Jill "xtingu" Knapp

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

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((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.

xoxo


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3/7 '21 4 Comments
That hole's supposed to be there, right? Okay, it could be more appropriately folded.
Brian Rapp 3/13 '21
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.
Anne Mollo 3/9 '21
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
Karen Kuhl 3/7 '21
 

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.

(C) NO FREAKIN' WAY. NO NO NO NO.

(D) Other___________


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

Love you all very much.

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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.

Matt Lichtenwalner 8/24 '20edited
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.
Thomas Boutell 8/24 '20
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.
Anne Mollo 8/23 '20
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.
Dawn Keenan 8/24 '20
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! :-)
 

I last had a professional hair cut on January 3rd.  The last time I bleached my hair was on February 26th when I was up at my folks' place.

We snapped the following photo on March 27th, as a promo photo for our Coffee Break Concerts which launched on March 30th, 2020.

This next photo was snapped today, June 17th, after Coffee Break Concert #34. 

And here's a close-up comparison of my roots.  I have buzzed the sides and back several times with the #4 attachment on my clippers, and just two nights ago I finally broke down and purchased thinning shears because my faux-hawk was no longer staying up.  I'm wishing I had thought to snap the "after" photo before I had given the top part of my hair a little trim.

Seeing my natural hair color has been somewhat sobering. While I don't have much gray (surprisingly), my hair is pretty thin in the "yarmulke" part of my head. Having dark hair at the root makes my white scalp really show; where I feel like bleaching my hair makes it look less scalpy.

I do kinda like the way these dark roots look, though... but then I worry I'm treading dangerously close to Flavortown; I do not want to look like Guy Fieri.

Anyhoo, all is well here, considering.  I haven't worked at all this year, which is stressful... but it looks like training companies are starting to book more classes (99% of them are virtual at this point), which is good. Even if I'm not the one teaching them, I can still make a few bucks selling courseware for other people's classes, so that's good. 

Mentally I was struggling a bit right at the start of the lockdown, but these coffee break concerts really have been a saving grace. It's been good for me to have something to plan for, work towards, and look forward to... plus I get to be silly, and I get to "see" people I love in the chat window. 

We've scaled the concerts back to only Wednesdays and Fridays now that Delaware is into Phase 2 of reopening (back in the earlier phases we ran concerts on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays).  This was the first week where we only did two shows instead of our typical 3 shows, and it felt like it's the right move (I think).  It's good to have a long weekend so we can go visit my parents without having to schlep an entire sound system.

Physically, my health has been OK. I feel like I'm fighting a little ear infection or something-- when I swallow my left gland where my left ear drains into my throat is all ouchie, though it doesn't hurt as much today as it did earlier in the week-- so maybe I'm over it.

We've been taking the quarantine very seriously, because my dad needs heart surgery (routine, no biggie, just a valve replacement) soon, and when that happens we'll be staying up there while he recovers.  We've been up there to visit twice during the lockdown, but our first visit was after Matt and I got tested for Covid-19.  I know tests are kinda silly because we could have gotten infected 3 minutes after leaving the testing site, but yeah. 

We haven't eaten anything we haven't cooked ourselves since March 14th. No takeout food, no delivery, no door dash, nada.  It's actually been pretty fun cooking stuff, making creative use of the leftovers, making sure things don't go to waste, etc.

Matt's lost about 12 pounds (he's happy about that), and I'm down about 2-3 pounds, which I am not happy about.  I just don't have much of an appetite. Oh well.

It's getting to be iron infusion time, so hopefully I'll get that in the next month or two. I got my iron bloodwork done about 4 weeks ago but I wasn't quiiiiiiite dead enough, so I'll get another round of bloodwork in two weeks and by then my iron levels should have sufficiently crashed. Wheee!

Right before the lockdown I was scheduled to have a ton of dental work done, but then that all got canceled. I just got a note from my dentist office now saying that they're now accepting patients again for everything from cleanings and routine services to bigger mouf projects, so I guess I should get rescheduling that... but maybe I should wait until my dad's heart stuff is done.  Like I said, I've been soooo diligent in my covid-fighting, but if I go for Dental Derp, I don't have any way to be sure I'm being as neurotic as I should be... and I also won't have a way to keep an extra eye on the dentist staff, too (though I hope I should be able to trust them).


What else... 

We have so much music-work to do, in addition to our own music. We figured we'd be getting a break with The Rock Orchestra being on hiatus, but nope!

Matt's been hired by a modern-day vaudeville/performing arts group in Maryland to create a shit-ton music for their next big production, so he's been heads-down creating bespoke arrangements of Queen tunes and Meatloaf songs that can fit the size ensemble this group has.  But he's not just writing the parts out and calling it good; they want him to change the feel of some of these tunes to give it more of a steampunky feel, if that makes any sense. They're an interesting group.

I've been hired by two bands to help them out with their respective "covid collaborations" -- you know, those videos where bands record themselves playing their parts of a song at home, and then someone assembles the audio and video into a Zoom-like view so you can watch the individual band members singing/playing the song.  We did a few of these for The Rock Orchestra (here and here), but then two bands I've never heard of contacted me hoping I could handle some insane backing vocals and percussion-- I guess they wanted to go bigger than what their band can usually cover.  They're paying hansomely, which is very nice, because it's fuck-ton of work. 

One of the songs one band wants me to do is a tune by Boston-- so I'm covering all of those stacked vocals that go waaaaay up into the stratosphere. I can do it, but first I have to write all the parts out and then I'll record them.  The other song for the other band is an original, so I'm creating the arrangements from scratch and singing them, and playing a bunch of percussion, too.  It's fun, but it's a lot of work.


In other news, I'm officially 762876 years old because I bought a few bird feeders and I love watching the birds go nuts for them. We have pair of cardinals, two pairs of sparrows, two borbs (mourning doves), four crows... and now most mornings three squirrels have been taking up residence in the feeders and pissing off the birds. (I can't believe four crows are afraid of 3 squirrels... where the sparrows could not care less about the squirrels. Go figure.) 

Around 3:30am a family of five raccoons pops by and eats whatever's been kicked over the sides of the feeders to the ground, though tonight they decided to sit right in the feeder-- five racoons on a pie plate eating seeds and nuts. It was pretty damn adorable. 

OK, this is way too long.  I know there are more important things I should be talking about, but my brain is squishy.

love you all.

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6/18 '20 5 Comments
Ooooh, I do not like looking at the yarmulke part of my head right now. The longer my hair gets the thinner that part of my head looks. Weirdly, when I buzzed it way down, it looked fuller. Hair is weird. If I'd known how brief my long flowing curly locks period would be I would have leaned into it more; every haircut I got in my 20s was a mistake.
Paul Lord 6/18 '20
love you! i'm happy you guys have so many creative outlets (especially the self-created ones, because we get to benefit from your awesomeness). i hope you feel better soon!!!
Jenn A 6/21 '20
love you too.
he chomps in the air with the greatest of ease,
he's the raccoon on the feeder trapeze...