Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Watching Weight

I spend a good portion of my life watching my weight, whether it's going up or down. I bit the bullet last week and joined Weight Watchers again. I'm a lifetime member and have belonged in 4 states! I have so many good memories of going with friends who have been good (or not as good) diet buddies.

It was extremely painful last week not eating everything in sight, but it paid off in the end, and today I had lost a significant number of pounds! Hopefully, this time I can keep it up and get back to my goal weight!

Pearl Strings and Girl Scouts

The Pearl Strings helped the Girl Scouts get their music badge yesterday. They made some shakers and tambourines while we set up for a mini-performance. We had our newest Pearl String, Reagan, on bass. It was my first time playing the hammered dulcimer in public, and June sang despite having a bad cold! Everything went just fine, considering!

It was so fun to be with the Girl Scouts again. It took me back to old times with my girls. The girls joined us on Day-O, shaking their eggs and singing along. Good times!

Walking Again!

With the change to Daylight Savings Time, it is light enough in the evening for Ed and I to go for a walk when we can squeeze it in. We even got out this Saturday for a walk in the afternoon. Coda is ecstatic about it. Amanda would be proud to see us in our Duluth sweatshirts. Now if we could finally get  break and get some warm weather as well, it would be perfect!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

New Pearlie

We have a new member of the Pearl Strings--Reagan Dickson. She is starting out on bass, as Barb is in Florida helping her mother. She is very musical and plays violin, guitar and sings, as well. She brings a lot of flexibility to the band. And best of all she if very entertaining. We're enjoying her funny stories. It's a wonder we have time to get any music in!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Apothecary Book Review

The Book it Sisters reviewed The Apothecary by Maile Meloy last night. It was a fun young adult read, and everyone gave it great marks. Instead of feeding us magic potions to make us fly or be invisible, Trish opted to make her delicious fajitas. She did bow somewhat to the English theme and gave us trifle for dessert!

If you'd like to review our review, check it out at http://bookitsisters.com/the-apothecary/.

Amanda Sings

I thought I'd post a video of a portion of Amanda's Master's recital. This is her Russian set. She also did a set in German, a set in French, and one in English. She topped it off with one song in Italian at the end.

The songs by Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)

In the silence of the night Op. 4 No. 3
Do not sing, my beauty, to me Op. 4 No.4
Arion Op. 34 No                      


Monday, March 16, 2015

If there are Croci, it's Spring!

Suzanne and I went walking with Harper and Coda today. This was the first nice day in a VERY long time! It is so wet out from all the rain and melting snow, that we stayed off the fire road, but just took loops around the farm. It was great for the dogs who love to run around!

We were amazed to find the crocuses in bloom! Hooray! Spring must be here!

Gray Day for Bells

It rained all day Saturday in Ocean City. The ocean looked ominous, and it made it difficult for Ed to get a walk in along the boardwalk. He had to punt and go to the mall!

I was safely ensconced inside the convention center with all my bell ringing friends. We had a nice view of the ocean out the back window.

Our group met with our families at lunch at the Dough Roller across the parking lot. Trish tried to convince Ed to buy me a set of bells so we could use it for church. She was unsuccessful.

In the afternoon we gave a concert for our friends and families. Thanks to Ed for being one of them and for taking our picture! It is difficult to get a group of 500 people to play together perfectly, but we all ended at the same time on every piece, and I call that success!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Trip to the Eastern Shore

It took me a few years to find out what the "Eastern Shore" is. It really just means the part of Maryland on the Delmarva peninsula (Delaware, Maryland and Virginia). Ed and I travelled to Delaware this morning to shop at the factory outlet malls. We also had some very good Mexican food at Tonalteca in Rehoboth.

Back in Maryland we checked into a very nice room in Ocean City. We have a suite with a view of the ocean. It is still too cold to go in the water!

I spent the evening in the Convention Center with my bell-ringing group. We're here with 500 of our best friends ringing together. The conductor is from Duluth, of all places! We may have seen him last weekend and not known it!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Barn Service Project

The Activity Day girls met at the barn last night to help shine it up for Lenny's return, hopefully next week. Rachel and Elenor dusted and cleaned bars. Piper was in charge of removing spider webs.

It was Katie's first time to come, as she just turned 8. She was very good-natured about cleaning poop off the side of Mr. Genes' stall!

Jae helped a lot, pointing out that what I thought was a hornets nest was just a swallow nest. Megan thought it was pretty interesting.

Eliza learned how to scrub a kitchen floor on her hands and knees.

Kamryn and Sage spit polished the feed room.
We had 11 girls, three women and one dog. We also shoveled sawdust, scrubbed water buckets and dusted windows. Lenny is scheduled to come home from the hospital at the end of the week. We hope this is a nice surprise for him!

Zeiss Optik

I spent every spare minute Monday and Tuesday working on my company report for my German class. I chose an optic company that survived the change from the east German economy to capitalism. It was an interesting story. I made a banner with the logo and used one of Crystal's old report boards. Then, I brought some items from home and pretended to be a sales rep for Zeiss. I had a camera, binoculars, glasses, magnifying glasses, and a small satellite. I even borrowed a rifle scope from my neighbor across the street. It was a fun project, and I glad it's done. Now I can enjoy spring break next week!

Home Again

Ed and I got to the Minneapolis airport early enough Sunday to take a turn around the terminal. I got my 10,000 steps every day during our trip, largely due to Ed's good humor about helping me obtain that goal.

We had fun walking up and down each concourse, and discovering that all concourses are not created equal. One had restaurants with iPods on every table. Ours had one bathroom with a very pretty mosaic in the entryway.

We got home to find out Coda had ambivalent feelings about returning to us. She rather liked the Rigby house, where she learned to eat whipped cream from a can!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Amanda's Recital Day

Ed and I got up early and went for a walk to the mall this morning. It turned out that 30 degrees with a stiff breeze isn't quite as warm as we thought. Amanda and Nolan saw us walking in the cold and pulled over to give us a ride.

In the afternoon we stopped in for a visit to the world's largest accordion museum. It was pretty amazing, with over 1200 accordions.

Amanda's good friend, Helme, is the owner and also Amanda's accordion instructor.

Amanda and Nolan are both members of the accordion band, and they let me sit in this afternoon. They even gave me an accordion to play on! It was pretty fun, and made me wish I could join!

I went with Amanda afterwards to the beauty salon where she had her hair put in an up-do.

She finished up with a professional make-up application. It was fun to watch the transformation!

In the evening we joined 75 of Amanda's closest friends to hear her sing. We met so many of her friends from church, as well as Nolan's mom and dad. Even the accordion ladies showed up to cheer her on! Everyone was so welcoming and said such nice things about Amanda. Not the least of which was about her singing voice. She has and incredible voice, and it was so great to be able to hear her sing the songs she has been learning for the past two years. We were very proud parents!

Amanda Master's Recital

Tonight is the main event--the culmination of Amanda's studies for her master's degree in vocal performance. She let me make the poster for it, which was a lot of fun.

Some of you have asked, what she is singing. She's singing songs by 5 different composers in 5 different languages. Here is the run-down. If you're in the area, please drop by!

Ich atmet' einen linden Duft
Liebst du um Schönheit
Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder
Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen
Um Mitternacht............................Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)

В молчаньи ночи тайной (In the silence of the night) Op. 4 No. 3
Не пой, красавица, при мне (Do not sing, my beauty, to me) Op.
4 No.4
Арион (Arion) Op. 34 No. ......Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)

Une Sainte en son auréole
La lune blanche
J'ai presque peur, en vérité
Avant que tu ne t'en ailles
 from La Bonne Chanson.........Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924)

Katherine of Aragon
Anne Boleyn
Jane Seymour
Anne of Cleves
Katherine Howard
Try Me, Good King..................Libby Larsen (b. 1950-)

Vissi d'arte...............................Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924)
 from Tosca

Friday, March 6, 2015

Amanda's View of Duluth

We picked up Amanda from the University this afternoon and checked into our very lovely home away from home--the Residence Inn in Duluth.

We enjoyed seeing all the sights of Duluth from the point of view of the bride-to-be. We started at the Moorish room, where Amanda and Nolan will have their reception in May.

The room has a beautiful Moorish motif, and lovely paintings on the walls.

We stopped by at the Superior Dance studio where Amanda and Nolan are taking some lessons so they can really kick up their heels at the wedding. Ed and Amanda tried out a few of those steps.

We got to see the cool vault where the decorator keeps all her beautiful items.

We tryed out a few desserts at the bakery where they are getting their wedding cake.

We ended up the day by having dinner with Amanda and Nolan at Va Bene, the restaurant where they got officially engaged. It has a beautiful setting along Lake Superior. The food was great, and the back story about them being alone in the restaurant during a blizzard made it even more fun!

Snow Can't keep us Down

Ed went to work yesterday in a snowstorm, and returned in one, as well. We got about 8 inches, which made travel pretty difficult! Happily, it all turned out fine, and stopped snowing last night, so were able to get to the airport this morning.

The horses were lucky that we were able to just walk over to feed them in the snow. The farm looked so pretty all blanketed in white! We flew to Duluth today, to weather in the 30's-a veritable heat wave!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Snow Poo!

This is Coda sitting outside the barn in the snow this morning. She has a perfect view of the pile where we dump the horse poop. It is all covered in snow again. She looks at me sadly and says, "What a load of crap!" I don't know if she's talking about the poop or the snow! It is all so sad!

Knorr Brake Ausflug

Yesterday my business German class had a field trip to the Knorr Brake Company, a German firm based in Westminster, just a few miles from McDaniel College. They have a brand new plant, and even had a fancy sign on the TV screen welcoming us!

They are a large manufacturer of brakes and HVAC units for trains and subways. They wouldn't let us take pictures inside the plant, but this is one of their display units. Markus, on the right was the Center of Confidence officer for Engineering and Manufacturing. He was from Germany and gave us the tour in German. The vice president (next to Dr. Esa) only spoke English, and that was a nice break from thinking a listening really hard!

It was really interesting, and went along with what we're learning in class. The only downside was, they didn't serve us cookies at the end! What kind of a field trip was that?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Snow More on a Sunday!

If it's Sunday it must be snow! We didn't have church the last two weeks because of snow. So, this morning they were loath to cancel. So we drove over to the church in a snowstorm.

I was too nervous to drive in the snow, so Ed came home from his early meetings and picked me up in his fancy new car.He was not afraid!

After Sacrament meeting they sent us all home. It was just in the process of changing over from snow to freezing rain, which is even worse. We made it home safely and are now praying winter will someday safely come to an end!

Ukulele Strap

I have long admired Jen's uke strap, and finally figured out a way to make my own. It would have been less expensive and quicker to just buy one, but not nearly as much fun!

The little hook goes under the uke and into the sound hole. It was fun picking out beads for the decorations. The bead behind the neck slides up and down to make the length adjustable.

The hook was the problem. I've been trying to buy a j-hook online for about 6 months now. No luck!

I finally found some heavy duty hook and eyes at Joann Fabrics, and bent the hook open a little. Then I dipped the silver metal hook into the vinyl coating so it wouldn't scratch the instrument. Voila! Judy's own uke straps were born! If the vinyl doesn't wear off it will be perfect!