Jill "xtingu" Knapp

Traveling musician. Singer. Road warrior in bursts. Dork. Easy to spot. Gauche eyeshadow fan. Unreasonably happy.

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Back in May I backed a new phone via Indiegogo called an Fxtec Pro1x (it's got a physical keyboard), but it's being manufactured in China where they keep shutting assembly lines down due to their Zero Covid policies.  The Fxtec folks keep apologizing for the delays, which I understand isn't really within their control, but maaaaaan.... bitch need a phone!

Unfortunately, my trusty 2017 Blackberry KeyOne officially bit the dust last night (no amount of strategically-placed rubber bands and binder clips can get it to acknowledge the charging cable), and my backup 2015 Blackberry Priv only holds a charge for about 2 hours. I can't live like this, and tonight I had enough.

I decided that the fastest way to get my Pro1x delivered is to admit defeat and just buy a damn Google Pixel. I'll bet $20 that my Pro1x will arrive within a few weeks, because I just threw in the towel and bought a Pixel 6a about 10 minutes ago. Sunk Cost Fallacy be damned.

I feel so defeated. This is the first time since 2004 that I will have a phone without a physical keyboard. I'm heartbroken.

So now that I just dropped $399 on a Pixel 6a, my Pro1x will undoubtedly arrive any second. ((eyeroll))

I considered getting a new Motorola RAZR so I could at least have a quirky phone, but naturally it doesn't play nicely with Verizon.  Then I thought maybe I'd get a Motorola Stylus phone, but it's HUGE and I can't deal with a phone that's almost 7" diagonal. I'm a chick, I have small pockets.  

First world problems, I know.

I'm way more bummed about this than I should be. I should be excited about getting a new phone, but all I can do is be sad that it won't have a keyboard. 

/venting shitpost

In other news:

Starting this past spring, Matt and I have been really into disc golf. He played it a lot back in his late 20s and early 30s, and then he stopped. But now we have a small group of friends that we play with roughly every day, and it's sooooo joyful. It's a great way to walk a few miles, get some fresh air, be away from your phone, and laugh at yourself.  I suck at disc golf, but I love it anyway.  But!  Three days ago something just kinda clicked, and now I no longer suck. Today we played a hard course and my score wasn't laughable. Yay!  

I have other updatey topics (music, new music collaborators, teef, sunscreen, house stuff), but I'll save those for another time.

I hope all is well!

10/14 '22 1 Comment
My condolences on your brave struggle against the forces of keyboard virtuality. Wishing you a tolerable pixel experience and yes, that should pretty much guarantee your keyboard phone arrives next week.

Good lord, it really has been almost a year since I posted here. Wow. I have 27 drafts here in OPW land, which is both amusing and pathetic. I'm slowly starting to think I have ADD. (I can hear you all saying, "Ya think?")

Lots to report, which is also to say hardly anything to report.  This is gonna be a boring post. 

I should be at Burning Man now, but I tested positive for Covid after Beatlefest (Beatlefest was August 9-13), and it kicked my ass... so much so that I couldn't do my usual pre-BurningMan prep. I was really disappointed to sell my Burning Man tickets, but it was the right thing to do. Anyone who says Omicron is mild can smooch my 'ttocks. It wasn't easy, and there was a day there where I thought it might be hospital time. The good news is that out of 40+ musicians involved in a week-long music festival, only two people got sick, and I was one of them. Oddly, Matt never got sick, and we shared a bed for pretty much the whole thing. 

I also had Delta in November 2021, and while that bout wasn't a treat by any means, Omicron was harder in many ways. I lost taste/smell with Delta and had a pretty high fever for several days, but Omicron was quite different: a low-grade fever that was on and off, and a headache that was so awful that I spent the better part of 5 days with a knee sock tied tightly around my head like a tourniquet to hold my skull together... and then I had a black t-shirt over my head for a few days because any and all light hurt my eyes and head (including my phone) I only ever had a migraine once in my life back in the 90s (it was a reaction to a prescription), and this felt like that. Ooooof. 

I tested positive on the 15th, and finally tested negative on the 23rd, but I waited until I had three negative tests under my belt before feeling like it was safe to emerge. 

Like my Delta experience, it feels oddly good to have a few weeks of immunity. 

I find that I'm sometimes having a hard time finding my words... moreso than usual. It's frustrating, and unnerving. I didn't have that experience with Delta. 

I also can't believe I've had covid twice; I feel like it's a moral failing or like I was careless. I tested every day leading up to BeatleFest, I tested before leaving the house for the theater each night, I ate well, I wasn't stupid, I masked up... I never shared a mic with anyone, I had my own platform on stage with plenty of room around me.... so I dunno. 


This post is all doom and gloom, but things are otherwise good.  

Matt and I have been playing a lot of disc golf, which I suck at but also really enjoy. It's been cool noticing improvements. I got my first birdie (one under par) yesterday! Wheeeee! 

This time of year is always a bit bittersweet... I know we're going into the cooler months and I know winter is around the corner which I Do Not Like. But I bought I neat sweater that I'm excited to wear. (It's the little things.)

I wish I took advantage of fresh summer vegetables this season... I look at Annie Mollo's meal posts and I wanna drive up to Vermont and eat everything. :)

I miss my friends very much; I just haven't had a chance to see my peeps and I would like to do that. 

During my recent covid haze, I had an idea: Maybe the time is right to sell my house, get rid of all of the excess nouns in my possession, and go check out other cities. My house has been good to me, but I never really wanted a house and only bought it because everyone told me it was something I was supposed to do. I'm tired of doing things that other people tell me to do. I'm not getting any younger here, and Matt and I wanna live places that aren't Delaware.  We have no concrete plans or anything, but it's fun to think about. 

In other news, Dad is now 82 and he's doing great. He's found a groove and a routine that works for him. He misses Mom (we all do), but I think he's also enjoying being a bachelor. He never lived alone ever in his life, and I think it's good for him. 

Lastly: After Mom passed, I got myself a therapist and HOLY CRAP she's awesome. It's all self-pay, but it's pretty reasonable. I'm grateful. 

OK, this is a boring post. It'll be more interestin*

I love y'all. 

I'll be back*


* I didn't actually stop typing mid-sentence... my phone just randomly starts deleting words. Good times. 😁 It's all part of the, um, "charm" of using a 2017-ish phone. La la la!

9/2 '22 6 Comments
Not bored. Nope. Glad you’re back.

Your second bout of COVID sounds harrowing. Do not want. Cannot really avoid indefinitely. Argh. One of us had a five day headache this week but tested negative.

I get the moving bug too. It comes and goes. Where we land, nobody knows. Or everybody knows, so far: Philly. Has a lot going for it.

Hanging out with friends sounds good.
Also not bored! Nope! So good to see your words across the screen.

Covid is a gd mystery. Who gets it? Why? How bad? How long? How contagious? It's all over the map. Consistency isn't really a Thing with this virus. I hope your thought fog burns off soon.

Yay for disc golf! We have a nice course within walking distance of the house and I've YET to play. I don't know what's wrong with me; need to get on that. When you say you got a birdie, don't you mean BIRBIE?

I'm glad to hear your dad is finding his groove. I hope he finds fun new adventures.

About houses... yeah, I've always been a reluctant home owner, and this house? We've been here 12 years and it's the longest I've ever lived anywhere in my ENTIRE LIFE. Makes me itchy. Both staying put and also being responsible for this big structure and the land around it. But then I look at the housing (shortage) situation that is basically everywhere and think, well okay at least I'm not living in a tent--because there is, like, NO PLACE to buy OR rent, or if there is I wouldn't be able to afford it. But gawd I hate having so much stuff.
Been 15 years here, and I feel you on this so much.
I’m so happy that you’re on the mend.
Good therapists for the win! I found a fantastic one, although he's $$$, but: I'm worth it.

Glad you're on the mend, Birmingham will be there next year (I'm actually considering a return, but...have lots of mixed feelings), and: come visit!

Also: Frostburn 2023?
We have a lot of things happening in common. Good to hear from you, kiddo.

Hi. I am the queen on OPW drafts: I'm now up to 24 drafts of unfinished blather -- I think I have stuff as old as 2019.  But looky here, I'm posting!

...and by "posting," I mean I'm doing a 2022-version of an AOL forward from your mom. Here, let me make it more realistic by adding this: 

Subject: FW: FWD: Fwd: FW: Re: SCIENCE aRTICLE WOW!!!11

Imagine the first thing this guy asked for was to be repositioned... the relief he must have felt... ooooof.... holy crap. 

And then his second request was to listen to Tool. (Priorities!)

But seriously. Holy god, I am in awe of this technology. I guess I kinda knew it existed, but to read about it in action? All honor and praise to science. Hot damn.

(and there's another article on that site about how pigs like music. Eeee! I want to sing to a pig. I've seen the videos of the guy playing piano for elephants, the other guy playing banjo for a fox, and the other guy playing trombone for cows, and the cockatoo rocking out to Cyndi Lauper. I love how the cockatoo video names his dance moves.)

(By the way, the name of my next album will be called "Trombone for Cows.")

Oh, and while I'm sharing links... if you can't sleep, I highly recommend listening to Caroline McCready's youtube channel. she has guided medidations that have everything I want and nothing I don't. She even has some where she talks you down for a while and then there's super-soothing music for 45 minutes. She is a godsend, and her accent and voice is like a hug for my heart through my ears. She has kept me sane. ("Take a moment and relax your jaw. Let your tongue rest." Holy crap, when was the last time I relaxed my jaw? That was a revelation. Holy stress, Batman.)

OK. I love you all very much. Catching up everyone's posts, so prepare for dumb comments on ancient things. :-)


3/24 '22 5 Comments
Have you seen the youtube of the scientist(?) teaching rats to play Doom? https://medium.com/mindsoft/rats-in-doom-eb6c52c73aca
Holy crap, that is magnificent! Thank you for that!

I'm trying to find the article about the people who taught fish to drive a little car their fishbowl was perched upon.
Bonus points if there’s no trombone on the album. Double bonus points if there are cows on the album.
I'll have to call our producer and see what cows he has in his rolodex of session players. We're picky about our cows. 😁
As someone who was unable to move and had to communicate at about 2-3 characters per minute for 2-3 months, i can completely relate to that guy, especially the asking for food and music part.

HOLY CRAP.  We just watched Annette (with music by Sparks (!!!)) and OMG OMG OMG OMG you've gotta see it. Adam Driver. Holy crapballs. It's not a particularly happy feel-good movie, but Adam Driver acts the everloving craaaap out of it, and I love the artifice vs. real vs. theater vs. actors vs. yadda yadda yadda.  

And did I mention Sparks? Because SPARKS! (Sorry. Love me some Mael Bros.)

Hey Lindsay Harris Friel ​​​​​​, if you haven't seen it yet, I will pay you (especially) to see it. 

It's available on Amazon Prime Video. I will gladly give anyone my login if you need it.

ProTip: Watch it with captions; they really helped... not because people had diction problems (quite the contrary), but because I am almost 51 and I'm at that age where I like them.

The reviews are pretty much in agreement; you'll either love it or hate it. I am firmly in the "love" camp, but even if you hate it, I'd still love to hear your thoughts. 

(In other news, I have 18 drafts in my OPW drafts folder. One of these days maybe I'll finish and post one.)

Love youse crazy kids.

2/12 '22 6 Comments
Months later: that movie still sticks to me.
I love that you have 18 onepo drafts.
Related to absolutely nothing in this post, thank you AGAIN for your birb feeder recommendations! I got BOTH of them for my daughter Nina’s birthday and she and her boyfriend Lynden put them up right away. They love them and think they’re the best!!

Not too many birbs yet except for a pair of mourning doves. Hilariously, the doves like to just hang out in the seed trays and take naps. The kids have named them Petunia and Carl.
Hi. I love you.

After all that tooth-gnashing, we got a call from hospice this morning that a bed became available; they were able to prioritize us because they knew our situation was getting a little crazy.

We are waiting for the transport now.

It is crazy to think that these are the last moments Mom will be at her home.

She believes she's going "to the hospital" because she knows she doesn't feel well.  She said "It's time. I want to go to the hospital." 

Through the dementia and through the drug haze, I believe deep down she knows what's happening.

I know she'll be OK.  I'm worried about my dad. He's scared to live alone. The house is about to get very, very quiet, and very very empty.  

He's also replaying the day he brought his mom to a (kinda shitty) nursing home in Virginia so his mom could be closer to his sister. His mom said "You mean, I'm never going to see my little house again?"  And that damn near killed my dad in 1991 when that happened.  

And even though Mom is kinda excited to go (again, as she understands what is happening), Dad is wracked with guilt.


1,000 thank yous to everyone's comments on my last post. I love you all very much and am so happy and lucky to have this community.  You are the best.

7/23 '21 16 Comments
I really hope you can get some rest.
I love you. I really appreciate you.
We just got home now from getting her situated in her new place; it is gorgeous. It abuts a farm, and horses come say hello. You can pet the horse face, and it is gooood. Also, they have a front-row view of the sunset; it's jaw-droppingly beautiful. And today was so beautiful out, so we got to enjoy Mom's private veranda, the view, the air, and she's gonna have a smoke. (Yup, for real.) And from here on out, she doesn't have to eat a diabetic diet, so it's real sugar and full-fat and smokes and morphine and hookers ^H^H^H^H^H and hot damn it's pretty freakin' sweet and a huge relief.
That is incredible news. So sorry for the stress you've been under, and for your dad's fear. My heart is with you.
I am, on balance and all things considered in the circumstances and at standard temperature and pressure, greatly relieved for all parties.
Thinking about you.
Thank you so, so much, my friend.
My aunt died in a hospice, some time before the plague began. Superb care, both paid and volunteer. Of the options I'm aware of, it's the one I would choose for myself i na similar situation.
Working in hospice is definitely a calling, and I am so, so grateful it exists. The volunteers are really, really special. (I normally hate that word, but I mean it here.)

I'm very happy your aunt received such compassionate care. When a loved one gets that kind of care, it truly comforts everyone, not just the patient. It's priceless.

It's funny...after caring for Mom so intensely for the last month, I find myself wanting to help when I'm visiting Mom here at the facility. I don't know how to sit back and leave things to the staff. At the same time, it's kinda beautiful watching the staff provide such loving, but such professional care. The way they move Mom around so gently but confidently... just... wow. These are the moves we just couldn't do at home, and here it's a graceful, well-rehearsed dance.

The relief we all feel is beyond words. Plus she seems to like it here, thank heavens.
Loving care is such a great thing to hear. I am glad your Mom is enjoying herself. I hope she enjoys as many moments as she can and that you and your Dad get to share a lot of them with her.
(also your brother and his family ofc, but I am thinking about you)
This sounds like, in many ways, a tremendous relief. I'm thankful for that.

Thinking of you guys, and of course, your Dad.
It really, really, really, really is. It's also only five minutes away from my folks' house up here, and it's off of Fairview Rd which is a neat coincidence because our old house in East Hanover was also on Fairview.

Thank you, m'dear, for the good thoughts, kind words, generous offers of lawn mowing, and just for being so wonderful. We're making a quick day-trip down to DE tomorrow because there's an important gathering at Matt's folks' place, but we're gonna come right back up here tomorrow night just so Dad doesn't have to sleep in an empty house quiiiiite yet.

Any thing, any time. Of course.

Also, your response to Lindsay's comment also makes my evening.
I hope the beauty and freedom of your mom's setting helps to relieve some of your dad's guilt. I'm so glad you were able to get her admitted there.
This location has really, really made an amazing difference to Dad. It's such a comfort. I mean, if you have to be in this rotten situation, this is the most beautiful place I can think of to deal with it.

Also Anne, I have a zillion OPW drafts saved, but one of them from a while back thanks you specifically; I learned from your advice and experience and it was so helpful. I had never heard of palliative care until you mentioned it, and it helped give me language I needed to talk to the doctors and staff. So really, thank you.
Oh, sweetie. I’m glad it was helpful.

In which our heroine is still up at 5:51am (good morning, Jenn!) reading (and now posting) an artcle from Wired about what it thinks I am doing right this second: Revenge Bedtime Procrastination.

Here's the article if you'd like to read about it. 

(For the record, I agree with maybe 75-80% of the article... or, rather, 75-80% applies to me.  But the 25%, not so much.)

3/26 '21 3 Comments
Yep! Yep yep yep! Hallo! That’s me and my mom and Vince! I’ve had to work so hard to convince myself that sleep is something good that I do for myself.
That article is paywalled for me, so I googled the phrase and found a LOT A LOT. I think this would resonate for Shelle too.

Medical News Today describes this as a "relatively new phenomenon," but I call bullshit. Or, I'd ask what they mean by "new." My mom used to stay up all night reading when we were little.

You might find this interesting: https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-16964783
Good article - thanks for sharing!

>"lack of self-regulation—associated with personality traits such as being impulsive or easily distracted"
For me? That's the 80/20 right there.

Interestingly, I think that I do the 'revenge procrastination' more in the _mornings_ these days. I don't know how/when it happened, but I wake up at a reasonable hour (say 8 or 9) and find myself not leaving my apartment until *cough* 11 *cough*. If I focus, I can get ready and out the door in like 15 minutes. 30 with a relaxed shower.

But "I'm just going to check IG real quick..."


As usual, only time for a listo. I stink.

[] Delaware has opened up vaccines for people age 50, which means Matt is eligible, and I will be eligible in 3 weeks.  The second we heard DE was booking appointments for 50 year olds, Matt jumped online and scored an appointment waaaaaay down in Laurel, Delaware, which is a 2-hour drive from here... and worth every second.  Shot #1 is in Matt's (now sore) arm.

[] I turn 50 in 3-4 weeks, so hopefully my first shot won't be too far away.

[] On 3/31/21, Hot Breakfast! will be celebrating one year of Coffee Break Concerts.... we started this ridiculousness on 3/30/20.  These one-year anniversaries are very strange. Like, "Congratulations? I guess?"  Like, obviously I wish we didn't have this event to celebrate. But since this happened, I'm very grateful to have this event to celebrate.

[] We're headed back to NJ today (Sunday) so my dad can get his 2nd shot.  We wanted to be up there just in case he has a few days of side-effects and needs to chill, we can take care of Mom.

[] Driving in LSD (lower slower Delaware) on Thursday, I saw teeeeeeeny red tips on the tree branches, which tells me that SPRING IS HERE!!  Yippeeee!! I can't wait to feel the sunlight on my face.  It's supposed to be 63 degrees all week.

[] We were supposed to have our kitchen re-done last year, but Covid put a big stop to that... but now we've restarted the process.  Our friend is doing the work (don't worry, it's his full-time job, and it's not a favor or anything), and we'll be meeting with the cabinet lady after we get back to DE next week.  She'll take measurements and do the layout, and then it'll be up to our pal to do all the work.

[] Lume deodorant the greatest stuff in the world. It is WITCHCRAFT. You can put it on any body part, and it is impossible to stink... even during these COVID times can that sometimes feature a... more... relaxed(?) shower schedule... (*whistles quietly, looks around*)

[] Jon Batiste was interviewed by Terry Gross, and it was GLORIOUS. If you have 42 minutes and need your soul jumpstarted, I highly recommend it.  It's even better if you can listen to it without doing other things, but I know that's a huge ask.  But here's the link.  

OK, I need to get on the road. 

Love you all... hope you're all safe and seeing some of the spring's new light.


3/21 '21 4 Comments
If you say Lume is good, I'll try it. I was thinking about it.
Me too!
me three! i've been seeing their ads for a year now and thinking, "really???"
Yeaaaah for vaccines! Hoping you can get yours...they’re hard to get ahold of in PA.

Happy COVIDaversary for Coffee Breaks!

Perhaps the least talked about side effect of the plague...armpits across the world got just a little bit stinkier. 😁

Yasssss to Spring buds...saw some on the rhododendron today and mighta squealed a lil bit...like a lot a bit.

Safe travels💕

((waves hi!))

I'm here, been lurking, though not as much as I would have liked.  I am all caught up on everyone's entries, but I admit I didn't read every comment. I'll peruse them as I can.

All is good... well, as good as can be expected as we're coming up on a year of a pandemic. 

Instead of something well-written, here's a trusty listo:

  • We played our 100th Coffee Break Concert on Wednesday, Feb 24th. A milestone!
  • Also, Matt and I marked 10 years together a week or two ago.
  • We got an estimate to get our ugly kitchen redone, and I'm excited about that.
  • I'm still not teaching, but I'm selling some courseware which is nice.  Would like to be selling more, but baby steps.
  • I have a bunch of dental work that needs to be done. I just got a form letter that says my dentist no longer participates in my dental insurance. She couldn't have made that choice 6 weeks ago when I chose my dental plan for 2021?
  • I have had pre-menpausal osteoporosis (osteopenia) since 2010 or so. My doctor told me to get another bone density scan to see how it's progressing, since it had been a while since I got one.  Insurance denied it. Why on earth would insurance deny a bone density scan? Isn't the only reason for a bone density scan is to check to see how far your osteoporosis is progressing?
  • Going to see the parents tomorrow.  Mom's mental state is getting worse due to a total lack of stimulation. The home health care workers we hired to come in 3x/week  are fine, but they aren't interesting to my mom, so they basically just do light housekeeping and that's it. They aren't able to engage with my mom... she just doesn't care.  This pandemic couldn't have happened at a worse time dementia-wise. Right before Covid hit, she was interested in hanging out at the senior center a few days per week just to make some friends, play some bingo, and use a few brain cells. So much for that.  By the time the senior center reopens, I worry she'll be too far gone. 
  • My dad got his first covid shot (didn't even feel it); his second one is in 3 weeks. Mom has not gotten hers yet.  My brother's whole family has gotten fully vaccinated, and I am absolutely delighted they're immunized; but there is a 10% "huh?" in my brain wondering why his 17 year old daughter already received her two shots yet my 78 year old mother with many comorbidities hasn't gotten her first yet.  I try not to think about this too much. We'll all get them in due time; vaccinating 350 million people ain't easy. 
  • I have a crush on Dr. Fauci. 
  • SNL has been killin' it in 2021.  I like that they're not afraid to just be surreal.  They do always have to have to the one character who has to explain the joke a bit, but it's a small price to pay.
  • Our Saturday night ritual is watching SNL on nbc/hulu, and then watching "Big Questions with The Dead Milkmen" on YouTube.  ("Big Questions" started pre-pandemic when the guys were in the studio recording their latest album. They decided they needed more content for their YouTube channel, so at each week's recording session, one of the guys would come up with a question, and each guy would answer it... and they'd follow it up with Recommendations, where they recommended something they think people would dig (a movie, book, food, cat toy, going for a walk, etc.).  It's absolutely delightful.  Once lockdown started, it became (like all things) a Zoom call.  It's really great. Some of their recommendations have been really wonderful during lockdown.

That's the random news. 

I hope everyone is doing well... I miss you all, and I really hope to get back on the OPW wagon.... which is what I said last time... but... yeah.


3/7 '21 4 Comments
That hole's supposed to be there, right? Okay, it could be more appropriately folded.
Waves hi back while coffee kicks in...
That's a heck of a listo. DENSE, even.

Happy 100th CBC! Happy Mattiversary! Happy kitchen estimate! You should have a not-ugly space in which to eat popcorn dipped in Fluff.

Boo for dental insurance badness. I might be switching dentists soon; the one I'm seeing for a consult soon doesn't accept most insurance, including mine, so... I'll go see 'em, but I don't see having to pay up front and then wait for my insurance to reimburse me as a long-term good idea. Maybe if they completely blow my mind with their competence.

I'm sorry about your mom's state of mind. Dementia is tough and sometimes the declines can happen quickly. This past year has stolen so much from so many.

Fauci and Psaki. My heart beats wild.
Rog and I both got approved for vaccines in the same letter that said they are shutting down appointments temporarily due to lack of vaccines. I'm glad we both got approved, but it does suck when an out-of-work friend who happens to have a medical license got both hers a month ago. I'm glad for her, but.... BLEGH. Let's get this going already so we can move past this glaringly uneven distribution. The whole thing stinks.

(I also am crushing on Fauci.)

Oh, and congrats on 10 years, you guys. <3

Hello, all!  I've missed you! 💗

I finally got caught up reading all of everyone's posts I've missed for the past good while (though I did not read all of the comments yet). I'm sorry I haven't been around; I just have pandemic-brain or something and am having a hard time getting motivated do do much of anything. 

I haven't posted here at all... so it's not like I've been writing stuff and keeping it private. Just haven't really had anything to report. 

What I Did On My OPW Vacation, in Eight Parts by Jill Knapp, Age 49 

1) Family Update

Things are pretty good right now, considering, y'know, the world and stuff. My folks are doing well-- Dad is a brand-new guy since getting his heart fixed up in July, and Mom's dementia doesn't seem to be getting worse, thankfully. A home health aide comes to their house 3x/week for 4 hours, and her job is to keep an eye on Mom so Dad can get a little mental break; and he'll also schedule his doctor appointments for those windows so Mom won't be alone while he's out. I'm very grateful their health has been stable, and that my folks take the virus seriously. 

2) Hot Breakfast! (our band)

Matt and I are still doing our 2x-weekly afternoon Coffee Break Concerts -- we just played our 89th one on Friday. We played a NYE show from 8-10pm which was fun. We still hate that we feel forced into using FB for these performances, but we know we have to meet people where they are. The good news is that we were able to set all the shows to Public, so anti-FBers can still attend even without an account. 

We tried broadcasting on Zoom and YouTube and they just don't work well given our current gear limitations, so I'm investing in a bunch of gear upgrades (thank you, Delaware Dept of Small Business/CARES Act!). These equipment upgrades are primarily to benefit my main company to help me stream my classes and provide a better learning experience online for my students, but this new equipment is absolutely perfect also for Hot Breakfast, too.  The money just hit my account two days ago, so let the Small Business Upgrades begin! 

I have been so, soso grateful for our afternoon concerts and the truly lovely community that has sprung up around them. The in-jokes, the little rituals ("Yo!"), the recurring dumb gags, the title card artwork-- they all fill my heart so much. All of my job-related work has pretty much vanished, so if we didn't have these Coffee Break Concerts happening every Wednesday and Friday, I would generally have no reason to get out of bed. 

3) Foooooood

Since March, we have pretty much only cooked at home, with only 5 exceptions: 

(1) Over the summer we did one outdoor dinner with another couple at a verrrrrry long picnic table-- despite all safety protocols it just was not worth the stress.  (2) We did one outdoor brunch with Matt's folks at a place with outdoor seating. It was... fine.  (3) We had pizza at my folks' house in NJ twice. (4) We ordered our very first take-out meal on Christmas Eve (we got Chinese). It was tasty.  As much as I want to support our local restaurants, I don't think this is something we'll do again soon. We haven't even done Door Dash or anything like that. We're very lucky that Matt loves to cook and he's really good at it, so we just don't really have a good enough reason to spend the money. (Also, since I only worked 4 days (four!) in 2020, spending money for someone else to cook seems extravagant.) 

4) Sleep?

Since the pandemic started, our night-owl ways have only solidified. We wake up around 12:30/1PM each day, but we don't go to sleep until Jenn Abrevaya ​​​​​​ is already in her first meeting. 😀 (Seriously though, we usually hit the hay around 4-5am.)  I am happiest and most functional like this, believe it or not.

5) Birds!

I installed a few bird feeders in our front yard two clear lucite bird feeders and attached them to our bedroom window because we're almost always in the bedroom. I do not have sufficient vocabulary to express the pure joy this has brought us. I love learning about the different birds, which species get along and will share a perch and which ones won't, their calls, their colors, their nests, who feeds on the ground, who feeds at the feeders, etc. So far we've seen a lot of sparrows, we have a mated pair of titmice, a mated cardinal pair, a bunch of mourning doves, a pileated woodpecker, a Coopers Hawk (he killed and ate a mourning dove in front of everyone last week-- it was awful), a blue jay or two (the males and females look so similar that I can't tell if it's just one bird or two birds visiting separately). I'm probably forgetting some. Oh-- we had a bunch of crows, too, but they haven't been around in a while.  But maaaaan, do I love my birdies. :)

6) Books

I've never been much of a book reader, which I never liked about myself... especially because I have such book-loving friends. I devour magazines and newspapers (The New Yorker, the NY Times, Wired, The Smithsonian), but books just seem to stack up without getting read, which only reminds/taunts me with how much I suck.

So I decided to use one of my tablets as an eReader, and it's been great. With a Kindle account plus a Dropbox folder with Project Guttenberg books easily accessible, I've been reading more. Plus I can read all of these Kindle/Guttenberg books on my phone.  When I'm caught on Hour 7 of a doomscrolling marathon, I convince myself to just read one page of a book, and 99% of the time that one page will get me excited enough to bust out the tablet and read a lot more on a more eye-friendly device. Because they're all connected, I never lose my place even when I switch devices. That's handy

Since Spring 2020 I've read:

--"Liberty" which is Liberty DeVitto's autobiography (he was Billy Joel's drummer during Billy's most successful years)

-- "Everything's Bigger in Texas," A biography (with some autobiography) of Kinky Friedman-- it is hilarious. 

-- "Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung," a collection of writings/essays/music reviews by Lester Bangs,

-- "Where I'm Calling From," a collection of short stories by Raymond Carver (WOW),

-- A fabulously fun read called "VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV's First Wave" which is an oral history of the early days of MTV as told by the original VJs (it is FANTASTIC).

And now I'm working through a few other books:

-- "Harpo Speaks!" by Harpo Marx-- it is an absolute treat! What a gifted writer, especially for a guy who didn't get past 2nd grade. This book is his autobiography, and his description of growing up in the early 20th century in New York is soooooo immersive and tangible; I loved the history lesson. I'm only about 20% of the way through it, but I look forward to reading it all the time. 

-- "What Unites Us" by Dan Rather. Dan Rather is a total gem on Twitter, and when he throws shade it is THE BEST. Holy crap, he's a treasure. This book is a balm for this divided country, and he was careful to write it so no matter what side of the political spectrum you're on, you will feel invited and welcome to read it. Obviously Dan leans somewhat left socially, but the righties won't throw the book out, I don't think. I sprung for the extra few bucks for the audio version as well, because sometimes when my eyes are tired and my soul is weary, having Dan Rather read to me in his 89-year-old steady voice is so, so comforting. 

-- "So You Want To Talk About Race" by Ijeoma Oluo, because it's important and I want to do better. I'm still on the first chapter. 

-- "Disloyal" by Michael Cohen. Haven't started it yet, and I may not ever because I just don't wanna get involved in a story about someone I find so abhorrent and exhausting (Trump). But I do find Michael Cohen fascinating and would like to hear more about his change of alligiance. 

-- "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley, because I never had to read it in high school, and it's about time. Haven't started it yet. 

-- "Animal Farm" and "1984" by George Orwell. See above. It's time to fill in some knowledge gaps. Haven't started these yet either. 

-- Matt bought Obama's new book "A Promised Land," and once he's done with it, I'll likely read it. 

7) Frozen shoulder

At the end of the summer, I royally screwed up my left shoulder after a few nights of sleeping weird. The pain was absolutely awful, and I had verrrrry limited use of it.  I was starting to think it was time to finally see a doctor, but the covid numbers started rapidly increasing in the fall so I didn't wind up going.  Thankfully the pain is almost all gone, but I still can't use my left arm for much of anything-- it just doesn't go where it should.  Some friends of mine suggest it may be Frozen Shoulder which is a thing that is some peri-menopausal women get. I don't know, but I hate not being able to put my left hand on my hip or in a pocket, or to lift it at all. If it is actually Frozen Shoulder, it usually works itself out in 9-12 months. So I'll watch and wait for another month ot two, and once I've got my two vaccines in me, I'll be ready to maybe go to PT or whatever. 

8) That's it for now!

This is already WAY too long, and I promise to update in more reasonably-timed and sized chunks. 

Love youse. :)

1/19 '21 15 Comments
Re: your folks - glad to hear that they are getting the help they need and doing as well as can be expected. I hope things are easier for you and Matt re: parent care.

Re: Michael Cohen. I read his book, but I don't remember it very well. I tried to listen to the audio book, but the narrator is not Cohen himself, and one of the real treats of Michael Cohen is his TOTALLY NEW YAWK accent. So, what I would advise you to do is to listen to episodes of his podcast. It's called Mea Culpa, it has a catchy theme song, and I have to say, he's really charming. He's self-centered and often full of shit, but you can tell that he loves his family and he hates Trump. Also, he's not a professional pundit or interviewer, and that's kind of fun. Start with the first episode, where he interviews Rosie O'Donnell ... I won't spoil it, but it's not what you'd expect, in a good way. Also his interviews with Omarosa, the Mooch, and Stephanie Winston Wolkoff are interesting, but the Penn Jillette interview is fantastic, and the interview with Ben Stiller where Cohen totally fanboy geeks out on "Dodgeball" is kind of adorable.
Added Cohen's podcast to my collection. Curious to find out what it's about.
Eeee! ((happy bounce)) I freakin' looooooove that your "yo" has become a thing. Thank you so, so much for 'Yo'-ing! Whenever I notice other folks saying it, part of me is like "Hey! That's Michele's!" and then the other part of me is like "Oooh looky! A trend!"
I just dreamed that you were going to color and cut my hair...
That's so funny, and wonderfully random! (And in a strange coincidence, in the last 4 days I cut my dad's hair, and I had a zoom call with my BFF Patty and talked her through coloring her husband's hair.)

If you ever need hair coloring advice, I'm happy to share what scattershot info I know... but your hair is awesome and it looks like you have the situation perfectly handled. :-)
The funniest thing was you asking me what I wanted and me drawing a complete blank. Like, I just couldn't think of anything. You sighed, like maybe I should've given it some thought beforehand, but continued being unfailingly polite and upbeat.

So then I cast about for inspiration and started leafing through some magazines on the table, but none of them were fashion mags, just a bunch of interior design and landscaping. I couldn't even find any PEOPLE in the photos, much less glamour head shots. I woke up laughing.
Hahaha! I love it! :-)
"Harpo Speaks" is much better than any of Groucho's books, which...I would not have expected.
That's good to know! I'm not even sure why I bought Harpo's books-- I admit I'm woefully under-exposed to much if any Marx Brothers. I'm not sure how the book even got onto my radar, but I am super-delighted so far.

Are you a Marx Brothers fan? If so, any movie (or thing) I should start with?
Nice bird spotting! We have no hawk. ✊
From what my pal Mike says (he's a bird guy) that hawks tend to be really hard to find until they're right on top of you. I don't think I ever saw a hawk until he was having breakfast on my lawn, and I haven't seen him since.

(Though we have noticed my other birds are making themselves more scarce since that hawk attack... so maybe the hawk is actually around and the birds know they're basically a buffet when they're eating at my house.)
Re: bird feeders. This is 21 minutes of nerdy joy:


Mark Rober reminds me of Adam Savage.
YES! This video was required viewing a few months ago at Chez ElderKnapp and Chez ElderCasarino! And then we all had to watch his various Amazon Package Thief Glitter Bomb/Fart Spray machines. He's delightful. :-)
Amusingly, I too just showed this to my folks when I was visiting them over the holidays. We also watched many of his other videos.

In case you haven't seen it already (not mentioned in previous comments) and/or you need some heartwarming/uplifting content, I highly recommend this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHiWygziyso

Hi, all!

Holy shit, could this possibly be a positive post from me?! SWEET JESUS.

Things are... oddly stable. It feels weird.  My parents are pretty good, all things considered.  Dad's new heart valve + pacemaker combo is working great and he feels so much better, so that's freakin' amazing!  Mom got her knee injection (thank you Lindsay!) so that's been one less thing for her to worry/complain about (though all things considered she really doesn't complain very much).  Mom's dementia will never improve (especially during Covid-times when dementia resources like the senior center and adult daycare programs are still closed), but it thankfully doesn't really seem to be getting noticeably worse. My dad takes very kind care of my mom, and sees this as a part of life and his duty.  We are lucky that now he's healthy enough where he's managing OK now.

I hired home health aides to be at the house on weekdays to give my dad a break from keeping an eye on Mom, so he can go for a motorcycle ride or go putter in the garage for a few hours without worrying about Mom setting the house on fire or not taking her meds.  The aides also make Mom lunch, get dinner figured out, keep her company, and they also do housework, go to the store, etc.   My dad really appreciates the mental health break each day.

Sadly, Mom doesn't understand that she needs to be babysat. Mom thinks the aides are housecleaners (because they'll  do some light housekeeping while they're there)... and she doesn't understand why they need housecleaners 5x a week when their former housecleaner would come every other week.  Mom also doesn't understand why these "housecleaners" are playing cards with her and just chatting-- she feels like she's getting ripped off because if they're there to clean the house, they should be cleaning the house.  (We have explained they are there to give Dad a break and to do whatever needs doing-- whether that's light housekeeping, changing the bedsheets, taking the folks to doctor appointments, going to the store, cleaning Mom's commode, scheduling doctor appointments, yadda yadda, but Mom doesn't remember that.  When we re-explain it to her, she totally gets it and appreciates it in the moment... but then she forgets that we had that conversation, and then she gets annoyed that 'the housekeepers' aren't doing anything, and why are these people here.)  Mom also feels like she has to be a good hostess to the aides, and at first she liked the company, but now she's just kind of annoyed having guests over all the time who aren't really her friends. 

Mom managed to convince my dad to reduce them to 3x/week (which I am not really happy about), but I also understand that my parents are adults and they can make their own decisions. My mom may be dementia'd, but she also is quite in charge of her emotions, wants, needs, opinions, and longer-term memories and routines... so if Dad is OK only getting a break 3x/week, then have at it. 

I think I mentioned that Matt's cousin Evan passed away on the day my Dad got discharged from the hospital (Saturday, July 25th), so we left NJ that day and returned immediately to Delaware to do the urgent family stuff on Matt's side, and we haven't been back to NJ since.  Now that Evan's memorial service and funeral has been done, and his house has been mostly cleaned out, there's not really much left to do there, either, except to mourn on our own.

So now Matt and I are back in Delaware, without any crises to manage. It feels very weird.  I've been in some kind of panic panic panic panic emergency aaaaaaaaaagh mode since January, and now things are stable and I don't really know what to do with myself.  

I've been sleeping a lot, but part of that is me catching up on months of no sleep, and the other part of it is exhaustion from needing an iron infusion. 

Because I was caring for my folks for so long, I had to postpone my own healthcare for months, so I've been trying to get my own stuff scheduled now. I need a tooth pulled plus I need a ton of other dental work done; I need a mammogram, I need a bone density scan, and I reeeeeeeeaally need an iron infusion.  I'm working on 'em all.  It'll be nice to have that stuff behind me. 

Matt and I continue to quarantine by choice, because there's still a back-of-mind sense that something could go wrong with my folks at any moment, and since they are in a high risk group, we need to be confident that we could run up there without infecting them.   (Also, we're introverts and it's nice to have this excuse.) 

We continue to do our Coffee Break Concerts (now only 2x per week, down from 3x/week) on Wednesdays and Fridays from 3:00 - 3:15 EDT on our FB page (fb.com/HotBreakfastRocks). It's been fun learning a bunch of songs for these, and I'm so grateful we've been able to keep these shows going with only maybe 3 missed dates because of parental doctor appointments.  The shows are usually playful and silly, and we always give it our all. Sometimes we don't get every note right (and we flog ourselves for days afterward), but what we lack in perfection we try to make up for with heart and good vibes. We still can't believe people tune into these, but I love love love love the little community that has grown in the chat window of our concerts. People who don't know each other in real life seem to have really nice connections in there, which is delightful.  This Wednesday will be our 50th show! Wheeeee!

Happy Anniversary!

On July 30th, Matt and I celebrated our 10-year Bandiversary as Hot Breakfast. We had played a few shows prior, but sans the name. 

Also under the anniversary heading, two weeks ago Matt and I were hired to be the private backyard entertainment for a surprise anniversary party for a sweet couple downstate. I cannot describe how surreal and amazing a feeling it is when people want to hear our music... and not our cover songs, but our songs. Plus, these people aren't friends of ours-- they discovered us organically and have followed us since 2011. And they know the words to our songs! How is that possible?! It is the best feeling in the world. We felt very very lucky.  It was also really nice to play for other people, in person, safely, etc. 


In other news: A quandary... a poll!

Our local, privately-owned massage & facial place called their loyal customers to tell us all that they've reopened, and they wanted to answer all of our questions around safety, and how we can be (reasonably) confident that we're not gonna get the Covid by getting a massage and/or a facial. I'm on the fence about this. 

I'm definitely not comfy getting a facial--  facials require constant face-to-face time and I wouldn't be masked (I assume). I wouldn't be comfortable in that situation.  But a massage? Hmmmm.

My muscles are aching from all the tension I've been holding for so long, and from sleeping on a bed from the Truman Administration at my folks' place for all that time, and OH MY GOD what I would give for a 90 minute massage. But I just don't know.

What do you all think?  Would you get a massage?  What if they said their therapists (whom I know and trust) get tested often (testing is abundant and free here), and they also get 2x/daily temperature checks, plus the spa's cleaning tactics (which have always been stellar in my view) have been re-evaluated, increased, and improved and yadda yadda, and their therapists always work with masks on, and I would also get a temperature check before entering and I'd also have a mask on while getting massaged...  I feel like the risk is pretty low.  But I also might be a dummy.

What do you think?

(A) I'd probably get a massage under those conditions.

(B) I'd have to go there and see what my Spidey Sense told me.


(D) Other___________

Anyway, it's nice to not have a crisis to report. 

Love you all very much.

8/23 '20 10 Comments
Glad things are looking up!

It’s funny: playing cards with your mom is one of the best things the caregivers can do, because it makes her do some novel mental activity for fun, as opposed to just falling into a tv routine. It sucks that she can’t see the activity as productive, but of course she’s going to forget.

I’d have a really hard time going for a massage with COVID-19 stuff going on. It seems like there’s too much breathing involved. I was okay with getting my hair done, but I haven’t had my eyebrows done, and my nails are back to chompy stubs.
So very happy to hear that things are chilling out a bit for you.

It does good things for my soul to know your Dad is getting rides in (more or less) when he wants them.

Still loving the shows. SO glad to see the community that's formed. I don't think I've seen less that 30 people at a show. Which, when you think about the fact that you've done nearly 50 of them... seems amazing and wonderful.

As to the massage place... I'm not sure. On the one hand, I _have_ eaten at a restaurant or two. Even inside. I wear my mask until I'm actively eating and then put it back on after. It seems like almost no one else does (aside from wait staff). Then I GTFO when I'm done. It's this experience that makes me think maybe it's not a good idea. If the general populace was sticking to the rules and only removing masks when necessary, I would feel more comfortable with the idea of laying there breathing the communal air for 90 minutes.

It's as if John Q. Public thinks: Oh, someone, somewhere said that now it's okay to eat/get a massage so the virus can't affect me anymore.

Possible solution: is there a masseuse that you know and trust who could come to the house? Then, you reduce risk and you could even disinfect before / after to be at least marginally more sure you're protected.

Ooooh! I hadn't thought about an in-home visit! U R SMRT!

And thanks for the kind words about the concerts. Makes me happy when you pop in! You're an important part of that community. :)
> I hadn't thought about an in-home visit!
I cheated. Jeanine's brother was (is?) a masseuse and when he started out, home visits were all that he did.
Our household is currently saying YES to doctors, dentists, acupuncture and the like where they are clearly doing it right COVID-wise.

On the other hand, we got rid of my weekly in-person shopping trip by getting a lot better at online ordering, including curbside pickup from the wonderful local produce joint. It's weird, getting so much packaging and having to remind myself that it's the lesser of two evils for once.
Good to know! We have yet to do any kind of curbside pickup or take-out food... for no real reason. I remember in the beginning of the pandemic, online grocery ordering was terribly overburdened, so I figured I wouldn't tax the system with yet another order. I'm sure they've got the demand/capacity worked out by now, but the habit has been ingrained over here.
So nice to hear from you, and to have it be good news.

I totally get your mom's need not to have other people in the house alla time. I'm thrilled that the relief is there for your dad and the safety is there for your mom, and yeah, it sounds like they're working it out. SUCH good news about your dad's heart.

Massage-type thoughts:

"It depends." It always does, right? The protocols of the business or practice, the local infection rate, your personal risk budget... Up here in Vermontland, yes, I've gone to get some theraputic body work at the place I go to for physical therapy (and I've gone for PT as well; have another appt this coming Friday). They have great protocols (cleaning, masking, handwasing, etc.), a really big space, excellent ventilation and air filtration, and it's not crowded. For massage work, of course we both masked up. Interestingly, when I was face up, I wore my mask; for face down, there was the normal cover on the face rest plus a cloth pillowcase sack hanging down underneath, so that when I unmasked to place my face in the cradle, I was still "masked" by the cloth bag. Felt kind of like a horse being fed, but it worked.

As for whether or not the massage shop near you should be open for business at all... again, it depends, but it makes me raise an eyebrow. Not so much for *your* safety, but for their liability protection. A common post-covid syndrome, even after someone has supposedly "recovered," is excessive blood clotting. What if they have a client who either didn't know they contracted the virus, or even knows and tells them the truth. Massage on someone who may have unknown blood clots can be deadly! So I have to wonder what makes them feel safe enough to work on people.

Nevertheless, regarding your personal safety, depending on all of the variables, it could be very safe. And it could be very beneficial; a less stressed body will have a better functioning immune system, among all the other obvious benefits. But only you can know what's appropriate for your particular coordinates in the space-time continuum.
The place is small, and they've made it clear that they'd only have one client in a treatment room on any given day... so it's definitely a "soft open" with a bazillion protocols in place.

I tend to agree with you-- a less janky body will fight things better, for sure. Here in north Wilmington the infection rate is low. I still always act as if everyone's infected (including myself). I'm trying to examine if my desire for a massage is me giving into "vigilance fatigue" because we've been sooooooo overly (almost comically) cautious up until now. But maybe I'm assuming other people have been as cautious as we have, which is a dangerous assumption.

It makes me happy to hear you've had some bodywork done, though. Good good!

Oh poo, I don't know.
Haven't sat in for a while because work schedules, but glad to know you're still doing the fun mini concerts. Working on repertoire without a concrete goal like a concert or actually being in the same room with others from my choir is a huge challenge.

Living with someone who has good knowledge of anatomy and massage, who has strong skilled hands, I haven't been in the position to wonder about paying for professional massage for years. I know it's going to be over a year before a tattoo is a possibility because, even though they're allowed to open with protocols including masks and sanitation and temperature checks, the good artists have even longer waiting lists now. Plus there's still a pandemic on.

On the other paw, I am very much looking forward to going to the dentist in September. It's my regularly scheduled cleaning but back in March I had an appointment to fill a small cavity cancelled.
We're in a similar boat dentist-wise. My cleaning + filling is also in September, and I'm really looking forward to it.

Also in a similar boat re: tattoos. I have pieces I'd love to get crackin' on, and no matter how much I trust my artist, I feel like now is not the time to be frivolous.

Jealous of your in-home massage therapist! :-)