Sunday, February 27, 2011

Get Downs!

Jannet and Jim Downs (from Broomfield) stopped by yesterday, having just returned to the states after their cruise to Antartica. (This was, by the way, their fourth cruise in 12 months!) We were glad they could find time to come up from Washington DC, where they're attending a meeting.

It was so much fun showing them the house and talking about the pros and cons and changes we've made. Ed cooked up some steaks, and we enjoyed dinner complete with leftover cheesecake! We talked fast and furious, trying to catch up on the last 12 months! In the 7 years I visit taught Jannet we never ran out of things to talk about!

We enjoyed seeing a few pictures of Antarctica, as well as some wedding pictures of Jannet's granddaughter. I think all the people in Broomfield will be jealous of us when they see we've seen the Downs more this year than they have!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Alan Jabbour and Ken Perlman Live!

Alex and Roberto (with a little help from Billy Ray) finished up the new columns in the house at 2:30 p.m. yesterday (see clock in the background!). We appreciated their working practically around the clock to finish up before our house concert last night.

Alan and Karen Jabbour and Ken Perlman came to dinner prior to the concert. It was fun having that extra time to visit with them. In addition to being great musicians, they are also very interesting people, who are polite enough to laugh at my jokes. Ed got home from work just in time to join us for dinner before the concert.

The concert was fabulous! Alan and Ken play together so seamlessly. Their choice of songs was energetic and fun. They even threw in a few waltzes and a rag. It was great to be able to hear them in such a small venue as a house.

The 22 people that attended also enjoyed the stories and history that were interspersed between the songs. We gave them a big standing "O" at the end!

We took a picture of the Black-Eyed-Susans with Alan and Ken. We missed Tricia who was home sick. Maybe we'll have to do it again sometime so she can join us!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

If I had a Hammer...

Alex and Roberto are back this week working on the columns in our kitchen/family room. They're not only doing a beautiful job on the columns, but they also took a break to sing us a song (or two). Mary and Kaylene were here for band practice, and were lucky to have a private audience. They were fantastic! It's good to have them back again. I missed them!

In case Todd (the boss) is reading this blog, I thought I'd point out how hard Alex and Roberto are working! Very hard!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Column Race

Ed and I have long been thinking we don't like the pillars between the kitchen and the family room. We decided now would be a good time to switch them out for something more attractive. What better time to pick than 3 days before we're hosting a house concert for Alan Jabbour and Ken Perlman? This is the before picture.

This is the Tuesday afternoon picture. We changed two of the pillars to smaller, rounded columns. The third we took out completely. Do you think Billy Ray can work his magic and have this all finished and cleaned up by showtime on Thursday night? We're keeping our fingers crossed!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Bonefish Grill

We went out to eat at the bonefish grill today. I had chicken, and Ed had fish (no bone). It was delicious, but I've lost my voice, so we couldn't visit very well. Ed had to lean in really close to hear what I was saying. We must have looked very romantic. The glare of sunlight in the front of the restaurant makes it look like a beautiful day, which it might have been if the wind would ever stop blowing!

We spent a couple of hours test driving BMW's and Audi's today. Ed likes that German engineering. I'm mostly interested in what color his new car will be.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Nice Day at Last!

It's so beautiful outside today! We haven't had a truly beautiful day since November! People tell us this has been an unusual winter, but we don't know whether to believe them or not. Denver has had a few beautiful days interspersed throughout the winter. It's supposed to hit the 60's today! All I can say about that is: IT'S ABOUT TIME!

Coda loved it. She spent most of the day enjoying her giant yard. I thought she had run away from home. She usually does her business and comes right back in the house! Not today. She's running, exploring, and sadly, also eating some poop!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

One Year in Maryland

Today is our one year anniversary of buying our home in Maryland.   I could now sit next to someone on an airplane and tell him I’m from Maryland without stumbling over my words. I know a dozen freeways and their general directions. I can wend my way home through several different neighborhoods when I need to. In all these things and many more I’ve been helped by new friends who were and are willing to share their lives with us. I’m grateful for the church and the opportunity to forge friendships there. I’m grateful to have chosen a neighborhood where people had room in their hearts for us. I’m grateful for family and friends that have taken the time to visit us and explore the East with us. I’m also grateful to have our new dog, Coda, who makes us feel like a family here.  It’s been a wonderful journey which we plan to continue to enjoy as we watch the road roll out in front of us!

If there were one thing we didn’t like about the state, it would be the State. We like to call it a State of Taxation. They have also welcomed us with outstretched arms that immediately reached deep into our pocketbooks. And they haven’t taken them out yet! When you add that to spending  $2300 for 8 weeks of propane this winter,  it makes a body think they should have stayed in Colorado!

But, soon it will be spring, a season we thoroughly enjoyed last year.  We’ll watch the trees bud out and the gardens burst into bloom, and we’ll think how beautiful and green it is out here. Spring will lead into the magical firefly days of June, and all the sweet Hawaiian shave ice in July. And a fall that lasted well into November! Now, if we just had a couple of really tall mountains here, wouldn’t that be great…

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Although I was a bit under the weather yesterday, we managed to salvage a Happy Valentine's day. Ed bought me some pretty roses, and gave me a really nice card. My visiting teachee (Mary) gave me a nice red candle last week (complete with the letter 'J'). We had two bottles of strawberry crush that we won at Game night at the Gams on Saturday night. To top it all off we went to Panera (my favorite restaurant) and came home with two strawberries and cream scones!
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Monday, February 14, 2011

Car Show

We went the Baltimore Car Show Saturday. It was our first car show ever. We were a little disappointed by the lack of glamour and glitz. The most fun thing was the Ford talking crash dummy. Here Ed is taking a look at a very expensive Jaguar, which he will NOT be buying!

He was disappointed that Mercedes didn't have any models on display. So, we stopped by the Mercedes dealership on the way home and had our own private viewing of his new favorite, an E-class. His old Mercedes is 5 years old already! He has loved it, but finds it hard to drive in the snow and ice here in Maryland. He MIGHT be in the market for a new Mercedes!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Jambalaya--The Song and the Food

We learned the song Jambalaya this morning at band practice. Thanks to Youtube we were able to sing along with Hank Williams, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Karen Carpenter and Emmylou Harris. They were all different, but all fun. Because I have been having so much fun learning to play it on the mandolin, I thought we'd celebrate by having it for lunch after band. I made Chicken and Sausage (Italian) Jambalaya. The rice was a little overcooked, but it didn't matter, as we topped it off with homemade New York Style Cheesecake. It was guaranteed to leave a good taste in your mouth!

We missed Carrie (in South Carolina) and Cindy (in outer space?). If they can come to practice next week I might be able to save some leftovers for them!

A big thanks to my sister Joan for suggesting this song. We LOVED the fact that it only had two chords!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Child Labor at Basketball Game

We went to the University of Maryland Basketball game yesterday as guests of our friends, the Cooks. Look what nice seats we had with a plexiglass barrier behind us! I love not getting kicked by the people behind me!

I thought it was interesting that they use little kids to wipe up the sweat on the court. I'll bet they get them cheap!

They handily beat Wake Forest, which was nice after their crushing loss to Duke earlier in the week!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sledding in the Back Yard

I wonder if we're too old for this, but we couldn't resist taking our sleds out for a spin in our yard today. The snow was a little crusty on top from the rain we had this week, so it was nice and slick. Ed got Coda on for a ride down the hill. I had her briefly, but she basically preferred chasing the sled down the hill and barking at the top of her lungs.

Ed finally sledded all the way to the back fence, which was no easy feat because of the slant of the hill.  It was much easier to fly into the copse if you weren't careful. By, then, Coda had had enough. She sat and watched as he coasted into the fence.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

We're on the Map!

Just a big shout out to Google Maps for putting us on the map this week! I sent them an email a few months ago, pointing out that our road was new and not yet on their maps. They emailed us back a few weeks later and told us they could see we were right, and they would put us on the map. So, when I checked today, we were magically there! It's a great feeling being on the map again! So, if you're using a Google GPS, (and you have our address), you could find our house! I checked Bing to see if they had followed Google's lead. Apparently, they limit their plagiarizing to web searches. Our street is not on their map yet.

So, in addition to being omniscient, omnipresent, and possibly omnipotent, Google comes off as omni-caring. They really love us!