April D-tails Done

When April began I had plans which included celebrating birthdays, going to the opera, and celebrating Easter — dates which could not be changed. We succeeded in accomplishing most of the things we set out to do and at least put a dent in the others.

Dedication

My son celebrated his birthday in April.

Our son has helped us with a few projects and is now getting ready to start a major project of his own in conjunction with the team at The Glade.

Not only was he born in April but his actual birth-day was on a Palm Sunday so I always think of Palm Sunday as a day to also remember his special day.

Distraction

I helped to plan a retirement party for the matron of honor at my wedding.  Her boss left the details to me.

The central hall of the house where I work was transformed into a dining area.

The party was well-attended and everyone enjoyed their party favors of tiny Turkish coffee cups.

Diversion

Porgy and Bess at the Baltimore Symphony was fantastic.

Porgy and Bess was a wonderful evening of music and drama.

Naturally the music is great and the story is poignant, but we were also treated to magnificent singers and actors.

Doing

I had high hopes at the beginning of April to finally get back to working on the laundry room.

On the left laundry with new door open, on the right door closed.

Three items that needed doing in the laundry room were:

  • doors for the closet–still  undone,

    The closet on the right needs doors.
  • door for the entrance–installed,

    The door still needs trim.
  • baseboard and chair rail trim–still undone.

    Profile of the laundry chair rail which needs to continue around the room.
Devotion

We had a full and blessed Easter week.

Charlie started to play the organ for Sunday Mass at a small convent.

We have been enjoying attending services of different denominations where Charlie has been asked to play their services.  It’s interesting to experience the similarities and differences of various places of worship.

Dance

Charlie and I have finished five weeks of Argentine tango lessons. We have learned to walk tango-style — I walk backwards — in both parallel and cross pattern.

Our dance floor before our first lesson.

I can perform ochos and a thing called the “code”. One last class and we’ll try to decide if we should continue.  Tango has been a weekly challenge in concentration and performance which I can highly recommend.

All in all April was a busy and productive month.  We made some decisions for new projects which will be revealed in May.

Would you like to learn to do something new?

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April D-tails

April first is Monday so I wanted to start making plans lest  the month get away from me.  I try to set goals every month which allows me to make progress on the myriad projects and repairs we face.

Dedication
Portrait of my son as a yong child — he’s a man now.

I dedicate April to my loving son who celebrates his birthday early in the month.

Distraction

I’m helping to plan a retirement party for the matron of honor at my wedding.  Charlie and I will be providing the musical entertainment. We along with Sug will be visiting her in Serbia this coming fall.

The front of the tag for tiny Turkish coffee cups.

Her employer is providing party favors of tiny, colorful Turkish (Serbian) coffee cups and saucers. I am making tags for each one tied on with a ribbon extolling her extravagant hospitality and grace.

Diversion

We have tickets to see (hear?) Porgy and Bess at the Baltimore symphony.  We have done this same thing years ago at which time Charlie was alarmed to find out it is an actual opera. Since the music was written by George Gershwin he was expecting something in a more jazz style.

A great American opera.

When the soprano let out with Summertime in a coloratura range I thought he was going to head out to the lobby. Fortunately, our children were with us and they loved it.

Doing

I have high hopes for my April “To-do List”.  I want to focus on the laundry room which was NOT part of our 2013-2014 renovation but on which I have been working for the past decade.

I’d like to make the laundry room a priority that is completed by the end of 2019.

Three items that immediately pop into my mind when considering the laundry room are:

  • doors for the closet,

    The closet on the right needs doors.
  • door for the entrance,

    This solid wood door with 4 lights should fit in the laundry room doorway.
  • baseboard and chair rail trim.

    Profile of the laundry chair rail which needs to continue around the room.
Devotion

Charlie will be playing the piano and organ for a variety of services and has enlisted Sug and me to sing with the choir.

A project from a few years ago.

Easter week:

  • Palm Sunday
  • Maundy Thursday

    This small Irish bowl and pitcher are reminders of the humble service
    of Christ.
  • Good Friday
  • Easter

    One year we made cabbage dyed eggs. Maybe this year we’ll try paprika.
Dance

Charlie and I started six weeks’ worth of tango lessons last Wednesday.

My Capezio dancing shoes have been repaired and are just perfect for tangoing.

He’s doing great and my foot hurts from injuring it while we were in England last September. But I’m a trooper and will “keep calm and tango on”.

What is your Aprilization plan?

101 in 1001 #12

I’m trying to whittle down my 101 tasks in 1001 days list.

The way to the museum is well-marked through the parking lot of the NSA.

So I took some time last afternoon to visit the National Cryptologic Museum (#12 on my 101 in 1001) on the Campus of the National Security Agency (NSA).

Floor plan of the museum.

I knew it was located approximately at the crossroads of Routes 32 and 295 near Fort Meade, Maryland.

A replica of the Rosetta Stone from ancient Egypt.

After passing by the front desk one finds a lifesize replica of the Rosetta Stone one of the first code breaking machines in the history. (We saw and were amazed by the true original in the British Museum in London.)

Enima machines have come out of hiding since time has passed from WWII.

The museum exhibits explain coding and code-breaking of all types.

An “Enigma” tag marks the coding machine, this one in German.

There are a number of Enigma machines.

All sides in war use codes to pass messages. The real trick is to decode the enemies messages.

Visitors (including children) to the museum are able to manipulate the machine themselves.

Code Talkers have a very special and uniquely American skill.

My primary interest in visiting the museum was to learn more about the Native American Code Talkers, American soldiers from various tribes who used their native languages to pass radio messages during World Wars I and II.

Military term on the left, transliteration of the Navajo word in the middle, Navajo meaning in English on the right.

Not every word that was used in military talk was actually a word in the tribal languages so necessary terms were equated to known words like using  “chicken hawk” to mean “dive bomber”.

All ages are welcome in the museum.

I just spent a short time in the museum but could easily visit again when I  have more time to do more reading and manipulation of the exhibits. And the museum store has items marked with “NSA”.

Do you have an unusual local museum?

A Little Astronomy Lesson

Charlie, Sug, and I visited a local church tonight to talk about and think about stars.

I could hear the piano but I couldn’t see it.

First on the program was Charlie playing piano songs with stars and moon themes: Star Dust, Catch a Falling Star, Moon River, Blue Moon, etc.

The presentation showed us a lot of beautiful astronomy photos.

Then the astronomy portion of the program started.

This is actually a photo taken from space of the night light in the US.

We learned about light pollution and how it could easily be corrected by simply turning off lights. I was aware of this concept when I ordered the exterior house lights.

Jupiter and its 4 moons looked something like this through the telescope.

Then we all went outside and looked through 2 different telescopes that the presenter brought with him. First we viewed the moon.  Then he focused the stronger telescope on Jupiter.  We could see not only the planet but also its 4 moons.  Very exciting.

Do you have a favorite star?

Pandora Sphinx

Charlie and I were walking out of the fitness center and he spied something strange on the brick wall.

Camouflage pattern

It looked like a stealth jet that had been painted in woodland camouflage.

Maybe I’ve never seen one because it’s so well-camouflaged in its habitat.

Actually it was Eumorpha pandorus , a Pandora Sphinx moth. We’d never seen anything like it before.

This moth was spotted in Maryland.

Its wingspread was between 3 and 4 inches. It had been clinging to the wall for hours according to the receptionist at the gym.

Do you know the difference between a moth and a butterfly?

Dull Weekend Planned

Two weeks ago Charlie had knee surgery with complications so he’s been limping around.  I was taken down with a headache producing sinus condition.  We’ll both be fine but for now are sluggishly trying to snap back into action.

Charlie plays funerals, church services, and weddings in addition to secular gigs.

Our plans for the weekend are not very exciting.  Saturday morning we’re heading to a funeral where Charlie is the musician.

Maybe I can get the wallpaper removed.

I’m hoping to get just one task finished of the many we have in the works.  Perhaps I can remove the wallpaper in the pink bathroom. Or continue to remove the tiles in there.  The ceiling needs to be wiped down and painted. I also want to buy tile adhesive and measure the room up for new wallpaper. Any one of these items would be happily checked off the list.

Charlie also plays the organ.

In the late afternoon we have a casual church service at which Charlie is also the musician.

Our attic vents are screened to keep bats and other creatures outside.

Then I have signed us up at the National Wildlife Center (#11 on my 101 in 1001) for a night hike to observe bats.  I’m hoping Charlie will be in shape for a hike but his leg might be too tired due to 2+ hours of piano playing. He stomps his foot a lot and feels it adds to the general distress he feels in his leg.

The new gable will greet The Cottage tenant.

Finally we’re picking up my friend who lives in The Cottage from her week away in the tropics on a mission trip.

I need to pull down this wallpaper.

That’s a full day which doesn’t promise to be too productive.

What’s your feeling about bats?

Party with a Purpose: Cutting Shoes

Charlie, my friend from the Cottage, and I hosted a party with a goal to cut out 25 pairs of denim shoes and donate them and other supplies to “Sole Hope“, which removes parasitic jiggers from children’s feet and provides shoes and paid work for adults in Uganda.

The shoes are appropriate for boys or girls. We'll be making size "Toddler 10" shoes.
The shoes are appropriate for boys or girls. We’ll be making size “Toddler 10” shoes.

I ordered a kit from “Sole Hope” which includes a DVD about cutting the shoes, an instruction booklet, a paper pattern for one size of shoe, book marks, and a few other items.

I cut out multiple copies of patterns in plastic and cardboard to make tracing them easier.
I cut out multiple copies of patterns in plastic and cardboard to make tracing them easier.

I made stiff templates for the paper pattern pieces in advance.  My friend and I also cut out a few pairs of shoes before the party to see how the process would go so we could be helpful to people attending the party. My friend cut stiff plastic heel pieces from old milk jugs to save cutting time and confusion at the party.

The invitation has information front, back, and inside of ways to support the project.
The invitation has information front, back, and inside of ways to support the project.

Everyone was sent an invitation which listed ways to get involved with Sole Hope so in addition to shoe cutters some folks who could not attend sent other supplies on the list and donated money. This is a good party invitation to send to ALL your friends — different people help in different ways.

I set up extra tables for tracing and cutting the shoes.
I set up extra tables for tracing and cutting the shoes.

As the party got underway we watched the instructional video then people started tracing pattern pieces on the jeans they brought.

Good scissors are essential when cutting heavy denim.
Good scissors are essential when cutting heavy denim.

When the tracing and cutting started the house became very quiet. Ultimately though there was a lot of chit chat and some sing-alongs while Charlie played the piano. The hosts helped answer questions and made sure each pair of shoes was top quality.

It was a treat to have a snack and stand and stretch for a few minutes in the kitchen.
It was a treat to have a snack and stand and stretch for a few minutes in the kitchen.

Charlie served beverages and, after cutting a pair of shoes, the cobblers were invited to have something to eat.

Diligent workers not only cut the shoes but prayed they would meet the needs of the children receiving them.
Diligent workers not only cut the shoes but prayed they would meet the needs of the children receiving them.

Then we sent them right back to work.

Ten pairs of shoes per gallon bag -- we filled 4 bags, 40 pairs of shoes!
Ten pairs of shoes per gallon bag — we filled 4 bags, 40 pairs of shoes!

Our goal was 25 pairs and our actual production was 40 pairs.

The wooden toys made from wood scraps were party favors for each guest to select.
The wooden toys made from wood scraps were party favors for each guest to select.

Added bonus: one of the party goers plans to have another party in the spring with an entirely different constituency. Woo hoo!

What project are you excited to get going with?