Monday, April 30, 2012

A Seedling Update or...

 Jack is planning a visit!  Jack, of beanstalk fame.

Tomorrow the seedlings will be taken out from under the grow light and brought to a sunny window.  The grow light encourages legginess.  The window will help them fill out.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

When Free Really Means...


I decided about one year ago that when I needed to renew my driver's license I would break down and get real glasses.  The last time I saw an eye doctor, about 15 years ago, he said I could manage well with over-the-counter readers.  And I did.  Except for the last year or so my readers have become permanently attached to my awake face and I've bought new glasses just for reading.  This becomes extremely annoying for someone like me who likes to read and watch television at the same time.  When I read during ads I have to switch glasses.  Back and forth, back and forth.  How many times are there ad segments during a one hour show?

Well anyway, you get the idea.

I knew it was time for............

Bifocals.  Yep, finally.  So, my health insurance member's booklet says that if I go to one of 'their' places, my exam is free, my lenses are free, and if I pick from the correct frame group, the frames are free!  What's there to argue about with that!

I finally set up an appointment.  Mom and A went along because they wanted to help me pick the frames.  The exam was kinda fun and the doc was pretty nice.  She made some recommendations about lens types and commented that my two 'readers' were correct for magnification (no surprise).  She wrote the 'script' and sent me on to the frame folks.

That's where I got the bad news.  Free isn't really free.  You see, the wording in the member's booklet was correct BUT... the UV coating that ALL the lenses have is actually an extra, not covered charge.  The same with BETTER, HARDER scratch resistant coating.  Then, of course, they recommended the damage warranty (add $29.99) covering one year.  Oh, and that free frame selection?  Well, the insurance covers up to $80, so if I happened to like one of those half dozen they'd be free.  Otherwise..............

Amazingly, I chose frames that were only $79.99.  I didn't look any further than the grouping that seemed to range in price from $79.99 - $169.99.  I set a top limit of $99.99 and still liked the lesser priced ones the best.  The main thing was that they fit.  Very well.  And didn't look weird on me.  Here's a picture from the store's online site.  The site says these are THE frames.  Close enough, although these look brown and mine are black.
Image from LensCrafter web site

Oh yeah, they advertise glasses in about an hour.  For me?  Of course not...special order.  I've got to wait about 10 days.  They'll call.


On to another subject.

We started some veggie seeds about a month ago.  I start them under a grow light and transplant the seedlings mid-May.  The seedlings pictured below were started in special veggie starter soil.  They didn't like it so I transplanted into good potting soil.  Most of them perked up a bit, but several aren't happy.  The green beans died a slow and pitiful death.
The first batch - a couple cukes, a couple pumpkins and a few tomatoes have survived

On the other hand (and just in case the first, unhappy batch withered and died), I planted more seeds (in potting soil) shown in the picture below.  These are under the grow light and from the time I took this picture yesterday to today they have grown leaps and bounds.  Really.  The bean plants (bottom right) are about 4 inches tall now and the cukes and tomatoes aren't far behind!  They look so much healthier than batch one.
The second batch are all now over 3 inches tall!

We're hoping for a good crop of tomatoes, cucumbers, and green beans.  And maybe a couple pumpkins for fun.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Well, the first thing is trying out the 'new' Blogger.  Not thinking that I like it much, but like most other changes it will become routine after a while.

This week, or so, has been/will be birthday week.  Mom's came first this past Tuesday and A's will be this coming Tuesday.  As normal, and to avoid too much baking and eating out, we combined the two, celebrating on Thursday with a trip to Skip's (they had opened for the season on Wednesday).  We came home for presents and cake. Thursday was the only evening available in A's schedule.  She had an extra load of hours at work this week.  39 hours when she's supposed to be part time.  Her boss claims it was because of another clerk being on vacation.  Weird that everyone else only had between 15 - 20 hours though.
Our view from our car.  The parking lot was near capacity.
Our timing for Skip's was good, arriving before it got too busy.  As you might notice by the picture, by the time we were nearly ready to leave, the line was out the door.  I'll add that the line started inside, to the far right, about where it says Skip's.  Tradition dictates that we eat in the car.  The weather was beautiful.  In the mid 70's.

Which does bring today's weather to mind.  It's now in the mid 40's...and raining.  It's going to rain tomorrow, as well.  A real Nor'easter, they claim.  We do need the rain.  We're somewhere in the neighborhood of 7 - 8 inches shy of norm this year.  Beats getting a late season snow like upstate New York and western Pennsylvania (hi Norma!).  The bad weather has brought a halt to a search for a little girl missing from Long Beach since Thursday noon.  A tragic story that can be best read through the Gloucester newspaper.

It's been a bit over a week since I got a copy of the book that's new in my sidebar.  Mark Carlotto had written "The Dogtown Guide".  "The Island Woods" is his newest book.  Guess who got an acknowledgement?  Guess who also wrote a 'blurb' for the back cover?  Did you guess?  Did ya?  Yep, me!  And you can bet I got my copy autographed by Mark. Why my presence?  Well, through the historic society I was able to read the proof of the book.  When I emailed Mark with some comments (mostly praise), he asked if I would contribute the back cover blurb.  I had no idea that my comment about an additional D.T. Sq. boulder would earn me the acknowledgement.  I'm very pleased.

In other news...things are looking pretty favorable for a contract on a Mason & Hamlin reed organ rebuild for a Boston church.  Tomorrow I will be pricing out some movers for them and sending along the contract for the work.  Fingers crossed.

This morning, as I looked out my kitchen window, sipping the first of my coffee, I spotted this rather large bunny hopping down the front walk.  He (or she, I guess) sat at the end of the walk for a couple minutes looking around before hopping on into my mother's front garden.
Bart the bunny
Indoors, we started our vegetable seeds a few weeks ago.  Tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans and pumpkins. It's been about a 50/50 success rate and I've planted more seeds...just in case.  We've been carrying the tray of seedlings outdoors on sunny warm days and they do look better for it.  At worst, the garden will be mediocre.  At best, we will also have a second crop later in the summer. 

I'm still working on my web site.  I wrote the text and R is doing the editing.  I've accumulated a few more pictures and I've picked a template on a web hosting site.  As soon as a large, uninterrupted block of time is available I'll be getting it done.  Yay!

Today was the day to take artwork out of the Rockport Art Association Contributing Member's  Show.  R and I went down at noon to retrieve the painting and the photograph that I had exhibited.  No sale this year.  At least it keeps my name in circulation.
Haskins Hospital depicted on an early Rockport postcard
In a couple weeks, I'll be running a PowerPoint presentation on the former Leander M. Haskins Hospital of Rockport.  Another SBHS member will be doing the talking.  I'll be doing a bit of explaining about what remains of the a town park.  Getting all the photos scanned and also exploring and taking current photos, not to mention a heck of a lot of research has kept me busy for weeks.  I am happy with the photos and hope that the entire presentation is a good one. It should be.

So, there you have it...I think.  Pretty much what has been going on around here recently.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

More of Another Tech

I seem to be finding some innovative problem solving.

Today, as I was packing up a set of keys to be shipped back to 'Another Tech', I came across an interesting repair.  Why had I not noticed this while I was working on the new keytops?
Really?  You've got to be joking!
Obviously (hopefully) a field repair with nothing else(?) available?  I find this one hard to believe!  The key button, that raised area of the key, center frame, had split and had been glued back together with this bread wrapper clip-thingie glued on as a splint.
A bit better, not great, and it didn't work long-term
The above photo shows another key from the set with a somewhat more acceptable field repair.  You may notice, though, that this was a broken key and the repair did not hold.

Always carry some veneer.  It's stronger and looks eversomuchmore professional!

Saturday, April 14, 2012


I have a new one relative to a recent project.  A new awareness, that is.
Not for the website
I've been accumulating text and photographs to throw myself further into the business world with a website.  I had a vision of what the site would look like.  I drew it up on expanded plan noting my color choices and style.  It would be five pages, basic but classy.

Would be...

So I looked at some DIY sites.  Not a thing close to what I want.
I contacted a local website designer and had sticker shock...

Until I contacted two other local designers and needed to be scraped off the floor.  Evidently designer number one was pretty reasonable.

Which brings me to the conclusion that I have beer taste on a tap water budget.

I should have known.  This is often the case with me.  I get the idea, even see it all in my head, only to eventually realize that it isn't out there.  Well, not within my means, at least.  Usually my idea, concept, want or need is not extravagant at all.  It's just that little bit too far removed from the norm that it must be specially created.

Creating a 'special' website, the one that is in my head, is beyond my personal capability to create.  And even though it's not something flashy or super high end, it's beyond my pocketbook.

I must re-evaluate.  I must now start with no preconceived idea.  I need to look at what DIY options are available to me and work within them.  So that's plan B.

As I mentioned, I have been taking some photographs for possible inclusion on my website.  This is not one that will be used, but for you piano technical types out there I'm putting it here.
From a prior technician (term used loosely)
This is soooooo wrong!