Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Flippin’ Birds

Lots of “stuff” has been going on lately, so I thought I would just cover as many bases as quickly as possible to get everything up to date.

The cardinals did not make it. Shortly after I posted the picture of their eggs, two of the eggs went missing. For the longest time, there was one egg still in the nest, but before long, it too was abandoned and vanished. The good news is that the cardinals managed to “flip” their one bedroom, no bath nest to a single mother robin, and she’s already plopped down three eggs in it:
Mrs. S's garden, cardinal's nest, robin's eggs.
 We also have a nest of swallows in the loft above our front porch, but you can’t see anything except the mud of the nest and the crap all around it. If I hear the babies hatch, however, I’ll probably get a ladder out and take a picture of them.

At work, I found a nest in back of our plant with four plover eggs in it. A week later, three hatched. The next day, there was no trace of the chicks, eggs or mother. They were either eaten, or they moved on. (I’m believing they survived.)

Those are plovers. They live on the ground. In rock nests. You would hate being a plover.
I got my stamp collection appraised. I was offered a dollar amount that was about one-quarter of the insured value. I knew the stamp market was depressed, but I didn’t know it was depressed enough to make me depressed. So, I won’t be selling my stamps any time soon, which means, I’ve got to find some other way to finance a piano purchase. (Hello, home equity line of credit!)

We went to see Chris Botti in concert in Nashville last Friday. That was a lot of fun. He did most of the tunes from his Live in Boston DVD, which was cool. We got five autographs and a bunch of pictures with him. Here’s one: 
They call Chris Botti a "smooth jazz musician", but no bop fan like me would be smiling like that if he wasn't standing next to a modern day, be-bopping, Miles Davis-inspired  jazz artist. Believe it!
Saturday we went to Birmingham and heard a Mozart concerto with the conductor playing the piano while conducting. That was a first. They took the top off the Steinway so he could do that. I’d never seen that done before, either.

The notes in my piano drill book are too small for my old eyes, and Mrs. S hasn’t had a chance to scan and enlarge them for me, so my piano playing is languishing at the moment. Plus I was counting on a new acoustic piano to revive my passion, but that is not happening soon. I remain stuck in musical mediocrity.

I’m thinking about buying some piano method books, really going back to basics. I don’t know what else can make me want to sit at the piano, other than visible progress in actual capability of piano playing.

My second 10K race is one week from yesterday. That’s the focus right now. In high school, I ran an 11K race in 53 minutes, 5 seconds. I did the math, and that translates to a 48 minute, 20 second 10K. I won’t be running this upcoming race that fast, but someday, I will. That will then become my official PB (personal best). If I can run better than 58 minutes 3 seconds in this upcoming race, that will be my “modern” PB.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Sure glad they invented cell phones

 Otherwise I’d have to be waiting by the phone for a call.

Player #1: The Apple iPhone
I’m stepping up my piano shopping in earnest. I have already decided that my next piano will be my last – or maybe second last – so I decided to sell my stamp collection to fund the purchase. Although I have been collecting stamps for forty years and it will be hard to see them go, it will be nice to see a classic black baby grand piano in the house.
Player #2: A stamp from my collection (expensive one)
 Back in January, I called a buyer from a reputable company about my collection. I sent them an inventory and description, pretty much like I did for the insurance company a few years earlier. They were definitely interested (I did say I’d been collecting for forty years, right?) but not surprisingly, Alabama is not one of their hotspots for buying trips. He told me he’d call me the next time he expected to be in the area, and I suspected that would be the end of it for a while.
Player #3: One of the pianos good enough to be the last piano I buy, ever.

Then suddenly, last week, he told me he would be here this week and next. I told him when I was available, and now, I’m waiting. My stamps are ready. I even have boxes ready. All I need is a buyer with a checkbook and his willingness to write a Steinway-like (or at least Yamaha-like) number on it.

Ring, dammit! Ring!