Monday, April 03, 2017

Monday morning random

* I'm really hoping what I'm dealing with right now (scratchy throat, itchy ear canals, sneezing, congestion) is bad allergies and not some variant of "con crud" picked up at the Science Fair. Because darnit, if I'm gonna get "con crud," I want to AT LEAST have brought home some toys purchased at a 'vendor's alley' or have had the chance to cosplay....

I am now wondering which of the students who insisted on shaking hands could have been Patient Zero.

(We're not supposed to touch the students other than shaking hands but I tend not to volunteer my hand. I will shake hands if the student extends theirs, but I know some kids are shy and are freaked out by having to shake a random adult's hand. I would have been when I was 13.)

* I did plant my garden Saturday so I suppose it's possible I exposed myself to mold. I knew it was likely to rain Saturday evening into Sunday (and it did; almost an inch and a half). So I ran out to the Lowe's and got some more topsoil (the raised beds seem to lose soil every year; I think it leaks out the bottom) and hoed up the beds and top-dressed them. I planted three rows of green beans (rows are about 4' long) and one of beets (it might be a bit late in the year here for beets, I don't know), and I planted two of nasturtiums because I just like looking at nasturtiums (I know: they are also edible but sometimes those peppery-tasting things don't agree so well with me, and also, IIRC, they are kind of closely related to the mustard family, and I know just about everything in the mustard family I have to eat cooked or else it disagrees with me. They're not IN the mustard family, but I think they are in the Brassicales, which is, ummm... the order? I think that's it)

I also planted a row of lemon basil and one of regular basil. Basil grows well here, it's good on and in things, and if I forget about it and it goes to flowering, the hummingbirds like it. (I might plant more somewhere else. I wonder how it would look in my front flower beds....)

At some point I'm going to buy some hanging baskets for out front (with red flowers for the hummingbirds) and maybe a couple to take the place of my feeders (I don't feed birds during the summer) on the hooks out back.

* I'm reading my way through a big thick book about early settlement of Europe (yes, in between reading chapters of Tom Jones). It's by Barry Cunliffe and is called something like Between the Oceans (the idea being, the Mediterranean sea and the North sea both formed potentially imposing barriers to what is fundamentally the "peninsula" of Europe.

Some stuff is familiar from my other reading in this topic: the importance of the domestication of sheep and horses, the names of cultures that we have given them (Bandkeramik), etc.

It struck me last night, one of the reasons why I read this stuff. I want to try to imagine what it would have been like to live then, in a world so different from my own. (I looked up, at one point, from the book, where they discussed "longhouses" that were about 16 feet across by 100 feet wide, to look at the length of my own bedroom (about 16 feet) to try to visualize what it would have been like....though absent a time machine, we will never really know for sure.

But a darker thought struck me: I wonder if I read this stuff because of the tiny fear I have deep down that "society is doomed" and I want a picture in my head of a people who lived in a world without electricity or plumbing or money or any of those things....just in case, you know, it came to that here and now. (And yes, I know: there'd be mass die-offs and I might even be one, if I couldn't get my allergy or blood-pressure meds). But the idea that you could survive, and even have artwork of a sort (presumably even Neanderthals sang) and perhaps have an okay life, even if a lot of the things we take for granted in the modern world were gone.

(No, I don't want to TRY it. But I also hold out a faint hope that if it happened, it wouldn't be the horrific dystopia that I fear. And yes, at times I do contemplate, "Maybe it wouldn't be such an awful idea to get a flint and steel and learn how to start a fire with it" (because even a good supply of matches wouldn't hold out forever). If a person could get a decent shelter (even the back of a car: my car, the way-back is big enough that you could sleep in it if you put the second seat down), and was able to start a fire for cooking and purifying water and to scare off wild hogs and the like, and if a person had a way of getting food (some plant foods here are edible, there are fish, and if you're really skillful you could probably catch squirrels and I know, at least in theory, how to skin and clean an animal), and there was a source of water that could be made safe to drink through boiling or something....well, a person could survive. It wouldn't be fun, perhaps, but one could survive. And if you're off hiding out in the woods, clothes become less about modesty or display and more about protection from the elements or insects, and things like, ahem, bodily functions....well, I have a shovel and I know how to dig a latrine.  I don't know why I think these things. I suppose it's because I'm a tense person and a worrier and I often feel like if I have detailed plans in place, whatever Bad Thing won't happen - like my tendency to bring printouts of all my reservation information to a motel when I'm traveling, PLUS an extra credit card in case the one I used to make the reservation was declined, PLUS the names of other hotels in the area in case the one lost my reservation and they're full up...I've never had any of that happen but at least I know what I'd do if it did. And I'm not the kind of person who feels like she can pitch a fit to get what she wants, and I have absolutely zero "Do you know who I am" cachet, so....I figure in some kind of bad situation I'll be left to my own devices)

* Then again, I suppose the fact that I know what a flint and steel is, and I know (at least in theory) where you have to cut to safely remove the internal organs of a rabbit or squirrel you have trapped, probably puts me head-and-shoulders above many city dwellers in survival skills. (What can I say? I read "My Side of the Mountain" too many times as a kid, and I went through a phase of reading back-to-the-land books because I had a fantasy of telling the rest of the world to go pound sand and running off to the woods and living off the land - yes, this was when I was about 13 and was at peak hating-other-people stage, but....)

* Though, I don't know. Yes, part of me is "Might be a good idea to learn the really-right way to build a long-lasting fire, might want to obtain a firearm and learn how to hunt" but another part of me is "enjoy what we've got now while we've got it." (The state is broke; some people are once again talking about the idea of regional-uni "consolidations" which I assume - because I'm a pessimist - that I'd be left jobless, because there are better and higher-seniority ecologists at the school up Highway 3 from us).

So yeah: planning a Sherman trip for Saturday. Want to get yarn to make a Keroberos, and also I have decided I probably need more of the mustard colored Vanna's Choice unless I can find a slightly more goldy-orange color, because really, Sunburst is sort of a mustard color (yes, I want to mod the Dr. Whooves pattern and make myself a Sunburst). And I want to go to the Ulta and the bookstore and probably go for barbecue lunch....

I also have some orders on the way. A copy of "Sherlock Knits," which looks interesting even if I make nothing from it (though it looks like there's a good plain cardigan and I can always use good plain cardigan patterns). And a copy of that book about the guy I commented on about a year and a half back who was described as "the last true hermit." (Again: the idea of running away and living more or less off the land, though apparently this guy did break into summer houses, which is how he got found out). I wound up having to order it used from a UK site, to get the paperback version (interesting; it seems only the hardback is available new here?)

I also ordered "The Gastronomical Me" (yes, I already have a copy, but this is a "permanent" - i.e., hardback - copy) and a copy of the writings of St. Julian of Norwich (she is the one who wrote that "all shall be well, and all shall be well..." statement that I try to keep as a touchstone) from Folio Society.  My credit-card issuer actually called me to make sure my card hadn't been stolen over this, because Folio is in the UK....they do this Every. Time. I order something from them not-online. (I know, I know: but Gastronomical Me wasn't up on the website yet). I understand why they do it but really? If they have all the detailed "intelligence software" we're led to believe exists, I would think it could go, "Oh. Books from the UK." or "Oh. Yarn from a European seller" on my account and then go "Yeah, this is certainly her purchase" given the history of my OTHER purchases.

Well, that explains why that card was declined Thursday afternoon when I tried to use it to pay for the snacks for AAUW. I thought it was just the cardreader at Wal-mart was being stupid (and then had a moment of fear: could it have a skimmer on it? But it was at a manned check-out station, so I would HOPE not)

And....dun dun dun....another Vintage Pony. This one is Wave Runner, yet another Twice as Fancy (I cannot explain why, but I have particular love for that variant). She's a deep pink with "beachy" symbols. And apparently has a photo-reactive stripe in her hair that changes color (and according to the seller, it still works).

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