Jill "xtingu" Knapp

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

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Old ladies have ways of doing things that seem silly or dated or whatever... but ya know what? These old-lady ways WORK. 

Like, I have this great sweater-dress that I wear with tights or leggings, but I'm always yanking on it because sweater + leggings = sticking to each other.  What's a girl to do?  Wear a (half)slip. 

Slips?! But those are for old ladies!

Yeah, but ya know what? Old ladies aren't pulling on their damn dresses all day... because the slip just fucking works

I jumped on Amazon to buy two half-slips (insert joke here about why didn't I just buy one whole one instead-- herpaderp), one black and one cream-colored... and instead I discovered a magical thing called "pettipants," which is a floofy slip but with leg-holes so your thighs don't touch. And I wore it under my sweater-dress and over my leggings for Mothers Day and sweetwoundedjesus it was magical. I was comfy, the dress looked great, and I didn't have my hand up my arse tugging and unsticking myself all day.  

Old ladies. They get it.

Some Other Old Lady Stuff that I'm Using and It's Working Great:

1) Washing my hair once per week, if that... otherwise I just slap conditioner on it and rinse it out. (Some days I just chuck on a shower cap and don't wet my hair at all. They're really onto something with the not-daily-hairdo. Boom. Done.

2) Cleaning my house with stuff like a vinegar solution, borax, baking soda, etc.  It's cheap, it works like a mofo. Boom. Handled.

​​​​​​3) Oil of Olay. I'm talkin' the OG OoO... the shit just works. Smells like Nana. Boom. Addressed.

4) Cold cream to get your makeup off... even impossible stuff like waterproof mascara and that liquid lipstick. Boom. Fixed. 

​​​​​​​5) Those pillows that go between your knees when you sleep. HOLY CRAP, what a godsend! Without it, my hip is screeeeeaming in the morning. With it, happy times.  Boom. Finito.

6) Bathtub handles. OK, I don't have a bathtub/shower handle in my bathroom (yet), but whenever I stay in a hotel with one I'm much happier. Should probably get one.

7) Toppik for thinning hair. No, it's not the scalp spraypaint of the Ron Popeil days... these are little fibers that you sprinkle on and they really fill in the slightly sparse spots. They're not gonna make a totally bald person look like Fabio, but it is amaaaaazing. Really works. For men and women. Boom. Fixx0r3d.

So, there you have it.

Any other old-people hacks that work for you?


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I have no old lady hacks but I use Ponds.
Ponds ROCKS. I love the smell-- it brings me back to 1974 or something.
Huh. I never stopped wearing slips. I didn't realize they were old-ladyish.

Also usually don't take off my makeup because I kind dig the morning after look. (Not that a wear it every day. Cause retired and never got into the habit and often get home in a state of collapse and whatnot). But I use Nivea when I do.

I'm a believer in not washing hair more than once every week or so. I find the less I wash it, the less often it needs washing.

I wear Hanes Women's Stretch Jersey Bike Shorts shorts under my dresses to solve the thigh rub problem. And sometimes boxer shorts when my bike shorts are all in the wash.

I'm going to get me some pettipants
I remember someone telling me in like 2002 that slips were "for old ladies." I dunno why I didn't think to question it. But yeah-- now that you mention it, maybe slips never were an old-lady thing all this time, and I've been duped! Gaaah!

I wear Matt's stretchy boxer-briefs when I need a no-thigh-touching solution. Soooo comfy.
Wearing Boyfriend's underwear is so much fun.
Karen 5d
I've always loved full slips (and had them in two lengths, long and short) because you never have to adjust the waist or turn them—cuz they hang from the shoulder! But wouldn't it be UHmazing to have a full slip that ended in pettipants?!

Of course, I don't wear slips much anymore because I don't wear dresses much, or the ones I do wear are clingy-like, so what I need is something underneath to smooth out all the bumps.

That's my chief complaint with aging, I think. Getting lumpy. I mean, I'm still pretty skinny. but the older I get the lumpier I get.

Well that and all the little pockets between my teeth. Now I want pettipants for my teeth.
Yes! Pettipants for teeth!

Yeah, the teeth thing is starting to concern me. I sleep with my mouth open (so sexy) so I get dry mouth really bad, which is no bueno for teefs. My dentist has tried a zillion things to lube up my mouf overnight (wow, sounds dirty) but alas, the gum-pockets persist. I'm gonna need a gum-graft soon, I know it. Ugh.

And a full-slip that ends in pettipants would be magical! One that was slightly form-fitting to just gently smooth things out without being tight like spanx would rock.

Anyone sew? (Hey Ursula!)
Heating pads, electric blankets, all the live long day.
Karen 5d
Yes! Heating pads!
YES! Heating pads and electric blankets, even in the summer!
I'll swing in and gross everybody out by stating that I haven't washed my hair in probably over 5 years. I condition it every morning. Once a month or so I deep-condition with shea butter and leave that in overnight. But in the shower every day, all I do is condition and rinse.

That's a textured hair thing, though, not really an old-lady thing. Hrm.

- Does using only a paper calendar, no Google or Outlook or anything count? I really hate telling Google and social media what I'm up to.

- I keep a designated ceramic thing above the kitchen sink for rings and watch, because I don't like wearing jewelry while I'm cooking or cleaning up. It feels a little old-ladyish.
Oh I'm with you on the paper calendar. And apparently I was so convincing I got a much younger colleague to switch!

And what I like most about paper calendar keeping? It forces you to slow. the fuck. down. And it makes you less instantly schedule-accessible to everyone else. People say, "Can you do thus and such on this or that day?" and I get to say, "You know what, I don't have my calendar handy just now; I will look and get back to you!"
YES PAPER CALENDARS! I get a "continuous" paper calendar every year from this guy https://supamoto.co/ Because LOVE the continuous part. .. I keep them around for years after as mementos of everything done.
I could use that. HMMMMM.....
Yep! I keep past years as references, sometimes just to remember but sometimes for important info, like medical event info, etc.
I ... have all my calendars dating back about 25 years.
I tried out a Quo Vadis "President" dealio (http://quovadiscanada.com/en/categorie-produit/diary-2018-en/diary-president-en/) almost 10 years ago and I haven't looked back since. I keep it in a red pleather cover that is impossible for me to leave behind anywhere, and I get the annual refill with Amazon points every November.

I think what I really dislike about computer- or device-based calendar systems is that you can't simply flip through them. For some reason it just irritates the heck out of me to have to clicky-clicky-click-scroll-blah and toggle between the views of day, week, and month to just frickin' see what my workload looks like for the next 10-20 days.
I'm with you re: the frustration of not being able to flip through the calendar pages. I have a calendar app called "Business Calendar" and I even bought the Pro version because it's the only calendar app that gives me the damn view I want... or I should say, gives me closest to what is the ideal (paper) view.

Some things are meant to stay analog.
Ooooooooh!

I have a month-paper calendar that has images of Extraordinary Chickens-- I've been buying this chicken calendar since probably 2008. Flipping to the month and revealing the new chicken is a very happy ritual. (It was always The Weather Channel's calendar before that.)

But GAAH-- I agree with the Supamoto website: the time between months really fooks things up, and I always miss early-month birthdays, and I hate not having an idea of what the next few months look like at a glance.

Hmmm. Not sure where I'd put this or if I could end my chickenny ways, but your calendar here is pretty spectacular.
Re Supamoto: YESSSSSS Monday start or GTFO.
I think these things are all brilliant.

But I have always admired you for your life-hacks and frugality hacks and just general sensible-ness.
aw, shucks
Shampooing all the oil out of your hair and buying another product to deal with it being too dry now is how they getcha. Natural bristle hairbrush. Also Gold Bond Medicated Powder and Bag Balm. Although the bag balm is not for the bag, and the powder is. #mystery
Gold Bond is a magical substance. I like the extra-strength. I have learned where it should not go.
 

I'll bite: 

I DAAAARE CM Adams post about the story of the Wallingford House.  I gotta know.  

(Many apologies and thanks to Anne Mollo ​​​​. :-D  )

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Standing by with a bucket.
I want this.
I've been meaning to actually type it out for months, so you're really doing me a favor by calling for it.

I'll write it out tonight or sometime over the weekend in its own post.

alright - you asked for it.
 

And no worries if you're not.  (Long overdue HB Snoozeletter comes out tomorrow. You can sign up for our mailing list here if ya want.)

Also: For pals in far-away places: If you know of any venues near you that book bands where people tend to listen (read: we are not competing with TV screens showing sports), or if you've ever wanted to host a house concert (they are shockingly easy), let me/us know! 

You can reply here, or you can email us at awesomesauce@hot-breakfast.com .

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I'm 100% serious about this, we will find you a gig where people listen to you when you come to St. John's.

Also we will put you up.
And we are 100% serious about taking you up on it! Warm weather is coming... :)
I have forgotten what leaves look like.
Dood, so have we.

The daffodils are up, and our grass is clumpily coming in, but dammit there are no buds on the trees yet. I would love a day over 60, plzkthx, it's almost fucking May.
I'm hoping to make it to the May 2nd gig.

We should talk about places down here for y'all to gig at. I know your requirements are pretty minimal, but knowing how much space, do you need electric, etc would help. I'm still too new to the area to be all "Oh! Hai! I know all the places!" but I'll keep my eye out.
Honestly, the most important thing is vibe. We don't wanna be background music, but we also know that more traditional theater-esque won't book us without knowing who we are. It's a conundrum.

But thanks for keeping an eye out! :)

Can't wait to see you on the 2nd! :)
Seconded with Roger and I planning to come.
Karen 4/25
The Trapp Door Gastropub in Emmaus frequently does two-person bands in the corner right up front. Very intimate, and people do go for the music. And clap.
Karen 4/25
Oh - that seems like a good call!
Holy carp, are we really both on the same 3-day old post at the same time? Ha! I love OPW at night right before bed.
Karen 4/25
Yup. Or at least I'm online and I see when there's an update to a Post I commented on. :)
This is great-- thanks!
When you are in Dover, you might want to walk over to Governor's Cafe. They've started hosting singer/songwriters but I'm not sure the exact setup. Ditto for 33 on Lockerman. Forham Brewery does new beer release events about once a month where they book music. .

I"m going to do my best to come hear y'all on Friday so I get a better idea of what you're all about. Then I might be more useful in my suggestions.
 

I've been devouring all of the reports about Southwest 1380 (the plane that lost an engine and had a hole in the fuselage that made an emergency landing in Philly).  As an air travel enthusiast and Southwest fan, I am so impressed with how this terrifying scenario was handled.

I just listened to the control tower chatter, and wow... this is what everyone's training is for.  (Listen here, if you're interested: https://youtu.be/fASCzgKS0Qg)


That pilot was so calm, professional, and perfect. That first ATC guy (the one you could hear clearly during the first few minutes) was also absolutely fantastic. He's *exactly* the guy I'd want on the other end of the comm channel during an emergency. Great job, everyone. Really. 

I am devastated to hear about the one woman's passing, and one is too much, of course; but it's so true that this could have been so much worse.

I wish I knew the name of the ATC guy... I would send him something. For realzies.

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I wonder if you could send a fruit basket or a card or something to the tower staff in general, congratulating them on their professionalism etc.
I'm not entirely sure if the guy with the kind voice is PHL's ATC guy, or is he with some interim control tower. Because once the plane was approaching the runway, they switched radio channels and some crappy guy took over. I don't want him to get the fruit basket. Only good guys get gifts. :)
 

... are the words I use at the laundromat

Our dryer died last week, so for the last 5 days we've been watching Mt. Laundry reach Everest altitudes while our underwear drawers were even running out of Emergency Undies rations.  So on Monday we decided to bring our enormous hamper full of dirty clothes to the laundromat. Dare I say it was fun?

We tossed the stuff into three giant washing machines and then went next door to El Diablo Burritos where I got myself three delicious chicken soft tacos and Matt got himself three steak tacos with this chili-lime sauce on 'em. SO GOOD.  When we were done nomming, it was time to move everything into the dryers. 

We filled the 40 minutes of dryer time with a trip next door (the other way) to the Hallmark store where we bought Mothers Day cards and Yankee Candles (because we're grandmothers, apparently).  We have a little Yankee Candle problem-- we keep one lit in the bedroom and/or the great room pretty often; it acts like a nightlight in the evenings. The problem is that no matter how well we trim the wick and use those little candle caps, the black waxy soot is on EVERY wall and ceiling, really amplifying every drywall nail in the ceiling. It's a great look... though it gives me something to obsess over when I can't sleep at night and am looking at the ceiling.  I can't but think "Jeez. If our walls and ceiling have this much black crud on them from just 2 years of burning candles, imagine the work that dude had to do as he cleaned the hundreds of years' worth of soot off of the Sistine Chapel frescoes." 
  


House stuff

My house needs a lot of love. In no particular order:
1) I need to fix the fence that got wrecked in the nor'asters. At the very least I need to replace the missing slats... at the best I need to replace the whole fence because it looks like crap.  That will not be cheap, but that's OK-- I am willing to pay good money to have a straight, even fence that will last.


2) I need to have a plumber come over and fix a zillion broken things.  A) The basement slop sink keeps filling with black bilgewater... that's not good.  B) The drain underneath the basement slop sink has a huge hole rusted out of it so I kludged together a replacement pipe out of duct tape (yes, really) and it's holding enough, but water + tape don't equal a long-term solution. C) They also need to figure out why my master-bathroom sink is dripping underneath it. (Stuff in the cabinet beneath the sink is wet, but I can't find where it's leaking.)  D) My kitchen faucet looks like shit and the adjustable water-spray can't decide what setting it wants to be on, so it just spritzes in get-all-over-everything mode. E) my hall bathroom toilet needs to have the guts replaced...  you have to hold the handle down to get a complete flush, and that only works 80% of the time... the other times you need a second flush. Annoying. 


3) I need to get the carpets cleaned. We had them scheduled but called them off because of one of the snowstorms.  I'll probably wait until July to get the carpets done at this point, mostly because we are having two Beatles rehearsals per week at the house and we have a zillion people bringing instruments and gear in and out of the house. No sense cleaning the carpets when I have a parade happening 2x/week.  Maybe I'll have them cleaned once the show is in production so we can have a cast party at our place after the closing night, maybe.


4) Landscaping. I would love to hire someone to trim my bushes that got obliterated in the snow last month. While they're at it, I would love to have them plant plants, put some mulch down, and have a yard that isn't a joke.  Then I would love to have someone turn my backyard into something not-embarrassing.  Yes, that means removing the Big Gay Purple Shed. 

5) I need to get the gutters cleaned, and while someone is up on the roof, they need to clean out the drain vents because I am sure they are clogged.  As much as I love my rare Redwood tree, it poops stuff for three out of four seasons and I'm constantly cleaning up after the damn thing. It's maddening.  And the stuff it drops is smaller than the holes on the gutter guards, rendering them completely pointless.  

Easter candy
In other news, I'm not all that into chocolate. But Matt's folks were in Connecticut for Easter and brought us each back a solid dark-chocolate bunny from this local magical chocolatier in Simbury, CT.  I devoured two chocolate rabbits by Munson's Chocolates in just 5 days. They were DELICIOUS. So smooth and tasty!

Yogurt: The struggle
Speaking of tasty things, I've been on a yogurt kick, but it is near-impossible to buy plain ol' full-fat yogurt in the store. There is Greek yogurt out the ass, and every kind of low-fat or fat-free yogurt everywhere. But I just want full-fat yogurt, made with sugar or some sweetener that comes from a damn plant or a bee.   I finally found Siggi's Icelandic Yogurt, but you have to look through the different kinds of Siggi's to find the full-fat stuff. It is deeelicious.  I also found Brown Cow brand yogurt, which is also full-fat yogurt and damn tasty.  But finding these is a feat and a half, and I have to make special trips to find 'em. Annoying. 


What else...

Hot Breakfast stuff...

Hot Breakfast has been taking a bit of a hiatus, but we're finally starting to fill up the ol' gig calendar. We've got a gig in Dover on May 4th, and then we've been asked to play the Wilmington Flower Market on the 10th and then a record-store event on May 11th.  We've got other stuff potentially coming up, too... so it'll be nice to play our own gigs for a change, since we've been doing so many tribute shows lately.


What else...

lipstick
I've been wearing this ridiculously bright hot-pink lipstick lately and I don't care how silly and age-inappropriate I look. It makes me happy. 


Birthdays
Today is my brother's birthday, and I posted a goofy photo of him wearing a leisure suit as a 4-year-old on Instagram.  I called him and we chatted for 20 minutes or so, which was delightful. I love my brother very much.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) is my birthday and we have nothing planned, just like the last zillion birthdays. Matt asked me if I wanted him to get everyone together and I said no thanks.  I don't need people to interrupt their lives and go through the hassle of leaving the house and fighting the social anxiety (or real anxiety) on my account. I don't need the validation. I already feel valid and loved, thanks. :)

If someone thinks of me tomorrow they can send me a text or a card or something. But I don't like obligation. Birthdays are not important to me. 

EDITED TO ADD: How could I forget! My beloved birthday pie turns 17 today, which means we're bringing it for its drivers test and license.  It's a little stressed about the junior prom considering how hard it is to find a date, but we are staying optimistic. I was telling Shelle via text that the closest prospect was a can of evaporated milk from 1995 that lives with my parents, but said can of milk is not interested in kid-stuff like the prom anymore. Shelle replied "Too milquetoast for dances?" And that is why I love Shelle Klein Houser ​​​​​​. 

OK, that's enough for now.

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It's your birthday, but you give away the presents.
"some sweetener that comes from a damn plant or a bee."
That's a gift.

Happy Birthday. I celebrate you.
We've had good service from http://moonplumbing.com/ since before they had their current website (2001).
-q
Awwww, thanks for the birthday wishes and sweet words!

Thanks also for the Moon recommendation. You've recommended them to me before and they did really wonderful work for us.
Yay you're coming to Dover! On a day I might be here! (or I may not, since I'm kidfree that night, and miss city life). Where are you giggin?

Also, Plumbers putty is an awesome temp-fix for leaking pipe solution. My kitchen sink drain (vintage 1971) is rusted through in a way only fixable by replacing the sink. And sinks are no longer made the same size, so it's not easy to just drop a new one in. So I puttied the drain about 6 months ago, and dream of a day when I can remodel the whole damn dump of a kitchen that I currently have.

I'm with you on the annoying "can't find real yogurt" issue. I've caved and gone over to greek.

In my washerless youth, I used to pay $0.20/lb for a wash&fold service. Cheap at twice the price,IMHO, and worth every penny.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY.
Also in my washerless early 30s, I also used a wash-and-fold which was most definitely absolutely the best deal ever-- I am in total agreement!

And thanks for the plumbers putty suggestion. I'd never heard of it, but your suggestion sent me down a youtube rabbit hole, and now I wanna fix EVERYTHING.

We'll be at the Dover Public Library on Friday, May 4th from 6:30 - 8pm. So a nice, chill night for everyone! We are not kids' music, but we don't drop F-bombs or sing about anything particularly inappropriate... but I always like to set that expectation, especially when we're playing in a place one might expect a kids-band to play. Kids do seem to like us... I think it's because we smile a lot. :)
> near-impossible to buy plain ol' full-fat yogurt in the store

The struggle is real. I like whole-milk yogurt, and I like it plain because I want to control how much sugar I put in it. Whole Foods is terrible but I always found that they tend to have a more reliable inventory of unsweetened, whole-milk yogurt than Acme.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY tip: If you can't find Brown Cow, try Nancy's brand.
Nancy's brand? Never heard of it, but I am officially on the lookout!

Xo!
Best returns of the day. Wear that lipstick!
Thank you, thank you!

And consider my maw stupidly fuschia. :)
and I love you.
And I love you. :)
Oh! Happy birthday, Jill! A world with you born into it is a world enriched.

You know what's weird? When I'm out and about and I buy nonfat yogurt for Paul, I actually have to be very careful when grabbing a container because SO MANY brands are sold in full-fat form around here. I kid you not.
Anne Mollo 4/17edited
You are so sweet. Thank you for the birthday wordseses!

And dooood, I am coming to Vermont for the Mollo and the yogurt. :)
Yesterday, the store I visited had ONLY full fat yogurts. It was The Weird. And if I'd known that was how to lure you up here I'd've mentioned it a LOT sooner...
 

There's a difference between being a proud small business where you're not tied to big dumb corporate rules so you can be flexible and agile, and being so small that you still have a single AOL email address on your website.

I want to support the small guy, but if they still use AOL, how can I be confident that my credit card info is secure in their office?

This one local place sells kitchen appliances. They have cutesy commercials featuring the owner's two small boys. "I'm Cameron!" "And I'm Gavin!" "And if you have trouble, call us and we'll make sure it gets handled RIGHT!"  I wonder how creepy it would be if I called up the store asking to speak to Cameron or Gavin to complain about a bill or a customer service issue. They would call Child Protective Services in 5 minutes. And what the fuck does that say about their family dynamic (or Dad's business acumen) that a 7 year old is their accountable executive in charge of customer satisfaction?!

Anyway.

We need a new washer/dryer. The one I have currently is the set that came with the house. I would love to get a set of stackables, and then put a shelf where the dryer currently is.  The washer/dryer used to be in the basement, but my house's previous owners brought them to the main floor of the house, taking up the hall linen closet with the washer/dryer. So I'd love to reclaim some of that closet space since I currently have none whatsoever, unless you count bedroom closets.

I heard a thing on the radio this morning about how small businesses should consider buying "CyberInsurance" in addition to general liability insurance and worker's comp, because small businesses are more vulnerable to cyberattacks.  Really? I know of a zillion huge corporations that were brought down by the ransomware viruses and no small businesses that I use were hit. But maybe that's because large businesses have a higher percentage of dumb people who surf the web at work, clicking on shit they oughtn't... and granted, I'm a small (vaguely tech-related) company, so maybe the percentage of employees who work for my company who click on dumb shit is 0%. 

But I figure Cameron and Gavin (or their mom) click on dumb shit pretty often, so they probably need CyberInsurance. 

The only people who use the term "cyber" are people who shouldn't.

In other news, we spent this past weekend (Saturday through Tuesday) at my folks' place. We hadn't seen them since Christmas, which is waaaaay too long. My mom tore a muscle in her right shoulder, so in addition to her back and her legs being in constant pain, let's add her right shoulder to the laundry list.  My dad has days where he's very weak for no discernible reason, so we needed to go up there and just help them out a bit. They felt so awful that they decided to cancel Easter dinner because my mom couldn't cook and my dad couldn't clean the house, and they both felt that having a house full of people would be too much.

So we offered to come up and do all of the cooking/cleaning, so now Easter is back on. 

We're in the car now heading back up there. We'll be there for a few days. I'm so excited it's finally starting to get warm... this fucking winter might FINALLY be behind us.

I hope everyone has a fabulous Easter, Passover, or April Fool's. :-)

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"So we offered to come up and do all of the cooking/cleaning, so now Easter is back on."

Yer gud.
I'm torn between "har-har, you still use AOL," and "oooh, you were a savvy early-adopter." I say that because among lawyers, it's often an early-adopter thing. As in, a lot of lawyers were quick to get word processor machines and Palm Pilots and Compuserve numbers -- but then they didn't upgrade, whether because it was a pain to migrate the files or it got too expensive (because they needed to hire IT staff/consultants) or time-consuming. And if you're not at a firm where they give you a LawyerName@ThousandDollarSuitBigLawLLP.com address, then why not keep using the same AOL address ("number") that your clients and their world-of-mouth referrals have been using for 20 (!) years now.

Also you can take my WordPerfect when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.

Hope yer Easter trip goes well!
Michele Grant 3/31edited
I think I saw WP on the shelves in a store recently, and it made me happy. I don't have much preference in word processor programs (I tend to use Wordpad in windows or Google Docs) but I did use WP in college and remember it fondly.

I also happen to know a big tech company that still uses Lotus instead of Office, so there's that.
WordPerfect (actually an entire suite by Corel) is regularly upgraded. I had a learning curve from Quattro, which is what Lotus 1-2-3 became, to Excel; I still think Quattro is better in a lot of ways but I'm more likely to start something new in Excel now. The Corel version of PowerPoint leaves a LOT to be desired, though.

I avoid Google Docs for functionality, privacy, security, and subpoena reasons, and also because of the risk that anything Google could just disappear at any time for no reason, and there's no recourse. The risk is small, but I'm unwilling to take it.
Entirely reasonable. I suspect if I was doing anything that, you know - mattered - I would have the same mindset.
🤘 Scripsit forever 🤘

Love it.
 


Edited to add: Got home, didn't have to break in-- power's on. One section of the fence is a shredded mess.  Go go gadget home insurance!  That fence needed replacing in 2008, so I'm happy in a way-- this will get me off my ass to get it done finally. 


The Philly airport was a shiiiiiiit-shooooow... I've never seen it like that. Granted, when we fly home we normally land around midnight so maybe we're just not used to the usual 9:45pm crowd? But I suspect it has more to do with the Philly airport being closed for 24-ish hours and being filled with stranded, grumpy passengers.  The baggage carousel had so much luggage on it that it couldn't spin anymore because it was gridlocked... and there was only one poor lady working at baggage claim... and she was trying to juggle 24+ hours of lost/rerouted bags and angry passengers so she couldn't unclog the bag carousel... so I did.  (Everyone else was just standing around like idiots. Ugh. So yeah, let the 110-pound anemic lady with a wooden leg* do it.)

Ok, bedtime.


*I do not actually have a wooden leg.

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The problem's plain to see.
Too much technology.
I hope you're home and safe soon.
 

I have Joni Mitchell's "California" in my head, and that makes me happy. We are sitting in the Long Beach Airport, waiting to board our plane to Phoenix, where we will likely get stuck because of the snowstorm hitting Philly tonight.  We scored first class tix, and this canceled-flight crap only ever seems to impact us on these rare occasions when we are flying on a non-Southwest flight and also managed to score first class seats. (So it's gotta be our fault somehow.)

We were in California for about 36 hours, for Uncle Greg's funeral services. They had a very short viewing just for close family, and good LORD, Greg looked AWFUL. Like, we all joked that maybe they brought the wrong guy to the funeral parlor, because seriously-- no resemblance whatsoever

It's fascinating watching people from different families playing these familar roles... mourning wife, mourning sister, mourning children. No matter whether they're from my family, Matt's family, or a friend's family... there are these motions everyone has culturally agreed to go through, clothes you wear, things you say, body gestures you make... and we all have more or less agreed to play these roles when they are foisted upon us. 

We gathered in a Catholic church in the middle of a breezy beach town in California, yet it smelled like a Catholic church, it had all of the symbols that I recognize... and I admit it brought me comfort somehow... being thousands of miles away from the church I grew up in, yet got comfort in the familiarity of the smells, sounds, and symbols that I assume are in every Catholic church. 

But I also knew very deeply that these traditions didn't really *mean* anything to me other than simply tradition. And it made me think: When I die, I don't want this stuff. 


At times I found myself imagining being in that front-row of the church, playing the role of the person closest to the departed, accepting the condolences and watching all of these gathered people playing their parts.

I know we will go through all of these motions/play these roles for when my Mom passes, because these things are very meaningful to her. And I imagine as my brother and I bury my Mom (and I guess my Dad; I've never really asked him what he wants), these rituals will be comforting to me and Jeff (my brother) because it's what would be expected of us.  And in some weird way, it would be a symbol that we are the "family elders" now. 

But when I die, I don't want a church service. I don't want a viewing (unless you can stuff my body so I'm standing up and making some totally silly expression, with my hands positioned into finger-guns so people can take tacky selfies). But seriously-- I don't want any of this formal Catholic stuff... but because what I want lacks the formality of these generations of practicing these roles, I kinda accept that when I kick off, there won't be any kind of "official farewell." Because without the formality, it also loses importance somehow. 

Anyway.

Been thinkin' a lot today. 

And with that, our plane just arrived, so it's time for us to fly to Phoenix so we can get stranded there. Yay. 

[Edited to add: Flight from Phoenix to Philly took off right on schedule. Not sure what the weather sitch will be when we land, but I'll find out in 90 mins when our flight touches down. In the meantime, this has been a very pleasant flight so far.]

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Yeah.

Death is for the living though. I think I wrote something like "cremate me - or really do whatever the hell you want - you're the ones going through a terrible time. Sorry, wish I could be there to help."
Glad you’re not stuck somewhere. I’m sorry for your loss, for you both.
Safe travels. It's uglaaaay here in the 19810. 3 inches of fluffy snow.
They would be on my bucket if I had a bucket.

if i go first, i want to be made into diamonds and have everyone wear me someplace fabulous: http://www.lifegem.com/index.php

welcome back. and i'm sorry again about Greg. :(
Jenn A 2/17
I want to be planted in a tree planter, but I’m afraid I’d get dug up to build a Hooters or something.
that got me.
I hope it got you in a good way.

Worse, the tree would probably be dug up by a developer, to build a Hooters with a Chuck E. Cheese right next door.
It was a good way.
Like, I woulda probably shot coffee out of my nose if I had been drinking coffee at the time.
Thanks.
When I die, I want all of you who are still living to gather around my children and tell them stories about me. They'll be adults, so you can even tell the embarrassing ones.

I want my mortal remains scattered at Eastern State Penitentiary, on Broadway, at Versailles, at the Tower of London and in the ocean off Bermuda by Archer and Hunter together. That's not really about the ashes, it's about them taking that trip together, that pilgrimage to their mother's favorite places. Now that I think about it, there are also a couple of stops along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway - the FI, the PMA. I hope they think of me fondly every time they smell The Heart.
This choked me up.
💗
I love you. If I do go first, I picture you and Matt L. telling the boys lots of diner stories.
I HAVE THAT SONG IN MY HEAD TOO BEFORE I EVEN READ THIS WHAT.
Rabbit 2/18
ASDFGTYUIFGYHJGTUJGH!!
Death/Funerals really does produce a kind of out-of-body experience, doesn't it? You float over it all, see the patterns and the rituals, you contemplate your own end. You ponder time and entropy, and what it is to be human... My love to you and Matt.

Thank you, my friend. Xoxo
 

Up until a few months ago, I hadn't seen my natural hair color since high school.  I decided to just stop coloring my hair and take advantage of the "shadow root" trend. Once the sides got long enough, I got it cut so it was cropped super-short all over except the fooge on the top/front of my head, which I need.  I let it grow and grow, and soon I had what looked like all nondescript brownish-blah hair with frosted tips (with surprisingly little gray, but who cares)... but I didn't feel funky at all. I missed feeling funky.

So I went to the local, indie, mom-n-pop beauty supply shoppe near my house so I could to restock up on mah hair stuff, and $3.50 later, I had everything I needed to go back to Jillish.  I kinda dug the two-tone hair, but I just didn't have my mojo.  So... TADAAAA, I'm back to all-platinum again. (And with a better color result and less breakage than I get at the salon, thankyouverymuch.)

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Once again, I am sick.

It's so weird. There were years where I wasn't getting sick, and now I'm getting sick all the time, it seems. Maybe it's because I'm around more people since I'm at Penn all the time... I dunno. But MAN, this cold is extra awful.

Started with a sore throat, and now it's sore ears, a meaty lung cough of death where I'm coughing up a ton of yellow disgustingness... my lungs rattle and it's just gross. My ears are killing me. I hate it. 

I've been living on tea and Progresso soup since Sunday, which is the right thing to do, I suppose. 

I need to get better ASAP because I have an ITIL Foundation class to teach at Penn from Monday to Thursday of this coming week. 

Today is the first day I've gotten out of bed since Sunday. I feel like I've turned a corner, but I still have noooo voice. I hate having no voice, but I figure Matt likes the peace and quiet... tee hee.

Lindsay Harris-Friel had gotten us all tickets to see Steven Page and the Art of Time Ensemble on Tuesday night, but I was too sick to go, and she was too busy to go. We had those tickets since August-- we both so desperately wanted to attend... but the universe had alternate plans for us.

===============================
In other news, The Eagles won the Super Bowl for the first time. I normally don't care about sportsball, but you can't deny it was a really great game. My mom emailed me to ask if we went to the game, but I don't think she realized that the game was played in Minneapolis and not in PA, and that the cheapest tickets were $4500. So no, we didn't go. :) I don't understand why Eagles fans celebrate my destroying the city... this is why we can't have nice things. 

[Pause]

==============================


OK, I can't put off breaking this bad news any longer. I hate making small talk when there's a bomb to drop, so here it is:

We are very, very sad to hear that Matt's Uncle Greg (Betsy's older brother) died suddenly today. He was just diagnosed with lung cancer, so he had just started chemo. Sometimes chemo can cause pneumonia (who knew?) which he wound up catching... and then he had a stroke last night. His wife Elizabeth said it looked pretty grim, and she had hoped he wouldn't wake up... and he didn't. We just got the news this afternoon (Feb 7th) that he died at 4:30. It's absolutely heartbreaking. Greg was so amazing. We'll be flying out to California for the services next week. Greg worked at Boeing for most of his life as an engineer plus he had a lot of hobbies, one of which was birdwatching. He led tours for birdwatchers to see species that are native to the California coastline, and even led school groups through California's conservation areas. He took us on a private tour one time when Matt and I were in that neck of the woods as I taught in Irvine, CA. Something tells me that we will definitely see a bird or two at Greg's burial. 

It makes me sad that my parents will never get a chance to meet Greg; they really would have liked him.

But I am grateful to have had a lot of time with him recently, especially considering how far away he and Elizabeth live. We got to sing for his wedding, they came out for Grandmom's funeral, and they even flew out for Steve and Betsy's 50th Anniversary Party. They were well-traveled and well-loved, and I suppose that's all you can ask for, right?

=============================

Also, just to lighten the mood a bit (and apropos of nothing) you probably didn't know that you needed a video of a bunny-jumping competition. So here ya go. 

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Anyway, I want to write more, but the cold medicine is kicking in and I'm feeling derpy. So... I'm off to bed.

Good night!

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I am so sorry. Glad you got to know him.
You especially would have freakin' LOVED him. Funny as hell, super-duper-ridiculously smart, dry humor (but not always), always using his body, insanely curious. Lots in common, you two. :)
Oh, I'm so sorry about Greg. And sorry you are sick!

On a lighter note, I sent the bunny jumping video to my daughter Nina, who will LOVE IT.

I am so with you on the hair color thing. I'm struggling right now. Still growing out the last of the "gray" from the play--which is now just white. I've grown out the bleachiness once before, went back to my normal color (there's proof of that in one of my storytelling videos). I eventually went shrieking back to my hairdresser because I couldn't stand it anymore. This time, I'm trying to grow my hair longer and have no idea what to do about the color, since I'm growing it so I can audition for a play I'd really like to be in this fall--and I have a feeling my short bleachy look wouldn't get me the part--but I don't know how long I can stand having Bad Hair. It's driving me batshit.
I know the batshit-caused-by-hair very well.

How long can you grow your hair out before you scream ASDFGYUFGYHGYUJFGH and chop it all off again? You and I have similarly-short hair styles, and whenever I say "This time I'll grow it out!" I skip maybe two of my regular cutting times and I am so miserable that when I finally get it cut I get it cut REALLY short as if to compensate or atone to the short-hair gods for my foolish whims.

I sometimes wish it was more acceptable for white women to wear wigs in daily life. As for your role, wigs can look awesome on stage, so hopefully your director can look past your short hair and plop a wig on you. What part are you auditioning for? I love living my theater life vicariously through you. :)

(And thank you re: Greg and my plague. Xo.)
oh, i am so sorry. i'm sorry about Greg, i'm sorry you feel like crap, i'm sorry you missed your concert. but happy about your hair (although i'm sure on you it looked super-cool and you're being really critical :P). feel better, and miss you.
Jenn A 2/8
"although i'm sure on you it looked super-cool and you're being really critical :P"

Written like someone who knows her well. :)
Thank you all around, m'dear. I hate being a whiner, but these are worthy whines.

Miss you too. :) <3
I didn't know Greg, but I'm sorry to hear that he's gone. Sounds like a good dude.

"They were well-traveled and well-loved, and I suppose that's all you can ask for, right?"

I sure as hell hope so.
You sir, are two for two, and then some. :-)
I'm so sorry for your loss. Greg sounds awesome.
 

If you told me a month ago that I'd genuinely give a shit about Bruce Springsteen, I'd give you 100 reasons why I wouldn't... starting with how in north Jersey we were loyal to Billy Joel, not Bruce.  And his lyrics ("Show a little faith there's magic in the night / You ain't a beauty but hey, you're all right / don't turn me home again, I just can't face myself alone again / Don't run back inside, darlin'  you know just what I'm here for / because this dick won't suck itself / and I'm desperate so I guess an ugly chick will do for now / Ohhhhh THUNDER ROAD!" -- I may be paraphrasing and messing things up a bit.)

But in the spirit of rocking the early '70s and punk male bravado, I put that all aside and fell in love with this music last night.  I got to play a Bruce Springsteen tribute with The Rock Orchestra at LiveNation/The Queen to a sold-out crowd, and I learned a totally new instrument in just a few weeks and I, dare I say, fuckin' rocked it considering.  (Sorry. I don't give myself props often, but I'm pretty proud.)

This band, which had many people I'd never played with before, was a fucking well-oiled machine. It was a level of excellence I haven't experienced in a tribute show before. I mean, playing tribute shows are always fun (and lucrative), but this band is really stacked with TRUE pros... it feels good being a weak link and really having to hustle to keep up... and still feeling like one of the band.  Matt, who I consider 73 times the musician I am, also felt like a second-string player to these guys. But it was so freakin' wonderful watching the cougars in the front row LITERALLY licking their lips at him like drunk sorority girl wannabe porn stars when Matt took a sax solo. I am not shitting you.

The only crappy thing about doing these shows is that we work our asses off to nail this music only to play it twice.  Our first show was last night (1/20), and the second and final show is this coming Saturday at the Milton Theatre in Milton DE, down by DogfishHead and stuff.  It's almost sold out already, so if anyone wants to come and wants a comp ticket, let me know ASAP. 

I sing backing vocals and play percussion which is my usual gig for these things... but I had to find a glockenspiel, write out all my parts, and learn how to play the damn instrument in less than 3 weeks and 2 rehearsals.  Fucking nuts. 

Here's a little clip of the GlockenspielCam of me doing a bit of "Born to Run."  A pro-mallet player I'm not... but I'm proud of what I could do having never played one of these in my life a month ago.  (...and if it sounds like shit, please remember you're listening to my monitor mix through a phone camera. This isn't what the audience heard.  But GAAAAH I LOVE THAT THAT HAMMOND ORGAN SWEET JESUS!)

Goddamn do I love being a musician.

And if I may be totally superficial for a moment (and I am NOT fishing for compliments):  It is startling to me how one moment I look like a ridiculous old lady struggling for relevance and hipness and failing terribly, and other times I... don't? 

I'm not really a fan of the physical aspects of this aging business, I'm not gonna lie.  *sigh*

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You are so fucking awesome.
Yes. This. Always and forever.
I thought you looked amazing. I wouldn't say that if it wasn't true (I just wouldn't say anything).

Also, IHNJH IJLS GlockenspielCam
The only Glock you’ll ever need. :)
Glockidarity! I played glockenspiel in marching band back in the day.

Age-idarity! I'm getting jowls. 0.o

Sad! I am dead for missing these TRO shows. The FB clips are showing me barest shadow of the skill and talent and energy you and everybody else are putting into the music.
I didn't know you played glockenspiel! Did you march with it via the (ahem) strap-on model, or did you get to park at the sideline? I can't imagine marching and glockenspieling, but I saw folks do it in high school. Insaneballs.

Dood, we miss you and Robbbb 'round here.
I parked it on the sidelines because I handled a few other pit percussion things for our tiny, tiny band. But I did have to carry it in parades, and damn, the bruises I'd have on my hips afterward, because the harness was stiff fiberglass IIRC, and built for someone with a bigger frame than myself. Best memory: we were gearing up for some parade, and I got bored, so I started picking out "Axel F" from "Beverly Hills Cop" (www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOc7gL7Le9E) on the glock. A bunch of the better musicians in the band jumped in, including the sousaphone player (who's now a music teacher IRL) for that fun bass line, and we riffed until it was time to get moving.

Miss youuuuu toooooo.
That’s so awesome.
Seconded.
We also totally played Axel F!

GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE, etc etc
I've heard marching bands do that before and I SO SUDDENLY WANT TO BE IN A STADIUM HEARING THE BAND DO THAT. G-dangit where is summertime. This cold winter business is OLD LIKE ALL OF US ARE FEELIN.
Karen 1/30
And now I'm remembering that there's a different style that most people use, which sits upright and over to one side. That's not what we had. I carried it straight in front of me like a short-order cook's grill. I think the upright kind is a "bell lyra"; mine was a glock, but we did call it the "bells." Also it was beat to all hell; that gear must have been 25 years old when I was using it.
I imagine that 'beat to hell' must be frustrating when you're trying to make music with it, but in the retelling of tales, it just seems awesome. Like a beat up and well loved book.
Yep, the "bell lyre." In parades, our glock players also played "bells" (which was the bell lyre) kinda right out in front of them. Yup yup! I still can't imagine walking while playing... that seems impossible to me.