Monday, June 30, 2014

Cars and Communications

Yesterday Ed and I had some communication problems. It started when he got a note from Ife that her daughter, Celeste, had a friend in town and that Celeste would be going to church with her. So, we decided to pick up the kids in Ed's car rather than the larger Mazda. However, the friend was going to church with Celeste! They all piled in. We were comfortable in the front seat!

I told Ed if he needed me to catch a ride home after church I could do that. He said he'd rather go home and get the bigger car during Sunday School, which he did. He also left after church without me. I thought the bigger car meant there was room for everyone. He thought my visiting teaching meant after church meant I'd catch a ride. Fortunately, Mary bailed me out when I realized I was stranded! It just made me realize how imperfect the English language is to communicate our real thoughts and intentions!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Amanda Back Where She Belongs

Amanda's in town for her friend, Kim's, wedding this weekend. It's nice to have her here again. She's just finished the first year of her Masters degree at the University of Minnesota in Duluth. In addition to weathering the coursework and performing,  she also experienced the 2nd coldest winter in Duluth's recorded history! We went shopping in balmy 80 degree temperatures yesterday.

 In the evening we celebrated by taking her out to CJ's to eat some Maryland Blue crabs! They're not only delicious,  but they provide plenty of opportunity to talk and catch up on Amanda's life while we're wacking and cracking.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

At the Swimming Hole

Ed and I got a lot of work done around the house yesterday, but still had time for a walk with Coda on the fire road.  The relatively cool temperature made it a pleasant activity.   I was sad that my cell phone and Garmin watch are still disparate on the particular route despite being so close on the Northen Central Railway path.  But it was nice that I had my phone with me to take this nice family picture at the swimming hole.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Trip Down Memory Bike Lane

While I was looking for pictures with my bike, I ran into this gem from 1993, with the whole family on the Highline Canal. This made me cry. I miss the days when the girls were at our beck and call. It was fun being a family together.

With the girls living in three different states, it's like they've ridden off into the sunset!

Now it's just us and Coda. Do you think we could train her to do this?

Bye Bye, Bikes

Two in, two out. Yesterday I took two bikes to Goodwill so I would have room to hang our new bikes in the garage. I think they belonged to Crystal and myself. With three girls in bikes, I hardly know who's bike is who's.

The other three old bikes aren't much to brag about, but you never know when someone will come home and want one!

My friend,  Anne Pinkerton, reminded me of those golden days in Colorado when we formed a biking club. We called ourselves the Highland Angels.
We never did anything half-way. We even made t-shirts with our name and motto: Bikes, Babes and Bagels. The bagels part referred to stopping for a bagel sandwich for lunch. Good times! So good that Anne hasn't been able to part with her t-shirt!

Here are Anne, Judy and Bev on a beautiful fall day along the Highline Canal in Denver. I can't tell who the woman in black is! Can anyone help me out there?

I do know that this picture was taken in 1996, and that while I'm sentimental about my old friends, not so much about the bike. I expect to have many new happy memories on my sleek new bike, as well!

Bike/Walk On Northern Central Railway Path

Ed and I were excited to take our new bikes out on the Northern Central Railway path in Towson yesterday. It was a beautiful day for a ride.

I had fun practicing selfies while riding. I'm glad it's not against the law doing that, although maybe it should be. There is a certain adrenaline rush involved in risking your life for vanity's sake

At 4.13 miles Ed's bike caught a stick between the spokes, and one of them broke. He was so mad he couldn't even come up with a fake frown for my picture.

We drove to the nearest parking lot, where we chained up our bikes and started hiking. It was also a good day for a walk! Ed couldn't enjoy it as much as he should have, as he was worried about getting the bike fixed. We dropped by at Performance Bikes on the way home. They fixed it while we waited and didn't even charge us. Any bike purchased from them has life-time tune-ups, so they just said it was a tune-up!
Then we were so happy that we celebrated by going out to a late lunch at the Hibachi Grill Buffet! All's well that ends well!

By the way, I tracked our progress on both my cell phone (MapMyWalk) and my Garmin wrist watch. They came out within .02 miles of one another. MapMyWalk: 8.43 miles, and Garmin Connect: 8.41. Ed's new bike odometer (thank you, Crystal) also came out with 8.41 miles. You can check our trip out at for cell phone, or for the wrist GPS.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Happy Birthday, June

June has the BEST daughter and son-in-law. They love her so much that they brought over a birthday party for her last night. Although her birthday isn't till tomorrow, they knew band was meeting today, and thought it would be fun for us to eat cake with her.

After several hours of hard work recording our songs, we were ready to take a break!

June was able to blow out her musical candle with no problem. She was also able to figure out how to disassemble the candle to make it stop playing "Happy Birthday" into infinity!

This wasn't any cake, it was cheesecake! The best birthday, ever! Thanks, Kris and Rick! Thank you June for getting older. We're glad to be sharing the journey with you! Knowing you has enriched our lives! We admire you in so many ways, for your courage, your strength, your faith, your leadership, not to mention your beautiful voice! The list goes on!  We love you!

Card Party

The activity day girls met yesterday for the last time till fall. We made cards for the Primary presidency to use in giving to children who are missing or sick.

We used rubber stamps, and it was fun to see the creativity that went into making the cards.

Afterwards we broke open a piƱata shaped like the sun. It did not want to give up its treasures!

We ended with a picnic and played story cubes (where you make up stories with the aid of picture dice). We'll miss the girls till school starts up again!

Farewell Staceys

Monday night we had a ward party to wish the Staceys goodbye. We all met and shared dinner at the park. It would be nice to do that for a happier reason. The Staceys are moving to Colorado this week, after 10 years in the Eldersburg ward. We'll miss them terribly, but I'm happy that they'll be going to Colorado, where I know they'll be welcomed into their new ward family with open arms.

I wonder if they will miss their Maryland trees as much as they will love their new Colorado mountains. It might be a toss up...

Monday, June 16, 2014

Turning on the Air Conditioner

Goodbye great outdoors! We turned the air conditioning on today, as the temperature was predicted to hit 90 degrees. This is the latest date to turn it on in the four years we've been in Maryland. We credit the cool, late spring that finally turned to summer. Also, spending the first 9 days of June in England didn't hurt, either.

I'll miss the nice breeze that flows from the front door to the back patio. Coda will miss seeing all the people and dogs walking by. She loves to protect us from them.

Hello, little box that dictates the temperature in our climate controlled house! As much as I like not sweating in the summer, I can't wait till fall when we can throw open the doors and windows and be at one with nature once more!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Happy Birthday Ed

Ed had another birthday yesterday, which makes us only 3 years apart in age. I keep thinking if we're married long enough he'll finally catch up with me.

Walmart only had one set of candles--ones with colored flames. They were actually kind of cool and gave sort of a mystery to the cake (lemon cake with blueberry filling and chocolate icing).

I think he looks pretty good for a jet-lagged man of a certain age who had to go to work on his birthday!

Booking it with Horse Soldiers

The Book it Sisters met at Janet's house last night to review Horse Soldiers. This was a book about the first special forces to arrive in Afghanistan. It was something we knew nothing about, and we all learned a lot from the book.

Janet had prepared middle eastern food and decorations for us to help us get into the spirit of the book.

Then, to take it to an even higher level, Butch cooked up an MRE for us, so we could experience the kind of food soldiers in the field eat. It was not too bad, but I wouldn't want to make a habit of eating it!

Butch also gave the ladies a private tour of his military museum in the basement. They were impressed!

We learned how to tie scarves around our heads to keep the sand out. It looks like we could use a little more practice. The first sandstorm that comes by would easily take our scarves with it!

The book told an interesting story, although it had so many people in it that it was hard to remember who was who. For a full review, check out our book club blog at

Heathrow Goodbye

Ed and I left Heathrow through the newly opened Terminal Two, the Queen's Terminal, which has been under renovation for several years.

It was beautiful--clean and modern, like a futuristic model of an airport.

We were even able to enjoy the United Lounge while we waited for our flight. It is fun having a comfortable place to sit, and a snack to eat while charging up your electrical devices instead of squatting in a corner of the terminal whenever you find an empty outlet!

Our flight was uneventful. I watched 3 movies: Saving Mr. Banks, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and The Book Thief. It was a good way to catch up on some movies we've missed over the past year!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

If it's Tuesday, it Must Be Rainy

Our first day in London was a Tuesday, and our last day in England is a Tuesday. It rained on both of them! But the days in the middle were all wonderfully dry! We started the day outside Cardiff, Wales, with a visit to Coch Castle. It was built as a 13th century fortress and restored by the rich and famous Bute family in the late 19th century.

The Butes were actually Scottish and only spent a bit of their time in Wales, but when they were at this castle, the lady of the manor had her own beautiful bedroom at the top of the tower!

They restored it with a great deal of research into how it originally looked. It was small but beautiful, as castles go...a nice little summer palace for the rich and famous!

Not too far away was the large and impressive Caerphilly Castle. It was also from the 12th century, but not used defensively for long. By the 1300's people had settled down a bit and weren't attacking each other as frequently.

One of the towers is leaning to the left. I gave it a push to make sure it didn't fall over. Usually this would be Ed's job (stunt pictures), but my camera gave up the ghost yesterday and he is taking all the pictures with his camera. It's a lot of responsibility for him, and I'm not sure he likes it

There was one room that scared Ed to death when he went in. It sounded like a dragon was inside! It turned out it was the latrine and one of the knights was doing his business with a very flatulent sound track to accompany it!

Caerphilly had the biggest great hall we'd seen. I'm reading The Bolyn Inheritance, and couldn't help thinking of Anne of Cleves, as she journed to England from Germany to be the 4th Mrs. Henry the 8th. She found it so uncomfortable having everyone watch her eat at the front of the great hall.  They didn't have paparazzi in those days, but you were expected to be on display all the time!

We found some nice cookies at the store that reminded us of home. (The ones on the top) They were chocolate chip, just like home!

We drove through Brecon Beacons National Park to see what wild Wales looked like. It was very green and the breeze made it seem a little wild. It was also very serene with lots of sheep.

We were determined to take a short hike, but the thunder and lightening, combined with a heavy downpour convinced us to give it up!

We stopped to eat at a Peterstone Court, a beautiful wayside mansion. Then, we started the long trip to London. We had paid for a tank of gas in advance, so tried very hard to not stop for gas. We wanted to bring it in close to empty. We were a little nervous when we had 26 miles to go and the car said we had 46 miles worth of gas. We spent all Ed's change and got 5 pounds worth of gas at a roadside service station. We limped into London with 30 miles to spare! We returned the rental car free of damage and heaved a sigh of relief. Another successful circuit in Europe!

We're staying tonight at a Marriott Renaissance at Heathrow. This is our second Marriott, and neither one of them had a Concierge room in service They're being remodeled, (so they say). This was disappointing, as we had planned on having an evening supper there. We whined a little, and they sent us a small fruit tray and a few chips. It's just as well, as we just barely exceeded 10,000 steps today. Tomorrow we fly home with a couple of souvenirs and  myriad of wonderful memories. Not to mention a record total of 123,000 Fit Bit steps in one week!