Sunday, December 28, 2008

Happy Holidays

December has been a busy month for me as it has probably been for most everyone, so I haven't had a lot of time to post on here. I will do better next month. But I just wanted to take a second and say that I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas with their families and have a very happy new year. I have enjoyed spending the last week with my family and all the kids. It made Christmas quite eventful this year, but we managed to still have a lot of fun.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

10 Reasons I Hate the Snow

I didn't always hate snow. I grew up in Idaho, Utah, Washington and we always had snow and I always loved when it would fall (admittedly hoping that we would have a snow day and I wouldn't have to go to school). But I always enjoyed playing in the snow with my sisters and friends. Sledding was tons of fun and I even tried to ski a time or two.

But now, it is all over. I find no more joy in the falling snow. Mostly due to the fact that everytime that the snow falls and the rest of ya'll make a cup of cocoa, start a fire, and curl up in a blanket; I get called out to go to work all night. So here are my top ten reasons why I despise snow (In no particular order).

1. People who can't drive in it think they can and go 10 mph and no one will mind
2. I hate shoveling my walks and driveway
3. People with 4wd think that they can drive like normal and try to kill people
4. No one seems to be able to park in the stall
5. My dog does not want to go outside
6. The snow covered up my winter pots outside so now you can't see them
7. I don't get to sleep
8. People still drive like they are in a rush to get somewhere . . . for heavens sake give yourself more time
9. The salt on the roads sprays onto my windshield so I can't see
10. I have to cancel plans all the time

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Story of the Little Green Chair

This story actually begins about a year ago when I first bought and moved into my house.

The second bedroom of my house is quite tiny and the paint on the walls when I moved in was more than hideous; light purple walls and ceiling and dark purple trim and cabinets. Something had to be done with that. It had been used as a closet/dressing room by the previous owner and I intended to use it as the same but wanted it to be a guest room as well.

My house is quite old and has a very traditional
look to it and some classic character. Which actually works quite well with my style of decor . . . very simple and very classic. But I had this urge to do something funky with that one room. So, after consulting with my good friend Molly (the trained interior decorator) I decided that it needed to be painted my favorite funky shade of apple green.

So . . . fifteen (and I am almost not exaggerating) coats of primer and paint later I had a cute little room with bright green walls and white t
rim and cabinets. Now the question is what do you use for furniture colors in a room that is bright green? Kind of a tough call really. But as always (especially when on a limited budget) IKEA had the answer. It was an orange pull out sofa. It pulls out to a full size bed, but is small enough that it fits in the room without taking up too much space. Really I love the color too . . . it's fun.

But for the past year this room has really not been much of anything. It had the sofa in it, but when people are over it really didn't serve much of a purpose. Then about a week ago my good friend Molly called me once again about helping her unload a chair that a friend had given her. So I went over. This friend that had given her this gargantuan chair had also sent her home with a lime green chair straight out of the 70's. Once I got there and we were talking we decided that there was a perfect place for this extra little lime green chair and that was in my spare room.

So we loaded it into the Jeep and I brought it home. It sa
t in the Jeep for a few days and then made it's way into the kitchen and finally yesterday I rearranged the room a little and it made it's way in there. I had to text Molly a picture right away because this little chair actually accomplished a huge feat. It finally gave this room a purpose. It is now and adorable sitting room where all I need is a good table lamp and ottoman and I have my little reading room that I have always wanted. So here is the little green chair that could.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Mom Insisted . . .

So if you have been reading lately you would have noticed my anticipation for the holiday season and my debate as to how much I plan to decorate my house. I have been looking around at ornaments and trees for weeks while shopping for work and have continued that debate in my head.

I got home from work early today and was cleaning and rearranging some furniture in my house and my mom called. She asked if
I had my lights and decorations up yet and I said no, and I wasn't sure that I was going to this year. Then my mom "insisted" that I have a tree. So I went shopping and bought all the stuff and put up the tree and the few decorations that I have and this is the result.

One Of My Favorite Things

This year I forgot to take the day after Thanksgiving off work. So here I am sitting at my desk wasting time, cause most people are off today and there is really nothing pressing to get done. So here I sit being a little depressed that I am missing out on one of my favorite experiences of the holiday season...Black Friday.

I guess that my love for this beloved shopping day started when I was quite young and we would go shopping with my mom to Fred Meyer. It was the one day a year when we would get new socks because they were 50% off that day. As I got older we would go through the ads on Thanksgiving day and see what we could find that we wanted to go get for people and then make plans for where we were going and when to get it all as quickly as possible.

In fact I remember one year my Aunt Marianne and some of her boys coming along . . . that was quite the experience. My cousin Greg (just to make a point and be nuts) grabbed a cart as they opened the door and pushed through the crowd and went running down the aisles. I got a real good laugh out of the whole thing.

Alas, this joyous tradition is just not the same without my mom and sisters to go with. And since I forgot to take the day off I guess it will have to wait until next year to enjoy it again. Maybe I will learn to plan better by then.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

It is that time of year again. I love Thanksgiving, it is one of my favorite holidays. Probably not just because of all the yummy food, but probably more because it is the first holiday of the holiday season and I just love this time of year.

I just want to let my family and friends know that I am thankful for them and love them and miss them when I can't be there with them this holiday. But I look forward to Christmas when I can be home sharing the holiday with my family.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I'm A Dork

But at least it's a funny story . . . so as usual I was driving around a lot today for work. I had to go to a bunch of stores to pick up all sorts of random supplies and so I stopped into this shopping center that had a craft store and a hardware store that I needed to go to. But as I walked into the craft store I noticed the pots out front (I notice these things cause this is what I do for a living). They looked really nice so when I came out of the craft store I made it a point to look a little closer at them. As I did that I realized that they were exactly the recipie of my winter display pots. I was shocked.

Not to toot my own horn, but my company and my department is sort of a trend setter in the industry for seasonal color displays like this. So it isn't unusual for me to see my competitors try to copy my work . . . usually I get a good laugh out of it cause they fail miserably at it. But this time it was exact! I really could not believe it. I went back to my office and had to tell Diane (the supervisor that works for me in Aurora) all about it. She was as shocked as I was and wanted to know where the place was so that she could vandalize them (she was kidding).

So later in the day my boss walked into my office and we were chatting and I had to tell her about this. We wanted to figure out which of our competitors did the work. She asked where the place was and I told her and she started naming off stores in the shopping center that I was referring to so I knew she had the right one. She started laughing and told me that WE maintained that shopping center and had arranged these planters. At that point they spread out and told everyone and we all got a good laugh.

I was a new job this Spring that I had heard of but never knew where it was. I tend to think that I know all the Aurora jobs since that used to be my job, but there have been some new ones that I have never been to cause I have been busy dealing with all the other locations.

In any case, it was the light hearted moment of the afternoon and I learned where this job was that I had not been able to place before. Sorry if it didn't sound as funny to you . . . but we were cracking up.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Exciting!! . . . sad isn't it?

Today was another driving day for me . . . I made my circle all over the Chicago Suburbs and into the city and on my way back south and I passed a gas station and saw something that excited me. I was on the phone with my mom at the time so I shared my excitement with her.

I officially saw gas for $1.99.

It is below $2.00 a gallon. Honestly I never thought that I would see that again with how the prices sky rocketed, but was excited to see it. Then I thought, "why am I excited? It is finally getting closer to reasonable!"

This is a wonderful example of how capitalism actually works!! The prices rose until they reached a point where the market was no longer willing to buy as much of the product as they were before. It finally hit that threshold where people finally started to cut back their fuel consumption. . . not just you typical driver, but everyone one was cutting back including businesses. So then the market did what a free market does and it corrected itself. Oil stopped selling for $160 a barrel . . . it dropped to $54 a barrel. Finally!! And this without the government having to step in and freeze fuel taxes, or force the big oil companies to do anything.

I am grateful to live in a capitalistic society where a free market exists and the consumers actually control the market, not the government. Let capitalism work . . . it's a beautiful thing!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

It's coming up fast!

I have been so busy with work and everything else in my life that I didn't even realize that it was already November. I mean, I knew what the date was, but I didn't realize what it meant. Now all of the sudden it is November 13th and Thanksgiving is only two weeks away and Christmas is only six weeks away. The holidays totally snuck up on me.

Of course I didn't realize that until today. Granted I have thought about it a little bit, enough to think about getting a tree and buy my plane ticket home. But other than that . . . just put it off as if it was so far in the future

I spent a good portion of my day today tying bows for holiday decor projects for some clients. By the end of my day it looked as if Christmas had exploded in my office. And it got me thinking. I need to do some shopping . . . plan out my decorations at home . . . and maybe even think about doing some lights.

I am a true lover of all things Christmas, especially the lights. As a kid I loved to help my dad with the lights on the house. And now that I am all grown up I may even do some lights on my own house. I realize that I won't be able to do a lot this year, but I want to start making some of those purchases and get my Christmas decorations for my house started. And I really am kind of excited about it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Something To Be Grateful For

Growing up in Idaho and in my family I was taught conservative values. As I have grown up and become more politically opinionated I have continued to be fairly conservative in my political opinions. Although I am not offiliated with the Republican party I do agree with them on many issues.

Living here in Illinois, being young, especially here in this election season people assume that I am liberal like people here. I am grateful that today I was able to cast my vote for president without anyone telling me who I should vote for or looking over my shoulder. I feel very blessed to live in a free country where every vote counts. I realize that my vote for president won't really make much of a difference in the home state of one of the candidates, but it matters to me because I was able to vote for the man who I think will do the best job and best supports my values.

In case you are wondering who that is I did vote for John McCain and Sarah Palin. I still hold on to the hope that they win. Also, my prayers are with those in California that they will be able to pass proposition 8 and preserve traditional marriage.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Excited To Go Home

Time moves much faster than I would like, but this week I realized that I am going home to see my family next week. This trip home will be full of firsts for me. I haven't been home since March, which doesn't seem that long ago, but with all of the changes in my family it seems like forever ago. When I went home in March it was to meet my five new brothers and sisters.

On this trip home I will be seeing my parents new house for the first time. For the first time since I left home almost 9 years ago I will be going home not to the house I know, but to a new one which will be a different experi
ence all together. I still have mixed feelings about it, but oh well . . . it will be different.

I will be meeting my newest little brother Jack
who was born in August. I have heard him cry over the phone plenty of times, but it will be fun to finally get to meet him and hold him. I am also excited to see the little kids. I miss them too. Sorry . . . wish I could post a picture but we still can't.

I will be meeting my first nephew for the first time. He was born two weeks ago and I will be getting to hold him while his mom and dad are in the temple for Ali's wedding.

I will be meeting Jenn and Tyson's new dog Oscar. Being a dog person my self I am quite excited about that. I only wish that I could bring Cletus along to meet his cousin.

And lastly I will be meeting Chaz . . . Ali's almost husband. I have been away from home for a long time and never met him when he and Ali dated in high school, etc. The family approves of him so I will trust their good opinion. The reason for the trip is Ali's wedding so it will be fun to be there.

In any case it will be a lot of firsts for me
on this trip and I will be meeting a lot of additions to my family. We'll hope that it isn't too crazy and busy that I don't get to enjoy it.

Friday, October 24, 2008

I'm Debating . . .

I know that this sounds a little bit early to be thinking about this, but it's me so I am.

Last year I closed on my house November 15th. The next two weeks were total chaos trying to get out of my apartment and get into the house and walls painted and everything. In the middle of all this I was covering a vacancy in my Northern office so was working crazy hours and commuting three hours a day. As I got into December things slowed down a little, but still I was just trying to get the house all situated. So the only holiday decorating that managed to happen was a wreath on the door and that was only because it was easier than taking it down to the basement and storing it.

Now, for those that know me well (especially my family) you know that I love Christmas lights, decorations, the whole works. Just not the blow up stuff for the front yard . . . that stuff gets pretty tacky.

Through college we always did some decorating for Christmas, but once I finished school I never did much cause I either had roommates and none of us would be around, or it was my own apartment and there wasn't space or last year where I was just to exhausted to deal with the whole mess.

But now . . . I am kind of out of excuses. That isn't to say that I can't come up with some. I won't be here for Christmas Day, no one is going to really see it, I don't want to tackle lights by myself, it is too expensive to buy the stuff, I can keep going . . .

Still . . . I think that I kind of want to go all out. Not too crazy but actually get and decorate a tree. Maybe a few lights out front. Maybe finally find a nativity set that I will love. It couldn't get too out of hand cause I don't have much money to spend on it, but still . . . I think I want to do something. Especially since I made really cute stockings last year and kind of want to display them.

Anyway . . . this is just me thinking . . . still not sure how it is all going to play out.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Glutton For Punishment

This summer has been quite a productive one for my home landscape . . . I somewhat started from scratch and for someone who works as much as I do and lives alone I feel like I have accomplished a lot.

On Friday at work Michelle mentioned that Midwest Groundcovers (one of our wholesale vendors that I have bought most of my plant material from) was having a cart sale in their retail section this morning. Which meant that you put everythi
ng you can on a cart and the total price is $75.00. Which comes out to be cheaper than my wholesale pricing even with my discount. So we decided that we would check it out.

Well I came out of there today with about 30 1 gal. perennials, two large shrub roses, and some groundcover. Sounds like a lot to plant right? Well the planting part is easy really . . . the labor intensive part for me at this point is prepping the beds to be planted. I have an area for about half of it almost ready to go, but now I have to hurry and get the other bed all done so that I can plant it in the next two weeks before it gets too late in the season. So that is where my next week and weekend and possibly further will be spent.

The somewhat depressing part is that so much of what I planted this year was done so late in season that I really didn't get to appreciate it . . . so next spring should be awesome.

What I forgot to mention that just when I finish planting all of this I will have the bulbs that I ordered delivered and then there will be planting all of those. Whew . . . this is gonna get tiring.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Just another year as a cubs fan . . .

It has been another great baseball season leading to the fall classic. Both Chicago teams have done well, both are in the playoffs and it is looking like it could be a very exciting October. But then I get reminded that I am a cubs fan . . . and as a cubs fan I should be accustomed to constant disappointments and a team that manages to blow any lead they have the moment they get to the playoffs. So . . . after blowing the first round with three straight losses to the Dodgers . . . here's to you cubbies and continuing your 100 year tradition of disappointing your fans by choking when it really counts.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Am I Really This Easy To Figure Out?

I have been working in my office for a few years now and am coming up on my third fall season. Every year one of the admin girls (Terri) and I both start getting ready as fall rolls around because fall means pumpkin time. And I don't mean cute little decorative pumpkins or pumpkin carving; I mean to eat. In the fall all of the sudden pumpkin is everywhere: milkshakes, cream cheese, pancakes, cookies, bread, muffins . . . etc. And she and I share the same love of anything and everything pumpkin. So every year we both bring each other whatever we find and the rest of the office just roll their eyes and laugh at us.

Well with my birthday coming up this weekend . . . our new designer (Melissa) decided she wanted to do something for me. Very nice of her. I was out of the office most of the day yesterday and when I got back there was a post it note on my desk to look in the fridge. So when I went to the fridge I found a pumpkin pie and a can of redi-whip. Talk about a way to end a Friday. So the girls all got together for a "meeting" in the conference room and we had birthday pie.

Admittedly, pumpkin pie is one of my all time favorite things. This makes two out of the last three years when I have had pumpkin pie in place of a birthday cake. Both times I didn't ask for the substitution, but friends made it for me. Which begs the question . . . am I really this easy to figure out?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Reminding Myself Why I Love The City

So I was downtown today for work which seems to be happing more often than it used to. Melissa and I had a meeting with one of our Michigan Avenue clients so I left early to make sure that regardless of traffic I would for sure get there in time. The meeting was at 10:00 and I pulled off Congress Parkway at 9:00 (for anyone not in the city that would normally be at most 10-15 minutes away). As I turn onto Michigan things seem to be a little backed up and I just leave it to traffic in the city. Well as we continue to not move and my time is running out much faster than I would like I am forced off Michigan Avenue and onto State Street to keep going north. Melissa calls me and she is even further behind me (keep in mind we should both have been ridiculously early to this meeting). So I finally get around it and part at Millennium Park.

I come out of the parking garage
beneath the park and it is a beautiful day . . . one of those days that just reminds me why I love the city. It was bright and sunny and warm outside and the park was just beautiful. I was ahead of Melissa so I took a minute to walk around. Actually when Melissa and I were done with our meeting we took a minute to walk through part of the park and there was music in the amphitheater and we walked through the Lurie Garden . . . all pretty cool.

In any case . . . as I got closer to the building that I was
headed too for my meeting I discovered the reason behind the crazy traffic and detours. There was a fire in one of the buildings . . . not a big fire, but a fire none the less. And as everyone know a fire in Chicago requires at least:

15 fire trucks.

20 Police Cars

and 6 road closures. Oh the joy of the big city.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Very Exciting!!

I am not one to toot my own horn, but I am pretty excited about this. I do work at a couple locations along Michigan Avenue (The Magnificent Mile) and there is a competition every year with all of the "Gardens of the Magnificent Mile" and awards given. The top award requires an all but perfect score and is rarely given out. Two years ago we received this award for one of our sites and it was the first time in five years that it had been awarded. Then this year that same site was once again awarded the top honor. So for an award that is rarely handed out, I am so excited that we received it two out of three years. It really is a great statement about the awesome company that I work for and the fabulous team that I have. Really I couldn't be more proud of them. So I just had to share my proud moment with all of you.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

It's Raining, It's Pouring . . . And It Won't Stop

I woke up yesterday morning to the sound of rain. I turned on the news knowing that the hurricane was supposed to hit Texas to see how things were going. As the morning progressed it just kept raining and I really didn't think anything of it until I looked outside and saw 2" of water covering my entire patio. And now a day and a half later it has finally stopped raining. The bucket on my patio that was empty now has 10+ inches of water in it. Having grown up in the what is considered desert this was crazy. There are parts of this country that get that much rain in a year. Anyway, I just thought that I would share. The pictures don't quite show just how crazy it was.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Random Weekend

It's Labor Day weekend. My real last weekend to relax before my fall season kicks in and my life gets busy again. But, my girls and I didn't make any plans ahead of time of what we should do this weekend. About mid week I started looking around and thought that it would be fun to go to Mammoth Caves in Kentucky . . . last minute that just didn't work out. So it got to be Friday and still no plans. So the girls got together and called me on Friday afternoon with our plans.

We were going to camp out in my backyard on Friday. And by camp, I mean fire, tent, the works . . . it just happened to include a tv in the tent to watch movies and air mattresses. And when we got up in the morning there was the shower complete with a hot breakfast . . . tons of fun. Saturday afternoon was completed with haircuts all around and swimming at the pool. Went to a community play in the evening and out to dinner after. Not a bad day for having no plans.

The weekend was completed today with a hike at Starved Rock State Park. I was talking with Molly last night and we needed something to do today. Starved Rock is only an hour away and I have never bothered going. So we went. Hiked pretty much the whole length of the trails and wore ourselves out pretty good.

For not having been hiking in quite a while . . . it was a little rough, but we did manage to have a good time. The
weather was beautiful, hot and humid, and the trail was good. Sad that there wasn't much water and the waterfalls were less than exciting . . . we will just have to go again in the Spring.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My Bucket List

A couple of weeks ago I was assigned a speaking assignment in church that really didn't excite me . . . read back a few pots and you can see what it was. In any case . . . while I was attempting to prepare that talk I spent a lot of time talking to friends and family. And it was a conversation that I had with my friend Molly that prompted this post.

If my memory serves me well we had just recently watched the movie "The Bucket List" for at least the second time. I really like the movie. Anyway, we were talking about some of the advantages to being single . . . like you can do whatever you want, you can go where ever you want, you have to freedom and sometimes are in the financial position to do things that you could never do married or with a young family. Part of this conversation was me realizing that I have not taken advantage of these opprotunities the way I ought to have.

So she and I started taking about making our own "Bucket List". Not a list of things to accomplish before we die, but a list of things that we want to do before we get married. I have been mulling it over off and on for the past few weeks and decided I needed to start mine.

This is by no means my complete list . . . this is just me getting started and kind of brainstorming. If there are any suggestions of things that would be fun to add I am up for suggestions. But so far, here is what I have.

- Sit on a beach in Florida
- Attend the Chelsea flower show
- Go to Hawaii
- Hike Mammoth Caves
- See the Smokey Mountains
- Get my motorcycle license
- Visit Graceland
- Go fishing in Alaska
- Learn to Kayak
- Actually run an 8K (the Shamrock Shuffle - I always say I am going to and never do)
- Visit Philadelphia and it's historical sites
- Actually go through all of the Smithsonian museums

*Note this list is subject to change at my discretion

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A few of my favorite things

As I have been thinking about what I want to do with my own landscape it got me thinking about some of my favorite plants. So I thought that I would share with you my two favorite trees of all time. My favorite evergreen and my favorite deciduous tree.

The first is
the Blue Atlas Cedar, the picture here is of a weeping cultivar. It is an evergreen, but an unusual one. The needles are whorled and short and stay tight to the branches giving the tree an interesting texture. The color is fabulous, it is kind of a steel blue that light reflects off of and gives it a lot of depth.

Unfortunately for me this tree does not do very well in the climate that I live in. I see them from time to time, but most people ask me what they are when I pull up photos of them or see them at trade shows.

My favorite deciduous tree is the Tri-Color Beech. The most beau
tiful specimen of this that I have ever seen is on BYU campus on the East side of the MARB as you head towards the Clyde. If you are there, you should check it out. It really is beautiful.

This is another kind of hard to find and very expensive plant, but if you can find it and get it to grow it is stunning. It is keeps it's pink and red color all summer and adds fantastic contrast to all of the green surrounding it.

As I write this I realized that neither of my favorite trees are actually green which I have been informed is my favorite color, just an interesting side note.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Longing for "Sweater Weather"

My freshman year of high school I met a girl named Jessica and we became pretty much best friends instantly. One of the things that we had in common was our love of fall weather which we eventually dubbed "sweater weather". Defined, "sweater weather" is when it is cool enough outside that you need a sweater or light jacket, but warm enough that you don't need a coat. This is my favorite kind of weather.

Today . . . was a worse than typical muggy, hot, Chicago summer day and it had me longing for that cool crisp autumn weather that I really love. I realized about a week or so ago just how ready I was for fall. I went shopping with my friend Molly and bought a wool skirt, jeans, pants, long sleeve shirts and a hooded sweater. Nothing that I can actually wear right now. But, I am officially ready for when the cool weather hits.

Still . . . I would like to share with you the top ten reasons that I love fall . . . so here they are.

10. School starts so all the kids are gone during the day.
9. It means that Thanksgiving is almost here . . . yummy food.
8. The smell of fields getting harvested and burned is fantastic.
Orange, brown and red are some of my favorite colors.
6. You can turn off AC and the heat and save money on energy bills.
5. Corn mazes and pumpkin patches are tons o fun.
4. You can get pumpkin flavored ANYTHING!! Yummy!!

3. I love sweatshirts!
2. Nothing is more beautiful than Autumn leaves!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

It sounded simple

So typical me story. About a week and a half ago my dear friend Casey accompanied me on a trip to IKEA to pick out a bookcase. We found one that I really liked and that I thought would look good so I bought it and brought it home.

So this is IKEA furniture which means that it comes in small boxes and has to be assembled. I have assembled a lot of this type of furniture in my time and didn't think twice about buying it. It sat on my front porch for about a week because I never had time to assemble it. Finally last Thursday or so I dragged the heavy boxes inside and decided to do something about them. It said that it was a two person job, but being me I decided I could tackle it on my own.

So I got started putting it together. Another one
of the beauties of IKEA furniture is that it comes with instructions, but they are pictures and no words so that they can use the same instructions no matter what country the product is sold in. I looked at the instructions and thought that it looked pretty straight forward so I proceeded. The first couple pieces went together no problem. It was just a few screws and a lot of wooden pegs. As I started getting a little farther in the project I realized that the wood pegs in this kit were way too big for the holes in the wood and despite hours of effort and a lot of muscle these were not gonna work.

At this point I am just frustrated so it sits on my floor and takes over the room until yesterday when I decided I had had enough. During my lunch I went over to the Home Depot to see if I could find the right size pegs. I like to think that I am pretty good with home improvement stores and typically can have an intelligent conversation with the employees there. So I go in and explain to them what I am looking for and I swear to you they looked at me like I had three heads. So I left more frustrated.

Then I thought that little ACE Hardware always has the most random things. So on my way home from work I stopped there. I found the old guy to talk to cause the girl snapping her gum at the register when I walked in did not look promising. This guy knew exactly what I was looking for and showed me where they were . .
. went and found me wood glue and all. So helpful.

I came home and within half an hour I had it all put together and ready to put stuff on. And the two man thing was cause this thing is pretty darn heavy; I wasn't sure that I was going to be able to get it back upright. But with enough stubborheadedness I did. So here it is . . . I hope that I really end up loving it cause it was way more work than I thought that it would be.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I'm a little annoyed

I am in Michigan for a few days for work. I left early this morning and got here and started looking at installations that I did earlier this Spring. Not a single site that I visited today has taken care of the material that we installed. I know that it has nothing to do with me, but I can't seem to help but to take this personally. I do my best not to, but when it is so many back to back, it kind of hurts a little. I jump through hoops for clients to make things just right for them and deal with all of their stupid quirks and then they don't even care about the finished project. At least not enough to take care of it. Days like today I feel like I care about the overall look of their site more than they do. I work really hard and feel like a little piece of me goes into each of these projects. Anyway, it was a little bit of a depressing day. I just hope that tomorrow is better and I see something that actually makes me happy.

Monday, August 4, 2008


(I posted this on my family blog, but then realized that I do have friends with experience in this field so I thought that I would post it on my blog as well)

Ok, so this is kind of funny, but seriously I am asking for some advice here.

Don't know how many of you have seen the cover article for the Ensign this month, but it is all about how to cope with being single. Anyway, my bishopric feels very strongly that our wards need to really hear this message and selected a few people in the ward who they feel are living happy productive single lives to share their experiences with the ward in relation to this article. And for some reason they think that I am one of these people. Apparently they don't know me as well as they think that they do.

I honestly avoided the article like I do most articles of that nature because really I never feel like they say anything new and you know that they were written by either therapists or married people. But I gave in and read it last night knowing that I have to speak on this subject next week.

The article makes a few good points, but still nothing new. But it uses the word cope and dealing with loss in relation to being single and I guess that I have never really felt that way so I don't understand that. I don't fee like I cope, I just live my life and I don't feel like I have lost anything, just that I don't have something yet that I want. So I guess I have a hard time relating to people that do. Granted, I am not thrilled to still be single with no real prospects, but I don't see the point in being miserable about it either. I have bad days, but the good ones are much more frequent.

What they have asked all three of us to focus on is the first subsection of the article about acknowledging and dealing with the pain. Not sure what that means . . . but I feel like you acknowledge and deal with it by living your life your way and making goals besides just getting married and having a family.

Anyway, help please. Please if you get a chance read the article and let me know what you think or any insights that you may have. I am really not sure where to go with this.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Flower Pots Anyone?

I have been meaning to post pictures of the flower pots that I did at my house this summer. I apologize for the morning sun (not ideal conditions so it doesn't show them very well). This is mostly material from work that I was either experimenting with new varieties or combinations. A couple of them are pretty standard. And before you say anything . . . yes I have way too many flower pots on my back patio. So here we go with the grand tour:
We will start with the two at my front porch. These ones I actually spent time searching out the perfect pot. After tons of searching I found these awesome chocolate brown ceramic pots with wide ribbing.
Ok broken down . . . They are pretty much the same plant pallet. This smaller one has Blue Arrows Juncus as the centerpiece, the tall airy small pink flowers are Talinum Limon, then we have Rambin Pink Petunias and the trailing foliage is Kent's Beauty Oregano. I have to admit I wasn't sold on the Oregano at first . . . Diane talked me into trying it, but color and smell is fantastic.The larger version of this pot is pretty much the same but not oregano. For the trailer in this one I used one of my favorite plants which is Lysmachia Goldilocks. I wanted them to be a little different so I didn't have the same thing flanking both sides of my front door (I'm not that fancy). So with a little bit of variation and mismatched size they are a little bit more casual.Now to the back patio. These two sit next to a little bench. The one on the left is Angelonia Angelmist Purple which is one of my favorite container flowers and then the yellow in there is Lantana New Gold which is an old standard, but I love it because of the smell and the awesome bright yellow color. The container on the right is a combination of two plants that were new to me this year. The taller one is Iresine Blazin Rose. This one said it could handle the sun, and it does, but what I learned is that it loses it's awesome bright pink color in the sun so in this container it is all faded. Now I know, next time it goes in the shade. The purple in there is a Fanfare Impatien. I just don't like the color, so this pot is by far my least favorite. (There is actually another one with this combo too that is a little smaller, but I didn't bother taking a picture.)
Next is another old standard these are all Dragon Wing Red Begonias. Great plant in general. The two pots on the left have a little bit of White Serena Angelonia mixed in just for a little bit of texture.With this one there are actually two of them that flank both sides of a walk that goes through my backyard, but I just couldn't get a picture of them together because of the sun. This combination Melissa (who I work with) actually came up with. She sent me home with this combo to see how it would turn out. They got huge but they were planted as 6" annuals which gave them a huge head start. Anyway the combo, Angelonia Angelmist Dark Pink (hope by now you know what Angelonia looks like), the foliage in the front is Coleus Lava Rose, ane then the last part of it is a Begonia Baby Wing White. I did like how these turned out. A little pastely (not my thing), but I still liked them.
Last, I just had one more pot to fill so this is that it got, Pink Geraniums and White Petunias. Nothing too exciting, but I like it cause it is cute in the green pot.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Anybody want a Frickle?

No, not that is not a typo. I spent the last two days in Minneapolis for work. I drove up there with one of my co-workers, Michelle. Before we left she decided to look up a fun place to eat. She and I are both bigs fans of the food network so she looked up Minneapolis on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. She found a place called the Talk Town Diner that sounded fun so we decided to try it. We had looked at the menu ahead of time so we kind of knew what we wanted.

They had some interesting combinations that I would never have thought of, but the place smelled wonderful. The one thing that Michelle had seen on the menu that she was dying to try was Frickles. They are deep fried pickle chips that you ea
t like a french fry. I have to admit that I was a little less anxious to try them, but still curious so I didn't complain when she ordered them.

They came out and we both kind of had to laugh . . . and then gave them a try. They were actually pretty good.
Totally not a flavor that I have ever had before, but not a bad one. I liked them, but had to quit afte a while cause I had the most amazing grilled cheese sandwich on the way that I needed to leave room for. It was great with chedder and gruyre cheese, tomato and bacon. It was fabulous and I made it though a little more than half of it before I was on overload. Besides that they really had great garlicy french fries too.

This inspired me, next time I travel (even if it is just for work) I am going to try to find fun new places and food to try.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Patience is a virtue . . . it pays off!

When I was planning the plant pallet for the bed that I planted in my back yard last month I was looking for a specific hydrangea that I really liked. But no one had it. All of my perennial growers were out and no one would have it until mid to late August. Being who I am I couldn't wait and just purchased another variety instead. Side note: I do like the ones that I ended up with a lot.

Anyway, so I was at Home Depot on Saturday picking up yard waste bags and fertilizer and decided to go and brow
se their shrub selection. And right there I found three of the 'Limelight' Hydrangea that I was searching all over for earlier this summer. And the real beauty of the situation is that they were on clearance so they were the same price that I would pay wholesale so I didn't feel like I was wasting money buying them retail (sorry to all of you who are forced to by retail).

I found some Privet tha
t I really liked too so I brought them all home and planted them in another new bed that I had just finished prepping. So now I have that one started. I will post photos and a plant list when it is finished. I need to by some more plants and get it all done. Sorry . . . can't display that work in progress cause it kind of looks silly right now.

I just wanted to share my joy in finally getting what I really wanted.

By Popular Demand

Ok folks . . . I didn't realize that so many people would demand a photo of my hair cut. So sorry that I didn't post one with my last post. Anyhow . . . haven't really been anywhere to look cute and have my picture taken so this one will just have to do. I am making a funny face . . . dont' know why. It really doesn't do it justice. It is an awesome exaggerated a-line cut so it gets really short in the back. I really love it though.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Hair yesterday . . . gone today!

I started growing out my hair when I finished college and moved to Illinois four years ago. Partially to prove that I could survive having long hair and to appease a few people that had wanted me to finally let it grow out. Anyone who has known me longer than the last four years knows that I am by nature a short hair kind of gal so this was actually quite out of character for me.

Part of my justification for growing it out was that I would make sure that I would grow it long enough that it wou
ld be enough to donate to Locks of Love when I finally cut it off. About a year ago it was long enough (the minimum 10" requirement), but I decided to let it keep growing.

The last couple months I have been dying to cut it all off so finally today I did. My friend Lori who cuts my hair cut off this 16" braid for me to send in.

I am really loving having my hair short again. But I feel that it may come as a sho
ck to the folks here who don't know the me that always had her hair short. But really . . . who cares . . . I love it this way!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

The fourth of July is one of my all time favorite holidays . . . it's all about good times, with good friends spending time hanging out in the sun, having a barbecue, and watching some awesome fireworks. It's of course also about the independence of our nation . . . blah, blah, blah. Really I do love American history and all that the fourth of July really means and the sacrifices that were made to make this country what it is. But I have to admit that I also like what it has become . . . a day off to enjoy the heat of the summer with good friends and family. So folks . . . enjoy your day!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Open Days Gardens

One of the girls that I work with (Michelle - she is our lead designer) always keeps up on what is going on in the area and any upcoming events. This year she found out about a national program that offers a day to walk through local private gardens. I happens in every state . . . she bought the directory and looked up Illinois and planned an outing for a few of us to go visit some of these magnificent gardens this weekend. This will be my "cliff notes" version of what I saw today. I took 187 pictures so this is just a very small sampling.

Gardens of Suzanne and Dennis Nyren

This home and garden is located in Lake Forest next to that Lake Forest Open Lands. This garden did a magnificent job of staying true to it's woodland neighbor.

With all of the green this orange was stunning!

The Carton Garden

This home was right behind the first one . . . it was originally part of the same piece of property and the previous home was the original on the property. The owner sold of the first portion and built a home on the remaining seven acres (approximately). This is where we began right by the kitchen.

This area opened up into a large lawn area with a stunning beech tree (which happened to be the tree of the day . . . everyone had one). Part of the beauty of this garden was it's ability to combine the formal with the wild and whimsy. Very natural plantings with perfect borders up to the turf or a perfectly shaped formal tree . . . really the combination was done perfectly.

The large lawn lead us back to the pool house and the secluded pool. The garden around it was fabulous . . . the pool was beautiful . . . the setting perfect . . . but the truly amazing show piece was the latticed espalier pears along the back wall! It was like nothing that I have ever seen before!

This lead us back into the garden area with more espalier fruit trees and ornaments hanging from the lines.This garden backed into a wooded fire pit area complete with furniture made from tree stumps . . . if only I had a place like this when I was in hig
h school . . . my friends and I would have had a fire every night.

As you exit the wooded area you come to the pond . . . once again a stunning beech tree was the focal point. A path lead you all the way around the pond in order to enjoy every single plant there in all of their glory.

This lead us back to the house, and just when we thought that we were done we realized that there was a side yard that we had not even seen. This area included a bog, theater, walking path, and backed right up to the golf course. Overall . . . we could have spent the whole day here exploring what this homeowner spent 50 years creating.

John V. Crowe Garden

This French style garden was designed by an English designer, Rosemary Verey. The formal tea roses by the pool with the perfect tree line and hedge are absolute examples of French formal design.

The lilac room had stunning beds where I got a lot of ideas of combinations for my own garden. To me the stunning feature was the red brick wall that enclosed one side of this garden room.

Lawn stairs are a rare find, but one that I truly enjoy. These were stunning in this large expanse of lawn!

The home is my dream house . . . the red brick and white colums are what I have dreamed of since I was small. It was wonderful to see my dream home in reality!

Markus Collection and Garden

All that I can really say about this garden is that I was curious when we went in based on the description . . . it sounded more like a specimen arboretum than a home landscape. I was stunned by what I saw . . . such a variety of conifers and maples . . . I have never seen that many together . . . and it was designed so perfectly that you didn't realize that you were looking at a specimen garden . . . the colors and textures worked together so well. See for yourself . . . but warning the pictures don't begin to do justice to how fabulous this was.

I have more pictures, but I thought that this was a good sample of how much color you can get with almost no flower, just foliage.

Nantucket Garden

I have never seen white and green beds work so well before. This gardener is good when it comes to working withing a pallet.

They made the best out of their low point (boggy area) and recently planted it with what will be even more beautiful as it matures.

As you move up the slope you find the soft color perennial garden.

This home showed a beautiful Nantucket style garden . . . it fit perfectly with the home.

Walled Retreat

At this home the landscape and the structure were truly one. It began on the side with this formal line of trees.

Next you pass through the doorway in the wall into the yard. The doorway with climbing hydrangea around it was a show piece all it's own.

I loved that this person has a fondness for bright pink flowers as much as I do.

Greta's Cotswold Cottage Garden

This gardener made the most out of a very small space. She created a fabulous colorful garden.

I loved the swing in the back. I can just imagine curling up in it with a good book on a lazy Saturday morning.

McKenna Garden

This Asian inspired garden was perfectly designed to move you through the garden and create different garden rooms. It began with the long hall leading to the red bench. I love red.

The next hallway leads you through columns with Chinese dog statues on them ending in a Asian style tea house.

From here you wind around the back where there sits a small patio table.

The containers here were fantastic. I just had to share.