Oh my, we got back from Maine to discover that the lettuce was really overgrown, and the broccoli (I’d hoped it would get a bit bigger), had flowered! Luckily, it tastes good in salads- not unlike broccoli sprouts, which we sometimes add in the winter.
The garden is burgeoning- the climbing roses are blooming- such as they are, the nasturtium have started, the hollyhock are blooming, and the day lilies are really spectacular. The pansies, bless them, continue to hold their own! In the back there are black eyed susan’s and something white (queen anne’s lace?) I hope to go pick a bouquet later if I get the time.
It is hot. Dog Days for sure. Sleeping with a fan on me and only a sheet (and that to keep the moths off), and sucking cool air, such as it is, in at night, closed up like a drum during the day. We are spending all day drinking lemonade and anything else that seems cooling.
This is the time of year when I make cold salads: egg salad, potato salad, tuna salad, to keep in the fridge (but only cook the potatoes and eggs at night). Last night I made chicken with sautéd onions, and it heated up the kitchen way too much! Willow has mixed up a batch of her bean salad. Because she’s kind of stuck with “a can of this, a can of that”, it’s always a huge batch- and by the time we’re done is VERY red because of the beets. I tried the pickled beets I laid down in the spring and they are really good! She has put them in a jar- simply layered, while the vinegar takes- when we eat it it will be mixed, but until then it’s very pretty.
I was annoyed to discover when we got back that the letter I had “cleverly” done Tuesday evening had not gone out. Once again I was sabotaged by “password” problems. I am SO irritated. I know there are people who use the internet and could lose intellectual property rights, money, all sorts of things, but for most of us, it’s not a huge issue, and we keep having to jump through the hoops designed for high security! Your password needs to be x long and contain capital and small letters, symbols and numbers. I have an address book in which I keep all my passwords- there are dozens and dozens, and I keep having to change them! I’ll copy one right out of the book and it won’t be recognized, so I have to change it, and many of these places insist that you can’t re-use a password you’ve used in the last year, or is too close to an old password. Well, for goodness sakes! And I get so cross when they tell me after ONE (copying it from the book) try, that I’m blocked because I’ve tried too many times! <grumble grump grr rasle snassle frabitsnabits!> Sorry about that, but I’ve been doing a LOT of that since the disc wipe. I guess I really needed the days in Maine.
We packed the van the day before, and just threw the food in the cooler then went out to the doctors. Kat had an appointment with her doctor, and has now got a prescription for fluoxetine. Dr. Mozumder gave her a whole hour talking the pros and cons of medication and talk therapy. I was impressed. We also had to go over so she could get blood tests (a good idea), and then to pick up the prescriptions, so we didn’t get up to the lake until mid afternoon. We also stopped for drinks, and to shop for bathing suits for John and Willow. Willow found a good one at Walmart, but not the right size, but they had the same one in her size in the Maine Walmart. Then it turned out that it was the same bathing suit Liz had! I guess they both have classic taste! While we were coming over Jay Hill, the clouds were building up ahead of us, and a thunderstorm broke out while we were in the store. So by the time we got to the lake it was a lot cooler, thank goodness!
Liz had leaned on the handyman (Paul?), and the dock was actually done (except for shifting the step between the dock levels. Considering what it looked like last week, I’m impressed! It seems shorter than it was, or at least the boat crib isn’t near enough to it that you could get in and out of the boat from the dock. Maybe the people who put it in thought it was a good idea to give us space to get the dock fixed! Liz says if we get 4-6 people in the water we can move it closer.
I did take up books to keep studying and Jane’s painting to work on, and embroidery to do, but the embroidery is all I did. (I could do that while chatting with Liz.) I was a bit appalled by how much time “everyone” spent on computers. Don’t we go to the lake to “unplug”? I needed the computer to do my podcast Wednesday night, and Willow had her gaming session Thursdays, and Kat was “this close” to finishing a story she’s been working on for a year. She did actually finish it. I think Star played Bejewelled.
It’s a darned good thing that the Murrays have wifi! Other than the podcast I didn’t use the computer- I guess my “Lake” programming overrides my modern “check your email every day” programming. Had I checked my email I might have found out that the letter didn’t go out. I’m not sure what I would have done about it. I spent an hour on the phone with tech support to get it back when we got home. Feh.
Liz has offered to finish our new tables for me. We toyed with the idea of staining them each a different color so we could refer to “the red table”, “the blue table”, “the green table”, but that was more foolishness than we needed to deal with, so we gave up on that. Since she won’t take money for it, I bought a bunch of lobsters and we had a lobster dinner for her Thursday night.
I got a chance to see the “lake crowd” at Pril Richaman’s party the evening of the fourth. It was a bit more crowded than last year because it was raining, so everyone stayed under the tent. Last year they only went there to visit the bar, buffet and the band was there. Due to the crowding, it was REALLY loud in there. I spent a while inside, then Liz and I ducked out early. I don’t see a party if you can’t actually talk to people, and it was too loud for that.
Liz made a strawberry and blueberry pie for the fourth, but since we didn’t have a big dinner on the fourth, we had it on Saturday. I’d also made up a bunch of burgers and sliced the pickles and onions Friday morning, forgetting I’d be out, and we had those on Saturday too. Oops. We did shoot off a few fireworks Friday night. Not very many because it was actually raining. I suppose that made it safer, but I think it’s pretty safe on the dock anyway. We did a couple of fountains, and a hand held one each. The lake stove has a pilot light, so we didn’t have our trigger lighter, so we went through a LOT of matches. There was a bad moment when John’s stick shot 9 and stopped (they usually shoot 10). To my horror he looked down the end of it, when I screamed at that, he looked up, and the last fireball shot out toward land, just clearing Willow’s head! I don’t suppose she went to sleep soon after that!
Saturday morning was cold enough that we could have a cozy fire. Willow, I think, finished the embroidery around the neck of her gown. Now she’s thinking of putting the same pattern around the wrists.
We had to get home Saturday because “Canobie Con” was Sunday. Actually, they moved it from Saturday to Sunday so the girls could go to the lake, and it rained Saturday but was gorgeous Sunday, so it was a win all around. Kat wore her Victorian Bathing dress again- she’s very fond of the water rides, and Willow put together a “Wonder Woman” outfit. While sorting our fabric we found a couple yards of denim in blue with white stars, and she tried to make that into a
Wonderwoman skirt, but it didn’t work well, so she just got a pair of shorts and put stars on them. She also got a Wonder Woman T shirt, some high red sneakers (to which she attached wings) and made cuffs and a gold headband. As a final touch they stopped on the way to get the right earrings. Oh yes, I think she had a gold cord for the rope of truth. They say the lines were admirably short. (I’m sure people who watched more anime than I do would be able to recognize what some of the other people are wearing. This is the lowest level of “cosplay” when you just pull something together with street clothes that gives the impression of the character without being a costume. It lets them go do stuff from skating in the winter to riding roller coasters in the summer.
While they were there I worked on Pennsic garb. I am not happy that all I can go for is making sure my garb fits, and looks authentic. I’d love to look gorgeous, but those days are behind me. As the days leak by I am reassessing how much I can get done before we leave. I’m appalled by the amount of time I spend on the computer. I’m afraid even in my sketches I’m not being honest with myself about how wide I’ve become! Oh well. More room to put on trim and embroidery!
As I work I continue adding songs back to my i-tunes. Everything I added from CDs I own has to be put back in. Sadly, when I put in a disc, it used it ask if I wanted to add the disc and which songs, and I haven’t been able to set it back to that. Now I have to let it copy the whole disc then throw away the songs I don’t want. I’m sure I’m missing something obvious! But I’m enjoying strolling through my music collection. I remember one year I listened to all my musicals as I sewed garb and am doing that (sort of) this year. I love musicals, but think I should get to folk music, so I can contribute my selections for the mix we listen to on the way to the war.
I have been working on handouts for Pennsic and GNEW, and occasionally finding old stuff I’d thought lost in the bits we did recover. Kat was right, I totally need to organize my computer! I’m also I’m trying to get ahead on the websites for while we’re at the war. I still haven’t got guests for the weeks we’re there- I’m a bit afraid to invite someone when I’m not sure the technology is going to work (it crapped out last year).
One of the things I didn’t get to in the last letter was that something was not working well with our computers, so we had to get the TDS guy to come and work on the line. I guess it helped, but computers are so frustrating for me that I am not a good judge. We still have to reboot the modem more than I think should be required. Could be the heat.
When I’m sewing or working in the kitchen for some other reason, I am watching old videos. I’m afraid the DVD player in our machine has died. I hope we’ll make enough at the war to buy a new one. Just a player would be less than a hundred, but as I’ve been watching our old VHS tapes, I’m thinking I should spend a bit more and get one that can transfer our old movies to discs. I was reminded of that last night. I watched Beauty and the Beast, and Snow White, and Aladdin, and was hoping to watch Sleeping Beauty, but it was broken. Since it wouldn’t play there was no real risk in trying to fix it, so we opened it up, and I checked the internet and got enough instruction on how to fix a tape to do it (and they suggested that fixing a VHS tape is just the first step before burning them to disk). I am proud of myself because I managed to get it back together and working, and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do it. They also had how to tutorials on clean your machine, and I’m wondering if I should try that before I give up and buy a new one. (What I’d really like is some machine that would play my old cassette tapes so I could listen to them again. I don’t have a machine that will still play them!)
Let’s see, what else is going on? My sisters and I are going over the “Richards Family Cookbook” and talking about an update. I made that when Bob married Diane in, I think, 1976, so she could make Bob his favorites. I followed Mother around for a day writing down the recipes she could remember. It was originally the “Richards Family Leftover Cookbook”, because that’s what most of the family favorites were, but I did put in favorites like Nellie’s Rolls, Ellie’s Peanut Butter Cookies, and Bea’s Chocolate Roll. Frankly, when I look at some of them I can only be amazed at how much we have improved. Mother was a wizard at getting another meal out of leftovers though! I think if we ask each other for our favorite recipes, it will be quite a delicious collection. I think we should revamp my innovation though- each recipe was marked with an indication of who liked it, would eat it, or wouldn’t eat it. (I even had a chart at the back with who liked which vegetables.) I figured that this way, if any of us was entertaining, we’d have a quick way to check and not serve something one of the guests really disliked! Ælfwine and I had been married less than a year then, and I think he ate about three vegetables- carrots, peas and corn. That will have to be updated as well, as so many of our tastes changed!
Megan and Dennis are back from England and doing their Pennsic Prep. Megan’s on a new therapy, I think she said with stem cells, which is allowing her to actually digest certain fats she couldn’t before, and she’s lost a LOT of weight. I am thrilled for her, and a little jealous, but I remind myself that it comes from actively pursuing all the new research on Mitochondrialmyopathy, and living with it, and that reminds me that I’d rather be fat.
My friend Kerensa has graduated Cum Laude- I blush to realize I don’t remember what he was studying. (I was a lot more interested in his activities when he was raising animals.) Well, go him, anyway! Honour got rear ended and is now preparing for Pennsic without being able to lift anything! That woman has the worst luck I’ve ever seen! Luckily she’d gotten a huge pile of lepers (dolls) sent to Claus (she makes them, he paints them) before this happened.
My friend Tamar wrote me back sharing what she’s learned about computers- that “most ailing computers are suffering from overheating because dust builds up inside. “the best way for an ordinary person to prevent that is to literally put their mouth over the place where the air comes out of the computer (easier on a laptop), and blow the air back through. This should be done every month, or even more often if you have cats or keep the computer on a rug”. Good to know. But the idea of giving your computer “mouth to mouth” (“mouth to port”?) makes me think maybe cans of compressed air aren’t that expensive. I pass it on because prevention is SO much cheaper than repairs, and I hope to save my friends from my problems.
Our friend Suliman was trying to buy the cafe Merhab (the oriental place to stop, rest on cushions, drink iced drinks, watch belly dancing, etc.) at Pennsic with an indigogo campaign, but they didn’t get enough in time. Pity, he’d have done a great job with it. (He’s the “Turkish Coffee Guy”- usually sells coffee out of a little cart he wheels around events and fairs while his wife Ghisalah does henna art.) Ælfwine and I often said there should be one of those, then it happened, and now it’s gone. The truth is that people in the SCA do stuff because it’s cool to do, and don’t make enough so that it doesn’t grind them down. I’m not surprised that it’s closing. I’m more surprised that the Pennsic paper is still going. Meanwhile I got a call from Olaf (the guy who started the Marketplace at Birka) who’s trying to organize a tour around the sites in England of interest to reenactors. Sadly, not having been, I wasn’t able to advise him. I must say my friends are incredibly intelligent, talented and creative!
Well, I need to close up and get ready for the show. Tonight my guest is the author Deborah Blake. I do enjoy doing these shows, even if I don’t enjoy promoting them, and don’t think I do it well. Link to listen if you want to.
Oh, I should mention that the dampness and mildew in the linen closet was only in one section. I think we probably put away a load that wasn’t quite dry (live and learn). I am so glad it wasn’t the whole closet!
I watched one (new) movie this week- Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have a relatively new one (last year) The World’s End. Their movies are usually pretty good, but this was only OK, a “watch once-er”. The idea was that some friends go back to their old town to reclaim their youthful days, and discover that it’s been taken over by aliens. Something like pod people, the aliens only replace the trouble-makers, in an attempt to make the planet peaceful, happy and productive. Except that humans are “more belligerent, more stubborn and more idiotic than you could ever imagine. ” so they convince the aliens Earth isn’t worth their trouble. Fine premise, it goes along with the major question seen in so much fiction about how the balance of peace and harmony competes with chaos and change (usually considered the basis of innovation and evolution). The trouble was, they chose as their protagonist a guy who wouldn’t grow up and still considered his teens his glory years and remained a shallow, self-centered jerk. This is another standard trope in which the young maverick usually decides that growing up with be a “really big adventure”, and worth the sacrifices. This guy doesn’t. He continues to act like an overgrown teenager, and I found it unsatisfying. As Oscar Wilde said in the Importance of Being Earnest “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means. ”
Until next week then! Have a good time, and stay in touch. Kiaya commented this morning that some of her friends don’t seem to realize that she’s in the SCA even when they think they know her. I hate it when I don’t know what’s going on in my friends life. (duh, considering how important I think this letter is.)
“The one good thing about not seeing you is that I can write you letters.” ~Svetlana Alliluyeva