What’s Happening?

Last night when I returned home from class, our dead end street was blocked by about 5 pieces of very large heavy machinery.

A hydrant at the end of the street broke on Thursday evening.

A water main had broken. They moved some of the trucks to let us get down the street to the house but shut off the water to make the repair.

Our trees are red (dogwood), yellow (tulip poplar), and orange (sugar maple).

The Cottage is beautifully arrayed in fall colors in mid-November.  The trees have lost about half their leaves.

Roses are always welcome.

We always have fresh flowers at work  and I found a lovely bouquet on my computer station at work on Monday morning. So cheery.

I’m the one with my back toward the camera.

I’m planning to use a choir-themed card for our holiday correspondence.

I’m just crazy for polar bears.

But I’m NOT going to have a polar bear on the lawn even though he’s very cute.

Do you have a favorite tree in its fall colors?


Meringuing Again

Last year I made meringue tarts as the base for Pavlovas to serve at a tea party.

Half cup of eggs whites -- whites of 4 eggs -- previously frozen brought to room temperature.
Half cup of eggs whites — whites of 4 eggs — previously frozen brought to room temperature.

Again I found myself with frozen egg whites.  This time I tried a slightly different technique.

I combined 4 egg whites, 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar, and 1 cup of granulated sugar in the top of a double boiler and whisked it over simmering water until the sugar was totally dissolved.

Egg whites and cream of tartar in the mixer.
The warm egg white mixture is poured into an electric mixer with a whisk attachment.

The egg whites were mixed on high until they formed stiff peaks.

The egg whites go from foamy to glossy as the sugar is incorporated.
The egg whites go from foamy to glossy as air is incorporated.

I filled a pastry bag fitted with a #21 Wilton star tip with the sticky mixture. I piped approximately 2-inch diameter meringue kisses onto parchment paper.

Two trays fit into the oven at the same time.

They dried in a 225 degree oven for 1.5 hours then another half hour in the turned-off oven without opening the door.

This meringue is very tasty.

I had one more pastry-bag-full which I’m storing in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic.

I managed about 20 kisses per tray.

Hoping these last until game night.

Do you have a favorite snack?

Working on Genealogy

From time to time I work on my family tree.

My great-great-grandmother is Sarah Reeside in the 1870 census before she was married.

Recently I found an entry in the 1870 census for Baltimore which contains 3 generations of my family: great-great-grandmother, great-great-great-grandmother, and great-great-great-great-grandfather on my mother’s side.

My great-great-grandmother Rusha Morgan Donnelly born 1864.

Every little step backward helps me find another generation.  In another line on my mother’s side I can also go back to the 1800s.

I have a copy of this hardcover book which notes my ancestor was dismissed from the Quakers for marrying “out-of-meeting”.

My father’s family is detailed in The Parrish family: Including the allied families of Belt, Boyd, Cole and Malone, Clokey, Garrett, Merryman, Parsons, Price, Tipton. 

Have you had your DNA tested?

Adopting Polar Bears

I’ve decided to enhance my Christmas theme by adding more polar bears.  Last year my research led me to report that a group of polar bears is called a celebration.  This year I find that an aurora is the preferred moniker.

I am inspired by the white-painted branches stuck into the Christmas tree.

I am inspired by the tree in the picture above so I did a quick Google search and found stuffed polar bear at AliExpress.com. (Ali Express sells in small quantities what Alibaba sells in bulk units. I had been wanting to give this service a try.)

The little bears traveled together all the way from China.

They came packaged in one bag and were delivered by the U.S. Postal Service.

I celebrated the arrival of the bears.

It takes longer to get the items than buying from something based in the US but the price was reasonable enough that I could buy 10.  The cost was $3.28 each times 10 plus $1.46 shipping so $34.26 for 10 adorable 7.8-inch polar bears.

An aurora of polar bears.

While we’re waiting to decorate for Christmas our bear Casper is keeping an eye on the little ones. I might have to make little scarves for them.

Do you ever get sidetracked by a strange subject?

The Benefit of Carrying Postage Stamps

While we were at the Statue of Liberty we bought some postcards.

We bought a number of the same postcard.

We sprang for the cheapest ones they sell — 35 cents each.

Liberty Island has its own postmark.

I was carrying postcard postage with me which is now 34 cents per card. (At least I thought I was carrying postcard postage — actually I think I put on an “additional ounce” stamp which might explain the delay in delivery.)

The areas bordered with red are in the Liberty Island zip code: 10004.

Anyway when the card was delivered to our house it had been postmarked with the Liberty Island seal and zip code.

I’m glad we took the time to send cards.

Now that’s a souvenir.

In 2003 I received a postcard from the South Pole.

Other places in the world which have very limited postal service (and for which I have postmarked cards) are:

  • Antarctica
  • United Nations (just a building in New York City)
  • Vatican

Have you received a letter from a far off place?

101 in 1001 #4 — First Update

Here is my new list beginning May 10, 2017 (first list ended 11/13/2011, second list 8/11/2014, third list 5/9/2017) until February 5, 2020. Completed items are in blue, black is the color for original post.

  1. Get a dog.

    My favorite breed: long-haired daschund.
  2. Have ancestry confirmed through DNA.
  3. Write a personal mission statement.
  4. Stain the interior wood doors.

    3 sets finished – 2 sets to go.
  5. Hang a door at the entrance to the laundry.

    This solid wood door with 4 lights might fit the opening in the laundry room perfectly.
  6. Take a trip to the UK. Planned for Fall, 2018.
  7. Get rid of 50 books.

    No matter how many books I get rid of I still seem to have more.
  8. Evaluate and upgrade home electronics: CD player, speaker, turntable, tape deck, DVD player, TV.
  9. Make the guest room ready for guests.

    The treetops room needs to have all clutter removed before it is ready for guests including my shoes piled in the corner.
  10. Revisit my will, trust, and POA.
  11. Visit National Wildlife Visitor Center
  12. Visit Cryptographic Museum
  13. Make a stone patio with firepit.
  14. Host a swap meet.

    We’ve had book swaps and soup swaps. Maybe we’ll try something new.
  15. Get rid of 101 items. I am forty items lighter.
  16. Hang photos in upstairs hall
  17. Take dance lessons
  18. Host a Casablanca party/movie night.

    Someday I’m going to have a Casablanca themed party.
  19. Host a dinner party for 8
  20. Organize trip to a Caribbean island Planned for February, 2018.
  21. Work on family recipe book
  22. Visit a waterfall Cunningham Falls, Thurmont MD Complete! 8/1/2017 

    Cunningham Falls in Maryland
  23. See the Southern Cross in person  Planned for February, 2018.
  24. Go to the beach for a long weekend

    The last time we were at the beach (in California).
  25. Host a scavenger hunt.
  26. Make a month’s worth of meals one weekend. Planned for November, 2017
  27. Make a home maintenance calendar.
  28. Set blogging goals.
  29. Work on wardrobe: buy what I need, get rid of what I don’t, make a          list of everything
  30. Sort out things in attic by attaching children’s names, give away, sell, etc.

    The attic is overdue for a major tidying.
  31. Learn to copyright (watermark) photos
  32. Complete legacy file
  33. Make a photo album of Mommie
  34. Paint some canvasses
  35. Chapel in the yard at The Glade

    There must be an appropriate spot for a small chapel in our yard.
  36. Ride on a Vespa
  37. Locate and catalog local thrift stores
  38. Develop a cleaning schedule
  39. Write a novel based on work
  40. Increase net worth by 25% Currently up 6%
  41. Visit Statue of Liberty.  Complete! 10/27/2017 

    How beautiful is Lady Liberty!
  42. Paint landscapes/seascapes on canvas/wood
  43. Take a cruise.
  44. Memorize a poem.
  45. Make a household inventory with photos
  46. Finish laundry room
  47. Give heirlooms to children – hope chest, china, desk/chair, Christmas china, sleds – 1 for each

    3 sleds
  48. Finish painting trim in pink bedroom
  49. Make a master menu for 14 days of meals
  50. Wash all the windows in the house

    We have a lot of windows.
  51. Paint dining room table – finish sanding, prime and paint
  52. Use my God box.
  53. Build bench for mudroom.
  54. Build shelves in master bedroom.

    We must finish the bedroom shelves.
  55. Landscape the front yard

    We’re working on the foundations plantings.
  56. Read 2 biographies
  57. Read 2 classics
  58. Design Etsy boutique packaging
  59. Fund my Revocable Trust
  60. Achieve my personal weight goal
  61. Get rid of 5 big items from the house:  4 down, 1 to go                                 Lawn mower 

    Lawn mower


    High chair


    Yard cart


    Cedar chest, Skittle game, Rocking horse, Chandelier, Easel,  Dollhouse, Saddle/horse gear

  62. Design and print business cards
  63. Celebrate our 10th anniversary. 9/12/2019
  64. Organize papers, bills, and contracts from renovation
  65. Trip to Venice/Serbia/Greece.
  66. Attend 5 concerts — Rheinberger’s Organ Concerto No. 1, SaintSaëns Organ Symphony, Glenmar Dance Music, 50th Anniversary Organ Concert, BSO Gala 2017 Complete! 9/9/2017 
  67. Visit Smith Island (or other Maryland island)
  68. Start a new blog: “Let’s Fake the Music”
  69. Lead a Bible study at home
  70. Plan my funeral
  71. Hang exterior shutters Complete! 9/23/2017 

    The before and after of the shutter installation.
  72. Build a structure for trash cans and recycle bins
  73. Upgrade deck off master bedroom with new surface and railings

    The master deck.
  74. Make curtains for master bedroom
  75. Install all trim
  76. Paint all trim
  77. Finish painting exterior details (oil tank, vents, etc.)

    The tank is painted.
  78. Clean out car
  79. Clean up all paint cans
  80. Clear out the basement
  81. Remove 10 boxes from the attic
  82. Set up a better home office

    Perhaps we can set up the office area in the pink bedroom better.
  83. Refinish sleigh bed Complete! 9/23/2017 

    A recent project was refinishing the bedframe of the sleigh bed.
  84. Build frame for full length mirror

    This mirror needs a frame.
  85. Renovate pink bathroom
  86. Renovate powder room

    Let’s update the bibliotheque.
  87. Paint all interior doors grey

    First floor doors finished; 3 doors on second floor still need painting.
  88. Have 5 parties.
  89. Coffee table for conservatory
  90. Paint secretary

    I think painting will improve this secretary.
  91. Finish living room curtains 
  92. Dye hall rug

    This rug is a little bland.
  93. Fix hall water wall
  94. Paint green vanity

    The dressing table in the master bathroom might not want to be green anymore.
  95. Refinish tall dresser
  96. Finish cushions in dining room
  97. Clear out mud room closet

    The closet has become a storage spot for lots of stuff that doesn’t belong.
  98. Whiten my teeth
  99. Plant sunflowers Complete! 7/14/2017 

    A wall of sunflowers attracts bees and gold finches.
  100. Fast for 24 hours
  101. Private

Four-Pointer in the Garden

A few minutes before 6 last evening Charlie yelled at me to look out the window into the back yard.

Two young deer are at the center of the photo.

A family of three were helping themselves to what was left in Charlie’s garden.

The deer strolled up the path like he owned the place.

When we saw the buck he had antlers with 4 points.  Charlie was mesmerized.

This buck seemed very relaxed.

We watched as he grazed the tomato plants and chickweed.

We were behind the glass but the buck seemed to see us.

For a moment he looked right at us.

If he wasn’t so beautiful Charlie would have chased him away.

Then he planted himself in square one.

Do you have wildlife in your yard?