maryosmanski: (floral SCA)
Two pictures of the back of the house: one taken last week before any of the work started and the other one from yesterday afternoon when the excavation for the addition was completed. [No concrete being poured today after all, since there are 2-3" of snow on everything this morning. But temps go right back up to the 50's tomorrow and the next day, so the snow will be gone very quickly.



The addition on the back of the house will contain a master bedroom and bath, a laundry and mud room, and an extension of the dining room from the old house. The wall you see with the patio door and the little cat door will be gone in that area (you can judge how much is going from looking at the old concrete porch on the "before" photo).

The originals

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 12:07 am
maryosmanski: (floral SCA)
For comparison purposes, here are some photos of original Anglo-Saxon jewelry and jewel-ornamented weaponry. First one is a sword hilt from the Staffordshire Hoard; second is the museum-piece brooch.
ASHOARD
BROOCH

SCA event tokens

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 06:04 pm
maryosmanski: (floral SCA)
These are photos of the event tokens I made for an SCA event that I was the autocrat of (think con chair) which took place last weekend. The event had an Anglo-Saxon theme, so the red tokens are in the style of the Staffordshire Hoard/the jeweled work of the Sutton Hoo find, and the bronze tokens are in the style of an 8th c. Anglo-Saxon brooch from a museum in Britain. Red is on board (eating the evening feast); bronze is off board (not eating the feast).
On B token
Off B token

Is dm.net gone?

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 06:48 am
maryosmanski: (floral SCA)
I have just tried three times to access dm.net (which was working fine yesterday) and get a page from GoDaddy telling me that the domain name expired 4/29/14 (yesterday) and asking me I am the domain holder and want to renew.

Posting this here so those few who are/were on both LJ and dm.net can respond. Perhaps you are able to get there and I have some nasty virus on my computer...or?

Update: I've created a temporary (?) community here at LJ called dmnet_refugees. It will be a closed community for members only--starting off with the people who were posting regularly at dm.net. Constance, since you already have an LJ user id, I've sent you an invite. I do not believe the half dozen or so other regulars at dm.net have LJ accounts.
maryosmanski: (floral SCA)
Because we are going to have all new cabinets, we might be able to make significant rearrangements in order to have more storage space and countertop area for food preparation. [Side note: I wish kitchen cabinet manufacturers did not make it so difficult to find out even an approximation of how much new cabinets with cost.]

We might have room for an island in the kitchen. I've never had one. Heck, I've never even had a dishwasher. So I wondering if anyone reading here has an opinion about kitchen islands and cautionary tales?
maryosmanski: (floral SCA)
No insurance money for the sewer repairs since there was no damage inside the house (only inconvenience) as a result of the broken pipe out near the road.

Bummer.

Sewer problems

Saturday, February 16th, 2013 03:55 pm
maryosmanski: (floral SCA)
We've been having intermittent problems since November with slow drainage (especially the toilet). Had a plumber out back then who fixed a blocked water line where the water comes into the toilet. But we kept having problems... and this morning nothing would drain, not toilet, not sinks, not bathtub.

So we called a plumber even though it was the weekend, and we spent the rest of the time until the plumber showed up taking turns going out to a nearby store or fastfood restaurant to use their toilet. The upshot of the plumber's visit is that after jetting water through the sewer pipes and running a vido line to see where the blockage is, it is discovered that our sewer pipe out by the road, where it goes into the township sewer line, has collapsed and the pipe is filled with dirt. Finding this out cost $675. Replacing the damaged sewer pipe will cost an estimated $4500.

As a first step I tried to get in touch my insurance agent for my homeowner's policy. Of course, it is a holiday weekend. My policy is with Allstate. So I started on the 800 numbers in the phone book. Hooray for Allstate! They have looked up my policy and found that it does cover "damage to underground pipes." I have a claim number. I have a claim handler. She will be calling later to set up a time for an adjustor to come to the house. I wonder what he is going to look at except the spray paint on the front lawn where the plumber marked the location of the collapse and the depth of the pipe (7'5") at that point. At least we are on the same side of the road as the township line, so the street will not have to be dug up. I should get repaid for today's bill too, but somewhere along the line I will have to pay $250 deductible for this claim.

It could be a lot worse. The plumber says things will still drain slowly, but they will drain until we can schedule the work to replace the pipe.

I guess we should also be glad we didn't have a couple of feet of snow on the ground that also had to be worked down through this afternoon.
maryosmanski: (floral SCA)
This is getting ridiculous. My former student's suggestion to contact my credit card company where I charge the renewal of the subscription was a good one. I began to prepare myself for talking to Citicard by looking at my monthly statements from October and November. Nothing for $49.00 (which is what I remember the cost was for 2 year renewal) and nothing in the statement for which the vendor was the subscription service whose name Newsweek gave to me. I also already know that Citicard will ask me whether I have contacted the company myself to try to resolve the matter.

I looked back futher, since October was a hectic month with the death of Steve's sister and an emergency trip to Texas, and my memory of when I renewed my subscription over the phone may be faulty. I found a charge to some company called INK located in Colorade for $49 on 9/11 (the date alone gives me the creeps). So I called the 800 number given to me by Newsweek. I waited on hold for a little over 15 minutes.

Turns out they are a clearing house. I actually placed my order with a different subscription service called.... INK, which is located in Colorado. Hooray. INK gave me info the clearing house on 9/26. At least that makes the 9/11 date for the charge to the credit card make more sense. I am told I need to call INK. I am given a toll free number and a six digit reference number. But wait... they don't open until 12 noon CST--and that is still several minutes away.

So I am just waiting to make the call, wait on hold for another 15 or so minutes, etc., etc.

Update: Success! At least in getting a refund of the full $49. The guy at INK was very nice, very helpful, and as amazed as I was that Newsweek itself was not more helpful. It turns out it has been so long since the original charge, it cannot be refunded straight to my credit card account. It will have to be a check, and it may take up to 3 weeks for it to get here. I got the guy's name, and assured him that if I don't have a check in hand by a month from now, he will be getting another call from me (and I will probably call my credit card company at that point too.)
maryosmanski: (floral SCA)
Newsweek has totally trashed its reputation with me.

I have been struggling since Jan 4 (when they emailed me instructions for accessing the digital version of their magazine) to read Newsweek on my Asus tablet (an Adroid device). I have had no success with this.

Since their 800-number was constantly busy in early January, I tried asking for help via email. Initially it took a week to 10 days to get a reply of any kind. They told me to be sure I had registered with them and had a valid user name and password at Newsweek.

I told them I already had that, had done this in early December, following instructions on an extra cover sheet that came with an issue of Newsweek about that time. I told them that my problem was with the method they had told me to use for "Android tablets."

A reply informed me that I should follow their instructions, which were attached. It was the same email I'd had from them on Jan 4.

I told them that I had already done this; I had used the same username and password to register with an App called Zinio. According to Newsweek's instructions, doing that should have caused the digital issues of Newsweek to automatically show up in the "library" of the App on my tablet. It never did; all I could ever find at Zinio was access to the digital Newsweek at a cost of $4.95/issue or by purchasing a subscription (I already had a subscription to Newsweek which was to last through March 2015. Why would I want to purchase another one?)

Last week, Newsweek emailed me to tell me that they have confirmed that I have a registered username and password with Newsweek. The email stated that if I was having trouble with Zinio, I should contact Zinio, not Newsweek.

In my reply, I told them this is not a satisfactory resolution of my problems, and I have decided I want the balance of my subscription (from the Jan 4 issue on) refunded to me. From the beginning of their announcements about the switch to digital-only editions, Newsweek had been stating a refund of the remaining balance of one's subscription was an option.

This afternoon, Newsweek informs me that they cannot give me a refund. My subscription was made through a magazine subscription service, and I must pursue my refund through them, not through Newsweek. An 800 number was given for me to call.

I called the number (about 4:45 pm) and got a recording telling me that their offices are open until 4 pm. I will have to call again tomorrow.

At this point, I have to say that there is absolutely nothing about the way Newsweek has dealt with this customer (who has a paid subscription lasting more than 2 years into the future) which I consider acceptable.

I want to know where I can raise a ruckus about Newsweek and their customer service practices.

Dec. 25

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012 09:44 am
maryosmanski: (floral SCA)
Happy Holidays to all my LJ friends!

Changing over day

Thursday, November 1st, 2012 01:05 pm
maryosmanski: (Default)
Since the temperatures looks unlikely to warm up again for quite a while, I spent most of the morning changing over the wardrobe from summer to winter. This will keep me from having to wear my old, ratty "household chores" sweatshirt out in public.

Of course, the land line phone has a sensor which detects when I am on the stairs between the main floor and the basement, with arm armload of clothes. [I probably should have waited until after next Tuesday if I wasn't wanting interruptions!] And the cats felt the need to supervise because... well, I've only done this five times (three springs and two autumns) since they have been the queens of the household, but I guess they need to make sure I am doing it correctly.
maryosmanski: (Default)
I think most of you have probably seen my "we're fine" posts from yesterday elsewhere. But just in case, I will mention here as well that we had about 4" on rain, some gusty winds, and almost no damage.

Life is getting back to normal today: schools are open again so Steve has gone to work this morning after two days off; there are actually some dry spots on the back porch so the cats can go outside without getting their precious little paws wet; and I would be bale to do the grocer shopping and/or the laundry today except that they don't need to be done, thanks to all our preparations for the storm.
maryosmanski: (Default)
Unless something really changes for the expected track of Hurricane Sandy, we're really going to get hit.

http://www.wunderground.com/tropical/tracking/at201218_5day.html On this 5 day forecast map, the 8 am Weds. disk with the green center of the hurricane-- that green swirl is shown about 20 miles west of our house.

http://www.wunderground.com/tropical/tracking/at201218_model.html On the computer model map, we live almost exactly at the same spot as the next to last blue dot on the dark blue track.
maryosmanski: (Default)
that Neil Armstrong's funeral was held on the same day as a blue moon. And when you think as well about his family's suggestion last week giving Neil a wink the next time you look up at a full moon...

Rationally, I know this is nothing more than a coincidence. But there's a part of me that want to ignore rationality.
maryosmanski: (Default)
I don't know if any of you were watching ESPN2 this afternoon when three of their sportscasters interviewed Laura Robson in their studio after she beat Li Na. One of the sportscasters was male; I don't know his name and don't recognize him as a former professional tennis player. After the usual question about today's match and the one the other day when she beat Kim Clijsters, this guy asked her, "So, are you ready to go to Las Vegas with Prince Harry if he calls you?"

My jaw dropped. Yes, Laura is British, but.... Come on now. We all know there's an implication in such a question about co-ed nudity and wild parties. I can't believe a professional sportscaster would ask any female athlete this kind of question, British or not, only 18 years old or not, national television or not. It's the sort of thing that a bully, when called on the carpet about his behavior, will simply say, "Hey, can't you take a joke?"

And neither of the female broadcasters also at the desk said anything, or at least nothing that I could hear.

The young woman looked mortified, and too stunned to speak for a moment. Finally, she said, "No, I don't think I could do that." How awful to be put on the spot with such an inappropriate question.

So I got on line and wrote a letter of complaint about this guy to the network. We'll see if I get any response from them or not.

Pennsic on Cable TV

Thursday, August 30th, 2012 08:08 am
maryosmanski: (Default)
Although this is a pretty long video (30 minutes), it is a very well done program about Pennsic and the SCA, filmed at this year's Pennsic.

What I do at Pennsic

Saturday, August 11th, 2012 09:05 pm
maryosmanski: (my SCA device)
In the SCA, my name is Mary of Montevale, and the Userpic you see with this post is my device. For the past few years, I have been one of the main Features Reporters for the Pennsic newspaper, the Pennsic Independent. Some of the things I wrote are on line in the Web version of the paper. If you'd like to take a look, here are the links:

"Weathering the Storm" is about the microburst that hit the site on the first Saturday of this year's war. If you read carefully, you will notice mention of "Acanthusleaf Designs." This merchant is a friend of Karen Williams.

"eTroll...the Same But Different" about the changes to using electronic check-in for the first time at Pennsic this year.

"A&S Exhibit: A Moveable Feast" is about the display of work by SCA artisans and craftsmen which takes place every year.

"The Children's Party: Two Perspectives." Unfortunately the formatting for the Web failed to alternate the fonts for each paragraph which would make it easy to see that the story alternates between a child's tale of the party and the adults' perspective of who is doing all the hard work.

"Children Take the Fort Again" about the 17th annual children's water battle. Note the introductory quotation. Also, there's a typo in there that wasn't caught in proofreadin: the water battles began at Pennsic 24, not during A. S. 24 (the 24th year of the existence of the SCA).

In addition to those stories, which were usually on the front page of the printed newspaper, I wrote a number of articles about the displays and demonstrations done by various groups of artisans and craftspeople, a couple of interviews with the folks who do some of the theatrical performances in the evenings (one was for the second year of a unique production based on Beowulf and the other was about the 21st Pennsic anniversary of a Commedia dell'Arte troupe), and a daily column called "Mom, I'm Bored," which helps parents and kids figure out what might be interesting for the kids to do on a particular day.

My husband Steve is known in the SCA as Dominic Seamor. For the past several years he has written a daily column called "The Stars Told It Me," which details the astronomical things which people can see in the night sky at Pennsic, including Iridium flares, ISS passes, meteor showers, and interesting conjunctions (this year it was a conjunction in the western sky of Mars, Saturn, and the planet Spica forming a nice triangle which was visible for a couple of hours after sunset). He also reports of the activities at the Thrown Weapons range,

Here is his account of the annual competition for Thrown Weapons Champion of the 'Known World' (a phrase which mean SCA-wide). He has won this competition a couple of times himself in the past.

Home again

Saturday, August 11th, 2012 05:13 pm
maryosmanski: (my SCA device)
We are home from this year's Pennsic War. Kitties have been fetched from the kennel, and Steve has just reminded me that we need to turn the icemaker in the freezer part of the fridge back on.

Is my car jinxed?

Friday, June 8th, 2012 11:58 am
maryosmanski: (Default)
My car and I have been in another accident (no one hurt; car driveable) that was in no way ouro fault. And it took place only 50 feet from the site of the accident I had on February 6 this year. [That time, in the shopping center parking area a woman pulled out from a stop sign into the side of my car.]

This time I was at the traffic light I'd been headed to when that other accident happened. I sat through my red light and when the light changed, I had a green arrow for turning left. So I started into the turn, and about 2/3 of the way into the turn, suddenly there was a red car coming up on me and passing me on the right hand side. My front right fender and her left rear fender met and scraped again each other. The driver had run the red light for the road she was on (the one I was turning onto). She said "I didn't see you or the red light."

So my lovely car is damaged again (and again, still driveable). What I am really wondering is whether I should make any more spur-of-the-moment stops at the supermarket in that shopping center, since that's why I was there when that first accident happened too.

I feel rather sorry for the young woman (maybe 25 years old) who was driving the other car. She had to call her husband because he had the insurance card for their car in his wallet, and he had to leave work and bring it to her. He spent a lot of time yelling at her on the phone, not once but twice (he called her back once he was on the interstate on his way to where we were). And then his mother called her and yelled at her for a while too. All three times, I urged her to remind these yellers that 1) neither driver was hurt; 2) their little girl (max. age of 3, and in a child seat in the back seat) was not hurt and didn't even seem to realize anything had happened; and 3) the damage to both cars was minimal--a couple of small dents and lots of scraped paint.

A taste of summer

Friday, May 18th, 2012 05:30 pm
maryosmanski: (Default)
It's been warm enough (at least from noon onward) the last couple of days that I was able to experiment today with something that may make the hot weather much more pleasant for me.

Understand that I love the taste of mocha-flavored ice coffee (think Starbuck's mocha frappaccinos). But I have to drink decaf, I am lactose intolerant, and I need to reduce fats and sugars as much as possible. This makes it quite difficult to find a commercially available mocha-flavored iced coffee that I can drink more often than infrequently in very small amounts.

So today I tried to create my own version by brewing decaf coffee, sweetening it with Splenda, and then mixing it with an equal part of Silk Light chocolate soy milk, and pouring the whole thing over ice. I like the taste very much even if it isn't quite as rich-tasting in my mouth as a Starbuck's mocha frappaccino, and I know it is low enough in things I can't have that I need not limit myself to a tiny serving once a week. Plus mixing my own is less expensive than buying commercially prepared versions.

Next time I might try it with a hazelnut deacf coffee just to see what that does to the taste.

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