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: i'm in ur fizx lab, testin ur string therry (string therry)
First off: Today is the 34th anniversary of my father's death. Coincidentally, at the time of Dad's death, my parents had been married for 34 years (and about seven weeks). So, about seven weeks from now, I'll have a sense of how long my parents' marriage lasted.

Gene Wilder has died at age 83. Mostly I remember him as Willy Wonka.

Tall Dancer called me again tonight. I guess this is becoming more of a weekly check-in thing. This time around I avoided talking about job searching and mostly prattled on about dancing, eating the endless leftover cole slaw from the epic party, my weekend plans, and so forth. He is always more reticent about his personal life than I am with mine -- the whole pseudo-counselor thing, I guess. But he did say he is going camping at an outdoor "relaxacon" over the coming holiday weekend. Up with friends from Kentucky and Tennessee. I think he did the same thing over last Labor Day weekend, too.

Happy find at a local Little Free Library: I snagged a copy of the Ron Chernow biography of Alexander Hamilton that inspired the Broadway musical Hamilton. Given my financial state, I don't have a snowball's chance in hell of seeing the actual production, but at least I can enjoy the book.
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.

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: "avoid heralds" (avoid heralds)
So many things going around in my head, I hardly know where to begin. I guess I'll just do some free-association.

Got through my second Sunday of Lithuanian dance rehearsal -- had a blast; people there are friendly. Monday the 5th we (the Three Left Feet dance group at Storvik practice) had six dancers, so we were able to dance actually, not like Monday the 28th when we had only two dancers show up. (Most SCA-type dances require at least four participants.)

Funny thing ... on Monday the 5th, after dance practice, I came home and started poking around on Facebook, trying to figure out whether one of the guys I was talking to on Sunday night is married or divorced, and Tall Dancer phoned me to talk. That was ... interesting. We chatted about our respective dance practices and about how he bought a new refrigerator this past weekend, plus his proposal (in Meridies) that local groups consider reimbursing folks who travel from out of town to teach classes.

In other musical news ... the good music news is that I really enjoyed Wolgemut's performance at the New Deal Cafe. Sonya and Maugorn weren't able to attend -- last year, the situation was reversed; they were there and I was in Ohio. Still, I saw Kender, whom I hadn't seen in person in a while, so we had a nice visit together. The bad music news is that, while I was enthusiastically clapping away, my camera had a close encounter with the concrete floor, and now the lens doesn't retract all the way. :-( I should really take a couple of photos in daylight to test the focus.

(If anybody wants to know what Wolgemut is all about, type that word into YouTube. Be prepared for a great blast of sound.)

Yesterday afternoon the boy toy and I went out to run a couple of early-afternoon errands, came home with a couple of bags of groceries, and found ... no electricity in my condo. As it turned out, Pepco had to work on some sort of junction box (or whatever you call it) and needed to turn off the power to two of the buildings in the complex. So I brought my laptop to the New Deal Cafe and had coffee there, and I spotted Jane, the younger sister of my friend Devora, who moved to Iowa City after her husband, Pedro, died. (Pedro and Devora are SCA names, for those of you new to this journal.) So Jane and I had a great conversation. (Why, yes, the New Deal *is* like this town's public "living room.")

So now I have a ton of things to do before leaving for War of the Wings in a week. And I just got a lead on another freelance project -- a referral from my usual editor. SCORE!!
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: Daily News: Mitt Hits the Fan (Mitt hits the fan)
Wuxi, pool party
Picture by Wuxi on Flickr
Feeling like you're drifting all alone in the once-fun-but-now-too-quiet pool of Livejournal? Not to worry! [personal profile] silviarambles is running a friending meme!

Friending Meme for LJ Survivors - 2015 Re-edition


Please remember that friending frenzies work only if you spread the word, so, even if you're not looking for more friends, would you mind doing me a big favour and pimping the meme on your own journals?

Thanks!


And now, back to my own life:

I had a good weekend -- a couple of days of touristy activities with the boy toy, followed by marching with the Toastmasters in my town's Labor Day parade. First time I've marched in a parade since, oh, 1977....

Tall Dancer has not checked into chat very much at all since late last week (as evinced by the right-hand column on Facebook). Perhaps he's found a hot local babe....

We were supposed to have a rainstorm this afternoon, but it hasn't happened yet. Watch the storm roll in just before water-aerobics class in the outdoor pool is supposed to begin. (The city's indoor pool is closed for a while because it needs a whole new roof.)
luscious_purple: scribal blot (scribal icon)
So last week I started reading the Single Dad Laughing blog. And I just can't stop reading it.

I'm obviously neither a parent nor a man. Duh. But he writes for human beings, and he is just an awesome writer.

I stumbled upon the blog early last week when the "lesson of the saggy burrito" went viral on Facebook. As a woman who had to deal with this sort of thing for forty years, I still cannot reread it without laughing.

So I started exploring the archives, because the blog didn't seem to be totally about parenting. Oh, yeah, it is mentioned. But there is so much else. (And we non-parents can still learn something from the perspective of parents, can't we?)

I found other entries that made me laugh, but others that brought tears to my eyes, and still others that made me cringe in painful recognition of my own foibles. This Dan guy is an amazing writer. And he also knows all the blog-publishing tricks too, to keep the modern, Web-trained reader coming back. Tricks that go over the head of us old-fogy boomers. (He's only 35.) He has hundreds of thousands of followers on Facebook ... books and apps ... and I'm sitting at the computer and realizing that in many ways he's living the kind of life I'd like to be leading.

As if 2015 wasn't already the Year of the Great Smack Upside the Head....

It's getting late, so I'm just going to post a whole bunch of links to Single Dad Laughing entries that have touched me in some way (humor, humanity, raw feelings). In the coming days I'll try to explain what I'm feeling. But right now, here's a list, starting with one of those open-a-vein-and-write posts.

http://www.danoah.com/2011/02/time-vs-worthless-heart.html

http://www.danoah.com/2010/08/validation-weekend-pick-me-up.html

http://www.danoah.com/2014/12/humaning-is-hard-sometimes.html

http://www.danoah.com/2014/12/1000-feelings.html

http://www.danoah.com/2011/03/you-are-not-man-she-married.html

http://www.danoah.com/2015/05/come-on-dan-whats-up-with-the-long-hair.html

http://www.danoah.com/2014/01/sdl-needs-your-help.html

http://www.babble.com/babble-voices/for-my-kids-first-birthday-i-got-him-a-facebook-account/

http://www.danoah.com/2015/03/sdlhc-toughmudder-end.html

http://www.danoah.com/2012/12/taking-my-blog-back-taking-my-life-back.html

http://www.danoah.com/2013/11/why-need-bail-while.html

http://www.danoah.com/2013/08/the-next-big-step-with-the-farmers-daughter.html

http://www.danoah.com/2013/09/15-things-ive-learned-about-love-relationships-by-being-perpetually-single.html

http://www.danoah.com/2011/06/just-say-youre-not-interested.html

And now, don't you feel just awesome? (And don't you think I'm writing just like this guy? I am such an imitator. Bleah.)
luscious_purple: Julia, the Maine Coon Cat (Julia)
Yesterday was the boy toy's B-day, but I had a short article to write (freelance). So while I worked on that, he did some laundry. Later in the afternoon, we went to the local co-op supermarket to get the monthly "patron appreciation day" discount (5 percent off everything). In the evening I cooked us a meal from one of Jamie Oliver's cookbooks: a fish frittata with a light waldorf salad on the side. It came out OK; I wouldn't want to eat it every day, but it was tasty enough for a change.

Today we went into DC. First we stopped at the American History Museum to see the exhibit on the 1960s, because the building first opened in 1964 -- 50 years ago. It was a small but good-quality exhibit, featuring a beautifully restored 1964 Ford Mustang, a diorama of the New York World's Fair, and some glass tubes from an early build-your-own-laser kit. Then the boy toy noticed the tents for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the Mall, so we walked around that for a while. It was warm and mildly humid, but not oppressively so (like SO many summer days around here).

Next we took the Orange Line to Eastern Market because neither one of us had ever been there. The building itself reminded me of what Quincy Market in Boston might be like if it hadn't gotten all gussied up for the tourists. We didn't bring an insulated bag and we usually get our fresh meat at the Amish market anyway, but we did pick up a chunk of Parmesan cheese.

Finally, we walked a few blocks to a Cuban/Puerto Rican restaurant and had a late lunch slash early dinner. His meal turned out to be a HUGE platter so he will be getting a second meal out of that.

Less than three months to go till my own birthday, which I will share this year not only with the Barony of Storvik, but also Our National Anthem as it hits the Big Two-Oh-Oh. About time I check out some of the festivities at Fort McHenry, and maybe we'll find a cool restaurant somewhere in Baltimore.

Linky linky

Oct. 7th, 2013 11:21 pm
luscious_purple: Stop SOPA and PIPA (No SOPA)
Here's an interesting link I found on Facebook: Hey, douchebag, your pet bunny did NOT ruin your sex life.

Did you see the "Saturday Night Live" skit with Miley Cyrus playing Michele Bachmann in hot pants and some other guy playing a gyrating John Boehner? It's repulsive and hilarious at the same time.

OK, gotta get going....
luscious_purple: Snagged on LJ (great news)
The lower house of the Maryland legislature just approved same-sex marriage! Huzzah! Hooray!

This is a big win because last year the bill passed in the state Senate and died in the lower chamber. This year the same people are in the state Senate and most likely will approve it again next week. And *our* governor (as opposed to some states' governors -- I'm looking at YOU, New Jersey) has said he will sign the bill into law. YEAH!

I am grateful to all the folks at church who lobbied on behalf of this issue. I'll admit I have not been a terribly big activist, but I am still a supporter. I have one woman on my Facebook f-list who is married to another woman in Massachusetts, and the sky still has not fallen.
luscious_purple: Star Wars Against Hate (Default)
My apologies for not feeling much like posting here. I wrote another short article for my ex-employer, did some laundry, and wrote up the outline for the class that I'm teaching on Saturday at the University of Atlantia. (Now I just have to boil it all down into a two-page handout.) I also did a catch-up post on http://ladypatriciaoftrakai.blogspot.com.

Last Saturday I had a fine time performing in a paid gig -- Maugorn wrote about it here. I *had* been planning to wear my navy blue Italian Renn dress with the white tie-on sleeves that I bought at Holiday Faire last November, but in the days before the event I was persuaded to wear my pink silk Cavalier outfit because of its higher "bling" value. I think it's a good thing that I heeded that, because the venue was a really nice "old money" hotel and the attendees were dressed to the nines (whether they were wearing "Venetian masquerade" costumes or evening wear).

Speaking of money, I can't believe how gasoline prices have rocketed up in the last week or two. The nearest gas station to my house is now up to $3.459 for regular. It seem as if it was $2.999 not that long ago. I hate to think what the prices may be like by the time Memorial Day rolls around.

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