This week has been cooler, which has been nice, but also overcast a lot of the time, which has reminded me that I do enjoy the sun. And the moon, I woke up last night and there was no light at all, and I was briefly concerned that I’d gone blind. Even up here in the boonies, there’s usually some light- especially when the moon is nearing or just past full. I still have remade my bed with most of the comforters under me. (We have so many blankets that I have no more space to store more- I should probably pass the extras along.) I also have started using the fan in my bedroom pretty much all the time, and we keep the front door closed to keep the heat out. Sadly, it’s been cloudy with occasional showers which has prevented me from varnishing the front stoop. The sun will return I’m sure.
Currently we have day lilies, Kate’s roses, and daisies blooming. In the yard I can see campion and yarrow. I think we’ve got some elderberries blooming in the backyard! I’ve wanted an elder bush for so long- now I don’t know that I’ll get to harvesting any. Our lettuce is coming in, but we tend to forget to pick it. Local strawberries have passed for this year. Well, we enjoyed them while they were here.
After sending, I noticed last week that I’d drifted off leaving a sentence unfinished. “…and I’ve been” I hope that didn’t drive you nuts. It sort of does me, because I wonder what I had been thinking when I started the sentence.
I have enjoyed watching pictures come in from the 50 year celebration, and while I admire some of the stuff different people brought, I am not unhappy that I didn’t go. Poor Kami went- from Florida, and apparently had 3 tires blow on the road on the way home! That’s not fun! But who’d have thought we’d have such a high level of craftsmanship when the SCA started? And it’s not just the SCA, on fb I see re-enactors from all over the world doing their thing from Ancient Rome, to Vikings to the Civil War. Personalizing history, and making it come alive. Learning the old skills! From grinding pigments to building ships, I know some pretty darned clever (and maybe unusual) people!
OK, what I’ve accomplished this week? Mostly I’ve been sewing. I now have four summer skirts that fit me and can be worn in public (not one). I finished the third skirt- this one gauze- and a shirt to go with it, yesterday. That’s three- the denim and red ones with pockets, and this one (which does, also have pockets). Sadly I am just learning that I need an extra four inches in back to compensate for my large backside, or it looks like the skirt is tipped forward. When the hem was evened on the red one, the skirt was rather shorter than I’d like. Truthfully, it’s the back where I want it longer- maybe I should make one of those “high in the front, low in the back” skirts. (my legs are not bad!) But when I sit, if naked leg hits the chair, I have to peel myself off the chair like taking old style adhesive tape off a wound. Ouch! Willow has offered to take in the waistband and adopt the red skirt, and I’ll make it over- long enough this time!
Meanwhile, while delving into our bins of cloth in the attic, I found some flowered fabric (I remember that swinging flowered skirts were very popular for a season or two- the girls think it was right after Beauty and the Beast came out). Anyway, I’ve had several pieces of fabric with roses all over them up there since then, and brought them down. I have been afraid I’d look like an upholstered couch if I made one, while still wanting one. So Willow has made herself- just today a new dress with one of the pieces- here seen with her new pink hat!
When we look back on this summer, I think it’s going to be “The Summer Willow Babysat”. Avi is now a single parent, and her kids must be watched (Trevor is just not there for this.) So Willow has stepped up- carefully scheduling days when she’s driving Kat to appointments or other things, and trying not to drive herself into collapse. Her plan is to take that money and put it into new stock for Pennsic. Except probably the first weeks will go into fixing her car- it’s started hemorrhaging power steering fluid. Sadly, Winkles is closed this week. Thank goodness my car is working. (I can’t remember if they took it to Curia on Friday. Since they had to leave before Avi got home, Willow dropped them here- with a Pizza Avi had picked up for dinner for all of us. (Interestingly, they like pizza, but with no tomato sauce. I tried a bit- pepperoni and mushroom, and it was good.) Ah well. Money comes in, money goes out. Luckily right now (having finished her costume for Canobie Con) Willow is working to build up her stock of blankets for the fall Anime cons, and she can applique blankets that have been previously cut out and pinned while watching the kids.
Last week she set up the camera while she was making a Mudkip (it’s a pokemon), with a musical background- and sped up so you can see the whole cutting bit in 3 and a half minutes. If you want to see it, here’s the Fandom Fleece Music Video. I think it’s very impressive to see her cutting out all the shapes freehand to make what is in her minds eye. It’s not unlike the way she paints silk and makes herbal medications. Like the silk painting, it does require music.
I think the big thing for me is my seeing the eye doctor (although I mentioned that in the last letter). There is something seriously wrong with the system that takes over a month to get to see him, and then he’s seeing several people at once so you spend over an hour there for 15 minutes of face time. I cannot help but think that this is an organization problem. Anyway, the reason I went was because the left contact was uncomfortable, and I wanted to know if it was the contact or the eye. Happily, it was the contact- he says the edges were crumbling. I wonder if perhaps that isn’t because last year he ordered “orthopedic” lenses that would squish my eyes back into better shape- which they did beautifully. But since I could see well with them, we didn’t bother ordering new ones. Perhaps that type isn’t meant to last a year. Usually my hard contacts (“gas permeables”) last a couple of years, although they’d love to have me buy a new pair every year. So sometime this week I should be able to see again- unless they screw up and send me another close range contact, not one for distance. That would be bad. At least my eye is as fine as an aging myopic can get.
Liz has been supervising the repair of the floor and sill of camp as well as she can. She fell and has thrown her back out again. (I am confused, apparently the practice she goes to doesn’t believe in giving pain medication for bad backs in case it might lead to addiction. So if your back is debilitatingly painful- tough luck?) I am disappointed- I’d hoped that if we could maintain the camp the way Dad built it (although he didn’t do the addition himself) with pine boards for walls. Sadly, those would cost twice as much and take more labor to install, so when the bathroom walls get replaced, they’re going to be cheap paneling again- matched as well as Liz can manage. We still need to find money for fixing the back porch which is (like this section) where snow flows downhill and piles up against the back of the camp and keeps it wet in the spring. It too is rotting, and falling off the main building. We don’t have an estimate for that yet.
For the bathroom, Kitty has bought a shower stall and paid for it herself. She always hated the cheap pressed metal one we got, and has sprung for a nice one with glass walls. I was also hoping for a bit more cabinet space by robbing some of the footprint from Dad’s closet (now that it doesn’t need to hold his and Mother’s summer wardrobes, it’s a guest room where people spend a weekend, so I figured a smaller closet would do and we could get a slightly bigger bathroom. But, I’m not there, so I state my preferences, and then accept the decisions of the ones who are doing all the work. I really wish I could get up there more. I’ll have to find a way to make that happen. I meant to go up in May or June to help Liz open camp, but never put in a block of time.
Guess we’ll be having Independence Day here this year. Maybe going to Megan and Dennis’ for their party if they have it. They should be back for it- IF they let her fly. Airplanes don’t like sick people flying (or pregnant) so less control over scheduling is possible than they’d like. I guess you’ll hear in the next letter!
I’ve mostly been sewing, doing household stuff like cooking, laundry, and too little cleaning. I love hanging out and bringing in the laundry from the line. I tried the Chicken teriaki again and timed it this time. It takes about 25 minutes to make- less than it took for the rice to steam (I’ll admit John made a huge batch, so maybe that isn’t always true). This time we put the broccoli florets in the steamer over the rice. I love the rice steamer- and the recipe. We also made more jerky this week. Kat’s been taking some to her room so she can have protein whenever she needs it- and she says that seems to be helping.
The cats like to go out at night, which is OK, except that the moths that gather on the screen door (under the light) tend to fly up when we open the door to let them in, and that spooks the young ones Ambian and Pyewacket, so they won’t come in. Feh. And the other day when Kat went to open for them, there was a raccoon on the front porch. These days any animal that doesn’t hide from people is potentially rabid, so we were not happy with that!
I have been spending time posting about holidays (although I’m trying to cut back on that), although I don’t really celebrate all of them. This week I DID make onion rings, and strawberry parfaits, (although not on the right days, the holidays DID remind me that I like them), and Chocolate pudding.
I am also working on CTCW some. I posted the descriptions of the panels and people have started signing up for them. That’s good. Stephanie has done a new video teaser for the youtube channel. She’s really good at putting some cute visuals onto clips from the old classes, and I am very hopeful that this will attract people. Tonight I had Sha Blackburn- the Loonwitch on the New Normal; it was a nice chat, but I’m not sure anyone is listening.
I signed up to do classes at the Great Northeastern War, and have put up the Pre Pennsic Planning calendar (although only starting on Sunday- four weeks should be enough), but I really do have to get to work on the class booklets- and the portraits I owe people.
I’m reading a bit of each of several non-fiction books every day, some for classes I’m doing, some because it caught my interest. One is How to Read Churches. Another is The Forest in Folklore and Myth (that IS for one of my classes). I read a topic or two in the Encyclopedia of Late Antiquity each day, and am reading some thing on energy healing I can’t remember the title of. For fiction I’m still reading The King’s Deryni. Somehow the prequel isn’t as gripping as the original books. The description of what the life of a medieval page was like is fairly interesting, and the plot line of growing up as a member of a despised race, is there- but neither tragic, nor uplifting. And it’s fiction, it should be exciting. He falls out of a tree and breaks his arm. His father gets old and dies of a heart attack and he’s sad. He learns a new board game. This is NOT the exciting magickal adventure I signed up for!
So I took a break and read The Unexpected Mrs. Polifax, which was light, and full of action, and I enjoyed it so much that I have sent for the next book in the series. There’s something appealing about the adventures of a woman of about my age managing to cope through the skills and character she gained through an ordinary life, even though she is, “unexpectedly”, a spy. There’s also a certain nostalgia for the 60s- the period in which it was written, especially when I remember that it was current then- as James Bond and the Man from UNCLE were. Having watched a movie they made from the first book when I first heard of it, I find it difficult not to picture her as played by Angela Landsbury, but that works. Everything doesn’t have to be deep and meaningful.
Oh yes, and among the non-fiction I am reading, I’m still going through the Native American series: Cheyenne and Apache this week. My heart breaks to read about how they are trying to build their lives when MY government treated them so badly. (That is living as a despised race!) I know it’s not my fault, but I do try to speak up (for what it’s worth) when bills are presented to mine on sacred land and such like. This is not dead ancestors who didn’t know any better, it’s current, and damnit, not in my name you don’t! Some people say “we fought a war, they lost, they can deal with it.” No, we fought a war, negotiated a peace treaty, and have repeatedly broken the treaties. Having the guns to force your will on other people doesn’t make it right. We have much to make up for.
The Dark Wind, another Navajo Mysteries movie, this one with Fred Ward as Lt. Leaphorn, and Lou Diamond Phillips as Officer Chee, finally got to the top of my Netflix queue. It reminded me how much I liked Hillerman’s series, and how natural and normal the Navajo culture seems to me. I preferred Fred Ward to Wes Studi as Leaphorn, although I think I liked Adam Beach’s Chee better than Phillips’. Still I’m glad I saw it. I’m afraid I’d rather see a fun mystery with a twist, than something deep and meaningful just now.
Sadly, what’s arrived at the library this week from my “requests” list is a bit challenging; a few weeks ago I saw a list of the “top science fiction movies of all time”, and put in requests for the ones I hadn’t yet seen. So I “watched” a bunch of them while I sewed.
Cloverfield, I had intentionally not seen BECAUSE it was presented as a “home movie”, which means poor quality- although I suppose the special effects were good. There were a few good things- the characters were good, and the dialogue a lot more realistic than most monster movies, for example at one point the girl they went back to rescue heard the monster and said “What was that‽” and they said “we don’t know, it’s the terrible thing.” and then the see one of the little monsters and kill it and she asks “What was that‽” and they say “something else. Also terrible.” And when the helecopter they are in goes down there’s a whole lot of “oh God! oh God!”. Basically, it was written a lot “less scripted” than a lot of horror films. In this case, watching the sewing was an advantage because I didn’t have to deal with the jerky hand-held film style.
Sunshine was not to my taste. I prefer happy endings, even if only as happy as Armageddon. Like Armageddon, a crew of scientists are out to save the world- well, restart the sun which seems to be going out. It seems odd that we’d still be here with fairly current technology by the time that happens. (I suppose I figure the Face of Bau should be there as a witness, and Earth long dead as happened in Dr. Who.) I really don’t have any idea why this would be considered a great film. From theme to acting it wasn’t as good as for instance the Black Hole, which John recently rewatched. Paul was a lot more fun and more thought provoking in my opinion. It held up a lot better than Forbidden Planet. (As he watched and I listened to that while working on something else, I tried to see the parallels to The Tempest).
Lucy I liked better than the others in this batch. The theory was that a runner for a new drug has it leak into her system so she gradually starts using more and more of her brain until she becomes one with the universe, while the drug lords are trying to get their drugs back. Frankly, I think that if she was that smart, she not only could, but would, have come up with better solutions than just killing the criminals.
I sort of watched Ex machina but I wasn’t getting the visuals (watching the sewing machine needle) and think there was probably a lot of body language I was missing. As far as I could tell, it was an inventor using a A.I. robot to mess with the mind of the guy he’d brought in to “test” it. It was mind games, and the last movie I liked with that sort of mind game was the Sleuth with Olivier and Caine.
I’ve also been rewatching, and so has Kat, some of the classic fantasy classics of the 80s: Labyrinth, Dark Crystal, Time Bandits, Dragon Slayer, Willow, Never Ending Story, Conan, Legend, Ladyhawke. I fear the new sci-fi movies suffered by comparison.
I’ve also been watching episodes of Criminal Minds. Yes, they are crime shows with crimes that need solving, but mostly it’s a show about a group of people under a LOT of stress, caring about and for each other as they try to live with the stress and keep the awful things they see from making them stop caring. This may be why I call an episode up when I am feeling distressed by the callousness that is far too often a feature of facebook exchanges.
Too often recently I have been deciding not to pass along articles that I think are important, that we should all be aware of them. However, first, many people don’t want to be aware, and second, being aware of what’s wrong is depressing when you feel helpless to fix the situation. We sure don’t need that! Luckily, in the USA, theoretically we CAN do something about it by being active in politics. On the other hand, when there is cheating in the polling places, that steals our ability to be as effective as we should be. The people doing these dirty tricks must not be students of history, or they’d realize that when you take away people’s rights to effect peaceful change, that’s when they “storm the Bastille”. I expect the best way to “control the masses” is to make it possible to get redress by wrapping it in red tape enough to make it virtually impossible, but have the occasional (well publicized) success so people will continue to try to work within the system.
I’m disturbed about politics for another reason (than what’s on the internet) just now. I’ve started getting political phone calls again. I really, really hate the ones that are marketing research and propaganda disguised as polls. “Who are you going to vote for Kelly Ayotte, Maggie Hassan, or Brian Chabot?” (well, at least they included him in the initial question. Of course not only did they pronounce his name Cha-bot with a hard Ch like cha-cha, and bot like robot, but they also always pronounce the governor’s name as if it was the Islamic man’s name Hassan. Anyone else, local news, for example, pronounce it like passin’. I really don’t like to think that they are trying to make people think that she’s Islamic – and therefore a terrorist; but for all I know, they may be. They certainly have no respect for our intelligence. They ask questions like: “If I were to tell you…” [fill in absurd lie here] would that make you more or less likely to vote for her? How often can I say “It would make no difference because it’s not true?” or “I’d have to check your facts” (if it’s believable). “If I told you Sanders screws little boys, beats his mother, eats dead babies, and lies on his taxes, would that make you more or less likely to vote for him?”
This is about as reasonable as the questions they are asking. I can only assume that by phrasing it that way, they are allowed to make it up. Really. I actually knew about a couple of the things they were suggesting. They also get to find out what the people they call find the most damning. OK, maybe they weren’t all clearly fictional, but I’m sure they’re banking on people paying about as much attention during the news as I was paying during my sewing.
One item I did look up. “Have you heard about the sex scandal Hassan’s husband was involved in at Phillips Exeter?” No, I hadn’t. So I looked it up. Apparently a co-ed charged a professor with sexual misconduct (no details). He was reprimanded, and the school tried to beef up security for their coeds. What was Mr. Hassan’s part in this? He was the President of the school and had to walk the line between keeping the image of the school up, making the coeds feel listened to and safe, and being fair to the accused. Then another charge was made against the professor and he was kicked out (no, neither charge seems to have gone any farther than an accusation), and Mr. Hassan resigned saying that he hadn’t dealt with it well enough. First, Ms. Hassan had nothing to do with the school or her husbands part in it- this seems to be “you’re related to someone who had something to do with a sex scandal” as a way of hurting her political career. Second, the second accuser says she can’t remember if she was underage or not back in the 80s when she says the professor had sexual misconduct with her. (He would also have been 35 years younger then too). Thirty five years ago, someone may or may not have done something sexual, and because Governor Hassan is married to the man who couldn’t make everyone happy about this old “sex scandal” brougha, this can be used to smear her? Not only is it possible that there is no sex scandal at all, and if there was, it’s 35 years old, and had nothing to do with either her or her husband, but it’s being dragged out and circulated so that voters will associate the word “sex scandal” with the name of that (evil Arabic) Hassan. Better vote Republican! (yes, another allegation was that she was spending money on refugees while veterans waited for housing. Like she had the ability to divert money from the one to the other even if it was a good idea!)
We NEED to put more money into education! I don’t want to believe that this sort of tactic works well enough to be worth spending money on!
News this week is about Brexit- which seems to be the British version of Trump (or how embarrassingly stupid can we look?). Now they’re talking Texit. Fine, let them go, and can we ship all the idiots from Kentucky, SC, and the rest of the country who want to have prejudice, sexism, ignorance (π =3) all live there (making some provisions for relocating the intelligent people who don’t stand for that sort of thing)? Actually, I’m becoming increasingly convinced that mostly what we need is to get the money out of politics, and do some major “trust busting”. When the rich can control congress, even when it’s “twice removed” by paying for expensive campaigns, our system doesn’t work.
Kat’s had similar problems with her “social media”. Earlier this week she was worried to post: “Please vote responsibly in the upcoming election, because I wouldn’t survive the first two chapters of a young adult post-apocalyptic novel.” She figured people would yell at her for saying that. (It occurred to me that I wouldn’t either. Heck, if I went on Survivor (not likely because this body in a bathing suit would not sell any snack food) I’d be immediately voted off the island even though I know lots of cool stuff. In an accurate “post-apocalyse” story, the people who know stuff would not be helped survive because they’d be too “instant gratification” to realize stuff like “you don’t eat your seed corn”. While not totally anonymous, people do seem to disconnect from the impact what they post is going to have- probably because they are thinking of a target person or group, and forgetting other people who’ll also see it who don’t have the context to understand what they meant. People assume that if you “speak the same language” we’ll understand each other. We don’t use it the same way. We don’t THINK the same way. At least the internet shows us that. Graphically.
Ah well. See you later.
Stormgard motto: Fyrst middangeard we gebiergaþ , aefterweardum we abiraþ. (First we save the world, then we eat)
Since it’s Waffle Iron Day I have decided to show off my collection- some of it anyway, I don’t want to crash your server!
This is my “ruffled pizzelle”
This is my lozenge wafer iron
This is my oldest- the krumkake iron
This makes Oreski Russian cookies that get filled with caramel
This is my heart shaped waffle iron I wanted SO badly!
This is my second belgian waffle iron. The first had thermostats on each side, which let you know which side was hotter, I LOVED that thing, but the handle broke.
This is for making grilled cheese sandwiches with sealed edges. Classy (onion, tomato, maybe bacon)