March 28, 2018 Black Forest Cake Day

We had some snow today, and basically, it’s been cold this week. I haven’t gone out, so I’m not sure but I think it’s been warmer during the day. Still we have snow cover, although it’s receding. The coolest thing this week is that I saw a pair of Turkey Buzzards on the barn (and overhead, and on the compost heap). At first I wasn’t sure what they were, but the one that landed on the barn stayed and did what they call the “horaltic pose” (as I discovered when looking up to confirm the identification, and their range.)  Yes, we are just in their range (for breeding, anyway), and I saw them as clearly as in this picture. They seem to do that to get the maximum sun warmth on their wings. I first assumed it was some sort of mating dance. It’s very cool that the feathers are white underneath and dark from above. (I guess that’s camouflage.) It would be exciting if they nested near here, although I don’t expect our local crows would like it, and I am fond of the crows.
I have spent the week doing little but painting. Part of that is because my feet still hurt, although less than before. I’m hoping the homeopathic is working. This week I looked up and discovered that the Symphytum officinale is Comfrey. It makes more sense now. I might also try Hypericum, and see if that helps. Mostly, I’ve been staying off my feet…except for when I need to cook or wash dishes, which I try to sit on a stool to do, but it’s messy. I am also coming to believe that my computer desk and chair may be too low, resulting in my constantly propping my feet up at a stressful angle. I’ll have to look around and see if there’s a better table/surface around the house somewhere.
I FINALLY got the composition to where I was ready to start painting. Lynn (the author) picked her favorite sketch, and we decided that the bear fight should be in a horizontal painting, like the wolf fight was in the first Frey’s Saga so that the covers would match. That started, I kept trying to get the bear big enough to convey the menace, then realized I could put it on the left of the picture, as opposed to the right, and it all sort of fell together. I an still debating moving the girl in the tree further right- the tree seems to create too much of a line from the bear’s leg, and isolates the dead black bears. If I move it it’s going to have to be soon. I’m trying to get the  trees and branches in the back before I do the foreground more (although I’ve blocked in the comfrey that she puts on his wounded butt, since I needed some undergrowth anyway). I’ve been aiming at finishing it before April, but it’s getting close. Mark came over and read to me one day, which is nice. Otherwise I listen to movies. I have to go for ones I’ve seen before so I don’t have to look up.
The big story of the week is the girls going down to the Regeneration Who Conference this weekend. They left Thursday, but got back around midnight on Sunday (about 8 hours of driving each way for Willow). They’d hoped to go with Doug, but he couldn’t make it, so they went alone. Kat wore her Adric Lolita dress on Friday, Adric on Saturday, and Dodo on Sunday.
I bullied Willow into getting pictures for me. They often forget to take pictures while at events. I have an ambition to line the stairway and upstairs hall with framed pictures of them in their cosplays, but so far it hasn’t happened. 
The one of Kat as Adric with the Tardis is by a Tardis they had at one end of a stage where there were panels. I think the lump beside her is her Tardis backpack. I saw other pictures of people posing with the Tardis, but because it was on the stage and Kat is lawful, she didn’t go up to stand beside it.  I will admit to having spent more than an hour just looking at the various pictures posted to the Regeneration Who 4 page, looking through, cocking to see if they were in the back in any crowd shots, and generally enjoying the costuming.
Kat got a chance to get autographs from Peter Davison, and Colin Baker- the two doctors actors (still living) that she likes best. Also Matthew Waterhouse, who played Adric- and she got him to sign her star. This is the one she made for her Adric cosplay. In the show it’s a math award. I was impressed that she did the metal cutting and soldering- I expect most costumers just use foil or oven hardening clay.  I hope the actor was impressed. One does have to pay for autographs. I guess that’s how the old actors make their living, so one can’t begrudge it.   
I understand that they went to some panels too, and Willow had other pictures of what looked like the Constitution (outside Boston Harbor? Seems unlikely!) and the local Ripleys Believe it or Not Museum, although I don’t think they had time to go. She only took one picture of herself, but it had a Dalek in the background so that was cool. Meanwhile, I was at home watching the Season of Dr. Who with Eccleson and Rose.
  Kat made her Dodo outfit for a CanobieCon I think, and they sad that got some complements. It should as she handprinted it. I think her favorite compliment was when she told Baker he was her favorite Doctor and he told her she was his favorite dessert. I think I got it right- she’d have been in the Adric Loli, so probably looked like a bowl of rainbow sherbet.
IT was good to have Mark come over-he came twice! and once he brought Steak and corn on the cob for supper. I think that was a whim because he saw it. I have no idea where it was grown at this time of year. It wasn’t as good as I remember corn-on-the-cob, but then it was surely shipped a very long way, and possibly several days old and a variety with which I’m not familiar. People often don’t consider different varieties of corn, but I’m sure they make a difference. Local doesn’t have to worry about shelf life. The other time I made burgers. I also made a pineapple upside down cake. Thursday Kat opened a can of what should have been pineapple tidbits (by the picture) but which was crushed pineapple- much harder to snack on. So I used it (rather than rings) to line the pan, scattered it with pecan pieces, and it came out fine. Actually it’s easier to eat- you don’t have to deal with the grain of the pineapple, and you get nuts and fruit in almost every bite. I then scattered pomegranate seeds over the top- since I’d taken apart our last one (of the year), and thought it would benefit from the color. I’d call it a successful experiment.
Yesterday was Bianca’s birthday. Willow got her roller skates since she’s been enjoying it, of course Kalen wants some so they had to deal with “it’s not your birthday”, and it’s not like they haven’t been renting skates all along. They had a cake from Fredricks Pastries, and Willow got a picture of the cute little bunny butts (alternated with flowers) that decorated it. I was charmed!
I haven’t spent as much time on the computer since I developed the theory that it might exacerbate the fasciitis, but I did pause to weigh in on a discussion among the Laurel list on how we can make
Peerage ceremonies shorter. I think we could easily get rid of the current custom of having a representative of each of the peerages praise the new companion. I don’t know any historical precedent for that, and my feeling is that first authenticity, second, this is a rite of passage, changing the relationship of the person to the community, so it should let people know who it is, and what they’ve done. Thank goodness they’ve started doing vigils, that allows people to share their wisdom and pass along good wishes without doing it in court. I also think we should have more variety. In the old days people stole from history and fiction. Now they seem to just want to do what’s been done before.  I hope they can change it.
I missed the Magical Marketplace- could really have walked that much even if I didn’t have to paint, and the same can be said for the marches. I’m impressed with the way this movement has taken off. Enough IS enough. Mostly what I want is better training for police- they are clearly either dangerously racist, or (more likely) trained to shoot to quickly. While final and traumatic for the victims and their families, it can’t be good for the shooters either. I’m sure many of them feel awful about it, but like the Catholic Church covering up for pedophile priests (who I’m sure were a minority), they are destroying the reputation of police by closing in solidarity around the ones who shoot unarmed men. Admit it and fix the problem. If they are racist, drum them out. If they are badly trained, fix the training! Meanwhile, I want to see a poll of gun owners that isn’t designed to promote division. I don’t think most gun owners would object to general safety measures, similar to what we have for cars. For goodness sakes, I’d feel better if they had both inspections and you had to show that you could use one safely before it was “on the road”. And I am fairly certain that we DO have a racism problem. Clearly these white guys shooting strangers are terrorists, they are trying to create fear in a group who they don’t like. How is that not terrorism? Those guys in the jeep with the mounted machine gun who came to one of the rallies should have been arrested for attempted intimidation. I’m sure they think that they were showing that the marchers weren’t intimidating them. But police were confiscating the freaking sticks used to hold up posters, and they didn’t remove the real weapon?
My favorite poster from the marches was “I’ve seen smarter cabinets at IKEA”.
The administration continues to founder. I was pleased to see Trump’s lawyer quit, and have him not find replacements. Who would take him on? He’s known for stiffing people to whom he owes money. John Bolton as security advisor, really? I suppose he’s consistent with Trumps idea of “really good, really smart people”.  But then I was shocked that Mitch Mcconnell opposed Sessions stupid war on weed; technically he’s pushing for hemp, not medicinal marijana, but either way, I suspect money is the major motivation. Trump still wants the wall, and a parade, he’s clearly delusional. Speaking of delusional, the Republicans think $450K is a middle class income! SO out of touch! I am SO glad that I am not in the government and don’t have to try to fix these problems.
There was also sad news this weekend. My hopes of Kenric being in a hospital somewhere with amnesia are proven fantastic, his body has been found and identified. I suppose that’s closure, but it sucks. He and Avelina were so in love! I wish they could have had more time- as I wish for all happy couples. I think that when we as children think about our futures, we base our hopes on seeing our parents when they are happy and loving. Almost daily I wish I could tell my parents what a wonderful childhood they gave me.
Even though I am not Christian, I still love looking back on many of the practices that we had- like Easter egg hunts, and Christmas, Childrens’ Day (when we got flowers), and of course, “the Lord made green pigs”. (Apparently that’s what I learned at Sunday school when I was three- I can only assume that I was being my usual pedantic self when being given a construction paper pig to cut out with dull scissors. I still think Christian mythology is lovely, and only wish it inspired more people to better behavior.
Before the girls left (and we threw all the herbal dyes out across the snow- I wish I’d taken a picture!) Willow tasted the hibiscus flower infusion. It’s a common ingredient in teas- all the zingers have it, I think, and she likes the flavor. It’s tart, like citrus. So I reserved a cup, added a cup of sugar and made a syrup. It is SO good that I wish I had saved it all, and had a quart rather than a cup of syrup (yes, I made far too much). I expect we’ll drink a lot of it during the summer- diluted with water, or charged water. Delicious! I had to keep myself from drinking it all before she got back.
I also ate a lot of popcorn. It’s an easy something to grab while painting, and I won’t say it’s not because I am suggestible. While painting I watched a LOT of movies!
We got in a copy of Justice League, which I watched- (yes, I got distracted, and switched about half way through to knitting so I could.) I am very pleased with the Aquaman, even though he’s not like the Aquaman I grew up with. I like the long hair, the tattoos, and the sarcasm. (I loved him surfing down the building on a para-demon, Legolas eat your heart out.)  I’ll admit he was always my favorite when I was a kid. I am SO looking forward to the Aquaman movie when it comes out! I’m also looking forward to the Cyborg movie- nice to see a powerful, smart person of color. I did miss Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Hawkman, and the Martian Manhunter, but what the heck, things move on. I also really like how they’re doing Flash, although he’s also different that the Barry Allen I knew. John seems to like this not to autistic behavior.  John decide to use this as an excuse to go back to rewatch Man of SteelSuperman vs Batman  and Wonder Woman. When he was done with them, I watched them too. I saw things I hadn’t seen before, so I suspect that I was doing something when I “watched” the last time too, and will also catch more next time. This reinforces the value of actually going to the theatre and having nothing more distracting that popcorn and your bladder. I’m still not thrilled with them messing with the world I knew in childhood, but I did like the exploration of what learning to deal with superpowers must have been like. I’ve always felt that Superman was overpowered, and that’s why I found the bit where he was set up with the disaster where he couldn’t save anyone didn’t play. He’d have detected something beforehand, and was fast enough that he could have saved SOMEONE- not unlike how Wonder Woman got rid of the bomb in JL. I’m a trifle put off by Lex Author without hair, and ginger Lois Lane- it seems like they combined Lois and Lana. I did like Jeremy Irons as Alfred. OK, I’m a comic book fan. I do think they are our modern mythology, and enjoy them a lot. On the other hand, I think the moment I liked best was when the aching middle-aged Batman is told “you can’t keep doing this” , and he says “I can hardly do it now.”
I asked for some movie in the Hammer Horror Collection (I can’t remember which, or why), and the whole thing came, so I watched them all: The Phantom of the Opera, Paranoiac, Evil of Frankenstein, Night Creatures, Kiss of the Vampire, Brides of Dracula, Nightmare, and Curse of the Werewolf.It was a lovely blast from the past. The clothing was as familiar and awful as I remember. A great thing about the Evil of Frankenstein was that he wasn’t even. Frankenstein was simply a doctor trying to work on medical knowledge, the evil was in the Burgomaster and Chief of Police, and the hypnotist who were all out for themselves. Night Creatures was about the smugglers of Romeny Marsh- very reminiscent of Disney’s Scarecrow. Oliver Reed even got to dress as a scarecrow. Cushing played a pirate turned vicar. Cushing was also in Brides, possibly my first, and definitely my favorite of the old vampire flicks. It had an old mother trying to protect her son who’d become a vampire, and that would be hard. Curse of the Werewolf had better folklore research than most werewolf films, and was another Oliver Reed, as was Paranoiac. He’s the bad guy in that one, trying to get his hands on his dead parent’s wealth for drinking and fast cars, trying to make his sister mad, so he can get her share, when their (also dead) brother shows up. It’s one of those- is it a psychological problem or the supernatural?  type films, but didn’t annoy me as many of those do. I’ll admit Nightmare did, it was a purely psychological horror. (Few people can brood like Reed, I should go rewatch Oliver!.) I’m afraid Hammer’s Phantom paled in comparison to the original or the musical. Kiss of the Vampire was fun, treating Vampires as a weird cult (all dressing in white) or social disease, and having them be killed off at the end by the professor casting a black magic spell summoning a huge flight of bats that killed them all. They were pretty much lighthearted fun (which may or may not call my sense of fun into question.
Unsurprisingly, I finished the Third Nero after finishing the letter last Wednesday- although it kept me up far later than I should have done. I’ve been going through the  Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology, going from link to link, highlighting to track where I’ve been. The vampire myth is pretty ubiquitous, and the author suggests that they represent what we are afraid of such as disease with no known cause, and points out that the remedy is almost always inexpensive and easily available, like garlic and salt. I am nearly done with American History Revisited (last chapter), and have started (perhaps prematurely) Strange and Obscure Stories of the Revolutionary War, starting with the chapter on Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold. I had read about Allen before. He was supposed to have been a big guy, and I picture him like the guys who took the wildlife sanctuary hostage- all about his own rights. From the stories, I figured he was younger than it turns out that he was, but I suppose a leader of a mixed group of men is going to have to have some standing in his community. Arnold was apparently a brilliant strategist, experienced captain, and successful commander, but after recovering from his wounds at Saratoga he was repeatedly passed over for promotion and soured because of those came from the Congress which was entirely political and gave them out based not on merit, but by trying to give the same number to each colony and other such foolishness. There was also a lot of people stealing credit and slinging mud, and it reminded me a lot of current politics. The point the author was making was that most of the population had ties to both sides and it was circumstances that decided which way any of them lined. Apparently Arnold was also in debt, married an daughter of a loyalist, and that probably had some influence. History is never as straight forward as it’s depicted in text books. It’s a pity. Maybe if they didn’t pare away all the “unimportant” bits, students might actually see how interesting history is.
Closing now- I’d like to get some more done on the painting tonight and tomorrow the committee is looking through the first run of proposals for CTCW. Maryalyce is so much more organized than I (or maybe it’s an accumulation of organization). Still it’s exciting.

“Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have been done to prevent this, we call BS. They say tougher guns laws do not decrease gun violence. We call BS.” – Emma Gonzalez

Holidays this week:

March 29  Þ Lemon Chiffon Cake Day, Mom & Pop Store Day, Smoke and Mirrors Day
30 F Hot Chicken Day, Doctor Day, Pencil Day, Good Friday, I am in Control Day
31  S Clam/Oyster Day, Passover begins, Brothers and Sisters Day, Crayola, Backup Day
April 1 ⨀ Soylet Green Day, Sourdough Bread Day, Baked Ham w/ Pineapple, Easter, April Fools
2 M “PB&J” Day, Sweet Potato Day, Ferret Day, Fun Day, Dyngus Day, Children’s Book Day
3 T Chocolate Mousse Day, Film Score Day, Tweed Day, Find a Rainbow Day
4  W Carrot/ Carrot Cake Day, Cordon Bleu Day, Day of Hope, Walking Day, Rat Day