Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Identity Crisis

I'm not going to lie. I miss being "Marianne the Librarian". School has started. Students are filing into the library, and I'm not there. I miss their smiling faces. I miss their excuses for fogetting books. I miss their hugs. I even miss having to put names on the board. Change is difficult, even when you know you made the right decision.

I'm no longer a librarian, I guess. So I am searching for a new identity. I've been praying about the direction my life should go from here. So far I don't have a clear answer.

This feeling of being at a crossroads is disconcerting and making me restless. Calm my anxious heart, Oh Lord. You know the plans you have for me and I know they are good.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hurt While Herding

If you want to see Riley's herding instinct kick in, all you have to do is go in the pool. For some reason, he can't stand it when someone is in the water. I took him out to the pool with me today, and I thought it would be good exercise for him to herd me while I went swimming. What I didn't know was that it was going to hurt his little paws.

I went into the water, trying not to splash too much. It didn't matter. He started herding. He ran around the pool at 50 mph non-stop for ten minutes. I should have been paying more attention to him because after he stopped, he was not only panting, but limping. It wasn't until later that I discovered he had burned his paw pad.

The friction from taking the corners at lightning speed and jumping over the diving board on hot concrete was too much. I feel terrible. He's now lying down nursing his red paw. I guess I won't be doing that to him again.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

All Settled In

Kelly, Susanna, Katherine and Kelsey


Don worked like a dog for a day and a half moving furniture, hanging blinds, curtains and pictures, assembling furniture that came in a box and changing light bulbs. I helped clean, got groceries, did food runs. After a day and a half, Katherine was pretty much settled in.

The apartment is very spacious, so the four girls won't be on top of each other this year. I'm trying not to get too concerned about the physical location of the building. It's right across the street from campus, but I couldn't help but think it looked like tenement housing with a dark rat-infested alley behind. Of course, my imagination tends to run wild with these things.

This is the back of the building
This is the front of the building
Katherine assured me it would be fine. All three doors have deadbolts.

I do love the front of the building. It has a lot of charm. There is this ivy-type plant that is growing all over the side. It covers several of their windows, so it looks pretty from the inside. They have the lower two floors.

When it was time to say good-bye, I could tell she didn't want us to leave. She's always like that. I told her it would be OK, mommy loves you.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Chicago, Ho!

It's time for Katherine to pack up and leave. She doesn't pack quite as lightly as Daniel. It usually takes her several days to get her stuff together. Fortunately, she left most of her belongings in a U-Haul storage unit in Chicago in May. Why bring it all home?
Here is just a small sampling of what we will be loading and unloading tomorrow.

Katherine giving Riley the spa treatment
You can see Riley there next to the piles. He'd like to hide in her suitcase. Those two are really going to miss each other!

It's a 7 hour drive to Chicago. Not looking forward to that. It's also a 7 hour drive back home. But, I am excited to see Katherine's new apartment. She'll be rooming with two of the same girls from last year and one other girl. From the pictures, the place looks very nice. Much more roomy than last year's apartment.

This will be Katherine's senior year in college. She's grown up quite a bit since she left her freshman year. It will be very quiet when she's gone, but I'll be looking forward to our many phone calls once again!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Eat This, Not That

Eat This
You know how it is when you want a snack. You go to the cupboard, open the door and stare. Then you go to the refrigerator, open the door and stare. Then you walk back to the cupboard, open the door and stare once again. It's not that there isn't any food in there. It's just that the food staring back at you is either on your no-no list, will take too much time to prepare, or it just doesn't appeal to you at the moment.

There's no question about it, healthier food takes more time to prepare. When it comes to snack time, you want it now. I'll tell you one thing that has helped me eat better snacks. I got the idea from watching an Ellie Krieger show on the Food Network. She's the one whose show is called "Healthy Appetite."

Ellie chops and prepares her healthy snacks and puts them in clear glass containers in the refrigerator. As you know, most healthy snacks must be refrigerated. The last time I was at Sam's Club, I invested in a big box of Pyrex clear glass bowls with lids. When I bring strawberries home, I clean them, slice them, and put them in a clear glass bowl. Blueberries, the same. Salad, cantaloupe, celery, carrots, you name it.

Not That
Then when I open the refrigerator door, I can see right into my containers and know that the fruits and vegetables are all ready for consumption. It doesn't take any more time than whipping open a box of crackers.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Pasties

Yesterday, my dear 84 year old mother-in-law drove 45 minutes to our house to deliver six pasties she spent two days making. It took her two days because she has chronic back and leg pain and can't stand very long. It was a true labor of love.

Pasties look like calzones, only the insides contain beef, potatoes and onions. Donna gave me the recipe years ago, but I haven't tried to make them yet. I'm adding this to the list of things I need to try to make. Like the Ka'ak cookies, pasties scare me because they involve dough.

When we took a camping trip to the upper part of Michigan many years ago, there were pasty shops on every corner. The pasty originated in Cornwall, England. When miners came to the U.S., they brought this dish with them. Pasties were made for lunch for miners who weren't able to return to the surface for their meal. The filling could stay warm for 8 hours inside the crust if held next to the miner's body. Miners were covered from head to toe with dirt, but they could hold the pasty by the crust and eat most of it without eating dirt from their hands. They would discard the crust on the floor of the mine to keep the "knockers" happy. The miners believed that "knockers" were little people similar to leprechauns who lived beneath the ground and would cause mischief in the mines. Their name comes from the knocking noise or creaking in the mine walls before they are about to collapse.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Easy Move In Day

Brandon and Daniel
Since Daniel packs lightly, we were able to move him into his dorm room with one trip from the car. Several of his friends were there to lend us a hand.

Ready for another year
After about an hour, Don and I weren't sure what we were going to do the rest of the day. We took Daniel to Wal-Mart and then to lunch. We toured a house he and his friends are thinking of renting next year, we met his roommate's parents and some more of his friends. When all the guys started taking a vote as to where they were going to eat dinner, Don and I decided it was time for us to go.

To drag things out, I told Daniel I'd make them a curtain for their window. They wanted Miami colors. I told him I'd send him a lamp for his desk and to let me know if he forgot anything...I'd send it.

I didn't feel tears welling up in my eyes this year. How could I? He was so ready to be back. He was going to have the time of his life. That doesn't mean I'm not going to miss him. I will. His room will be empty once again. I'll look in when I walk down the hall and be sad that he's not there.

But I feel good that he's one step closer to being the man we set out to raise him to be.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Mr. Organized

Don't we look alike?
This describes Daniel: the most organized person I know. If you walked into his bedroom, you would never know a 19 year old boy lives there. Everything is in its place 24 hours a day. Of course, the bed gets messed up while he's sleeping in it, but it is made every morning when he gets up. If you borrow a hanger from his closet, he knows it is gone, and he'll come after you.
Right now he is packing  to go back to college. I found his packing list in the basement on top of his bins and boxes. He has the list broken down by container.

To keep things simple, Daniel doesn't have many extras. Moving him in will be a snap. That's what we will be doing tomorrow. 

Daniel's already in his second year! How did that happen? He asked for lasagna for his last supper at home. So that's what we are having tonight. Boo hoo. I'm going to miss him!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Riley's Family Tree

Robbie
Riley was too small to be a show dog. That's the reason he was for sale as a pet dog. We're so glad he was small.

Riley's Father (Robbie) was a show dog. Riley and his father have similar coloring, but Robbie is a little bit larger, as you can see from the photo to the right.

Tilly
Riley's mother was not a show dog, but she came from a long line of them. Her name is Tilly. Riley's breeder told me recently that Tilly is now retired from breeding. She had her last litter this spring (just one little girl puppy). Tilly is mostly black and white, but I can see a little of Riley in her face. 

We had Riley for a month or so when the breeder emailed a picture from a back issue of Sheltie Magazine. It had a photo of Tilly's grandfather, who was a champion show dog. The breeder said that Riley reminded her of him. I guess I can see the resemblance if I overlook Riley's big ears. We tried our best to get those ears to tip down, but they had a mind of their own!






Riley

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Photo Shoot 2

We went to the Bedford Reservation today. On the map it showed something called Bridal Veil Falls. I am sure under normal circumstances the falls are beautiful, but today, the water was all dried up. The waterfall that is in the bottom photo was not Bridal Veil. We found it at the Gorge just down the road from our first stop.

Why is it that you have to take 80 pictures to get 4 or 5 good ones? It always makes me thankful for digital photography. No matter how many pictures you take, it costs the same...nothing...until you print the best ones.

I would have put more photos on this post, but Blogger has changed the way you upload photos since yesterday, and it is giving me problems.

These are two of my favorites, anyway.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Banana Bread

Last year I was on a quest for a banana bread recipe that worked every time and was delicious. I tried several recipes from friends, but didn't get great results. Finally, I went to the Food Network website and found one that we love. It's called "Flour's Famous Banana Bread." It's a strange name, I know. It says the recipe is courtesy of Chef Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery in Boston.

I've made this banana bread a number of times, and it always gets rave reviews. The problem I have is keeping bananas around until they are ripe. They are usually gone before the green edges go away. Daniel has been known to eat a banana a day (sometimes two).

Here is the recipe in case you want to try it:

Flour's Famous Banana Bread

1 2/3 c. all-purpose flour
1 t.  baking soda
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c. oil
3 1/2 bananas, very ripe, mashed
2 T. creme fraiche or sour cream
1 t. vanilla extract
2/3 c. walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)

Set oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Beat sugar and eggs until light and fluffy. Drizzle in oil. Add mashed bananas, creme fraiche, and vanilla. Fold in dry ingredients and nuts, if using. Pour into a lined loaf pan and bake 45 minutes to 1 hour.

* The parchment paper works great. The bread comes right out, and you don't even have to wash the pan!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Photo Shoot

Josh is here for a visit, so I suggested we go to the Brecksville Reservation for some photos. We were hoping to find a spot that Daniel and Lily visited last year, but we ended up in the wrong place. We still came away with some nice pictures.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lost My Appetite

Last night, we went to dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings. It's close to home, and the kids like the wings and sauces. I ordered a salad as usual.

It was a little dark in the restaurant, but we could still see our food. As I made my way through my Chicken Ceasar Salad, I kept seeing brown spots on my lettuce. When I mentioned it, Daniel took a look and said he didn't see anything brown. I kept finding more brown lettuce. Don looked over, and he said it was just my salad dressing. By this time, I was beginning to think I was seeing things. To get a closer look, I reached into my purse and pulled out my trusty reading glasses. Sure enough, the lettuce was brown.

Most of the brown stuff was on the bottom half of the salad. It looked like they topped it off with some fresh leaves. I had complained one too many times when Don told me that starving children in Africa would love to eat that salad. It was too late to flag the waitress down and ask for a new one. I guess you could call it passive-aggressive behavior that I pulled all the brown pieces up to the top and lined my plate with them.  I wanted the waitress to see what she had put in front of me.

I don't think I be eating at Buffalo Wild Wings again anytime soon. If I do, I won't be ordering a salad.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Let There Be Water

It couldn't have been a hotter summer to have rework done on our swimming pool. What we thought would take about a month ended up taking three. Every time I looked at the gaping hole in our backyard, I wanted to take a dip. Unfortunately, there was no water in the gaping hole.

But today was a glorious day. The pool guys showed up with the new pool liner, and the water truck pulled up the driveway. I looked at the truck, then I looked at the empty pool, and even I could tell it was going to take more than one truck. I thought maybe three. I asked the pool guys how many it would take.

They said it would take about seven trucks. I about fainted. You will never guess how many gallons of water our pool holds. I asked Katherine. She guessed 300 gallons. I asked Josh. He guessed 500 gallons. I can't laugh, because my guess would have been just as bad. It took 7 and 1/2 water trucks to fill the pool. That amounts to 26,000 gallons of water.

I feel guilty because there are a lot of people in the world who don't even have a gallon of clean water to drink. We just poured 26,000 gallons in a hole in our backyard. I guess the only consolation is that those 26,000 gallons will be recyled there for many years.

Party at my house tomorrow. It's supposed to be 91 degrees again.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

It's Not What you Think!

Have you ever been caught doing something that looked far worse than it really was? My friend Crystal told me a story yesterday that made me laugh until I cried. I guess I thought it was so funny because I could see myself getting caught in that situation.

Crystal is a bargain hunter if I've ever known one. While walking through Drug Mart after Easter, she saw a shelf of Russell Stover chocolate bunnies marked to 90% off. Her mind raced with possibilities for using that chocolate. She's a high school English teacher, and when the seniors turn in their final project, she lets them dip fruit in her chocolate fountain. She also bakes quite a bit with chocolate.

She wasted no time filling her shopping cart with as many bunnies as it could hold. She took the huge bag of chocolate home and put it in her laundry room for safe keeping.

That night while the rest of her family was watching a movie, she went to the laundry room and got her bag of chocolate, a sharp knife, and some ziploc bags. She unwrapped the bunnies and lined them up on the table in another room. While she was busy chopping up the chocolate to save for her projects, one of her daughters wandered into the room where she sat. When Bailey saw numerous chocolate bunnies lined up on the table and Crystal sitting there in front of them, she assumed Crystal was eating them. Out of her mouth came a cry, "Mom! What are you doing?!"

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Secret Ingredient

Katherine happens to think that my cheeseburgers are the world's best. She craves them. She can't wait to get home from college to eat them. She raves about them.  It was awfully cruel of me to make them last Thursday - the day she got her wisdom teeth out. I hated doing it, but that's all I had available, and the other family members were starving. She's now able to eat a reasonable meal, so tonight I made cheeseburgers for her.

There is a secret ingredient in my cheeseburgers. I know that's why they are so good. This secret ingredient is always on hand. You don't have to go out and buy it. It makes burgers moist and tender even when you use 90% lean ground beef. The secret ingredient has no calories, fat or cholesterol. Have you figured out what it is yet?

WATER! Believe it or not, water makes hamburgers moist. I didn't come up with this idea on my own. It was in a cookbook I purchased a long time ago: Cooking with Children by Marion Cunningham. The author also suggests handling the meat very gently while you are mixing it. If you squeeze the meat and press it down too much, you will end up with dry, tough burgers.

The cookbook calls for 1/4 cup water for 1 lb. of ground beef. I usually use 1 1/2 lb. ground beef and keep the water to 1/4 cup. Don't forget the salt and pepper before you mix.  Grill the first half, turn them over, add the cheese, and finish grilling. The result is a melt-in-your mouth cheeseburger.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Reading List

While looking through The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List that I picked up at Half-Price Books, I compiled a wish list of books to read in the future. This is just a dream list. I know I won't have time to read all of them, but they do sound interesting:

The Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks (bubonic plague)
The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara (Civil War)
Exodus by Leon Uris (plight of European Jews)
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (detectives in Botswana)
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (futuristic society)
Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres (World War II love story)
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by mark Hadden (autistic 15-year old detective)
Murder at  the Vicarage by Agatha Christie (Miss Marple classic)
Booked to Die by John Dunning (bookstore mystery)
The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie King (teenager is Sherlock Holmes' apprentice)
The Bartered Bride by Mary Jo Putney (American merchant risks life to save Englishwoman from slavery)
High Country Bride by Linda Lael Miller (mail order bride)
The Outsider by Penelope Williamson (Amish widow falls in love with a gunfighter)
The Promise of Jenny Jones by Maggie Osborne (women switch places in prison)
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Hondo by Louis L'Amour (western adventure)
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurty (cattle drive from Rio Grande to Montana)
Magdalene by Angela Elwell Hunt (biblically based story of Mary Magdalene)
1776 by David McCullough (American Revolution)
A Night to Remember by Walter Lord (minute-by-minute account of the Titanic)
Route 66: The Mother Road by Michael Wallis (state-by-state roadtrip along America's historic highway)

There you have it. I suppose a Psychologist would be able to tell you something about me by the titles of books that look interesting to me. Notice that I didn't pick any books from the following categories: Edge of Your Seat Entertainment, Chick Lit, Science Fiction, Horror Novels, True Crime.

Mostly I am a fan of historical fiction. I like a little romance and a little mystery, as long as it doesn't get too intense.

Feel free to recommend one of your favorites. I'll add it to the wish list.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Throw Out 50 Things

Don may disagree with this statement, but I regularly declutter our home. When he looks around, he sees things that should be trash, but to me they are treasures. Last night I came across a book I purchased a couple of years ago: Throw Out Fifty Things by Gail Blanke. The author challenges you to go around your house and find 50 things you can get rid of. You might give them away or throw them away, but they must be removed from the premises.


Since I do regularly get rid of things, I wondered if I could find 50 things today. I went through every room and collected a pile of items. When you count the 50 things, duplicate items count as one. For instance, if you are getting rid of 10 books, it counts as one thing.

Here are the fifty things I found:

1.    four rubber wrist bands
2.    an empty tube of Aquaphor
3.    three Vicodin pills from my 2006 root canal
4.    three expired sample tubes of eye drops
5.    Jacques Pepin cooking DVD
6.    digital camera case
7.    earphones
8.    five Chicago travel brochures
9.    fish bowl
10.  barcode scanner
11.  15 greeting cards
12.  two mouse pads
13.  five t-shirts
14.  expired jar of dry yeast
15.  plastic hooded poncho
16.  bag of sunflower seeds
17.  two boxes of sugar-free jello
18.  six mini tupperware containers
19.  15 books
20.  25 pens
21.  five pocket folders
22.  two books on tape
23.  pkg. of 5x8 colored index cards
24.  box of self-adhesive fasteners
25.  frisbee
26.  dog ear glue
27.  child-size toothbrush
28.  five bracelets
29.  watch
30.  tube of chapstick
31.  necklace
32.  three pins
33.  thimble
34.  four bottles of diet Lipton white tea
35.  two tote bags
36.  three phone books
37.  two pair of shoes
38.  two board games
39.  spray adhesive
40.  lanyard
41.  picture frame
42.  eyeglass holder
43.  speech bubble cutouts
44.  empty boot box
45.  Charmin to go Toilet Seat Covers
46.  expired Crest White Strips
47.  little girl stationery set
48.  jewelry tin
49.  quilted throw
50.  pkg. of old Chinese coins

I encourage you to try this. The harder it is to find 50 things, the more decluttered your house really is. I have to say, it was not easy to come up with 50 things this time. I don't dare let Don try this exercise!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Lebanese Festival

I missed the annual Lebanese Festival today. It's always the first Saturday in August at Our Lady of the Cedars Maronite Church in Fairlawn. This was my mom's church, and it was my Sito's (grandma) church. My dad's side of the family was Irish, but my mom's side was Lebanese. The mix of Irish and Lebanese is a strange combination, but we turned out OK.

The reason I like to go to the Lebanese Festival is, of course, the food. But the reason I didn't go today was because of the food. I can't resist it, and I didn't need any extra food today. I love all of it (tabouli, fatayer (spinach-stuffed pastry), kibee, stuffed grape leaves. Let's not forget the desserts (sambousik, ka'ak and baklava). I especially like the ka'ak. It is a pastry usually made at Easter. The cookies are in the shape of a wreath to symbolize a crown of thorns. There's nothing like one of these cookies with a cup of tea.

I want to try to make them myself. The Lebanese cookbook from the church has a recipe, but three ingredients are foreign to me: 1) rendered butter, 2) mahleeb, 3) orange blossom water. Last I looked, my grocery store didn't carry any of these.

There is a note in the front of the cookbook that tells you how to make rendered butter. After melting butter in a saucepan, skim off the foam that rises to the top. Pour the clear butter into a glass jar and let it cool. I had to research mahleeb. Apparently it is a Middle Eastern spice made from grounding up seeds found in cherry stones. Orange blossom water can be purchased at a specialty market.

As you can tell from the recipe, it makes a lot of cookies. With 5 lb. of flour, it must be for an army.
Here is the recipe. If you try it, let me know how it turns out. Also invite me over for some tea!


Ka'ak

5 lb. flour
4 c. sugar
4 c. milk
1 lb. rendered butter
2 T. ground mahleeb
2 T. ground anise
3 pkg. dry yeast
3/4 c. warm water

Dissolve sugar in warm milk added to warm butter. Mix flour, mahleeb and anise in a large bowl. Dissolve yeast in 3/4 c. warm water. Add to flour mixture. Next, add the milk mixture. Now mix all ingredients together well. Cover and let stand in warm place for a couple of hours until it doubles in size. Pinch off dough into small balls. Let rest 45 min to 1 hour.  Shape dough as desired. Place on cookie sheets. bake at 400 degrees until golden brown. Take out of oven and brush tops with prepared mixture of:

1/2 c. scalded milk
1/2 c. sugar
1 T. orange blossom water

Friday, August 6, 2010

Service, Please!

Riley has a bell. It's officially called the "Tell Bell" because it is how he tells us he wants to go outside. I found it on Amazon.com when we were potty training him. I watched the video that came with the bell and was amazed that the dog actually went to the bell and hit it with his paw when he wanted to go outside.

Since I knew Riley was a smart dog, I was determined to teach him this. I put the bell on a step by the door. Every time I took him outside to go potty, I first lifted his paw and pressed the bell. At first, he didn't like it, but eventually he got used to me pressing the bell with his paw. Several weeks went by, and he didn't make an attempt to ring the bell himself. After six weeks, I was beginning to think he wasn't going to get it.

Then one day, out of the blue, Riley went to the bell and hit it. He didn't hit it with his paw, he hit it with his nose. I jumped up and down, praised him, and took him out to the grass. When he came in, he got a treat. I was thrilled. From that day on, he pressed the bell by himself. Sometimes, he hit it with his paw, and sometimes he hit it with his nose. He always needed to go potty, and he got a treat when he came in.

It didn't take long before Riley got smart. He started to connect the bell with not only going potty, but getting a treat. He would press it when he had just been outside. I am smart too, so I caught on even faster. That wasn't going to work. I would make him wait.

Now he occasionally presses his bell just to get my attention. If I leave a sliced apple or open banana on the counter and then go work on my computer upstairs, he will ring his bell to get me to come down. Rather than go to the door to be let out, he goes to the counter and whines.

If Riley knows there is a chipmunk outside or if Don is out in the yard, he will ring the bell to get out as well. Sometimes I'll let him go out just for fun.

All in all, the Tell Bell has been a blessing. I never have to worry about Riley having an accident in the house. If we don't come the first time he rings his bell, he will keep ringing it until he gets service!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hopeless

As you can see from this photo, I do not have a green thumb. These flowers were planted in May. I watered them faithfully. So why do they look like this? My guess is they don't like a lot of water. Maybe the pot doesn't drain properly. All my other pots look fine.

The green thumb gene did pass by me. It settled right into my sister who was born 3 1/2 years later. She can make anything grow. In fact, she always comes to my house and helps me pick out flowers and helps me plant them. Her parting words are always, "now don't forget to water them. Do I need to send you daily email reminders?"

She does have basis for saying this. Many years of my plant neglect resulted in all my pots looking like this one. She would come for a visit and just shake her head. Sometimes she could revive them, but sometimes it was absolutely hopeless.

I have gotten better about watering and pinching off the dead things. But when the plant starts to look like it is going to give up, I have no sympathy for it. I abandon it and let it die. Then I go to the greenhouse and find a half-price deal to replace it. Before you know it, it's good as new!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Piano

When Katherine was in First Grade, we purchased a Kawai upright piano for our living room. We bought it on speculation that one of the children would show an interest in music. We also needed a nice piece of furniture for that wall.  You hope that your children will want to play an instrument, but you just never know. We struck gold with Katherine. Once she started lessons, there was no stopping her. She has been taking piano lessons going on 16 years. I tease her by saying she should know how to play by now! She loves it so much that she can't imagine not taking lessons and learning more.

Don and I have gotten many hours of listening enjoyment out of her, so it has been worth the investment. For Katherine, it's just a relaxing outlet. Although she is a music minor in college, she doesn't plan a career in it.

The piano tuner was here this morning, adjusting the pitch which has gotten out of tune the past two years. Katherine's been practicing Debussy's Clair de Lune for her fall piano class. Although I can't tell an out of tune piano from a nicely tuned one, she can hear the difference.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cape Cod

Don and I went to Cape Cod this weekend with his mom. Don's brother and his wife (Dan and Lynne) recently purchased a vacation home there. They live in the Boston area, so it is a short drive.

The house is actually in Cotuit, which is one of seven villages in the town of Barnstable on Cape Cod. The backyard is lined by flower gardens and a path leads down to a large spring-fed pond.





During our stay, we enjoyed the most delicious corn on the cob I had ever tasted. Lynne picked it up from a local farm. We went to a Cotuit Kettleers baseball game. It is a collegiate summer baseball league team. The players are either still in college or they have just graduated. Some of them go on to Minor League teams.

We went to the beach for a few hours one day. The water was a little chilly, but the sun was warm.

To the left is a picture of Lynne and their dog, Churchill. He is an 8-year old Golden Retriever. Dan had just shoved off in a rubber raftboat. This is from the dock in their backyard.

We ate at a restaurant called Kettle Ho. After awhile, I was curious about the "kettle" theme that seemed to be tied to the town, and I had to find out what it was all about.




My research revealed the following: The town of Cotuit was purchased from the Wampanoags in 1648 for the price of "one great brass kettle and one broad hoe." I'd say it was a deal!

Our visit was short, so we are planning to go back another time when we can spend a week. It was a lovely spot for a vacation, and Dan and Lynne are so much fun to be around.