Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tummy and toesies Tuesday

It's been a long time since I showed a Tummy Tuesday post, but with Frankie being so obliging I had to close out the 2008 Tuesdays with this one.

This was a new bed style I thought I'd try. I plopped it down in the kitchen in front of the heating vent, and voilĂ , instant Frankie favorite place. And here he is, doing his day job.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas to All

This is a special Christmas for Dolly, because she's at home - we officially adopted Dolly this month. She continues to graciously share her tree and ornaments with the other fosters, big and little, and hopes fervently that they will all find homes of their own soon.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

One more day 'till Christmas

So many ornaments to destroy, so little time...

But you can't get the full effect without sound. I've learned to recognize this rustling from wherever I am in the house.

I have collected a large basket full of ornaments from the floor and various other resting places, and will do one last total tree-redecoration tonight.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008


The hairiest part about last night's concert was getting there.

I had planned well, I thought. I went to my 4pm lesson in concert black attire, with dinner (Zone-friendly string cheese + 2 slices luncheon ham + medium honeycrisp apple + walnuts and roasted squash seeds) packed in my bag. I figured if I left by 5:30 I could make my 6:30 call, as it is usually 30-40 minutes in rush hour.

Lesson was great, BTW. The student before me ran over, by design, I discovered. There was no student after me, as T- planned on running over with me on the other end. So I had a half hour of observing one of T-'s old students who had come back for an advanced brush-up on Haydn C. Then I had a little over an hour for my lesson, G major scale concentrating on intonation in the upper 2 octaves, and revisiting Lee #1. I've been working on memorizing it, a topic for another post, and it is amazing how much new technique gets overlaid each time I have a lesson on this etude.

Anyway, I left the lesson room at 5:20, and was exiting the parking lot by 5:30. Then I ran into one nail-biting back-up after another. The details don't sound as exciting today, but I was sweating, and grateful to end up only 10 minutes late for call. We have had horrible traffic since the snow started seriously falling last week. I surely hope people remember how to drive here again, soon.

The concert was anticlimactic. DH caught this pic, so I can show you the set-up. The orchestra is in a pit formed by surrounding elevated walkways, where speakers, singers and dancers moved above us. You can see the front row of cellos on the big screen - my head is in the leftmost corner.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Morning paper

Last night's rehearsal did indeed end after 10pm. Much to my surprise, we have a beefy string section, expanding from 2 or 3 to 5 in each section. It feels a bit odd to be a volunteer in the midst of a professional, or at least paid, section.

Two new pieces were added, one a cello obbligato and piano accompanying a child's recitative with choir. Very nice, and handled by one of the pros. It was by no stretch a dress rehearsal for us, as we were hurriedly marking in bowings and dividing parts throughout, not to mention sorting through pieces and discovering who was missing what. At least being busy keeps things from getting tedious.

One thing I noticed was that orchestra members have much better discipline than choir members. It was no problem at all for us to sit quietly in our own thoughts while other performers were being rehearsed, while the choir couldn't seem to help chattering when it was too long between singing. I wonder why that is?

I slept in quite late this morning to compensate for the late night last night, and in anticipation of another one tonight. The black-and-whites joined me while I drank my morning coffee and, well, tried to read my e-mail and morning blogs. Sometimes it's hard to see around the crowd at the screen.

You just know that Frankie would be the little boy in class whispering to his neighbors, throwing spit balls and pulling pigtails.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Music schedule

You might not know it from reading my blog recently, but I do still play the cello. After taking two whole months off over the summer, but still feeling slightly burnt out, I cut back my schedule significantly this year.

What I am not doing:
Flute trio
Piano trio
Piano lessons
Vocal ensemble

What I am doing:
Cello lessons, weekly +/-
Voice class, also weekly
Cello quartet, weekly, with a coach
String quartet, sporadically, every few months
Church orchestra, weekly rehearsal and 1 or 2 services, 3 of 4 weeks

Plus a Christmas performance, which is this week. So we have a dress rehearsal tomorrow night, scheduled for four (4!) hours, and concert on Thursday night. I also simplified my life by scheduling everything at Music School on one day, which happens to be Thursday. So this week I'll go straight from my lesson to dress rehearsal, and miss voice class and cello quartet.

I am annoyed that, even with having cut back, my scheduled elements are stepping on each others' toes.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I don't know what else to say.

Last night we had the first tip-over, fortunately toward the window, so it was easy to grab the tree and sit it back upright. Today it's below zero, and I'm making the rounds to put down towels as draught-stoppers to keep the door bottoms from freezing. The tree-tipping culprits have burrowed in together under the tree for a mid-day nap, a winter wonderland of light snow outside the window.

How cute is that? Monsters.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tree update

The tree is still standing, though occasionally looking a bit worse for wear. This is a typical daytime configuration. I think there are five under or in the tree...

... and one taking advantage of the make-shift tree skirt that has fallen to the floor.

Yes, that's a garland of purple beads that's hanging loosely, as well. Once a day I make the rounds, picking up and replacing all the ornaments I find on the floor, and re-stringing the garlands. There are no breakable ornaments, and no tinsel, so no harm done, and we are all greatly enjoying the tree.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tree 1 Cats 0

I hope you didn't bet against the tree - it's a sturdy little thing, and has been cleverly decorated with indestructible ornaments. I did hear a few of them rolling on the floor, not yet to be seen again, but on the whole, things look pretty good.

I have taken about a thousand pictures since yesterday - very hard to get a good photo of a moving kitten in the dark (except for the tree lights) with a pocket camera set on no flash.

Here's a truly ornamental glamour shot of Johnny, my climbing wonder.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Any bets

...on whether it will last until morning?

It's time

The snow is gently falling, our first significant storm, though we have indeed remained snow-covered since November 30th. It got up to 25F this afternoon, and felt warm. Not being inclined to go outside this evening (I hear the traffic is horrific), I decided it is a good night to put up the Christmas decorations. I put DH on a plane to Lost Wages this afternoon, so it's a good thing I have lots of other helpers.

Oh! Charlie Brown Christmas is on TV tonight! I think I am beginning to feel festive. I wonder if I have any Christmas Cheer in the house?

Friday, December 05, 2008

Practical matters

I would just like to report that, when a small kitten with bad diarrhea has deposited a large pile of soft stool in a cat carrier, putting the carrier outside to freeze before attempting to clean it is a brilliant beyond brilliant idea.

I guess winter is good for something, after all.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


Frankie was feeling a littly punky when he came back to my house after my trip, and wanting to get some work done while he just wanted to be held I stuffed him into the bottom of my fleece vest. He just sat there calmly and "helped" with the dishes.

BTW, Johnny did just fine with his little operation. You wouldn't even know he had anything done. I sure hope he did!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

No laughing matter

I spent most of yesterday alternatively going through a 2-week high stack of mail and taking foster photos for a display at the shelter. Here are two stripeys, Jonni relaxing on the beach with Seri.

But today, Jonni is Johnny and he is spending the day at the v-e-t having his teeny tiny hoo-ha-ectomy. He might not have been so jolly if he knew what the morrow would bring.

I don't think I've even mentioned Jonni/Johnny before, though s/he's been with me since the beginning of October. He arrived with Frankie, two lonely-only 6-week-olds found on streets in different parts of the metro area. Frankie was supposed to get his operation today, too, but has been delayed for a recurrence in his diarrhea. That's probably one reason I haven't written about them - how much can you say about poop? And more poop. Really more poop.

When these kittens arrived I was fresh out of inspiration for names, so I started calling them Tuxie Tim and Stripey Sue. After discovering that Tim had been named Franklin by one of the other volunteers, they became Frankie and Jonni. (I meant to wax eloquently about how Jonni was named after a former coworker, but never got around to it. Just as well.) We were still pretty sure that Jonni was a girl when I left for DC, but things were clearly different upon my return. A late bloomer. Good thing we weren't still calling him Sue.

Monday, December 01, 2008


I return to the Frozen Tundra of the North, and what am I greeted by?

Snow! The very next morning. This is what my deck looked like after all the kitties (who aren't allowed out on the deck while I am out of town) trooped outside to inspect it.

And it's what the deck still looks like this morning. First time this year that the snow lasted another overnight. I heard on the news this morning that we have already had 4 inches this year, the most in the past three this early in the snow season. And last year it snowed on December 1st and we didn't see green again until late April.

I'm not ready for Winter. But at least the sun is shining today.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Time marker

One segment per day in the yellow boxes, and concurrent but doubled up in the white. Three days left in DC, but I've been here almost two weeks.

My biggest project (and headache) this trip was to get a computer working, my first (and last) Vista box. The fact that this post is coming from my phone is significant.

Mac, I'm coming back.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Molly in a box

Didn't I tell you? Classic. Why are these stuck in my Outbox?

Reminds me af a joke. How do you catch a cat? Put a box down on the floor and wait 4 seconds.

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Molly in bucket

Found this in the 'stuck mail' as I was cleaning out the txt mail on my phone. I'm not sure who it was originally meant for. This is such a classic Molly pose - I sure do miss her sometimes. I need to send her new folks a note asking for some current Molly news.

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Monday, November 17, 2008


Yesterday I boiled a few eggs, and placed the ones I didn't eat in an egg carton with a big "HB" written in Sharpie at one end. I stashed the carton in the refrigerator near the other (unboiled) eggs.

This morning I found the two boiled eggs sitting loose on a shelf, one cracked around the middle, and the carton in the recycling bag.

Are we imagining the same scenario?

(I giggle each time I think about it, but maybe I should apologize later.)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ice in approaches

This morning when I dragged myself out of bed too early, to feed the cats before I left to play in church, it was dark except for the luminous strips of walkway amongst the fallen leaves, shining with a light coating of snow. As the dark lifted - the sun must have risen but under the clouds only the shade of gray changed - I saw that the pond is partially covered with a thin sheet of ice.

It's just a matter of time, and probably not much.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Frightful weather we're having

After a high of over 70 two weeks ago we have had progressively gray and blustery days. This week so far it's been 4 days of rain, and one with enough snow to wake up to a ground cover in the morning. Frankie is a resourceful little guy - I have found him curled up in the company of one or two others during daily naptime for the last few days. He seems to like the floofy ones the best.

With Dolly...

...and Pi...

...and a pile with Georgie and Pookie (of the blackened nose).

I always love it when the black or tuxedo littles curl up with Uncle John on his favorite step. Here you see the entwined tails, but the only visible head belongs to Frankie. He's curled up right on top of John's head, who just keeps sleeping.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day

DH wished me a Happy Veterans Day this morning, as he was leaving for work and I was trying to sleep through the roar of purring Vanalikalikes ready for breakfast. I asked him if that wasn't an oxymoron.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A long way to go

I ran across a link to a fun longevity calculator in my medical junk e-mail this morning. Great news: statistically my life expectancy is 98 years. They recommended a few small changes I could make to get past that century mark, which included slightly increasing my activity level, convincing my bowels to (ahem) move more frequently, taking a regular aspirin dose, giving up my last cup of daily coffee (give up 48 years of morning coffee for three more months of life? I don't think so), and becoming more optimistic about my life.


Friday, November 07, 2008


I love waking up in the morning with the feeling that I can do anything I want to. That's been my morning feeling nearly every day since I retired three years ago. But I am beginning to realize that the reason I am getting less and less done is that I am so reluctant to give up that feeling that I won't commit to doing anything. I waft through the day, thinking but not doing.

Next paragraph would normally describe what I am going to do about it, but I am drawing a blank.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Soft cello case storage

I have a soft cello case that I use on occasion when I need to transport my cello but have weight or size issues that preclude using my usual hard case. As much as possible, though, I avoid using it in winter, because it offers very little thermal protection. I don't have a great option for storing it when it's not in use, so I am sorry to say that since last winter it has laid in a balled-up heap on my basement floor.

It occurred to me that there was a better option to using it as a litterbox-challenged cat attractant - I could hang it up in a closet. Amazing really, how long it takes me to come up with these brilliantly obvious ideas.

I never do anything here without the aid of my able assistants.

Yes, everything must be carefully inspected to meet exacting technical specifications.

The hanger is secured in the wide bottom of the case by closing the opposing zippers, meant to accommodate the endpin.

And voila, a storage solution that will foil all but the most determined cat.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

First snow

Yes, truly. We got the deck furniture inside and stored this morning in the nick of time, then I ran off for the last session of my weekend Barry Green seminar.

Winter. Bleh.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


We have greatly enjoyed our finally-discovered local farmers market for the last couple of months. In addition to the usual vegetables, berries, and now apples, I scored some wonderful maple syrup, and know where I can find locally produced honey. And every week there are flowers, huge bunches for $5.

Four weeks ago I bought a couple of monochromatic bunches that included eucalyptus, cat tails, and these wonderful spiny green globes. After enjoying them in water for a couple of weeks, I dumped the water and let them dry in place. I figured I'd have a lovely dried arrangement for the winter but then...

One of those green globes popped open to reveal a pod full of fluffy white seed parachutes. Agh! Unless I want the house to look like Cottonwood Canyon, that is simply not going to work.

This morning I discarded my "flowers," and not a moment too soon. What are those green things, anyway?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Winter is coming

I remember it, the day the weather changed. It was the day after Labor Day, and I felt compelled to wear socks for the first time in months. I'm a little hazier on First Jacket Day, but it was pretty darn close to the first day of Fall. Two days ago I used my seat heater for the first time. And today I almost didn't get up, the dreary gray rainy morning failing to give me any light cues whatsoever.

Local road crews are working feverishly in these last remaining days of the season known around here as Winter-Is-Coming. It was almost impossible to get around this past weekend, with two of the three major east-west routes closed at the same time, and the third still in the middle of a multi-year construction project. Sheesh.

As bleak as the outlook for the coming days, though, I can say one thing with confidence. No matter the weather, there will be one warm nose in this house.