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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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.
luscious_purple: OMG WTF BBQ (OMG WTF BBQ)
By and large, it's been a rough month, punctuated only by a few better moments.

I hope everyone who celebrated U.S. Thanksgiving a few days ago had an enjoyable holiday. I did -- as I have for the past 15 or so Turkey Days, I went to my friend T.H.'s home, where I joined her extended family. Everybody contributed something, nobody shouted about Trump (we're all LGBT-friendly people, disgusted with the Giant Lying Russian Stooge), and everybody had a good time.

This year, however, I did NOT drive to T.H.'s house in my longtime motor vehicle. Those days are over.

My 1996 Sunfire, a.k.a. "Patty's Pretty Purple Pontiac," a.k.a. "Baby," is destined for the sunset after 20.5 years of mostly faithful service (the transmission failure on the road to Pennsic 40 being a notable exception).

Details... )

So, what do I do about a new car? I'm pretty sure that I don't qualify for any kind of financing. I certainly wouldn't give *myself* a loan. So I need to buy an older model (beater, jalopy, hoopty, etc.) that will pass Maryland inspection and run for a few years.

What's my budget? I am still figuring it out. As small as possible, but remember that a $700 car that needs $2300 of work to be legally registered under a new owner really costs $3000.
I wish I could just get myself to Carmax, but that place doesn't seem to sell anything under $7000 and I don't see myself being able to afford that anytime soon.

I'm really caught between the proverbial rock and hard place, folks ... without reliable transportation, it's even harder to find temporary or permanent employment, but without an additional source of income, I can't afford wheels. I have no idea what my health insurance costs will be next year ... they are already going up a lot under Obamacare, but I am NOT counting on Obamacare to last past January 20. Seriously.

Gaah, I don't know what to do. First-world problem, I know.
luscious_purple: Lithuanian map and flag -- "Proud to Be Lithuanian" (lithuanian map and flag)
Once again ... when you have to log into LJ/DW, you know you've been gone a while. But, hey, I've been living my life.

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

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

P.S. Tall Dancer phoned me last Monday and again tonight. In lieu of Internet chatting, he tends to call me while he's driving home from his Monday night dance group.
luscious_purple: Ganked from many people (damn not given)
Wow, barely one post here per week? C'mon, Patty, you CAN do better than that.

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

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

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

Forty-seven years ago tonight I was watching the Apollo 11 moonwalk. Well, OK, I dozed off around this time. I was young and wasn't used to staying up so late....
luscious_purple: Paint Branch UU Chalice (Paint Branch Chalice)
First off, a Happy Belated Birthday to Maugorn and Forestcats/Bridget.

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

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

Good stuff

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

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

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

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

I also finished Rebecca over the weekend. Now, I'm not going to put these comments under a cut, because the book was published in 1938. But my first reaction to the "big reveal" about Rebecca was: Eewww, how can the narrator still love her husband once she knows he KILLED HIS OWN FIRST WIFE??? And got away with it? Second reaction: Why wasn't Mr. de Winter at least a member of the House of Lords, if not some higher peerage? Third reaction: Maybe the whole thing was some kind of assisted suicide?
luscious_purple: i'm in ur fizx lab, testin ur string therry (string therry)
What, only one guess? (That was on Dreamwidth, not LJ.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So the five of us (F., H., Spider, R., and yours truly) will carpool together to Philcon on Friday. Obviously I want to have fun, but I'll also be keeping an eye on Spider to see whether she is truly having interactive fun with other people or whether she is just sitting by herself, sketching in a corner.
luscious_purple: Ganked from many people (damn not given)
Several weekends every year, I feel torn because I have multiple events demanding my attention. They're all good choices ... so it's hard to choose. Often, these weekends occur around a holiday.

So ... guess what... this weekend I have no less than four things I could attend:
Those events aren't always on the same weekend. In some years, Philcon and the church auction have been held on the second Saturday of November. I'm also fairly new to Toastmasters, just starting my second year, so that hasn't been a factor in the past.

But when there's a conflict, it's just so hard to choose. I'm sentimental about Philcon because it was my "first" SF con back in the '80s when I was so much younger. Even though I can't afford to buy expensive stuff, I still enjoy shopping at Holiday Faire and socializing with folks from all over northern Atlantia. My congregation is my spiritual home and the auction is its second biggest fundraiser of the year (only the annual pledge drive is bigger, naturally). I've never been to a Toastmasters conference before.

So, which one did I choose this year, and why? Please feel free to guess in the comments. Answer tomorrow....

luscious_purple: Stop SOPA and PIPA (No SOPA)
Just had a bit of a scare. The most recent version of my feature article, which was on the screen when the battery ran down at the New Deal Cafe, was all garbled when it was restored. So I had to go back to the second most recent version, which was OK. Now I have to read through very carefully to add in the last few thoughts I had while at the New Deal. AAUGH!

In other news ... today would have been the 53rd birthday of one of my college peeps, the guy who died last December just before Christmas. As a tribute to him today, his wife posted a list of things we could do to honor Mike. I'll put it behind a cut, but please do click on it; it's a fine list.

To squeeze everything out of today... )

Please don't pass that around, because I didn't write it. Jill did. But I intend to print it out and stick it up where I can see it, along with another deceased friend's motto, ETHOOL ("Enjoy The Heck Out Of Life").

Now to that last little bit of the article....
luscious_purple: The middle class is too big to fail! (middle class)
So, I voted. It was about five minutes before the polls closed, but I got there to cast my ballot for the municipal election. We have city council elections in the odd-numbered years; the school board and county posts happen in even-numbered "midterm election" years.

Usually the actual vote takes about 90 seconds, and then some volunteer makes you sit at a table and fill out a really long questionnaire about "community issues" that takes 15 minutes. Fortunately, my precinct was out of copies of that form, so I didn't have to slog through that particular chore.

Since moving here 16 years ago, I've voted in most of the city elections. I didn't vote when I first got here in 1999 because I'd literally been here only two months and was still completely uninformed. Also, there was one year when my early-evening dental appointment ran overtime and I couldn't get to the polls in time.

Still, I take my franchise seriously. I read the candidates' biographies and Q&As in the local paper. I voted for a mix of incumbents and challengers, but in the end the incumbents won (it was a race of 11 candidates running for seven council seats). Ah, well. Turnout was pretty pathetic as usual for a city contest, but next year, when the White House is on the line, the crowds will be overwhelming. I don't see why other people don't exercise their right to vote every year, but, hey, I did my time writing get-out-the-vote editorials for small-town newspapers back in the '80s. I did what I could do in the pre-Internet era.

Anyhow. In other election news, my friend Leslie was just voted in as a school board member in the New Jersey town where she lives. Congratulations to her! Up in Massachusetts, my hometown's Republican mayor was reelected, and my mother's hometown got a new mayor, a guy I once met at my cousin Steve's house (his wife and the mayor-elect's wife are longtime friends).

And so we move on to the Big Enchilada. I am so disgusted with the GOP's hatred of Barack Obama that I never plan to vote for a Republican again. There have been a few times in past years when I have voted for a moderate Republican -- when I lived in Connie Morella's district and I wanted to reward her for voting against Bill Clinton's impeachment, when John Silber was running for Massachusetts governor and I couldn't in good conscience inflict him on the rest of the state, and once when the Democratic candidate for state rep or state senator was anti-choice. However, now that the party has moved SO far to the right, I can't envision a similar scenario occurring ever again. To all the people who say "Vote the person, not the party," I respond: If you consciously choose to associate yourself with assholes, what does that say about YOU?
luscious_purple: Julia, the Maine Coon Cat (Julia)
In case anybody was wondering: War of the Wings was COLD! Well, not during the day. Daytimes were quite pleasant, actually; sunny except for one cloudy morning, but not a drop of rain. But at night ... the penetrating chill signaling a change of season to which we are not yet accustomed.

The cold made sitting up close to the fire bowl pleasant. But not so much playing in the dance band -- it's hard to play well when your fingers are feeling increasingly stiff. On the last evening of the event, we musicians played until 10 p.m., when the ball was supposed to end, and then when Master Stefan begged for more, we told him that he could use his magic boom box, thank you very much. We also recommended that next year's band should be allowed to use a space heater. (This is never a problem at Pennsic.)

My major purchase at WoW was a Mongolian/Russian/Viking hat from The Amber Lady (a merchant). It was a bit on the expensive side ($55), but wonderfully constructed: double layers of upholstery fabric and fleece, surrounded by a fat brim of maroon-dyed sheepskin, snug around my head. All the other women in my encampment were sporting them, so, yeah, I had to get one too. It is definitely warmer than any of my other SCA hats, even the felted-wool brimmed hat.

Southwind Camp was a bit small at this event: besides me, we were Cameron and her daughter Susan, all the way from the Oregon part of An Tir; Conni and Mel (Roise and Annora); and Deirdre, Llewellyn and whatever their 19-year-old son is calling himself these days. We didn't have a meal plan, but we managed to pool our food supplies and we ate well.

Sorry I haven't yet uploaded pictures to my Flickr account. I have been taking so many lately that I'm way behind. I'm *trying* to organize them properly as I go along....

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