Sunday, February 24, 2013

Taking Ikea for Granite

Somehow, Ed had never been to Ikea yet, so we finally got him there on Saturday. I had a project in mind, and we were looking for shelves.

We made a day of it, having the Swedish meatballs for lunch at their cafeteria. They were yummy! Then we brought home 4 sets of drawers.

We found out later that the drive to Baltimore was just the beginning of our ordeal. A trip to Ikea is like a gift that keeps on giving! Assembling the drawers took five hours with both of us working!

Here is the 'before' picture of our closet island! We had a slab of granite in the garage that we wanted to put to good use, so we switched out the baskets for drawers and capped them with the granite.

And, here is the 'after' picture! Ta-da! Isn't it beautiful? It was worth all the labor! The most amazing thing was how we got the piece of granite upstairs with just the two of us! It weighed about 250 pounds, but with a dolly and working together we got it up and safely in place. We had thought we should call for reinforcements, but it was 10:45 p.m. by the time we were ready for it, so we did it by ourselves. That was an experience we will not soon forget!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wedding Singers

Mason and Jenna had an open mike at their reception. It was fun because both families have some musical talent. Joan talked me and Barbara into playing with her. We did three songs, and I'm posting them here for Joan's enjoyment. They're a little rough around the edges, but we had a great time putting them together.

Brittany and John made me proud with their performance of a couple of Appalachian murder ballads.

I know Joan really wants to see her two daughters, Judea and Bobo performing the most. They were show stealers in their matching purple dresses with their bright smiles and enthusiastic delivery.

Bobo finished up with a solo number on Hero in the Air

Joan's son Naji did a great job on the drum with a Native American song.

Mason, the groom, played with his brother, Sam, and faux brother, Cameron.

Jenna and her mom did a lovely song in tribute to their Irish heritage.

The evening finished up with a song by the bride and groom themselves. Here's hoping they can keep on making music together right on into eternity.

Farewell Dinner and Trip Home

Brittany, John and I had dinner at Hot Pot Monday. We spent a few hours going over our planned trip to China this summer, and Hot Pot seemed like the perfect prelude to 13 days in China. It was delicious and so filling that I couldn't eat dinner later.

I went back to Grandma's house, where we watched the 1999 version of Mansfield Park. We wanted to see Hugh Bonneville in it, as we were in a real Downton Abbey mood. We had watched the tragic season end of Downton Abby together Sunday night. As sad as it was, I still look forward to season four again next year.

I want to thank my Mom for getting up at 3:30 a.m. to take me to the airport yesterday! I hope she had time for a nap afterwards! I had to fly to Houston and Chicago before getting home to Baltimore. In each stopover city I had to hurry to catch the next flight. All went well, and on the second leg I was able to watch most of the movie, Lincoln, which was very entertaining. Luckily, Ed was able to fill me in on the ending after I got home.

Amanda had a hot dinner waiting for us when we got home from the airport last night! It's good to be home again!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Runs Through Wedding

My nephew, Mason got married yesterday in the St. George Temple. His bride, Jenna had a beautiful custom made wedding dress made for her when she was in China. They both plan to return to China in a week to teach English for a year. 
Joan's family was all there, with the exception of one son, Joe, who is the Mission Training Center now. They all looked great decked out in their purple dresses, vests and ties.
It was so fun having Barbara and Annette there as well. I think we need to all retire to St. George so we can just have fun together.
To celebrate Mason's Assiniboine heritage the couple had a blanket ceremony at the reception, performed by Mason's father. 
Judea and Bobo looked so cute in their matching dresses with poofy skirts. They stole the show at open mic night at the reception! They had also done so much to help with the reception and the wedding. It is great to see how Joan's family works together to support one another. 
We enjoyed spending time with Joan's family. We went to bed late by Mountain time, but my internal clock keeps getting me up early on Eastern time! It's pretty exhausting even when you're not mother of the bride (or groom, in this case)! At least I have a month to rest up till my next nephew gets married in March!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Cookin' in St. George

We drove down with Brittany and John to St. George yesterday.  It was nice getting out of the snow and back into sunny weather. Annette and Kent are hosting us at their beautiful vacation home. Mom and I cooked dinner--chicken Tikka Masala, which we learned to cook in Relief Society Wednesday night. Brittany and John made the bread--chapati, which was the perfect complement to the meal.

After dinner Joan and Barbara came over to practice our sisters' act for open mic at the wedding today. It was so much fun. We're doing Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, Blow up the TV and Could I have this Dance?  Brittany and John went through their Appalachian murder ballads, Willow Garden and Knoxville Girl, two more great wedding songs!

We were cookin' all night long!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Who's a Senior Citizen?

Mom and I attended the Salem Valentine's dinner given to the Senior Citizens tonight. I know I might be a senior by some standards, but I was feeling pretty young tonight!

It was a nice event where the Salem youth council served the dinner. We had ham, potatoes and green beans. Mom brought half her dinner home for a second meal next week!

The event had entertainment provided by some of the youth. You know it was good if you have a banjo and a fiddle there!

Mom's friend Dean even played the piano for us. It was incredible that at 90 he could play so well. He did Have I Told You Lately that I Love You? and Springtime in the Rockies. The last song hit a particular chord, as they've been suffering through the coldest winter since 1949! There has been snow on the ground for three solid months! If they can survive another month perhaps Springtime will arrive in the Rockies this year!

Happy Valentine's Day to my sweetie, Ed, back in sunny Maryland! I miss you and wish you were here! Thanks for the virtual flowers!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sleeping with Cats

Brittany picked me up at the airport last night at midnight. I felt so bad about catching such a late flight from Baltimore, but when you're flying on frequent flier miles, you take what you get! (The upside was I flew first class all the way!)

When we got to Brittany's house the cats were waiting up for us. They all three sniffed me up pretty good before we went to sleep. It was just like having Coda! Except the cats figured there wasn't room for all of us on the sofa!

Grandma, Brittany and I went shopping today and out to lunch. I'm happy to report I found some new clothes and Grandma got a new smart phone. She decided if she's going to live a few more years, she might as well enjoy it. She signed up for a two year contract, so I guess we'll have her around for at least a few more years!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Stringing Along

The first meeting of the Big Bush Basement Band was Saturday night. This is an open invitation to the youth in the ward and their friends to learn how to play guitars, ukuleles, or any other instrument. We started small with only Katie and Nadi, but it was so fun. They were so quick to learn and enthusiastic, as well! We're going to try to do it monthly, and hopefully, we'll grow as we keep doing it.

Helen came along and spent the evening re-stringing a couple of guitars. She doesn't even play them, but she is now an expert in stringing and tuning!

We plan on doing popular music, but started with Grandma's Feather Bed this week. That was popular when I was a teenager!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Saturday Chores

Ed's spent Saturday repairing the garage that we ran into last week. The car is in the shop and will hopefully be back early next week. Before you know it we'll be back to normal again!

I asked Ed if he had a back up plan for next time he hits ice on the driveway. He says he'll never drive down the driveway again when there is even a hint of ice on it! I still think we should build  runaway truck ramp off to the side, just in case!

Mainly Lobster

We went to dinner last night with some friends of Ed's from work, including his Australian cohorts. Nick's in Baltimore specialized in seafood, and I went for the Maine lobster. I really didn't even know how to begin eating it! I decided to look at it like a giant crab, which I've become quite good at fleshing out. It turned out to be more meaty than a crab, and not bad once you got over the beady little eyes staring out at you. And, anything dipped in that much butter can't be all bad!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Fortune Teller Singer

I thought it would be fun to give the Primary choristers something when we visit the wards as members of the stake Primary. I found a pattern for paper fortune tellers on the internet and adapted it. I added the eyes and the lips. I then printed it out on my large format printer, so it is 13 inches square.

I thought if the fortune teller (we can call her Bernice) was singing loud the children should also sing loud. Notice the uvula!)

Or, if you prefer, you could put song choices under the numbers, and help the children pick the next song as they choose numbers.

I took her Bernice to the Spanish branch with me where I had the opportunity to take her for a test run. It turns out, happily, that Bernice is also bilingual!

If you'd like to make your own, here's the pattern: 

Napkin Rings

Don't you just love cloth napkins? In order to not have to wash them every time you use them, I've made personalized napkin rings for us. That way we can use them for a week or so, then wash them and start over.

It is a little reminiscent of my stepfather, Ed Melzer. He used to save his paper napkin between meals. This is a new way to save a tree, one paper napkin at a time. Or, just an excuse to enjoy cloth napkins at dinner.

I used plastic plumbing couplers, stamped them with alcohol inks and wrote our names on them with a Sharpee. It was a great excuse to use the alcohol inks, which are addictively fun!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Purple Sunday

Half the people in church were wearing purple yesterday, and the Bushes were no exception. It's fun having a team in the Superbowl!

Coda didn't get to wear her purple to church, but she put it on it time for the game! She's a good luck mascot!

We invited some friends from church to watch the game with us. Since Ravens player Dennis Pitta is in our ward we thought we'd call it a Pitta party.

Bina brought her hand-made poster for the occasion.

And Helen brought a basket of Pitta chips!

I got this idea of making a chalkboard tray for cheese from watching the Today show!

In the end, the Ravens made us proud! We would have toasted with our sparkling grape juice, but by the time the lights came back on in New Orleans and the game finally ended, we were ready for bed and our company had already gone home! But, thanks to the Ravens for a great season! Here's to next year! Go Ravens!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

I"ve Got the Slippery Driveway Blues

Now we know why they cancel school when it even looks like snow here in Maryland. Coming home from the store last night it was snowing just enough to put a little coat of snow on our driveway. We didn't suspect that it was enough to loose traction with Ed's Audi. We chose to hit the garage rather than go over the hill into the woods. After we saw the damage we wondered, "Were there any other options available to us?"

Ed's poor car is going to be taking a trip to the body shop! It had some front end damage on the driver's side. It was a little depressing, but it could have been worse. We could have been driving the Mini!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Cool Kuhl House

Ed's friends Jim and Jennifer invited us to dinner last night in their remodeled warehouse in downtown Baltimore. It was amazing to see the things they had done with the empty shell they purchased eight years ago. They had lots of staircases, and even an elevator. They have a nice interior courtyard with parking for four cars. Everything one could want right in the middle of the City!

It was fun having a warm dinner by the fire. The menu--crabcakes, butternut squash risotto and bacon spinach salad, was the perfect Baltimore touch!

I was sad I didn't have my camera with me. The cell phone didn't do the place justice, but if you'd like to see pictures on the net, click on this link for a better view:

They had done such a great job decorating their home. It made me wish I had lots of giant walls so I could go shopping for fabulous artwork, too!

Warm, Wet Wednesday

Wednesday was so warm! It was a nice break in the cold weather (which has returned with a vengeance ! We got hot even without jackets while walking the dogs! There was so much moisture in the air that it felt like a summer day!

Coincidentally, there was moisture in the basement, too! Amanda discovered it and mentioned it to me during band practice in the morning. I took a look at it, and decided it was not getting worse, so we just kept on playing. Ed came home to check it out and decided the hot water heater, which he had turned up a little, had overheated and spilled over. He turned it down, and so far we haven't had another problem. We're keeping our fingers crossed that the problem has been solved!