Sunday, November 29, 2009

Yes, I'm Married To A Redneck

Dave named this post, as he posed for the picture. He started out serious, but obviously that didn't last for long. This was the night before Thanksgiving, and we decided to drink a bottle of champagne that was in the refrigerator since our anniversary.

Despite his dramatics, it turned out very nice.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Prince of Tides

I just finished reading "The Prince of Tides" by Pat Conroy. I came across the book in the grocery store, and decided that maybe it was time I read it. It was really good--one of those stories that you can't put down. I have only read one other of Conroy's books: "Beach Music" and I don't know why I haven't read all of his books as I like the two so much.

I put the movie on my Netflix queue, but I am going to be very skeptical when I watch it. Conroy used the discussions between the main character and his sister's psychiatrist as a tool to tell the story. Hollywood made that relationship THE STORY, which was pretty stupid. The real story in the book is much more fabulous than the relationship between Tom Wingo and the psychiatrist played by Barbara Streisand--there that explains everything, doesn't it!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


We went over to the Rocky Mountain School of Musical Arts last night, to see/hear a gypsy jazz group called SacreBleu. We were surprised to find our friends, Paul and Gretchen there, and it was almost a full house. The group was quite good, composed of a violin, two guitars and an upright bass. They talked a lot about Django Reinhardt and his history, which was very interesting.

In the middle of the show, I was suddenly reminded of a Sean Penn movie called Sweet and Lowdown, where Sean played a jazz guitarist in the 1930's, who idolized Django. It was a Woody Allen movie--I'm not really a fan, but I did really like this movie. Sean was extraordinary, as he always is.

And SacreBleu was very good! It was a fun evening.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Bow Maker

I have decided that I need to start using my bass bow for some drills, to help with the strength of my fretting hand. I bought the bow from ebay a couple of years ago, and have no idea of how to use it. I decided that the first step was to have it rehaired, so I called the local music store in Boulder and they directed me to a guy who has his own little workshop in north Boulder--Eric Paulu.

He is a craftsman and makes and restores bows for stringed instruments. When I found his shop, I was fascinated that it was in a new little complex of condo-like units. He works downstairs and lives upstairs, as do all the rest of the folks who are part of the complex--there's a hair salon next door to him. His companion is a little Japanese bird dog.

Eric took care of my bow, rehaired it and worked on the camber(made it stiffer). It has black hair now, instead of dirty white--he said most bass bows have black hair. I think it looks more interesting with the black. He recommended that I get some sticky rosin, which I purchased on the way home from his shop. Now, I think I'm ready to go, just need to figure out the next steps. I'd better schedule a lesson with my teacher.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Station Agent

Newsweek, in their new format (which I detest), has a section titled something along the line of "Best Movies Ever." Two weeks ago, I noticed that they had listed The Station Agent, and I decided it was time to watch it. It came out in 2003, but even though it got rave reviews, I still had never got around to viewing it.

I put it in my Netflix queue and moved it to the top of the list. It was in my mailbox two days later. And when I watched it, I just loved it, this story of a dwarf who moves to a new town and into the old railroad station that he was inherited. He just really wants to be left along, but the people around him can't seem to let that happen. I sat a lot of the time with a big smile on my face as events transpired, I was so delighted with the tale. This is the type of story that is one of my favorites: a community (whether it be of 3 or 4 or 5 people of unlikely and disparate backgrounds) that comes together. It just absolutely rocked.

After it finished I wondered, as I often do in these situations, what took me so long! When I told Dave about it a few days later, he decided he wanted to see it. I had already sent it back to Netflix, so I went to the queue again, put it back in, and moved it to the top. I can't wait to watch it for the second time.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Greenville Flea Market

The Greenville Flea Market in Kentucky figures prominently in the writing that I am doing for National Novel Writing Month. The flea market is located in Greenville--per the name, in Muhlenberg County. It takes place on Tuesdays, and covers acres and acres of land. People rent space inside or out, and set up to sell all kinds of things.

When I am home, I love to go there. My sister, Karen, takes off work (calls in sick to my Dad, her boss) and we load up usually with my mom, and Karen's mother-in-law, Wanda, and Karen's best friend, Bernice. It is always quite the day and we make sure to get an early start.

We go to the market first, and make sure we go down every aisle. In addition to rusted out harnesses and old coffee pots, there's usually a supply of livestock for sale--puppies and kittens which everyone ooh's and aah's over. One year my brother-in-law was with us and he bought a rooster and a chicken.

My treasure that I got there once was a Shawnee corn crock--a beautiful piece of ceramic in the shape of a corn cob. It sits in my living room and I just love it.

After we cover all the ground at the market, we go and have lunch at some local spot where we all eat too much. Then, we hit all the local antique stores. Wanda is always our guide to these, and directs us around the country roads where we find places hidden away off the beaten track.

This is always a day I look forward to when I go home to Kentucky.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


November is NANOWRIMO month: National Novel Writing Month. Over 100,000 people all over the world will participate this year, in a quest to write 50,000 words by the end of the month. 50,000 words translates into approximately 1,667 words a day and I find that it really isn't that much to do--if you keep up with your writing throughout the month, that is.

This is the second time I have participated. There's a whole coterie of activities that have sprung up around the event and you can engage as much or as little as you want to: write with a group of others--or don't. Attend socials that are scheduled throughout the month--or don't!

I was invited to be part of a loose group of writers who keep track of their progress together. Essentially this means that I log my word count in every day on a Google shared document--along with 12 other people, only two of whom I know. You also are encouraged to log your word count in on the main NANOWRIMO web site.

So far, I have put down 14,601 words. So far, so good. I'm hoping that at the end of the month, I will have the first draft of this novel half done--and will have gotten into the habit of writing every day.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Trials and Tribulations of Dealing with the Phone Company

Over the years, we have had a lot of issues with our phone service--powered by Qwest!--which in our case includes the internet service, too. A few years back when I worked at home, every time it rained there was static on our phone line. There are 3 poles around our back property, one up by the house, and two at the very back, one on the north side and the other on the south side. It seemed I was always calling in for service and various technicians would come out and climb around on those poles, trying to fix the problem. Finally, right around the time I was going back to work in an office on a regular basis, they got things fixed and pretty stable for about three years. No static when it rained, or anything.

Then, over the last three months, we have had numerous problems. The internet was down all the time. Finally it was down hard and not coming back ever, it seemed. I had to go to a coffee shop to blog and check my email. A technician came out and worked on things. He got the internet service back up, at least--said there was a loose wire somewhere. But we still had a lot of issues and the problems weren't completely resolved. Suddenly the static was back on the phone line--worse than ever. It was miserable trying to talk to someone with all of that going on. And the internet service kept going up and down. I called in again. The phone company sent us a new DSL modem; they said ours was an early one that had been discontinued. I was interested in trying that out--it seemed to me as I watched the behavior of my internet connection and checked on the modem in the basement that there were two problems: the internet kept going down and the modem had trouble reconnecting (that was in addition to the static on the phone line).

Qwest sent us the new modem, and that did help a lot. I believed that the wireless connection still went down more than it should, but the modem recovered pretty nicely. It kind of masks the symptoms of a problem, really. But the static was absolutely horrendous. I called in again and listened to the same lecture I always get--if the issue is caused by our inside wiring, they will charge us $75 per hour for the technician's time. Yada, yada. In all the years of dealing with this, the issues have never been caused by our inside wiring.

Another technician came out. I couldn't be home to wait for him, but made sure he would have my cell phone number. He called me to report that he had fixed the problem. He had found two screws that were up on the pole by the house that were not screwed in at all, and they were a critical part of our dialtone. I shook my head as he told me this. The reason those screws weren't connected was because the previous guy who came out to fix things had left them that way.

I was feeling pretty happy until the fellow on the phone told me that he needed to do two things--he needed to trim the trees in the back next to the other two poles. I was horrified at the thought of this. I don't care much about the trees on the south side--they are weedy Siberian elms, but the two on the north side are pear trees that we planted ten years ago and that bear a lot of fruit. We like those trees a lot.

So I said no, that he couldn't trim those trees without me being there. He went from my friendly neighborhood lifesaver to a spoilt child who was told he couldn't have his way. He started carrying on about all the times that he needed to trim trees and the homeowners wouldn't let him. This guy must have wanted to work for the forest service or something. I let him go on for a while and then told him that we would trim the trees ourselves. Those two poles where he wanted to trim the trees were all the way on the other side of the yard (1 acre) from where he fixed our problem. He then suggested that we ask for some wire and dig it in the ground across the back and remove our wiring from the pole. Hmmm. The phone company would supply the wire and we would supply the labor. What a deal. I said we would consider it, but we won't. If there was ever a problem, the phone company would be quick to say that we put the wire in the ground and were responsible for any issues. Why would we ever put ourselves in that position?

Anyway, no more static on the phone line, thank goodness. I can now have a conversation in peace--until next time.