Saturday, September 04, 2004

Everything But the Kitchen Sink! 

let's see. dan's been at burning man for a week now; he should be back by mid-week next week. the cats and i have been puttering around the house, not getting much done. i had big plans to organize large areas of the house, the way i did when dan was at burning man last year, but that hasn't happened. i've started taking some new meds that leave me feeling a bit worse for wear. two of them are for sleep, and wonder of wonders, when i take them along with all my other sleep meds, they seem to help! the problem is that i looked up their side effects in my trusty book of pills (subtitled "things you'd rest easier at night if you didn't know").

so i'll continue the pills until my next doctors appointment later in the month, and just hope for the best. i don't scare easily, but the side efffects of these meds--oy! i'm on low doses of each, so maybe that will make a difference.

i also finally started taking part in the clinical trial for cfs and fibromyalgia, through a company called genomed. depending on your blood pressure, you take either an ACE inhibitor or an angiotensin II receptor blocker. i have very low blood pressure, but i have medications i take that can get it up into a fairly normal zone, so i'm taking the latter of the two meds (you can only take that med if you can keep your blood pressure up). i check my pressure every day w/my nifty digital blood-pressure monitor, and everything's good, blood pressure-wise.

the only problem is that one or more of these meds is making is really tired and fevery-feeling (but no fever). so i've mostly been just sleeping. (until midnight a few times, unless i set my alarm! i feel like i live in a sort of alternative universe sometimes!)

oh, anyway, the clinical trial meds are being tested to see if they work as anti-inflammatories. i've been hearing about inflammation being implicated in many illnesses recently, so i'm willing to see if i, too, am inflamed. it's supposed to take three weeks for any improvement to occur. i'll have been on the med for two weeks in two more days. hope something happens!

i must say i was proud of myself on thursday. work up at midnight; felt bad. but watered the plants, changed all the litter boxes, did all my yoga/stretches, and paid all our bills. i watched a three-hour ken burns presentation of the life of frank lloyd wright while i paid the bills, which helped (i'd seen program before, but wright's life was amazing enough for at least two viewings).

then, to make sure the bills started wending their way to their destinations in a timely fashion, i slunk out of the house at 5am and dropped the mail off at the post office. (frank lloyd wright had just given his final interview--to mike wallace, who was almost rendered invisible due to the immense amount of cigarette smoke swirling about him.)

then i started worrying that our credit card bill was sitting at our post office box, and that by the time dan got home and went to the post office, the bill would be paid late. i also started worrying about not having enough money in the bank for our first mortgage payment on our new little house (the payment is deducted from your bank account, and automatic deductions always make me nervous). so i waited until 9am, got dressed, and went to the p.o. and the bank. i felt a lot better after that. sort of tired, but glad i'd done it.

you want to hear more health-related stuff, you say? well, i've just gotten over a sinus and ear infection. took matching cipro tablets and ear drops. i've had trouble finding an antibiotic that works anymore for my sinuses and ears, so it's good the oral cipro did the job. more information, you say? well, only because you insist. just over three months ago, after injecting my heparin (a blood-thinner that i inject subcutaneously twice a day), i noticed my er, bottom starting to feel sorer and sorer as the day went on. i ignored it until i took off my clothes to go to bed. then is realized i had a hematoma the size of a small-ish cantaloupe affixed to my right buttock. i ran to show dan, and he agreed it was pretty hideous-looking. but the worst thing was that it hurt like hell! i have a high pain threshold, but this was unmanageable. we went to two different ERs on two different nights. dan went with me the first night, and i went alone the second night. as they say, there's nothing worse than being sick and being in a hospital.

at both hospitals, both doctors said my heparin protocol would absolutely never be sanctioned by a *real* doctor (i guess like them), and that if i continued to engage in such unnecessary behavior i would just keep getting hematoma after hematoma and it would be my fault. the first doctor drew blood over my objections because she just couldn't believe i could be injecting low-dose heparin and not have completely wacky and dangerous bloodwork. of course it was all fine, just like it was when my doctor had had me do the same test the week before (i get a clotting-time test every two months). the doctor then gave me someone else's labwork and said i had a urinary tract infection! after about an hour-and-a-half, she finally said she didn't know if a hematoma could be treated in any way. "not by us," she said, "because *we* don't do low-dose heparin." the tone of her voice through the whole visit was incredibly rude and snide. the first thing she said to dan and me was, "well, what are *you* doing here?" sigh.

next night i went to a different ER. got yelled at again about the heparin and how i thought i was so important that i thought the on-call doctor could just call in a specialist to deal with my hematoma when there are really sick people needing treatment? i hadn't said anything but "is there anything i can do to reduce the hematoma (which was filled with a whole *unit* of blood) and reduce the pain? i tried just staring down, biting my lip. finally, the doctor stopped his tirade and asked if i wanted some pain pills. yes! yes, i did! with the pain meds, i was finally able to lie down on my bed and sleep. that's really all i wanted--just something that took the pain down a notch so i wasn't screaming every time i moved.

now my little hematoma guy is maybe the size of an egg. being reabsorbed slowly but surely. doesn't hurt anymore. dan and i did a web search and found that i was using needles that were long enough to have the potential to cause a hematoma when injecting heparin. now i use the shortest needles found in the greater seattle area.

i've been going to the every-other-week clarinet choir, only missing one time during the summer. i went to almost all the ballard sedentary sousa rehearsals, but only made it to one gig all summer. next week glee club starts up again, so i'll probably have to go on hiatus from the clarinet choir, 'cause they're back to back, tuesdays and wednesdays.

in the things of little import category: i ordered (and am using) a germ terminator for my toothbrush. i saw it on tv (i think on "20/20" when they did a segment on how hard it is to get on the home shopping network). it makes sense to me to have a toothbrush sanitized overnight. very easy to use. i figure any germs i can eradicate, i should eradicate.

also, the brakes are completely out on my honda. fortunately, it happened all of a sudden, not while i was driving. i got in the car to go somewhere, engaged the clutch and the gas, backed up, braked, and--no brakes! i just rammed into the grill of our ford bronco. fortunately, since it's a bronco, there was no damage to its grill; i think it was more irritated than anything else.

some good news: we found a good handywoman through craigslist, and she did a lot of work on our new rental house. later this month, she's coming over her to help us with some work. we're very happy to have found her.

lastly, i'll just list some good tv show and movies i've seen recently. if i were more ambitious, i'd link to them on the web. maybe next time.

first, the olympics are great when viewed in the wee hours of the morning! no sappy personal stories, hardly any commentators sitting around a table, and commercials that last about 20 seconds. great fun! i saw the movie "supersize me" last week--very well done. i also saw "festival express," which was lots of fun. a bunch of bands toured canada by train for one incredibly rowdy week. jerry garcia, janis joplin, The Band, and many more. jerry was at his prime, and it was heartbreaking to realize that only two short months after the concert footage we saw, the full-of-life phenomenon that was janis joplin would be no more. The Band, not generally one of my favorite groups, played two songs that exemplified the spirit of rock and roll. playing on a rickety stage at night, the wind blowing, their instruments moving as the stage moved, they played the way you play when you *have* to play music, when your whole spirit is subsumed by what you're creating. the audience applauded every time The Band and janis joplin performed.

i saw a wonderful point of view on PBS when a palestinian-american from cleveland goes back to ramallah for an arranged marriage; another good program on muhammad ali (i didn't know how closely allied to the nation of islam he was); and a program on a wonderful experiment in the '60s near cleveland, in a place called shaker heights. the neighborhood purposefully kept a balance of black and white families, and it was an idyllic world until the people had to leave it for the "real" world.

i saw "my sister maria," by maximillian schell. it's a documentary about his sister, who was a famous (and talented and beautiful) actress. she leads a very different kind of life now, and her story was told in a fascinating manner.

last but not least, i saw "tom dowd & the language of music." this wonderful man had an absolutely extraordinary life, first working on what became the manhattan project when he was a teenager, then becoming a music producer/recording engineer. he worked with musicians of all types and through his passion for innovative technology helped shape much of the music we hear today.

wow--that was long--blog or bust! excuse me for not going back and editing this, but i gotta go!

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Foot Fizzling 

dan brought back some gifts for me from michigan, including some "Foot Fizzle" from jackie. (she also got me some very pretty soap-covered flowers. i had never seen--or smelled--soap-covered flowers before, but they are lovely.)

I got some tasty jelly, and a very cool little mouse carved by uncle bert.

dan was determined that i deploy the foot fizzle right away, since i tend to get sort of overwhelmed and put things off (even things i want to do).

so last sunday, as i entered the den to watch a PBS "Inspector Morse" mystery, there were the Foot Fizzle marbles and some hot water in a large bowl in front of the couch. After inquiring as to the appropriateness of the water temperature, dan added the "fizzle" aspect of the program to the mix (three--no more, no less-- compressed pellets of herbs and other powders).

i kept my feet in the bowl for almost the entire two-hour show. I have plantars fasciitis, and the marbles felt wonderful on the bottoms of my feet.

almost as enjoyable as the fizzling feet were dan's digital photos from michigan. between the pictures and the gifts, i felt almost as though i was there.

our renter for our new little rental house has moved in. he's a lawyer for an escrow company in our neighborhood. he's used the $200 stacked mini-washer and dryer i found on craigslist, and it works--yay! dan is going over thursday night to do a walkthrough of the house (shouldn't take very long--the whole house is about 450 square feet), so our renter won't be held liable for any damages that already exist.

there's always some trouble when we buy a rental house. with our first rental, our insurance company wouldn't cover us until we'd hired someone to come by *twice* to inspect (almost) nonexistent lead paint on the house (there was a small amount of lead paint that had been painted over on the exterior windows). fortunately, our renters agreed to do the work (scraping all the paint off the exterior windows and repainting them in accordance to strict lead-paint removal guidelines) in exchange for a month's rent plus some cash--and that was about half of what one company had bid for the work. then the insurance company decided the *inside* of the house had to be inspected.

we called other insurance companies to see about switching our policy, but they all had their little idiosyncrasies, too. with one we had to switch all our automobile coverage over to them (which we didn't want to do), another insisted that we pay to have the roofs of both our own home and the rental house inspected (at close to a $1,000 cost--and nothing was wrong with our roofs!). it took months to get our insurance in place, but we eventually did convince The Gods Of Lead that our rental house was lead-free.

with this second rental house, an insurance rep from a difference company came out to look at the house (the house has a post-and-pier foundation, so it needed to be covered by a different insurance company). this insurance company's issue doesn't appear to be lead; it appears to be occupancy, or rather, the lack of it. the rep saw the house wasn't occupied, and without checking with our local insurance agent, immediately cancelled our insurance coverage. our mortgage company then immediately cancelled or mortgage.

our insurance agent in seattle then called us and asked us to get him a copy of our rental agreement immediately to show that the house would only be vacant for a short period of time.

then we got a bill from the insurance company that had dropped us, asking us for $368 (this was a new one: you pay for the privilege of being dropped by the company?). dan called the insurance company and asked why we owed the money. it turns out the company had sent us a $368 refund when they'd mistakingly cancelled us. we hadn't gotten the refund yet, just the request to give it back.

it is at times such as this that one must repeat the "Pride Of Ownership" mantra softly and for an extended period of time, thumb and forefinger gently circled together.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

My Day Apres Dropping Off Mr. Green at Seatac Airport 

well, i had an interesting day after i dropped mr. green off at the airport saturday. i got back to seattle at about 8:40am. i had no idea stores were open to darned early! even though i'd been up all night and morning, i managed to get a few things done saturday morning and afternoon.

ended up getting to sleep about 3pm saturday afternoon, getting up about 10:45pm (actually, pretty much when i generally wake up, even if i've gone to sleep in the late morning).

dog-gone tired was i, but it was kinda nice to be in the sun and not be such a vampire bat.

i got us a new, better fax, with a nice rebate (somehow we always end up sending and receiving a lot of faxes--mainly forms that are rental house and medical in nature). who knew office max was open at 8am???

got a pair of those $7 chinese strappy shoes in the u-district (had admired them at clarinet choir two weeks ago). i had resigned myself to never getting to the store because of the 6pm closing time. (yippee!)

got some stuff at fred meyer. didn't know fred meyer was open (and crowded!!) at 8:40am (it had opened at the ungodly hour of 7am!).

i got a chicken sandwich and biggie fries at wendys, and darned if they didn't taste like the best thing i'd ever eaten in my life--and i eat fast food maybe two-three times a year! (d.b.--our little black "nerf" cat-- and i ate them in bed.)

i got a watch on sale just like the one dan got before he went to michigan. we'll see how he feels about that when he gets home. he should've suspected trouble when i immediately wrapped his new watch around my wrist and excitedly swooned over all the features (and wouldn't take the watch off). all major warning signs of watch envy.

got sorta cryptic email from jim lyons, the tax preparer for my late father's estate. (i think it's cryptic to me only because i'm not a tax preparer.) financial ramifications for dan and me and my brother loom. many line item changes and monetary figures bandied about, along with the mention of amended returns. so, even though my father died in 2002, the financial ramifications will carry over into 2005. my mother's separate testamentary trust will also affect our returns in 2005. but then we should be done!

a funny thing is that jim has a buddy with whom he attends seattle mariner games. he and his game buddy have a rule. it's a simple rule, really. when the opposing team is ten runs ahead of the home team, jim and his friend leave the ballpark. unfortunately, this occurred in the fourth inning, setting a record for the earliest exit from the ballpark for jim and his friend. (yikes! i hope they didn't pay much for parking!)

Monday, August 16, 2004

Gradually Trying to Wiggle My Way Back Into Blogdom 

since i've had a very bad summer, health-wise, i've been missing in action for a very long time.

dan helpfully suggested that two paragraphs i sent to a friend might be blog-worthy, in terms of briefly describing how i've been feeling this summer. so here goes:

"hey, there! i've been thinking about your kind offer to pick me up and transport me to the locks sunday[ed.'s note: where i was to have played in a sousa band concert.]. i've had a very bad summer, health-wise--i'm currently taking cipro for several tenacious infections, and have a couple of other extra-special debilitating things going on. my attendance at summer events (especially those during the day) has been *very* spotty, since i'm still not able to get to sleep until 9-10am. without dan home to wake me up, roll me out of bed, pour coffee down my gullet, and feed and medicate me, i'm not sure what the odds are that i'll be locks-worthy come sunday at 1:15pm (it really *does* take a village to get me rolling!)."

Thursday, August 12, 2004

saturday morning, my mission, chez seatac, providing ride to mr. dan green to green family reunion in michigan 

i will drive my favorite bear
just about...
well, anywhere

i would drive him
to despair
(we hope not)

i would drive him
to o'hare!

i would drive him to a fair
(dancing visions of veggie corndogs on sticks!)

i would drive him
to eau claire
(love my home state!)

i would drive him
*even before*
i part my hair

i would drive him
with such flair
(his eyes wide w/wonder and shut w/fear)

i would drive him
through the air,
honda nosing up, up, up to stratosphere

i would drive him till
they stare (*where* exactly is she taking him on such a tear?)

i would drive him briskly
on a dare (4 cylinders w/stick roars past taciturn saturn, thumping base notes flying from dash to open air)

i would drive him through
the morning glare, with *much care*
(after so much posturing)

i would drive him from our lair,
and our seatbelts we would safely wear

the wind would blow...
and we'd be there.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

long time, no blog! 

so many mundane details to tell you about, so little typing time! okay, i'll just get started. glee club was great as usual. even though we have three season-ending concerts looming in a few weeks, our fearless leader, bert, kept things moving by using his sense of humor, even though it's a stressful time (we have *a lot* of music this time!). and here's a surprise. instead of my usual trek to walgreens after glee club, i went to fred meyer. yes, that's correct, no typing error here. you should know by now that living in the fast lane in ballard means i will, from time to time, shock you with news like this.

as i was at the checkout counter with organizational tools such as cd albums and coat hangers, the person in front of me was caught shoplifting. his accomplice, name of janet, hit the store before him, and loaded a bunch of expensive items into a cheap plastic tool box. he then entered the store and attempted to purchase the toolbox, which was, of course, much heavier than it should have been. the fred meyer clerk opened the box, as is store policy when there are suspicious circumstances, and found the (potentially) stolen items.

at this point the man began screaming and creating a huge fuss. the manager was called over, and he allowed the "customer" to get a refund for the price of the empty toolbox. the cashier was infuriated. i told her to take deep breaths. the manager said store policy dictated that in these situations, the customer always gets a refund and a free pass out of the store. a phone call then came from the second floor of the store, where the man's accomplish (remember janet?) had been caught stuffing items into other containers.

after a bit, the cashier downstairs calmed down, and said that since she found the items stuffed in the plastic toolbox, they were, according to store policy, now her property. when i left, she was excitedly picking up the toolbox and examining its contents. sometimes it pays to take a walk on the wild side and head to fred meyer on a tuesday evening.

the truck's engine light came on again on the way back from fred meyer. after the light came on the week before, on the way back from band, dan put oil in the engine. this time he put radiator fluid in the radiator. i took it for a short test spin sunday night, and no lights came on, so that's a positive sign.

no band news to report this week, because i slept through it (ooops and drat). oh, back to fred meyer for a minute. on the way back, it was very rainy and windy, and cherry blossoms were madly swirling on the wet streets. parked cars looked like they were covered with measles, with pink blossoms stuck all over them.

i saw the podiatrist last tuesday, and she suggested taking my ankle boot off for an hour a day and just wearing the neoprene uber-brace. i tried this the next day and regretted it. so i'm back to wearing the boot full-time. i can tell from the pain that now is not the right time to do without the boot. i am going to see a physical therapist tomorrow for my ankle. in fact, he's the same one i saw for months for my back injuries. i finally was able to stop seeing him and do the exercises at home. i'm hoping with the ankle that he can show me what i need to do, so i won't have to keep going back for months again. the PT place is in ballard, only about a mile from here, and everyone in the office is just great, so that's a good thing. i'm not so sure about my podiatrist. she contradicts herself, and has some other slightly unsettling habits, like not being able to correctly bill me. i've been keeping track of my bills (which are pretty much impossible to decipher), and saw enough errors in the last bill that i was able to reduce my payment from $205 to $11.90!

dan brought home a couple of those doughnuts that have achieved celebrity status across parts of the country: krispie kreme. mine was tasty, everything i expected. but oy, the sugar! i think it'll be a few years until i'm ready for another one.

two pieces of news on the all-important futon front: we gave away the futon mattress that a friend had abandoned in our basement close to 20 years ago. and the new futon mattress, frame, and cover that i'd ordered have arrived. while i was asleep, dan spent three hours putting it together. he kept track of the time by the number and length of the cd's he listened to while assembling it. it's really lovely.

we tried giving away the '40s sofa that the futon replaced through freecycle, but only one person was interested. she likes vintage furniture, as do i (i really don't want to get rid of the sofa, but comfort is a huge issue). i must say once i cleaned up the sofa and removed enough hair from it to create an entirely new medium-sized cat, it looked pretty good. we did get the names of two places that take vintage furniture, restore it, and then re-sell it. the problem, of course, is transportation. at 78", it's pretty big and heavy.

i was (you'll never guess this) asleep when our one prospective sofa-taker came to the house. i'd been corresponding with her through email and noted we had similar interests. it turns out she's the famous kelly lyles, whose "leopard bernstein" art car is a seattle landmark (see the URL on the side of my blog titled "kelly, leopard bernstein, & art cars." i'd met her about ten years ago at an art-car convention at the seattle center. even dan was thrilled that she'd parked leopard bernstein in front of our house. our brush with greatness!

i dragged dan to see a *very* different movie saturday night, called "hukkle." i'm going to try to insert a description of it from the internet movie database here, because it's almost impossible to describe:
  • Hukkle

  • i don't think dan was as taken with it as i was. i just keep thinking about the amazing sounds and images in it. (the "check other user comments" link on the main movie page contains some interesting observations.)

    our one-eyed white cat seems to have gone crazy. last week he started standing in the hallway making horrendous, indescribable (and very loud) sounds. i got a cardboard box for him, lined it with recycled paper, and placed it by the chair in the bedroom. he immediately climbed in and ceased all loud utterings. now, as long as he's in the box, which is at least 90% of the time, he fine. out of the box, craziness sets in again.

    lastly, we got a call from one of the new residents of our rental house. she wanted us to have an exterminator come over and get rid of the ants that had materialized in their house when the weather got warm. (we've had the same problem for years, and use ant traps, citrus spray, and anything else that makes a dent in the ant population.) dan talked to her partner, later, and he didn't seem to think the problem was so bad. dan went to the store and bought a gift for them--ant traps and citrus spray. we've heard nothing since then, so maybe things are a bit better over there.

    last but not least, dan turned 50 on sunday. he can now join me as an AARP member! in the evening he went to a new, for lack of a better term, book club. it differs in a conventional book club in that its members do not read the same books, but bring in the various books they are currently reading. it's a brand-new club, formed from people who saw the notice on craig's list and wanted to join. dan said people just sat around at the coffee shop for a while, because nobody knew anybody else and nobody was in charge. but they finally got together and met. they're meeting again in two weeks.

    okay, *this* is really the last thing in this post. dan is volunteering for the seattle film festival that starts next month. he will usher for three movies, so he'll get to see those three movies for free, and then get free tickets for three other movies of his choice. should be a fun experience.

    Sunday, April 11, 2004


    long time, no blog. lots of things to chatter about, but never enough time to sit down and type away. so here are some ballard doings, pretty much in random order:

    i've been very good since our big declutter weekend and have continued to not re-clutter anywhere in the house. i actually have gone through some things and gotten rid of more stuff (mainly papers, papers, papers). i've got a list of about eight things to give away (small things from the kitchen up to a futon mattress and a couch). i know these things will go quickly on the seattle freecycle email list.

    as a reward for undergoing our grueling decluttering weekend, dan and i have ordered a futon couch to take the place of the extremely uncomfortable couch in our den. the couch is cool-looking, from the fifties or the sixties, but oy! sitting on it has become more and more of an....um...pain in the butt.

    so i spent hours online looking at futons, mattresses, and futon covers. hours! i had to look at every last option. i was all done except choosing the fabric cover. i'd narrowed it down to three from about 100. i asked dan for his opinion, and he quickly said, "oh, that one is fine," pointing at the first pattern i showed him. when i told him low long i'd spent choosing everything, he quite sensibly said, "you know, you don't have to look at *all* the options." something that never occurred to me! anyway, it will be neat when our futon couch arrives (except for the "some assembly required" part).

    we finally figured out why my computer kept turning off. it turned out not to be a faulty power-cord connection, but an overheating problem. the bottom left side of my computer gets too hot when i have it on my lap, so now i position my laptop so it hangs off the left side of my lap and gets some air. it's sort of awkward, but at least i'm up and running again.

    it seems as though dan's caulking job around the soap holder of our rental house's upstairs bathroom did the trick. (yay!)

    friday we got a new garbage disposal for *our* house. dan didn't really care either way, but i really do like the convenience of a disposal.

    last week dan and i saw a very fake-looking image on tv of the space needle falling and crushing people. it turns out nbc is going to air an movie sometime this month or next, called "10.5." what we'd seen was a scene from that movie. about 15-20 years ago, there was an april fool's broadcast of a local comedy show that showed the space needle falling down. that low-budget effort was far more realistic than this upcoming nbc movie! i've forgotten the reason why, but to use the space needle's image, you need to request permission; it's illegal not to. so, the space needle corporation may end up suing the company producing the tv movie.

    i've been driving our old bronco around seattle (always interesting driving a truck with a trailer hitch around a city with narrow streets and limited parking). i've found if i drive my little honda, the boot i wear on my right leg (to protect my torn ligaments) can hit the gas, clutch, and brake at the same time--not optimal! the truck is automatic, and the space around the gas and brake pedals is much larger. tuesday i see the podiatrist again to see how things are going and what the next step (so to speak) is. i'd really like to be able to take walks around the neighborhood, especially with the nice weather we've had the last few days.

    the only downside to the clear, warm days is the high allergy index. i sneeze, my eyes itch, my ears plug up. dan coughs. we're quite a pair.

    i went to see a strange movie from japan at the little theater across town. dan had driven over earlier to see the movie before it. it turns out both movies were just out-and-out awful, so dan left part-way through the second feature. i stuck it out, sort of forced into a strange state of inertia through the sheer awfulness of the movie (and it got worse as it went along). driving back was the nicest thing about the evening. i always enjoy the bumpy and winding seattle streets (each street with its own idiosyncrasies). i was listening to a cd of chrissie hynde and the pretenders (always a good choice for driving a small car around seattle neighborhoods). last but not least, i was in third gear. my very favorite gear. (this was, by the way, the last time i drove my honda while accessorized by my ankle boot.)

    i started tracking our finances again this month. i do it in a really low-tech way: i write everything down on one piece of paper. dan has become very good at leaving receipts out for me. speaking of monetary matters, we finally got my late father's 2003 tax papers to his accountant. even though he died on november 30th of 2002, it took awhile to transfer and close out his investments. the same is true of my late mother's testamentary trust, which was dispersed when my father died

    last tuesday at glee-club rehearsal, i volunteered for a solo within one of the gilbert and sullivan pieces we're doing. bert, our fearless leader and my friend, reminded me that i had to really belt it out (i tend to sing rather softly, primarily due to lack of technique). so, i told him he could replace me this tuesday if i don't project enough. i've been practicing, so we'll see what ends up happening.

    band rehearsal thursday was good. i wore another pair of pajama pants (they fit nicely over my big old ankle boot), much to the delight of my fellow third-clarinetist, cara, who is 17 years old. so next week, we are going to both wear pajama pants to rehearsal. i do like that about band: pretty much every age group is represented among the members. i also have a part to a very hard piece of music where i am the only person on the part. (the other two people who usually play third clarinet with me have a fourth clarinet part, while i have the sole third clarinet part.) once i got past one run-through, where i felt like a confused lemming, i was able to strike out on my own successfully.

    last, and perhaps, least, i just ordered two cd's from amazon. i don't do that too much (although i have a huge wishlist of cd's i would like). i'm getting ron isley of the isley brothers singing burt bacharach songs (he makes "raindrops keep fallin' on my head" into something i almost cried over when i first heard it). now, *that's* talent! the second cd is a sort of punk band, the distillers. i think dan will like the distillers, too. sort of an apt name, because the one song i heard was pretty straight-ahead, no-frills punk-rock.

    Monday, April 05, 2004

    with a blog in my heart... 

    More mundane stuff excerpted from my mile-a-minute ballard existence. I stayed up all night the other day, so I could get a fasting blood draw at 7-8am (it had to be in that time frame, or I never would have bopped down to downtown ballard at such a seldom experienced--pour moi--time o' day).

    Additionally, I wore loose gray pajama pants decorated with a plethora of cats singing in rowboats. It worked for me. As I walked up to the medical center, I saw the staff just arriving at their offices. They were all looking out their windows at my attire. I could almost see little thought bubbles above their heads, filled with phrases such as THAT'S JUST NOT RIGHT...THIS IS BALLARD...IT'S BROAD DAYLIGHT...CATS ON PANTS?...SINGING CATS WHO ROW IN BOATS?...HERE IN OUR BALLARD PARKING LOT?

    After frightening the office workers at the medical center, I had a successful blood draw, came back home, unwound a bit, and went to sleep. Woke up late that evening (yeah, yeah, I know) and rushed off to band practice. Very stressed and tired. But I played really well at band, so you can never predict these things.

    I love when we're playing a piece of music, and out of your peripheral vision, you can see the fingers of the other clarinetists in your section moving in precisely the same patterns. I just can't get over how absolutely amazing that is, and how we all pretty much take it for granted. The individual band members are all such different people, with different lives and different skill levels. (along with so many other variables, such as: what did each of us have for dinner, how were our days, do some of us have children, did someone have a fight before rehearsal, did someone's car almost break down on the way to rehearsal?)

    From all these disparate places and circumstances, we all drive from the south, east, west, and north (waaaaay from the north in my case, for an 80-mile round trip) to gather at one place at one time to play music as one person, with (in the case of us third clarinets), six fingers autonomously producing one sound. hard to describe, but there's something almost metaphysical about it, something that takes my breath away nearly every week.

    Tuesday, March 30, 2004

    gleeful tuesday! 

    hey, i've just discovered the spell-checker! this should help my blogging (especially in situations like now when i have two cats in my lap, along with my laptop).

    another big tuesday night--glee club and walgreens! (notice a pattern here?) i volunteered to be responsible for the glee-club phone messages we get on a designated line (goes right to voicemail). i'm also going to post notices around seattle advertising the glee club. i love the glee club, so it's easy for me to be enthusiastic about it when people ask me for details. in fact, i think i scare people a bit because i'm so enthusiastic and *really really really* want *everyone* to join glee club and be as happy as i am!

    ballard goings-on 

    well, i'm blogging on dan's lovely little mac laptop. my laptop has been very temperamental recently. it behaved yesterday, but for the last several weeks it has been turning itself off without warning. dan took it in to a laptop repair shop, and they tried for two days to duplicate the problem (to no avail).

    dan takes his laptop all over seattle. it travels quite well. it is much smaller and lighter than mine, and has an amazing amount of battery power. he takes it, via bicycle, to cafes a lot and surfs the internet, just like everyone else in the cafes.

    monday was a great day for this kind of activity, had dan not been tied up with plumbing matters and piano lessons (new song: "in a sentimental mood," one of my favorites). we hit a record temperature monday: 78. today's high is supposed to be in the mid- to low 50s.

    as for our rental house's leaky bathtub, the evening before dan was to call the plumber, i remembered that when i had done the rental-house walkthrough several weeks ago, the caulking had looked quite bad. lumpy in some places and barely there in other places. so i suggested caulking before calling a plumber. dan dutifully caulked and waited a day for everything to dry. the renters used the bathtub on sunday, and water poured out from the tub and into the basement again. so, dan called a plumber who came monday morning. the problem turned out to be that dan had not caulked around the soap holder in the wall! it had looked fine to him, but that little area turned out to be the problem spot. dan caulked that area on monday, and we shall see what happens when the renters use the bathtub on tuesday!

    our garbage disposal broke over the weekend, so we had the plumber take a lot at that, too. he agreed it was dead. i believe i got it in 1990, so it had a pretty good lifespan, as garbage disposals go.

    ever since penny left our house ten days ago, i've been trying to continue to declutter and organize. i just set aside a bit of time every evening. i've got a long way to go, but at least i've started!

    saturday night dan and i missed the twisted flick we were planning on seeing. i was running late (moi?), so he left in his car. i followed in mine a bit later. it turned out the theater had sold out, which has never happened in the five or so years we've been going there. dan had already gone home by the time i got there, so i called him and said i was going to try to make the 9pm show at the little theater across town.

    i did make it (i did a lot of clumping around in the rain on my big ankle boot that night--parking was scarce at both locations), and had a great time. the theater was showing all the academy-award nominated short films for 2004, including the winner. some were animated and some were live action, but each one was quite interesting.

    sunday night dan and i watched "law and order: criminal intent." i mention this minutiae only because i realized this is the only tv show we watch together. we used to watch a nice sunday line-up of "futurama," "the simpsons," "king of the hill," and "the x-files." those shows are either off the air or have lost their luster (at least for us). so, while i watch rather a lot of tv (all over-the-air), dan watches just the one hour a week. when i met him, he didn't have a tv, so i'm happy to realize that i haven't corrupted him too much over the years!

    Friday, March 26, 2004

    time to toot my horn! 

    well, i had a big day yesterday! off to band practice (just a tad late). before band i was thinking about how lovely rehearsal had been thursday evening. then i felt the night-time ankle brace on my leg and realized i was still in bed. oooops! i rushed to get ready and only missed rehearsing one piece of music. it's starting to feel normal to go to rehearsals again, after missing several of them, along with missing two concerts.

    then on the way home, i stopped at walgreens to pick up odds and ends and medications for me and one of our cats (aka "the huline," because he's half human, half cat). actually, i think he believes he's all human, and his body is a result of a bad day at the factory. i was miffed when the pharmacist refused to sell me needles for my various injections. store policy is to sell them, no questions asked (as it is at other pharmacies). this pharmacist is somehow allowed to not follow store policy. i got home and tried to send an email to walgreens, but their web page wouldn't send my complaint. i called the company's 800 number, and the message box was full. grrrr!

    i just sent an email to the seattle parks board, which is soliciting opinions on whether or not to keep a skateboard park in ballard. even though i'm too old and decrepit to skate, a lot of people of all ages have a lot of fun at that park. a community of skaters has been formed, and they took it upon themselves to maintain the area on their own. there's only one other skate park in all of seattle.

    it's been raining for the last couple of days, and our newly cleaned basement is taking on water from three different sources. so we moved stuff around as best we could. we're considering consulting with someone who seals basements, but fear the sealing would be very costly.

    lastly, as i was leaving for band, our new renters called. they had just moved all their furniture in and had taken their first shower. unfortunately, the shower leaked through the floor and into the basement, right onto some nice rugs they'd just put down. we've never had any problem with this before, and it sure is bad timing. so in a few hours dan will be calling a plumber (we've had such bad luck with the last several that we're always trying someone new).

    when it rains, it pours--especially when you live in seattle!

    Thursday, March 25, 2004

    oops! missed that day! 

    wednesday? what was that? i slept the whole day (and most of the evening) away, as is my wont after an evening of activity the day before. i recover from the podiatrist visit and glee club, and rest up for symphonic band on thursday. i'll sleep pretty much through friday, and then on saturday, dan and i will go see twisted flix, which are shown the last weekend of every month. a local improv group gets its mitts on a baaaad movie, shows it with the sound off, and improvises the dialogue. some efforts are better than others, but they're always worth taking a chance on.

    it rained last night, which means we need to get serious about waterproofing our basement, which will not be an inexpensive undertaking. now that so much stuff from the basement is gone, we need to make sure the remaining items don't have water damage/mold (as did a lot of the items we threw out). we have several different leaks to find fixes for.

    yesterday, dan and i saw our new renters moving in next door. today we got a check from them for the month of april (a week early!). as nice as our previous tenants were, they rarely paid before the fifth of the month, which is when our contract states we will start assessing late fees.

    the teenager dan tutors every wednesday is from somalia. when she was born, her mother killed a goat to signify the importance of the occasion. she asked dan what we do here. nothing that can compare to that--i mean, cigars aren't even passed out anymore!

    Wednesday, March 24, 2004

    declutter or else! 

    well, i took a few days off from blogging. on sunday, we had penny (aka "a force of nature") from clutter cleaners come to our house to declutter our basement and garage. i'd seen her declutter a garage on a segment of the tv show "dateline" a few months ago, and was impressed with her energy, no-nonsense approach, and her understanding of the psyche of a clutterer (yes, that would be moi).

    after the show, i googled on clutter cleaners and found her web site. she mailed back that she'd gotten about 30,000 hits after the show aired. organized woman that she is, she emailed everybody back in two days with her schedule of cross-country travel to accommodate the 5,000 of us who followed through and requested her services. i think she'd only worked in california before, which is where she lives. (she's also started writing a book: "House of CHAOS," with "CHAOS" standing for "can't have anyone over syndrome.")

    since i have a back injury and torn ligaments in my ankle (and an apparent sinus infection), i wasn't able to do anything physical. penny wisely gave me box after box of papers that i've stored over the years. she provided me with a chair and a light, and i doggedly sifted through those boxes. that kept me busy while penny, dan, and penny's helper, charles, dragged pretty much everything out of the basement. had i not been sifting my boxes, i would have stopped them and wanted to keep everything.

    the next day, penny and charles came back for another eight hours of work. dan and penny managed to find someone to haul *two dump trucks* of former basement contents away. penny and charles took almost everything in our small "give-away" pile, so we didn't even have to deal with giving things away.

    after the basement (about 1,000 sq. feet) was purged, penny artfully arranged the remaining contents, even strategically placing throw rugs on the floor. i was sick that day, so i just stayed in bed and slept (i did hear lots of loud thuds, though!). anyway, dan's been wanting an exercise room in the basement, and now there's ample room for one.

    i still was feeling a bit weak on tuesday, so dan very kindly drove me to my podiatrist appointment (i now have an ankle boot, a neoprene ankle brace, and another, more lightweight, ankle boot to wear at night!) he then took my sick laptop computer to the repair shop, then picked me up and drove me home. i managed to make it to the second half of glee club rehearsal, which was nice. most of our program for this season is madrigals, but now we're doing some gilbert and sullivan pieces--very fun!

    last but not least, a shout-out to dan for letting me borrow his laptop computer while mine is in the shop. (i had to promise not to eat any food near it, or allow any cats in its vicinity. a small price to pay for such a lovely loaner computer.)

    Sunday, March 21, 2004

    this weekend, dan and i saw two classic movies on tv. friday we saw 1939's "love affair" with charles boyer and the incomparable irene dunne. it was filmed in strikingly beautiful black and white, and was full of art deco images. saturday night, we watched the original "a star is born," from 1937, starring janet gaynor and fredric march. it, too, was filled with an amazing amount of art deco scenery. and it was filmed in color so lush that every image seemed heightened.

    when i was in college, i took a course on film. students took it because it seemed like an easy credit to watch movies and then answer periodic multiple-choice tests to prove you had, indeed, seen the films. for me, the class was so much more than that. the instructor had access to a wealth of classic movies. many classic american movies of all genres, and a lot of rare foreign films. (one film he'd found while fighting in WWII, in an abandoned projector. it was an american film dubbed into another language--i've now forgotten which one.)

    that class is largely responsible for the love of movies i've had all my adult life. the more obscure, the better. i also developed my life-long love of movie trivia because of that class. the instructor had resigned himself to the class being something that students took for easy credit, but for me it was so much more. i have always been grateful for the difference the class made in my life, but also always somewhat saddened that it wasn't treated with the proper respect by other students or, out of sad necessity, by the teacher himself.

    Friday, March 19, 2004

    last night was my first night back at symphonic band practice after missing several rehearsals (and two concerts). i ran out of breath a lot, but did manage to remain in an upright and locked position for the entire evening. one of the band members (named neil) had written a three-page symphonic band piece, and wanted us to play it so he could have a recording of it. almost every measure was in a different time signature than the measure before and after it. after some initial difficulties, the band was able, in about 45 minutes, to play it well enough so that neil had two recordings of it. that's a pretty amazing group of musicians.
    an article i just read in vanity fair was about the popularity and prevalence of blogs (mainly political, and mainly left-wing). i was surprised at how many of the blogs i've read, either on an occasional or a regular basis. this just confirms what i already knew--i spend an awful lot of time on the computer. and, there are an awful lot of really literate and informative blogs out there.

    also in vanity fair (it's a big magazine, even with the perfumed inserts removed!): a chilling article on how easy voter fraud is on the new electronic voting machines. there's no paper trail, it's extremely easy to fix voting totals in any number of ways, and it's suspected that some elections have already been affected by people illiegally manipulating the voting machine totals. a freelance writer in seattle was surfing the internet and just happened to stumble across some information that led to all kinds of subsequent discoveries. and even as the states are being informed of the major flaws in these machines, they are rushing to order millions of dollars of machines for upcoming elections.

    Thursday, March 18, 2004

    last night i finally did the walkthrough on our rental house. it took almost two hours! dan had made up a very detailed checklist for each room. i just hope i can read all my notes when it comes time for our new tenants to move out! we just had the hardwood floors redone with a swedish finish. they are absolutely beautiful. the house is really in good shape--much better shape than our house. but our house has lots of character, which is important.
    i was reading an article in vanity fair on disgraced financier conrad black. one of the people quoted in the interview was named "sir peregrine worsthorne." is he an englishman, or what? love that name.

    Wednesday, March 17, 2004

    some notes on my current snuggle-partner, navvy, our one-eyed cat ("yar"), who has long, white hair and a predilection for what we call rasta knots on his soft, white underbelly. fortunately, he likes having his rasta knots trimmed occasionally. yesterday i decided that he is a man of several strong, distinct emotional categories: loving, angry, and crazy. kind of covers it for a lot of the rest of us, too.

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