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.