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: (bunearsword)
1. [livejournal.com profile] angevin2, have you seen this cartoon in the Jan. 26 New Yorker? Roz Chast cartoon entitled "Grad-School Parent-Teacher Conference" shows somewhat older couple sitting in front of desk of frizzy-haired, tweed-jacket type, who is saying "Barbara is very mature for a 28-year-old." and (next balloon) "And she certainly isn't drinking as much as she used to!"

2. Ad in the January 2009 The Progressive for this t-shirt and other items with slogans such as "Future Librarian" and "Knitting is Knotty."

3. I seem to have saved a page from the Nov 08 issue of Metropolitan Home, showing the new Long Center in Austin, built on the skeleton of the old Mueller Auditorium. Says the old roof tiles, hail dents and all, now line the elevators and lobby walls. I haven't been there since it was finished; what kind of effect is that, really, someone?

4. I got the subscription for free, that's why I get Metropolitan Home. I am not normally in the market for $5000 furniture and $1000 bedside lamps, though some of them are cute. It is interesting to look at the ads for the latest in sleek, modern Murphy beds.

5. An interesting article from the July 2008 issue of Discover (that shows you how long this pile of magazines has been sitting next to my computer) about Laughing. Refers back to the essay "The Laughter of Copernicus" by Jim Holt in the book Year Million: Science at the Far Edge of Knowledge edited by Damien Broderick. I believe I meant to make a note to myself to look for this book and Holt's Stop Me If You've Heard This. Is that what I meant?

Yes, I have a huge stack of recent reading, and a report from the Tuba-Euphonium Conference, and numerous other things to tell. Perhaps I shall manage a post after rehearsal tonight.
bunrab: (alien reading)
First, stuff:
[livejournal.com profile] fadethecat, did you already know that the Maker Faire will be Oct. 10-12 at the Travis County Expo Center? Now you know. I suspect you will want to attend.

Then, some books:
I Love Knitting - Amazon.com review here though this was short enough to hardly count as reading.
Judge by Karen Traviss - Amazon.com review here - sixth and final in her Wess'har series. It's OK but not great science fiction; those of you in places outside the US and UK, you won't be unduly deprived of any great literature if the series never makes it to your distant shores.
I think I already mentioned Kluge, right? That was fun.
Take the Cannoli by Sarah Vowell - musings by a public radio commentator on modern American life. Eh. Some were amusing - the essay about what she learned from being in high school marching band, for instance; others, including the title essay, struck me as self-absorbed and shallow.

I have most of the mugs hung up in the kitchen! I have some pictures hung on the walls! I can see more floor space than I could a week ago! I still have a bunch more curtains to make, though, to replace what was here, most of which is definitely not to my taste. I've gotta take some pictures of the living room, now that it looks halfway like it should.

More about travel:
Found a bunch of my receipts and stuff from trip to Europe. The place where we ate the last night in Vienna was Cafe Bierbeisl Einstein, which I found the take-out service card from, which does have its own website: http://www.einstein.at . They have phone-in take-out, though I doubt you can get delivery here. And a souvenir picture of [livejournal.com profile] squirrel_magnet from Postojna Caves - once we get the new scanner/copier/printer plugged in, I'll scan it for your viewing pleasure. And postcards from Schonbrunn Castle. And hotel receipts, and my receipt from the internet cafe in Pula, Croatia, and some scribbled notes that I need to match up to their proper photographs.

Stuff: our old copier died - well, it was over 10 years old and a cheap one to begin with, and had done excellent duty for something so small and cheap (I used to pick it up by its little handle and drag it to quilting classes with me, which made me a very popular attendee). We could have waited for a while to buy something new, as the old scanner still works, sort of, and the old printer still works, though slowly, but this was on way-marked-down, instant-rebate, net price $50 for the whole thing. Even if it turns out to be junk that breaks in a year, that's about the price per year we'd be willing to pay for such a unit. So when that gets plugged in, a whole bunch o' old-fashioned printed photos are gonna get scanned!
bunrab: (Default)
Since we are staying at Jerry & Kathy's rather than out in Oak Hill, we can use Jerry's computer when he's not using it - thank you!! So I have access to a regular desktop on occasion instead of teeny laptop. Not that I have that much to say, but hey.

Anyway. So far so good on estate sale. I haven't been much help - I think I've been asleep more than I've been awake the last few days, and by the end of the day we haven't felt up to going out and eating dinner with friends, so if you (any-you) are wondering why we haven't called you, that's why. Today is the last day of the estate sale, and [livejournal.com profile] squirrel_magnet is out there now, helping do things like load people's purchases onto their pickup trucks. A lot of the furniture got sold yesterday - doesn't look like there will be too much large stuff left that we will have to have hauled off.

Brief bit of book: I have added a review of The Surgeons at Amazon.com - that's The Surgeons: Life and Death in a Top Heart Center by Charles R. Morris. It's essentially the same review I already did on my other blog, but now it's on amazon and it needs your little clickies on the "yes" button.

Reading while I'm down here in Texas: Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews - already has 81 reviews on amazon so it doesn't need me there. It's a new fantasy series, a few novel ideas in it and occasional touches of humor. If Harry Dresden were female and lived in Atlanta, this might be how he turned out. In fact, there's a character in the book who reminds me a bit of a cross between Harry and his friend Michael. The main supernatural series are shapeshifters and -not vampires, but people who control vampires; the vampires themselves are pretty much dumb bodies that get manipulated by necromancers of sorts - remote control bloodsuckers. It's not superb fiction, but good enough that I'll go ahead and read the next one in the series, which I think just came out.
bunrab: (bunearsword)
Will have the teeny laptop so I'll be checking email, but I probably won't get a chance to read my entire flist every day.

Wish us luck on the estate sale!
bunrab: (Vlad)
1. We had cake for dessert, a packaged stollen someone had given us for xmas. Nutrition information: Serving size: 1/6 cake. Servings per package: 9.

2. Finally got around to doing our taxes - it's not complicated, it doesn't take long, but I always put it off. Hardest part is finding things. Anyway, we're due $1K refund from the feds, and then conveniently, we owe $1K on state-and-local for Maryland/Baltimore.

3. I am transcribing music into Finale, from handwritten parts; the great-grandfather of one of the Montgomery Village Community Band's flute players wrote several marches, in little teeny handwriting, and without parts for any instruments that the village band he originally wrote them for didn't have. So I'm entering the tuba part and transposing it for bari sax and bass clarinet, entering the Bb clarinet parts and transposing them for flutes, etc. Finale is not a perfect medium, and I still haven't figured out how to put in a "repeat the previous measure" sign.

4. We'll be flying back down to Texas 4/16, and returning 4/22. The estate sale is Thursday-Friday-Saturday the 17-18-19.

5. I am putting off cleaning the remaining one of the three rabbit litter boxes, and also cleaning the hedgie cage. Procrastination is my second middle name!
bunrab: (bunearsword)
Well, I had briefly reported that we had been in Texas and were back again. While we were there we got to see a few people we hadn't seen the time before, and we also accomplished what we set out to accomplish with respect to my FIL's estate - inventorying some of the collections, and gathering up the rest of the personal papers, so the estate sale people will have a clear field to start pricing stuff, which will take them weeks - they will start this month, and then the estate sale will be in April sometime. If you're near Austin, ask me and I'll provide details, as there will be some cool stuff in the sale. While we were going through stuff, we found a few more items for other people - for [livejournal.com profile] the_curmudgn and for Jerry and for Cindy and for Connie... (hi y'all!)

Note to those in South Austin: don't bother with Cannoli Joe's down near 71 and Brodie. It's buffet-only, one price, food nothing special, confusing layout, and the cannoli are *too sweet* - you can hardly taste that it's ricotta cheese in there, tastes more like buttercream cake frosting.

Back home, we had the usual rehearsals Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. I have some catty comments I'll manage not to commit to print about several things that happened at each rehearsal. Some good stuff: Monday night's rehearsal in Bel Air included having middle and high school students, who are going to perform a few numbers with us at the next concert. I got to oversee three middle school tenor saxes, who weren't bad; as there wasn't much one of me could do about listening closely to all three, I concentrated my advice on the judicious use of the pencil - "A musician without a pencil is almost as bad off as a musician without a mouthpiece."

Wednesday's rehearsal in Montgomery Village was preceded by a meeting about Maryland Community Band Day, which MV is sponsoring this year. The meeting was pretty productive, and we're actually on top of most of what needs to be done! Which is good, given that it's only 70 days out. We're getting down to the gritty details of forcing each band to decide on its program so that we can get the program books printed.

Also on Wednesday: looking at houses! And we found one we are making an offer on! We have been wanting for a while now to get a house with more square footage on the main floor, since I don't do stairs very well, and the third house we looked at was as if it had been built to our list of needs and wants - all on one floor, huge sunporch for the critters, level ground in both front and back yards, *garage!!!* (if [livejournal.com profile] squirrel_magnet were to ever do anything so undignified as squee!, having a real garage instead of a carport would make him go squee!) Huge rooms, lots of light, neighborhood eerily similar to what we're in now - it's about a mile away, equally convenient to the same highways and all, a dead-end street just like the current one. And, the price on it was recently dropped to something within our range - the silver lining to the current troubles in the real estate market. So we've made an offer, and are waiting to hear. As soon as we hear that they've definitely accepted our offer, I'll do pictures and stuff. The goal would be to settle/close around mid-May.

Thursday was sax lesson. And today was doctors' appointments - getting some forms signed by my cardiologist, and getting my quarterly device check; the pacemaker is still working, and the defibrillator's batteries are still hale and hearty.

I want to say more about the house but I have a bit of totally irrational superstition about jinxing it in my head.
bunrab: (krikey)
Off to Austin Saturday lunchtime. Will be bringing eensy computer, checking email every other day or so, probably won't be reading all of LJ. The usual. Back Sat evening March 1. Anyone needs me before then, you've got my email, and most of you have my phone number, too.
bunrab: (schneider)
The Austin Christmas Collection - another one the rest of you probably aren't going to find anymore, not even in Austin (it's over a decade old). Includes Esther's Follies and all sorts of styles of Austin's singer-songwriter community. Steve Fromholz, Marcia Ball, Gary Nunn...
The Many Moods of Christmas - Robert Shaw & Chorale & Atlanta Symphony. This is all 4 suites of carols that were arranged by Robert Russell Bennett; way back in the early 80's, Randy Bass arranged a band transcription of two of them and the Austin Symphonic Band performed them along with the choir from Grace UMC, so we pretty much know every note of those two suites by heart. Probably, if you were wanting to own just one Christmas album that sorta summed up all the traditional songs, with a large choir and large orchestra and large organ to give it that large holiday sound, this album would be a good pick.
Merry Christmas from Harmony Ranch - Riders in the Sky. They're a comedy group, but they're also good singers, and here their cowboy style goes into a few popular Christmas tunes, a medley of traditional tunes, and several original songs - "Sidemeat's Christmas Goose" is a comedy song, for example, and "Riding Home on Christmas Eve" is a lovely song with a gentle horseriding beat.
Oy Chanukah! - The Klezmer Conservatory Band. Bunches of traditional Yiddish songs, some slightly more modern ones, a few instrumental dance numbers, all with a swingy klezmer style.
Winter Solstice Live! - Olympia's Daughters. This is another one of my favorites. There are songs on here I don't have on any other recording, beautiful harmonies. Mostly a capella. Some, but not all, of the songs have certain explicitly Christian lyrics modified to be pagan/goddess, neutral lyrics - "Good rest ye, merry gentlefolk" for example. My favorite rendition of the Holst "In The Bleak Midwinter" - their voices just do wonderful things for the chords in this. "I have a Million Nightingales" is one of the original songs on here. May be tough to find, since it's small press, as it were - I got it from Ladyslipper Music several years ago. Come to think of it, it's been a couple years since I last browsed Ladyslipper's catalog, and given some of the nice vocal stuff we've gotten from there, it's about time to look for more.
Blame it on Christmas! 17 Weird Yuletide Classics from Around the World - no artists named. Note that these aren't really from around the world; they're the usual christmas carls, but done in styles from around the world, sometimes funnier than others. Starts with "The Silent Night's Spangled Banner," Sousa-style, and includes a middle-Eastern style 12 Days of Christmas called "12 Arabian Nights." There's "The Inexcelsis Polka" and "Good Kingsy" and more that it would take you a couple of seconds to recognize :D
African Christmas: Christmas favorites with an African beat - various artists. This is a new acquisition - Wednesday, in fact - and we like it! There aren't any liner notes other than naming the artists and producers, so there's not information I'd like to have, such as what the traditional African songs are that are interpolated verse-for-verse with Christmas songs or used as intros to other songs, or what language(s) are being spoken. Or what the many interesting bits of percussion equipment are. There's an original song at the end, "African Christmas." Neat stuff!
bunrab: (chocolate)
Hot damn!, we still don't look our age! )

We look fatter and dorkier in our party clothes, for some reason )

Liz and Joe and Kelly )

I'll post some pix of Anita's poncho over on the crochetcrochet community - with Anita herself mostly hidden.

Most of the other pix we took were of band rehearsal, of interest to us but not to y'all. We also seem to have somehow failed to take a picture of Kathy and Jerry entirely! How did that happen?
bunrab: (saxophone)
We're home. Lessee. The Austin Symphonic Band concert on Saturday night was great, the party was fun. All sorts of people who played with the band at one time or another were invited, so there were people there who hadn't played with the band in 20 years. One guy who had apparently played with the band for a few months in the 80's, who I didn't remember *at all*, apparently remembered [livejournal.com profile] squirrel_magnet and I really, really well, because he cornered us for a while to talk to us about our pet rabbits! It was fun seeing all those people.

Jerry knows us really well. Sunday morning, it was iffy about us waking up in time to get to the airport in time to return the car and check a bag and go through security (remember, I have to get the fun hand pat-down), so Jerry had just the solution: put a recording of a band playing "The Star-Spangled Banner" on the stereo and crank the volume up. Yep, that got us out of bed! Jerry and Kathy, thank you SO much for your hospitality this past week!

More of the week than we expected was taken up by visiting w/ Steve's family and by band stuff, so there's still people we didn't get to see. It's funny how much of the week seemed to have something to do with tea. We gave Kathy a hostess gift of a sampler of decaf teas from Upton; Jeanne and Larry gave us a gift of samples of tea from a new tea shop that opened in Round Rock.

We made it back safely, and in time even to take a short nap before having to wash up and change for the concert we played in Sunday evening, in Perry Hall. The concert went pretty well, although there were several places where I missed cues because I was squinting, the lighting being aimed directly into my eyes and those of the two trumpets who sit nearest me. We did not have fun with those lights. The tenor sax did not show up for the concert. I have a few words for him...

One of the things Dick Floyd said at the ASB concert was something he had heard from someone else, to the effect that "Any band conductor who doesn't end a concert with a march doesn't love his mother." The ASB concert ended with "Washington Post." The Baltimore Symphonic Band concert ended with the band arrangement from "Les Miserables" that everyone plays, but as it happens, that arrangement does end with the rousing march, "Do You Hear The People Sing?" so that was OK. Monday night was Bel Air band rehearsal; that concert, next Sunday, will end with "Barnum & Bailey's Favorite." All the conductors we know love their mothers. Judging by what people say at rehearsal, I am not playing the bari sax LOUD ENOUGH on the contra-alto clarinet part; I'll have to try to fix that at dress rehearsal, which is way too early Saturday morning. Being on stage instead of in band room, the whole seating arrangement will be different, so it may fix itself.

I have tons of mail to go through, of course. And I haven't read anything but magazines all this past week, and I have a stack of library books to go through sometime soon.

Sort of odd being back in our plain "Pebble Ash" colored car after a week with the Tomato Express.

The new issue of The Progressive has an interesting poem, called "Bird Seed," by Kathleen Aguero, which uses birds squabbling at a bird feeder as a metaphor for the current war, and uses quotations from Robert Fagle's recent translation of The Iliad. If you like poetry you might want to get this issue. Assuming, of course, that you are someone who would buy a magazine called The Progressive - one of many liberal mags I subscribe to.

OK, that's enough for one post. I'm sure I'll think of more later.
bunrab: (chocolate)
Whew, I'm exhausted and we haven't even managed to see everybody that we hoped to see. Partly our own fault, since most of our visit overlapped the workweek; today's the only day we're here that isn't.

We got down to Book Exchange on Manchaca, to get more Bookmate book covers - they hold one's book open and flat so that one can use both hands to eat while reading. I have *not* stopped in at Hill Country Weavers, or any other yarn shop, or any fabric shop. One used book store is about all the extra suitcase room we have. We got some of the Bookmates for Kathy, as well; they'll be perfect for her murder mysteries (small size) and birding books (large size) and I predict that she'll soon be running down to South Austin to buy them for all *her* friends and relatives, as we do. We still have never found another store, anywhere, that sells them, and they cost MORE to order from the website than they cost at Book Exchange. Sheee.

We had supper with Anita and Dana, and I finally gave Anita her poncho. Pictures will be posted when I get home. We've been out to Lockhart to see some of Steve's relatives. Most of Steve's relatives I can take or leave, but there are so few left that I suppose we gotta see them. For those of you wondering, there are still a lot of cows in Texas. Moo. Lockhart, while it serves as the county seat for Caldwell County and the shopping metropolis for the surrounding farm and ranchland (and a bit of oil), is best known for: barbecue. Every block another barbecue restaurant; one's the biggest, one's the oldest family-run, one's the most historic building, etc., etc. Moo.

The people we haven't seen are the ones who are laid up with surgery/illness/etc., so I don't feel too guilty. Other than that, what's left on the agenda is tonight's ASB concert and party. Tomorrow morning, we leave here absurdly early, to return the Tomato Express to the rental people and catch a plane that will get us back to Baltimore around 1-ish in the afternoon, Eastern time, so we'll have time to catch our breath before Sunday evening's concert. Sunday being that busy, I probably won't check email at all, even, let alone catch up here on LJ. Expect that I will spend Monday the 30th reading all of y'all's posts from the past entire week (along with paying bills, paying for the storage unit, and snorgling the pets), so I'll finally find out whether anyone else has been doing anything fun and/or important.

Sam, Gwen, and others I haven't seen - next trip, you're FIRST on the list, OK?

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