Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Quartet Practice

In a lucky happenstance, we had two women move into our ward last year that play the violin--Reagan and Kristy. With Helen on viola and me on cello--we have a string quartet! We've been asked to play in church in March, last night we sight-read through some music I ordered to find a piece suitable for Sacrament meeting.

It was so fun! We played, we laughed, we got lost, and we started again. We played a few beautiful notes, and occasionally we ended perfectly together!

After we picked our song we talked about life. It was music therapy. What a fun evening. Coda was happy, too as she got some good scratching out of the ladies!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Laundry Quandry

January makes me want to clean and organize. Unfortunately, for Ed, that usually means a project. Happily for me, he is always willing to help out.

This is our upstairs laundry room. It is a death trap for loose socks! There is a water basin with a drainage pipe under the washer. This means the units can not be placed close enough together to prohibit things from falling between them. And because they are front loaders, stuff also falls behind them on a regular basis. It has driven me crazy for five years.

A quick trip to Home Depot and a couple of hours work solved the problem. We got a nice sheet of birch plywood, a can of stain/polyurethane and a roll of birch trim for the front. Voila! a nice folding table and protection for socks when they come out of the dryer! Thanks, Ed, for my nice, new laundry counter!

While Ed worked in the laundry room I tried to stay out of the way by working on my scarf storage solution. Ed had given me his old tie rack, but it was't much better for scarves than it was for ties.

We bought a couple of rods and some rings, and I mounted them in the closet. Now my scarves are easier to find and neater looking. I guess that's enough work until next January!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Airport, Hell Hound, Home

My mom drove me to the Salt Lake City airport this morning, something pretty wonderful when you consider she is 86 years old! We arrived early, so I took the opportunity to get some steps in. You can walk the entire airport, to the end of all the gates A through E and only get 5000 steps!

Our flight was uneventful, except for this dog that yipped incessantly, howbeit intermittently throughout the flight. They actually took it out of it's crate and gave it some water to try to calm it down. It worked for a while....

The few inches of snow that fell in Baltimore yesterday didn't have much of an impact on the airport, thankfully. Ed however, had to shovel the driveway before we were able to bring the car down to the house. I enjoyed waking up this morning to this pretty white layer on the trees!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Last Day in Provo

I spent my last afternoon in Provo with Brittany and John. Since they live on Center Street, we thought we'd go for a walk right through downtown. They have lots of cute stores and restaurants just down the street from them.

The tabernacle/temple renovation is coming along. It was hard to get close to it to get a good picture, what with all the construction fences.

The pigeons had the best view from the top of the angel Moroni.

It was fun guessing the ages of different old homes and public buildings. Many of them are from the 1890s. The Maeser building took away the guesswork, with a big 1898 right in the front.

They took me to a Mediterranean restaurant where I got a pita sandwich with lentil soup. We ran into cousin Abby there! What were the chances of that?

We finished off the evening with a trip to Rancho Market, where they have the largest selection of Mexican food I've ever seen. You can't buy this many types of chilis in Baltimore! We settled for buying a large flan and taking it home to share.

It's been a great trip. Tomorrow I fly home into a snow storm. I hope Ed can make it to the airport to pick me up!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Salt Lake City and back to Salem

Mom and I went up to Salt Lake City today. We stopped in to visit with her sister, my Aunt Charlotte. She has a cute dog named Spike who attacked me, but I forgave him. I'm sure he didn't mean it!

We had lunch at my brother, Jon's, house. His little girls both can run like a horse on hands and feet, just like Brittany used to do. Maybe it is genetic!

We stopped by in Herriman to see our friends the Nortons and their cute little dogs. I have got to get myself a lap dog! Chuck and Renee have adjusted very well from moving from LA to SLC! They're living the good life!

In the evening we had Family Home Evening with Mom's friends in the community. We played a fun game called What Do You Think, where we had to try to make our guesses match those of other people.

We also had a cake for Dean's 92nd birthday. Loralee didn't think he'd be able to blow the candles out himself, so she gave him a little help. That is what the people are like here. They are always looking out for each other! I'm glad Mom will continue to be in good company when I go back to Baltimore!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Mothers Siblings and Cousins

Annette and Kent gave great talks in Sacrament meeting today. They had a wonderful experience serving as Church Education System missionaries in Bismark, North Dakota. They had us in tears as they told us of the many miracles they experienced.

They also said some nice things about their mothers. They are both fortunate to still have their mothers around and able to attend church with them.

It was amazing to see how my nieces and nephews kids are growing up. Nikki's daughter looks so much like her!

Annette had a nice group over for brunch. Abby and Mom enjoyed the warmth of the sun in the Evans beautiful sun room.

My brother Jon's family is getting so grown up. But they are still so cute!

I tried to take a sibling selfie with Annette and Jon, but Kent photo-bombed us!

In the evening the Stevens cousins met us at Grandma's house for dinner. It was a blessing for us to be able to have cousins in Colorado. The kids feel so comfortable with one another.

Here are Brittany, John, Eli, Lacy, Abby, Judy, Grandma, Isaac. I'm sure Barbara and Kent wish they could have been here, too!

I remember when the kids were just little and hanging around our feet listening to us. When did they become the interesting ones?  They have all become talented and informed people in their own right. Grandma and I were just along for the ride tonight. It's been a fun journey!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Cats and Cream

I spent the day with Brittany and John today. We did a little shopping and went out for lunch at Spicy Korea, which was surprisingly good! We stopped at their apartment to give me time to bond with the cats. It was fun trying to get the perfect picture of each cat.

The cats all have pretty eyes. My favorite picture was this one of Roo, with his eerie green eyes.

Brittany and John introduced me to the joys of Subzero ice cream. The flavor choices seemed infinite. I got the cherry chocolate.

It was fun watching the girl make the ice cream with liquid nitrogen to freeze it.

I'm sharing the "dorm" room at Grandma's with my niece, Abby tonight. It was fun catching up with her at Kneaders, where we went for dinner.

If I stay here a few more days we might just have about time enough to visit all my favorite restaurants!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Fun with Family

John came over to Grandma's house this morning to hook up her new sound bar. She was very happy to find out that it really helped the quality of her sound and that she can understand the TV much better.

It added another remote control to her collection, but happily she knows exactly what each one is used for!

Then we turned off the hot water heater and furnace and set off two insect foggers in the house. Mom is trying to get rid of the no-see-ums in the house. Let's hope this works!

Then Grandma and I met my sister, Annette for some shopping and eating. We looked at some very expensive sewing machines. Then we went over to Chuck-a-Rama to stuff ourselves silly and talk about stuff. It is so nice having Annette home again!

In the evening I met up with the Nuttalls for racquetball at the rec center. They have the most beautiful courts in Provo! I haven't played for so long, and loved schooling the young'ns. They have some promise, but I'm happy to say I'm still young enough to give them an old fashioned whooping.

I enjoyed playing John's brother, James, who had a few good moves. It was fun giving him a few pointers that made him more competitive.

We topped off the evening with hot chocolate and floats at Pop and Sweets. James and Kristy (John's brother and sister-in-law) are very interesting people, and I really enjoyed getting to know them better. They've lived in more countries than I've visited!

We finally broke up the party and went our separate ways. I'm doing my blog and thinking that my right arm is going to be a little sore tomorrow. It was totally worth it!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Afternoon at the Museum

I flew to Utah for a visit today. John picked me up at the airport and we met Brittany at the Monte L. Bean Museum where she works.. She gave us a behind the scenes tour of the museum. This wolverine was very scary. They use it for education and let kids (and some adults) pet it.

The new atrium is so bright and cheerful and has some two story giraffes in the center.

The have a bunch of live animals that they use for education. It's nice that Brittany is not afraid of snakes. Neither is John. I touched it briefly.

They have a gigantic storage area for the animals they haven't got room to display. It reminded me of my music box collection. I had to stop when I filled up the curio cabinet. They should have stopped when they filled up the museum! This was just a fraction of it!

This cute bear was just my size!

My mom met us in Provo for Mexican dinner and shopping. It was delicious and the shopping was fun. It was so much fun that I'm looking forward to doing some more with Mom and Annette tomorrow!

I like my cute little new laptop. You can't see it, but it is great for blogging on the road! Thanks, Ed, for keeping me in computers!

Fun with Feet

We had so much fun at Activity Day last night.  We talked about personal hygiene,  but it was just an excuse to give each other pedicures. Heather had organized it so we all had partners and foot scrub, lotion and nail polish.  I was lucky that there was an odd number, so Abby gave me a pedicure too. It was a memorable first day for our three new girls!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

All Strung Out!

I spent yesterday restringing my instruments. It was not fun, but with the help of YouTube I was able to get a few hints on how best to do it.
The cello and the guitar both sound a lot better. The guitar strings were 2 years old, and the cello strings about 15 years old! The violin strings were also about 8-10 years old!

The easiest to string is the cello, and the hardest the guitar. The cello strings were the most expensive, and the guitar the cheapest. They're either expensive or just a pain! You can see why I hate stringing!

I got a hammered dulcimer for my birthday. I love it and am enjoying learning how to play it. It, however not only has a lot of strings, but they are each duplicated! I hope I don't live to see the day I have to restring it!

Dog in Boots

The 'kids' have gone home now and it's just me and Ed and Coda. So, we're reduced to taking pictures of our only 'kid' at home--the dog. I know I took a picture of her last year with her boots, but I couldn't resist taking a new picture this year. Suzanne and I took the dogs out walking, and it had been  few weeks since we'd been out. I didn't want Coda's delicate little paws to get chapped, so I dug out her boots. She loved them. She ran around the back yard like a crazy dog in them. She seems to sense they will make walking in the snow more fun!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Tie Storage

I gave Ed a new necktie storage system for Christmas. You can see it behind the door to the closet. I bought a doggie gate and hung it sideways on the wall. He only has a few rows of ties on it, but it could hold quite a few more.

He gave me one of his left over tie holders for my scarves. I'm thinking it might be fun to think of a better scarf holder system next!

P.S. It snowed today for the first time this season. Coda was none to happy about it! Neither was Ed, as it tripled his commute time this morning!