Tropical Storm Eta and things

Hurricane season continues with Tropical Storm Eta, who came in Sunday evening and left Monday afternoon only to go out into the Gulf, gain strength and turn around to come back. This time she is passing west of us and pushing tons of storm surge up the Caloosahatchee.

At this writing our canal is larger than its ever been, thanks to a combination of rainfall runoff and storm surge. Our dock is the only one above water as far as I can see, We have one neighbor whose boat is about to float off his boat lift because it is too low to keep the boat on the lift.  Thank goodness my house, dock, and lift are all based on the latest hurricane codes and so is higher than everything around us.

Water up to the dock

I’m a little concerned about the brackish salinity of the the canal water hurting my lime trees and African blue basil. Oh well, time will tell whether that’s a problem.

Rachel has begun her work at the new anchor downtown hotel run by Marriott – the Luminary Hotel. She is excited and also anxious to do a good job.  We’re sure she’ll be successful.

Michelle’s facility continues to respond to ever-changing conditions with the Covid pandemic, sometimes working from home and other times in the facility. 

So many people still refuse to accept that this virus is 1) worse than the flu and 2) not going away until the USA gets serious about stomping it into the ground.  Oh, we’ll just wait for a vaccine.  Duh.  

While Florida is pretty much in denial, at least our per capita rates are half of South Dakota’s.  Pondering that, I thought of a new tourism slogan for Kristy Noem to use – one that will go along with “Meth. We’re on it!“.  How about “Covid.  We’ve got this!

While on that roll, I also want to ask all those people who believe Trump’s claims about invalid election results what flavor the Kool-Aid was……

Later.  Stay safe.

Lime and Moringa trees under water

Happy Halloween

Haven’t updated y’all for a while. But I’ve had good reasons.

Michelle has been ill for almost two weeks now with very Covid-like symptoms. But Covid test came back negative, so she finally headed to the doctor’s office after me threatening to drag her to urgent care. Pneumonia. This now the second day on strong medications, but I’ve been without her for a couple of weeks and doing many of the things that she normally does.

Adding to the normal chores, I got the garden in – pulled out the three over-grown (really overgrown, like about 4 ft. high) African blue basil bushes, replaced them with five new cuttings which, maybe now I know how they grow, I can perhaps keep in control.  Completely re-arranged the garden beds. Pulled out one humongous rosemary bush and gave it to the next-door neighbor because who needs TWO of them? Four tomato plants, two Genovese basil, sage, parsley, thyme, chives. Enlarged the mulch area around the fast-growing avocado tree. Insecticide on the six lime trees, trimmed the moringa tree, hibiscus, and hedges. Things here just never stop growing – and the grass mowing and weeding is year-round.

We’re also getting Rachel up to speed on driving after her not having driven in about four years. And Ft. Myers driving is not the same as Rapid City. Busier, faster, and dumber drivers (or maybe just more drivers and the percentage is about the same). So I been sitting next to her for confidence as she takes ever-more adventurous trips. She’s now driven all the way to downtown and back, which is where her job will be when she begins.

How will we balance all three of us working? Well, the last item on our Florida bucket list was added just before Michelle got too sick to go into work – a limited edition Mini Cooper convertible.

So, we now owe a bunch more money than we did a month ago, but this should be our last major purchase for a good while. When Rachel begins work, she’ll start looking for a place to live and also begin paying us for the Fusion – which is still driving like it’s new.

Meanwhile, I’m still working three days a week at the wine store and voluntarily began a website for three of us to study for the Total Wine Professional exams.

Today is Halloween and we can begin to feel the start of fall around here. Temps in the morning are in the 70s. Tuesday is the nineteenth anniversary of our wedding. And it, hopefully, will also be a good day for the country as the election will finally get over. Had an elderly (white) male stop me last night and thank me for the Biden/Harris sign in our yard. It’s the only one on the block but he says he’s been afraid to put one up with all the open Trump supporters. I’ve noticed some folks are more reticent to talk to me now when I walk the dog, but, oh well. Our sign states “Unity over Division” and shows a lot of hands of many colors making peace signs. Stay well.

Musikhaus News …. or non-news

It’s been a while since I posted. No worries, just lots to do. Rachel is now an official resident of Florida. We’ve all voted (guess how!) and I took the ballots down to the main government building for drop-off rather than trust the Trump-impaired Postal Service. I’ll never understand how so many people have just gone along with the Nazification of the once-proud US government.

In gentler, but still political, mood as Election Day looms, I offer these links to well-written and researched articles:

Yes, I know, NPR is a socialist entity designed to bring down all right-thinking (i.e., non-thinking) Americans.

I am actually a little dismayed that CNN is now viewed as a leftist news agency when it used to be the one news source one could trust to be unbiased.

And yet another obviously suspect leftist/socialist article from that (obviously) biased NPR that echoes what I’ve been saying since 2015 – Trump is a Hitler wannabe.  Wake up, all you supposed patriots! Trump is letting Russia and China take over the world while we are fighting each other!

Meanwhile, Rachel is doing well, has applied for a couple of jobs, and is getting healthy. Michelle has become officially licensed as a mental health counselor in the state of Florida, which 1) gets her a substantial raise and 2) creates all sorts of job opportunities for her if she wants to pursue them. I took my first Total Wine Professional exam today and failed it miserably – as expected. We are allowed to take it unlimited times with no penalty and I was advised by my wine supervisor to take it as soon as it was allowed. So  I did. Now I know what to study.

I’m still working on Isaac motets in preparation for next year. Almost done with the Propers for Christmas Day.  The sequence is the difficult one. It is a mini-concert from the liturgy of the late Middle Ages, set in early Renaissance polyphony by a composer that is now being recognized as perhaps the premier composer of that age. The more I work with this music, the more I realize his greatness.

And the garden is going in. Southwest Florida is backwards from the rest of the continental US in terms of the growing season. We plant in October after night-time temperatures drop to below 70 degrees Fahrenheit and the rains become a little less torrential. I grow mainly herbs – and actually managed to maintain basil and rosemary throughout the summer. Thyme. chives, and sage struggled but are now doing well. Today I placed two tomato plants in the ground and hope to get a third over the weekend. Good bedding tomato plants appear to be at a premium.

Hope you’re all healthy and happy. Floridians, for the most part, have begun to wear masks in public – except for the rabid few who make it a political protest to NOT wear one – and people like that are obvious and easily avoided. We’re all good here and hope to remain so.

Realizing what I don’t know….

Since finishing my sudden fill-in for the University of Miami graduate choral literature class and dealing with settling Rachel into our household (albeit temporarily); I am now picking up the two projects abruptly dropped three weeks ago: the Total Wine Professional program and the completion of the Proper for Christmas Day in the Choralis Constantinus so that Markus Utz can begin to prepare it for recording.

The Total Wine program is really fantastic as it puts me back into undergraduate mode. I thought I knew a lot about wine (I suppose I do, compared to the average person off the street), but this program requires me to understand geography, history, botany, chemistry (this from someone who never studied either of those last two topics), and climate change. It also forces me to develop a more sophisticated palate and vocabulary to be able to describe wine and interpret a customer’s desires. As an experienced presenter, I am used to reading an audience and changing gears when necessary. But the knowledge base required for this experience is vast. I am back at school.

Meanwhile, in my REAL life (as I am quick to remind my co-workers at Total Wine) I am struggling – after all these years in the trenches – with re-learning the skills necessary for good scholarly research. I am keenly aware of my shortcomings as a musicologist – especially in light of working with polyphonic settings of an early medieval sequence. Just reading some of the recent research done on a) Isaac, b) sequences, c) early music printing, d) text underlay in early Renaissance prints, and e) random other items; makes me want to bury my head under a pillow because I am so far behind the current research.

Why am I doing this? Because I believe in leaving something behind. I know too many who, once they retired from what they had done for a living, became old before their time. Some had heart attacks or quickly lost their mental acuity. While I am experiencing a physical decline – back surgery, terrible arthritis in my hands (all those years of pounding keyboards), and other issues – at least once I’m gone this music may have a chance to live.

BTW, have you reserved your t-shirt yet? They not likely to last long since at least 280 million or so Americans qualify to wear it…….

What a slimeball.

At least I pay my fair share to help this country. Michelle and I paid over $8000 in taxes this past year. Please explain how this gasbag can live off our money, make millions by being president (in addition to his salary), and owe the citizenry of this country NOTHING in return.

Flush the turd on November 3rd.