Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Ferry Good Time

We started the day yesterday with another healthy breakfast of oatmeal with nuts, yogurt and prunes. We might never go back to a bowl of cereal in the morning!

After packing the car, Ed and David went down to the pier to take the flag down. It was easier than expected, as the flagpole itself telescopes down!

We went back to Raleigh a different way, taking the ferry across the river. It is amazing that ferries are considered a part of the road system, and are free of charge in North Carolina. With the belt tightening every state is experiencing, that is about to change. We're glad we got across before the new fares took place!

Sandy flew home from school just in time to meet us for lunch at the Pit in Raleigh. It was fun talking to him and hear about college and his girlfriend Sophie (not necessarily in that order)!

To counter the effects of a weekend of good living, I ordered the sweet potato fries, not knowing they were liberally sprinkled in brown sugar! That was a tasty surprise!

We had so much fun this weekend that we're already thinking of ways we can make it back to Brady Bay sooner rather than later!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

David and Rachel lent us their cute little Mini to go to church this morning. They went for long runs while we drove up to the LDS church in Washington, North Carolina (not to be confused with the nation's capital).

They had a branch there, but a building bigger than our ward building in Eldersburg. Needless to say, we were a little jealous. They were a nice group and we enjoyed meeting a few of them before and after church. They had a couple of missionaries, also and we sat next to one of their investigators.

After church David cooked up his famous Eggs a la Garbanza with Hollandaise sauce. It was delicious. It reminded me of a healthy version of Dad's biscuits and gravy!

We tried out David and Rachael's two person kayak and enjoyed it. We mostly took a lazy ride down the creek and then went just a little way down the river back to their pier (with the flag in the back).

Ed took the Sunfish out for one last spin, which was lots of fun because there was a good, stiff breeze. It was also bad, because it caused him to capsize the boat and he lost a contact lens in the water. He's going to have a fuzzy next several days wearing his glasses!

I was very reluctant to try out the Sunfish, because of my problem with motion sickness, but David told me he would take me out and if we stayed close to shore I could abandon ship at any time. Surprisingly, I loved it and had no problems. I was one with the boat! I got to take the tiller while David managed the sail. Sailing is interesting; they've explained to me how it works, but just like airplane flight, it seems a little mysterious.

We finished the day with a beet and quinoa dinner--delicious and different, and also vegan! David and Rachael have really gone out of their way to show us a good time. I'm sure with the rave reviews about them here in my blog they're going to get too many booking requests and will have to turn the rest of you away!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Lotta Water!

I was really good at surfskiing this morning. Rachael, here, shows how it is done. Aside from one dip in the water, I was able to keep my balance and paddle at the same time. It was a lot harder than kayaking, but moved quicker! Unfortunately, it turns out I can get seasick on just a small boat. After I threw up, Rachael was kind enough to have me walk the boat to shore (in the shallow water). Ed didn't get seasick, but decided kayaking was more his speed!

After lunch we went into Bath to see the sights. We found they were having a crab parade (painted crabs all over town). Finding a blue crab at the museum made us feel right at home!

We enjoyed the tour of the Palmer House (built in 1751), but had some difficulties with the tour guide who told us on more than one occasion to  listen up better and not make her repeat things! We thought we might enjoy making an SNL skit called "Touchy Tour Guide." We got a lot of fodder for it today!

We stopped in Washington and bought some Dramamine so I could enjoy my ride in the Pony, (an 18 foot sailboat). They even let me take the rudder, which was pretty fun. After a while I realized the Dramamine wasn't going to do the trick, so they brought me back to shore! I felt like such a party pooper, because it was so fun to be out in the water and the breeze!

As a consolation for our shortened sail, David took Ed out and taught him how to sail the Sunfish all by himself! He loved it, and they stayed out quite a while. Rachel and I didn't mind as we sat on the screened porch and gave each other pedicures! So we have pretty toenails, but the men don;'t!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Carolina on our MInds

Ed and I flew to North Carolina to visit my brother, David, and his wife Rachael today. We had never seen their home, and they've been here 11 years. In fact, we waited so long that they now have two homes here.

We started the day at Duke University where we saw David's giant camera that is so detailed that it looks like a giant fly's eye. They were displaying it in the atrium.

Then David took us for a tour of the University, which included the fabulous Sarah Duke Gardens. The walkways and bridges were just as beautiful as the flowers.

Rachael gave us a tour of her virtual reality room. This looks like a kitchen, but it's all imaginary! We also went to Italy and Dante's inferno in the room.It was scary walking off the edge of  a bridge. Even though you knew the floor was there it felt like you were falling.

We enjoyed seeing their house in Durham and hearing how they completely remodeled it when they first came here. Rachael has a real talent for design.

We're spending the weekend at their Bath house. It's an idyllic location on the river. It's so beautiful that it's easy to see why they decided to build down here. We feel right at home going to sleep with a chorus of frogs outside our window!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Gentle Leader

My friend, Anne, suggested I buy a Gentle Leader collar for Coda. It is designed to keep a dog from pulling and exhibiting bad behavior on a leash. We got it in the mail a few days ago, and after watching the helpful instructional video we put it on Coda. She promptly went into the other room and pushed it over the top of her nose with her paws and chewed it in half! Not to be deterred, I sewed it back together (it was long enough to patch with no problem). Then, we fitted it a little tighter so she couldn't do that again!

Our first walk was like a miracle. She walked peacefully by my side the entire time. The wild beast had been tamed!

I took her out again today, and aside from some extreme agitation when we were walking behind a couple of other dogs, she did really well. Even then she didn't pull. I am hopeful that in a few weeks she'll be able to completely control herself on our walks. She even passed a bunny AND a squirrel this morning without lunging at them! It's hard to see in the picture, but you can see where it goes over her nose. It also goes behind her ears. I think she looks a little dejected in this picture. I am wearing a broad smile!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Pearl Strings at the South Carroll Senior Center

The Pearl Strings performed at the South Carroll Senior Center yesterday. It went well and we had a terrific time. I'm posting a mixture of videos here. Some are from the dress rehearsal for our families Sunday night, and other's from the senior center.

Our first Song was the Red Haired Boy and Miss McLeod's Reel. This was our only instrumental (no vocals).

We loved the Buffalo Gals Undergarments song. We got this from our friends the Gabardine Sisters. It has a little peek at our pantaloons at the end.

Grandma's Feather Bed was so much fun. I got to play a little jaw harp on the third verse!

We combined A Bicycle Built for Two with Brittany, Darling, Oh Will You Be Mine. The latter is an original song I wrote about my daughter's courtship and marriage. It has a little parallel with a tandem bicycle and a scooter.

Alisa's Daughter Ella steals the show with her solo on Shortnin' Bread!

My sister Joan suggested we do Horse with No Name. It was really hard for us to get the rhythm going on it, but when we finally got it we really enjoyed it. Then, we added the harmonies and it became very listenable.

We didn't get the entire Lover's Waltz in one video, but I patched together parts of the recording at our home with the recording from the senior center. It's missing only 5 measures in the middle!

We added a little Indian drum for Red Wing.

We worked the hardest on When You're Next to me. Getting the rests in the right places wasn't easy! When we finally got it we were smugly satisfied!

I got to play the cello standing up on Shall We Gather at the River. It was easier that way, as I was singing, as well. I might do it again, as it was rather fun!

Our new signature sign-off song is God Be With You Till We Meet Again. Here it is!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Pearl Strings Family Program

The Pearl Strings played for our families tonight. It was our last practice before our gig on Tuesday. Everything went smoothly. We've practiced every week for so long that we actually felt like we knew what we were doing! Barb R, LuRayne and I all made some crazy petticoats to show off at the end of our Buffalo Gals Undergarments song. It looks like I showed a lot more than they did! Afterwards we sat outside and visited on the porch swings while the kids played on our lawn. It was so relaxing and a nice reward after all our hard work!

Relief Society Conference Music

We did two songs in Relief Society today as part of the visiting teaching conference. The prelude song was "Have I Done Any Good in the World Today." Helen played violin, I played cello, Alisa played guitar, and sang, and June sang. There was some controversy about whether that was a good song or not, but in the end it came turned out just great!

Then, we did a second number where I played the guitar on Our Savior's Love, and Barb and June sang soprano and Alisa and LuRayne sang alto. That turned out so nice, too. I had worked out the guitar part with my teacher, and practiced it so much that I even had it memorized. We had so many nice comments afterwards, which made us really happy! Four of us wore black and pink by coincidence. Helen and Barb didn't get the memo!

Judds in Town

We had the pleasure of hosting Carol and Dennis Judd the past two nights. They're in town for the graduation of their son from medical school. Now they can walk around saying, "My son, the doctor..." Not many parents get to say that! They're very proud of Andrew. We're sad to see him graduate, as he and his wife are moving back to Utah. Not only will we miss them in our ward, we'll also miss the occasional visits from his parents!

Choir Pot Luck

Saturday night the choir had an end of season pot luck at our house. We've had a wonderful year together, and we're going to be taking the summer off. It was fun to have a reason to get together and just talk. We had tons of good food, and the weather was so beautiful, which was great for those of the choir fortunate enough to get a chair on the deck.

Alisa, in the back, has done a great job as choir director. Ed and I like to think of the choir as a 'club' that's fun to belong to. I sit by Tricia and try to follow her lead. When we're not singing I spend my time trying to keep Tricia from talking to me and getting us in trouble. It's a hopeless task.

The choir sang Joseph's Smith's First Prayer today. It was a nice arrangement and had nothing to do with muffins, despite the lyrics some ot the men were singing at practice.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Fire Road by Snowden's Run

In our attempt to walk the entire length of the fire road around Liberty Reservoir, we hiked the section around Snowden's run, a stream connecting to the North Branch of the Patapsco River. We parked by Lakeview Cemetery and worked our way down to the fire road.

It was strange to walk underneath the Liberty bridge that we cross over so often on our way in and out of our neighborhood. It looked a lot different looking from the bottom up!

We had to fjord the water at Snowdon's Run. It was Coda's first experience going wading. I think she may have liked it. She likes everything about going for a walk!

It was such a beautiful day that we had a picnic in our backyard when we got home. I've always wanted to have a picnic under the overhanging branches in the southwest corner of our lot. Now that Ed has cleaned up a lot of the dead wood back there it is really beautiful.

Just as we were getting ready to clean up, the horses moseyed on over to see what was cookin'. Only grass, for them, but they seemed to love it! Bali even let Ed pet her before she got back to grazing. Coda loved it all. She got to relax outside with us, and also was able to chase every truck that passed by. It was a perfect day for a dog!

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Bookies met tonight to discuss "The Art of Racing in the Rain." Well, we really met to talk about ourselves and our children. But, in regards to the book, Diane and I gave it a thumbs down. Anne and Martha gave it a thumbs up, and Nora, sat on the fence with a thumb sideways! The dog connection in the book was fun, but I thought it was a dog that knew too much. Anne thinks all dogs are omniscient. (At least all 10 of her dogs.)

All though we spent time catching up on our children, we spent a good deal of time talking about our dogs. We are a sad lot! I like to think we talked about our dogs because the book was about a dog, but perhaps there is a good deal of transfer of emotions going on here!

Pearls and Strings

The Pearl Strings are ready for their gig next week! They've been practicing every week for a couple of months now. We're doing a performance for our families Sunday night, as a warm-up to next Tuesday's performance at the Senior center. I decorated my instruments with pearls to make them feel special.  We're also doing a few songs for the Relief Society Visiting Teaching conference on Sunday. Oh, and the choir is singing, too! When it rains it pours, and this Sunday there will be a flood of music!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Value of Work

Yesterday afternoon I ironed. This is something I try to avoid even when I'm feeling well, but after a week spent lying around doing nothing, it felt fantastic to accomplish something! I feel so good about myself! I did something useful!

I guess you just can't underestimate the personal benefits of a simple task well executed. And, when you combine it with watching a good movie (Water for Elephants),  it really turned out to be a very pleasant afternoon!

Monday, May 14, 2012


I finally caught the woodpecker on camera! Every time I run in to get the camera he flies off! But this time I was patient and waited for him to come back. I knew he was hungry, and Ed had just refilled the bird feeder with lots of tasty things. Sure enough, he came back and sated himself at our expense. He has to almost sit sideways in order to not go over the weight limit on the perch. It's fun to watch!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Happy Mother's Day

Today was a happy Mother's Day for so many reasons. Ed did his best to make it that way. He cooked dinner all by himself, and even cleaned up ALL the dishes! I wasn't feeling well enough to help him, and he really stepped up his game!

His Chicken Penne Pasta with vegetables was delicious! And I was feeling well enough that I had no problem eating it!

We started out the day by talking to Amanda in Germany. It was so great to hear her voice and her enthusiasm. She got to talk in church today. It was also Mother's Day in Germany. She talked about Christlike attributes and told me some nice things she said about me. It made me happy.

We talked to Brittany in Utah. She is doing great. She says John shaved his beautiful head of hair. I wonder if Brittany feels like Delilah!

Crystal Skyped from Idaho, having just returned from a quick trip to Utah to take an English test. She's only got about 6 more weeks left in her internship, but has found that she really likes Idaho! Who knew?

I called my Mom, who drove to Colorado on Saturday all by herself! She's there to help my sister, Verlene. Verlene is in Wichita and needs some help with Paul and the dog! I was very proud that my mother, at 83, could still make that drive! She's really incredible! It was a happy Mother's Day. I even felt well enough to take a little walk this evening! Things are really looking up!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

She Didn't Get up off the Couch

I've spent most of the week lying on the couch, which it turns out isn't very comfortable after the first 2 hours! I've had a bug I can't shake, so aside from a few attempts at normalcy, I've just tried to make my recovery as comfortable as possible. This was made even better this morning, as Brittany sent me an early Mother's Day present in a Kindle version of Shadows of the Wind, which has been very enjoyable and interesting! I barely know I'm sick when I have a good book to read!

Elisa from Massachusetts

We had a pleasant visit Thursday, when our good friend Elisa Beckman dropped by. She and her husband and three little boys live in Boston now, but we had some really great musical times with her (and her flute) while she lived in Broomfield. We're happy to have her on our recording of Mary's Lullaby. She was in town training for a job and saved some time to come over and see us, which we really appreciated. They are happy and enjoying life in the northeast. After living in Tennessee, and then Connecticut they are thinking maybe their odyssey is over and they've found permanence in the Bay State. We hope so, too. Maybe someday we'll make it up there to visit them sometime!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Fire Road from Pine Knob

In our efforts to walk the entire length of the fire road, we parked our car on Pine Knob and walked all the way to our house. This was a little under 5 miles and took us an hour and 20 minutes. With the Nordic walking sticks we kept up a pretty good pace. It was a hot, humid day, and we were pretty tired by the time we got home! Coda seemed to have energy to spare while we were out hiking, but she was the first one to take a nap when we got home! I won't say who the second one was, but it wasn't me!

Cuatro de Mayo

We celebrated Cinco de Mayo a day early. Last night Ed had friends from work over for dinner. Neither Debra nor Bob was able to make our basement warming party last summer, so they came over last night with their spouses. I made my famous tortilla soup, Mexican Spareribs, Chevy's sweet corn tomalitos, and corn salsa dip. I also cleaned the house! (I felt like superwoman!) Debra brought a great fruit salad and Lori made some tres leches cake, which was delicious.

We not only had a fun evening, but we got to keep a lot of the leftovers and celebrate Cinco de Mayo once more today!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

All for the Birds

My friend, Barb, told me that goldfinch particularly like Nyger seed, and that you put it in a cylinder feeder. So, I had to try it out. Boy, was she right. I put this up on Tuesday and they've already eaten their way through a quarter of the feeder! Here are three little birds feeding. It would be fun to get a picture of 9 feeding at once (as there are nine holes in the feeder)!

Apparently nobody likes blackbirds. I'm guessing this is a red-winged blackbird, with maybe a house sparrow looking down at it. Nobody feeds when the blackbird is at the trough.

The cardinal and a purple finch decided to feed from the dregs below the feeder. That's dangerous territory, but there's a lot of good stuff down there! I later got to watch Simon, Miss Carol's cat, sneak up on the feeder and jump at a finch. He narrowly escaped with his life!

Ed and Coda were entertained watching me watch the birds! Coda is such a lap dog. This is the way she sits on our lap. She never curls up and settles in, but she's happy to sit upright on our lap as long as she's getting a good scratch. Ed is always happy to oblige!