Wherein Brenda keeps you up to date on her exciting life in the weeks of April 5 - 13th in the year of Our Lord and Lady 2001.

I don't believe that Friday the 13th is an unlucky day.  It's always been a fine day, and in all my years of anticipating something untoward, nothing bad has ever happened.  Today started out with a joke from Gwen Zak that included a wonderful image I just have to share.

"It flies in the face like a drunken sparrow."

Great image!  (I'm into sharing.  Be thankful I started this web site long after reading Mark Helprin's Winter's Tale..." )

And I got my first contribution to the Food and Drink file from my buddy Margaret Middleton.  She sent along her recipe for Coffee Cup Cobblers that I've already tested, tasted, and I'm telling you!... meets my criteria for fine food: quick, easy, fun and good!

Rob Wynne (Interfilk guest to OVFF 2002) popped up to my office last night after the regular Thursday night D&D and made the gentle suggestion that I add "Rise Up Singing" chord lines for the lyric sheets I'm posting on this site.  Good idea, and easy enough to do while I still have the music sitting out on my desk.  I knocked out a few last night, marking them on the My Lyrics menu with asterixes.

I've added a couple of bodhrán pages to the music section of this web site; one on the care of bodhráns, and another of Back to the top

Spent part of the morning working on the WorlDream Quilt Project.  Margaret Middleton came up with a lovely idea to assist Steve MacDonald in his mission to visit every filk con in the world and record every filker singing Many Hearts, One Voice and the song of their con's choice.  She got a hold of one of the WorlDream T-shirts and turned the pretty graphic into a quilt block.  She has added a border for GAFilk and passed it off to me.  I'm adding the border for Conthirteena and passing it back to Margaret.  She's adding a border for Consonance and handing it over to Gretchen Roper for the FilkOntario border.   Persis Thorndike has volunteered to do a border for MassFilk and another for Interfilk, so by the time we get finished with this quilt at OVFF, it's going to be massive!  After that, we're still looking for suck.. I mean volunteers to add borders for the other filk cons.  If there are no takers, it will fall back on Margaret and me.

Alison Durno of Urban Tapestry e-mailed me today volunteering to do some cross-stitched blocks, as has Judith Hayman and Heather Borean.  I started taking money and contact info for the raffle at FKO and the response was good.  The incomparable Teddy has offered to take monies and info in the UK for the folks who attended Conthirteena (bless you, Teddy!)  Rafe Culpin put an announcement on the WIGGLE website for the project and will tack it on the bulletin board at the next WIGGLE Sing.  All this quilty activity... and it dawned on me that I'd better get busy and finish my portion of the quilt so I can hand it back to Margaret.

One of the nicest aspects of telecommuting is that, while I'm waiting for files to upload or download, I can be doing other things... like lap quilting, or figuring out chord patterns, or any number of things.  I got a good chunk done today.  One more row, and it's off to the post office. Back to the top

It was almost 89°F today!.  I've had to close up all the windows and turn on the air conditioning, something I should have done before the entire house was covered in pine pollen.  Too late now.  It's rests like a fine yellow-green silt over every horizontal surface.  The heat became so sultry that I opted to lay down for a nap during my lunch hour, and I still felt tired.  My son Aaron took a nap when he got home from school.  (It was so funny.  He gets very disoriented when he wakes up.  He stumbled down to the kitchen with me behind him asking him what he'd like for dinner. "It's too early to think about dinner, Mom," he says and proceeds to open the cabinet with the breakfast cereal in it.  "I gotta go to school," he says.  "Honey, it's 7:30.... PM, not AM."

Something really wonderful happened today.  The phone rang, and when I answered it, there was an unfamiliar voice on the other end.  "Brenda, do you know who this is?"  At first I didn't, and then I remembered being told to expect a call sometime soon.  The voice on the other end of the phone belonged to Mike Kelly, the guy I had such a schoolgirl crush on all through junior and senior high.  We've been able to contact each other through the e-mails being sent to organize our 30th High School reunion. (Oak Harbor High School, Oak Harbor, Washington, Class of '71.)

It's just too rich.  Here we are, two people who barely said 10 sentences to each other as teenagers, chatting away like long lost pals.  It was so good to finally be at a place where those silly inhibitions are well behind us.  We caught up some on old friends, old times, our families, and such.  I'm thrilled that there will be someone at the reunion this August who was such an important part of my past and is now a part of my present.

I spent the rest of the night entering lyrics in this web site.  I've barely scratched the surface, but if I do a few every day, it will get there. Back to the top

Long day at work when I'd rather be outside in the sunshine.  We've had three days of 80°F weather already, and it's only April.  Gads, it's going to be a scorcher of a summer.

So, of course, what do folks want for supper?  The World's Greatest Lasagna.  I didn't even get back from the store with the ingredients until 7:30pm, so we didn't eat until after 9:00. But it was good.  Watched the Blues Brothers with Kate and Wes (who'd come over to pick up their wedding present from Grandma and Grandpa Craven - a beautiful king-sized quilt!)  And topped it all off with deep dish apple pie, cheddar cheese, and vanilla ice cream.! Back to the top

Bill's dad drove up from Florida to spend a couple of days with us on his way to a job in North Carolina.  He and Bill took the opportunity to hit the computer stores, and we now have a very nice cherry wood cabinet to hold Bill's computer in the music room.  I love it when the boys get together and build stuff.  My project for the day was cleaning the back porch.  It hadn't been cleaned since the New Year's Eve party, and I really wanted to be able to enjoy sitting out there now that the weather is so cool.  Of course, as soon as I got it all nice and comfy, the pine trees decided to burst with pollen, so everything is covered in yellow green dust.

Then I took off for Lady D's to teach the Ritual I class for the Acorns along with Coventina.  This is one of my favorite classes, and I'm always so delighted to see the rituals the students come up with as their homework.

When I got home, Aaron was scrubbing the grill and I was sent off to the store for fixins' to go with the filet mignon we got as bonus on the last order of Meat from Colorado Prime.  Potatoes, sweet potatoes, grilled onions with wine, snap beans with jowl bacon.  Way much food!  But it was sooooo good!

We watched Get Shorty, and as always, I fell asleep in the middle.  I really like that film but I've only been able to watch it all the way through once without dozing off. Back to the top

I went out to the Oak Spring property bright and early.  The weather was fine, nearly 80°.  I weeded the driveway and discovered a colony of ants that thought our mailbox would make a fine nursery.  Wrong!

It was a great day to determine true east in the circle area, so I used our nearly equinox-on sunshine to take some reckonings.  The elder bush in the western side of the circle faces straight east and I marked the spot with a stone.  I'd stopped by Pike's Nursery on my way there to grab a few plants: lavender, rosemary, thyme (no sage... I don't want this to be a Simon and Garfunkle garden), some verbena, marigolds, and Spanish heather.  These I planted in the flower bed by the world's most expensive shed.  One of the gladiolus bulbs blessed at Bear's moon is poking its little head up, so we are going to have a fine crop o' flowers there.

Then L. Mikiel came by around 11:00 and brought terrible news.  Gwyddion's brother Robert committed suicide last night.  Robert was a friend of the House since he got out of prison, but his life's been a constant struggle with alcoholism.  He made progress in inches, only to slide back yards.  Every time things seemed to be turning around for him, he'd fall back into old habits and risk returning to prison for ... what?  A drink.  One sip, and he'd tumble out of control.

But this was a really good man.  He had a sweet and gentle nature.  He spent a lot of time helping us build the world's most expensive shed, leveling the circle, drilling through the Fingernail of God.  He didn't have to.  He just liked helping out.  And then, when everything looked like he was going to make it, he fell off the wagon.... hard.  This last bout of depression ended his life.

I called Raven and Gwyddion in Savannah.  The family is reeling in shock and pain.  Funeral arrangements are being made.  L.. Derw and Numina lead ritual  tonight.  We'll send our circle's light and energy to Gwyddion and to his family, and pray that the next time Robert comes around he has a happier lot. Back to the top

Today is cleaning day.  The crew shows up at 9:30 and whirlwinds through my house doing all the things neither Bill nor I have the time or inclination to do anymore.  We consider this an investment in our sanity.  It takes these two talent professionals just 2 hours to do 2 weeks of work.  Our house is cleaner than it's ever been, and its gotten easier and easier for me to tackle other areas of the house that have lain neglected for years.  Pictures are going up on long bare walls.  Closets are getting cleaned and cupboards weeded.  Whole rooms are being transforming into useful, productive areas.  It's... magical... really magical.  And well worth the $80 it costs every two weeks for this service.

Before we hired HT Cleaning, we were lucky to strip the beds once every couple of months.  Now its a regular occurrence.  My youngest son Aaron, who first rebelled at the idea of people cleaning his room, now hops to and has tackled the lost regions under his bed.  He virtually springs to the closet to find the next set of sheets and pillow cases.  This, folks, is absolutely amazing!

And tonight.... we are going to a movie.  (...gasp!)  This doesn't happen very often either, but enough people whose opinion we trust are dying to talk to us about Oh Brother, Where Art Thou.  Our not seeing it when the show first came out has stopped more conversations dead in their tracks and created uncomfortable pauses and frustration.  So, to appease our dear friends, we are willing to accept their challenges.

And we WILL enjoy ourselves.  We will order popcorn with melted butter-flavored soy bean concentrate (though both of our sons who worked in movie theatres have told us never, never to put that stuff in our mouths.  "It's gross, Mom!")  I will order a bag of Red Twizzlers™.  Bill will either get Sweet Tarts™ or Milk Duds™ or Hot Tamales™. (He's not as rooted in tradition as I in this ritual.)  And maybe we'll splurge and split a Cherry Coke™.

It's always difficult going to movies.  I was a Drama major with a Playwriting emphasis in college, and Bill... well, he's just Bill.  I count the scenes and find the plot points and note the crucial non-character-revealing sentences that tell me how the picture is going to end versus the red herrings that just piss me off (all of this critiquing being done entirely mentally lest I bother the innocent viewers around me.)  Bill does the same, though in his practiced stage whisper.  And when the movie is all over, we offer our "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" before making it halfway out of the theatre.

I've learned over the years that there are some movies I just should go to alone.  Titanic was one of those that nearly sent Bill to sleep on the sofa.  The Matrix is still guaranteed to set off vehement lectures on "What's Wrong With Society Today".  Tonight's feature presentation is based on a literary classic, so it's up in the air over the out come.

I'll let you know the verdict.  (The suspense is just killing you; I can tell.)

We liked it.  The Homeric characters were easily identifiable and remained true, but I found myself held by how the interpretation would travel from here to there and back again. 
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I'm determined to start keeping track of the comings and goings in the realm of Bedlam House.  The idea to do this page came straight from our Tim's sweetie, Annie Walker.  I've always been terrible at keeping diaries, but this feels like it will be relatively easy.  And the act of writing.... writing anything... will be good for me.  I'm finally getting back into the swing of fiction writing, and I've got 8 pages of a fantasy short story in the hopper.  I'm spending the hour before I start work and the hour I grant myself for lunch adding just a little bit more every day.

Today my heart goes out to my dear friend Catherine who lost her sweet kitty, Bowman, this week.  It always amazes me, and it really shouldn't, how closely our lives are entwined with our animal companions.  Their short little life spans allow death to touch us frequently, and we sometimes feel guilty for grieving over an animal.  But why should that be so?  They love us.  We love them.  They're gone and their absence leaves an empty spot in our lives.  I've felt the pain of family, friends, and animals; the initial stab in the heart is just as strong for all three.

Aaron's been home all week for Spring Break, so there's been a few of his friends here during the day.  The D&D group meets in our Dungeon tonight, so I'll have more free time to create.  I LIKE it when the house is full of people.

Rob Wynne and Kim stopped by after the game to congratulate Bill and me on being inducted into the Filk Hall of Fame.  The award was quite one of the nicest things that's happened to either of us.  I really haven't touched ground since returning from FilkOntario, a truly delightful filk con in Toronto, Ontario, Canada-eh.  The sheer avalanche of work waiting for me after just one day off to arrive at the con early was almost enough to dissuade me from ever going anywhere again.  Almost.

There were so many wonderful folks at FilkOntario.    Urban Tapestry, Tom Jeffers and Dave ClementPhil and Lissa Alcock, Steve MacDonald, Talis Kimberly, Terrance Chua, and .... Sam Baardman!  God, but I haven't seen him in well over five years.  He is still the thoroughly charming, humble, talented hunk he ever was.  It was delightful to see the look on his face when he started to sing Solar Flare and 90% of the room joined him on the chorus.  "Like, wow!  They know my stuff!"  Well.... duh!

Ooh, ooh, ooh, and Kathleen Sloan, my all time favorite shopping buddy and goddess of Interfilk called today with yet another miracle.  She located a Mars Music Store in Salt Lake City that will rent a 3/4 upright bass so that Teresa Gibson Powell doesn't have to play the kazoo when Three Weird Sisters plays Conduit in May!  We were really sweating it, since it would cost over $1000 to get a travel case for the bass (that is only worth $300!) and the other music stores wanted us to rent it for 6 months or nothing doing.  Kathleen, blessings on your angelic li'l head from TWS! Back to the top