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Below are the 4 most recent journal entries recorded in the "Steve" journal:
July 31st, 2009
02:42 am

Marine Band concert
I attended a Marine Band concert at the Washington Monument this evening. They began with Sousa's not so well-known Marquette University March, followed by the Overture to The Bartered Bride. It opened with the clarinets in full violin section mode, playing unison 16th notes at about MM=140, no one else playing and thus very exposed, and sounding like one large clarinet. This is the sort of thing we seem to expect from the orchestra world, yet rarely hear done this well in the bands. Of course there are more professional orchestras than bands. By the end of the piece every section had had their opportunity at rapid articulated 16ths--a virtuoso performance.

Next was the Saint-Saens Cavatine, originally for trombone and piano, arranged for brass and trombone by the noted British brass band arranger James Gourlay, featuring SSgt Preston Hardage. Reportedly, his peers liked it--me, not so much.

Then was the Entry March of the Boyars, practically the national march of Norway, followed by Morton Gould's Ballad for Band.

Next, GySgt Kevin Bennear performed the recitation for Randy Bass's Casey At the Bat. He delivered a wonderfully dramatic reading, and, since he is also a musician singing baritone for the band, he and Director Colonel Michael Colburn worked well together so that the recitation and the music coordinated perfectly.

They closed with Rimsky-Korsakov's Capriccio Espagnol, another difficult transcription, performed superbly.

All in all, another outstanding example of your tax dollars at work. I thank all you citizens of Montana, Florida, Texas and all the other states for your contribution to my enjoyment, and wish more of you could share it with me, but there isn't room for all of you to live in Maryland and northern Virginia.
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February 4th, 2008
12:54 am

Fortu(ba)itous encounter
This last Friday and Saturday I was at the annual U.S. Army Tuba-Euphonium Conference at Fort Myer, adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery--lots of interesting and/or enjoyable music featuring the instruments you would expect, all performed by artists of the highest ability. I also caught up with several friends that I see there every year. There were opportunities to do other things as well, wherein lies the point of this post. I visited the elephant room, as the area where the vendors are set up is called, and after relinquishing more than a fistful of dollars, I am now the owner of a new tuba, a B&S PT-1, bought from Custom Music Company. As they do not take trade-ins, I still have the 1970s Mirafone 186 I have been using for 35 years.

New Tuba

The horn was a demonstrator or floor sample or something like that. It does have a few blemishes and one small dent on the bottom bow, but that translates to a significant discount, and compared to the wrinkled appearance of the 186 (the bell was crushed during shipment to the dealer and repaired, which got me a very affordable price in the 70s, plus a few knocks and bumps since then), the damage is trivial and cosmetic.

I had been browsing the vendors with the thought of maybe buying something. I tried a new 186 with 5 valves which was nicer and responded better that mine, but it still felt ... just ... adequate, and at $7200 besides. I finally talked myself into waiting until some later time, and continued wandering around the exhibitors when I saw the PT-1, which I hadn't noticed earlier. I tried it; it spoke easily in the lower register, which I never had with my 186; it responded well to ascending scales and descending octave slurs, again better than my 186; it just started feeling right in short order. I talked with them of price, which seemed reasonable, and did not include any tax or shipping costs. "Let's do it!" and I walked away 22 pounds heavier.

Unfortunately, the vendor was wrong when he said he thought it would fit the same bag I have been using for the 186. I have discovered that the current 186 is a slightly larger horn that mine, with the bell being an inch larger in diameter. The PT-1 is another inch+ larger yet, and 2 inches taller, so I had to order the larger Pro-Tec tuba gig bag.

I expect to be very happy with my shiny new toy. Despite containing a larger volume of air, it is more nimble than my 186, and the larger size produces a more powerful low register. I only hope that my creaky aging joints will not complain prohibitively about the 2 and a half pound weight gain.
Current Mood: pleasedpleased

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March 2nd, 2007
06:47 pm

I can't do that?
Well, here we are, home at last, a day late and a dollar short--actually, an hour or two late and $250 short.

We went to a museum on the Johns Hopkins campus, and returned to see a tow truck with one car on the flatbed and our car being towed behind (the only two cars remaining on that block-length segment, the others all presumably already driven or towed away). Reaching the driver just as he was starting to move away, I got the address of where to go find the car, and them we went into a nearby church to ask for a phone book so we could call a taxi. There we learned that apparently north-bound Charles St by the campus is no-parking in the right-hand lane after maybe 3:30 to help rush-hour traffic.

While I can understand and agree with the intent of such a policy, I don't think there was enough signage to communicate it to drivers who did not already know this. I was one in a long line of parked vehicles, so I expected parking was allowed. Ahead of me was a NO STOPPING. CARS WILL BE TOWED sign with an arrow pointing to where I was not. Behind me a little bit was another sign, arrowed away from where I was, mentioning 4PM as when parking must stop. A minute of walking about before the taxi came did not produce any sign I had not already seen when I drove into the space. I must return at some future time to see if there was some sign at the beginning of this half-mile section of road about the parking regulations, although if that is the case, I personally don't consider it adequate delivery of information.

Oh, well, it was a beautiful clear 50° day, the people in the museum gift shop we had been chatting with instead of returning to the car (being unaware that it was under attack) were friendly and shared our interests. So, as with most days, it could be worse.
Current Mood: discontentdiscontent

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January 29th, 2007
03:45 pm

Marine Band concert
Well, there are some really nice benefits of living in Baltimore near DC--all those tax-supported military band concerts!
Yesterday I attended a Marine Band performance in Alexandria VA for what was probably a once-in-a-(mine anyway)lifetime event. They played a transcription of The Planets--the whole thing, making up the entire second half of the program.

Beginning pleasantly enough with Bach's "Wir glauben all' an einen Gott," we then proceeded into the celestial segment of our journey, with Husa's Apotheosis of this Earth.

Following Music for Prague 1968 by two years, it is as dissonant as Prague and presents a frighteningly depressed depiction of the destruction of the planet. Quoting from Husa:

...In the first movement, Apotheosis, the earth first appears as a point of light in the universe. Our memory and imagination approach it perhaps the same way as it appeared to the astronauts returning from the moon....
The second movement, Tragedy of Destruction, deals with the actual brutalities of man against nature, which lead to the destruction of our planet, perhaps by radioactive explosion. The earth dies as a savagely, mortally wounded creature.

The last movement is a Postscript, full of the realization that so little is left to be said.... one of so many questions comes to our minds: "Why have we let it happen?"

In 1970, perhaps the threat of nuclear annihilation was more pressing than after the end of the Cold War. Nonetheless it was so powerfully depressing that I preferred to perceive it as, similar to Marley's ghost, a prophet saying "I have shown you a possible future. It does not have to be this way."

Fortunately I did not have to go home with that echoing in my head, for Holst was yet to come.

Although I had never heard of it before, this transcription is apparently 7 or 8 years old, done by Merlin Patterson, the brother of Don Patterson, who along with Stephen Bulla, does music production for the Marine Band.

Much of the time, I didn't particularly notice the absence of strings. Besides the usual transfer of black notes into clarinets and flutes, some solo violin parts were covered by soprano sax and some string color went to marimba.

I did hear differences in sectional balance, such that I heard some lines and rhythms I had never noticed before, done here by trumpets and trombones, whatever they were originally.

Besides its difficulty, I will probably never hear this again because of the resources it requires. There were two harps, two sets of timpani, two string basses, bass and contrabass clarinet, contrabass bassoon, three vibraphones and evidently lots of other stuff in the percussion section. In a post-concert meet-the-conductor chat in the lobby, I commented that concert preparation probably included choreographing the percussionists' moves from one place to another. Captain Fettig agreed and noted that this concert had required the biggest transportation effort of any performance in memory--five trucks filled with equipment. Indeed, the long 20 minute intermission was needed to allow time for the percussion to be set up.

Unfortunately, the joy of hearing such an abundance of musical sound is increasingly rare in both band and orchestra. Professional symphonies will consider the expense of hiring the additional musicians and decide that it's not worth it. Even the biggest community bands are unlikely to be able to find such extras. Probably large music schools are the only place that might find that many diverse musical resources to be called up without financial pain, and even more than the DC military bands have a limited geographical accessibility to an audience.

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[User Picture]
From: bunrab
Date: January 30th, 2007 01:42 am (local)
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Remember the orchestra concert where the truck went astray and the visiting orchestra had to borrow all the instruments? Good thing that didn't happen here!
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From: stylizedboredom
Date: January 31st, 2007 09:08 pm (local)
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You posted. I fainted.
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From: squirrel_magnet
Date: February 1st, 2007 01:03 am (local)
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Hi, Liz,

Yeah, I just felt like talking about that concert--like *you* never did anything on impulse!!

You're another one of those interesting little bits of Austin that I miss.
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bunrab: (me)
I am pretty much through with my annual fall fit of the weepies - the one where every time I think "The leaves are so beautiful" a little voice in my head tacks on, "but Steve's not here." The little voice isn't quite as loud as last year, or as constant and frequent as the first couple years, but it's not gone completely, either, and I don't know that it'll ever go away completely. It doesn't hit me like a ton of bricks so that I double over trying to catch my breath; it just takes a little chunk of time to enjoy things away from me. That's what "getting better" consists of.

Long, whiny self-justification )

So - is that enough "moving on"? Do you think I should be feeling no grief at all anymore, just faint soft memories of the happy times? Bullshit. If everyone else is tired of hearing anything about Steve by now, say so, but don't tell me I shouldn't be thinking of him any more.

I was reading The Book of Woe, about the making of the DSM-5. One of the things they did was remove the "bereavement exclusion" from the definition of depression, so that anyone who acts depressed for more than a couple of weeks due to grief is now considered to have a medical condition that can be and should be fixed. This is pretty much ignoring all of recorded history about how humans handle loss and grieving. And the book - which disapproves strongly of the DSM-5 - includes a quote about that from a doctor and medical anthropologist who lost his wife: "I still feel sadness at times and harbour the sense that a part of me is gone forever... I am still caring for our memories. Is there anything wrong (or pathological) with that?"

I'll be visiting Austin next week. And going to the quilt show in Houston!
bunrab: (me)
Tree-climbing baby warthog
This is a tree-climbing baby warthog. Well, a pile-of-tree-trunks-climbing juvenile warthog, but doesn't tree-climbing baby warthog sound better? This was from our 2010 anniversary trip, the one where we RV'd around the country, and one of our stops was the San Diego Zoo, revisiting places from our honeymoon. We spent quite a while watching the delightful warthog family - mom had a litter of little teeny babies still nursing, so these juveniles were pretty much running around the playground unsupervised.

It's been three years since Steve died. There are days I still don't know why I'm still here, even though by now I have new friends and new activities and I guess it's a nice life. I've spent the past week talking people's ears off about Steve, people who never knew him, people I wouldn't know if Steve were still here - I still have the urge to make everybody else know what a wonderful person he was and they should be sad they never got to know him. It's probably really annoying to a lot of those people, but I can't seem to stop.

I guess I should make that a separate post. Please smile at the tree-climbing baby warthogs and ignore my snivelling.
bunrab: (me)
Um, a mascot for being in the House of the Bee for Knitting and Crochet Blog Week? I suppose that if I had time to do anything, it could be an amigurumi bee,  but I don't have time to do that this week. This week is totally taken up with music, in real life, since I have three concerts to play this weekend. I know what I'll do! I'll play Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee at some point while practicing.

And I will have to practice, because I found out at tonight's rehearsal that the alto sax is really sick, and if she doesn't get better by Saturday, I'll need to play alto, and I'd rather not sight-read at the concert; there's a couple of short solo spots. So practice it is. Along with practicing the euphonium I bought last week, and the clarinet someone gave me last month.

Did I tell y'all about the euphonium?

When Steve died, I sold most of his instruments. I only kept the bass trumpet, because it was the smallest and the one he had bought most recently - and the one that would bring in the least money if sold, so selling the others made more sense. That includes Steve's euphonium, which 40 years earlier had been Jerry's student euphonium. If I had known that I was going to want to play the euphonium, I would have kept it, but I didn't know then. Anyway, what I figured out recently is that what I want to do is play in a TubaChristmas or two in Steve's memory, and maybe, just maybe, even participate in a reading session at the Army Band's annual Tuba-Euphonium Workshop. Might not be good enough for that this coming January, but I'm pretty sure I can get good enough for TubaChristmas. So, a bass trumpet wouldn't work for TubaChristmas - even though it's in the same range as a euphonium, and it's a valved brass instrument, it's really not the same thing - it's far more like a trombone in tone, and in fact, uses a trombone mouthpiece. Which isn't nearly as useful for practicing to potentially play the euphonium as you'd think - the mouthpieces are different enough in size and shape that I need to work on it quite a bit still.

Anyway. So I went back over to Baltimore Brass, where the bass trumpet was from, and sold it back to them as a trade-in on a euphonium. It's an inexpensive student euphonium, a Chinese brand, and just a three-valve - but that's OK, three-valve fingering is certainly what I was practicing on the trumpet. And three valves are certainly adequate for anything TubaChristmas can throw at me; that's not music with virtuoso solos that require faster alternate fingerings. And so I've been practicing my new euphonium - I can play scales in a couple of keys, reliably hitting the notes I'm aiming at for about an octave and a half, having a little trouble with the notes below the low B-flat, and I can't hit the low E at all yet, and I am having trouble with the notes above the high E, too. But hey, I've been playing the euphonium for all of a week. I'm doing OK for one week. I actually read the euphonium part to a version of Amazing Grace that one of the bands has. Slowly, but I was playing euphonium music from a euphonium part on a euphonium for the very first time.

Euphonium, by the way, is Greek for "good sound thingy."

My sounds aren't there yet - my attacks are still quite buzzy, and the tone isn't smooth between octaves. And on those extra low and extra high notes, I don't reliably hit the one I'm aiming for right off. More practice needed.

If I had kept Steve's euphonium, trying to play it would probably make me cry, so maybe it's just as well I didn't keep that one. As it is, I'm sure that finally doing TubaChristmas will make me cry. But better to do it on a new euphonium so that every single breath doesn't make me think how much better Steve sounded on it. And - I didn't know then that that's what would make sense now. I had no way of knowing what would feel right later on.

Steve would have turned 67 this Thursday.

Not much about knitting and crochet in this post, is there?
bunrab: (me)
Just whining. I have made inroads into the pile of boxes from the storage unit, but not very much, and very slowly. And part of it is, the totally irrational thought that I don't want to get rid of too much, or change too much, because what if he comes back - will he be able to find me? Will he recognize me?

It's the most irrational, pointless thought and yet I suspect that there isn't a widow or widower around who doesn't have it sometimes - who doesn't have that as one of the subconscious reasons they haven't given away the last of their spouse's clothing or stopped wearing the perfume or aftershave brand their spouse liked or changed their hairstyle -  or, in some cases, quite gotten around to selling the house or getting rid of the non-working car or throwing away anything.

I'm not quite that much in thrall to the irrational but I do have moments. I mean, I know it's a good thing I sold the house. Especially after getting a phone call from my former next door neighbor, telling me that the people who bought the house apparently didn't winterize something properly, and both the bathroom pipes AND the fuel line from the underground oil tank to the furnace burst, and they've had to move in with relatives while the entire floor of the house gets ripped up and the backyard gets dug up. I don't know whether I want to drive by in horrified fascination or not. I know Steve would never have let something like happen, and I was afraid I would, because I was not as conscientious or knowledgeable as Steve and I was never sure I was tending to everything that needed to be done, but I don't think I would have let water freeze in the lines. But I hate that the house will be changed that much, and that it won't be the house Steve and I shared anymore; I want stuff to STOP CHANGING quite so much or so fast, even when it's stuff I've already moved past - because part of my mind is still there, I'm not really completely past it. Because, what if Steve could see it? How upset would he be, how much would he hate it!!

And for that matter, would he be upset with some of the other changes I've made and things I've done - or would he be even more upset that I didn't do those things with him, while he was alive? I know I'm upset that I was so lazy, that I didn't do some of this with and for him. I should have taken better care of him!!

No, you don't all have to offer reassurances. I loved him well, and he loved me well as I was - and if I maybe was too lazy to do everything to the best of my abilities, well, he was enabling that - he was being lazy too, and he didn't want to cope with a couple seconds of  grumpiness I have in the morning so he just didn't wake me up. He could have tried a little harder; I wasn't the only one who was lazy and took things for granted..Oh, I want to go back and shake both of us!!

And part of this whine is just because Larry's sick and there's not a damn thing I can do about that either, and that's frustrating. So it brings up older frustrations. Don't mind me, I'll talk myself back out of this mood in a bit. Maybe cookies will help.
bunrab: (me)
I went to the US Army Band Tuba-Euphonium Workshop this past week - and discovered that I enjoy it for its own sake, not just for Steve's memory, and that other people look forward to seeing me there for my own sake, not just because I'm Steve's widow. That was an interesting discovery.

There are a lot of things to enjoy at such a conference, even if one isn't a tuba player. It's a whole bunch of music for free. Recitals by excellent professionals, evening concerts by the Army's professional groups - Army Blues, the concert band, etc. And some of the sessions that were lectures or recitals-with-talks were interesting for any musician. The morning warm-up for tuba players included suggestions about breathing and maintaining embouchure that were surprisingly relevant to a bari sax player. And the conversations in the lobby and the bowling alley dining room (the only place for civilians to eat on base most of the time) and at restaurant meals are with people that share a lot of interests in discussing music of all sorts, and griping about community band conductors, and building a music library, and lots of other stuff that isn't just for tubas.

I got to make lots of ophicleide jokes with people who understand ophicleide jokes and have more in turn. There were vendors who recognized me, and wanted to chat. And I bought a cleaning kit for the bass trumpet, and a swab of sorts meant for cleaning a euphonium that I think will do a much better job on the bari sax neck loops than what I'm currently using. And a couple of euphonium mouthpieces which will fit into the sax neck, which is part of the ophicleide jokes. And I am going to practice the bass trumpet more, and maybe even borrow a euphonium to bring to next year's workshop, to participate a bit.
One of the things I don't like is the process of getting there. Even though Ft. Myer is less than 50 miles away from me, the routes that all the mapping services and GPS suggest are roads that I particularly hate. The BW Parkway is poorly maintained, especially when it crosses into the district and becomes DC-295. Here's one of the more disconcerting steps in the Mapquest directions: "Southwest Freeway/I-695 N becomes I-395 S." That was at least equaled, if not exceeded, in weirdness, by driving right under a sign on the way home that stated that the road that I was on was "I-295 S/ DC-295 N" - really, really disconcerting.The entrances and exits of DC-295 aren;t in the same spots NB as SB. Neither are the entrances and exits to the George Washington Parkway. And neither are the entrances and exits to US-50. All of which means that one can NOT reverse directions to get home.

Saturday night, driving in the dark, I decided on an entirely different route. Since the concert got out early enough that we could still get out by the Wright Gate (the north gate to the army base, which closes at 9 p.m.), I went straight up Ft. Myer Drive which ends directly being an entrance to GW Parkway going Northwest, straight to the west side of I-495, the Beltway. No need to read dimly lit local street signs, no need to watch for intersections or parking lots or pedestrians once I was on GW. That route winds up being some 20 miles longer, total, to get home - but being so much simpler, with so many fewer turns, and more time on higher-speed highways, that it takes no longer - and is MUCH less stressful. I think next year I'll use that route to go TO the fort, right off the bat. Yes, it sounds bizarre, yes, it uses up more gas, but so much easier on my sensibilities (avoiding US 50 altogether has a LOT to recommend it) that it'd be worth the extra $2 worth of gas.

In other news, I finished Rage is Back (see previous post) and also Albert of Adelaide, an adult fable about a platypus who escapes from the Adelaide Zoo to go looking for the Old Australia, where animals are all free and live naturally. Instead he meets up with an arsonist wombat, and they have adventures which unfortunately include a bunch of killing. I think the takeaway is supposed to be something about the power of friendship and mutual support, but the lesson I got out of it was more that the supposed good old days were actually violent, and lives were uncomfortable and short, with violent ends; modern "captivity" is actually a hell of a lot better quality of life. That's just me; you read it and see if you get more of that touching "buddy" feel out of it.
bunrab: (me)
In 2012, the only resolution I made was to remember to call my friend Cindy at least once a week, instead of always waiting for her to call me - I'm really,  really bad about picking up the phone and calling people, but I managed to keep that resolution. Without any resolutions on the subject, I decided just after the first of the year that I really needed to get out from under the burdens of a largish single-family home, so repaired the home, sold the home, bought a condo, moved. So far so good, right? Also good, that I don't think I've mentioned, is that I've lost nearly 25 pounds in the past year, getting my BMI to just under 25 - that is, within normal instead of overweight! Without any resolutions about losing weight!

I whined here about the couple of tachycardia events that screwed up my summer, and then somehow never got around to getting back here. I think, mind you I'm not certain, but I think, that this new year I resolve to write a few more substantive posts here, rather than depending on 3-sentence Facebook updates to be the only way I keep up with friends or organize my thoughts.

Playing catch-up )
More stupid heart stuff )

More than you wanted to know about my finances )

I have slightly less of too much stuff )

A visit to Texas )

OK, that's well enough of a ramble and a catch-up. New Year's resolution: keep up with LJ better, keep up with my friends' lives better. It's not all always me, and when it is me, sometimes it's good to share.
bunrab: (Default)
After not visiting LJ in 9 months, I was checking my email and realized I had to come here to delete all kinds of crap comments. So I thought while I was here I'd say hi. I still don't have time to blog regularly, and I still haven't managed to read recent posts of everybody else's. Somehow, managing my day to day life seems to take up all my time. I have been reminded a lot of how very spoiled I was, to have the easy life I had while Steve was alive, to have so much free time to do whatever I wanted. Most people don't have that even if they do have a partner, do they? Usually both partners are still working, and if retired don't have the retirement income Steve did, so that there's still not the combination of time-and-money to do all the frivolous things we did. Or to get computers repaired or replaced as often as we did. I really was very spoiled.

Right now, I am using a borrowed computer, because mine got fried - pretty much literally; I came home to the smell of burning electronics one night after rehearsal a couple of weeks ago. It was the computer, and there's no telling why - everything else plugged into the same surge protector was fine and turned right back on when I reset it. So I've mailed the computer back to HP, and I have ordered a new one, and went ahead and bought the service plan for two years, too, because I seem to be the sort of person who needs a service plan, now that I don't have my live-in geek. I keep thinking that somehow, if Steve had been here, he would have done something differently and the computer wouldn't have fried itself, somehow. He had much better computer juju than I do; things just didn't go wrong as often, and he seemed to do all the right things to keep them running correctly all the time. Anyway, my new one should arrive soon.

Besides that, I am getting the house ready to sell, an incredibly stressful process. I made the decision right after New years to do this, sort of a New Year's resolution. I love the house, but I can't keep managing 2000 square feet of house on a third of an acre of land by myself. I know there are people who can, but I am not one of them. I've given it a fair shot, I think, for a year and a half since Steve died - this doesn't count as giving up without trying, or as making a decision in a hurry. It seems to me that in the normal course of things, it takes a family to manage a single-family residence: at least two healthy people, to manage all the cleaning and the maintenance and the outside chores and the repairs; even just to manage to have someone home for repair people is easier if there's two people to choose from. And I'm not even one healthy adult. And I don't enjoy trying to remember everything that has to be done. Steve enjoyed it - he got a kick out of putting "change the furnace filter" into his PDA for every three months for 6 years ahead, and then having it give him little reminders. He didn't mind talking to 3 or 4 guys who want to clean the gutters, chatting with them and then choosing one. I don't enjoy any of that stuff. So, I want to sell the house, and find a nice condo, about half the size, where not only does someone else do the lawn mowing and snow removal and gutter cleaning and furnace maintenance, but I don't even have to go looking to hire them; it's done automatically as part of the condo agreement. I don't even have to think about it, let alone choose and hire someone to do it. And a smaller condo will be not only cheaper to heat because it's smaller, it will be cheaper per square foot just by virtue of being multi-family housing where other people's shared walls also mean better insulation for me. And most condos are newer and have gas heat, rather than oil. My latest oil bill was $551 for a tankful, and in the winter months, that happens EVERY MONTH. Because this is a huge house, and has old single-pane windows mostly, and still has leaky spots around windows and doors and whatnot, although I have been trying to find and take care of the worst drafts. I could whine for hours about house repairs, and then whine for hours more about what it takes to upgrade this house to the point where it is sellable for at least 60% of what we paid for it - because, of course, we bought it just BEFORE the 2008 economy crash, and property in the Washington DC area, which this counts as, has lost on average about 40% of its value since then. But I'll save that whine for another post.

So, once I get an offer on the house, I'm going to look for a condo in Columbia - about 8 miles from here in Catonsville. I love Catonsville, I love my particular neighborhood, I love my neighbors, but it's not worth continuing to maintain this house and pay taxes on such a large property just because I love my neighbors! Catonsville, being an older town, has pretty much nothing in the way of condos; it doesn't even have much in the way of apartments or townhouses, because it was mostly built out already before those kinds of housing started appearing in suburbs. Columbia, on the other hand, is a planned community started in the 1960's, and a huge percentage of its housing stock is townhouses and multi-family housing of the rental or condo sort. Some of you may remember when we first moved up to MD, we had an apartment whose address was Elkridge; it was actually in a corner of Elkridge abutting Columbia, and all my doctors, and our insurance agent, and our attorney, and stuff like that, have been in Columbia/Elkridge/Ellicott City (another town abutting Columbia and hard to tell where one ends and the other begins) all along anyway. So, Columbia is the logical place to look now. It will put me 10 minutes further from my friend Cindy, but there really isn't anything like what I'm looking for any closer to Cindy, and it will put me 10 minutes closer to the Montgomery Village Community Band, which I'm still playing in.

I'm also still playing in the Baltimore Symphonic Band, where I am the music librarian. I am also playing in the Browningsville Cornet Band, which isn't cornets and is in Damascus, not Browningsville. And recently I played in the pit orchestra for a community theater musical over in Montgomery County, too, and I'm on the list of people they'll call back next time. And speaking of Montgomery County, I am dating a guy who lives in Silver Spring. He's very nice, and very understanding about the fact that I still talk about Steve a lot, and still have hours when I just start crying and can't stop. He is pretty good at patting me on the back and saying soothing things and then reminding me that getting Steve back isn't one of the options and that I have to keep thinking about charting a path forward, because that's the only direction there is. I don't think he's the next great love of my life, nor does he think that I am "the one" but we are enjoying seeing each other and dating exclusively for now, and it's an awfully lucky thing to find someone this agreeable first time out in the dating pool. (Online dating site OK Cupid, if anyone's wondering. And how I got there is a separate story for another day.)

OK, still self-centered as ever, because this is all about me and I haven't gone to read what any of you are doing unless you're on Facebook, too, where the one-paragraph status updates are something that I can almost keep up with on a good day. I know I have a bunch of you as FB friends; if you're on there and want to friend me, my nickname there is bunrab, too, and most of you know my real name to look for me - I've got it listed with my first initial, then the middle name I usually go by, and then last name, if you want to look that way. If you can stand all the whining. Because being a widow still sucks, and I still whine. But nonetheless I would love to hear from some of you whom I've lost touch with.


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