November 28, 2009

New Roku Apps - Pandora

Fairly quietly, Roku has come out with a whole slew of new apps, or as they call them, channels.

I've been a big fan / user of the Roku box for Netflix for a while - although I have yet to buy content (via the Amazon.com connection). But now there is a Pandora channel. I've never quite got into Pandora; it's a neat application / service but I'm usually taxing my computers with engineering work and streaming is too unreliable unless I've got a light workload. And I've never had a good computer audio system.

But the Roku box was a patch cable away from being hooked up to the stereo (I did that in fact for the Comcast music channels) and the Pandora app works great. A little convoluted to update my Roku player (it will auto-update eventually, but I did it manually to get it now), subscribe to the channels, create and link to a Pandora account. But all done now. I started with Richard Shindell and the list has grown from there. Pretty on target in terms of taste, just 20 songs in or so and I've hit John Gorka, Dar Williams, Loudon Wainwright, Bill Morrissey, Pierce Pettis. I'm judiciously using the Like / Dislike buttons to stter things a bit, but for the most part it's meandering successfully on it's own. Where are you, Lucy Kaplansky?

Roku's new channel store includes some other gems - Facebook photos, Flickr photos are both things I subscribe to. And a bunch of video channels (mostly podcasts and web videos, vs. television) although the golden marriage of Hulu (Simpsons! Glee! 30Rock! House!) and Roku remains tantalizingly unfulfulled.

November 25, 2009

Trinity-on-Main launches acoustic series

The 19 Chestnut Series is Trinity’s latest attempt to make full use of all the space available in the converted church building. The hope is that acoustic concerts in an intimate coffeehouse setting will become a regular monthly event.

Need to get networked and connected to my new hometown!

November 23, 2009

Procrastinating

I have a pile of mind-numbing, eye-strain inducing reports in the queue, which need to get out by Thursday. And every so often I channel a two year old throwing an "I won't! I won't! I won't! I won't!" tantrum. I think today was such a day. I sat down at my desk this morning to get started, spotted nothing urgent in the In Box, and set out into the world.

I tend to get a lot done when I am avoiding a specific task, and today was no exception. The items checked off my To-Do list include:

[x] Visit the bank, deposit a check
[x] Visit the studio, fetch my keys
[x] Hit the PO Box
[x] Stop by the old house and drop off Zippy's truck keys and my spare house key
[x] Hit the old office for an hour of cleaning and brought a pile of small bits and pieces back to the house
[x] Target to pick up a prescription. While I was there I got my eyes examined and ordered new contacts (a new brand designed to make close vision better, forestalling bifocals for a little while). Also got my sunglasses adjusted / tightened.
[x] Office Depot to buy a new desk chair (on sale) as well as new folders
[x] Home Depot for a timer for the dehumidifier (after testing to be sure it comes up live after power is removed; it does) - a planned purchase
[x] Home Depot for four small plants and a selection of pots - an unplanned purchase
[x] Emptied the car from the old office
[x] Assemble the new chair and slice up the cardboard box for recycling
[x] Repot the new plants - two tropicals for the altar in the yoga room. An ivy-ish thing for the bedroom. A hanging spider plant for the kitchen.

So....a bunch of accomplishments. And the report queue has not grown in the past 8 hours, so I can perhaps begin to knock those off now....

November 22, 2009

Underwood Typewriter

I gave away my typewriter.

It was an electric model - an Underwood 565 (I think) that my parents gave me for graduation. I say my parents, because sometime between purchasing it and my graduation day, my dad passed away - it was perhaps the last gift he bought for me and a typewriter as a gift has his hand all over it. I had not remembered that fact until sitting down to write this - on a Dell keyboard and an internet blog - and not on my Underwood typewriter. This fact saddens me a little; although it needed to go regardless. When it comes to sentimental remembrances of dad - his St. Christopher medal (which he wore constantly throughout his marriage and adult life) and his bowling ball (a 16-pounder that I have bowled a few rounds with back in the day) will have to do.....

But back to the typewriter. I made my way through high school with an old 1920's vintage Underwood (one of those big cast iron things) that I fed with corrosable onion skin paper (the better to type head-to-paper, as was my wont back in the day). It was a beast - and it survived into my adulthood, sitting in my basement in Waterbury until I decided to discard it (no freecycle or craigslist back then, but I left it on a table at the curb and it found a home before trash day). The electric model went with me to college, where it was sporadically used (not a lot of call for typewriters in engineering school) although I did peck out an Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP) on the MA Bottle Deposit Law (fairly new at the time and resonant with my working at a package store), as well as an analysis of the Who's "Tommy" using classical techniques. A handful of treatised on Shakespeare and classical music (in retrospect, I took a lot of non-engineering courses). Also a couple of dozen long winded letters to my buddy Jim out at Univ of Chicago. Think I still have one of those (written out, not typed) floating around here somewhere. I ought to send it to him, for the heck of it. Here's who we were, way back then.....

So, after having moved the typewriter several times (home and office) without removing it from the case, it was time to find a home for it. A lovely young woman and perhaps boyfriend stopped by tonight. I asked if she were a writer and she said no, but "....my favorite poet used an Underwood."

It has a good home and a new life, and will do the things a typewriter was born to do. And I have one less piece of stuff in my life. And the technology, plastic, and metal avoided the landfill.

Yogic unattachment? Getting old and realizing that life will not go on forever? Just getting tired of carrying stuff around? Not sure.....

November 19, 2009

My New Neighborhood

Some links to places I need to explore in my (new) fair city:

Greater New Britain Arts Alliance - http://www.newbritainarts.org/

New Britain Museum of American Art - http://nbmaa.org/

Hole in the Wall Theater - http://www.hitw.org/

Arts League of New Britain - http://www.alnb.org/

New Britain Industrial Museum - http://www.nbim.org/ (Warning, annoying flash site and I was visitor #58. Not exactly a "must visit, I guess")

Trinity on Main - http://www.trinityonmain.org/

Music Series at South Church - http://www.musicseries.org/

Sure I've missed some, but it's a start....

Note to Billings Forge, Re: Branding

Center for Community at Billings Forge - http://www.centerforcommunity.org/

Billings Forge Community Works - http://www.billingsforgeworks.org/

The Workshops at Billings Forge - http://workshops.billingsforgeworks.org/

The Studio at Billings Forge - http://studio.billingsforgeworks.org/

The Kitchen at Billings Forge - http://www.thekitchencatering.org/

Farmer's Market at Billings Forge - http://www.hartfordfarmersmarket.org/

Firebox Restaurant - http://www.fireboxrestaurant.com/

Billings Forge Apartments - http://billingsforgeapts.com/ (admittedly a placeholder site)

There is a lot going on down there on Broad Street - but it seems like energy, communication, etc. are a bit scattered. I had a hard time deciding which website to link to in my previous post. Take a lesson from Real Art Ways (cinema, visual arts, spoken word, community outreach, social events, music, all coming from one entity and accessible on one website) - brand yourself. Set up one website, one path for communications. You can target marketing or outreach, slice and dice your email communications, fund-raising lists and organization internally - but give us one unified face, and we'll be a lot less confused and more likely to come on down!

Where We Live @ Real Art Ways

I went to the taping of Where We Live last evening at Real Art Ways. The theme of the show was Locating Creativity in the city of Hartford - official guests were an official from the city of Providence (Water Fire....ooooo!) as well as the COO from the city of Hartford. Several local bloggers were in attendance (waves!) as well as a cross-section of the local arts community.

Meta Commentary: Just love watching radio happen. John Dankowsky is quite entertaining as he does his opening bit (using his hands and body to drive his voice) although he settled down for the interview itself. Nice to see the faces (oh so young!) behind the WNPR shows I listen to daily: Catie Talarski, Libby Conn, Patrick Skahill, Chion Wolf. Not *quite* as interesting (from a performance standpoint) as the Thsi American Life simulcast (for example) but good nonetheless.

I was not so thrilled with the guests (civil servants) - Providence seems to have hit the creativity jackpot with Waterfire but it was not so clear if this was the city putting together a framework that the ground level folks built upon, or if this was a vision of one person / group that the city reluctantly embraced once it became a success. Regardless, it capitalizes on a city that has embraced it's waterways rather than turned its back on them.

Asked for ideas to engage Hartford, one of the audience members (forget who) quipped "Daylight the Park River" - and yeah, I get that. Ever since I learned of the history (wherein Trinity College was relocated and the Park River buried to make room for Bushnell Park and the State Capitol), that seems like the fatal move that sealed Hartford's future.

An Artspace resident spoke highly of that facility; although I suspect there is a waiting list. Local artist Anne Cubberly countered with concerns about the cost of studio / workshop space. Janice LaMotta from Billings Forge spoke, as did a number of artists, U-Conn students, and other local arts / culture insiders.

There was some discussion of the iQuilt initiative to knit local arts and cultural destinations and make the city more walkable. Mention was made of Theaterwork's recent "City Arts on Pearl" project as well as the Bushnell working to connect the Capitol / Bushnell Park are to Main Street.

Discussion, but not a lot of solutions nor a lot of consensus. Most I spoke to afterwards felt that the focus on a governmental solution was not optimal. Many spoke of "silos" - individuals or organizations that are taking on their own corner of the world but not a lot of synergy or formal collaboration. So we have Real Art Ways, Billings Forge, Artspace, Theaterworks, Hartford Stage, Bushnell, the Wadsworth Atheneum (not represented....), and dozens of other organizations, each chipping away at their geographic and cultural plot of land. But not really working within an overall framework.

I'll add a concept in here are well - Interest Silos. Have been part of a few different communities, I see small groups of interest. The film clique - moving from Real Art Ways to Cinestudio to Cinema City to the Atheneum. The theatre group - from the larger equity theaters to the smaller community spaces. There are, I am sure, small communities formed around jazz. Around folk / acoustic music. Around indie / rock music. Around dance. Around visual arts. Around spoken word. Around sports (cricket? historic baseball? disc golf?). I am sure there are others.

I see the key to developing a vibrant local culture to expand the iQuilt concept past the geographic (still important) and figure out the connectors - individuals and organizations that, either by design or by accident, bridge these interest silos. Real Art Ways is one such entity, with connections to film, to music, to visual arts, to spoken word / performance, and to the corporate world (via the popular Creative Cocktail Hour which takes all these entities and stirs them together). Billings Forge seems to be there as well, mixing locavores, arts, music, with a healthy dollop of community activism.

An interesting evening; I look forward to listening to the show, to see how the show was mixed down and cleaned up.

On a personal note, sitting here in my new digs within the city limits of New Britain, I am torn between my relationship to Hartford, and a desire to look towards my new city - which has a number of burgeoning arts spaces itself. And I'm excited to be emerging from a few months of focusing on my personal saga (buying a condo, and moving) and looking once more outward, on the blog and in the rest of my life.

Addendum: Where We Live / Real Art Ways Collaborative Blog

November 17, 2009

Question and Answer: Frigidaire Dehumidifer

Model Number: FDL50S1

Subject: Dehumidifer Cycling

Message: Is there any way to increase the device hysterisis? My dehumidifier seems to cycle on/off a lot (under 5 minutes) - just a little annoying and I am concerned about motor and component life with all this switching. I would prefer it turned on, ran for a longer period, then switched off for a longer period. The device seems to be working fine. It's set on Low Fan speed and 50% RH. Just seems to bounce up and down through the RH set level pretty quickly...

Alternately, I may install a timer so that the device runs just at night (and presumably, for longer periods since the humidity will have crept up), unless you have other ideas.....

*********************************************************************

Response: Thank you for taking the time to contact us at Frigidaire. There is no way
to change the way the unit cycles, but the component are designed to work. After cycled off at the desired room relative humidity a dehumidifier could cycle about every 3 to 4 minutes on then 3 to 4 minutes off depending on the room's relative humidity and rate of humid air infiltration. A unit could run longer if there was higher moisture infiltration into the room.

Please let us know if you need any further information or assistance. Thank you for choosing Frigidaire products for your home.

*********************************************************************

Good: Quick response

Not So Good: Not the answer I wanted (I hoped for some toggle in the software to increase the run time or something). Looks like I will be installing a timer or something to keep the dehumidifier off when I am working.

Interesting: Slight off-kilter English, but pretty decent technical response.

Detoxing - Office Edition

With the realization that I can do my work with little more than a computer set-up, I have set upon the task of shedding "stuff" from my old office as I bring things into the home office.

Yesterday, that involved 8 boxes of ephemera hauled to the dumpster or recycling bin. Many many catalogs - test equipment, components, standards, logowear, office supplies, etc. Some of these dated back to the mid 90s. Many copies of trip reports and training manuals - I've been in business nearly 15 years and things pile up. Most of this stuff is archived electronically and I have a reasonably good backup scheme; in 15 years I've never had a truly catastrophic or non-recoverable computer crash. Piles of used (but saved for some reason) manila folders. Time to buy a fresh box.....

I brought over two large bookshelves last night along with the few items that escaped the purge - 3.5 shelves out of 10 once formerly full shelves. Good job! I also brought over a rack for storing / filing papers - which I intend to resurrect in the new place (as opposed to filing in piles, my most recent technique)

I still have much work to do. A handful of pots (with long gone plants) and some potting soil. Piles of tools and test equipment. A file cabinet. A desk. A table that has become a flat file. And a closet that houses tax records, test equipment, spare electronics, and yoga mats.

But it will get done by the end of the month....on track for that!

November 16, 2009

Opening the Heart

Headed to the Northwest Hills last night - to Washington Depot for a kirtan with Krishna Das. Carpooled up with Shankara's posse: Deb David, Joy, Shankara, and myself.

Great kirtan - I opted for a comfortbale chair in the cheap seats rather than a seat on the floor with my friends (a day of teaching and hiking left me a bit stiff) but I nonetheless got right in there in terms of chanting, swaying, connecting.

Amazing to me how quickly I dropped in. Many hours of kirtan, meditation, enlightenment intensives, and yoga - the divine spirit is never too far below the surface.....

November 14, 2009

Officially Moved

As of Monday morning, PowerLines (my business) has relocated to my basement. Carpet in place. Dehumidifer humming. And as of this morning, computer and phones have been relocated. Going to listen to Car Talk and Wait Wait while I reassemble the PowerLines home office.

Of course, no desk, no shelves, no files, and no mess - I'll be bringing stuff over a bit at a time. But the reality that I have almost everything I need to work on my computer is dawning on me, and that the shelves full of books and catalogs, and the files (mostly piled up and not organized) are either rarely used or wholly optional - so I think there will be a rather massive purge of catalogs, files, ephemera, old test equipment, etc. - rather toss it / recycle it than move it and clutter up the new space.....

Subscriber

Since my living situation has changed (and I therefore do not need to deal with kvetching about unread papers, waste, clutter, etc.) I have decided to support local news. I do this understanding that I may not have time to read the entire thing front to back, and that I need to conscientiously recycle the old copies. But I do believe in local news and want to do my part to support it.

Hartford Courant, I am hereby a subscriber.

November 13, 2009

Weekend Looms

I'm looking forward to my first lazy Saturday morning at the condo. Last week was moving day - balloon chasing and a busy day, not a lot of time to relax. This week with the moving done and the weather less amenable to ballooning, I might get the chance to just hang out, listen to NPR, drink coffee. Although, upon a small bit of contemplation, that pretty much describes my life this Friday morning as I write this, so I should not complaint.

Life here is good. I did a load of laundry last night and am testing out the "hanging things up to dry" process - I picked up 20 plastic hangers at Target and will use them hang things on my old metal clothes rack and the rafters, in lieu of a real clothesline. With my office carpet down (the Galaxy Carpet subcontractor finished up around 5:30 last night, just in time to get to yoga with Barb), I'm expecting to get my work computer out of Newington and into the basement this weekend - that will signal the beginning of the end of my office experience, which ought to take a few weeks. Lot of paper to sort through, catalogs and magazines to (mostly) recycle, piles to try to bring some sense to. I'll probably try to do a furniture moving day next weekend....before the holiday.

Need a run to Home Depot - small things (hangers for a rack for the stairs as well as some hooks and things, shelf supports, carpet protectors) as well as some plants (yoga studio, kitchen) and maybe a dehumdifier. One of these days I will wander through the house with my boxes of art and photos and put things up.

7:30 am. Time for a shower. Then hit the mat to loosen up my body and work on my classes for today. Perhaps a stop by Home Depot en route to the studio....

November 12, 2009

Not Wasting Time

I may procrastinate at times, but when it comes to taking action, I am swift and sure. Falling asleep at my desk yesterday afternoon, I decided to run back home, shed my yoga clothes and contacts (getting tough to do close work with them of late), and head back home. But en route down the Berlin Turnpike (with a vague goal of stopping into Home Depot to look at carpets) I instead pulled into Galaxy carpet. Where I found a low pile remnant ($1.77 / Sq Foot) suitable for the basement (not too dark to pick up lint, and not too light to get dirty). Where it will be installed this afternoon.

I've been going back and forth on the basement / office - no rug (linoleum floor is seeming awfully cold) and then just an area rug. But what the heck - decided to just go for it with a wall-to-wall carpet.

So, assuming all goes well, I could be minimally functional (computer, network, prnters, and phones) downstairs by Monday. Which I intend to be.....heading up to Newington to the office is getting old, fast. Self employment has totally ruined me for a real (9 to 5, 5 days a week get in a car and drive to the office) job.

November 11, 2009

Settling In

I've owned this condo for two weeks, as of today. I've been sleeping here for a few days. Yet already it's starting to feel like home. Not because of the mess (which I've been picking away at since the move) but just settling in - knowing where the angles are and the rise of the stairs on my feet, finding a routine in terms of heat and window blinds, tweaking the kitchen organization from my initial storing of utensils and foodstuffs.

There have been "firsts" of course. First shower. First night sleeping here. First pot of decaf. First garbage day. First practice in my yoga room. First wake-up call to go ballooning. First load of laundry. Each of them slightly remarkable and each of them building upon the feeling of "home".

There have been some learnings along the way. I decided the suspended ceiling in the basement was (a) a probable cause of smell down there and (b) claustrophobic for the taller folks (including myself) so I've started to tear that out. I'll probably leave the ceiling unfinished. And will most likely remove the garish fluorescents down there in favor of some smaller spotlights for the office. I'm close to deciding to just bite the bullet and get some low pile industrial carpet put in down there for the office. And my initial placement of the entertainment console was probably a mistake; so I need to move that at some point. Just an annoying tear it down and set it up process, plus I need to move the cable.

I've found some "what was he thinking?" moments. Under the kitchen sink (double), one of the drains leaked horribly - I tore into that to find one washer mangled and the other missing entirely. A 50 cent fix. But the cabinet floor under there was completely shot - and my predecesser had put down some small pieces of paneling (with tacks and brads and duct tape) and then layered contact paper over the mess. It was equally amusing and horrifying. All that is gone and I picked up a piece of plywood that I need to cut to size and refashion a cabinet floor for under the sink.

Similarly, the house cable appeared to be cobbled together - Dish cable enters the house in the master bedroom, and cables were jerry-rigged under the carpet to the 2nd bedroom, out the hall and downstairs, and then into the basement. (Did he really have 4 TVs in here?) I pulled them all out, coiled up the Dish cable, and ran my Comcast lines to the living room and the basement (for a small office TV, in case I want to watch something while I work, although without a Comcast box I just get broadcast / lifeline channels)

I'm slowly picking away at the mess. I did 3 loads of laundry last night (all the Queen sheet sets) and weeded out a bag full of mismatched or torn sheets to donate / dispose of. I emptied a box of bathroom / cosmetics / toiletries (still one left). I took some piles down to the basement. And as boxes of things get emptied I'm doing many sinkfuls of dishes (pretty much everything gets wahsed before I put it away) and tossing bagfuls of garbage. Trying to move slowly on that so as not to monopolize the shared garbage bin too much.

I posted some things on Craigslist for free - roller blades (since replaced), a VCR (replaced with a DVD/VCR combo), an old amplifier (remnant of an ill fated open mic project), and an electric typewriter (high school graduation present). All have been claimed (although not yet picked up)

Wednesday morning. Going to mess around online for a bit, savor my coffee and breakfast. Grab a shower. Hit the mat for a bit of practice before teaching this morning at 9. Then off to work. Life, as they say, doesn't suck.....

November 08, 2009

Moving Day

As is my norm, I overscheduled for my moving day.

Overscheduling event #1: After a month of rainy weekends (one flyable weekend day on October) this weekend proved beautiful for ballooning, so we went out on Saturday morning. Nice flight from Southington to Berlin, notable mostly for the passenger's husband riding in the chase van and marveling at my navigation and chase savvy. I guess I *do* know this area like the bak of my hand! We caught the balloon (literally) on a hillside in a small "active adult" community near the Berlin Fairgrounds.

After the ceremonial mimosa's and snacks - I skipped crew breakfast to zoom over to U-Haul in New Britain to pick up my truck. Sounded like hell (it ran on gas but sounded like a cold diesel) but it drove alright. Headed back to Hartford where I was met by Pat (mover extraordianire) - he and I made short work of loading up the truck. So when 11 (call time) came around and other friends showed up, we were pretty well set to travel to the new house.

Overscheduling event #2: I was slotted in to teach the Intro to Yoga class at the studio on Saturday, from 1-2. Smack dab in the middle of my move. And I guess I could have said no, but (a) it's an honor to be asked to teach it and (b) it's a good way to pick up new fans and students and (c) I just like it! So I was planning to load the truck, send the crew off to lunch while I taught my class, and unload around 3.

However, the early start light load, and excellent moving team pushed us ahead of sccedule. Pat was joined by BC and Kevin and Zippy, and we traveled to New Britain to unload. Everything got moved in plenty of time for yoga - and I left them off to lunch. THANK-YOU to everyone who helped. It was an incredibly fast and relatively pain-free move.

After teaching, I headed back to Hartford, where I finished the small piles of detritus in my former bedroom, and swept the place clean. Zippy also sent me off with a pile of food and some odds and ends, although I certainly have much more to collect from there.

Then I trucked over to West Hartford to collect a Washer and Dryer I bought from friends - Teo traveled back to the house with me to help me unload. And then back to U-Haul to dump the truck - having put 50 miles on it (UHaul NB - Hartford, Harford to NB, NB to Hartford, Hartford to WH, WH to New Britain, and New Britain to Uhaul). A really wise inevstment - being able to just pack it up and go (and use the ramp).

Finally, I Stop'd and Shop'd on the way back to the condo, picking up some bathroom stuff, as well as some veggies and salad makings. I spent the evening puttering around the house, and woke early this morning (a bit of insomnia).

I measure my progress in empty boxes - right now I am sitting next to a pile of 12 empties. Some will go back to Hartford (so Zippy can put things of mine he comes across) and some to the office (getting ready for that move by the end of the month).

November 06, 2009

Saying Goodbye

Lost in all the excitement of finding a house, applying for a mortgage, anticipating a new space, and managing the logistics (as well as the lifting) of a move, is the fact that as of this weekend, Zippy and I will no longer be living together.

We met back in 2000 or thereabouts. I was coming off a truly horrible half decade - was probably clinically depressed, at the tail end of digging myself a financial hole that am just now climbing out of. I was living alone in Waterbury, in a house I could not afford, and well - my life was a wreck. It might have looked OK from the outside, but it was most decidedly not.

Zippy met me at the Children from the Shadows conferece (I was staffing a table) and despite my cluelessness with regard to his intentions, and my inadvertant attempts to pawn him off on other support orgs, he hunted me down online (a rather remarkable feat, knowing now how the internet vexes and frustrates him). After a bit of an email wooing and a few dates (trivia, our first date was a walk round Reservoir #6 followed by a bite at Wild Oats), we, as the saying goes, hooked up.

After some months of a commuter relationship (he in Hartford, me in Waterbury) we decided to move in together. I found office space in Newington for my business, moved in with him, and started to get my house ready for sale.

Moving in with Zippy loosened slightly the financial vice that had clamped down on me - I eventually sold the house, got out from under the mortgage, and found the money to begin and complete my transition. I moved to Hartford where I found communities - bloggers, artists, musicians, yogis. And we have lived together for 8 years - far longer than my short lived marriage. We've each let go of two dogs in those years, and I wept for his Mauzie and Melina just as much as I did for my own; we now have two dogs that we adopted together.

Perhaps our relationship was doomed from the start. He's quite a few years older than I, and a lot of what has become my culture grates and irritates him. I'm perenially moving - ballooning, hiking, yoga, arts, music - and he just cannot keep up and resents my being away. His ideal - a quiet house and a book to read - pulls me down into depression and addiction. My ideal - a life filled with people and activities, and a perennial "glass half full" attitude that he calls pollyana, gets him cranky. And each of us have gone though major life transitions that have taken us physically and energeticlly in different directions.

When I fell in love with yoga, I think it was the last straw for him. I was too often gone, too often looking outward and away. My yoga friends see mostly his anger, his resentment towards a practice and a community that, at the end, took me away from him - so it is hard for them to see his humor, his generous spirit, his difficult journey. So for the last few years, even as our relationship became completely platonic, we have cohabitated with some friction, some resentment, some anger. It's time to move on.

But I leave with no small measure of sadness. He is, for all that, my very good friend. We have shared a bed, a household, countless meals and movies. I have come to love his family; my family has embraced him. I called him from a hospital bed in Trinidad, CO; I stood by his side in a hospital in Springfield. And I know that his life will be harder and a little less vital without me around to drive at night, to help out financially and logistically. (although he'd say, rightfully, that he'll have a lot less cleaning to do and a lot less clutter to put up with, with me gone!)

Even as I prepare to move we've been sharing the HBO series True Blood via Netflix; and I hope we can continue to have a regular movie night, an occasionally meal, and some time together.

So, in all this excitement for a new life to come, some sadness and letting go for what has been an incredible period of change and the person who was the catalyst for much of this change.

November 05, 2009

Home Improvement

Even though I've purchased a relatively new condo in good shape, I'm still signing up for a bit more home repair / home improvement projects.

So far I've changed out the locks (two door locks, two deadbolts) which went swimmingly. I also repaired the kitchen sink drain (leaked like a sieve; one washer was missing and one was wrecked) and I need to switch the hot / cold taps (reversed). I put in a front porch light timer and have started to replace a few light switches (the switched living room outlet had low voltage and high impedance, probably caused by a flaky light switch). And I've taken down a few rogue shelves in the basement (awkwardly placed, marginally useful, and highly likely to catch me in the head at some point).

One shelf stayed up - apparently placed to hold a small TV in the basement and I'm using it for the same. (So I can watch Fox News while I work....not)

I'm sure I'll have more projects cooking - hanging art and some kitchen stuff. Once the office and the laundry appliances get in place perhaps some strategic shelving. Some brighter and/or more strategically places lamps. I want to remove the ceiling fan from the yoga room (get's in the way of my sun salutations) and perhaps put in some track lighting. The bathroom fixtures are a kind of 70's wood that need updating at some point.

Kind of exciting. I've already been to Home Depot once, as well as the convenient and nostalgic Newington Hardware - suspect I will be visiting both places more frequently in the coming weeks.

November 04, 2009

Heading towards the Finish Line

There is so much stuff over at the new place; I am starting to feel like I'm camping out here. Shoes. Both closets, plus the seasonal clothes from the basement. Linens. Towels. Bathroom stuff. Kitchenware.

Went over there tonight with TVs, DVD/VCR, and a new wireless router. Comcast comes by tomorrow afternoon so I wanted to get everything in place.

My bedroom looks like a hurricane hit it - and will remain that way until after the move I imagine. Friday I'll start emptying the dressers and armoire and taking the clothes over ahead of time (everything will move around so I'm just going to start over)

Saturday, with any luck, I will officially reside in my new place. I'll still have lots of things to deal with here in Hartford; things to clean up, small piles of stuff. But it will be mostly mop up stuff and small piles to move - the big stuff will all be moved out by Saturday.

It's been a bit of a whirlwind, and I'm looking forward to living in just one place for a while. Although as soon as I'm done the houshold move, I need to start the process of moving my office.

November 03, 2009

Change of Address

It's been a while since I've moved. Amazed at home many "change of address" forms I can fill out online - bank, credit cards, services. Even the US Postal Service does this online these days - saves me a trip.

November 02, 2009

Empty Boxes

I've been carrying around a fleet of empty boxes for the better part of 20 years. Probably back in high school or college, I got into the habit of saving the boxes for my electronics: Stereo amplifier, CD changer, turntable, VCR, DVD, laptops - you name it, I've saved it. I had a pile in the back room about 6' tall. They have moved from my crawlspaces in Waterbury, to my office in Newington, and then to the attic here in Hartford.

Now, the reality is that except for a few years post college when I lived in a perhaps 4 places within a 6 year period, I've been pretty static. I lived in a house in Waterbury about 12 years. Then here to Hartford for 8 years. Now off to New Britain for what I assume will be a fairly long duration. The stereo stuff is over at the new place - did not even use the boxes.

So tonight I broke down about 10 large boxes, put the cardboard into the recycling, and the styrofoam packing pieces into the trash. One more pile of stuff out of my life...

Shedding Stuff, Reclaiming a Bed

I own exactly one piece of amazing furniture. It's a handmade, 4 poster bed - made by the folks at George G. Whitmore Company (now closed) in exchange for a website. It's some sort of special design intended to be easily taken apart and stowed in a wagon for a move - it breaks down and sets up pretty easily.

Zippy has been using it since we moved into separate rooms a few years back - just too big for my smaller room and I was find on a futon (very zen). But with my impending move it was time to reclaim my bed. Yesterday, we disassembled the bed, and moved the mattresses - giving Zippy a full sized mattress and boxspring I got from friends.

My four poster is now lying in position in my new bedroom, waiting for hardware (which I accidently left at home) - probaly assemble it today. Will not sleep over there until the mattress is moved (Saturday) but things are slowly getting in shape over there.

Spent some time over at the house yesterday - moved a lot of kitchen stuff and some storage racks from the office (which is slowly devolving into pre-move chaos - I need to remember that I am moving the office next). I mopped the basement a few times (the linoleum has red stains from pool chalk, so trying to mitigate that somewhat). And I spent a lot of time at the sink washing dishes and putting them away(while Amy, Nykki, and Andrew visited)

I definitely need to do some kitchen purging - between the "often used" things that I am taking from our kitchen, the "lesser used" things that are set aside in the dining room, and the "never used" things from the basement - well, I have a lot.

I have four coffee makers. One (4 cup) from the house. One (4 cup) at the office. One (12 cup) at the office that I've used for tea. And one (1 cup) that I thought might be cool for the office. I think I can survive with 2....

Similarly, who thought that a rice cooker was a good idea (made a few pots of rice, then went back to the stove, and the thing is HUGE). Who thought a bread maker was necessary? (Although it would be fin to make my own bread).

I dumped a box full of stuff already this morning (just woke up fretting about where I was gonna but everything - dumped an old cheap wok, many water bottles and "to go" coffee mugs, and some wretched tupperware). A lot of this stuff dates back 20 years or more (wedding presents or things I owned in my married days) and well, time for some of it to depart!

November 01, 2009

My New Neighbors

Met one of my neighbors yesterday - a young woman with a child. I went over after noon to see about the condo association check for Nov and roused her (bathrobe) - she apologized. "When I am not working, I'm sleeping". So no worries about a loud neighbor, although perhaps some concerns that I will be the loud neighbor.

Her daughter, however, came out on the desk as I was sweeping up, and spied on me, made faces and was all coy in the way kids are. Cutie. As my friend Kristen suggested "You'll be babysitting within the first month"