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.
luscious_purple: scribal blot (scribal icon)
Do you know why the TV commercials for the newfangled blood thinners (the ones that are supposed to replace Coumadin/warfarin) always warn patients to tell their doctors if they plan any spinal anesthesia? I'll tell you why.

Twenty years ago today, my mother went to the regional hospital to have an infection drained from one of her knee joints. Since she had a mechanical heart valve, she had to be careful about infections. (She was also taking warfarin for that.) On top of that condition, she was battling both congestive heart failure and COPD, so the doctors thought that she should have spinal anesthesia rather than general anesthesia. It would be better for her cardiopulmonary system, they said.

Unfortunately, the doctors didn't know that Mom had a small blood clot somewhere inside her spinal column. It probably resulted from a fall on the bedroom floor -- a fall not big enough to break any bones, mind you, just enough to shake her up. At any rate, when the doctors withdrew a tiny amount of spinal fluid to make room for the anesthetic, the clot swelled up and pressed on her spinal cord, causing her lots of pain and disorientation and making her unable to move her legs. And thus started her final downhill slide.

(Later, when her primary care physician phoned me after her funeral to see how I was doing, he said that his father had died under virtually identical circumstances. Over the years, doctors have wised up to this potential side effect of blood thinners, probably because of accumulated similar experiences.)

The more you know, etc. etc.
luscious_purple: i'm in ur fizx lab, testin ur string therry (string therry)
The Tournament of Roses has a "never on Sunday" policy, apparently dating back to the days when people rode horses to church, so we had to wait until today to watch our favorite New Year's Day parade. (It was certainly a tradition in MY house, anyway.)

Later on, the boy toy and I watched the Rose Bowl football game. I'm not one to watch any old football game just for the hell of it, but the boy toy is a big fan of the University of Southern California Trojans, because his mother graduated from USC. (The boy toy himself went to a Division III school, Humboldt State.) It was a thrilling game, with dramatic interceptions and lead changes, plus lots of scoring. USC won with a last-minute field goal, 52-49. Woot!

* * * * * *


Tonight makes 20 years since my final telephone conversation with my mother. (Of course, I didn't know that at the time.) I'm about to hit a lot of Mom-related 20-year milestones, all of them sad.
luscious_purple: OMG WTF BBQ (OMG WTF BBQ)
Last Tuesday -- a week ago tomorrow -- Maugorn and I picked up the Honda Accord from the auction lot in southern Anne Arundel County, and then we had enough time left in the day that we took my 1996 Pontiac Sunfire to the salvage lot in Jessup. I hated to think of my beloved automotive partner of 20.5 years going to "the junkyard," but I need the cash more than the tax deduction (because I may not have enough other deductions to itemize, anyway).

Fortunately, we could get to the salvage lot via U.S. Route 1 instead of limited-access highways. Maug followed me the whole way, in case the bent frame collapsed or something. (I was in a then-SO's 1974 Dodge Dart when the frame broke. He was driving about 5 mph in a parking lot when there was a sudden "bang" like a gunshot and the entire car started to shake like gelatin. So, yeah, I didn't want that to happen to me on this final trip.)

The day was mild and sunny. My Pontiac's engine worked perfectly well, even if there was a lot of noise from the exhaust leak. However, it didn't feel like a dying vehicle. I listened to the all-news station, WTOP, which was just breaking the news of Carrie Fisher's death.

At the salvage yard, the sun shone heartbreakingly brightly through the open sunroof:

IMG_6162 Last view through the sunroof!

Maugie took a photo of my last embrace:

IMG_6170 Maug took this photo of my hugging the Sunfire for the last time.

Final odometer reading: 197,570.

Shortly after leaving the yard, I asked Maug: "Why does this feel as if I just left a beloved family pet at a high-kill animal shelter?" And then the tears came. Well done, good and faithful servant.

Anyhow ... I took the Accord to the local friendly garage for mandatory Maryland inspection. It needs a new muffler and front pipe, plus an upper ball joint on the left front side. Not too bad for a 1993 vehicle. Despite the car's age, several of my Facebook friends have assured me that I made a good choice, with one guy saying that the early-1990s Accords are among the best cars Honda has ever made.

Normally I just call my cars "Baby," but this Accord is going to be known as Draco, as in Draco Malfoy, because R. will take one look at my Accord and exclaim, "SLYTHERIN!!"

IMG_6173

R. owns a champagne-colored 1993 Honda Accord himself -- he bought it brand-new from a dealer and takes meticulous care of it. For whatever reason, though, he hasn't asked me about my car situation since I got the Accord. And he and I went to the Wizards game together on Friday (it was his company's employee outing, so it was all free of charge to me). When I do finally tell him about it, he'll get quite the surprise....
luscious_purple: Star Wars Against Hate (Star Wars Against Hate)
Quiet night at home. The Accord is in my possession; the Pontiac is gone; I'm watching the annual silliness on CNN. Times Square is blinding, there are so many LEDs. Yay optics.

The highlight of this year was the Lithuanian folk dance festival, Sokiu Svente 2016. Google it if you are curious.

I am extremely pessimistic about the future of America.
luscious_purple: Ganked from many people (damn not given)
Everybody, it seems, is saying how terrible 2016 has been because of all the deaths of celebrities. Well, I personally know a fair number of people who have lost loved ones this year. Two friends lost their spouses within a week of each other. One of the bereaved friends was the only bride for whom I was a bridesmaid (most of my good friends either are perpetual singles or were already married when I met them). Also, I know two friends who lost adult children this year -- cruelest of all -- and then other people are fighting major health stuff, like cancer and complications from detached retinas.

Yeah, the happy glow from the big Lithuanian dance festival of midyear has kind of worn off, in no small part due to the Giant Lying Russian Stooge.

Oh, yeah, I am not going to Massachusetts for Christmas this year due to the ongoing car issue. I have paid for a very cheap 1993 Honda Accord, though I am still waiting for the thing to pass inspection so that I can drive it. I went cheap because I am borrowing money from friends in order to buy it. I hope I can get a year or two out of it.

Dammit, I am SO SICK and FUCKING TIRED of this "gig economy" shit and this "get the baby boomers out of the workforce" mentality. Unlike the Trumpkins, I am NOT mad at the government. The government actually has LAWS against age discrimination and against trying to claim workers as independent contractors when they should be employees. The former is just damned hard to prove/enforce and the latter is hard to track down.
luscious_purple: i'm in ur fizx lab, testin ur string therry (string therry)
My longtime friend Mike T. belongs to this group called the National Air & Space Society, which is like the Smithsonian Associates, only focused on the one museum. Sometimes he gets tickets to interesting lectures: Jim Lovell, John Young, Alan Bean, and a few others.

In May 2012, he got tickets to the overflow seating area for the Charles A. Lindbergh Memorial Lecture, which is an annual series of talks focused on aviation (and usually military aviation and/or flight test, as far as I can tell). This time, though, the speaker was going to be none other than John Glenn. Yes, he was going to be talking about Navy aviation and Marine Corps aviation, but still ... John Glenn!

So, three of us got together for the momentous occasion, and Helen even took a selfie of us:

photo from John Glenn night NASM 2012

We were seated on rows of chairs out in the main hall of the downtown Air & Space Museum. Before entering the Imax theater for the main lecture, Senator Glenn appeared in front of us so that we could at least see him in person. Then we watched and listened to his talk on a large screen. He went on and on about all the different planes he had flown in his lifetime, and there were many of them, as he retained his flying privileges for decades because, hey, John Glenn.

And finally there was a Q&A session. I figured: what the heck, this would be my only chance in this lifetime to ask a question of such a mightily famous person as John Glenn. So I got up, stood in line at the microphone, and managed to calm all my jittery nerves long enough to ask him: "What was the latest model fighter jet that you have flown?"

And he answered: "The F-14, I think."

So, there you have it.

Godspeed, John Glenn.

Nope.

Dec. 6th, 2016 04:28 pm
luscious_purple: Ganked from many people (damn not given)
I didn't get the car that I looked at on Sunday afternoon. It was a nice 2003 PT Cruiser, clean and running well, just needed a new O2 sensor. But I said it would have taken me a couple of days to round up the cash, and some guy came by on Sunday evening and said "yes" to the car (and probably whipped out a bunch of C-notes).

So, here I am, planning to get on the Metrobus in the rain to go downtown (i.e., into the District) for my local professional group's annual holiday gala. Nobody knows how to party-hearty like the science writers. Except, perhaps, the Lithuanians. :-)

Yesterday I sweated through some online applications for professional jobs. Tomorrow I'll be back to the classified car ads.
luscious_purple: The middle class is too big to fail! (middle class)
I *might* have found an easy solution to my transportation woes. I'll probably know the definitive answer by tomorrow. I hate to write too much before I know for sure, but please think positive thoughts for me tonight!!
luscious_purple: Stop SOPA and PIPA (No SOPA)
And here's the proof:

http://www.behr.com/consumer_ca/ColorDetailView/PMD-90

(Not quite my favorite shade of purple, but I'll still take it.)

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