Jill "xtingu" Knapp

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

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My face is on fire. 

I could type out the whole story here, but I just had to cancel birthday and Dead Milkmen concert plans with Jenn and Jack for tonight... and it's just easier if I copy and paste what I typed to her, because I am the laziest fuck ever... but hey, I have an owie excuse.

Cut/Paste:

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

And now, the bad news: We have to bail tonight. I had two root canals on Tuesday and one got infected (sexy!), and yesterday morning I woke up in agony and my face looked like Rocky Dennis from Mask. Flew to the dentist at 8am, and he prescribed mega-doses of steroids and antibiotics to get the swelling down... but we had a gig last night that I should have canceled but didn't, and I overdid it because I'm an asshole, and my face and skull are friggin' on fire today... plus, I leave for a work-trip tomorrow. 

I'm so sorry and sad to not be with you guys today. We were REALLY looking forward to it... but I really feel like I should err on the safe side. 

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

(Additional thought: Plus, the high doses of steroids means I have hella reduced immunity right now, and being in a giant sweaty  Milkmen crowd is probably a bad idea... but I'm honestly not really thinking about that.)

Good god. I would love to be able to attend one goddamn event with my fucking friends without SOMETHING happening... anxiety attack, rotting infected tooth-skull, Mom emergency, etc.  I feel like a selfish jerk for feeling this way, though.

Humans are complicated.


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10/27 '18 3 Comments
Christ! Take care of yourself. Sorry you had to miss big plans. That is super shitty pain and swelling after an already painful procedure.
Karen Kuhl 10/27 '18
You do look a bit lumpy. Take care of yourself and get better real quick!
Ray Conrad 10/28 '18
oh man! I hope you're feeling better. :(
Kate Haney 10/29 '18
 

Just got back from NJ. 

Sadly, they postponed Mom's surgery again... when they were prepping her for the surgery at the hospital on Wednesday morning at 6AM (*gulp!*), she had a mini-heart attack (her AFib went nuts and her heart rate shot to 170) so they stopped what they were doing immediately.  They had only gotten as far as inserting her IV and she has no fear of needles or anything, so they don't know what caused it (plus she was totally chill going into surgery), but we suspect it was because they told her not to take ANYTHING (not even meds) by mouth the morning of surgery, so she didn't take her heart medication. 

This is now the 3rd time her knee surgery was canceled. So we're really disappointed... but better safe than sorry. Per the hospital's orders, we went to her cardiologist immediately from the hospital who gave her a monitor to wear and also did a meds adjustment, hopefully she can try for a 4th time soon.  Man. 

Her cardiologist was really irritated that she wasn't allowed to take her heart medication that morning with a tiny sip of water, but that's what you get when you only see one doctor at a time, I guess.

I don't think she realizes how unhealthy she is... rampant diabetes, emphysema, COPD, congestive heart failure, AFib, blah blah blah... an anesthesiologist would be crazy to try to put her out.  Hell, when she had her hysterectomy they gave her an epidural because they knew it was too dangerous to knock her out, and that was 6 years ago when she was healthier. 

Anyhoo, we wound up staying in NJ for the full duration even though she didn't get chopped up... I could tell my dad just kinda needed us there.  

When we were in the waiting room on the morning of surgery and the nurse came out to tell us there were complications, Dad was pretty much trying to wrap his head around Mom dying. It was awful. 

(I'm too tired now as it's 2:54am, but remind me to tell you about Jerry.)

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9/15 '18 12 Comments
What a strange tease. Hoping for progress.
Thomas Boutell 9/15 '18
For realz. Thanks, beb.
I'm sorry this is such a roller coaster for you.
Paul Lord 9/15 '18
That it is. I feel like it's so common for people in their late 40s/early 50s to go through this with their parents... I wish there was a simple solution. Alas.
Damn. I hope this improves and quickly. All of you have more than earned a respite from this.

How is she feeling now?
She's more disappointed than anything else. She's just in so much pain as she tries to move... yet somehow she remains agile enough to pop out for a cigarette every hour or so. So y'know.

But we're hoping she gets another chance soon.
"agile enough to pop out for a cigarette every hour or so"
Okay, you know what? As a person who just accidentally sneezed a Nicorette lozenge across the from (not for the first time), and my process of coping with the Nicotine Demon can be measured in Hunter's height, that makes me mad. True, I've been the person who could lift up a couch to find out if there were a nicotine source under it.

It makes me particularly mad because Vince's dad was/is a lifelong smoker, yet every single time he gets hospitalized, he is offered and refuses nicotine patches, because he says that he wants to deal with it on his own. So he spends hospital stays not only coping with whatever put him there, but also weaning himself off of nicotine.

Her consumption is going to affect whatever meds she's on, especially heart meds. She can ask for nicotine support: gum, patches, whatever. Argh. I'll shut up now. You don't need that shit. Sorry.
Ennnnhhhhhhuuggghhh. What a pain for everyone.
Sean M Puckett 9/15 '18
It is indeeeeeeedy.
Unbelievable.
I have had similar things happen, but with blood tests, i.e., "you said this was fasting blood work," "yes, but we meant you should take your thyroid meds."

How incredibly frustrating.

who's jerry?
I wonder what it would take to get all of her doctors in one room to duke out a care plan in person, where they all heard what the others were recommending. That would be really cool.

Jerry was another patient in the waiting room with us that day. I've got a half-written post about him that I need to finish.
Jill "xtingu" Knapp 9/16 '18edited
I love you and ... this sucks.
xoxoxoxo
 

Hi, all!

It's been forever since I've posted here, though I have about 98734 drafts just none of them finished.  I'll summarize the last month with a listo:

  • Beatlefest (wow, a month ago) was one of the most musically satisfying things I've ever done, tribute-wise.  The band Joe hired was full of some of the best musicians I've had the pleasure to work with here. Everyone has extensive musical training and reads music like a motherfucker... you needed those skills if you were gonna get through 215 songs... yet they also had rock chops so we knew how to feel an ending that just fades out on the record.  There were times we had 40 musicians on stage which includes string a section, a horn section... we also had musicians who specialized in Indian instruments.  There was one instrument that pretty much nobody in north America plays called a Dilruba, so we flew my dear friend Stefan in from Arizona to approximate the part using a hurdy gurdy.  Stefan was the real MVP.  We have dates for Beatlefest 2019 already, and FINALLY the City of Wilmingon sees this as the lucrative, exciting thing that it is and will be putting their marketing hype behind it next year, making Beatlefest a destination with hotel deals and stuff.  It was nice that we sold out the last 3 nights of the six-night run, and we all made a really nice chunk of change. (This is unusual for these tribute shows... usually we make a few hundred bucks, but this was quite nice, especially considering that we'd been rehearsing since January.)
  • Through the hype of Beatlefest, I didn't really notice how anemic I was getting... adrenaline is a hell of a chemical.  The following week we had Hot Breakfast's 8th Annnual Summer Blowout at the Bellefonte Cafe (which was sold out 3 days before the event-- yay!) and I kinda noticed I was having a hard time singing medium-length phrases, but again, I just pushed it aside because adrenaline.
  • The thing with anemia (or at least my anemia-- my hematologists insists I'm weird for this) is that I'm able to hit "snooze" on the Iron Alarm when there are more pressing things in front of me... so Beatlefest, Hot Breakfast show... caring for my Mom for a week... being in NJ for Sunnyvale rehearsals... and then BAM, I was almost dead. 
  • So yeah... I put myself in the hospital for 5 days because I got too damn anemic.  That was last week.  I was gonna go for iron anyway because I would never go to Burning Man without being freshly ironed-up... but still.  Damn.   It also turns out that there's a manufacturer's shortage of my usual iron preparation, Iron Dextran, which is normally a 6-hour infusion when I'm not so low I'm a fuckface, so I had to do a 5-day infusion of this other formulation anyway.  
  • SO!  BURNING MAN!  After a 7-year hiatus, we are headed back to The Thing In The Desert. We leave for the airport in a few hours, and we'll be in Reno getting supplies tomorrow (Friday), and then Saturday we will head out to the playa.  We have Early Access Passes which normally I don't really care about, but with the city having 70,000 people in it, I'm happy to get out a day early so we can beat some of the line at the gate.  We will be there (assuming all goes well) until Labor Day Monday. We'll head back to Reno on Labor Day, clean the car on Tuesday, and then fly home early on Wednesday the 5th.  So we will be totally incommunicado from Saturday August 25 - Monday September 3rd.  Yes, I know that Katy Perry updates her Instagram from the playa and that there is scant wifi if you look hard enough, but I am not going to do that. The phone stays in the car, which stays locked for a week.
  • Matt is very excited to be heading back out there, too... this will be his 2nd burn, and my 8th.  I'm a little worried about his anxiety, but we have a nice, newish trailer, so if he gets squoodgy, we can just hang there where it's comfy.
  • We were in NJ for a week (before my iron infusion) and my dad was out to breakfast and my mom fell.  It was a huge deal, and Matt and I managed to get her back up after her being on the floor for 90-ish minutes.  I wrote a long OPW post about it, but haven't posted it yet because I didn't finish it. But she was trapped on the floor and it was awful, and she was basically suffocating because she didn't have her oxygen.  More on this later.
  • My mom's mobility is seriously hindered and her body has basically told her to fuck off.  Her biggest pain is her knee, and she's not allowed to take any pain medication (not even Advil or other NSAIDS) because of all the other medications she's on.  My mom was supposed to have her knee fixed on Monday at a surgicenter, but once she got there, the anesthesiologist was like "Um, your heart is A-Fib, your lungs don't work from emphysema, you need supplemental oxygen... I can't believe anyone thought we could accomodate your surgery here.  We can't.  Go home, and we'll do it at the hospital where I have more ways of keeping you alive, yo."  So she was VERY disappointed... but I admit I was kinda relieved because she would have been recovering while we were at Burning Man and unable to give my dad a hand.  We want to be up there with her during and after the surgery... my dad can't handle it all.
  • Life continues to be happy. I'm in a much better place mentally than I was 2 weeks ago-- I was feeling really dark and angry and sad and frustrated and overwhelmed and unable to cope... and in retrospect this was probably because my iron was so low.  
  • Please don't give me crap about ignoring my iron. I know. I know. It won't happen again, Mom. :-)

OK, that's all I can think of for now.  There's more to write, but no time... I need to get in the shower... our ride to the airport comes in less than 3 hours and I still have to throw together a few more things. 

I love you all, and I hope you have a spiffy few weeks!

xoxo,

Jill-o

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8/23 '18 7 Comments
Happy trails! At least one other friend of mine, in a completely different and non-Philadel circle, has just left Reno. If you run in to a big ex-Air Force guy wearing Philadelphia Brewing (http://philadelphiabrewing.com/) or Fishtown-related swag, or maybe a Mummer costume, his name is Steve and it would be hilarious if you ran into each other.

I know the city grows to 70,000 people. But things happen at Burning Man.
Michele Grant 8/23 '18
It's better to burn out than fade away, as the poet says.
Thomas Boutell 8/23 '18
I just read about the crazy searches being done by law enforcement on vehicles headed to the playa. Officials are claiming they're only making regular traffic stops (speeding, stop sign roll throughs, tail lights out, etc.) but are apparently making random and frequent stops, then bringing out the drug sniffing dogs and requiring vehicles be unpacked on the side of the road. It sounds like they may even be making a grab for people's prescription drugs? Not sure. With 70K people going this year, I can't even begin to picture the mess this will be. Stay safe. <3
Anne Mollo 8/23 '18edited
It's only a matter of time before people starting landing light aircraft on the playa. Capitalism will find a way to meet a demand.
Ray Conrad 8/24 '18
They have their own airport-- there have been direct flights to the playa for a while. You're totally right!
I notice that you didn't give out your snail mail address for the burn this year. #JillCanLearn #IAmDisappoint
Ray Conrad 8/24 '18
No, it's not that... it's that they don't accept incoming mail anymore as of 2015. BRC post office is outbound-only. Once the event grew to 70K it just got to be too much, I imagine.

Or maybe they didn't want to earworm an entire damn event. :-D
 

I've never said or typed "herml-blermbl" before, but it just seems to fit.

I have a buncha half-written drafts here on OPW and I want to finish them and tell y'all what's been happenin' (and also to remind myself later what was happenin'), but I just... don't do it. Herml-blermbl.

So, here's a redux:

-- Beatlefest (July 16-21) was unfathomably satisfying and I really feel like we pulled off a nigh-impossible feat with very high quality... the highest to date. We had top-notch musicians/players who were all incredible readers, which was gonna be the only way we'd ever get to play 215 songs over 6 nights. Reading the charts, listening to each other, and watch Rich or Joe for the ending for the songs that faded out on the actual record. I'm really proud of what we did, and I'm excited it's now officially an annual thing and has caught the attention of all of the Delaware tourism groups and chamber of commerce and politicians and hoteliers and stuff... so they're gonna throw money and marketing behind it next year to make it something that the state celebrates and hotels offer package deals and yadda yadda yadda.  They're also trying to move it to the 1200-seat Grand Opera House, which is pretty amazing. 

-- I jumped back on Facebook because people were "very upset" they couldn't tag me in BeatleFest photos. #firstworldproblems  It is time to disable that shit nowwwww. 

-- We are derg-sitting Riley The Mutt again; she belongs to Nick and Nancy D'Argenio. They actually spell her name "Rylee" but when this derg is here she is MY derg and that's how I spell it, so there. I love having a doggo in the house. She is such a good, good, good, and pretty girl. JD was such a guy-dog, but Rhieleighe is so dainty and girlie, even though she's a mutt and not any kind of fancy foo-foo breed. She's still very much a doggo, though. 

-- I give the WeRateDogs guy sole credit for inventing the little dog-lingo the entire internetz now uses have when talking about dogs. The whole "heckin' good doggo 12/10 would pet" sentence structure amuses and delights me (and I didn't even do it right).

-- I've had a co-worker for the last 6-ish years that I've only ever worked with remotely... I'd never met him before in person. But this week he was teaching in Philly so we invited him down for dinner and for a jam session, because he's about to retire and do music full-time. I'm so happy for him! We had a great time. He said that he's the only democrat/non-Trump guy in his entire neighborhood... ugh, poor guy. I let him drink from our ITMFA mug and he was delighted!

-- Andrew Durkin (my musical collaborator since 1986) flew to the east coast today, and he'll be here for a week. From this-coming Monday to Thursday we're gonna get together and work on Sunnyvale material... Sunnyvale is the band that is me, Matt, Andrew, and Leo. (In the '90s I was in a regionally-successful band called The Evelyn Situation with both Andrew and Leo (and some other folks)... so getting to make music with them plus Matt is a musical dream come true for me.  We're gonna rehearse and record at my folks' place in north Jersey. 

-- My parents' 51st anniversary is this coming week, so we're taking them out to dinner on Sunday night. I asked my brother how many folks from his clan were coming, and he said "Just me and Mindy" (his wife).  I said, "No kids?" He said, "One kid is at camp and the other one has something else going on, and the oldest lives near college now. So yeah, just me and Mindy."  Call me weird, but whether I was 14, 17, or 22 (the ages of their 3 kids), I never had a choice about whether or not I'd attend a grandparent-related event... it was expected I'd go.  It feels weird to me that it's just kinda optional for them.  My folks are gonna be really disappointed, but hey, it's not my call. 

-- Matt and I are going to Burning Man this year... the last time we went was 2011, which was Matt's first time, and we left before the man even burned.  This year we are determined to stay for the man burning (Saturday before Labor Day) as well as the temple burn (Labor Day eve), but I'm not sure if it'll be do-able given his near-daily anxiety attacks.  He is hoping for some mystical, magical, cosmic ass-kicking. Perhaps some, um, molecular encouragement will help... or it'll kill him when his brain separates from his body permanently. We'll see. Or we won't.  But either way, this is the 10th Anniversary of Patty and Mike's Burning Man wedding that I officiated, so they wanna have a Vow Renewal Ceremony with me at the helm again. It won't be nearly as elaborate, but just a little something to commemorate a decade of awesome. 

-- We had our 8th Hot Breakfast Summer Blowout at Bellefonte Cafe on Friday the 27th and it was sold out since the Wednesday before. That was nice to hear. 

-- My music schedule is super-busy between now and the end of November. This is cool.

-- There's a new edition of ITIL (the thing I teach) coming out in Q1 2019, and the ITIL Mothership has chosen me (me!) and my videos to be the one they wanna help be first to market.  This pleases and flatters me greatly. It's nice to be recognized by the creator of the thing I'm a specialist in that yep, they agree I don't suck.  Woot! 


-- Food has been getting stuck in my dumb esophagus for years, which means I only eat a few bites per meal... which means I'm down to 111 pounds which is TOO DAMN SCRAWNY​​​​​​.  So my GP finally prescribed a thing I can take before I eat that will loosen things up and allow me to eat a full meal without having to pause after two bites and sit awkwardly and uncomfortably.  I'm so excited!! Hopefully I'll get some friggin' meat back on my bones. I look like Skeletor. 

-- I sleep on a towel every night and soak through it every night. Very sexy. I wish someone would yank out my girl parts... I DON'T NEED THEM.

--Matt's MiniCooper (Janice) doesn't have too much life left in her, unfortunately. So we need to decide: New Mini? Or Chevy Cruze which we fell in love with unexpectedly on a business trip when I was randomly assigned one by the rental car place?

-- I paid for the NYTimes digital edition as well as for access to the digital versions of their crosswords. I loooove their mini-crosswords (they take me anywhere from 40 seconds to 2-3 mins). But their full-size crosswords start easy on Monday and get harder through the week. I can only do their Monday and Tuesday ones, and then they get too hard for me because I'm dummm. But I love doing them. 

-- I'm sorry I haven't been posting or commenting here much... but I have been reading everything.  I love you all very much. 

-- I'm forgetting stuff but I need to sleep. 

(In fact I just nodded off and dreamt that Nik Everett is Matt's cousin Amy's grandfather and he was giving a speech on a baseballfield about having to give her away at her wedding. But she wasn't there to hear the speech so I was recording it with my phone and then a muslim hardcore/speedmetal band started setting up around him and just started playing playing in full burqas... but they turned out to be guys just trying to push the envelope... but they were really good! My brain is weird.)

Okbye.

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Congratulations on many things and best wishes on the test. I miss you.
Thank you, m'dear! Miss you right back. Lots.
I'd describe this as "too much on my plate".

Speaking of dogs and Burning Man. My dog and I have an appointment on Monday at the vet to get her reassessed for her cancer. I'm really hoping I don't have to send you to the burn with something for the temple.

See my next post about dogs, re: my latest foster dog.

You are not twenty any longer. Time to suck it up and drink some ensure. And follow up with your doctor. Get the medicine. Take the medicine. BE the medicine. Ohm.

For what it's worth, get rid of the baby factory but keep the playpen.

The mini cooper news reminds me that I saw a VW Scirocco on the highway this morning. I beeped the horn and gave the guy a thumbs up. I always wanted one back when.

Get a motor home for the trip to the playa. That way Matt can have a rest spot that he can retreat to. And lock the door. Plus, air conditioning.

Sorry I missed the Beatles Fest and the summer show. Too damn busy with the house.
Ray Conrad 8/3 '18
Oh no... please keep me posted on your dog's appointment. I hope everything is fine and you have many long years of belly rubs ahead of you. And if you want me to bring general good wishes to the temple, say the word! It doesn't have to be all sad. I can even post some gratitude for your roof!

The good news is that we have already rented a foo-foo trailer for Burning Man (I always rent a trailer or RV because I am a princess... but this one is extra-nice) so we will have an extra-comfy refuge for when we need to hermit. Plus we'll have air conditioning if things get extreeeeme (though really, opening the windows and getting a cross-breeze really is lovely and often plenty adequate). And we'll have a fridge and a shower... and best of all, the Home Toilet Advantage. PortaJohns be damned. :-)


Oh-- I didn't realize I stopped typing in the middle of my medical bit above (gonna fix that now)... but I just took this new med today and HOLY LORD I ate a full meal today and it is miraculous. If ClassicJill ever knew there would be a future day I wished I could gain 15 pounds, she would laugh me the hell out of the room.
I’m always amazed that you can be in a state where you have too much on your plate, yet reading your posts makes me feel more pragmatic and positive. You have an ability to embrace the notion that happiness takes work and that makes me feel like doing happy work.
Here we go - in order. (Sorta.)

*inhales deeply*

-"herml-blermbl" are EXACTLY the right words there.

-Beatlefest - I'm really sorry that I missed it, but I'm overjoyed that it went so well, that you enjoyed it so thoroughly, and (perhaps most especially) to hear about the marketing push you guys will have next year! That sounds super rad. Do kids say rad these days? I doubt it. Maybe it's retro again? I'm old - what I'm saying here is that I'm old.

-"Rylee" - Why is there no doggo pic for this post?! I feel terribly let down by you Miss Knapp. Also, I genuinely burst out laughing when I read "Rhieleighe"

-"heckin" - this lingo absolutely slays me. Watch this video ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCY3xsz-6zI )if you haven't seen it already - but really, just the first dog (giant poodle) because they're the 80/20 in just a few seconds of video.

- Durkin's visit - Well shit. Of COURSE it's the week that I'm headed to Maine with my family to see my grandfather. Please give Durkin my unending respect and lerv. Very sorry I'm going to miss the guy.

- "51st anniversary" - Please give them my lerv and congratulations!

- "Burning Man" - I wish like Hell I could make it this year for Patty and Mike's anniversary. I've been thinking about the Burn a lot over the last couple of years, and I kinda have the itch to go again - even if it wasn't for such a good 'excuse', but it's just not in the cards. I may have to send something with you for them if that wouldn't be too much of a PITA? I hope the RV helps soothe Matt's experience. Still renting from the same lady?

- Bellefonte Cafe - Sorry I didn't make it. Went to Slackerbot, and you woulda dug it. You guys get me for the next one. Promise. ;)

- ITIL - This is SO good to hear, even if it's not terribly shocking. You're amazing at what you do. You think things through and prepare. You actually work at that annoying little thing called 'quality'. You f***ing _get it_. I know my opinion doesn't amount to a hill of beans here given my vast influence in the industry which is why I'm so psyched to hear that the people whose opinions DO matter are paying attention. Endlessly and eternally proud of you despite my having no influence on your work whatsoever. ;)

-I wanna new drug, so I can actually swallow - okay, so after my inner Beavis shuts up for a minute... glad to hear this. Pretty sure I speak for the whole clan when I say that we like our Jill healthy. :)

- New Car - I legitimately have no advice here. I drove a Cruze once - in much the same circumstances that you did, but mine was not cleaned properly after a smoker had it and it was just... gross, so no real love there for Yours Truly.

That about covers that for now.
Last time we met I was wondering if you weren't maybe starting to approach scrawny ... though it's not my business I'm glad your doc found something that will help you stay healthy!

An annual BeatleFest with city/state arts funding support sounds AWESOME. I fear that Joe may have taken himself to the cleaners putting it together, so hopefully some real and steady funding will come through for next year.
Thank you for not mentioning my scrawniness in person (though if you had, I would have known it was out of love).

People (mostly acquaintances) either say "OMG YOU'RE SO SKINNY GAAAH EAT A SANDWICH JEEZ" to which I want to reply "I would actually give anything to eat a sandwich," or they say "Wow girl, you look soooooo great and skinny!" to which I want to reply, "Thank you that's lovely, but I have pretty serious health issues because I'm so undernourished. But hey, I'm glad my illness pleases your sense of female aesthetics." :-D

Hopefully neither of these will be a thing soon. Yay!
I haven't seen you for a while (sorry) but I always thought of you as Jill shaped and birdlike.
Well, this is the thing, right? As to any "you look great because you're skinny," fuck that shit and the horse that those commenters ride in on and smash the patriarchy.

As to health, I can say, "Oh, hey, Jill, you're lookin' a little on the slim side lately," and, you know, I'm guessing that YOU ALREADY KNOW THAT. You already know if, say, your pants are a little looser than they used to be and whether your favorite top is starting to look a little baggy. Also, you're an adult, and so I figure you're taking care of it or you're trying to, and I'm not your mom. And also I'm not going to embarrass both of us by bringing it up in public -- there's no comfortable response to "you're skinny" -- or risk maybe throwing you off your performance game by saying something just before you get on stage.

Not saying anything ever will possibly make me look like I don't care, but it's a hard needle to thread, figuring out what to say and when to say it about someone's appearance. I try to hit the MYOB eye of that needle.

In conclusion, I'm really happy you're getting some medical help with it. Here's to sandwiches.
Michele Grant 8/5 '18edited
Yep! You get it entirely.

I know what I look like and how my pants fit, and I know that it's noticeable. And I also I know you love me, and I know you know I love you, and I know you're polite and awesome enough not to say anything about my potentially unhealthy appearance unless I bring it up. This is the way the universe should be. (But again, if you did bring it up randomly, I wouldn't have been offended or mad, because I would know it was coming from a place of love and concern. It would take a HELL of a lot to make me mad at you.

The best kinds of friends are ones where you never have to question the friendship... you just know it's good good good.

Sing it! "Thank you for being a frieeeeend!"
You never cease to amaze me.
SFM 8/5 '18
Hey! It's great to see you here! Welcome!!
My parents do the NYT crosswords all week and solve them "together" (one takes a crack then the other then I think they work together). Good stuff!

Also: AWESOME about all the music. Keep me posted on dates for next year.

Lastly, we're hoping do see the Dead Milkmen at the Ardmore Music Hall on 9/21 if we can (it's sold out, we're on a ticket waiting list) and then have GA tickets for Paul Simon's LAST CONCERT EVER in NY the next night. Just in case you're doing any of those things...
Avocado Tom 8/9 '18
How many tix do you need for the Milkmen show on 9/21? I miiiiight be able to getcha on the list. Lemme see what I can do!
Two would be AMAZEballs.
Avocado Tom 8/15 '18
 

Did you know that you have a dominant eye? I knew this, but had never considered what it might mean for my life.

So... put your arms straight out ahead of you, palms facing away from you, fingers pointing towards the ceiling.  Now twist your wrists inward a teeny bit to touch your thumb-tips together and your pointer-fingertips together... this makes a diamond-shaped hole.  Now find something on a wall about 10-20 feet away and look at it through the hole in your hands (make sure both eyes are open).  Now close one eye. Now switch eyes. Make sure your hands didn't move.  When you closed one eye your hand blocked the thing, right? And when you closed the other eye you could see it through the hole, right? Whichever eyeball you could see the distant thing through is your dominant eyeball.

I'm sure there was an easier way for me to describe how to do that, but okay. 


Anyhoo, this morning I went to the eye doctor-- it had probably been nearly 10 years since I've been there. My prescription has never been all that strong, and it's only ever been for distance.  Even though I only ever was supposed to wear my glasses for driving and for watching movies, I'd just keep them on all the time because it was just easier. They're so weak that they never really got in the way or me seeing stuff.

Today's eye exam showed that my distance-prescription has gotten just a teeeeeny bit worse in 10-ish years... and both my eyeballs continue to have the same prescription as each other, which is nifty.  He asked if I'd resorted to cheater/reading glasses yet now that I'm 47, and I told him that just in the last year I find that if I need to read something I have to take my glasses off and read it with my naked eyes... but I don't need cheater/reading glasses yet.  (Matt owns a pair of cheaters and I only use them if I'm doing REALLY close/fine detail painting for an extended period of time. But general reading and dicking with my phone, nope, still all good.) 

So he asked me how I felt about contacts. I told him I only ever really wear contacts for any gigs where I need to glance at sheet music or lyrics (I keep the sheet music/lyrics far away so they don't block the audience's view-- so my everyday distance glasses/contacts work great) otherwise I don't wear contacts... my glasses are fine for everyday life.   I have a gig where I don't need lyrics/music, I prefer the "psychic distance" having a slightly-fuzzy audience provides.  Proof: The last time I ordered contacts was 2009, and I just used my last pair about a month ago. So I really don't wear them often.

(I brought the empty contacts box with me just so he could see my old prescription, and he said "You just used these? You realize these expired in 2016, right?" Oopsie.)

He asked if I was averse to contacts, and I said no. So he suggested we try an experiment. He figured out which eye is my dominant eye, and then did a few tests to see how dominant my dominant eye is... and as luck would have it, my dominant eye is more of a switch. ;-)   This means I'm a great candidate for Eyeball Shennanigans™ -- which means I wear a distance-contact in my non-dominant eye, and I leave my dominant eye nekkid. So if I need to read, my dominant eyeball springs into action, and if I need to see far, my brain switches to my other eye with the distance-lens in it.  Ta-daaaa!

So we popped one contact-lens in at noon today and HOLY SHITBALLS my life has changed. I can see EVERYTHING. It's so cool!  Fuckin' eyeballs, how do they work?

For the record, eyeball dominance has nothing to do with which eye is less-blind or which eye has an astigmatism or anything. It's also not related to your dominant hand. It's just a brain thing.  (My left eye is my dominant eye. Neat!)

#themoreyouknow


(Hi. My name is Jill, and I take 87 years to say what anyone else could convey in 6 sentences.  Go me!)

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5/29 '18 4 Comments
One world, one vision, fried chicken.
Thomas Boutell 5/30 '18
Do you go to Dr. Strauss on Marsh?
Robert Bryan 5/30 '18
Nope! We go to Dr. Tom Piorowski at Springfield Opticians immmmmmmediately over the DE/PA border on 202. I lerve him.
One time, around 1990 or so, I went to a movie with Ursula and we were trying to decide where to sit.

She said "we should sit on the left side of the theater because the majority of people are right eyed" and I almost blacked out laughing.

I didn't realize that eye dominance was a thing then, but I still consider it an absurd factor in deciding where to sit at a movie.
CM Adams 6/8 '18
 

Christmas

Had an especially lovely Christmas up at Chez ElderKnapp. I don't know if it's because my brother's kids are older now or what, but it was just really fun, funny, dorky, kind, playful, and full of love. I feel very lucky. Matt and I got up there late on Christmas Eve, and we came home later on the 27th. 

I'm sad for my poor mom... everything just hurts her so much, and because she's on so many medications for other things, she's not allowed to take NSAIDs (Advil, Aleve, aspirin) -- so she's limited to Tylenol, which notoriously does nothing for my mom and those of us who take after her side of the family. So she just HURTS. She really tries to be a trooper (trouper?) and smile through it all, but it really takes its toll and it's heartbreaking. I can't imagine living in that much pain... and it SUCKS that one friggin' Aleve fixes it perfectly for 12 hours, but she can't even take that. Man. I keep asking her to beg her doctor for something, but naturally as soon as you say "pain" to a doctor they think you're shooting heroin or something idiotic. Like, can't they reduce the amount of blood thinner she's on so she can take one miserable Aleve? I don't get it. 


Phish in NYC

Friday the 29th Matt and I, along with BT and KT went to NYC to see Phish. It was BT's 93-millionth Phish show, KT's 4th, Matt's 2nd, and my first Phish show. The crowd was absolutely awesome-- so friendly with a kind, inviting, Burner vibe. Everyone was baked or tripping and the guards were lenient and friendly, which was refreshing, since nobody was hurting anyone/anything. We sat in section 115 which had a great view. The floor is general admission and people aparently line up very very early to get a good spot on the floor. From our view above the floor, we were all super-impressed with how everyone on the floor respected each others' space. Nobody pushed, nobody crowded or shoved. It just seemed great. 

Some guy who calls himself Malacoid greeted us when we got to our seats, and he greeted everyone else as they filled in. He introduced us all to each other, and after about 30 minutes we were all buddies. This guy Ryan (who was a long-haired, bearded Dave Grohl) looked like he needed one of my blinkie burner lights, so I gave it to him and he acted like I gave him a million dollars. It was great. 

Phish played from 8:15-10pm, and then played a second set from maybe 10:30-11:45. What amazing musicians! It was a pleasure and I'd love to go back. We slept in NYC (I booked two hotel rooms) and it felt great to have a comfy place to crash that night instead of driving home. FTN.


New Years Eve

New Years Eve was either going to be spent in NYC or spent quietly at home doing nothing... and then at the last minute it turned into a very small gathering (just 7 of us). Matt made dinner, we played Cards Against Humanity, and everyone went home around 1:15ish. We were absolutely maxxed out at 7 people (my house simply cannot hold more than 7) and it worked out fine. I was also happy to see all of the neat events happening around Wilmington this year. 


Phone Blather (BlackBerry stuff)

Anyway, I just got a notice that my beloved Blackberry Priv (it runs Android, so please stop making 2006 jokes about my Blackberry) will no longer receive updates from Verizon or Google as of 12/31/17, so it is officially end of life... which is some serious bullshit considering I bought it on the day it came out on March 4th 2016. Really? A $750 phone (yes, I really paid $750) gets barely two years of support?! Insane, man. Seriously.

Anyway anyway, over the last two weeks or so, I noticed that the micro-USB charging port has been getting a little wonky... like needing some wiggling, or needing to be positioned juuuuuust riiiiiight to get a good charge. This never ends well... and as of yesterday, the port is now completely dead. I'm sure it just became unsoldered as these things do, and if I had a T3 screwdriver I feel confident in my ability to take it apart, re-solder the connection, and move on with my life. Alas, I lack the right tools right now. (Gonna order them from Amazon shortly.) Anyway, as you can imagine, yesterday my battery drained completely, and now I officially have no way to charge my phone... which means I was phoneless all day yesterday. I don't get paid for a few more weeks, so I can't really afford a new phone right now (and even if I could afford it, what would I buy? I haven't even been thinking about new phones so I don't really even know what's out there. And something tells me that my physical-keyboard options are pretty damn slim).

So, late last night I fired up one of my three ancient Droid4s that I had laying around, but they all use an old-style SIM card, so I couldn't pull my BlackBerry SIM card and plonk it into my Droid4 and have it just work. (Besides, my Droid 4 is SO damn laggy, and it was horribly laggy in 2015, so in 2018 it is basically unusable.) And then I remembered... wait a second... My Blackberry Priv has wireless charging! I've never used it because I don't own a wireless charging station, but WHEEE! Here's a $30 fix for a $750 problem. And because I have the best boyfriend ever, while I was sleeping this morning, Matt woke up and went to Best Buy and bought me a wireless charging pad, so when I woke up, he was handing me a Qi charger that I got set up in 3 seconds and YAAAAAY, my phone is slowly coming back to life. I actually cried when I saw it charging up. It was like hearing your friend was in a horrible accident and then finding out he's OK.

So, what have we learned?
1) I can toss my Droid 4s now, because they're unusuable now, even as a backup. (But man, I missed that big-ass keyboard.)
2) My BlackBerry Priv has wireless charging and it works great... and I can use this charging pad for pretty much whatever device I wind up buying next.
3) I need to start shopping for a new phone, because my Priv is officially not going to get any security updates anymore, so if I wanna be a secure little technology consumer, I need to have a device that is still being supported. 
4) Verizon can eat a bag of dicks for selling a device and only offering support for not even two years. (I acknowledge it may not be Verizon's decision to stop pushing updates... it's probably Google's... but still. F Y'ALL.)


As of right now, my phone options seem to be:
1) A Blackberry KeyOne. The only crappy thing about that is the keyboard is visible/exposed all the time, so ass-dialing could be a problem with that device. (My Priv's keyboard hid away nicely.)
2) A Moto Z, which is supposed to be an open platform for people to design various cool mods for it. Some neat guys developed a super-sexy landscape keyboard mod for it that has its own battery, but that keyboard mod doesn't ship until the spring. 
3) A Samsung Galaxy S8, which has a nifty keyboard attachment for use in portrait-mode.

I dunno. I'm gonna see which phone of those three has the most horsepower and which one will likely be around the longest and go for that one.

[update]
I'm gonna get a Blackberry KeyOne. I just watched 47,000 reviews and comparison videos by unbiased reviewers online, and even people who initially scoffed at a BlackBerry were ALLLLL about it by the end. So sign me the hell up. Two days of battery life is pretty awesome, too.


Lastly: 

I caught the plague that everyone else had. I thought I had caught it a few weeks ago, but I managed to fight it off with megadoses of vitamins... but now it has officially got me in its grips. I have yellow and green stuff coming out of my sinuses that I could really do without. We have a gig on Friday and I hope I'm OK, since we're headlining. I have NO voice, and it is excruciating to speak. Ugh ugh ugh.

It's supposedly gonna snow so I'm gonna go set up my snowcam. okbye.

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1/4 '18 3 Comments
Snowcam! Or BLOWCAM?
Feel better, sweetheart.

Could you go with your Mom to a doctor's appt and discuss her pain, or is that not something the two of you would be comfortable with?
Who is your mom's palliative care doc? That is usually the member of the team who can figure out stuff like what your mom is going through. They're great at balancing medicine with quality of life and like to err on the side of quality. If your mom doesn't have a palliative care doctor, and you're able to advocate for her, you should request (okay, demand) one via her primary.
Anne Mollo 1/4 '18edited
 

I had to run out for a second, and Folkadelphia (it's a radio show) was on 88.5 WXPN. A song came on, and I listened to it on the short drive home and then couldn't leave the car until I found out what it was. 

It's a song called "You Missed My Heart," and it's performed by Phoebe Bridgers. It's a cover... but holy shit, the words, the performance, the arrangement just all took my breath away. 

Here's info about it. You can listen to the song there and also read the lyrics.

Just... wow.

The Christmas Plague

In other news, everyone around me has been sick with this two-week head cold of death. I've been feeling pretty cocky and invincible until yesterday when I woke up with a giant spike sticking into my throat from my inner ear.  

It wouldn't be Christmas without me having a friggin' cold.  Matt has it too... though I think he's a day sicker than I am.

We're supposed to be the in-studio on-air guests on WDEL's afternoon show this Friday to sing a few Christmas tunes and to plug our upcoming comedy show at Logan House on January 5th. Let's hope I have a voice that day.

Driveway Moment #2

Driveway Moment #2 just happened now. I am still in the car, now in a totally dark garage because the inside garage light timed out. 

I just watched Anne Mollo 's absolutely gorgeous story of Her Winter of Bill (as I call it).  I was absolutely enraptured. I got choked up. There were a few times I caught myself not breathing.  Thank you Annie-- really. Thank you. What a beautiful story. 

Watch it here-- she starts at the 37-minute mark. 


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12/20 '17 2 Comments
I love those moments of discovery on the radio. I remember hearing Chris Smither (being broadcast live) for the first time just as I was leaving a supermarket parking lot. I had to put the transmission back in park and just sit and listen to the rest of the show; I was so enraptured I didn't even want to drive!
Anne Mollo 12/20 '17
I just ran across her debut album (the one that song appears on) a couple weeks ago and have really been digging it. There are a few weak pieces, but the first 3 tracks are aces.

I also love that the album title, A Stranger in the Alps, is a fairly "in" Big Lebowski in-joke.
CM Adams 12/21 '17
 

I wrote this Thursday, August 24th.

I woke up at 7am this morning crying my face off from a horrible dream where I was alone in a hotel room on a work trip, and it occurred to me that I was dying. I was actually mostly OK with dying, but I wanted to be with Matt and my parents, and I couldn't get to them. There's a lot more to the dream, but I'm typing on my phone here at the hospital... I'm currently getting my 2nd iron infusion, so I have a tube in my arm and today it's extra-pinchy for some reason.

Anyway, I have been on the verge of tears for 10 days. I don't know if it's that I've been in slightly more emotional situations lately, i.e., the house concert was great, but made us miss Paul; seeing Patty in California was awesome but her mom recently died and reminiscing was so, so good, but also really sad. The eclipse was happy and wonderful, but got me choked up. And singing just about anything makes me cry... if it sounds bad, I cry... if it sounds good, I cry.  I don't get it. Maybe this is the world's longest bout of PMS... but I've gotta figure out how to handle it, because I can't cry at rehearsal or during the shows!

Anyhoo, tonight I have my first Lizzie rehearsal since vacation. They moved into the theater while I was in California, so tonight I'll be seeing the set for the first time. I'm not gonna be able to sing tonight because my voice still sucks from this cold. Argh!

In other news, everyone here in the hospital chemo/infusion suite is extra-chipper today. It's a bright, sunny, 80-degree day today, and I think people are just kinda feeling the change of season starting. There are three other patients here right now (as opposed to last week where all 20 chairs were filled), and one patient is telling her cancer story-- she's a relatively new patient-- she's 37 with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. She said she had no idea she was even sick until someone mentioned she looked a little yellow. So she went to the doctor and he was like "Get your ass to the hospital NOW."   So hearing her story and the other patients talking about their chemo ports and yadda yadda makes me STOP BITCHING about having a dumb cold. (A crappy, tenacious cold with a lungmeat cough that is now here a week and holding my voice hostage... but whatever.)

We're taking our Billy Joel tribute to The Rehoboth Beach Bandstand this weekend, and we had to cut our 2-hour show down to 75 minutes. It'll be a quick but fun show. And when we get home we'll have a dogggggg. (We're dogsitting JD. Yaaay!) 

[...time elapses...]

Aaaah. My infusion is finished. They also gave me a steroid (Decadron), which, in addition helps prevent any potential death by anaphylaxis that iron infusing can sometimes (rarely) cause, will also reduce the inflammation of my vocal cords, so my voice should be back soon. 

August 28th Update

So it's a few days later and the Billy Joel show in Rehoboth was a smashing success... the guy who booked us said we had a crowd of about 1000, which is impressive considering the bandstand only has seats for 350. It looked like a sea of people out there, and everyone said that the audience was all singing along and dancing, which is cool. As usual, my damn mic barely worked and a zillion audience members complained to me after the show about it. I wasn't able to hear myself in the monitors so I crammed two earplugs in just so I could hear myself, and it was sub-optimal at best. Oh well.  

In other news, the ladytimes have kicked in, so at least I know why I was a crying hot mess last week. And hopefully it'll only last a week or 10 days so it'll be over for when Lizzie opens, considering we're wearing all white.  

If you're coming to see Lizzie, might I gently suggest coming to the second weekend if your schedule allows? 

In the last bit of news, we're dogsitting JD again. They've changed up his meds and he's a lot "doggier" now-- he's getting around better and seems happier, too. This is the best news.

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8/28 '17 6 Comments
Glad to know you're back in control of your Jillness.
Okay, one more time for the slowies in the room like me: what are all the dates and times for your show?

Seriously considering crashing on your couch just sose I can see Lizzy but also seekritly sose I can meet you and, well, crash on your couch.

I suspect all of my own busy life plans will interfere with this plan, but a girl can dream.
Anne Mollo 8/28 '17
Very much looking forward to the show!
Thomas Boutell 8/28 '17
We're coming to the first weekend because custody schedule and inflexible ex-thing.

I have been having weird upsetting dreams lately too ... I have been sick and I blame the cold meds. Or just the floaty feeling of illness. Some of the dreams feel like echoes of other people's dreams.

Glad to hear about JD. Last time I saw him he was Not Good.
"This is the best news."

It really is.
JD update: Not Good as of today.
Jeremy update: same.
 

Matt and I are SO FRIGGIN' SICK, like lung-meat death-cough no-voice-fever sick. Fun vacation. But right now we're sitting outside on Santa Monica Blvd drinking Philz Coffee, and a douchebag in a convertible drove by cranking "Life in the Fast Lane" and I've never felt more California. 

Life is good despite it... though I'm not looking forward to 43 flights in the next 24 hours with clogged ears. (But I am looking forward to watching the eclipse from the plane.)

So much for singing Total Eclipse of the Heart for Southwest Airlines. Can't currently talk. 

Boo.

OK, that's it. More later.

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8/20 '17 5 Comments
Ugh, that SUCKS! At least you'll get to enjoy the eclipse, somewhat.
That's not fair, getting sick right on top of an iron infusion! Like, you should have super powers now, not lung death fever! Boo!
Anne Mollo 8/20 '17
Be well kids!
Thomas Boutell 8/21 '17
How was the flight??? I was in a concrete box all day, so I have to experience the universe through my friends' social media posts.
Like others, I am dying to know how the flight was!?
Anne Mollo 8/21 '17
 

Yes, I know you all know this. But just in case: 

Please, PLEASE!! PROTECT YOUR EYES DURING THE SOLAR ECLIPSE.  Everyone knows how to make a pinhole camera, but some people erroneously believe that you look at the sun through the hole in the paper. NO NO NO.  You look wherever your pinhole camera is projecting the image onto. 

Or, you need to get some ISO-certified eclipse-viewing glasses. But PLEASE don't look directly at the eclipse.  "But I can look at the regular daytime for a second, so why can't I look directly at an eclipse?" BECAUSE YOU CAN'T, OK?

House Concert in NJ with Sunnyvale and Hot Breakfast!

In other news, we were up in NJ at my folks' place on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday this weekend, because Hot Breakfast!, along with Sunnyvale, co-billed on a house concert in north Jersey at my brother's house. ("Sunnyvale" is our new bi-coastal musical project which includes me, Matt, and my pre-Matt lifelong musical collaborator Andrew Durkin. We play Andrew's compositions-- some are retooled versions of old Evelyn Situation tunes, and some are brandy-new compositions.) Andrew lives in Portland (OR) but was out east taking care of some family stuff, so we decided to try to play a show while he was out east. We also used this house concert as a way to honor Paul's memory. After Paul's memorial service in January, we all vowed to stay in touch... so we called everyone together to hear these Sunnyvale tunes which were all songs inspired by Paul's passing, or songs on which Paul had some input while Andrew wrote them, or songs that Paul had played on back in The Evelyn Situation days.  Hello, house concert!  It was attended by my and Andrew's and my brother's overlapping high school friends; some I hadn't seen in eons. 

Here's a video of the first Sunnyvale tune of the night, called "Blood and Bone." It's my favorite of our Sunnyvale new tunes. I sing a bit more "legit" (meaning "treat these songs more like an art song rather than a pop song." Or, more precisely, find someplace in between art-song and pop-song) with Sunnyvale songs as opposed to the "always huge voice, all the time, always with a knowing wink" with Hot Breakfast.  It's sincere. Since I was mic-less for this, I really tried to focus on my diction because I wanted everyone to catch every word. I might have over-done it... I was nervous as hell, mostly because I wasn't able to get through a lot of these songs in rehearsal because I kept crying. (Plus, many of these songs are brandy-new and I've only sung them once before. Or never.)

I fucking LOVE this song so much; it's in 6/4 which just gives it this hypnotizing droney feel... but then I love how the piano part and the vocal intertwine with his majestic right-hand thing with the vocal's wordless "ooohs."  And then the bridge goes into a quicker 4/4 time as it talks about remembering how it feels like to be a child on the family vacation, and just *being.*  [1]

OK, so now here's the video of the first Sunnyvale tune of the night, called "Blood and Bone." It's my favorite of our new tunes. (Music starts around 1:10. Feel free to forward through my thank-yous and the backstory.)

Lizzie

What else. Lizzie rehearsals continue to go well. The girl playing Lizzie hasn't been at the last few rehearsals because she was wrapping up another play, and then she caught the plague, poor thing. But the other cast members have been doing good work, and Lizzie will plug right in, no doubt.​​​​​​​

Iron Time!

In other news, tomorrow (Tuesday) is my first-of-two iron infusions. I cannot wait... hook me UP!  And then Wednesday we leave for California to visit Patty and to see one of Matt's plays at the Little Fish Theater in San Pedro/Los Angeles... and then we fly home during the eclipse. Wooooot!  We'll be home late on the 21st.

So that's the latest!

If you've emailed me (Shelle Klein Houser ​​​​​, Lindsay Harris-Friel ​​​​​​, Thomas Boutell ​​​​​​), I know I owe you a reply. I'll reply soon, I promise. 

Xoxo!

Jill-o

 _____________

[1] How the hell did I get so lucky to get to sing the songs that Andrew writes? It was just right-place-right-time -- If Andrew wasn't on my bus on that band trip in 1986, he never would have heard me sing, and he never would have asked to work together. And then none of the Area Code (201) / Brooklyn Ferry/ Evelyn Situation/ Jay's Booming Hat / Industrial Jazz Group bands ever would have happened. Which then means that I wouldn't have had the musical taste and experience that makes me me... which means I wouldn't have been the right fit to sing Matt's music in either the "Matt needs backing vocals for his solo record(s)" to "holy crap, playing as a duo is fun, let's do this more" days, up to and through to the Casarino Royale and now to the present Hot Breakfast! days. And now I get to make music with these two absolutely It's all right-place-right-time... and once again, I am the luckiest girl in the world. THANK YOU, UNIVERSE.

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8/14 '17 6 Comments
Right place, right time, right Jill.
Thomas Boutell 8/15 '17
We are all products of our experiences. I'm so lucky to have had the experiences that paved the way for other experiences, which pave the way for other experiences. It all starts with surrounding yourself with people who inspire you. (Hello, Philadel.)
Make sure that's ISO certified, not NASA certified (apparently some products are claiming the latter, nonexistent honor). My cousin's husband is the Chief Medical Officer at NASA, and he's been all over FB reminding people that NASA does not certify (or even endorse) products.
Kate Haney 8/16 '17
Indeedy! Mine are ISO-blessed... at $4/pair with a minimum order of 25, so I'll share them with people on the plane. But there are lots of bogus, cheap specs out there that have "NASA" or pictures of galaxies all over them, which means nada, but people are buying them up like crazy. I'm very worried about the eyeball damage.
Also, I am in love with your cousin's husband because he has the coolest job on the planet (and probably on other planets!).
It is a very cool job. He's a bit of a schmuck, but he suits my cousin fine.
Kate Haney 8/20 '17