Archive | May, 2012


29 May

Every year, our parish celebrates Pentecost by doing the entire service in various languages. The Prayer Book is typed out in one column, and the “foreign” language is written next to it, so you can follow the service.  Dr. J does preach in English (British!) and the Prayer of Consecration is in English, but the rest of the service is something else, really something else, indeed. We only have seventy-two families, but we manage to pull together an impressive roster of languages. Yesterday, we had Swahili, Hindi, Japanese, French, Latin, Chinese, Zulu, Spanish, and some silly old lady who sang in Cherokee.

OK, so Just As I Am is not particularly “Pentecostal”  but my repertoire is limited.  I’ve been told my accent is not bad for a unega, but I don’t think I would fool anybody.  At the end of the service, we have a sheet with the Lord’s Prayer written in Russian, German, Greek, and a couple of other languages we missed during the service. I heard a voice behind me doing the German (as was I) so I think we have another poor soul who is going to get nabbed for next year.

And every single person was “home-grown”. We’d welcome visitors to join us, but that has only happened once. A friend from  DBE did a reading in Welsh. It’s a wonder the spell-checker doesn’t have a nervous break down.

It isn’t often you get Episcopalians speaking in tongues, so the entire service was filmed.  And yes, my Cherokee in-laws do call me Pale Face. Why do you ask?

Ladew Gardens

24 May

If you ever get to the Baltimore Area, one of the places on your to-do list should be LaDew Gardens. Harvey LaDew purchased 200 acres in Harford County and turned a decrepit farmhouse and “two lilac bushes” into an absolute show case. Although he had many wildly varied friends, he never married, and to me the place seems oddly sad. There were never any children to race and chase across the broad lawns. Before his death, he arranged for the estate to become a public area, and it is on the National Historic register.

A few weeks ago three of us from church went up for the day, early enough to catch the azaleas in bloom.  We were a “mixed bag”. Although I was raised in the country (when I wasn’t in boarding school) both Nancy and Dot are city kids. I hardly know a dandelion from a  tulip, but both of them are scared to death of the nitty-gritty of nature.   We stopped for lunch beside a koi pond, and it was obvious the fish expected a share of our meal.  I tore up bits of bread and tossed them into the water – some far out for the little fish and larger bits in closer for the larger, more aggressive ones. I reached into the water and ran my fingers along the backs of the fish, and Dot had a stroke. “You’re touching them?”

“I was just scratching behind their ears.” I think she believed me.

Later, we went on a nature walk around a large lake. There was one section where it was suggested we keep an eye out for native snakes. Both Dot and Nancy had mini-hyseterics about the mere idea of meeting a snake, so I suggested they stomp their feet. “The vibrations will keep them away.” And so, off we went, with the two of them pounding along, making as much noise an entire battalion of Storm Troopers, and me bringing up the rear, barely able to stand for laughing.

They may have became suspicious.

We did find this snake sunning himself on top of a bluebird nest. Apparently, snake baffles are every bit as effective as squirrel baffles.   I think the snake probably dropped out of a tree, but who knows – they are sneaky creatures. And not afraid of foot stomping!

A Good Week’s Work

20 May

Well, Savannah’s dollhouse is not exactly complete, but since a) I don’t need it until Christmas, and b) I accomplished this in a week (and was out two days), we’re not doing too badly.

I did miss one piece of trim under the small front window, the front door needs door knobs (which my grandson always called door slams, for some reason), and a few more piece of furniture would be nice, but all-in-all, not too shabby for a week’s work.

A.C. Moore is phasing out all of their dollhouse “stuff”, but they still had bags of shingles. Unfortunately, they were $40 a pop, and me without a coupon! It’s not so far away (5 miles) that I can go back with a 40% or 50% coupon and not feel wasteful. The roof will be painted red – just about the same colour as the flowers. There is a small piece of porch roof to go over the door, but that can also wait until the shingle situation is resolved.

I may stick some hedges around the edge of the house “chust fer show”, as my Amish friends say, but we shall see. Lamps, kitchen cabinets…I have to remember this is for a child and not go obsessing over things that can only be seen by a midget lying on his back with a dental mirror! And, no,  I do not exaggerate.

Another Day, Another Dollhouse

16 May

Mother’s Day was warm and sunny, and since I am completely at an impasse with the Bombay house, I decided to start on the little house I planned for a child at church.

I spread newspapers all over the picnic table, laid out all of the pieces face down and slapped on a coat of flat white paint. This serves two purposes. It gives me a primed surface for the wall paper, and prevents me from putting a piece on wrong way round. (Who? Me?)  While I was waiting for the paint to dry, I found a circle of thick plywood left over from who-knows-what project, sanded the edges smooth, and covered it with a piece of green fabric. I dug an old Lazy Susan from my stash, and the Squire drilled a few holes to fasten the two pieces together.

Monday was cool and rainy, so I moved operations indoors, and got the exterior pieces painted a soft grey, the trim white, and the shutters and door a sort of butterscotch color. The roof will be red. I’m not sure I like the color on the shutters but it’s too late now.

This morning was taken up with a visit to the dentist and the Red Cross, but in the afternoon we got the house fastened to the turntable, and I printed off some wallpaper for the living room. I haven’t decided which room that will be, as the door opens into the smaller room, which has the stairs going up, and the larger room has the picture window.  It the interest of saving space – and my sanity – I may omit the stairs entirely. If anybody asks, they are along the open wall and you can’t see them.

I’ve put pictures of the house on my Webshots site under “Savannah’s House” if you wish to follow the minutia of building a simple doll house. Savannah will be four in November, so I am not putting the effort or expense into this house that I am the Bombay. It’s really fun to be able to just do things, instead of obsessing over every little detail!

Is this Thing Jinxed?

13 May

For as simple a doll house as the Bombay is, I’ve run into a number of glitches – minor, but annoying. First, of course, was the way in which I fell heir to the house. Next, I ordered what I thought was five strips of moulding, and it turned out to be five packages of three pieces each. (Learn to read, dummy!) Then, what I thought was a bundle of baseboard, turned out to be just plain strip wood, so I had to wait again to receive that through the mail.  When I ordered the baseboard, I also ordered a small dining room set, which included a nice  corner cupboard.

When I build a house, I always try to include a cupboard – generally under the stairs – or a large drawer in the base to hold odd bits and pieces. I found a narrow door for the closet, painted it, all that good stuff, and then made a mock-up of the wall where it would go from a piece of tablet back, but you can see the door fits perfectly.

Exactly where the dining room corner cupboard belongs.

Maybe I can get a hutch instead and put it at the foot of the stairs to hide the fact that the wallpaper  isn’t exactly the same color.

It’s always something.

The Dearly Departed

10 May

Once a month or so, a group of us who used to be involved with Christ Church get together for lunch and to reminisce about “the good old days”.  Sometimes we meet for a pot luck at a member’s home, or brown bag at a park, and other times we go to a restaurant. Today we met at an ice cream parlor/lunch room in rural Harford County called Broom’s Bloom.  They have quiche, sandwiches, soups, and the world’s best ice cream.

I had a combo called The Dairymaid’s Delight – a cup of roasted red pepper bisque so thick it actually mounded over the cup, fresh cheddar and strawberries, a slab of cornbread, and what is called on the menu “a very small ice cream”. Two scoops of caramel cashew.  And, of course, a cup of coffee worthy of my dad – a mug which probably held three regular cups.

Most of the folks there knew my dad (including the waitress), and at least knew my mom either in passing or by reputation.  We talked about my dad’s funeral – he was late for it – and the fact that my mom ended up getting buried in the wrong plot.

Now, this was her own bloody fault, although I honestly think my father had a hand in it.  She had refused to have a marker put on his grave (“God knows where to find him”) and even though the marker was free because he was a veteran, and I knew there was no chance she’d ever visit his grave site,  I never did put one in.  When my mother died, it had been raining for a solid week, and although it was sunny the day of her funeral, when we arrived at the church we discovered it had been too wet for the grave-digger to get into the cemetery, so we had to come back the next day to actually plant the woman.

While we were milling around in the grave yard, it struck me that the flag marking the plot was not in the right place. The church office was closed, so I couldn’t check, but I did call first thing the next morning.  I told the secretary I was pretty sure my dad was buried next to the Trafton family, but would she please double-check.  Well, it turned out he is buried on the left end of the Traftons, and my mom’s flag had been placed on the right end. Jan dashed up the hill to move the flag, but she called me back to say that by the time she got there, the hole had already been dug! I still don’t know how to handle this, but the gang today – after rolling off their chairs with laughter – suggested I just wait until there’s another Trafton burial and move my mom then.

And it gives my father a few more years of peace and quiet.


8 May

I got all of the paper hung in the Bombay living room, and discovered that the bundle of strip wood I had in the back room was just that – strip wood, not baseboard, as I had assumed. (You know what that means!)  Went online and ordered a dozen pieces of baseboard, a walnut chair for the bedroom, and – I thought – two walnut night stands.

After I was all done, after I had carefully reviewed the order several times, and hit the “Pay” button, I discovered I’d only ordered one night stand, not two. Grrr.  I think the other one jumped out of the way at the last minute.

I hate when that happens.

When I was on a straightening binge in what is laughingly called my workshop I found two ancient slot and tab kits. They were so old they were marked $7.49! One had been opened, so I kept it, but put the other on Freecycle. Since I am currently at a standstill on the Bombay house, I’m going to paint the inside of this one and begin to put it together. I can use odd bits and pieces to furnish it (I found some Little Tykes furniture in a bag) and scrap booking paper on the walls.  I’ll donate it to some little girl – I have one in mind – as a Christmas gift.