Charlie and I have traveled about 3 hours from home to Wildwood, New Jersey.

Topping at the ice cream bar.

We’re staying at a hotel on the boardwalk a couple of blocks from the Convention Center where Charlie will be playing for a variety of events.  The first party was an ice cream social.

The beach from our 7th floor multiple-room suite.

In the meantime I am fulfilling #24 of my 101 tasks in 1001 days: Go to the beach for a long weekend.

Can’t wait to show Charlie the “painted ladies” in Cape May.

This afternoon and tomorrow all day we’ll be free to explore so we’re also planning to visit Cape May just 5 minutes down the road.

We saw lots of classic cars on our trip to Cuba in 2018.

Tomorrow is the Spring Boardwalk  Classic Car Show.  It should be fun.

What are you doing for Mother’s Day?

May Day! May Day!

The title sounds like a call for help because I’ve packed the month of May with enough tasks to fill a year.  Thankfully my team — Charlie and Sug — plus my son and his wife are committed to a long, desperate summer’s worth of to-do lists.  The fun will start in May.

More or less in order of what’s about to happen we’ll be doing the following:


Party on Saturday:  The Dedication of the Chapel at the Glade.

We’re hoping for good weather for our chapel dedication.

The program is set, the menu is set, the guest list is set — time for the party.


We will need the guest room — my son’s old bedroom — for weekly visits from him due to his work schedule.  He plans to stay overnight once a week instead of driving back and forth to the Eastern shore of Maryland, 2.5 hours away.

We’ll be welcoming overnight guests very soon.

There are a few more items in the back room that need to be distributed or done away with.  We’re planning to finish up the guest room (#9 on the 101 in 1001).


Charlie and I will be spending long weekend at beach (#24 on the 101 in 1001).  Charlie has to play the piano for some meetings but I am just going along for the ride.

We’ll be staying near Cape May, New Jersey.

We’ll be staying on the Boardwalk in Wildwood, New Jersey, but plan to do a little touring on this long weekend.


Mother’s Day — I’m declaring this as my personal free day.

Mother’s Day would be a good time to invigorate the mantel.

I only plan to do stuff I enjoy.  I’m hoping to also have something special and delicious to eat.


I have spoken with our contractor who is getting ready to add a new surface and railing to our bedroom deck (#73 on the 101 in 1001).

Hoping to finally make some progress on the master deck.

We haven’t used the deck for a couple of years except for building projects due to the lack of railing.


Although Charlie and I are not planning to move to this property we’re going to purchase, we’ll be working on it almost every weekend until it is liveable.

Planning to make some improvements to this 1930s Cape Cod-style cottage including a new roof.

Our son and his wife are excited to live in a rural area that’s only 3 miles from the Nanticoke River.   They will do a little farming and .  .  . who knows what else.  Oystering and crabbing come to mind.


It’s time to have Dash’s rabies innoculation updated.

Dash is a very good dog except when he’s not.

Last year he could only get a year-long shot.  This year he can have a 3-year shot.  We generally get the shot at the county dog shelter.


We’ll be attending a baptism for an adult friend.

We are so delighted to be asked to be present at this important event.


By the time Memorial Day rolls around I think I’ll need a break although I’m guessing we will have some fun at the new property.

Charlie helped fold the American flag at Fort McHenry.

We are so glad to be able to celebrate a patriotic holiday in one of the original states — Maryland.  Sometimes I can’t believe how beautiful it is here, especially in spring.


Finally I need to finish my first reading of The Screwtape Letters so I’ll be ready for our book club in June and July.  We have a good group of committed readers to study this satire about the devil.

The Screwtape Letters’ study is coming in June.

That sounds like a crazy full month of must-dos to me.

What do you like to put on the grill on Memorial Day?

Marching, 2019

In the beginning of this month I was hoping to have a new and improved vigor that spring always seems to bring.  Indeed, now that the weather has warmed up and the days are longer I have more energy and focus to complete old projects and start new ones.


We had a special musical treat to celebrate the birthdays of Charlie and Sug.  We attended a concert of the Maryland State Boychoir  at a local venue.

Maryland State Boychoir

They are inspirational and very well-trained.


This month, I saw The Green Book due to the Academy Award buzz I thought it was entertaining although I would have liked it to have more of Don Shirley’s music.

I enjoyed this movie — Dumbo.

I saw Dumbo today.  It is a charming film. It didn’t get particularly strong reviews but I enjoyed it very much. Danny DeVito is always fun and Colin Farrell is very attractive.


We marked both Charlie’s and Sug’s birthdays with a nice meal at a local Italian bistro. Charlie ordered capellini Alfredo which he enjoyed so much that he wanted to make it at home.

We also made multiple trips to Starbucks for free birthday drinks.

That wish came true last weekend when we discovered there are only 3 ingredients in Alfredo:  cream, butter, Parmesan cheese. We made it (Charlie boiled the pasta and I made the sauce).  Ta-dah!


I finally finished making door curtains in the master bedroom.  I also finished making shades for the windows.



It took an entire weekend but now they’re finished.


Over the past year I have spoken with our carpenter who is supposed to reroof the deck outside the master bedroom and add a railing.

The arrow points to the deck that still needs a railing.

He just needs to be motivated to work on this complicated project.  I’m hoping the mild March weather encourages him to get started. He has not started yet so I’m hoping April will be the month.


I have started in earnest getting all clutter out of the Treetops room. As every surface (including the floor) is cleared I become more and more hopeful that this will just be the beginning of less stuff, more freedom.

Getting there.


I managed to finish one of the two projects I had listed in the beginning of the month:

  • stain closet doors — I need a warm day which I’m hoping will be tomorrow.
  • neaten the pantry — I’ve accomplished a bit of clearing up and clearing out.  I’m hoping to sneak a few more unnecessary items out.  Charlie wants me to remove my mixer.  No thank you.

The peak bloom of the Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC is April 3rd this year.  We’ll be heading down to see them very close to this date.

Peak bloom for the cherry blossoms in DC this year is April 3.

We must take the DC Metro downtown so I made sure we both had SmarTrip cards to use on the subway to expedite the trip.

Will April cheer you up?

Marching Toward Spring, 2019

Ah, the month of March named after Mars, the Roman god of war.  We’re always so busy in March — Charlie with his garden; I with painting and planning; and Sug with everything else.

I have been working on eating through the out-dated items in our pantry.

I’m determined to get some projects finished in March, even the ones I by-passed in January, so I can post some Before-and-After reports.


Charlie and I had tickets to the Baltimore Symphony pops concert last night. The first half was all my favorite American musical overtures:  My Fair Lady, Funny Girl, Gypsy, etc.  In the second act Christina Bianco impersonated all my favorite divas:  Celine, Dolly, Judy, Liza, Barbra — even Reba.  So much fun.

If there’s a piano, Charlie wants to play.

Charlie will be playing the piano/organ at local services including Ash Wednesday, a funeral, Sundays at various churches, and his regular gigs. There will be lots of music all month.


This month, with my new aspiration to see more movies, I’d like to see a couple of films:  Dumbo, The Green Book, and maybe, Five Feet Apart.

How cute is this little elephant?


Both Charlie and Sug celebrate their birthdays one day apart so I need to think of something or someplace to memorialize their special days.

My favorite food is (and always has been) steamed crabs from the Chesapeake Bay.

I’m thinking about the Stony Creek Inn because it’s right on the water and who doesn’t like Maryland seafood.


I need to focus and finish making door curtains in the master bedroom.  I keep putting it off but March is the month.

I know how, now just to DO.

I have to remind myself how nice it will be when they are finished.


Over the past year I have spoken with our carpenter who is supposed to reroof the deck outside the master bedroom and add a railing.

The arrow points to the deck that still needs a railing.

He just needs to be motivated to work on this complicated project.  I’m hoping the mild March weather encourages him to get started.


I have started in earnest getting all clutter out of the Treetops room. As every surface (including the floor) is cleared I become more and more hopeful that this will just be the beginning of less stuff, more freedom.

Getting there.


I need to finish two projects that only I can manage:

  • stain closet doors — I need a warm day.
  • neaten the pantry — I need to use the space in there more intentionally.

At the end of March (or the beginning of April depending upon the weather) we would like to visit Washington DC at the peak bloom of the Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin.

We’ll be riding the Green line.

We must take the DC Metro downtown to make getting around more easily.  Even though we have used public transportation in many European cities, we seldom use it in the States. It’s always an adventure.

What adventure are you planning?

Music in San Juan

Charlie and I are always on the trail of music when we travel.

This restaurant is large inside with two rooms, a stage, and a piano.

We were eager to hear a piano player in San Juan when the maitre’d told us there were only 10 tables and those were only for people ordering a full dinner.  We would be permitted to sit outside and listen.

Triana is near the passenger ship docks in Old San Juan.

We decided instead to cross the street to the Triana Tapas Restaurant where flamenco guitarist Juan Carlos and his dancers were playing.

Triana has a Spanish flair.

When their show was over Charlie asked if someone would be playing the piano.

We were delighted to find the piano in good tune.

The waitress asked me if I would like to play but, of course, I can’t.  Instead Charlie sat down at the Yamaha baby grand and played tunes from The Great American Songbook.

Juan Carlos and Charlie.

Juan Carlos stopped by to listen for a few minutes and  to chat with Charlie.

Charlie played for about half an hour then we strolled uptown.

Someday I might do a post on all the unusual places Charlie has been able to play.

What’s your instrument?

Blue Jean Centerpiece

Charlie was hired to play a weekend gig in Ocean City, Maryland.

The Atlantic Ocean.

We stayed on the 12th floor of a beachfront hotel.

Charlie and Jo in bluegrass garb.

The first night’s theme was “Blue Jeans and Bluegrass”.  Charlie does not play bluegrass music so we attended a banquet of about 300 people dressed all of us dressed in jeans.

The centerpiece is about 12 to 14 inches tall.

The table centerpieces were simple but effective.

How many frappuccini did the decorating committee have to drink?

Inexpensive bandanas were stuffed into emptied frappuccino bottles.

A quick and easy.

Each bottle had a western-style decal and a trio of colorful bandanas.  The centerpieces for 25 to 30 tables was less than $100.

These could easily be color coordinated.

So cute.

What’s your favorite genre of music?

Music in the Master Suite

Three months ago I moved our old, clunky stereo system from the living room to the bedroom.

The speakers are especially heavy and difficult to disguise.
The speakers are especially heavy and difficult to disguise.

Tonight I finally hooked the speakers up to the main unit.

The stereo is set up on the bottom of the bookshelves.

Happily both speakers worked when connected and an Elton John CD was in the deck.

At Charlie’s insistence, the speakers are separated to give a true stereo sound.

We have music in the master.  I love it.

I would love to have a remote control too.

I’m hoping to replace this old but serviceable system with something updated and wireless after I do some research.

Who are you listening to?

List, 2018: October Progress

The question is: Did anything get done in October? I had very specific plans.


Charlie brought down 5 boxes of books, mostly children’s books, from the attic. My goal to donate at least 50 to a rummage sale was not accomplished.

There are some very good books in this pile.

The only thing I did was to salvage my baby book from the pile.  How pathetic!  I must simply box them and deliver them.

I planned to stain the interior doors that have not yet been stained. This just never happened. Again — pathetic!!

I forgot about the door above the the mudroom doors. It will get stained, too.

Finally the door to the entrance of the laundry did not get hung.

The door will block this view.

Consequently I did not make any progress on my 101 in 1001 list.


Entertainment is the area where I did have a lot of success.

Charlie and I have went to see the newest remake of A Star is Born with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga.

Loved Gaga in this film.

I thought the film and the music were very good. Bradley Cooper played his part well and can actually sing also.

Charlie and I saw Les Mis in London.

Sug and I went to going to see a touring company production Les Miserables. This production was not as good as the other two I had seen.  The turntable on the stage had been omitted and I felt it hurt the performance.

Then Charlie and I went headed to the Baltimore Symphony to see hear Tony DeSare playing the piano and singing.

Tony Desare

He was loads of fun and could really, really play the piano. So much fun.


We did host a costume party in October.

Part of the travel-themed mantel.

The invitation suggested guests come in an international costume.

Charlie wore his Chinese shirt made famous on my Chinese Charlie Chest

There were lots of ladies in kimonos.

Exterior Outsourcing

The three of us have joined a choir for Christmas comprised of members from a number of churches in our area.

We’ll sing our hearts out.

We have been rehearsing and listening to our audio files so we’ll be ready for our performance early in December.

Extreme Terminus

Finally the most successful task was Sug’s trip to Guatemala where she painted classrooms and built a swingset.

The construction of the swingset was finished in the rain.

Sug is planning to spend more and more time in Guatemala working to improve the mission school near Antigua.

While we didn’t actually get a lot of projects completed last month we did have loads of fun.  So much fun in fact that I’m making a master calendar so we can plan some more get-togethers.

Do you prefer intimate gatherings or large ones?

Gone But Not Really

We have a “sound system” that is quite archaic but it has a turntable and I have records.

The speakers are especially heavy and difficult to disguise.
The speakers are especially heavy and difficult to disguise.

We have been using it between the living room and the dining room near the piano but the sheer bulk of it always makes the area look messy.

The components rest atop the speakers which foils any stereophonic effects.
The components rest atop the speakers which foils any stereophonic effects.

Since I have been wanting to listen to some records ever since we returned from England (my double set of Les Miserables which we saw in London) I decided to bring the old albatross to the master bedroom bookshelves.  I’ll hook it up when I want a little aggravation.

Much neater.

In the meantime the area near the piano looks much better.

Do you have a modern wireless system?

Fall is Filling Up

Life goes along lazily in summer and then autumn comes.

When the leaves turn in autumn the yard is ablaze with color.

Everything starts to happen and our schedules fill up really fast.

We’ll sing our hearts out.

Sug, Charlie, and I have joined a choir which is planning to put on an extravaganza program on December 8th.

Charlie’s building fires to keep the walkers warm.

And Sug and Charlie usually take part in a 3-day Christmas pageant at the beginning of December. Sug helps set up and Charlie tends multiple outdoor fires. I’m merely a spectator at this event.

Charlie has been playing the organ and piano at churches for close to forty years.

Charlie has also taken on playing worship services at 2 new churches. Good luck keeping this schedule straight.

I need an original party theme.

December is going to be hectic but I’m hoping to plan a great holiday season with lots of guests and friends.

The dedication will take place behind the greenhouse.

We’ll get in the mood early in October with the Dedication of the Chapel at the Glade. I’ll have to begin working on an invitation soon.

Is it too early to think about winter holidays?