August 2017

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I know in this last year, I wasn't exactly a barrel of laughs. Between my depressing work stories, losing Alex, and the Constant Angst over My MA ProgramTM--combined with a dearth of posts on things people actually like, like picspams of my dogs and fannish things--I would blame no one for just scrolling on past when I rarely appear on their friends page.

But the thing is, many of you don't.

I cannot say how much I appreciate the love and support I continue to receive, even when I have not been able to reciprocate for far too long, or even reply to comments. I have a list of stories to read as long as my arm. I haven't even replied to all of the wonderful gifts that were made for me as part of Felak's Treasures some years ago.

I just handed in the final assignment for this final class (I hope!) before starting my thesis. There is light at the end of the tunnel! I hope to be a more interesting, less depressing person and, most importantly, a better friend again soon.

Friends, thank you for sticking by me through that long tunnel, even when I haven't upheld my end of the bargain. You make me laugh, commiserate with me when I need it the most, and make me feel less alone in the world.

My very best wishes to all of you for a happy holiday season. *hugs*
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! )
  • Every now and then, I have one of those social butterfly weekends. This was one of those weekends. Bobby and I met our friends Tristan and Don for Indian food on Friday night. On Saturday, we hosted a Burns supper for six of our friends in the SCA. It was so, so much fun. The food, prepared by Bobby (except vanilla ice cream by moi), was fabulous and plentiful. We had some big eaters at the party and still put away leftovers. There was beer and Scotch. Lots of empty bottles, and four different kinds of Scotch to pass around. (I indulged in my favorite, Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban, and ended up quite happy.)

  • Sunday was less good. Bobby was at Ski Patrol training, taking the sled down a double black diamond run with moguls (apparently the most challenging run to do with the sled on a snowboard) when some ass on skis cut in front of him. To avoid hitting the guy, Bobby put on the brakes hard and ended up wiping out and reinjuring the shoulder he separated last year. So he's back in the sling. It's not as bad as the injury last year, thankfully. Two of the senior patrolers took off after the guy who caused the accident and gave him a piece of their minds at the bottom of the hill.

  • It's been ridiculously cold now for over a week. It is presently 12F/-11C. Yesterday, it got above freezing here for the first time since last week. When I woke up in the morning, it was 33F/1C and actually felt warm outside when I went out to care for the chickens. It was short-lived, though, and by going-home time that afternoon, was back down below freezing again.

  • I am almost done with my current grad school class. The class is on the Enlightenment and is the one where I am the only student in the class. It has been ... okay. It is just not the time period that I am most interested in, and the reading has been lengthy and intense, with a paper due for each work.

    • The Memoirs of Princess Dashkova

    • The Confessions of J.J. Rousseau (this guy is fucking crazy and the book is about as long as Don Quixote*)

    • Pride and Prejudice (this week felt like vacation!!)

    • the major works of Thomas Paine (totaling to DQ length again)

    • The Journals of Lewis and Clark (not the whole thing thank god)

    It has been hard to motivate myself. I have my final paper left and a multimedia presentation of my abstract, and that's it. I finished the Lewis and Clark paper this weekend. I think the final paper is going to be on idealistic depictions of Nature in Rousseau and Paine and how each author uses the concept of the "natural man" in developing his ideas of the ideal government and civilization. Doesn't that sound exciting? The good thing is that I have most of my sources already from the papers I already had to write on these authors.

    *Don Quixote has long been my standard for what counts as a long book, ever since middle-school Spanish class when the length of DQ was the subject of hushed awe by my teacher. I had to read DQ for my last class on the Renaissance so it is on my Kindle now, and it is easy to compare its length to that of other books by the number of little dots below it on the listing.

  • I am taking March off from school. I can do crazy things like that now that I'm no longer on financial aid.

  • The Goldens got into a fight yesterday. I had taken some overcooked, stale wontons out to the chickens. The wind caught them and blew a few of them and a lot of crumbs past the fence and onto the snow. Phil gobbled up the whole wontons right away. I didn't think much of it. Bobby and I were eating breakfast when we heard one of the Goldens start crying outside. We both ran to the door since there is a possum living in the shed, and we were afraid one of them had gotten to it. But no ... Phil had his jaws closed on Alex's head and was pinning him to the ground while Alex screamed. Alex has a small puncture over his right eye. As far as we can tell, they were fighting over the wonton crumbs, as though they don't have ample meat-based food constantly available in the house.

  • And I think that's all.
I have known you almost since joining the fandom. I still remember friending you because you were one of the first people I asked, and I was still very nervous about making new friends then! Eight years later ...

You're my right hand on the SWG. I don't know what we would do or where we'd be without you. I remember discussing with the other mods whether to ask you to become a mod, and it's probably the best decision I've made on the SWG. You give so much, selflessly, all of the time, without many people ever knowing that you do, in order to keep the fannish communities you run alive.

You're one of the kindest people I know. You've always got a kind or encouraging word when I need one. You listen to my grumbling more than almost anyone else, which deserves an award unto itself! :D And whenever I've needed someone--whether for a site issue or as a friend--you're always there.

And of course you're talented! Not only in site design, but you're a great writer and one of the best graphics artists I know.

So I want to wish you the happiest of birthdays. I hope you have an awesome day (and an awesome summer vacation!) filled with all the love you deserve!
[personal profile] village_of_geckos and her boyfriend left this morning after visiting since Monday afternoon. What a great time we had! I miss them already! Monday, we basically chilled and went to Arooga's for dinner. Tuesday was our big day: We spent the day in Gettysburg, which is about 45 minutes northwest of us, and had a firepit at night. We went through the museum, hoofed all over the battlefield and town, had dinner and beer at a local microbrewery, and climbed the tower on Culp's Hill. Last night, we had a massive cookout and crab feast with my parents. In between, we managed to solve all of the world's problems and catch up from the past three years since we saw each other last in Ireland.

I just sent off my first unit of lesson plans to my principal, so that's water under the bridge, although I'll still probably be working on materials (especially graphics, since my work laptop doesn't have Photoshop) over the next few days. I'm hoping to get ahead and stay ahead. I'd like to be able to show up at work on Monday and print out the materials for the next two weeks. How awesome that would be.

I've been "writing"--mentally, of course--quite a bit lately. Original and fanfic. I'm not quite to the point of putting anything to paper, although I'm considering just diving into the AMC prequel, t'hell with being prepared. After all, I didn't prepare at all to write AMC; might as well keep with the spirit, eh? I have a couple of chapters on the prequel from years ago. I'm trying to discipline myself into making room for my own time again. What a concept! I've backed off a bit from certain commitments I've taken on in the past few years, given up entirely on some and moved others lower on my list of priorities.

Speaking of AMC, Bobby is reading it. I am still not sure that was a good idea; it is very long, and he's still never made it all the way through The Silmarillion. I've been told it stands on its own quite well; I suppose this will be the test of that. Last I checked, he was at the end of Chapter Four and was--like most people who read AMC--liking Carnistir the best. He told me that he liked it, but he would.

I have registered for my fall grad school classes. I'm starting later this year, which I hope will help and give me a chance to get lesson plans and materials created well in advance of when they're needed. I'm taking two classes: Antiquity and the Middle Ages, and the History of Religion. The first class is an eight-weeker; another good thing, as I'll only have one class for half of the semester and will still earn six credits.

Okay, now for some random pictures, mostly butterflies, a coupla sunflowers, and one random Phil.

Pictures of Stuff )
I have just posted my final DS article, and my queue stands empty for the first time since I've started writing for them. I have the next ten days off! \0/

This semester being chaotic as it's been, I have slacked in my holiday duties this year. I didn't send out any cards, and I didn't even squeak out a drabble. I look forward to the day when I can devote time again to my art and to people I care about. In the meantime, though, I wanted to send holiday greetings to my online and fandom friends, who have so generously supported me and my work over the years. I appreciate it more than I can say and regret that offline obligations have kept me from properly reciprocating and expressing my appreciation as I like to do.

I wish each of you the best of holiday seasons. Thank you all for your friendship and support--both are such appreciated gifts throughout the year. Happy holidays!

Yesterday was our fourth annual House of Felagund Halloween party! We had to have it a week early because next weekend is our barony's TnT event.

Halloween Party )
My friend and illumination teacher has set up a weble* for his artwork. And because a weble is no fun without visitors or comments, then I am trying to spread the word because his work is gorgeous, and I know many people who follow me and my writing here would enjoy his work as well.

Tristan's weble can be found here. (RSS users can subscribe here.) For folks not using RSS but on LiveJournal, the feed is also set up on LJ at [ profile] tristan_weble. If you don't know how to follow feeds on LJ, just add them like you would add anything else to your friends' list.

No, Silmgeeks. He hasn't done Maedhros and Fingon. Yet. >;^)

* I.e., the other half of weblog whence the term blog comes. We both agree that blog is such an ugly-sounding word, kind of like the noise Alex made last summer whilst vomiting up the Russian olives he ate in the backyard.
I posted a while back asking for requests for holiday cards. However, due to rigmarole associated with said cards*, I only got about half of them sent: those to destinations outside of the U.S., since these take the longest and, therefore, always go out first.

I thought about sending them out belatedly. However, I've decided not to do this. Instead, if you asked me for a card, I will send you a much nicer notecard sometime over the next few months with a message other than my scrawled signature. (So, if you'd like such a card and didn't request a holiday card [or got a holiday card and still want a purdy notecard], please let me know!)

* Said rigmarole resulted when the AKC cards we ordered simply never arrived. Of course, by the time we realized that they weren't merely late but not coming, I had one day to grab some suitable (earth-friendly!) substitutes from Target and get them written and sent in an afternoon to friends outside the U.S. Then the holiday maelstrom swept me up, and I just never got the time to finish the rest of them. Bah.
First of all, Happy Valentine's Day, Flist!

I'm not a huge fan of Valentine's Day as a "romance holiday," despite being married and therefore "entitled" to Valentine's Day benefits. But any day that makes people feel as universally bad as this one does not make me happy. Also, gifts and cards given because Hallmark says, "Thou shalt show thy love on this day!"...and it was? Nah, I much prefer surprises, Bobby buying me a little gift for no reason other than having seen it and thought, "Dawn would like that!" And going out on Valentine's Day...hmph. I don't think so! I do not wait in a vestibule for hours only to receive shoddy service because the servers are stressed and overworked on this day and bad food because the cooks are the same and are probably pre-cooking everything. (I used to be a cook; I know what goes on behind the swinging doors.)

And so I prefer to make Valentine's Day about all sorts of love, not just the romantic kind. So I send my best wishes to my flist.

Also, I would like to offer an LJ gift to the whole flist. I was going to buy a few of these for people that would appreciate the humor, but they cost 99¢ apiece and I--my friends--am cheap. So you get to see it in my LJ whenever you would like rather than on your userinfo page for two weeks.

This is especially dedicated to my lovely sister Sharon, [ profile] ssotknapsack.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Also, if you are on Ye Flist and would like a dose of Dawn Felagund heart-related poetry, then I dedicate this to you as well! With warnings because my poetry is baaaad.

An Eeenteresting Valentine's Day )
I don't really know what I'll be doing--or not doing--in the days to come, so while Bobby is playing EA football on his 360 and I have a minute, I will say...

Happy Holidays, Everyone!

I know, that is a very original message. In fact, the HTML code is longer than the actual message!

I am so thankful for all of you flisters. (And those of you without LJ accounts who hang around on occasion as well!) Your wisdom, support, and good humor when I need it the most really does keep me going on some days. Thank you!

I hope that everyone gets their wildest wishes on this holiday season. (Why do I have visions of scores of scantily clad Elves leaping from cakes?) Have a safe and happy holiday!
Well, the holiday season is upon us again, which feels a bit odd since my mind is still stuck back in September and the weather in Maryland has been in the '70s so perhaps more fitting to September! Alas, the official holiday season is less than a week from beginning, so I must get in my holiday post before it is too late.

Last year, an ambitious Dawn Felagund wrote stories and sent candy to people on her flist. I am afraid that I will not be able to be so ambitious this year. I don't know if I'm going to be able to make much candy (those of you whom I have promised candy will get some eventually, though it may arrive at a completely random time. Happy Arbor Day! Have some candy! I am teaching candymaking to my friend Tammy at some point, so whatever I make in the way of examples will probably be shipped out to friends since the best way to kick a candy habit, I've learned, is to take up making confections oneself! Which is good for my friends and assures that my butt will continue to fit in my new trousers.)

But, I would like to do something for my friends this holiday season. For one, if you would like a card, leave me your address, and I will send one your way. (If I have your updated address already, you'll be getting a card, so no need to ask. If you've moved since last Christmas, please leave me an update?) Comments are screened, and I will not un-screen any comments that have personal information in them. You may also email me at

Secondly, I would like to offer writing. Unfortunately, I'm not going to be able to manage full-length stories this year. I had twenty requests last year and barely made it--though it was a fun challenge and has made my portfolio quite fat. However, I would like to write drabble series for my friends. Many of you will be getting a drabble series, like it or not. ;) However, I am open to suggestions and requests of any nature (and even those of you who are new or quiet or don't have LJ accounts--please feel free to speak up and ask for something! Most of my favorite stories started as requests from friends and flisters.)

My hope is to post a drabble series each day through the month of December (with modifications to account for my holiday travel schedule). I'm open to nearly anything; however, I ask that requests be for either original writing or Silmarillion/Elf-based fanfic. Sorry, I don't do Star Trek or Harry Potter or Wheel of Fortune fanfic. Requests can be as broad or specific as you'd like; I do all ratings, both het and slash, so requests for pr0n are always honored here. ;)

So, in short: If you want a card, leave your address. If you want a drabble series, leave your request. Simple enough.

And I will eventually get to answering my comments, some of which are two weeks old. I had intentions of doing so tonight, but here it is after midnight, and Alex has a veterinary appointment tomorrow morning, so I'd best be getting my booty to bed.

Before saying anything else...

Happy Birthday, [ profile] digdigil!

May your day be as wonderful as you deserve! I am thankful everyday to have a friend who makes me smile and laugh almost every day, listens patiently to my griping, and has been so wonderful and supportive as a beta, reviewer, and friend in helping me to grow as an author.

Thank you and enjoy your birthday!

In other news, the storm has pretty much passed here. It is still lightly raining, but the wind has died down, and we have escaped mostly unscathed. Last night, coming home from the movies, the road leading to our community was flooded, and we were detoured, but that's been about the extent of it. We're lucky; Tropical Storms Floyd and Isabel proved a few years ago the damage that even these weakened storms can cause.

Funnily enough, Bobby got a letter in the mail yesterday from the American Association of Retired People (AARP), a group of over-fifties keen on lobbying for rights for older and retired people:

Congratulations, Robert Felagund, III! You are eligible for membership to AARP!

Ummm...yeah. My husband is...twenty-five?


I told him to join. AARP members get discounts on things, plus they are one of the biggest lobbies in Congress, particularly on issues relating to social security. Maybe he could be the internal voice of dissent and demand some recognition of the views of younger generations, who are paying into a system we will most likely never see because social security has been warped from its original intent of supplemental income to income. *ahem* Yeah. Not getting into that now....

Happy birthday, Jenni! I'm off to go swimming! to take on this wicked meme that [ profile] arandil13 unleashed upon the world. Somehow, when I think of that, I get this image of pregnant Arandil clicking "POST" and cackling madly while a volcano erupts in the background and nine nazgul gallop out from her office....

The point of the meme:

YOU fill in the blanks about ME even if you dont have any idea what they are and send it back to ME. But first post a blank one out to all your friends so they can return the favor to you. Be honest!

Are You up to the Challenge? )
Happy Valentine's Day!

I have seen a lot of people posting in their LJs the little bit about "Post this if there is someone on your flist who you would not have met offline and who has made your life better." Or something like that. :) I avoided posting it in my own LJ--although I hope that those of you out there with whom I have become friends in the last seven months of so know that it is true--because why copy and paste when I can ramble?

Valentine's Wishes to My Friends...I Can't Guarantee It Won't Get Sappy! )
After a day of crazy posting, at last, the holiday gift stories are unlocked.

First of all, I must give sincerest thanks to [ profile] juno_magic, who clued me in to Deepest Sender for LiveJournal, saving me hours of inserting HTML tags as I usually do. It was much easier to cut and paste and tinker with the source rather than my usual habit of scanning the story for italics, centering, or special text and adding the tags by hand, which is fine when posting a single chapter or story, but gets a bit hairy when you have twenty stories to post.

But enough of geek stuff! It's the holidays!

I must say that I really enjoyed working on these stories this year. I've acquired a lot of new bunnies as a result and thank you all for giving me such a creative variety of challenges to keep me occupied. (I'm not sure that Bobby will agree with this...he'll probably be glad to ask, "What are you doing tonight?" and getting an answer other than "Writing holiday gifts." :^P But I didn't hear him complain when I gave him his story.)

All of the holiday stories are tagged here, if you want to see them all in one place. In addition, below the cut, is a list of them with summaries and ratings and other things that people generally like to know. Two of the stories are original fiction, and they are friend-locked for their protection, as they are part of the legends that make up the world I write about in my original fantasy stories. So if you've been reading along with my stories and haven't yet friended me but want a look at these, simply leave me a comment and I'll add you to the flist.

Of course, as I wrote twenty stories in about a month, they are rough and many need a lot of revision before I'll consider showing them outside of my LJ. Per usual, I appreciate people's thoughts on stuff--both good and bad--if you feel inspired to leave me a comment. Also, three of these stories will be part of longer works, although I've done my best to include sections that can stand on their own somewhat.

I should mention also that they are posted in no particular order, certainly not in the order they were written. More like the order in which I grabbed them at random from my Data Deposit Box! So the placement of your story is no indication of how interesting I thought your idea was (I liked them all, to tell the truth) or how long I spent on it. A lot of the posts are also backdated to keep my flist from being spammed with a half-dozen postings today.

Sincerest thanks, as always, to my readers and wishing all the happiest of holiday seasons!

Story Summary List )

Happy Holidays!
As much as I love eating and football--and those of you who know me know that I *love* both--I also love the opportunity to tell people why I am thankful for their friendship. [ profile] juno_magic did this as a meme a few weeks ago, and I thought it appropriate to save for Thanksgiving. So, to each of you on my flist, here is why I am thankful for you. If you're on my flist and not part of this, it is because we've yet to be introduced! But now is the perfect opportunity to say hi and tell me why you friended me.

I Am Thankful for You Because.... )

So why are *you* thankful today?