Saturday, March 31, 2012

Coda Crosses her Legs

Today Ed and I did some yard cleanup. As we sat down to contemplate our good job Coda joined us. When she crossed her front paws I had to take a picture. Queenie, our American Eskimo dog, used to do it all the time. They are as different as night and day in temperament, but every once in a while Coda reminds us that we did have a soft spot in our hearts for Queenie, as well. By the way, look at all the clover in our yard! I'm going to Home Depot now to buy three giant bags of Weed and Feed!

Night on the Town

Ed and I got all dressed up last night to attend the Goddard Memorial Space dinner in Washington DC. Lisa Meyers, NBC correspondent, (on the big screen behind us) was the guest speaker. We were lucky to be able to stay at the Hilton afterwards rather than drive home. We had some good dinner companions, and really enjoyed the meal. It was delicious, except for the "Mini Georgetown" mystery dessert. The table guests couldn't decide weather it was a green tea or fish puree gelatin mold on a cookie crumb crust. Most of us passed on it. I ate the crust. Fortunately, we also had pecan monkey bread and cherry Garcia ice cream to distract us. Ed happily ate it all. I'm so lucky to have a husband who isn't a picky eater. Or, is it years of living with my cooking that has trained him?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Magic Fingers

This is my guitar corner--my favorite place to practice the guitar. The light is great, as there are windows on three sides.  If it's cold I can turn on the fireplace, which makes it feel extra cozy. I even have a little cushion to sit on.

Today I was particularly drawn in by my reflection on the grand piano. It looks like I have two hands and two guitars all playing at the same time. It was a multimedia event, beautiful sound and a picture to watch at the same time! It was magic!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Visit from Colorado

The Alfords are in town this week (from Colorado) and stopped by to see us. Since they're staying in DC our house wasn't exactly on their way, but we appreciated it so much that we fed them dinner. It was fun eating at our new kitchen table! It was also fun showing Jannan our house, as she last saw it two years ago when we first moved in. We've made so many changes in it since then.

Coda particularly liked the visitors, as they played with her. She also did all her tricks for them. We were so proud of her! She's the next best thing to having a kid who plays the violin!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Date Night at Turf Valley

Friday night is date night, which means we get to go out to eat. We don't usually go to fancy (expensive) places, but Carrie gave us really good coupons for Turf Valley this week! They were too good to pass up. It was so nice that we almost ate on the patio. I was lured back inside by the guitar player, who had a harmonica around his neck!

The coupons were in honor of their complete remodel of the restaurant. The most distinctive feature was these colorful ceiling lamps. It is now an American Fusion restaurant. I don't really know what fusion means, but I think it is sort of like new age for restaurants.

The food was great. We both had the New York strip steak Oscar with lump crab meat on top. It was delicious. I almost got the big piece, but then Ed cleverly realized that the smaller one must be the well done one. So, I had to switch with him. That will teach me to order well done! I'm sorry to report we ate the entire thing! No doggie bag for poor Coda!

Rose Ball Poster

I did the posters for the Columbia Stake Rose Ball next month. I thought they had a real nice shine to them because of the photo paper I printed them on. They're not really posters, as the Columbia stake only allows 8.5x11 'posters' to be put up. It's a wonder if anyone will even notice them. They're more like shiny fliers tacked on a bulletin board. It sort of sucks the fun out of advertising, but I thought they turned out nice, anyway. We're also advertising in the Sunday bulletins and with fliers, so, with any luck enough we'll have a bunch of happy people show up with their dancing shoes on!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pearl Strings Publicity Photos

We took a few photos today for our next publicity flier. The first one is in our swing under our deck. This has some charm, but I'm noticing that June looks like a midget! She's not that short, so I can only assume she was trying to be invisible!

The second shot is on the steps in the backyard. Alisa suggested a nice angle for this. I'm thinking it might look nice as an album cover!

We had to take several takes to keep Kate and Coda out of the pictures.

Apparently, everyone and their dog wants to be in our band!

June is Back!

June was back at band practice today. She had foot surgery last week and was in too much pain and/or too heavily medicated to make it to band the next day! We are so glad she was back. The songs all sound better when someone is singing the melody!

Just to prove she had a doctor's excuse to skip practice last week, I made her show us her foot! The little green bead in the top is attached to a pin that goes right into her toe! Ouuuuch!! She said it hurts worse when she looks at it, and it hurts worst of all when she bumps into something. We tried to steer clear of her!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Walkin' to Guitar Lesson

What a beautiful spring we've been having! I'm so lucky to have a great guitar teacher who lives just a few blocks away. There were a few months in the dead of winter where I drove to my lesson, but I've been walking for a month now, and today I walked over in shirtsleeves! The weather has put a real 'spring' in my step! That, and I'm learning to play Stompin' at the Savoy. Between the two of them, I might as well have just danced over to my lesson!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Dog Barrier

We must really love our dog! Coda has reverted to puppy days and started pooping and peeing in the bedroom at night. It got to be almost every night. We tried putting her in the mudroom at night, but she barked all night long, and Ed didn't get any sleep at all for three nights. So, we decided to try making our bedroom smaller by moving the chair, ottoman and laundry basket to form a barrier every night. I'm happy to report that she has not had an "accident" for 8 nights! She can't get to her favorite spot in front of the closet without jumping over the chair, so she's just been holding it! Let's hope it helps when we release the barrier in another week!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

St. Paddy's Day

We hosted a St. Patrick's Day party for the High Priest's quorum last night, and Ed just happened to have two matching green shirts with his work logo on them! We look ready for the bowling league!

We cooked up a pot of Irish stew. We had some Irish soda bread with it, as well as some fruit and jello. We had LOTS of green deserts to finish it off!

Look how green and festive everyone is (although I don't know if Kaylene's shirt really counts as green)! These were our first guests to try out our new kitchen table!

It was such a nice evening that some of our guests decided to eat outside on the deck! Look they're all in green, also (with the noted exception of Lorie, who is seems to be wearing Kaylene's shirt).

The really wild group was in the dining room. It got even wilder after the Trustys arrived! Someone here forgot to wear their green! I guess it's just not that big of a holiday in Nigeria!

After dinner we played a little Irish trivia game. We divided up in teams, by having people pick a basketball team in honor of March Madness. Then we divided into regions. The Midwest region, pictured on the left, did very well. I didn't get a picture of the West, who also did well. They finished so fast I couldn't snap their picture!

The South region went to the conservatory to put together their guesses. That's pretty much what they were--guesses!

The East region seemed to have someone with a smart phone that just may have helped them out a bit. (See Mike's hands in the right of the picture.)

Fortunately, everyone was a winner, and a good time was had by all. Ed and I had just enough leftover stew for a nice Sunday lunch!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Tall Order

Ed had the day off today, and we used it to work around the yard. My job was finishing the drainage area I started last summer. I've been saving up rocks for it, and had plenty. It was a BIG job. I had to dig a little ditch and line it with rocks. You can see it on the right side of this picture. It turned out nice, but it was such strenuous labor that I'm good for nothing now. I like my tall shadow in the middle of the picture.

Ed's job was cleaning out some of the dead wood in our copse. He's come to an understanding with his finicky chainsaw and made some great progress. After it was all done he stood out on the deck and surveyed his handiwork. It met his approval.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Children of Pearls Visit the Horses

Yesterday after band practice Helena and Alisa came down to feed the horses with me. We brought the kids down to 'help' out. It was 80 degrees yesterday, and wonderful to have a reason to spend some time outdoors!

Jojo has a flake of hay here that is almost bigger than he is!

Christopher had to muster all his courage up to bring some hay out to the horses!

He was happy to get out of there alive!

The boys could just barely reach high enough to drop their hay off.

It was nice of Alisa to take these pictures for me. Now I can see what I look like when I'm tossing hay into the rack! Doesn't that look like fun? It was!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Happy Anniversary, Lissy!

Lissy (my German friend) and I started Skyping one year ago tomorrow. To commemorate our anniversary I made a blueberry muffin and put a candle on it. We Skyped today, and she was able to blow it out all the way across the Atlantic. Unfortunately, she was not able to eat it. I had to do that for her. But, I informed her that it was "sehr lecker," (very delicious). I was hoping to be fluent by now, but sadly that has not happened. However, I've had many conversations with Lissy (all in German) over the year. I now understand about 60 percent of what she says. She has been so good to help me. When she sees that glazed look come over my eyes she knows she's lost me. Then, she backs up and tells me the same story over. By the third time I usually understand exactly what she's talking about. I have learned so much about German culture this past year. That has been just as much fun as learning the language.Can one really learn one without the other? Here's to promoting international understanding! Die Welt wäre besser wenn alle Leute so nett wie Lissy wären. (The world would be a better place if everyone was as nice as Lissy)!

Barn Duty

I got to feed the horses today, as Lenny was sick. I hadn't been down there much this winter, and really enjoyed seeing the horses again. Coda was a really good helper, staying right with me the whole time. However, she doesn't pick up poop! She's just watching me and saying, "I'm glad I don't have opposable thumbs now!"

Bambury is shedding like crazy now, but even after currying her, her legs still look like they have muck-lucks on. She looks like an Icelandic pony!

New Ornamental Grass

Roni and John brought me a new ornamental grass yesterday. They have such a nice garden that they have extra plants which they share with me.  I'll plant the new grass next to it's sister grass, which I was told I must trim down. It looks so pretty even in the winter. I hate to give it a haircut until I have to!

They also brightened up Coda's day by bringing Molly over to play. Coda has a limited circle of friends--two pugs and a brown lab. She doesn't get out much!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

New Website!

I have a brand new website,! It is very cool to have my own domain name! I'll use it to post sheet music I've put together over the years. When we choose a song for either family band or my old (and not so old) ladies' band, I look first on the internet. Most folk music and many hymns are in the public domain. However, although it is easy to find chords and/or lyrics, it is often hard to find the melody. So, I've decided to share my lead sheets hoping that someone out there in cyberspace might benefit from my work. The site currently has about 20 songs, but will be growing daily!

I'll also be posting any arrangements I've put together for strings, as well as original songs. You can access these pdf files by clicking on the link here, or the link on the top right hand side of this page! Enjoy!

Kitchen chairs

Despite some protests from some members of our family (who no longer live at home), we opted to buy a counter-height kitchen table. It is actually nicer than you'd think. You don't have to bend over to set the table! Another advantage is the chairs are the same height as the bar stools, and if we wanted to do so we could pull an extra chair up to the bar. We also think they look very lovely!

But don't worry, when we have guests that are to old or infirm (you know who you are) to use the high chairs, we'll eat in the dining room!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Dog Play

I had to run out in my stocking feet to get this video today. I couldn't find the camera, then I couldn't remember how to take a video, so I missed some great shots of the dogs playing, but just as I was about to give up, Coda goaded Katie and Piper into chasing her. She loves it! Miss Carol and I also love it. We feel like we get exercise by just watching them!

Some Assembly Required

We've been looking for new bar stools for about 5 years. We finally broke down and bought some nice ones from Sam's Club yesterday. Unfortunately, they were so pretty that they pointed out how out-of-date our kitchen table is, so I went back and bought the matching table and chairs. The bar stools were great and came fully assembled. but Ed had to put together 8 chairs and one table! He was home sick, so he rested between chairs, but I couldn't get him to stop assembling. He does not like to leave things unfinished! I'd take a picture of them for the blog, but first we have to get the old table out of the kitchen!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Waiting for the Mail

Coda loves to go play with the pugs when Miss Carol takes them out with her when she picks up her mail. It's a long walk to the mailbox from the house, The dogs are not allowed to cross the hump in the road. You can see them encroaching a little here, but still waiting patiently as Miss Carol and I walk up to the end of the road and back. Coda is learning by example to sit back and wait.

I keep forgetting to take my camera when I join them. The dogs love to run and chase. It is so fun to watch. By the time I remembered I had my cell phone that could take a video, they were all tuckered out. I just got a picture of them resting. I posted it in black and white here, just like them!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Bananagrams and Crossword puzzles

Ed and I had words today-crosswords, that is! We did the New York times crossword together on our Galaxy tablets after lunch. It is a very nice app. It is easier to read than a paper copy, especially because when you click on the clue the squares become active and you can see where to write the answer. After dinner we played a little Bananagrams. These were Ed's final words (in the game)! It is a way better game than Scrabble, as you don't have sit around waiting while your opponent(s) play. We love Saturday! 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Baltimore Museum of Art and Hampden District

We went to the Baltimore Museum of art this afternoon. We had never been, and the price seemed right--free! We couldn't believe the magnolias were already in bloom. They looked so pretty.

It is a very nice museum, with lots of pictures, sculpture and pots from all over the world.

I had to take a picture of these pear jars for my sister, Verlene, who has been searching for her inner pear through painting. You can check out her artwork on the link from my blog (lower right) to her blog, Ambition Knows No Bounds. These pears were from Hungary.

I liked this picture of the cellist. Gaugin put his own face on the player. I guess he must have wished he could play the cello. I'm glad I can!

There was so much to see that Ed had to stop and "Think" about it.

I also liked this picture of the lady in the red dress by Elisabeth Lousie Vigee LeBrun.

After the museum we went to the nearby Hampden district, where we walked around the shops and stopped to eat at the Hon Cafe. Apparently, Baltimorans say "hon" to each other a lot. Who knew? The meatloaf was great, and the blueberry cherry crumb pie even better!

The cafe had a giant pink flamingo out front. Apparently, this is in homage to John Waters, a favorite son of Baltimore who based his movies in town. His movie, Pink Flamingo, is a cult classic, which is also NC-17 rated. It's one part of Baltimore culture we will NOT be seeing!