Monday, December 22, 2008

I have been negligent in my blogging for a while now. Seems that when you miss doing it for a week or so, its even harder to get started again.

I think I have all my shopping done and just a few things left to wrap. AM, her kids, my daughter and myself will be doing our gift exchange tomorrow. Should be a fun day! Then have to work Tuesday and Wednesday before a nice break for Christmas.

I won't bore you all with a long catchup on all the things going on in the last month, but will summarize thusly...

Work, Farm, Taking care of my daughter, Meetings, Commuting, Lovely days spent with AM and family, Shopping, Decorating, Wrapping, Yoga, Working on web sites, sleeping, eating... you get the picture.

Oh.. Thanksgiving went very well... had AM and a portion of her family, my mom and daughter on hand... the food turned out well and the company was wonderful. It was an inauguration of sort for the new kitchen.. at least I know the oven works now. :-)

A couple of photos from the iPhone - The daughter, friend and horse Max, AM, and the actresses from the recent holiday performance.

Still getting the hang of the new toy... but its been a great replacement for my old iPod and Palm Treo.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and New Year (just in case I go another month between posts).

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A few weeks back I mentioned that one home improvement project seems to lead to another... well those continue, still doors to paint, ceilings to touch-up. But I have been wonderfully distracted by my iPhone that AM gave me for my birthday. A new system to set up and customize... well, that led to a purging of my contact list and calendars before I put them on the phone. Do I really need the number for my daughter's elementary school health room any more? She is in high school after all. The dentist we used two dentist's ago.. nah, that can go to. I whittled the list down by a hundred or so numbers. Some I couldn't even recognize! It felt good to start with a more organized slate of people that I may need to get in touch with.

Having somehow stimulated these organizational brain circuits.. I spent several hours the other day clearing out the old stuff in the basement. I have a lot of big plastic bins that are great at hiding away things that should have been thrown out or given away years ago. Boxes of stuffed animals, old toys, unpaired shoes.. out they went, or were sorted into boxes to go to the charities. Still much to do.. but I am making progress.

I am a bit concerned about what's next, my computer desktop and all its files? The garage? Maybe I will just go back to enjoying my iPhone.. probably could use a new playlist for that. I have several in my ITunes that need to be purged and redone. Oh no.. its happening again. Someone please make it stop! :-)

Friday, November 7, 2008

I don't feel any older... a little achy after going to the gym on Monday and Wednesday, but that is pretty much par for the course. The new recycling bin that arrived on my curb on Tuesday should have been a clue. Then AM calling to wish me a happy birthday yesterday morning tipped me off. It was my 47th yesterday. :-)

I had some lovely notes from friends on Facebook. Almost all my meetings at work were canceled (sort of a gift in a way). Then we all met up for dinner in Burtonsville last night. AM, her kids, mom, dad, sister and brother-in-law, my mom and daughter. It was a lovely celebration. I am a very lucky fellow to have such wonderful people in my life. And sometime in the next few days I will go get my new iPhone that AM gave me for my birthday. Then I just have to figure out what to get with my mom's nice monetary gift. Any suggestions? Putting it towards a new sliding door to the deck just doesn't seem right. :-)

Saturday AM and I will join Linna for a Yoga retreat. That should be a relaxing day! Maybe I will get a lot of eye pillows? ;-)

Friday, October 31, 2008

In an surprising turn of events, last weekend we sold our horse, Pilgrim. He is going to a lovely new home in Pennsylvania tomorrow, to be the first horse for a new young lady. I expect he will be pampered and loved as he was by my daughter. For my daughter it is both an exciting time, as she prepares (and starts saving money) for her new horse, and a sad time as she has to say goodbye to her first one. One good thing is her friend in Pennsylvania doesn't live too far away, so they can visit from time to time. Also, she had a wonderful lesson riding a new horse, Max, on Wednesday.. she was jumping and cantering so much more than Pilly was able to do, and she had a big smile and renewed energy and confidence. I enjoyed watching her... these are the times that all the hours spent at the farm are most worthwhile!

Tomorrow we will send him on his way with our love.. and my thanks for taking care of my daughter, not causing her any injuries in those two years, and being a good boy (most of the time) ;-)

Monday, October 20, 2008

AM and I just got back from a lovely retreat for spa pampering in Berkely Springs on Friday and Saturday. I had never done that before, and I can now see how it could become a regular treat. We wandered around this small town in West Virginia, strolling into the stores, dining, seeing a movie in a very old and quaint movie theater there. The show, popcorn and drinks for $8.50! Can't even get one ticket for that back in our neighborhoods.

Update on the kitchen.. it's done! Well.. almost. The refrigerator comes on Wednesday. It's been a long wait on that! The doors are all in, and some of them are even painted. Still work to do there. My daughter and I did a near total clearing out of her room.. which now looks great... but all that stuff (that did not immediately get thrown out) is now added to the clutter in the basement. So, one step at a time.. the house will get looking good one day. Since I am hosting Thanksgiving this year.. I guess I have a deadline. ;-)

Sometime in the middle of all this.. the hot tub sprang a leak.. but that is fixed now. Just in time for the cooler fall and winter nights when its the best!

Will be getting back to checking out and commenting on others blogs... I have just been swamped with work, both regular and some side jobs that have made it hard to do more internet work for fun! :-)

Looking forward to seeing some spooky Halloween costumes in the coming weeks. And more SNL skits on the politics.. they have been very entertaining!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Why is it that one home project leads to another and another? The kitchen is basically done, but my new refrigerator was delivered last Friday with a dent in it.. so I had to send it back and wait for another. In the meantime, I have been replacing old doors with new 6 panel doors throughout the house. Once that is done, I will paint all the doors and white trim in some sort of painting marathon. Have more ceilings to paint too! The new living room set is in and comfortable... but I have not decided the exact layout of the living room yet, so no photos taken. And of course more cleaning to do! Next time :-)

I got to put my home improvement skills and new cordless tool set to use helping AM with some final basement touch ups last weekend. Still a few things to do there also.. but her basement looks great. Why is it her projects seem more fun?

We did a pub crawl/ghost tour in Annapolis last Saturday. It ended up more crawling than ghost stories, but very enjoyable. Made it a little harder to get up for church on Sunday, but we made it in time for AM to do her class and services. Even managed to stick around for a lacrosse game and burgers at 5-guys before heading back to my house.

Daughter is doing great with her classwork so far.. a few minor glitches on some assignements getting turned in, but her grades have been holding up at this point. I think she is enjoying her new school, and planning for the homecoming dance in the next few weekends.

Now if I can get the house projects done, get the economy straightened out, the right people elected, and some major events at work completed, I think I could relax and enjoy mysel! ;-)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Well... it's obviously been hard for me to get a blog post done lately. I have spent my evenings finishing things up, trying to get moved back into my living spaces. The kitchen is 98% done.. refrigerator still to come, some trim painting to finish, etc. I think it has turned out wonderfully. I am really enjoying a nice new room in this old house... has me inspired to work on updating the look elsewhere (and cleaning out the place). While out wandering around with AM and her girls last weekend. we stopped into a furniture clearance store to shop for a new bed for her youngest.. and I ended up walking out having purchased a new living room set. That arrives this weekend! A lot of changes in this space that hasn't changed much in the 7 years I have lived here.

Here are a few photos of the new kitchen. Hope to get back to posting with better regularity in the future... but who knows what project I will start on next. Pllus, I hear Facebook is a fun place to visit.. may have to check that out, see if I can make a friend or two! ;-)

Monday, August 25, 2008

I now have a high school student in the house.  Today was her first day in 9th grade and after her new haircut and new clothes from the past weekend, she seemed ready for it.  We did orientation last week and she ran into an old friend from the horse farm and another from her old soccer team.. so I was happy to see her rekindling old friendships right from the start.  It should be an interesting 4 years.. I am sure you will hear all about it here. :-)

I got a little busy and missed the week 3 installment of the kitchen.. so adding those photos at the bottom.  We just finished weekend 4 of kitchen work.  The cabinets are in, the moldings up, the painting done (minus some touch up work).   Looks like about two more weekends to finish the job.   Then comes the cleaning.. ugh!  I have given up for the most part until we finish getting the floor in next weekend.

Last time I posted, we were about to play golf.  That was a beautiful, low humidity day (unusual for August in Maryland) and I had the good fortune of making one great shot and won a hole contest for $165.  The first (and possibly the last) time I ever make money from playing golf!  We all had our good shots interspersed with the numerous bad ones, but we all enjoyed ourselves.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Weekend 2 of the kitchen project. This time we worked both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday was running all the new electric circuits. My house has aluminum wiring in many places, so we had to pull all new copper runs from the fusebox.. and of course figure out what was wired to what.. seems like the electrician who did my house in the 70's may have been on some medications? Today we took out the other wall and installed the beam for carrying the load on that wall, removed the back door and framed that in, insulated, installed the boards for the new cabinets to be mounted and installed the lighting in the ceiling. Next week we drywall. It is coming along nicely!

Last week my daughter was at GS camp in Pennsylvania. She had a buddy with her and they had a good time... sounds like they want to do it again next year. It was her first time away from home and electronics for that long.. I was proud that she adapted so well! :-)

Saturday night I took her and another friend to the last night of the Howard County Fair. It was an interesting mix of people there... I was taking turns watching the girls riding the rides and watching the people wandering around.. they sure get rid of a lot of goldfish.. seemed like everyone had a plastic bag with a fish in it.

Tomorrow AM, Anne, Dant and I are off to play in another charity golf tournament. Should be a nice day and good company... will see if any of us play that well. At least the beer is free! :-)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Day 1 complete... all the cabinets, appliances, two levels of flooring, drywall and one of the two walls removed. Will see if I can move tomorrow. :-) Tomorrow, the daughter is off to a residential GS camp for the week with one of her riding buddies.. so have been busy packing and finishing paperwork tonight. The kitchen project will resume next weekend.. although I have homework for the week, moving the door bell and thermostat to the wall that will remain after this is all done.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Later today, the kitchen project enters the demolition phase.  Here are the before photos:

From the living room looking towards the kitchen, parts of both of these walls are coming out...

My vintage 1970 linoleum floor.... nice! ;-)

View from the dining room entrance...

From the counter looking towards the living room... these are the walls that are partially coming out...

Lost the sink already.. that happened this evening when the plumber was here to disconnect things...

The view towards the dining room.. this outside door is going away also...
Should be a dusty day... but probably cathartic during the demolition!  :-)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Whew!.. what a busy time it has been getting back up to speed after vacation. The kitchen project kicks off on August 1. Everything has been picked out, just have to pay for it all now! The daughter has put the horse up for sale, which she has been handling herself.. and doing a good job talking with prospective buyers, etc. Still needs help getting to the farm to show the horse.. which my mom has been helping with. She is not stopping riding.. just needs a horse that can do more than this one. He has been a great starter horse.. and we have all learned from him. Hope to find him a good home and plan to visit with him in the future.

Just downloaded some photos from my camera... 4th of July party at AM's. Kids dancing in the rain (of course... it had to rain!) but we still managed a nice firework show in the backyard.

Last weekend, took the daughter and two of her friends to Hershey Park for the day. It was a belated birthday party event. We had fun riding the rides.. it was hot.. and we did not get home until 1 am. But then, that is what parties are all about!

Got to enjoy "Camp Hawyah" with AM several times.. her youngest was dancing and singing in an entertaining production. It was amazing to see these actors on stage, looking so poised and grown up.. then they come out to the lobby at the end and they are young kids! Amazing.

Been running my daughter to horse camp at a farm in Ashton this week and next, then she is off to a GS camp "Cowgirls under the Stars" where the get to actually sleep out with the horses away from the cabins etc. Should be an adventure!

I will be home tearing out cabinets and drywall that week she is gone... going to get some "before" photos of the kitchen and post them soon!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

We are home, safe and sound. It was a long trip back.. when we landed at 8 pm, it was already 1 am to us. Here are some photos of our last day in England. We took a train to Canterbury to hear some of the Canterbury Tales...

Then visited the Cathedral where Thomas Becket was murdered in 1170.

Hopped back on the train and went down to Dover to see the castle.

Then home to a wonderful Dim Sum dinner in London. The next morning we were up, packed and on our way to the airport. We stopped for a break at Paddington station, the same spot we had stopped on the way in..

Now it's laundry, catch up on work, e-mails, blogs, etc. And of course a nice 4th of July weekend ahead! Happy 4th of July to all of you!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Another crazy couple of days... traveling all over, eating, drinking, laughing.. trying not to get hit going across all these street crossings in London.  I have so many photos, it's hard to weed it down to a few.

Thursday, my daughter got to ride around Hyde Park...

The afternoon was spent shopping at Harrod's and Hamley's.  
Friday we hopped a train for Brighton... it was a cool, breezy day...

Saturday we went to Ely, where I went to school as a young lad...  this is the Cathedral there..

Stopped at Cambridge on the way back for a punt ride on the Cam....

This morning we were up to tour the Globe theatre (proper spelling here)...  it's an authentic reproduction, built by hand with wood, pegs and thatched roof.

 A stop through the Tower of London..

Finished with Evensong services at St. Martin-in-the-fields church off Trafalgar Square.

Tomorrow.. off to Canterbury and Dover.  :-)