Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Grand Tour of Baltimore

Janet took Amanda and me on the Grand Tour of Baltimore today. She loves history every bit as much as plants. I'm so lucky I have her for my neighbor, as I love people that know all about history and plants! She showed us so many things that only a native would know. We even saw where her grandparents lived and the place where her grandfather's shop (memorial stones) used to be. She told us all about shopping downtown when she was a girl. Those stores are all long gone, but it reminded me of shopping downtown in Billings (except for on a much grander scale).

We started at Fort McHenry, where despite the lack of rockets' red glare, we saw the Star Spangled Banner yet waving. We'll return with Butch sometime to get the royal tour there. He and Janet met while they worked as tour guides there.

After that we went to Federal Hill, which has a great view of the Inner Harbor. You can see the grass is so yellow here. We left the west, but we brought the dry weather with us. It hasn't rained for weeks now!

 Next, we dropped by the library of the Peabody Institute (of Johns Hopkins University). It is so beautiful. I don't know if you can touch any of the books. It's almost like a museum rather than a library.Other than the reference books, everything was locked behind plexiglas.

On Mt. Vernon Square Baltimore has a great monument to George Washington, the first monument to the first president , on which construction began in 1815. However, due to some dilly-dallying, it was completed after the monument to George completed in 1827 in Washington State Park (also in Maryland).

After that we walked over to the Waters Art Museum, which is free and has every bit as good of naked men as any museum we saw in Europe.  There were a lot of churches along the way that were very beautiful inside and out.

Baltimore also has a beautiful public library, the Enoch Pratt Free library. There are a ton of philanthropists that enjoyed showering their money on Charm City  (Baltimore).

We stopped by Westminster Church, where Baltimore's favorite son, Edgar Allan Poe was buried. Is there anything as great as a graveyard where a really scary guy is buried?

On the way back to the car we walked through Lexington Market, which has been here for about 230 years. It was like a trip to Mexico, with the open stalls inside. We bought a Berger chocolate topped cookie there, because it is a famous Baltimore treat, and because we needed strength to start the walk back to the car.

We had lunch at Miss Shirley's in Roland Park. It was well worth waiting for. I had the chop salad with a half almond chicken salad sandwich. It was the best lunch ever! I'm posting a picture of it for you, just so you'll believe me!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Popcorn Mini-Cupcakes

Amanda made little cupcakes that look like popcorn today. She and Ed took them to his home teaching family, and then Amanda and I went over to Miss Hackneys (of the farm) with a smaller bag.

We also made some ricotta spaghetti for dinner tonight. It had ground almonds, nutmeg and cinammon, as well as fresh chopped parsley from our herb garden. I liked it a lot, but Ed isn't asking for an encore performance. It was real nutmeggy, as I just couldn't quit grinding! With Amanda's encouragement maybe I'll start enjoying cooking!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Banjo Lesson

I took a banjo lesson on Saturday from a boy in Baltimore. He was only 20, but played better than I do, so that was all that mattered. His father is a hammered dulcimer and fiddle teacher, so I hope to find out more about folk music in Baltimore through them. We did Blackberry Blossom, and I had a good time. Unfortunately for me, Brad had some more suggestions of things I could do to improve my technique. One of them was play higher up the neck, which would result in a softer sound. I'm sure my family would be happy with that one!

Stake Conference Picnic

We went to Stake Conference this morning. We had to attend the Hampstead building about 1/2 hour north of us. The Stake Center is 1/2 south, in Columbia, but it is too small, so our ward and the Hampstead Ward watch on a TV feed. We got a new Stake President today, James Mitchell, who we don't know. But that wouldn't be unusual, as we only know people in our ward (and only about 1/2 of that!). Amanda is considering attending the Columbia Second ward, which is a family ward with a "single's emphasis." Singles who want to go to a single's ward but don't want to drive to DC or Baltimore go there. We really don't know much about it except they just lost their bishop, who is the new stake president!

We stopped at a park in Hampstead and had a nice picnic lunch before heading home this afternoon. It was nice and comfortable in the shade of the giant maple trees. It didn't feel anything like the 95 degrees and 50 percent humidity it was!

P.S. Elder Jensen was our visiting General Authority. He was a very engaging speaker with lots of interesting stories, and a very funny sense of humor. His experience as church historian paid big dividends for us, as he had plenty of great material to draw from.

Herb Garden

Amanda is planning on cooking us some great meals while she's home. We decided to make an herb garden to save money and have access to fresh herbs. Here's what we came up with. It has lemon basil, sage, thyme, oregano, chives and parsley. We think it also looks really pretty. We don't really know how to take care of it. When we cut off some stems we're hoping something new will grow back. We're keeping our fingers crossed.

The Printed Word

I got Ed a trial subcription to the Baltimore Sun for Father's Day. We're still having withdrawal from having no newspaper, so we thought we'd try it out. It's nice to have one in the morning over a bowl of cereal. It feels good to have something to hold onto. We thought we could just get our news online, but who wants to sit at a monitor to read the funnies? Then there's the matter of improved regularity. If you don't know what I'm talking about there, then lucky you!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Oriole's Game

Ed got tickets from work to see the baseball game tonight. The Oriole's are having a spectacularly bad season (and decade). They have a hard time getting takers on the tickets. They are behind 6 to three in the top of the eighth. Things are looking up, though. We just found out there are fireworks after the game. Plus I get to try posting a blog entry from my new LG Ally phone!

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Judy's Shoulder

I went to a new orthopaedic doctor yesterday, as my therapist suggested I get a second opinion. She recommended a doctor she'd heard good things about. He, considentally, was the doctor I was originally referred to, but it took so long to get in that I switched to another (perhaps less popular) doctor.

Doctor B (as in Blue) concurred with Doctor W's assessment that I, indeed, do have a frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis). The upside, however is that Dr. B recommends something besides therapy to treat it. It's called shoulder manipulation. They knock out the patient (me) with anesthesia and then move my shoulder in all the ways it should but that that are unbearable to me because of the pain. It breaks up the scar tissue and I wake up with increased movement, and it shortens the recovery time.

After manipulation I would have a few weeks of therapy, then just do some exercises on my own. Apparently, untreated, the shoulder would eventually unfreeze by itself (perhaps after several years). Therapy often doesn't help, because it makes the patient (again, me) so sore that she (me) uses it even less than without therapy.

I just looked up this treatment online, and it seems standard. It begs the question, of why didn't Dr. W offer it to me? That was what Dr. B was wondering, also. So, I'm am cautiously optimistic about my chances of a speedier recovery.

I also had a dental post implanted yesterday. I'm a little puffy on the left side, but not as bad as Crystal after her wisdom teeth were removed. I have to wait another 6 months for a tooth! Maybe I'll get a tooth about the same time my should stops hurting!

Monday, June 21, 2010

House Update

Even More pics

More Pictures

Father's Day

Brittany and Jasie are leaving today, which is so sad. They spent yesterday close to home, visiting Miss Carol's farm and the Maisel museum across the street. We have such interesting neighbors. Miss Carol told them about the racoons getting stuck in her fireplace, and at Butch's muesum they got to hold a gun that was actually used during the battle at Gettysburg. In this picture they are walking home from Miss Carol's along her little maple-lined lane (that we own).

We had enough time to let Ed open his Father's Day presents, after which he spent a part of his day assembling patio furniture so we could sit on our new deck. He got a new BBQ for Father's day, but some assembly is still required on that, so we broiled our bratwurst in the oven.

Despite the heat we had to take the girls on a walk along the fire trail. Janet joined us and showed us some of the old house foundations along the way. They're so overgrown now that you can barely see them.
In our walk of about 75 minutes we didn't encounter anyone else on the trail. It's like your own private forest!

We finished our walk through the construction zone of our new road. They seem to have the drainage pipes all laid now. I got Ed to pose with this truck.

I took Brittany's picture in this front end loader. We thought Crystal would enjoy seeing Brittany's Top Model pose.

We finished the day with a private concert (one song--O, Divine Redeemer) for Miss Carol followed by crepes made by Jasie. It couldn't have been a nicer day.

National Zoo

Saturday we went to the National Zoo. At first I was a little disappointed because it didn't have some of the things Denver has. It had fewer lions and tigers, as well as fewer apes and gorillas.

It didn't even have a single giraffe. But, the location is so beautiful. It is beautifully landscaped--all green with shady trees lining the walkways.

In the end we saw plenty of things that Denver doesn't have, like chinchillas, pandas and a sloth bear (both brass and fur).

We posed with the brass one.

This is the furry one. 

After the zoo we rested up and went out to Captain Dan's for crabcakes, since it would be our last chance to have Brittany and Jasie taste the Maryland specialty before they leave. Here are a few Maryland Blue Crabs (free from gulf oil) that bought the farm at Captain Dan's.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Royal Tour of Gettysburg

Our neighbor, Butch, is an expert on Gettysburg, and he took us on a great tour of the battlefield today. He not only made the battle very understandable, but told lots of personal stories of heroism, bravery, and not such good behavior. It was really fun. It was a beautiful day, and we enjoyed a picnic at the visitors center.

Brittany picked up a butterfly! Does that mean she is the Healer? (We just watched The Lady in the Water.)

Janet said Butch brought her to Gettysburg on their first date. And, all these years later, she's still coming up with him. She made sure we found some shady places to sit and listen. We ended up hearing about Pickett's ill-fated charge as we sat in the shade of the famous Copse of Trees. The stories about the soldiers coming back and creating monuments on the battlefield were also very touching.


We took Jasie with us to Piney Run Park yesterday. Carroll County, where we live, has it's own lake, and we were excited to rent kayaks on the lake. Unfortunately, a light breeze caused enough whitecaps that they wouldn't rent boats out. I was apparently the only one in the party who was truly disappointed. We ended up going to downtown Sykesville and buying a nice sideboard for our kitchen nook in one of the cute shops on main street. Kayaking would have been a lot cheaper!

We ate dinner at Salerno's last night. It is a restaurant in town that had a special on crabs--$1 each! Since we had no idea how to eat crabs we invited June, my visiting teaching partner to instruct us. She was happy to do us the favor and enjoy a crab meal with us.

The Maryland blue crabs don't have a lot of meat on them. It took us about 2 hours to eat a half dozen each. It was a lot of work, but somewhat entertaining. The Chesapeake Bay seasoning on the outside gets all over your fingers, and therefore on the crab meat. It was quite tasty. We were glad we had a teacher. We learned how to pull up the apron, crack the crab and clean out the devil and the mustard. We hear people eat a dozen crabs each, but maybe they're more efficient at it than we were. After six each we were plum tuckered out!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Inner Harbor

We went to the Inner Harbor and the National Acquarium yesterday. The great news was that we got tickets from work, which made the dolphin show affordable (free). The dolphins were much less listless than they were last month, and they renewed Amanda's grade-school years desire to be a Marine biologist. If the music thing doesn't work out for her...

We also stopped by St. Paul's Episcopal church in downtown, where our ancestors worshipped for about 150 years. It was closed, as was the cemetery. Maybe we'll try again sometime. The cemetery has been relocated from it's location next to the church. It's now conveniently located next to the hospital!