Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Crepe Day

Brittany's in-laws invited us over for brunch today. Ellis was in charge of the crepes. He appeared to have done it many times before, and really knew what he was doing!

They had a great variety of toppings, from eggs and sausage to fresh fruit. It was nice to linger over great food and enjoy just visiting.

The Nuttalls' house is in a great location, right next to Rock Creek Canyon. We enjoyed going for a walk up the canyon after eating.

 We spent the afternoon learning how to pronounce Chinese pinyin at Brittany's house. John was a great tutor. I'll feeling pretty fluent! We got back to Grandma's in time for dinner and Birthday cake to celebrate Abby's birthday. On another happy note, Crystal called to tell us she had passed her certification test and was now completely qualified for her work as a Lab Technologist! It was a good day!

Honoring Brittany

Yesterday we attended Brittany's graduation ceremony where she was honored for completing her Master's degree in Biology. We are so proud of her! We stopped by to visit with her and John in the morning. They favored us with some music on the banjo and hammered dulcimer. They're getting really good! I loved their rendition of "Liberty."

Ed had fun teasing Roo with a catnip leaf picked straight from the Brittany and John's own garden.

We met with Brittany's faculty adviser over lunch at the India Palace. We learned a little about what Brittany has been doing for the past 4 years. I have to admit I couldn't understand much of it. She is smarter than I am, but possibly still not smarter than her Dad!

 After lunch we had just enough time for Ed to install a scary owl on Grandma's porch. She's had a problem with birds roosting on her porch light. We hope we've fixed that problem, and that the owl will be more attractive than the upside down Triscuits box that has been serving as a detractor for the past several months.

Brittany was one of 1000 students getting degrees. She was awarded her degree by Dr. Rogers, her adviser! What a great day!

Some of the people that love Brittany enough to sit through a two hour ceremony were cousin Abby, Judy, Ed, John and Grandma Melzer. I was lucky to sit right next to my friend, Jana, from Broomfield. We were able to catch up on our lives while they called each name out loud.

Brittany and John's friend, Eric as well as John's parents were also there. His parents had to leave before the picture taking, however. It was nice that Brittany was supported by so many family and friends, and Ed and I were especially grateful to be able to be a part of her special day!

Friday, April 26, 2013

To Utah Again!

This is my third trip to Utah since January! But it is my first trip traveling with Ed! We also flew with cousin Alisa, who is going out for her sister's wedding. She introduced me to the joys of the flatbread sandwich at Subway. Alisa is like family to us, although our common Allred ancestor was born before 1800!

Budget rental car was so nice to us at the Salt Lake Airport. Ed always gets a complimentary upgrade when he travels. I love our BMW X-5! It is beautiful and I feel like a total yuppie!

We enjoyed breakfast this morning with Grandma after a good night's sleep in the guest room. Just to accommodate Ed, Grandma had purchased a new memory foam topper for one of the beds, and it passed Ed's sleep test with flying colors! I know the crowds are going to be flocking to Grandma's house just to try out the new "Ed-Bed!" We're all rested up now and ready to celebrate Brittany getting her Master's Degree today!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fickleness of Nature

Our cherry tree is in bloom right now. It is almost two weeks behind last year's bloom. I realize it has been a cold spring, but here's the kicker: our crab apple trees haven't bloomed at all yet! They bloomed April 5th last year! So, while the cherry tree is 2 weeks late, the crab apple trees are almost a month behind! What is with that? Maybe some of you horticulturists out there could tell me why they are blooming in a different order this year!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pearls Before Swine (Or Horsing Around at the Farm)

The Pearl Strings went over to Miss Carol's farm where Amanda took publicity photos for us. We got Bali (the horse) to pose with us. Our spring program is entitled "Down on the Farm," and we thought we should get into the mood. The ladies are Alisa, Barb, Helen, Judy, June and Jen. We'll be singing at 12:30 p.m., May 23rd at the South Carroll County Senior Center, and at 10:45 a.m., May 30th at Fairhaven. Hope to see you there!

Yard Clean-Up

The landscapers came yesterday and gave the yard a thorough work-over! I watched them and mostly felt guilty about not joining in with a shovel myself.

Everything looks clean and fresh now. Hopefully, the weeds will stay gone for the next few weeks until we host the Rigby's wedding reception here the 11th of May!

Visiting Teaching Satisfaction

June and I met Carol for lunch yesterday at Smokey's. We hadn't seen her for several months, and it was so nice to get together again. She hadn't been feeling well during the winter, but with spring arriving she finally came out of hibernation!

Mary dropped by from work for a quick visit, as well. I just would like to say that June and I did our visiting teaching for April and it's only the 17th! There's a certain satisfaction with that that borders on smugness!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Amanda's Got Soul (Or That's a Fine Moss-Colored Car)

We helped Amanda buy her first car this weekend. It is very cute 2013 moss-colored Kia Soul. She's hoping it will be large enough to fit a harp, a piano and all her earthly possessions as she travels to Minnesota this summer to start graduate school!

Ed, in his research, had decided the Kia Soul was a great car for the money, and I have to say, he was also influenced by the hamsters in the car commercial!

In an attempt to accommodate our fleet better in the garage, we cleaned out the garage yesterday. Amanda will be parking outside, but the Mini Cooper and the lawnmower, will still be sharing a parking space.

Thank heavens spring arrived just in time for us to enjoy working outside! Ed even got in his first lawn mowing of the season!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

It's Cherry Blossom Time!

Today was the peak day of the cherry blossoms in Washington, DC. It was a full three weeks later than last year! Ed and I have been trying to see them since we've moved here, but seem to miss them every year.
Ed is freezing himself in Colorado Springs today, so Amanda and I ran down to the tidal basin to catch the blossoms before it's too late! They did not disappoint!

In my attempt to get the perfect picture of the Jeffereson Memorial, I accidentally propped my elbow in someon's melted posickle! Can you feel my pain?

We enjoyed coming across a Japanese wedding party getting some nice shots of themselves in their wedding finery, and surrounded by the beautiful pink blossoms.

We also met a falconer with his red-tailed hawk named Stuff.

The Washington Monument is scaffolded half way up to make repairs from the earthquake a year and a half ago. Fortunately, you wouldn't know it when you cover it up with cherry blossoms! What a beautiful sight, and what a picture perfect day to enjoy it!

Goodbye Friends!

The Nortons left yesterday. They took their trailer and their cute little dog and drove off into the sunset. We'll miss them. It felt like having family here visiting.

Renee even got up at 7:30 a.m. yesterday to help me feed the horses. She wasn't a bit afraid of them. I think she'd work out fine as a ranch hand.

Of course, we couldn't have had more beautiful weather for it. It actually got downright hot! It felt good after such a cold spring!

In the afternoon Lorry came over and we made napkin holders with alcohol inks. It was fun stamping and talking. It was something I had volunteered to do at our Relief Society Service auction last month. I was sad to find out that, just as I was getting to know Lorrry better, she is moving to Pennsylvania! Bummer! Oh, well, goodbye old and new friends!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Conference Sunday

We had a relaxing Sunday, watching LDS general conference at home on TV. We actually had to watch it on the internet, because we couldn't find it on Comcast again. Even the dogs watched with us. (You can just barely see Okie on Renee's lap!) It must be nice having a dog that cuddles on your lap, just like a cat. It's the best of both worlds!

We also got a tour of the Norton's travel trailer. They have a map documenting their travels. They started in Utah in November, and made it to Maryland in less than five months. If you want to follow their travels, they have a blog at They have several months to go before they finish the loop and end up in Utah again. They're enjoying retirement and taking the time to smell the roses!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

O Say Can You See Baltimore

We took the Nortons to Ft. McHenry yesterday. Did I mention it was a cool day? Where is spring??!!! However, the sturdy breeze made it the perfect day to take a picture of the Star Spangled Banner at the place of the song's birth.

The inner harbor was hopping with people, but despite the blue skies and sunshine, the buskers seemed to still be in hibernation!

We warmed up with some very tasty Italian food at Amici's in Little Italy. This fortified us somewhat for our evening outside in the elements.

Ed had got us 4 tickets to the Oriole's game at Camden Yards. It was a beautiful but cold evening, and with a blanket and a few layers we stayed just barely warm enough to make it through nine innings. We were a little sad that the O's lost (6-5).  However, we were grateful that the Minnesota Twins' run in the ninth inning saved us from going into extra innings! We just wanted to get warm!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Old Friends, New Friend

Chuck and Renee are in town! They are the first couple we met as a young married couple in California. We worked in Young Men/Young Women together and formed a fast friendship that couldn't be diminished by 30 years of living in different states. They had three boys and we had three girls. They are retired and we are not! So, here they are with their gigantic travel trailer in front of our home. They've been travelling the US for 5 months and have finally made their way to Maryland!

The weather warmed up yesterday, and we able to enjoy a walk in the woods with the dogs.

Coda and Okie (their long-haired Chihuahua) had a bit of a rough start. Coda wanted to play and Okie thought Coda was trying to kill him. But, they're doing great now. Okie is the sweetest little dog. We might dog-nap him when they leave.

We stopped by the farm and introduced Okie to the Horses. Okie had never seen any animal that large! Mr. Genes hadn't seen a dog that small, for that matter!

Miss Carol graciously gave us a tour of the house and the barn. Renee enjoyed taking the golf cart for a spin. Okie loved riding along in the basket!

The farm is a great introduction to life in Maryland. Today we have big plans to show them the city!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Spring has Sprung

We were so happy to see the daffodils finally in bloom. Spring must be here! Coda and Harper were so glad to get back out on the fire road this morning. So were Suzanne and I for that matter! Suzanne ran 6 laps around the farm while I stopped to say hi to Miss Carol. I thought that might have taken some of the vim out of her on our walk, but it barely phased her! We went an extra half mile without adding any extra time to to our walk. We think we can cover 6 miles in an hour and 15 minutes. Sometime we'll have to get a GPS and see what we really do!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Waiting at the airport

Crystal and I are waiting at the airport. My plane is delayed 40 minutes. Hers is only delayed 15 minutes.

Nothing that couldn't be helped by chocolate!