Monday, December 31, 2007

Last day of 2007

This is the last day of 2007. So much has happened this year. So much is planned for next year. So much is unplanned for next year.

My resolutions are to (1) forge ahead with my musical goals, (1a) take lessons from any bouzouki and/or rhythm guitar players that I can, (1b) work with melody instrument players on specific tunes, (1c) go to session whenever possible, (2) find more avenues to make a living, (3) meet cool people, (4) plant some stuff in the yard, (5) make Christmas presents for next year.

So those are my resolutions or plans.  The unknowns are so great it's a little scary.  But really, that's the way things are.  It's strange and exciting to wonder where I will be and what I will be doing one year from now.

I'm going to a New Year's Eve party tonight in Houston where many musician friends will be.  Then tomorrow I'll go to Therese & Larry's New Year's Day party/session.  I'm really looking forward to the festivities.  It's been a long time since I went out for New Years.  Bye, 2007!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Hello, everyone! I hope everyone is safe, warm and happy today. I am doing some pet sitting this holiday season so I'm here in Austin resting between visits. I had bacon, cheese and pretzels for my holiday dinner. Bacon is the food of joy you know.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

May this be the end

May this be the last blog entry of bad news.... My computer has died. It is no longer reacting at all in anyway. I was talking to a friend who said that this may be something that Dell is aware that there is a defect and they may fix it. If that's the case, then I can buy myself a little time. This is the straw that is breaking me. I make enough money to feed myself. But two major car repairs, a computer virus fix and now this problem is definitely not in the monthly budget. So, my choices are: 1. Go into debt, 2. Rent out the cat, 3. Get a roommate, 4. Give up on music and go get a real job, 5. Sell my body to science. Option one is an emergency last possible option type of option. Liam and Lilly strongly oppose option 2. I don't know why. They don't do anything but lounge anyway. Option 3! I am doing that one. It's going to be a month to month thing until she decides what she wants to do and where she wants to do it, but I love my new roommate and it'll be great company and I can use the help for the moment. Option 4 really isn't an option at this point. I'm so close to actually being able to try to get gigs on my own. My playing is improving quickly now. If disasters continue to happen, I will have to give up and go get a job, but option 5 may be an answer for the finacial problem at present. Who knows.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Car repair part TWO

Today was spent continuing the debate with myself over where to take my car. The guy at Sears recommended a couple of places. Ceridwyn's Joe recommended a couple of places. One of those places was recommended by both of these people. I called them just to get a feel for them. Finally, I made a decision. Kenny Hill's Autowerks took over care of my car. I had it towed. My insurance company says that they should be covering the tow and all. They are also allowing me to have a rental car. I picked up the rental car, signed off of everything at Sears, shook those guys' hands, and followed the tow truck to Kenny Hill's. Oh! The guys at Sears felt so defeted by my car that they went ahead and did an experimental repair. It didn't work, but I think they felt better having tried something.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Car repairs part ONE

Yesterday, I met the guy who opens the shop at 7:30AM to tell him what was up with my car. He lived up to my happy Sears expereince expectations. He lifted up the car and we all looked at the damage. The oil pan was pretty clearly destroyed, but he pointed out all sorts of things that were not destroyed or even vaguely damaged. About 2:30 that afternoon he called to let me know the oil pan was complete and the car was ready to go home.  About 8:30PM, I started the car and pulled out of the parking lot. The car was not fixed. I drove all the way around the block with the car struggling and smoking. They put the car back up on the lifty thingy and found culprit number 2. My "Intercooler Housing" is broken. The mechanic could put his finger on the hole and the car sounded perfect. Sadly, he cannot just leave his finger there and they would not take my suggestion of a little duct tape. Doesn't duct tape fix everything? This bit of damage will require the removal of the engine taking time and labor to fix an already expensive part. The mechanic told me now would be a good time to check on insurance. He also told me that they could not do this repair there.

Today, I called the insurance company and filed the claim. They've given me a name of a place that they work with. Advantage to me... the adjuster can deal with them directly and I won't have to worry financially... disadvantage... well, I think we all know what that is in this situation. Of course, the guy that took my claim said that I can take it somewhere of my choosing.... disadvantage to me... I risk the adjuster looking at a charge and saying they won't pay for that. Advantage to me... one would think that the shop would be more likely to get it completely fixed.

Last night I did a lot of crying. Now, I'm nervous, but at least I have at least something in motion and a few answers. I'm pretty sure this culprit #2 is not everything. There is still a mysterious oil leak. Where is the rewind button??? Can I please go back to 12:30AM Saturday morning/Friday night???

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Nothing to blog, eh?

So I was thinking all week that I don't really have anything to write about. I would like to state for the record that I did not ask for something to write about.... and yet, it seems that I have been given something. Grrrrr.
Last night, I went to a lovely tune session in someone's home. The night was drizzly, a bit foggy, and the lights shown on the streets like mirrors. The evening was lovely. We stayed and chatted with friends and ate what was left of the snacks. Then we made our way out of the neighborhood toward home. I made a left turn onto the major road toward home when WHACK.... I hit some invisible curb median thing. The cussing began quietly but almost immediately. I could feel the car not want to go... transmission? I pulled into the HEB. EJ calmly got out to check for damage. Tires, ok.... front end, ok... oil.... uh.... everywhere. I was just about in panic mode. If EJ had not been there, I think I would have spent 15 minutes just panic-ing. But he was calm and came up with a plan punctuated by a sweet smile. We decided to try to drive unless the oil light or any other indicator came on. I drove out of one HEB exit, the oil light came on, I drove into the next HEB exit, and parked the car. He called AAA and they sent a tow truck. We wondered if a friend, who had been at the session and is typically a pretty late night person, might be able to take me back to my house to get EJ's van so we could get home from the mechanic's. Sure enough she was still up and came right over. THANK YOU!!!!! She was fabulous and chipper and had all sorts of stories and stuff to take my mind off of the impending doom. I started the drive back into Austin in the van about the time the tow truck driver started loading up my car. When all was said and done, we got home about 3AM.
to be continued....

Friday, December 14, 2007

Torture


OK.... I couldn't stand it. Neither could Lilly. It was the hat that was too much for her.

Liam


Liam would like to show off the new outfits his Grammy sent him for Christmas. Actually, one outfit is technically for Lilly, but she is more the "try it and die" kinda cat. Liam gets temporary paralysis while wearing clothing or collars, but nothing permanent.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Mechanics

My car has been braking with a bit of a scratch scratch scratch sound for a few weeks now. I decided that today while Christmas shopping I would leave it at the Firestone next to the mall and have them look at it. I was told that they would have an estimate in about an hour, so off to shop I went. I came back in an hour and sat in the waiting room for another half hour. Finally they had the news. A list was made of all the things that my car needed. They were kind enough to put the list in order of priority. The entire list came to $1649.63. $900 of that was very serious and in need now. But he showed me evidence that all of these things were very much in need very soon. The man told me what could happen if I waited much longer. He had measurements and figures and stories of smoke and catastrophic driving experiences. I was so stunned (actually in pain) by the price tag I really didn't know what to do. Part of me said "suck it up, it will cost the same anywhere else and it is your car... your only car.... the only way you can do your job...." And another part of me started screaming, "WAKE UP! Salesman alert - he only wants money. Delay so you can think." So I delayed. I asked if I could bring the car back tomorrow since I would be heading out of town and wouldn't need the car anyway. He was ok with that and had the mechanics put my car back together. Thirty minutes later, the car was ready to go, he printed the list of necessary repairs and I left. I did not hesitate for one second to take my car directly to the Sears that I had had my battery replaced a couple of months ago. I went inside and told the man at Sears that I needed them to check my brakes: the brakes were scratching when I pressed the brake pedal. I went to grab some dinner while they looked at my car. Thirty minutes later he told me that I needed new pads in the back. He recommended new brake fluid. But otherwise it all looked fine. I asked about the front and he said he expected them to be ok for another year or so. And the tires? They look fine he told me. By this time he was looking at me funny and probably figured out that all of these questions were coming from somewhere, but I didn't tell him. Firestone told me that three of my tires were very worn and needed to be replaced. I had replaced one of them in August after a flat, so at least they didn't say I needed 4. My total at Sears turned out to be $199.28. With the grans savings of over $1400, I treated myself to some headphones. Moral of the story: 1. Don't make a decision in shock. 2. Listen to your gut instinct - that little voice might make you uneasy, but it might be right. 3. Don't try to fool the red-head.... Firestone will hear about this. So will Sears, they deserve a kind word.

By the way, I like dealing with local people and businesses. If anyone can recommend a good independent mechanic, let me know :-) Until then, I will have to be loyal to my Sears at 41st & IH35.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Home Improvement

I haven't posted any home pictures in a while. Partly due to camera malfunctions including the fact that I bought the wrong kind of battery for Al's loaner camera. Ooops. And the other part is that once I moved in, things slowed down in the home improvement world. I still had a few projects in mind and now I have some pics of those.
First, the living room ceiling lamp. I'm not sure if I'm done with it or not, but this is a great start at impressive tackiness.

Second is... well, this window is wider than all the other windows in the house. When I went to put the Roman shade up, there was well over an inch of glass on each side of the shade. I finally fixed the problem today with a simple burgandy curtain to complete the sexy purple and burgandy theme.
There are three projects in this picture. First, a "door" to the bedroom. That's the same burgandy as the window curtain. Second is the blanket rack hung high in the hall. And third is the little bookcase. The bathroom is small. The closets are small. Having a blanket rack REALLY saves me some closet space, and the bookcase will give me and house guests somewhere to put stuff.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Food

I like food. Often, living alone, I eat bachelor chow. A variety of simple, sometimes unhealthy, but tasty foods seem to be my at-home theme. Tonight is experiment night. I don't have very many groceries in the house. I got home yesterday and I'm leaving tomorrow, why shop for groceries. So, I have taken Biscuick, a can of mushrooms (that was dusty I've had it so long), some left over taco meat and a bit of grated cheese... mixed it all up and put it in a tiny baking dish with some butter. It's cooking right now. If you never hear from me again, you can blame it on the food I just described... but ya know what? It smells pretty good!

Update: Oh my gawd... YUM! hee hee Who knew?!?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Home for two days

I got home today after being at Texas Ranaisssance Festival for 10 nights with Michelle. Michelle and I braved school days and played for some nice kids. The weekend that just passed, Michelle and I performed as Istanpitta by ourselves. Only a duet, which is first of all very rare for Istanpitta, and this was the first in TRF history that Al was not performing. He works at NASA and they've got a flight going on right now. Michelle and I devised a show that used Istanpitta's tunes with a love theme. "Istanpitta for Lovers", all love songs all the time... 25 minutes of pure musical pleasure. We had a blast. Here's a picture we had taken by Mark of Wyndnwyre in the gardens.

Confession time.... I did a cheesy girlfriend thing and made something for my boyfriend. I can't tell you what it is exactly cuz he's not going to recieve it until he gets to Texas in 3.5 weeks. It's actually pretty cute... Can't wait to post a picture :-)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Needs a caption

Here's another Joachim photographic gem. There really needs to be a caption.... please... this picture makes me laugh so hard. yikes.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Another favorite

I first met Key Lime Pie ice cream at Amy's Ice Cream here in Austin. This shop has a series of its own everday offerings. Each day they have a special featured flavor that isn't normally on the menu. One day it was key lime pie. This particular day was the day that Trish Kurylo and I had gone on a museum spree. The city was doing a city wide promotion of museums. I don't know exactly who they were targeting, but if you visited five museums that day, you got a free Amy's Ice Cream. It got us out there! We saw the Children's Museum, Mexic-Arte, Elizabet Ney, Laguna Gloria, and the Umlauf Sculpture Gardens. Usually Amy's is really too rich and sweet to eat very much. A "tiny" serving is about all I can handle, but the key lime pie was fabulous! Since then I have tasted Blue Bell's version which is quite tasty and I also tasted the HEB Creamy Creations version which is too sweet in my opinion - and that's what counts here on MY blog :-)
Trish moved away to Pennsylvania. I miss her. She was the bass in the barbershop quartet I sang with a few years ago. I hope she's doing well.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Maryland

Some photographers at Maryland Ren Fair caught EJ and I being cute (Richard wanted to gag... wait, I think he did). Linda Thomas took this photo. You can see her work here. The gallery that includes this photo is here. She was glad to hear that I liked this picture so much.
I love this man.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Camlann Medieval Village

I felt like the blog needed a picture. Here is our group picture from Camlann. Michelle is basking in Al's greatness or something.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Cleveland

It was a great weekend with Michelle Levy, Therese Honey, Al & myself. Michelle had a slight luggage mishap, but at least made it to Cleveland with the vielle. She borrowed a black dress from a university student there for the performance and the rest of us wore our Istanpitta best. I hope Al sends me the picture soon. We all did lots of talking and lots of laughing.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Wichita State

Our concert went very well. Al, Shira & Annette were fabulous and I enjoyed performing immensely. There was a lovely reception after the concert where I met an amazing woman. It was wonderful and refreshing to meet such a like-minded person in all places as this. I left that evening feeling alot of love and respect for this woman. I do hope she keeps in contact. (PS--I am keeping her name off of here for privacy purposes. I didn't forget it! :-))

Friday, September 07, 2007

Concert in KS

I'm in Houston waiting to fly to Wichita, KS where I will be singing a concert with Istanpitta. This weekend's players include Al, of course, Annette Bauer, amazing recorder player, and Shira Kammen, vielle goddess. It is going to be an unbelievable concert.

I've been giving alot of thought to songwriting lately. I always have melodic ideas swimming my head, but never write them down. I haven't written poetry in years. I feel this sudden surge of freedom and inspiration working its magic... at least I hope its magic! I guess if it's not, I can always use it for therapeutic purposes and burn the pages later.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Crossroads in Time

Istanpitta played for an amazing reenactment group this past July in the amazing mountains of Utah. I just got a disk of a ton of pictures they took, and I have to share a few. First, the men in armor - meow.
I think we might be watching the men in armor or maybe the trebuchet.
The women.... and babies.... and baby to be.
Me!
It was COLD! In July, that makes me happy!
What a happy ensemble!
Back to work.
That's me in all of my warmest clothes. I stole, I mean, borrowed that cool hood from Al.
I think Heather is learning from my amazing skills.
I just liked this picture.
Those are my favorite ten shots off of a disk with who knows how many pictures. I hope we get to play with them again some day!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Disturbing

Does anyone else find this disturbing?

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Passing Measures

Yesterday, I was able to perform with Passing Measures for a short Medieval concert. Jan did a very nice job putting things together. The concert was well received and most importantly, I had fun! I also recorded it. When I return from the road trip, I will download the concert and edit some good chunks to post on my website.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Couple of pics


eeek! I don't have internet at my house yet. Dan left town today. I am taking care of the animals and using Dan's Mac to publish some blog stuff - which is really odd... lots of features don't work or just aren't there.
There's a picture of the bedroom... and a few pics of the kitchen... and finally a picture of a cute bunny friend. There is a second bunny that hangs out in my yard. They don't seem to belong to anyone... maybe ex-pets? They seem healthy. I can get about three feet from them, but they are cautious and skittish.





Thursday, July 19, 2007

In Houston

Today, I am in Houston. This evening, I fly to Las Vegas and then drive into Utah with Istanpitta. It's supposed to be high enough in the mountains to be very cool at night. I can't wait!!
Al just got new camera. Which means he also has an old camera.... He is letting me borrow the old camera -- Woohoo!! Maybe it was the quivering lower lip when I told him that my camera died. 
Life is good! Have a great weekend!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Floors... done!

Here's a picture of the finished floors.... oh, wait. No picture. Camera's dead. Well, you'll have to trust me. The floors are solid grey and look nice and clean. I will have rugs so it will be more warm and less grey. I will now begin work on the painting of the white.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Battle wounds

Although my leg feels much better, it looks horrible.... and I thought I would share that with you all. That pic is about 9 inches of my thigh. But of course, it was all for a good cause, and the countertop was saved and looks fabulous! My leg will heal... the countertop would have been broken forever.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Kitchen

I know I said I wouldn't post until it was done, but I couldn't stand it! Here it is before...
And here it is so far.... Featuring a new sink centered under the faucet (a novel idea, I know). New countertop that almost beat me up. I have the LARGEST bruise that I have ever had. The counter slipped when I thought I'd try to turn it to get a better angle on the sink cutting process. I couldn't let the counter fall and get damaged, so I cushioned the fall... first with my thigh, then with my toes and finally with my fingers... I'm sure you can just imagine the florid language that was used. The countertop survived and I did manage to lift it back in place by hoisting it up one milkcrate at a time. I'm a creative girl!

The new countertop has been water sealed from every angle.

This sink will forever remind me that I do NOT want to be a plumber when I grow up. EW!! I had to take apart the pipes and cut one of the PVC pieces to make the new sink fit. Oh the nastiness... GROSS! Luckily I saw what needed to be done and just did it as quickly as I possibly could.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Life in a Crayola box

All four interior colors can be seen while sitting on the futon in the living room. I LOVE those colors!
When I told someone that the kitchen is now orange, he said, "So, basically, you want to live in a Crayola box." Well, YES! Who is unhappy when they have a box of crayons in front of them? Shouldn't your home reflect the kind of life you have and want to have? Happiness, playfulness and energy all from within inviting the same from others.
Yesterday, I went to IKEA and purchased my new countertop & sink for the kitchen. Dan helped me yank out the old and toss the new one snug into place. Today I will cut the hole for the sink and put up shelves.... then I will take a picture. It's fabulous!
All that will be left for the interior is floors and all the trim painting. Then... the landscaping begins.
Oh, by the way, I LOVE my job! I did one singing telegram today interupting a big meeting for the boss's birthday. The group was great. I just LOVE doing these. SOOOO much fun!!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I MOWED!

Today, I mowed for the first time! The grass was wet, but it didn't rain hard last night, so I took the opportunity. In case you don't know, it has been raining like CRAZY around here all summer. The next pic is of the lawnmower POOP. I couldn't believe the poor thing kept cutting. There was SOOOOOOO much pulverized grass in the mower. Whew!
I changed the door knobs and added a dead bolt. The dead bolt was absolutely the hardest job I've done so far, but I did it.
I also changed the light fixture in the bathroom. There was nothing really wrong with the one that was there, but this metal kinda rustic old fashion-y looking one caught my eye and I decided I needed it!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

SFEMS, shawms

Last week was full of exciting adventures. I went to Sonoma State University to participate in the San Francisco Early Music Society's Medieval workshop. We put on a great production. There were some fabulous singers who were also REALLY great to be around and laugh with. Danny Johnson from here in Austin directed the vocal and action end of the show. Al Cofrin made his presence known in the band. I won't mention the bagpipe solo he volunteered. hee hee
On the way home, I checked the shawms into baggage... guess what. They got damaged. VERY very sad. Yes, I cried. It is my very strong belief that someone (TSA???) opened them and dropped them and then replaced the broken shawm into the padding with the broken side down so you couldn't see it till you rolled the shawm over. There is absolutely no damage to the case or the padding or the latches - just a nice 1 & 1/2 inch chunk out of the bell of the soprano shawm. The pieces are there and I'm hoping (and Al concurs so far) that the peices can be put back together.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Shawm

Shawms are loud.... very loud. I brought one home today and got it out to practice.... This is the cat hiding from the shawm.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Purple

Before... with the fan that squeaked and blades that look like they are really ready to retire...
And AFTER... The purple is actually a bit darker and slightly grayer. Since this picture I have also painted another coat so there is no streakiness. Dan was kind enough to install this small but mighty and squeak-free fan.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

kitchen shelves

Before, with the fridge totally in the way of everything.... and about 8 inches of space beside the stove collecting dust.... and two outlets being usable only to the fridge unless you wanna run a bunch of extension cords around the kitchen.... There are no outlets at the counter.
Purchased a smaller stove to make room for another 8 feet of "counter space", and moved the fridge to the corner by the door (next pic). There is SOOOOO much more usable space now! I will put the microwave and coffee maker and toaster on this wall... where the outlets are :-)

Next... floors and everything that needs to be painted white. I have sealed three out of five rooms with silicone along the base boards. The tile used to cover those gaps.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The power of color

This is the living room before.
This is the living room with a little color.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

and now...

Shelves & counter.... awwww!!!!

Friday, June 08, 2007

bathroom almost

Before...... blah.
Almost done... just gotta install the counter and place the sink! It's all cut and ready to go but the paint on the walls was still wet, so I couldn't finish the job.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

now for sewing

I forgot about this little camping table until I re-found it in my closet. It's perfect for the sewing machine right now. Now I can sew my shades right there and know immediately if they will fit just right. By the way, that is the office room... NO tiles! and you can see where I stripped out the doorway.
My first sewing job. I wanted a shower curtain that was happy and cheerful so that mornings can be a little less painful. I think I might have gone overboard and now run the risk of blinding myself every morning. But oh well!
And here is the latest view of the living room. That futon will be the couch for the living room. It's pretty comfy... just a note to all you potential guests! Look, no tiles!!