Sunday, June 28, 2015

Rain, Rain, go away!

We had some serious rain yesterday! It rained hard all day, and we ended up with 3 inches in one day!

I took several videos showing the water flowing down around our house and into the woods. It was really a lot of water! If you like walking in the rain, you'll enjoy the videos!

This was the front yard.

This was from the back deck.

This was the culvert by the driveway.

This was walking from the front to the back.

This was water rushing into the woods.

This was looking up from the woods.

Thankfully, it was warm enough to go barefoot in the water and enjoy taking a few pictures!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Youth Conference Hosts

Ed and I are hosting 5 boys for the Columbia Stake Youth Conference. We picked them up at 9 p.m. and drop them off at the church at 7:45 a.m. We were asked to feed them a snack at night and a hearty breakfast in the morning. In between, we got to know the boys just a little. It turned out some of them are pretty musical!

They didn't eat as much hearty breakfast as I had planned on. I think they stayed up too late, and were too tired to eat in the morning. (And my pancakes were not as light and fluffy as I had hoped).

We were a little nervous that we wouldn't know what to do with five boys, but they were happy with their big basement full of ping pong, Foosball and billiards. They provided their own entertainment and Ed and I went to bed several hours before they did!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Recording Day

The Pearl Strings enjoy recording themselves. It is a lot of work, but it is amazing how much we learn from listening critically. We hope we get better by doing it! Today we recorded three songs:

Cuanto Le Gusta,
Jambalaya and
Glory Bound.

If I wasn't so busy mixing our Christmas songs, maybe I'd take a crack at our new ones! Thanks to Ed for his computer help this morning. He said he didn't do anything different than I was doing, but the band ladies said the computer knows who is touching it! I believe it!

A Crepe Day

By a happy mix-up yesterday, we ended up at the French Twist Cafe. June and I were the only ones to turn up at band in the morning, because I had the day wrong, so we had a change of plans!

We called Charlotte and had her meet us for lunch at a new crepe restaurant in downtown Sykesville! We not only had a great visit, but enjoyed our savory crepes. I had the Spanish one, June the Italian one, and Charlotte the Greek one.  It was fun to sit outside on the porch to eat. It was the best way to visit teach!

But the fun didn't end there! We went to visit Jesse, and got to ride on her rope swing in the back yard! It was just like being a kid again! Summer is the best!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Timbré Bell Ensemble

Our bell choir hosted a visiting ensemble yesterday. We enjoyed an afternoon seminar on how to ring bells. It is much more complicated than you think.

We could choose from a variety of classes. Alex taught us how to correctly hold a mallet when we're whacking them on the table.

Barbara taught how to finger damp, a new technique for most of us.

We enjoyed the evening concert they gave at Springfield Presbyterian church. The were constantly changing bells, and mostly played 2 in each hand. They made it look easy!
One piece I really enjoyed was written by Marquis (in the middle), who is studying composition in college right now.

I hosted Marquis and Alex at our house last night. It was interesting talking to them about how professional bell choirs operate. (Hint: don't quit your day job!)

While they might be short on funds, they were long on passion, at it really came through at the concert!

Friday, June 19, 2015

BWI Bike Trail

Ed and I biked the BWI bicycle trail this morning. It was a beautiful day for an 11 mile loop around the airport, going through some very pretty trees.

We also got to take a bridge right over I-195. That was fun.

We crossed a couple of streams on boardwalks.

At the end we sat in the park and watched the planes land right next to us. That's a view point you don't get very often!

We topped it all off with a visit to Yama Asian Fusion in Ellicott City, a restaurant highly recommended to us by Jen Taylor. She didn't steer us wrong! It was delicious. Now we need another bike ride to burn off a few more calories!

Here is a map of our trail:

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Pearl Strings at the North Laurel Senior Center

The Pearl Strings had a gig today at the North Laurel Senior Center. It was a great gig, and we had some fun participation from the audience.Thanks to June for booking all our gigs this summer!

We especially enjoyed Helen's kids being out of school. They make great roadies! They also took videos and photos for us, which we really appreciate!

Here are a few candid shots: Judy setting up her mike,

Helen and her viola,
Jen ready to sing,

June thinking, "when are they going to start this song,"

and Reagan ready to roll with her red-hot bass!

We had such a good time we thought we might do it again some time!

Afterwards, becasue we were in the neighborhood we all stopped off at Costco for lunch! It doesn't get any better than that!

Temple with the Schneiders

Ed and I went to the temple last night to be with the Schneiders as they were married for eternity and sealed to their children.

I love Krista, not only because she is nice, smart and funny, but because we share a really special birthday!

On the way home we ran into the Sheppards at Cafe Rio! It was nice to have time to visit with them!

It got even better as the Schneider family also dropped by for dinner! I was glad to get a picture of them on their special day, but sorry my cell phone camera didn't do them justice! They looked beautiful!

Flower Power

We are loving summer. Our day lilies are in bloom. They are so tall that they make the crab apple tree look small. They branches of one are intertwined with the flowers of the other

Inside the house we have a beautiful terrarium to remind us of the wonderful time we had at Amanda's wedding. Amanda's new mother-in-law made 12 of these for decorations at the outdoor venue. We were lucky enough to get one to keep!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Choir End of Year Pot Luck

The choir had a pot luck dinner yesterday at our house. The missionaries, stopped by to eat, and as they brought no food we made them sing for their supper. They did a rousing rendition of The Armies of Helaman.

The choir members and families (kids in the basement) were appreciative.

With school finally out now, some of the choir was unavailable, but we all ate extra for those who couldn't be there!

We're taking the summer off, and will be looking for new choir members in the fall to make us bigger and better than ever!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Ed's Happy Birthday

What do you give to the man who has everything? Dinner and a movie! Ed has been getting home so late the past few months that I thought I'd make dinner at home instead of going out.

Can you see the phone in the picture? That is Crystal, on the speaker. She joined us for the celebration.

I tried to recreate the meal I made for our first birthday together in 1981--rack of lamb and stuffed mushrooms. This time I added rosemary potatoes and baked artichoke. It turned out very well!

We enjoyed his birthday apple pie.

Then we rented The Theory of Everything and watched it in the comfort of our family room. It was even more fun than going out! If we're lucky I'll try to recreate the same meal again after our second 33 years together!

First Dulcimer Lesson

I had my first dulcimer lesson from Ken Kolodner yesterday. I've had the dulcimer for about 6 months now, and fortunately, my bad habits were not so entrenched that we couldn't snuff them out!

I learned to keep my third finger away from the hammer so it doesn't cause the hammer to bounce. Then, we talked about scales and leading with the left hand. It was very interesting. My first song is Johnny Cope. I can't wait to get really good on it!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Pearl Strings at Copper Ridge

The Pearl Strings took their show to Copper Ridge this morning. We had a great time, and thought many of the residents enjoyed it as well. Those that could clapped and sang along.

Afterwards we went to Panera and talked about how good we were, as well as a number of other very interesting topics!

A nice lady offered to take our picture. I wonder if she knew she was taking a picture of The Pearl Strings! (Jen, Helen, June, Reagan, and Judy)

My video camera turned off half way through the program, but here are a few of our songs:

Jambalaya was fun for me because I actually get to sing one verse all by myself!

The Skye Boat Song had extra meaning to us, as some of us enjoyed seeing it as the theme song for the series, "Outlander."

June did a great job on Our Love is Here to Stay! Jen's clarinet added the perfect accent!

Cuanto Le Gusta is a crazy, fun nonsense song. I got to tell Reagan to ride a goat in it. She did not want to ride the goat!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Auld Lang Syne Project Update

We've had a few friends record a video tape of themselves singing Auld Lang Syne. I played around with some editing software today to see if I could make a video montage. This is rough, but you get the idea. Send in your tapes. I would like to have 100, old friends and new! Ed is not optimistic. He thinks 10 might be stretching it! Prove him wrong, please!

For complete instructions on how to do this, visit!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

New Walkin' Shoes

I got a pretty new pair of walking shoes. I'm so excited, because they match my orange shirt and blue striped shorts! It's just as important to look good as to feel good!

I learned all this from Suzanne, who always wears matching outfits. She even gets matching caps to wear when she walks!

Coda and Harper went into the water at the swimming hole today. Harper swims after sticks. Coda is more of a sun bather! If it's hot enough she'll lay down in shallow water.

It was warm enough today. Summer is here to stay!

Book it Sisters Read The Nightingale

The Book it Sisters read and reviewed The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. We loved it and really enjoyed talking about so many aspects of the book. The relationship of the sisters, as well as the background of the French underground were both very interesting.

Cheryl made quiche and had French pastries for us. They were both very delicious! Mary left before the picture, mostly because she hates writing her review! If you'd like to read our review, check it out at

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Vacation Takes a Toll

In 12 days Ed put 3100 miles on his new car! We spent the night in Cleveland last night and are finally home again!

We were glad to see the last of the toll roads! It would have been nice if there was no traffic on them, but even after paying almost $20 to cross each state, sometimes the traffic was bumper to bumper!

We got home to find out our largest tree, a 50 foot black cherry had taken a direct hit by lightening while we were gone. You can see a scar spriral around the tree from the top to the ground!

There were also splinters of wood and bark scattered all around the yard! Here is one on the back sidewalk.

Our first clue that something was amiss was the drip under the freezer, and the stench that greeted us when we opened it. Luckily it wasn't very full, and our loss of food was minimal.

Most of the house still had electricity (including the garage door), but Ed spent an hour trying to track down the bad GFI switches.

The basil and the bonsai survived very well in their plastic bag.

And the amazing money tree I bought in February looked fantastic with no water the entire time we were gone! I don't understand it, but I love it!

All things considered, the trip was fantastic, and there was minimal damage when we got home. We feel very grateful!