Thursday, October 30, 2003

Sometimes Dad is Dad

Dad went into the hospital Monday morning. He's Washington with a huge blood clot in his leg. Fortunately, my Aunt Julie just moved up from Florida to Licking, MO (about 30 miles SW of Anutt -- 15 miles west of my brother Jeff's house which isn't near anything but Mauntauk St. Park) Anyway, she's already at my Mom's house and plans to stay there as long as needed. Tom's still without a job -- but his car's broken... her son Victor picked up Tom today to take him to see Dad and will take him out to Mom and Dad's... so Mom and Dave will be taken care of. Hopefully they can dissolve the clot and keep pieces of it from breaking off and heading for heart/lungs/brain. They said he'd be there at least 5 days. I THINK since they're over 65 they have medicare/cade benefits.

Called Mom today, and she says his blood's thinned by 20% since Monday, but his blood sugar's high. So they're doing a diabetes test and I believe an upper GI to look for ulcers. Apparently he's been nauseated a lot and they gave him Prevacid which has helped some.

So I'll probably be going out there Sunday. I haven't seen my Aunt Julie (Dad's youngest sister) since about 1976. Her son Victor (yes, named after Dad), who had just been born then has been helping out out at Dad's.... he has a baby of his own now, too, which I guess he's the sole parent of. Mom's certainly enjoying having a baby in the house.

Plus I called my dear cousin Angie in San Diego -- she's got two sisters and one of our uncles whos been evacuated because of the wildfires out there and her husband (works for San Diego Gas & Electric) has been recruited to fight fires since there's just not enough firemen. She had a little scare when he was driving and on the cell phone with her and he said "Oh my god, there's a HUGE tornado of fire on the road in front of me *pfftfffttttfffttttffft---- buuuuzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz" but... they just lost the signal. He was alright.

Well, that's all for now.

10 Days After

Hmmm.... haven't posted anything since the 20th, and it's the 30th. Well, we had our garage sale, but it was cool and wet and we didn't get much business. So we're opening up again this saturday for a final "blow-out" sale. It's supposed to be warmer, but still a chance of rain.

Watched Mizzou play OSU. Hey, we beat Nebraska last game. And this time we actuall WON, too. We beat them in 1997 and lost. The last time we actually won I was in High School -- and it was in Lincoln. Well, we played OSU rather well, so I guess the Tigers are for real. Brad Smith and the Offensive Line certainly are. And Abron seems to be a reliable player. 62-31. Not bad.

I quit Gold's Gym -- I was on a 3 month hiatus from it working out with Ryan at his house instead. I'm getting a better workout there. The only thing I DON'T like about it is working out from 5:30-6:30 puts a severe dent in my evening.

The winter salad garden is started up again -- at least cleaning fluid is running through it. I need some rockwool to start the lettuce, roquette & spinach. The plants from the summer deck will winter over down there under the lights again this winter. They're already down there. This year, it'll be easier to take care of. Ryan and I installed a water spigot down there a couple of weeks ago.

There's an office party for Vicki's work Saturday PM. Bonfire/Barn party. Lots of people will be bringing their guitars. I'm hauling mine along. Al Jolly's supposed to be there along with some other professional/semi professional musicians. Sam and I may have to go off to the side with a bottle of whiskey and pick some by ourselves -- I doubt we'll be able to keep up with them. Bring on the Buffett! Well, and the Denver, too.

Have to teach him "I'm too Far Away From My Beer" ;-)

Anyway, more serious post coming up......

Monday, October 20, 2003

I'm Too Far Away From My Beer

Now thare's a story behin' this 'ere song.... way back in ought 84 or 85 'er so, I was a'browsin' threw sum rekurds here in this ole college-boy town en a store called Al's Records.

An in th' background, thes heav'nly sound, like'n a quire of angels come a'sangin' this lah-ment, which ah felt frum the bottom o' my bellehhhhhhh.

"I'm too far away from my beer
It's way over there and I'm way over here
And I'm too far away from my beer
It's way over there and I'm here"

Seriously, that was it. I heard it, and I laughed. I wan't much into anything sounding like country at the time so I didn't even inquire about it, a course of non-action which I would regret for almost 20 years. As corny as the song was, it was twice that much fun, and I'd tell people about it even though all I could remember was the chorus (above). Periodically I'd do web searches which turned up empty on those words. Well last friday, I tried it again.

And I came across a post by a lady from California named Janet Lenore who has a band (named after herself, no less), and she mentioned something about the traditional rousing round of "Too Far Away From My Beer". So I sent her a note about asking about it. She pointed me toward her music partner Topher Gayle, who had a very similar story to mine. He'd heard it on a radio show he was taping.... and 10 years later when he played the tape back he decided he needed to play it. He was kind enough to send me the song. Neither one of us know who did it or who wrote it (but would love to find out).

Falling Leaves

The color is about as good as it gets here. Not all the trees are ever turning at the same time in the midwest, but we can still have some passable falls, and this one is passable for sure. So check out the pix I took today (for a limited time, this is a temporary thing so check this posting date) click here for the pics

Cleaned out the garage this weekend... well, straightened it up and made three piles is more accurate. One pile for the garage sale, one pile for going through, and the other is trash. I also sealed up the bedroom windows a little better to help shut out noise. Didn't think it would help much once I got started, but it helped quite a bit. Cool!

Welp, off to the races.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Catscram Fever

Well! The Cat Scram 9000 appears to be very effective. Got home from work last night to the sight of Theo plodding up the stairs. Vicki mentioned that she heard something turn on a few minutes earlier. I went down and tripped the "alarm" myself, and she said "yup, that was it". The landing is dry. So I'll leave the thing up for 4-6 weeks until it's burned into his little cat brain that he doesn't like going over there.

He just uses the litterbox now. I did have to build a little platform for him to get in and out of it from/to so he doesn't have to stand at the edge (right where he's taken to "going") and have litter goo all over his feet and track it all over.

I re-discovered Wishbone Ash yesterday on Rhapsody. I bought "Argus" and "Pilgrimage" on vinyl years ago and some other one... I recall I liked them very much. But my extensive vinyl collection mostly languishes these days. The separation of vinyl and turntable (downstairs/upstairs) has something to do with it. The lack of need for music to fill an empty spot in my life has something to do with it. Spending much of my time practicing guitar has something to do with it as well. There's so much good stuff that's not getting listened to.

On the flip side of that, even though I'm far from public-performance ready, the joy of being able to sit down and make music myself is incredible. The kickstart the bluegrass workshops gave me followed by my decision to go to Lee Ruth for further instruction have opened up lots of new possibilities. While Lee focuses on technique on .... mostly the same basic songs, I take those techniques and apply them to my growing reportiore. Matter of fact (and this is somewhat bad but... ) I spend much more time practicing the techniques on songs outside of his instruction set. It's good, because you have to keep in mind I play for enjoyment, and I can go back and play the songs for him I'm supposed to play because after all, I HAVE been practicing the techniques and they're just chords right now for the most part. The bad part is I tend to avoid songs with "F"s in them (tend to... not completely) because the barred "F" is something I've been struggling with since February. Fingering it isn't much of a problem, but getting to it and back out of it is not easy.

In addition to teaching me new techniques, having weekly lessons keeps me focused on pushing myself some, practicing when I otherwise might not. It's a good thing.

Vicki and I are 4 days into this virus.... It must be a close cousin of a recent flu, because the antibodies are catching up with it pretty quickly in both of us and about everyone else who's had it.

Fall is starting to fall... it's a lot prettier than I expected after our hot dry late summer, but we've had a nice long spell of warm days and cool nights, which is the key to a pretty fall.

Well, got stuff to do.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

As I was going to Alesburry all on a market day

Ok, renfest went well. Vicki's outfit turned out pretty nice. The underdress was actually better. It fit pretty well and she could move in it. The day was nice, although I think they had a record crowd of over 20,400 people. About 2:00 in the afternoon the crowd definitely started detracting some from our ablility to enjoy the fair -- it was hard enough to keep track of your wife much less two young excited children. All in all, though, Cassie and Nathanial are well behaved so it was quite doable.

I wasn't so sure about my outfit.... it was something I threw together at the last minute from a very nice green shirt Mark had made me a few years ago, some grey tights I dyed brown, and the ever-popular Minnatonka moccasin-boots with the fringe cut off. I used some of Mark's cuffs to spruce it up a little, and a black belt and my tankard. That was about it. And that got me solicited twice by Faire people to enter their costume contest (which I didn't, but it made me feel better about the costume).

The "haunted float" went pretty well, too. We packed Kristie's Ford Escape (Molly) up good and full and threw the tents and some stuff on top and headed down to Eminence, Mo. Camped out in the public camp site there. It was a little noisy but people for the most part quiteted down after 10:00. There were no radios blaring. It was all people talking and having a good time. Saturday morning we got out in the Jack's Fork river at Alley Spring about 10:30. Filtered some water from the spring branch as we went by it. Vicki and I had never canoed together before, so that took some adjusting. I figured out that we had different ideas about where on the river we wanted to be. Once she knew what I was thinking and I knew what she was thinking it got a lot better. The clouds hung around all day so the color in the pictures wasn't as vivid as you'd like for fall pictures, but we got some good ones. Didn't tip (although at one point we got hung up on a branch in the river and came too close for my comfort). It went fast. 6 or 7 mile floats in rafts on the Big Piney can take all day. On the Jack's Fork in a canoe we really had to drag our feet to stretch it out until 4:00. And it didn't seem like that long.

We went to the "Haunting in the Hills" up at Alley Spring -- actually the primary reason for going. There must have been 1,000 candles in 1,000 paper bags lining all the sidewalks -- it looked SO COOL. They put a lot of work in to it. People dressed up in period outfits (ca. 1800 or so) and three main events... one was Mitch Jayne -- bluegrass musician (from the Dillards; some might remember from the Andy Griffith show) turned author. He told a story about Little Owl, an Indian woman who travelled with a band of Civil War outlaws as their cook -- and ended up poisoning all of them when they killed a group of indians. They say her spirit is in the barred owl, who's call sounds kind of like "Who cooks for you?" A reminder to evildoers that their comeuppance could be any time.

The next was an indian woman... or someone portraying an indian woman, telling a story of a chief's son who couldn't hunt and his marriage to a supernatural woman who lived in a volcano. It was a long story. She told it well, but the story itself needed some help.

The final stop was a local graveyard, or "burrying ground". When the Irish first moved there there were no churches and families had burrying grounds usually just to the west of the settlement. He told about some superstitions. All in all, it wasn't that spooky, but a very thick fog rolled down through some bare trees over the graveyard during the talk -- that was kind of cool.

Theo has taken to peeing on the floor in front of the downstairs door. Fortunately, it's a very good lanoleum floor (especially NOT carpet or wood) and it cleans up easily -- but still... how to break him of the habit? We bought some CatScrams -- somethind Mark & Cami had some success with. It works great on Bart, but doesn't affect Theo at all. I think a lot of his hearing is gone.

So... I've rigged up a "Theo" version of the Cat Scram... it's a motion sensor mounted to an outlet in an an outlet box. When the motion sensor kicks on, anything plugged in to that outlet turns on. Well, what I plugged in to it is our little Dirt Devil hand vaccuum cleaner. He HATES vaccuum cleaners. It's on "test" mode, so it only turns on for 4 seconds at a time. The moment anything steps on that lanoleum, it kicks on. I think a few weeks of that will break him of the habit. I'd love to see him try to go there. I imagine his scampering would be quite funny.

There was no pee there this morning.

That's all for this time!