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: 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)
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: 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: 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.


Sep. 24th, 2016 11:29 pm
luscious_purple: Julia, the Maine Coon Cat (Julia)
Today the boy toy and I spent the day in Baltimore, visiting a couple of museums that waived their entrance fees today under a special Smithsonian program: the B&O Railroad Museum and the Baltimore Museum of Industry. (Sorry, photos are still in my camera.) Then we stopped at a diner-type restaurant that had been featured by Guy Fieri on the Food Network.

We had a great time ... but when we got home, we found a large hairball right in the center of the top of the coffee table.

Gee, thanks, Julia. :-P
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?

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.

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: Baby blasting milk carton with death-ray vision (death-ray baby)
Today was the first time I'd ever gone to an "Oktoberfest" and ended up eating lousy Chinese food.

You see, the boy toy found a Web page for an event called Oktoberfest up in the Kentlands area of Gaithersburg. Since we both enjoy ethnic food and ethnic festivals, we thought it would be a cool thing to attend.

Kentlands, for anyone who's never heard of it, is a humongous New Urbanism development filled with perfectly manicured townhomes, expensive shops, and companies like AstraZeneca. To get to the food and beer area, we had to walk down several streets filled with pop-up tents full of people hawking stuff, from solar panels to local candidates (I live in the next county over). The music was mostly local groups playing covers of pop and rock songs. When we finally got to the food court, only half the vendors were offering anything that sounded vaguely German, and those had HUGE lines for food. Boy toy and I were really hungry for a late lunch, so we ended up caving and going to a Chinese food cart. The egg rolls were OK, but the lo mein was greasy and the boy toy despised the chicken on a stick. At least we got to listen to some Bavarian polkas while we were eating.

So the boy toy pronounced the event the lamest Oktoberfest he'd ever been too -- "it's more like the Yuppie State Fair," he said. I suggested that tomorrow night we make our own German meal with the brats we bought a couple of days ago, plus sauteed cabbage and potato pancakes. And in the future we'll try to attend the real ethnic festivals.
luscious_purple: Julia, the Maine Coon Cat (Julia)
I think I've caught up with everybody from the friending meme, so it's about time that I started explaining myself to my new friends (and this may be a refresher course for longtime friends as well).

I'm Patty, Pat, or Patricia (not Trish). Born and raised in Massachusetts, I still identify with that state, even though I have lived in Maryland for 23 years now. I am simultaneously an only child and the youngest of at least five -- my mother had a whole string of miscarriages before I came along. When I was growing up, I thought *everyone* waited 11 years after their wedding to become parents. Ha ha ha. So, yeah, my parents were "old" parents. In fact, today would have been my mother's 96th birthday.

So, yeah, I've been "on my own" since my mother died when I was 37. My father died shortly before my 23rd birthday. At least he got to see me graduate from college ... the first time around.

I have bachelor's degrees in both journalism and physics (different universities, different decades) and a master's degree in astronomy. Didn't get to my doctorate; the master's degree is worth about as much as a postage stamp in the job market. I did a lot of writing for trade magazines you've never heard of. For the past five years I've been freelancing, which means that I still write for some of those obscure publications, but for far less money. Sometimes I get really depressed and wonder why the hell I bothered to be the first in my family to go to college.

Anyhow, as you may have noticed from looking at my tags, I've been in the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) almost as long as I've been on LJ. (See this for an explanation if you're unfamiliar.) Sometimes I wish I had joined the SCA much earlier in my life -- who knows what my life might look like by now -- but one can't turn the clock back. I just might as well make the best of whatever life I've got left.

Some other dramatis personae in this journal:

* Julia -- my beautiful gray and white cat. She came to live with me on July 14, 2009. (Don't worry, I love dogs too, I just don't have one in my life at the moment.)

* The boy toy -- this guy who has been living here in my condo (without a job) for some years now. I tend not to call him my boyfriend. More like the Doctor Who companion. I have no plans to marry him. People think I should throw him out, but I worry that I will be incapacitated with loneliness.

* Tall Dancer -- An unattached male SCAdian who lives 650 miles away. He was invited to our barony to teach some dances back in January and I ended up getting a wicked bad crush on him. Various things happened online. I guess we're just friends now. I have been unable to convince him to go to War of the Wings, a fairly large SCA event that is roughly equidistant from the two of us. But I'm going there anyway.

* R. -- A platonic male friend of mine for 30-plus years. Lives in northern Virginia. Politically conservative, so I try not to bring up the subject of politics. Huge LOTR fan. He has many, um, quirks, but he is part of a small group of friends who helped pull me out of a dark place when I was in my 20s, thus earning my lifelong thanks.

* T.H. -- A friend who has invited me to her house for Thanksgiving for many, many years. I mean, when I first started going, her nephew was in middle school, and he's now in his mid-20s. By now I know her entire family.

* Maugorn and Patches, CZ and Alex/Phoenix -- people I know both in real life and in LJ.

Other people to be explained when necessary.

Another fairly recent introductory post.

I think that's it for now. Feel free to ask questions.
luscious_purple: Boston STRONG! (Boston Strong)
Friday, July 3: It would have been my parents' 68th wedding anniversary. Of course, my parents were married for 34 years and about 7 weeks before my Dad died. Consequently, in about 14 weeks I'll be able to say that the time that has elapsed since my father's death is equal to the length of their marriage.

Saturday, July 4: Pretty quiet day staying at home. The boy toy and I binge-watched the second half of the first season of Turn on Netflix. We had watched the first half of the first season and then never got around to seeing the rest. Of course, we haven't seen the second season yet, and it's no longer on FiOS-on-Demand, so we'll have to wait a bit longer. In the evening, I went to the next court over in my condo complex to watch the municipal fireworks, while the boy toy stayed indoors to reassure poor Julia.

Sunday, July 5: Boy toy and I stopped at the farmers' market, where we bought our first peaches of the season, and then we drove down to the southern end of Calvert County (southern Maryland). We had a nice meal of fish and chips and checked out the Calvert Marine Museum, which has a little bit of everything -- dinosaur bones and other fossils, aquariums containing live fish, many different boats, tons of artifacts from the oyster and crab industries, and a restored lighthouse, complete with attached outhouse. (Apparently the museum hosted an outdoor Barenaked Ladies concert on Friday night. Dang.) On the way back home, we cruised some of the Calvert County byways in a search for public beaches that might be worth visiting in the future.

Coming up this week: work on my next freelance magazine article and an attempt at water aerobics class.
luscious_purple: Daily News: Mitt Hits the Fan (Mitt hits the fan)
So, now that I have recovered from my cold (except for some residual clearing-out of phlegm and other mucus), the boy toy has come down with the virus. So he's lounging around today and I cooked him pancakes and sausage for brunch (instead of him cooking for me).

Somebody please tell the natural world out there that it's supposed to be spring?!
luscious_purple: Boston STRONG! (Boston Strong)
I guess I shouldn't complain that LJ doesn't have much content on it if I don't contribute some of that content, eh? Ah, well, here are some ramblings.

Last Friday night was Halloween, and here at my humble condo we had one trick-or-treater. ONE. Maybe next year, when Oct. 31 falls on a Saturday, the boy toy and I should just go out somewhere and not bother with the candy thing. I mean, I *want* to give out candy as payback for all the candy I got as a kid (not to mention all the Girl Scout cookies, magazine subscriptions, and high-school musical tickets that I peddled door to door). But, hey, if the world doesn't want to accept my karma....

Earlier this week I was shocked to learn that the older of the two "Car Talk" guys died. The boss I had at the job in the mid-1990s hated to drive in DC but loved to listen to "Car Talk." (He was one of my better bosses over the years. When I returned to DC after my mother died, he and his wife picked me up at National Airport and drove me to their apartment for dinner, and then drove me home.)

And now I'm getting tired, so I will just list some links about Tom Magliozzi and also about former Boston Mayor Tom Menino, who was apparently quite beloved. (from two years earlier) (I need to finish watching this 30-year-old documentary preserved on YouTube!)

One more death: the guy who invented Corning Ware.

As far as the midterm election goes ... the less said, the better. Disgust, anger and worry are all among the emotions I've felt following the results. After I voted Tuesday morning, the boy toy and I drove out to Antietam National Battlefield for the afternoon. He had never seen Antietam, I hadn't been there since 1996, the weather was gorgeous, and it seemed far more meaningful than listening to the chattering class all day long.
luscious_purple: The scribal demon made me do it! (Titivillius)
Last night's party at the home of CZ, Phoenix and kids was enchanting ... until I discovered I had a flat tire. Apparently I'd picked up a nail or other road debris on the way to the party, and I noticed it only when I tried to drive out of the neighborhood. I turned around and proceeded to the only reasonably level place where I could safely park, which was the very bottom of Boo Manor's steep driveway. CZ came out and set up a bright work light and did the heavy-lifting work of swapping out the flat tire for the spare donut. I drove all the way home on Route 1, where speed limits are lower, because I'm pretty sure the owner's manual (which exists on my hard drive now) says to drive under 45 mph on that tiny spare tire. (The B-W Parkway's speed limit of 55 mph is always exceeded late at night unless there's been an accident.)

So, my plans for today were shot. I might have liked to attend the Ponte Alto event, but after seven days away from the boy toy, I thought I'd keep the home fires burning, so to speak, by going on a foodie excursion with him to Union Market (we've never been there). Guess we'll have to go tomorrow. As it was, I didn't get out of the tire shop -- with two new tires -- until around 4 p.m. So we just stayed home and did laundry.

Big thanks to CZ for the help!!

Food stuff

Jul. 15th, 2014 11:58 pm
luscious_purple: The middle class is too big to fail! (middle class)
Yesterday the boy toy and I made cheese. We used a recipe for something called cagliata fresca from this cookbook. However, it bore much resemblance to online recipes for making ricotta at home. Whatever.

We didn't have a thermometer handy (yeah, I need to get one), so we had to watch for clues that the milk was hot but not boiling. At first the boy toy added lemon juice from the bottle he keeps handy, but we got hardly any curds. So I suggested using real lemon juiced, and he squeezed a lemon (or more, I wasn't watching) into the whey that was left and reheated it, and it curdled up just fine. On whole wheat toast, it tasted great, with a hint of lemon.

Now, of course, I so want to make more cheese. Mmm-hmm. Right before Pennsic, this is dangerous. :-)

July 5

Jul. 5th, 2014 11:17 pm
luscious_purple: The middle class is too big to fail! (middle class)
Yesterday was a low-key day, despite what my cat might have told you. :-) Over yesterday and today, the boy toy and I have watched all the episodes of the HBO series John Adams. We've seen them all before, but somehow it seemed like a good weekend to contemplate the origins of our nation.

Today the boy toy and I went out for a late lunch (our main meal), and then we went for a walk around Lake Artemesia. He'd never been to that park, which has a different vibe from the lake in our neighborhood. It was such a gorgeous day -- moderate heat and humidity, not a cloud in the sky -- much more like a Massachusetts summer day than our usual mid-Atlantic murk! I couldn't let the day go by without spending some of it outdoors. (And, hey, I gotta prep for Pennsic. *smile*)

Speaking of Pennsic, after our walk I pinned together the pattern pieces for my Ottoman coat, minus the sleeves. I would like to make a vest out of the remaining cloth that I didn't use for the coat, so that I can have a Turkish outfit for really hot weather. I'll probably send a photo of the thing to the woman who taught the Ottoman clothing class last fall, and also seek opinions at next Saturday's Storvik sewing party.
luscious_purple: Stop SOPA and PIPA (No SOPA)
Gee, why did all that unsalted butter disappear from my fridge? And why is my kitchen full of freshly baked cookies? I think the boy toy had something to do with it.... :-)

I am continuing to play with my tablet. I posted a "test post" to DW with the ElJay app, but it didn't get cross-posted to LJ. I shall have to practice cross-posting before next week. And if I can't cross-post, well, I'll try to make everything public and folks from one journal might temporarily have to check the other journal. I'm not going to make huge LJ/DW posts from the tablet, either. Just saying.

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