Archive for December, 2020

Last bones of 2020

Posted on Thursday, December 31st, 2020 at 2:49 am

I just ordered Lark in the Morning flat bones in tun, sisham, and boxwood, to make the matching minstrel sets (four of a given wood) for R/L hand playing. These are the last bones I intend on ordering, bringing the collection up to 24 pair.

That said, I have been eyeing the Whamdiddle cocolobo @ $40 + s&h. Shame on me. When the six outstanding orders arrive, the collection will be:

Lark in the Morning
Minstrel and flat sets
Red Sisham


Percy Danfoth
Red Oak

Pea Patch
Rosewood (wide)



Shooting Star

McNeela Irish
Flat wrapped set

Joe Birl
Notched minstrel

Quite a collection. The Birl were the only ones I didn’t order (sent by mistake), but I like the maple voice. I have learned how to best use the Shooting Star, though I feel a little conscious with them, not from body memory. Part of that is that they’re hand-made, no two exactly alike. But I like the ziricote voice.

2021 will be learning all the voices to memory. With eight pair, it wasn’t that big of a challenge. But now it’s a much wider array. Not only are there sets, but a wider range of variants and cross mixes out-the-ears. Knowing which four pieces of wood to grab for a given song will take time.

There have been vaccines delivered to the state facility south of town, but I haven’t seen any sign of public distribution yet. Some counties have been going public, but those are mostly the most populated. I have my eyes open.

It’s cold and rainy. Temperature dropped 20°, 79°F to 59°F in under an hour. It started raining at sunset. Nothing all that heavy, but constant.

Today is hard drive maintenance day, ship all the dated data off to the external drives, update the copyright on the site, etc. Twice a year duties. Then I’m ready for the new year.


Posted on Wednesday, December 30th, 2020 at 2:10 pm

Two deposits waiting to clear the bank, retirement and stimulus. Retirement clears tonight, the stimulus on Monday morning.

I haven’t been charged for December storage because of the challenge. The banks are discussing it. Because of that, I paid the internet bill and ordered the half round bones (teak and mahogany). That got me $1 under the limit. I’ll order the three pair of flats tomorrow (sisham, tun, boxwood). Next week, I’ll try contacting the dowel maker again.

Made a store run last night. Sirloin pastrami, smoke gruyere, Jarlsberg, cornbread, cheese cake for NYD, and I replenished the cupboard and got produce. I couldn’t resist the large avocado on sale. I am dealing with nutritional saturation.

Windows are open for the last time this year, and for the foreseeable future. Enjoying the 78° while I can. I plan on a soak while I can still enjoy it.

34 hours of 2020 left.

Bonny bones

Posted on Tuesday, December 29th, 2020 at 12:56 pm

Got the five new pairs of bones. Well, take that back. Four new pairs and a pair of Joe Birl maple bones instead of the Percy Danforth maple bones. I emailed Bone Dry Music, and a pair of the Percy Danforth bones have been packaged and are ready to ship. I get to keep the Joe Birl, which I don’t particularly like. The notches are a good gimmick for those who constantly drop them, but they don’t allow for as much tuning, and they don’t swing very well.

The Percy Danforth red oak minstrels are tinnier than I expected, very bright (brighter than the padauk), but not very deep. Still, they fit a niche not yet filled. The Whamdiddle purpleheart are also tinnier than expected, but deep like ebony. They carry easily in a noisy environment, though the surface is a little on the rough side, not as polished as the rest of the collection. The Shooting Star ziricote sound nice, but I’m not too thrilled with the design. They’re not all that easy to play. I don’t think I’ll be buying any more of that brand. The Half-Round tamarind are enjoyable, deep but not excessively bright, a good balanced voice, and I like the way they play.

Ziricote, purpleheart, tamarind, red oak, Joe Birl maple.

The minstrel bag is full. Not sure if the maple bones will fit. I may need to remove the Joe Birl bones. I am finding myself contemplating getting a pair of the Half-Round in teak and mahogany. The clearance price is right. And they’d go in the flat bone bag.

I get paid Wednesday/Thursday midnight, COLA goes into effect. I was thinking Thursday/Friday, but New Year’s Day is a holiday. Doh! Not sure if the storage rent will go through in time, but I’m not worried if it goes over a day or two. Client check is in hand. Not sure when I’ll head to the bank.

If the dowels bill get paid in January, and I get the matching flat bones and Half-Round, that’s around $220 out of the $490 mad money. If the stimulus gets bumped to $2k, then the MacBook Pro can happen in the coming month. If not, I’m looking at February.

Still fighting the fridge. But I am getting the upper hand. I have no choice, with NYD coming this way. Shopping early tomorrow morning for supplies. Pastrami, Jarlsberg, cornbread, cheesecake. I may use a can of black-eyed peas, rather than cook up a full batch, just to cut down on the volume. I can’t keep eating like this, even if I’m not gaining weight.


Posted on Monday, December 28th, 2020 at 12:43 am

The turkey/veggie/cornbread dressing casserole (part 2) is in the fridge. It’s heavy on the turkey and just as yummy as the first. I got the stock up to a full tilt boil to make sure that nothing which might have grown in it reached the oven. It was on the fridge shelf for a while. Didn’t affect the taste. Plenty of bacon left.

Making a dent in the fridge, albeit slowly. Store run planned Wednesday morning early for NYD supplies.

The new bones are on their way to Texas, wheels rolling.

Stimulus bill got passed, $600, which should expand the bank limit high enough to purchase a 16″ MacBook Pro. So that is in the calculations, but not rushing to buy, as long as the Intel chips are still available. Waiting to see if there are further developments before taking the plunge.

Still no word back from the email I sent to the dowel guy two weeks ago. I ordered them 97 days ago. Still no bill. A fun wildcard still, but I can let it go if need be.

Windows are open in the afternoons again, for a few days. Gulf breeze.


Posted on Thursday, December 24th, 2020 at 10:12 pm

I just ordered five pair of bones from Bone Dry Music.
Percy Danforth Minstrel Maple
Percy Danforth Minstrel Red Oak
Half-Round Tamarind
Shooting Star Flat Ziricote
Whamdiddle Purpleheart

Two of these are from the list of four sets of minstrel bones that I didn’t order in November. (One of those are sold out.) The other three are exploration in wood and styles that I haven’t tried yet, but my research tells me that I made good choices all the way around. (It was the tamarind that tipped the scales.) And I got the five to avoid shipping fees, which aren’t cheap. It was and wasn’t a frivolous impulsive action. Impulsive, yes; frivolous, no. Or is that, Impulsive, no; frivolous, yes? Yes, yes? Heck, it’s Christmas, and I’m not in debt.

I am also considering Lark in the Morning flat bones in tun, sisham, and boxwood to match the minstrels of the same wood. I have come to the conclusion that I can use flat bones with my left hand better than minstrel. Grip, weight, actions, I think I’ll do better. And having six matching pairs will give me a better mix and match set of options for L & R. But not this month. I need to play with what I’ve got on hand first to decide.

Today’s purchase sealed the mad money, without the internet being paid before pay day. And the stimulus check debacle just killed all short term fiscal projections, so I’m not rueful. I’m just ashamed of myself (a little, not something I can’t endure with a smile). All told, I’ll have one heck of a heirloom collection. Blame it on the pandemic.

I got stuck house sitting the horde for the next two days.

The split pea soup is yummy. Opened the gourmet tamales this morning. Eggs ackley, marinated sirloin, and pulled pork have at least a couple more days each. I may make the dressing casserole on Monday or Tuesday.

The cold is durable, now that the 40 mph wind gusts have calmed. Last night was a little daunting.

Jet stream yesterday

Half gallon

Posted on Wednesday, December 23rd, 2020 at 2:23 am

I have a half gallon of split pea soup waiting to cool down a bit more before seeing fridge time. The spaghetti made a large exit (2 small or 1 large), and dishes are washed except for the soup pot, and it’s soaking.

I still have trash to gather, litter box the big thing there. The soup bone, fridge clearance, etc. has already been trashed. Won’t take long.

Tomorrow, bring the bin off the curb, fill the ice bin, do laundry. Sounds strangely familiar. ♫ And you don’t know if it’s deja vu or something you have seen. Richard Dobson – Hum of the Wheels

I’ve started playing bones to random iTunes, seeing what I can generate in time. It’s music I know, so it’s not totally spontaneous, but a random challenge nonetheless. It is speeding progress of the rapid transitions.

Today is forecast for mid-70s, then a shift to northerly winds and cooler temps. Other than Sunday, the outlook is on the cool side through the end of the year. No freezing, no open windows. I expect to have a cat on my calves.


Posted on Monday, December 21st, 2020 at 5:29 am

I got the eggs ackley made a few minutes before solstice, the last entree of autumn. Split pea soup will be the first of winter. Add spaghetti, pulled pork, and sirloin tacos. Variety will be brats, boudin, and tamales.

Caught up on chores. Ham is in the freezer, ham bone in the fridge for split pea. Ice bin is full. Dishes done. No laundry. Floors are swept. Etc, etc. Everything is squared away. I have a license to be lazy.

And now the days get longer.

Made a store run when I went to get a script refill. I got a 16 quart stainless soup pot, a set of batter bowls (spouts and handles on mixing bowls: 5.4, 3.7, and 2.6 quarts), and a non-stick jumbo turner (made for big pancakes, but will handle 12 oz burgers securely). I also got Myka new treats, which she loves voraciously.

Mad money is down to $34. I can relax with that and eight days to go. NYD supplies will eat that easily. If I get a bill on dowels, I won’t have a problem.

Windows were open all afternoon, and should be again tomorrow and Wednesday. Very nice, and Myka was thrilled. Christmas eve and day will be on the cool side, but a small warm up for the weekend.

Spaghetti sauce is starting to get low. One heavy or two light servings, adjusting pasta accordingly. I am expecting to make split pea tomorrow. The ham bone was scraped of fat and is ready to go, around half a pound of meat on the bone.


Posted on Sunday, December 20th, 2020 at 8:15 am

There are four 20 oz rib eyes in the freezer. They wouldn’t fit in quart freezer bags, but a little shifting of the pork tenderloins found a freezer foot print sufficient to hold them without displacing the Blue Bell.

I got to the store, and when I saw the rib eye roast, the freezer said, “Don’t you dare bring home no 20 lb roast!” Seven ribs, meaning a self cut would have produced seven 48 oz steaks. The five pounds I got was perfect to fill the steak section full. They cost a bit more per pound, but it was the only solution for affordable rib eyes in the freezer.

The half ham was 6.6 lb. I think I can fit it in by removing a bag of pulled pork and having a meaty ham bone for split pea soup. I won’t need to thaw turkey for a second cornbread dressing casserole just yet. I will cut up the ham today.

So the happy holiday store run worked out. And I won’t need to make another store run this week. I will need a refill on one script next weekend.

Still no word on the exotic dowels. Today marks 90 days since I made the order. And there has been no response to the email I sent a week ago. I would still love to have them, but I could also survive if it falls through.

Solstice is 20 hours away. Woohooo!

The bank negated both payments to storage. Looks like I’ll have to pay again. *sigh*

The table arrived. Definitely larger, but not quite as stable, though it has snap pins to keep the table from folding or unfolding, which help. Definitely nice to have on hand, and it sits nicely with the other table in the slot next to the fridge.

Litter box, dishes, ham sectioning, eggs ackley, more dishes are my chores for the day. Not a heavy load, but not lazy town either.

Begging to be tacos

Posted on Saturday, December 19th, 2020 at 12:25 am

Marinated sirloin, begging to be tacos.



Posted on Thursday, December 17th, 2020 at 6:35 pm

Well, intent on the two folding tables, I decided to buy one that is a bit larger (twice the surface area). Delivery due on Christmas eve. (I’d be surprised.)

11 slats

Started in on the spaghetti. Didn’t make the eggs ackley for the avocado, the spud, pork tenderloin, cheddar combo did as well in its place. Ackley will follow. A couple of sirloin halves thawing for marinated tacos, making room for the rib eyes. Ham has me puzzled. Maybe an 8 lb shank.

Been a cool day. A short one too. Didn’t do a lot of excess today, stuck with what was suitable.

The table is due Monday, according to FedEx.

Storage rent got charged twice to my bank account, but only once on the billing end. Unusual. But my bank is running a challenge check on it, 7 to 10 days.

Stretching the depths

Posted on Wednesday, December 16th, 2020 at 2:00 am

Deep in the December stretch, days getting shortest, weather cooler. Solstice is five days away.

Getting into the next phase in the kitchen, spaghetti and eggs ackley. Bones from the baby back ribs, half a Popeye’s spicy, plus stuff from the freezer that got sacrificed for space and freezer burn (ham was the only victim) all made the trash before curb time. Big trash bag this week from the freezer shuffle. The ice bin slides smoothly now, after losing the slab of bacon as a base. The shelf was spun 180°. The pork tenderloins turned out well.

4.5 pounds

Emailed the dowel guy, waiting for a response. It’s been 82 days since I made the order. The fate of the mad money hangs in the balance.

HEB has rib eye roast on sale for $3.77/lb, as if I had freezer space to spare. Lobster tails, $5 each. The nerve!

Got the knit caps and styrofoam head. The knit caps are like the old one, but not the same mass or density. I may need to run it through the washer on hot to mat the yarn. And the head is a little smaller than mine, the hat is loose, even with a sweat band. But it holds the hat well, allowing the brim to relax in its proper shape.

I got a remote (in-oven) meat thermometer, 3 ft cord on the probe. Stays in the roast, etc and gives a real time reading with an alarm for when it reaches done temp. It will be used, but not in the near future. It will be a while before I crank up the oven again.

Hanging close, staying safe, waiting for a vaccination notice.


Posted on Monday, December 14th, 2020 at 8:50 am


Posted on Saturday, December 12th, 2020 at 3:02 pm

It’s always the day after that grabs you, when it is obvious that nothing has changed. Laundry, dishes, ice bin, brat cat…
Before enlightenment, carry water, chop wood.
After enlightenment, carry water, chop wood.

Sunny, blue skies, low 60s, northerly breeze. Pretty day. Windows shut for a while.

Pork tenderloins will begin the marinade bath later. That means serious freezer maintenance, though it is pretty orderly. Popeye’s will thaw, half bird. Tamales and brats will rotate.

Finished off the carrot cake. Plenty of German chocolate left in the fridge. Also the chocolate creme pie. It’s the sweet tooth season.

Had a good session with the bones today. The speed transitions are getting smoother and L/R coordination a little better.

Mail is lagging, as expected, between holiday loads and illness deficiencies in the labor pool. The caps didn’t get here today, they’re in North Houston. I expect them Monday. Not sure about the head.

Not a whole lot planned for this weekend.

Doing 70

Posted on Friday, December 11th, 2020 at 12:56 am

25,566.75 days ago, I took my first breath.

As of this hour, I have a guaranteed exemption from jury duty.

I’m plotting a German chocolate cake.

I got German chocolate and carrot cake. And Zatarin shrimp scampi penne (frozen stovetop). I also got an avocado, then broke two eggs when the partial carton fell to the floor, prompting breakfast, with potato and cheddar rounding out the plate.

Got 4 pork tenderloins to stock up the freezer. They’ll be marinated and roasted in the oven. But not today. The freezer first needs topological therapy.

Been raining in waves today. But the windows remain open. I took out the bodhran to humidify the skin. Mostly a day hanging out at the desk, SOP. Waiting for the central heat to do laundry, not much drying to be had in this soup. Answering emails, reading the news, jigsaws, etc.

Cooking the scampi and the ice bin will be the main chores later today. Myka fed, dishes washed, etc, nothing pending at the moment.

The day is winding down, an hour to sunset. 90 minutes to birth time (6:03 pm). 25,567.5 days. Not particularly concerned about much today. Making the most of enjoying the warmth before it goes away.

The stretch

Posted on Wednesday, December 9th, 2020 at 9:47 am

Entering the depths of winter, the final days before the dark solstice. In a normal year, it’s a rough patch to get through. This year… I’m glad that I have the strength to endure it. I won’t have any trouble hiding away this time around.

At least the weather is back in the 70s this week. Windows open in late morning, including the front door. Myka has accepted that the hardware cloth is on the screen door and that she can’t bust through. It’s nice to have it open again.

I made a store run last night, shellac, brushes, Everclear (as opposed to denatured alcohol for thinner, I don’t drink the stuff), and a few groceries. One more serving of tuna mac and a turkey sandwich, and the unfrozen part of the big cook will finally be consumed. I have tamales, brats, and freezer stock to cruise on for a few days. I am leaning toward home fries for the spuds.

I ordered a styrofoam head to hold the straw fedora after I shellac it, to help keep the shape of the brim intact. Hanging it on a hook is not helping. The wool fedora is crushable, doesn’t matter where I park it, within reason.

The knit caps I ordered went from the suburbs of Salt Lake City to Boise (340 miles in the wrong direction) before heading in this direction. They’re due Saturday. During the commercial season, no telling when.

Hat 2

Posted on Monday, December 7th, 2020 at 4:00 pm

It arrived. It was iffy this morning, but it found its way onto the delivery truck just in time.

Crushable felt trilby fedora.

Added C. C. Rider to the song book. Easy learn, easy jam.

67°F outside, sunny, northerly breeze. Looking at 70s for the rest of the week. No complaints there.

Waiting for Fedora

Posted on Sunday, December 6th, 2020 at 12:39 pm

The wool fedora was scheduled to arrive today, but it’s been sitting in Fort Worth for the last 12 hours. So much for a delivery today. I ordered a couple of wool caps that look like my old standard. I’m hopeful that they will be the same, as I’d love to have a rotation.

The alpaca blanket arrived yesterday. I love it, thick, warm, from fully wrapped toes to well tucked shoulders. It’s the perfect blanket, properly regulating warmth. It will get me through the winter, no problems. Myka enjoys it too.

I finished off the TRD surrogate (jambalaya and casserole), and they have been replaced by cheese risotto and tuna mac, which used up the last of the milk, to the drop. But neither will be a race to finish, which is a good thing, as I’m not exactly what would be termed ‘hungry’. Add brats and four turkey leg/bacon/provolone sandwiches to fill them out, with steamed veggies. I’ll get to the freezer soon enough.

Things are pretty slow. Then again, there is little reason for things to be otherwise. Cooking and dishes, tending to Myka, not much needs doing. Letting the stream of consciousness flow where it will go seems to consume the bulk of the wakeful day. Staying home, avoiding the virus.

My left hand is falling well behind my right hand on bones. It’s rather discouraging to not be able to mirror what I can do with my right hand. The muscles poop out far too quickly. It is definitely an uphill battle to get beyond the basic 4/4 rhythms. But I’m still working on it.


Posted on Thursday, December 3rd, 2020 at 3:04 pm

The crew just showed up to remove the wooden front screen door. The screen slot needs routing for extra space to accommodate the hardware cloth. They asked me if I had a crazy cat who tears up everything. I answered in the affirmative. The screen said the rest.

And the door is back in place. (I got distracted while writing this entry.) They did a good job of it, better than I could have done, and it didn’t take very long. I’m impressed. The next day it warms up enough to let the breeze in, the front door will be open.

Making progress on the fridge. One serving of dressing left, two more of jambalaya, both will be gone by tomorrow. Also turkey/bacon/provolone sandwiches and tamales, I figure Saturday at latest. I also have milk to finish, so cheese risotto and tuna mac should do it in by expiration date. Lots to thaw in the freezer.

Ordered a gray wool felt fedora today. I’ll have a winter hat to absorb radiant heat and a summer hat to reflect it. It was less than the cost of the camping tables, so no strain on the budget.

Fedora #2

I fell asleep this morning before getting recycling to the curb. Fortunately, they are not early today. I got it all to the curb in time.

Myka has resettled in the aerie. Not sure if it had anything to do with removing the heating pad (softer?). It’s up off the floor, so it suits her, and it’s familiar. She likes it because she’s not kicked out of it when I want the LZB.

Otherwise, it’s pretty uneventful, which is good. Nothing woeful, nothing taxing. I can always make the time pass.


Posted on Tuesday, December 1st, 2020 at 11:46 pm

Pay day happened this morning, and the mad money push began with ordering an alpaca blanket. I have been wanting one, and it seems like the right time. I got all the wearable alpaca I wanted, its turn has come. It is in the mail tonight, arriving at the distribution center.

I like this color.

However, the aluminum camping tables will have to wait, out of stock locally and no custom delivery. If I happened to be in College Station, I could have them tomorrow. Derrr. Oh well. I’m not driving to CS just for a pair of folding camping tables.

Eating as much as I can. Digestion is still working, albeit slowly, but without assistance. And the more I eat, the better it works. If I just didn’t get full, I could eat more. I think I’ll manage to do in the feast for one without waste. At least I like what I’m eating. That helps.

Had a cold night last night, freezing at the airport, but not outside the window. Myka’s oats look a little peaked, but that might be too dense a planting, not so much the weather. I have plenty of seed and soil if they flop. Wind swung around out of the south, and it’s considerably warmer tonight. Poncho is off, denim shirt open. But it won’t last. We need a good skeeter sweeper.

232 days since I restrung the Egee. It’s beginning to sound like it.