Miners’ Day- First Snow!

Here’s the next no-longer-regularly-scheduled letter. Recently I’m trying to get more organized around the house, but I’m forgetting things. Generally not supper- probably because I see myself as responsible for the whole family’s nutritional health. Yes, I’m big on natural foods and vitamins, I’m also big on comfort foods and thrift, and at the same time am a “if-you’re-going-to-eat-it-anyway, who-cares-what order-you-eat-it-in?” sort, so I am fine with “eat dessert first” or “brownies for breakfast”. Actually, I do figure oatmeal cookies are “breakfast bars”, my cookies probably have less sugar than many of the chocolate-coated commercial ones! Since Kat still can’t eat when she’s anxious, and Willow thinks chewing is too much trouble when she’s tired, I do my best to get things that they actually can eat. Luckily, I like to cook, so that makes things easier.
Last letter I had a picture of our “first snow”- a dusting. On the first we got the first “real” snow, so “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”♫ (or at least Christmas cards). We had early warning and brought in the last of the wood that hadn’t gotten into the woodshed (that’s embarrassing). It was also its own punishment, since it was wet, and didn’t burn as well as the stuff that was in. Willow took a couple of pictures out her window: First Day (some accumulation on the car and woodshed roof, and Second Day (the traditional, that lump is where I parked my car image).  When she saw it she declared: “Today is Cancelled!” and I can so understand that feeling. Snow makes me want to hunker down and curl up in my blankets and read. 
Kat and I had a discussion about my preference for reading in bed over reading in a chair. I like the idea of it, but have never found a chair that provided the comfort and lighting of reading in bed. But when I spend four hours reading in the morning, she figures I’m sick, whereas I see it as the equivalent of the girls doing their work and socializing on their computers, in their rooms. It’s just where I read.
Kat took a picture while we were picking up the yard, (note John’s new red coat).
 We mostly just waited the snowfall out. John shoveled a path to the mailbox the first day- hoping for Netflix, and that allowed us to stick a measuring stick in the snow. As usual there is so much wind around here that there’s really no accurate way of telling, but where he was digging it was about fourteen inches deep, and it was 20” over in the largest flat space. On the other hand, it was only four inches deep between the old stove (we still haven’t gotten rid of it), and Willow’s car. Sadly, we’ve had more since. Also, the girls and I are not feeling up to shoveling, so poor John is doing it by himself- an hour at a time.
 That’s not entirely true, Mark came over Saturday and I got out and worked with John so that there would be enough space for him to park. We are solidly into what I’d call Winter now. November has always been an annoying period for me since it would be cold, but generally we had no snow to play in. Older me resents it less since I drive, and need to dig to the road, and play in the snow less that I did as a kid. I will say again, it is marvelous to have a functional wood stove in the kitchen, both for cooking and for making a comfy zone.
Next year the theme for Changing Times-Changing Worlds is icy symbols: stillness, holding and preserving things, slowing things down… I’ve started thinking about lessons we can learn from that sort of symbolism, and while it seems pretty stark on the surface, I am “warming up to it”.  After all, while growth and building new stuff is appealing, if there were no dissolution or destruction, we’d have a lot of useless stuff taking up space we want to use. Compost turns something no longer growing into a medium that helps other things to grow. Bless the little microbes and bugs and fungi that break down stuff for us! We don’t think of it fondly, but maybe we should.
Lois is working a few hours a day on the website and has been updating it. The big excitement of thinking Steve or Brian would do it for us has passed, so now it’s just us old ladies slogging at it. I spent a very pleasant day going through the accumulated images to sort them to make them easier to fined. I really should check each one to make sure it’s not under copyright. I try, but fear I forget too often. We are doing the Planning Committee meetings again. The big push now is to get a site for next year. They are SO expensive I have suggested the Portsmouth NH hotel where Mensa Regional Gatherings have been held for the last few years. It’s smaller than we would want, and farther north than we’ve been before, but if the hotel in Cromwell CT is $8-10K, and this one is $3K, we need to thin about how to fit in a bit less space! I want to move farther north- I have always thought the folks un Maine NH and VT are having a hard time getting down to “the big city”, but it would make it harder for the folks that are coming up from NJ and MD. Oh well.
    The Friday before Thanksgiving Gary wanted his car back- his whole family was going to a concert by the TransSyberian Railroad, and that was his car that would hold them all. Since he’s let me use it since February, I didn’t mind, but I’ll admit that I’ve gotten a touch of cabin fever not being able to get out of the house. This was ameliorated by not having any money to spend, so shopping would have been out of the question anyway, but still I am looking forward to having transport again. The last time I went out was to see Mark on his birthday, and he wasn’t feeling well, so that was cut short. John and I have been getting back into the habit of going over once a week to help him organize his stuff. Since then he’s come over here a few times.
 Both Mark and Steve came to Thanksgiving Dinner. At some point before Thanksgiving Eve I realized that we don’t watch any games, we don’t go to any services, there’s no reason in the world to have the dinner at 2 as I have gotten used to doing since I was a kid. Sadly, while I did share this revelation with Steve (we figure a more usual six o’clock dinner would be fine), I forgot to tell Mark, who showed up just as I was putting the Turkey in the oven! Admittedly, it was a small turkey, so I figured in by 12:30 and out at 5:30 would have us eating by 6. The vegetables, rolls, etc. were all on that timetable. Sadly, the turkey indicator popped just after four, about the time Steve arrived.
 Luckily Mark is quite phlegmatic and simply napped while Kat finished polishing the silver, and I did the various other preps. Kat also fluffed the cream cheese to stuff the celery for hors d’ouvres. I had meant to intersperse it with carrot sticks, but those are Marks favorite and they didn’t even make it onto the platter! Willow did the honors with the bacon puffs. I thought we were going to skip them this year. I really TRIED to scale down. I only made two pies, the turkey was a tiny 15 pound bird, and we only had the peas and potatoes- no squash, onions, rutabaga (except a small can of Mark’s favorite green beans). I had forgotten that Willow seems to have some sort of mild reaction to raw celery, so she avoids it. I will brag that we made the bacon puffs in the oven of the wood stove. I also only made a tray of cinnamon buns, and separated out enough to make Mark 3 plain rolls, rather than a batch of each. One reduction was inadvertent- I assumed we had a can of cranberry jelly in stores, but we didn’t, so we had to “make do” with Willow’s homemade cranberry sauce.  (She puts in orange peel and I am quite fond of it.)
Kat decked the table out in a gold cloth with the batten burg lace cloth over it- very opulent. We had glasses for water, sparkling cider and another beverage, milk, cider or the traditional gingerale and cranberry juice. I made the recommended amount of stuffing, which meant half went into the bird, and half into a casserole; I thought it was excessive, but all the leftovers were eaten, so I guess I was wrong. I don’t care for it myself. The gravy was excellent this year! All that elegance, and Kat put all the flatware on once side. I fear in allowing them to only set the table with what we need for that particular meal, I have neglected to teach the kids life and spoon on the right, fork on the left.  She did know that they go in the order in which you will be using them. That’s something.
No one could face the pies for hours after dinner, we just sat and digested. (Washed dishes, directed the turkey. I sent home doggie bags with my bachelors.) I made a lovely soup with the bones. I think it may have been about ten before we could think of food again. Perhaps that’s another reason to have an early holiday dinner- so people can get on the way home again!
Steve and Mark had been up the previous weekend. Mark had come over for a birthday meal, sadly, the roast was not that good, but the cake was, and there was still a piece left for him to have at Thanksgiving. I thin we had pork pies when Steve came up, and I made a lovely dark gingerbread, So dark, in fact, that Willow took a piece and then exclaimed “That’s Gingerbread!”. I first thought she meant, as I would, that that’s the way gingerbread is supposed to taste, but no, she had looked at the color and expected it to be chocolate cake! Oops. Steve and I liked it.
Honor’s knee replacement was on Monday. This put her in the VA over Thanksgiving, and it took her a while to get them to understand her dietary requirements. So many kitchens have a hard time with No Gluten, No Lactose, no peppers or any nightshades. She’s getting a lot of chicken and rice. On the plus side, the surgery went well. The very day she was live-streaming her walking around on it- Alex holding the phone-camera. We are thrilled, there are so many things that can go wrong in surgery, even though we plan and expect things to go right, it’s nice when they do.  She is still there, and posted a plea for people to go to their local VAs and provide some social interaction with the vets who are stuck in them, sometimes for months on end. They are already talking about sending her home, but she wants to make sure that they don’t until Alex is able to be there to help her up and down the stairs. (The bathroom is upstairs and kitchen downstairs, so she can’t just pick one floor.)
While helping Mark clear out his apartment, he sometimes offers us stuff he doesn’t want anymore, and among those there was a nook, the Barnes and Nobles type e-reader. It had almost all the Vorkosigan books and some others, and I’d been reading through them since the conference. In times of stress it’s lovely to just wallow in a familiar “otherworld”. But it seemed to me that Honour had more need of respite from the real world, so we sent it off to her, so she can enjoy it. I feel I should have sent it earlier, but we were trying to decide whether to send it to the VA (and if they’d lose it- as they lose masses of paperwork) or to the house, where there’s always the risk that someone would adopt it from their mailbox. It did arrive safely though. I feel that I have found the right home for it!
We are puttering along. The rule that you don’t put up Christmas decorations until the room is clean is mine, so I accept it. Thus holiday trimmings are coming out a bit at a time. On the first (this year both the first big snow, and the beginning of Advent), we switched out the fall plates for the holly patterned ones. The next day we dug out the tablecloths. A few days ago we put up the line of lights around the front door, and hung the light “curtain” in the downstairs loo. Yesterday I sent for nearly $100 worth of flour. That sounds like it should be a lot. I remember when a five pound bag occasionally went on sale for 99 cents. Those days are gone. I think flour is more like fifty cents a pound these days; but since I found out about most wheat being sprayed with round-up just before harvesting, I only use organic, and that costs $1.60 to 1.75 a pound. It’s less, more like $6 for a five pound bag when I can find it at Big Lots ($4.65, I just checked), which is a bit iffy. I bake a lot, yeast breads, quick breads, biscuits, pastries, popovers, pancakes and waffles… I worry a bit that if I stopped making bread available at home, the kids would just eat more glyphosate laden breads and biscuits. Sadly, while I bake beautifully, there are things that I don’t make that they want- certain British biscuits. (At this point do I have to tell anyone reading this letter that biscuit is simply what the Brits call cookies?)
We are trying to scale back in all ways this year. I have whittled down the cookies I’ll be making to “only”  Candy cane Cookie, Russian Balls, Finnish Butter Cookies, Wishing Stars, Gingerbread men, Mint Trees, Linzer cookies, Krumkakes, Fattigman Bakkels,  Ganesha’s Treats, Coconut Macaroons,  & Chocolate Chip Cookies. I get a pass on Cinnamon Horns because they are pastry, not cookies. I think ditto for Mince Pies, Lucia Buns, and Brownies (pushing it, I know) and Chocolate cupcakes. If I have time I’d like to make some pepper nuts and lebkuchen, but at this point I’m not planning on it, because we do need to cut back. I know this intellectually, but emotionally I see no problem with having 2 dozen types of cookies in jars in the back hall. It helps me resist massive baking that we had to actually dump some leftover cookies from last year. Intellectually I realize that most people eat cookies made in factories that have sat on store shelves for months, but I still feel that a cookie should be freshly baked. I think I hadn’t chucked them before this because it’s so depressing to see that they didn’t get eaten. Smaller batches should help.
We started cleaning before Thanksgiving, putting away old projects, getting to piles of “to be sorted later” stuff. Cleaning the fridge was an adventure in the way that is uncomfortable and gross. I finally got my summer garb out into my chest in the great hall. And we did clean up the yard before the snow, which I’ve always meant to do, and not done before. Willow took several trips to the dump, she also got John a new red winter coat. I look at it and think Star Trek security team, and hope it’s not dangerous. I also FINALLY got the fans up to the attic- after the snow I guess we aren’t going to need them again soon, and I could combine each trip with bringing down some Christmas stuff. For example- the stockings. In a house full of adults it makes sense to hang the stockings at the beginning of the month, so we can slip stocking stuffers in all month long as we find them. It gives a good visual of who’s is low. I am severely handicapped in that I don’t go out much anyway, and less without a car.
Kat broke down and pulled out the big pot and boiled some of her clothing that had gotten dingy, that’s another advantage of the wood stove, it’s lower, so easier to stir a big pot. I wish I’d gotten a picture of her- a witch and her cauldron. I’m thinking of the East o’the Sun, West o’ the Moon tale variant of the “unseen bridegroom” story, where a bride had to get the spots out of the groom’s shirt. Kat is truly amazing at getting stains out of clothes!
I’ve decided I should try to do at least a token bit of art, divination and healing each day (add this to cleaning and exercising). I am just a nearly infinite source of good intentions! Basically, it’s all the same thing- exercise. I intend to sing or whistle every day because it’s good for me, this is just stretching and training my energetic muscles. I know I spend too much time on the computer. FB and email sucks me in “just one more” fascinating article at a time. I suppose it’s slightly better than “just one more” game of solitaire, although “just one more” chapter doesn’t seem to have a downside- except that I don’t get to other things. I keep trying to streamline the holidays I post, but, as with any other research, get sucked into enjoying the information. It’s especially bad at the days when the month’s change over, because I have to set up new files in which to store the information. In theory this should speed the process. I suppose it would if I’d stop reading the articles I post.
  I think a lot about food and cooking at this time of year. I was sad when I discovered that there wasn’t enough turkey left to make Turkey à là King with the post-Thanksgiving leftovers.  I made hand-pies with the scraps and lots of vegetables and gravy- then had Willow pick up another small turkey, and after we ate that, I was able to make the à là King. It was as good as I’d hoped. It’s so simple, a nice cream sauce, mushrooms, and pimentos, and of course, plenty of turkey. Kat doesn’t like it, but then, she doesn’t care for mushrooms. When I was a kid, I didn’t like it either- all I liked was the puff pastry shells it was served in. I still make them, but frankly, don’t care for them since my pallet has become more sensitive. Whatever oil they use in them doesn’t taste like butter to me- it reminds me of the nasty oil they use in microwave popcorn. We finally finished the tomato sauce I made with the tomatoes I brought home after Twilight Covening. We’ve had more Mac and Cheese, popovers (I’m learning to watch the oven carefully- I haven’t replaced the thermostat yet.) I tried a pork roast with bone- and think I prefer the boneless sirloins, I made a stew or hash (“Stash” Mother called it) with the leftover, and it just wasn’t that good, which I find disappointing. I have been blessed with the ability to enjoy food which makes the girls jealous. Sometimes I think most people don’t know what food is supposed to taste like.
I am trying to get the winter skirts I cut out and started last year finished. I did manage to put a new waistband on my old (beat up, repaired, but beloved) full length quilted blue skirt. I think they are stretching because I don’t think I’m losing weight but a lot of my old skirts are too big around the waist. I have about 4 waiting, mostly made, but they need to be hemmed or have the waistbands put on, then I get to the exciting bit of trying to decide which old clothes to chuck to make room. (Feh!)
I have been trying to catch up on the bills/ back mail. I am afraid that I have put off looking at it too often because it’s annoying (junk mail) or depressing (bills I can’t pay). Sometimes I just want to yell in frustration “What makes you think I wouldn’t do those repairs- get that fixed- deal with that problem- etc, if I could afford to‽” I keep hearing “good, caring” advice that we should have a doctor check something out, or fix something we are working around. When there’s money, I spread it across the bills; when there isn’t, I deal with whatever isn’t working. What else can anyone do? I think to greater or lesser extent that’s how most of us live. At least I have the historical perspective and know how much better off we are than most people throughout time. Oh, gee, my oven thermostat doesn’t work, my front porch board needs to be replaced, my internet server stinks. My life is so hard! (Not!)
The Soothsayers Guild is getting organized again. I sent in a report after Jane turned the Guild over to me this summer, and the Mistress of Arts finally got back to me saying that I didn’t need to since we weren’t officially active. Since we are active, I sort of wonder about that, but we are getting more so, and have written to get us reinstated. Meanwhile, much to our amusement, Willow has been adopted by a group of young “witchlets” on line, who are asking her how to do the stuff that, let’s face it, most people’s parents don’t teach them as a matter of course. I think she started out with centering and grounding, and has gone on to explain lots of other basic information to them. It’s not surprising, she’s been doing this all her life, and by the time I was her age, I was considered some level of expert on such matters. That reminds me, I’ve been invited to speak at the MENSA Regional Gathering again. It’s very flattering how much they like me. I also got a note from the guy I am supposed to be painting a portrait for. I should get on that.
I’ve been trying to make all those wretched calls one has to make- I HATE voicemail, they never have the option I want and I always have to wait until they give up and give me a human. I’ve been trying to get the bank to help me track down those jerks that keep sending me diet pills and billing me for them. Their answer was to change the card, now I have to find all the other people I DO want to pay, and give them the new number. At least the card arrived. It wasn’t an issue when I had no money in the account to spend anyway. I have remade the appointment for a checkup I missed with Dr. Q in August, he’s booking 3 months out. I know a checkup doesn’t have the immediacy of a “I have symptoms” visit, but that seems a long time to wait. On the other hand, the girls psychiatrist had her office reschedule their next appointment from just after Christmas- again 3 months out, to the end of June. This keeps happening. I had the receptionist check and she hasn’t seen them since June. There’s a reason to have regular checks when you are taking powerful drugs, and I don’t think these delays are appropriate! I also don’t think a monthly appointment with a therapist is going to help much, I understand that to be effective you should be talking to them once or twice a week. The drugs are to stabilize you so you don’t go off the deep end, until the therapy deals with the issues. I fear that people think that if you’re taking the drugs, therapy is optional, that’s something like saying that a pill for pain relief means you don’t need an operation. The problems need fixing. On the other hand, if the stress comes from not enough money and the world is scary, I’m not sure that there’s a lot anyone can do about those problems. Kat went back to Aspen and they told her she needs four teeth pulled. Understandably she’s as hesitant as I am to take such an irreversible step. When did Dentists get so casual about yanking teeth? You’d think they’d want to save them! I have to try to reach Tufts again to get them to share my X-rays so I can get a second opinion. Yuck. See why I’d rather think about cooking? This is depressing stuff. I’ve been having nightmares. Kat and I have been trying to get our sleep schedules more in tune with what daylight is available. Just after Thanksgiving she slept until 5:30 PM. I didn’t notice because they usually spend most of the day in their rooms, but when I’ve been up reading (a few times until 3 AM)  I have noticed that Kat is often walking about at that time. I’ve started taking wormwood tea and other medicinals again, and am actually feeling better.
We didn’t do anything for St. Nicholas Day this year. It’s the end of an era- no more children. Willow did get a shirt in the mail that day, and said that could count. But mostly, we were appalled at what a cheap knock-off it was. It looks thick, but that’s because of the variegated tones printed on the outside of the thin fabric. I saw a vid of woman who’d made a repro gown and someone in China was selling a knockoff version of it using the picture of her with her head cut off, as if anyone who got the sleazy version wouldn’t immediately recognize that it wasn’t the one pictured. I suppose they, like Willow, say “what was I expecting for the price?”, but one feels there should be some requirement for honesty in advertising claims, even when dealing internationally.
I have been thinking a LOT about capitalism lately. You can tell in my recent Blog posts (on the commercialization of Holidays, on telemarketers, on bigotry and “the American Dream”). I’ve grown up assuming that capitalism was naturally the best economic system, but I am beginning to suspect that there is no system that works well on a large scale. We probably have to use bits of different systems in the situations where they work best, and not try to make one be an economic “golden bullet”. The truth is that people do try to get an advantage for themselves and their friends and families, and that once you have an advantage, that helps you play the system. In America we hoped that democracy would allow people to vote in rules that would benefit the greatest number without actually oppressing any minorities. That’s a great ideal. We obviously have to negotiate the balance between the greater good and giving minorities the sticky end of the stick. Clearly being in the majority doesn’t mean you can take advantage of or be a jerk to the minority, so there has to be something aside from that basic concept. The idea of capital, of being able to charge someone to use something of yours is not intrinsically bad. What becomes abuse is when individuals (or corporations) are allowed to claim a common resource like air, or water, or forests or minerals and make other people pay them to use it. There’s nothing wrong with making money on your labor and your property. However making money on other people’s labor is wrong- it’s theft. Making money by claiming natural resources as your property and making others pay to use them is wrong. I have a simple view of ownership, and that’s stewardship. If you take care of something, that makes it yours to a great extent. If you’ve just cleaned a room and someone else comes in and starts making a mess of it, you get to say “stop messing up MY clean room!” If you’ve been taking care of land or a property for a long time, that makes it yours. You can’t say “it used to belong to my ancestors, so you have to pay me to use it.” Because land lasts for a very long time and there have been a series of stewards living on it during that time. If you want to negotiate to return to where your ancestors lived, negotiation will be required. People with armies seem to think that because they can force people to go along with them, they get to arbitrarily decide who owns what, but that’s simply a fiction we are allowing. No one has the right to shit in someone else’s plate, or foul or ruin any part of natural resources for the people (and animals) who will come later.
What have I been reading and watching lately? As I mentioned when talking about the Nook, I read several of the Vorkosigan books. At some point I noticed that there was a new title by Bujold, The Flowers of Vashnoi, only a short story, but still sharing more about the lives of characters I’ve come to like. Looking at the series, I’ve decided that thematically, she’s exploring how a culture has an impact on how people think and respond to each other, problems of prejudice, and assumptions. I read the first book in another “cozy mystery”, a Witch PI series. Since there are 36 books in the series, I figured it was probably good, since people wanted more. (After all, I’ll eagerly read any of the Wicked Witches of the Midwest series.) I liked a few aspects of Witch Is When It All Began– your typical “girl discovers that she’s a witch” story, like the way the spells work, not unlike RunValdr. I don’t like the predictability, the profligate use of attractive, young people, and the too common- witches are born and not the same as “mortals” although other than being able to do magick, they seem to be indistinguishable. One difference from the usual pattern is that this time the new magick user is the detective, and so she doesn’t need to have one for a boyfriend. I think I was spoiled by better writing and doubt I’ll read more of that one. There was a new book in another supernatural romance series  I find fun My Thanksgiving Faux Paw:. I read the Peculiar Mysteries for fun, and forgive them for the sex and silliness.
In non-fiction I’ve been reading Symbols of Power a collection of papers on folklore. (This is one of the books on my bed stack- another good intention is working through those!) I’m reminded how, when starting CTCW, Jane and I thought that Folklore would be the fourth branch of what we studied there, along with healing, divination and magick. I’m jumping into good old American Magick with Crossroads of Conjure: The Roots and Practices of Granny Magic, Hoodoo, Brujería, and CuranderismoBackwoods Witchcraft: Conjure & Folk Magic from AppalachiaBackwoods Shamanism: An Introduction to the American Folk-Magic of Hoodoo Conjure and Rootwork, Old Style Conjure: Hoodoo, Rootwork, & Folk MagicStaubs and Ditchwater: A Friendly and Useful Introduction to Hillfolks’ HoodooWorking Conjure: A Guide to Hoodoo Folk MagicSouthern Cunning: Folkloric Witchcraft In The American South,
 , and A Deed Without a Name: Unearthing the Legacy of Traditional Witchcraft. Sadly, bopping back and forth between them, I’m mixing up everything together in my mind, and not getting any sense of differences in practice. It’s all very common magical practice- so much more relatable than Ceremonial Magick, at least to me, although, while (and especially at this season) I love Christian mythology and teachings, I don’t have the inner connection to the stories that would allow me to tap the Biblical spells very well. One of the papers in Symbols of Power was about the Old English poem Solomon and Saturn, about the power of the Pater Noster, explained through how the Runes powered it. Fascinating! I also finished the sample of the Palgrave Victorian Occultism and the Making of Modern Magic: Invoking Tradition . I would so much like to read the rest of it, but don’t want to spend $80 for it, or even $22 to rent it. I continue reading Greer’s Magical Education, a wonderful collection of his lectures. It makes me feel so undereducated!
Kat shared a vid with me made up of clips of a lot of the great animated movies with a musical tie together. That reminded me of many I hadn’t thought about for awhile, and so I re-watched The Black Cauldron, Brave, Brother Bear, Treasure Planet, and some others- with great enjoyment. We also watched the live Beauty and the Beast, which I liked better this time- probably now the I am used to it, given I had a very similar reaction to the original movie when it came out, since “Disney had ruined the story”. I rather like how they managed Belle’s father, and gave Gaston and leFou a bit more character.  I also re-watched The Great Race while making the Thanksgiving pies- for that classic pie fight! I had discovered that our copy of The Last Remake of Beau Jeste, was not playable (wrong region) and Steve did something to create one that does play on our player. It’s a very silly movie with no really admirable characters, except perhaps Digby; but it’s all meant as a fun send-up of a genre, as Young Frankenstein was. Marty Feldman was brilliant. I watched Ray, which, while the music was great, also had no admirable characters, worse in this case because it was non-fiction. I suppose the end of the movie says he turned his life around, but they didn’t show that part because it wasn’t dramatic, but watching this talented guy screw over everyone in his life was not entertaining to me. On the other hand, the horror movie Winchester, about the Winchester House was very entertaing and I liked most of the characters. It wasn’t particularly scary, and probably not very accurate (Kat was very bothered by the costumes). Finally, I watched a documentary called Reel Injun. It was about how native Americans have been depicted in film, and how they are beginning to make some progress.
     I’m putting up the old Christmas card pictures on Facebook, and remembering how wonderful my childhood is. Today I remembered for the first time in years, the huge castle I made from sugar cubes       in art class (probably Junior or Senior year). I’m thinking it was over 20 pounds of sugar- plus frosting and candies. Hadn’t thought about that in years!
Have a wonderful holiday season, I will write again when I can and when I have something to talk about. (Read my website blog posts if you want to see what I say when I don’t have anything to talk about!)  Stay well!
Tchipakkan/ Virginia
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.
The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination. Albert Einstein

 (I am really BAD at picking one of anything!)

Upcoming reasons to celebrate:
♂10 Lager Day
☿ 11 Noodle Ring Day, Kaleidoscope Day
♃12 Full Moon with a Ring Eclipse! Cocoa Day! Gingerbread House Day! Ambrosia Day!
♀13 Santa Lucia Day- celebrate with Saffron buns! Ice Cream Day, Popcorn String Day
♄14 Gingerbread Decorating Day! Monkey Day! Roast Chestnuts Day
⨀ 15 Cupcake Day,Tea Day! Cat herder’s Day, Wear Your Pearls Day! (If ou’ve got em, don’t leave them in the dark)
☽16 Chocolate Covered Anything Day!
♂17  Maple Syrup Day, A Christmas Carol Day 
Ð 19 National Hard Candy Day, National Re-gifting Day
♀20 National Sangria Day, Go Caroling DayNational Ugly Christmas Sweater Day
♄21 Solstice Shortest Day of the year, celebrate all things short! Fried Shrimp Day!