Saturday, October 29, 2011


Not to be outdone by Colorado and their snowstorm this week, Maryland also mustered up a little snow today! We woke up this morning to a light sprinkling. We weren't so amazed by it till we heard that they haven't had snow in Maryland in October since 1979!

Habibs and Ghosts

We went to dinner last night with the Weatherbees at Habib's. We hadn't been there in months, and the Ashe-e Reshteh soup (with lentils, kidney beans, vermicelli, onions, mint, sour cream, onions, herbs) really hit the spot on a cold evening. We had a great time visiting and laughing louder than the management might have liked. We stayed late, as we had plans to attend the 9 p.m. ghost tour of Sykesville. The Weatherbees backed out of the ghost tour either because: 1) Gordon had a cold, or 2) because they were afraid. You be the judge!

The ghost tour was lots of fun. The town crier (what town has it's own official town crier?) led us around downtown, explaining where and when ghosts have been detected. We also learned a lot about the history of Sykesville. 

We checked our pictures for orbs after we got home. The closest we came was this random, unattached hand sticking out of Ed's back!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dog Walk

This is undoubtedly the most beautiful time of the year! Not to take anything away from Christmas time, but generally winter has a few pretty, snowy days followed by months of slush and dirt.

Fall is spectacular every day for months, especially here in Maryland! I took Coda for a walk this afternoon. We enjoyed the colorful fall leaves on the ground, just as much as the ones still clinging to the trees. Look at at the pathway strewn with pine needles!

What would make the walk even nicer would be if Coda didn't pull on the leash! She knows so many tricks, that I'm sure she could learn this one. The question is: "Do I have the patience to teach it?"

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Back to Work

The party (wedding) is over, and we're back to a normal Saturday again. Ed has a master plan to reclaim some of the back yard from the forest. It will be really nice. He mowed the weeds today in preparation for putting grass in in the spring.
I cleaned out the rocks before he mowed. This wouldn't have been such a big job if I hadn't thrown a bunch of rocks down there this summer. I had been collecting new rocks for my drainage area, which I plan to finish up in the spring. After all the heavy labor I rested with Coda on a hammock chair.

Every day is a play day for Coda. Miss Carol let the pugs through the fence to play with her this afternoon. It was fun watching them frolic!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Dancing Day

Thanks to Ed Melzer, I now have some pictures to post of the dancing at Brittany and John's wedding! Here Brittany is waltzing with her father!

We had a three piece band, a fiddle, a guitar and a hammered dulcimer. The contra dance caller (on the right), was Mike Cottle. He did a fantastic job!

Many of the dances were done in circles, where you then switched partners.

We were glad the guests all joined in on the dancing (except for some of the really old and frail ones, which we will not call out by name here)!

The bride and groom set the example by   dancing the first several dances with us.

If you were at the wedding and you were a fun person, perhaps you can find yourself in one of these pictures!

The roaring fire really gave it the feeling of a fall party.

It was fun for all ages, although, I think a few small children might have been slightly injured when we circled too vigorously!

We slowed the pace down a bit for the waltzing!

It was so much fun, it makes me want to have another wedding!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wedding Videos

Thanks to John's sister, Amy Squires, we have some nice video of Brittany and John's wedding!

At the groom's luncheon, they played (and Brittany sang) an Appalachian murder ballad, Down By the Willow Garden. In the song the boy kills his beloved, Rose Connelly. This might not seem appropriate for a wedding, but  they only know songs in this genre, so you have to sing what you know!

John sang a very touching song to Brittany called "Ill Be Your Mirror."

Then, John tells how he fell in love with Brittany when she could correctly identify the name of the Klingon Tribunal. She, in turn tells how she first noticed his zest for life when he brought her to see some foreclosure homes through an open window and over a pile of broken glass.

The highlight of the reception was the Contra Dance, which was fun for all ages. This video was taken by the Squires children.

This video has no actual dancing, but is the instructional part of a dance. We had a great caller that had fun but simple dances. You can see how beautiful the hall was with a roaring fire going!

John and Brittany had their first waltz to the tune Ashokan Farewell.

Thanks to Amie for helping us preserve these wonderful memories!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Newlyweds and Cats

We caught Brittany and John at home yesterday with their cats, Roo, Skimbleshanks and Monkey. They were sitting amidst their new wedding gifts. They were overwhelmed by the generosity of the wedding guests (and many who couldn't attend the wedding, as well). They're living in pretty humble circumstances, and the presents and cash will definitely help them as they start out in life together.

Amanda and I arrived safely in Baltimore last night, happy to be reunited with Coda. Ed, sadly went on to San Antonio for business. We'll see him again tomorrow!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The New Nuttall Family

Brittany and John's wedding day was the best day ever! They were married in the Provo temple in the morning with a host of friends and family to support them. I have a married daughter!

Brittany was so lucky to have both of her sisters there to support her. And they did a lot of that yesterday! Crystal did (and re-did) her hair. Amanda chauffered the bride and groom from the temple to the luncheon to the reception. And they both were up late transporting the wedding gifts back to town.

It is great to have a new son in our family. Amanda took this nice candid shot outside the temple which shows that Crystal has already accepted him as a brother!

It was wonderful that all my siblings were able to come to the wedding. Here we are in birth order--Verlene, Annette, Judy, Barbara, David, Joan and, last but not least, Jon!

John, the groom, is the last of 7 children to get married. So, his siblings brought their children to the wedding. I think there were 45 or so, but I might have counted a few twice. They were magnats to water, and found the fountains and streams at the temple, the luncheon, and the reception irresistible

Even Brandy, Verlene's dog, made it to the temple. We won't tell Coda, as it might make her jealous!

Marti and Ellis, freshly arrived from Africa, as you can see by Marti's dress, hosted a great luncheon at Magleby's in Springville. One of the highlights of the luncheon was Brittany and John singing one of their Appalachian murder ballads, and playing banjo and mandolin.

Ed cleaned up real nice in his brown tux with the gold vest. He just gets better looking every year!

This was the fun table (based solely on their youthfulness). We have Jasie to thank for the entire event. She is the mutual friend, though whom Brittany and John met each other. She's the third form the right in the picture! Thank you Jasie!

The reception was at the Rehearsal Hall at Sundance ski resort. It was like having a destination wedding right in your own back yard. The mountain setting, and the rustic mountain lodge feel were perfect. Our decorator,, did a wonderful job. The food was great, and the Sundance catering staff very helpful.

Our photographer was my niece, the world-famous Nichole V. Check out her work at We were so lucky she could squeeze us in between her trips to Australia and the many workshops she does. She got a few more final pictures of the bride and groom out by the waterfall.

Nikki's husband Dave was with her every step of the way. They took pictures of every combination of family group you could imagine. Here is Dave holding the light pole, while Nikki captures the greater Nuttall family.
My mom and step-dad were radiant, and I think I can say they were the oldest people at the reception. Ed Melzer turns 90 next month! We are so grateful they are still with us to enjoy such a wonderful family day.

We were so grateful to see so many family and friends come to the reception. We wished we had more time to visit with you all! It was such a wonderful surprise to have so much support.

The highlight of the evening was the contra dance, and we appreciated the fact that so many of the guests were game to try it! We had a three piece band and a caller, which kept the fun rolling. Sadly, I didn't get a single picture of the band or the dancing! Here is a plea to all of you that read my blog: PLEASE post a link to some pictures of the dancing. Any pictures would be wonderful, and a video posted on youtube would be fantastic! Just post the link in the comments section of the blog. That would make my joy complete! Thanks for helping us celebrate Brittany and John's wedding. We love you all!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Nuttalls meet Bushes

We met for lunch today at the Chef's Table. We had a great time visiting with the Nuttalls, Brittany's new in-laws. Brittany and John are so lucky to both have such great parents! The food was delicious, and the conversation scintillating. We would have stayed all afternoon,  but we all had some errands to do for the big wedding tomorrow!

The Bush girls enjoyed dropping by the soon-to-be newlyweds' new apartment. It's not much, but they have nowhere to go but up!

We finished off the day with dinner at my sister Annette's house. We even had tree ripened pears and peaches from her garden! Barbara showed up from Colorado in time for dessert, and then we had to stay up way later than we really wanted to!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fudge Factory and Birthday Wishes

We arrived in Salem in time to help pack 300 small boxes each with 1 piece of Grandpa Ed's homemade fudge. We also got to taste some of the trimmings, and it's great! If you come to Brittany's wedding Friday, don't forget to look for your party favor!

Then we met at the Golden Corral for dinner, where we met 5 of John's siblings, as well as his parents and nieces and nephews. The sixth sibling hadn't arrived from Texas yet. We thought John looks a lot like his brother James (left). Brittany said it was a little surprising to be called Aunt Brittany!

We had the opportunity to wish Brittany a happy birthday, as well. Her birthday almost got swallowed up in the wedding preparations!

On our way!

We're on our way to Utah for Brittan'y wedding. We just barely made the airport shuttle from our parking lot on time. It was a good thing, as it took an extra 15 minutes to get Amanda's giant boot through security!
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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Mexico in Maryland

On our continuing quest to find the best Mexican food in Maryland, we followed my hair dresser's advice and last night ventured out to Mari Luna in Pikesville, about 20 minutes from our house. Ed and and were very happily surprised! The food was great, the service friendly, and the restaurant bright and cheerful. We both had the carnitas, and brought enough home for lunch today, as well! Amanda missed out on it, as she was out with friends. We could be persuaded to share some of our leftovers if she's nice to us!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Primary Training

Tonight is the annual Primary Leadership training. As Stake Primary music leader, this is the ONE real thing I do all year, so I've put some amount of work into it. Amanda is going to go with me to play the piano. We're going over the new music for 2012, as well as talking about my many opinions about what makes a good chorister!

I made a boat for Nephi's courage. The sail slides up and down the mast. The better you sing, the higher it goes. Amanda says I should raffle it off, since I really don't need it. I might do that.

However, I'll keep my new spinner, which I really like. It represents all the aspects of music--rhythm (clapping), lyrics (chanting monks), tempo (fast bunny and slow turtle) and melody (humming bird). Ed made me a spinner 20 years ago, but it didn't survive the moving purge. So, I had to make a new one! My point is that repetition is important in singing. Finding fun ways to make the children sing it over and over is part of the challenge. I have a lot of other points to make, but you'll have to come to Stake Leadership tonight if you want to hear them!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Banjo Heaven

The only thing better than a banjo would be three banjos! As luck would have it, Kim and Rob both had banjos gathering dust in their homes. They wisely decided to take me up on free banjo lessons tonight. We started with the bump-titty stroke and moved on to Wildwood Flower, one of my favorite Carter family songs. I think there were moments where they actually enjoyed the lesson, although you may not be able to tell from the picture! Aside from tired arms and bleeding fingers, nobody was the worse for the wear afterwards! And,  if you're out there in cyberworld, Kim and Rob, don't forget to practice, practice, practice! I can't wait till our next lesson!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Conference and Kartoffelpuffer

We had a nice, relaxing Sunday. Coda curled up on the ottoman and slept through most of it.

Amanda's good friend Kim and her boyfriend Rob came over to watch conference with us. It was fun getting to know Rob. We already know and love Kim.
Between sessions Amanda made Kartoffelpuffer for us. She enjoyed them so much in Germany that she wanted us to taste them. Ed already remembered them well from his childhood. They are a little labor intensive, so Kim and Rob helped shred potatoes and chop onions while we visited.

The potato pancakes were delicious with applesauce, but Ed said his mother served them with sour cream. We found that sour cream gave them the effective taste of sour cream and onions potato chips. What's to hate about that?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Operation Day

We put our trust in Dr. Felton, pictured here with Amanda prior to her operation yesterday. He took out the plate and screws in her foot, including the broken piece embedded in the bone. There had been much discussion among doctors about the path to pursue with this. It appeared from the x-rays that there was  place where the bone had not healed. Dr. Felton said he would graft in some bone there, but that in his final x-rays last year, it had already healed. When he cut it open the bone was completely healed. It was solid everywhere. There was some tissue that was slightly different on the bone. He took a sample of that and sent it to the lab. It appeared as if she might be one of those rare people that has an allergic reaction to surgical metal in her body. We'll find out if that is the case in a few weeks. Both Crystal and Grandma Melzer are very sensitive to metal, so perhaps Amanda suffers from that as well. The allergy, as well as the broken screw might have been causing her problems.

We had so many different treatment options. The doctor we saw last Saturday recommended just magnetic stimulation and leaving the plate and screws in. He said the hardware would be encased in the bone and would not cause her any problem after the bone healed. Unbeknownst to him, the bone was already healed. We will follow up with the magnetic stimulation, as Dr. Felton grafted bone in the screw holes as well as in the suspect area, but if the allergy was part of the problem, magnetic stimulation alone would not have been effective in solving her pain problem. Dr. Felton was very happy with the results of her operation, and we're cautiously optimistic that she might be able to return to Germany in a month or two to finish her mission!