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????

OK....

Apr. 14th, 2017 10:51 pm
luscious_purple: Star Wars Against Hate (Star Wars Against Hate)
I *finally* accepted the evil new LJ TOS today. Just because I wanted to check in on those friends who (a) haven't left LJ and (b) friends-lock their posts. (If you look at LJ in a browser in which you are not logged in to LJ, you can see the public friends' posts on your feed.)

Still haven't figured out whether I will delete the LJ or just stop posting there eventually. We shall see. In the meantime, if you're reading this on LJ and want to see the two most recent things I wrote, go here and here.
luscious_purple: Baby blasting milk carton with death-ray vision (death-ray baby)
I still can't crosspost to LJ because I still haven't accepted the new, evil TOS. I suppose I'll have to, eventually. But I have so much else to do this week.

I started my LJ in July 2003 and began this DW blog in March 2010. My crossposting between the two platforms was a bit spotty at first, and occasionally I posted to only one or the other because I was focusing whatever I was saying on someone who was on just one site. Since March 2010, though, I suspect that 99 percent of the content is crossposted.

If I start importing my LJ to DW, will the previously crossposted posts made after March 2010 be duplicated in DW, so that I have two copies of every post from 2010 on? How does the importing function handle entries that might be slightly different from DW to LJ? Would it be better to simply start a new DW account -- "luscious_archive," let's say -- and import the whole LJ shebang into it, and leave it as a record of my LJ activity?

I never did get lj_book to work at all. I'd like to back up my LJ as PDF copies of each entry on my external hard drive, but dang, that is one repetitive, lengthy, boring chore. And I don't have time for that chore. I have a feature article due early next week and a job interview on Thursday afternoon (at a place where I've already been turned down for three jobs over the last few years, but oh well), and I have very little money and I desperately need the cash from the writing job, and yeah, stress stress stress. Plus, I need to do some budget stuff for church, and oh, yeah, the congregation's search for a new settled minister is going to take just a bit longer because none of the candidates we wanted actually wanted us. *sigh*

Plus, I hear that DW's import function is swamped because of the latest LJ crisis. So, yeah, I'm not going to deal with it this week.
luscious_purple: Star Wars Against Hate (Star Wars Against Hate)
(Note: I don't know whether this will cross-post to LJ because I haven't accepted LJ's new TOS yet. We shall see what happens.)

Today makes the 100th anniversary of America's entry into World War I. Of course, the war has fallen out of living memory -- the only people who were alive back then and still exist were tiny children then. Of course we don't go around reenacting it much, because it wasn't full of "exciting" maneuvers, just a long, static, disgustingly miserable slog that was only peripherally relevant to our continued existence as a nation. (One could argue that we as a species did not learn a damned thing from that war because people are STILL using chemical weapons in Syria -- HORRIBLE.)

I honestly don't know whether I have any relatives who served in World War I. Once I found an online listing of WWI soldiers from my mother's hometown and it included a man with the same name as my grandfather. However, I have a hard time believing that my grandfather served. His first two kids were born in 1914 and 1915, then my Uncle Rene was born in September 1917, and my mother was born in September 1919. Do the math. IMHO, my mother looked more like her father than any of her siblings. So if he had served in any capacity, he probably remained on the home front.

Since my hometown's city hall was built in the 1930s, probably with New Deal funding, the community's memorial to World War I got pride of place in front of the main entrance. It's a granite obelisk with four statues, one on each side, one each representing the Army, the Navy, the Marines ... and the nurses. Yes. A woman with a calf-length skirt on a military memorial. I wonder why this is not more famous nationally.
luscious_purple: Paint Branch UU Chalice (Paint Branch Chalice)
Once in the distant past, this guy -- http://upasaka.livejournal.com/ -- started following me on LJ. I've never met him in person, but he seemed like a good guy -- a church organist in Baltimore -- so I followed him back. Heck, I played my share of churches and Masses when I was a teenager, though I was not trained classically, as he was.

In 2010 he left LJ for Facebook, so I followed the link he left in his last friends-locked entry and friended him over there. At some point he and his wife moved down to Hilton Head, S.C., because he got a job at a church down there.

Then he started fighting colon cancer, and that seemed to be cured, and then he went in for surgery on his bladder. Turns out the cancer had spread to his bladder and through his abdomen and further upward.

He's two years younger than I am, and he is now in home hospice. I have no idea how much time he has left. He is not posting about the intimate details of the disease, but he is on painkillers and resting comfortably with his wife and family and cats. And, of course, he is surrounded by music, mostly Beethoven.
luscious_purple: scribal blot (scribal icon)
... or am I just getting tired earlier these days?

At least I'm getting enough sleep most nights. More than I used to get when I had an actual job. However, sleep doesn't pay the bills.

Deep thoughts on a Thursday night.
luscious_purple: The scribal demon made me do it! (Titivillius)
Incidentally, I'm using the boy toy's old (Windows 7) computer for now. A few weeks ago the fan on my 4-year-old laptop started getting unusually loud. It gradually subsided to normal volume, but by Monday of this week the fan started cycling fast and slow, like a car's engine going vroom-vroom-vroom when somebody keeps tapping on the accelerator. So it's in the shop, getting its fan replaced. Not that I need the extra expense, but it's still cheaper than buying a new laptop.

I can't believe how *warm* the weather has been! But Friday morning we're "supposed" to have "snow." Yeah, well, a few flakes will fall and then melt immediately. For cryin' out loud, some suburban cherry trees are already blooming.

Today was this year's Ash Wednesday. UUs don't do ashes, but one woman at my Toastmasters meeting had them on her forehead, as did one reporter on the 11 p.m. news. I actually had a meatless day today -- boy toy made some very tasty Cajun-flavored fried catfish.
luscious_purple: The middle class is too big to fail! (middle class)
So, February. Poor little short month, robbed of its extra days (in most years) by those greedy Roman emperors.

In general, life is still good, except for the "lack of steady income" thing. Last week (two Mondays ago) I actually had a phone interview for an editing job at a software company in Beltsville. One of the other dancers in the Lithuanian dance group works there and said I should use her name. I *thought* it went well, but then late Friday afternoon I got one of those emails that said "thanks but no thanks, we went in a different direction." Wanna bet that that "direction" involves someone 20 years younger than yours truly?

What else happened this month? The boy toy and I checked out downtown Ellicott City to see how it is recovering from last year's disastrous flood, and we also went to Mount Vernon on Feb. 22, when admission was free. I even saw General Washington posing with kids and families. He looked pretty good for a 285-year-old. :-D :-D

Last week the boy toy and I finally got to see Rogue One. Probably we were among the last Americans to see it on the silver screen. But, hey, money had been tight for a while. And it will be again. It's amazing how fast I can blow through a big freelance paycheck -- when that involves catching up on the mortgage, utilities, and other bills.

Perhaps most wonderfully, I went to *two* SCA events: Bright Hills Baronial Birthday and Storvik Performers' Revel. I did some things that I haven't done for a while: at the former I shot three arrows (with borrowed equipment) and at the latter I played my bowed psaltery for a bit. Both events featured scrumptious feasts. I feel "back in the SCA" again, even though I obviously never left.

Speaking of the SCA, today I bought a twin bed -- for camping use -- at IKEA. I just happened to notice that today was the last day of a bed sale, and the cheapest, simplest wood bed frame was 15 percent off. Even with the slats, it's still cheaper than most of the heavyweight-capacity cots I've seen (yes, I am heavy). And it will fit inside Draco (the new-to-me car) if I put the back seat down and lay the side rails on the diagonal. FINALLY I will be up off the ground at long camping events!!!
luscious_purple: scribal blot (scribal icon)
Last month, while going through some of my books, I found one of my two copies of Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach. (Yes, I have *two* copies, with two different covers. Fancy that.) Since the year was about to start, I thought it might be a route worth pursuing for my mental health in these trying times, even if it does read in places like something preciously, pretentiously straight out of the 1990s School of Self-Esteem.

I haven't done the gratitude journal *every* night, but when I can, I do (in my own handwritten diary, the latest volume of which began in February 2008 -- that's how much I have switched to online journaling). There have been a couple of nights when I was too tired, a couple of nights when I was feeling crappy about myself and/or my bank account, a couple of nights when I just plain forgot. I suppose it will end up being a helpful reminder of the good things about my life (because, honestly, my life IS mostly good except for the lack of a steady income).

There are a couple of indications of how times have changed since the book was first published in 1995. January 28th and 29th cover "The Illustrated Discovery Journal" and "Your Personal Treasure Map." Both are supposed to be exercises involving paper, photo-filled magazines, scissors, and glue. Nowadays, of course, people just use Pinterest. :-)
luscious_purple: Snagged on LJ (great news)
Happiest of birthdays to those two folks born on the exact same day, Maugorn and Forestcats!!!
luscious_purple: scribal blot (scribal icon)
On January 12, 1997, the New England Patriots won a playoff game. I know this because I had to plan the calling hours at the funeral around this.

My mother used to say, "Don't bother having a wake for me when I go." And she went on about the expense of it all. Finally I told her, "Well, gee, Mom, what if **I** want to have people come and comfort me at the hour of my greatest need? Funeral rituals are for the living!" After that, she didn't rant about the calling hours as much.

So, when I came to make the arrangements for Mom the way she had done for Dad ... I realized that everyone was 15 years older than when Dad passed, and some people might have given up night driving along the way, and it gets dark early in January. And then the funeral director gently suggested that the playoff game started at 4 p.m. and would go till at least 7 and no one would want to be at the funeral home during that.

Thus, instead of the tradition 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. hours, I just had the wake from 1 to 4 p.m. Then my relatives trooped over to my childhood home and we all watched the Patriots together. Not like my heart was in it or anything like that.
luscious_purple: Paint Branch UU Chalice (Paint Branch Chalice)
... my mother passed away in the ICU.

She had gotten worse each of the days since I arrived in Massachusetts. The morning of her death, the hospital had called me and asked me to bring a copy of her living will, if she had one. I knew she had one, because I had visited with her lawyer when she had it drawn up. It took me a bit to find it, but fortunately I knew enough of my mother's secret hiding places.

I picked up my cousin Janet and my Aunt Bev and went to the hospital. The medical staff explained that my mother wasn't likely to be breathing on her own much longer and that once she got on a ventilator, she would probably never get off of it. I knew how strongly my mother didn't ever want to be on a ventilator, how she put that in her living will. So I signed the DNR. I hated it with every fiber of my being, but I knew it was what my mother wanted.

My mother's primary care physician stopped by the hospital on his way home from work. He took her hand and said it had been an honor and a privilege to be her doctor.

At the moment she stopped breathing and her heart stopped beating, Mom's hand fluttered a little. I hope she heard me saying "I love you, I love you" and singing snippets of songs to her through my tears. I hope my voice was the last thing she heard.

Love you still, Mom.
luscious_purple: Baby blasting milk carton with death-ray vision (death-ray baby)
Forgot to mention yesterday: The NBC commercials celebrating Matt Lauer's 20th anniversary as co-anchor of the Today show remind me of how much of a fan of Bryant Gumbel my mother was. In fact, on Gumbel's last day on Today (20 years ago yesterday), I left my VCR recording when I went to work so that I would have a tape of that tribute episode in case my mother missed it due to her knee procedure. I never showed it to her....

Twenty years ago today ... my Saturday started with a call from my cousin Janet, saying that my mother was in a lot of pain and couldn't move her legs and was being transferred from Leominster Hospital to St. Vincent's Hospital in Worcester. Obviously I was upset over the complications, and I wanted to fly up to Massachusetts, but I had the additional complication that I was the only member of my four-person work group who was supposed to be in the office for the coming week. My boss and his wife were incommunicado, somewhere in Paraguay on vacation; the second person was on a ski trip in Vermont; the third person was flying (with my boss's boss) to a conference on the West Coast.

I remember the afternoon as a tangle of phone conversations. I couldn't call Janet back directly because she had called from a pay phone -- remember that technology? So I was trying to find out what was going on from the Leominster staff, plus I was trying to convince US Airways that I needed a "family emergency fare" or whatever it was called, so that I could fly to Boston right away, plus I was trying to find somebody from my then-workplace to notify about the situation. I finally tracked down the wife of my boss's boss, who promised to tell her husband once he reached his destination.

Around dinnertime I flew up to Boston. (I wasn't worried about how I was going to get around in Massachusetts, because my mother's car was sitting, unused, at her house.) Janet and her husband, Kevin, picked me up at Logan Airport. By that time, my mother was in surgery (for 4.5 hours, as it turned out), so there was no point in my trying to see her that night.

On the way back to my childhood home, we stopped at Leominster Hospital to pick up my mother's personal effects, which for some reason weren't transported in the ambulance along with her. Once alone at home, I looked through her purse just to see what was in it (you know how people always say stuff gets stolen in hospitals). At the bottom of the purse I found a baggie with two diamond rings in it. My mother's and my grandmother's. The ones that my mother had reported stolen to the local police a couple of months earlier, because she was sure that the visiting nurses and home health aides that I'd arranged for her were stealing her blind. With her mild confusion, Mom had robbed herself.

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