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?

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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?

Having a Special Party

In one month from today Charlie, my friend from the Cottage, and I will be hosting a party.

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.

Unlike anything I’ve ever done before we will have a purpose to our get-together other than social interaction. We’re planning a “Sole Hope” party.

Bin o' Jeans
Bin o’ Jeans

I’ll be using my old pile of saved jeans to cut out tops for shoes that will then be assembled and distributed in Uganda.

The object of "Sole Hope" is to protect these feet from disease and infestation.
The object of “Sole Hope” is to protect these feet from disease and infestation.

Our goal is 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 provide shoes and paid work for adults in Uganda.

The invitation has information front, back, and inside to give encouragement to attendance.
The invitation has information front, back, and inside to give encouragement to attendance.

I have designed an explanatory invitation which I am giving to friends who will come on a Saturday afternoon to turn The Glade into a shoe-cutting factory.

Do you have any “soleful” snack inspirations?

A Busy Week

This week started off busy and is slated to continue that way.

Tennis Racquets -- all for one price.
Tennis Racquets — all for one price.

Yesterday I sold our old tennis racquets for $15 after listing them on Craigslist. It was a bargain and the buyer arrived in a Lincoln. I gave her a 2-hour window and of course she arrived at the end of the window.

The conservatory is usually set up with two love seats facing each other.
The conservatory is usually set up with two love seats facing each other.

Tuesday night we start our summer book club.

The love seats are now at right angles to each other. We'll fill in the facing spaces with chairs.
The love seats are now at right angles to each other. We’ll fill in the facing spaces with chairs.

I’ve rearranged the furniture in the conservatory so 10 of us can fit in this room to discuss To Kill a Mocking Bird.

Charlie keeps his booking files scattered around the conservatory.
Charlie keeps his booking files scattered around the conservatory.

I told Charlie he has to clear out his stuff from the conservatory floor.

The window on the far right is a good spot for an air conditioner -- unseen from the street and behind the bathroom door when opened.
The window on the far right is a good spot for an air conditioner — unseen from the street and behind the bathroom door when opened.

I also asked him “very nicely” to put an air conditioner in the window in the corner.  Generally the house stays at a comfortable temperature but we’re expecting hot and humid days and some of my guests suffer from over heating.

The conservatory is rearranged to make the television a focal point.
The conservatory is rearranged to make the television a focal point.

Then on Friday we’re hosting a screening of Young @ Heart for my choir.  This is also happening in the conservatory.

The marble coffee table has been stored under the dining room table before.
The marble coffee table has been stored under the dining room table before.

I invited 19 people but am realistically expecting 10 to 12.  We’ll move the coffee table out of the room (under the dining room table) and set up chairs facing the television.

Do you like to entertain?

Scammer? or Not?

Yesterday when I got home from work Charlie told me about an attractive young lady who was walking around our neighborhood soliciting business for a pest control company.

Looking up our street you can only see our house.
Looking up our street you can only see our house.

This immediately sounded suspicious to me for a number of reasons:

  • the houses are far apart in our neighborhood,
  • the properties are surrounded by woods,
  • I had never heard of pest control companies soliciting by door-to-door sales,
  • she didn’t have a business card.
  • she said worked for a local company but gave a Utah phone number.

I emailed these details to others in our neighborhood association and found that the girl (yes, I know her name) had stopped at other houses and was chatty even after being told her services were not necessary.

The living room looking toward the dining room and the kitchen beyond. All rooms are visible from each other.
The living room looking toward the dining room and the kitchen beyond. All rooms are visible from each other.

Our house is set up such that the entire first floor is visible from everywhere else in the house. So the notion of letting someone in the front door then going into the kitchen and another person letting himself in unseen is not possible.

Charles Ponzi looked respectable even though an illegal "scheme" is named for him.
Charles Ponzi looked respectable even though an illegal “scheme” is named for him.

Not all scammers are rough looking, dirty, missing teeth, speak poor English — the ones that hit the big time are often just the opposite.

While we do have an ant problem we'll probably call a friend who has a pest control company.
While we do have an ant problem we’ll probably call a friend who has a pest control company.

Since I have no intention of using a cold solicitation for any service in or around my home I did no more research.  A neighbor, however, did his own research and made some phone calls which led him to believe this was a legitimate encounter. This time.

Are you cautious?

Road Trip to Western Pennsylvania

We left the house early Friday morning heading to western Pennsylvania to see our son in his college comedy cabaret.

We head from Baltimore to western Pennsylvania in the Blue Note.
We headed from Baltimore to western Pennsylvania in the Blue Note.

Before we even hit the highway we stopped to get an oil change.

Before hitting the road we stopped for an oil change and a quick diagnostic.
Before hitting the road we stopped for an oil change and a quick diagnostic.

Since two of my sensor lights were on we also had the car scanned to find out it was nothing serious so on we drove.

Naturally we stopped at Starbucks. The sandwich shop next store served us lunch.
Naturally we stopped at Starbucks. The sandwich shop next store served us lunch.

In the town of Breezewood, Pennsylvania, while switching from the Interstate Highway to the Pennsylvania Turnpike, we stopped for coffee and lunch.

The signs at Breezewood.
The signs at Breezewood.
On the road through the mountains.
On the road through the mountains.

We stayed on the toll road for 101 miles ($17.25 in tolls).

We're staying in a farmhouse built in 1863.
We’re staying in a farmhouse built in 1863.

Our accommodations were at an AirBnB Bed and Breakfast which I’ll review soon.

The director watches the acts intently.
The director watches the acts intently.

Then after dinner at a local diner we headed to the university for an evening of songs — especially numbers from modern musicals.

Dad and assistant director.
Dad and assistant director.

Some of the cast was extremely talented and everyone — cast and audience — had fun.

Signs at the Bed and Breakfast.
Signs at the Bed and Breakfast.

Then back to our B and B for the evening.

Hotel? B and B? Camping?