Teach Ag Day

We’ve had a lot of rain this week. As a matter of fact, when I went out to the library the other day there were places where the road was flooded- I thought it was some place where they were flushing mains or something like that, but it may have simply been localized drainage problems. At least we don’t have to worry when we want to use water. The drought still looms large in my mind, but I guess it was two years ago. NOT having a drought now. There was a lot of talk about Hurricane Florence on fb, it’s nice that people have it to keep aware of their friends safety.
There are very few flowers at this point- although there are ornamental bushes blooming in tended gardens I pass, but I don’t know much about landscaping type gardening. The morning glories are still going, which I enjoy when I go in and out. And I  picked up the first pumpkin of the year. It’s early yet- not even fall, but in a couple of days.
I fear we won’t see Ambian again. We haven’t seen him for over a week, and a neighbor from up the street says that they’ve heard coyotes near their house. Now we won’t let Pyewacket and Zoloft out after dark, which annoys them.
I think we may have “used up” the rats for now- we aren’t finding any in the traps anymore- although we did find one mouse once. I still want to get another metal container to store the pasta in. Rodents seem to have in common with humans that they prefer very processed food- pasta, chips, and cereal when they can get it. And we just laid in 50 some pounds of fettuccine, spaghetti, rotini, and elbows to get us through the next year or so.
There was a cricket in the kitchen for a couple of days- I didn’t see it, but boy was it loud!
The big thing this week was Willow and Kat going up to the lake with Joanie and Raye from last Sunday until Saturday. They basically went to relax and that’s what they did. The intent was to come back Friday, but Willow got nasty cramps and couldn’t drive. Then Saturday, when they went to leave, Willow’s car wouldn’t start and Liz had to go over to give them a jump. Then at Lewiston, they stopped for lunch and Willow discovered she’d left her wallet at the gas station in Farmington, so they had to drive back to get it, adding a couple of hours onto the trip! I can only hope that didn’t use up all the re-charging that relaxing is supposed to accomplish. Sadly, the only pictures they took was a film of Kat wading and pictures of the junk food they laid in for their vacation. Oh, and this one. (Looks like they’re playing Apples to Apples)
After several quiet days (I spent watching movies and finally hand patching the fake fur blanket I bought in college- the places the cat had sucked holes in it, AND the holes that developed because it’s forty five years old!) I felt in need of socialization, and I went down to the Falling Leaves event in Carolingia. It was only an hour away (in theory- my GPS didn’t work and I got rather lost- but noticed that it was trying to send me up toward Athol, which was still burning, so I knew that was wrong). I shouldn’t give the girls a hard time for not taking pictures of relaxing, because neither did I. I took only my folding chair and my spindle and rovings. I found Joanna and Aquel, and other people I knew came by like Ulric and others who’s names I lost again. But basically I spent the afternoon chatting with friends, then left before court so that I’d be home before dark. (Frustratingly this did result in me driving right into the sunset!) But it was a great afternoon.
Over the weekend several of the Planning Committee for CTCW brainstormed on the Panels, and finally got them up. I wish I’d gotten to it months ago because basically it consisted of coming up with ideas of things I thought would be fun to talk about. I still wish we could get more variety of people coming. I’m sure it would be profitable to talk to people who are coming at the supernatural from different backgrounds. This week I watched The Conjuring, which seemed very familiar. I probably read about it when it was first written about back in the 70s. I have to wonder what a person’s belief system has on what they experience. I know people who’ve experienced dangerous interactions, but in our house being aware of spirits isn’t generally spook stuff, it’s just situation normal. Does EXPECTING diabolical activity lead to it? Some people look at phenomenon like strange lights and cattle mutilations, cryptos, unexplained disappearances, and try to mash it all together. UFOs and psychic phenomena and Bigfoot are all tossed into the same “only idiots believe this stuff” category, but there’s a lot of evidence, we just don’t know what it means yet. They have to go to some serious mental convolutions to explain a lot of this stuff away, which is not good science. Sure we’re missing information, but at one point we didn’t have microscopes, or ways to measure radiation. I have been reading (although I didn’t finish) Phenomena: the secret history of the U.S.Government’s investigations into Extrasensory Perception and Psychokinesis. (Sure, try to exploit it, but don’t admit it or people will pitch a fit.)  Some of us believe in reincarnation, others believe in Heaven. I believe there’s something happening, but what? I can’t help but think that if we can talk to each other, without assuming that “we’re right, their crazy”, we can come to a better understanding of what’s going on. My magical and historical studies have both led me to the same conclusion: there is nothing harder than to change someone’s world view. If you internalized something when you were very young, it’s going to be really hard to change the way you feel about it, whether it’s assuming there’s no such thing as magick or that witches are the cause of your problems, whether Negros are inferior or it’s natural for men to control women. We wouldn’t have people going to great effort to get their grand-daughters genital mutilation if they didn’t feel it was the right thing to do, even though in the USA it’s illegal and not acceptable. Somewhere along the line people have been taught that the way to change people’s minds is to brutalize them, but every bit of evidence we have says that just leads to brutalized people being afraid, and the ones who do it being angry. We need to get to more evidence based policies.

I have now caught up on the Roman Britain mystery series by Rosemary Rowe (and will have to wait until she comes out with the next book- probably late winter). While impatiently waiting for the most recent one The Price of Freedom, last March, I saw that the first few books in the series were available on kindle very cheap ($3.99), and started re-reading the series. Over the summer I have continued getting the next (even though the last few are the full price $8/9) but I enjoyed following Libertas’ life pass from adventure to adventure. When the series started he was already 48, and pretty old, by the most recent he was nearing 60, and I’ve watched him locate his wife, have his apartment burn, get a house, get slaves, free his young slave and adopt him as son and have grandchildren born. In this last one I think he even got an ox cart. Most of the series took place during the reign of Commodus, (Marcus Aurelius’ whack-job of a son), which always keeps people like Libertas with little power on the edge of their seats, metaphorically. Even people with power like Marcus, Libertas’ patron, had to worry. In Ides of June, Marcus has Libertas spirit his wife and children to safety, when the fall of his patron and friend Pertinax (a real historical character, who briefly was emperor of Rome, but was killed by the Praetorian Guards because he wouldn’t bribe them) puts those who were his friends at risk. In Price of Freedom life appears to be returning to normal, which means Marcus is rich and so very privileged, and Libertas has do scramble to make sure that he doesn’t fall victim to the dangers of investigating crimes.  Marcus never seems to think of consequences (although while in hiding his lady gets a glimpse of how the 99% live). To be honest, I probably read too much while the girls were away, and Mark came by with the gift of a book The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Magic, because the title reminded him of me. That’s flattering, and I’ve read about a third of it. One reference in it suddenly reminded me of smallpox, and I had a disturbed moment imagining what it would mean now that no one is inoculated against it anymore if it resurfaces.

Mostly I’ve been pushing myself to finish the booklets I’d meant to do along with my workshops for Pennsic, on Vampires and the Witchcraft Trials. I accidentally rented Witchcraft in Early Modern Poland 1500-1800, which was a wonderful book, but I only have it for another 10 days (and don’t wish to buy it at $60+. I’ve finished it now, and need to get all the bits I highlighted that I may want to reference into a file in the computer. Yesterday I finished doing that with ‘Irish witchcraft ad Demonology. I actually think the takeaway on Irish witchcraft is that they didn’t get involved with the witch hysteria because they took the “paranormal” as a normal part of life, and only when the church sent foreigners in to look for heretical witchcraft were there any cases at all. The Alice Kyteler case was SO political that it was fascinating (and as usual, the one who got tortured and burned was a servant, while the powerful Englishwoman who seems to have started it all was whisked off to live out her rich life in comfort). In the Polish cases the researcher seemed to find evidence that when there were trials and executions it was usually the lords abusing their powers to terrorize their servants, but that the people had a more accepting view of magickal practices. One thing I find telling is that women made “pacts” with the devil by marrying them, but we only find written pacts when male sorcerers deal with the devil.

I watched a Civil War movie: Ride with the Devil about how the war was fought on a more personal level in the west, by Bushwhackers and Jayhawkers. Bushwackers were the southerners and apparently many of them (like El Cid) swore not to cut their hair until the war was done. This was very confusing to me as many of them were quite young, and with long hair and no uniforms, I often wondered if some of them were women. I suppose women would have put their hair up. They also included the way they referred to the black men and women as “contraband”, (goods that have been imported illegally), a term I never noticed before, but keeps coming up in the discussions of the Civil War. Like many other movies the story was about how young men grew up when they had to deal with horrible things, and it showed many examples of some men becoming cruel and abusive when they could get away with it. I saw it again when I re-watched Glory.  It is an excellent ensemble film, telling the story of many characters and their development and growth under pressure. I suppose war does that, but people grow up anyway, and war is stupidly wasteful. The more I learn about it, the less sense it makes to me.
At some point I was looking up something about the Civil war and tripped over Crash Course in US History on Youtube. It’s a series with a young history teacher who is very excited about his subject matter. Apparently there’s also a Crash Course in World History, and may be others, and I’m looking forward to watching them.
I also watched the TV show Ash VS the Evil Dead, which is a sequel to the Evil Dead trilogy- only with Bruce Campbell three decades later. John said “Time has not been kind to him”, but he was pretty young when the movies were made, and what do you expect? I think the chances are good that I like the Libertas books because the “detective” is old, and doesn’t try to solve the mysteries with heroics, but by avoiding having to! I also watched The Fearless Vampire Killers, which I remembered as very funny from when I was in college, but found purple and slapstick this time. Oh well.
I am pleased that Florence seems to have passed without too high a death toll (so far). It doesn’t take rocket science to figure that if you have 3” of rain over a large area turns into many feet of water when it runs down hill.  Can they please star recognizing that what they call “500 year” occurrences are not going to be that rare with climate change? I heard that Judiciary Committee put off the Kavnaugh vote, which I hope I heard correctly. I don’t want to see any accusation be an automatic condemnation (that indeed would be a witch-hunt), but I don’t see anything wrong with men realizing that being a jerk and trying to victimize women as teens can derail their ambitions decades down the road. If that’s what it takes before men start realizing that getting their jollies at the expense of women’s discomfort is wrong, let it happen sooner rather than later. After all in the 16th and 17th century it was usually when the rich and powerful were accused that witch-hunts were called off. It just has to hit home for the movers and shakers.
Until next week, I guess that’s it.
Thursday 20 String Cheese, Fried Rice, Pepperoni Pizza, Punch and Gibberish Days
Friday  21 Pecan Cookie Day, Tradesmen Day, Int. Day of Peace, Miniature Golf Day, ALZ Day
Saturday 22 Hobbit (2nd Breakfast) Day, Ice Cream Cone, & White Chocolate Days, Chainmail Day, Doodle Day,  Rhino, Elephant, & Rabbit Days- (it’s the Fall Equinox – they tack a lot of holidays on)
Sunday 23 Pot Pie and Snack Stick Day, Supernatural Day, Checkers Day, Daughters Day
Monday 24 Cherries Jubilee Day, Family Day,  Punctuation Day, Kiss Day, start of Sukkot
Tuesday 25 Lobster & Crab Meat Newburg Day, Comic Book Day, Dream Day, Cooking Day, Binge Day
Wednesday 26 Dumpling and Pancake Days, School Milk Day, Situational Awareness Day, Batman Day