luscious_purple: Boston STRONG! (Boston Strong)
This was one of those "it's always something" days. Yeah, it's tax day ... but it wouldn't be, yet, if I still lived in Massachusetts. It's Patriots Day, which means the Boston Marathon ... and the sixth anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing. For a couple of my friends, it's the anniversary of the death of one of their parents.

And then we had the breaking news of the fire at Notre Dame de Paris. Shocking and sad, and not just for the Middle Ages aficionados on my list of Facebook friends. One of the most magnificent touchstones of human civilization, not just for Catholics, but for civilization itself, I would say ... art and architecture and the human spirit. How can it just go up in smoke and flames? During Holy Week, no less?

And yet again ... this morning I read online that a couple of long-distance Facebook friends are expecting their first child this fall. They decided to make the announcement on tax day because they'll have a cute lil' additional deduction next year. I know they have been trying for a while, so I am glad for them.

Life goes on....
luscious_purple: Boston STRONG! (Boston Strong)
Just a quick note....

Boy toy returned home on Tuesday after an enjoyable week with his parents. I tried not to get too far off my routine (wake-up time, bedtime, meals, etc.) while he was gone. I found that I don't actually think about eating until I get hungry, and then it's a poor time for starting to cook something that takes an hour or more to prep and bake (or boil or whatever). I think it's a holdover from those days of working downtown, bringing something to nuke in the office microwave for lunch, then being already hungry by the time I returned from my commute. Ah, well, boy toy is back in the kitchen. He truly loves to cook from scratch.

Tomorrow I'm going to Lochmere's spring event (Lochmere is one of the neighboring SCA baronies). No special reason this time around, just to hang with friends. This time around I actually have a few items to sell at "Lochmart," that barony's periodic flea market. Wow, after 15 years I have a few random things that I don't use anymore! To be honest, at the beginning I wanted to acquire "all the things" and in my haste I bought a few things that didn't quite fit or weren't that comfortable to wear. I probably have a few more "oops" things in the fabric stash, due to my taking advantage of some yard sales when I was a newbie, but I have to go through all that fabric to find them.
luscious_purple: i'm in ur fizx lab, testin ur string therry (string therry)
First off ... welcome, [personal profile] studio2009! She's a friend in real life.

Early this morning I brought the boy toy to the airport for a week with his parents in San Antonio. He was flying Southwest, and I detected a bit of nervous energy in him -- a bit more nervous than usual, given that he grew up as a "military brat" and has probably flown more miles than I ever will (and I've been to Hawaii). For the past few weeks, we've been subjected to many news stories about the problems with the now-grounded Boeing 737 MAX 8, and Southwest said his flight was originally supposed to be on a MAX 8. So he was worried that he would be bumped to another flight or his whole trip would be canceled. Fortunately, his flight took off without a hitch and even arrived in Texas 15 minutes early to boot.

So the condo feels extra empty, and I have to feed myself for a week! Normally he does the cooking around here, except for a couple of specialty dishes of mine (and I can't spend the next seven days eating potato pancakes). Still, I'm sure I can put together something if I just think about it for a bit. Before I knew him, I'd often cook a pot of lentils and eat them with rice and different seasonings or sauces.

Speaking of eating lower on the food chain ... I'm sorry to hear that the Maryland Food Collective is struggling financially. When I was in grad school -- and when the campus had fewer lunch options -- one or two of the collective-made bean or bean and cheese burritos, nuked in the astronomy department's microwave oven and drizzle with a dab of leftover taco sauce, made a cheap and reasonably healthful lunch.

And speaking of struggling progressive organizations ... read this and this about Hampshire College's travails. Together, the two articles make me wonder whether someone was deliberately trying to sabotage the small college to make money off the real estate, and pass these shenanigans off as "the problem with small private colleges these days." Sinister plot or destructive incompetence, indeed?!??b
luscious_purple: Star Wars Against Hate (Default)
Gosh,typing with my thumbs is SO much less intuitive for me than typing with my full hands. Of course, I've been doing the latter for, what, 48 years or so?

Anyhow ... I am almost all packed for Storvik Performers' Revel tomorrow. I had been contemplating going to the Windmills event at the Lithuanian Hall first, but last year I found all that running around quite stressful. So this year I am making a choice.
luscious_purple: Daily News: Mitt Hits the Fan (Mitt hits the fan)
Very busy. I finished the feature article in the wee hours between Monday and Tuesday, then went to sleep until noon or something. I did nothing productive except go to Teleri's monthly gathering and play around with air-dry (non-food-safe) clay.

This week I had to do two other short pieces of writing and fact-checking work. Got them done.

On Wednesday night I went to Toastmasters -- first time since early February, due to (a) the threat of icy roads and (b) the evening my car had issues. Someone brought cookies because it was contest night. I chomped down on a shortbread biscuit and one of my molar crowns popped off. Fortunately, I was able to drop it into a paper cup and take it home. I have made a dental appointment for Monday morning (ugh). If the crown can't be reattached ... I don't know what to do. Care Credit is probably NOT an option for me because I'm sure my credit score is in the toilet.

Last night the boy toy and I went to the Baltimore Lithuanian Hall for the first time in ages. (Hey, it's not easy to get there when you don't have a car.) It was egg-decorating night -- a fun activity! -- and we got to try some of the food from the new chef in the kitchen. Mmm, cepelinai! Not until later did I learn the news that the Mueller report was finished.

Today has been another quiet day -- mostly tinkering with computer stuff, like the boy toy's audio problems with Skype and my efforts to log into the Atlantian Order of Precedence site (which I still can't get into). Tomorrow is another day....
luscious_purple: Ganked from many people (damn not given)
It was 15 years ago today that I got canned from a job just about three months before I would have been vested in the company pension plan. If you were/are friends with me on LJ, you can go look up the friends-locked post from March 15, 2004.

Of course, the anniversary prompted a dream last night. My boss from that era, Frosty Lady, was not giving me any work to do, and I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be writing articles from a community-newspaper perspective or a business-to-government (B2G) rag perspective, so I wasn't writing anything.

In other news ... I am sad to read that the Maryland Food Co-op/Collective is closing its doors in May. (This is the one at the Stamp Student Union at the University of Maryland, *not* the food co-ops in Greenbelt, Takoma Park, or Mount Rainier.) When I was a grad student, the refrigerated bean and bean-and-cheese burritos, handmade at the co-op, made many a cheap and easy meal for me. I still have a coffee mug from the collective's 20th anniversary in 1995. It proudly bears the slogan: "Food for People, Not for Profit."

Speaking of profit ... I need to get back to work.
luscious_purple: Snagged on LJ (great news)
Last weekend I was just SO happy for my friend Baroness Janina's elevation to the Order of the Laurel!! She looked relaxed and radiant. I presented her with a napkin on which I had embroidered a green laurel wreath. I didn't do the greatest job, but she said I did very well. To be honest, I wanted her to have *something* with a laurel wreath on it, in case her husband's health prevents them from going to Pennsic for the first time in, I dunno, maybe four decades.

Baron Rorik himself looked surprisingly good, considering all that he's been through (eight broken ribs, a heart stent, and lots of liver tests). I got to meet their son Andrew's new wife and her daughter, who is about 10 years old and is already like an instant granddaughter to Janina and Rorik.

Of course, Janina's and Rorik's household, Clan Cambion, was out in full force. There are SO many Laurels already in that household that, when it came time in Royal Court for a Laurel to speak on Janina's behalf, they all jumped up and played an amusing bit of court schtick: Andrew, wearing a marshal's tabard, stepped forward and said the honor would be decided with a shoot. So he had all these sexagenarian Laurels doing "rock, paper, scissors" against each other for the honor. :-)

Several other friends and acquaintances of mine received awards at this event (Bright Hills Baronial Birthday and Investiture). BUT! It was SO crowded in that hall. Bright Hills rents that VFD hall every February, and usually the event attracts 100-150 people. Last Saturday's attendance was 282!! (The Royal Presence, plus a baronial investiture, will attract a larger crowd.) I put my belongings on a shelf in the foyer, above the coat rack, because there was simply no place to stash my stuff in the main room.

The evening feast sold out earlier than I had expected, so I decided to ride up to the event with Sonya/Patches, who doesn't often eat SCA feasts because of her dietary restrictions. However, in celebration of Janina's Laurel, the members of Clan Cambion cooked huge piles of food for their own below-the-salt feast and invited the two of us to join them. There were enough vegetarian and gluten-free dishes to allow Patches to have something to eat as well.

In other news ... things are actually going well in other areas of my life. I actually have had a couple of potential clients approach me about additional writing jobs. I had an interview with one this past week and will probably have one with the other one soon. I am really, really hoping these come through, because I would love to diversify my income stream, so to speak. Plus, I need MORE money in general.

I don't often hear from Tall Dancer anymore, but he phoned me again around dinnertime as he was driving up to see his gaming friends in Kentucky. First time in at least a month, I think. He said he had lots of interesting news about his life, but it would have to wait until he drives back to Georgia on Monday, as he was just pulling up to his friends' house. Nothing like keeping me in suspense....
luscious_purple: Daily News: Mitt Hits the Fan (Mitt hits the fan)
Brrr!! That, I'd say, is the most common sound being made by humans across a large swath of the United States. And the DMV (that's local-speak for DC-Maryland-Virginia) hasn't even had it as bad as the heartland. My friend Devora, who lives in Iowa City now, posted a selfie of what she looked like while waiting for the bus in -20 degrees F weather. I commented that at least she has stories to tell her new nephew about the week he was born. (Her sister had her first baby on Tuesday. And, yes, I believe Pedro, my late heraldry mentor, would have been an excellent uncle.)

Before the rest of the low temperatures set in, I spent last Saturday at the Barony of Lochmere's midwinter revel, called "The Road to Compostela." It was a smallish, indoor event, just over 100 people, but a few folks who attended were people I haven't seen in quite some time, so that was a pleasure. I participated in a musical jam session and in "the bag game," in which players are given a small cloth bag containing tokens and buttons and clothespins and whatnot for trading with other people in the game. The catch is that no one knows how many points each item is worth until the end of the game.

The evening feast was HUGE. Given the theme, the event planners wanted to represent Italy, France and Spain, so they had three head cooks for four full courses. Each one of the first three courses could have been a normal meal by itself. By the time I got to the third course, I literally had to take a break from eating so I could at least taste the dessert course. Holy moley. It was all very tasty, with the exception of the venison pie, which was rather dry inside. After all, venison isn't an intrinsically fatty, juicy meat.

For tomorrow, I let the boy toy talk me into going with him to the last day of the winter festival in Frederick, Md., so I won't be going to the University of Atlantia after all. My apologies to [personal profile] zhelana. The next University of Atlantia will be somewhere in the same vicinity (Lynchburg, VA), so perhaps our schedules will align then.

Doing this little "schedule compromise thing" means that he won't complain that I *have* to go to the Bright Hills event on Feb. 9, when Baroness Janina will finally get her Laurel. I am so glad for her, especially since her husband is going through so many health problems.

Between Frederick and Bright Hills, there's this little ball game in Atlanta, Georgia. :-) Of course I am rooting for the Patriots again. As I never tire of saying, my Dad cheered on the Pats for the first 22 years of the team's existence without ever getting to see them get to the Super Bowl. So, yeah, I plan to keep up the family tradition. :-) Besides, when Brady and/or Belichick ever retire, the franchise is probably going to enter a long dry spell, so other NFL teams will have their days in the sun.

Switching subjects here: Ralph Northam is the same age I am (to within 24 hours). What the hell was he thinking when we were in our mid-20s?? I knew that shit was WRONG to do much earlier than 1984. WTF???
luscious_purple: Boston STRONG! (Boston Strong)
1. I already wrote stuff about my Christmas-week trip to Massachusetts in my paper diary, so please pardon me for not rehashing it. I'm thankful for the people I did see and am sorry I didn't get to see more people. Schedules are always a bit tricky around the holidays. I'm just glad that I got to see people instead of interacting with them on Facebook. Not only had it been three years since I'd been to my native commonwealth, but also I hadn't visited with some friends for four or five years.

2. I am disgusted beyond words at the cruelty the Trump administration is inflicting on people -- unpaid federal employees and contractors, possibly food-stamp and Section 8 recipients, and who knows who else -- during this government shutdown. I have been living on the financial margins for eight years now, and I wouldn't inflict this on anybody, even for a month.

3. We're in the middle of a cold snap. Last night I wanted to see the total lunar eclipse, but I could stay out for only a few minutes at a time. (The last time I went out, I put my sweatpants on over my jeans.) I couldn't look at it through a window because the Moon was roughly straight overhead and my upstairs neighbors' balconies got in the way. It was really windy, too. I didn't think of looking up the temperature on my phone, but I sort of didn't want to know. (The lunar disc looked so three-dimensional during totality.)

4. Speaking of last night ... the Patriots are going to the Super Bowl yet again! But, geez, the latter part of that AFC championship game (fourth quarter and OT) were anxiety-inducing in the extreme. By the time the Pats actually won, I felt physically exhausted. Well, OK, maybe not as exhausted as the players, but still....

5. I should mention that I have started to work on a feature article that is due in mid-March.
luscious_purple: Boston STRONG! (Boston Strong)
One hundred years ago today: the Great Molasses Flood hit Boston.

And 90 years ago today: Michael King Jr. was born. Of course, we know him with a slightly different first and middle name....

One more blast from the past: the Pamela Smart case. Sometimes I think the trial's media circus was a giant reaction to the grimness of the brief (but still grim) Gulf War.
luscious_purple: Ganked from many people (damn not given)
My annual message from LJ, I guess:

(I can cross-post from DW to LJ, but not the other way 'round.)

Geez, LJ seems so clunky now....
luscious_purple: Boston STRONG! (Boston Strong)
Packing for Massachusetts tonight! I haven't been "home" since 2015. About time....

I updated my "Lady Patricia" blog with my two batches of Lithuanian cookies: The entire second batch was consumed at Tina's party last night.

Between cookies and Washington Revels and parties, I'm finally feeling a bit festive in my personal life. Of course, politics in Our Nation's Capital sucks ROCKS. 2019 is going to be an economically tough year, I fear.

Back to packing. Happy Holidays, everyone.
luscious_purple: The scribal demon made me do it! (Titivillius)
As I was saying in my last post, the boy toy and I had an enjoyable day together on Thanksgiving. He roasted a turkey breast and turkey leg -- no need for the whole bird for just the two of us. My French Canadian meat stuffing actually tasted more or less like the real thing, more so after the flavors had blended overnight in the refrigerator. It's not bad fried up like scrapple the morning after, either.

On Friday he and I went to Harper's Ferry to walk around the lower town. Some of the historic exhibits had been closed for renovation the last time we were there, so we got to see them this time around. It was cold but sunny. At least we didn't have to pay the entrance fee to the historical park; the boy toy's parents got him one of those National Park Service annual passes, and we're trying to use it a few times before it expires next April.

On Saturday the boy toy started putting up some of the Christmas decorations while I went to Chessiecon. I've gotten to Philcon's small size -- this year's Philcon masquerade lasted all of 15 minutes -- but Chessiecon also seemed tiny. Hardly anyone, it seemed, bothered to stay through Kiva's Saturday night concert. The con chair chimed in on my Facebook comment about that and said that Chessiecon was actually *bigger* this year than in 2017 -- really??? -- but that a lack of volunteers was the real issue. Well, I'll grant that, but at some point you have to have some people coming through the door and paying for enough memberships to cover the basic costs of the hotel.

On Sunday I just stayed home and helped put up more Yule decorations and did some desk cleaning. (I don't care whether the top of my desk is messy, but the boy toy nags me about it.)

On Monday afternoon I watched the webcast of the Mars InSight landing. So glad it was successful!

This evening I went to Mistress Teleri's annual SENEA dinner: steak kabobs and various dishes from an ancient book of medicinal recipes. (She's been blogging about it.) Very tasty. Meisterin Johanna invited three newcomers (well, one had grown up in the SCA and just moved here from the Outlands) with whom she had bonded at Fall Crown Tourney. They seem like nice people, so maybe we'll see more of them in the future.
luscious_purple: scribal blot (scribal icon)
On Saturday I attended the neighboring Barony of Dun Carraig's Silver Jubilee -- the 25th anniversary of its change from a shire to a barony. (In the SCA, larger groups can have a Baron and Baroness who are the local representatives of the King and Queen, as well as a full slate of officers. Shires are smaller branches that have only the slate of officers.) Since I missed Fall Crown Tourney due to mundane politics, I thought it would be nice to hang out with SCAdian peeps, probably for the last time in 2018. Also, it's been a few years since I've been to a Dun Carraig event that was NOT either the University of Atlantia or Unevent (the Kingdom's annual business meeting).

Despite the cold air and brisk wind, I had a good time. First I circled the around the outdoor activities and said hello to Her Excellency Storvik and other friends. I chatted with Baroness Genevieve, Lady Kunigunde and Lady Seraphina at the MoL (Minister of the Lists) table, and I *thought* I had taken a photo of the three of them, but I can't find it. Ah, well.

Then I decided to go indoors, where the A&S activities were happening in a nice warm downstairs church hall, hung with painted banners. I met a Dun Carraig woman named Mary who let me play a couple of her instruments: kantele and hurdy-gurdy. Joy! The kantele is very much like the Lithuanian kanklÄ—s, so near and dear to my persona, and thanks to Mary's explanation of her tuning, I was able to strum it and pluck out a melody too (not at the same time). Same with the Kelischek medieval-style hurdy-gurdy -- well, I didn't strum it, but I did pick out a cantiga tune with my left hand, not such an easy feat for a rightie like me.

I also had a chat with Lady Thea, who tried very hard to recruit me for scribal work and even gave me a copy of her handbook for new and aspiring scribes. If only I didn't feel like a curse on teachers of calligraphy and illumination. Mistress Nuala tried to teach me calligraphy ... and died of cancer. Alexandria/Heather had a scriptorium ... and her cancer came roaring back. Then Syr Richard, one of our local scribes of note, died of diabetes complications. Dare I take up the pen again?

Anyhow, I had more interesting conversations and sat through Royal and baronial courts. After court I presented Her Majesty Lynette with the medallion cords I've been working on for the past year. I didn't get on board for feast, so I drove home and had the boy toy's home cooking instead.

All in all, a pleasant day with friends and another chance to contemplate what to do next in terms of A&S....
luscious_purple: Boston STRONG! (Boston Strong)
Got the car. First thing, I broke off the driver's door handle. Another thing to the list of things to be fixed....

Got the article done ON TIME. Despite my computer eating some of my prose. Quite chuffed about that, actually.

Electrical work required by the condo association (replacement of circuit-breaker box) has been completed successfully.

Red Sox win first two games of World Series. YAY!!!!!

Working early voting starting tomorrow. Need to say good night....
luscious_purple: OMG WTF BBQ (OMG WTF BBQ)
The local Zipcar is named FamBARD, *not* FamTARD. Stupid me! I know enough bards in the SCA ... how could I have gotten it wrong??
luscious_purple: Baby blasting milk carton with death-ray vision (death-ray baby)
Looking over my past couple of entries, I see that I posted the link to my Pennsic 47 blog entry twice. Just a small indication of life when the routine is upset a bit.

Backing up a bit ... Burgerfest on August 25 turned out to be the last place of any great distance to which i traveled with Draco, my 1993 Honda Accord. Two evenings later, I was heading to my regular SCA dance practice in the next town over when I noticed my car's engine-temperature light was zooming up into the red zone. I figured that if I drove slowly and avoided stops, I could make it back to my usual garage. So I did that, and parked Draco just outside the building in the tiny little parking lot. I texted Maugorn (and Patches? did I text her too?) and the boy toy, then walked home.

Unfortunately, the diagnosis was a very bad blowout of the head gasket. The mechanic couldn't even turn the engine on, it was so bad. I talked to both the mechanic there and the head guy at the auto repair shop next door -- together, they have the best reputations in this community -- and both of them told me it would be an expensive fix, north of $1200. And I had bought that car for $850 at the end of 2016. Yeah, I've already made a couple of other pricey repairs to the thing, but I can't see putting a four-figure sum into a 25-year-old car that may have even more major problems in the not so distant future.

So ... I had AAA tow it back to my condo complex and put it on the street (for ease of towing again once I dispose of it). I didn't want to incur "storage charges" from the local garage, especially since the local Labor Day Festival was coming up fast.

Since then, I have been making do. For example, I took the bus to the local friendly NASA facility to interview somebody. And I joined Zipcar -- it's having "first month free" (well, for the base membership) deals through the end of September. The closest Zipcar to my house is about a 20-minute walk. It's a red Ford Fiesta that has the name "Famtard." Apparently every Zipcar has a unique name -- perhaps that's a millennial marketing thing or something. I have no idea what "Famtard" means -- perhaps it's a mashup of "family" and the R-word. Whatever. It's not a bad little car, though a tad underpowered.

I also am working to buy a 1999 Toyota Corolla that has only 108,000 or so miles on it. Seriously. A woman at my church said her son was looking to sell his wife's car to someone who could really use one. (That would be me.) Patches and I went up to look at it last weekend and give it a test drive. It actually felt zippier than Famtard. Brakes grab well, no vibrations until I get up to 65 mph (probably it needs an alignment). Only $1000 and I think it will pass inspection. Yes, I had been hoping to get a car built in the 21st century, but this one looks like a decent deal that could tide me over for a few years.
luscious_purple: Snagged on LJ (great news)
... I finished my Pennsic 47 story:

Lots more stuff happening; will try to update again soonish.
luscious_purple: Lithuanian map and flag -- "Proud to Be Lithuanian" (lithuanian map and flag)
One: I finally finished writing my "letter from Pennsic."

Two: Today was the 101th anniversary of the birth (and 36th anniversary of the funeral) of my father. Here is a photo of me and my parents when I was in college. The quality of the photo isn't that great, but it's a nice memory.

SCAN0242 -- family photo
luscious_purple: The scribal demon made me do it! (Titivillius)
The car had a thermostat problem or something like that. Fixed now. But the engine needs to be switched on every couple of days or else.

I left for Pennsic on Aug. 3 and came back on the 11th. The week was a hot one. Some of my campmates actually decamped to hotels. I soldiered on.

At some point I will probably write up the story of my trip in the style of the FB (and Twitter?) hashtag #pennsicletters, which is based on #secondcivilwarletters. But right now I just want to jot down a few notes for last year, before I finish all the unpacking and laundry and the memories fade away.
  • Next year, bring some of that rubber shelf liner stuff so that the plastic floor mat doesn't slip on the vinyl tent floor.
  • Need stool softener for those hot days. 'Nuff said.
  • My walking stick might help on muddy roads. Hey, I'm not getting any younger.
  • Continue to edit the small, incidental things I bring to Pennsic. If I haven't started a craft project before Pennsic, I'm not going to start it during the war.
  • Don't forget the solar lights and/or candle lanterns.
  • Need a clamp to keep the door flaps closer to the front support pole.
Don't get me wrong -- I had a great time! I just wanted to write these few things down before I forget.

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