Saturday, September 30, 2006

Not your average, ordinary, homemade, patchwork belt

Cute patchwork belt, shiny buckle, belly complete with stretch marks.

Making this belt sure made me thirsty for a cold beer. Dang! No opener!

Wait a second, my belt buckle is an opener!

YES! It worked! And no beer down my fly!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

America on the Move

This week has been America on the Move week at they YMCA. It's about taking small steps towards a healthier, fitter lifestyle. My YMCA gave out pedometers to the first 100 participants. This started on Saturday (?). Last night I was on duty as a fitness attendant and discovered there were two pedometers left. Hmmmm, mind thinking, I wonder how many steps I take a day? Audrey is in the middle of a health class, this would help her determine how active she is. I snatched them both. Last night, in a period of 4 1/2 hours, I walked over 5,000 steps! This morning, before 9:30, I walked 4,700. I wonder how many steps Audrey walks in the high school daily? We will find out. Anybody want to guess how many steps Audrey takes in high school? She has 4 classes daily. Anybody want to guess how many steps I take in a day? Keep in mind that I teach an average of two fitness classes a day. BTW, 10,000 is the daily goal and 1 billion steps nationwide, this week.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Family Weekend

The thought of going to college was not an easy one for Emma. She had many concerns, one of which was making friends. Does it look like she is having trouble making friends? She is truly embracing college life, the fun, the stress, dorm life, music, work. I hope it continues.

Here are the roommates and their sisters. They stayed together all weekend. Although a good time was had, I think two extra people in a dorm room was a bit much! Surprisingly, Emma is keeping a neat room. She never did at home (hand up to mouth, Jack Black style, "Ooops, did I say that?").

Here we are, Mom, Grandma, and sisters.

The weekend itself: Mom and her Sister, Phyllis arrived before we did. The got the initial introductions to the dorm floor. Emma told a funny story of a boy down the hall screaming something inappropriate (at least for Grandmas and Grand Aunts - in his opinion - he doesn't know our family) and stopping standstill upon seeing them in her room. The arrived bearing gifts of peach cobbler, chocolate, and eclairs (for Audrey, which we accidentally left). We arrived a bit later, just in time to attend the Wind Ensemble concert. Emma's roommate was in this group. It was a short concert, featuring the works of Aaron Copeland. An outstanding concert! It ended with the piece of work that featured quotes from Abraham Lincoln. Spectacular!

The weekend featured concerts at all times. We attended three, the Wind Ensemble, the Jazz Ensemble, and of course, the Choirs. All of which were amazing! Emma is in the Shenandoah Chorus. The school also features Cantus Singers, Jazz/show singers, Chamber Singers, and a Conservatory Choir. The world is her oyster. What is incredible is that all the groups only had about 6 practices. I can only imagine the progress these groups will make. I will be attending as many concerts and performances as I can.

Emma remarked that she was surprised that she made it into the University Conservatory. She is so fortunate to be surrounded by music and theatre. She is learning to play the piano and guitar and loves her voice teacher!

We did the usual shopping, Emma needed a few items. We had her car serviced, ate out every meal, and managed to leave her alone for short periods of time. She was a bit stressed with us there but we all enjoyed being together again.

I thought this time would be more difficult than it is. I thought I would have a more physical grief than I do. This does not mean that I don't miss my child, just that I've done my job, so far. The joy I have at seeing her at school and hearing of the experiences she might have is worth every worry, every tear I shed during the year. My time with Audrey is expanding, much to her chagrin. We both like our solitude, so we are easing into our time together. Mornings are quiet, with Audrey very focused on getting ready for school. We talk a little of what the day holds and I sit with her while she has breakfast. No music is on. We are enjoying "House" together, which I had never seen before, now, I hope, it is our show. She has a paper route, which is not quite what she envisioned, so we are waiting for a paycheck before a decision is made. I am enlisting her help with some photo management. After school is another quiet time where we get to talk. We have brief moments, that are just right. We will get acquainted, yet again, this lovely daughter of mine and me.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Gram's Sugar Cookies

1/2 C. shortening
1 C. sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1/2 C. sour milk
3 C. flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
Cream shortening and sugar together. Add egg and vanilla. In separate bowl, combine flour, soda, and salt. To make sour milk, add a little bit of vinegar. Sorry to be so vague, but that's the way we've always done it. Alternately add the flour mixture and the sour milk to the shortening sugar mix. Dough is going to be stickey. Roll into balls and flatten with floured glass bottom.
My sister is the master of these cookies. After making them yesterday, I discovered why I don't make them very often. I ended up covered in a sticky, cookie dough mess. It was quite delicious. These cookies were always available when visiting my Great Grandparents. Big, puffy, and biscuit like. I think I remember my Great Grandpa (Gramp) dipping his cookie in his coffee. I also remember him pouring his coffee into his saucer to drink.
 Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 15, 2006

Best Concert Ever!

Holy Moly! Last night was an unexpected blast! We intended to have a great time, but the music far exceeded our expectations.

The Wood Brothers - Two guys, one steel guitar, one double bass, that's it. Yes, they jammed. The one brother beat the hell out of the bass, crunched himself all over it, and got music you would never expect to hear. Also gave great face. The other just sat, played his guitar, sang, and grooved to the music. They were incredible! I'm going to buy their cd, just to remember the evening.

Grace Potter and The Nocturnals - I've been listening to her cd "Nothing but the Water" for a few months now. It's a great cd, bluesy and soulful. Her concert, on the other hand, was headbanging and rocking! Hair flying, toungue out reminiscent of Gene Simmons, laying on the floor pounding on her guitar. The crowd was wild. We all left laughing and hard of hearing.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

8x10 Time

The Wood Brothers and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
Woohoo! Music season has started. Next month is Jamie Cullum. November brings Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks Band, Los Lonely Boys, and Ozomatli. Sorry if I have repeated myself, but these are going to be great! Anyone want to party?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Your Mission, should you choose to accept it...

I remember watching Mission Impossible as a kid, watching that fuse, listening to the mission, sitting on the edge of my seat. It was our Sunday night, along with 60 Minutes, I think. When Tom Cruise starred in the movie, whoa, I was there! It was cool. My ringtone has been Mission Impossible for years, because it's always a mission and I usually choose to accept. Luckily my phone does not self destruct. I like the Limp Bizkit version "Take a Look Around", hard rock edge, although not necessarily the lyrics. I guess that's the closest version that's on my phone.

On 9/9/2006, I participated in the Fifth Annual Respond to the Call. The theme was "We remember, we are responding. Again." On that day, I worked with 8 other women. Our job was to sew, quilt, crochet, and knit various items. I have never seen hats so tiny, for premature babies, smaller than a tennis ball. There were beautiful crocheted hats (made by my Mother) to be donated to chemo patients. We completed two full size quilts to be donated to Prisoner's Aide. More baby caps were knit, layette blankets sewn, and more. Other teams rehabbed houses, cleared lots in the city, harvested apples and tomatoes, painted and bordered rooms in a children's home. The youngest participant was 2 and the oldest in his 70's. Side by side, old and young, Christian, Hebrew, Muslim, working and believing we can start that ripple of peace in our community.

So your mission, should you choose to accept is to promote peace in your community, in honor of those who died on September 11, 2001.

or start your own

Some jumping points. What else can you find?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Knitting with Auntie

I met my Aunt in Funkstown on Friday at this cool little shop. Every two weeks they have a knit in and my Aunt had been inviting me for some time. There were about 7 of us, including the owner of the shop, all working on different things. I had not taken a project with me so did some shopping (okay, more than some) to start something. I bought this, which will be a poncho. I've been dying to make one! I'm hoping to finish it this week to wear to the Maryland Wine Festival. I was a delightful little gathering and I plan to go back. The shop itself is pretty cool. I don't know actually if it is any better than others I frequent, but it's always nice to see fresh yarns, models, and patterns. I spent way too much money to have more projects to finish!

We went from there to the Offray Ribbon outlet. Holy Moly, that place is overwhelming! I could not just buy ribbon for the sake of having ribbon. There was way too much to choose from. I did buy probably a thousand yards (only slight exageration) of a heavier ribbon to make patchwork belts. Guess what everyone is receiving for Christmas?!

From there we had a yummy lunch at The Funkstown Tavern, the local watering hole. Basic hamburger, french fries, and draught beer. Mmmm, I love a beer at lunch once in a while.

We did a little running around in Sheperdstown, then I needed to head back to Hagerstown and wait for Emma. We were meeting for her to come home. It was a nice homecoming. She was very chatty and positively beaming with college life. What a welcome change from having to light a fire under her butt just to apply and visit. Let alone what I had to do to encourage her to stay at the campus once we arrived to move her in. She's such a good kid. The reunion between sisters was so sweet. Audrey was at a football game at the high school, so we went there to pick her up. Audrey went running towards Emma and literally jumped into her arms. They hugged and laughed! So glad to see each other.

I had a wonderful day with my Aunt and then in the evening with my children.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Happy Anniversary My Handsome Prince

This morning at 3AM, I awoke to one of our smoke alarms chirping, indicating that the battery was low. I woke the Prince up and asked him if he could disonnect it. It was one of those things that I would obsess about and never get back to sleep. After disconnecting, he got back into bed, whispered "Happy Anniversary, honey" and promptly went back to sleep. It made me smile and chuckle, even at 3AM. Today is 21 years. He is a good man. He has played a major role in who I am today. He has supported and encouraged me in my position of a stay at home Mom, for over 18 years. Never complains about all the crap I collect and encourages my ideas. Always brings me home beer caps from band practice. I love laughing together, and we laugh a lot, sitting in the hot tub, camping, kayaking, heated discussions, even when I am stubbornly trying to sway him to my point of view - he humors me, listening to him sing in the band, going to church, and of course being together with our daughters. He thinks I'm sexy and I think he is handsomer than ever, more so as he ages.
Last year, we spent months planning our 20th anniversary, debating what to do. We invested in our future and bought kayaks rather than a one time expensive vacation. We thought it would give us something else to do together. It was the best choice. This year we have barely talked about our anniversary. I have to work tonight and he has drill this weekend. We were going to go to Kclingers tonight, but even that has been put on hold as he has to get up before the sun tomorrow. Oh well, there will be time for reminiscing, planning and laughter. We will make time. That's why it's been 21 years.

Happy Anniversay Darlin'
I love you, Man!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Little Orleans Overlook, looking towards Bonds Landing Posted by Picasa

Little Orleans Overlook, looking towards Fifteen Mile Creek. Posted by Picasa

Drive about 3 miles from the lodge and there is an overlook, once again, in the middle of nowhere on a bumpy dirt road. It overlooks the Potomac river, into West Virginia. We kayaked this whole expanse. We started slightly south and west of this overlook at a place called Bond's Landing (great place for primitive camping, part of Green Ridge Forest) and floated the great bit curve and ended at Fifteen Mile Creek, a hop, skip and a jump from downtown Little Orleans, literally. There were 5 kayaks and 3 canoes, 11 people total. The river was high, but not too high, and running at a good pace. It was fast enough that not much paddling was involved, only to steer. The day was overcast, but warm (or at least warmer and dryer than it had been), and it was a good run.

Little Orleans MD

We went camping and kayaking in Little Orleans, MD, our new favorite place. It is smack dab on the Potomac River and the C & O Canal towpath. Also in the middle of nowhere. There is a campground, actually two, a lodge, and Bill's. Okay, this is the old Bill's, the new bills is just across the street, while looking a bit better, is really not. It calls itself a grocery, bar, restaurant. I don't know if I would ever eat there, although last year I was dying to say we spent our 20th anniversary at Bill's. It's smokey, has a small selection of grocery type foods, maybe one shelf worth, and beer, lot's of beer. There are dollar bills plastered along the ceiling with messages and locations of patrons that have come through on the towpath. A little scary, but not really. Mom got lost on her way to the lodge, stopped at Bill's, stated she was lost, they said "No, you're not, you are in downtown Little Orleans!" then directed her the 1/2 mile to her location. Bill's also rents canoes, beat up, metal canoes. It's a great place, seriously.

The Little Orleans Lodge is a simple place. We stayed there last year on our anniversary. The owner's, Steve and Mary, and the nicest people you could ever meet. We reacquainted ourselves with them, especially Sunday morning when we discovered we did not have our percolater and we NEEDED coffee. They had dinner with us then invited us for breakfast the next morning. Mom was staying with them and thoroughly enjoyed herself. It's an old one room schoolhouse that they have added on, and added on, making rooms for those coming off the towpath. They have great stories and I think, truly enjoy almost everyone that comes through. If ever in the area, stay with them.

Backtrack a bit: We arrived late Saturday, waiting for the rain to let up and me to feel better. I was not about to camp in the cold and rain, with a head cold! By the time we got there, the sky was clear. We set up camp in the primitive camp area, walking distance to the lodge, Bill's and the water and canal towpath at Fifteen Mile creek. The shower and flush toilet were driving distance. It's funny how we traveled a couple hours just to meet up with our neighbors, literally. We met the couple that lives 3 doors down! Never seen them before in my life! But they said, "Hey, don't you live on Deep Run?" Our camping neighbors were from Westminster. Geez, it's a small world.

We went to dinner at Tari's in Berkeley Springs, another repeat from last year's anniversary trip. We met up with a friend of My Handsome Prince, and his wife. A really nice, easy going couple. He's a photographer, not sure what she does. Our conversations revolved around camping, kayaking, nature, and big mistakes we've made (loosing all your money on the way to your honeymoon - OMG, I'm surprised we've made it 21 years!). I really enjoyed meeting them and we all hope to get together again this fall.

Sunday, more friends arrived, we found our way to Bond's landing, driving along roads that were more like paths, hoping we did not meet another car going the other way. Got in the water and spent the next 3 hours just floating.

Mom picked up a woman at the lodge and invited her to eat with us. It was the 3 of us, Mom, Steve, Mary and Theresa. She was doing the entire canal on bike by herself. She was in remission from Lyme Disease and just wanted to do something for herself. A pleasant dinner.

It was a grand weekend! Audrey was the best! This was not her thing, dinner out with 2 couples and her Grandma, not interested in floating down the river, stayed back with Grandma, they played games, looked at photos, read, and had a quiet afternoon. Being the only kid around has changed things. That will be covered in another post. Anyway, we left early Monday, she'd had enough of the primitive, solitary child, life.

BTW, Blogger or my computer has been giving me fits and had to post photos another way. I tried all afternoon! *$%*#@!

Friday, September 01, 2006

She's got the whole world, in her hands...

Not really, but she does have a big a** ball of yarn in her hands. And it is aiding the world by recycling. Audrey says it's big and heavy enough it could kill someone. In searching the Guiness Book of World Records database, I can't find a record for the largest ball or longest skein of yarn. I'm not quite there yet. Do you think? This yarn is being made from discarded clothing that was no longer donatable or sellable or hand-me-downable, or I just liked the color. I will use it to make a rug or two like the one I made out of pot holder loops. I'll keep you posted. This is about all I have the energy for these days. Still feeling yucky. This was supposed to be a camping/kayaking weekend. We are waiting for the rain to let up and will leave tomorrow.