luscious_purple: Snagged on LJ (great news)
A *very* busy weekend!!!

Battle on the Bay was a completely awesome event!! My friend Teleri was recognized as a Companion of the Laurel, and of course she was Well-Prepared for it as always, even though it still was somewhat of a surprise. Lots of other most worthy friends received awards too! We had 535 people in attendance -- that might be a record for that site!! (Granted, it was Lochmere's turn to host the event, but it's Storvik's land. Next year Storvik will host it.)

And then the boy toy and I went for a Sunday drive to the Eastern Shore. And I want to write more and upload more pictures, but I am getting really tired. Maybe this f.lux app I installed to stop the computer from keeping me awake at night is working too well???
luscious_purple: scribal blot (scribal icon)
On Monday, Labor Day, I posted the following tribute on Facebook. I *meant* to copy it here too, but I got tired later in the day.

One hundred years ago TODAY, my Uncle Rene was born. Yes, my father and one of my uncles were born just four days apart in the same year. Uncle Rene was my *maternal* uncle, just so you're not totally confused.

Most people pronounce "Rene" as "reh-NAY," same as "Renee," but my family of French Canadian Americans always pronounced my uncle's name as "RAY-nee." At any rate, my Uncle Rene was the third of six children born to a couple of residents of a heavily French Canadian neighborhood in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.

Rene grew up to be the tallest of his siblings and was always a big high-strung. His hair stood up straight on top of his head, and he wore thick glasses. He left school after the eighth grade because by then it was the Depression. At some point he lost the tip of his right middle finger to some sort of tool or machine. He had only the tiniest stump of nail on that finger.

As you can see from the
[Facebook] photo, Uncle Rene joined the service during World War II, but I don't think he stayed on the front lines long. My mother always said he had "shellshock." I think he was shipped home to recuperate. I have a little satin pillow that is printed with the words "For Mom from Fort Belvoir."

Rene never married or had kids, but lived with his mother (my grandmother) and took care of her as she aged. She signed the house over to him before she died, so he would always have a place to live. He worked as a janitor at Fitchburg State College (as Diane N***
[a former member of my church who attended Fitchburg State] can attest) until he retired.

My Dad and Uncle Rene were good friends and were in a bowling league together. One Sunday afternoon they scared my Mom -- they went down to the local airport and convinced someone to take them up on his small plane for a cruise around southern New Hampshire. Better to seek forgiveness afterward than to try to get permission beforehand....

By 1987 Uncle Rene and my mother were the last of their siblings left alive. They were the third and fourth kids in the family, and I think my mother was closer to him than to her other siblings. He died at age 79, and my Mom died four weeks later.

Happy 100th Birthday, Uncle Rene.


* * * * *


On Monday I had gotten up early to march in the Labor Day parade as a member (really, president) of the local Toastmasters Club. I should really start a DW/LJ tag for Toastmasters, as that's probably going to be a bigger part of my life for the rest of the "club year" (i.e., until next June 30). The town where I live was built as a New Deal project 80 years ago, so yeah, we love our Labor Day festivities. It's traditional for marchers to toss candy to the children on the sidelines, and some of them bring bags, almost like Halloween trick-or-treating.

This is the third year I marched in the parade with the Toastmasters. It's really quite fun, and it's not a lengthy parade at all. This year's event had a TON of entries for local politicians. The area is so heavily Democratic that next year's primary (I think it will be in June) is tantamount to election. So, yeah, everybody wanted to "press the flesh."

At the elementary school book sale at the Labor Day festival, I scored three books, including The Civilization of the Goddess by Marija Gimbutas -- list price $60 when it came out. I think I paid $8 for the three books and the reusable tote bag to carry them in. Deal!

At the parade I scored coupons for a free Mission BBQ sandwich and a free slice of Three Brothers pizza. So I think I came out even, more or less.

* * * * *


I was supposed to have a small surgical procedure today (to remove a small BENIGN lump), but the hospital arbitrarily rescheduled it to next Tuesday, without bothering to TELL me until I made inquiries late yesterday afternoon. *grumble*

I had explicitly made no commitments to anything for the coming weekend, because I figured I was going to spend the weekend loafing around and sleeping off the painkillers. Now, however, what to do? In addition, money is a bit tight again, since I paid off some crucial bills.

Although I've been invited to attend no less than three different SCA events in three different states, I think I'll stick closer to home this weekend. Maybe I'll catch up on some projects here. I really hadn't planned on going to an event until Battle on the Bay, which is the weekend of Sept. 22-24.

* * * * *


I haven't been in touch with Tall Dancer a lot lately, but he called twice this afternoon. Apparently he is on a long drive from Georgia to Tennessee for a small relax-a-con with friends. And he just got back from Florida to celebrate his grandmother's 95th birthday. I do hope his relatives are safe during Hurricane Irma.
luscious_purple: Lithuanian map and flag -- "Proud to Be Lithuanian" (lithuanian map and flag)
One hundred years ago TODAY, a couple of Lithuanian immigrants in Gardner, Massachusetts, welcomed their first child: a boy of fair skin and hair who resembled his mother. They named him Anthony, later nicknamed "Tony." He grew up active and strong and took technical courses in high school, but his parents died when he was a teenager, so he went to work in the factories.

Tony volunteered for the service right after Pearl Harbor, so the Army Air Corps sent him to Scott Field in Illinois for training in radio operation, navigation, and airplane mechanics. He was sent to India on "the Hump" route of the China-Burma-India Theater of WWII. After the war, he met a woman at a dance, and they married and built a small house together. After many years of trying, they had a daughter of whom he was always proud. He once told her that the day she graduated from college would be the happiest day of his life.

Sadly, Tony -- my father -- died the year after I graduated from college (the first time around). But at least he got to see that. It's true that I've spent more years of my life without him than with him. But at least I spent my important growing-up years with both parents in my life.

And his spirit is with me whenever I'm doing something he would have enjoyed, whether it's dancing, marveling over the latest technology, or looking up at a plane in the sky.

Happy 100th Birthday, Dad. Laba naktis....
luscious_purple: scribal blot (scribal icon)
In case you may be wondering why I find August 29th a day to be endured rather than enjoyed ... today is the 35th anniversary of my father's death. For those of you who haven't been around me long enough to know the full story, and/or those of you who don't want to touch LiveJournal with a ten-meter pole, I'll put the original LJ entry from Aug. 29, 2003, under a cut.

The sad story here... )

And here's another way I think about my Dad, even today. Heck, you can read more of my past writings by clicking on the "dad" tag on whichever journal you're reading this on.

As far as the rest of today ... it's been a quiet, rainy day, with not much to do except plug away at my freelance writing and keep tabs on the Harvey flooding situation in the Houston area.
luscious_purple: Star Wars Against Hate (Star Wars Against Hate)
Reading this article made me quite sad.

I am still writing up my account of the partial solar eclipse (partial where I live) for my professional blog.

The boy toy and I are planning to go to Harpers Ferry tomorrow. I haven't been to that historic town in a number of years. It's having a "bread festival" this weekend.

Speaking of history ... today would have been Leonard Bernstein's 99th birthday. Tomorrow will be Katherine Johnson's 99th birthday.
luscious_purple: Star Wars Against Hate (Star Wars Against Hate)
I had a great Pennsic, right up until the end, when Draco the Honda Accord wouldn't start after not running for almost a week. And then I got him started and drove home, only to have him die again Sunday morning when I was driving the boy toy over to our local IHOP for breakfast.

Now I'm waiting for a new radiator and a new alternator. Those fixes will cost me almost as much as the car originally did (and I still haven't even *begun* to pay off the friend who lent me the money to buy it). I guess it's still cheaper than trying to buy yet another car. But I can obviously cancel any hope I have of getting anywhere near the path of totality next Monday.

Ah, well, at least I made it home before the car conked out. I have AAA Plus for 100 miles of free towing, but Pennsic is 300 or so miles from my residence, so I would have had to pay $800 for towing it back to my part of Greenbelt.

And what is it about my Pennsic attendance and violence? Three years ago, the last time I went to Pennsic, we had the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. This year I drove home to greet the news of the white-supremacist rally and ensuing deaths in Charlottesville, Virginia. What is it with me and Pennsic and violence in the streets? Or is this just a sad coincidence? Certainly I deplore the alt-right white-supremacist neo-Nazi crap.
luscious_purple: Star Wars Against Hate (Star Wars Against Hate)
... of the Apollo 11 launch!

More later, maybe.
luscious_purple: OMG WTF BBQ (OMG WTF BBQ)
For those who were wondering about Expo 67, 50 years ago this month....

My family drove up from Massachusetts to Montreal. By this time, the family car would have been a 1965 Dodge Polara, sort of an off-white eggshell color. I have no idea which roads we took, but the trip seemed to take all day, and we got to Montreal in the late afternoon. My mother tried to teach me a bit of French; I was fascinated that the red stop signs said "ArrĂȘt" and the exit signs said "Sortie." Since I had been reading everything I could find in advance of Expo 67 -- and even though I was only 7 1/2, that was a lot! -- I could recognize the huge geodesic dome of the U.S. pavilion off in the distance, but my Dad could not figure out how to get any closer to it. I remember saying, "Daddy, I think you missed the sortie."

We pulled over to the side of the highway and Dad pored over the map. A car pulled up behind us and a man got out and walked up to our car. He asked us whether we had any hotel reservations, and when my parents said no, he said, "You aren't going to find any." He introduced himself as a Mr. Dalton, pulled out his government ID and said that he was a Quebec government official and he and his wife were letting tourists stay in their home. So we followed him to his house, which had a facade made of randomly shaped blocks of white stone. The house seemed magnificent to me, especially because the street was also named Dalton. I have no idea how much my parents paid for us to stay in their spare bedroom, breakfast included.

We spent two or three days at the Expo. I remember HUGE crowds everywhere. At one point my mother and I waited 45 minutes in line to use the ladies' room. Forty-five minutes' wait to PEE!!!! I remember going up the escalator in the U.S. pavilion, which was said to be the longest escalator in the world. (I suspect the ones now at the Wheaton Metro station are longer.) I remember turning up my nose at the tuna-fish sandwiches my mother had packed for me in a cooler; I wanted fresh French fries, while my parents had a "buffalo burger." A parade for the 20-millionth visitor to the exposition passed by us.

I remember riding on an antique carousel in the amusement-park section, La Ronde. I was terrified, because instead of the vertical pole right in front of the saddle, the only place for me to hang on was a tiny little T-shaped handle to the right of the horse's mane. I remember spending my carefully saved-up allowance on an Expo 67 tote bag and a little flag with the "Man and His World" logo. I remember that I'd fall asleep in the back seat of the car on the way back to Mr. Dalton's house, but I would wake up when the car stopped at a gas station or something and my mother (whose grandparents were all born in the St. Lawrence River valley) would be translating directions for my father, who didn't speak a word of French, couldn't read the signs and kept getting lost.

On the last afternoon we were there, my mother declared that her feet hurt and parked herself on a spot of grass in the shade of a tree. My Dad took me to La Ronde, where we rode the Gyrotron, which I'd read about, probably in Life magazine. (An image of its exterior is here.) It was the first time I'd been on a ride with little moving cars that never quite stopped, even though this is quite normal now in the big theme parks. The first building was filled with a space motif, and it was my first encounter with black light -- I laughed at how my white ankle socks and the white parts of Dad's print shirt glowed eerily. Then the moving car took us back outside and down into the bowels of a fake volcano, where we were "eaten" by a big red monster at the end. I'm not sure what the combination of the two scenarios was supposed to convey, but I was thrilled anyway.

I wanted to take my mother on the Gyrotron, but wouldn't you know it -- that night there was a huge thunderstorm and the La Ronde rides closed early for safety reasons. We spent the evening sitting under the roof of a food-vending booth, with my mother talking in French to one of the workers there. The next morning we checked out of Mr. Dalton's house and headed home.

In late July 1983, as my mother and I were approaching the first anniversary of my father's death, she and I took a short trip to Montreal to see the actual city. We stayed at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel -- I didn't yet know it had been the site of the famous John and Yoko "bed-in" -- and saw lots of neat stuff. I insisted on checking out the Expo property again. From a distance we could see the skeleton of the geodesic dome. The Gyrotron had vanished from La Ronde, but I did go on a loop-the-loop roller coaster, just to satisfy myself.
luscious_purple: Snagged on LJ (great news)
Soooo much stuff going on here...

The Known World Dance and Music Symposium (KWDMS) was a SMASHING success!!!!!!! Patches did a fantastic job of organizing the event!!! We had 245 people there; it was the biggest attendance ever in the KWDMS series (and this was the 12th such symposium). My class on Lithuanian polyphonic music went OK, I guess, and I received a couple of compliments afterward. I certainly didn't feel as prepared as I should have, but if the customer is satisfied....

Last night I went with Patches and "weatherman2111" (as he used to be known on LJ) and a couple of other folks to the U2 concert at FedEx Field. I believe this is my fifth U2 concert ever -- 1997, 2005, 2009, and one other time at the Baltimore Ravens' arena. Will write more about it later....
luscious_purple: Star Wars Against Hate (Star Wars Against Hate)
1. Lately, my LJ layout seems to be completely broken on the Chrome browser, but it looks normal on Firefox. Has anyone else (or, anyone else who still does LJ/DW, that is) experienced this problem?

2. After a year and a half, I finally updated my "Lady Patricia of Trakai" blog. Check it out.

3. Today I spent some time working on my class for next week's Known World Dance and Music Symposium. Teaching a class on a subject on which there is exactly *one* extant English-language book will be ... interesting.

4. Today has also been the 40th anniversary of my high school graduation. I think the boy toy is officially tired of the subject. :-)

5. Little by little, I'm going through my files on both my computer's hard drive and my external hard drive to weed out duplicates. Especially on the external hard drive ... I've found five or six copies of some of the files on the external drive, thanks to various backup efforts. I had been really close to running out of room on both drives. Now I'm a little less close.
luscious_purple: i'm in ur fizx lab, testin ur string therry (string therry)
Good grief, how the time does fly....

So I have had a couple of great weekends in a row.

Saturday, May 27: Daytripped to Balticon in downtown Baltimore. Second year that the con has been held in the city where one must pay to park. That wasn't the only reason why I limited my con attendance to Saturday, though (more on that in a bit). I enjoyed the things I wanted to enjoy: the medieval dance, Maugorn's concert, and the masquerade. I saw some folks I don't get to see too often, although I did miss CZ and Alex/Phoenix. Moving the con suite from the 12th floor to the fifth-floor common level was a HUGE improvement.

Sunday, May 28: I really wanted to attend church in the morning, because that was our first glimpse of the ministerial candidate. She made a very big positive impression right from the get-go. After the service, there was a pizza luncheon and the candidate stayed to answer our questions. She has an interesting life story -- she worked as a civil engineer for many years before feeling called to the ministry. She and her husband have three grown sons.

Afterward, it was kind of a drizzly day, so the boy toy and I went on a drive through Anne Arundel County and ended up at an idiosyncratic joint called Crabtowne USA. Hey, the fish tacos were good.

Monday, May 29: The "money committees" of the church met with the ministerial candidate for a couple of hours. More positive impressions. Afterward, the boy toy cooked up shrimp and scallops at home.

Saturday, June 3: Storvik Novice Tourney, our barony's signature event. Once again we held it at the College Park Knights of Columbus, which has plenty of room, though no camping. That's OK -- it's the next town over from me, so why would I need to camp? I taught a "heraldry 101" class, although a couple of heralds who know much more than I do sat in and geeked out. Many, many of my friends received well-deserved awards from Their Majesties and Their Excellencies. Exposure to bright sunlight all day long made my brain go into "instant sleep" mode after sunset, so I went to bed a couple of hours earlier than I usually do.

Sunday, June 4: Another excellent service by our ministerial candidate, followed by our annual congregational meeting, at which we voted to call her as our settled minister with 98 percent of the vote. Yay! We finally have a permanent minister again! After the meeting, we had a brief party with champagne and cake, and there was much rejoicing.

We shall see whether this coming weekend's Baltimore Lithuanian Festival will live up to its outstanding predecessors.

And oh, yeah, after midnight it will be June 9 and the FORTIETH ANNIVERSARY of my high school graduation. It's a couple of weeks before the boy toy's 40th. Birthday, not anniversary. Why do you *think* I call him the "boy toy" here??
luscious_purple: OMG WTF BBQ (OMG WTF BBQ)
Plumbing (and financial) crisis averted. Boy toy concluded that replacing the shutoff valve and the tank inflow thingey was beyond his plumbing expertise. He went over to the condo maintenance shop to ask how to get this thing fixed without shutting off water to the entire building. I started to call the plumber, where I was told that I would have to wait until a building-water shutoff could be arranged on Monday or Tuesday, but then one of the maintenance guys came over and said he could fix it "off the clock" for $75 plus parts. That's at least $20 cheaper than the plumber would have cost me (based on the last time I dealt with the plumber, about four years ago). So the toilet is fixed and a young man has some extra cash in his pocket.

Of course, now the light inside the refrigerator has decided to flash randomly on and off (but mostly stays off). I don't ever remember changing the fridge light bulb in the nearly 18 years I have lived here. And the fridge is roughly 25 years old.

As Gilda Radner said, it's always something....

In other news, my church's ministerial search committee revealed the name of our ministerial candidate at the end of yesterday's service. From what I can tell from her website, she is two or three years older than I am, married young but has stayed married to the guy for 42 years, and has three grown sons who are gainfully employed. Ministry is her second career after civil engineering. Her beliefs and interests align pretty closely to my congregation's. I'm looking forward to meeting her next week.
luscious_purple: Paint Branch UU Chalice (Paint Branch Chalice)
Five things make a post....

1. My grad-school adviser has cancer and is not doing too well. This news comes from yesterday's email blast from the astronomy department chairman. Further correspondence with the chairman (who still remembers me) is that Mike (my adviser) is not quite up to visitors, but cards would be welcome. I have a hard time imagine Mike under the weather -- he is a tall force of nature, with a busy white beard that makes him look like a New England sea captain, and when he's not bashing human-made objects into comets, he goes sailing on the Chesapeake. Still, Wikipedia says he is now 76.

2. I may have some additional freelance assignments. Two offers of potential work landed in my inbox on May 9 within five minutes of each other. One was from a resume I sent in to a freelance-job ad back in January or February. I'd honestly forgotten about it.

3. My church has a candidate for the position of settled (permanent) minister. It was touch and go there for a while, and I was fervently hoping that we would not have to get another interim minister when our current interim's two-year contract ends next month. I don't know the name of the candidate yet, only that she has been referred to as "she." Fingers crossed that's she's great....

4. Don't know what to add about the fast-moving events surrounding the Giant Lying Russian Stooge and his cronies, except to state that I really want to compare the current timeline to that of the Watergate scandal. We're getting a special counsel very close to the 44th anniversary of the appointment of Archibald Cox, for what that's worth.

5. Lately I have been seeing puddles of plain water around the toilet. My current cat has no interest in the toilet bowl, so it's something else. As far as I can tell, the shut-off valve underneath the toilet is the source of the leak. The boy toy put an old pot under the valve to catch the water and then put green food coloring in the toilet tank. So far, the water that drips into the pot is crystal-clear, but since the boy toy pretty much dumped the entire bottle of green food coloring into the tank, the bowl keeps filling up with brilliant green water every time we flush. It's our space-alien toilet.
luscious_purple: Paint Branch UU Chalice (Paint Branch Chalice)
Upasaka died in the early morning hours today.

Yesterday was his 55th birthday.

I saw the birthday reminder on Facebook, and for much of the day I debated what to say. I mean, what DO you say to someone who is spending his birthday in hospice when cancer is eating up his insides? But at dinnertime, his wife posted through his Facebook account that he was near death, so I joined lots of other people in writing comments wishing him peace and blessings.

And this morning I read this:
[excerpt] He died in my arms, quietly, gently and peacefully.
He is my love. He is with God. He is free from his body.
He will dwell within my heart and spirit as he soars into the kingdom of heaven. Never to be forgotten.
luscious_purple: Snagged on LJ (great news)
Happy Milestone Birthday to the son of [personal profile] cz_unit and Phoenix, and happy 18th anniversary of parenthood to CZ and Phoenix!!!
luscious_purple: Snagged on LJ (great news)
Great goodness, I keep *meaning* to post here and then I don't. I read more than I post. Honest, I do.

Anyhow.

The last weekend in April was Revenge of the Stitch, a "garb wars" type of SCA event. This was the fourth year and I've been on Johanna's team for three of them. Teams are given 24 hours to create an entire period outfit from the skin out. This year it was her grown daughter's turn to get an outfit, so she chose a woman's outfit from the Tang dynasty of China (Lady Tatsume is interested in both Japan and China). Johanna bought a bunch of silk in the NYC garment district while visiting her son, who lives up there now, so we were well prepared. We made seven different pieces of clothing, and I did a lot of hand-stitching, which, as it turns out, is much more tedious on silk than on linen. Tatsume's girlfriend, who was not on the team, seemed rather bored and petulant until she realized she could get some studying done for her classes. But the finished outfit looked fabulous on Tatsume, and we ended up getting second place out of five teams. The King and Queen were so impressed that they awarded all the competitors a Silver Nautilus.

Tent issues: This was the first time I'd camped in my tent since last year's Revenge of the Stitch, which was rainy. (This year's event was dry, thank goodness!) I got the tent out of the Rubbermaid storage tub and it smelled a little musty and looked a little more stained on the roof (despite the presence of dessicant in the tub -- several handfuls of that crystal-type cat litter). It really, really needs new poles and new ties for the side windows. The metal teeth on the screen-door zipper were just rotting off -- they were literally falling off the cloth part of the zipper. Fortunately, the canvas-door zipper still holds, but for how much longer?

I bought some Flex-Seal stuff on clearance at Target, so I can patch any tiny holes on the vinyl floor. But I really should ask Sonya and Maugorn if I could set the tent up in their backyard for a couple of days and get some serious work done on that poor thing.
luscious_purple: Star Wars Against Hate (Default)
Got my long and short articles "done," for some value of "done." I still have to add some stuff to the long article, but I wanted to rush the payment through because I have spent most of this month being flat broke, if not overdrawn, and I do NOT want the condo to go into foreclosure proceedings.

I had to wait until tonight to renew a couple of memberships in things important to me, such as the SCA and local science writers' group.

I had a WONDERFUL time at the SCA event this weekend, but I'm also running on severe lack of sleep, so I will have to go on about it at a future date -- less than two weeks from now, I hope.
luscious_purple: Boston STRONG! (Boston Strong)
And now, everyone who was born in a year beginning with 18 is dead. Since today is the day after what would have been my grandmother's 127th birthday, it seems appropriate somehow.

Today is also the fourth anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, right around the corner, practically, from the building where I rented a room in an apartment during the summer of 1979. I have the Netflix DVD of the Mark Wahlberg movie at home, but I don't think it's going to get watched this weekend, not with the new Doctor Who episode tonight.

LJ's 18th

Apr. 15th, 2017 01:19 pm
luscious_purple: Boston STRONG! (Boston Strong)
http://luscious-purple.livejournal.com/1247108.html

I guess the service is now old enough to vote????

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