Welcome reader to my blog - a mixture of this and that. Now that we are living in a retirement community in downtown Columbia, MD my personal gardening activities are somewhat curtailed. I still enjoy visiting gardens, reading, watching wildlife on my walks, traveling, and occasional food commentary. Please leave a comment if you feel inspired to do so. I read every one of them.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Book Recommendation

I finished reading a wonderful memoir this morning and passed the book on to a friend to read.

Becoming by Michelle Obama.



Well written, inspiring, engrossing, an inside look into the Obamas' life before and during the White House Years!

A must read!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Gunston Hall

In December we visited Dan's mother in Springfield, VA and took her to visit Gunston Hall, the home of George Mason.  Years ago my mother-in-law's grandmother lived on property near Gunston Hall and likely it was once part of that plantation.  We did find the site of that home, though the house is long gone.

Do you know who George Mason is?  He's credited with being the Father of the Bill of Rights - the first 10 amendments to our constitution.  At least that's what I remember from 12th grade Civics class.  What I learned from this visit was that even though he was involved with writing the Constitution, he didn't sign it because he felt there was too much power in the federal government, there was no bill of rights, and there was nothing included about ending the slave trade.

His home is on the Potomac River not far from Mount Vernon.


Below are outbuildings to the left side.


The entry Allee of trees.




We were a tour group of three so we had the undivided attention of the guide.

The front entry space in this style had multi-functions. Another front door is there beyond the stairs for guests arriving from the river side.


None of the furnishings were owned by the Masons but are replicas of the time period.   The wall colors are true to how it looked when the Masons lived here.




George Mason - I believe, one of the only paintings of him.






The upstairs was not what I expected.  Usually for this style you may have 4 large rooms.  Since the Masons had quite a few children there were 7 or 8 bedrooms up here. The nicest was for guests. 
The master bedroom was on the first floor and also served as Mrs. Mason's sitting room (sorry no photo).


Note the window overlooking the stairs?  The only window in that room.


Here is a recreation of the kitchen outbuilding.


The riverside view of the house.


Another outbuilding was a schoolroom for the Mason children.





The visitor center is under a major renovation that will be done this spring. For more information about visiting here's the website.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Silver Diner

For lunch today we went to the Silver Diner to celebrate daughter's upcoming birthday.


If you live in the Virginia, Maryland or Cherry Hill, New Jersey you should check out Silver Diner.

The food is wonderful.


Granddaughter "I" had a wonderful time charming the wait staff.


Don't you love her boots?  She just got those in a hand me down package from her older cousins in New Hampshire.

Dan had a half Cobb salad, I had chicken and waffles, Sarah had avocado toast with salmon, and William had pancakes and eggs.  Oh, yes the children's menu featured chicken pot pie for "I" to have with a side of fresh fruit.  She ate all the fruit and some of the pie.  The rest went home for another meal.

We were all pleasantly stuffed!

Laurel & Hardy Movie

Saturday we went to see "Stan & Ollie", a movie about the famous comedy duo of Laurel & Hardy.

The movie has not had wide release but as fans of Laurel & Hardy movies we have been watching for the movie to appear.  Finally it did at a small theatre south of here in Silver Spring, MD called AFI. We have never been here before but luckily the movie was being screened in the original theatre so we felt like we'd gone back in time.

I tried to capture some of the theatre in these photos.





The movie was great.  If you get a chance go see it.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Heron


This is the dam at Wilde Lake across the street from where I live.  We walk there frequently.  On this cold December day the blue heron was perched on one level and three ducks at water level.




Sunday, January 13, 2019

Snow!

It snowed overnight and continues even now as I write this on Sunday morning.

Church is canceled.  Family gathering in Virginia postponed for a month. A visit with youngest granddaughter will have to wait for another time.

This is the first significant snow we have had since moving to Vantage House in the summer of 2016. Thankfully we don't have a long steep driveway to shovel and snow blow. We can sit warm in our apartment and watch the snowflakes fall.  Or take a walk outside and enjoy it.

What fun!

Table on balcony coated.


The lake iced and snow covered.


Roads barely passable.


All covered in white from here on 11th floor.

Postscript:

Went for our walk





Second postscript at 7 pm.
Storm was to end at 4 pm but it strengthened and now will dump more snow until midnight.  Roads that were clear are now snow covered again.  Snowing so heavily we can see it in the dark passing our windows.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

My 2018 Reading List

I read 81 books last year.  This was a nice increase from 2017 when I only read 66.

The list of books is on the sidebar for now.  Soon I'll have to begin my 2019 list which already has three books on it.

Looking over the list all the books were relatively good, though some better than others.  Typically if I don't like a book I quit reading it unless it's for the book club I'm in.  Even then if I can't stand it, I will skim read it and read the end so I can at least participate in the discussion.

So here are a few recommends for you to read in 2019.

Under mysteries:

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

Any of the Charles Todd mysteries featuring Ian Rutledge, of Scotland Yard. These are set after WWI in England.  I've gotten hooked on these and haven't been reading them in order but it hasn't really mattered.

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

Glass Houses by Louise Penny







Under good story telling:

Song of Hartgrove Hall by Natasha Solomons

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

The 2nd Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers

Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles










And I re-read my all time favorite book for the third time last month:

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historic Park


The Wednesday before Christmas Dan and I took a mini vacation to Cambridge, MD.  Before we checked in at the Hyatt we visited this Historic Park dedicated to Harriet Tubman who was born near here.  Lucky for us it was before the government shutdown because this place is likely closed now.


It was a windswept day as you can see from the clouds.  The site is fairly new.  I think I remember it being dedicated by President Obama.

Inside the exhibits are gripping, charting Tubman's life and her incredible dedication to bringing slaves to freedom.
















Dan and I were in Auburn, NY last spring.  Now I wish we had visited her home there which is also a historic museum.  I guess it's a reason to return to Auburn soon.


Looking forward to seeing this $20 bill in another year.


***********
Update on my surgery.  
Pathology report came back benign. Energy level increasing every day and belly pain is lessening but feeling limited in what I can do and for how long.  I have not tried to drive yet, though there is no restriction on that.

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