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: Lithuanian map and flag -- "Proud to Be Lithuanian" (lithuanian map and flag)
Why, yes, I *know* I haven't written for a few weeks. Because ... Svente! That's the Lithuanian word for "festival." Last weekend was the big Lithuanian folk dance festival up in Baltimore, also known as Šokių Šventė 2016. I haven't been writing much about my participation in the Lithuanian folk dance group since last October, but it's been building to a crescendo ... and, finally, an awesome festival.

Oh, gosh, I could go on and on about how wonderful that festival was, even though it took me a day to get over it (I am getting so OLD). Truly awful national news this week, though, and I need to get up early in the morning for Storvik Novice Tourney and Baronial Investiture -- only my third SCA event of 2016. I feel so out of practice....
luscious_purple: Lithuanian map and flag -- "Proud to Be Lithuanian" (lithuanian map and flag)
Whew, between the Baltimore Lithuanian Festival on Saturday and the Maryland Faerie Festival today, I have been on the go a lot this weekend!! Now that I'm sitting down at the computer, I want to go curl up and sleep ... when I still need to do some of my freelance writing.

But first: This Mother's Day I thought I would honor my paternal grandmother, the one I never got to meet. I posted this photo of her on Facebook.

IMG_0700 grandmother

Here is the sum total of what I know of her:

She was born somewhere in what is now Lithuania. She came to the United States sometime before 1917, perhaps in 1911.

Her first name was Nellie. Her maiden surname began with a B. (I have seen at least three radically different spellings of it.)

She had two sons, and the older one (my Dad) looked more like her than the younger one.

In 1931, she took an "advanced beginner" class in English.

In January 1934, she died of pneumonia. She was either 42 years old (according to city death records) or 45 to 46 (according to the cemetery gravestone).

That's it. That is all I know. I have no idea whether she was a good cook, whether she liked to sew or knit, whether she sang songs to her sons or read them stories or whether she could read at all. I never asked my Dad what kind of a mother she was. But I am her granddaughter just the same.
luscious_purple: Lithuanian map and flag -- "Proud to Be Lithuanian" (lithuanian map and flag)
I already summarized the weekend on my "Patricia of Trakai" blog, so if you don't already subscribe to its feed, here it is.

Tomorrow, back to my freelance writing work.
luscious_purple: Lithuanian map and flag -- "Proud to Be Lithuanian" (lithuanian map and flag)
Today I got a nice message from one of my Atlantian heraldic peeps. The subject line said, "From my German family to your Lithuanian one..." And in the message he wrote: "Congratulations on a battle well fought." Yes, today is the 601st (601th?) anniversary of the Battle of Grunwald, and after last year, I would be remiss if I didn't mention it. :-)

This year, BTW, I didn't sign up to teach any classes at Pennsic. I just still don't know how long I will stay there. I want to travel there on Friday, August 5, when the $40 premium for getting there during the first week goes away. I have a big feature article (freelance) that is due on Monday, August 1, so there will be no land-grab weekend stuff for me, that's for sure.

I checked on the standard DC-to-Pennsic route online. Tolls have gone up slightly on the Pennsylvania Turnpike since last year. The "standard route," Exit 161 (Breezewood) to Exit 28 (Cranberry), will cost $11.35 if you're paying by cash or $10.61 if you have E-ZPass (as I do). Last year it was $10 flat.

For the heck of it I put my address and Pennsic's into Google Maps and found an alternate route that is supposedly a couple of miles shorter and a couple of minutes faster, with less time on the PA Turnpike. It goes something like this: Exit 161 (Breezewood) -> Exit 146 (Bedford) -> north on I-99/U.S. Route 220 -> Exit 28 (just south of Altoona) to U.S. Route 22 west -> that becomes U.S. Route 422 west of a town called Ebensburg -> through Butler -> turn right onto Currie Road.

Has anybody gone that way? I'm thinking that there might be fewer trucks to dodge on that route. I'm no fan of the PA Turnpike -- I appreciate its historic significance, but it's full of trucks and construction zones and too often, when the slow-uphill lane is supposed to end, the left-hand lane ends instead, making the slow-uphill lane into the normal right lane and the normal right lane into the left/passing lane, where I suddenly have speeders up my butt. At age 15 years and 151K miles, my car isn't as peppy under a full load as it used to be, and I hate to do a number on the engine or transmission.

(A possibly little-known fact: On the trip from my place in the DC 'burbs to Pennsic, there is a net gain of about 1,000 feet in elevation. So the trip to Pennsic really does seem to be uphill.)

In other SCA news ... the dance group is having a sewing afternoon on Sunday, so I will probably go to that, now that I've found my sewing machine's "missing" foot pedal (it wasn't really missing, I just didn't look in the tote bag that was hanging on the back of the bedroom door). I have some light blue IKEA linen that I bought in 2004, and slowly I'm making it into a short-sleeved T-tunic dress. Not terribly historic, but something to wear in soupy-hot weather besides a chiton or "bog dress." I'll trim the sleeves with that "Spike" ribbon that Baroness Janina gave me years ago, and I could wear it to Atlantian 30-Year in September.
luscious_purple: Lithuanian map and flag -- "Proud to Be Lithuanian" (lithuanian map and flag)
OK, so why was this woman standing in front of the Maryland National Guard armory holding a long string-and-wood thing and with a funny-looking tasseled pouch hanging out from below her jacket? Read on.

Yesterday I decided to go to the Bright Hills Birthday and Investiture. Yeah, I figured that I would get there after the morning court ceremonies, and I knew the feast was already sold out, but at least I would get to spend a nice afternoon with friends, instead of sitting at my keyboard and stewing over missing a fun event. At this point, I probably know more people in Bright Hills than any other barony except my own.

I zigzagged in a general northerly direction to the event site, which looked vaguely familiar, so I probably did attend another event there in the past. It's up near the PA border, in real farm country, and I drove through the hamlet of Boring to get there. The temperature up there was at least 10 degrees colder, with more rotting snow on the ground and a sharp wind. (Thank goodness for indoor events.)

When I first got there, the Kingdom Seneschal was leading a discussion on the "northern principality" issue. It had already started, and I couldn't quite hear everything because there was too much noise from the back of the hall. Oh, well, I'll just have to see what develops on the mailing list.

After that was lunch. Bright Hills can make even a simple lunch tasty. Lady Ingeborg (the wire-weaver) invited me to sit with her and a newcomer (I think her name was May). Then the newcomer and I watched part of the "bardic bear pit" in which Lady Ingeborg was competing. I also started a bit of tablet weaving using a pre-warped loom I bought from Herveus at Darkover.

Next, I decided to check out the merchant area. I asked some questions of Herveus, and then I went to see Fabricdragon, because you can't ever have enough pearls for an Italian Renaissance outfit (see, I was thinking of the upcoming Three Left Feet paid gig on the 26th). I ended up buying two strands of pearls of varying sizes and color tones; I think they'll make a nice necklace.

Right after my purchase, a guy I didn't recognize came up to me and asked if I was the herald of Storvik. When I said yes, he said, "The King would like to see the Storvik baronial herald now." Well, I thought that was rather strange, because there was no shortage of heraldic firepower at this event -- at least four of the heralds in attendance, including the current Clerk of Precedence and former Wreath Sovereign, are much more senior than I. And even though territorial barons and baronesses sometimes allow outside baronage to hold court in their lands, it isn't done often, and then only for unusual circumstances (for example, they want to present an award to someone who's about to go off on military deployment).

When I got to the other end of the hall, Lady Alexandra was just starting King Bryan's court (the Queen was taking a nap). His Majesty was presenting the Opal to a woman whom I think was a past baronial herald, so I figured that's why I was invited to the court, as I am a Companion of the Opal myself. (Storvik's Baron William and Baroness Sorcha were among the onlookers, but not doing anything else active.) King Bryan presented several other Opals and Coral Branches.

Then I heard *my* name called. It almost didn't register with me! (Well, with the background noise...) I knelt before the King on my left knee, which is slightly more accommodating of contact with hard floors than the other one. The King asked me if I could speak Lithuanian, and I said not much, but I knew that "thank you" is "aciu." Then he said that he has heard lots of good things about my Lithuanian studies, and that it was great that I have been studying such a small country -- at which time I said something like, "But it used to be a much bigger country!" I'm sure I was blushing quite a bit and my face was pulling the blood out of my brain or something. Bottom line, the King inducted me into the Order of the Coral Branch for arts and sciences.

I got lots of congratulations afterward; plus, a woman who said she is 77 years old sat me down and said she wants to write a historical novel about Queen Jadwiga. I don't know if anything will come of that, but we exchanged phone numbers, and she said she has a copy of the book Lithuania Ascending, which I have been really eager to read (and which is really expensive to buy).

Tale to be finished tomorrow... I will just note that my Coral Branch came on the same day as Zygmunt's elevation to Laurel in the Midrealm, so it was a really good day for Polish-Lithuanian studies in the SCA!

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