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Tuesday, March 13, 2001

It's not fair! I stayed in yesterday, out of the beautiful sunshine with all that stuff blowing around in the air, and I worked hard at my job that I get paid for instead of doing anything fun, and I still woke up this morning with a head full of cotton. It just doesn't seem right, somehow.

Today was a day much like yesterday. I stayed at my desk and didn't try to get out and enjoy the weather (which was foggy and overcast all morning, and breezy in the afternoon, but still, I was making a point, which I've now forgotten).

The result of my diligence is that I finished the financial worksheets! This massive project that I promised the Boss would be completed by the middle of February is finally done. In the middle of March.

Now he has to review all of the work I've spent the last two and a half months producing (most of it, it feels like, in the last two days). He'll think he's shirking his duty if he doesn't find some things he wants me to change. I'll resist, and tell him why he's wrong, and then eventually give in and do about half this project over. But it'll be easier the second time, hopefully.

At any rate, that's in the future. Today was my last for awhile that'll be no fun at all. I won't be chained to my desk for at least the next few days (although I've let a few critical tasks get away from me in my frenzy to get the project finished, and I will have to work those in somehow).

The sense of relief here is almost overwhelming. It's like a dark cloud parting and the sun shining through. It's like hitting a stretch of open highway after six hours in a traffic jam. It's like the last day of school (in sixth grade) or hot dog day (in third grade). Wheee! Seriously.

My latest discovery as I flip up and down the satellite channels is that channel 805 plays Dixieland from nine to midnight. All upbeat, happy jazz music, with a little ragtime thrown in. It's Mardi Gras every night at my house now. (Okay, not every night. It's usually the Bluegrass and Show Tunes Channel.)

I'm strutting around as if I actually had a sense of rhythm. I play the trumpet part with my lips, even though I've never picked up a horn in my life and couldn't carry a tune if it came with handles. It's not a pretty sight, and I'll stop if you drop by. (I did play the clarinet for a while in grade school, but I never got past "Carnival of Venice," droned out so slowly that it would put the gondolier to sleep.)

This is great stuff, though. The Firehouse Five Plus Two. Vince Giordano's Nighthawks. Not to mention Louis Armstrong, Doc Cheatham and Bix Beiderbecke.

I'm a latecomer to jazz. I didn't hear it as I was growing up, and I knew almost nothing about it until a couple of years ago. I've picked up a little knowledge here and there, mostly just by listening, so the Ken Burns series helped give me a little historical perspective on the music. I still can't pretend to know much, but at least I recognize a lot of the names of the musicians, and I definitely know what I like.

My musical tastes have gone through so many phases and stages that I sometimes wonder how long this one will last. But there's so much variety in jazz, and that's what I crave. I'll listen to classic rock, sixties oldies, modern "alternative" and "progressive" rock, and just about anything else I come across. And the history of jazz is about twice as long as the history of rock, so I still have a lot of exploration and discovery to do.

It's not unusual to find this black phoebe perched on the peak of the roof, loudly chirping out orders as if it had no doubt who was in charge.

bird on the roof

When it's not on the roof, it's on a fence post or in the walnut tree outside my back door. I'm glad it's so comfortable here, but I'm afraid it's sizing up that area under the eave as a cozy nesting place. That idea might require some gentle discouragement from me.

These birds are funny. They fly kamikaze-style, directly at the fence before swooping up and landing on top. Sometimes they'll take off from a branch and make a lightning-quick u-turn in midair, settling in the same spot again. It sometimes seems that they can't see well enough to know where they're going until they're right on top of it.

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