luscious_purple: Lithuanian map and flag -- "Proud to Be Lithuanian" (lithuanian map and flag)
Once again ... when you have to log into LJ/DW, you know you've been gone a while. But, hey, I've been living my life.

I didn't go to Pennsic again this year. Still not enough money. However, this might have been a good year to miss, as the weather turned out to be brutally hot and humid. Even the King of Atlantia said on Facebook that the weather was the real enemy this Pennsic, not the opposing alliance of SCA kingdoms. Both among my Facebook friends and the denizens of the Pennsic War group on FB, person after person reported that her feet and ankles were all swollen up from the heat. Lots of people packed up and left early. A full day of martial activities was canceled because of the heat -- who wants to risk heat stroke under several layers of metal and padding?

In other news ... I've been having a blast with my Lithuanian dance peeps. On Sunday the 14th we drove up to Frackville, deep in the heart of Pennsylvania coal country, to perform in the town's annual "Lithuanian Days" celebration. It was held in a nearly empty shopping mall that was built in 1980 and hasn't been updated since. I mean, I could imagine myself going with there with both my parents ... and my Dad has been dead since 1982. Both the younger and older dance groups (obviously I'm in the older one!) performed two sets, and then we went for pizza and beer in between them. The (mostly elderly) audience really appreciated our performances. And then on Saturday the 20th, we had a crab feast alongside the Severn River. Let's just say you know it's been an EPIC party when you come home and have to wash the sand off your butt!!! :-)

P.S. Tall Dancer phoned me last Monday and again tonight. In lieu of Internet chatting, he tends to call me while he's driving home from his Monday night dance group.
luscious_purple: Julia, the Maine Coon Cat (Julia)
Happy Birthday, [personal profile] wookiemonster!! I hope you are having a great day full of dancing!!

(Yes, I know that I don't mark too many birthdays on LJ/DW anymore. However, Wookiemonster is still very diligent about everybody else's natal anniversaries, so it's only proper to celebrate his!)
luscious_purple: Baby blasting milk carton with death-ray vision (death-ray baby)
This past weekend was "Dumpster Weekend" in my condo complex. Three or four times a year the condo association puts out a big Dumpster for us to use, over and above the usual trash bins. Since my dishwasher hasn't worked for a few years and is just taking up space, the boy toy got the notion that we should take it out to the Dumpster.

I was a bit skeptical, but the boy toy studied the big orange Home Depot book of home repairs, and I had him talk on the phone with my friend Bill R., the condo king of northeastern Massachusetts. We had to make a couple of runs to Home Depot for tools and supplies. But, finally, we got the darn thing detached and unscrewed and pulled it out from under the counter, and we were happy to find that it actually had a couple of small wheels at the bottom. We put duct tape around the unit so the door wouldn't flop open, and we tried to push the thing on its two wheels toward the Dumpster, but it was awkward and Sunday's weather was stifling (we're under a "heat dome" this week).

So I thought: I have this car, why not use it to lug the dishwasher? So I pulled the car up alongside the sidewalk, but the dishwasher, alas, did not fit into the trunk. Here's how we ended up getting the thing to the Dumpster: I left the trunk open and the boy toy balanced the appliance in the open jaw of the trunk, and I put the car into low gear and crawled at walking speed while he held the dishwasher so it wouldn't fall out. It was a bit awkward, but we got it there. Then we left it on the side of the Dumpster, because by then the boy toy was *so* sweaty and dirty and gross-feeling that he didn't want to heave the thing up the six-foot sides of the Dumpster.

Then the boy toy discovered that the cap that we bought for the remaining hot-water pipe didn't fit. So we left the water to the sink switched off and didn't do the dishes that evening (Sunday). On Monday we went to the local friendly hardware store at the downscale local mall, but the one employee in the store couldn't find what we wanted and seemed to not know a whole lot about plumbing anyway. So I swore that we would go to a REAL plumbing-supply store, even as the sink continued to fill with dirty dishes and utensils.

Yesterday I used the boy toy's computer to look up plumbing-supply stores in Beltsville, because that neighboring town has lots of industrial-type neighborhoods. (I'll explain a moment why I was on his computer.) The first address, which was supposedly right on U.S. Route 1, took us to an empty lot with a chain-link fence around it. The second address took us to a row of small warehouses off the beaten path, where the guy behind the counter knew exactly what we needed and sold it to us for less than $5. Boy toy installed the part, and it felt SO good for both of us to take turns doing all the dishes. Someday I'll get a new dishwasher, but I have a lot of higher priorities.

Anyhow, the reason why I was using the boy toy's computer was that I devoted some time on Monday night and Tuesday morning to download and install Windows 10. Overall, it was pretty painless. I figured I'd better not wait until the last day that the software was free, and no way am I going to pay $119 for what had been free of charge, y'know what I mean?
luscious_purple: Ganked from many people (damn not given)
Wow, barely one post here per week? C'mon, Patty, you CAN do better than that.

Facebook is such a time suck, especially since I want to Read All The Things. Especially the political things. Helps me articulate how much I hate the flaming sack of shit that is the Republican presidential nominee.

I see how some people have figured out how to crosspost from Tumblr to the LJ/DW platform, but I have no plans to do so. These days I look at Tumblr even less often than LJ/DW. Mainly I have a Tumblr account so that I can <3 and repost other people's things that I find interesting.

My Android tablet has been stuck in an "infinite boot loop" for some months now. One of the guys in the Lithuanian dance group saw my mention of the issue on Facebook and pointed me to a website that has some software that can supposedly solve the issue. Technically the software is for the Google Nexus, but my tablet is an Asus-branded clone of a Nexus, so maybe it will work. We shall see.

Forty-seven years ago tonight I was watching the Apollo 11 moonwalk. Well, OK, I dozed off around this time. I was young and wasn't used to staying up so late....
luscious_purple: Lithuanian map and flag -- "Proud to Be Lithuanian" (lithuanian map and flag)
Why, yes, I *know* I haven't written for a few weeks. Because ... Svente! That's the Lithuanian word for "festival." Last weekend was the big Lithuanian folk dance festival up in Baltimore, also known as Šokių Šventė 2016. I haven't been writing much about my participation in the Lithuanian folk dance group since last October, but it's been building to a crescendo ... and, finally, an awesome festival.

Oh, gosh, I could go on and on about how wonderful that festival was, even though it took me a day to get over it (I am getting so OLD). Truly awful national news this week, though, and I need to get up early in the morning for Storvik Novice Tourney and Baronial Investiture -- only my third SCA event of 2016. I feel so out of practice....

Roots

Jun. 2nd, 2016 11:56 pm
luscious_purple: scribal blot (scribal icon)
Just finished watching the four-night remake of Roots on the History Channel. Extremely powerful. My head is spinning.....
luscious_purple: Paint Branch UU Chalice (Paint Branch Chalice)
Cut for potential triggers... )

I'm not sure what is going to come out of the man's death, besides people leaving mementos at the base of the Mother and Child statue. Perhaps a memorial fund that would help people who are down and out on their financial luck would be most fitting.
luscious_purple: Julia, the Maine Coon Cat (Julia)
JULIA'S SIDE:

Oh my Ceiling Cat!! My litter boxes have been out of their regular places for days!! I don't know how to count that many days!! The humans have been going in and out of the place where the pee and poop is supposed to go and making all sorts of funny LOUD noises!! Sometimes Daddy yells a lot! There is this loud RRRRRRR sound! Yesterday Mommy was in there for a long time with the doors closed and when she came out it smelled funny! Not pee and not poop!! I want to pee in the right place again!!

MY SIDE:

After 16 years of living with bathroom wallpaper that I didn't choose and I never really liked, I am finally changing the place! It has been a somewhat challenging project. In some places the wallpaper came off easily, and in other places it didn't. (We used a product called "W.P. Chomp [brand] World's Best Wallpaper Stripper." I kid you not.) Then we went through multiple rounds of spackling and sanding. There were plenty of old dings and divots and holes where towel racks used to be, and also places where the drywall had sort of rotted out under the wallpaper. Yesterday I finally started applying paint to the walls. I hope we will get the ceiling, trim and doors done today.

It won't be perfect -- probably the only way to get "perfection" in this bathroom would have been to get a contractor to strip everything down to the studs and construct a brand-new bathroom from scratch. But at least I will feel as if I have accomplished some sort of home improvement, despite my limited budget. :-)
luscious_purple: Paint Branch UU Chalice (Paint Branch Chalice)
It's just after midnight, so that day that was the 30th anniversary of the Challenger disaster is over now. Of course it weighed heavily on my mind.

I believe I've written about it on LJ in past years. I just said this on FB:

That morning I was between jobs (story of my life) and watching the live coverage on the Manchester (NH) ABC affiliate, which sometimes came in better for me than the Boston station, which wasn't covering the launch anyway. When I realized what had happened, ice went through my veins. Nine months earlier, I had watched a Challenger launch in person from the press area at KSC, and I had decided that Challenger would always be my favorite shuttle. Once the crew was confirmed gone, I felt as if I would never be happy again. RIP.

Other than that, I had a decent day. I talked with my editor about my next feature article. The boy toy and I went to the Riverdale Park farmers' market, which is indoors during the winter. Then I went to water aerobics, which I'd been missing for a bit (can't go swimming when the pool is closed due to Snowzilla).

Tomorrow (or today, since it's after midnight) I'm going to see Bruce Springsteen again at the Verizon Center. Go me! Then on Saturday I am finally going to an SCA event again. I haven't been to a single one since War of the Wings last October.
luscious_purple: Daily News: Mitt Hits the Fan (Mitt hits the fan)
... will be Inauguration Day. We in the United States will have a 45th president, like him/her or not.

The last time we got a new president, I had a four-day weekend because I worked in DC and Inauguration Day fell the day after MLK Day. Inauguration Day is a holiday in the District because CROWDS and SECURITY, so I had Jan. 20, 2009, off from work. However, I spent Jan. 17, 18, and 19 sitting in the Merchants Tire & Auto in College Park, getting one thing after another repaired on my car's engine while they tried to figure out why it was overheating. By the time Jan. 20 rolled around, I simply wanted to sit at home in my pajamas and watch the proceedings on TV.

If we elect another Democrat, I would really like to go into DC for the inauguration. If we get a Republican, hell no.
luscious_purple: Paint Branch UU Chalice (Paint Branch Chalice)
First off, a Happy Belated Birthday to Maugorn and Forestcats/Bridget.

This week was quite the reminder of our universal mortality. Not only did we pass the 19th anniversary of my mother's death and funeral (the 9th and the 13th, respectively), but also David Bowie and Alan Rickman. I wasn't as big a fan of David Bowie as I have been of several other artists, but still, his music was part of the soundtrack of my life, going back all the way to the time I first heard "Fame" on WRKO-AM Top 40 radio when I was in high school. As for Alan Rickman ... oh, I was just one of many, many women who swooned over him. Especially that voice. The perfect pairing of fine wine and chocolate. He also seemed like one of the few celebrities with whom I would actually like to have a meaningful conversation. Now I shall never get the chance. :-(

As far as other stuff goes ... The first half of the week, I felt pretty darn productive, but I've stumbled badly the second half of the week. Blame it on Alan Rickman, I guess. I've definitely set myself up for an intense three-day work weekend. Well, work plus a New England Patriots playoff game, Maugie's birthday party, and Lithuanian folk dance practice up in Baltimore. Oh, and a Finance Committee meeting on Sunday morning, bright and early before the church service. *sigh*

New year

Jan. 2nd, 2016 11:51 pm
luscious_purple: The scribal demon made me do it! (Titivillius)
Happy New Year to all!

The boy toy and I spent New Year's Eve together at home. We watched Jurassic World, our Netflix disc that's been sitting around for a while. It was OK. We ate various foods, including shrimp, and drank Lithuanian beer instead of champagne. :-)

Yesterday we felt like "going out and doing something." We thought we would walk around Arundel Mills mall, since, we haven't been there in ages, but the parking lot was SO insanely jammed that we turned around and headed back to Prince George's County. After a visit to A.C. Moore, we ended up at the "festival of lights" at Watkins Regional Park. It was the last night of the show, and for $5 per car we got to crawl in low gear past an imaginative computer-controlled light show featuring lots of snowmen, Santas, elves, scenes from "The Wizard of Oz" and toy soldiers directing us along the route. Thanks to our county park system!

Today the boy toy and I took down most of our Christmas decorations, except for the live greenery -- I have to figure out where to recycle/compost the stuff.
luscious_purple: The middle class is too big to fail! (middle class)
Today, New York Times columnist Roger Cohen published a column about "Weimar America." However, AlterNet and Salon recognized the similarities between then and now three years ago.

Something to think about as we head into tonight's GOP debate.
luscious_purple: Snagged on LJ (great news)
I'm out of Facebook jail! Yay!

Last night I went downtown (i.e., Our Nation's Capital) for my local professional group's annual holiday gala. It was in the rotunda of the headquarters building of a grand old research institution (NOT the Very Prestigious Institution for which I used to work). Gorgeous building, but the heavily marbled columns and floor made the acoustics "lively" (read: crappy). Plus, there was no buffet -- the only food was in bite-sized pieces occasionally handed out by tuxedoed wait staff. So over the course of three hours, I managed to score one small piece of skewered chicken, one of the tiniest mini-burgers I've ever seen, three itty-bitty pieces of fried macaroni and cheese (each the size of an olive), and four cookies (hey, I had to eat something to absorb the wine I got with my free-drink tickets). Plus, there was no place to sit, and I'm used to wearing sneakers these days, so the leather boots were killing my feet by the time I got back home. I ended up finishing a leftover half-sandwich out of the fridge.

I still had an enjoyable time seeing people and networking, but I really hope they choose another venue for next year's gala!
luscious_purple: Daily News: Mitt Hits the Fan (Mitt hits the fan)
Less than 48 hours till my "Facebook jail" expires! Yay!

I've spent a good part of the last two days corralling photos and diagrams for the feature article I finished writing a month ago. For the opening spread I was trying to find a specific kind of image showing the brilliant lights of Manhattan at night during the Roaring Twenties (this is a historical article). I finally found one of Times Square through the Library of Congress website, but I'm not sure if it's high-resolution enough for reproduction in a glossy magazine. We shall see.

When it comes to the vortex of smelly vomitus that issues forth from the mouth of Donald Trump, conventional words fail me. I will be so incredibly glad when he falls out of public view.
luscious_purple: scribal blot (scribal icon)
Thanks to a bit of recent reorganizing, I now have a plastic bag filled with plastic bags from stores that no longer exist: Borders Books & Music, People's Drug, Bradlees, Rich's Discount Department Stores, Fashion Bug. All trips down Memory Lane.

The reorganizing came about because we were digging the Christmas boxes out of the spare bedroom, which has been pretty much just a storage room for some years now. Plus, the boy toy replaced the second of the two window blinds in that room with the blinds that were left over from his parents' house when they moved from Maryland to Texas. The old blinds had been disintegrating; I'm a bit surprised that the condo board's aesthetics "police" never called me on that, although maybe the large holly tree in front of one of the windows had something to do with that.

I would like to arrange my spare bedroom so that I could use it as a "crafts room." I could put the sewing machine on my uncle's old desk, the one that I used to use for my desktop computer back in the pre-wireless days when I had to plug the machine into a phone jack. I could also have a folding table for temporary use.

But first I have to winnow down the stuff that's already in that room. I can't spend too many hours at a time going through boxes and bags of old papers, books, and whatnot, because I get overwhelmed. I can take those chores only a little at a time. Intellectually I know that I shouldn't hold my current life hostage to my past. OTOH, since my "old life" is virtually all gone now, save for a few Facebook friends, no wonder I hate to chuck all of it out.

Good stuff

Nov. 24th, 2015 11:54 pm
luscious_purple: Snagged on LJ (great news)
Tall Dancer phoned me earlier this evening! He was driving to Kentucky to spend the long Thanksgiving weekend with friends there. He sounds quite content to be away from the local SCA and negative memories involving his ex, although he still intends to go to Gulf Wars and maybe some dance-specific events.

Forgot to mention yesterday that the boy toy and I took a big step yesterday. No, not that kind of step. We went to the post office and submitted his application for a U.S. passport card to give him, finally, SOME sort of valid, unexpired photo ID. (He let his California driver's license expire more than a decade ago and hasn't bothered to get a new one in more than a decade on the East Coast.) I say "we" submitted his application because I had to sign an affidavit stating that I've known him for more than two years. He might not get the passport card in time to fly to his parents' retirement home in San Antonio for Christmas, but probably he'll get to spend a week with them in late January. I am SO happy that he will finally have a valid ID.
luscious_purple: Julia, the Maine Coon Cat (Julia)
Nope, I didn't post over the weekend because I was having too much fun at Philcon. Despite the sardine-like conditions for three adults crammed into the back seat of a Prius, my friends made the car rides pleasant. H. made me a necklace and a bracelet out of beautiful cobalt blue beads. I certainly wasn't expecting a nice gift!

F. spent a lot of time at the con in the gaming areas. I think Spider was very attracted to the art show and art-related panels, including a roundtable discussion on how to price your art. Now she's talking about exhibiting some of her artwork at Lunacon next spring. Hm, maybe this is the spark that will give her some purpose....

H. and F. also got a chance to talk with some folks from New England whom they had not seen in, literally, more than a quarter-century. Since before Spider was born. So, yeah, another good thing.

I also finished Rebecca over the weekend. Now, I'm not going to put these comments under a cut, because the book was published in 1938. But my first reaction to the "big reveal" about Rebecca was: Eewww, how can the narrator still love her husband once she knows he KILLED HIS OWN FIRST WIFE??? And got away with it? Second reaction: Why wasn't Mr. de Winter at least a member of the House of Lords, if not some higher peerage? Third reaction: Maybe the whole thing was some kind of assisted suicide?
luscious_purple: Boston STRONG! (Boston Strong)
I'm not sure how much I'll be posting to LJ/DW over the next couple of days. I'll just have my tablet with me, so those posts are liable to be VERY short. A few other random comments:

1. Still reading Rebecca. At times I wonder whether Rebecca was the illegitimate child of Mrs. Danvers. Yes, I know all about the rigidity of British social classes and all that, but still... Wait, wait, DON'T tell me!

2. For sports fans around here, the 30th anniversary of this gruesome injury is a Big Deal, but maybe this week will finally become known for Bryce Harper's National League MVP award. Meanwhile, I'm thinking about David Ortiz.
luscious_purple: i'm in ur fizx lab, testin ur string therry (string therry)
What, only one guess? (That was on Dreamwidth, not LJ.)

Anyhow ... I am going to Philcon. To try to help out the next generation.

There's this couple, F. and H., whom I've known since they were newlyweds in the late 1980s. They moved from Massachusetts to the San Diego area for eight or nine years and then ended up in northern Virginia. By then I myself had moved to Maryland. R. knows them too. "Salt of the Earth," he calls them.

F. and H. have two kids, an older daughter and a younger son. Both were always whip-smart with outstanding vocabularies even in elementary school. The young man's in college now and his sister graduated a few years ago from one of the Seven Sisters colleges that is still all-female.

I last saw F. in September for the big NASA Goddard open house (H. had gone to visit their son in college that weekend). F. was telling R. and me that he's worried about his daughter, whom I'll call Spider.

Since graduating from college (she majored in classics, with a minor in studio art, I think), Spider has basically lived at home without doing any of the usual get-your-career-started type of stuff. She doesn't even have a driver's license -- I know that learning how to drive is less common for millennials than for previous generations, but still, there are some places worth visiting that are not on public transportation. She doesn't work, except for occasional cat-sitting at neighbors' houses. She had been taking some art classes since she graduated from college, but she hasn't lately. She doesn't even really go out to museums and such without her mother.

Her father, F., really started to think about her behavior when she turned 26 in September, because, yeah, there's that whole Affordable Care Act thing about no longer staying on her parents' health insurance. F. was wondering whether Spider's depressed, whether she should be seeing a therapist, or whether he and her mother should just start applying some good old parental pressure to get out the door and get a job. F. says that H. is not so worried about Spider's lack of direction. Now, H. has been a SAHM all along -- I think she even quit working before Spider was born -- but then again, she has been married to an environmental engineer pulling down a halfway decent salary. If Spider never goes out and socializes with folks, she's not going to get married to anybody -- and her parents won't be around forever. (H. has already had a double mastectomy for breast cancer.)

My take? I can't tell if Spider is depressed -- I haven't seen her in person since last December, IIRC. As she has grown up she has seemed to become more shy and soft-spoken, at least to my eyes, but I don't see her that often, either. I know she's really smart, wrote some surprisingly good fantasy stories when she was a teenager, and can draw well. R. thinks that going to a small (that is, not overwhelmingly large like a Comic-Con), fan-run SF convention could draw Spider out of her shell and put her in touch with her creative peers. I agree with him to an extent, but I also suspect that a little adult pressure (from her parents or others) might nudge her toward at least getting a driver's license and some sort of job outside the house. Even if she *did* graduate from a prestigious college, at some point people are going to start judging her on what she's done post-college, and "nothing of substance" is going to start to look pretty bad.

So the five of us (F., H., Spider, R., and yours truly) will carpool together to Philcon on Friday. Obviously I want to have fun, but I'll also be keeping an eye on Spider to see whether she is truly having interactive fun with other people or whether she is just sitting by herself, sketching in a corner.

August 2016

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