Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Crape Day to be Alive

We've had so many beautiful days this summer,  and today was one of them! With weather at 80 degrees it was perfect outside while I was walking to my guitar lesson.  And to make it even better, the crape myrtle are starting to bloom.  I guess the cold spring is also giving us a cool summer.  Nobody's complaining about that!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Crabfest with Virginia

Nothing like a Crab-B-Q to make it feel like summer in Maryland. Virginia invited a few neighbors over to enjoy a feast yesterday, and boy, did we ever feast! She has it down to a science, with lots of whacking sticks and picking knives! I have to admit, Ed and I are getting pretty good at it.

It was a perfect way to enjoy another beautiful summer day, talking with friends and neighbors and eating crabs. (Did I mention it has been a great, cool summer?) And Virginia's large screened porch is the best place to enjoy it. Thanks, Virginia!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Judy, Judy, Barbara

Barb and I took Judy Krieger out to lunch at Glory Days on Friday to wish her goodbye. She's moving to Texas next week. We hope she's sorry and moves back next year!

Judy has been my family history mentor and has really helped get me going on research about our Baltimore ancestors. We'll miss her!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Still Cookin'

The Pearl Strings played at Fairhaven today. It was a full 3 months since we played the same set at the Senior Center! We had rescheduled the gig at Fairhaven twice, but we love them so much that it was worth the wait. We had a big crowd and they were very appreciative! (We will play for clapping!)

We wore matching aprons to go along with our food theme. We called it Cookin' with the Pearl Strings. We had spent several weeks recording our songs in June, which was fun. Hopefully, I'll get around to mixing them some day. Miss Carol was there with her brother, Hap (on the front row, right). Her sister, Alice, was also there, but you can't see her in this picture. We had a great time, and I'm still smiling thinking about how much fun we had.

Afterwards we stopped over at Rita's for ice cream so that we could talk about how good we are! It's great to be a Pearl String! We have laughed and shed tears together. We have exercised our creativity together, and some moments for us have been just musical magic! Good times!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Shoes and Toes

I got a new pair of walking shoes this week. And, happily, it was dry enough to wear them yesterday.  We have walked in so much wet weather this year that our shoes have been filthy. No one wants to get a new pair of shoes dirty the first day!

Then, yesterday I got a pedicure.  Just in time for our family vacation to the beach in two weeks! It's been a feety week.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Dinner at McDonough

Kim invited us over for dinner Saturday night.  He is quite the gourmet cook, and we enjoyed the food as well as the opportunity to visit with him, the missionaries and the Russells.
Kim is a teacher at a private school near us. He lives right on the school grounds and walks out his front door right onto the grass below the chapel.

After dinner he gave us a guided tour of the campus. It's like a small college. They have almost 900 acres, with many beautiful buildings,  as well as sports fields.

In addition to teaching computer science at the school, Kim also has organized a Robotics team that competes with other teams.  They built this robot that can pick up and throw that large ball behind it. It must be fun watching the competitions!

Happy Birthday Miss Carol!

Miss Carol had a birthday on Saturday.  A lot of her friends and family showed up at Fairhaven to help her celebrate.  Here she is with her brother Hap and her sister Alice. Her niece made her a nice party hat.

Lenny brought the pug dogs in so Miss Carol could pet them. They were pretty excited to be there.

Ed also got to pet the dogs. Here he is with Piper. It would have been nice to have had Miss Carol over to dinner at our house on her birthday,  as we've done for the previous four years. She hasn't had much mobility since her stroke in February.  Ahh, for the good old days!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Book it Sisters and The Bonesetter's Daughter

When Nina agreed to host book club in July she had no idea her entire house would be torn apart because of the wood floors they are having installed.

We gathered on the couch in the family room and had an really great time! She served us a great Greek salad, but in a nod to the novel we read, The Bonesetter's Daughter, by Amy Tan, she served it in Chinese bowls.

We enjoyed the novel. Nina had prepared some discussion questions which were were perfect to refresh our memories and trigger conversation.  I enjoyed the book, although I would never want to be Amy Tan's real mother. Millions of people must think she is a mean mother, since that's the character that Amy portrays best in her novels! To read or comment on our review, visit http://bookitsisters.com/the-bonesetters-daughter/.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Still Walkin'

Suzanne and I walked four days this week, all at 7 a.m.! It's been a busy summer, and that's been the only time we could work it in. The good news is that it's been a relatively cool summer, and it's really nice out at 7 a.m. The dogs are happy about it. Harper fetched a few sticks at the swimming hole. Coda kept her feet dry!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Common Ground on the Hill Festival in Westminister

 Ed and I went up to Westminister yesterday for the Common Ground on the Hill Music Festival. It is an all day event that celebrates many different types of music, on four different stages.

We got front row seats, as I wanted to be there early enough to hear the bagpiper open the program.

Happily, we also got there in time to discover a lot of craft booths, and I got this really pretty stone necklace!

The African drummers and dancers were very entertaining. They made me wished I'd signed up for camp last week and taken a djembe class!

The best group of all was Footworks, a traditional dance group backed up by a fiddler, banjo player and a drummer. We were especially proud to find our friend, Marcia (fourth from left) was a member of the group!

We also had time to wander over to the snack trucks. We enjoyed these fried Twinkies, which was really just a Twinkie dropped into hot oil with a funnel cake. Who knew Twinkie makes a banana cream flavored one? We'll have to go back next year and try the blueberry ones!

Good News, Bad Timing

The good news is our new generator works just fine. The bad news is we lost power for 12 hours from Monday at 7 p.m. to Tuesday morning at 7 a.m. We waited till Tuesday morning at 6:30 a.m. to fire up the generator and connect the downstairs refrigerator. The bad news is I had to carry perishable items from the upstairs to the downstairs refrigerator. The good news is that just as I finished doing it, the power came on. After I went to all that work it felt like bad news that the power was back on. But, in the larger scheme of things, it was very good news!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Stammtisch Black Stories

We had our third Carroll County Stammtisch yesterday at the South Carroll Senior Center. We had two new members, Goswin and Christine. Goswin is from Germany, but has lived in the US for many years. His wife has picked up bits and pieces during their marriage, but wants to up her game.

Gudrun, is also a native German, and they are a great support to our group. We talked about World cup soccer, (Go Germany!) Weinheim (Gudrun's hometown) and played Black Stories in German. We used a German card game (Rabenschwarze Rätzel) to guess in which macabre ways people died or maimed themselves. We were not very good at it, but it was still good speaking practice.

If you would also like to try solving a few mini mysteries yourself, here is a link to the card game we played.


In addition to being available on Amazon.com, you can also download it as an app in either the Apple store or Google Play!

Viel Glück!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Coda goes to Monocacy Battlefield

We took Coda on our excursion to Monocacy Battlefield yesterday. We felt sorry for her, as we had left her alone at home two days in a row. We read that the battlefield was pet friendly, and we were taking a break from biking. She was so excited!

She enjoyed meeting with the reenactors and sitting in the grass.

Coda liked the canons, but was happy we didn't stay around for the firing demonstration! The fireworks on our street the night before had made her nervous enough!

Ed and Coda posed with the monument built on property still owned by his home state of New Jersey to honor the fallen soldiers of the 14th New Jersey regiment. The battle was fought 150 years ago on July 9, 1864

Coda's favorite part of the trip was the concert in the Best Barn given by the Wildcat Regiment Brass Band of the 105th Pennsylvania Regiment. They played on authentic instruments from the time of the Civil War.

Here is a small clip of the band, featuring a cornet soloist, who happens to also be a professor of music at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. (Who knew there was an Indiana in Pennsylvania?)

At the Worthington Farm we saw a demonstration of a cavalry charge, featuring a handful of Rebel troops against a similar number of Union troops. While that was fun, it would have been even more fun had they been brandishing sabers and firing weapons!
We collected trading cards of people and events in the battle. After we got the entire collection of 11 we went back to the visitor's center where they gave us this nice backstrap bag for our troubles!
We stopped at Sonic in Frederick for dinner. Coda and Judy were worn out and took a nap upon arriving home. We're glad Ed is going back to work tomorrow! We need a vacation from our stay-cation!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

C&O Canal Trail

Ed and I hit the road again yesterday. We decided to follow the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, which has a bike/hike path from Washington DC to Cumberland, MD. It was a beautiful trail, occasionally framed by a canal full of green algae.

Occasionally we'd have the thrill of a train passing right next to us.

There were also occasional patches of mud from the rain the night before. Fortunately, nothing bad happened to us or our bikes, for the first time since we bought our bikes!

We rode from Point of Rocks to Harper's Ferry, which was 13 miles each way.

Harper's Ferry had a festive atmosphere with a lot of historical exhibits and demonstrations.

We had a great Philly cheesesteak sandwich at the Coachman's grill. It was unbelievable that the temperature was so moderate for the Fourth of July!

The view of the Potomac from the bridge to Harper's Ferry was so beautiful. It reminded us of Rome, with the old bridge supports covered with trees and brush.

There were lots of tubers in the Potomoc. It looked like an activity we needed to come back and try out someday! In the meantime, we're going to try an activity on two legs today. My ischial tuberosities are killing me! Sitting on a bike seat on two pokey bones for 3 hours has bruised my rear end! For some  unfair reason it didn't hurt Ed at all!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Fourth of July

The Eldersburg Ward had their annual Fourth of July breakfast this morning. The bishopric cooked pancakes and sausage and the ward members brought fruit, muffins, doughnuts and breakfast casserole.

After the flag ceremony June and I led everyone in patriotic singing.

Everyone sat under the covered picnic area, but there was no rain, and the weather had cooled off nicely from last night's storm.

I led the Primary in the songs My Country and My Flag. I had substituted in Primary for the past two weeks and took that opportunity to teach the children the songs.

Della Reese Jackson favored us with a beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace. She really takes after her namesake!

To wind it up the Primary kids waved flags and made a little parade through the audience. We had Lela and Camryn playing flute and recorder. And, thanks to Colette Banks for learning to play the accordion in one week! What a fun celebration!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Sunset Walk

We had a break in the rain this evening and took the opportunity to go walking with Coda.  The view of the sunset over the reservoir was worth it alone.

Coda was glad to get out of the house.  She likes it when we walk rather than bike. Even though we give her peanut butter when we leave her home alone,  she'd still rather join us on an adventure!

Biking in Patapsco State Park

Ed and I took our bikes out again today. We decided to avoid weather problems (a predicted afternoon storm) and bike a little closer to home, in the Avalon area of Patapsco State Park. They had a lovely trail over a Swinging Bridge, and along the river. We were really enjoying it, till I realized I had a flat tire. Ed said maybe we shouldn't have decided to take up biking!

I said we were lucky the salesmen sold us all the tools to fix it! We found a nice picnic table to work at, and used my cell phone to go to Youtube, where a very nice girl explained to us the easiest way to change a tire. Voilá! In no time at all we (Ed) had a new inner tube on the bike and were back in business! We really liked the CO2 pack to blow up the tire! That was a real improvement on pumping! Round trip: an easy 9.38 miles!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

On the Street Where We Live

Ed and I took a walk down the street last night. I love summer, when it is light enough to walk at 8:30 p.m.! I was under orders by the eye doctor to take it easy till the floaters in my eye clear up. He said, "No brisk walking." So, we meandered down the street. The street ends at the reservoir, and is covered by trees, which was nice, because it was 90 degrees in the sun! We love our tall trees here in Maryland!