Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!!!!!

We are home from our New Years Eve gig already. I think this might be the best one ever. It was a short concert with a good friend of ours so it was fun and we got home at 10:00. Amazing! We get to celebrate together at home for a change.

This got me thinking about past New Years Eve gigs. Doug has always worked on New Years Eve so I'm pretty used to not ringing in the new year with him. We always see each other later. There were two particularly lonely years when one or the other of us was working on a cruise ship over the holidays. For me it was harder when I was on the ship and he was home than the other way around.

In recent years we've actually played some gigs together. The first time we were playing in two different groups, but in the same hotel so we carpooled down to DC. We worked up in Baltimore with our friend Bob Fields a couple of times. In 2000 we played with the Artie Shaw band in a casino in Tunica, MS at a place called Bluesville. The next year we played at the Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michaels.

During the time we were on the road, the NYE gigs became more sporadic. Sometimes Doug would have one and sometimes I would. But we've never both been off at the same time, until this year. So it's time to crack open the champagne now. Happy New Year!!!

distracted by nature

We finally figured out a way to get all of the excess 12x4 sheets of drywall down two flights of stairs without killing ourselves.
Step One was to cut half of them down to 10 feet and the rest to 8 feet lengths. It is amazing what a difference that makes. They are about 17 percent less heavy, and with the shorter and more manueverable length they are completely manageable.
Step Two was to pace ourselves, so there was a little free time between each panel to check out the rather dramatic and rapidly changing weather. I took these out of the window of my house.

So windy!

And snowy!

And even snowier!


Monday, December 29, 2008

dirty and tired...and tired of being dirty

I have no life. I've spent the past week covered in fiberglass and drywall dust. It's gross. I hate getting all dirty. I can't stand it. People look at me funny when I go up to MacDonalds to use the restroom. The only place where I feel that I look acceptable is at the dump. I love the dump. I can get rid of nasty dirty pieces of junk. People don't look at me funny there. I have to wear a dust mask all day long. That is uncomfortable. It's too humid around my mouth when I wear a dust mask. When the dust clogs the outside of the mask it feels like I'm being smothered and I start to gag. Yuck. Clearly I wasn't cut out for this lifestyle, that's all there is to it.

Today started out nicely enough though. I got up and washed my hair and it stayed clean for five whole hours while I played my brunch gig. I love my brunch gig so much more than I love working on my house. It's such a wonderful escape from life's daily trials. I escape easily, or perhaps I should say I amuse myself easily. Today while playing I began to notice some rather interesting things in the floor tile at my brunch gig. Am I hallucinating again?

This little dude's hairdo reminds me of Kid'n'Play from the early '90s.

A couple of ladies - can you see them?

Kermit, is that you?

Look, a little fishy!

and Mr. Hippopotamus


Friday, December 19, 2008

so busy....

My blogs have kind of fallen by the wayside recently, and now that I finally have a free minute, I guess I might as well throw up some pictures (since I seem to also have diarrhea of the camera) and try to remember what I've been doing for the last week.

The trip to Atlantic City last Friday was quick but fun. My friend MyCatTom and I yakked away for the entire trip up and the entire trip back which made the drive seem really short. We rehearsed in the afternoon and did the concert that night. The various "Swingettes" came from DC, NY, Philadelphia, North Carolina, and Atlantic City. I enjoyed playing with all of them. There wasn't much free time, but I was able to hobble on down to the beach. It was unbelievably cold and windy there. On the way home the road was extremely well-lit by an enormous full moon.

The things you can buy in New Jersey!

Why is the beach so pink?

I guess I was walking around in the Red Light District
We saw this on the way home. Too bad they were closed!

The Messiah rehearsal and concert over on Kent Island last weekend went well. But I had to get up at the crack of dawn, which not exactly my favorite time of day.
Sunrise on the Severn
This must be the Great Wye Oak's great grandson.
I'm totally finished with school for the semester. I really enjoyed teaching my class, but I'm glad I don't have to do it next semester because my own course load is going to be much larger than it was this fall.

I'm playing a musical adaptation of Theodore Roethke's poem "The Waking" for December graduation at UMD tomorrow. Just me and a singer. She has a beautiful voice and it's a pretty cool piece. The bass part works great in the original "guy" key but the transposed bass part lies in a kind of awkward and less resonant area of the bass, so there's no way to make it sound as good as the recording. Even the bass player on the recording would not be able to sound as good in the key I'm doing it in. So that's a little frustrating, but I think the over all effect will still be nice. I haven't played in a hall as big as the Comcast Center for a few years so I'm looking forward to that as well. We had the soundcheck this morning and the sound guy is great. I'm digging the reverb - a lot! Anyway, here's the original version of the piece, in the original, more resonant key.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

a little bit sad it's almost over

School is winding down now. My classes are finished and all I have left is giving the final exam, which I've already finished writing, to my improv class next Monday. Once I finish grading the projects and the exams I'll be done. I loved teaching this course and I'm actually going to miss it next semester in spite of how much work it was to prepare for it each week. It's nerve-wracking to do something like this for the first time but I really enjoyed organizing the material into a semester long program and planning all of the various activities that would reinforce the stuff that I presented. The students seemed to think that it was challenging but fun and they all made good progress. It was a very satisfying experience and I'm glad I had the opportunity to teach it.

We are going to be working like crazy on our house for the next six weeks because Doug thinks we can have it finished by the final inspection deadline. I've fallen for that kind of talk before. We'll see....

This weekend I've got a gig in Atlantic City with an all girl band called the "Swingettes." I'm carpooling up with a friend from here and we will be playing with other people we know from NYC and Philadelphia. That should be fun. Except that I've got a Messiah rehearsal the next morning that I have to rush home for, and it's on Kent Island. And then there's the rest of the weekend. It's fun to be busy with non-construction type activities though. My hands like that a lot.

Monday, December 8, 2008

pretty dreary. . .

....or dreary pretty. I guess it depends on what kind of a mood you're in.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


I just played an orchestra concert with totally stringy hair. I had to help install a new window today and by the time we were finished there was only enough time for a quick shower, not nearly enough time to wash and dry my hair. Yuck. Oh well, it was just a short holiday pops kiddie concert but still...I'm grossed out. Fortunately I'm off duty over at the house for the rest of the day so I've got time to wash my hair, exfoliate, moisturize, put in my contacts, and even apply some makeup(!!!) before my gig tonight. Yaay!!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Mystery of the Acorns

For some reason this acorn issue has been gnawing away at me all week, ever since I saw this post, on Looking2Live's blog and this one, on the Washington Gardener blog. I can't say that I'd noticed any acorns, or lack of acorns for that matter, but what I had noticed was that the squirrels in my yard were becoming very fat and they've been extremely busy simultaneously eating and burying things that are distinctly bigger than acorns. Maybe they are black walnuts? Today I finally had a chance to investigate this acorn mystery and this is what I found under the oak tree out back:

So we actually do have some acorns, but they are pretty small. Unless you look really closely they kind of just look like random chips of loose bark. Meanwhile the frantic chewing continues:

About ten seconds after I filmed the chewing action my backyard suddenly turned into Silver Spring's answer to the Serengeti:

Notice the chewed up shrubbery at the end of this video. That is what the deer do out way out here in the suburbs. And my voice is hoarse from inhaling wallboard dust all morning.

As I was heading off to my rehearsals I spied an interesting bird up on the power line so I rolled open my sun roof and took this picture:

It looks like some kind of hawk and and it really was that color up there glowing in the afternoon sun. It almost looks fake - sometimes my camera seems to brighten the colors by all by itself, depending on the lighting. So maybe this bird is a "Golden Hawk?" I have no idea.

It's kind of strange that so many different animals presented themselves to me for photo-ops today. Maybe I should have combined this post with the one I made earlier today. I could have called it "Wallboard and Wildlife!"

6:30 AM in the morning vs 6:30 AM at night

6:30 AM at NIGHT

6:30 AM is a time when I am rarely up and about, but this week I've actually seen this time of day from two different perspectives.

Sunday night I was preparing the class that I teach on Mondays and in an amazing burst of energy, with help from some coffee ice cream, I finished the lesson plan for both this past Monday and next Monday, and then since I wasn't sleepy yet I went ahead and wrote the final exam! So I'm all done with the real work of teaching the course except for the actual teaching, which is totally fun, and grading things, which is always interesting and sometimes fun too. By the time I was finished with all of that it was 6:30 AM. So I went to bed on Sunday at 6:30 AM at night.

Then today (only two days later) we had a 6:30 AM in the morning delivery of wallboard over at our real house, I mean our fantasy house. That was rather painful for me. We actually had to get up at 5:30 to make it over there in time. The light is certainly very different in the early morning hours. I think it might be the best thing about this hour of the day.

Based on my experiences with 6:30 AM this week, I am officially declaring that 6:30 AM at night is much more pleasant for me than 6:30 AM in the morning! Can you tell that I'm sleep deprived?

6:30 AM in the MORNING