Thursday morning, October 30, 2002
John mentioned this morning that Kevin
wants to go to the Firehouse
on Friday night to listen to a band.
I’m up for it. But what about Callie?
Is she invited? Is it too soon?
Wednesday, October 30, 2002
Bits and pieces . . .
Fred was only 12 minutes late this morning.
It stopped raining today. The temperature was in the 70s.
It’s 10 p.m. here and 68 degrees.
The A above Middle C on my piano seems to be
working again. But now the E and the F two octaves below Middle C
are sticking together. Maybe the piano just needs to settle down.
The Angels beat the Giants in Game Seven of the World Series. I
have now made it through two days without Baseball. Already the
Houston Chronicle‘s sports section has reduced the Baseball news heading
to “Baseball, etc.”, meaning that there isn’t enough news to
occupy a whole page. “Etc.” is usually fishing
news. Oh God. I’m so depressed.
Monday evening, October 28, 2002
I like my Music professor. He’s doing a great job of teaching a
class of approximately 40 students, half of whom have never listened to
any music other than rap and rock, and three-quarters of whom don’t even
want to take the class. He has certainly inspired me over the last
two months. My classical CD collection has grown, and I’ve even
rented a piano.
At the end of each semester, students are asked to fill out a
questionnaire and write a review of their professor. I’ll give him
“A”s for everything, except for his lack of enforcing
discipline. It’s such a pity that this is something that even has
to be mentioned when college students are supposed to be adults and
should know how to conduct themselves in a proper manner.
Here are some portions of the syllabus we were given on the first day
Attendance is mandatory for this class. No more than 2
absences will be allowed for the semester. Any additional absences will
result in the lowering of your grade by one-half a letter . . . any two
tardies will be considered as an absence . . . please do not enter or
leave the room while music examples are being played.
Okay, sometimes you can’t help being late for a class. It
happened to me once (five years ago) when I had a flat tyre and was
twenty minutes late for a French test. Merde. But
every morning in this class there are at least ten people who walk in
late. It would be okay if they came in quietly, but every one of
them always lets the door bang. Why? Don’t they know they’re
doing it? Or am I just intolerant? They never forget to sign
the roll sheet which is on the piano, and the professor has no record of
their being tardy. So why put it on the syllabus?
I can deal with that. It’s something I’ve got used to in my
eleven years of trying to get this darn degree.
It’s Fred who’s driving me up the wall. No. Fred’s not
his real name. I don’t even want to know his name. After the
last exam I hope never to see him again. But just for tonight,
I’ll call him Fred.
Fred has probably shown up for half the classes, and when he has
shown up, he’s always been 40 minutes to an hour late. Now looking
at the rules laid out in the syllabus (see Paragraph 4 of this diatribe)
I don’t think that’s even going to get him an “F”. I
don’t really care what his grade is, but what makes me really hot under
the collar is that when Fred does show up, he walks in the front
door (rather than slink in humbly through the back), and literally
struts across the front of the room. (This morning he was wearing
rain gear so we had an extra loud Nike rustle to go with the
strutting). By the time he passes the professor’s lectern the door
bangs shut. He then proceeds to pull his books and pens out of his
bag — the desk squeaks as he thumps them down. And sometimes
he’ll ask the student next to him (not even in a whisper) when the next
paper is due or when we’re having another test.
His timing was impeccable last Monday. We’d been studying Haydn,
and the Professor had been building us up to the dramatic moment in the
“Creation” when the choir sings “Let there be
light.” I’ll give you three guesses as to when Fred made his
appearance. You’re right. It was “Let there be Fred.”
Fred is the lowlight of this class. And I wish the Professor
would do something about it. Is he afraid to kick him out?
Is he worried about a lawsuit?
I wasn’t going to write so much tonight, but the A above Middle C on
my piano has now stopped working. Coupled with the A below Middle
C which gets stuck, my evening isn’t going as planned.
All you professors out there. Be not afraid! Give the
inconsiderate students a public lambasting. The rest of us will
Monday, October 28, 2002
Memo to self: Next out-of-town trip with Callie and Kevin, stay
in different hotels. The
short reason? See Paragraph 10. The long reason? See
Sunday, October 27, 2002
sure everyone’s wondering if I’ve fallen off the face of the
earth. Well, it would be nice to think everyone was
concerned. The bottom line is that I’ve been working all
weekend, and my piano was delivered on Wednesday.
In addition, the World Series is not yet over.
About the piano — my fingers aren’t as nimble as they used
to be, especially my left hand, but I think I’m getting better
every day. My first goal is to play Mozart’s Sonata in
C Major without a mistake. I decided it was a good one
to start with as it has a little bit of everything in it,
including phrases that sound like scales. Yes,
SCALES. Don’t expect me to practice scales.
As I’ve said before, I’m an adult now and answer to no one.
Now, if they should appear in a Mozart Sonata, that’s a
John actually mentioned that my left
hand appeared to be playing an Alberti Bass. See how much
we’re learning in our music class? We covered Haydn last
Monday, Mozart on Wednesday, and tomorrow and Wednesday’s
classes will both be devoted to Beethoven.
Back to the piano — the A below Middle C sticks. It
didn’t when I tried it out in the rental place. Maybe they
add a little glue to the pianos when they leave the show room to
encourage renters to buy.
Of course, maybe it sticks because it’s been raining and
raining and raining in Houston for four days now. It’s
also still very warm.
Which brings me to the pictures: It finally rained
enough for me to send Sally’s
ducks out for a swim. I wonder how long it’ll be
before they’re stolen?
Wednesday, October 23, 2002
We’re watching Sniper
TV. It’s riveting. And it’s interfering with the World
Monday, October 21, 2002
Habershon news tonight (thank you, Ricky):
Paul is spending his half term
with the Bedford boys playing Chess at Millfield and will be staying in
Sherborne for a few days. Good company for Dad.
William has started a three-year course at the Royal College of
Agriculture in Cirencester studying Property and Marketing.
Jamie is still at Babington
House but has got a very nice job for the ski season as a chalet
chef (14 people) in Meribel
starting in December. Emma is on half term and will probably go up
to London for a couple of days and maybe down to Dartmoor next
weekend. Helen and Ricky
are just completing a week of opera in Devizes (Gounod’s
Faust). And rumour has it that David
and Libby are back from Mauritius.
Has anyone noticed how quiet Clare‘s
been? Has she actually hit the books this term? Of course,
now I’ve said that, I expect she’ll be e-mailing another of her essays.
Should’ve kept quiet.
And don’t worry, there’ll be more Baseball news
tomorrow. It’s a travel day.
Sunday, October 20, 2002
Okay let me get this
out of the way. It’s all over after 162 games and two playoff
series. Time to get on with my life. WAAAAHHHHH!
The World Series started last night. The Giants took
Game One from the Anaheim Angels. Habershons and Brits, you
should all make yourself familiar with the name “Barry
Bonds.” Some are calling him the best Baseball player
Stop whining. Hey, I’ve heard of George Best.
Saturday, October 19, 2002
By Josh Getzmer
Lady Cat wants Swedish massage before showdown
Friday evening, October 18, 2002
|This is Marlowe [named by Allen (my ex) after the
detective]. I found him outside the Aramco Engineering
Building in Saudi Arabia in 1984. He was about eight weeks
old, starving, and yowling. A woman tried to pick him up
but he bit her. She was sent to the hospital for a rabies
shot and Allen and I took Marlowe home after he’d served two
weeks in the Saudi pet penitentiary.
|Marlowe grew into a huge, strapping
cat. He was affectionate and loving when he was
indoors. But when we let him out he would attack every
animal in sight, including Joe (named after the great Cincinnati
Reds second baseman) and Merlyn (Allen was a King Arthur geek),
our other two cats. It was a while before we could let him
in the same room as them. But we kept him. And when
we left Saudi in 1985 we took him with us to our new home in
Cape Cod. When we’d been there for a month our doorbell
rang one night. Standing there was a man with a beer in
his hand who told us in a very loud voice and in no uncertain
terms that if our f***ing cat came near his cats again he would
break his f***ing neck. As he was yelling and the
neighbours’ curtains were tweaking, Marlowe walked out of the
door and rubbed against his legs, purring.
We kept Marlowe in for as long as we could, but he was
miserable. He started doing unspeakable things around the
house and scratched a hole in the door. I decided to
reason with the gentleman with the beer can and bravely walked
over to his house one Sunday afternoon. We actually came
to an agreement: he would let his cats out on Mondays,
Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, and we would let Marlowe out on
Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The extra day for him
did the trick — he was flushed with pleasure (and beer) over
We moved to Houston in 1990 with Marlowe and Joe (Merlyn died
in 1989). But by then another problem had arisen. We
found Cindie. We weren’t looking for another cat, but we
found her crying on a construction site and holding up her left
front paw. So we took her to the vet . . . you’ve guessed
the rest. We ended up with another cat. The trouble
was that Cindie, even with only three working paws, thinks she
can win every fight against every other cat, including Marlowe
who was three times her size. Marlowe sent her to the
hospital twice for stitches and we had to start keeping them
A divorce took care of that problem. I took Cindie and
Allen kept Marlowe. To digress, here’s a picture
of Cindie, taken about three hours ago. She’s John‘s
cat now, through and through. I swear the two of them plot
behind my back.
Allen and I e-mail each other about once every six months to
keep each other up to date on Cindie and Marlowe. Marlowe
slowed down as he got older and apparently didn’t want to fight
so much. Today Allen e-mailed me — he had Marlowe put to
sleep on Tuesday. He said that his kidneys had failed and
he was suffering. It was one of the hardest things he’d
ever had to do, and that after 18 years of coming home and
finding Marlowe waiting in the driveway it was hard to
comprehend that he will not be there any more.
Rest in peace, Marlowe. And be brave, Allen.
Friday, October 18, 2002
BBM Wire Exclusive
SuperStars RALLY! 7-5
Wolf plus Holmes equals triumph
By Josh Getzmer
Lady Cat calls prayer meeting to plan Game 7 W Williams
Thursday evening, October 17, 2002
carved a brilliant pumpkin this evening. Can you tell what it is?
Unfortunately the windscreen broke and I had to prop it up. My
second attempt (maybe next year) will be perfect.
Thursday, October 17, 2002
BBM Wire Exclusive
SuperStars TIE IT! 15-4
Blitz RiverChix as Durazo lets loose
Ugly, but the attendance was
Wednesday, October 16, 2002
When I got divorced I moved into a tiny apartment. There was no
room for my piano so I sold it. I haven’t played since. When
John and I bought our house I checked in to
buying another one, but the prices had tripled so I shelved the
idea. Today I called PianoMax
to see how much they charged for rentals. The saleslady was
good. She told me $30 – $45 a month but they just happened
to have a $25/month special offer which was expiring shortly. I
drove over there and picked one out. It’s a very shabby and
scratched looking Baldwin, but it seemed to be in tune and the keys
don’t stick. And if I decide to buy one they’ll take six months’
rental fees off the purchase price. Delivery will be sometime next
The question now is . . . will I still be able to play? Or will
it just gather dust before I send it back?
Can’t wait! Can’t wait!
Wednesday morning, October 16, 2002
The RiverChicks won Game 3 and now lead 2
– 1 in the series.
Tuesday evening, October 15, 2002
Yum! Callie’s got me eating chestnuts. I always thought
you needed a log fire and cold weather to cook them, but she mentioned
that she microwaved
some. I checked on the internet (how did we ever manage without
it) and discovered that you can also cook them in a 400-degree oven in
15 minutes. Just split the shells (so they don’t explode) and put
them on a baking tray.
Callie won’t be eating chestnuts for a while. She’s having her
wisdom teeth out tomorrow. Poor Callie.
|Tuesday, October 15, 2002|
BBM Wire Exclusive
RiverChix REVENGE! 5-4
Hold off last-minute SuperStars rally
BBM Wire Exclusive
RiverChix SUBDUED! 7-6
SuperStars whoop; Lady Cat kicks dirt
For anyone who’s interested, here’s
the box score. Trust me, it’s not good to lose a game to Home
Game Two tonight. I need fans.
Oh, and other bad news on the Baseball front — Ron
Gardenhire‘s Twins were knocked out of the playoffs yesterday.
Their bullpen gave up ten runs in the seventh inning. Very painful
to watch. The Angels will meet either the Giants or the Cardinals
in the World Series.
So I guess I’m going back to being a National League fan. I
miss the Astros.
Sunday, October 13, 2002
I had a long talk with Dad on the ‘phone
today. He seems to have given up playing Bridge for good
now. He spent most of the call apologizing for sitting in his
chair staring into space and not being of any use to anyone. I
told him it was fine to do that if that’s what he wanted to do, and that
sometimes I wish I could also sit in a chair and stare into space.
I could tell things were different, because he wasn’t aware of anything
that’s been happening in the outside world, the most recent topic being
in Bali. Even when he hasn’t been feeling well in the past
he’s always had the radio on and been up to date with everything that’s
going on. We had a good laugh together, though. We were
talking about David taking Libby
to Mauritius for their Silver
Wedding anniversary and I compared it to how he spent his Silver Wedding
anniversary in a caravan in a field in Oundle
with all four of his children being a nuisance. The talk then
drifted to his honeymoon when he did say that he taught Mum to play
Bridge. I told him that wasn’t the story she’d told me. She
said that he played golf during the daytime while she did the cooking with
his mother. He did remember that, and described how he came
back to the Skegness beach house after a round of golf and found a steak
on fire on the stove. He picked it up, threw it out of the door
and stamped it out. He pointed out that Mum never complained about
the lack of romantic holidays. But I still gave him a hard time
and we had a chuckle.
And on the same lines of Habershon frugality, he ended the
conversation as usual saying, “I don’t want to run up your ‘phone
bill, but please ring me again. 5 p.m. GMT is always a good time
Friday, October 11, 2002
A weekend of Baseball (punctuated with studying for Monday’s music
exam) is coming up. A car ran over my glasses (long story) a
couple of hours ago so I’m listening to the Twins/Angels game on the
radio right now. They are tied 1-1 in the series and are tied in
Game Three as I type. In the National League the Cardinals and
Giants play Game Three tomorrow. The Giants lead the series 2-0.
Perfect weather in Houston. Today was 86 degrees and
sunny. Tomorrow will be the same. I don’t know how anyone
can think about f**tb@!!.
Wednesday (later), October 9, 2002
The RiverChicks (one of my three fantasy Baseball teams) have just
advanced to the final round of the Riverstick League playoffs.
This is the furthest any of my teams have gone in the eight years I’ve
been playing. We now play a best-of-seven series against the
Superstars and their loud-mouthed, bragging manager, Statman. And
if he was reading this I know he’d break into a huge grin.
I felt honoured to be let into Riverstick this year. It is a
long-established league, and the opening was created when one of their
managers (Ace) died on the 100th floor of the World Trade Center on
9/11. The league was re-named the “Riverstick Aces”
league in his memory.
Wednesday, October 9, 2002
I’ve just been looking at some of the 9/11 hijackers’ U.S. visa
applications. Just seeing their handwriting freaks me
out. The word “tangible” comes to mind, but I don’t know
how to put it in a sentence to explain what I mean.
They also make me think back to my nine-year quest for U.S.
citizenship — from the original visitor’s visa application (just like
theirs) right through to the final petition for naturalization. I
typed nearly every one of my forms and spent many hours trying to make
them perfect. And many times they would be rejected or sent back
to me for additional information. In addition to all the
paperwork, I supplied fingerprints on three separate occasions, was
humiliated by a woman at the Rotterdam U.S. Consulate when I dared to
ask which bus I should catch to get to a hospital to get the required
chest x-ray, and was once locked in a room for an hour at the airport in
Houston for an irregularity on my re-entry visa. On the day of my
final citizenship interview I sat in a waiting room for seven hours with
about 150 other hopefuls. Very few of them spoke English, and each
was in and out of his/her interview in about five minutes. Mine
took 35 minutes, during which time I was grilled by an immigration
officer who thought that my knowledge of Thomas Jefferson was severely
Maybe I tried too hard? Maybe they saw how desperate I was to
become a U.S. citizen?
What I’m trying to say is that I went through hell in my mission to
get to the U.S. and stay in the U.S. They made it really
tough. And when I look at those applications I feel just as mad at
the INS as I do at
Tuesday, October 8, 2002
Monday, October 7, 2002 6:40 p.m.
This music class is getting expensive. We’re up to the
Baroque era and the professor has given us a bunch of listening
assignments to do before next Monday’s exam. This involves driving
to UH in the evenings or during the weekend, and listening to CDs in the
library. One work assigned is J. S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion.
Rather than trek to the library I just went out and bought a copy.
I love choral music anyway, so it won’t be wasted; in fact, I have it on
at full volume right now. Class was great again today. A
graduate piano student named “Sooah” played us Bach’s Chromatic
Fantasy and Fugue in D Minor. Amazing how she could do that so
flawlessly before breakfast.
Sunday, October 6, 2002 6:40 p.m.
It was a nail-biting bottom of the 9th, but Ron
Gardenhire‘s Twins have just beaten the Oakland A’s and now advance
to the American League Championship Series. They’ll be opening at
the Metrodome on Tuesday night against the California Angels. Best
of seven series. The winner advances to the World Series.
Sorry family, I know this means nothing to you. Bear with
me. It’ll all be over soon.
Sunday, October 6, 2002
returned from the Greek
Festival where we loaded our bicycles with pastitsio, salata,
keftedes, tiropita, spanakopita, dolmades and baclava (hope I got all
the spellings right there). Thank you, Callie,
for the tickets. We spent an additional $17 but passed up on the
folk dancing. I have an important ballgame to watch. We
remembered that this time last year we also rushed home quickly as we’d
just started bombing Afghanistan. How time flies by.
Saturday, October 5, 2002
Baseball stuff — sorreeeee: Ron
Gardenhire’s Twins have just eviscerated Oakland. The series
is tied 2-2 and they are all flying back to Oakland for the final
game. Meanwhile, the Yankees are facing elimination, behind 9-4 in
the seventh inning at Anaheim. Delicious 🙂
I wonder if Kevin will issue a public apology for the mean things he
said about Richard Hidalgo? I for one am sorry I snickered at his article.
Friday, October 4, 2002
This morning Wendy and I were filmed for a Channel 11 TV show and
hope to be stars by Tuesday lunchtime (see October 4th My
Mini Part III). Well, she definitely will be. I’ll
probably end up on the cutting room floor (is that how you say
it?). After the shoot we (that’s me and Wendy) drove to Anahuac to
do some work at the courthouse. As usual, everyone crowded around
Wendy when I arrived, and I actually took two ladies for a ride around
the block. While my deed order was being completed I went and ate
catfish at the Panther Den. We got back to Houston around 6 p.m.
and drove straight to the Alabama Ice House to meet up
with John and Terry and Callie and
Kevin. From there we walked to
Thai Pepper and had a brilliant meal — saté and cheese puffs and rice
shaped like a butterfly and other good stuff. Especially tasty was
the lime squid salad. I must remember next time, however, not to
let Kevin coerce me into ordering it extra hot. From Thai Pepper
we walked to Cactus Records and bought a J. S. Bach CD (Glenn Gould
pianist) and a used copy of the Beatles “Let It Be” CD.
All in all it’s been a good Friday. I’m sorry to see, however,
that the Twins lost game three of the playoffs. They’re in a
must-win situation now.
Thursday evening, October 3, 2002
Justice wrote about Ron Gardenhire in the Houston Chronicle
today. You all know who Ron Gardenhire is, don’t you?
Okay okay. Scroll down to October 1st and then come back
here. And if you’re sick of Baseball GO AWAY. I’m in
Anyway, I’m going to have to type all this because the online version
of the Chronicle doesn’t have it. Is that how they keep
their print subscribers? Lucky I can type 110 wpm, huh?
In his first season on the job,
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has established himself as both a first-rate
manager and a world-class practical joker.
When he was named to replace
Tom Kelly, who retired after last season, Gardenhire said he liked a clubhouse with a bit of fun in it.
That he does.
On his desk at the Metrodome sits a miniature slot
machine. The inquiring visitor can’t resist giving it a
flip. When he or she does, an electrical jolt is delivered.
He’s got a fake cage holding a fake mongoose. Look too closely,
and Gardenhire presses a button that makes the mongoose leap.
His players respond in kind. Closer Eddie
Guardado gave his manager a shaving cream pie, interrupting a
Gardenhire retaliated by placing a live lobster on
“I’ve always said, ‘You play this game, you better
enjoy it while you have the chance,'” Gardenhire said. “I’ve
wanted to do this for a long time, and I want to enjoy it. I
like a little bit of atmosphere in the clubhouse. I enjoy the
stories, the talk, the practical jokes, as long as nobody gets killed.’
“That’s the fun part of baseball — having fun at the
ballpark. You spend a lot of time together; you better be able to have
Guardado said of his manager: “That’s a player’s
manager. You can joke with him, and he loves it. And when
the game starts, he’s intense as anything. A lot of frustrating
things happen during a 162-game season, but with Gardy there, are you
going to tense up? No. We’re going to have fun. And
he’s always in the middle of it.”
One night after Guardado had allowed a long home run to Seattle’s
Edgar Martinez, Gardenhire saw the pitcher on the team bus and
said: “Dang, Eddie, that was a pretty far shot. Did you
see it land?”
Gardenhire, a native Minnesotan who went to high school in
Oklahoma and played college baseball at the University of Texas, played
for the Mets during a brief major-league career. He joined the
Twins as a coach in 1991.
Unfortunately, the Twins lost Game 2 of the playoffs yesterday.
Game 3 is tomorrow. First to win three games goes to the next
Still on the subject of Baseball, but switching to the Astros . . .
usually I read Kevin’s observations with indignation and feel the need
to rush to their defence. However, this time I have to laugh at
stab at Richard Hidalgo. The guy’s done very
little since landing his lucrative contract at the end of the 2000
season. Except maybe eat. And he blames the manager.
Thursday morning, October 3, 2002
Somehow breakfast doesn’t seem quite as enjoyable when you have a
strong suspicion that your cat may have lapped some of the milk out of
your bowl of cereal while you were outside searching for the Wall
Street Journal which didn’t get delivered or got stolen again.
Tuesday night (later), October 1, 2002
I’m a Ron Gardenhire fan. Who? You may well ask.
He’s the manager of the Minnesota
Back in 1981, while working in Saudi Arabia, I read in a six-week-old
Sporting News that a certain infielder named Ron Gardenhire had
been called up by the Mets. Nothing unusual about that, except
that the article happened to mention that when he booked his flight to
New York he paid for a first-class seat for his cat. Of course,
being a cat lover and a Baseball fan, I knew this guy had to be it.
I rattled off a letter to him commending him for his actions.
He wrote back to me! And he enclosed a picture of his
cat. I wrote back to him enclosing a picture of my cats, and then
he sent me pictures of his baby and more of his other cats back
home. It was so cool to be in touch with a real Baseball player.
During a trip to the U.S. a couple of years later, I went to Atlanta
for a game. The Br@>e$ were playing the Mets. I got there
early to watch batting practice and spotted Ron by the batting
cage. I mustered some courage and called to him . . .
“Ron”? He looked over towards me, and I added . . .
“I’m Cathy from Saudi Arabia. You know? The one with
the cats?” He left the batting cage and walked over to me,
shook my hand, and talked to me for a good 15 minutes. What a
nice, nice, nice guy. It’s not often that a player will take the
time to talk to a fan. I was beside myself with excitement.
Ron hit a double in the first inning of that game. It was
probably the highlight of his major league career, which only lasted
about five years. We exchanged Christmas cards, but eventually
But he turned out to be a good coach/manager, and I’ve been following
his career ever since. He managed in “A” ball for a
while, and gradually made his way back to the majors as a bench coach,
first base coach and third base coach for the Twins. This year
they named him the manager. It was also announced that the Twins
were on the shortlist for contraction this year . . . but something
happened . . . they won their Division!
They’re in the AL playoffs, and today beat the Oakland A’s in Game
This post season, I’m a Ron Gardenhire fan. Therefore that
makes me a Twins fan and, God forbid, an American League fan.
Tuesday night, October 1, 2002
I’ve chosen to make my life fairly public by keeping a journal on
this page, so I guess I’d better come clean here. I dropped my
Finance class. Yes, I’m a loser. I feel like a loser.
But God, what a relief. I got a C-Minus on that
test and probably could have winged it, but just didn’t want to deal
So, I’m down to one class this semester: Listening to Music
Master Works. At least John and I can
drive to it together. I’ll take the Finance class in the summer
which will mean graduation won’t be until later in the year. But
hey, what’s the hurry?
I keep telling myself that I’m an adult, paying my own tuition fees,
and, I answer to nobody.
Why do I feel like such a loser, though?