Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Bird's Egg and Week-at-a-Glance

Well, well. dickiebo has done it once again. He went a put a photo on his blog of his grandmother. And guess what? She's wearing my bird's egg brooch.

Not really.

At least I highly doubt it.

I hope...or that would be just too spooky. Here's mine.
This pin originated in England. It belonged to the mother of my former mother-in-law. DC sent an old, leather covered jewelry box filled with her mother's "costume" jewelry to my daughter. Amanda kept a couple pieces but didn't want the rest and gave me the box with all the other jewelry. I've worn quite a bit of it. Some of the pins, in particular, are quite exquisite. I also like and wear a few sets of earrings.

Now....dickiebo says that his gran's brooch disappeared. Hmmmmm. (just kidding)


I was to have a rather relaxing week after the long holiday weekend. I decided to redo the bath. I've been very displeased with the paint that I purchased locally and it is time to do something about it. So, prime the walls time once again. This meant removing the new wallpaper border. So much for palm trees there. Go here to see how it looked. I picked up paint samples today and have chosen a similar green, perhaps a shade lighter. This time a different paint company!

I won't get to start painting until late Friday or maybe over the weekend. I've got the player piano "guts" to work on, and a set of keys. Noontime, today, a music teacher from the local school called. They needed the Yamaha G1 on the stage tuned for a performance tonight. Talk about short notice. Tomorrow, Wednesday, I've got a Chickering grand to tune at a church in Gloucester. They have a wedding party that wants it tuned for the ceremony this weekend. Thursday I scheduled another "emergency" tuning for a piano teacher customer in Hamilton. She's got a student recital Thursday night and decided she wanted the piano tuned. After that I tune for another established customer here in Rockport.

I haven't mentioned mowing the lawn. Did that today. Yuck. I have allergies and the oak pollen has been horrendously high. The self-propelled mower with the ignition starter and the bagger wouldn't start. I hate this mower. It was purchased by my mom and dad for my mom to use. High hopes. She says it's too hard for her to maneuver. I rarely can get it to start. Supposed to be foolproof. Guess I'm the fool. Wouldn't start. Mom tried to supervise. Really wouldn't start! Mom still wanted the lawn mowed so I had to resort to the little electric mower. No self propel, no bagger, a royal pain in the you-know-where to keep avoiding the electric cord. Took twice as long and stirred up ALL THE POLLEN. Finished and took some Benadryl. I'm still sneezing and snuffling four hours later.


I officially quit as a lawn caretaker. I told my folks "no more". They are going to hire the job done. Yay! (sniff)

BTW, there are more boats in the harbor. Still waiting for the bigger sailboats to fill it in. The "Appledore" has arrived for the season of taking tourists out for a sail on a schooner. You can see the schooner tied up to Tuna Wharf, just to the right of Motif No. 1 in the second photo of the Sandy Bay webcam. Just click on the small image to enlarge it.

Friday, May 25, 2007


Okay, folks, they're finally here! What, you ask? Pictures of our latest amusement. This is a just for fun post. And I expect you to look at ALL the photos as it took a good deal of patience to get Squirt to cooperate. So here's the star of the post. Squirt the Squirrel!

He's so adorable plotting his next move. He'd really like to be able to jump to a nearby bird feeder. It doesn't work though. My dad rigged the feeder so that squirrels fall off before they can get their little paws on a perch. Squirt has tried many times and continually makes a fool of himself.

So Squirt found a new restaurant. The giant copper sunflower feeder was really meant for the birds. Squirt loves it and works so hard at getting to it that we just watch in amusement. He has learned how to open the latch to the filler door, so we have had to tape it shut with duct tape. So far he hasn't been able to peel the tape off..... I'm sure he'll master that eventually. For the time being he hangs upside down to pull sunflower seeds through the mesh front.

It has been so much fun that I thought I'd try something different. I'm calling it the "Nut on a Half Shell" feast. The next few pictures are of Squirt devouring his new favorite treat. Walnuts. Still in the shell (I do get them well started towards being cracked open for him.)

"It's mine, all mine!"

"Don't you dare try to take it from me."


"I can't believe I ate the whole thing. My poor tummy."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah

Hard to know exactly where to start this post. I honestly never expected to be writing this but I guess it goes to show how reading inspires!

The year was 1964. The exact date, I don't remember. I'm not a fanatic. At least not any more! I remember my mom yelling for me to come quickly and see what was on tv. It was the "Ed Sullivan Show" and there were four guys from England singing. They made quite an impression on folks here in the States. They were called "The Beatles".

After that show I began hearing them sing on the radio. My best friend and I each had a transistor radio that we could carry around with us. Just as cool as iPods! We were hooked on The Beatles. We bought records. Remember those? My first album was "Meet the Beatles". We bought everything Beatles. Magazines, collector's cards, lunch boxes, and on and on.

And......the best part was.......my birthday was (is) the same as Paul McCartney's! Yep, June 18.
Like the majority of girls around the world, I was in love! For several years my birthday cake would have written on it: Happy Birthday, Debbie and Paul. My whole family was in on the craze. Here's a page from my "Girl Scout" autograph book.

Another really cool thing was that my parent's opened our home to three British college students for the summer. Charlie, John, and Tony. Charlie is distantly related to my dad. "The boys" brought my second Beatles album. Literally. "The Second Album". The boys visited for two summers in a row and that made me one of the coolest kids around. With all the hype over the Beatles, actually having guys from England living at our house....well......

It does get even better.

We took a family vacation to England, Scotland, and Wales in June 1966. Yay! Beatles country! You notice it was in June. THE birthday month! So, what does deb want for her 11th birthday? We went to Liverpool AND the Cavern Club! Wow, what a birthday treat. And I even got to shake hands with the owner! I was ecstatic. Then we went shopping at a record store in Liverpool. I bought the British release of the album "Rubber Soul". That day ranks high on the memorable birthdays list! So here's the picture of dad and me on the stage of the Cavern Club nearly 41 years ago.

Boy, do I wish I still had all that Beatles stuff. I'd be having a blast with eBay!

Anyway, coincidence has it's weird methods. That's the reason behind this post. About a week ago I became tired of listening to my Max Morath - A Tribute to Bert Williams tape that has been repeatedly playing on my truck tape player. Thought I'd have a big change and pulled out a tape of the Rubber Soul album that Amanda made for me. Then dickiebo commented on his blog about the Beatles and, well, I had more to say than a comment on his blog would tolerate! And, BTW, Amanda likes the Beatles, too. Along with that, we both enjoy the Rolling Stones on occasion. Next she's got to hear the Moody Blues!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Under the Influence

A few days ago dickiebo posted about 5 people who have influenced his life the most. And...he encouraged readers of his blog to do likewise. So, close relatives excluded, here goes.

CORNELIA WOLFE was my 7th and 8th grade English teacher. She was a true teacher. Old school. She was boss and her students were there to learn the subject. She was fair. No favorites. At least not publicly. I hated having to read aloud as I was shy. Never raised my hand and feared being called upon. Yet she always just expected that I would do my share. No options. Then there were the dreaded oral book reports. How I suffered for days beforehand. I gave her excuses of not being prepared. Mrs. Wolfe's answer, "just let me know when you're ready". Well, the only preparation that I lacked was the nerve to get up there in front of the class! Despite the fact that she never let me off the hook, I never did get accustomed to public speaking. She could see that I loved the subject. I was a reader of almost anything (still am). It was Mrs. Wolfe that "gave permission" for me to read Tolkien's trilogy "The Lord of the Rings" when I was only 12 years old. And then watched me struggle to write a report on it that was limited to three hand-written pages! If I hadn't majored in Art, Literature would have been my field of study. Mrs. Wolfe retired the same year that I graduated high school. We stayed in touch until her death just 4 years ago.

BARBARA BALDWIN was mentioned in a previous post here. She died at 93 years old this past May 5th. Barbara was my oil painting instructor for six years. Once a week I would spend 2 hours at her studio. Although I was only 12 years old when we met, and she was 53, she treated me as an equal in maturity. I learned a lot about independent thought from Barbara. I also learned of the open mindedness and reasonable ideas of my parents. Barbara and Gene lived together. Gene was another woman. Some folks questioned whether a twelve year old should be "associating" with "them". Evidently townsfolk had talked and wondered about Barbara and Gene. Pfft. Anyway, Barbara encouraged me to pursue a career in fine arts, but insisted I should get a degree in education. Her advice was sound and I did continue on to teach in the Gloucester (MA) public schools.

A. J. PETERSON and his wife, Vivien, owned an antique store in Dunedin, FL. A. J. was my cheerleader when I decided to become self-employed. It was a scary time for me. I was recently divorced after 15 years of marriage. I hadn't worked "outside the home" for over ten years and I had to find a way to (re)become a wage earner. My ex was paying child support and 3 years of rehabilitative alimony. This amounted to about $900/month on which two of us were to live and was also supposed to cover whatever educational expenses or job training were necessary for me to obtain suitable employment. Well, it wasn't enough to do all that. So...venturing in to self-employment as a piano technician was an option. There were many moments that the thought of not having a regular paycheck reeked havoc with my need for security. A. J. was always there to talk it through with me. He was a big brother to me. I've lost track of A.J. and Vivien. They sold the antique business and moved to England. Vivien's family is all there. Last I heard they were renting part of a manor house. A.J. had just arranged transport for their daughter, Vycki's, horses from the states to England. That was in 2002.

THE SOUTHWEST CHAPTER OF THE PIANO TECHNICIAN'S GUILD had an enormous influence on my life. Never before have I met a group of people that were so welcoming and truly made me feel part of the group. Immediately. Day one. As a group of friendly competitors (yet not "competing"), we met once a month for a business meeting, refreshments, and a technical presentation. It was social and educational. Each member taught me something about being a piano technician and about being in business. Most specifically F.P. F.P. sat next to me that first meeting that I nervously attended and kept making wise-ass comments under his breath. It took me by surprise that he would be so blatantly open to someone he didn't know! I didn't know quite what to think of him! Well, turns out that I have learned more from F.P. than anyone else in piano technology. PLUS, I couldn't dream of a better friendship; one that has continued on for nearly 15 years and survived a few major differences of opinion. I know that I have a true and loyal friend in F.P. as I am to him.

MYSTERY PERSON is my number 5. I thought that I might list someone that had a negative influence on my life but that would be too easy. It would be an excuse for where I am rather than acknowledging that *I* ultimately control my decisions. Therefore position number five is left to be filled at some point in the future.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Stickers and Storms, More Work and Sidetracked

Yep, finally remembered to get down to the town hall for this year's parking and dump stickers. The resident parking sticker is a pretty blue this year. The dump sticker matches in color and is out of camera on the front of the rearview mirror. Jayne's Net Crimes bumper sticker gets center window. Then moving to the right is the Thacher Island sticker and the silly Rockport sticker.

Went out to see the Estey organ with the prospective customers, Mr. and Mrs. P. Here's the one and only photo I managed to take................................................
just seconds before the storms hit! As I was driving in the entrance I got in a quick photo. There was an enormous clap of thunder and then the rain came down in bucketfuls. I could barely see out the truck windows and couldn't get a pic of the "chapel". Anyway, the house is over there on the left and a small addition connects it to the granite "chapel" behind. We did get the organ to play. It has a remote blower in the basement of the addition. We went exploring down there and found it tucked away in a corner. A few hesitant moments later the motor hummed and blew. We left the owner minding the blower, in case things started to smell dangerously hot, and went back up to the organ. Mrs. P plays very well and although it was weak, it sounded very nice. The foot pedals do not work for some reason. I relieved Mrs. Norton in the cellar so that she could go up and hear it being played. It was the first time she had ever heard the organ. Here's a photo of the Estey organ.
And, since the photo is so dark and it's impossible to see the bottom, there's an illustration of the organ from Gellerman's "The American Reed Organ" just below.
It must have been quite a sight as we ran back and forth between the cellar and the chapel in the downpour. The rain refused to let up! Arrangements were made for the "parties" to get in touch and make some decisions about the organ. Privately Mr. P. suggested to me that he would be willing to "donate" some work, keeping the organ in place for Mrs. Norton to enjoy. I think perhaps the thought of trying to remove it is a bit daunting. The instrument would have to be completely taken apart in order to get up a granite stairway and through the door. And yet, as most of us sentimentalists understand, Mr. P. would love to see it working well and being enjoyed in it's original home. An interesting afternoon although I do wish I had gotten those pictures!
The opportunity may still present itself as Mrs.Norton has asked that I get in touch with her about having lunch together sometime.

The melodeon is finished! I emailed the owner/customer yesterday and I'm waiting (not too patiently) to hear back from her. It's a cute little machine that needed piles of work. It had been stored in her grandmother's attic for many years. The roof leaked. Not shown in this photo is the new rosewood veneer that I did on the top (when closed). Also, one pedal rod was missing and the other broken in two, interior linkage was missing, a key mutilated, fabric eaten away, and hinge screws ripped out. The main outward pressure spring inside the reservoir had broken. That was in addition to all the "workings" having to be restored. I should have taken a before picture - the pile of parts.


Finally, some more keywork is coming in! It's been a two week lull. It always seems so strange when that happens. Weeks of frantic work on keys. Five or more sets per week and then all of a sudden, nothing. So the first of three incoming sets arrived today while I was playing at the farm.


Thursday will be a day of a little work and a lot of play. Always the newspapers to deliver and then some prep work on the keys. In the afternoon we are having company. More specifically, my folks are having company, but we will have them on a tour of our "new" place. Later, if dad feels up to it, we'll be heading north to Skip's for dinner. So.......tomorrow I'm being sidetracked!

(Couldn't resist)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Blog Screw Ups and Life

First off....dickiebo left the following comment on my last post.

Good luck with the Sierra Tango! Don't forget to take your camera. Can't get the link to the Obit.

Now...I fixed the obit link, but dickiebo's comment disappeared. More than that, the whole "comment" option and count disappeared from the end of the post. Grrrrrr. I've just gone in circles trying to fix it and it won't fix.

My apologies.

And...at the same time I get an email request to change the time of the Estey meeting by about a half an hour. This is not a favorable omen for the upcoming week.

Tomorrow has suddenly gotten busy. Fold papers, go to town hall with Mom to get new resident stickers (for in town parking) and new dump stickers, call organ owner to update the time change, call prospective owner to confirm change, call newspaper to complain about some non-pay customers, deliver papers, work on melodeon to finish, Amanda to and from work, bank, pay bills, help mom balance her checkbook (for the six month in a row).

Anyway, today was Mother's Day. Relatively quiet. Gave my Mom a card and treated her to lunch at Ellen's. Got a nice card from Amanda and she bought my lunch (and her own). Amanda and I went for a walk by Loop Pond. Here are a couple pics.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Past in Art, More Estey, The Answer

Strange thing happened the other day. I had some spare time (okay that's not the only strange thing) and I decided to do some "googling". I checked out some names from my past. I started with a couple of professors that I had when I attended Massachusetts College of Art. Didn't find too much. A couple exhibits mentioned and my former painting instructor is evidently big into the global warming issue. Anyway, I just kept poking around for a bit. Then I thought of the woman that I had taken painting lessons from yeeeaaars ago. I was twelve years old when I start semi private lessons and stopped when I left for college. She had helped me gain membership to the Haverhill Arts Association. I was the youngest member (traditionally adults only). Her name - Barbara Baldwin. I was surprised at what I found.

She had just died. May 5, 2007. She was 93 years old. There's a nice obit here. Scroll down the page to find her.

It got me looking through my old scrap album from when I used to exhibit. How things change.


I got an email, today, from a couple interested in taking a look at the Estey organ that I went to see just over a week ago. I've arranged to meet them at a local restaurant on Wednesday afternoon. From there they will follow me out to the Norton Farm. I'm looking forward to going back there and hope I can take some pictures as I am driving in. I am also hoping that if I do manage the pictures, that they will illustrate the feeling for the place.

So....yippee for the freebie job on Wednesday. Friday, I tune once again for the Rockport Art Association, and Saturday I'll be heading for Marblehead to remove the upper innards from a Hardman Duo player piano for rebuilding. The melodeon is almost complete and I'll take some pictures of that soon. The biggest hassle in the restoration has been reveneering the top with rosewood and getting it to match the "worn" finish of the rest of the instrument. Thank goodness some big jobs are finishing (pay off) and starting (deposit money)....trying to finish paying my property taxes!


Remember this picture? Well, it isn't circus elephant graves! I do like that answer though.

While I was having dinner at Ellen's Harborside, Dan came in with his sister and sat at the table next to me. We were just catching up on news and the thought came to me to ask him about the mounds. Well.....Dan knows just about everything.....really. He's a very perceptive guy. So, "Hey Dan, I've got a question for you. At the top of Summit Avenue there are these weird stone mounds. What are they?"

And Dan told me.

Want to know?

Are you sure?

Remember, there used to be a hospital, years and years ago.

They are mass graves.

From an influenza epidemic in the late 1800's.

Monday, May 07, 2007


Sorry about the title to this post. Either creativity escapes me or there was just too much to include in one title.


For Dad.
Thursday afternoon I headed to the local Ace Hardware and Smith Lumber. I bought 3 - Pressure Treated (PT) 2X4X8s, 2 - PT 1X6X8s, 1 - PT 4X8X three quarter ply, and 3 - joist hangers. I was home and had everything unloaded by about 3 p.m. Work began on another ramp. This one is (semi) permanent and will allow my dad to get out to the car without having to deal with the stairs. Right now he can manage the ramp with his walker. Later he'll use a wheel chair. I finished the ramp construction that same afternoon and was amazed that my body would move the next morning. 3/4 pressure treated plywood is HEAVY! Here's a picture of dad's ramp.
The section of fencing at the deck end is actually a gate that swings inward. Since this picture was taken, I have also cleaned up the street end of the ramp and gotten rid of the pile of dirt. The ramp is level with the edge of the decking, although in the photo it has the illusion of being "off" a bit.


A Friday treat.
Friday afternoon I had an appointment to look at a large Estey organ. The owner was not interested in having it restored. She wanted it to be removed to a good home. Off I trekked to find the Norton Farm. What a surprise of a place. I drove to Bayview and per my instructions turned on to Brierwood Road, just before the Bayview Fire Station. The road wound up between some new, some old, homes and joined Revere Street where I turned left. Revere Street soon became very sparsely settled and then turned to a one car width, gravel lane. Hmmmm...winding among forest and not a clue where I was yet no way to turn around even if I wanted to. The narrow dirt lane led between two wooden posts. One had a sign saying something about an alarm and the Norton Farm. WOW! The forest opened up to a sunlit acreage that was stunning. A large saltbox style home was to the left of a circular drive and a sturdy barn to the right. As a drove around to park in front of the house, I noticed the granite chapel "addition". Complete with floor to ceiling paned windows on the northeast exposure and tall, narrow stained glass windows on the southeast side.

The Estey was in the chapel, of course! Not really a chapel, just styled as such. Down narrow granite stairs into one large room, complete with massive fireplace, cathedral ceilings, and of course the organ. The room was used for entertaining during the spring and fall only as it is too hot in the summer, and no heat for the winter. The organ would need a lot of work and will have to be taken apart to get it out of the room. I'm looking for a prospective home for it. But what a lovely place hidden in the woods of Dogtown.


A surprise for me!

When I got home from church on Sunday, I heard my neighbor call to me. Barbara, the wife of our retired police chief (coincidence, dickiebo) was heading across her lawn in my direction. She had been out garage/yard sale shopping the day before and found.........................

A chubby Statue of Liberty for me.
I'm always amazed that there are so many different versions. This one reminds me of Friar Tuck as Lady Liberty!

Friday, May 04, 2007

A Surprise

Yay, it's finally time! I can share the surprise.

But first a bit of background so you won't think I'm nuts. (pun intended)

Near the end of last summer, my friend, Jayne decided to take on the challenge of teaching her "resident" chipmunk to eat out of her hand. "Chippy" provided loads of entertainment, was a natural in front of the camera, and........trained quite well. By autumn, Jayne not only had him eating out of her hand, but off her shoulder as well. Photos on her blog joyfully showed her success winning over the newest member of the family.

Here at home, we had Chip and Dale (after the "Rescue Rangers" cartoon) and Shorty. We never took the time to train them to hand feeding, but enjoyed watching their antics and talked a lot of Chippy.

I decided that I would find a chipmunk "something" for Jayne for her birthday. Every store we went in I would look. In all the gift shops in Rockport there was no "Chippy".

The hunt for that perfect chipmunk gift got put aside when Jayne's husband died only three days before her birthday. And even weeks and weeks later I didn't know how she would feel about the Chippy stuff. Her husband had taken so many photos of Chippy with Jayne.

Then.....Jayne beat me to the "Chippy". She sent me a delightful stuffed animal. His name is Chip. I adore him! He watches over me as I sleep from his perch atop the tv in my bedroom.

So the challenge was on to find something for Jayne. I hunted and hunted once again but there was nothing.


The idea came to me.........................

All the photos that Jayne had posted on her blog. And one special one.
You see, I used to be an art teacher, so.......here they are, portraits of Chippy. I sent them to Jayne and she received them today so now I can publicly post them! Three 5X7 pencil sketches.....


"Dining on the Railing"

"The Hand that Feeds"

All sent for Jayne's "half" birthday. Hope she likes her birthday gift.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Wild Life

I've been noticing the increase in wildlife this year. That also has me thinking about the differences between here on Cape Ann and "back home" in Florida. I like Florida wildlife. I don't mean 'gators. We didn't have many of those in our neighborhood! We frequently saw nifty things like possum and armadillo. The possum were naturally curious and would peer in the screen door at night. Sort of startling to see this HUGE, white, ratlike face staring at you with it's pink beady eyes. Armadillo have to be one of the strangest. Just like little, slow moving tanks until they argued with traffic. Armadillo were possibly the most often seen "road-kill".

Then, of course, the birds. My favorite was Eubie, "our" white heron. Eubie was named after Eubie Blake, the famous piano player. That's because every time I had a piano in the workshop that I was playing, Eubie (the bird) would walk right in and listen. He'd stand a bit sideways to me and tilt his head in the direction of the music.

Here's a picture of Eubie standing on the roof rack of my mini-van.

We found out that white herons really enjoy hot dogs! They will walk right in to the kitchen if you let them. We also found out that they will NOT eat giant grasshoppers. Seems that nothing will. Yep, folks, we had grasshoppers sooooo big and sooooo brightly colored that we called them "Nukers". They hatched by the thousands in the garden each June as cute little black hoppers. By July they were as big as a cat and ugly. They were bright green and red and yellow, with just a few spots of black. And guess what? They could even fly a short distance....very short, and okay, they weren't quite as big as a cat, but I challenge you to have the nerve to squish one. They liked to munch on broad-leafed plants like philodendron.

So ......more birds.....our woodpeckers were giants, too. Our street was lined with Washingtonian palms. You can see the better part of one behind Eubie. The woodpeckers loved them. Too much! These trees were about 80 years old and near the end of their life. Woodpeckers would attack them, repeatedly drilling holes around and around the trunk. The next big storm would come along and over the tree would go! Most everyone on the street had planted new palms in anticipation of the demise of the old.

Not all the critters in Florida were big. Squirrels were scrawny compared to their northern counterparts. I guess it's because they don't need insulation from the cold. Here's a picture of the squirrel that comes for breakfast each morning in Rockport. "Squirt" had finished his meal and had decided to put his butt in the dish and relax. In this picture he is watching the sparrows, and Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal, flitting to the bird feeder that is beyond his capabilities to dine from. Eventually he fell asleep with his butt in the dish.

I wish there was a way to have my camera ready and then to be able to take photos while I'm driving. Probably not a good idea, though. In the last week or so I've seen 3 wild turkeys along Nugent Stretch. Two, on separate occasions, ran across the road in front of me, and today, there was a large male turkey walking alongside the road. Yesterday, on my way home from a tuning job near the golf course in East Gloucester, a cute little bunny ran in front of me. Then of course last Fall was the large buck.

Now, all of this wildlife talk is just a preview for my next post. AND.....that post will be about the surprise.