Spring is here- I’m willing to say because the daffodils are sticking up through the leaves in the garden. We like to rake after we are pretty sure the intense cold has done for the year. I guess it’s about time to rake or the crocus may not get through.
Willow brought up the potted rose bush and moved it to the porch. It’s already putting out leaves. She also put up another flag pole- we’ve got a diversity flag on it- John wanted to spread it so you could see all the symbols. Sadly, you can’t see the asexual flag behind it. We are looking for more poles and brackets so the front of the house will look something like the UN.
This past weekend I went up to Mountain Freehold (Burlington, Vermont area) to teach at Mimer’s Well. They had five hour long blocks with four or five things going on at once. I taught seed casting, and during the lunch block there were three meetings scheduled: for the Soothsayer’s Guild, the Forester’s Court, and the Athena’s Thimble (embroidery guild) looking at people’s work. Sadly, since there were a lot of people who had to go through the buffet line first, the meetings were somewhat cut into. (Not to mention if someone wanted to go to more than one!) My class was fairly attended, 8-9 people, several of whom seemed interested in the system. Afterwards I put the bowls of seeds (beans, grain, etc.) out in the common area for people to try. At least one person did,
Sadly, while clearing away for the next class, rather than putting the seeds into the baggies I’d brought them in, I simply stacked the bowls carefully, slipped them into the bag, and headed back to the common room. Sadly, on the way I got excited about whatever I was talking about, and when I got there, I put the bag down- on it’s side, and all the beans got mixed. Oops, I set out what was left, and came back after and spent the rest of the day, like Aschenputtel (Cinderella), separating out all the various beans and seeds. Oops.
Then I ran off to attend two other classes. Albreda did one on how awards work. She suggested that everyone create a document “in case of court”: sort of an advanced directive to let the organizers know whether you’d want to be surprised or not, who you’d want there, etc. , I was shocked to learn that some people actually do want to be surprised, and I suppose it works the other way too. People differ. Apparently this is a thing these days, you can put it on your EK Wiki page (link is to mine). I can’t imagine keeping up with it, but I guess some people do.
The other class I loved was one on Diversity in the SCA, it seems to be a thing now. Tiberius has apparently trained to be that officer, and we talked about being welcoming and chivalrous to people of all races, genders, religions, and abilities. (It occurs to me that I didn’t notice him mentioning allergies/diets, and that’s always an issue at feasts and day boards these days- I may well have missed it in with all the other stuff.) I sat next to the Prince and afterwards gave him my quick plug for the Merchants Award. I have to find an old copy to use or re-write it to submit it again.
There was also an arts display; I particularly liked Tiberius’ new work trying to recreate Samianware. At four the Princes held a Royal Court in the name of her Majesty (who was down in RI) and awarded several silver brooches, wheels and foils. I love it when they do that! The picture shows how beautifully they dressed up what was essentially a cafeteria. The banners on the ceiling, (heraldic ones with locals arms, and other decorative banners were on the side walls), tissue “stained glass” on the windows behind the thrones, and I love the painted “tiles” approaching the throne, stenciled onto painters drop cloths. I wonder if we could do something like that in Stonemarche! I got another gentle to take it for me, I left my phone behind, forgetting that it was also the camera, so I lack pictures.
The day-board was nothing spectacular, but they put out the desserts just before court (at four) which I thought was a clever way to handle it. It was simply a day of classes, and was over at 6. We all went back to Marieke and Kenwolf’s and changed, and met Daffd over at the local Chinese buffet, where we had a lovely time. They went back to the school the next day to pick up the decorations, and I headed back down, but both Friday and Saturday evenings I had a great time chatting with them.
The girls went down to Raye’s Tea Party. Raye made a magnificent spread mostly made by her, but also including Macarons from a bakery (which Willow and Kat both mentioned). Kat mentioned a “Birthday Cake flavor” macaron, which seems an odd flavor. There were also lemon scones, various sandwiches, crudités and dip, a cheese tray, and other sweets Kat can’t remember specifically. Willow brought some cucumber sandwiches which she has learned to make (and they to enjoy). Ray had a tea menu printed with over 20 flavors of tea, some of which were private brands from a internet tea shop called Adagio. (I think I could get in trouble on their Chai page!) Kat tried Lemon Meringue flavor at one point, and several others. It was held in a lovely public room at her Grandmother’s nursing home. Willow and Kat dressed up in their matching Alice gowns, and they spent the afternoon chatting and drinking tea and stuffing their faces in a lady-like manner. I don’t know if you can tell, but the “sinister sisters” looked straight into the flash in this picture so that it looks like they are possessed.
Sadly, Saturday night I woke up with a toothache. This is not a huge surprise; my teeth are crumbling. When I was little my grammie had her teeth in a jar, so I should have anticipated this, but I didn’t. Tufts generally decides to spend about a year working on your hygiene and planning before they actually get to repairs, so I have several partial teeth right now. Mostly they don’t hurt since they have had root canal work, but apparently there was at least one live one left. I tried Reiki and RúnValdr and Dynamind, and finally went into the medicine cabinet after Ibuprofen. I’ve had to take it a couple of times since, and Wednesday morning I called my local dentist, Dr. Roy, (since going down to Tufts for a prescription for antibiotics didn’t seem reasonable). Bless him, he was willing to call it on for me, and I’m guessing that I’ll be fine in a couple of days. Hooray for antibiotics! My next appointment at Tufts is April first, and I’d bet that they wouldn’t have wanted to work on it without a run of antibiotics first anyway. I suppose I’ve gotten resigned to the idea of partial dentures, I just wonder about whether having the roof of my mouth covered will interfere with my ability to taste food, or my sinuses draining (something they do since the Bells Palsy, since my right eye is constantly watering). It occurs to me the sudden deterioration may have been at least partially due to that since then it’s harder for me to clear my mouth the the ease one is used to. Who knows?
I suppose the big news story this week is the spread of COVID 19. Yes, we don’t want panics, but I think the response wasn’t swift enough, as Trump is more interested in looking good than doing good, and also he really doesn’t have a clue when it comes to anything important. They should have been testing earlier, and containment would have been better. On a more personal level, I note that our local grocery store is out of Toilet Paper. (If there has been a run on other things, I didn’t notice.) All these years I’ve been saying that in case of an apocalypse, TP would be better currency than gold. I always like to keep a few months on hand (do I now? I hope so). As a housewife I like to stay ahead of anything that stores well. I think the issue isn’t that people need more TP just now, but that we don’t really know where goods are coming from, so the stores we buy things at may not be able to get them when we want them. I told Kat to make sure that she had 3 months supply of feminine products. It’s not like the country is going to shut down for three months. We are looking at a year and a half until there’s a vaccine, but mostly it’s like when Hurricane Katrina trashed the New Orleans area, that included the one factory in the United States where they made the plastic sleeves I used to put the charcoal portraits in when I did them at fairs. One does want to have something to protect it until it gets home. They were gone. If a factory stops making something, we may need to do without. If that part is needed in another process, they’re shut down too. Sadly, while the government is able to cooperate on economy saving measures, they cannot seem to do so on measures to save people- like getting out test kits and leave so potential contagious people won’t go to work because they fear being evicted.
States are shutting schools down, NYC has shut down Broadway, the Capitol building has been closed to all but essential personnel, travel has been pretty much shut down. It’s not that we are expecting massive death tolls, but we are trying to reduce the number of cases and the spread of the virus. If we managed to hold it so that it wasn’t spreading, we could be on-hold until the vaccine is developed, but I fear that the cat may be out of the bag. I was trying to think about how many people I’ve been in contact with in the past week (who I don’t know who they’d been in contact with in the past week). Start with the family, and Willow has been in contact with Avi’s two “plague monkeys” (all students are “plague monkeys” because they are exposed to the germs of the hundreds of people and teachers in their school, which means the thousands with whom they are in contact. One guy contracted COVID 19 bey driving his friend to the hospital, that quick, and “being in the same car” level of contact. I’ve been to the grocery store- where I touched things other people have touched even if I was more than 6 feet from most of them, and only spoke to the cashiers and one friend I saw there. I went to the gas station, and the garage to get the car inspected. I went up to the SCA event- I’m guessing a hundred people, even if one was the plague steward who went around sterilizing door handles and surfaces all day. After the event we went out to a restaurant. I understand that every single touch screen at McDonalds self order has tested positive for fecal material. Let’s face it, most guys don’t wash their hands. If you touch anything in a public area, it’s got other people’s crap on it. If just touching a handle, or breathing the same air as someone with it can give you the virus, it’s going to spread fast. I doubt it could have been contained unless they took strict measures two weeks ago. I don’t know what else will be shut down, but over my adult life I can remember when losing one parts place delayed production of many car factories, when a dock workers strike in California emptied shelves of toys one Christmas season, I have no reason to expect that there won’t be crops rotting in the fields because some small thing stopped the machines that harvest them, and that will lead to people not getting that food. We’ll see what happens, but today the Gulf Wars were cancelled. We are proceeding as if Pennsic will happen, (although we pay put off reserving, I will put in classes), but I won’t be surprised if it doesn’t.
People are doing work-arounds. Some of our performer friends have just announced a Quarantine Concert over the internet. The CTCW planning committee are looking into Skype workshops. One thing I do expect is that once we have come up with these new ways of doing things, we aren’t simply going to stop using them when the immediate health crisis is over.
I’d expected to be telling you about a couple of visits this week, as my friend Amy, in the SCA, was going to come down to work on plans for the Soothsayers. But her daughter had to go into work to cover a friend who was out with a cough, and she had to watch her grandchildren. Today Raven and Josh were going to come again to help with the library, but they cancelled. Wednesday Kat’s doctor called in the morning to cancel her appointment. I am very pleased that people are being very cautious about this, it does seem to be very contagious- and that’s especially difficult when it’s contagious before there are any symptoms.
Oh yes, last week Kat and I went into Nashua to try to give blood. We both failed the hematocrit test, and I would probably have failed the blood pressure test; the GPS jerked us around, took us to the building in front of the Elks hall, and the sign where it took us made it look like it was the right place, and the Red Cross people parked their truck back behind some trees, so we didn’t spot it until we went to check out the surrounding buildings. Feh. Also the girls and I went down and voted in the Lyndeborough town elections on Tuesday. See, it’s hard to remember everyone you came in contact with for a week, much less two. If I had it, they’d probably have to test nearly a hundred people, even if they only tested the ones at the event that I was in class with, and the people I spoke to in stores. And how would you find to test what strangers may have touched something in the rest stop on the turnpike even if I could tell you what time I was there? By the time there’s a vaccine, just about everyone in the country will have been exposed; and since it’s a novel vaccine, we have no immunity, which is why it’s so dangerous. Check in again in two years. Check again in a hundred and it probably will not be that dangerous any more.
One of the things that’s happened this week is that the herbs for nutritional teas Rose suggested last week, and I’m making these drinks twice a day- not against the virus, but simply to help with our other health issues. My favorite is still the oat straw, the linden doesn’t taste like much, the red clover blossom has always been a family favorite, but the bag that arrived was not properly sifted and was mostly leaves and dust. Luckily the company was quick to offer a refund. We’ve also tried nettle, and hawthorn berries.
I think I’ll simply suggest you take my annual rant against Daylight Savings as a given. I still think it’s dumb, but don’t have the energy to waste on it. Also my tooth has started hurting again, so I’m going to finish, and not talk about what I’ve been reading and watching. (At least part of this is because I don’t know where I put down my journal, so I won’t remember the names of the books.) I have started reading a bunch of good ones. As I try to organize the library and log the books into the computer, I keep finding ones I haven’t read and want to.
I am watching the progress of the pandemic on the ncov2019.live site, just as I’m watching the politics. Once again the two party system has screwed with the election in a way that surprised me in 2016, and dismays me this time around. We need major changes to get the corruption out.
“The truth which makes me free is for the most part the truth which men prefer not to hear.” Herbert Agar