9-10-2014 Sew Be It Day

This week it’s been cooler- which is a bit of a relief. On the other hand the air pressure has been up and down (without much rain) and it’s driving me nuts. Some days we have the door closed to keep out the heat, and some days to keep out the cool, and some days it’s open- my favorite! The blue NH asters have taken over the back yard. Our tomato plants are finally producing- although the yellow variety I got seems to produce sprays of yellow fruits the size of peas. Fun in salads, but not so much for sandwiches! Did you know that asters and morning glories, and forget-me-nots are the “September birth flower”? I tend to associate morning-glories with Pennsic so I forget they are so prolific in the fall.

I guess this week I’m going to run through the week backwards, because it’s easier to remember that way. Tonight my podcast was with an artist I met at CTCW last year who has done a deck of cards called The Stone Circle Oracle. These were inspired by the Four Quarters Sanctuary, an interfaith group that raises megaliths each year at an event called Stones Rising, using the old technology- ropes and rollers and music. The cards are gorgeous- like small art prints with spiritual themes. They aren’t much like Tarot cards, being intended more for contemplation and meditation focus, but can be used for divination too (what can’t?).
I love doing the shows, and I feel it’s a good thing to have them organized on my website, but I can’t help resenting the amount of time it takes to post ads for the podcasts, and post the archives, especially when I’m not sure anyone actually listens to the shows. It’s like throwing good money after bad. How much of this time I’m spending is actually making the world better? I’d like to think I’m helping people understand the benefits of my guests way of doing things, but I worry that I may be doing it for admiration, and I don’t like the sound of that.
It’s like writing this letter. I enjoy it. I enjoy feeling that I’m reaching out to people who’d like to hear about what’s going on in my life, our lives; who enjoy hearing my little rants and philosophizing. But when I’m done, I then post it to Livejournal, and archive it in my website (which reminds me, I should post a few more of the old ones), and print out copies for those without computers. That’s a dwindling number, and especially depressing as most of the dwindling is from people who die.
As the kids say “Oh, look a subject change! I’ve never seen one that color before!”

Yesterday we voted in the primaries. The good thing about it is that the damned “polls” will stop. I have NO objection to actual polls, but these aren’t. They do start off with telling you that they are from some company or other and finish by telling you who’s paying for it, as if you couldn’t figure it out by then. They generally started with asking you if you were going to vote, then who you planned to vote for. They’d work up to wonderful “questions” like “If I were to tell you X, (fill in some piece of mud slinging) would that make you more or less likely to vote for Y?” Phrased like that, they can say anything they want, factual or made up, because they haven’t ACTUALLY told you that, they’ve only put it into your mind. I’m willing to accept that some people are more interested in stopping legal abortions, or preventing people they don’t trust with firearms from getting them, or legislation that protects people’s right to their property than the other side, but I also understand that there is another side.
I was somewhat disturbed by how very similar the positions of the various NH republicans are. I think it may be because of those polls, they are saying the things that will get them elected. This is not the way it’s supposed to work. They are supposed to say what they want to do, and we’re supposed to pick the one that’s closest to what we hope for, and then we go from there. Now it’s all about getting elected, then making deals between whoever is funding the campaigns to get legislation passed to make sure they keep giving you money to get reelected. Not good. Well, voting may have an impact on the more local races.

Monday Kat and Willow went out to the Blake Brothers open house. Silver prices are going down, and we’re going into our big “fall season”. Willow had done an inventory of the stock we were low on, on Saturday. (I wish I’d gotten a picture of all the colors of stockings we had! I think we’re over 60 combinations again!) She also, impressively, got it all priced before going to bed! We are gradually replacing all our plastic displays for wooden ones- much sturdier, and they look better in the medieval venues.

Sunday was the meeting for the Twilight Covening leaders. This time the option was available for participating via computer on Skype, and I chose that. The last times I’ve gone, I’ve had to leave early because it’s a three hour drive, and it gets dark around 7, and the meeting goes from two to five. Six hours of driving for 2 hours of meeting is not my preference, so I spent a great deal of time Sunday being VERY happy that technology saved me from that drive. At 8 pm I noticed how dark it was and realized I’d be getting home about then, and was VERY happy. I love that Earth Spirit gives me an opportunity to share wonderful information and techniques with people in an intensive way, but am not as excited about getting together in a circle to “feel the energy” as they are. (Perhaps because I am not part of their circle of friends, although they are very welcoming.)
Willow went out with Avi Sunday, doing things they’d done together as “kids”.  They went to swim in Greenfield State Park, then went for a walk up in the orchard over our house… except that the orchard is gone. Apparently at some point when we weren’t listening, they clear cut the orchard. It’s just weeds (and brambles- they came back with an amazing array of scratches, having both been wearing shorts). And boots- Willow has finally found a pair of red cowboy boots that fit! But there was a lot of exposed leg, and thank the gods for the green goo (anti-poison ivy) and “oops ointment” (for cuts).
I wish I had a picture of all that leg for you!
We were all so tired we had them bring in Chinese for supper. They’d been tromping around across the landscape- I’d been feeling emotionally overwhelmed (working on the conference has been doing that to me a lot lately).

The big event of the weekend was the Southern NH Pagan Pride Day. This year it was in a lovely site in Concord, Rollins Park, which is an hour north of us, but I suppose still qualifies as being southern when the whole state is concidered. At this point there is no Northern NH Pagan Pride Day. For the past few years it’s been in Veteran’s Park in Manchester- good for traffic, but not, perhaps, the traffic we’d have preferred. Oh well. We had to stop going there because it was too expensive. At one point I think we had 80 vendors- but this year we had 15, probably because the spaces were $80 each!
I did three workshops- one on herbalism, on on dowsing, and one on runes. I forgot to take pictures, but the Concord Monitor did a piece on PPD, and included a picture of me in it.

"An instructor who goes by Tchipakkan, whose means "dance of the dead" and is a word for the Aurora Borealis, teaches a group about dowsing and kinesiology at the Southern New Hampshire Pagan Pride Day at Rollins Park in Concord on Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014." (JULIE BYRD-JENKINS / Monitor staff)

“An instructor who goes by Tchipakkan, whose means “dance of the dead” and is a word for the Aurora Borealis, teaches a group about dowsing and kinesiology at the Southern New Hampshire Pagan Pride Day at Rollins Park in Concord on Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014.” (JULIE BYRD-JENKINS / Monitor staff)

I’m not sure who told them what my name means, and of course am never thrilled to have a picture remind me how fat I really am, but it does show what a lovely site it was. Our shop is over there at the end of the row.

The two things I’ve been doing all week are working on the banner- we’re almost half way through the circular motifs, but I still haven’t found a good way for doing the snakes. Stitch, stitch, stitch- sometimes me, sometimes Willow. I am hopeful that we will have it done in time for the Ladies of the Rose Tourney. On the other hand, I haven’t been able to pull a team together for that, everyone I ask has already been asked by another Lady of the Rose. I’m handicapped by two things, one, I no longer hang around with the fighters having been on the throne over thirty years ago, and two, the rules preclude having people from your own household on your team, which is pretty much the fighters I know. Oh well.
The other thing I’ve been doing is working on the conference. Last week I went over to a hotel in Nashua to get a bid for next year. Jane’s also talking to the original hotel we were at. We left them because they changed one of their function rooms to a lounge and I wanted six function rooms. I hate the idea of scaling back, but having seen how nicely that worked for the Pagan Pride Day I am feeling more sanguine about it.
On the other hand, the feeling that I really need to stop spending so much time on the conference and start doing other stuff- art leaps to mind- is getting stronger all the time. I am much happier making the banner than updating the website. Sadly, I am not able to get someone else to do it, and I fear that if I don’t do it, no one will, and it needs to be done, or there will be no conference. I am at the point of wondering whether the conference is important enough to justify my spending this much time on it.
Knowing that I’d be working on the banner, the last time I went to the library, I got a pile of movies to watch. Mostly I’ve been watching the whole Harry Potter series, (following the whole LotR series) because it’s better to “watch” (listen to) something I’ve seen before since I’ll be looking at my work. One evening Kat and I sat together for a story arc of Dr. Who, she sketched while I stitched. It was very cosy.
Two of the movies I watched this week were historical, although one was far more recent. 12 years a Slave is about what I expected, a depiction of how awful slavery was in the the South in the 19th century. It showed a range of behaviors among both the slaves and slave owners, and the absolute cruelty of the system and what it did to people. The ending of the movie where he got his way back to freedom was the only thing that made it emotionally bearable.
Captain Phillips was the same, although more recent (based on a 2009 act of piracy). I found it a bit refreshing to see the more accurate depiction of piracy rather than the romanticized fantasy version one usually sees in movies. While showing how the Somalis were forced into piracy by circumstances of poverty and being pressured by the local war-lords, it in no way glamorized or excused it. I really appreciated that the final scene showed him being treated by the corpsman, and in many ways it was analogous to the end of 12 years a slave. In both having achieved freedom at the end made the pain the men went through more bearable to watch.
The movie that may stay with me longest was a charming movie Last Vegas, a buddies movie (not unlike Tough Guys, with Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster in `86). 27 years later, this one starred Michal Douglas, Robert DeNiro, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Kline as OLD friends getting together for a bachelor party for one of them marrying a girl half his age. The funny thing is, I didn’t think of these actors as old, just leading men who’ve been around for a long time. They’re 69, 70, 76, 66 respectively. (Ok, maybe Freeman, but he’s played God, for goodness sakes!) While it explored the bonds and stresses of friendship, it also covered several of the problems of old age, insecurity about growing old alone, loss of loved ones, loss of independence, worry about whether you’ve still got it, all that stuff. It’s not high drama, but I can recommend it as a good “feel good” movie- although the chances are younger people wouldn’t enjoy it as much as the ones who can identify better.
I’ve been reading a book on folklore: Charms, Charmers, Charming, which is a collection of articles about spoken magickal charms. Most recently I’ve read one on charms against rats, and one on the charms of the Finns (Lapps as they were called in the days much of the charms were collected). Like Malenkowski, they suggest that magick was a practice developed to deal with situations in which the practitioners felt helpless. They describe how their sorcerers created an impression of dangerousness so that they would be respected and feared. It is true that in a world where your basic needs for food and shelter were far from assured that there’s a huge level of insecurity. Apparently, not unlike gang members in the modern inner cities, they felt it a reasonable course to have a “chip on their shoulder” and actually do violence (or, in the view of the researchers, take responsibility for random natural disasters) to make sure that people treated them well. It certainly makes me appreciate our modern security in having basic needs met.

Kat’s taken to grooming Smokey every day- since he likes to go outside now, and his fur is totally different than Zolofts- somehow the burrs don’t stick to hers, but he seems to have only the soft undercoat, no “guard hairs” and brings in burrs every day. On the other hand, I think he’s healthier and happier. Her intent is to not necessarily groom him every day, to get out the mats, then groom his less often, but so far, there’s been a new mat every day.
Aside from helping me with the banner (we estimated it will take over 100 hours to finish) Willow’s been doing most of the errands this week, shopping, dump, driving us to the polls, and doctor, etc. This allowed us to leave the van loaded for next week’s Pagan Pride Day. I’m not sure we’ll be able to do that the next week, since Saturday is the SCA event on Saturday followed by the PPD on Sunday.

“Sin, young man, is when you treat people like things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.” Granny Weatherwax (Terry Pratchett)

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