Saturday, July 26, 2008

Leavin... (and I WISH it was on a jet plane)

So, as you may have picked up (or not), I have played the tuba for something like 15 years (started in 6th grade, if that helps). I love playing. Not enough to try and make a career out of it though. I have a small group that I play with (we do weddings!) and a bigger brass band that I have been taking a break from to get my thesis done. Basically I have hardly been playing at all while I polished all the writing and presenting off.

But I just finished my first REAL final draft (which I will be turning in as soon as I get final approval and fix the page numbers on that one stupid stupid page, one page out of 82 and I can't get the correct page number, dammit). So tomorrow, I leave for Band Camp.

Yes, Band Camp. Fodder for a million crappy jokes after that stupid American Pie movie. What this is is actually a chamber music workshop. I get to go play all day with a bunch of good musicians, and do a concert every night for musicians only. No audience. And then the next day, you get to play all day with a DIFFERENT bunch of good musicians. And they're not like my band, we play house parties for older ladies and they like showtunes. Showtunes are lovely, I grew up on them. These people will play Bach fugues with me. DO you know how hard it is to find four people to play fugues with?

So, I'm all packed up and ready to go. I leave at 8 am tomorrow since it is something like a 6.5 hour drive. But it will be worth it. I will be staying in the dorms and Matt will be making a mess of the house without me. And it will STILL be worth it.

Bach fugues, I say!
Although I will be taking my laptop in case any of my committee members wants anything else in my final draft (or knows how to fix that one page numbering issue), so I will probably still be checking in. Anyways, point is, everybody have a great rest of the weekend and I'll "see" you all in a week!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ta-dah! (and a question)

That's it. I did it. I was incredibly nervous but I acquitted myself respectably and satisfied my committee's expectations. Now all that is left is BS paperwork (getting page numbers in the proper corners on text AND tables, a new abstract (summary type thing) since I combined my two chapters into one big paper, nothing major or stressful.

And then I came home and had a nap and watched a cute movie. Which brings me to my question...

Why would you cast an actor with an accent if you didn't want his accent? I know, it's acting, but this was just a cute romantic comedy and it made NO difference that the lead had an American accent rather than Scottish, that the dad had an American accent instead of English, that two random minor characters were American instead of their natural some-kind-of-Cockney-ish state. It was totally irrelevant to the plot and I think they did it with at least five characters. AND they still had characters with accents, so it wasn't like everyone had an American accent. Seriously, can anyone tell me why they would take the time to do something like that? It really bugged me.

Although, points for sticking in a bunch of minor characters just to be kooky and British. Lenny Henry is awesome and whoever this crazy Russell Brand guy is, he's totally growing on me (very Captain Jack Sparrow).

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

tiny update

T minus two days. This can not be over soon enough. I want to be back in my yard. With my new back door! Pics this weekend hopefully... it's a million times nicer than the old one and I just want to have time to paint it! But that's just another distraction. Bleah. SO CLOSE.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Weekend Update: almost there!

I just sent in my defense powerpoint presentation today to get approval from my committee. Whatever they don't like, I have until Thursday to fix. Thursday at 8 am. I also need to bring snacks and coffee. WHY couldn't it be 9 am? Oy.

Also, I was going to go back in to work a bit this week since there's not much left that I can do, but I went in this a.m. and all of the machines in the lab are down and their budget is all messed up so they may not be fixing any of them this month. SO I am back home catching up on data entry (I figured I might as well be near a computer while I'm getting stuff done in case I get feedback from anybody on that presentation).

AND Matt has started pestering me about the front yard. We are going to get rid of 2/3 of the lawn for sure, but not until September at the earliest (too hot now). There will be probably one more tree put in, and then some dogwoods and Russian sage. Most of the rest will be decomposed granite. With a couple of rocks. So that's something else to add to the When I'm Done With My Thesis list - map out destruction and rebuilding of front yard. And find out who to talk to about the irrigation. Great. He always thinks up such fun projects for ME to do. He better help with this one, I don't want to run the sod cutter.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

more music

Background music to do PowerPoint to. I love these guys, their new album isn't my favorite, but my FAVORITE song is on here at right about 29 minutes if you want to skip ahead.

They're called the Ditty Bops, I've seen them live twice now and they're interesting. It's a little bit of folk, a little bit of vaudeville and I don't know what else other than gorgeous harmonies. Found it here, there's another one there too if you like this one.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Is there a cure for garlic breath?

So I made some awesome tzatziki yesterday. But I didn't roast the garlic like I usually do. Normally I put in a whole head of roasted garlic, but this batch I was lazy and just put in two cloves of fresh...

Matt called home tonight while I was working, and apparently he discovered a new bar. They have been open for four days and pour their drinks STRONG.

The upshot is, I come home after two drinks and pound down a pile of chips and tzatziki before bed. But HOW can I make the garlic flavor in my mouth go away now? I don't dislike it intrinsically, but I am dead tired and still a little bit buzzed, and I don't want to mix that garlic taste with the flavor of toothpaste...

So, for future reference, WHAT DO I DO?!

To make a good song better, just add Sesame Street

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Oh My God.

Watch this. I don't know how long it'll be up for. It's Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion (from Firefly) and it is awesome.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Procrastinating again

Just a little bit...

Since I haven't been doing any big projects lately (ha!) as I have been so busy writing, and also since I have been procrastinating and reading lots of houseblogs where people are ripping out walls and doing all sorts of exciting renovations, I thought I would do a little tour of the parts of my home that I am happy with. Like, REALLY happy with, wouldn't change a thing happy with. Places I love. Just for fun, before I go back to my PowerPoint (and yes, the chapter is done and the end is in sight, just barely). This is my office, in all its goofy glory. My favorite room in the house.
Where I'm writing to you all from. This desk was a big investment for me and I love it, but it's balanced out by the fact that I rescued the chair from the greenhouse at work. And my grandmother just sent me a shrimp plant that she grew for me in one of my dad's old pots, so it's keeping me company here.This guy also keeps me company here, and he's also from my grandmother. I need to get his full story while she's still around (101 and cranky as ever, still living on her own, that's another story). The musical corner - with my favorite band posters ever for two of my favorite bands (and one of my favorite movies). The yellow isn't ideal with the wall color, but I love it so it's not going anywhere. Although it is making me reconsider another piece of wall art I was contemplating:It's a tin sign and I totally want it but the colors might fight with my walls terribly (and tin sign = no neat black frame to help it out like the yellow Beatles poster got). Sigh.The other half of the musical wall - basses only, I told Matt if he didn't want to hang his beautiful jazz guitar in here then all he could put in here was basses. This is my room and there will be no fugly electric guitars on my wall thankyouverymuch. The bookcase was a triumph, purchased from an ex of Matt's who was leaving town, I heartily disapproved of her but had been looking at these online for pretty much forever and she needed to get rid of it fast... perfect!One of my only real art purchases that I actually went to an opening for. It was at a CD store, but nonetheless, I bought it from an artist and I love it. Also another very happy spider plant from my grandmother. And the tippy bookshelf that I built. And a happy orange lantern my sister brought back from a trip to Vietnam. I love that all the stuff in here has a story.

I have discovered that I LOVE house tours. I wish AT still did good ones with commentary instead of lots of little vignettes (although that is kind of what this is, but that's because the room's too small to get it all in one shot).

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Real update: my cottage garden

So I met with the exterminator this a.m. It was a little bit depressing. I had to very clearly explain that I didn't want him anywhere near my garden, as I had NO problems with bees in particular or creepy-crawlies in general, but in fact would like to keep as much of the insect life as possible that we have outdoors (except aphids, but I can deal with them myself).

The problem is the insect life indoors. We have carpenter ants and they are eating our house. Specifically the wacky addition that Matt painted purple (we call it The Bar, as there is an actual bar that the prior owner built in there), and the roof over the concrete patio in the back. Apparently there is some dry rot in there that they like. But we have been finding piles of sawdust in The Bar and that is from them. Not cool. The exterminator is sending somebody out Wednesday. Hopefully my bees will survive.This is one of the little native desert mallows that I bought at the local plant society sale. I need to join the Society, as soon as I have time (add it to the To Do list). It got a little bit squashed by the hose but it is coming back and I am rooting for it!
These are my beans, they are just starting to twine their way up the teepee I made for them. To their left is a purple sage which is doing really great, as I started it from a tiny cheapo seedling, possibly purchased at the grocery store. In front of that is a Spanish lavender, which I am not sure what to do with but it is looking happy. The sun seems to have washed out my photos but I will take some earlier in the morning next time... Next to my Spanish lavender is a pineapple sage, which is supposed to have lovely red flowers and attract butterflies and hummingbirds (I'm keeping my fingers crossed), but now that I have been reading more about it, it is not cold-hardy so if I want to keep it over the winter I need to put it in a pot and bring it inside. We'll see if I like it enough to do that by the end of the summer. On the far right (cut off) is a clump of coral bells, the flowers are too tiny to see here but it has sent up this big wacky stalk that I am starting to wonder about, maybe it is actually another plant growing really close and not part of the coral bells but I don't have the heart to yank it and have the whole thing die on me. Another decision to put off until the end of summer...This is what my honeysuckle decided to do after I hacked it back. Right now it's in a spot where you can barely see it so another end-of-summer project will be to transplant it somewhere that I can stick a trellis behind it and convince it to go up the fence.This is my now twice-transplanted pepper, and as you can see THAT IS A FLOWER! There are about three right now as well as some buds so I am really hoping this will give me some peppers someday... this is my first year with any type of vegetable garden at all and so this is a major success. Next year's veggies will have proper raised beds and amended soil and will do much better, but for my first year with any veggies in this backyard (esp. with crappy raised beds in the spot where I can't dig more than 2" deep into the ground) this is still a triumph.
Central big green guy is my beloved dogwood. Fluffy purple stuff behind is catmint, and the tall maroon thing in the corner is a smoke bush (you can see the plumes of smoke that are its blossoms here), and on the left (cut off) is my one giant lavender bush. It needs a trim so I can have some fresh lavender in my kitchen... in front of the dogwood is a salvia that needs cutting back now that it is done blooming so maybe it will bloom again...

and behind all that, is my honeysuckle in bloom. You'd never know, but that's where I planted it, thinking you'd see it going up the fence. But it's not close enough to the fence (duh). SO moved is where it will be come cooler weather. But for now I just want the exterminator to not kill all my bees! Keep your fingers crossed, he said they'd be fine but I know they're sensitive.

And that is where I'm at. Working on a PowerPoint presentation because it is too hot to be in my yard :( although I did go hack back the gorgeous maple earlier after exterminator guy pointed out the branch that I didn't like in the first place that was lying on the roof was actually a carpenter ant highway and they were strolling right up the trunk and across to my roof. Not cool. So I figured I'd be in the shade there, and I took out that big branch and a couple of smaller ones that were just too low to the ground - now I can walk under it, and see the sky between it and my roof. And still have plenty of shade for that potential hammock...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Irrelevant blather interlude

I want her dress. Also her hair. And to pull the dress off, I guess I'd need the body and the peaches-and-cream skin. We always want what we don't have, I guess.

I had a roommate in college with a classic Greek profile, olive skin and a body to die for with masses of gorgeous curly dark hair. One day she told me that she had always wanted hair like mine. I don't even know what hair like mine is, other than boring.

Anyways, point is, I don't think I could pull off bangs this thick with my glasses, and I have been wearing them a lot lately since it has been so smoky out that it sucks to wear contacts. Can you tell I'm procrastinating? No new yard projects started, at least. I've picked out a shade tree for the flagstone area and bought some shoes online (keep your fingers crossed, anyone ever ordered stuff from It was SO cheap).

Back to it in the a.m. Real posting will resume once this B.S. is all over and done with. There are only so many papers one can read in a day.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The other shoe, it drops.

They want another chapter. By next week. Talk to you guys in a week. And I thought things were going so well.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

To Do?

Really need to do:
  • start on my PowerPoint presentation for my defense, it shouldn't take too long but I need to get to it sooner than later, I am still waiting for feedback on my final draft in case there's any more changes I need to make (please no).
  • go to the gym, slacker!
  • put a coat of paint on the random chair I found in the attic. Sturdy, but after I sanded it down it doesn't really look good enough to stain and keep. We'll see how spare flat interior paint works before I go buy new paint, it's a gorgeous color so it might be ok...
  • organize food for backyard BBQ Saturday night. Family is in town and Matt's band has a gig so I will be feeding them all after the gig.
  • stop shopping for clothes online. I don't need anything desperately right now so I need to quit it. Also drop of a bag of clothes at the new clothing resale store and see if I can get cash for them...
Misc. Goals:
  • finish painting the porch beams white
  • rent a pressure washer to clean nasty green paint off concrete porch floor
  • get house numbers and put them up (old ones got taken down when trim was painted)
  • get new mailbox to go with new house numbers? In my dreams, maybe. The old one is nasty and gold, but new ones are not cheap. It would look a billion times better though so it will be worth it when I finally find one.
I have been hacking back some stuff in the yard but Matt took my camera on his business trip so I can't document. The neighbors' wisteria (gorgeous but nasty) is now firmly against the fence and on their trellises, instead of fighting me over my tomatoes. And my pretty maple has lost a couple of the lowest branches, you can almost walk under it now. I will need a proper tree pruner to get any farther on that but there is a branch that is leaning on the roof that I don't like the look of right now.

I am loving my garden right now though, all my herbs are relatively happy and I have four (count them, FOUR) cherry tomatoes! Matt threatened to pick them last week but he knew he would be in big trouble if he did so I am still checking on them every morning and they are so cute! This is the most ambitious my vegetable garden has ever been, and I am really getting some concrete plans for the structure it will need to be more productive and attractive next summer. So there will be some disassembly/reassembly in that corner in the fall (or early spring, depending on time/budget since I want to build some proper raised beds there). My big rainbow and yellow something-or-other are still looking a little peaked but my green zebra is getting lusher and happier now that it is aphid-free so I have high hopes for it! Pictures soon...