Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Book It Sisters!

Cheryl, Mary, Janet, Judy, Trish, Suzanne, Denise
Last night was the inaugural meeting of the Book It Sisters, my new book Club! We had lots of new business to discuss, including a name for the group. It's hard to find something clever that hasn't been taken somewhere on the internet! We also set up a schedule of who will host which months and who will pick a book which month.

I had chosen the book, Raven's Bride, by Lenore Hart this month, in an attempt to get something set in Maryland.  The book got B's and C's from the group. It wasn't great literature, but I enjoyed learning more about Edgar Allen Poe, and thought the author did a good job at setting up a historical time period. It was fun reading about the early days in Baltimore. However, it was somewhat disconcerting reading about an alcoholic man that married his 13 year old first cousin when he was in his late 20's. But, hey, times were different back then!

To fuel our discussion, I provided a light dinner, Rainbow Chicken Salad with Almond Honey Mustard Dressing. It was terrific.If you want to try it, here is the link to the recipe

Next month we'll be moving from the streets of Baltimore to a prison camp in North Korea. Suzanne has chosen Escape from Camp 14 for March. That will be a big change!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Comcast came over this morning to see why we're experiencing slow Internet speeds. The technician concluded we have a bad underground wire, which will take a week or a two to get fixed. I felt sorry for him working at the top of a ladder in the snow. I also felt sorry for us, with two more weeks of frustration to look forward to!

Downs in Town

Jim and Jannet stopped by to see us Sunday. They are in DC for a business meeting, but came a day early to spend some time with us! They went to church with us came to our house afterwards. We caught up on all the news from Broomfield, but I have to say with all their exotic cruises they barely have time to stay on top of local news!

We had a great visit on all manner of topics. We ran out of time before we ran out of things to talk about.

I tried out a new recipe for Zuppe Toscana, an Olive Garden specialty. Happily for all of us, it turned out great! If you want to try it out, here's a link:!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Manners Movie Debut

Wednesday night was the premier of our Manners Movie. The Activity Day girls (which I work with in church) put together a movie to teach us about manners. They each sent me a video clip of them using a good and a bad manner, which I compiled into a movie.

For our debut, the stars walked the red carpet (okay, black runner), escorted by the Cub Scouts. They learned how to put their hand on the inside of the boy's elbow to be escorted in the proper way. At first they were a little squeemish about touching a boy, but they rose to the occasion!

The boys were very good about leading the girls to their seats. Some of them wanted to stay and watch the movie, but it was girls only!

The movie included about 18 different scenarios, and had music, voice-overs and captions. I learned a lot about making a movie! The girls enjoyed it so much that it was worth the effort. Hopefully, in the process they also gained a few life skills to help them along their way!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Red is for Valentine

We woke up to more snow yesterday, so I went out to help Ed, all dressed in my Valentine's day finery!

The mailman brought Coda a happy surprise, some snow booties! She actually seemed to like them!

Coda and I were all matchy-matchy! She has not enjoyed the snow at all, but in her new red boots she actually ventured out into it! It was fun watching her.

Ed took me out to a delicious Valentine's lunch (Yankee pot roast pie) at Beck's. Afterwards, because we enjoy shoveling and snow blowing so much, we stopped by to clean the snow off the sidewalks at the church.

In the evening we had a nice, romantic supper of homemade butternut squash soup and pumpkin scones. It was a real red-letter day!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Snowed In!

We woke up yesterday to 15 inches of snow, enough to convince us not to venture out for anything!

When it stopped snowing in the afternoon the cleanup began in earnest. Ed manned the snowblower and got the bulk of the work done.

I worked on the deck and the patio, to get Coda a path to her potty spot. My arms are sore today, and we got another 4 inches of snow last night!

It was great being snowed in with the one you love! Ed and I cuddled up on the couch and settled in for a Star Trek DS 9 marathon (on Netflix). Brittany has guaranteed us that if we suffer through the first few seasons we will learn to enjoy the show. We gave it a shot last night, but are not optimistic as of yet!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

First Day of School

Monday was my first day of school in a very long time! I enrolled in a German class at Carroll Community College. It's 201 and I had to get permission to take it without having taken 101 or 102. My 6 years of sporadic German study paid off, and I made it in the class! There are only 4 people in the class so we'll get lots of opportunity to practice speaking German.

We had our first two class days cancelled because of snow (which never seems to go away). The class was fun, and I'm happy to be there. I'm also happy to enjoy the blessings of age and getting a discount on enrollment. After age 60 you only pay fees (no tuition). Hooray for old age!

We've Come a Long Way, Maybe!

The Big Bush Basement Band met Saturday night, almost a year to the date of our first meeting. We have a nice group of regulars,and have learned a lot.

Alex couldn't get any noise out of his guitar till he figured out he was holding it backwards! He does like to kid around a bit!

It' been fun getting to know the kids, and they've even learned some music along the way. Our best song now is Lonesome Pine. We're going to try to get it performance ready!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

No More Snow, Please!

Suzanne and Drew and I took the dogs for a walk yesterday. We've been cooped in because it snowed (or iced) too much this week. It felt great to be outside, but the ice on the path was the worst we've ever had.

We had to go really slow just not to fall over. In some places it was a solid sheet of ice, and others it was just crunchy ice. There was an occasional patch of dry ground, but that was few and far between.

We decided to shorten our walk, taking the narrow trail up behind our neighbors' homes. That, also, was a patch of ice! I took the rubber tips off my walking sticks, and really dug in with each step. The sticks saved me from falling more than once. Drew wasn't quite so lucky, and went down several times. Lucky for him he's closer to the ground!

Thursday, February 6, 2014


We woke up yesterday to an ice storm. It left everything covered and dripping in ice. It was both beautiful and dangerous at the same time!

There were so many pretty places to take pictures!

The weight of it brought trees and branches down everywhere. We lost not only one of our pretty leaning trees in the back yard, but also power in the house!

Ed went to work late, and I decided it was time to open the box of our new generator (which I got Ed for Christmas) and put it together so Ed could fire it up when he got home.

I was so proud of myself! I got the wheels and handles on just right. Aside from running low on cell phone battery I was fine all day at home with no electricity. Our gas fireplaces worked, as did our water heater and stove-top!

I was worried about our poor trees, though. The crepe myrtle and crab apple trees were precariously loaded with ice!

Even the pathway lights were coated!

This close up shows how each branch was covered in a tube of ice! It was amazing!

The most amazing thing of all was the aftermath. About 3 p.m. I walked outside to get the mail. The ice was starting to melt in serious. I thought it was raining or sleeting, as the sound of crashing and tinkling was all around me. It was ice falling off the trees. It was so eerie! The sensation was unforgettable, certainly worth the mild inconvenience of a mere 12 hours without power!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Don't Watch Football on the Sabbath!

Ed and I were the only ones at church yesterday all decked out in our Bronco colors. We were excited for the Denver Broncos to win the Superbowl this year, just like the Baltimore Ravens did last year. It didn't go as planned...

My friend Barb Reger had arm-knitted me a special orange scarf just for the occasion! Even Coda was excited!

We turned on three TVs in the basement and put out some food to munch on. The scene was set!
The Rigbys came over to enjoy the fun with us. The game started badly with the Seahawks scoring on the Broncos' first possession. This is us frowning after that! But that was just the beginning of the blood bath! The basement was filled with moaning and groaning while the Seahawks scored again and again. It was downright embarrassing!

We did manage to have a little fun, tasting some of the root beers we brought back from Duluth last fall. During halftime Ross gave us a short but interesting history of root beer and explained the origins of this very American drink. The Saranac root beer (on the left) was the winner of the taste test, but all the other root beers were just fine, too. None of them was as bad as the Denver Broncos last night!