Monday, May 30, 2011

For Gramma, From Scotland with Love

 Gramma thought George was so nice. He was. Unfortunately, his Scottish brogue was strong at times. From the back seat I heard a great deal of "what did he say?" from her. Mom did most of the translating.

 Okay, yes, she HATED the walker but she dolled herself up just the same. You just never knew who you would meet!

 One of the drizzely hours. Our energy was on the wane. By now she'd mostly ditched the walker for a wonderfully carved cane that we found on Skye.

One of my favorite pictures.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

1 Fleece, 1 Tub

May 19th
Today I saw some little bugs flying around my office. Since I don't keep food up there, I figured it MIGHT be the fleece I purchase at MDSW (Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival) last year. Laaaaast year. You who have purchased fleeces know what I'm talking about. 

Ooh, I thought to myself, this needs to be washed RIGHT NOW. And if the stars hadn't been aligned just right - like tomorrow is a day off and I am feeling particularly motivated because today is my Friday, the Dawn soap and long yellow gloves were handy - then I'm not sure I'd have done it. But I did. 

Guerrilla fleece washing. Wham. Done.

Step 1: Wash. Eeeeeeuuuuuuu gross!

Step 2 & 3: Rinse. Not quite as gross, and the second rinse, which I didn't capture, was even less gross.

Step 3: Dry, turn, dry, turn, dry, turn.

So I only rinsed it twice, and it's still a teensy bit dirty, but the remainder will come out when I wash the spun fluff. Spinned fluff? Fill tub with Dawn detergent and the hottest water possible. Carefully dump fleece into tub, gently smoosh it into the water to make sure it's all submerged, leave it alone for 20 minutes, drain, repeat without the dawn. Do it again. Dump it unceremoniously onto the drying rack and in three days time there's sure to be a prince. Ahem. I mean a dry fleece.
May 29th
After turning it over and inside out and over and inside out again, the fleece is dry and clean enough to comb and card. It didn't really take ten days to dry, but it took ten days for it to dry and for me to get my act together. DH has complained that every time he stands at the mirror he keeps getting a glimpse of Chewbacca behind him and he's very pleased that the hairy mound will be moving.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Flute Choir at the Flute Faire

The Hampton Roads Flute Choir played at the Hampton Roads Flute Faire at ODU on April 16. The two pieces in the video are "Zefiro delicato" by Gary Shocker followed by Georges Bizet's "Gypsy Song" from Carmen, directed by Dr. Lori Shipley. We're played in Diehn Hall which has a nice, intimate performance space.

One of the significant others shot this nice little video, and posted to You Tube for us. No tripods were harmed in the making of this movie. Take your Dramamine.

I'm on the far (audience) right (or stage left, if you prefer), long wavy hair, playing alto flute, my "bent flute." I look very fat but it's just the big boobs. Honest.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

O Kitchen! My Kitchen!

Kitchen! My Kitchen! our remodeling trip is (not quite) done;
The room has weather’d every track, the range we sought is won;
The end is near, the barks I hear, the doggies all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady gas contractor, the hood large and shining:
    But O oven! oven! oven!      
    O the crappy thermostat of dread,
    Where on the curb my old range lies,
    Fallen cold and dead.

...with apologies to Mom, Jane, Whitman, and Lincoln.

 Like my pano pic? Notice the letters, corresponding with the narrative below...

A. These windows were longer and, in true Me & DH style, we had them shortened when we had all the windows replaced. The sill once hit below the counter-top, now we can run counter along that wall. Of course, we knew then it would be some time before new counters would be installed to cover up the, ahem, mess. Actually, we did think the window dudes would do the finish work too. Oh well. Does anyone remember when we replaced a landing window in our other house and, in between the time the old window was removed and the new window installed, we shoved the queen-size box-spring through it and up to the 2nd floor? Yes we did.

B. There was a door and we moved it to the left when we rebuilt the two-story deck on the back of the house. So, that's all unpainted plaster. Again, not wanting to do things twice, we are waiting until final cabinets are in place before we paint over the whole thing. And we haven't been able to match the yellow yet. 

C. Ah, Letter C. Today's work, April and May's work: installing the gas range. We love cooking with gas and it seems every house we move into has a non-gas range. We hate operating an oven that runs 100 degrees hot. It's not easy cook "low and slow" in those conditions. We replaced the range in our last house and then sold. This time we're replacing the range and NOT selling. Ha! It's been a little more complicated, though, because we've had to open a work order with the gas company to flag the meter location, have a plumber come in to lay the inside piping, gas co. dig up the curb and run gas and install the meter, have the plumber come back out to finish the work and actually install the range and the hood...The thing you can't see in the photo is that the old range hood had this weird complicated commercial extinguishing system that scared the crap out of us and requires some specialty work to disconnect. 

D. We haven't gotten to D yet, but that involves relocating sink, dishwasher, and related plumbing to below the left window, relocating the fridge and it's ice-machine plumbing, and relocating the porch light switch. Sometime this summer maybe. Or in the fall. We still have flute convention to get to.

E. Not in the photo: new cabinets which the DH is crazy enough to build himself. He has my full support. Personally, I think it's just an excuse to buy new man tools. That's what a woman would do, right? "Oh, I'm SAVING money by buying this table saw." We know that trick.

That's just life in a 100-year-old house.

I'll never, ever do it again. If I do, shoot me.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Catching up with Garrr

From the Seawall Art Festival, August 2010. We had an afternoon gig, thankfully under a tent near the beautiful Elizabeth River. Water, water everywhere. Today I needed a smile, and I got it from Garrr, made with care by Jen, and I decided to trot out his picture.

Another Jen, entirely unrelated to the MisfitMoppets Jen, posted an amazing resource on her blog. The resource: Play With A Pro. Filmed masterclasses with renowned musicians. I noted clarinet, trumpet, baritone, oboe, and flute represented. The one I downloaded is Emmanuel Pahud (flute, duh). He's not hard on the eyes, for sure. But more than that he's a brilliant flutist. I learn something new every time I attend a masterclass, and this is no exception. I guess "attending" in this sense is a little different because it's a downloadable, high definition video, and it doesn't cost any more than what I'd pay to attend his masterclass in person, probably way less. Since he won't be teaching in my area any time soon, this is a total bargain...although he might be at the Charlotte convention. I'll be star struck. 

VNG (our gas company) arrived around 2pm Friday and started digging up the grassy-strip-between-the-sidewalk-and-the-road (cannot remember what the hell that's called) in order to drill the path for the gas line. They were here for over three hours, installed the pipes and the meter, finished, cleaned up nicely and even put down some replacement grass seed where they dug. I thought they'd schedule it with us, but it guess it wasn't really necessary. They didn't need me at all. So, come Monday, I'll call Synergy to finish the plumbing and then we'll be...wait for it...cookin' with gas! Ha, you knew I'd go there.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Scorecard Purgatory & Other Miscellany

Back in March I wrote (but forgot to finish/post):
I've been upgraded from eternal damnation to mere endless suffering. Once upon a time only one day a week was devoted to dealing with The Scorecard. Now it's two and a half days a week plus the odd 2:00 AM call with developers whose time zone is 10 hours ahead of Eastern daylight.

That was my month of March.

So, in the background Roxio is installing...and for the love of Pete it takes forever! Sheeeeeit. Oh. Because I upgraded to Windows 7 in January and am loading software as I require it. Photoshop was required soonest :) Roxio is required now because I don't like using Windows Media Player for DVDs (it's a Microsoft thing) and I can't put a DVD into my iPad. I bet there's a solution for that.

We're in green smoothie heaven. I know this probably doesn't sound wonderful, but 4 cups of spinach, 1 1/2 cups of strawberries and 1 banana in a high speed blender make 2 quarts of awesomeness. Less sodium than V8. Drink your veggies, people! Oh, I'm not doing the whole "green smoothie revolution" or raw diet thing. I just know I needed more veg in my diet.
As it turns out, that was my April, too. Now it's May, and for two months I've been dashing off posts in my head that never make it to the keyboard. I suppose everyone needs  break now and then. My break is over. I'm renaming the blog, and soon I'll move it to a new address. DH and I were joking around about flutes, and he commented about my playing a bent flute (my alto flute with the curved headjoint). I liked it, so I'm using it. As always, he's The Namer. It's perfect on so many different levels!

I'm still drinking my veggies. I started doing that shortly after I started taking synthetic thyroid hormone, so I don't know if the change in my energy is because of the have a functioning thyroid, the green drink, or both. I don't care enough to mess with it - I just know that 24 ounces of green smoothie first thing in the morning and another 16 ounces or so in the afternoon and I have all the energy I need, no more crashing fatigue that requires two hours of sleep (unless I really haven't gotten enough sleep the night before, ha ha!) Better focus, too, but that's almost entirely due to the thyroid stuff. DH has discovered that this green drink thing is pretty awesome, too. He loves it after yoga. We are purchasing huge amounts of kale and spinach. It's amazing how fast you can go through the greens when you're smooshing a tightly packed four cups (or more) into a blender. Usually we're mixing kale and spinach about 50-50, then either a cereal bowl's worth of frozen strawberries and one banana, or two mangoes and one banana. Thank goodness for Costco's bulk packages. These two seem to be our favorite combinations. Blueberry plus banana is yummy, too. DH did one with avocado but I wasn't that keen, but he also used the "artisan" greens instead of spinach, and I do not like those "artisan" greens.  Blech. As good as the blender is, it still has a hard time with raspberry seeds so we don't bother. 

What doesn't really work? Besides the artisan greens: grapes. Maybe a sweet red grape would be better than the green ones. Romaine, surprisingly. Romaine is my favorite in salads, but for me the taste doesn't really translate in the smoothie realm. There are LOTS of recipes out there on the internet and clearly we've only dipped our toes into that water.

Other things we are doing with our super-duper blender: hummus! Chickpeas, garlic, sesame seeds, olive oil. OMG so tasty with those "Food Should Taste Good" multigrain chips (again from Costco). Tortilla chips too, the thick ones. It's my new go-to comfort food. We're whizzing the tomato soup in the blender. We'll be doing margaritas this summer. We've done an applesauce, with pears, very tasty. Watch out for pears in this type of concentration: can produce gas.

And that's the news that's fit to print.