Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happiest of New Years

To all of you.

And here snow and more snow and now it's blowing a moderate gale. I shoveled this morning. I shovel this afternoon while 'A' got herself ready for work. At 2:30 the three of us headed out to take her. Our road was miserable, of course. We got to Main Street and although conditions were not spectacular, they were acceptable enough to make the trip to Stop & Shop. Since the storm would be over (at least the snow part of it) by early evening, picking 'A' up from work at 8 p.m. would be an okay trip.

Back to the trip out...we made it exactly one half block on Main Street and we came to a stop behind a line of vehicles. There were blue flashing lights ahead and some kind of large semi-stationary object in the middle of the road. Oh yeah, the 'horn' had gone off a short while back. Rockport has a horn system for emergencies (ambulance, volunteer fire, school closings, accidents, etc.). I had heard the ambulance horn (3 blasts) and the traffic emergency (1, 4 or 4,1 I can't remember right now). So with only a few options, those being sit there waiting for whatever to get cleared up, turn around and go the long way with many hills and curves, or turn on to Dodd's Lane and go home, we opted for home. 'A' called work and told them sorry, but we can't get there, there seemed to be a major accident.

Before it went dark, I went out and shoveled again. Tomorrow I'll have to re-shovel the back walk and cellar bulkhead and the deck. Then we'll head to our friend's house, the friend vacationing in the Barbados (how unfair this is becoming) and shovel his place out. I'll probably have to do some clean-up shoveling of our two drives because the darn wind has changed direction and everything is drifting back in - only the opposite way.

Now, tonight is Rockport's New Year's Eve celebration. Lots of music and whatnot at over a dozen locations in town, including one venue that is in a tent in the town parking lot. HAH. It's blowing a gale outside and temperatures are dropping. Quickly. Should be around 9°F by midnight with a windchill of -7°F or below. Needless to say. Well, it's needless but here goes.

I won't be there.

This is the first time I haven't attended in 7 New Years. Oh well, it's really not much fun when you have to freeze alone amid hundreds of people, ya know. So I'll cozy up with my latest reading, maybe until midnight if I can stay awake. I listen to the wind howl from the warmth of my bed.

May you all have a wonderful, peaceful, and prosperous 2009.

(picture is of our garden shed - hibernating!)

How Stupid Can They Be?

No surprise it's snowing. No surprise 'A' is supposed to be at work at 3 p.m., during the height of the storm, of course. By that time winds should be gusting to around 55 mph blowing the accumulated 5 - 6 inches of snow.

And I suppose it should be no surprise that the DPW, in their vast amount of wisdom, sent a sand/salt truck down our street spewing it's mixture on top of 2 inches of snow. No more than 5 minutes later followed by the plow, which neatly removed all that sand/salt to the edge of the road.

So much for watching the budget. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Short Odd Ends

Butterfly puzzle

As I've been cruising around reading various blogs over the past few weeks, I decided to make note of some of the more interesting word verification words. As advance fun, I suggest we come up with creative definitions for some of these 'words'. They are: Mushwore, Arbish, Papteded, Artigi, Anonise, Fractat, Whersup, Blevano, Plaucin, Euphish, Mallata, and Hecte.

May I start with: Mushwore - a fungal disease, Artigi - a really super South Pacific island, Anonise - speaking anonymously, Whersup - similar to whassup? but location specific, Plaucin - little known French Impressionist.

Interestingly, Mallata and Hecte didn't set off the spell check.

'A' and I headed for Bed, Bath, and Beyond today to exchange a blanket for my mom. We had mistakenly bought her a down blanket when she had wanted a down alternative blanket. Don't know what the alternative is but it says it's in there. Anyway, we had a Rock & Roll journey. The round trip included old favorites such as Louie, Louie and Wild Thing. Then Chuck Berry performing Sweet Little Sixteen, Roll Over Beethoven, Reelin' and Rockin', Mabelline, Johnny B. Goode, and School Day (?), among a lot of others.

Picked up my last check at Tuck's. A measly 3.5 hours. Used my Christmas bonus...$25 of 'Tuck's Bucks' and bought another 1000 piece puzzle, some envelopes and a card. The puzzle is of a floral filled cat tapestry. It will be the last puzzle before I start on income taxes for us all. I need the table!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Latest Reading

A few nights ago, I finished reading The Shack. I'm almost at a loss for words on this one. Really not my type of story, yet obviously it held my interest. I did finish it. The tale starts out quite everyday-ish and then quickly progresses in to a very personal spiritual journey. Yet this is fiction. The main character, Mack, meets up with Papa (God as a black woman), his/her son Jesus (Mack relates to him the easiest), and Sarayu (holy ghost/spirit) who then work to enlighten Mack while showing him that his grief and guilt can be overcome. That weekend spent at the shack with the Trinity comprises the bulk of the story. It has some cute commentary as Mack tries to relate to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The ending is predictable with a slight twist.

Not a favorite as casual reading. Do I recommend it? I don't know. I guess the best thing you can do is check out the website if you're curious (click on the picture of the book in the sidebar). Decide for yourself.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Just Wondering

How come there are three partially used rolls of toilet paper in our bathroom? And not one of them is on the holder! Count 'em. One on the edge of the tub (the largest-papa bear), one balancing on the holder (mama bear), one on the back of the toilet (baby bear).

Yeah, I'm tired. I think I'll go read. I finished The Shack, now I'm reading Water for Elephants. Reports someday. Night night.

Trudging to the New Year

It just has to be a better one, doesn't it?

We got through today. It didn't look promising to begin with, but time moves on. I've got a set of keys just about finished. Wait a minute.

Make that finished.

I worked on them this morning, took 'A' to work for 12:30. Came home and had a quick bite for lunch and then headed out to my 1:30 tuning. Stopped in Gloucester to put gas in the truck. Thank goodness prices are lower. Unfortunately, I was cash poor and had to spend a ten from my Christmas money. At least it bought me what a twenty would have not so long ago.

Arrived at Mrs. Artsylady's house after surviving the attempts on my life by three drivers who each decided to ignore that I was on the road. Mrs. Artsylady lives in a modest home filled with original paintings and sculptures and boasts a spectacular ocean view. The beast was waiting for me. The piano, not Mrs. Artsylady! The beast is a three year old Steinway Model K. There is absolutely no good way to approach it other than several times over! Nothing stays where you try to put it, at least not on the first try. There are some areas requiring massive compromises, distracting overtones, and to add to the misery a mute rail to get out of the way. But Mrs. Artsylady is nice and quiet and stays out of the way, so I can curse at the beast under my breath and get the job done. Takes some extra time, that beast.

I got back home slightly after three and that's when I finished up the key work. Once that was done, I heated up some leftovers for dinner for mom and myself. Cleaned up and headed out the door to pick up 'A' at work.

Another day gone. And a Friday. It always seems like Friday. Tomorrow I'll call and tell the other tech that his keys are finished. Hopefully he'll arrange to pick them up on Monday. More money in the bank! Yippee, the IRS will be wanting it's cut come the new year.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Now That All Is Said and Done

I might just skip over Christmas next year. Well, I guess I mean no big to-do. Why, you may wonder? Well, it seems to have fallen upon my shoulders to make sure everything about the day (and the eve) happen as the other two in the house think it should. This year shopping was a nightmare with limited lists and mom's jumping the gun on everyone else leaving not much left, list-wise, to buy. New lists were created and my daughter, 'A', and I finished shopping in plenty of time... for mom to decide that she wasn't thrilled with her purchases and wasn't there anything else we wanted. And then.........

She got ill.

It started with a backache that physical therapy didn't help (she claims). There was no convincing her that when you exercise muscles that you don't normally use, they are going to ache. Oh well. She scheduled her self for some cortisone injections.

Then her brother died and that spiraled everything down hill. I do empathize. Really, I do. But I have a low tolerance for the constant loud sighs and juvenile behavior that accompanies her 'illness'. She says she needs someone to take care of her. Her doc put her on some medication that evidently caused dizziness. Now she's trying another type and is not much better. I did get her up to the pain management clinic in Newburyport for her shots on Thursday. She was fine that day. Anyway, over the past nearly two weeks she had me leave work early to take her to the doctor (they said she was fine) and then take the day off this past Monday because she felt dizzy and pretty much stayed in bed for the day. She says she's trying. I'm sure Tuck's wasn't happy about being a clerk short on the Monday, three days before Christmas, after a three day weekend storm. My bank account isn't happy, either.

Christmas Eve rolled around and the gifts went under the tree.It's my job to arrange them and then play Santa in the morning. This year two of our normal guests went away for three weeks to cruise the Barbados (yes, oh please, I want that!) They stopped by last week, before they left, and regifted some Jelly Bellies. We are in charge of taking care of their house. The mail and such. Yesterday I had to shovel out the three day's worth of snowfall at their house. Oh MY back! My mom called her friend (our other usual Christmas dinner guest) and canceled with her. Still, I did have a special Christmas dinner to execute for just the three of us. Last year I had promised 'A' that I would make Cito's Special this year and she has patiently waited. It's an all day ordeal that I did get finished yesterday amid the errands, banking, getting 'A' to work and back, shoveling, and working on piano keys. Today I finished the topping while 'A' peeled carrots and potatoes. Thank goodness that 'A' found it within herself to pitch in and help out. She hates cooking from scratch!

Now all is done and cleaned up but the leftovers. Mom is resting on the sofa (last I checked) reading a book. 'A' and I worked on a new jigsaw puzzle for a little while. Mom's canceled guest stopped by with some home-baked cookies. We have an entire pecan pie to eat, too! Tomorrow the world goes back to normal (or semi, considering the mall madness that will probably be occurring without us). 'A' will be back at work and I've got a tuning job. I'm hoping mom will feel a little better tomorrow. I keep hoping. Spring is usually the only cure and that's way too far away.

(afterword - I don't mean to complain 'bout mom so much. She's never had to manage on her own...ever. Seems like all I've done for my adult life is manage on my own. I'm tired.)

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Letter...

lifted directly from Letter to the editor of the GDT.

Dear government Santa: Where's my bailout?

Dear United States government,
Where's my bailout money?
Normally this time of year I would write a letter to Santa for things that I want under my Christmas tree, but, for things such as this, Santa actually holds more accountability than you do. Let's see, I think about $20 million will do. I figure you wouldn't miss that amount of money out of the more than $1 trillion that you will give away.

Since I have to tell Santa how I was good this year in order to get presents, I thought I would do the same to you. I haven't given out any shady mortgages to people who can't afford them and have bad credit history and have forged paperwork like the big mortgage lending companies did. I haven't run a bad business model such as The Big Three auto makers have, where the unions have outrageous benefits packages where the auto makers are forced to pay benefits and pensions to generations of retired workers.

I also figure that I will spend the money much more wisely than the hundreds of billions that will eventually be unaccounted for when that money is eventually used for corporate bonuses and kickback scandals. I figure an honest, hardworking taxpayer such as myself, who followed all the banking rules when I bought my house that I could afford, deserves a reward from my government instead of those who broke the law and lived beyond their means.

I also think that money you give me will be more wisely spent on the local economy, thus expanding the economy of the North Shore and Cape Ann. I'll tell you what, I'll actually give you the receipts of what I bought with my bailout money-this will automatically give me more accountability than The Big Three auto makers, Freddie Mac or AIG.

This American government has taught me well. If you break the law, squander money and follow bad business models, the American taxpayers will just give you their money. It's that easy. So if you could take just another few more million dollars of their hard-earned money and just give it to me this Christmas, I promise they won't notice.

One last thing, can you lower my mortgage rate as well-just like you are doing for all the others who paid a lower rate than me when they were paying a subprime rate? Now their rate is higher than mine and your(sic) bailing them out by lowering their rates and putting off their foreclosures?

As they say, I'll be waiting for the check in the mail under my tree. Merry Christmas to you, United States government!


Sunday, December 21, 2008

First Day of Winter

Okay, I've had enough winter weather. We had the big snowfall of Friday. It managed to drag itself into Saturday. It never really stopped snowing although it did lighten up. We had a one hour break this morning and then it was at it again. This time, after dumping 5 inches, it changed to rain and then sleet. I got absolutely drenched through shoveling the snow and slush before it all froze in place. Temperatures have dropped from the mid 30s to the teens. The wind is howling from the west this time. All the slush and snow left on the ground has frozen solid. The town hasn't done much of a job with plowing. The worst job I've seen in the seven winters I've been back (at least in our neighborhood). No salt or even sand on our street yet. My body aches all over from three days of snow removal...and oh yeah, I walked to work and back home today.

How many more days until Spring? Somewhere around 90? sigh

Friday, December 19, 2008

Winter Adventure

that I could have lived without....

There was no getting around the fact the we were to get 8 to 12 inches of snow today. Not one of my better days! Before I left for my morning tuning, 'A' had a call from her job asking if she could come in earlier than scheduled. 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. ( instead of 3 - 8). I liked this a lot more than the anticipated 8 p.m. drive in the snow covered world to pick her up. The snow was due to begin at 2 p.m. and continue through the night. The heaviest to be about 3 - 9 p.m. in our area.

On cue the snow started at 2 p.m. (well, a few minutes before) and got a bit heavier by three. I decided that I wanted to make my first snow sojourn in mom's new car in the daylight. Just a few minutes before 4 p.m. I bundled up and headed out to clear off her car. She has 4 wheel drive on demand. Much better than my little truck, even with it's extra 300 pounds over the rear axle. Mom rode along to keep me company (and shriek inappropriately just to try my patience). We made slow but steady progress to Stop & Shop using 'the long way 'round' to the traffic light rather than venture down the steep incline of Barn Lane. The roads were hardly plowed leaving a few packed inches of hard, icy stuff on top of the pavement and even with the 'on demand', corners and hills (and corners and hills together) required evenly tempered driving. We were parked in the partially plowed lot by 4:20, a mere 15 minutes longer than usual for the drive!

Mom and I went in to let 'A' know we had arrived and to pick up a couple items. A half hour wait sitting on the bench inside the store and then it was time to pack it up, steady the nerves, and head home.

The wind was howling. The car windshield had iced up. I ran around scraping and then got the defroster running to clear the rest of the window. We were off at a whopping 20 mph! The state plow trucks were lined up in their usual positions at 'the light' in Gloucester. We cleared them and took the turn on to Eastern Avenue. So far so good! As we approached the slight hill and curve nearing the 'other' supermarket, we caught up with a small pick up truck. I kept a good distance behind him as he fishtailed his way up the slight incline. Oh, how I hoped he wasn't going too far. How on earth would he ever make it up Great Hill? I was figuring even we would have to have a little running start and that's not easy due to the curve at the bottom.

He inched and swerved along at 10 mph. I kept about 4 car length's behind him. As we entered an area of road called Nugent Stretch, Mr. Pick Up lost his bearings and ran off the road. It was impossible to determine the actual edge and he got caught in a large rutted area just off the pavement. It all looked the same snowy whiteness! (note: When driving in these conditions, I try to aim for as close to mid road as possible. When there is oncoming traffic I stay just far enough in my lane to miss them but not get myself too far to the edge) I let our car slow without making any abrupt movements and by the time I caught up with him, he was back on snow covered pavement. His near disaster must have rattled him. We were now creeping along at 5 mph! I returned to my hanging back position. There was a line of several cars behind me. The car immediately to my rear got fed up and passed me and Mr. Pick Up. In the snow filled haze ahead we could see the glow of oncoming headlights. I can only imagine what that driver must have been wondering, seeing lights coming head-on! Thankfully, there was just enough time and distance for Mr. Inahurry to get back in his lane. Mr Pick Up inched along. I thought certainly he would try to gradually gain a little speed for the upcoming Great Hill. When it became evident he wasn't going to run for it, I held way back to give myself running room before catching up with him. Up ahead I could see him start the long hill. Just before my turn at Great Hill, I inched my speed up to 15 mph. Our car was going along nicely. No swerving, no spinning tires, just a gently controlled climb. Mr Pick Up's taillights appeared a car length in front of us. He was still struggling along at minimal speed. Way too slow for the hill left ahead of him. He tried giving the truck more gas and only succeeded in massively fishtailing the rear of his truck. He appeared to over-steer and promptly found himself off the edge of the road once again. We were gaining on him and I had to ease off the gas pedal. I didn't want to have to stop. We'd never get going again! Fortunately, by the time we neared Mr. Pick Up he had skidded to a safe stop, mostly off the road. There was a line of traffic coming down the hill from the opposite direction. I held my breath that the lead truck in that line had his vehicle well in control and continued up through the narrow lane left behind Mr. Pick Up. As I crested Great Hill I knew there was only one bad spot left. The curve on the descent. As I shifted in to a lower gear, I checked my rearview mirror. I'd picked up another tailgater. Why are people so stupid?

We negotiated the decline and I gave Mr. Tailgater plenty of notice with my directional that I was going to be slowing down to make a left turn. If there were oncoming traffic, I'd have to stop. I hoped he was paying attention. We came upon our street and there were no oncoming headlights showing so I eased myself towards the center of the road so that if Mr. Tailgater couldn't stop or slow down, he could get by me rather than rear end me! Our road hadn't been plowed but the drifting snow had made it's own lane down the center of the street. No problems with that.

Pulling in to our driveway never felt so good.

The wind continues to howl like a high-speed train past our house, the snow continues to fly. The shoveling shall wait until morning.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy Holidays

A Christmas gift for all of you.

A do it yourself baking project!

Tea Scones

Sift together 1.25 cups flour, 1.25 teaspoons baking powder, and a pinch of salt.

Combine .25 lb of margarine and 2 Tablespoons sugar, rub in to flour mixture.
Mix together 1 egg and .50 cups of milk. Add to flour mixture.
Dough should be light and not sticky (lightly floured). Shape in to scone and place on cookie sheet. Bake at 375°F for 10 - 15 minutes.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


It shaping up to be a nasty week, yet in the midst of it all work has picked up. I can't enjoy it though. Because of the rest. On Monday at work, I got at call from my mom. She wasn't feeling well and wanted me to take her to the doctor. She had canceled her appointment with the back specialist - another problem she/we are dealing with - sort of. Anyway, I got out of work, juggled picking 'A' up from her work during the doctor visit, got mom home, went back to work. All in all I missed 2.5 hours! Doctor couldn't find anything wrong. She has rescheduled her back doctor for Thursday and I'll have to drive her there. That'll do in an entire morning!

As I said, work has picked up. I had a set of keys arrive on Saturday from New Orleans. I worked extra long hours and they will get shipped back tomorrow. I had two jobs today. One was a minor adjustment and some troubleshooting. No charge as this is a good customer. The other was one of 'my' church pianos. I do those as tithe. A new customer tuning tomorrow. That's in the morning. A meeting at Friendly's in the mid-afternoon to pick up a set of keys for a big job. Another tuning booked for Friday morning when we are to have a big snowstorm. I guess we're due. We got nothing of the mess of ice storm that the rest of northern New England had last week. At least the tuning is nearby. I could walk to it if the driving were to be too treacherous.

I've forgotten to mention Saturday's holiday fair. I didn't make much money, but at least I didn't lose any on the table rental. Five necklaces and one package of notecards sold. I'd do it there again. People are starting to remember I've been doing them and that helps the word-of-mouth business. Several people said that either I should be an exhibiting member of the art association or have a gallery in town. I'll admit to enjoying the ego boost! Guess that was worth the small profit.

But the worst of the week. Today my uncle died. Yes, he was 92. I'm pretty sure he was ready. The rest of us not so much. He'll be buried at the Bourne National Cemetery. He'll join my aunt. My dad is there, as well. I guess we won't be at the funeral. We should be. Mom's back pain and her illness are the major reasons we won't be there.

I hope tomorrow is a better day.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Dear Santa,

This Christmas I want work. I'll take it as an early gift and please continue it in to next year. I have worked extra diligently this year. I've kept busy with the piano business and I started a part time art business. I even took on a two day per week retail job. The piano business had it's normal earnings months and it had some exceptional months over the past year. The 'art' and retail jobs were just to supplement my income because so much more money was being used up for everyday expenses. Particularly food and fuel. Those two items ate up nearly everything that normally I could have saved. In June, my mom took us on a three day vacation to the mountains. The only extra money I spent was for eating out while we were there. This year has been tight. Just as there seemed to be a slight improvement with gasoline prices dropping, business also fell off. I checked my books from last December to discover a 79% decrease in business December, this year. I have four days of work left at Tuck's and one small crafts fair.

Please bring work, Santa.


Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Today was a catch up on stuff day. I was supposed to work at Tuck's but snow (yes, that nasty white stuff) was falling this morning and I got a phone call telling me I wouldn't be needed. Things were sssssssllllllooooooowwwwwwww. So I actually took care of all (well almost all) the paperwork that's been hanging around. I found a long ago put away item that a co-worker would like to have (I'll take it in to work Sunday). I went to the bank and the library after taking 'A' to work. At the library, I picked up three books out of the 'Buck-a-Book' selection. All three are books that I had considered paying full price for over the past half year but had talked myself out of the purchases. At $1.00 each, I'll splurge. Oh, the books are: The Shack by William P. Young, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, and Loving Frank by Nancy Horan. I don't know which I'll begin with yet. All three are New York Times best sellers.

While I was in town I decided to take myself for a walk on Bearskin Neck. I was one of maybe six people out there! It was getting late and it was rather nippy. What I didn't like seeing were so many for sale and for rent signs. One window had a 'Closing After 28 Years' sign.

I had parked on T-Wharf and at the time I'd noticed a few odd looking trailers parked on High Street, next to 'my' church. I drove home up Broadway and discovered 'Hatteras Hotel' was filming at our old police station. I went home and grabbed my camera and headed back to the town parking lot (just for you picture loving readers).So here they are setting up at the old police station. Adjoining is our central fire station. An interesting point is that our new police station is being utilized in the movie to depict a large metropolitan station and our old to depict a station that would be in keeping with a town our size. Uh huh.

And it quit snowing by noontime. Slightly warmer temps have just about erased all evidence!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

So Snow...

didn't stop the shoppers. It was pretty busy at work.

Looked out my livingroom door this morning to this...looked out from behind the counter at Tuck's Candy Factory at this...our town tree still looked pretty, even if it was snowing.
First snow of the season. I hate snow. Yes, it looks pretty in it's own way. I would be okay with it as long as it could be 80°F while it does it. And no landing on streets or walks. Or vehicles. I had to scrape icy stuff off the windows of my truck before I could leave for home this evening. Cold, blustery and dark on T-Wharf. No gloves (stupid omission this morning).

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Christmas Grump

Don't know what it is about this time of year. Maybe it started years ago with the "be good, Santa's watching" ploy of most parents, maybe it's been amplified by living in the cold of a northern winter when sun and warmth are desired. Maybe it's not having a dad around. Whatever it is, 'A' is an absolutely grumpy and snitty person by the time November rolls around. Seems like it's been every year though I'm sure when she was much younger things were different. There's no getting around it. Confrontation is useless, humor not appreciated. Ignoring solves nothing. Nothing solves anything. It sort of makes it contagious. I used to love the holidays and could hohoho spirit even 'A' merrily along.

Not so much anymore and it makes me grumpier than I'd like. Not that I like being grumpy at all, but being cynical does sometimes cross over. Anyway.............

Today was supposed to be a fun day off. Whatever was I thinking????? 'Tis the season.

The three girls were to travel around checking out a few holiday fairs. 'A' took her sweet time rousing herself this morning. Stalled breakfast. Moped around a bit and then declared she wasn't going.

Fine. As mom and I headed towards the door I heard 'A' comment, "I'll get ready now."
Tough luck, we're ready to go, you are too late, see ya.

Mean, you think? Well, we've been this route for many a year. Doesn't set well with this mom. Will she ever learn? Doubtful.

So mom and I looked at two holiday fairs. The first was too small, out of the way, and not well advertised. The second was too far away and humongous-ly too large! No, I'm really not exaggerating. An entire elementary school crammed full. The cafeteria, two gyms, five classrooms, the library, and eight hallways. Overkill. (yeah, more holiday grump)

When we got home around noon, 'A' cruised downstairs to get some lunch. Still sullen. I reminded her that we needed a trip to the library and asked what time she thought she could be ready. See that cynicism creeping in don't you? Since she thought that 4 p.m. would be a good time, I used MY time wisely tuning my piano (desperately needed) and repairing a drawer glide that had broken in my mom's kitchen. I made a business call to New Orleans and there will be another set of keys arriving the end of the week. 'A' made her appearance at the designated time and I seized the opportunity of her actually DOING SOMETHING by making the library trip a bit more interesting. Sneaky.

This afternoon was the tree lighting ceremony in town. First, at 3:45, Santa arrives on a lobster boat at T-Wharf. He walks, encompassed in a slowly moving mass of children and parents, to Dock Square where there is some fanfare and then the tree is lit for the first time at 4 p.m.. Carols are then sung. So.......since 'A' wanted to buy a newspaper, I suggested that we simply walk, from the library to Tuck's Main Street store, to purchase it. Yay, fresh air and holiday spirit rubbed off just a little. Town was packed like a summer's day. Tuck's was packed like two summer's days! Not a newspaper to be had. Well, drat. Guess that means we'll have to walk to the Rockport Market via Dock Square (wink).Through throngs of people we could see our town's tree all lit up. Traffic had been blocked for the ceremony and we could waltz down the middle of Main Street.Tuck's Candy Factory was swarming with shoppers and as we walked by the window looking in at the crowd, I was very glad that I wasn't working! We walked up Broadway behind a young family. A little girl about 5 years old was skipping along swaying a blinking, butterfly adorned wand in her hand. I teased 'A' that she should have one (she loves butterflies). 'A' actually giggled. Our moods were lighter. Rockport Market had a pile of newspapers still on the shelf and we bought ours and headed home. Once back home the lightness faded and Ms. Grump returned. Oh, to survive the holidays!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Sorting and Stuff

I was trying to sort through the mass of papers and whatnot that have accumulated near my computer. Photos, articles, diagrams, email addresses, notes about things to check out someday when I have time and never seem to. Check out or have time. I think this is about the fourth time this particular batch of stuff has been sorted, then stacked without getting semi-permanently filed or stored. At least I threw away a pile of stuff. It would help if I had a real office rather than a corner!

I did take the time to scan and enlarge a postcard that I have been hanging on to for years. It's a picture of Rockport harbor and it looked to have the Minoan in the foreground. That's the reason I've been hanging on to it. I think I even moved it with me from Florida. Anyway, today I discovered that it isn't the Minoan.

I also found two photos of my dad and me installing my living room window. It's the last BIG project that we worked on together.I miss having a project 'buddy'.

I did find the photos I took of the last lot of ivory necklaces for the year. One really nice one is missing. A co-worker at Tuck's bought it the other day, before the photo session!

I went to that tuning today armed with my new #1 tuning tip. I expected it would feel sooo much better on the small pins than my #2 had. Not really, maybe a little, I don't know. I think the pins have become rather rounded off at the top. At least the majority of them. This piano is a 4 foot or less Murdoch grand built in London. Early 20th century, I'm guessing. It needs more help than it will ever receive. Before I even started I had to tighten the lyre bolts. Screech, squeak, squeak, screech as I prepped for tuning. Started tuning without the sound effects but then they started once again. Hmmmmmm, checked the leg bolts. ALL of them were VERY loose! Yikes! Tightened those in a hurry. Tuned, did some minor adjusting to the old Herrburger Brooks action (no reps.) and called it as good as it gets. Came back home and worked on keys.

Saturday should be mostly a fun day. We're going to cruise around checking out some holiday fairs. You never know what I may want to participate in next year.

Sunday, of course, I'll be manning (or womanning) Tuck's Candy Factory by myself AND it's supposed to snow. (I'll take my camera to town with me) Gee, do you think it will be a busy day? Monday and Tuesday (snow again maybe) I'm at the Main St. store.

Then there's still all the sorting that needs to be done. It never ends.

And while I'm thinking of it...

To Do List for Winter 2009...
-finish chapel organ to sell when economy gets better
-finish my player piano
-finish the flooring for my mom (just a small closet left to Pergo)
-create back stock of necklaces for next year's sales
-build a display backdrop
I'm sure there's more but that's a start.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Some Today, Some Tomorrow?

So yay, almost all of my Christmas shopping is complete. One small gift for mom to go. I even got most of the packages wrapped, leaving the bows for later.

Christmas cards are ready to stamp and mail.

Two boxes arrived today. Late in the day, but here, nevertheless. One box had the tuning tip needed for Friday's tuning job. The other box is the set of keys that were expected.

Still no fall clean-up guy and since the key job hadn't arrived I decided to get some of the raking done myself. Less to pay the guy if he ever shows up. I hate raking leaves. I had already made a huge pile of them a week or so ago and covered the entire pile with a big blue tarp to keep them from redistributing themselves during windy days. 20 large, lawn and leaf bags later and the pile is gone. I ache tonight. All over. Head to foot. Did I mention that I hate raking leaves? Well, I hate bagging them even more. Tomorrow morning I'll work on the keys and when they reach the 'have to wait for glue to dry' stage, I'll go back to............

raking leaves.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Yesterdays, Today, Tomorrow Days

So Saturday totally threw off my day calculating. I'm off a day because I worked at Tuck's an extra day, Saturday. I spent from 10 in the morning until 4:30 in the afternoon wrapping candy canes and ribbon candy in long cellophane sleeves and little satin sticks in cellophane bags. I estimated about 400 candy canes, 30 lbs of ribbon candy and 30 lbs of satin sticks! Believe it or not, it was fun. I got to watch all the crowds come through the factory to watch the candy cane making and ribbon candy making demonstrations and I didn't have to wait on one person!

Sunday I worked by myself at the retail side of the candy factory. It was a calm day. Just enough business that it wasn't too boring and quiet enough that there was time to rest.

Monday I worked at the 'Main' store, retail again.

I really felt the extra day in my shoulders and feet (and brain). Another three day stint next week. Sunday solo at the factory, Monday and Tuesday main store. 'Tis the season.

I finished a dozen more necklaces and redesigned some displays and signage. I'm now a member, albeit a contributing member, of the Rockport Art Association and I needed to include that information in some of the handouts and on my 'Meet the Artist' placard.

A set of keys was due to arrive early this week. Monday came and went. I thought for sure that they would arrive today. I got home after dark (Christmas shopping) and found a large box at my door. It was HEAVY and I could barely maneuver it in through the door. What on earth kind of keys were these, I wondered? I looked at the label to find that the box belonged to the "other number 5". I gave them a call to come retrieve the box, which they did using a wheeled luggage carrier. No keys. Maybe tomorrow.

The fall clean-up guys were supposed to come on Monday. Tuesday if Monday's weather was bad. Hah. Maybe tomorrow?

Christmas shopping should be done. Except.......two little things for mom that I just can't seem to find. And now a return trip to Target because I bought the wrong DVD for 'A'. She wanted WS (widescreen) and I mistakenly bought FS (full screen). I had a brain glitch. I knew she wanted WS. Just what I need in the morning, hauling back to the mall.

On Thanksgiving Eve I had a phone call for a tuning job. A repeat customer with a teeny, old, grand piano they brought from England with them. Brain glitch again. I scheduled the tuning for this Friday, KNOWING that I had never ordered the #1 star tip for my tuning lever that I really DO need to make the tuning job easier and the tuning more stable. (This piano has smaller sized tuning pins than the 'norm'). No problem I thought, I'll place an order by phone, on Friday.

Big problem. Supplier was closed the extra day because of the Thanksgiving holiday. So I called first thing Monday morning and I'm having to pay out extra for 2 day shipping just to be sure I have that #1 tuning tip by Thursday. (I'm building in a buffer day for the order actually getting filled and shipped).

Who knows what tomorrow will bring. Or not.