Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A lot to live up to

I hope you all had a Most Stellar Memorial Day Weekend. I did. My accomplishments were as follows:

  • Slept in for four glorious days.
  • Successfully drove a total of twelve hours with two cats. No one pooped in the car and no one scratched a person or passenger seat to shreds.
  • Browsed DSW and HomeGoods without buying a thing for myself.
  • Bought gas for under $3.50.
  • Watched a wedding. 
  • Ate my weight in taquitos at the wedding.
  • Recognized the opening strands of Sweet Caroline before anyone else and was first on the dance floor.
  • Spent quality time with my people and possibly awed them with my newly amazing shoulder muscles.
  • Commandeered a hotel pool for a family party.
  • Did not get sunburnt.
  • Finally figured out how to eat a chicken wing.
  • Visited Jefferson Barracks Cemetery and made the customary post-cemetery trip to TGI Fridays. 
  • Discovered the Trader Joe's baked version of Funions, which aren't terrible for you. Ate a whole bag.
  • Transplanted two tiny pine trees from my Nana's house to The Pit.
  • I Fast Eddie'd.
 My first weekend of summer was perfect. Here's to hoping all remaining summer weekends are as productive, as fun, as full of my favorite people and as lacking in sunburntness as this one was.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Gym teachers and lacrosse coaches of the past, take note

I'm the lamest runner of all time. I've been trying my darndest to "be a runner" for the past two summers, but I've been faking it. I've come to love running, but until today I'd never actually, officially run an entire mile without stopping to walk. (I know. This and the fact that I still have Christmas lights up (I KNOW) are my deepest, darkest secrets.)

I'd usually hit about an eighth of a mile before my lungs would just stop. "WE HATE RUNNING!" they'd scream. "HATE. HATE. HATE. We're done." and I'd walk a block, convince the ol' lung-a-roonies to try again and do another few blocks of running. Stop and go for a few miles three times a week. It did not help that Whipping Post had found its way onto my running playlist.

"Good lord, I feel like I'm dyin'" is not the most inspirational song lyric ever penned.

But lately, my legs have been getting tired before my lungs and today I ran possibly the slowest running mile ever recorded. But the point is, I ran it.

And, the first peonies on our street are starting to open up and we're so close to a four day weekend, I can taste it.

No complaints here.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Meet the Pit

In the very back corner of our long-n-skinny .75 acre yard is The Pit. According to neighbors, it was a previous owner's veggie garden before our predecessors let it all go wild.

See that dark spot to the right? That's The Pit.

This is sadly one of the best true "before" photos I have of The Pit (and it features our adopted deer, Scott). A few random hostas, wind-blown trash and weed trees like mad.
For the past three summers, we've been chopping back the weed trees and spraying ground clear to try to clear the space.

The weeds are stubborn and we are lazy. Here was The Pit yesterday:

Not too different from the before, right? The Pit is about 50 square feet of mulch and weed right now, backed by a little grouping of decent trees.

One stand-out feature of The Pit is this fallen laundry line. The other half sits in our neighbor's yard. 

We tried to haul it out last year but that sucker is HEAVY. And we are oxen. So, we'll be masking it with hostas and other cheap and multiplying plants. Lazy daisy up in here!

That is also the plan for this wrecked section of fence. Repairing it would be expensive, we don't have a dog and it really can't be seen from most parts of the yard, so masking it shall be. Judge away, Productive Pollys.

Weeds and railroad ties. The Pit has it all.

For a little perspective, this is the view from The Pit, looking back at our wee little brown house. You can barely even see the deck and like truckers say, "If you can't see my mirrors The Pit, The Pit can't see you."

So. Reclaiming The Pit and transforming it from a weedy trash heap into a low-maintenance, weed-choking paradise will be a big job. And a slow job. And an expensive job. Fifty square feet requires a lot of plants.

Here's our plan:
  1. Clear The Pit (done! Did this about a month ago, but some weeds have since returned. Oh well.)
  2. Plant multipliers like hostas, day lillies and snow on the mountain. 
  3. Split these each year and eventually choke out any remaining weeds.
  4. Slowly add trees, bushes and shrubs to mask the fence.
  5. Celebrate 50th wedding anniversary.
Seriously. This is NOT a project. It's a side game. Because I'm cheap and lazy about this little-seen bit of yard, I'm not hoping for awesomeness in this decade. It will take time.

Yesterday, I kicked things off by planting two little snow on the mountain clumps.

 Some viney groundcover.

Two giant-leaf hostas, massive amounts of transplanted day lillies from the random patches we have all over another secluded bit of yard and three trees (two cherry and one redbud) (not pictured).

And you can't even see them from the deck. Sad times.

What's you slow and steady project?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Getting huffy

I am not a bike snob. A cheese snob, a grammar snob, a beer snob - perhaps. But a bike snob, I am not.

Neither is Hubs, but he bought a relatively nice bike last summer because he rides to work at least twice a week when the weather is nice.
Meanwhile, I ride to the coffeeshop and restaurants down the street on this totally rad purple Huffy that I scored from the Des Moines Bike Collective for $25 a few years ago.
Now. As a rather unsophisticated bike owner, I don't see much difference. Both have two wheels and nice comfy seats. Mine has brakes that scream like an angry raccoon when I stop and Hubs' doesn't have a kickstand, so I figured we were about even in our ghettoness.

A bike snob set me straight, though.

We rode to $1 slider night at the bar down the street last night and some serious bike dude was gawking at our two bikes chained together. He was legit staring, open-mouthed when we walked up to unchain them and ride home.

"I was just admiring the difference between these two bikes," he said. I smiled and told him I got a deal and then proceeded to hop gracefully on my bike and zip away get the laces of my Sperry knock-offs stuck in the pedal and wobble away.

Hrmph. Was I dissed? Was my little purple Huffy out of style? Did he expect a father-daughter pair to claim the bikes? The daughter being appropriately aged for Huffy ownership (that's I think about 14, no older). Am I a total embarrassment? Because I thought I was super cool and fit and slightly amazing, cruising down the street on my WD40-thirsty purple 12 speed with my big sunglasses and bohemi-chic braids.

This run in (if you can call it that) with a total cycle thug (exaggeration) has me curious: What kind of bike are you grownups riding?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

You know those are animals, right?

This weekend, Hubs and I took a Walk-cation (known among my non-profit homies as the weekend trip resulting from attenting out of town, early morning fundraising walks*). Between bouts of me being awesome at my job, we enjoyed a good, old-fashion patio lunch.

Allow me to take you there with my words:

Under a bright blue sky, we sat in slightly uncomfortable metal chairs, among other totally normal diners. I had a chicken salad, which was good but didn't have enough greens and Hubs had fajitas that had soy sauce on them, which was really weird when we realized it, but he claims it wasn't bad.

I noticed a couple walk toward another outdoor table with a stroller. It was zipped up, presumaly to keep the baby out of the sun. Both the ma and pa looked unassuming. Black capris, a Twins shirt, iced tea.

Ma unzips the stroller and I saw lots of flowing blonde hair. I figured they had some squirmy, hairy toddler. Interest lost. Back to the chicken-heavy salad.

Then, some movement caught my eye. In the stroller. Oh, dear, that's a really scrawny baby. Oh, no. NO. Not a baby. A long-haired Yorkie. Wait, is that a pink bow in her hair? Is she wearing a dress? Yep. She is. And she has a brother. (How do I know it's a boy dog, you ask?) He's wearing a yellow and green striped polo and has shorter hair. All of this. In. A. Stroller.

It is too much to bear, but I retain my composure. Hubs didn't even turn around to view this majesty. I guess they were really good fajitas.

Just when I think it's too much - Yorkie siblings, in a stroller, at a restaurant, in outfits - Ma pulls out all the stops. She gives the dogs a bottle.


It was some kind of weird dog water bottle, but still. Icing on the cake of crazy.**

Thirsty Dog Portable Pet Water Bowl - 20 ounces

*Totally not a thing anyone says. Say this to a non-profit homie and they'll look confused.
** To the Dog Parents We Saw - I mean crazy in a good way. Clearly, you don't give a flying flip about what strangers at a restaurant think and I applaud you for that. Keep on keepin' on, Dog Parents.

Also, Happy Mother's Day! This little tale is dedicated to my own Mom, who also dresses her Yorkie in striped polos. You like how it all comes full circle? I do!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Are we having fun yet?

After a throughly kick-heinie Relays weekend (which came complete with the requisite 12 hours spent at a frat house, sunburns, shots and sing-a-longs. And I think some people ran. Or so I heard.), I'm hurting and it wasn't that seemingly bottomless trough of Bud Light cans that did it to me.

I've got some kind of horrible toothache turned jaw pain and here I've sat for the past two days with a bag of frozen peas on my face.

When my bag of peas gets too warm, I say to Hubs "Biiiitch, peas." in a very sassy tone and he gets me new freezer-brunt peas. A delightful setup and hilarious wordplay, if you ask me.

In a very sad turn of events, it is that poor guy who is having a root canal tomorrow and I'm fairly convinced someone placed a Gypsy curse on our little family and our little pearly whites.

I just wanted an outlet to share my pea pun; I have no other interesting stories to tell right now. Thank you.
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