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Oboe in the mist

Oboe in the mist

I used to play oboe in high school. I was never super good, but I enjoyed playing. Our band director was an oboist and her expectations for me were a lot more than what I was going to ever do. Band class was fun but my first love was writing. Practice at home for 30-60 hours every day? Not happening. 

I always wanted to go back to playing oboe, and a few years ago I found one for sale at a steal of a price at $450. It was a reconditioned Selmer student model. You know, the that in order to play a low B you have to use your knees to cover the hole in the bell. 

Selmer 1492B Student Oboe

No, seriously. You had to use your knees. Releasing the low note made a “mwha” tone around the note because you could never be precise with it. 

Any way, I soon found myself thoroughly frustrated with it. I couldn’t stand it. If you don’t want to play something, you aren’t going to. I put it away, carried it with me through many moves, and finally decided to try it again. Oof. Yeah, no, that was not happening. Mwha!

What I wanted was an oboe that was not going to break the bank. Oboes are amazingly expensive. You can pay as much as you want for one. If you don’t know enough, you can easily spend money on something that won’t meet your expectations. 

Lots of research and YouTube videos about choosing an oboe later, I found a retailer called Kessler and Sons that had a full conservatory oboe for an astounding price.  (In other words, it had the keys that closed that low B instead of using your knees.) While there were not many reviews available for the oboe, I called the shop and spoke to one of the owners, who was a double reed player. I was very impressed with the care and consideration they gave the oboes that have their brand on it. 

So, this past July when I was in Las Vegas helping my sister, my parents and I stopped by Kessler and Sons. And I bought an oboe. 

And I love playing. 

Kessler Oboe, image from their web site
Everything OK post-Florence

Everything OK post-Florence

Everything has been fine, post-Florence. The hurricane itself took a more southerly path and pretty much avoided my area entirely. Horses were fine in the barn. We got some rain and big gusts, but no damage to my property or at the barn. We were lucky.

The worst part was the rain that followed the hurricane’s passing. My area had closed to 9 inches of rain in 24 hours. The creek near my house flooded into the back of my subdivision but did not reach my house. One of the guys up the street went out canoeing on the creek and took the footage below.

Panic at the Disco

Panic at the Disco

One of my friends on Facebook posted asking for people to make recommendations for summer listening. One of the responses was for Panic! At the Disco’s Pray. The video is awesome.

Help Grainne have life-saving treatment

Help Grainne have life-saving treatment

My friend Saigh has had a miserable 18 months, including the death of her beloved dog. And now another one of her furr-babies is sick. Her husband has a broken leg and wont’ be able to return to work for months. If you have time, will you consider donating or sharing?

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Help Gleann have life-saving surgery

Help Gleann have life-saving surgery

My friend Saigh has been through a rough year with her furr-babies. Her dog Gleann needs to have surgery. It’s scheduled for this month. They are trying to raise the money through Fundrazy. Help them, if you can. If you can’t, please spread the word.

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Help Gleann and Grainne

Help Gleann and Grainne

My friend Saigh has had a lot of bad luck this year. She lost one of her dear pets and shortly after two more of her dogs were diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses. Medical tests are expensive, whether they are for people or for pets. It’s heart-wrenching when you don’t have the funds to do the tests that your loved ones, whether human or fur-covered, need.

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If you can, please consider helping Saigh out.

Undead Mimosa tree

Undead Mimosa tree

Mimosa trees won’t stay dead.

Deck Project 1, Mimosa 0

Last summer, I had my deck rebuilt. The home inspector had flagged the deck as a “needs to be repaired or replaced, seek professional help” type of project. The boards were rotting. Nails poking up and the joists were soft. The tree cutters removed the Mimosa tree adjacent to the deck a few months prior.

Old deck with mimosa stump
Old deck with mimosa stump

My contractor did a fantastic job. He changed the location of the steps to the backyard to be more centered. Unfortunately, he had to sink posts next to where the Mimosa tree used to be. The trunk had to be sanded to below dirt level.

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Deck Project 1, Mimosa 2 saplings

I’ve been very pleased with the deck and will finally be able to use it since the homeowner association’s house painting project for my townhouse row is completed. Deck is stained, everything looks good. I started shopping for deck furniture.

Until I looked outside and saw this:
Mimosa through deck boards

Mimosas never die. Their roots sprout new trees. That’s two saplings coming up through the deck boards. Underneath the deck looks like this
Undead Mimosa 1

and this
Undead Mimosa 2

I am currently waiting on a response from the HOA. The tree contractor who cut down the tree suggested to the HOA that the landscaping company take care of the saplings by spraying them with poison and clearing them out. A coworker suggested drilling holes in the Mimosa roots and spraying Round-Up in the holds to kill the roots.

I definitely can’t have the tree roots coming up through the deck boards.

Sounds in the ceiling

Sounds in the ceiling

Last night while I was doing the dishes, I heard skittering of something in the kitchen ceiling. The kitties were upstairs staring at the wall and walking around meowing. They were following the sound of something in the walls.

Not sure what it is. Mice seem to be a good guess since my neighbor recently had issues with mice. The HOA is working on painting and repairing siding on the houses. The painters have were repairing some of my unit’s siding except they messed up the back wall of my chimney. There are gaps in the siding which they have said will be properly fixed. Those gaps are big enough for a mouse to get in.

So the kitties now have the full run of the house. BrieBrie was brave and came downstairs with me. She is wandering around now, playing with a fake rabbit fur mouse (one of Kiesha’s old toys). She seems to enjoy having the extra space. She’s much braver than Phaedra is. My other little kitty will eventually come down here.

I am hoping that the smell of predators will cause the mice to go away. If the kitties don’t catch the mice, then I’ll have to call an exterminator. Can’t have mice in the walls.

Plumber fixed the drip

Plumber fixed the drip

The tub is no longer leaking. My neighbor said that the build quality on these houses isn’t very good and I believe him. This was the second time the tub had to be repaired because of a drip. One thing I did learn with these old Delta faucets: the springs have to be elongated just a little bit with a gentle squeeze from a pair of pliers. Otherwise, they are a little too short and don’t seat properly.

Kitteh likes water drip

Kitteh likes water drip

I turned off the water to the house when I went to work and during the day over the weekend. I turned the water back on overnight so the pipes wouldn’t freeze. I was upstairs looking at the faucet, and BrieBrie decided to try and help me.

Help from BrieBrie means her investigating each tool and playing with anything that might move. BrieBrie had her back feet on the ground and her front feet on the tub rim. Just too cute.

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For size comparison, here is a picture taken a few minutes after the first one. BrieBrie is sitting on the tub edge and Phaedra is on the floor near the tub.

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Leaky bathtub faucet

Leaky bathtub faucet

A few months ago, my upstairs bathtub faucet began to drip. Just a little at first, but over the months it became a constant background noise. I couldn’t stand it and found a video on how to repair the Delta faucet. It is an older faucet, with a push-button diverter and a single knob that controls water amount and temperature. I took apart the faucet handle, replaced the inner rubber seals and springs. The leak stopped.

A month ago when the dripping started again. Just a few drips. If I moved the shower knob down and to the left, then the dripping would usually stop. The dripping went from a few paltry drips to a continuous stream.

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Nothing I have tried stops the stream of water. It’s hot water, too. Since it’s been warm, I shut off the household water when I went to bed last night and have called the home warranty place. They are going to send someone out on Monday to look at it.

Resume help

Resume help

I’m helping a friend with a resume tonight so I’ve been reading through links on the latest and greatest in writing resumes. Most of the techniques I’ve used are still valid. The format needs to be updated but the general items that are included are the same.

It’s interesting that the idea of a professional “landing page” is now popular. A landing page used to be what you ended up on after clicking through on a banner ad. I suppose I’d rather see the term professional site or page instead of “landing page.”

When we were creating my friend’s resume, we used a bunch of different articles and sites for inspiration and information on current trends in resume writing.

Here are the links I found to help her tackle writing a resume:

Resumes for people with substantial experience

What if you are at the opposite end of spectrum and have a resume that is packed with many years of experience? If you have a resume that is too dense, will a hiring manager even read it?

Here are some suggestions for these situations:

Newer trends also seem to be suggesting using Helvetica instead of old standbys like Times New Roman. The Bloomberg article on fonts and resumes is an interesting read.

Kenya came up lame

Kenya came up lame

My Mom’s lovely mare Kenya came up lame today. (Kenya is Kasane’s sister by the same sire.) Kenya’s back right leg was slightly swollen above the fetlock. We had the vet out and it turns out Kenya had an abscess. It cleared up shortly after about a week of bandaging… but she’s all better now.