Saturday, Apr 19

This morning we finished the blog and posted it before I left for the afternoon of music in EBRG and to pick up some dog food. I have been gone for several hours playing music at Briarwood Commons (retirement community). Lots of Irish songs and others, with lyrics for the audience. They fixed us an afternoon “lupper” (between lunch and supper?). Today we had a cabbage salad (not coleslaw but sort of like it), two whipped cream type salads (one was rice with mandarins) – I almost typed mandolins. Ha ha; green Jello with fruit cocktail, and the best little half sandwiches with homemade chicken salad (made by 4 of the ladies there). For dessert, we had two homemade Bundt cakes – one was cherry and the other a lemon pound, along with the best carrot cake with cream cheese dressing and pecans you have ever tasted. Bill (the baker) knows John and sent me home with two pieces. We had many players there and a new guitarist from Cle Elum joined us. He played first with us at the potluck before our music for the square dance group at the Grange, and then with us there, and last week at Dry Creek. I guess he will be joining the group! I now only wish for more fiddles. We had only 3 (viola, violin, and bass fiddle) last Thursday and 7 guitars. Yesterday, we had fewer guitars because of Easter travels, but still had a good group, and an additional fiddler who has joined our group, this quarter only on weekends, because of CWU class conflict on Thursdays. He’s married to our new bass fiddle player.

Sunday, Apr 20 HAPPY EASTER

Up to a pretty sunshiny day (but cool). John took some sausage and biscuits out of the freezer, added cheddar cheese and egg, and we had brunch. I have been working on music, and just finished Waltz Across Texas. Now I have added a couple more and made .pdf files for them to ship off next week to people with printers. Gonna visit with friends this afternoon on their way home to Yakima. We’ll sit in chairs inside our pole building out of the wind. They are bringing us some Costco dog food to share as they feed the same stuff, and that will save us a trip down to Yakima tomorrow. They arrived a little after 4:00 p.m. and we visited outside in lawn chairs near our pole building, for 2 hours in the sun, because there was no wind, and it was chilly in the shade. Nice visit. They had been at their family’s Easter dinner. Now John is back outside working again. It’s Mockin’ Bird Hill, for me, to get into music.
No reports on our puppy, so guess she didn’t have a bird on her run. Derby dogs have to have bird contact and an established point.

Monday, Apr 21

Great start to the morning – John fixed my broken recliner this morning that was coming apart as a combination of tinker toy and erector set parts. It has been operating reluctantly for awhile and finally tilted and died. He claims the problem could have been prevented for 15¢ during original construction – but they didn’t ask his advice. I also wrote to my department head from CWU and his administrative assistant (Marilyn) to ask if I could pay for copying music (on their fancy all-function Xerox machine) for our audience at the community homes we visit weekly. I can do the work, and provide the paper, but need to pay for the machine-cycles and toner. I learned they will allow me to make copies, 20 of 9 pages, back to back, for a reasonable price. The cost is high at the local print shop, and they won’t copy music, claiming it is copyrighted. Our music group has no income and we are just trying to accommodate retirement home residents who want to sing along on the old favorites. Some of our tunes (those from before 1921) can be copied at the commercial store but then other pages would have to be shuffled into the stack by hand. That’s about as much fun as using my home printer and trying to get John to put all the pages together. Anyway, now back to alternating washing dishes, clothes, and finishing music to be copied. Meanwhile, I also returned a call to the photographer who videoed us April 5th night at the Grange. He is going to make several DVD copies for us. That is awesome. John is out planting Ponderosa pines and it is overcast and likely will rain today. It rained tonight.
I finished several pieces of music, including a medley of Five Foot Two & Yes Sir That’s My Baby, also Down By the Old Mill Stream, and I may add Do Lord (as the Spiritual I learned long ago). Probably not politically correct (PC) to use the pronunciation, Lawd for Lord, and so on. But, doing Christian music in public places is also not “in tune” with some folks, and, yet, at the food bank, we have requests for Amazing Grace, It is no Secret What God Can Do, Jesus Loves Me, How Great thou Art, and others. They especially love, In The Garden. We accommodate if we know the song. John claims that when he is in a nursing home he will not want to hear these songs. He’ll be looking for the work of Roy Orbison and Roy Clark.
This is the best Pretty Woman – if it will play for you; these don’t work well on our old computer – and features a young Bruce Springsteen on guitar – find a different version if this doesn’t work for you. And here is Roy Clark and band in Iowa City doing Orange Blossom Special.

Tuesday, Apr 22

Dealing with medical bills and how much Medicare and Group Health (supplemental) insurance will pay is really a PITA. After 3 phone calls, I found out that I had not yet reached my $147 deductible on Medicare, or my $250 on Group Health (GH), so I have to pay $46.03 out of my pocket for the hellacious 3 hours of heart tests I had to suffer through back on 2/25/14. Also, while I was on the phone, I made an appt. for the both of us to have our eye exam on May 16, same doctor, 15 minutes apart, even though the exams take longer than that. Unfortunately, John has to meet his deductibles the same way. While I have already paid all but $4 of my GH, some of Medicare, he has paid nothing, so we’ll have to cover his entire exam. At least we don’t need to have new glasses. Don’t get me wrong – I’m happy John hasn’t had any doctor’s visits this year.
He is hoping for the wind to stop before going out to move the straw off the strawberry patch. It’s not supposed to calm down until six o’clock, so now he rests. Winds have been sustained over 22 up to 31mph; gusts have been over 31mph since before 8:00 a.m., up to 44mph.
Lots of work squeezed in on music too, including Heart of My Heart (written in 1926 by Ben Ryan, from an earlier version, The Story of the Rose, written in 1899, by Andrew Mack). I worked as well on sending out job announcements to the NW Geography Jobs list serve.
Cancelled out tomorrow’s music at the Food Bank because my sidekick banjo player is sick in bed with the flu (going on a week). My SAIL class was also cancelled because a number of the folks are going to Seattle to the Arboretum and to shop at Trader Joe’s (EBRG does not have one and it seems to be big deal to some of these folks). The Senior Center puts on lots of activities with a bus ride and lunch included (for a price), but I have other things than riding a bus I like to do. John and I may leave in the morning when it is cold and windy to go to Costco for the much-needed dog and cat food. We have a scheduled trip to the Cardiologist on May 6, but we need several things before then.
Just heard today from Anne Engels she gave her son 3 music books for me with chords. I think they are just to borrow, copy what I want, and return. This is good. I had trouble putting together even the old 1917 one tonight, The Darktown Strutters’ Ball. I had a couple of things to work from but not in the same key or timing. I chose to go with an older version, closer to the way I think it is supposed to be, and put in the chords from now-departed Bob’s rendition. I looked on line and some placements disagreed. I just listened to it and decided myself which way to go. I took two old copies and did a real white-out job on them to be able to add chords to the music so that I don’t have to put it into my SongWriter software. Each song from scratch takes over 2 hours, and sometimes more. If the notes and lyrics are fairly visible and I can make the chords stand out; these will suffice for now. I’m spending all my entering time rewriting Bob’s stuff and also adding a few new ones. Sometimes I have the commercial score copy from a “band” member, or oftentimes I have to kludge it from the web. People with web sites want to sell “their” sheet music that has been cobbled together just as mine is, and thus, they don’t show but a few lines of any one song. I’m getting better at sleuthing, and of course, I also have musician friends to rely on for copies of some stuff I cannot find elsewhere. Only occasionally do I have to add a few measures myself from scratch.

Wednesday, Apr 23

With both events I normally do on Wednesday cancelled, John and I decided to travel to Yakima to Costco for gasoline and dog food, and some other stuff on sale. We ended up spending $3.699 / gal of gasoline, but even with the world price of oil going down $2.00/barrel, the news hasn’t reached our state. Ellensburg’s cheapest station is up to 3.719/gal. Just last week we filled my car up at $3.489/gal. Interesting. We bought some printer paper today, costing us $3.25/ream (up considerably from the last time we bought a case), but it is heavier weight; 22 lbs.
About paper weight: Using English units we normally see weight = 20 pounds. Why? Well, because you asked – the number is based on 500 sheets of the industry-agreed on size of the type of paper being considered. Multi-purpose paper for ink-jet printers is of the Basic Size 17 in. X 22 in., and this is 4 times the size of the sheets in the packages with which we are familiar. Because the paper in these packages is only ¼ the size of the “Basic Size” it takes 4 of them to get the expected 20 pounds of paper. Thus, each 500 sheet ream of ink-jet printer paper will weigh just 5 pounds. The reams of 22# paper will weigh 5.5 pounds but still be 8.5X11 inches, and thusly, it is ever so slightly denser and the “see through” is likewise reduced. A better paper. And now you know, ‘cause John was curious.
Besides paper, that we really didn’t need, we loaded up on dog and cat food so we don’t run out again. Got some roast beef, chicken, and Jarlsberg cheese on sale; some Rosemary Olive bread that we like a lot. Some other frozen stuff – mixed vegetables for making stir-fry or stew. They no longer carry the Panko-crusted Shrimp we have bought for a long time. John found a great pot roast one cooks in a bag. He manufactured a great dinner from it for tonight, with mushrooms, red peppers (from a greenhouse in British Columbia) bought today and put into the gravy, on Yukon Gold potatoes (Wintered in temperature controlled buildings: put ‘ potato storage winter ’ in an image search and see). Nice dinner. We had a brunch (Monster Biscuit) from Carl’s Jr. on the way down and on the way home, a Very Berry Frozen Yogurt Sundae (made with a generous helping of mixed berries). It rained on the way back. I took his cell phone along on the trip so we could use it if we got separated in the huge warehouse. As we approached Yakima, I tried calling his sister on his phone. No luck. I called on my cell phone and it went right through. She suggested I call Consumer Cellular and report our malfunctioning phone. I tried it again once at Costco, and nothing, no network connection, with the battery fully charged, so I left it in the car and stayed with John around the store. Got a lot of walking in so it was probably more than I would have done in the exercise class that was cancelled. Once back on the road for home, I called our cell provider’s technical support and described the problem with his phone. The solution was for me to do some stuff, and for them to make some changes through their computer. It worked, and I was able to call Peggy using John’s cell phone, to report that she was a “savior” in suggesting my calling and that it worked!! On the way home, I made one more call, but the reception through the basalt hills and without regular cell tower coverage is lousy in that 30-mile stretch. On the way home, I experimented with the camera in his phone, and captured them later onto my computer. Click each of the photos for full size on a $15 phone.
Rain drops on car window coming into the Kittitas Valley from Yakima, with full cloud cover
Coming into the Kittitas Valley in the rain. (Remember we only get 8 to 12″ annually).

I felt as if I accomplished a lot today. Now, if his phone would just hold its charge. Started making a dent into another song by Harry Wood – A Little Street Where Old Friends Meet. Got the basic images of the score from Dave Perkins, in the key of E flat. I will change it to something easier for our group to play. Three flats is not something anyone likes.

Thursday, Apr 24

We have been joined by another cat in our cat house and cat’s hay mow. We haven’t determined the gender, but it is a large light-gray-bodied cat with some white on all 4 feet and white on his face as Rascal, but with longer hair, yet not as long as Woody’s. It maybe has some orange mixed in on the legs. Normally, that means female, but in Rascal’s case, he is a male Mackerel tabby. We watched “him” up top in the morning, and then later in the evening he was back, and ended by walking the plank into the cat house, where there is dry food, water, and a night light (blue). We have turned off the heater now, and they have access to non-frozen water all around our place.
Went to Hearthstone for music. It was a nice outing. We had a large (and appreciative) audience, including the Activities Director, Liana. When she saw the music given to the residents was complete with notes, lyrics, and chords, she got her guitar and joined in. She has a great voice too, and sang along on all the songs. She was particularly thrilled with My Grandfather’s Clock, and learning the last verse. Also, she had not had the music, and had to pick out the chords by ear. Leftovers are for dinner, and too much time spent trying to enter a song which is not working well. I may give up on it. It was “T for Texas,” and I gave up. It’s an old Jimmie Rodgers song, I will have to write the music for, because it is not available on line, even for a price.

Friday, Apr 25

For our scholarship luncheon today, I picked up my friend Mary on campus and gave her a ride. We went to Dry Creek, an assisted living center, where one of our members works. The lunch was held in the “Coca Cola Room.” You’ve heard about the chairs earlier in this blog because we use them the 3rd Thursday of each month when we play music there. We have had to carry chairs down the hall from the room to the main dining room where we provide the music, so I knew the location of the room. We were the first ones there. I took John’s cell phone (with camera) along today.
Coca Cola themed room; Chrome plated legs on tables (round tops; Coke logo in center) chairs and stools with bright red covers; floor black and white squares like a chess board
Counter in Coke themed room; tall straw holder, salt and pepper shakers, little white stuffed bear, thermomater -- all with Coca Cola icons and red and white
I should have had Mary take more than one picture of me, to get one with my eyes open – so we’ll exclude that one. Guess I can just say I’m dreaming of the days of old.

Coca Cola originated in my home town, Atlanta, GA, but the funniest part of that is my Grandfather had a drug store there (Brannen’s Drug Store), and Asa Candler wanted him to put Coca Cola in his soda fountain. My grandfather declined and said he would stay with Welch’s Grape Juice. I might have been a millionaire. After returning Mary back to campus, I stopped at Grocery Outlet for cheaper cat food but they were totally out of any, small or large cans. This chain keeps some prices low by only buying certain things when the distribution centers want to unload near the end of product cycles – or something. The frustration of finding an empty shelf is almost worth the low price when stuff is there. Then on to SAIL exercise, where they had had a free lunch for people and had shown a movie. It was still playing when I arrived. We had a good class, and the staff put out wrapped pieces of leftover egg estrata from lunch for us to take home. I brought home two pieces for us to put with our leftover end of the roast beef from which we have had 7 meals. This dish appeared to have potatoes (or rutabaga; aka Swedish turnip), cherry tomatoes, red and orange peppers, onions, cheese and eggs in a casserole type of dish, similar to a Quiche or Frittata. The name Strata comes from the layering. The best I can do is to send you to a photograph on the web, click here for this photo. Once home, I spent some more time on music entry, and on household chores. Also worked a little on the jobs list I manage. Yesterday I got a Priority mail package from the place that wants my consultation about job descriptions for a Geographer. The woman from Raleigh, NC called today, but I was gone. With the 3 hours time difference, it was too late to return her phone call by 5:00 today. I have her email, so will contact her over the weekend. Another thing I did tonight was peruse (the true meaning) the three music books from my friend in Montana. They are excellent, and have a few songs I remember from my childhood, but with all the lyrics, notes, and chords. Perfect for what I need to get music in order for our group. I have stopped work after this weekend on May/June, and we are set for July, so I can get back to work on sorting things in the house – for a final destination, known as a dump or landfill, or to share with colleagues still teaching. I have done a lot of that, and there’s more to follow.
John sprayed for weeds today, and pruned the very thorny Blackberries – they have the character of winter hardiness – called Illini Hardy and come from Illinois – the only reason for having them at all. Thornless berries as just as tasty (and a lot safer for Nancy to pick – John won’t even let me near the thorny ones).

Hope your week was fine.
Nancy and John
Still on the Naneum Fan