My costume is nearly done - just (she says) need to sew in the sleeves and the skirt. And then do buttonholes, but only two of them.

DB's is cut out, but I've got just over a week to do a vest and a long coat with capelet. And many pockets. You'd think that'd be plenty of time, but I moved wrong last week, and tweaked my back and it still hurts. Yesterday's election inspector training didn't help -- the folding chairs that the township uses are awful for me. Theoretically, they're nice chairs, but the angles are just wrong, and I couldn't relax in them at all -- just sitting was uncomfortable enough.

We got an inch of rain on Thursday, and Saturday we got over 3" of rain, so there was no working in the gardens over the weekend. I have gotten two gardens cut back and most of the cottonwood branches picked up. I really should go out there with a rake to get them all, but see previous note about a sore back. Once it warms up today, I plan to pick up willow branches and cut back the small garden next to the lilac. Somebody needs to thin the lilac, too, but J is too busy helping other people to do stuff at home.

I took down the hummingbird feeders, as I haven't seen a hummingbird in a few weeks. There is a pair of teenage sandhill cranes loafing about in the backyard - yesterday I looked out and one was standing in the pond and one was standing in the strawberry patch.
- Last fall outreach gig is done. It went pretty well, although we were in the sun -- there was some miscommunication about setup, and the place where we were supposed to be had a pavilion in it because somebody didn't ask before they set up "where we always (aka last year) do". Went out for dinner after with jebra and mrs_sweetpeach and MW after, which is always fun. Now we gear up for the Spooktacular on Oct 29. We will be using some of the music from the outreach gigs, and adding a few bits and pieces.

- The Spooktacular concert is the 29th. I have a costume (jacket only) to do for me. DB has requested a costume as well. His is trickier, although the hardest part will be finding the colors he wants - the quilt store in A2 should have a decent selection of Kona solids, so I'm heading there later today.

- it is fall, and the gardens are in desperate need of cutting back, but see first notes about outreach gigs and costumes with deadlines. After errands today, I'll get out there and cut something back, probably the front garden by the forsythia. One garden per day should get me done sometime in the next two weeks, barring rain or cold. Wish me decent weather.
Tuesday it was 90F. Today (Thursday), I'm seriously contemplating turning the heat on, as it's 63F inside, and not even 60F outside. As you might expect, I'm stiff and creaky today -- my back does not like rapid temperature changes like that.

The fact that I spent yesterday afternoon/evening on my feet outside probably is adding to the creaky. Yesterday was the Marching Band Exhibition at the HS, and despite the fact that my youngest graduated 3 years ago, I'm still helping. I like doing it! There was one new band, which hadn't ever been to the Exhibition before, and one which hadn't been for a few years - I'd need to check the programs to be sure. There were a couple of bands that were a little shaky on their drill, but in general they were all pretty good. Chelsea is better than they've been in a few years (and lotsa(7) sousaphones!) There is one band that still marches block-style (sharp turns, modified high step), but the rest have all gone to the corps style (fluid lines, roll step) of marching, at least for their halftime shows (corps style is easier to get 'passable', but it's just as hard to get good at). I was chatting with band directors as they came by, and a few of them said that they did last Friday's halftime show in summer uniforms (tshirt/polo and shorts) because it was 85+F at gametime. Bands ranged in size from 18 to 240, but larger didn't always mean better. Eastern was competent, but they were doing bits from a new show that they hadn't polished yet, so that's to be expected.

There's an FCB outreach on Sunday afternoon. It's supposed to warm up, which is good -- I don't do outdoor gigs when the temperature is under 60F. Neither Esme nor I play well when it's chilly.

I have lots of gardening (cutting back, mostly) to do.


Sep. 18th, 2017 09:04 am
jennlk: (snapdragon)
Yesterday (Sunday) was the Cemetery Walk at church -- the cemetery associated with the church has graves in it from the 1830s, and the church historical society writes skits involving some of the people there (it's somewhat interesting to get comments on an early 1900's character from people who actually knew her...). In conjunction with that, the service was "Old Fashion". I was song leader, and the first note I got asked only if I could wear old-fashioned cloths(sic), I was soooo tempted to wear the grey plaid 1953 dress (Mum bought it off the rack), but then I realised that I didn't have the proper undergarments for it. The last time I wore it (25 years ago!) it was still a bit big for me, and the lack of a girdle wasn't a problem. Now, I need something under it. Instead, I added some trim to last year's 1900s jacket, "de-steampunked" the skirt, and found the straw boater. There are now notes on the jacket and blouse for things I need to fix before next year.

I fixed the leaks in the rill -- no holes in the liner, just water finding 'down' where J hadn't expected it. I also planted strawberries, including the pair of runners that were 'doing a runner' and escaping from the old strawberry bed. That was Friday, and yesterday there were deer tracks through the new bed -- they hadn't stopped to nibble anything, but there were hoof prints!

There are many birds bathing in the birdbath and the pools in the rill -- I refill the birdbath twice a day, and the rocks next to the bathing pools in the rill are usually splashed. Crows and jays fling a lot of water around. :)

Anna-cat was parading around with a mouse in her mouth late Saturday evening, and Sunday we found where she had left it -- under the kitchen table, where it would be safe. (Ji doesn't eat stuff that he doesn't catch). DB took it out to the pyre, aka the brush pile. The pyre already has a bunch of dead bird & mice in it, so what's one more?


Aug. 30th, 2017 07:31 pm
jennlk: (stompety)
So Western "misplaced" BC's application -- they were changing the admissions procedure, and his (and a handful of other) applications got lost in the shuffle. He'd been emailing them every week (once they got his transcript from WCC), and had been getting generic "your application is under consideration" responses until the last one, where he got an extremely apologetic 'unfortunately, your application was misplaced. we have now found it and will be processing it quickly'. A week before classes start. Um, yeah. He replied and said "No point in rushing now. I won't be attending until January anyway." So he's off to WCC for another term -- Calc, Physics, Geology this time around.

I've still got residual itchy spots from the allergic reaction that went systemic. No new patches in the last day or so, so I think it's on the way down. Probably doesn't help that I keep going out and pulling weeds. There is one stem on the rose bush that has blooms on it, and another that's already turning for fall colors. Gotta love all-season roses. :) The hibiscus in the E flower garden had smaller flowers than usual this year -- I suspect because it got overrun with milkweed and Queen Anne's lace. I'll have to weed those out sooner next year.

We're off to the Bridge Walk(s) on Saturday. Mackinaw should be amusing -- they're closing the bridge entirely other than shuttle buses and emergency vehicles, and closing I75 for a dozen miles in each direction from the bridge. It's the 60th annual Bridge Walk, and they're expecting more people than usual. Whee?
for the most part. We reached 90% cloud cover just as the moon started to block the sun, and got a thunderstorm just about the same time as we got to max coverage. It got dark there for a while --much darker than the usual August storm -- but there wasn't anything to see.

DB's friends explained that the reason you shouldn't look at the sun during an eclipse is that the Sun gets a +10 Backstabbing multiplier. kids these days. They're not wrong, though.

Home alone...

Jul. 21st, 2017 07:37 pm
jennlk: (Default)
it's weird.

J is at the annual picnic, which I have skipped, yet again. The seats in his car and my back do not get along -- a Chicago trip (especially coming home after a con) is about as much time in the front seats as is comfortable, and annual picnic is about twice that. Driving would be worse, I think, as the headrests force my head into an uncomfortable position (he replaced the passenger side headrest with one from an earlier model, and it's much better)*. I'd like to go to the UP and see people, both those who live there and those who are visiting, but....

DB has run off to Chicagoland with a friend and her aunt to see a concert. Don't know which one, or where; some K-pop band, iirc.

The birdbath was knocked over this morning when I went out. I suspect one of the raccoons missed a jump. :)

Frog count is 8 in the pond plus at least two tree frogs.

I had intended to get some work done in the sewing room this week, but have been thwarted by cats. Either Ji is outside or Belle wants to "help". sigh. Belle will only get worse when DB goes off to Western in September, I suspect.

(* let's just say that when I replace my car, it will not be with an Escape. The seats don't fit me, and Esme doesn't fit in the back....)
You'd think I was in a band or something.

Four gigs in 12 days, the last three in the space of 5 days, with no additional rehearsals. I've seen jebra almost as much as I've seen J. :) (J is working overtime, trying to get up to speed on new things that need to be done RSN at work.) The gigs went pretty well, in general. No major trainwrecks, although there were a couple of places where the track got a little squirrelly, and both J and Nana said that everything seemed a little laid-back at Heritage Park. (Not surprising, as we hadn't played for a week, and Damien is likely to take things a click down in that situation. We were down three percussionists, it was hot, and the FCB has a comfortable 'groove' that we settle into unless prodded out of it.) One more gig at the end of the month, then we get August off. (A bunch of us are going up to Interlochen for Adult Band Camp, though. More music!)

Friday saw me off-line all day -- the power went out early in the morning, and by the time we got power back I was into the rest of my day and never even turned the computer on. Then the power went out three more times between Friday afternoon and Saturday evening. The back yard is much quieter without the rill running.
This time, probably 2 tons, based on the trailer tires. They were really flattened out, and the wheels were tilting a bit. They didn't have to go far, so there's that. J took out the rock 'wall' he'd laid along the north-south road (the kids who used to cut across the easement while racing have at least stopped trying to cut the corner), and we moved the rock to a pile. We figure it'll make good habitat. DB came out to help. I really don't want to have to put in a proper fence, but if we start getting people cutting the corner again, we may have to put in a few panels of short rail fence, which will at least be something easy to mow/trim around.

There has been no progress on the rill, and we really need to find a small pump so we can aerate the pond. I may just see what the hardware store has for small pond pumps. There are at least four species of frogs and toads in the pond -- there are four distinct calls, and a couple that could be either be variants within a species or a different species altogether.

Some of the oriental poppies in the side garden became food. I saw one blooming (a pretty variegated coral & white), and then the next day it was gone and the stem nibbled off to about 8inches high. :( But I did find a lot more when I was weeding out there on Friday. Maybe they'll bloom before the deer/bunnies find them.

The peonies and irises are blooming madly, and the shasta daisies we got from the neighbor a decade ago have diversified into a gradient from white to bright pink. The blue columbine in the front flowerbed has a few buds on it, so it survived getting whacked by a few shingles. There's an entire collection of Sweet William in the wildflower bed - ranging from magenta & white to pale purple & white. I need to weed and thin that section. And move some irises this summer.

There are a few strawberries in the strawberry bed, which I find pretty impressive, because this variety of strawberry stops reliably producing after 2 or 3 years, and this bed is older than that.
well, that was a lost week. CB brought a cold to rehearsal a couple of weeks ago, and gave me some of the germs. :(

Saturday was OneAct Regionals (competitive theater), hosted at CHS. DB got offered an emcee job, rather than the backstage/sound he was expecting(*). I emailed early in the week, asking if KA (who was running the site) needed any help, and zie did -- zie needed a non-Theater Guild/Theater Booster adult to tabulate scores. KA couldn't do it, as zie had a team in the competition, and it looks sketchy to have a parent do it. KA said zie was wracking her brain trying to figure something out until I emailed. (MSBOA gets around this by supplying a tabulator, but MIFA either hasn't thought of that or doesn't have the money.) It was a pretty easy gig -- show up around noon, tabulate four flights of scores and awards, then go home. I snuck out during a show, and came home to get some actual food for KA, my reading glasses, and to feed the fish.

KA is vegetarian, and whoever set up the volunteer/worker menu either neglected to request vegetarian food, or whoever was supposed to bring it didn't, so zie was eating plain bagels and popcorn. I was a little annoyed that there wasn't any food for zir -- it's not a secret or new (KA's been at CHS for four years now), and it's really a bad idea to let the site boss get hungry. I had a bowl of rice/beans/corn in the fridge, and another bowl of green salad, which solved the problem of a hungry KA very well.

After making MIFA change the rules a couple of years ago, CHS is going to State competition! (They really should have gone a couple of years ago, but didn't make it out of Regionals, and the other teams at Regionals raised a stink about *that*, hence the rules change.) It's been 10 years since a CHS team made it to State, so that's very exciting.

I'd go and see them at State (didn't get to see them at Regionals because the room was small and I got there late), but it's next weekend, and I'm planning on being at Capricon. It's one thing to miss Capricon because I've got a kid in competition....

DB may or may not come to Chicago -- he's contemplating going to State and seeing the other shows. (State is in Charlotte, which is the closest it's been other than when Chelsea hosts.)

* he says he just does his impression of jebra as "Mr FCB Announcer Guy"; his boss says that he's got lots of people to run sound, but only a couple who can emcee OneAct, and with two stage tracks running.....
- we got new music on Monday. Four pieces, of the 'old warhorse'/standard of the repertoire variety (thus, not easy) and my kids played three of them in high school (iirc, SR read the other a few times but never performed it). Other people were talking about how this is the kind of music they didn't see until college.

- we got four inches of snow on Monday night. Then it all melted by Wednesday morning, because of rain and wind and 40+F temperatures. The power went out for six hours or so, due to wind damage (branch on a line somewhere). whee -- we lost a couple of fish because of it. And then it got cold again -- it was 24F when I went out to feed the birds this morning.

- I got the holiday cards done on Epiphany, but didn't get them in the mail until Saturday. Ooops. The tree got decorated sometime before Christmas (I even got the ornament boxes out of the living room!), and we took the ornaments off on Saturday. The tree itself is still looming in the living room. The bag is there, too. But Robotics season has started, and J is getting home at 9pm....
Another Christmas done. Christmas Eve service was candles and congregational carols with just an anthem (One Small Child) by the choir. The church was almost entirely full for both services, but we didn't need the overflow space. Which was good, because it wasn't really set up. There were a surprising number of people at service on Christmas Day.

Tuesday we went to lunch with Nana, and did Xmas with her. She has a favorite restaurant in Saline, so we went there -- J is back to work because release is approaching quickly, and the new building is practically in Saline.

The snow is just about all melted -- there are still piles where it got shoveled/plowed to, and the field where the woods shade it is still snowcovered.

A number of DB's friends got inexpensive drones for Xmas, and he seemed a little bummed that he didn't, until I said "we don't buy you toys anymore. If we're going to buy a drone, it's going to be a decent one." And, tbh, given a choice between good boots (leather wellington/harness style) and a drone, the boots win every time.

(huh. another weirdity with LJ today - can't change the userpic. ah well.)
And the tree is up but still not decorated, other than some candycanes from a box of minis -- I put some in SR's Xmas box. At least the box of ornaments is upstairs. Maybe we'll get to it tonight. OTOH, I have no idea how many packages are going to be under the tree -- I have one "thing" for DB and a 'gift card' for a shopping trip for funky boots, and a couple of things for J; but SR's have been sent off (not a lot of 'things', either, as anything she gets will have to come home again, so it's mostly baked goods and US candy to share with other expats).

I haven't started the holiday letter yet, but that won't take long to do. Cards will, as usual, go out after Christmas. Even without the kids-in-school schedule, early-to-mid December is still full of rehearsals and performances. The FCB holiday concert was Sunday, and seemed well-received although Damien is expecting to 'hear about' leaving out Sleigh Ride. We finished with a different Leroy Anderson Xmas piece, so we didn't completely ignore tradition. There was some agitating in the back row to play Sleigh Ride anyway, and see how many people would recognise the bass line, but saner heads prevailed (not me, in either case!). Friday's stage rehearsal went well, but the drive home was fraught -- it took me 90 minutes to get home!

It was a good thing that I didn't bother to go to the Chippewa's bowl game. They got their behinds handed to them. :O And it was in a baseball stadium, which is not the best place to watch a football game. OTOH, it was Florida in December, and the band got a trip out of it that wasn't over Christmas.


Dec. 14th, 2016 08:23 pm
jennlk: (snow bird)
Stunning development, I know. It's Michigan, it's mid-December. Snow happens. However, this fall/winter has been fairly warm and almost entirely snowfree until Sunday; and then J & I shoveled 9" at 6pm and we got another 3" overnight. Snow days all around on Monday. So the FCB concert next Sunday will be even less rehearsed than usual. OTOH, it's not supposed to snow very much between now and then, so we may have a decent audience.

Saturday was busy -- a funeral meal to host in the late afternoon and a keyboard dedication concert in the evening. I had time to come home and change in between!

DB is done with working The Nutcracker at the HS auditorium, but now he's working a church Christmas pageant at the old HS auditorium -- they have crew that does most of the sound work, but they need someone (with keys) to open the building and turn on the house and run the stage lights.

I had been vaguely contemplating going to the Chippewas bowl game, and then they got invited to the Miami Beach Bowl. That would be a fun game to go to, but the timing is horrid. The game is Monday afternoon, and I have a concert Sunday afternoon & rehearsal Monday evening. While I could skip rehearsal (although that's kind of a bad idea, as we'll be getting new music), getting in at 2am for a 2:30pm game is not my idea of fun.

There is at least one hawk hunting the backyard. There may be two, as J saw one this afternoon that seemed smaller than the one we'd seen in the morning. This probably explains why the birdseed in the feeders isn't going down as fast as it often does.
lotsa no counting. Wednesday night (Day 2), the bossperson called & emailed everyone to tell us that the recount was "suspended until further notice". Which, schedule-wise, is nearly as bad as "show up and count until there are no more to count" -- still no long-term planning.

This afternoon (Day 4), we got an email from the County Director of Elections telling us to 'stand down' -- he doesn't expect us to be called back in, but "it could happen".

I was able to get errands run yesterday and today, so there's that. I should probably bake something for the funeral meal tomorrow. I really don't want to work it, but I may wind up doing so because people 'have other things to do' [like hang out (at home) with grandkids they see *every* *weekend* -- look, if you're not willing to make time to host when no-one else can, please don't take a position where 'provide host for funeral meal' is part of the flipping job description! grumble.]
The cranes are still hanging around in the backyard. They're usually pretty quiet (not much to worry about if you're a 3.5 foot tall bird), but today they were answering the civil alert siren test.

I have mostly finished cutting back things in the garden -- the larger daisies still need to be done, as does the blanket flower, but leaving them uncut all winter doesn't do them any harm, it just looks ragged.

The tree is up but undecorated. We may get to it next weekend, we may not. DB will be working a show Fri & Sat, and I may be working the recount. That depends on the outcome of the suit filed against the recount petition. If it's on, I go in at 8am Wed and we work 10 hour days until the count is done. Including weekends, because we need to be done by 14 Dec. Training is Monday afternoon, and we find out then whether we're actually doing the count.

My back has been being variably cranky for the last month -- I think it will get better if the weather ever stabilises.
(the one I detailed a few months ago), albeit with a few modifications. The upholstered recliner is still downstairs, and will be moved upstairs after Christmas (the accent chair from the living room is in the den, rather than in the library at the top of the stairs where it usually goes for the holiday season). The mattress is actually under the futon, although that required J building risers (even a cheap mattress is 7.5 inches deep, and the base angle of the futon-as-sofa is 4.5).

The dresser from the nook went off to Goodwill -- it was SR's college apartment dresser, and then KM used it for a while, but we really have no need of it anymore. When DB goes off to an apartment, he'll either be moving out (taking his current set) or we'll buy him another dresser. It's not worth trying to store it somewhere.

I had a pretty shelf unit that I picked up at IKEA a couple of years ago, because I liked it and it wasn't clear how long they'd be making it. It's been sitting in the basement, still boxed, ever since, but now it's in the den, replacing a smaller unit that was crammed full. It looks much better, and I've even gotten a few more things out of boxes (from a few years ago when we redid the bookshelves upstairs, not from when we moved!).

We bought a Xmas wreath (from the Scouts) on Saturday because we were out anyway and remembered -- we don't usually get into town on the weekend, so I figured we should do it while we could. The wreaths are good for a couple of months, so putting it up now rather than mid-December shouldn't make any difference.

On Sunday, I played at church, and then came home and cut back perennials. The bleeding hearts are cut back, as are the peonies and the goldenrod. I left the dead nettle and the painted nettle because they're still green! The daisy stems should be cut back too, but I'd already filled the garden cart twice, and it's supposed to dry out again on Tuesday afternoon. I brought the garden decor in, other than the gate, which may or may not get into the garage -- it'd be fine outside, so it just may stay out.

The hawk has been lurking in the garden this morning. He looks wind-ruffled and damp. But he's still alert enough to sense me moving around in the house, so I haven't gotten a picture. :(


Nov. 17th, 2016 08:07 pm
jennlk: (stompety)
So that happened. But life goes on. (I suspect it helped that I was locked away until 11pm, and then I came home and went to bed without turning radio/TV/internet on.)

Last weekend, J and I ran off to Chicago for WindyCon; where I saw people I don't see often enough (which is unlikely to change, unless we move, and then it will be a different set of people we don't see often enough).

In band news, I have had to transcribe yet another BariSax part, this time from the score. mutter.

We still have not had a night cold enough that there's been ice on the pond -- there've been a couple of days when I've had to break ice out of the birdbath, but not enough to even warrant getting out the heated birdbath. I spent an hour pulling grass and cutting back the Russian Sage in the northwest flowerbed in preparation for the snow we may or may not get. (If I leave it up, we get a lovely drift across the end of the driveway; if I cut it back, the drift is less than halfway across the driveway.) They tell us we may have snow this weekend. We shall see. The larkspur plants that are blooming will be dismayed by snow, but everything else seems to be settling in for chilly weather.

Thanksgiving is next week. I have no idea what we're going to have for dinner. DB says ham, so I guess that's what we'll do. It will be SR's birthday on Thursday, and I haven't gotten her care package in the mail yet, so it will not be there in time. BadMom moment. I have gotten her presents, though (most will not be sent to her because she'd have to bring them back). so there's that.


Oct. 24th, 2016 09:52 am
jennlk: (stompety)
Yanno, it's one thing to contemplate a 12 hour drive, and another to do it twice in three days. Mum & I went to Boone on Wednesday -- she's not made that drive in a few years, and we used a different route than she used to, so it was a longer (but easier!) drive than she expected (421 is at least 4 lanes, and sometimes 5, all the way from I-77 to Boone). We got there 12 1/2 hours after she left her apartment. I still remember where the road up the mountain is, although it's a bit harder to spot, tucked between two motel parking lots on 105. I spent a day futsing around - read a bit, knitted a bit, chatted with the ladies -- before leaving Friday morning. I got home 12 hours after I left, 680 miles in a car that's not mine. It rained all the way up I-77, and didn't stop until I turned east at Cleveland. It's the only time I've been through Charleston and the capitol dome wasn't glowing in the light. :)

Still haven't actually started sewing the jacket for next Sunday's costume. OTOH, I know which jacket and which fabric, what I need to do to revise the skirt, and both J and DB will be gone Fri & Sat (J is off with the HS Robotics team, and DB will be off visiting friends whom he won't see at WindyCon). I should get it done early in the week, though, because the weather forecast indicates that Fri/Sat would be the best days for working in the garden this week.

In timefail news, DB had been vaguely planning to attend WindyCon - he had set up a swap for his Sunday A/V job, and had been offered a volunteer gig in the teen room -- and then the director of the fall musical (show dates Nov 11-13) emailed him and said "help! we have nobody backstage full time for the show". So he said yes to her and sent regrets to D.
There was a skin of ice on the birdbath this morning, although the pond was unfrozen. I brought in the hummingbird feeders, as I haven't seen a hummingbird in two or three weeks. The farmer came through to harvest the soybeans in the field early this week, and since then has been through with a disk and a spray rig that I've seen -- he probably came through with a planting rig while I was gone one day, planting winter wheat or rye. I won't know which until it comes up.

There was a last flush of blooms on the hardy hibiscus in the east garden -- some of the stems that came up very early this summer set buds in mid-September, and a few bloomed before the frost got them. I spent about 90 minutes out in that garden, pulling grass and weeds, and there's probably that much more work out there. I still have to finish the NE garden, but between the ants and whatever weed I'm allergic to out there, I'm a bit leery of it right now. I'll wait for the next frost.

I've been going in to file books in the K-2 library. Thursday I spent 3 hours there, and could probably do that every day if I wanted to.

I have gotten as far as pondering a costume. I really need to get started on that -- I'm going to be gone much of next week, as Mum and I are heading south on Wednesday (I'm going as far as western NC and driving back, she'll be going on to FL with her sister, then flying back to MI).


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