dawn_felagund: (black-eyed susan)
Cut because some people will find this creepy (spiders and wheel bugs) )
dawn_felagund: (hermione)
Today is the first day of my second summer break, which because it combines with Labor Day this year, means that I have off for ten days. It is needed. Even though the students weren't there this past week, it was a rough week, and I was ridiculously busy in addition to being stressed over myriad stupid things that went down at work (some of which I've written about in previous entries).

In any case. This is the first time in a while that I've had a chunk of time off without Bobby, so I'll be spending the week trying to get as far ahead in my cosmology class as possible. I'm (surprise!) already pretty far ahead. I'm hoping that, this week, I can finish reading the last book for the class, finish my biographical essay, and make a good start (or maybe even finish?) the outline for the final essay. That would leave only the final essay to do, and we're only at the midpoint in the class. I also need to do my Mythmoot proposal (which won't take long), have a beta to do, and really need to do something to get the B2MeM ebook put together. (Remember that? Yeah, look no further than this chick here as for why that hasn't been done yet.)

So I'll be busy, but in the interest of occasionally allowing myself to have some fun, then I am doing the meme seen over at Rhapsody's LJ. Throw a letter or few at me if there's any questions you'd like me to answer! If you do the meme yourself, please let me know so that I can throw gently underhand toss a few at to you as well.

Writing M-Type Thing )
dawn_felagund: (death of an idea)
Cut for talking about all the death, gloom, and sadness in pop culture this week. )

Rewatched 'Dead Poets' Society.' Thoughts on that. )
dawn_felagund: (beer wine beer)
Bobby and I went with my parents yesterday to Atlantic City. It is about two-and-a-half hours away, so we usually take a bus a couple of times per year for a day trip. The bus ticket costs $35, which includes a $25 casino voucher. I am not a fan of gambling; I don't find slot machines fun, and I have never won anything. (ANYTHING. Not even $20.) Bobby and I usually spend our combined $50 pretty quickly and spend the rest of the day on the beach, boardwalk, and pier. Bobby usually wins enough to pay for our lunch and the rest of our bus tickets, so we usually end up getting our trip for free.

We had beautiful weather: sunny and warm but not hot. We had our choice of three places to disembark; my parents prefer the Taj Mahal of the three available casinos (Showboat--closing at the end of the month!--and Bally's), which is at the north end of the boardwalk. We had lunch reservations at Carmine's in Tropicana at the south end of the boardwalk, so we played some of our vouchers (after waiting in an interminable line so that Bobby and I could get the vouchers put on cards, something the greeter used to do right on the bus but that now requires a slog across the casino, a long queue, and a much more drawn-out process). I broke my losing streak by winning a big $31.95 on a penny machine called Icarus while Bobby was off playing something called the Norse Warrior.

We took a taxi to the Tropicana; Carmine's was great, as always. Bobby and I were planning to make the 1.5-mile walk back up the boardwalk to Taj Mahal, and my parents decided they wanted to join us, so we started north, stopping into some of the shops along the way, and for breaks every few blocks for my dad, who is not much of a walker.

More & Pictures below the Cut )
dawn_felagund: (silmarils)
My Mythmoot proposal is due in about one month (eeeeeeeeeek), and I have an idea, but I need to make sure that what I'm planning to write and reality actually bear some resemblance to each other. So I have a simple question for all my Tolkien fanfic writers out there:

Why do you write Tolkien fanfic?

Thanks in advance to anyone with a moment to answer. (As always, private responses are welcome as a PM or email to DawnFelagund@gmail.com.)

And yes, this means that this year's presentation will not be about cosmogony ... ;)
dawn_felagund: (brainz)
Cut for political talk! )
dawn_felagund: (alex awww)
Yesterday was a very fun day: "Midmoot," or a gathering organized at the midway points between Mythmoots for local Tolkien fans affiliated with the Mythgard Institute. Bobby and I both went; participants pooled money to fly Professor Olsen down for a day-long seminar and dinner. (Professor Olsen is awesome: so down-to-earth and hilarious and brilliant.) It was in Alexandria, Virginia, which is not that far but manages to be that far: almost three hours from Manchester by the time all was said and done! Yikes. Just over an hour in the car and the rest of the time on the Metro. (Although, as Bobby put it, we did cross a state and all of DC in one of the busiest parts of the country.)

But it was worth the trip: The seminar was a series of informal talks and discussions but touched on several intriguing topics related to Tolkien and speculative fiction more generally. I thought about signing up to present something but sat on my hands, being overwhelmed generally at this point with academic stuff. Best of all, I got to hang out again with MithLuin, whom I've known online for many years and knew lived in Maryland and somehow managed to never meet in person till last Mythmoot when I complimented a woman on her Curufin costume and the rest is history. (I should have known. I mean Curufin? Really?? She had to be one of my own kind.) We had a great supper at the Bilbo Baggin's restaurant in Alexandria, in which Bobby, MithLuin, and I managed to talk about pretty much everything but Middle-earth (although we did talk about Tolkien's Beowulf a bit and MithLuin humored me by letting me yammer about my thesis a bit).

6:30 came too soon! The party went on for a while after that, but Bobby and I had that almost three-hour trip to make again, plus animals waiting at home to go out and pee, plus work the next day with planning still undone (for me). It sucked, though, having to leave; we've decided we are definitely staying on-site for Mythmoot this year because, however nice it is to live in the hinterlands most of the time, it isn't cool when you're having fun with friends and have to leave early. We had to leave Pub Trivia early this year at Mythmoot in an attempt to beat a snowstorm home (and we barely made it).

The drive home (or the "home drive" as I just typed it) was less painful until we reached Westminster and drove into a storm. So the poor Goldens had to hold their pee even longer because, when the rain subsided enough for me to let them out, they pretty much did a U-turn on the patio and gave me ugly looks like I was crazy for sending them out in the first place.

Speaking of Goldens ... today is Phil's birthday. He is seven. They're aging too fast ... So, for the next two months, until Alex turns eight, they will not be the Goldens but the Sevens.*

*They are Goldens and not dogs in the first place because, in the wilds of my imagination where most of the beings and objects of importance in my life are not only personified but characterized, then the Goldens take great umbrage at being known as dogs, a species they regularly rail against (sometimes including threats involving antifreeze).

I just downloaded a bunch of pictures of the Sevens off of our camera, but Photobucket is being a witch-with-a-capital-B and took just about forever to upload just two pictures of Phil. So those two pictures will have to suffice for now. They are really cute pictures, though.

The Little One on His Birthday! )

Crazy Storm

Jul. 8th, 2014 07:44 pm
dawn_felagund: (mother nature bats last)
Bobby and I eat outside on our patio during nice weather, and we had just settled in. About an hour earlier, the weather radio went off with a thunderstorm watch for all of Carroll County through 11 PM, but a thunderstorm watch is really nothing to get excited over at this time of year. It was 90F/32C in Manchester when we came home from work and high humidity, so thunderstorms are to be expected. The light had that underwater quality that it gets before a storm, but the sky overhead was blue with some high, streaky clouds; because of the trees, we couldn't see to the south or west of us.

We had just started eating when a hard gust of wind blew through, and we looked up, and a dark fringe of cloud was pulling quickly across the sky from the west. Bobby suggested that we should probably head in (because we've been caught in sudden storms mid-supper before, and it is not fun), and by the time we packed up the tray and carried it inside--two minutes tops--the wind was blowing so hard that it tipped over a chair in the yard. I went out back to lower the patio umbrella, lost a shoe, started to put it back on, saw how fast the wind was blowing and decided the shoe could wait because I did not want to be outside longer than I had to be futzing with a damn shoe.

I haven't seen the trees thrash like that since Hurricane Sandy came through two years ago. (We only got the edges of it with tropical storm-force winds.) Apparently, the storm produced gusts here at 60 mph/96 kph (in Cumberland, out west from us, the same line of storms produced a 75 mph/120 kph gust, so we are actually lucky). It tore a branch out of our neighbors' big maple trees across the street that was itself the size of a small tree. Of course, it fell across our driveway. The same trees lost a smaller branch that fell into our front yard, and one of our maples lost a small branch as well. Bobby and I were cutting up the big branch to try to get it out of the road, since half of the road was blocked, and thankfully one of our neighbors came by and helped Bobby to drag it out of our driveway and into the yard far enough that it was no longer in the road.

It is still night-dark outside and softly thundering.

ETA ... and apparently the storms knocked down a tree at a summer camp in town, and it fell on a girl. We heard sirens while we were clearing the branches out of the road. I don't know the details, but this just shows how WTF this storm was.

ETA2: She died. :...(
dawn_felagund: (yavanna earth)
I want to apologize first to my flist for that long, uncut vacation post with pictures yesterday! (At least I didn't curse too much ...) I initially posted to DW, as I always do, to crosspost to LJ. I messed up the LJ-cut, went back to edit and fix it, and instead of editing the LJ post, DW crossposted a second copy of the entry, which meant that the first one sans LJ cut was left up with my realizing it. Sorry, y'all.

This weekend has had some remarkably good stuff, despite the fact that I'm back from vacation and staring at impending work tomorrow. (I probably wouldn't mind going back to work if we had one more day without the students, but when they give us our summer schedules and shove us out the door on the last day of school, that doesn't leave much time to plan when we walk back into the building again at the same time as the students, and there are things I will not get done because of it. I spent most of today on planning, but some things I just have to be in the building to do.)

First of all, we confirmed today that our bee swarm did indeed successfully move into the hive that Bobby hastily constructed for them, so getting stung on the nose was worth it. We now have two honeybee colonies. \0/

This is the wonderful time of the year when it is possible to find fresh and local pretty much anything you want to eat. The garden is crazy-productive this year; we front-loaded a lot of effort this year into properly preparing the soil and mulching while the plants were small, and the payoffs look like they are going to be huge. Bobby picked our first tomatoes today, and we have reached the point where we are leaving zucchini on the vine because we've picked so many. (The one bad point: We have squash bugs again this year. Ugh. Picking eggs off the plants and squooshing larvae and adults every day is not a chore I look forward to. If you've never dug around in squash leaves, they are very prickly; my arms are quite marked up right now.) Bobby harvested our garlic yesterday, and we had our biggest harvest ever. Our bramble fruits are doing ridiculously well; we harvested almost a quart of blackberries today, and Bobby has made jam with entirely our own berries for the first time ever. Everything is doing really, really well. I need to take and post pictures.

Last night, I went back to the gym after a two-week hiatus. Two weeks ago, I must have twinged my knee--I'd increased my weights on that night--and the next day, while sitting for a long time working with my leg twisted under me, I stood up to discover that my knee really hurt. I ended up missing almost a week of dance and gym, and our vacation followed immediately on the heels of it. I was not looking forward to going back last night, after two weeks of indolence and almost a week of eating horribly down the ocean. But I actually managed the same level I was doing before my two-week hiatus (600 calories in 45 minutes on the elliptical). My legs felt crazy when I was done, but I did it.
dawn_felagund: (beer wine beer)
I've been in Ocean City all this week (hence I'm quieter than usual, i.e., pretty much silent except for handling site-related stuff), home last night. It was a beautiful week for the beach and, all in all, pretty nondescript, which is sometimes exactly what a vacation needs to be.

My parents came down with us for the first half of the week. I woke up Sunday morning, post-beestung nose, with diffuse facial swelling that made me look rather like a non-cute Avatar character: non-cute because, unfortunately, the swelling didn't also come with large luminous eyes and blue skin; I just looked puffy and weird. We left on Sunday and got into town around 1:30 and had the traditional arrival lunch at Piezano's, then headed for the beach. The temperatures this week were in the low 80s (~27C), sunny, but with a breeze off the ocean that kept the beach cool. Actually, at times, it was almost chilly.

A breeze off the sea is not good for surfing, though, as it flattens the waves. Poor Bobby has had awful surfing all week. More and pictures below the cut! )

Xavier!

Jun. 23rd, 2014 06:44 pm
dawn_felagund: (newgrange)
Bobby and I made the journey into DC yesterday to see Xavier Rudd at the 9:30 Club. If you don't know who Xavier Rudd is and like rock music with an international flair, then you should know who he is. I'll put two of my favorite songs below the cut. He is an Australian artist who plays a variety of instruments. He rocks the didgeridoo so hard that Bobby bought a beginner one and plays it in the backyard at night. Xavier's music chiefly centers on themes concerning environmentalism and the rights of Aboriginal people.

Bobby and I caught the Metro into town and had a delicious dinner at Rosa Mexicano before the show. The 9:30 Club will always be forever epic in my mind because, when my sister and I first became interested in rock music, it seemed that all the good bands played there. My sister even won tickets once in a radio-station giveaway to see the band Garbage, but my mom refused to drive anywhere more than about ten minutes from home, so we weren't allowed to go. I finally got to go for the first time a few years ago to see Scythian. It's a club. A pretty dark and slightly dingy one! But it's the 9:30 Club, that source of so much mystique and longing from my adolescence.

The 9:30 Club and Xavier )
dawn_felagund: (tiki hut)
Well, I'm back. We got home about an hour ago. Bobby is putting the air-conditioning units in because it was hot and sticky (aaah ... Maryland summers!), and it is presently pouring rain, though no thunder yet.

I spoke too soon when I said summer had arrived because, yesterday on the beach, the sun went in and the wind kicked up, and it was quite chilly actually. Then it was a cool evening; Bobby went out in just a T-shirt and was cold at various points in the evening. Bobby did get some decent surfing in after the lifeguards went in when the wind very briefly died down. (Wind off the sea flattens the waves and makes for poor surfing. I didn't know that!) I was hoping that he'd finally taken up a hobby that I could support him in without freezing my ass off (as with hockey and snowboarding), but it seems I have to wait till later in the summer for that to be the case.

We went to supper at Shenanigan's Irish Pub last night on 4th Street, then walked down the Boardwalk to the Inlet. We rode the Freak-Out, which is a smaller and therefore much more intense version of The Claw in Hershey Park. Because it is smaller, it swings higher and faster and spins faster.

Freak Out! )

I am not a publicly demonstrative person when it comes to emotion. I do not tend to show fear or sadness when others can see. Nor do I show a lot of noisy joy, so I'm not a whooper or a cheerer or anything like that. If I were to win a large sum of money at, say, a casino, I would be a disappointing person to feature as a winner. But on this ride? I shriek and cackle like a madwoman. Which in turn cracks Bobby up. But the ride is intense, and I say that as a person who has never met a ride she won't try. I reached a point last night where I wasn't sure which direction was up. I think I come by it honestly, as my mom--also not particularly emotionally demonstrative in public--used to be hilarious on thrill rides, to the point that a ride operator once kept us on the Tilt-a-Whirl for about ten minutes because he was cracking up at my mom.

After Freak-Out, we went out on the fishing pier, but it was too chilly to stay out for long, then walked up the Boardwalk. We wanted to try the new microbrewery that opened, the Backshore Brewing Company. I ordered the stout and Bobby the brown ale. Oh my, the stout was divine, with a strong taste of coffee and milky smooth. I have had allergic reactions twice to craft beers--once the oatmeal stout at Mountain State Brewing Company in Deep Creek and once to a chocolate stout from a microbrewery in Colorado--so especially with stouts, I have developed the habit of taking a good swig and meditating for a minute on the deliciousness as I wait to see if I start to itch. I did this with my stout last night and nothing happened, so I drank it slowly to make it last while Bobby finished his brown ale and went back to try the black IPA.

I also tried his brown ale (we are very much a take-one-down-pass-it-around family and will try whatever the other one orders), which was tasty, and so I also tried the black IPA. And started to itch. Cut for Possible TMI Involving Allergies and Belching! )
dawn_felagund: (black-eyed susan)
I think this weekend can be said to finally usher in summer, for reals yo (as my students would say), at least in the House of Felagund. We had the first day of cultural summer (Memorial Day) and the first day of meteorological summer (June 1), but the chilliness lingered back home, and it just didn't feel like summer yet.

Thursday, Bobby and I went to see Jack Johnson in concert in the evening at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia. This is one of our favorite venues: outdoors; nice, vast, soft lawn; doesn't take forever and a day to get in or out. (DC venues could take a page out of there playbook there.) We stopped for supper at our favorite restaurant from when we lived in Ellicott City, the Trolley Stop; our usual server was still there and still remembered us. We arrived at Merriweather when the gates opened at 6, and the line was already massive, and we ended up near the back of the lawn. Read more... )
dawn_felagund: (sally and jack)
As of yesterday, Bobby and I have been together for 18 years.

I have told the story before of how we got together at the ages of 14 (me) and just-barely-15 (him) at a dance at our nerdy math-science magnet school, so I won't repeat it now. Suffice to say that we have been together for well over half of our lives by now with no plans on changing that anytime soon. I am still as crazy about that man as I was the day in ninth grade that my best friend typed on my graphing calculator, "You are in love with Bobby," and I realized that I was (in teenage terms anyway!) indeed in love with Bobby.

I'm going to beg preemptive pardon for the cheesy sentimentality that follows ... I connect with Bobby as I never have with another human. He is both my best friend and the partner I've chosen to make my life with. I never thought I'd want to marry anyone. (I never thought anyone would want to marry me!) I test as 100% introvert, and since I work a job that requires me to be "on" socially for at least a few hours a day (my students don't let me off easily on that either!), then I need a break from people more often than not, and Bobby is the only person who doesn't count in that. I often tell him that he is just as good as being alone, which sounds awful, unless you know what it's like to live in an extremely introverted brain, and then you understand that it's actually the highest compliment I could pay. We are at the point where we often joke that there is a shared brain that floats between us because one of us will think something and the other will say it, or we will speak in unison. He has seen me at my worst and still manages to love me.

Our anniversary was pretty low-key but good all the same. We went to the farmer's market in the morning and for lunch at a local cafe, then had a bunch of errands to run that mostly involved procuring food for various animals. We went to the gym and to pick up our friend's dog, who we were watching yesterday. We both had chores to do in the afternoon, but we had a date that night: We went to a local Asian restaurant that serves great Malaysian food, then to the movies to see Maleficent (don't laugh! we both enjoyed it!), and then for ice cream at that Carroll County standard, Hoffman's. We went home and were supposed to have a firepit, but the wood was still damp from the rains earlier in the week, so the firepit was hella lame! Putting a votive candle in the firepit would have given an equivalent amount of light and warmth! But it was okay because, after our busy day, we were both yawning by then and went to bed pretty early. Bobby also wrote me a beautiful alliterative poem, which he read for me. It was a good day.

I have been meaning for a while to scan in some old photos from high school. Our anniversary was a good excuse to finally do that!

18 Years of Bobby and Dawn )
dawn_felagund: (death of an idea)
I have had a busy, busy day so far today, rearranging my closet and moving my stuff from the drawers in the bedroom into the new furniture in the guest room. I have also banished my sentimentality (almost*) and donated a bunch of old clothes and shoes to Goodwill. Some of these I have had since high school. Most of it I haven't worn in years, but because I tend to buy only things that I really really love, then I get attached to things.

I kept one shirt and one dress that I can't bear to part with.

As a result I wasn't on the computer much today, but when I did pop in, someone over at ff.net had followed and favorited and poured the whole bucket of ff.net accolades on me and AMC ... except to comment on the story. :^| To be fair, maybe she or he hasn't read the whole thing yet and wants to wait till the end. Read more... )
dawn_felagund: (give bees a chance)
Cut for Discussion and Photos of My Bees, as Stinging Insects Aren't Everyone's Thing! )
dawn_felagund: (pawprints)
Welp, it's been a busy past few weekends, hence my relative silence here. Bobby and I have been spending most of our time outside, getting ready for planting season. Everything was crunched into April and the first few weeks of May (versus beginning in March) since we were under a blanket of snow for just about all of March. And last year, what with Bobby taking his Outdoor Emergency Care class for ski patrol and me physically unable to do much beyond moan and groan, we slacked off on things like weeding, so we have extra to do this year, since one thing weeds do very well is make more weeds and survive conditions that kills just about everything else living. (The latter attested by the number of plants we lost this winter: both blueberries, a holly bush, both rose trees, and the arborvitae, of course. We also have broadleaf evergreen shrub that is trying hard to live with some modest success after all the foliage on it dying this winter. But the dandelions are doing great! :)

Anyway, Mother's Day is the traditional planting day in central Maryland for tender plants, so true to tradition, we started to put our plants into the ground a week ago, which means that this week has been a lot of weeding, planting, fertilizing, mulching; weeding, planting, fertilizing, mulching; and so on. But everything is now in the ground and doing great.

I wish I could say the same for our bees. Bee-Talk Cut for Those Who Prefer to Avoid Bee-Talk :) )

We've also been busy socially, seeing friends on the weekend (sometimes accidentally! We went out for Indian on Friday, and I usually email our friends Tristan and Don to see if they want to meet us over there, but we decided to go so late that I didn't this time. But when we arrived, who had arrived only just shortly before us? So we got permission to combine our tables.) Last night, we hosted dinner for our parents as a belated Mother's Day dinner. We had a green salad, teriyaki chicken (asparagus quesadilla for me!), Bobby's incredible "island rice," grilled asparagus seasoned with that ubiquitous Maryland seasoning of Old Bay, and tres leche cake for dessert, topped with fresh strawberries and mango. Bobby made piña coladas and got the moms pretty soused. I was supposed to make strawberry ice cream, but every place we checked this weekend was sold out of local strawberries (Bobby had bought his for the cake earlier in the week), so I had to do vanilla instead.

We are dogsitting for our friend Dawn this weekend, so in addition to our two big dogs, we have her big black dog Duffy. And my inlaws, of course, brought their Great Pyrenees Bella, so the house was overrun with dogs. Big dogs.

More & Pictures below the Cut )
dawn_felagund: (noldolante)
Yesterday was official Planting Day in the House of Felagund, so I spent about six hours outside in the garden, doing various chores to prepare and plant the non-hardy plants. My mind wanders where the stars are strange during such times, and I wrote a poem ... or rather, fragments of a poem. Then I was settling down later to read and thwap! said poem smacked me in the side of the head and demanded to be written. So I did.

The summary on the SWG and AO3: Fëanor's death and its aftermath, as told by the Fëanorian bards and as it truly happened. A free-verse poem.

Speaking of, it is also posted on the SWG and AO3.

Notes on its inspiration are at the end. I'd love to hear what people think of it.

The Death of Fëanáro )
dawn_felagund: (sally)
So there is this m-type thing going around everywhere (EVERYWHERE!!1! okay, I'm being melodramatic a bit ...) that asks you to post the first line of your last 21 stories. This seems interesting and also mindless enough to do after spending the afternoon out in the sun digging in the dirt. (Which is better than out in the dirt digging in the sun.)

I'm just going with Silmfic because I'm honestly too tired right now to figure out how anything original I might have written would fit into this chronology. I'm sure there's original stuff in there. (I know there is.)

21 First Lines! )

Before I call it quits for the night, I want to wish a very happy Mother's Day to the moms on my flist! I'm not a mom (being a pet owner and teacher don't count, even though well-meaning people try to bring me into the Mother's Day umbrella for both!) and have no intention of being one because y'all do a job that I am just not cut out for doing. So I admire what you do and send a shout out to all the smart, creative, and cool moms reading this! :) I hope you were generously treated today.

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Dawn Felagund

August 2014

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