Mary Pat Peck, 1941-2014


As many of you know, there was recently a death in my extended family. Namely, my dad’s kid sister Mary Pat.

My strongest memories of my aunt Mary Pat involve her singing voice. In particular, the musical prelude she sang at my uncle Tom’s wedding in 1979. She had a mezzo-soprano voice that was almost opera level in power and control. Another time, at another family event, we were all singing in church, and she overpowered everyone within a twelve-foot radius. And she was holding back!

I didn’t spend much time with her (that I can remember, anyway) until the mid-1970s during a visit to Dayton. Unfortunately, what I remember most of that trip was an ear infection that had me flat on my ass for several days. We spoke many times at family events over the subsequent years, and created some good memories. She had a very sweet, outgoing nature, and a vibrant, razor-sharp sense of humor.

College portrait, Marshall University, 1964.
Snapshot from a 1970 newspaper article.
Photo of Mary Pat and Jennifer, at Jennifer’s wedding, Wilmington, Delaware, 1996.
  • Born Mary Patricia Pugh, July 28, 1941, Charleston, WV. (Father: Harry Lee Pugh; mother: Barbara Evans Pugh)
  • BA English, Marshall University, 1964
  • Married: Gary L. Peck, 1977
  • Died October 16, 2014, Englewood, Ohio

Obituary from the Dayton Daily News.

I sometimes have trouble writing things like this, but the obituary from Dayton probably sums up Mary Pat’s life better than I ever could.  The heavenly choir just gained one hell of a mezzo-soprano.

Sleep well, aunt Mary Pat.  I’ll be sure to sing Little Bunny Foo Foo to my kids for you.

House of Supers

For the past few weeks, my home has been hosting a group of superheroes. Well, actually one super villain and two superheroes.

Lady Loki costume

Lady Loki

First, we have Caitlin as Lady Loki, a variation of the intergalactic mischief monger from The Avengers. For most of this year, Caitlin was unsure of what she wanted to be for Halloween. After seeing The Avengers in early September, that was instantly decided. Tom Hiddleston’s portrayal of the twisted Norse demigod Loki sent the imaginations of both her and Lisa into high gear, and this amazing costume is the result.

For the basic structure of the costume, Lisa adapted a cos-play pattern she found on Deviant Art. I lost track of how many times she had to run to one of the various craft supply stores in the Piedmont area to get the materials she needed, but the result is a real eye-popper! At this writing, Caitlin has worn the costume (in whole or in part) to three different Halloween parties, and each time she was lauded with complements.

Total construction time for the costume was 30-some hours, spread over a six week period. That does not include the travel time to the various supply outlets. I won’t even guess what that came to. The costume was made from pieces of flannel and leather sewn or glued to a jacket-vest foundation. The various metallic highlights and accessories were made from poster board and matte board, painted with a mix of silver and gold. The helmet was made using paper mache and poster board on a toy construction hat. The horns were made from a Styrofoam, heart-shaped wreath base. The staff is a painted wooden dowel, with the head being made of reinforced poster board and plastic sheeting. A bluish penlight with a tiny crystalline charm completed the “Glow Stick of Destiny.”


The Incredible Hulk

Then we have Michael as the bestial half of the modern-day Jekyll & Hyde character, The Incredible Hulk. Michael’s costume was much easier: we ordered it from an online vendor. A few minor adjustments were made so that it would fit better, and on the whole it turned out great! Given that Michael is playing a character known for his ability to smash, he looks very cute! The costume came with a skull cap that would have made his face green, and given him a bush of black hair. A feasibility study was made to determine what it would take to make the cap not only fit better, but make the hair look more like that of the Hulk. Unfortunately, all attempts at having Michael wear the cap resulted in failure, because he found it inherently uncomfortable. Being just under two years old, there was no way in this or any other universe that he was going to tolerate such a thing being strapped to his noggin. So, the customization of the skull cap never came to pass.

But no matter, he looks both cool and cute.

2014-10-28 09.47.10

Raven pumpkin

Earlier this month, Caitlin acquired a pumpkin as a door prize, and our original plan was to carve it. Instead, it became the subject of a pumpkin decoration contest through her school. Her paint scheme of choice was the character of Raven from the Teen Titans animated series. It should be noted that Caitlin – my daughter the artist – did all of the painting herself. The rind of the pumpkin was cleaned and dried, then she applied tempera paints directly to it. It took almost three coats of paint before the colors finally started to hold. I suspect the rind was sucking up the paint like a sponge. But, she was ultimately successful!

Azareth Metrion Zinthos!

In hindsight, it’s probably a good thing that Caitlin opted to paint the pumpkin instead of carve it. The house is currently awash in scraps of cloth, sheet plastic, old newspaper, and bits of other materials left over from the construction of the Lady Loki costume. But even so, my two girls really showed off their creativity!

Happy Halloween, 2014!


The core costume design for Lady Loki came from the Deviant Art user The Lighted Soul. Within her gallery she provides a tutorial for the coat and cape, and the shirt and tunic.

The Woodland Elf features patterns and instructions for the staff and bracers, and while Crafty Mischief provided instructions for the helmet.

Happy Anniversary, Baby!


Photo by Wayne Vedeckis, taken circa May, 2004, Cunningham Falls State Park, Thurmont, Maryland.

Lisa and I were married on October 25, 2003, in Metairie, Louisiana. Since then we’ve had two children, lived in two apartments in two different states, and bought a house. We’ve also had two cats, three guinea pigs, one dog, and four different cars. Eleven Years and counting! And best of all, we’re just getting started!