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Jun. 29th, 2015 @ 06:52 am There's a star on the ceiling of the dining room
Yesterday was cold and wet and the hedge caught a blue star traveling along the ground. I don't know where it was going, but when I saw the metallic sky blue glinting near the roots, I went to investigated and finished by bringing it in. I put it in the boot box, next to the recycling bins, and it seemed happy to lie there; exhausted by its journeying; battling the winds, battered by beating rains.

I forgot it and went about my business.

At dinner time, my son looked up and stopped to stare. "Why is there are star on the ceiling?" he asked. I insisted that there was not, that I had put it in the box. But I was wrong. There was ... and is ... a star on the ceiling of the dining room. It must have recovered its strength and risen to reclaim the heights.

I wonder how long it will stay?
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dialann, siud is seo
Jun. 24th, 2015 @ 06:40 pm Update from the Valley
There is a new business opening! A moving company... which sounds like a rather mundane endeavour considering ... well, it's a family business, you see, a family of GIANTS.

The Gentle Giant Moving Company, they're calling it. They've taken an empty warehouse as their place of business; started moving in today. Mother, Father, three sons and a daughter.

As is usual for the race, mother and daughter are fairly small, somewhat between six and seven feet tall. One son is also fairly short, not much over nine feet in height, probably hasn't had his full growth yet; but father and the other two ... quite what you'd expect.

Jonah met the daughter a few weeks back when she was in the Village taking care of details for their move in. Her name is Corinne, and he says she is 'all right'. I am in an itch to know exactly HOW they will manage their moving when Father and two sons are far to large to fit into most houses. Will they take the roof off, do you suppose, like some dollhouses, to take furniture and whatnot out? Or will the smaller members of the family do the inside stuff and the larger the out? I am almost tempted to hire them just to find out!
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Bernard the Elf
Jun. 22nd, 2015 @ 05:24 pm It's been a while ...
My beloved is experiencing bouts of vertigo, so I am serving as his co-pilot in the daily commute to the office and back. The problem is that I'm also working on a doll outfit - Nellie Bly's traveling costume (circa 1890s), to be precise. This is what I have accomplished so far ...

That's Emma modeling the outfit - which consists of a white 'shirtwaist' (dress shirt) that you can't see and a 6 gore skirt and bodice in a blue plaid flannel. Emma is a Springfield doll, an inexpensive alternative to American Girl dolls. She stands half an inch shorter than the AG dolls. Unfortunately, the outfit is intended for Stella, a Madame Alexander doll which is half an inch bigger than AG. Do the math and you'll understand that Emma is an inch smaller than Stella and to aggravate the problem, the bodice is half a size too small for Emma herself.

I adjusted the pattern, but apparently by too much so now the bodice is *yards* too big for Nikita, my Mde Alexander doll who has been impressed into service as model.

I'm sitting at the office, having finished the book I brought with and not feeling like starting up anything Gaelic, sort of wistful for the dress-making. Which I suppose is why I've decided to read the book "An Old Fashioned Girl". It was published in 1870 - the year that this style of bustle dress was fashionable -
... so it seems to be quieting my antsy-ness.

You might notice that Emma's feet are bare - I'm pleased that I found a source for the sort of plain work-man-like brown brogans that are suitable for everyday wear. It's pretty easy to find sneakers for the 18 inch doll, even though the majority of shoes available for sale are rather, well, frivolous. Pink or silver or oddly ornamented with strange bows or rhinestones. Or else clogs or sandals. I also found some two-toned dress bootes in white and black. (http://www.sew-dolling.com/dolling_footwear.htm)
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crafts, cooking, designs
Jun. 7th, 2015 @ 11:05 am recipes - flour proportions
1/2 cp whole wheat flour
1/2 cp white flour
1/3 cp oat flour
1/3 cp barley flour
1/3 cp almond flour

for bread double amounts of wheat flour and add
1/3 cp rye flour
1/4 cp rolled oats
use whole wheat flour for kneading

for cookies add
1/3 cp almond meal
{1/4 cp rolled oats for B}
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Bernard the Elf
Jun. 2nd, 2015 @ 06:30 pm Gold-plated misogynist? Not exactly.
According to this article, someone called Robert Heinlein a "gold-plated misogynist" and one of his fans jumped to defend him. I will agree that the description is not accurate, but even so ...

I like Robert Heinlein; the first science fiction book I checked was by him - The Star Beast, but I already knew I liked his writing because I used to ... umm ... "borrow" (I always put it back in the same place, that counts as borrowing, right?) my brother's copy of Boy's Life in order to read his boy scout short stories.

However, his depiction of women made me uncomfortable.

He minimized them in his youth fiction, which was actually all right. I didn't mind that. But he idealized them in his adult books and pretty much fantasized them in his later novels.

There's a point wherein the author of the article (Cedar Sanderson) claims that that woman who cast the aspersions on RAH said that she was quoting something Isaac Asimov had said in his autobiography. Sanderson snorts (metaphorically) at the irony of the accusation from that source because, apparently, Mr. Asimov had once stated that male fans didn’t want females invading their space. In his opinion, this means that Isaac Asimov MUST be more of a misogynist than Robert Heinlein.

Ummm... No.

As a woman who has been reading science fiction since 1968 (the year I was allowed to start checking books out of the main stacks in my elementary school), I have to say that my experience is that most male fans don't want females invading their space.

In 1973, one of my friends (male) told me I shouldn't be reading a specific book because, he said, "girls don't read science fiction." Ironically, the book was by Andre (aka Alice) Norton and ... it was one of her witch world books - which, to be fair, I didn't know. I thought it was SF (I never cared for the witch world books). That was the last time he and I walked home together.

So, it was true when Isaac Asimov started writing science fiction, it was true when I was reading it and, as the recent GamerGate debacle indicates, it's true now.

Isaac Asimov created one of the most believable, most capable, most INTIMIDATING female characters in science fiction - in my opinion, that is. Susan Calvin. Unfortunately, she probably turned more girls off science than otherwise, but part of that is because ... well, she pretty obviously has Asperger's syndrome, which means that she is socially awkward, single-minded, obscessive and dedicated to her professional aims. Considering the times, I suspect that he was drawing her from his observations of women who had succeeded in the sciences; that those are the qualities needed.

In comparison, and in my opinion, Robert Heinlein's female characters are more akin to the avatars of many computer games. They are over-intelligent, over-qualified and over-sexualized. The science fiction equivalent of Barbie, in a way.

So, to recapitulate, I like Robert Heinlein's early works. I respect his works and writing; but I don't like the way he wrote women. I much prefer Susan Calvin and Asimov's few other female characters; they're more honest. More real.

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Bernard the Elf
May. 23rd, 2015 @ 11:13 am Family
Just found out that another of my very conservative, very "christian" relatives has unfriended me on Facebook. I feel hurt and saddened by this additional evidence of why our country is self-destructing. Half of it has no interest in understanding the views of the other and condemns them for what they think that half must be saying.

And the other half is so worried about fostering understanding that they get drawn into picayune arguments of the "when did you stop beating your wife" variety. Liberals are liberals because we try to see all sides of an argument. It makes us seem wishy-washy and it leaves us open to trying to explain things that ...

Well, from my admittedly liberal point of view, it apears to me that conservatives view all debate and discussion as hostile attacks because they use those to attack with hostility. Since some of my conservative family members aren't interested in explaining themselves without using the threat of hell-fire, I have no way of correcting that perception. And frankly, conservative Republicans do all they can to foster it.

I am hurt. I am saddened and ... I really wish they would stop calling themselves "christian" when they predominately use passages from the Old Testament to support positions that Jesus of Nazareth (as presented by the Gospels of the New Testament) would NEVER have espoused.
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dialann, siud is seo
May. 20th, 2015 @ 01:47 pm Distractions
So ... This morning I started typing Matthew 15 (or Mata XV) into the text file and I found a word that I didn't quite understand. While searching for that word in Dwelly's Illustrated Gaelic-English Dictionary (aka Dwelly) I found another word - adhar-iùil - which means aeromancy. Aeromancy - the art of divination by studying the sky. (Strictly speaking adhar-iùil is a compound noun formed by adhar - sky and iùl - guidance; which makes it 'sky guidance').

That intrigued me so I did a search for any words containing the string -mancy.
aeromancy, the art of divining by the air
adhar-eòlas (nm) & adhar-gheasachd (nf) & adhar-iùl, adhar-iùil (nf)

arithmancy - uibhir-fhaisneachd (nf)

augury, foretelling based on the flight of birds {aka ornithomancy} - eun-draoidheachd (nf) invar

chiromancy (palmistry) - deàrnadaireachd (nf) invar & làmh-dhraoidheachd (nf)

geomancy, the art of divining by figures - ceadhraoidheachd (nf)

hydromancy - idearmanachd (nf)

lithomancy - clach-fhàisneachd (nf invar)

necromancy - aog-dhruidheachd (nf) & marbh-dhraoidheachd (nf) - {these two seem to refer to raising the dead}
taracadaireachd (nf) & taracantachd (nf invar) - {examining related words leads me to think these are more along the lines of a medium or spiritualist}

ornithomancy, divination based on the flight of birds (aka augury) - eun-draoidheachd (nf invar)

palmistry (aka chiromancy) - deàrnadaireachd (nf invar) & làmh-dhraoidheachd (nf)

pyromancy - breò-dhruidheachd (nf)

So then I was left with questions. Aeromancy? Hydromancy? Lithomancy? Geomancy? Pyromancy was obviously divination in fire. Arithomancy made me think of the Kabbala (haven't checked that assumption yet, though). So I went searching and I found a thesaurus ... an old thesaurus. And instead of working on An Soisgeul a rèir Mata, I found myself typing out lists of different magical means of committing prophecy. And I found myself very amused.

Myomancy - divination by mice

My first thought was Ursula Vernon - an imagining of what kind of picture she would produce with this - but since she's produced hare and badger and whatnot wizards, that's not really much of a stretch.

Then I considered Seanan McGuire's aeslin mice (I adore the aeslin mice).

FINALLY, I bethought to myself of Mickey Mouse as the Sorcerer's Apprentice. .... to be fair, no, I didn't actually think of it - the image came up in an image search.

fwiw, lithomancy is the art of divination via the casting of stones, often semi-precious thrown on board on which some arcane design has been drawn, usually 13 stones in all. Hydromancy refers to divinationby water (duh!), specifically analysis of the patterns of water, often as a result of dropping three stones in a still pool or bowl. Geomancy is divination based on examination of the shapes formed by dropping a handful of sand, or pebbles or ... or specific thinkgs used for the practice. ... Sounds a bit like pick-up sticks.
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Bernard the Elf
May. 12th, 2015 @ 12:40 pm "I will have mercy and not sacrifice"
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The first time I encountered this phrase, I thought it was snark, that Jesus was taunting the Pharisees because they couldn't understand what he was saying.

Matthew 9:13 "But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy and not sacrifice: For I am not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentence." (Ach imichibh agus fòghlumaibh ciod is ciall da so, Tròcair is àill leam, agus cha'n ìobairt: oir cha d'thàinig mise a ghairm nam fìreanach, ach nam peacach chum aithreachais.)

Today, I came across it again, and in a way that made it plain to me that he was, in fact, quoting something from Scripture.

Matthew 12:7 "But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless." (Agus nam biodh fhios agaibh ciod is ciall da so, Tròcair is àill leam agus cha'n ìobairt, cha dìteadh sibh an dram a ta neò-chiontach.)

So I went looking and found this.

Hosea 6:6 "For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings." (Oir dh'iarr mise tròcair, agus ni h-e ìobairt; agus eòlas Dé ni's mò na iobairtean-loisgte.)

Again and again, Christ Jesus calls on those in power to turn from harsh dogmatic judgement and to show mercy and understanding. That call is embedded in the Lord's Prayer - the iconic prayer of Christianity - in the passage which gives us the warning "forgive us our trespasses as we have forgiven those who trespass against us" (Agus maith dhuinn ar fiacha, amhuil mar a mhaitheas sinne d'ar luchd-fiach.) This same warning appears in Matthew 7:1-2 "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." (Na tugaibh breth, chum nach toirear breth oirbh: oir a réir na breth a bheir sibh, bheirear breth oirbh : agus leis an tomhas le'n tomhais sibh, tomhaisear dhuibh a rìs.)

Again and again, Jesus warns of the dangers of judging harshly, of giving heavy punishments to the transgressions of others, of not showing mercy and understanding. But these statements fall on deaf ears while those who claim to be Christian quote instead from the Old Testement and call for the stoning - figurative or literal - of those who offend them.

Who are these Christians that offenses against THEM should result in punishment? They are demonstrably not holier than those they oppress. They are not God, nor any prophet come to call us to Him. They are very definitely NOT speaking for Christ Jesus.

If any such a person could hear me, I'd advise them to abandon their blinders, forswear the false teachings of those who enable hatred and division and to go back to the source to read the words there without prejudice or preconception.

(I'm including the pertinent Gaelic passages because some of the word choices in the Gaelic translation of the original Greek help me to see biases present in the English of the KJV. Language changes, it's important to understand what was meant when the passage was written and what was meant when the translation was made in order to understand what was said when it was first uttered.)
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Credendo Vides
May. 12th, 2015 @ 10:08 am Remember back in February ...
The morning M had his colonoscopy in Framingham, there was a massive leak flowing down the middle of our street. It didn't cause us any problems leaving (at 0 my God! o'clock a.m.) but when we returned we found the street blocked and all the construction work being done just in front of our house - which made getting back into the driveway rather interesting. I mention this because there are a couple of construction vehicles parked out in front of our house this morning and it looks like they're about to start digging up the road.

I've filled a number of jugs and kettles and thing with water - just in case.

(M is up in bed - I wonder how he expects to sleep through what is coming?)
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dialann, siud is seo
May. 12th, 2015 @ 09:50 am Another Z dream
Last night, as I started up the stairs, I said to my love "Well, guess I'll go to bed, to sleep, perchance to dream. But not about zombies." And I laughed.

This morning I had a dream about ... zombies.

This one was an old black and white movie dream, though. Very civilized, focused on characters and how they deal with the relentless attacks - trying to find a way to stop the "infection" and coordinate the destruction of all the undead. My POV was a man who was in the dream with a woman he was courting/in love with. Naturally, she was bitten. She begged him to kill her before she became a monster - he refused, insisting that they would find a cure before the infection progressed that far.

Scene jump, the man alone, bitter and determined to kill as many of the monsters as it took to keep everyone safe, doing his best to protect a school for geniuses. As zombie dreams go, I much prefer this one to the previous - no gore, no screaming, no toddlers getting munched on, no real personal involvement at all to tell the truth. It was very much like watching an old movie on the telly. As I said, it was even in black and white!
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Bernard the Elf