Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My Mowgli ....

So we came home on Sunday from a great trip to visit some friends and meet their new baby to find Mowgli shaking and whimpering in pain. I thought her arthritis must have flared up again so I started her back on Rimadyl. I gave that a few doses of time to see if it would help and it didn't do much. So off to the vet we went this morning. I was totally prepared for him to tell me that she was full of tumors. I know that sounds very negative but Brett thought the same thing. Turns out the vet does not think it's tumors but it's more of her arthritis progressing into her spine (disc degeneration) which is causing pinched nerves and muscle spasms. He sent us home with three different meds to get her comfortable and then we will gradually pull back to see which one is helping the most. Giving her six pills a day is going to be quite a challenge but she took the first set this morning without too much of a struggle ... surprisingly enough. Maybe she knew it would help. She's laying next to me now snoring away which is a really good sign that she's comfortable. She hasn't been sleeping very soundly lately. She always snores but she hasn't been snoring lately. She's also had some trouble walking which I attributed to her arthritis but she's got more fatty deposits on her as well which we thought may be tumors.

We all know when we adopt a pet that they will not be around forever but it's still so hard when they leave us. Mowgli will be 11 next month so she's definitely no spring chicken anymore. I picked her out when she was four weeks old and I took her home when she was eight weeks old. She and I have been through a lot together. We made it through college (i'm sure she's glad that's over), we moved halfway across the country all by ourselves, we've gone on hundreds of road trips ... even drove between Houston and Gainesville a few times by ourselves. She's been the one constant thing in my life for 11 years now. She's been a huge comfort to me, she's protected me and loved me, she's licked my tears ... and she's always happy to see me no matter what. I hope and pray that I have several more years with her but I also don't want her to live in pain. Maybe this is the beginning of the end ... and maybe it's not. I've cried a lot over the past few days just thinking about it ... almost in disbelief at times. I've dealt with so much over the past three months and there are some other things I'm dealing with as well that I'll share when the time is right .... so please God, don't take away my Mo-Mo just yet.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Pork!

I usually try to avoid politics around here for various reasons but I heard about this group and found the site interesting so I thought I would share.

Citizens Against Government Waste

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Interesting Link

Florida-Friendly Landscaping

And speaking of plants, Houston and I replanted the entire garden last friday. We now have a garden full of sprouts, once again ... hopefully here to stay this time. :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Yikes!

All I can say is this guy has some serious balls.

School Visit

Brett and I had our interview at The Blake School yesterday. We were there for two full hours and we both just loved it. It is, honestly, exactly what I want for my children. I'm so excited and sooo looking forward to bringing my boys up through this school. I have so many wonderful thoughts swimming through my head right now that I can't even settle on one to write about. It's a Montessori school with approx. 125 students. It was just great. We saw every room, every teacher and every student. I'm all excited just thinking about it all over again. :) Houston will start this fall with the next school year and Brody will start the year after. They start at age 3 and go all the way up through high school graduation. They have 100% of their seniors accepted to the school/college/university of their choice. They have music, art, sports, drama, etc.

I went to a private Montessori school through the 3rd grade myself. I think it's a wonderful method and I really attribute those early years with my continued success in school. I was having flashbacks while we were touring the school seeing the wooden shelves that lined the rooms with all the learning materials on them. (if you went to a Montessori school then you know what i'm talking about better than i can explain it) I'm a very visual person so learning math with algebricks was probably what set me up to be so good with numbers. Everything has a tactile and visual part to it. It's just great stuff .... I can't say it enough.

And one of the most impressive things was that there was not a single child in that entire school that was not completely into what they were doing. Nobody was acting up or goofing off. Not one. You could tell all the kids really loved their teachers too and they were all excited to see us and to say hi and to tell us how much they like it there. Houston gets to go spend a day there sometime soon and hang out in the primary cluster. I really think he's going to love it. :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I Think I'm Going to Cry

The weather report told us it was going to get down to around 38-40 degrees last night with some wind which told us we didn't have to worry about our garden. We could have left the sprinklers going and might have saved it. We woke up to the radio alarm clock this morning with the guy saying "it's 33 degrees out right now" and we both said "CRAP!" at the same time. The whole entire garden is gone! Totally frozen/burnt. Well except for the radishes and carrots. The tomato and pepper seedlings we just planted along with all of the seeds that had sprouted .... it's all gone.

The tomatoes in my earth boxes are about half burnt. The outer leaves are definitely goners but the stem and inner leaves seem to have survived. Not sure if they will recover or not. The peppers don't look so good and only one of the little sprouts survived. This is the first time i've successfully sprouted sweet pepper seeds. Ugh! I was really excited too because the seeds were from a pack of sweet pepper seeds that included purple, yellow, red and orange so I was really looking forward to seeing what they turned out to be. :(

I guess we'll be able to tell in the next few days if anything will come back but i'm not holding my breath. Excuse me while I go have a major pout session.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Gutting Charley

Well not really, but I have become fascinated with the inner workings of the piano. I actually got a little froggy sunday night and opened her up. I managed to make two of the minor repairs needed all by myself. Well almost, Brett helped with a screw to fix the keyboard cover. A clip had come off so it sat crooked ... but not anymore! And I fixed one of the dampers. They sit back down on the string after you release the key to dampen out the sound. One of the keys kept resonating after the key was let go of and I discovered it was because the damper was loose and was not sitting on the strings correctly. A little internet research, a small paintbrush and some wood glue and it is working properly once again!


Here is a pic before the repair. You can plainly see the crooked damper. I haven't taken a new picture since the repair otherwise you know you'd be seeing it too. :)

Making the small repairs we did along with all of my internet research has really given me a lot of confidence in being able to make all the repairs myself. I know what's wrong and I know the process required to fix it. Pretty cool stuff I tell ya! I've decided that regardless of what my dear husband thinks I need to be doing with my time, I am going to fix this thing up myself before I have it tuned. That leaves more money for piano books and more confidence in myself as well. :)

The most challenging repair will be fixing two hammers where the felt has come loose. I've found a website that explains how to fix it without replacing the hammer. I know I can do it ... I just have to figure out how to remove the whole hammer assembly thing so that I can get to it. The repair involves a small drill bit, some wire, a C clamp and some wood glue. In the picture below you can see one really sticks out and the other sticks out just a little.



Tonight i'm going to take the bottom/front panel off and vacuum out 34 years of only God know what. I'm a little scared after what I found in the top part. It kind of freaked me out at first and then I jumped on the internet and found it was completely to be expected and not that big of a deal at all. I'll leave it all to your imagination. :)

I'm also going to file the front of the hammers to remove the grooves thereby improving the sound quality and will also replace some felt disks under the keys that are sitting a little low. Sweet!

Garden Update

Everything is up and growing well, except for the okra. Not sure what happened with that so I bought some new seeds today and replanted. We also added some tomatoes, bell peppers and banana peppers. My earth boxes are growing really well too. So for a recap, in just another month or so we will have these yummy veggies available for the eatin':

Tomatoes (about five different varieties), Bell Peppers (three varieties), Sweet Onions, Carrots, Corn, Okra (hopefully), Squash, Zucchini, Acre Peas, Green Beans (three varieties), Radishes, Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Pumpkin and Cucumbers (the yummy small ones).

Not too shabby for a couple of engineers, huh? ;)


See my roaming garden gnome in the background? At least I've trained him to run in between the rows instead of on top of them!


And here is our solution to my earth boxes getting snacked on while we're gone. Working pretty well so far!


A sign of grape things to come. Get it? Hee hee. :)



See all the wildflowers growing in the background? This is the best showing we've ever had. It's going to be GORGEOUS around here in a few weeks. Anyone that wants to come take pictures in the flowers is more than welcome.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

My Piano Adventure

So Thursday evening I sat down for my first practice session. I spent about fifteen minutes getting frustrated with myself before I figured out a plan of attack. I purchased a highly recommended book for teaching yourself piano but it had not arrived yet and I was impatient. I did have a few different books from a lot of 4 that I won on eBay for 99 cents so I thumbed through them with no knowledge of how to sit properly or what note, say "C" on the treble clef corresponded to what "C" on the keys ... there are quite a few of them after all. Well after I reminded myself that this was for fun and there were no tests involved I found a song in a book that is fairly simple that I am familiar with because I played it as a solo on my viola in high school. I just picked a C to use as my base and went on from there. Got the whole song memorized too, well the right hand portion of it at least. I decided not to conquer the left hand until I had more instruction. So my frustration quickly turned to fun and I was loving every minute of it. We went to the river this weekend and I was very sad to leave Charley because I planned to get some good practice time in but lucky for me when we got home Saturday evening I found the book I was waiting for in the mailbox. Yay! And let me tell you ... it's exactly what I needed. The first page is all pictures and it shows you where to sit (i was sitting too close), how to hold your hands (my fingers were flat, not curved) and several other things that you really need to know. I also discovered where middle C is on the keys and on the treble clef. Armed with that information I worked through the first 19 pages of the book today during two practice sessions ... probably about 1 to 1-1/2 hours or so total and by the end of it I was playing Jingle Bells with both hands!!! Yipppeeeee! :)

An interesting thing that i'm struggling with, well it's interesting to me anyway, is in this book they give you a number to help you find the note ... for example, you play middle C with your right thumb which is finger number 1. So everywhere there is a C there is also a number 1 written above the note to help you out. Well here's the problem ... in playing the viola finger 1 is actually the finger next to the thumb. My brain is fighting itself a bit but i'm working to retrain. As i'm going along playing these songs (so glad i can already read music) I'll notice that it doesn't sound quite right and i'll realize that i'm playing viola finger 3 instead of piano finger 3. Funny stuff. And the treble clef and viola clef are off also so that provides for yet another challenge. For example, in viola (viola clef) the note in the top space is an F but in piano (treble clef) it is an E. Great brain exercise though ... seriously. I love brainy puzzles, in fact, I have a MENSA puzzle-a-day calendar on my desk. :) So this has created quite a challenge for me that I am really enjoying.

As for Charley, she seems to play really well and has a great sound ... to my non-piano-playing ears at least. She's definitely out of tune in a few spots but I hope to have her tuned up and repaired after our yard sale on the 3rd. (Group yard sale at a church with our FPU class ... should be able to really unload some stuff) There are a few keys that definitely need a little work done on them. I find that i'm fascinated with how a piano actually works. I never knew before ... I just thought you hit the keys and something hit a string and that's it. Boy was I wrong ... there is so much more involved. I've heard several stories now (2 from 2 different people i actually know in person) about people with absolutely no experience in playing or fixing a piano taking a piano apart and rebuilding it. I would so love to learn to fix this thing on my own. I brought my grand idea up to Brett and he kindly reminded me that we just started our own business and that we don't have time for that. Bah humbug! Oh well ... maybe later. He does have a point. And I would rather spend the little time that I do find learning to play anyhow.

So the journey begins ... can't wait for my other books to show up. I found all kinds of used (but not used) piano books on half.com and amazon.com. I bought a couple for myself and a couple for Houston. The book I mentioned about is $20 new but I got it for $3 + shipping ($3.49) and it looks as if it has never been opened. Gotta love the internet. :) I'm really looking forward to the Laurie Berkner song book to arrive. If you have kids (and cable tv) then you know what I mean. Time for some goof ball fun!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

PIANO!!! :)

As the moving crew arrives, Marzbar decides to see what's going on.



Look mama ... there's a piano in here!



Beer break before the heavy lifting begins.



Everyone, meet Charley. Doesn't she look like she's been here the whole time?



I wanted to name her and Charley immediately came to mind for some reason. At first I thought no because Charlie is another word for the enemy. But then that also means Charlie is something to be conquered ... which is exactly what I intend to do. :) And since I decided that Charlie is going to be a she (because really all beautiful things are, aren't they) ... she became Charley. So there you have it! :)

I'll save the yuckiness report (non piano related) for another post. Good news is that my ears are fine so I don't have to worry about not being able to hear myself play the piano. ;)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Yay! & Ugh!

Let's start with the "Yay!": It's piano day! :) I can hardly wait until 5 o'clock!

Now for the "Ugh!": Had another root canal today ... 3rd of 3 scheduled and would you believe that the dentist that did this root canal ten years ago also left part of a dental instrument in my tooth!!?!??!? That's 2 different teeth, two different dentists. And this one is so badly lodged down in the canal that my endodontist was not able to get around it so I will probably have to have surgery on this one. The infection is actually centered around this canal ... wouldn't you know it. And last week the other tooth with the dental instrument in it flared up again (back on antibiotics) so I probably have to have surgery on it as well. We're talking a total of $6375 worth of dental work in just over a month. And they only finance for 6 months so that's over a $1000 per month. Yikes! Where exactly did I go wrong? Did I somehow anger the dental gods or something? Jeez! I'm going to an earn, nose and throat guy tomorrow just to make sure there is nothing going on there that is contributing to my teeth issues ... well that and I have some issues with my ears along with the teeth ... which apparently is not uncommon. Seriously though, I'm tired of having pain in my ears and of feeling like I have a cotton ball shoved down my left ear canal! Apparently the roots of the top two trouble teeth are sticking into my sinuses so that should add for some extra fun with the surgery. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Okay ... back to work I go. Got dental bills to pay.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Happy Birthday Boo!

Today is my brother Tommy's 25th birthday. Happy birthday Boo!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Curious Minds

A conversation in the shower yesterday ...

H: Mama, are these ant bites? (as he points to his nipples)
Me: No honey, those aren't ant bites.
H: What are they?
Me: Those are nipples.
H: They make mamas milk for babies?
Me: No honey, only mamas make mamas milk.
H: Why?
Me: That's just the way it is.
H: Well what are they for then?
Me: Well honey, that's a very good question.
H: Why?
Me: I'll have to think about it and get back to you.
H: Why?

Seriously ... what am I supposed to tell the child???

Friday, April 04, 2008

i really need to get back to spring cleaning. i've become obsessed with this piano thing. pianoworld.com forums are addictive. you just have to check this out though ... especially if you like cats. :)

eta: more about the piano playing cat here

Wooooooooohooooooooooooooo!!!!

SHE SAID YES, SHE SAID YES ... i'm doing the happy dance!!!! :) The piano is ours for $200! I really thought she would come back and ask for $250 but she didn't. So all I need is $44 more and I have the $200 for the piano. Then I can work up the rest for the tuning and key adjustment.

Um ... so Aunt Karen ... by within $50 of my goal, are we talking the $300 goal or the $200 for the piano goal. Just wondering ... :)

Also, a couple months ago we bought a used refrigerator because ours broke (and had many more issues) and we were jobless (well okay not really, we were starting our own business but still had zero income at the time) so we bought a used one off a guy that fixes them up and sells them. Well unfortunately for us we ended up having to call a repair man not once but twice to fix the stuff the guy that sold it to us apparently "fixed" with the wrong parts. Well we called him and he said he would give us $50 towards the repairs. Well then we got the flu and then I started my rounds of going out of town for funerals and Brett never followed through on the $50. I asked him today if I got a hold of that guy and got the $50 if I could put it in the piano fund and he said "yes". Good thing too (hee hee) 'cause he obviously wasn't going to deal with it. So there's (hopefully) $50 more to add to the fund very soon.

I'm so excited I feel like a little kid at Christmas. I've always had very vivid dreams ever since I can remember. I'm talking full color, emotions, whatever. I wake up crying if i'm crying in my dreams. I've many times woken up and had it take me about ten minutes to realize that what happened in my dream was just that ... a dream and not real. I used to keep a dream journal but I gave that up a long time ago. Probably a good thing because they get pretty crazy sometimes. I have recurring dreams too. When I was a kid I had a recurring dream that I was falling off of a cliff. Happened probably a thousand times ... at least. In college that dream ended and I had a different recurring dream that escapes me at the moment. Well ever since we moved back from Texas I've been having this recurring dream of Brett and I having two apartments ... one we are moving to and one we are moving out of ... but we can never ever get all the stuff out. Everytime I go to pack up the closet in "my old bedroom" (which happens to look just like the bedroom I had for most of my childhood) I keep finding more and more things that I had when I was little. And I can never get it all packed up and I'm running out of time. Strange, huh? I know i'm seriously digressing here but i'll get back to the point. For the last six months or so I've been having dreams about playing the piano. And probably three out of the last four nights I have dreamt (is that a word?) of myself actually playing the piano. And I don't mean sitting there playing chopstix. I'm talking about really going to town on the thing and absolutely loving every second of it. Like I used to do with my viola. Music was such a big part of my life for so many years. I learned to play the viola 20 years ago ... I can't even believe it's been that long. Holy cow! But now I want to learn something else. And the piano it shall be! I found some free online lessons in video format too. :)

Speaking of learning to play the viola ... everybody wave to Angie. (Hi Angie) We met when we were 11 and learning to play the viola. We were really good friends for a long time. In fact, now would be a great time to post that picture of us from 8th grade prom. Hee hee. (look back at the post from 9/8/06 .. she's the red head standing next to me) We reconnected via myspace and she reads my blog. She's the one that recommended using craigslist to search for a piano and I shall be ever greatful ... b/c that's how I ended up with a piano for $200! Thanks Angie!

Okay I'm done rambling on now. Brett and the boys went to a friends house so I could get some more spring cleaning done so I better get back to it!
video

Sprout!

Piano Update

So we went and looked at the Kimball piano on thursday. Turns out it is 34 years old, not 8. The girl is moving out of her parents house and they don't want the piano anymore and neither does she. Apparently her dad bought it for her when she was little and she didn't realize he had bought it used. No biggie though because it's still very nice. Needs a tuning (which they all will once we move it) and some keys adjusted and the key cover thingy fixed. Still a really good deal from my research and talking to a music store owner. Really all i'll need to do is have it tuned and have the keys adjusted and we'll be able to play it. Well actually we can play it as is but it does need a tuning and a few of the keys are sitting a little low. Talked to a piano tuner/repairman too. He thinks he can tune it and adjust the keys for about $100. So I asked her if she would sell the piano to me for $200 since it's not as new as she thought and because it needs a little repair work. She said she needs a couple of days to think about it and that she will get back to me. Soooo ... i'm keeping my fingers crossed because I really like it. It's simple yet pretty. Just what I was looking for. It was made in Chicago in 1974 by Kimball Piano Company. Kind of neat that it is just about the same age as I am. Here are some pics I took:







Some neat sites to share today:
Musicnotes.com
Piano World - has great forums including one for adults learning to play piano

I sold some more diaper covers so my piano fund is up to $148. I have some more things to post on diaperswappers and craigslist today so hopefully I'll be able to add more to that soon.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

question for the audience ...

anyone have a copy of the Pierce Piano Atlas?

Will Trade Yarn for Piano :)

Piano fund stands at $125 now ... cruisin' right along! We're going to look at the piano in High Springs in about an hour so I can take some pictures and do some research. (the one i linked to yesterday or the day before) It's $300 so I'm still not quite half way but I am definitely getting there. I cleaned out so much stuff last night. I'm going crazy with the spring cleaning and it feels great! You wouldn't believe the amount of makeup I threw away last night. And still had a shoe box full of unused/unopened makeup and hair items to add to the yard sale pile. I really do need to start getting a little more sleep but I just can't stop. We get the kids to bed and I make a pot of coffee and I start cleaning/clearing and Brett goes out into the office and works. I was up until 2:30am and he was up until 4am. Yikes! I just can't stop until I'm done though.

Actually, I am halfway there if you count that my Aunt Karen (:waves: to aunt karen) graciously offered to send me a check when I get within $50 of my goal. Thank you so much! And thanks for the book too ... we got it a couple of weeks ago and i've been meaning to call/email/write but since you read my blog you know how the last two months have been going for me. Excuses, excuses I know ... but seriously thank you. It's a great addition to our library. I put it next to the fairytale book I have that Aunt Susan gave me when I was little. :) And while we're on the subject of me not emailing/calling back ... Kelly, Laura, Stephanie, Joy and Irene too ... I promise I haven't forgotten about you.

So to continue my piano quest, i've cleared some yarn out of my yarn dresser. I will probably have more but this is a start. If you're interested, let me know. Leave a comment to this post, call me, find me on ravelry (username celena), email me ... we'll talk shipping and/or dropping off. Each amount below is for everything in the picture, not per skein/ball and does not include shipping.


Patons Voodoo $8


Cascade Fixation $3


Prism Pouf $6


No Boundaries $2


Sesia Baby $8 (100% cotton, sport weight)


Gedifra Marokko $5 (100% cotton)


Online Supersocke 100 Tropic Color $10 (self-patterning/striping sock yarn, 75% superwash wool/25% nylon)


Marathon $8 (sock yarn 75% superwash wool, 25% polyamid)


Sisu Fantasy $10 (sock yarn 80% wool, 20% nylon) i think this is self-patterning yarn



Online Supersocke 100 Sierra Color $10 (self-patterning/striping sock yarn, 75% superwash wool/25% nylon)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

SPROUTS!!!

We have radish, green bean and lettuce sprouts. :) Get ready for this years round of garden status pictures. You know you love it ...

Movin' On Up ...

Piano fund is now just over $100 thanks to yarn and diaper cover sales. Wheeeee! :)

And speaking of the piano fund, I was almost set on the 1951 Cable Nelson piano in St. Augustine but did some research that told me that it would be expensive to fix if a key broke. Being that the piano is as old as it is, I wouldn't be surprised if we knocked something loose on the way back to Lake City. I found another piano that is only eight years old and it's right in High Springs. It's only $300 which is a little more than I was planning to spend but seriously ... a whole piano that's only eight years old for $300 is really good! Link Here

I've had some complaints about the lack of pics lately so are some of the boys. Click on the picture if you want to see a larger version.