Sunday, May 30, 2010

Rocks Galore

I took another couple of loads of rocks down to my stream bed yesterday. There are plenty on the side of the new road for the taking. We improved on the process by connecting the wagon to the lawn mower. Ed ferried the rocks down to the back yard and brought me back up to the top in the empty wagon. It was surprisingly fun to ride in the back of a wagon while it's being pulled by a lawnmower. On the last load I got brave enough to drive the tractor and let Ed ride up in the wagon. I wonder if our neighbors think we're crazy!

Two Turtles are Better than One

Yesterday afternoon we found TWO turtles in our wheelbarrow. We can only guess that the landscapers put them there. There were a few inches of water in the wheeelbarrow, so they were enjoying themselves in it. One was Pete, but we don't know if the other was Paul or Mary. How does one tell? We set them free, but hope they stick around to entertain us some more.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Don't Try This at Home!

This is Gerardo cleaning the grape vines out of our trees. It was terrifying to watch. Fortunately, he lived to talk about it!

Septic Garden

The landscapers came over this morning and put in a garden over our septic tank. Palemón drove his fork lift over to the end of our new road and picked up a giant rock that we'd picked out. It was an amazing feet in 6 inches of mud! But, the end result was fantastic.

Thank you Village Gardeners!

Stream Bed

I' ve been working hard, too. I got several wagon loads of rocks from the road construction, and brought them down to our copse. We have a natural drainage through the woods, which gets a lot of water when it rains. I thought it would look nice to line the area with rocks. Here is what I've done so far. Now, if we just had a nice koi pond where it widens out! This was really fun work when the temperature hit 90 degrees (and 45 percent humidity) on Thursday!


A cute little box turtle has taken up residence in our back yard. Ed named him Pete, after a little turtle he had when he was a kid. We tried to feed him some bread, but it made him pull inside his shell. Maybe when he gets to know us better...

Memorable Memorial Weekend

Billy Ray left took the day off yesterday, but left the rest of the contractor crew to work on our house. I thought because Billy Ray went sailing in Puerto Rico this weekend we should also have a party. So I invited the boys from El Salvador to lunch. I made scones, and Ed (who was home sick) was able to join us. But that was just the beginning of our party.

In case the boss should happen to read my blog, I want to make it clear, that plenty of work went on--shown here by this picture of Alex digging post holes for the deck.

After work the entertainment began. Roberto and I started it off with a rousing rendition of Sombrero Azul, a song about El Salvador. I played the charango and Roberto played bass.

This was followed up by variations combinations of Roberto and Alex doing some solos and duets. They both play guitar and sing in both English as well as Spanish. I thought it's too bad they don't have a Salvadoran Idol TV show, because Alex would be a shoe-in (zapato-adentro?). 

Ed and Henry were the audience and I did some taping, some of which may appear on you-tube in the near future! It was a fun way to kick off our holiday weekend.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Here's a kitchen update picture. The cabinets are in, without the crown molding. Look at all the pretty morning sunshine pouring into the kitchen. It was so strong, that we broke down and turned on the air conditioner today. The granite comes next Thursday. Hopefully soon I'll have a fridge and oven. The deck is underway today. It looks a lot bigger than we thought it would be!

Poor Ed is home sick today. We're hoping it's not mono! He was able to fly home from Colorado yesterday for the first time on the corporate jet. He said that was pretty cool. It took an hour off the flight alone, not to mention the time savings at the airport on both ends!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bar Template

We're still living in chaos, with no end in sight. The good news is that the granite company came over and made a template for the bar and counters, as well as the master bathroom. It's exciting to think that in a week we'll have granite. In the meantime, I'd settle for having a sink today! They forgot to bring a sink with them, so it looks like I'll be spending a second day without a kitchen sink. Oh, well, just another excuse not to cook tonight!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Maisel Museum

Who knew the Maisels (our neighbors across the street) have a museum of military history in their basements? They invited us over for a private tour last night. It was pretty amazing. He (Butch) does demonstrations and lectures and is an oft-consulted expert. He has a ton of US uniforms and other paraphernalia on display. He might be able to help us get more information on our ancestor, Charles Brady, who served in the revolutionary war.

Baltimore Oriole

We went to the National Aquarium with the Alfords on Saturday. They had come to Baltimore for a work-related awards dinner Thursday. We see them more here than we did in Denver! We met in downtown Baltimore on Saturday. We were lucky to see a real Baltimore Oriole at the aquarium. The baseball team is not doing so hot. No one wants to talk about them!

We saw the dolphin show, which was fun, although it really only lasted about 20 minutes, and 5 minutes of that was a video reminding us to save the planet.

One poor dolphin had to do all the great tricks. The other dolphins hung around for the free fish.

We finished off a fun afternoon with a ride on "Chessie," the dragon boat. Ron and Ed paddled and Janan and I just enjoyed floating around in the Chesapeake Bay!

El Toro Bravo

Friday afternoon Ed and I went to Annapolis to pick out tile for the kitchen backsplash. Since our contractors are from Annapolis we asked them where to have dinner. Alex suggested El Toro Bravo, on the main street into town. So, here we are sitting right underneath the Toro, himself! We got the lucky booth! Alex said it was Salvadoran food, but it was pure Mexican, and quite delicious. It's a relief to know that even in Maryland we can find good Mexican restaurants.

Friday, May 21, 2010


I'm pretty excited about my mosaic. We got it in by DHL yesterday, all the way from Lebanon (the country, not the city in Ohio). It will go under the range vent. I took a picture of it so we could get the idea of how it will fit. We'll take the original to the tile place today to pick out the backsplash tiles. The colors are a little less muted in the original. This goes along with my vegetable theme. You can see there are artichokes in the bowl, tomatoes on the right. I emailed the manufacturer to ask what was on the left of the bowl. I have the answer now, but I'll be happy to entertain a few guesses here in my blog postings!

Here's a close up to see the fruit better.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

White Flowers in the Copse

One of our vines suddenly bloomed this week. It's not one of the noxious wild grape, so we might spare it. It looks so pretty and smells nice, too. Below you can see Ed checking it out. We thought it was some kind of rose, but there are no thorns on it. It's been fun having our own little copse. You never know what is going to grow out there.

People of the Book(ies)

I was able to Skype into Bookies this afternoon. They were all happy after Nora had fed them Serbo-Italian chicken. I had a dry donut and a glass of water so they wouldn't feel sorry for me.

We read People of the Book. It was very entertaining, following the history of a Jewish manuscript for 500 years. It was fiction, but we learned a lot about the inquisition (a very bad time to be alive), as well as the Holocaust (another downer) and modern day Sarajevo (again, not so good of a time to be alive) and Australia. Nora, as always gave us some insight and said that a happy ending for Lola (one of the characters) might not have been realistic. I like books that show people who triumph over difficult circumstances. Apparently, some people just survive them. Look at the bookies (in the Skype picture above). They have all triumphed over some real trials in their lives. I like them better than Lola (from the book). I'm glad we've been able to meet together for 14 years! One of the ways we (the Bookies) have triumphed is that we were able to Skype each other today with no help from anyone! Necessity is the mother of invention. When we want something bad enough we figure out how to do it. We are not just survivors, but triumphant survivors. Viva Bookies!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Feeding Time at Cold Saturday Farm

Ed and I went over to Miss Hackney's farm this afternoon for feeding time for the horses. It was fun to see the horses, and especially fun to pet them and feed them a carrot.  
Here is Ed with  Bali Ha'i
 I'm in with Coco Chanel

After he finished feeding the horses, Lenny also brought in the rooster and the hen. They get one brown egg every morning. Maybe we should get ourselves a hen!



Ed and I spent Saturday morning doing some work around the house, then went off to Annapolis to visit our granite yard, as well as do some sightseeing. It is a really quaint town, with a flavor of Europe--tight streets radiating out from traffic circles. One circle street surrounds the state capital (the oldest one still in use in the US), and another around St. Anne's Episcopal church. The weather was perfect for a walk around the historic district. Here we are on the grounds of the Naval Academy. It is right downtown.

This was my favorite picture taken inside Bancroft Hall. (Your tax dollars at work.) It was really beautiful.

We enjoyed a late lunch at a sidewalk cafe right across from St. Anne's.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Work Goes On

It really looks like the contractors haven't done much this week, but it's been huge! All the wiring and plumbing is in, and the drywall is patched up. They finished the mud today and will sand the kitchen walls tomorrow.

They also finished the crown molding in the dining room and living room. I think the colors we picked for the dining room turned out terrific. (Imagine it without the blue painter's tape!)
In an effort to make myself feel more useful, I went back into the copse and picked up more sticks. I now have 3 giant piles. Hopefully, we can get someone to come over and chip the wood into tiny pieces and shoot it back into the forest! The straw in the foreground is the covering on our spray-on grass. It's rained a little this week, and tiny shoots of grass are starting to peek through the straw.

Mother's Day Flowers

Brittany and Amanda had flowers delivered to me for Mother's day on Monday, so I had two Mother's days. The delivery people came as the landscapers were planting in front of our house. It was a very flowery day!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Yesterday we got 3 white pines, an evergreen magnolia, a weeping Japanese maple, and a Kwanzan cherry tree, along with a bunch of cherry laurel, boxwood, rhododendrons, azaleas, roses, hydrangeas and steed holly. It makes the house look so nice. Our next step will be doing something around the septic pipes.

My neighbors have been offering me cuttings from their plants. Now I have some extra room to put a few perennials in. I'm supposed to water my new plants every day for a week. I'm hoping it will rain.

Monday, May 10, 2010

One Source Lunch Break

Roberto and Alex played a little for me during their lunch break today. They were joined by the landscapers, who also enjoyed the concert. This is a song called "Las Noches Son Largas" by Roberto Andrade. How many people are lucky enough to get singing contractors to remodel their kitchen?

Landscapers Arrive

The landscapers came this morning with three truckloads of different plants and trees and mulch. They're working their magic as I type! Unfortunately, their magic included cutting the cable, internet and phone lines. The upside of it is that now I'm back online so I can post this blog!

Church in Broomfield

It's great that visiting Amanda gives us the excuse to go to Broomfield for a few hours. Ed and I enjoyed going to church in Broomfield. The musical number by the Primary with Carla, Shannon and Amanda on the adult part was so beautiful that it made me cry. It was great to see our friends again. Coreen even came from all the way from Germany just to see us (and to be a part of her daughter's wedding).

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Amanda's Graduation

We were very proud of Amanda who graduated from the University of Northern Colorado yesterday. She had a good enough GPA to wear a Latin Honors cord. No one knows why it's called Latin Honors, unless it has to do with the fact that all the "cum laudes" after your name on the program are in Latin. I don't think they offer Latin classes at the University.
Best of all, she got to sing the National Anthem at graduation. She did a great job and we were able to hear it twice as it echoed through the stadium. We all got sunburned despite the fact that we were uncomfortably cold. The wind had a lot to do with that!

Colorado Again

Ed and I were forced to buy sweatshirts that said UNC on them when we got to Colorado. The temperature was a little chillier than we'd planned on. It was hot when we left Baltimore! The sweat shirts will also be nice reminders of Amanda's college graduation.

We spent Friday night at Verlene and Paul's B&B. We had some great schnitzel and enjoyed watching the sunset over the Front Range from Verlene's deck. We enjoyed the mountain view. That's going to have to last me for another month now.
Brittany got a good lick from Brandy in this picture. John got a kick out of it. Why is it so much fun to take pictures of animals? We all had to get in the act.
This is a great dog picture because the caption would be "Andy, Brandy and Mandy."

New Pantry

Our contractors finished taking out the wall in the kitchen on Thursday. The old wall had a lot of pipes and vents in it, but they are now re-routed into the new pantry wall. Our new pantry is going to be great. We can't wait to get home to Maryland today (we're in Colorado this morning) and see what new things they did on Friday!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Contractor Rock

Alex took a break while working on the remodel of our kitchen today to sing a little rock and roll for me. One Source Contracting is truly a full-service contractor! It looks like Alex's talents are wasted on drywall! Next time I hope he'll teach me a song from his native El Salvador!

Condor Story in Print!

I've been hoping to publish my Condor Story (from my mission in Bolivia) for about 30 years now. I finally got someone to print it! It's in the print version of Mormon Times this week, but you can also check it out in the online version at the link below. Scroll down to the story titled, "Bird Battle."