Washington’s Birthday

Washington’s Birthday is coming; I shall make cherry pie. Or perhaps I shall make tarts, because I have a cute tart mold. But first, I write my letter, and I am waiting for the Winkles to call and say that my car is ready.

Willow saw this sign outside the church we passed while dropping off the van. snow sign

When the big storm (Nemo) came, we put a yardstick in the snow to see if we could figure out how much had fallen, and we left it there. We have been enjoying watching the level shrink as days pass. Currently it’s at about 7″ deep. There has been more snow, but the sun comes. I am not surprised that friends have tapped their maple trees. I wonder if our old equipment is still in the cellar. (I do not wonder whether I have the energy to collect it myself. I don’t. At least, not enough to bother tapping. It would be different if food were not so plentiful an inexpensive in the modern world. Thank goodness I live in the modern world!) We have dug to the woodshed, and dug room out so that if anyone wanted to come visit there is parking for four cars. I figure that the rest can just sit there and look as if it were a lawn.
Interestingly, in this weekend’s snow, we didn’t see a lot of accumulation, but when I went out to my van in the hotel parking lot, it was covered with snow on one side over an inch thick. Then the people next to me asked if they could borrow my brush, and their car was at least 4″ thick on the side. I wished I’d had an index card on me to stick in to check the depth because it looked like 5″. Almost nothing on the roof, but all on the side.

Smokey’s eye is getting better. Willow took him over to the vet and they checked his eye, and they think so too. He is not terribly uncooperative about having us put the anti-biotic drops in, but he doesn’t like it. Zoloft IS uncooperative about taking her drops, and we are only putting those in her mouth. They’re supposed to make her itch less. I think they may be helping, but at the same time, she fights so much it makes me wonder if it’s worth it.
Kat and I went out Thursday to give blood. I made it in, but she didn’t. I have to remember to feed her greens and beef before donating. Not surprisingly, considering her fashion sense, they all know her at our local drive.

This past weekend I went to the Mensa Regional Gathering in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  I was pleased when the forecast predicted snow Saturday, but not Friday or Sunday when I’d be traveling. Sadly, it DID snow on Sunday, and the hoses that are supposed to deliver fluid to my windshield washer didn’t work, so it was quite annoying on the drive home. The Winkles have taken care of that for me, so it may feel free to snow again if it feels the need.
On the other hand, I’m thrilled to report that taking my bilberry and Lutein pills faithfully appears to have had the desired effect, and my night vision has returned. Not being able to drive myself to anything where I’d have to return after dark was quite restrictive, and I feel as though a whole world of options has opened up again. Pilots used to eat bilberry jam to help their night vision back in World War II; Lutein is known to help against macular degeneration, and cataracts. As with any nutrient, it’s going to work best where there’s a specific need, but I believe it has helped me. Foods high in lutein include nasturtium flowers, kale, dandelion, turnip greens, spinach, chard, brocolli, and raw peas. What a lovely excuse to plant and eat lots of nasturtium this summer.
This year they weren’t able to give me a room, but Anjuli/Elizabeth offered to let me sleep on her floor. Then Moose/David had more space in his room, so I ended up staying there. With the lovely air mattress, it was quite comfortable, but I carry it and the inflator and bedding in a suitcase rather than other bundles. (I love suitcases with wheels!) Sadly, my bedding is bulky, so it takes a huge suitcase, while my clothing fits in an overnight bag. Oh well.
This group of Mensans loves the paranormal stuff. This is, I think, the 6th year they’ve asked me back, and they also had a wonderful workshop on science and ghost hunting (which mostly said- yes, there are things we can’t explain, but most of the stuff you see on shows is not evidence of hauntings), and one on another alternate energy healing system. (now where is that program…‽)
Another presentation was on the Burning Man. Not surprisingly, it was done by someone who’s been and loves the experience. It is apparently a bunch of artists, and they have a “no impact” policy, so afterwards their crews pick up every dropped sequin or feather, as well as all the ashes from the things that are burned. I’d like to see it once, but I’m into comfort, and somewhere where it goes from below 40º at night to over 100º during the day and you have to bring in all your own water sounds like an “extreme” version of camping. Also, we couldn’t subsidize it with selling as they have a “no cash” economy. It’s all supposed to be gift exchange. Seems to me like water would be money out there.
I saw a film called (something like) The Emperor is Wearing No Clothes and it’s not Pretty, about environmental degradation, climate change and the social issues that are entwined with it. There was another presentation on Mayan pictographs that I missed (the downside of speaking). I did RunValdr and Chocolate casting- which didn’t go as well as it did last year, but was still fun.
Their Theme this year was “We survived the Mayan Apocalypse in 2012, let’s party like it’s 2013!” And boy, do they party!
They had a music room where I heard a weird instrument playing everything from the Get Smart theme to the cantina music from Star Wars through the air-wall during my casting workshop. There was a “sock hop” with 50s music Saturday night, and music Friday as well. (One of the ladies from the RunValdr presentation was bemoaning that her knee was going to prevent her from dancing, so I threw some runes at it, and she was able to dance the night away. Her next problem was that she needed someone to dance with, so I went with her. After one set, I went up to the movie room to rest!) The movie room had lots of zombie and apocalypse movies, Zombieland, Sean of the Dead, The Hunger Games,…. I was actually proud of myself because when the music started most of us fled to the hall outside because it was at the usual decibel level that hurts. We were outside commiserating, when I realized they might not know, and yes, when I asked they turned the sound down, and we all came back and danced. So I was proud of my contribution. If you don’t tell them, how will they know what you want? There was a game room where people played everything from Catan to Cribbage all day and all night.
I think a lot of the partying came from the food. They started at 8 with waffles and fruit and pastries, and had cold cuts and salads for lunch, a taco and chili dinner Friday, and a Greek dinner on Saturday, but if Dinner was at 7, desserts came out at 8, then the bar opened and you could get margarita’s or mudslides or whatever, sundaes, a “mexican chocolate extravaganza” with fudge and cheesecake and cake and brownies and more, at 11 there was shrimp and champagne, then at midnight hotdogs with all the usual fixings. OMG! So much food! Anjuli was doing it, and I am full of admiration for her organization. There were also several big buckets in a row they kept full of ice and drinks- various sodas, assorted beers, hard lemonade, also juice and water. There was a wine table, and a coffee and tea table, and always baskets of snacks- popcorn and chips and goldfish and candy on the tables in the game room and hospitality area. When these Mensans party, they party!
The festivities were mostly Friday and Saturday. Sunday they had an awards ceremony and pack up. After I got my stuff to the van, I helped wash dishes and watch the packing up. As you might guess, they have a lot of gear, from coffee urns and crock pots to platters and sterno serving trays. Apparently that and the huge array of games all lives in a trailer. Lots of stuff. Leftover food mostly was directed for a party for the volunteers, but I got a tray of leftover salad (which wouldn’t keep), some pilaf, and orange sections, and cereal because I was helping clean up.
Sadly I can share no pictures. My birthday camera is broken- already. I plugged it into the computer, and the computer said to turn the camera on, which I did, extending the lens. This tipped it up, and off the computer desk, and now the lens won’t go in again. Thank goodness I have registered the warrantee. Now to enter the morass of putting in a claim. I am SO not looking forward to that! Willow had suggested that I should get the camera that was sturdier, but among the sturdiness was “can be used underwater” which I didn’t think I’d need, and this one had twice the zooming, so I thought it would be good for getting pictures of things I was farther away from. The other one didn’t “stick its nose out”- as I think of the extending lens, that’s probably its big protection against damage when dropped. I would have thought that it would withstand falling two feet. Oh well. (I guess next time I’ll give Willow’s advice more weight.)

While I was up at Mensa the girls went up to Manchester where there was a one day anime con that they didn’t get into the Artists’ Alley but their friends did, so they could just be support crew and wear Cosplay. Willow was wearing Fiona from Adventure Time. Kat wore her Mary outfit from Kingdom Hospital. She says that for once in her life she was as tired as she looked. When Willow went for the rave, Kat had a lie-down in the corner (playing Dr. Who doing his out of body thing.) The highlight of the day was going to a restaurant with the Zodi-ack! girls after it closed. Sadly Kat forgot her camera as well, which was too bad. This was a fund raiser for a local high school, which I think is neat.

Obviously I didn’t read much over the weekend, although I did get to listen to several hours of my Greece and Rome course on the trip. I’ve been reading another Lindsey Davis book Saturnalia. This one is clearly a send up of the modern Christmas holidays and dealing with relatives and unwanted socializing, but her research is generally good, and her writing rings true for me. I’m
Monday I went over to Megan and Dennis’ house and watched Nightwatching with Megan. Somehow we’d never both been free at the same time and had not gotten over to each other’s houses to exchange Christmas presents, so I took them along. This year Willow had made Dennis, (the biggest OZ fan in the universe) a blanket with a flying monkey. He loved it.

Nightwatching is a movie about Rembrant’s big group portrait of a militia in Holland. The movie played like many mysteries, where you find out gradually the details of something awful that happened. The “crime” in this case was when one of the members got killed during the period he was painting the Nightwatch. It seems that as he was painting he found out things he didn’t like about the guys he was painting and put little symbolic hints about his theories into the painting. Presumably these were symbolic enough, and he was talented enough that he got away with it. Certainly it makes the painting a lot more interesting to look at. The movie was also fascinating to look at- they copied the lighting and many of the images of Rembrant’s paintings in the scenes. This made it often dark- but, then, so was the plot, and I had a bit of a hard time keeping track of the many characters they were trying to cover. I’m sure it would have worked better as a book, but then you wouldn’t have had the wonderful images. As with many modern movies, it showed a lot more sex than I had any wish to see.
Other than that I’m rewatching I, Claudius, (also too much sex), and All Creatures Great and Small, which is wonderful.
And that’s about it. I had a wonderful show tonight on the New Normal. Trish continues to try to get everything settled about Dad’s estate. Lord knows how long it’s going to take, but we are talking about trying to get the house on the market by May.
Tomorrow John will be 29, which appalls me in many ways. We’re planning on going down to the Science Museum to celebrate.
Tchipakkan
quotes from Washington:
“Bad seed is a robbery of the worst kind: for your pocket-book not only suffers by it, but your preparations are lost and a season passes away unimproved.”
“My observation is that whenever one person is found adequate to the discharge of a duty… it is worse executed by two persons, and scarcely done at all if three or more are employed therein.”
“Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples’ liberty’s teeth.”
“Experience teaches us that it is much easier to prevent an enemy from posting themselves than it is to dislodge them after they have got possession.”
“Some day, following the example of the United States of America, there will be a United States of Europe.”
George Washington