Posted by MrNatch3L on Tuesday, February 23, 2010
I'm not a big fan of blogging. I admit, there are some good, worthwhile blogs out there, and the technology has given a global venue to some voices that would otherwise never have been heard by anyone. (Of course, these have been largely eclipsed by terrabytes of drivel that exist for no other reason than somebody feels the need to tell the world "Ooh lookit meee!!) Personally I've never labored under the delusion that the whole world gives a flying rat's patootie what I have to say.
I'm less of a blog skeptic when it comes to communities like BHO. Here at least there are folks who might give half a flying rat's you-know-what about something I might write. So to date, I've confined my blogging activity to here. But as you can see, I'm not all that prolific. In fact, the only reason I decided to write this post was because it's almost the end of February, 2010, and my last blog post was about the 4th of July, 2009. It was startin' to look just plain goofy. At least to me. (And I'm probably the one who pops in here more than anyone else.)
So what's been going on in my particular version of Lake Wobegon?
Well, I've been hangouting less than formerly, and lurking more than posting. Summers in Russia are short. You don't spend any more time indoors and computing than you can help... you get yer butt out there with the mosquitos.
During the fall I hooked up with BHO member Mike Rowe. Mike designs and sells some really nifty and innovative stuff for banjo. But when I went to his website, I found him obviously struggling to put up a D.I.Y. job that really didn't show off his stuff to good advantage. To make a long story short, I got in touch with Mike and gave www.rowemusicparts.com a major facelift. That occupied some time in the fall months, and I got some of his cool stuff out of the deal!
Northwest Russia kind of went from summer direct into to winter this year. I mowed the lawn one day, we had 15 cm of snow next day. And it's been a winter with record cold temperatures and snowfalls. All this in the first winter we spent (or attempted to spend) in our new house north of the city. So in the fall and winter months, a lot of my spare time went towards keeping the woodburner stoked 24-7 and keeping the driveway clear of huge snow drifts.
In December I had business meetings in Prague where I met up with BHO member Mirek Patek who took me to a tenor banjo jam in a grubby little neighborhood pub which was thoroughly delightful. I went on from Prague to Cleveland, Ohio USA where I visited my family, and my invalid mother for what turned out to be the last time.
I got back to St. Petersburg in time for the holidays, and then in January my mother developed a pulmonary problem which she just wasn't strong enough to overcome, and we lost her on January 15. So it was back to Cleveland to spend time with my sister, brother, and especially my Dad. My folks were married 63 years, and you can image the old guy being kind of adrift at sea.
There was a very nice memorial service at the folks' church. My mom's brother is an Episcopal priest and particiated in the service, which was good. Before she became disabled, my mom played the chuch's handbell choir, which they had not forgotten, and the choir did a very nice piece for the service. My younger brother is not a minister but perhaps missed his calling. He certainly delivered perhaps the best eulogy I've ever heard. Our uncle said he's gonna bring him down to his church to preach sometime! My part in the service was to say a few words about my best memories, which I did briefly, but my main thing was to go over to the nice baby grand that the church has in the main sanctuary, and play a version of one of my BHO music page tunes (Farewell to Mims), for which I penned some words on the transatlantic flight. I was so amazed that there were over 200 people present at the service. I'm not sure when's the last time I played for an audience that big! The problem was, the song brought a lot of folks to tears... not what you're after as a musician! But I guess that's what can happen a a funeral service. At the behest of my siblings, I recorded the tune. You can get it on my personal site if you're interested.
I guess all the stress of travel, changes of diet, bereavement, etc. mounted up an took their toll, 'cause I wasn't back to Russia all that long before I came town with an attack of accute pancreatitis that landed me in the hospital for the best part of a week. One nice thing about living where I do: you can get good, affordable health care coverage with affordable, well-trained doctors. The supervising physician during my hospitalization even spoke English.
Sometime in all this, Mike Smith of Kat Eyz fame posted a topic saying he needed help with his web site. He was right. We talked, and he hired me to give the site an extreme makeover. What with one thing and another it took longer than we both expected, but the new www.kateyzbb.com site went live this week. Check it out! That was a super fun project. I got my first Kat Eyz bridge as part of the deal, which transformed my old banjo The Mutt from a tinny beater to a nice sounding, unusual banjo.
So that brings my BHO blog forward from the Glorious 4th. Should be good for another 6 months of so! In case anyone gives a flying rat's rear-end. :-)
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 @5:11:37 AM
Great blog. Sorry to hear about your mother but it sounds like she had a long life. Also your illness. Get well soon and make sure you get back to blogging before the six months elapses!
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'Keech banjulele' 49 min
'The Cuckoo Bird' 2 hrs
'WILDWOOD ( SOLOIST )' 2 hrs
'Weymann tenor' 3 hrs