luscious_purple: Daily News: Mitt Hits the Fan (Mitt hits the fan)
Yeah, I know, long time no post.

I had a long feature article to write, I felt all seized up from anxiety over the presidential election, so I went WAY over deadline, which meant that I got paid a lot less for my work... and my editor was pissed off... and then I got anxious over money....

And then I went through all the ups and downs of the near-end of the seemingly endless election cycle, and I went into my work as an election judge thinking that of *course* Hillary Clinton was going to squeak through. But the news looked bad as soon as I got home and I just couldn't fall asleep for the longest time, even though I'd been awake since 4:45 a.m., until I took cold medication (and I am not sick) to try to still my racing mind.

I had posted this on FB before going to bed:

Report from today: I awoke at 4:45 a.m. to get to work at a precinct in College Park. (I voted on Oct. 31.) I served as a provisional ballot judge. We were busiest, surprisingly, between 7 and 9 a.m., with an early crowd of people trying to get voting accomplished before the workday. Other than that, a steady stream but no big evening rush. Perhaps all those folks had voted early too (one of the local early-voting sites was elsewhere in College Park).

Before today, I had worried that idiots were going to harass the incredibly diverse voters of this precinct, but the only observer we had was from the Organization of American States. He was the former Peruvian ambassador to the U.S., and he bore an uncanny resemblance to Tim Kaine.
This precinct gave three times as many votes to Clinton-Kaine as to the Giant Lying Russian Stooge and Lord Voldemort. We did our part.

Even though CNN just called California for Secretary Clinton, I am feeling lots of loathing and disgust right now. Can you say "reverse Bradley effect"? I can't even imagine the suckage of another humongous recession. I am going to bed after I finish this one beer, but this may be the last news I watch for a long, long time.

Since the news, I have been in a dark place.

Facebook again, Wednesday afternoon:

(Adapted from a couple of comments I made on other pages.)

I admire everyone who is saying, "Yeah, folks, let's go out and fight for justice! Never give up!" However, some of us are in a very dark place emotionally and are not ready to do that yet. Some of us may never be ready for that, ever. I know that my grief and disgust are still too deep.

Since I have earned degrees in journalism, physics, and astronomy, I am feeling some professional as well as personal repudiation. There's nothing like living in a nation where a large chunk of the population believes that every journalist sucks and repudiates the science that both detected the global warming problem and could give us the tools to fix it.

The polls lulled us because so many people in this country are willing to lie about their own bigotry. I have lost a lot of my faith in the arc of the universe and the supposedly intrinsic goodness of humanity.

And finally in the evening:

On top of everything else ... I started heading out to the "gathering in community for worship, reflection and fellowship" at my church, and the steering on my 20-year-old car started acting really squirrelly. The car was pulling to the left, which grew noticeable at about 30 mph, and when I tried to correct it, the steering system felt all loose or something. I pulled into a parking lot and checked the tires -- no flats. Managed to drive home, but I have to get it looked at tomorrow. It could be something as simple as power steering fluid or as messed up as a bent tie rod or a busted axle. Just another episode in the ongoing saga of "The Ruination of Patty D[redacted]."

Still don't know what is wrong with my car. Still don't know whether I will ever work again. I *do* know that without an Affordable Care Act subsidy, my health insurance will cost $532 per month for my high-deductible plan. Right now I pay $70 per month. My mortgage is only about $594 per month.

I am still sad. I am angry. I am on a hair trigger.


Nov. 16th, 2015 11:23 pm
luscious_purple: Snagged on LJ (great news)
Today, when I submitted my invoice for my most recent feature article, I officially passed the total amount of money I earned through freelance writing in 2014. That may not sound bad considering that we still have more than six weeks left in the year. However, it's not saying much. I'm still pretty low-income, although by the cramped U.S. poverty standards that have not been adjusted for inflation in many years, I'm positively rolling in the dough.

I have a Typepad blog for ranting about income inequality, the "gig economy," and similar topics, but I hardly ever post to it. Just annotating the articles I come across in the Internet puts me in a depressed mood. And when I'm depressed, it becomes even harder for me to do the good stuff, like applying for jobs or seeking out new freelance clients. At least I save the articles on those topics to my Evernote account for future reference.

I could go on and on about politics in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks, including the detestable reaction of these governors (mostly Republicans) who don't want "those" refugees. I'm glad Maryland's Larry Hogan isn't (yet) one of them. Perhaps a few rounds of aggressive chemotherapy while in his first year as governor have given him a new insight on humanity. Let's hope.
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: Baby blasting milk carton with death-ray vision (death-ray baby)
Once YET AGAIN, a really brief placeholder entry to satisfy #nablopomo. Had a nice evening dinner with friends, one that was planned a month ago. But now I really, really have to finish that freelance article....


Nov. 9th, 2015 11:40 pm
luscious_purple: Ganked from many people (damn not given)
Another day of trying to get this #nablopomo entry in just under the deadline. Well, I am once again trying to get this for-pay article finished. Guess which is more important to me right now.

I've had a decent day and an enjoyable dance practice -- we even had a visitor from the far-off Kingdom of Ansteorra, in town for a conference of systems administrators at the Marriott Wardman Park. That's one thing I love about the SCA -- wherever you go, through the SCA you can always find good people.

Gaah, my writing sucks at the moment. Trying to save my good turns of phrase for the paying article, I guess....
luscious_purple: Ganked from many people (damn not given)
Back when I had a job -- five years ago, now -- my employer had this thing where, as part of the annual review process, we would list our goals for the coming year. Some ordinary, achievable goals, and then some "stretch goals" that would be a bit more difficult to reach. Somehow, all these individual goals would get mushed together into group goals, and then departmental goals, and then one year later, we'd all sit down and calculate how much was actually achieved. And if we had collectively achieved a certain percentage of these goals, everyone in the organization would get the same amount of year-end bonus, regardless of our rank or salary.

Gee, did I ever mention how much I've missed getting a chunk of change, like $900 to $1200, dropped into my bank account during the first week of December?

However, I digress. Now that it's getting dark earlier in the evenings and the local community college has sent out its winter catalog of non-credit classes, it's time to think about what to do next.

Yes, I am a freelance science writer. I'm not giving that up. Indeed, I am working on a historical feature article due next Monday. But it's NOT enough to pay the bills. Yes, I have been applying for full-time jobs for five years now. No, I am not going to get hired. Not only do I have a five-year gap in my resume -- because freelancing isn't a "real" job -- but also my first name, Patricia, just screams "Born in the 1950s!!!!" In person, I don't look 56 years old, but on paper I seem to be in my 60s, no matter how much I chop off the bottom end of my chronological resume.

I keep thinking that, as a hedge against declining opportunities (and pay) in science writing, I should do something else in addition to science writing. You know how you sometimes see an author described as "a writer, yoga instructor, blues musician and adjunct professor of aerospace engineering"? Yeah, that sort of thing. (Never mind that I suck at yoga, teaching, and building paper airplanes.) Right now my resume says writing, writing, writing (and a bit of editing). But I know that I can do so much more.

But what?

Whatever I choose, it's got to be something I can pick up with a minimum of additional education and cash outlay. I have two bachelor's degrees and a master's degree. I do NOT need another academic degree. I cannot afford one, anyhow.

Take a couple continuing-ed courses and become a notary public?

Do the lessons on

Buy out Mistress Martelle's equipment and supplies for making things with beeswax? (She's selling them to focus on fiber arts.)

Write that book based on my diaries of the 1970s?

Start some sort of podcast and try to find a corporate sponsor?

All of the above?
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.

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: OMG WTF BBQ (OMG WTF BBQ)
(Taking a quick break from my friends-locked musings to note something here.)

I'm not sure *exactly* which day in February 1970 I started to scribble into a notebook. But somehow I think I remember it as February 23. So ... today makes the 45th anniversary of the day that I, fueled by youthful enthusiasm and a desire to emulate both Anne Frank and Harriet the Spy, started keeping a "notebook" or "diary" or "journal" or whatever you choose to call it.

I spent a *lot* of time scribbling all through the '70s. Based on some very preliminary transcribing I've done, I wouldn't be surprised if I wrote 200,000 words during that decade -- all by hand! Since then, my journaling has gone up and down and I have had some breaks, but I've been here on LJ since 2003 (and on DW since 2010).

Forty-five years ... wow.

Anyhow, back to "work" (for some freelance value of "work") and ranting.
luscious_purple: Boston STRONG! (Boston Strong)
Did you see that Super Bowl victory??? A whole decade later than the last one, but hey, I'll take it!

The boy toy and I stayed home, and he made cepelinai because today was "World Zep Day." Basically such things are big, meat-filled potato "zeppelins." It worked for me.

And now I need to focus on getting my freelance article done despite all the other recent distractions.....
luscious_purple: Stop SOPA and PIPA (No SOPA)
Hello, I'm Patty. I am many things. Labeled many ways.

I am an only child. I am also the youngest of at least five children. My mother had at least four miscarriages that she hated to discuss. God is the ultimate abortionist.

I was a good child. Bit of a prodigy, even. Studies came easily to me. Until I hit a brick wall in graduate school, and my talent for taking multiple-choice exams no longer got me any further.

I never questioned my need to go to college. Now I question whether my three degrees were all for naught. I played the game and did what my parents told me would give me a good life and now I have fallen out of the middle class.

I'm a nonfiction writer trapped in trade-journal limbo and trying to figure out what to do next. I would advise today's young people that writing is something to do on the side, not one's entire career.

I love the past, present and future simultaneously. I have participated in the Society for Creative Anachronism for 10 years. I wish I'd joined in 1977. At the same time, I wish I could be around to see the 22nd century. Since I'm old enough to remember the JFK assassination, though, I am realistic. Longevity does not run on either side of my family.

My greatest fear is that I will be of sound mind and frail body and yet be euthanized because society cannot afford to keep childless elderly people alive.

And tonight I shall go out and help make music for dancers.
luscious_purple: Snagged on LJ (great news)
OK, Deza has convinced me. If she can do LJ Idol, I can too!

My LJ Idol entries will be public for your voting and forwarding pleasure. However, I'm still a little bit squicky about associating my LJ/DW username with my real-life name, so please use some discretion.

We shall see what happens next. If nothing else, I'll get some practice in creative writing.
luscious_purple: Snagged on LJ (great news)
In which your humble correspondent comes up for air after quite the whirlwind!

The past week was intense, to say the least. It would have been a lot worse if my new editor (editor of the magazine I freelance for, I mean) hadn't given me a little more time to work on the current articles. Whew. So that gave me the freedom to go to the scientific conference for a couple of days, write about it, and then throw myself into finishing up the Ottoman outfit I'd started to make for Kingdom Twelfth Night. I don't think I've done so much sewing, trying on, and re-sewing since ... well, for a long time.

Plus, there was LOTS of Facebook drah-ma over the event. That was all crap, as it turned out, and does NOT need to be repeated.

The event was lovely, several of my friends got unexpected awards, and I got a TON of compliments on my outfit. Even if the bottom of the hem *was* held up by safety pins. :-) That was the first lined garment I have ever made, so I was actually pushing my personal envelope there.

It almost feels weird to be going back to a "normal" week of working on freelance articles that have nothing to do with astronomy. But, hey, gotta pay the bills.

H.B. Update

Oct. 6th, 2013 11:43 pm
luscious_purple: "avoid heralds" (avoid heralds)
Happy Birthday to Weebaby and Montuos!!

And now I must go back to my arduous writing... this article is SO not working out the way I originally outlined it.
luscious_purple: OMG WTF BBQ (OMG WTF BBQ)
This week I felt like posting a "word of the day" every day on Facebook. No other explanation, just to see what would happen.

Here are the four words for this week (so far):

Yes, they are ALL actual words! And people have been responding to them...

"oooohhhhh !! I know, I know, I know, ooooooo,,, oooooo, ooooooo."
"Oooh, new one on me! Thanks!"
"Sounds a lot like a 'word' my 6-year-old often uses: 'actular.'"
"U made me look it up - Good Word! Useful in the mundane world and the world of the SCA."
"ooooh, ooh, ooh,, me, on me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
"Interesting concept. Might work in making families of fiction as well"

Hey, might as well have fun stretching everyone's vocabulary a bit, and salute the things I've been picking up at the Very Prestigious Institution.
luscious_purple: Julia, the Maine Coon Cat (Julia)
All the well wishes -- more than 70 and counting on Facebook! -- are very touching. Especially for someone who thought she would never have any friends when she was growing up.

And today I got to spend most of today "doing what I love" -- i.e., writing and revising this article. Oh, well, it's on a subject I enjoy. Things could be worse in that department.

As it turned out, the combination of "middle of the week" and "middle of the month" meant only a short wait at the MVA to get my driver's license renewed. I'm good for another five years now. (Helpful tip for Maryland residents: You can check the "wait times" right here when the MVA offices are open. How convenient!)

September 2017

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