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: scribal blot (scribal icon)
In case you may be wondering why I find August 29th a day to be endured rather than enjoyed ... today is the 35th anniversary of my father's death. For those of you who haven't been around me long enough to know the full story, and/or those of you who don't want to touch LiveJournal with a ten-meter pole, I'll put the original LJ entry from Aug. 29, 2003, under a cut.

The sad story here... )

And here's another way I think about my Dad, even today. Heck, you can read more of my past writings by clicking on the "dad" tag on whichever journal you're reading this on.

As far as the rest of today ... it's been a quiet, rainy day, with not much to do except plug away at my freelance writing and keep tabs on the Harvey flooding situation in the Houston area.
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.

Oh NO.

Aug. 31st, 2016 10:14 pm
luscious_purple: Baby blasting milk carton with death-ray vision (death-ray baby)
Don't worry, I'm perfectly fine. Even got my driver's license renewed today, which would have been my father's 99th birthday. (99!)

BUT ... today the weather forecast changed, and what had been the prospect of a perfectly sunny and clear Labor Day weekend was replaced by the prospect of having a tropical storm roar over the mid-Atlantic region on Saturday evening -- right when Storvik is hosting Battle on the Bay. (It's our turn to host this SCA event; in odd-numbered years, the Barony of Lochmere runs it.)

Longtime readers of this journal may recall the vicious June 2012 storm that resulted in the cancellation of that year's Storvik Novice Tourney. That was NOT a happy weekend. One of our fencers took refuge under the permanent pavilion just before a tree crashed down on top of her tent. She's convinced that she would have been killed if she'd stayed in her tent. Other tents were destroyed or damaged, and the access road was blocked with downed trees and wires.

I have been hoping that I could camp at the event (Friday and Saturday nights) because I'm helping out with troll (entrance gate; where we collect the money) and the Battle on the Bay site is a 45-minute drive from my home. However, I really don't want to bring home wet canvas. I did that after the spring SCA "garb wars" event on the Eastern Shore, when it rained all weekend, and spreading out the tent to dry in the living room was a giant PITA. (And that one I *had* to camp at because of the distance.) I guess I'll just keep an eye on the weather forecasts. I happen to know that the National Weather Service runs another one of its giant "operational" supercomputer models every six hours.
luscious_purple: Star Wars Against Hate (Default)
I have SO much to write about. Trust me on this. Stuff that I have been reading on the Internet (no, NOT hate speech, I am not getting bad influences like last week's mass murderer down in Charleston) and other stuff that happened over the Internet. Good stuff and sad stuff, with plenty of navel-gazing thrown in for good measure.

But I might as well start with the excitement around the neighborhood last night.

Yesterday was supposedly the hottest day around here since last July 2. I didn't plan any excursions outside of my air-conditioned condo. When it gets that hot, you just know that there are going to be some mighty thunder-boomers in the early evening.

And so the storms raged, with a mighty downpour and bright flashes and loud rumbles. And as the boy toy and I finished eating dinner, one emergency vehicle after another tore down the main street into our neighborhood, with sirens blaring and lights flashing.

Now, after 15 years here I know that the public safety people send two or three vehicles for almost any call to one of the multi-family buildings around here, even a little burnt-up roast that sets off the smoke sensors. But this was a whole freakin' parade of emergency vehicles, and not yet the Fourth of July.

The rain stopped right around the time I finished eating, so I grabbed my camera and headed outside. The street that makes a T with my street just a bit north of my building was completely clogged with ambulances, ladder trucks, pumping trucks, and SUVs belonging to various captains and chiefs. Even the bright pink (I mean, Pepto Bismol pink) ambulance from College Park was there.

But I didn't see anything happening. So I walked up one of the hilly driveways into the apartment complex that sits across the street from me, and then I took a left, and then I saw a whole bunch *more* emergency vehicles, mostly fire trucks, with a huge green-LED-illuminated ladder reaching up to the roof of one building and thick hoses running all over the place.

Apparently, at the height of the storm, a bolt of lightning hit one of the garden-style apartment buildings that I can't see well from my home's vantage point. And that started a fire on the top floor of that building. Fortunately, NO ONE was hurt -- neither the residents nor the firefighters. But some people will be out of their homes for the foreseeable future.

Here's one of the photos I took:

IMG_2233


By the time I got there, the big flames were out and the firefighters were just mopping up and hosing things down to make sure there were no hot spots.

The rest of my album is here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/34356022@N03/sets/72157654580579568

Again, I'm glad no one was hurt.
luscious_purple: Baby blasting milk carton with death-ray vision (death-ray baby)
Spring is officially OVER. The DC area was the hottest part of the USA today. Hotter than Florida, Georgia (including Tall Dancer's metro area), south Texas, Arizona, LA....

Bleah. Still getting used to warm weather after the long, cold winter.

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: The scribal demon made me do it! (Titivillius)
It's February 23.

It's 70 degrees out there (Fahrenheit).

I've got five daffodils and a bunch of crocuses in bloom.

People with allergies are sneezing and stuffed up.

What will the actual spring be like?
luscious_purple: Snagged on LJ (great news)
First of all, we got the rest of our power back in the wee hours -- was it early Tuesday, maybe? Everything seems to blur together -- all these disasters!

The important thing about the week was that the transmission shop in Old Town Bowie did NOT lose power, or at least the electricity was on by Monday morning. That enabled the workers to finish my car by Tuesday afternoon! On Wednesday morning Maugorn kindly drove me to the bank (which was along the way) and then to the transmission shop, where I handed over my cash and retrieved my pretty purple baby (yes, my Pontiac will always be "my baby," even though she's 15 years old). The front desk in the transmission shop had a basket of small Kit Kat bars for the taking, so I made sure Maugorn got one too.

Since then I've had a couple of occasions to accelerate my purple Pontiac up to highway speed, and the transmission is transmitting power nice and smoothly. So, yay, I've got my wheels back! And I can take myself to Atlantian 30-Year! *happy dance*

A big THANK YOU to all who made it happen, too!

In other words, between all the hurricane-related disruptions, my freelance articles, and general life, I did not post that we just passed the anniversaries of my father's death and birth. For those of you who are new around here, my Dad's birthday was August 31, and he died on August 29. You can look up those dates in my journal archives (more so on LJ than DW) to see what I've written about him in the past. I certainly have been thinking of him these last few days.

Actually ... yesterday (Dad's birthday) brought me over to our Local Friendly Space Agency to interview three scientists (for an article I'm writing, not for a job). I got another tour of the Chambers of (Instrument) Torture, where spacecraft get shaken violently, blasted with 150 dB of sound, freeze-dried, baked in vacuum, and whirled on an eyeball-popping centrifuge, all in preparation for liftoff. Although all these tests are designed for non-living things, I can't help thinking that the torturers of the Inquisition would have loved to get their hands on them....
luscious_purple: OMG WTF BBQ (OMG WTF BBQ)
Electricity was out here from 10 p.m. Saturday to 9:50 p.m. Sunday. And even then it wasn't a complete restoration of power -- only two of three phases. So my living room and half the kitchen have electricity. The rest of the condo does not. We have hot water but no A/C.

The boy toy had to manhandle the fridge out of its usual spot so that we could plug it into a live outlet. Of course, now it's blocking the dishwasher. *sigh* Still, I didn't lose all the food I bought on Friday.

This morning we had to drag the DSL router out of my bedroom and set it up in the living room in order to get back on the Internet. Of course that meant unplugging the cordless phone. Now the only working phone is in the kitchen ... also behind the dishwasher. *sigh*

At least it's not too hot outside. The cats have been basking in the open windows.

And at least there is fighter/dance/music practice tonight.
luscious_purple: Star Wars Against Hate (Default)
More on last night's sudden thunder-boomer. I wonder whether we're going to have another one of those tonight. It's getting awfully cloudy out there.

Rather glad I'm not out on the Mall, because it is a PITA when the rangers clear people off the Mall because of an impending T-storm and then we all go into the buildings and then have to exit the Smithsonian buildings on the outside of the Fourth of July security zone and then have to go through the security gates all over again. Blergh.

Happy Fourth of July anyway....
luscious_purple: "avoid heralds" (avoid heralds)
This was the weekend of Marching Through Time (MTT), a two-day gathering of all kinds of military reenactors, from Romans to the Marines in Vietnam. It's at a county-owned site a few miles from my residence, and Three Left Feet participates every year.

Thing was, yesterday's weather sucked rotten eggs. Chill, rain, wind. We didn't have the tornadoes of North Carolina and southern Virginia, thank goodness, but there was dampness and mud everywhere. Some of the reenactment groups bailed, and hardly any "members of the public" or "civilians" or whatever you want to call them showed up. We played two sets, but ended the second one early when it became obvious that no one was paying attention to the dancing.

That was just as well, because I had to drive up to Owings Mills, northwest of Baltimore, for a Southwind Camp party. These are the people with whom I camp at Pennsic. Our friend Cameron had come from Oregon for a long-weekend visit around here, especially so that we could meet her new significant other, a guy named Steve. Deirdre and Llewellyn, our hostess and host, managed to grill the burgers and hot dogs outside, but the rain and wind picked up, so it wasn't much fun to sit outside. But it *was* a lot of fun to see everyone again. I left around 10 p.m. and reached home an hour later.

I repeated the Three Left Feet experience today under sunnier skies. This time we played three sets, although the final one of the day was pretty low-energy, at least in terms of us musicians, who sat on the damp ground. In between sets I walked around and took pictures of some of the encampments. Every year I admire the detail that some of the non-SCA groups put into their clothing and kits. It makes me feel so inauthentic. Anyhow, I was on my feet for a good part of the day, then came home and had a snack before going to barony meeting, where I had to take the minutes and thus pay attention to every detail.

Now I'm wiped out, and I don't feel like working on my taxes. Maybe I should just go to bed and finish them tomorrow, or file for an extension or something. Le sigh.
luscious_purple: Star Wars Against Hate (Default)
I guess [personal profile] silmaril would call these "bitties." :-)

1. Apparently the boy toy saw a few snowflakes overnight because he stays up really late, but any "snow" was gone by 9 a.m. when I looked out the window. Snow falling on cherry blossoms is very beautiful, but also very wrong.

2. Last weekend was Lunacon, and I didn't go. Afterward I did the usual blog search and found comments and descriptions like this one. "Distinct lack of energy in the air" is a telling phrase. It's just as well I didn't go.

3. Tonight the boy toy made onion soup with Guinness beer. Not too bad, actually.

4. Noticed the NCAA Elite Eight proceedings with some detachment. After all, none of *my* alma maters is involved (unlike some folks on my Facebook f-list). Interesting that Coach Cal (Kentucky) will face Coach Calhoun (UConn) in the semifinal round. Their teams played each other when Coach Cal was at UMass and, sadly, UConn always beat us.

5. Five things make a post....
luscious_purple: Star Wars Against Hate (Default)
This morning I woke up and looked out the hotel window and the first thing that escaped my lips was: "IT'S SNOWING!!!" Yep, big, puffy flakes were falling! Of course they weren't really sticking to the pavement, but on the flat roof of the building next door I could see some wet slush accumulating in triple-point equilibrium harmony.

Snow! The season of holidays and skiing is approaching....
luscious_purple: Star Wars Against Hate (Default)
("Bitties" being a word borrowed from [personal profile] silmaril, of course.)

Half of the NCAA men's round of 32 is set, and my score is 10 correct picks to 6 incorrect picks. Then again, I had selected Georgetown to go to the Elite Eight. Oh, well.

One of my Facebook (and church) friends, T.H., reported that she got her first daffodil bloom a couple of days ago. Heh, I got my first blossom on March 8. That's still a week later than some years, thanks to the stormy winter. Plus, I have a south-facing condo and the earliest-blooming daffodils are in a sunny spot; T.H.'s house is mostly in the shade.

Is Maryland part of the South? Apparently, for purposes of the Council of State Governments, we're more comfortably aligned with the Eastern region rather than the Southern region. But we still have that phrase "Northern scum" in our state song, and we can't erase the less savory parts of Maryland history, such as the fact that the University of Maryland's law school wouldn't let Thurgood Marshall enroll because of his race (though Marshall later got the court to bite that school in the butt). And then we still have to deal with the legacy of Roger B. Taney. Bleah. Also, I learned when I was studying Maryland heraldry that the counterchanged "cross bottony" (the red and white parts of Maryland's flag) was used as a pro-secession banner in Civil War days. Ugh.

Speaking of politics and law and history ... please, please, please let the House pass the health-insurance reform bill this weekend!! It's not perfect, but we NEED it!

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