Friday, July 30, 2010


I've been through the ringer today. Ed took me to the hospital at 6 a.m. for my shoulder manipulation. I was in significant pain after the procedure, compounded by the disorientation associated with recovering from the general anesthetic. About noon I let Ed take me home to sleep. The half hour ride was like riding a very bad carnival ride--very nauseating. Ed woke me up from my nap in time for my three o'clock physical therapy appointment. The best part of that was the fire and ice (heat compress and ice pack) that followed the torture (stretching) exercises.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Do NOT Sit On this Bench!

Amanda and I took Coda for a walk around the back yard, after which I plopped down on a bench to pet the dog. Coda rolled under the bench, then yelped. Then I yelped. We had apparently disturbed the hornets making a nest under our bench! I got stung on the left ankle and right ring finger. As I jumped up, Amanda screamed at me, "Keep running, they're after you!" I ran into the house where I grabbed a baby wipe and a pack of ice. I've been nursing myself and trying to get over the scare! Coda seems to have forgotten all about it.

Amanda looked up how to treat stings. She checked to make sure I was okay. Then, I strapped on my ice pack and went back to the scene of the crime to see what had happened. I wonder if I'll ever sit on a bench again without looking underneath it!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Jon Again!

Look! Jon (my most devoted brother) has visited us twice already! I hope some of my other siblings follow suit soon.

Puppy's First Bath

Amanda gave Coda a bath yesterday in hopes of making her smell better. She still smells like dog! But, she was good in the sink (no breakout attempts). She seemed a little concerned about the process, as you can see in the picture. We're enjoying having reason to go outside. Ed and I spent the evening with the dog on the deck last night. Amanda had to go to family home evening with the singles' group, so she gave us strict instructions not to break training and spoil the doggie. Amanda bought some small balls at the pet store that Coda likes to fetch. She brings them back about 80 percent of the time!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Coda Comes Home

Here's Coda coming home from her foster family. She came from the "mountains" in West Virginia. Apparently, they have a hard time placing dogs there. She's about 9 weeks old, and has been fostered here in Maryland for about 8 days. We had planned on getting a Blue Heeler, but a different shelter called us last night, and after visiting with both dogs, we chose the little black part-spaniel who completely stole our hearts. We're going to call her Coda.

We stopped at the pet store on the way home to fit her for a smaller collar. She was about half the size of the Heelers we looked at.

Amanda is reading up on how to train a puppy. We're already failures in that regard. Coda peed in her kennel an hour after we got home. It could have been worse (on the carpet)!

But she hasn't barked, and seemed happy to be in the kennel. She's a little nervous and shy, but enjoyed sitting out on the patio with us for a little after lunch. We're also nervous about being dog owners again. Wish us good luck!

Friday, July 23, 2010

New Boot

Amanda got her walking boot yesterday, but she's not moving all that fast yet. She must have been suffering from cabin fever however, as she talked us into taking her to the movies last night. We saw Despicable Me. I loved the minions. I also loved the 3D.

Miss Carol's Birthday

Wednesday night we had a belated celebration of Miss Carol's Birthday. We had invited her over on Monday, but she was sick, so we just put the food in the fridge and waited till she felt better. Lenny and Kay, who live in her back house and care for the horses, also came. Amanda decorated some cupcakes to look like horses for the birthday cake.

After dinner we moved outside and visited on the deck till after dark. Miss Carol enjoyed the view of her property from a new direction. We learned a new word when Kay asked us if we had "clubbed" our basement. I guess people used to put club rooms in the basement in Maryland. We told her we plan to club it sometime next year!

Miss Carol still had the energy to blow out all her candles, but she cheated by taking several breaths. I guess when you're over 80 you can do whatever you like!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Deck After and Before

With our new awning we're now ready to enjoy the afternoons on our big, beautiful new deck. We have a great view of our trees. At night there is a dull roar of frogs and insects coming from the trees. I love it. Sadly, the fireflies are not as prolific as they were in June. We miss them, but are glad Brittany got to see them in their full glory.

These pictures were taken in the morning, and the sun is still hot under the awning. It does, however cool the house off when it's open.

We have a big, fancy staircase that goes off the deck in two different directions. We plan on making a stone patio in the back of the house, with a walkway at the back side of the deck. We're tired (not to mention poor) now, however, and leaving that for next year!

There is no real "Before" picture for the deck, but just in case you want to see the difference, here is a picture of the back of the house when we bought it, complete with it's door to nowhere right off the kitchen!

Master Bath After and Before

The original master bath was big enough, but didn't have a makeup desk for me. Ed humored me and let me re-do the fireplace and counter tops while we were adding the new desk.

The new countertops and fireplace are of rainforest colored marble.

We had the granite people cut holes in the granite for my hair dryer and curling iron. It's like having a beauty salon right in your own bathroom.
I painted the fireplace area maroon. (Again, Ed followed with the touch-up paint.) Then, we topped it off with a TV over the fireplace. Now, I can catch the news from the tub in the morning. That's living!

Ed is happy with his shower as it originally came. It's big enough for a party inside! Below is a picture of the bathroom when we moved in.

Living Room After and Before

We were so happy with the dining room color that we just kept on painting! The living room turned out nice in green, too!

Dining Room After and Before

In the dining room we changed out the crown molding, painted, and bought new furniture. We also put a medallion in the ceiling around the light fixture. Sorry, you can't see it in the picture.

We were unable to get any takers on our old dining room furniture. It has gone to Bush Storage in the basement. Maybe one of the girls will need it someday!

Morning room After and Before

The only changes we made to the morning room were buying new furniture for the entertainment center. We had considered taking out the second door (behind the TV in the picture below) to the study, but decided to just cover it up! Now you see it, now you don't!

Conservatory After and Before

Let's start with the "After" picture this time. In the conservatory we raised the fireplace and put a tiled hearth in front of it. We also took out the stone mantle and replaced it with a wooden one. As you can see in the "Before" picture below, we also improved the view by putting leaves on the trees outside the windows.

Kitchen before and After

The kitchen is finished (we think). I thought it might be nice to post a few pictures so you can see how nice it turned out.

This was before we moved in .

If you look to the right you can see the room between the kitchen and the mud room. It was called a "mud pantry."  We took out the mud pantry and moved the closet to the right.

There were two small bars, which we took out to make one large bar.
Our beautiful new kitchen has pendant lighting over a large bar shaped like a quarter circle. The cabinets are off white and brown, with the crown molding and under-cabinet molding brown. Both the cabinet colors have a coffee-colored glaze on them.

We re-covered the bar stools and painted the walls gold. (I painted and Ed re-touched my messy places.)

We bought a cute little sideboard for the wall by the staircase. It's a perfect place for the telephone.

The pantry door has cabinet panels, so it's a big surprise to open it and find a nice, large pantry behind the doors.

This composite picture shows the right, middle and left side of the pantry. The shelves on the right are deep enough for appliance storage. There is so much storage space in this kitchen that I actually have completely empty shelves! I love it!

Old Gimpy

Amanda is having a lot of fun. She doesn't have to do anything, and gets her food brought to her on the couch. She can read and watch TV all day. When she wants a fresh ice pack for her foot, she just asks me. This is not really as much fun as one might think. She took a break from laying around to decorate some cupcakes yesterday. She's looking forward to getting a walking boot on Thursday. It's been nice having her hanging around patiently waiting for her foot to heal.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Amanda's Foot

Amanda came through her foot surgery with flying colors. She now has a titanium plate in her foot. Fortunately, this should not be detected when she passes through security at the airport. I look forward to nursing her back to health this week.

Claire Lynch Band

Last night Amanda came up to Common Ground with me to see the Claire Lynch band in concert. It was terrific. I loved her voice, her songs, her band. She did several swing tunes that were really fun. Her bass player was a big highlight. He played the "body," pounding on his chest and thighs and clapping to the tune of Cindy. It's surprisingly fun watching someone whacking himself!

Dugout Canoe

Common Ground on the Hill, in addition to being a music camp, is an art and cultural event. We went down to watch the dugout canoe demonstration yesterday afternoon. They tried to light a fire with a wooden stick. When that didn't work, they went to flint. They settled for a borrowed lighter, in order to speed the process up. By burning the inside of the canoe it makes it easier to scrape out the inside of the log. Apparently, the canoe is not going to be seaworthy by the end of the week. They'll pick up where they left off when camp resumes next year.

Santa Ana's Retreat

My banjo teacher, Dave Bing, who also plays a mean fiddle, taught us three songs this week: Devil in a Woodpile, Gone Indian, and Santa Ana's Retreat. I can play two of them! I'll keep working on Santa Ana. Maybe I should take my banjo to the hospital today. Amanda's having some foot surgery, and I imagine we'll have plenty of downtime.

Singing in the Choir

The gospel choir (including yours truly) sang at the evening program at music camp on Wednesday. We were so great we got a Standing-O! I'm trying to get a copy of the video of my favorite song, "We Shall Overcome." But, in lieu of a video, here is a picture of me in the back row singing till I'm hoarse.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Gospel Choir

We joined the gospel choir tonight led by the incredible Shelly, with her unbelievable mother at the piano. It was so much fun. I felt like one of the nuns in Sister Act. They choir was helped a lot by a group of high school students from inner city schools in Washington D.C., who are taking college classes this summer through a grant by the Bill and Melinda gates foundation. Without some of them peppered across the choir we'd never be able to make that big sound we were going for. I was wondering how I could have worked "We Shall Overcome" into the Broomfield Ward choir repertoire!

Banjo Buddy

I made a new friend this week at music camp. Her name is Karen and she plays the banjo, too! We're hanging out together and having a gay, if somewhat stressful time!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunsetter Awning

It rained yesterday for the first time in at least 6 weeks! This prevented us from getting our new awning up. After it quit raining we (Ed drilling and Judy supervising) got all the brackets mounted. Unfortunately it was too heavy for us to lift even with Amanda's help. It was also 10 p.m., and too late to qualify as a home teacher emergency!

Beautiful Butterfly

Amanda found a pretty butterfly yesterday. It seemed to be ailing, thus allowing her to pick it up. She gave it a nice home with grass and water. It turned out to mere hospice care.