Summer Solstice- Midsummer Continues

Greetings, from the “late” Tchipakkan!                           June 19-24, 2019
o excuses, but the reason this “weekly” letter isn’t is because each day I keep getting distracted, then come midnight say “I’ll finish it tomorrow”- then don’t. This may be a positive sign because my brain seems to be coming back. I actually WANT to get the dishes done, the floor swept, the pie made the bathroom clean, the painting done, the porch varnished, etc. What catches my eye motivates me to get on it, which feels much more like my normal mode, although I am still lower on energy than usual.
 The weather has been typical of late June- a lot of light rain and occasional sun. I wonder if I noticed that or if it was the same when I was a kid. I do remember we had swimming lessons in the rain a lot- as long as there was no lightning. There isn’t much blooming except the roses. The tiny wild roses are sort of taking over our yard, lovely scent, but they don’t last long if Brought indoors. OK, the chives and red clover are blooming, and the Mother’s Day pansies. Oh, and the comfrey is blooming- there was a big fat bumblebee in it this morning. Willow has harvested plantain and comfrey and Sunday morning started the jewelweed oil (when it dried out enough to harvest.) Kate’s rose is covered with buds, so we are expecting it to look good soon. But the Iris are all gone, and the phlox.  There really aren’t many flowers around. Still, since we know and recognize the herbs, it’s a friendly feeling. But what’s blooming is pretty much white- Kat found a fennel yesterday. (I made tea with it.)
We have so much mugwort I picked one Wednesday morning, based on the old theory that what appears in your yard has come to help you.  I looked it up and discovered it was for gut health, anxiety, depression, lady cramps, insomnia, lots of stuff we have to deal with. Luckily when I made it into tea, it didn’t taste bad, so I’ll be making a pot, as long as I can easily harvest what’s escaping from the herb garden. Let’s see how it works for us.  Maybe morning and evening, but definitely evening if it’s supposed to help with insomnia. Yesterday I added red clover blossoms- also volunteering near the door (and near the rhubarb. Sadly, so is poison ivy and wild roses- I pulled a huge thorn from my foot. I’d taken off my shoes because they were ‘rubber’ and insulated me from the ground. I was singing the mugwort verse of the nine herbs chant as I harvested it, and the energy wasn’t coming up with the shoes on. I’ve got to find some leather souled (“old man”) shoes.
All four of us are now technically recovered from the Panteria cold, but it’s going around. If you can, avoid anyone who’s possibly contagious. I think Mark’s getting it, and heard Jane had it, and we haven’t been near them, so it’s just “available in the pool” these days. Steve dared come for supper on Sunday since we seemed to be recovered.
I’ve started cooking again- I made fajitas- even made the tortillas. I put off making a strawberry rhubarb pie, trying to finish the letter first, and got to it Sunday night. Pie is good for breakfast. Strawberry Rhubarb was Dad’s favorite, that might be another reason I was putting it off. OMG it is good, but it’s SO sweet! I have decided that next time I’m going to use more rhubarb that strawberries, and maybe lower the filling to crust balance.
Summer is officially here, and the weather is warm. We’re bringing down the fans and Kat has put in her air conditioner, although we haven’t yet felt the need to set up the one in the living room. I expect that will happen eventually. I have started using the line to hang out laundry. That feels good- although I had to learn- again- that I need to do it in the morning, because in the afternoon, the sun goes in my eyes, since the line is headed west! Also, this year the Japanese Bamboo/knotweed has grown high enough that sometimes the clothing drags against it, and a small tree has grown up (again) with a branch that is beginning to foul the line. I suppose we’ll have to go down and trim the undergrowth again. As opposed to other houses, our line is hung over the space between the house and barn where there’s nothing in use, and really no access to it. When something falls, poor John has to clamber down the stone wall to retrieve it.
   Most suppers these days are often salads- fruit salad, potato salad, tosses salad, sandwiches, hamburgers, and hot-dogs. These do not satisfy my sense of what a meal should be, but it’s better than not eating. I’m not sure it isn’t at least in part because recently we’ve been buying luncheon meat and the kids make sandwiches mid-afternoon, so suppers become late and light.
I keep meaning to make a strawberry rhubarb pie, but I don’t want to harvest it when it’s wet, and don’t want to bake it when it’s hot. Perhaps I should harvest and freeze it to use later. I miss my rabbits. Rabbit turds really make rhubarb  grow.
Not much has really happened this week. The news makes me sick, and I’d like to ignore it. It’s sort of like not being able to turn away from a train wreck, between the Iran posturing and ICE raids and militias threatening the government when senators avoid votes on climate change, and MY government- the government that represents ME-  abusing and traumatizing  children because men with ugly minds are in power, and gutting the EPA, I am distressed. Possibly depressed, but how can one tell when the whole country is?  I have no idea how anyone can not be distressed by this if they know what’s going on. On the bright side, it’s OK for kids to have lemonade stands in Texas again. I suppose also on the bright side, most of the rest of the world is recognizing the climate crisis.
Willow is exhausted, the Hart kids are on summer vacation, and she goes there Tuesdays, Thursdays, and whenever Avi has a meeting. She’s discovered a store in Keene that has good stuff. Too bad there isn’t a Costco there so she could pick up the prescriptions while over there.
She just got in some new earbuds- they look like elf ears when she’s wearing them, although she probably looks like a tall hobbit. She’s started another on-line game on Friday evenings and I am very jealous.
Willow is also being supportive to her friend who is getting married. I would feel better if the stories didn’t sound SO familiar. She and her love wanted to get married in a castle, but they compromised with the parents and are getting married at the country club; she wanted a purple dress for her wedding, but gave in to her mother and is wearing cream; she wanted the bridesmaids all to pick their own dresses using one fabric (one of my friends did that and it was brilliant!), but got bullied into picking one style. She told her mother-in-law-to-be she could make the cake, but now she’s changing all the agreements. She wanted a small symbolic cake, and cupcakes for the guests- and they compromised on a Final Fantasy topper instead of Peter Pan, but now MiL is insisting on a full sized white cake. I hope she draws a line in the frosting and gets at least something that she wants. As I said, it wouldn’t be so sad if it wasn’t so familiar. Somehow wedding plans become a template for getting along with the in-laws for the next howmanyever years. I love that Willow is being supportive, sounds like they need someone on their side.
My sister Liz has had another “missed day”, and now has an appointment with a neurologist. She suspects it might be a side effect of some medication, which sounds reasonable to me, but the whole thing sounds super scary as well. She says Kitty won’t be moving up to the lake until next week. I haven’t been up there in so long, I miss it and want to try to get up, but this summer is already getting crazy! Where did June go? (I’m thinking it had a lot to do with the two week cold cycling through the family.)
John’s birthday balloon has finally come down- yesterday he popped it and we enjoyed listening to his helium voice. I guess his birthday celebration is officially over. I wonder if Kat’s is still up.
Kat has finished her latest commission. I will send a picture when she’s taken it. She always waits for the customer to write with a final approval before sending it. I didn’t realize, but she’s still got one boxed up and sitting in her closet because the final authorization never came. Looking back on it, she realizes that the woman had said that she, like Kat, was planning on making Lolli dresses for plus sized women, and had Kat make her one to her measure from a drawing she sent. It occurred to me that perhaps that’s all she needed. If she was going to try to sell them, once she had the picture of a finished dress, she had all she needed for ads. “I can take your sketch and turn it into a dress!” Tah dah! I hope that’s not what happened.
But Kerensa called me Thursday. He had to tell me a story about a woman who had hired him to make her an embroidered laurel wreath: laurel leaves embroidered on organza. (I think I have the name right- it’s a very sheer, nearly invisible veiling.) She complained because he wasn’t using a hoop; he explained that in his experience you can’t do that because it ruins the fabric, and she insisted it should be done that way. (In the way of these things, an image went by on my fb yesterday with examples of things done- and displayed- that way,organza on a hoop it’s supposed to look like they are floating in air.) He is an amazing needleworker (while chatting to him I mentioned Ianthe, and messaged her on Facebook, she too is an amazing needlewoman and they needed to find each other! He’s not on fb, so I sent him to her site String or Nothing the world may now implode!); he says that the only way to prevent ruining the fabric is doing it on loose fabric. (I wonder if it works on hoops only if they never take them off?) She also wanted him to stiffen the edges with wire, as they do with those butterflies with painted organza wings they have in craft stores. He told her that it’s totally not a period technique, but she insisted that she wanted it. This is the slippery slope of Creative Anachronism: “if they could have done it, they would”. But she was willing to pay him the hundreds of dollars he had to charge, and had paid him the materials deposit. Then in her latest visit, she complained that the stitches were “too even”, that no one would believe that she’d done them by hand. <expression of flabbergast!!!>  She was planning on passing his work off as her own! AND he thinks she may have planned to teach it to others based on his work. I think that was the point the project ended. She took the individual leaves he’d done to have something for the money she’d already paid- although she DID tell him she wanted the materials deposit back! The sheer gaul! I was only too happy to sympathize with him over her attitude and behavior. I have to admit I have heard several stories from my “paranormal activities” friends about how sometimes they lost business to people who’d come to them for a class, then started teaching the same thing themselves, often criticizing them to clients. I don’t understand that behavior.
This story reminded me of one from a SCA woman who told me that she’d made parchment from turkey skin. That seems unlikely, if only because of how much fat is in a turkey skin, but while I can believe one could tan bird skin (perhaps some chemical process could stabilize the fat?), when a bird is plucked the feathers leave holes. If you’ve ever eaten turkey or chicken, you know about those dimples. This makes turkey skin totally unsuitable le for making into a writing material- you could never flatten it enough to write on it. Heck, pigskin is noted for it’s texture. There’s a reason they make parchment and vellum from calf and goat skin. I have no idea what she may or may not have made, but I don’t believe she made parchment from turkey skin. I think I expressed dubiousness, but may not have called her out on it. I only talked to her once. Anyway, over the years I’ve heard some really outrageous claims, but the idea that someone would try to pass off someone else’s work as theirs I find truly odious.
He also told me a relatively humorous story about one of his in-laws, who whenever she spots them rushes up wailing about how much she loves them, and misses them, and it seems like they are avoiding her (they are), and always ends with hitting them up for money. One stress was relieved this week, I got the check from the bank for my inheritance. The market not being what it was, it’s no longer enough to cover NH property taxes, but it did help me catch up on bills. It’s amazing how much stress comes from simply not having enough money. It sure would be nice to be in the whatever percent never worries about having enough to pay for what they need. I’m not sure that any of my friends fall in that category. I expect that’s why it is a bad idea to talk about money with friends, it leads to a feeling of nervousness. Do they understand why I can afford to do what they do along with them? If they have more money do they feel pity, if they have less money, are they jealous? It seems better to pretend that we all have the same amount, (the theory behind uniforms), although that doesn’t work. Everyone can tell who is able to spend on things we’d all like, but some can’t afford.
This is the sort of thing that led to so many silly rules of etiquette. I still remember one from the 20s we found when I was a kid. (Probably emptying Grammies house) It advised that if you were spending the night with a friend that you should accept the polite fiction that it was the “maid’s day off”, so as not to embarrass your hostess by mentioning that you knew she didn’t have a “girl”.  Worse, it suggested that you should not make your own bed, but rather leave it unmade to let it seem that you thought she had a maid, even though everyone knew that she was going to excuse herself at some point and dash up to make the beds herself. Good lord! My mother would have killed me had I done made the lady of the house make my bed for me! The fiction that she wasn’t doing all the work herself was more important than her ability to participate in her own party? BS!  I’m sort of thinking about it because this week I read a book called The History of the Art of Tablesetting: Ancient and Modern, from Anglo-Saxon Days to the Present Time, (which was, in fact, the 20s). They really didn’t have much on Anglo-Saxon table setting, I’m doing better with the Food, Eating and Identity in Early Medieval England. The author tries to strike a balance between history and archaeology, and try to figure out what we can know about how they ate. But the Tablesetting advice for modern women that took up the second half of the book is full of advice about how to get around not having servants by employing “a daughter of the house”, or the hostess “discreetly” changing out plates and glasses to a trolley set conveniently nearby. As far as I can tell, everyone was (is?) trying so hard to show that they are in the next level of income up than they really are that they are creating a lot of extra work for themselves. They did have one suggestion, that the canteloupe (served on a bed of ice, which must be cleared carefully as it melts) is served with sugar, salt and pepper shakers, so that each person can season it to his or her taste. We had to try that, and Willow liked it with salt, although I didn’t, and we haven’t tried the pepper yet. Apparently before there were an array of forks and spoons, the servants simply brought new ones with each course. And yet they specified that each setting take up 18 inches. People must have been rather narrower then. Personally, I prefer the medieval version (attempted in the early years of the SCA, but since abandoned) where each two people shared a plate and cup. I suppose you’d have to be good friends, but it’s not like people don’t pass around horns anyway. One bit of etiquette I like is that while the person is carving, you don’t reach in with your fork to filch the piece he’s just carved for himself! This was apparently a problem that came in with forks. I expect one dared try with a fork as one might not if using naked fingers near someone else’s knife! I always liked the explanation of etiquette as trying to make the people you’re with feel comfortable. (Better than ’not insulting anyone else by accident’)
I tried a free book on Tarot- Tarot Reading Made Easy, basically a method that involved letting your intuition interpret the cards rather than memorizing the meanings. On the other hand, I started musing on symbolism. There are so many Tarot decks because everyone has different myth cycles and symbol sets that they know. It occurred to me that I could put together a Tarot of Broadway Musicals- at least the 22 Trumps. There are enough great musicals that I should be able to think of one that expressed the overall concept of each of the Trumps, to start off I came up with Fiddler on the Roof for the Fool, Chorus Line for the Magician, and My Fair Lady for the Empress- I haven’t filled it in and you don’t need to hear them all. Only people who actually know Musicals well would get the references, and even then we may all have our own takes on it.
I really enjoyed Invitation to Die, the new Lindsay Davis short story. It showed a bizarre historical incident seen through the eyes of the characters we know and like.  I finished Spells a la Cart, the third cozy mystery. It had lots of action, but the characters aren’t that well drawn and the pacing is bad enough to be noticeable. How sad. If you are interested in checking out a book I found fun, I noticed You’ve Got Tail, which was good enough that I’ve read the next five books in the series, is available free on Kindle (Nook, and other services). It’s about a psychic and a shape shifter, and is good fun.
I read Crossing Over a book by John Edward, “the Long Island Psychic”- apparently since he had a TV show he was well known. The book was decent, although no surprises. It sounds not unlike what I’ve heard from the mediums I know. I do like his explanation that while they do keep some awareness of their loved ones, they have to put some effort into matching their vibration to this dimension, just as he has to get his vibration to match theirs- and it still can be garbled. He also has the usual issues of trying to communicate using symbols. Imagine you were trying to contact a dead relative, but all they could use was symbols- like a game of Pictionary. I think this accounts for a lot of the “misses” that critics claim. Of course the bottom line to that is that since they aren’t open to it, no evidence would convince them, and if you are open to it, you aren’t hard to convince. Finishing that I’m reading one by a British medium Tony Garod 51%: a journey into mediumship, which is similar. I related to the way he experienced things he accepted as normal until others told him that they weren’t.
I suppose I’m spending more time on the CTCW website lately. I spent a lot of hours over the weekend trying to create the archives for last year. The previous years, there was a page for workshops, for panels, for speakers, for vendors, and I could just put those pages into the archive section. But this platform (or style?) seems to be set up for concerts or some other sort of event, so when we moved last year’s pages to the archives, all the information on the vendors and speakers was lost, and a lot of other stuff too. I figure if we’re going to get anyone to come, they’ll check out the website, and see what we’ve done before (that and how much does it cost and how far away is it).  Luckily I had some information stored on my computer. Then Brian had to go in today and fix some sort of security issue. He says that basically it’s an old platform that was designed years ago and is no longer being supported, so we need to move to a new one that is. I do not understand these things, which puts me in an uncomfortable position. I just though we had a great idea that people would like to come share. The more I think about it, the more. I wonder if most people don’t come to conferences for the community: the time with people who understand them without having to feel their way around to a safe compromise on the truth, rather than for the instruction, which is what appealed to me. Next weekend I’ll be at the dowsing conference and it feels rather lonely not having any friends there.
I’m continuing with through the centuries, and 853 facts in nibbles. I have rather lost interest in It Can’t Happen Here. It got to the point after Windrip was sworn in, and since he already had his private army in place, he basically declared a state of emergency and put congress into protective custody, letting out the ones who supported him, and the others were never seen again. Supreme Court Judges were replaced with his picks. Riots were put down with his Minute Men. Basically, it’s moved over into speculative fiction. I did note that the Oregon legislature was prevented from getting a quorum to vote for a environmental bill, and the governor sent the police to find them, resulting in both some of the Republicans making death threats on the police and militia threatening violent defense of them. Yes, technically blocking the quorum is legal, but for goodness sakes why? To prevent trying to have clean air? And the threats are totally not legal!  It’s hard to get excited about the fiction when what’s really happening is so bizarre. It is reassuring that we still have the courts and progress continues to be made, although the president and his cronies gutting the EPA is bad news. I want there to be serious repercussions for those who put profit ahead of the good of the people. And the documentation of the policy of child neglect in the concentration camps is reprehensible. So many of us want to tell the world- it’s NOT US! How did we lose that much control?
Ah well- it’s freaking Monday. I think I’ll accept that I won’t write “next week’s letter” until July. I’ll be leaving Friday for the Dowsing Conference. Todays adventure was when we realized that Willow is scheduled to drop her car off at Winkles to get inspected on Thursday. She wouldn’t have a back-up if it needs repairs, and Winkles always takes the first week in July off. (I think Wolfe’s closes too.) We’ll have to make sure to get it back before I leave. We’ll think of something. Chaos is always available when one doesn’t keep on top of things- and I have certainly fallen down on that lately. Catching Up!
Wishing you a great rest of the month and whatever sort of Independence Day you like best!


“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Albert Einstein
Holidays you might want to celebrate:
þ June 20 Ice Cream Soda/ Vanilla Milkshake Day, Kuign Amann Day, Hike with a Geek Day, Recess at Work Day
F June 21 Peaches & Cream Day, Summer Solstice, Global Orgasm Day, Seashell Day, Ugliest Dog Day, Music Day
S June 22 Chocolate Eclair Ray, Onion Ring Day, Rainforest Day, HVAC Tech Day, Stupid Guy Thing Day, VW Bug

⨀ June 23 Pecan Sandy Day, Hydration Day,Typing Day, Pink Day, Pink Flamingo Day, Widows Day

M June 24 Pralines Day, International Fairy Day, UFO Day, Celebration of the Senses, Swim a Lap Day
T June 25 Strawberry Parfait Day, Catfish Day, Global Beatles Day, Global Smurfs Day, Columnists Day,
W June 26 Chocolate Pudding Day, Tropical Cocktails Day, Cooking with Parchment Day, Harry Potter Day, Canoe Day, Coconut Day, Same Sex Marriage Day, Forgiveness Day, Victims of Torture Day

þ June 27 Orange Blossom Day, Onion Day, Ice Cream Cake Day,  Sunglasses Day, Bomb Pop Day, Handshake Day, PTSD Awareness Day

F June 28 Tapioca Day, Tau Day, INTERNATIONAL CAPS LOCK DAY, Intnt. Body Piercing Day, Paul Bunyan Day

S June 29 Almond Buttercrunch D, Picnic D, Camera D, Day of the Tropics, Waffle Iron D, Mud D, Hug Holiday

⨀ June 30 MaiTai Day, Avocado Day, Asteroid/Meteor Watch Day, Descendants Day, Social Media Day, NOW (National Organization for Women) Day
M July 1  Gingersnap Day, Deep Fried Clams Day,  Creative Ice Cream Flavors Day, Zip Code/ Postal Workers/ Postage Stamp Day, Social Media Day, Joke Day
T July 2 Anisette Day, Chicken Wing Day, World UFO Day, I forgot Day,  Zoo Day, Made in the USA Day
W July 3 Chocolate Wafer Day, Eat Beans Day, Stay out of the Sun/ Redneck Day, Superman Day, Plastic Bag Free Day, Disobedience Day, Compliment your Mirror Day
þ July 4 Barbecue Day, Caesar Salad Day, BBQ Spareribs Day,  Independence Day, Independence from Meat Day, Indivisible day, Invisible Day, Earth at Aphelion, Country Music Day, Sidewalk Egg Frying Day