bunrab: (saxophone)
Did you know that? If you weren't sure it was true, I'd be happy to send you some of the rabbit fur collecting in corners, as proof - yes, our dust bunnies are made out of real bunnies!!

I did some repairs to wooden toys this afternoon, with mending plates and angle brackets. An internet seller of rabbit play tunnels and such was going out of business, so I ordered some of the last of their stuff (half price!), and, as in previous orders, one piece arrived broken - which may explain part of why they went out of business. Well, no refunds or returns, so I put the tunnel aside for a few weeks. But finally decided that I needed a clearer living room floor, so it and a previous "play station" that had a leg broken off got fixed. We had previously tried gluing the broken leg, but it didn't hold up for long. Metal mending plates should be able to withstand a four-pound rabbit. I traded around who has what kind of tunnels and toys - now Chippy chin has the smaller play station, since the Funnybunnies didn't like it so much; the Funnybunnies have a second litter box to chew on and scatter around; Fern has the refurbished large play station, instead of a tunnel where she can hide herself too much; and the repaired tunnels are now what's between cages - one between Fern and Funnybunnies, one between FBs and Gizmo, and one between Gizmo and the big plastic bin that keeps the hay and Carefresh more or less safe from rabbits. Fern actually seems to like the new setup - she jumped up and down and up again from the new tunnel, and perched on it for a while, which she hadn't when it was in her cage; she had only ever gone under it.

Wednesday MVCB had just a library work session, not a rehearsal, so I didn't have to bring my bari sax. So I emailed my teacher that I was gonna bring my soprano sax for my lesson instead, and then bungeed said soprano onto the back of the bike and rode over there, instead of using the cage. Great weather for it. A big accident on I-95 diverted me onto an exit I wasn't familiar with, so I even got in a little wandering around on strange roads. And after lesson, most of the staff of the music store where I take my lessons had to come out and admire the bike; I am not sure they previously believed me when I said I rode, as they've only ever seen me when I've had to be carrying 30-something pounds of nearly 4-feet-long assymetrical bari sax, which does NOT work on bike. (I have calculated that if I were 6 foot 2 inches or taller, and weighed at least 200 lbs, then I could carry the bari back-pack style and it would not significantly screw up my balance, center of gravity, or wind resistance. But as I am 5'4"...) My Evolve fish carrying a wrench was their favorite of all my assorted stickers and stuff. Then I ran a bunch of errands, since I had a couple hours before the band session. Had to carry the sax in to various places, since I couldn't just leave it bungeed to the bike; it's not a super-expensive sax, but I still don't want it stolen. Luckily, a straight soprano in a grey plastic case looks pretty innocuous. Silver Diner at LakeForest Mall (avoided rest of mall). Gaithersburg Library. CVS. Then Stedwick Community Center. I wasn't expecting Steve - but he decided why should I have all the fun, and rode his bike out to join us, so then we could ride home together - which we did entirely on back roads, no highways at all, during the very long dusk at this time of year. Lots of lightning bugs everywhere; it's so neat to ride through a whole flock (?) of them on a bike! We stopped at the Double T in Ellicott City, on Route 40, for supper. I was pleased to get an overall 60 mpg on this most recent tank, including as it did the stop-and-creep caused by the traffic accident, and the slow riding behind what seemed like every cement truck in Montgomery County.

I told Perry, if rain will kindly hold off on Wednesdays, he can expect me to bring the soprano to lessons for the rest of the summer. Gonna work on some Baroque oboe concerti!
bunrab: (Default)
Thursday: we got our passport photos, filled out applications, and sent them off with our expired-but-not-more-than-15-years-old passports in order to get new passports for the Baltimore Symphonic Band's trip to eastern Europe this summer. We got the passport photos at Walgreens, which is 2 blocks away, and I used my new travel scooter to get there, as an experiment (S walked; I can't walk that far). Well, it opened my eyes to just how much sidewalk STILL doesn't have curb cuts. A lot of backing up was done; our route wound up involving having to cross to the other side of Ingleside, then still needing S to pull the scooter up a curb, then crossing Rt 40 from that side of Ingleside and crossing Ingleside back to the other side to get to Walgreen's - which did have a nice friendly ramp into their parking lot from the sidewalk. The travel scooter does inclines quite adequately. That red recreational scooter I had gotten last year can go much faster, but can't climb inclines worth a damn - quite a difference in torque.

Friday: we and Cindythelibrarian went to the Baltimore Museum of Industry. Plusses: it's all on one level, no stairs. Lots of variety. Lots of real stuff. Free parking. Minuses: inadequate or nonexistent signage on several things. Apparently one staff person on duty for the whole museum. But apparently they are working on upgrades - there were people in the replica diner (which did not, alas, serve any real food) with blueprints and stuff spread out on the table, and they are apparently going to use more space for some exhibits, and whole new areas, and stuff.

The exhibit on WW2 War Bond posters was interesting - it goes away soonly - conveyed as much about the roles of the sexes in the 40's as it did about the war effort. The cannery is probably the single largest and most interactive area - but the clothing factory (read: sweatshop) fascinated me. Stuff we didn't know before: at one time, the largest umbrella maker in the country was in Baltimore. And the power drill was invented here.

Overall, worth the $10. They close at 4 pm every day, rather earlyish, so don't put it off till too long after lunch.

Today: the sun was shining and it was over 50 degrees. We rode. We ate lunch with the old farts Mature Mensans, then rode some more, including going by the house we're offering on (haggling on the details of which is still ongoing; our offer has not yet been officially accepted, as they are quibbling on ridiculous details) and checking to see if the width of the dead end street is wide enough for easy U-turns. It would be if it weren't so crowned; the steep crown makes doing the U-turn weird, as one is going uphill and then downhill at the same time as making the U-turn. Will need practice.

Time to start thinking about supper.

ET fix the link

FPOM

Sep. 1st, 2007 06:14 pm
bunrab: (polkadotray)
So, Cindy got here yesterday evening, with her cats, and they are settled into our basement. She's got 4 job interviews already set up for the next couple of weeks, so I'm confident that she'll find a job and her own apartment quickly. Which is good, because there's already stuff turning up not-where-I-left-it, which would be likely to drive me to outright anger after too long. (As in, dish soap. Have to hunt all over kitchen counter for dish soap - not returned to the spot it was initially picked up at. Coffee mugs getting hung up backward. Cans of stuff on the bottle shelf of the fridge and vice versa. Little things that add up to stress.)

Other than that, things are quiet. Rode over to CCBC Essex this morning to help the Balto. Symphonic Band librarian put music in folders for Tuesday's 1st rehearsal of the season. I'll always volunteer for stuff that I can do sitting down in air conditioned comfort; by volunteering for it *rapidly* and before even being asked, I get all kinds of good karma that helps make up for the fact that I'm a fairly mediocre musician. On the ride over there, saw a serious accident on the other side of the highway - rental truck, the 24-foot moving van kind, turned over completely on its side, the driver's side, on the roadway (not on a shoulder or the landscaping past the shoulder). There were ambulances there, but they weren't in any hurry; I suspect that's one of the Labor Day weekend statistics. First of the month, beginning of the school year - lots of people who aren't that experienced in driving are renting large vehicles and taking them out on the highways. Of course, my Biker Skum friends up in Boston are undoubtedly seeing even more of that than I am; I remember what September 1 was like in Boston, with the entire damn city playing Musical U-Hauls. Well, anyway, it was lovely riding weather. And the bike got 65 mpg this tank of gas - not the astonishing 75 mpg of one tank earlier this year - still don't know how that happened - but nonetheless lots better than the 50 mpg or so that one normally expects from this size engine.

I am working on another, more elaborate, P. motoro stingray. Which will be for me. Speaking of stingrays, if some of you are insane enough to actually WANT one, don't forget that I need your address; there's an email link over there on the right-hand side of my journal. (Hey, [livejournal.com profile] beckerbuns claims to actually LIKE hers!) Your stingray will be chosen at random, most probably polka-dot or blue-spotted ribbontail, since that's what I'm making mostly.
bunrab: (polkadotray)
I got a surprise package from [livejournal.com profile] elfbiter! A copy of The Kalevala as a BookCrossing book, and a recording of Sibelius, done by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. We had never heard Sibelius' piece "The Tempest" before - neat! Based on this and the one other recording we have featuring the Iceland SO, I think I can safely say that the ISO has a very good, VERY LOUD, percussion department.

Yesterday we got some riding in - more back roads around the Patapsco River valley. Today, it was raining. Of course. Oh well, I got a couple more needlepoint stingrays done.

The bunnies are shedding.
bunrab: (squirrel_sweater)
C & V are here! They got here way earlier than we expected - we got home from lunch, I unlocked the door, and these voices go "Surprise!" Took me a few seconds to catch my breath there. C says "we thought you'd notice the car out front" and I point out that the neighbors *always* park in front of our house, so we're used to ignoring cars there. Probably neighbors are peeved this evening that they have to park in front of their own house. Anyway, tomorrow we're going to the Aquarium. And Camden Yards, I am given to understand.

Bel Air band rehearsal was Monday evening for the 4th of July parade. On our way to rehearsal, there were a couple of bikes taking an exit ramp. The rider in front was waving his arm over his head vigourously, pointing to the right. Since they were already in a right exit only lane, I figured that was a bit more than needed. However, as they were going around the cloverleaf ramp to the right, the guy in front stuck out his left leg, straight sideways, and waggled his foot. And that's when we understood. He wasn't giving signals to the rider behind him. He was listening to the Hokey Pokey on his helmet stereo.

When I got my bari sax back from the shop, the octave key and the G# key were indeed fixed - but now every time I play an E (top space in treble clef E), it squeals like a dying parakeet. I can work around that in the 4th of July stuff, but then it's back to the shop. There are no dying parakeet parts written in most band music.

I have two more chapters of rodent fiction in my head; you are forewarned.
bunrab: (bike)
We got the across-the-street neighbor to take a quick picture of us. (And I slipped in a gentle word to her about her 3-year-old riding her tricycle in the middle of the street... and we discussed, in a casual fashion, with no names mentioned, people who let their dogs out loose, and people who don't put their garbage cans away.) It's not a great picture, but the price was right, so here it is:
Kelly and Steve, Biker Skum )
bunrab: (bike)
So we were out on the bikes this afternoon. One would think that with the price of gas what it is, and people who are concerned with pollution, traffic, parking, etc. even if they don't worry about gas, there would be more bikes on the road now, but there are still few enough that we can pretty much all wave to each other.

I'll wave to just about anyone. Various makes of bike have their differences, and we might not all want to hang together at the same rally for a three-day weekend [1], but we're still all 2 wheels.

[1] A rough guide to bike stereotypes, which are not entirely baseless: Harley riders hang at biker bars, Kawi riders hang at the racetrack, Honda riders hang at luxury motels on tourist routes, and Beemer riders hang at coffee shops with wireless internet.

Since my last tank of gas included more highway riding than usual, I got 75 mpg! Honest, do the math yourself, 249.4 miles on 3.306 gallons. W00!

Maybe I can get the neighbors to take a picture of us with the bikes, for y'all's edification.
bunrab: (Default)

Friday, July 04, 2003

Why should I have a diary about heart failure? Well, I'm younger, better educated, and more articulate than many people with this disease, so I guess I feel a little noblesse oblige, to communicate to others stuff your doctor may not have mentioned, or not in plain English, anyway, and also, of course, misery loves company.

I'm 49. I have no family history of heart failure, and none of the common indicators. I don't smoke; my high blood pressure has been under adequate control for years with medication; while I've been overweight, I've never been obese; I don't have diabetes. I don't have coronary artery disease. What I have is idiopathic cardiomyopathy, and an ejection fraction of 20%, which hasn't improved at all even after 6 months of the state-of-the-art medication regimen. I just got a pacemaker (or more accurately, a defibrillator that happens to be a pacemaker) three weeks ago today.

I hope to tell you about medical research I've read, about my experience with the pacemaker, about learning to live with a low-sodium diet, and so on. You'll also get side notes about my pets, my motorcycle, my reading habits, and my other health issues- doesn't that sound like fun?

For now, it's the Fourth of July. Let's put in a low-sodium picnic recipe.

Low-Sodium Three-Bean Salad.
one can NSA (No Salt Added) black beans, drained and rinsed.
one can NSA garbanzo beans (a/k/a chickpeas), drained and rinsed.
one can NSA string beans (a/k/a green beans), drained and rinsed.
One small white onion.
A handful of cilantro- or parsley if you can't stand cilantro. Out of a 25 cent bunch of cilantro, I use about 1/4 of the bunch for this, but you may want less.
One each green, red, and yellow bell peppers.
Sugar
Vinegar

Throw all the beans into a bowl. Chop the onion into small pieces and add it; chop the cilantro or parsley leaves into small pieces and add them. Slice peppers and remove all seeds and stems and pith, then chop them into squares, and throw them in the bowl, too. Now sprinkle two to three heaping tablespoons of sugar onto the mixture, and toss thoroughly, till you can't see the sugar any more. Pour about 1/2 cup of vinegar - good salad vinegar or red wine vinegar works best - over this; place a secure lid over the bowl, and refrigerate for at least two hours to let the flavors blend. It's even better if you can can let it chill overnight; if you think of it, a couple of times turn the bowl over to redistribute the vinegar and then put it back to marinate. Serve cold; serves six to 8 people, and my experience is that even people who aren't on a low-sodium diet will like this.

If cans of NSA food aren't available where you are, here's one on-line source:
Healthy Heart Market

Saturday, July 05, 2003

Got back from a late supper. Eating out becomes something of a challenge when one is supposed to avoid sodium. So many things in restaurants have sauce on them, and sauce is pretty salt-laden. So there are some rules of thumb for eating at restaurants: avoid stuff with lots of sauce, avoid fried foods, avoid processed meats, blah blah blah. What is harder to figure out is what, besides green salad with no dressing, you can eat. So here's some things I've discovered:
  • Entrees with fruit in them are likely to have less salt than other entrees. Look for things with pineapple, in particular. In Mexican restaurants, this may mean a taco of shrimp and pineapple; in Chinese restaurants, it may mean sweet-and-sour something. These aren't completely salt-free, but they do have less salt than other dishes from the same menus. Luby's Cafeterias have a carrot-and-pineapple salad...
  • Baked potato. Ask if the kitchen has unsalted butter, and use a small slice of that, and ONE TEASPOON of sour cream. (So ask for the sour cream on the side.) Don't get bacon bits or cheese, but if they offer chives or green onions, or sliced mushrooms, put lots of them on the potato.
  • Swiss cheese. Swiss cheese is much lower in sodium than most cheeses; lower, in fact, than many "reduced sodium" cheeses. So you can get something with cheese on it, if the cheese is Swiss. Swiss cheese varieties include Emmenthaler and Gruyere. A sandwich of Swiss cheese and veggies is a good choice. One of my favorite places to eat serves a sandwich called the Flamingo: Swiss cheese, avocado (the good kind of fat!), bean sprouts, and tomatoes. I eat it without any mayo, of course.
  • Red Lobster has teriyaki-glazed fish, a couple different kinds. Of them, the tilapia, or rockfish, is the cheapest. The teriyaki glaze is surprisingly low-sodium, and according to published reports, that entree has only about 475 milligrams of sodium. Get a plain salad and a plain baked potato with it, and you're good to go. (Avoid those cheese biscuits, though!!)
  • If you're a meat eater, a small filet mignon has less sodium than any other beef entree on a steak menu. Provided, of course, that it is NOT served with bacon wrapped around it.

    There, hope that helps. It's not a complete list, of course. But I'm glad to be able to give some specific suggestions of things one can eat, instead of all those lists of things not to eat.

    One of the things that annoys me about restaurants lately is that here in Texas, the price of iced tea has been going steadily up. I don't know why that should be; the wholesale price of tea has not had any sudden drastic increases. But now a lot of restaurants are charging over $1.50 a glass for tea, and I don't think there's a glass of tea in the world worth $1.65, let alone $1.95. Just as well, I suppose, since I'm only supposed to have one cup of black tea a day, to keep down the caffeine, but still... Incidentally, the tea served in most Chinese and other Asian restaurants is often Jasmine tea, usually a green tea, so you can drink more of that, because it's got much less caffeine than black tea. Still, of course, following your doctor's recommendations as to total liquid intake for the day.


  • Monday, July 07, 2003

    You know, it's been thundering and lightning-ing on and off all day, and I don't know whether I should be more worried about lightning than I used to be. One can't, after all, put a surge protector on a pacemaker. On the other hand, since I ride a motorcycle, I already try to make a point of not getting caught out in the rain, so my chances of getting hit by lightning are lowered.

    Why a motorcycle? Well, it's fun- if it weren't, all the other reasons wouldn't matter. But, for me at least, all the other reasons matter enough that if they weren't there, I wouldn't have bought a bike just for fun, either. My Honda Nighthawk gets 65 mpg city, 73 mpg highway. It cost only $3400 brand new. I can park anywhere- and since I teach on a university campus, that is an important point. That's why I first started riding- when I was in college, I lived in Boston, where parking is always scarce, and also where the gas crunch of '72 raised the price of gas three-fold. I've been riding for over 30 years now. Motorcycling is a risk, true. Being alive is a risk. Having heart failure doesn't change my perception of the risks of motorcycling at all. What I do to mitigate those risks resembles stuff that's good for us all anyway: never drinking and riding (alcohol is involved in many motorcycle accidents); never using recreational drugs and riding (ditto); always wearing the very best helmet I can afford, rather than the least I can get away with; wearing sturdy shoes or boots rather than flip-flops... You know what we call those people on bikes with flip-flops and shorts and no helmets? Organ donors. I almost always obey the speed limits. I take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation course every few years as a refresher. (They have a beginning rider course and an experienced rider course. Taking either will get you a 10% discount on your insurance in most states.)

    I have a handicapped license plate (or disabled plate, if you prefer); I don't take advantage of it often, except when I have to go over to the University of Texas campus (which is not where I teach). Parking at UT is so awful; one needs every advantage one can get. I use UT's library a lot, which is why I'm there. Disabled parking puts me only half a block from the library door; motorcycle parking is an entire long block away, and car parking is something close to nonexistent without a special UT permit, anywhere withing campus. My doctor had no problems signing the paperwork for me to get the plate, not with an ejection fraction of 20%. I also got a hang-tag, or placard, as they call it, to use if I am in a car. This helps when I go grocery shopping. Walking up and down all the aisles of a large supermarket is pretty tiring all by itself, never mind the thought of carrying the groceries out to the far corners of the parking lot. Sometimes I even go ahead and borrow one of the electric carts to do my shopping; I know there are people lots worse off than I am, but if a cart's available, well, I use it. Store personnel are sometimes suspicious, because they've just seen me walk in from the parking lot. Do you get that a lot? The "you're not visibly crippled so you must be cheating on the handicapped thing" attitude? Sometimes I calmly offer to trade them whatever they think is wrong with them, with whatever handicap they are so sure I don't have. That usually shuts them up. On a good day, of course, I can walk the supermarket and push a regular cart, and I do so. But days when I've gotten too little sleep, or it's so hot that it's annoying my blood pressure, I definitely feel like I'm Class III. On the good days, I'd be counted as Class II based on results, although that 20% ejection fraction would still argue against it.

    The funny thing about getting the handicapped plate for the bike is that apparently, it's quite common- the county clerk's office has piles of handicapped motorcycle plates to hand out, just like they do car plates and regular bike plates. I thought about that for a while, and then figured, with the lifestyles that many of the bikers lead- you know, the ones that make TV news, or that you can hear rumbling by your house in gangs - there are probably quite a few riders with emphysema and similar disabilities, that don't affect our legs directly, so we can handle all the levers and pedals, but do affect our ability to walk very far. And this is indeed a disability. The TXDOT (Texas Dept. of Transportation) form to apply for disabled plates lists as its very first qualified mobility impairment "cannot walk 200 feet without stopping to rest" even before the parts about using assistive devices such as walkers and wheelchairs. (That form, by the way, is from Harris County (Houston) web site, but is good all over the state - check your own county clerk's website for details of where to send the application.)

    OK, if you aren't interested in motorcycles, that may have been more than you wanted to know- but then again, if you didn't know that heart failure qualifies you for handicapped plates even though you can still walk, I may have done my good deed for the day :-) Happy riding or driving, as the case may be.

    bunrab: (bike)
    This evening, instead of regular rehearsal, the Bel Air Community Band had its awards banquet. So, we rode the bikes up there, about 60 miles each way (the banquet site is further away than the school we rehearse in.) Many people in the band did not know we were Biker Skum, since normally they only see us when we are toting large, heavy, asymmetrical brass objects, which travel better in a car than on a bike. Nice roads out in the countryside north of Bel Air proper. Note to self: you CAN'T see in the dark. Stop being so damn optimistic about it. Do NOT attempt to ride on interstate highways in the dark, even in the slow lane at 50 mph making other people crazy. REMEMBER that, why don't you, Kelly?

    There are other routes home - we took US 1 most of the way, but got on I-695 for the last 15 miles or so, because the surface routes have problems. Staying on US 1 goes through some areas I'm not sure I want to ride a bike through at night, and US 40 would work except that I've been on that often enough during the day to know that it's in extremely bad repair in many spots, because it gets dug up for so many things so often, and so can be just as dangerous to two wheels. I'll have to investigate whether there are any other surface roads that aren't too complicated to find in the dark and would nonetheless allow me to stick to 35-40 mph, which is the outer edges of my night vision.

    My brother JJ is gonna be in DE this week, visiting with our folks, so Thursday, weather permitting, we're gonna ride over to Dover and visit with them. And then stay overnight and ride back the next morning, NOT ride back 90 miles at night!
    bunrab: (bike)
    I can tell it's really spring now: the neighbor's kid set up his portable basketball hoop at the dead end of our street - in front of our house - and he and his friends started bouncing the basketball on the street, earlier than I would have liked to wake up. However, once up: yes! Sunlight! 70 degrees! Our household took its helmets down from the top of the entertainment center, found its gloves on the bookshelf, and rode off into the... traffic. Across the street from the foot of our block is a Sam's Club. Which apparently had something extra going on. It took several minutes to turn from our street onto the other road, and several more to get past the driveway to Sam's, and then a few more to get past the people in the turn lane who suddenly noticed it was a turn lane and then decided they didn't want to turn. And then, just after the right-turn-only lane, a patrol car, lights ablinking, in the traffic lane I needed, guarding several upset looking people on cell phones and a very crumpled car - I have to assume that the other car(s) had already been towed off, as this car could not have achieved the seriously stove-in side it had all by its lonesome. Once past that, finally, it was good. Miles per hour slightly in excess of the posted limit were achieved. Cherry trees in blossom were observed. Also dogwood and magnolia. Also dandelions. Many, many dandelions. Much of the rest of the helmet-owning population of the greater Baltimore area was waved at. Lunch was had. Errands were run. The post office clerks admired the bike, and no one asked why there is a grapevine christmas wreath wrapped around the bottom of my helmet box. And the mail included my order from Upton Tea, including the Spring Dragon Oolong which is my favorite oolong in the world, so now I am going to go make myself a cup of iced tea.

    I had a dream the other night, where I had parked the bike on a street, and a van was blocking me from getting out of the parking space. The van owner refused to move the van until I had helped him round up his pygmy goats. Steve woke me up. I had to go back to sleep, to get a few more minutes, so that I could finish rounding up the goats and get the bike back out on the road.
    bunrab: (bike)
    We picked up [livejournal.com profile] squirrel_magnet's new bike this afternoon. It was too dark already when we got home to take pictures; those'll have to wait. We shall say nothing about the Embarrassing Incident in the parking lot, since all's well that ends well, but really, John from Service had JUST finished warning me about center stands. One of the odder little falls I've ever taken. I still smell faintly of gasoline. (Blame as to exactly how it came about that the gas cover was not tightly closed has not yet been definitively assigned.) Oh well, they like us there, and they cleaned and detailed my bike. The new helmet box is nifty. (Speaking of nifty, I have been randomly re-reading old Sluggy Freelance, and so what I was singing at the top of my lungs on the way home was "Here he comes, Lord Grater, Lord Grater. He's smarter than a small po-tat-er.")

    The new bike is, as I think I previously mentioned, a 1999 R1100RT. With fairing, windshield, and of all things a radio, which they even found a manual for. Not that S ever expects to use the radio. The fairing is handy in this weather. The high today was about 40°F, and it was dropping fast when we headed home. For me, one pair of cotton-nylon blend tights under my jeans works at 40°, but my knees start getting a bit chilly at 35°. (A pair of tights over a pair of pantyhose, and then jeans over them, will work nicely down to at least 20°F (-5°C), possibly even further but I've never tested them lower than that temperature.) I also bought a new windproof balaclava, to replace the one I bought last year and immediately lost. I'm sure that now that I've bought another one, last year's will show up in the next couple of days. Regular socks over the tights and under the boots kept my feet cozy right along.

    It occurred to me that my bike is blue and I have a white helmet, and S's bike is green and he has a red helmet, and we wind up looking just a bit like the Chanukah-and-Christmas Bobbsey Twins.

    Pictures next week, after I get back from my long weekend in NYC. Train fare seems to jump to $100 on weekends, at which point I decided to take the bus instead - they've got an eSaver fare of $20, and that difference makes it worth the extra 2 hours the bus takes. I'll then have to get from Port Authority to Penn Station, but no biggie, then the Long Island Snailroad out to Sally's, where the staying is cheap, which is how this trip still falls within my depleted budget. I thought about bringing the new horn with me, but no. Travel light. (I'm bringing the soprano recorder, though.) We'll mostly just be catching up on Sally's housework and paperwork. (There's stuff in that kitchen that her mother bought. Her mother passed away 4 years ago. There's 4 years worth of piled-up mail on the kitchen table. My strength is the speed at which I can chop that pile down to sacks full of recycling, and get them out the door, without the emotional turmoil it would cost her.)
    bunrab: (music)
    No, that's not a guinea pig, it's a soprano saxophone.
    As in, I've just purchased a new used one. I seem to be becoming a saxophone collector. It won't help if I promise to use my saxophones only for good, because everyone knows saxophones are intrinsically evil, and the soprano sax is one of the evilest. I am looking forward to playing it.
    pictures behind the cut )
    Geeky details: It's an Antigua. I am far too lazy to look up the year based on the serial number. Included in the price was a Pro-Tec case, making it an even better bargain. I got a C-star mouthpiece to go with it; I tried a couple brands including a VanDoren, but you know, no matter what size sax I'm playing, I guess I like the C-star best. Geez, the price on mouthpieces has gone up.
    This does destroy my discretionary budget for a couple months. So I won't be attempting to go to the Pittsburgh Knitting Festival in Feb., nor the RG in New Hampshire. We shall have to see what the budget looks like by April, at which point we also need to decide between (let alone do both) Penguicon and visiting Austin around [livejournal.com profile] squirrel_magnet's birthday and an Austin Symphonic Band event.

    In other news, squirrel_magnet picks up the new bike Thursday!! Pictures shall be forthcoming.

    Incidentally, I shall be AFK Friday afternoon through Monday night, as I am going to NY to visit a friend and help her out with some stuff, and her computer is cranky, and I am traveling too light to carry a laptop with me.
    bunrab: (chocolate)
    Since after tomorrow's surgery* I won't be able to ride the bike for a few weeks, we decided to do a bit of riding today, so we went down to Laurel to eat at the Silver Diner. Lovely weather for riding. I'm the one who was singing "House of the Rising Sun" at the top of my lungs.

    Our bikes are "standard" models, the increasingly rare sit-up-straight-and-ride kind - not cruisers where you lean back with your legs stuck straight out in front, nor crotch rockets where you hunch over the gas tank. Sit up straight and ride is not actually quite perfectly straight, of course; for best control of the handlebars there is a very slight forward lean. What I've noticed is that on my particular bike, for my particular height and mass, about 75 mph seems to be the perfect speed at which the wind pressure supports me completely, no effort needed on my part to sit at exactly the right posture, nor to keep adjusting my shoulders and elbows. For all I know, 85 may do as well in a sheer physics sense, but that's fast enough that I would be tenser; wind support or no wind support, my shoulders would be stiff at that speed for more than a few seconds. I'm most comfortable in the 55 to 75 range when I'm on the highway (and frankly, 40 to 50 mph on a curvy back road, a leisurely scenic ride, is just fine with me, too).

    *Monday at 7:30 a.m. I get my new pacemaker/ICD - I have to be at the hospital at 6:30 a.m., ugggghhhh. It's really simple surgery, should not be any complications this time. Just because of my history, they'll keep me overnight for observation, but I'll post when I get home Tuesday, to let you all know I'm OK. I have the doctor's solemn promise that if the third lead does not go in on one ordinary try, they will not keep trying; they will just do the rest of the device as usual, and sew me back on up, so that I don't have any extra exposure to hospital bacteria, nor will I worry anyone by having extra doctors come in and give it a try, taking extra time. (It worries a spousal unit when one is in surgery 2 hours longer than expected...) So, straightforward and safe. Usually, they only use a local anesthetic plus Versed to make one sleepy, rather than a general anesthesia; even so, Versed makes me a little less than completely alert for about 24 hours - awake but not alert, prone to doze off and to not remember conversations real clearly. So I don't bring any knitting that requires thinking with me to the hospital. Sort of the whole "don't operate heavy machinery while taking this medication" thing, except it applies to light machinery that happens to require very careful fine motor control plus concentration, as well. Stuff knitted while under the influence of morphine and related compounds tends to be good only as cat toys, and even the cats are a bit scared of those blobs at first.

    So, see you all Tuesday.
    bunrab: (guinea pigs)
    You're driving along I-95, and there's someone on a little blue Beemer, with a large orange messenger bag slung across her back. As you pull closer, you notice that there's a knitting logo on the messenger bag, and as you pull alongside, you hear, out from under the helmet, someone singing "Whiskey in the Jar" at the top of her lungs. That would be me.

    "Whiskey in the Jar" seems to be my current earworm; I can't get rid of it.

    Coming home from the Wednesday Night Knitters at All About Yarn, my LYS, I took the alternate route, state Route 29 up to US Route 40. 40 goes through Patapsco State Park, Hollofield Area, on the way home. Now, one of the things that makes hot weather in MD more bearable than July in Texas is that it has been raining and hasn't been this hot already for months, so the grass and trees have not been fried to little brown crisps; they're still nice and green. And green makes things cooler. So, when I did the mile-and-a-half ride through "the forest," as we tend to refer to the park, both the fact that the trees had shaded the road during part of the day, and that there was air flowing over the road that had not been hovering over asphalt for hours, made the air cooler as I rode. In fact, though the temperature was still about 88 degrees when I was coming home, during the stretch through the park, I actually got slightly chilly. Nice!!
    bunrab: (bathtub warning)
    The emergency brake on the car decided to freeze up this morning, as we were leaving to go to the house we're buying, to meet the home inspector. We rapidly switched to my bike, which got us there, but is not really meant to transport two people for more than a few miles. S and I together outweigh the bike. S's bike hasn't been running for a while, and at the moment we haven't located the key for it anyway; it was somewhere in the kitchen in the old house, and probably Rob and Fade packed it neatly, and if we could find ALL the boxes labeled Kitchen, we'd find the key. But meanwhile, that bike isn't working anyway. So my bike is our only vehicle.

    That meant we skipped going to the music-sorting party up in Bel Air this evening, getting all the old music out of folders and new music in, in preparation for the upcoming season - rehearsals start next Monday. Because my bike is DEFINITELY too small to carry 2 people 40 miles up the interstate highway at speed. We do need to have the car fixed by next Monday - not only will the bike really not carry us both to Bel Air, it most assuredly won't carry us and the tuba and the tenor saxophone.

    We did make a quick trip out this evening, to return some library books and get supper - a few miles on local roads. By the time we finished supper, it was full dark, and cooled off to about 70 degrees. Which means that it's even a slight chill when one adds a 45-mph wind-chill to it. While I hate riding pillion, 'cause I get horrible cricks in my neck, and while my bike is not the right bike for the job, I have to admit it is still romantic, as it was when we were first dating, to be riding along a twisty road in the moonlight with a slight breeze.

    We didn't manage to locate a mechanic this afternoon; we have towing coverage through our roadside service, Better World, so once we can set a service appointment up for a definite time and place, we can get the car towed there.

    The home inspection didn't show any major problems. Several things in need of improvement or maintenance, but no big issues. The slope of the land toward the foundation/basement isn't ideal, but then, that seems to be an issue everywhere. No water seems to have gotten into the basement; there's no mold, no water damage marks, none of that stuff. We're going over the report to see whether we want to ask the sellers to do any of little fix-ups needed. While we were there, I went around with a measuring tape and figured out where all our furniture would fit. I need to do up a more or less to scale sketch of it, to try several things out. If I can find the graph paper...

    We were also going to do things today like mail off my old hard disk to the recovery company, and mail a box of books to my friend Cindy's library, but, no room for parcels on the bike. Grrrr. I hate cars. Even more because sometimes one needs one, and that's right when it decides to break down!!

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    bunrab

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