Musical Gifts

My sister is a wonderful gift-giver.  She always seems to give the perfect thing.

The tacky little lamp was our only music light over the piano and the bench cushion was not very attractive.

We have a piano between the dining room and the living room that can be seen from almost every room on the first floor.

Charlie received this piano bench cushion in 2016 for Christmas.

In 2016 my sister gave Charlie a tapestry cushion for his piano bench. It was a huge improvement and he really appreciated it.

19-inch piano map illuminates at least two music sheets.

This year she sent a beautiful piano lamp. (We had been using a lamp from WalMart that I had spray painted.)

Sometimes the lamp might want to be dimmed.

Her research had led her to a dimmable model.  When the lamp arrived it worked but wouldn’t dim.

The lamp worked but wouldn’t dim.

Since the dimmer was an extra little box with a dial that fit between the power cord and the lamp base, we were hoping that replacing it would fix the issue.

The new piano lamp is sleek, functional, and dimmable.

The Cocoweb company replaced the dimmer for free and now it works. Tra la.

Do you have dimming lights?


List, 2018: January Plans

January, 2018. Finally. December was a really long and trying month. I won’t write a separate post bout December’s progress because basically everything proposed in this post was accomplished.

Now I’m planning my first month of the new year. It promises to be different.


The main exertion of January is to pull together all files and financials from the previous year.

I use a Net Worth template similar to this which I keep current monthly.

That’s my exertion at work and at home.  Everything must be accomplished by the end of the month — payroll forms, business tax reconciliations, general ledger spreadsheets.


I’m going to outline our thesis for studying Latin music. Charlie and I have the opportunity to research music for a week firsthand on an island in the Caribbean.

We also expect to learn how music fits into the life of the country.

We’re really excited to add salsa, mambo, and cha cha cha to our repertoire and to learn the origins and modern players.

We will also be brushing up on our Spanish this month.


Feast of the Epiphany party on January 6.

Invitations have been sent.


Listening to lots of musica latina (Latin music).

Hoping to have enough music under our belt to take some lessons — Charlie on keys. I plan to learn some vocals.

Exterior Outsourcing 

Medical tests for my doctor who is determined to keep my chart up-to-date.  That’s why I rarely visit him. He seems to think I’m getting older.


I plan to return to the gym early in the month.  I am now pneumonia-free and have regained much of my energy. I need to be ready to do a lot of walking early in February.

I had advanced to level 12 before my December decline.


New Piano Pins

The Steinway baby grand circa 1906 in the living room at work has been having trouble holding a tuning.

Charlie plays the Steinway on Monday evenings.

Our tuner/technician said the pins which hold the strings are slipping so they need to be replaced with slightly larger diameter pins and new bushings.

Piano pins come in incremental sizes and can be replaced when the holes are worn too large.

There are 250 pins which hold the strings taut to create the correct pitch.

The new pins are larger and shinier than the old ones.

Each one is taken out and replaced with a new one then the piano wire is rewound around the pin and tightened.

The gold harp and strings are both intricate and beautiful.

The metal pins are beat in with a metal hammer.

The technician removed the keyboard.

Two days of clanging and banging before the piano could be lightly tuned.

Playable but needs another tuning.

The tuner is coming back to retune in a couple of days because a newly pinned piano takes a while to maintain the tune.

What’s your instrument?

List, 2017: April Progress

April was a month of progress, pleasure, and plight. We worked on a number of projects:


Master Closet

The master closet is nearing completion.

The master closet although not complete is well on the way to being finished.  All supplies have been moved to the closet and out of the living room, dining room, and conservatory.  Every weekend in April we — Charlie, my friend and I — did a task or two toward the completion of the master closet.

New Attic Stairs in The Cottage


The Cottage tenant had the stairs to the attic replaced with the hide-away, pull-down attic variety.  They are much easier to handle as well as sleeker on the ceiling.  Soon she’ll paint the door to match the ceiling and they’ll all but disappear when in closed position.

Crown Molding in The Cottage

Crown molding has been applied all around the room.

Cornice molding in the Cottage as added a finishing touch to the walls.  The white trim also sets off the pale grey-green of the ceilings.

Charlie’s Garden

At the end of January the garden was barren except for the newly erected greenhouse.
A week of rainy weather should be a great catalyst for the growing garden.

By the end of April plants were well on the way toward feeding us.

Although not on the list for April Charlie got busy in his garden as the time was right.  He pulled weeds, tilled, and planted.



The Doo Wop Project

The weekend after Easter Charlie and I went to see The Doo Wop Project in concert with the Baltimore Symphony. They’re a group of men who starred in Jersey Boys together singing classic tight harmonies .  They can really sing and apparently love to perform.  Our seats were in the 4th row so we really enjoyed all their antics: singing, dancing, and bantering.

Bridal Shower Planning

We hunted over the entire property and couldn’t find an appropriate spot to whack the piñata so we’re giving it to the bride to use at the wedding.

Finally we’re getting the house ready for a bridal shower.

Party favors are ready.

I have been working on a menu and festive set up for a the party.


Jury Duty

Hoping I’m not needed.

The week after Easter I was called to jury duty. I checked in for Monday and Tuesday by phone and was not needed. Finally on Tuesday night I checked in once again and was dismissed for the rest of the week.  I never had to go to the courthouse — woo hoo!

Did you have April sun or showers?

List, 2017: April Plans

Here’s the plan for April:

We’re methodically getting ready to fit out our master closet.

The closet must be well on the way to being finished and all supplies off the first floor. Every weekend we get a little closer so I’m confident we’ll at least have all the lumber moved out of the first floor by El Cinco de Mayo, the day before we’re throwing a bridal shower.

We have our favorite dishes which include tangerine chicken.

Tomorrow is our oldest son’s birthday.  I gave him the choice of my cooking at home, going to a restaurant, or ordering Chinese in.  He chose Chinese at home. My favorite choice also.

This small Irish bowl and pitcher are reminders of the humble service
of Christ.

Easter is the third Sunday of April this year. We attend a lot of services during Holy Week so we have no plans after church other than to have dinner out.

Hoping I’m not needed.

The week after Easter I have been called to jury duty.  It seems to me I get this notice a lot and never seem to meet the criteria for opting out.

The Doo Wop Project

The weekend after Easter Charlie and I have tickets to see The Doo Wop Project. They’re a group of male singers who sing classic tight harmonies.  Sounds like a fun evening.

We’ll be inviting all the ladies of the church with this simple bulletin insert.

Finally we’re getting the house ready for a bridal shower. The ladies of my choir are inviting all the women of the church to celebrate one of our own who is getting married early in June.

The closet doors open onto the master bedroom.

After that list it doesn’t seem like the closet will get finished.

What are you working on this April?

Charlie Needs Invoices

Actually Charlie needs to print invoices. For some reason he has an aversion to hand-writing invoices.

Our invoices are simple.

If it meant getting paid or not, I would write them.

This computer is so dusty it’s an allergy attack waiting to happen.

Charlie really only needs a computer for his invoices but he’s been using a desktop computer in his little office since at least 2000 and maybe longer.

The computer tower still sits on the floor.

The computer won’t get on the internet any more but that’s not the actual issue.  He can use his phone for internet access. Charlie needs to print invoices for when he goes out to music gigs.

Charlie will now work on a laptop.

So I figured out a way to take his invoice templates off the old computer and onto one that’s slightly newer (only 10 years old) by transferring them to a thumb drive then downloading them onto the newer laptop.

The old clunking printer

Recently the printer, also a dinosaur, won’t print; it just goes clunk.

New computers don’t hook up this way.

It doesn’t matter really because its cable is so archaic that there’s not a compatible port on the laptop.

The HP Envy is being delivered Friday.

So now we’re left with buying a new printer.

We bought a new mouse, too.

Yea! The cheaper solution.

Are you tech savvy or do you need a guru?

Honing in on the Holidays

It won’t be long before the holidays — Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s — are upon us.

My choir.
My choir.

Charlie and I are very busy at this time of year due to our music business.  We have music to prepare for regular church services in addition to a special praise service, a Sunday-before-Christmas cantata, and a Christmas eve service. Let’s not forget that Christmas Day  and New Year’s Day are actually on Sundays this year which also need music.

Charlie is always the life of the party.
Charlie is always the life of the party.

We’ve also been asked to have a Great American Songbook sing-along for a 91st birthday party. Charlie alone is well-booked for Christmas parties all through the month of December.

If someone else makes my turkey will I also get gravy?
If someone else makes my turkey will I also get gravy?

Happily I get a turkey for Thanksgiving and a ham at Christmas from work.  This year our chef at work has offered to prepare my turkey. That sounds like heaven to me.  I’ll only have to set the table and make a couple of side dishes.

Each year we try to put a festive spirit into the holidays.
Each year we try to put a festive spirit into the holidays.

I’m hoping to spend the entire Thanksgiving long weekend decorating the house.  I’m thinking polar bears will have a place in in the holiday décor.

Don’t forget to vote!! (I voted last week.)