Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Origami Owl Party

Carrie hosted an Origami Owl party last night. Her friend, Deon is a consultant. They sell necklaces with magnetic lockets that you can put charms in.

It was fun picking what things you wanted to put in your locket! I love necklaces anyway, so this was a fun activity for me. If you want to see what they sell, you can visit Deon's website at

And if that wasn't good enough, Carrie capped it off with a nice selection of fall refreshments. The caramel apples were to die for! I had a taste of the M&M, Apple Pie and Heath Bar! They were all great, but I find myself wondering if she has any Heath Bar left over...

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What Price Beauty?

I had minor surgery on my chin yesterday. I want to get the scar to be a little less obvious. I had a little cancer cell removed a few years ago, which left me with a cleft chin. This wasn't so bad, except it was slightly off center. Last year the doctor cut it open and restitched it, which was much better, but still left a divot at the top of the scar. Since it bugged me I thought I'd try one more time to see if they can get rid of the dimple.  I took this "before" picture of myself. My neck looks like a wattle and I'm worried about a little dimple on my chin! 

I should never have read 

I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron. It was a funny book, but I hadn't noticed my neck before reading that several years ago. It's been going downhill from there! Can you say turtleneck?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Tall Trees and Lots of Leaves

Ed, I and Coda went off road a little this morning, exploring parts of the fire road that don't have a road. Each step makes a giant crunching sound. It was beautiful! Ed was wearing the "don't shoot me with your crossbow" vest! Happily, it seemed to be effective!

There are some really tall trees in the forest! And, in the fall that makes a lot of leaves! We walked for five miles, which has started to seem like the right length for any walk now. The weather was crisp, but sunny, and the sun shining off the reservoir was beautiful. This is truly the happiest time of year!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Hitchhikers and Helpers

Suzanne and I took the dogs off-road today, searching for a new way to enter the fire road. We struck out. We ended up with no new entrance and became covered in sticky hitchhikers. Poor Coda! It took me an hour to clean her up when we got home!

We fed the horses after Activity Day today. I had 7 helpers! It was fun watching their enthusiasm. Mr. Genes did his special trick when Emmaline gave him his mint!

I had tried to feed them before Activity Day, but they were in the big pasture with lots of grass and the completely refused to come in till they had eaten their fill! It worked out just as well, as we enjoyed going over together to see the horses!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Rainy Sunday in Duluth

It rained all day in Duluth, but nothing could dampen our spirits. We were so glad it wasn't snowing! We started the day attending church in the Duluth ward. They are geographically even larger than our ward in Maryland! The boundaries go out for at least an hour in every direction!

After church Amanda had to go to the opera, so Kim and Ed and I took the walking tour of Duluth. We drove out to Park Point, a very long sandbar with homes, marinas and beaches.

Kim said the water was cold, so we decided not to go in. The rain and overcast gave the day a very mysterious feel to it.

The swarms of seagulls were reluctant to give up their spots in the parking lot. This lent even more to the Alfred Hitchock feel of the day.

We walked around Canal park and saw the lift bridge that goes up when a ship comes in.

We were happy to be invited to dinner by the Faerbers, Amanda's Minnesota family. They are the parents of her missionary companion and have been so kind to her since she's been here. She even stayed with them for the first month after she arrived in town.

They are the perfect substitute family for Amanda. After dinner Marissa pulled out her cello, and together with Brother Faerber on piano and Amanda singing, they practiced a song they are going to perform in church next week. It was so beautiful the first time through. It was just like home! We loved it. Ed and I traveled back to Minneapolis after dinner, but we left happy, knowing that Amanda is in good hands!

Amanda's Day to Shine

The main event yesterday was Amanda's appearance in the University of Minnesota Duluth's performance of Die Fledermaus. But Amanda also wanted to show us all that Duluth has to offer. We started the day with a visit to the Enger tower, which had a beautiful view of Duluth and Lake Superior.

Amanda's friend Kim drove all the way out from Baltimore to see the show. She stopped in Chicago, where she saw some taller buildings, but nothing that would diminish the beauty and uniqueness of Duluth's own reach into the skies.

The day dawned a bit crisp, but turned into a lovely fall day. We were grateful that so many of the trees still had enough leaves left to provide a beautiful splash of color everywhere.

We took a beautiful drive along the North Shore of the lake and stopped for a great lunch at the Rustic Inn. On the way back we dropped in at Betty's Pies where we (and apparently, half of Minnesota) purchased a couple of Betty's famous pies. We got Brumbleberry and Blackberry Peach!

We couldn't resist stopping to take a picture of this giant chicken. I've enjoyed the pictures my sister Annette has shared of giant animal statues in North Dakota, where she is serving a mission with her husband, Kent. Apparently, people of Nordic ancestry seem to have a penchant for large animal monuments.

In the afternoon we toured the University campus and visited some of Amanda's haunts. We also enjoyed seeing Arnold Friberg's illustrations of Canadian Mounties in the Tweed art Museum.

The main event, however was Amanda's performance last night, as Rosalinde in the school production of Die Fledermaus. It was fabulous! It is a fun and lively operetta, and the cast did a terrific job. The scenery was so beautiful I wish I had been allowed to take pictures to share. Amanda's voice was terrific, and she seemed completely comfortable nailing all her high C's. Her acting skills were raised to new heights in this production, where she appeared flirtatious, yet decisive as a wife mildly considering a fling with her old beau only to find out her husband has a similar idea.

We were so proud of Amanda and grateful to be able to fly out and enjoy her performance!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Minnesota, Amanda's new Home State

Ed and I flew to Minneapolis today and rented a car for the two hour drive to Duluth to see Amanda. It was a beautiful drive, and despite a distinct wintery chill in the air, there was lots of beautiful color in the trees as we drove north.

Amanda lives in a newly renovated very old schoolhouse. It has a distinct charm to it.

Her apartment is a studio, but felt comfortable enough to live in and even entertain a few friends (like Mom and Dad).

I liked the wide hallways and stairways with wooden railings--the steps just shallow enough for little tiny feet. You could almost smell the chalk from days gone by.

Amanda wants us to experience all that Duluth has to offer and took us down to the Rose Garden. It was beautiful, and has a bike path below it that follows the lake shore (Lake Superior). Ed has been singing all day about the wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald. That sums up everything we know about Lake Superior.

Amanda is the dramaturg for the UMD production of Die Fledermaus. Her teacher, Alice is the director. Before the show tonight they talked a little about the history and important points of the operetta.

Amanda played the lead role of Rosalinde last night (it is double-cast) and will reprise it tomorrow night, which we can't wait to see! She got a wonderful review last night in the local paper. You can read it here:

We are excited to play the role of proud parents tomorrow night!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Boys in the Band

We had Big Bush Basement Band Saturday night. We had three boys come this month, which made our numbers about half and half. It was nice having such a big group. Two girls were missing, so we're up to 8 now! The band might eventually live up to its name "Big," referring to the band, not the basement!

After band Ed and I went to Eldersburg's newest restaurant, Chick-Fil-A. It opened several weeks ago, but we never wanted to go bad enough to fight the crowds. Even at 9:30 at night there was still a number of people in the parking lot! They make a tasty chicken sandwich, and we can see why they are so popular!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Visitors on a Rainy Day

We got quite a bit of rain the last few days. It was amazing watching it come down. I couldn't believe that it was paltry in comparison to Colorado's latest flood. It looks like only 3 inches, while they had 18 inches in Aurora last month! I can't imagine what that would have been like.

Coda had to be strongly coerced to go outside and do her business! She does not like the rain. Ed and I enjoyed watching it come down from the safety of our newly covered deck.

Our shed, however, did not pass the watertight test. Our contractor dropped by to inspect it and decide how to remediate it. Hopefullly, they'll be able to take care of that next week, and by the next rainstorm we won't have any more problems.

We had Vera and Vern from Broomfield stop by and visit us last night. They have relatives in the area, but it took several years before they were able to work us into their schedule. The beef stew I whipped together in my pretty yellow cooking pot was the perfect accompaniment for a cold, rainy evening with friends.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Crafty Day at Verlene's House

Kent is on furlough the past week, so he was home to make Crystal and I breakfast this morning. He made some great scrambled eggs for us with peppers and cheese. He also had us taste his fish oil daily supplement. It wasn't good enough to make us want to take it on a regular basis, but it was better than castor oil!

Crystal and I joined Verlene for a craft day today. We started out learning how to batik--with a combination of water colors and wax.

Batik was my favorite activity of the day, because I thought my picture turned out terrific--just as good as Crystal and Verlene's.

We thought about putting the pictures on cards, but they were so beautiful I think we might have to frame them!

We took a break for lunch at a Greek restaurant, where I had the Athenian special. It was fun to have lamb meat, something we don't get often in Maryland!

Then we got started on our coasters out of Roc-lon fabric. I had to do mine over after my color combination turned to mud. I decided to copy Crystal's color scheme after that.

These are the front and back of Crystal's,  Verlene's and my coasters. It may have taken a long time, but we were happy with the results.

 I was excited to learn how to get shrinky dinks to shrink without bubbling, wrinkling and getting stuck to themselves. It turned out that Verlene was not yet an expert in that skill, and we went through a good deal of misery trying to get these ornaments to look right. Except for part of my penguin we were mostly successful. We would love any helpful hints on Shrinky Dinking!

We wore Crystal out. It turns out you can really have too much of a good thing. Next time we'll limit ourselves to two projects. Our enthusiasm is sometimes greater than our energy! Hopefully, we'll be all rested and ready to go to the airport bright and early tomorrow!

Down From the Mountain

We left Steamboat Springs yesterday on a beautiful fall day. We especially enjoyed the low lying mists laying in the valleys as we drove through the mountains.

Martha and Diane recommended we have a potty stop in Georgetown, mostly because they have a beautiful new visitors center there.

I was dropped off in Lakewood and Barbara and Kent took me for a little walk around Bear Creek Reservoir. It was amazing to see the water level during the flooding. You can see the brown leaves behind us. Everything that wasn't under water is yellow in the picture. Apparently, the reservoir did what it was intended to do do and kept Bear Creek from flooding.

Crystal and I watched Conference with Barbara and Kent, then enjoyed elk roast, thanks to my sister, Annette. Apparently, when she cleaned out her freezer when she and Kent went on their mission to Bismark. Barbara was beneficiary of her largesse, and I was lucky enough to be a part of it as well.
We ended up with one more walking tour of Lakewood along with Barbara's friend, Diane. It is fun to get my fix of beautiful outdoors Colorado!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Literary Sojourn

We got up bright and early and went for a crisp walk this morning, then made our way over to the Sheraton to the 21st annual Steamboat Springs Library-sponsored Literary Sojourn. We got a nice table in the rear and enjoyed a lovely lunch.

We had thought we might not enjoy the authors as much as usual this year, but 4 of them were really good speakers. Jess Walters was the funniest, but they all had some good stores and talked about the creative process. Emma Donnaghue was fun to listen to because she was Irish and had a cool brogue.

Rather than stay and have the authors sign our books (mine were all on Kindle), we went back downtown for a little shopping. Martha, Diane and I all got matching jackets, which we loved! Then we came back to the condo to eat some snacks and talk about the authors behind their backs! Although we thought there were some great authors a large number of the books this year were downers. Next year we hope they have a couple of optimists in the bunch!