Monday, May 26, 2008

Garden Progress -- Memorial Day Weekend

The patio garden is making good progress. I can't say the same for our indoor garden starts, but that's another story. As you may recall, I planted a multitude of tomato pots that we started from seed. I'm pleased to report that almost all of them have done really well. Two pots, however, didn't make it. So, they've been replanted with tomato starts from our local mega store. Tomato cages have been added to most of the pots (I'm two cages short), so all we need now is some patience and good sunshine. Here are a few photos for you to enjoy.
Tomatoes and lavender in the condo garden.

Fuschia basket in the condo garden.

Tomatoes and lavender in the condo garden.

We've been enjoying the blooming flowers, as has one of our local hummingbirds. Since we installed the tomato cages this weekend, the hummingbird has been using them as a perch to rest while assessing which flower it is going to enjoy next. Sometimes, it will even eat from the comforts of the tomato cage. It's been really cool to watch the hummingbird, to say the least. I managed to get a few photos of the hummingbird in action this evening:
Hummingbirds in the condo garden.

Hummingbirds in the condo garden.

Hummingbirds in the condo garden.

Oh, and do you know how hard it is to take photos of a hummingbird with a point-and-shoot camera? Nearly impossible! :-) Either way, I'm happy that this hummingbird has been visiting our patio over the past few days.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Economic Stimulation Vacuum

Today, Lennie and I concentrated on treating ourselves, as well as running errends and clearing the clutter out of our house. I had purchased some vacuum storage bags, which worked well (despite a few false starts), and saved us a multitude of space. I cleaned out my closet and dresser drawers, purging my wardrobe of two garbage bags worth of Goodwill donations. Go team.

In keeping our house clean and/or livable, we have struggled with vacuuming. For the most part, we say "yeah, let's vacuum today," but we never get around to it. So, we decided to participate in some economic stimulation, and broke down and purchased the iRobot Roomba.

This machine is quite possibly one of the best frivolous purchases that I have ever made in my life! The Roomba careened it's way through our condo after being charged up, sucking up dirt and retracing it's path again and again to be sure that everything was clean. Not only is it practical (hello, who likes doing housework?!), but it's really entertaining to watch. Oh, Roomba, where have you been all of my life?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Home Again, Home Again (Jiggety Jig Jig)

We arrived home early this morning, and have spent the day unpacking and generally being lazy. The sun is shining brightly outside, and I'm enjoying being back in my own environment.

Our Alaska trip was fabulous -- we got to see moose in their natural habitat, spend some time on Big Lake (which was still frozen over!), and enjoy time with family. I've uploaded some photos (okay, 127 photos) for the world to enjoy. Feel free to check them out when you get a chance.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Ahhh, Laughter

Today, we took it easy, enjoying lunch with my brother and sister-in-law at the Moose's Tooth, and then running errends with them. Lennie was sporting a relatively worn pair of jeans today, and as he got into the car after one of our stops, we learned that today would be the last day that they would be worn... Seems that really, really small fray on one of his back pockets quickly turned into a 12+ plus inch hole/butt flap. I can't stop laughing about the hole, even as I write this hours later. We took a quick trip to Wal-mart, where Lennie wrapped his sweatshirt around his backside (didn't want to be taken in for indecent exposure) before locating his newest pair of jeans. I took a peek at the hole while he was shopping, and couldn't stop laughing for a long, long time while browsing the aisles of Wal-Mart. This was one big hole in his jeans... I can fit my whole head through the hole and wear them as a necklace! Heh heh.

Lennie's sitting behind me right now, wondering what I'm laughing about... it was just so priceless, that even as I think about it, I can't help but chuckle...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Family Fun

So, for the past few days we've been in beautiful Anchorage, AK enjoying time with friends and family. On Saturday, we got to walk through the first Saturday Market of the season while taking in some fabulous sunshine. We were also able to celebrate the birthdays of two of my nephews and my Dad together as a family. It was a lot of fun seeing everyone in a relaxed (and somewhat chaotic) environment. Kathy and my other family members made a meal that was beyond yummy, and I really enjoyed great conversation with everyone.

On Sunday, we took a scenic but very rainy trip from Anchorage to Whittier via a 2.5 mile train tunnel (the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel, in fact). While the rain was a complete bummer, we did get to see a "real live" moose as we were driving, and the scenery was beautiful. There's not much of note in Whittier, especially if you're not a fisherman or snowmobiler, but it's still worth the trip at least once in your life. I highly recommend it. Oh, and I recommend the chocolate chip cookies at the Bake Shop in Girdwood / Alyeska. Yum, yum, yum.

Monday brought the graduation of my beautiful niece Jordan. We sat in the Sullivan Arena, a large venue in Anchorage. It was amazing! I have to admit that I haven't been to a high school graduation in more than 10 years, but things have changed since I graduated... as we walked in there were stands lining the sidewalk schilling flowers and other knicknacks. Once inside the arena, we secured seats just below the nosebleed section, with a clear view of everything that happened on stage and elsewhere. After some of my family made a trip to the snack bar (hello? Who wants fake nachos at a high school graduation?), we settled in and listened to a few speeches and some good music while enjoying a side game of Crazy Eights (what can I say? I'm easily distracted, and graduations are a little boring!). Either way, I'm really proud of my niece, and I can't wait to see where life takes her.

OH, and on the way home from dropping off family from the graduation party, we got to get up close and personal with some more Alaskan moose. My sister tried to do her best moose call for us so that the moose would look our way, but we learned that she may need to stick to her day job instead. ;-) Alas, we had a great time appreciating nature and laughing at our bad moose call skills.

We got to walk around downtown Anchorage on Tuesday, enjoying some food at Humpy's and taking photos downtown. In the evening, I got to take in a few hockey games with my super-cool nephews, Jake and Andrew. Jake earned the nickname "Tractor" from the announcer, and both boys kicked butt during their games. Good times.

Today, I'm feeling the vacation relaxation take effect, as my siser-in-law Heather and I got to go to the spa and get back massages while Lennie took an hour or so to put in closet organizers at Eric's place. His handiwork looks fabulous, and my massage was well worth it. After experiencing my first gyros for dinner with family, we shared some laughter and retired for the night.

So far, it's been a great trip, and I can't wait to see what the next few days bring. Perhaps a few more wildlife sightings? Or maybe some more laughter with family and friends? Who knows?!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Rest, Relaxation & $20 Bills

I haven't posted lately because we've been busy enjoying some rest and relaxation over the past week or so. Last weekend, we got to enjoy time with our friends at a cabin in the mountains. I can't believe how much snow is still kissing the mountaintops, it was absolutely beautiful. While Lennie and our friends went up snowmobiling, I hunkered down with a great book, went for a walk, and generally enjoyed the sun beating on my face as I breathed in some fresh mountain air.

While we were away, we visited a small church in Cle Elum for Sunday services. It was interesting being at a different church for the week. Including the four of us that came from our group, there were only 20 people at the service. But they were there to make a joyful noise for the Lord. At the end of the service, we waited for our friend to use the facilities, and the rest of the regulars socialized with one another. As we were waiting, a nice man came up to Lennie and shoved a crisp $20 bill in his hand, asking "can I pray for you?" I looked down with wide eyes and said "What is that for?!" and then said "Do you pay people to go to church here? Cool!" (Probably shouldn't have said that, huh?) When suddenly from across the room, a lady said "NO! Not that guy!" Awkward! Seems that another parishioner had come upon bad times, and this nice man wanted to help. So, needless to say, it was definitely a memorable experience, and I would definitely go back to the church for praise and worship services.

After church, we went to lunch in Roslyn, where we enjoyed a great meal at "The Brick." If you're ever in Roslyn, I highly recommend the burgers at the Brick. I made our friends trek over (okay, Roslyn is only a few blocks long, so it wasn't really a trek...) to see the "famous" wall painting that was featured in the show Northern Exposure. Good times.

We came home from our weekend exhausted but recharged. I loved it. A weekend away was exactly what the doctor ordered. I took some beautiful photos, and will post them shortly.