Sunday, November 27, 2011

Recording Session and Light Show

Amanda will be returning to Germany in about 2 weeks, so we were happy we could have her with us to record three new songs for Whistling Prairie's newest Christmas album (for next year). Everyone played while Amanda sang I'm Gonna Be the First One Up on Christmas Morning. Amanda then played harp while Brittany and Crystal sang Come Thou Long Expected Jesus, and finally, Brittany played the piano while Amanda sang What Are You Doing on New Year's Eve.

Afterwards, we went out to dinner in Fells Point, at Brick Oven Pizza. One of our favorite restaurants in Provo has the same name! We enjoyed walking along the Chesapeake bay afterwards and listening to the street musicians. (Some good, and some still in training!)

We finished up at the Inner Harbor, where we enjoyed the holiday light show on the facade of the Power Plant. It is a new tradition in Baltimore, but hopefully, one that will continue. It was very fun. It was hard to get a picture that does it justice. This was the best I could do!

We had just enough time after we got home for some more Scattegories, Catch Phrase and Beatles Rock Band. Today the fun is over. The kids went back to Utah, and left us with nothing but memories!

Decoration Day

Friday we decorated the house for Christmas. I had so much help this year that it went very quickly! It looks so magical with all the trees and the garland. We took time at the end of the day to take some "publicity" pictures for Whistling Prairie. I needed something for my new CD cover. We were lucky John had a good camera. By the time we were ready to take pictures, the sun had gone down, and my camera just doesn't do well in low light!

Even though it looks like we're having a fun time taking our picture, there were moments where it seemed endless. What is Crystal thinking in this picture?

And what are Ed, Amanda and Brittany thinking here? There will be prizes for the best captions entered in the comments section!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Grateful for Friends, Family and Food

We had a lovely, relaxing Thanksgiving. I did most of the cooking on Wednesday, which freed up some time in the morning for us to go to a fox hunt. Miss Carol invited us to the blessing of the hunt. Amanda took Miss Carol to the church service at St. John's in the Valley (Episcopal church).

We met them afterwards and were able to see all the riders and the hounds leave for the fox hunt. There must have been 50 riders, and as many dogs! If you are very clever you can find Crystal in this picture (with a red scarf).

Afterwards, Miss Carol told us a lovely story in the cemetery. When an old maple tree came down near her parents grave, they brought the farm manager over to take a look at it. Her father's dog came along for the ride, and although he'd never been to the cemetery, he went straight to his master's grave and sat there and cried.

Inside the church we met the organist, who gave us a private tour of the organ loft, as well as a mini concert. It was beautiful!

When we got home Brittany and Crystal made some pies, and the rest of us finished preparing for our feast. It was all worth waiting for!

Afterwards we tried to walk it off with a family jaunt down Tally Ho Court. Just when we thought we might be able to button our pants again, we decided to dig into the pies! We finished off the day playing Scattergories and watching a movie, Beyond the Sea. I am thankful for Thanksgiving Day!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Anniversry at Turf Valley

We took an anniversary trip, after all! Ed had Wednesday off work, so Tuesday we went to Turf Valley resort for the evening. I had a certificate for a free night there that was going to expire, and Amanda encouraged us to get out of the house! My friend Carrie works there, and she had asked me to play the piano for their Christmas party last year. I was given a nights stay as a thank you gift. Look how nice and spacious our room was!

We had a great pork chop dinner, although it was hard to pass up on the Tuesday special--1/2 price hamburgers! We enjoyed soaking in the hot and sleeping in (no dog to get us up)!

It is amazing how a trip just 20 minutes from home really felt like a vacation!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pizza and Roses

Ed and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary yesterday! He bought me 2 dozen rozes, and I "made" him pizza for dinner! It's heartwarming looking back on all the experiences we've had together over 30 years. We have three beautiful daughters (and a son-in-law!) to show for it. If we're lucky, this is only the half-way mark! 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fog Dog

I didn't have time to go to the gym this morning, so I took the dog out for a quick run up and down our street (twice). It was great for a lot of reasons: a) Coda was really good and was sufficiently motivated by the occasional baco-bit to stay right by my side, b) the fog was very mysterious, and c) I was able to get take such a memorable picture!

Sunbeams and Clouds

I was asked (on very short notice) to teach the Sunbeams yesterday. I was curious to find out if they were as spectacularly uninformed as Crystal said they were. She was their teacher this summer. Turns out she was right! We also had some communication problems. When I asked them to guess what was in my box (scriptures) I thought Elenore said a "weapon."  I didn't realize till later that she had said a "ribbon." I was relieved. The lesson was The Scriptures Teach us Stories About Jesus. I was able to download it to my tablet, which was great, as the Primary was out of manuals. The children enjoyed watching me illustrating Bible stories on the tablet and guessing what they were. Katie guessed this picture was a man "dwowning," proving once more that Crystal's assessment of her students was on target.

A little piece of advice: If you don't want to  be drafted by the Primary, don't dawdle on your way to Sunday School!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Oakland Manor Gig

Amanda had a gig Wednesday afternoon at Oakland manor, another assisted living center. June and I tagged along and sang our three songs. Our favorite audience member was a black man with a deep voice who knew exactly where to add the "uh-hums" as he sang along.

The audience was great, but the staff so grumpy that we probably won't go back. You'd think the staff would make you feel more welcome when you give such high quality entertainment for free!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pearl Strings

We had band practice this morning. Amanda was kind enough to take our new publicity shots. We have our first gig December 15th! We have a lot of wood-shedding to do before then!

From left to right, we are June, Alisa, Judy, Helen and Barb. We decided to pick a unique name, since I am the only original member of the Black Eyed Susans. We're going to call our new band Pearl Strings! I guess I'll use the top picture for our flyer. If Helen and I weren't out of focus, I'd definitely go with the jumping one!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

S'more S'mores

Amanda fired up the firepit again Sunday night, and we enjoyed some more s'mores. It's just like camping in your own backyard, complete with going to bed with the smell of smoke in your hair! We loved it. There's nothing like sitting around a campfire to make a person feel convivial!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Not Caching In

Amanda and I went geocaching with the Stephens and their friend Brad. It is a fun concept and a great excuse to get outside on a beautiful fall day. Unfortunately, we didn't find either of two caches we were looking for. I guess we'll have to go back and try again sometime. With all the leaves on the ground it seemed like looking for a needle in a haystack!

Duncan, the Stephens' sweet little pug dog, got to go with us. Coda, unfortunately had to stay home. This was because she tried to kill Duncan! She normally gets along great with other dogs. We can only guess that Duncan's unfortunate habit of snorting when he breaths might have seemed aggressive to Coda. Whatever the reason, I'm afraid Duncan is going to have nightmares tonight.

Joan and Emallie

Amanda and I went over to June's house yesterday to hear Joan play a little mini-concert. Amanda got to see all the great progress Joan has made since she last taught her a year ago. It was fun hearing her play with vibrato! Her mother, Mary, also did well, acting as the music stand.

In the evening Amanda's new friend, Emallie, came over for s'mores and a Harry Potter movie (the last one ever)! They built such a cozy fire that I had to join them around the pit to roast a marshmellow or two! This is the perfect picture for Amanda's "mishication," the term her friend Zach uses to refer to her mission medical release.

Later I picked up Ed at the airport. I'm happy he's now safely home from down under!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Singing and Playing at Fairhaven

Amanda had a gig at the solarium at Fairhaven today, so we talked her into letting June and myself tag along and sing a few songs of our own. We also took Miss Carol along, as she is very popular with the staff at Fairhaven, and she enjoys going back and showing off her walking skills.

We did music from the 30s and 40s, which was just great. The audience knew all the songs and hummed or sang along with us.

Here are June and I doing Bye, Bye, Blackbird:

Here is Amanda (the real star of the show) doing Till There Was You.

Then, to finish it off June (who knows a few thousand songs) led the residents in a few requests. As you can imagine, they didn't want us to leave! At a different time and place we might even have garnered a standing ovation!

A Dog's Life

Coda spends about half her waking hours on "deer watch." She sits on the arm of the couch and waits for deer to emerge from the woods behind our house. Then, she barks maniacally, till we let her out to chase them off her property. She's learned that it's more fun to not bark till she gets right up next to them. If she barks too soon she misses the thrill of watching them bound over the fence and off into the forest.

When she's not watching for deer she's trying to keep me from practicing. She gets in a very playful mood when she sees me pick up the guitar. It's irresistible. Although, I have to admit there are times I think she's just trying to stop the music!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Happy 90th Birthday, Ed Melzer!

Through the magic of Skype Amanda and I were able to congratulate Ed Melzer on turning 90 years old today! We are so grateful that he has been a part of our family for the past 12 years!

He was able to have his family celebrate with him last night at a restaurant where they showed slides and talked about the good old days. His three children and their families were there as well as my sisters, Annette and Joan. I was happy Brittany, John and Crystal were there to represent our family. We have had so many wonderful times with him. He and mom accompanied us to Peru, Bolivia, Mexico, Sweden, Denmark and Norway. He is a wonderful travel companion, because he is interested in everything and everybody. We were amazed that he drove all the way from Utah to Baltimore to visit us last year! He's not been feeling his normal chipper self this year, but we're hoping when he starts dancing again he'll be able to come visit us in Maryland. We're just praying that next time they'll chose to fly out!


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Papa Joe's

In our continuing quest for great Mexican food, we went to Westminster (Maryland--not Colorado) last night, where we met Kaylene and John for dinner at Papa Joe's. It was, just at they told us it would be, excellent Mexican food! The company was just as good. I have missed Kaylene now that she's not in band anymore. It was fun catching up on their lives. We both had children get married last month, and that topic alone could have filled an entire evening! We would have stayed all night, but Papa Joe started a fire in the kitchen and smoked us out. Fortunately, by then we had licked our plates clean anyway!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

New Toys

Ed and I decided to forego a trip to celebrate our 30th anniversary. We've had enough fun traveling this year. Instead, we bought ourselves matching tablet computers. We got Samsung Galaxy 10.1s. They were delivered by our friends at Fedex this afternoon. So far tonight we've already had four hours of fun (or work)  on them! Ed is hoping he'll enjoy his on his long trip to Australia at the end of the week!