Opposite Day

Another week, another snowstorm. This one was more of a sleet-storm- only a couple inches, but John had to move the berm and clear the driveway, and Willow and I had to chip ice off our windshields before going out. (Willow watched Bianca and Kaylin all day since it was a snow day.) Still, it’s been warmer, in the “freezing” range (in theory it can’t rain over 32º, but we can get freezing rain which is worse), but not below freezing.  I expect that’s good for fuel consumption, but I am not really comfortable when the wood stove isn’t going, and Willow and Kat are cold a lot too.

I think I may need to buy a new splitter for the computer. I’m having problems connecting to the printer, the mouse, and the photo loader.  This one is only a few months old. I am now using the wireless keypad and mouse and missing my ergonomic keypad (that required wires) desperately! Perhaps the reason they don’t put enough ports on the back of the iMacs is that the ports are fragile and hard to replace, so replaceable splitters are better. I hope that’s the problem. Perhaps that’s why people like wireless connections, but I have SUCH a hard time keeping track of passwords that they always seem to want you to update.

The girls are off at their therapists. The office has learned to schedule them at the same time, so that only one trip needs to be made. It does require a certain amount of shuffling to make sure both therapists are in at the same time, which can be a problem. I don’t think they’ve seen them in two or three months, because the therapists cancelled/ rescheduled their appointments during the holidays. It’s New Hampshire, and there aren’t enough therapists for everyone, so their hours are split across several offices. At least they’ve both got therapists now, although we worry about getting dropped under the new Administrations funding cuts. Just one more trigger in the Traumatic sub “Election” Stress Disorder that has become a recognized medical problem this past year all over the country.
In my own “social media” I’m seeing so many people who have to take breaks because there’s so much horrible stuff happening. I don’t want to contribute, but at this point, when the White House has come out and put gag orders on most of the government and wants to tell the media what to say, only by sharing will we have any ability to keep track of what’s going on. my-desire-to-be-well-informed-is-currently-at-odds-with-3074999
“Alternative Facts” for goodness sakes! What’s an alternative fact? Alternative facts are perceptions- the elephant is like a rope, like a wall, like a spear, like a tree. Those are all true, but don’t contradict each other. “This inauguration drew the biggest crowds ever!” is a perception. I will admit that it may be just about impossible to tell from inside the crowd (or even on the stage). I think it is likely that the people around him are telling him what he wants to hear. Heck, the people around me tell me what I want to hear: “You look great!” With the unspoken “for your age” and “compared to in September” I’ll accept that- especially as it speaks of their affection and wanting to keep me happy. But SOMEONE in the administration tried to suppress the numbers from the Park Service who ARE in the position to make good estimates. And someone gave him a picture of the Women’s March and told him it was the Inauguration, and let him tweet about it, even though they’d forgotten to change the date on the picture. I DO worry because not everyone can be so incompetent and I’m sure they’ll get better as people point out their dumb mistakes.
I worry about the First Lady, poor thing. We are a fairly well educated nation, and if you google Sociopath (try it, I’ve looked at several) it describes our President. We know what an victim of abuse looks like, and Mrs. Trump looks like it. It’s so sad.
I’m pinning my hopes on what I’ve read over the years, that working to fix a problem is therapeutic, whereas “accepting it” makes you more anxious and depressed. I am seeing a LOT of resistance to the new regime, and I hope that this may be just what we needed to get people involved in politics again and not sitting on their butts and letting other people do it. I’d like to think that that is all we need, but there were a lot of people who actually voted for Trump, and they must have had reasons that I do not understand. This makes it difficult for me. I also am confused and disappointed when I hear about incidents like some white women at the Women’s March giving some Native American women a hard time for drumming. I assume they were marching for one of the MANY (other) reasons women got out that day- and they may just be some of the people who were brought up to not think of people of other races as fully human. I’m sure there were more of them 50 or 25 years ago, and hope the numbers will continue to shrink, although I suspect it’s difficult to change the ingrained thinking of people who were brought up with foolish ideas, and have them supported by the people around them. I’m pretty sure women who went to the march tended to go in groups and hung with their friends. Just because someone shares some of my views doesn’t mean they share all of them. But we will do what we can to resist the attacks on the environment, on women, on freedom of speech and religion, on science, and on the progress we’ve made so far. It’s just really hard to fight on so many fronts at once. It’s exhausting.

We have finally been taking the main Christmas tree apart for kindling. As usual, Willow found a couple of ornaments that I’d missed while undressing the tree. Our plan is to use the space to let Kat go through the Gold Key garb before the weekend, but time begins to get quite short for that. Tonight Willow is dyeing some plain white fabric saffron colored. New Tablecloths for our SCA displays: blue, red, green and yellow- this should allow us to direct people where to find something that they ask about easily. We’ll need more for Pennsic, but most of the time 4 is enough. We are also talking about making a stencil or block to print an interlace pattern on them. (The fun part of the SCA- dressing up!)

Kat had a bit too much drama through her Etsy sales. She got a complaint from one of the customers who she’d sent a bracelet, because one of the charms that she’d thought she put on it had gotten lost. (Wouldn’t it be nice to blame the fairies?) But Kat wrote her and worked it out very professionally. Apparently the important thing with Easy is maintaining a good reputation.    This is a bit at a loss, as she has gone to such lengths to provide people with lovely things they’d want, that sometimes she is selling her jewelry for almost nothing over cost of materials. I think one of the most frustrating things I’ve seen is people buying jewelry to take apart to reuse in their own jewelry. I don’t deal with commerce well, the kids do much better than I do.

This week Kat spilled some tea tree oil in the upstairs bathroom while cleaning, and I can hardly go in there any more. Brushing my teeth has become problematic as the smell is so strong it gives me a headache. Essential oils are incredibly strong! In the summer, we could just open the window and close the bathroom door, but that’s not an option midwinter. On the other hand, the whole pantry is a walk-in refrigerator. On another hand (luckily we have many), it’s now impractical to use the “salad making station” in the pantry, so materials and tools need to be brought out to the kitchen as we used to do before we made the salad station.
Steve got Friday off work and came up here. He came up early enough for breakfast. I made coffee cake, but didn’t make the strata I’d thought of making the night before, so I just made waffles. After that we went to see Rogue One, which was pleasantly reminiscent of the early Star Wars movies. (Have I mentioned that I love the new wider cushier seats they have now? But spending over $10 for a matinee ticket jars my sense of how the world works.)  The girls were too tired to come with us, but we brought home Chinese food, and had a good day. Steve also helped me take the lights and garlands off the tree. As with so many other years, my resolution to take the tree down after 12th night didn’t manifest. We stopped lighting it, but didn’t get it put away. Willow did get a new box with smaller sized sections which seems to be better for the smaller ornaments. I am determined that we WILL get everything put away this year. (I didn’t last year- there was still some stuff that we hadn’t hauled up the two flights to the attic.) So we pretty much ignored the Inauguration.
Saturday I did check in on the Women’s March. The pink hats weren’t as visible as I’d hoped. (You could hardly tell which crowd was which in the distance shots.) I was somewhat surprised to discover a few days later, that most of the ladies are going to keep wearing them as a sign of solidarity. Dumb looking hats, but I suppose they are both distinctive, and will keep our heads warm! Today I learned of another symbol- this one borrowed from Nazi Germany- a white rose. Unfortunately, while it was the symbol of a group of students telling others to resist the Nazis, they were caught and killed, and their deaths didn’t inspire anyone to emulate them, so that may not be the best symbolism for people to adopt as a sign of resisting the new regime. The hats, at least, have the advantage of reminding people how many came out on Saturday, and what a misogenistic jerk the POTUS is. (I can respect the office without respecting the man in it.)
Willow had to watch Avi’s kids, so only Kat and I could go to Doug and MacKensies party in Nashua. The party started at 3 (“between 2 and 4”). Even with the light returning since the solstice, the sun set at 4:46. I really shouldn’t drive after dark, and even leaving at 4:30 was not comfortable as we made the last fifteen minutes of the trip home. Sadly, that meant that we only got to be there for the hour or so. Doug’s friends ranged between Kat and my ages, and seemed like the sort of folks we’d like of we had had been able to stay longer. Gosh I hate getting old!
Sunday we all pretty much vegged. I have misplaced the book Station 11 that needs to go back to the library, and I spent hours in my room looking for it, and picking things up and putting them away. This is a thing- when you do that, you may have gotten a lot done that needed doing, but you feel like you’ve accomplished nothing because it’s all side effects of what you wanted to do and didn’t get done. I ended up the day starting a rainbow scarf for Willow. When I was buying pink yarn I found this cool barrel of yarn that was rainbow- changes colors every so often, but sadly, it’s aimed at blankets or shawls and doesn’t change frequently enough, so I have had to cut it and skip ahead to the next color (setting the balance aside, otherwise the sections would be too long- and probably I’d end up with a 25 foot scarf! I suppose I could pull it all out and make it much wider, but I don’t feel like it.

Quick break to do the podcast- this week on Pagan Ethics with Thor Halvorsen  He’s working on a sociology degree, and was perhaps a bit academic for my audience, but I enjoyed it. I don’t think that the show even recorded last week- I had massive technical difficulties. Oh well.

This week I watched a series from Netflix called Civilisation (theWest and the Rest) NOT the one by Kenneth Clark, but by some bozo (Niall Ferguson) who describes 6 characteristics of Western culture as “killer apps” that put us in charge of the world. Willow occasionally comes downstairs to get another cup of tea, and after catching a few scenes suggested that she wanted to slap him, and I couldn’t really argue with her. For one thing, when talking ethics, he seems to think that they derive from Religion (by which he appears to mean Christianity) and no where else. The other things he thought made the West great was Competition- which gave us an edge over the East (and yet, somehow he never mentioned the differences between a rice growing culture which reinforces community, and a wheat growing culture which promotes individualism). Science (which he oddly suggested was restricted within Islam, allowing Renaissance Europe to beat the Ottoman Empire. I have to wonder about all the Science done during the Middle Ages when Europe was far behind Islam.), Private Property (which he said gave North America an advantage over South America, and it may have done. Only he hardly mentioned the Columbian Exchange and how Westerners having developed immunity to diseases of their domesticated animals allowed those diseases to wipe out the New World population.), Modern Medicine (how white people brought health to Africa- at least he went on to mention the connection with eugenics), Consumerism, (oddly paired in his description with democracy and “freedom”), and the Work Ethic (which he thinks comes from Protestantism, and since China is becoming Christian and Europe losing it, that’s why they are gaining the advantage. I have a great deal of curiosity about the world and history, but I cannot recommend this series to anyone who doesn’t have a really good grasp of history already, even though he did include a far greater range of other cultures than most world history covers, and he mentioned many things I hadn’t thought about before. You can find it on Youtube if you are curious.
I continue to read Wicked Bugs- a few at a time. While fascinating, it’s not comfortable reading. I have learned not to share my new “trivia” at meals. The world is full of such incredible variety- and this book may have been aimed at boys with a love of the icky. Let’s face it, tails of 9 inch long centipedes that hang from the roofs of caves to catch (and eat) passing bats, is the stuff of horror movies! I’ve read that silverfish eat many of the bugs that spread disease- but they’re still creepy. The only good part of the Guinea worm  story is that we are coming close to eradicating them. Isn’t it funny how we worry so much about losing a mammalian species, but are so eager to see the end of an invertebrate that bothers us. Of the millions of insects (spiders, centipedes, etc.) out there, of course, the author picked the ones most liable to be “interesting”. I was also a bit surprised to discover that she’s also the author of the Girl Waits with Gun mystery books.
Having enjoyed Friday the Rabbi Slept Late, I have started Saturday the Rabbi went Hungry. I’m not sure whether I am enjoying the “brain candy” that is a mystery, or if part of the appeal isn’t the familiarity of reading about the sixties without the filter that people who write about it now have. If a book is written about the sixties these days, they must make sure to deplore the casual smoking and spanking and sexism and racism that was so taken for granted at the time. I will suggest that perhaps not all of the references were casual- I doubt that those who spearheaded the civil rights movement mentioned it without pointing out how awful it was (for example in In the Heat of the Night), and certainly the author is aware of the anti-semitism mentioned. There’s a comfort in remembering a time when I was young and taken care of, even if what reminds me of it is the setting of a murder.
I also read Blood Magic, a juvenile fiction about a couple of teens discovering that they can do magic with simple ingredients (including blood). At one point the girl cops to the suggestion that she’s “cutting herself” because she’s depressed (because her parents were recently murdered), whereas she’s simply learning how to put a drop of her blood in a spell to make it work. I can see how people who don’t believe in magick would jump to that conclusion. There was a bit more kissing than I thought that the plot needed, but at least they didn’t have the teens “going all the way” (as we used to say).

Well, I should send this off. I am disappointed that I couldn’t get the pictures out of my camera and into the computer. Oh well. I’m sure I’ll work it out.

Until next week,
This week’s “sig quote” is rather lengthy. It’s excerpted from a post by Dan. Rather, who’s covered a LOT of inaugurations.

“And so it begins.

Of the nearly 20 inaugurations I can remember, there has never been one that felt like today. Not even close.   …

I have never seen my country on an inauguration day so divided, so anxious, so fearful, so uncertain of its course.

I have never seen a transition so divisive with cabinet picks so encumbered by serious questions of qualifications and ethics.

I have never seen the specter of a foreign foe cast such a dark shadow over the workings of our democracy.

I have never seen an incoming president so preoccupied with responding to the understandable vagaries of dissent and seemingly unwilling to contend with the full weight and responsibilities of the most powerful job in the world.

I have never seen such a tangled web of conflicting interests.  …

We hope, for the security and sanctity of our Republic, that Mr. Trump will respond to the challenges with circumspection and wisdom. Today’s rhetoric was not reassuring.

Our democracy demands debate and dissent – fierce, sustained, and unflinching when necessary. I sense that tide is rising amongst an opposition eager to toss aside passivity for action. We are already seeing a more emboldened Democratic party than I have witnessed in ages. It is being fueled by a fervent energy bubbling from the grassroots up, rather than the top down.

These are the swirling currents about our ship of state. We now have a new and untested captain. His power is immense, but it is not bestowed from a divinity on high. It is derived, as the saying goes, from the consent of the governed. That means President Trump now works for us – all of us. And if he forgets that, it will be our duty to remind him.”

Dan Rather