Sunday, November 30, 2008

Music and stuff

Last night Jeff and Bill came over for ukeing. We went through the Jumpin' Jim's Christmas song book. We've decided that Jumpin' Jim must have a high, girly voice because all the songs are in a key that's hard for us to sing in. We spent a lot of time transposing last night. I'm glad that the three of us have basically the same range. I know that if a song is in a key that's comfortable for me it's good for the boys, too.

So, it wasn't a satisfying and productive session but it was a good start. I'm going to see if I can find better arrangements of those songs online. I want to get some good holiday song books going so they'll be ready to go every year.

Jeff and I walked before Bill came over. Hoo boy, it was good. My exercising has been inconsistent since starting that Kaiser program. They start you off at 20 minutes a day because the calorie intake is so low. We're up to 30 minutes now. I just can't get into that. I want to go hard and strong and get those endorphins flowing. Usually when I come down from Mt. Rubidoux I'm totally blissed out on brain juice. I love that.

But, boy oh boy, I was stiff and sore after that walk. Gotta do more.

Tonight is open mike. We're going to do a couple of Kyle's songs. The last time Lindsay and Kyle and I performed at open mike together was two years ago and Jim was with us. Little did we know.

Today I'm going to get started on that kitchen cabinet.

I added a link to the Weight Loss Blog →

Friday, November 28, 2008

A good Thanksgiving

Low key and enjoyable. Both of them.

Yesterday we were at Ken and Sherri's. The meal was delicious and the turkey was perfect. After dinner we played this game that's this electronic thingy that shows a word that you have to get your team mates to guess before the timer runs out. We play this game at almost every family gathering at Ken's. It's a silly thing that's pretty fun.

Today we had brunch at Stacey and Scotty's. Oh man, it was good. Scotty bought a new waffle maker so we had Belgian waffles with fruit. We had an omelette station at the stove. There were bowls of different kinds of veggies and some different cheeses. Everyone made their own omelettes. Tres delish. Breakfast meats were also served. NONE of this was on my diet. Too many calories were consumed. So, ok, I'll be good tomorrow. We had Paige's pumpkin pies for dessert.

We hung out for a while and then Drew, Mindy, Dede, David and I went to see Dad. Mindy and I bundled him up and took him out to the patio. We talked and sang songs. I uked. it was a nice, long visit. After Drew and Mindy left we took Dad inside and had him listen to Dede's iPod for a while. Dad really enjoys singing along. He can't keep up with the words but he can dum-de-dum on the melodies. Then Dede and I wheeled him into dinner and fed him a few bites.

He was pretty confused and spacey. He was like that the last time I visited. You can never be sure why. The Alzheimer's is surely progressing, though.

Ukes tomorrow night.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Crap, crap, crappety crap!

I have another leak! This one's in the back yard on the sprinkler valve manifold. Dammit! I have a big puddle right up against the house. I'm just gonna have to learn how to do plumbing. My alternatives are to bug my brother every five minutes or hire a plumber every five minutes. I might be able to handle this one. The pipes are pvc. I also have a broken sprinkler head out front. I think those pipes are metal. I wouldn't trust myself to try to fix that one. Damn, it's always something.

The bunny cage is 97% finished. I just have to attach the hinges for the roof lid thingy. I also have to cut a rectangle in the wire for the feeding tray and add a latch for the door. After that, the bunnies can inhabit. It might be dark by the time I get home tomorrow so I'll finish it on Wednesday for sure.

Man, my hands are all torn up from handling that wire. Owie.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Back to the bunny cage.

I didn't work on it yesterday. I needed to pull this house together. Every time I drag some boxes in and go through them it seems like the whole house explodes. I have to remind myself it's a good thing. Stuff gets put away eventually and a lot it gets taken to Second Time Around. I love loading up the car with discards. Anyway, I hadn't cleaned up after the last explosion and I was having company last night. Jeff came over and we uked.

Hoo boy, don't take too close a look at this cage when it's done. It's not what you could call an elegant structure. Many of the boards are a bit warped and I wasn't completely accurate with the measuring. But it'll keep the bunnies in and other critters out. They'll have lots of room to frolic, which is what I really wanted. I felt so sorry for them in that small cage.

The frame is done and I've started putting up the wire. I had to stop because it was getting dark. Really, I could have gone on all night. I ought to be able to finish it tomorrow. All we'll need to do is fill the base with dirt.

My next project will also be a free one. I brought over a small cupboard from the farm. I'm going to use it as a microwave/toaster oven stand. I need to extend the top and one side. Easy. I already have lots of plywood. This will free up some counter space and provide storage for cookie sheets and pots.

Last night was fun. Bill is sick so it was just Jeff and me. We worked on some songs that have lots of jazzy chords. That stuff is fun to play on uke. Man, it's been a long time since we last got together here for uke-ing. Things got busy last summer and our fall schedules don't match up. It'll work out better once this semester is over. Jeff and I haven't been walking together either. While I'm on this weight loss program I'm not supposed to exercise more than thirty minutes at a time. I miss Mt. Rubidoux. Oh well, soon.

Ugh! I'm hungry.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Radicals, we

RCC is doing The Laramie Project. Today they found out that the Westboro Baptist Church (not really a baptist church) was planning to show up and picket the play. That set off a firestorm of emails throughout the RCC system. I'm sure the local tubes were alive with Westboro buzz. A counter demonstration was quickly planned. After work I headed over to the Riverside campus. On the way I called Scotty and Bill. They both were planning to be there.

The emails said that the Phelps family was going to show up at 7 and picket for an hour. I got there at around 5. The organizers wanted everyone to show up early so there would be a lot of people there when the wacko haters showed up. At first everyone was milling about near the quad, which was where The Laramie Project was playing. After a while we were told we had to move to the Free Speech area across from Landis Auditorium. They said the Westboro Baptist people would be escorted to where we were gathered.

It was pretty cool. Lots of young hippie types, both gay and straight, with lots of signs. The smell of Sharpie ink was in the air. The mood was light. As we were talking several of the kids would come up and ask me what The Laramie Project was or they'd ask about the Phelps family. Like I was the expert of my immediate area. Then a high ranking RCC lesbian got up in front of the crowd and gave us instructions on how to behave when the Westboro people showed up. We were asked to be completely silent and let all the hate come from them, not us. There were some grumbling murmurs from some of the people, but most agreed it would be better to keep things peaceful. Somewhere in all this Scotty and Bill showed up. Scotty was planning to take B to the play. I lost track of him about an hour before the show started. I'll find out later if they saw the show.

Well, it was a fine gathering of a large group of friendly people but in the end not much happened. We heard that the Westboro people got stuck in traffic and couldn't make it to RCC. I wasn't that surprised. I've heard that before, that sometimes they just don't show up. I think it's possible they may have gotten wind of how large the crowd was (I'm guessing 350) and decided against it. I hung out with the Odiens for another half an hour. Liam had run home and grabbed a guitar. We sang a couple songs and then split.

So hey, we won! The play opened without the Phelps family getting their two cents in, and people had a generally good time hanging around in the dark. It was just a little bit of a disappointment, though. We were so ready for them.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Progress can be slow. I didn't get as far as I would have liked. I had to go to Home Depot and spend $8 on bolts, washers and nuts. Gotta go back for more. But it's coming together. Boy, my hands sure are dinged up. Paige helped me a little today.

I think it's going to turn out ok but it won't be exactly plumb and square. It's going to take a lot of dirt to fill the bottom box but I have a plan for that. Along the far side of my house the ground slopes towards the foundation. Poor yard drainage is one of the issues of this house. I'll be taking dirt from that area and moving it to the bottom of the bunny cage. I'll shape the ground into a nice, shallow trench so that side of the yard can drain. Good stuff.

It looks like we've got new neighbors to the back. They were playing mariachi music yesterday and the two, big, obnoxious dogs that were there are gone. Those dogs worried me a little. The fence isn't very high along the back of the yard. If those dogs ever got sufficiently inspired they could've climbed over it. Of course, Boz was no help. He'd get into barking matches with them every once in a while. Working on the cage has been much more pleasant without them.

I got a new cell phone. It has a QWERTY keyboard and teeny, tiny buttons. I can text, but I can't see. Progress.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bunny cage!

Finally! I got a good start on it today. I gathered my materials and tools, put my hair up, grabbed my iPod, hat and sunglasses and got to work. I measured and cut and drilled and screwed (actual screws) until it got too hot and sunny. Then I came in, had lunch, and watched tv until the back yard got shady again. I went back out and worked until my back started to squawk. I'm pleased with my progress so far.

I have the basic box built. Tomorrow, I'll go to Drew's and get the wire for the sides and to line the bottom so the bunnies can't dig out. I can re-use some of the parts from the old cage. What's great about this is it's going to be almost free. I bought one piece of wood for $15 and I'll need about $10 worth of screws. Everything else I already had.

I'm very happy about this. I couldn't work on it last summer because it was so hot. I hated that the bunnies had to live in their small cage. We'd let them out every once in a while so they could frolic but it never seemed like it was enough. Right now they have a bit more room because Paige attached a puppy playpen that I borrowed from Mindy to their cage. But that's not very secure and I worry about them getting out. I'll be so happy when this is done. The rest of it ought to go pretty quick. I'm on a roll.

My back hurts!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dede! Happy Birthday, Aaron!

Sorry this is posting so late. I hope you did something fun and ate something delicious. In your honor I put a candle in my diet shake.

No I didn't.

Tonight I fired up the heater for the first time since shutting it off for the summer. I didn't know what to do! I've never had central air. Do I light something? Will I blow myself to smithereens? Nope. Just turn the sucker on. I did change the filter. I at least knew to do that much.

I'm taking Ivy to the vet tomorrow morning to get fixed. Once she's healed both kittens can start going outside. Yay! No more litter box. I hope they'll do ok. It's always a little nerve wracking training kittens to survive outdoors. Lio is doing well so far. He looooves being outside. I just want him to understand that cars and neighbor dogs are dangerous. And jeez, we have coyotes living nearby! I can hear them howling at night. Gotta install a cat door so they can escape danger (the cats, not the coyotes).

I've been enjoying having hot water without leaks and knocks. That was a big source of stress. Next I need to explore the leak in the other bathroom. I'm not quite as stressed about that one. Heh! We'll see how that goes when I open things up and have a look. Bill, thanks for the plumber recommendation.

Good night.

Sunday, November 09, 2008


We lost water pressure. I opened the water heater closet and heard water rushing. I got a mirror and looked behind the water heater. One of the soldered joints that the plumber made was squirting water up in the air. Shit!

I called the plumbing company and told the guy what was happening. Snarky little bastard asked me how I knew it was their fix if the water heater was in front of it. He said since they didn't install the water heater they couldn't touch it. He also told me they wouldn't be able to come out until tomorrow. He said they didn't go out on call backs on the weekend. He told me several things that didn't fuckin' fly with me. Stuff like it's going to take him and another guy three hours to reinstall the water heater. We had quite a little argument. He finally agreed to have someone come out today but I'd have to get the water heater out. When I called him back and told him we had it out he said he'd have someone here in about three hours. Grrr....

So, here I sit. My water heater sits in the hall. How much you wanna bet the plumber doesn't show up this afternoon?

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Hallelujah! (and Happy Birthday, Mindy!!!)

Hot water, baby!

I got as far as I could but in the end I had to call Drew. Fortunately, it didn't take too long and it was good to be comforted by his cempetenceness. (Heh! Spell check didn't like that one.) The water heater is in the closet, all shiny new, happily humming and doing it's job. No knocking. No leaking. God's in His heaven, all's right with the world. Well, not the whole world. Mainly just my water heater closet. And it's guaranteed for nine years.

What's next? I need to batten down the hatches and get ready for winter. I already did a LOT of yard work today. Barely made a dent in that job. Tomorrow it will be cooler so it'll be easier to work. I need to clean up the sun room. It's gotten a bit out of hand. The roof leaks in there so I need to arrange the stuff that's being stored and cover it. I really should clean the gutters and sweep off the roof where the trees are up against the house. Need a cooler day for that job.

Bunny cage. It was way too hot last summer to work on that. I want to redo that pergola I bought last spring. The canvas cover just doesn't work very well. It's always getting blown out of place. I'm going to get four panels of plastic trellis and affix them to the top and one side. I know plastic doesn't look that great but I don't want to put too much weight on the frame. I can paint it to match. I'll make curtains out of drop cloth for the ends and keep the other side open. It'll be shady, private and a pleasant place to sit and have coffee.

I want to plant my succulents in the planting bed out front. Gotta get the broken sprinkler fixed. It would be great to get my unwanted bushes removed but that'll have to wait until spring. Got more crap to haul away.

That oughta do it for now.

Happy Birthday, Mindy! Thank you for letting me borrow Drew this afternoon.


Friday, November 07, 2008

One more push

To get the water heater done. Well, maybe two. Home repair is almost never easy.

I bought the water heater last night. The installation kit isn't quite right. Gotta take that one back. I bought a different one at Home Depot. That one's not right either. A kit won't do. I have to buy individual pieces. At least I think I'm on the right track now. But I'm not working on it tonight. I need a break from all this stress.

The water heater is only one of my issues. Gracie just isn't doing well and I think I need to have her put down soon. She's almost 14, which is pretty old for a large breed dog. Her hair isn't growing back as much as I'd like. The weather is turning cold but she doesn't want to sleep in the house if the other dogs are outside. And then there's Lady, who drives us all nuts.

I just read a news story about a crazy asshole who beat a six-month-old puppy to death. The puppy belonged to a friend of a friend. The story made me very angry.

I'm very happy that Obama won but I've got to stop reading the political stuff for a while. The death eaters are plotting their revenge.

So, tonight I could go to a show in LA, but I'm not sure I want to drive home late at night by myself. I have to think about it some more. Or, I could go see Annie, Get Your Gun, which is the show Bill is in right now. I was planning to do that tomorrow night. Decisions, decisions.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

What a night

Well, that was fun. I met up with Bill at Back To The Grind. They had a wide screen tv up front, laptops on every table and a nosh buffet. Darren, the owner, invited us upstairs to the VIP lounge for champagne and cocktails and good conversation. Every once in a while people would let out a cheer, we couldn't always tell why. Then when the California polls closed everyone really got excited. It seemed like it took less than five minutes for the whole thing to be confirmed. Obama had won. Truly amazing. Big cheer there.

Champagne was passed around. I also had some tequila. I hadn't had a drop of alcohol since starting this diet. I was nicely toasted. Hugging commenced. I was glad that Bill was there. Chuck showed up too.

McCain gave his concession speech. Bill said it was classy but I didn't listen to it much. I'm not ready to forgive. That was one ugly campaign. But hey, I'm not his target audience. People in the BTTG crowd were respectful and many people cheered when he said nice things. I do appreciate that.

And then Obama spoke. I went to the balcony rail and watched the whole scene- Obama on the big tv and the crowd below. It was kind of surreal. And boy, I could not stop crying. I waited eight years for this.

Too bad about Prop 8. Some changes take longer.

Plumbing update- I am woman, hear me roar, for I have built a water heater floor. After the plumber left I could see that there was no way a new water heater was going to be installed unless the floor in the closet was replaced. It was completely rotten from years of leaks. It totally caved in. This morning I rebuilt it using 2X4s and 3/4 inch plywood. That sucker could hold three water heaters. I banged it together with wood and screws that I already had. One of the pieces of plywood was from one of Jim's Hammond organs.

I went shopping for water heaters (after going to the tire store and spending $400. Sheesh!) at Lowe's and Home Depot. I'm going to go back to Lowe's tomorrow and get one. So, this whole water heater/shower valve thing will end up costing about $1,000. That's if I'm lucky. We're not out of the woods yet. When I got home I looked at the work the plumber did yesterday. One of the joints appears to be leaking. I'm so glad I didn't get Sears to install a new water heater right away! The plumber is coming back tomorrow morning. I'll be at work but Paige will be here.

One step at a time.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Right now there's a plumber in my bathroom working on installing a new shower valve assembly. When he's done a Sears dude will come and install a new water heater. Ka-ching. Oh well. The joys of home ownership. At least I won't have to listen to the constant stream of water running down the drain and the klunk, klunk, klunk of the dying water heater. That's worth paying for.

Last night Paige and Gabe removed the old water heater. Everything was going well until they got it to the front door. It was just too heavy to get over the door sill smoothly. It rolled off the dolly and landed on the porch. Right now it's pathetic carcass is laying there. We thought it might be fun to try to roll it out to the street and send it down the hill.

Speaking of plumbing, tomorrow I'm taking Ivy to the vet to get fixed.

I saw Dad the other day. Mr. Hammond was awake and feeling frisky. I kept getting "compliments".

Had a history test last night. I was embarrassed to turn it in. I think I did ok on the multiple choice section but completely tanked on the essays. I've had some wonderful conversations with the teacher. We often walk to our cars together and chat about history and politics. To know he's going to read my crappy, CRAPPY essays makes me cringe. Oh well.

Election day!!!!! Tonight I'm going to go to Back To The Grind and hang out with my liberal peeps and get the returns. I'm going to take a bottle of champagne with me and share it in the parking lot. Come on down.

Go Obama!

Update: No Sears dude today. A wad of plumbing variables was hiding in the wall. Good thing I'm not paying by the hour. Almost 4 hours and the guy is still here. So, we'll get a new valve today but no water heater. And the Sears deal wasn't as good as I had hoped. After the plumber leaves I'm going shopping for a water heater. I'll buy it, bring it home and between Drew, me, Paige and Gabe we'll get that sucker installed. Getting the old one out was pretty straight forward. If the new one hooks up the same way we'll be in business. I'm hoping us three bozos can do most of the hooking up and just have Drew deal with the gas line. I really don't want to bother him much right now. He's overloaded as it is. Installing the water heater ourselves would save me about $350 as far as I can tell.

Lordy, there's about 2 inches of cement in that wall, not including the plaster board. The plumber is having to do a LOT of banging. I kinda feel sorry for him.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Halloween photos

Yes We Carve! (Google it, you'll see).It turned out really well, but by the time Halloween evening got here the sun started to collapse. Still, it looked pretty cool.
Owl in tree. I hate this tree but it works well for Halloween displays.Of course, this looked much better in person with the right lighting. I had fun putting it together.