Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?

Since I started working from home full time about a year ago, I’ve been going for a walk every morning in lieu of a morning commute. (I’ll usually practice music in lieu of an evening commute.) Since the pandemic started, alot of other people in my neighborhood have been going for walks too, so I’ve been getting to know my neighbors past my block better than before, although we’ve lived here for many years.

I’m not the only one on my block who’s doing home improvements these days. The guy across the street is putting in a new deck, and the people two houses down are putting in a new patio too, although theirs is made of paving blocks not bluestone flagstones. My next next door neighbor Jose is rebuilding his front porch.

Over the weekend Jose helped my transplant my hydrangea shrub. You’ll recall that I tried to dig it out and basically gave up because I couldn’t get any leverage underneath to pry it loose. Jose is a professional landscaper, which is great cuz his yard always looks fantastic, plus he’s got alot of tools and knowledge. He had a couple shovels with extra long handles, which made it much easier to get underneath and pry the rootball from the earth. One we got it out, Jose had the idea that we could split the plant in half and have two of them. We planted one in the new spot I had picked out, and the other we put back close to where it came out, but about a foot further from the house and two feet further away from the patio, so it has room to grow.

Meanwhile things have been busy with work and various projects. I was on at least one zoom call eight days in a row. About half of these are recurring weekly meetings. While the circle of people I talk to face to face has grown extremely local, the circle of people I’m in social contact with has grown very wide indeed. In just the last week or two it includes people in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, Long Island, New Jersey, Buffalo, Victor, Westerlo, Saranac Lake, Illinois, Texas, Florida, Colorado, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Singapore, Vermont, The Netherlands, Saugerties and Fredonia. Very 21st century.

Na-Na Na Na, Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye

It feels like I’ve been so busy recently I have no time to get anything done.

The patio is all finished, and it came out great. I got the patio itself done before the end of October, finishing up on Halloween day by filling in the cracks between the stones with sand. The last week of October was kinda stormy and rainy but the first part of November has been mild and beautiful again. The leaves area all golden all around right now. But the days are getting short fast. Suddenly it’s nighttime at five o’clock.

After the patio there was some landscaping to do. The main thing was to use up the pile of dirt that I created digging out the area. Some of it went to fill in low spots in the yard, and the rest to making a slope from the edge of the patio into the existing yard.

I have a hydrangea shrub in my year, right at the edge of the patio where it meets the house. The last task was to move it a couple feet so it would have more room to grow. Unfortunately the thing has grown so big that I was unable to get it out of the ground. I dug around it but couldn’t actually get underneath, and it wouldn’t budge. So I filled it back in and that’s that.

With that done and winter coming, hopefully I’ll get a bike ride or two in before the end of the season. And get back to origami soon.

The recording project proceeds apace. I got my strings and bells in on Autumn Eyes, just a subtle of backing in a few parts. For the bells I’m going for an 80’s DX7 era ice chimes kinda sound. Still gotta track the drum brushes and mallets parts; been thinking that thru.

I did a first pass at a sax solo on Why Not Zed, and the mood is right but I need to get more facile on this changes. It’s an easy part on guitar but on sax it’s got alot of modulation. Kinda like Well You Needn’t by Monk. I added a synth part too. Each new voice is pulling it in a different direction. I like the chaotic effect but it might be a bit much.