Thursday, April 26, 2012

Good things

The break-in really bothered me but there are better things to report.

A very enjoyable event was this month's book club meeting. James participates in our church (St Martin's Episcopal) book club.
This was this month's book. Luckily one of our good friends Julie C. is a long-time friend with the author and invited her.

Jackie Richards was a wonderful and interesting speaker. Her book is fairly recent work. I read it too and really liked it. You would never guess that she is 85 years old ... thinking about her next book. She was so inspiring.
Of course we also had to have some refreshments, ha-ha. 

And there were more good things. We thoroughly enjoyed the Richmond Forum on Saturday. We have season tickets. More about it here!

Did you see the line-up for the next season? Wow!

And then the 'Sweet William' which Sarah seeded last year for his birthday finally are blooming!!!

Oh, yes, the church ladies prepared a breakfast on Sunday for all early service and later service people to mix.

It was nice!

And this is what I saw when I left the house to drive to Nashville.

Aaahhh, quality time with William ... and my watchdog Silvi. They just saw Pops arrive to re-claim his son.

My watchdog the next morning. We got along very well.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Unpleasant surprise

I am not sure whether I really should blog about this or not. Most likely though I will press the button to post because ... we listen to the news, hear about things and think: won't happen to me! Here is proof it might.

Wednesday Helen called ... bad news. Somebody had broken into our Nashville place. She doesn't go there very often but for that day at 9 am she had a reason to do so. When she and William arrived she noticed that the door had been broken. She immediately  called us and the police ... and had an exciting time.

The police said the same as us: don't go in and stay a safe distance. When the police arrived they went in with drawn guns but the townhouse was empty.

He/They (crooks) went in at the front and left out of the back. The neighbor thinks he heard something 20 minutes earlier. He thinks they must have tried to go in at the back first but were not successful (stick in the sliding door) so he/they went to the front. Helen's arrival must have stopped the intrusion. Only the downstairs TV was taken.

Part of the fingerprinting! Sweet Helen did some clean-up for us.

Helen and Ben also took care of having the door repaired ... otherwise the townhouse could not have been locked again.

By Thursday afternoon it was even painted again.

THANK YOU, Helen and Ben!

Taking a closer look, Helen found a footprint on the front door today (Friday). That definitely is not from me.

Uuhh, I really have mixed feelings about this. My first thought was "and on Monday I am going there by myself". So I asked Helen whether I can borrow my 'grand-dog' Silvi for the nights. Helen said that Silvi was very excited about being my watch-dog ... for some doggy treats.

Digging in Dirt

The mild winter felt like spring sometimes. And spring means you should be digging in dirt. Could not wait ...

Could not wait for the first mowing of the grass either. It was getting mighty high. Even though we live in a community where we don't need to do anything to the outside I like to ... a little!

There were some bushes which were crowding the roses so I gave them a good trim. Ha-ha, now I could see that I had never finished the stone edging.

So when the time was right I went to it. Found a string to make sure it was going to be straight. I had paid attention when my grandfather (Opa Otto) had worked on things.

Virginia clay is just like Kentucky clay. Not good for growing things in.
I could have made some nice bricks ... but didn't need any, ha-ha.
I couldn't wait to plant something.
 The goal is to have mostly perennials.

I did plant some saucer dahlias. Only 3.
And ... can you believe this? ... some rhubarb. I don't have much hope for the rhubarb but I had to try.

The goal is to have the garden as easy-care as possible. All we want is to enjoy as many blossoms as possible (like the knock-out roses) ... and some basil ... and some other herbs.

I have to say a great big THANK YOU to my dear, dear husband. I know he doesn't really like it that I create more planting areas. But nevertheless he not only tolerates my efforts but also helps without being asked when he sees that I am struggling. Ah, bless him. I love you, James!

I am sure you will see the coming year pictures of nature filling out our garden.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

From Easter to Pentecost

... that's how long I like to keep up my Easter tree. I don't know what Easter eggs really have to do with the most important Christian Holiday, but the decorations are a daily reminder to me.

This is this year's. If you want to see last year's and some close-ups click here!
You also can read there about the wreath in the loft and the disaster (following above post) when I lost a lot of my old Easter eggs. I have already blogged a lot this spring about making new (lacy) ones.

A new addition. If you wonder ... it's  the process of 'inventing' a new pattern.
And another one.

And this is a new egg this year ... this is William's thumb print. William is very cooperative - most of the time, ha-ha.

Same egg ... my thumb print.

Found the pattern for the little rabbits a few days ago on the internet HERE!
I changed the pattern though. After the first ring (of 6 ds) I did 1 ds like a chain.
The next ring I did as a split ring:
12 ds (instead of 9), tiny picot, 4 ds
then with the other thread another 12 ds.
Now you can do the head:
3 ds, big ear picot, 2 ds, another big ear picot, 3 ds.
Pull one thread through the tiny picot of the previous ring, knot and you are done!
Elmer's glue does the rest!

This is the back side of the same egg ... little tatted flowers. Too late I saw the Chinese stamp (the empty egg was a leftover from our time in Singapore). Oh well, another memory.

(the lighting makes the color of the egg look different in this photo)

This week we also still had leftover from the Easter dinner roasted lamb. I tried something new. Don't know whether a recipe like this exists but I just decided to try this. I trimmed all the fat off the lamb and put about 3 or 4 oz for each of us into my Vitamix (food processor would probably work too) and ground it. Since it is so lean it doesn't stick together. So, a dollop of mayo, some freshly ground pepper and some finely diced onion mixed in make a delicious Lamb Pate, great on a toasted 100 calories sandwich round. Salad on the side. I think I like it because this reminded me a little of German Beef Tatar (which is raw meat and not leftover roast) and I didn't have it in a long time.

Today we attended a wedding in our church St. Martin's Episcopal in Henrico. Afterwards I took a few steps into the Memorial Garden. Ah, spring. So pretty. It has a walk way with the Stations of the Cross.
... and benches to rest.

I like this picture. Looks better bigger.

The wedding cake.
Thursday I helped Sarah bring her car to the dealer for service. Then we took the dogs for a walk. For a long walk.

Love Sarah's neighborhood.
Love seeing flowers here and there.

Getting inspirations for my own garden. But that is another blog post.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012



Ha, to think that it is still a bank holiday in Germany (Ostermontag) and my family is still celebrating.

Well, in a sense we were too. We enjoyed our last full day with Helen and William on this trip. Nothing really 'special'. In the morning Grandpa and William went to the post office for us while Helen and I spent time in my queendom.
After his nap (William's, ha-ha) we all went for a nice long walk in the neighborhood. Grandpa is putting the sandals on.

After the walk I drove Helen and William over to Sarah and Wade ... to say good-bye. William is trying on Auntie's shoes. Before that he climbed into the dog bed (behind them).

Tuesday (today) morning ... very early. 

Helen is closing the suit case. Grandpa is helping William with his breakfast.
Such a big boy. But he is asking ... when can he finally have that early cup of English tea like Grandpa and Omi?
On the way to the airport. I sat next to him in the back next to his (rear facing) car seat. We had a lot of fun playing all sorts of games. "Kam ein Mäuschen aus dem Häuschen ..."
Check-in took FOREVER !!! Something the airline person didn't find in Helen's reservation. After a long time ... no problem, here you go.

William and I walked circles around and around. And then they were gone.

We heard they have safely arrived at home.

I would like to officially thank Ben for doing without his wife and son for a whole week and let us have such a wonderful time.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

Saturday ... it was a low-key day. Some last minute shopping. Some last minute preparations. Helen did some baking for us. She had a recipe for "Garbanzo Bean Chocolate Brownie Bites" which sounded very interesting.
NO FLOUR. You start with garbanzo beans (also called chickpeas).

You can start with a can and drain them. But Helen showed me how to brine dried ones.
William and Omi helped. We put the liners into the baking pan.

Process the beans until they are smooth and add the other ingredients (eggs, vanilla, baking powder, sugar, chocolate and butter) and ...
... fill the cups and bake. Helen said her first batch in Nashville had turned out better. James and I tasted them - - no complaints.

The biggest of our projects: playing with William, ha-ha. He took his nap a little earlier then usual and then wanted to have his bath and bedtime a little earlier too. Perfect! He will be ready earlier Sunday morning then.

Easter Sunday. Happy Day. He is risen. He is risen indeed, Alleluia!

After breakfast before going to church there was still time for William to watch a video his Pops had made for him. So sweet.

You can see William watching it HERE!
Before leaving ... William in his Easter outfit. Such a big boy.

Children' sermon during the service. Helen took William forward to the other children. He was big eyed but fine with it.
What he didn't like at the end when the children left that he couldn't go to Grandpa (who was a server today).
 After the service the traditional Easter egg hunt.

He warmed up to the task soon.

I made two short little video clips.

Click here!

And click here!
 Time to go home.
Pictures for Pops.

 All was investigated.

But nothing was put into his mouth.

Easter dinner could not be before 6pm because this was a weekend Sarah had to work. But it was very nice. James roasted the lamb and made roast potatoes. Helen made the dessert she makes every year since she was a child "Rabbits in the Grass". After a heavy meal it is very refreshing (poached pear on lime jello)
My friend Lali and her husband Albert had joined us.

No explanation needed.
Saturday I had found on the internet how to make little tatted rabbits. I decorated an (empty) egg for Lali with it. They are fast to make and really cute.
Happy Easter to all my friends and family.