Saturday, November 23, 2013

Santa Made an Early Stop

I got paid (finally!) yesterday. I say finally because that particular client likes to push it out as long as possible and I usually have to fire off an email reminding them that THEIR policy is to pay in 30 days, not mine. So, two weeks later, I got the money. Naturally, money and I are soon parted, especially when Jenny is in a mood to buy musical instruments.

We went to Artichoke Music in Portland, hoping to get a stand for her hammered dulcimer, but they had none. Instead, they had something I wanted, something they NEVER can keep in stock. This is it:

It's a Firefly banjo ukulele, a cross between an ukulele and a banjo. The ease of playing of a uke (only four strings, nylon strings for comfort, lightweight) and the twangy, loud sound of a banjo. It's a kick to play,  even though the classical songs I usually play sound a bit odd on it. Guess I'll have to learn some new songs.

Instead of the hammered dulcimer stand, Jenny noticed a recorder in a glass case. It's a Moeck Rottenburg 439 alto recorder. We have several recorders and I don't like the sound of the sopranos (too high) and can't play the tenor (too big for my small hands), but this one is just right.  In fact, it's better than just right. This is an amazing instrument. And it sells for more money than I would ever pay for an instrument, but this was supposedly used (with no signs of wear) and they sold it to us for a fraction of the cost. In fact, it cost considerably less than the Firefly. And the sound! This is so rich and deep.

I don't like high sounds. They hurt my ears. So the reason I don't like opera is that they feature the sopranos, and I sit there and cringe and tremble like a whipped puppy.  But I could listen to this one for hours. And I can also play it. Only one problem. An alto recorder is tuned differently from the others so music has to be either written specifically for it, or transposed.

Transposed is a word Jenny can use in a sentence with authority. I can barely pronounce it and certainly can't do it. For me to play it a couple of things will have to happen. Jenny will have to transpose and write the music down. I will have to learn how to play the recorder. But with this recorder, it will be worth it.

So Merry Christmas to us! It's merry and bright and musical around here tonight.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Something I'm Looking Forward To

Well, I actually look forward to lots of things. But one thing I can't wait for is getting rid of Beavercreek unCooperative Telephone. If you like being connected to things like phone, TV, and Internet, I strongly advise you to forget about the whole "back to the basics," living in the country thing.

For starters, if you're stupid enough to have a BCT telephone, you know that EVERYWHERE is long distance. Except Beavercreek. Which consists of a diner, a saloon, a veterinarian, a car mechanic, two convenience stores, an empty piece of land where people sell old cars and RVs, and a post office. This is not a bustling 'burb, nor does it need to be since we are three miles from Oregon City and about 15 from Portland.

This phone thing bugged me so much that I bugged them. I called about every week asking if I still had to have a phone. See, the deal with small towns is this: If you want Internet and cable TV, you have to have a phone. Or at least you did. I think my calling on a regular basis tipped the scales. Anyway, a year or two ago they let us get rid of the telephone which was only used by salesmen and politicians.

Now, I've never had cable TV in my life, but out here you have no choice. Well, I guess you could shoot your TV, but if you want to see NCIS and get your news from John Stewart and Steven Colbert, you have to have cable. Because there's no freakin' TV here either.

Which brings me to the Internet. I have to have Internet in order to work. But I really object to paying high speed prices for dial-up service. Oh, it's not really dial up. But it sure feels that way.

Because I'm a night owl, I often work late at, well, duh, night. Which is when all the crooks in our little hamlet (smallest municipal designation in the's a real thing, not just the name of a play) run Torrents. Which, you may have guessed by my crafty use of the word "crooks," is illegal. I once asked the guys on night support (who I have on speed dial) why this was allowed. It's illegal. Why do they get to degrade service so I can't watch reruns of Warehouse 13, while I still get charged a ridiculous amount of money for the slowest service in the state. Upshot, they still run Torrents, but I did get our level of service increased while we paid the lower rate.

So what am I looking forward to? Real Internet. Yep, something that doesn't stutter through every dang show we try to watch. Something that runs 24 hours a day instead of crapping out on me around midnight when all the crooks come out.

Anyway, enough whining.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Trailer Update

So, Calamity Jane (aka CJ) is in the shop. See, there were these wrecks. The one where we hit the sign, the one where we hit the tree, the one where we hit a bumper, the one where we backed into the house. Remind me what we think we are doing?

She's been there for two weeks and will probably be there two to three more. That's because the shop can't seem to order parts until the RV is there, rather than ordering them to be there when the RV is there. If this keeps up, we may spend most of retirement living in an RV repair shop. Which apparently you can do.

Fortunately, we still have the house but it's for sale. And people come through whenever they feel like it, violating the mysterious real estate law that says they should CALL FIRST!

So at least twice I've been in bed when the invasion occurs. Which means I have to hurry into some clothes. Since most of my clothes are in the RV, this sometimes means throwing on dirty clothes as I can't just waltz through the house to the utility room to pull things out of the dryer.

Then I'm, well, here. While they look. The problem is we got rid of one car and if we have to draw straws for who gets the truck, I automatically lose since Jenny has one of those jobs that requires her to be some place. My job requires me to be some place, too, but my place is right here, in the house, in my office.

Anyway, not having a car at my constant disposal is harder than I thought it would be.  I hate to drive, I don't drive often, but when I want to drive, I want a car to drive.  Mostly I don't have one, which means I mostly talk to animals.

Not that I don't like Dr. Doolittle (the one with Rex Harrison) but I'm not him. The dog tricks me all the time, the cats either totally ignore me or sit on top of me while I'm trying to work. Now, think about this. Right now we have 2400 sq ft, plenty of room for two oversized adults and four animals.

But the trailer, with all the slides out, is maybe 500-600 sq ft. The animals all want to be where the people are, and as long as Jenny is still working, I'm the people they want to be with most of the time. This should be an interesting experiment.

However, at the rate the shop is fixing the RV, and given that a half-naked woman running through the house all un-showered, disheveled, and blind (my glasses live in my office), I doubt we'll ever sell the house. They must think it's possessed. I am the ghost in the house.

Anyway, just thought I'd let you know.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

What can you say.....

...about another day wasted trying to sleep off this crud? My only productivity was making split pea soup and finding my missing VISA card.

Oh, well. By being sick now, there's a chance we won't be sick around here over the holidays. Last year we spent the whole Christmas season on our own because Jenny was contagious and I was recovering from whatever I gave her.

I hope this whole month doesn't devolve into a history of illness, but illness is what we have. And I've watched all the seasons of Warehouse 13 to be found on Netflix. I know there are two more seasons, but I don't know how to access them. Uh, oh, rambling has set in. Never a good sign.

Anyway, time for this sicko to hit the sack.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Monday. Monday

Just a quickie:

Went to the store to buy Melatonin to help me get some much needed sleep.  They have time release Melatonin. Why?

Now off to take some, not time release, and see if I can FINALLY sleep through the night and on into the day tomorrow.....

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sunday Smiles: Things that Made Me Smile this Week

Since I feel like death on a stick, in part due to fibro and in part due to a lingering flu, not much made me smile this week. But it's hard to keep a comic from laughing and I am no exception.

Things that made me smile:

  • Banter with Meg, our lovely youngest daughter.
  • Hearing my friend Mary Jean laughing in our living room while I was sleeping.
  • Watching our old dog, Good Dog Gwyneth, go from a lazy semi-dead state to a bouncy puppy state after hearing the words "dinner" and "dog" used in the same sentence.
  • Finding Jenny working at home when I thought she was at the office.
  • Hearing that our RV may be ready sooner than we thought.
  • Best of Craigslist. Never fails to make me laugh, even when I feel like crap.
  • Discovering the Progressive Christian Alliance and Christian Universalism. Maybe there is a place for me.
Sorry it's short, but I'm sick. Hopefully tomorrow may be better.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

What Have I Done?

I may have bitten off too much by deciding to post a blog every SINGLE day in November.  It's not as bad as NaNoWriMo: writing 1667 words every day for a month is INSANE. But I'm already running out of material. Those who know me in person are looking puzzled and shaking your heads. Me? Run out of material? NEVER. But I don't have any of you here spurring me on with ideas.

Today, all I have had to think about is a) food, b) haircut, and c) groceries. Of course, I didn't get up until 3 pm. (In all fairness, I didn't fall asleep until around 7 am.)

Yes, my days and nights are reversed. This must be that regression thing that happens when you get old. I'm becoming a baby again.

Since I've given myself a four-day weekend, I can't even tell you about what I'm working on because I've yet to open the files for the most recent book I'm indexing. Time enough for that on Monday. Or Tuesday.

So, I shall leave you with this. I NEED MATERIAL. Remember, folks, I have no life. I work for myself, which means I'm alone all the time. I do have a partner, but she works a lot for someone else and travels all over. The dog is feeling punk so she doesn't come visit my office as often as she usually does. (She's getting old, too.) And I have a truly noxious neurological condition that makes sleep almost impossible and ALSO demands that I sleep a LOT.

That's it for today. Maybe tomorrow will be more entertaining. It can't be less.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Happy Birthday, Meg!

I  sort of wish I was normal. I generally go to bed around 4 am and get up around noon, so the fact that it is now 12:09 on November 2nd means little to me. In fact, in my world it's still November 1st. 
November 1st is the Feast of All Saints or All Hallows (hence All Hallows Eve or Halloween), and it's always had some religious significance for me, raised as I was in Episcopal schools. But its real significance is that 24 years ago my youngest child was born.
Beyond the fact that I'm clearly too young (at 62!) to have a 24-year-old, let alone the 32 and 30 year-olds, I am constantly amazed at this remarkable child. 
Not only is she smart and beautiful and nice and upbeat, but she can do this:

This is the child who came home at age 16 and said, "Don't freak out. I promise I'll go to college, but I want to join the circus." For her it made perfect sense. And join the circus she did. Now at age 24, she makes her living performing and teaching circus arts. She has trained in Portland and Europe, and has performed all sorts of places. She is also a phenomenal actress.

But she's not just a circus performer, she's one of the wisest women I know. She's a hoot to be with, she's a brilliant writer and conversationalist, and she knows who she is. She's only 4'10", but she's one of the biggest souls I've ever met.

Anyway, we took her out for dinner tonight, and she entertained us and let us amuse her. Jenny and I are so proud to be her moms.

Happy Birthday, Meg!