Saturday, April 30, 2011

Crystal's Home!

Crystal got home Thursday night, right on schedule! We couldn't wait to give her a big hug. We almost gave up on her after the flight crew from her plane passed us! The tension was really mounting! When she finally came through the gate Ed got the first hug!

I didn't want to let go once I got hold of her! Eighteen months is a long time not to be able to hug your daughter!

The third hug went to Coda (at home), who is Crystal's new best friend.

Our beautiful Welcome Home sign survived long enough for Crystal to see it before it blew down the next day. We're looking forward to Crystal spending the entire summer with us! It might take us that long to get her to tell all the stories from her mission!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Jambalaya by the Black Eyed Susans

This is the Black Eyed Susans practicing Jambalaya for the Rose Ball this Saturday night. We're missing Cindy and Tricia (who sings the solo on verse 2). Tricia also plays the bass, but Kaylene was sporting to play the bass for the video. (This was the first time she'd even picked it up). Tricia, if you're reading this, we expect you to play with us on Saturday night!

Helen plays a wicked fiddle! Mary's cougar band marching skills really come out on her tambourine playing! Hazel (Mary's granddaughter) also gets into the act!

Carrie adds her two cents worth on the end...

I made this recording because I was inspired by my sister Joan's video of her old lady band. (Joan is 10 years younger than I am, and hardly qualifies to call herself an old lady).  If you'd like to see her band, click on this link I thought they were great!

New Landscaping

Just as the basement contractors are wrapping up a few loose ends, the landscapers came. They put in two prairie fire crabapple trees on either side of the entrance to our driveway.

The curves of the driveway are accented with blue angel holly and Tuscarora crepe myrtle. This should give definition to the driveway and help people see where it turns as they drive in and out. Either that, or it will just give them something more interesting to hit if they go off the asphalt!

The back will have two paver stone patios, as well as a wide walkway from the deck to the basement door. The walkway will have a retaining wall on one side, with another garden below the wall. We can't wait!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Administrative Assistant's Day

Tomorrow is Administrative Assistant's Day. We celebrated it a day early. This might be a day invented by Hallmark, but it is also a nice excuse to tell Debra how much we appreciate her. She does so much to make Ed's job less stressful. (She is the guardian of the gate!)  Ed is very fortunate to have a great admin!

We took her out to lunch at Los Portales Mexican restaurant. It was also fun to just have an excuse to visit. To top it all off, they made some great fajitas!

Basement Almost Done

We got the carpeting installed yesterday, and the basement is almost complete. It was so fun to put the furniture out and try to arrange things today.

I hate putting so many pictures on one posting, but this is one big basement!

We used arches to cover two sets of two poles on each side. We had them put a bench in each arch with storage underneath it.

We got a brown carpet with a subtle pattern in it.

We cut out the stairway to open it up to the basement, just like we had done in Broomfield.

The kitchen turned out great with the cabinets and granite from our original kitchen.

We got a nice double vanity with granite top from Costco.

We have a separate tub and toilet room off the room with the sinks.

The bedroom has a day bed that can open up into two twin beds. It's been a fun journey, and we're glad it's almost over. We'll be happy to not have any more drywall dust footprints (and pawprints) messing up the wood floors upstairs!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Reeds Visit

The Reeds came all the way from Broomfield to see us (and Washington DC, if they have time). We enjoyed going to Gettysburg with them yesterday. It was a great opportunity to visit a spectacular place and catch up on old times as we drove up. It reminded me of my youth in Billings, Montana. When people came to town we always took them to Custer's Last Stand. Gettysburg is just like that, but bigger, greener, more interesting and more significant in the history of our nation! When we go there we feel we are on hallowed ground. Here Ed and Bruce are discussing battle strategy from the top of Little Round Top.

The group shot taken in front of the monument at Little Round Top includes Marita, Bruce, Fallyn, Ethan, Judy and Ed.

We topped the day off with a visit to Five Guys to enjoy some of Maryland's famous (but, sadly, not heart-healthy) hamburgers and fries.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Skunk Dog

Coda had a little makeover this afternoon. She got a little too close to Alex's paint job. The door now has a nice swish on it, and Coda has a white tail! It was amazing nothing worse than that has happened during our basement finishing. She has run off with the workmen's gloves, masks, screwdrivers and French fries. She's really going to miss them when they're gone!

Coconut Cake

Mary volunteered to show me how to make her famous Easter Coconut cake. You make it on Good Friday and refrigerate it for three days while the flavors seep in. It comes out perfect on Easter Sunday. We also made a few Easter chick cupcakes while we were on a roll.

I love Mary, not just because she rarely takes a picture with a straight face, but because she also had the good sense to tell me to take the bandages off my face for this picture!

Beauty Patches

So, I went in to the dermatologist today looking normal, except for a couple of bumps on my face. Now I no longer have bumps, but I have to wear band-aids for a week! The doctor removed two items he thought were likely basal cell cancers. While they are not deadly, they can continue to grow and cause disfigurement. If the biopsy comes back positive I'll be referred to a specialist who probably move me into bigger bandages! It's enough to make you wish you had been faithful about applying sunscreen!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Harvesting Onions

I thought I'd do a little weeding before Ed comes home from Australia today. Most of the weeds are really wild onions. It's like we have a little vegetable garden out in front of our house! Ed is reticent to eat any of them, but I might sneak a few into his salad tonight.

Don't they look succulent?

New Mattress

In honor of Crystal's homecoming next week, we bought a new mattress for her bed. The old one was almost 30 years old. Ed and I will celebrate our 30th anniversary in November, and that was the first bed we bought. A few years ago Crystal had pointed out that the bed was not all that comfortable. I wonder if after 18 months sleeping in missionary quarters she would have even noticed!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Bell Choir

After church today Carrie took me, Trish and Amy (Trish's daughter) to the Milford United Methodist church to hear their bell choir. She had a friend from work who is a ringer. It was really fun, and made us want to join (in our spare time). We especially enjoyed a beautiful arrangement of For the Beauty of the Earth. They wrapped up the concert with a rousing bell rendition of the theme from the Pirates of the Caribbean. Arrg!!

Sunday School Class

I'm happy to say I now have a calling in the ward. I'm teaching the 16-18 year old Sunday School class. They are such nice kids that they even let me take their picture for my blog. We were missing about three kids today, but here are Lynsey, Nikki, Allie, Sammy, Joey, Matthew, Cassie and Michael. They are all way smarter than I am (curse you scripture mastery program!), but are polite enough not to point that out. It will be fun for me to get to know them. Our lesson today was "Who is My Neighbor?" We talked about the Good Samaritan. The title reminded me of Mr. Rogers, who sang "Won't You Be my Neighbor" every week. I wonder if they've ever heard of him. If not, that could be one thing I know that they don't!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Grass is Ris'

The grass was pretty long before Ed finally was able to cut it for the first time this spring. It has rained a lot the past several weeks, and he hadn't had a dry day to mow till now. Just in time, as he's going to Australia tomorrow on business! If you look carefully, you can also see the electric company's crew trimming Miss Carol's maple trees.

Our rhododenedrums are in bloom and look beautiful. Some of the other shrubs were eaten by the dear, but look like they're trying to come back. All but one of the 10 trees we planted have survived the winter. Hopefully, the yard will look beautiful when Crystal comes home in two weeks (who's counting?).

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Singing at Smoky's

June (left) and I met Carol (right) at Smoky's BBQ for lunch today. Afterwards we went through a couple of songbooks to pick out songs for June to sing. I'm going to play guitar or piano for her, and we're going to take our act on the road, to care or rehab centers. June has a beautiful voice and knows the words for hundreds of songs from the 30s and 40s. She and Carol are exactly the same age, and both of them know the same songs. I hummed along. Nobody at the restaurant got up and moved away!

Easter Braid

Here's what's left after the band consumed the Easter braid Helen (left) brought to practice yesterday. She brought her two daughters to practice (she home-schools). Beena, on the left is giving us a big smile. Carrie and Mary (right) were the last to leave.

Earlier we had been talking about how nice it would be if all the band members showed up on time for practice. Kaylene added a caveat to that recommendation: Those who bring food can come as late as they like!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Basement Continues

The basement is all drywalled and ready for painting. There is a little electrical work left, as well as some kitchen work to be done. This is a picture standing by the sliding glass door.

This is a picture looking towards the door from the stairway entry. 

The kitchen is so cute. We're having a man drop by to pick up our old granite today to cut it out in the shape of our new kitchen. Next week we'll have some lovely granite countertops.

The door behind the kitchen is to the bathroom. The double vanity we bought last week is still in the garage. Nobody wants to lift it, as it weighs a ton! It comes complete with a granite countertop!

And the brickwork around the windows is finally finished! We finally found a color of brick that would match the trim brick. You wouldn't think it would be so difficult to find a particular color!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

To the Symphony

Friday night Ed and I went to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Jon and Sara had given us a gift certificate for Christmas. We decided to use it for the Paul McCartney concert (easing our way into symphonic music). The Meyerhoff Auditorium was an interesting building. We found our seats through a maze that resembled a secret passageway.

The cellos had a great solo on Cello Submarine. We enjoyed hearing Brother Campora (Amanda's former home teacher) playing the bass trombone solo on Eleanor Rigby. The second half of the program featured a band with the orchestra. The lead singer had some sound/intonation problems early in the second half. The band didn't compare favorably with Rain (another Beatles revival group), who we saw a few years ago. But, all in all, we enjoyed experiencing a new part of Baltimore. Thanks to Jon and Sara for getting us out of the house and out on the town.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Beehive Band

It was fun having the Beehives over tonight for Beehive Band. Joanie, Rowen and Jessica are the girls. Sister Judd (right) may look like she's 12, but she's really their leader! We played different instruments and sang He's Got the Whole World in His Hands, Hey Lolly, and Polly Wolly Doodle. We were just getting hot, when it was time for the girls to go home. It was fun while it lasted!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Beehive Band

The Beehive class is coming over to my house tomorrow night for a music lesson. I spent the afternoon putting together a little book for them with chord charts and some simple songs. There are only four girls in the class, so each bee here represents one of them. I was so proud of my artwork, which I did from scratch, that I had to post it online to share it! I hope the lesson goes well tomorrow!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

To the Ball

Ed and I went to the NASA Goddard Memorial Dinner last night. We got all dressed up and drove to Washington DC for the event. We enjoyed the keynote speaker, Robert Ballard, who was the discoverer of the Titanic. It was unusual, but interesting,  to have a deep sea diver speaking at a outer space event. The food and service wasn't spectacular, but after we ate the lava cake for dessert, all was forgotten.

We had considered staying overnight in Washington to go see the cherry blossoms, but the weather was cold and rainy, so we decided to drive home at midnight and get up Saturday morning and do our taxes instead. This was a pretty sorry trade-off!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Cold Saturday Truck

Ed and I borrowed Miss Carol's truck today to go pick up a very large double vanity from Costco. The vanity goes in the downstairs bathroom, and has a granite top and double sinks. It came all assembled in one box! This truck hasn't been out much. It is a 1974 and only has 55,000 miles on it! It had no shoulder harness and no rearview mirror. Talk about living on the edge! People just pretty much steered clear of us if they knew what was good for them.

We stopped by the rehab center to see Miss Carol, who now has her own private room because of an infection. The room had a great view of the parking lot. if you look carefully past the flowers in her window, you can see a classic white Chevrolet truck parked on the end of the left lane of cars! Miss Carol is still in a lot of pain from her leg, but her conversation was as sharp as ever!

Break a Leg, Carol!

Last Friday Miss Carol broke her leg while dancing in the kitchen. OK, maybe she was just making dinner. She did such a good job of it that they spent 4 hours operating on it Saturday and inserted a metal rod all the way from her knee to her ankle!

Ed and I visited her on Saturday in the hospital in downtown Baltimore. I returned on Wednesday afternoon with our neighbor Roni and her sister Alice. We had such a good visit in the rehab center. It was much nicer than the hospital. Despite being in a considerable amount of pain she was in good spirits!