Finley and I joined some friends to explore Rocks State Park in northeast Maryland over the long weekend. Mama had to stay home due to her toe, which made us sad, but this hike would have been impossible for her. The first trail we hit was almost straight up, and wound up the side of a mountain (or tall hill, really) until we found the King and Queen Seat, a promontory of rock facing a large valley. Finn and the other kids immediately started exploring, and made their way out to the edge of a 300-foot drop before we reined them back in.
Then we hopped back in the car to visit the other half of the park, which features a natural waterfall and wading pool. The kids were in heaven, and we explored the upper and lower section of the river while other people splashed and played.
We drove out to the Eastern Shore on Saturday to visit the Morrisses, and had brunch at a wonderful, quiet little spot outside of Easton. The weather was mostly lousy but the company was excellent as always, and the bloody marys were delicious.
It’s the middle of April in the ‘Ville, which means telephone poles start growing yard sale signs and people get ready to deal. Finley and I woke early this morning, snuck out of the house like thieves, and hit Dunkin Donuts for breakfast. Then we made it to four mostly disappointing yard sales in under an hour. She sweet-talked a lady out of a flowered ring, and I found two beginning guitar books for $1, but other than that it was pretty barren.
Because the last sale had taken us most of the way down the hill, I parked the Scout in Ellicott City and we sat next to the river to eat our donuts. While we watched the water pass by, Finley noticed several pairs of ducks nearby and then a family of goslings further upstream, so we crossed the bridge and walked to the end of the parking lot to find a mother goose preening on the rocks while twelve goslings darted across the water in front of her. Finn and I stood and watched for about ten minutes, entranced.
After bringing some food home for Mama, we moved up to the attic to straighten out the mess and get everything in the atrium up there. Now that it’s (mostly) clean I can start to wrap my head around what has to happen next in there: buttoning up the electrical work. Then, we packed a hiking bag, loaded the Scout up with recyclable metal, and drove to Elkridge.
I gutted two aluminum G5 towers about two years ago and I’ve been slowly collecting different types of recyclable metals for longer than that. All of this junk was beginning to get in the way, so I thought we’d take care of that stuff and get a hike in on the way home. The metals only brought $5 (looks like aluminum and copper is WAY down from the last time I was there) but it’s great to have that stuff out of the basement and garage. That room, plus what we got back from having the tandem gone, makes the garage look positively cavernous.
A hike was just what Finn and I both needed. The air was cool when we walked into the woods but by the time we’d reached the bottom of the trail it was perfect. The trail we followed is one I used to ride with my friend Rob 20+ years ago, one that starts at the top of Catonsville and follows a stream down a valley to meet up with a larger river in the heart of the park. I remember it as a blurry downhill with several water crossings and a few heart-stopping obstacles, but with Finn it was a quiet exploration of felled trees, burbling streambanks, and sun-dappled pathways. We stopped to look at small fish darting in the shallows of the water and greet the dogs that crossed our path, of which there were many. Finn took pleasure in finding the optimal way to cross over each water obstacle, preferring felled trees to rocks. With no heat or bugs, it was absolutely the perfect time to explore, and we both had a great time together.
We got to the bottom and broke out the snacks, and word came that our neighbors were going to the park across the street to play after some ice cream, and would Finn like to come? So we hustled our way back up the hill, picked up some lunch for Mama, then walked over to the park for some playtime. Finn’s friend stopped over for another hour’s worth of play in the yard, and by the time she left it was dinnertime.
Who loves sushi and knows how to use chopsticks? My daughter, that’s who.
I’ve been playing the Jazz bass for at least an hour every night I can. It’s a completely different experience from the Steinberger, something I can’t describe, but it feels faster, more precise. I can get around the frets faster, because the neck is thinner, and landing the notes with no buzz (except for the low E) is easier. I have to wonder what might have happened if I hadn’t started out with a big old funk bass and had traded up to a P-bass in high school. Would I have been discouraged less and practiced more? Possibly. This thing is crying out for a good setup, so now that this coming weekend is a little less filled, I’ll see if I can carve out some time to tune it up.
I’m starting a small side project with the dribs and drabs of free time I’ve got, which should combine an idea I’ve had for years with a new approach I hadn’t considered. Will this be another thing I mention here and never get to, or will I complete it? Let’s see.
I visited on opthamologist last Friday to look at my left eye, which has been cloudy in the center for a couple of months. Scared I might have cataracts or retina issues, I got it checked out. The eye doctor was very patient with me (I don’t like things near my eyes) and did all the normal tests. It turns out I’m dealing with posterior vitreous detachment, which basically means I’ve got a non-vision threatening change in the goo that makes up my eyeball. The opthamologist said it should work itself out in the next couple of months, but to come back in next year to check things out.
Updates on last week’s issues: Firstly, our boiler is still down. It worked fine yesterday, and seemed to be providing heat through the weekend, but this morning we woke to a cold house. I turned it off and on again, and watched as the valves all clicked and hummed, the spark unit fired, and the burners lit…and then died. Lit…and died. About five cycles of this, and the boiler stopped trying. So the plumbers I got the part from will stop in tomorrow to see if they can diagnose the issue.
Jen’s laptop appears to be suffering from a GPU failure issue that Apple has acknowledged, and should honor under warranty. We’re heading to the Apple Store this evening to see if we can have it repaired under their program free of charge. Fingers crossed…