living, and raise families, and deal with natural and man-made catastrophes, and decide what to believe and what not to- and there has never been a period where papers didn’t put a spin on the news. I’m sure those presidents I know almost nothing about had their 4-8 years of work holding challenges with which they had to struggle. But for us now, it’s ‘distant history’ and we don’t even think about it. Look at Lincoln, what a magnificent example of a man suffering from depression, yet keeping it all together because he had to.
I was all set to head down to Delaware tomorrow, as the head of the East Kingdom Soothsayers Guild to help get them rolling, but Amy, the lady with whom I was riding, mentioned being ill on Monday and yesterday posted that her flu had turned into pneumonia and she was headed to the hospital. We scrambled a bit trying to find another ride (they’d already reserved a hotel room for me!) but couldn’t find one. I feel badly, but am not up to driving down by myself. Also, having missed my birthday, I’d be shorting John on his, so this lets us do the family thing.
Other SCA friends are headed out to the Estrella War in Arizona. Honour was heading there, but her vehicle broke down. She managed to get it repaired and is limping it back home. I am curious about Estrella and Gulf Wars, but I’d be more interested in the event of Winter camping that the Foresters are having in Maine this weekend. I did not even mention it to the kids; we each have our own kind of crazy. Ælfwine would have loved it too, but I bet they’d hate it, so I shall think wistful thoughts, and remind myself that a, I am not young anymore, and b, the last two weekends the hotels have been too cold for me, and c, the temperatures tonight are going below 0º F, and I need to be here to watch the thermometer in the cellar so I can add heat if it needs it, so what the heck do I think I’d do outside, furs or no furs?

The computer reminds me that it’s past one, so I’m going to finish. I’ll mention that I’ve just started a book someone recommended Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead , which is reminding me how much better good writing is than the fluff I’ve been reading. I hope to talk about other things I’ve watched and read next week. But now, I must sleep. Love to you!

Tchipakkan aka Virginia