28 June 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

179/365 - Wilbur, my scaredy cat. 179_365 06-27-11 copy

My birthday flowers. Robert came home early from work today (got off early) and Carus immediately ushered him back out the door to get me a gift which she had been bugging him to go do for a few days. She had her eyes set on a specific bouquet of flowers we had seen a few days earlier while grocery shopping, but they didn't have it. They came back instead with these flowers and a Hoops and Yo Yo card.  We really enjoy those silly little cards.
My birthday flowers
Roses from Robert
Carnations from Adam
Azealas from Carus (that I can keep forever cause they're in a pot)

My card, when opened, said:

Oh, you’re not old.

You’re not that old.
No, there’s lot of things older than you
There are a ton of things…
Redwood trees!
Most of the planet…
Did you say Napoleon?
You’re younger than Napoleon!
Yah! Hahaha
You’re an infant.
A baby.
We could go on and on and on, so let’s just say, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! You young whippersnapper!
I worked today, but it was a good day. Everything ran smoothly.  I didn't run into many problems that I couldn't solve without help and only a few problems that needed a little help on.  All systems were running as they should.  Days like today remind me how much I enjoy my job and coworkers.

Blue margaritaRobert took me us out to dinner for my birthday at my choice restaurant - Mazatlan's.  I got the large blue margarita....

And Robert let it "slip" it was my birthday.*  After we were done with dinner, the server brought over the sombero, put a little dessert (cinnamon and suger chips with whip cream) with a candle in front of me, gave the kids and Robert maracas and noisemakers and they sang me happy birthday.  Then a free shot of tequila.

For the amount of tequila I consumed, my stomach being quite sloshy feeling as we left, I was rather disappointed that I didn't get a little buzz.

Oh well.

Robert and Adam took pictures with their phones of my sombero awesomeness, and then Robert immediately texted it out (he won't tell me to whom), but I don't have a copy and I'm not sure I would share anyways...

180/365 - Ending my birthday sitting outside on my patio reading Harry Potter.**  It was a little chilly and a fire would have been nice, but I didn't want to build one.  Maybe another time.
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*If there is any way I can get Robert near Red Robins on his birthday I am so letting it slip with them.  Why there specifically? Because their happy birthday song annoys him SO.VERY.MUCH!  But really, it wasn't that embarrassing.  It was actually rather fun and I think the kids enjoyed it more. 

**I'm reading the Harry Potter books in preparation for the final movie coming out next month.  I'm on Order of the Pheonix and there is so much I forgot! I'm surprised.  This is the first time re-reading the books, so technically only the second time reading them.

26 June 2011

No, you can't touch the dead snake

177/365 - Vivid blue flower
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178/365 - My red, white, and blue pots. The pots are actually metal concrete forms for in-ground light fixtures. Robert got them from work for me.
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Today, while shopping for red, white and blue flowers for my planters (I wanted to go all patriotic on my yard since we are having a 4th of July BBQ party), I picked up this little red hot poker. It's not too big right now, but I'm hoping it will soon get as big as some my Granny and Gramps have in their yard. And hoping it will attrack some hummingbirds. I've seen a couple of them buzzing around, but haven't seen any at my new feeder.
Red hot poker

Saturday we put the gravel in the patio area.


Some stats on that gravel:
  • It took us about 3 hours to move.
  • Robert and I (mostly Robert) made 22 wheelbarrow trips from driveway to backyard, up two hills to get to the patio.
  • We loaded, hauled, dumped, and spread 3,750 pounds of gravel for an average of 170 pounds each trip.

Firepit update. Robert painted the inside of the firepit with fireproof paint. We also put a bucketful of gravel inside the pit. That should help keep the pit from becoming a muddy, ashy, pit. It should also be easier to build fires and keep them going.
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Not quite done, but all that's left is the finishing touches, cleaning things up and making them pretty.

* * * * * * * *

Earlier, when planting the new flowers with Carus, she found a snake down the holes of some cinderblocks we have stacked in the garage. (We have cinderblocks stacked in the garage because that was what we were originally going to build the retaining wall out of, but then Robert changed his mind and now we have a bunch of cinderblocks hanging out.) I moved the blocks out of the way thinking he was stuck, but noticed he wasn't moving.

Weeellll, he wasn't moving because he was dead. He might have climbed in there and wasn't able to get out, or Simba caught him and was playing with him on top of the blocks when he escaped from him, but wasn't able to get out of the hole. Either way he was dead.

I picked the snake up to dispose of it outside of the garage. Carus followed me all the way to the yard debris bin asking repeatedly, "Can I touch it?" "Plleeeaasseee."

I then uttered something I never thought I'd have to say to my kids: "No, you may not touch the dead snake."

* * * * * * * * *
While grilling dinner, Robert found another snake on our screened in porch area hiding under the grill cover. When Robert uncovered him, the snake rushed under the grill. While Robert moved the grill out of the way, I grabbed the snake (which was a squirmy little thing) and removed him to under the porch.

I let Carus touch that one.

Don't worry about the snakes, they're just garter snakes. Since our screened in porch doesn't have any large holes near the bottom (at least, not that I know of) I don't think they are coming in of their own free will. Simba likes to catch them. I haven't seen him eat one, but he does like to bring them onto the porch to play with until I catch him and rescue the snake. They are good for my garden so I release them.

I have caught Simba trying to recatch - or just play with - a snake in my house who was trying very hard to get away from him and under some furniture.

* * * * * * * * * *

Robert gave me my birthday present early. He doesn't seem to be able to keep my surprises to himself too well, which is okay by me.

I got a tripod. A really good one too, though don't ask me specs on it. I don't happen to have it next to me right now and I'm not going after it now either. I know it has a level on it to make sure my camera is straight, all the adjustable locks are extremely strong, is made of carbon fiber so it is nice and strong, and has its very own carrying bag.

24 June 2011

All done and almost done

All done - 7Days for the summer go-round. Now to wait for the fall run.

176/365 - 7days, day 7: Guess where I'm going tomorrow?

I love that Starbucks gives me a birthday gift. It makes me feel very special.
176_365 06-24-11 Becca 7days7

Carus's 7days, day 7: Playing Scribblenauts. Carus picked out this game all by herself and is actually educational. She has to spell words to get objects in the game to move through the game (for example, if she can't jump high enough, she has to spell out trampoline to get one so she can jump higher).
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Almost done - The Patio Project.

I'm so excited, SO EXCITED, to be almost done!

We got the landscape fabric down. Tomorrow - rocks. 1/4" river rock to be exact.
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How's the sod doing? Pretty darn good. It is almost completely blended in with the old grass.

23 June 2011

7 Days, Day 6

175/365 - 7days, day 6: While making dinner tonight, I picked up an avocado and made a comment to Robert that its shape, with the little bump it had on one side looked like it sorta had a face. He then grabbed it and carved two eyes and a smile in it with a knife - now it did have a face!
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Carus 7days, day 6: Mmmm, ice cream!
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22 June 2011

The White Theme

Today's 7days had a theme - White

174/365 - 7days, day 5 - White horse, white clouds, white fence.

I was able to go to the barn with my friend again. It's been awhile since I could go so it was very, very welcomed! I love the barn. I love the horses. And an extra yay for such a gorgeous day.
174_365 7days,4 White

Carus's 7days, day 5 - "My hand on a white wall"
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My allergies are kicking my butt. Or maybe it's my allergy meds not working but still making me drowsy. Either way, I'm off to go curl up in bed with my Kindle.


21 June 2011

First day of summer and patio project continued

173/365 and 7days, day 4 - Helping Adam make dinner. He picked out a recipe from a cookbook he checked out from the library and I was helping. It needed a few tweaks to make it so we would eat it - or rather so a picky eater in our family would eat it. He was having a lot of trouble with tweaking and not following the recipe exactly. It might come with experience, or he might just be a recipe follower...only time will tell.
173_375 06-21-11 Becca 7days4

Also - can you find me?

Carus's 7days, day 4 - Just her being goofy. She didn't give me a description for this photo so make of it what you will.
06-21-11 Carus 7days4

This evening we squeezed in a little more work on our patio project - finishing the walls of the firepit.


TA DA! Now we just need to figure out what stones we want to cap it with and morter them in place. We were going to do another level, but decided as we finished this one that we liked the height as it was.  We can change our mind again and put it in later, but I don't think we will.

It's looking very promising that we will be done with the patio this weekend!! *knock on wood*crossing fingers*

20 June 2011

The Patio Project

After dinner tonight we went out to the yard to see our dirt donut/firepit base.

Dirt donut

We then grabbed some concrete and started mixing it up.

Mixing concrete

And poured the concrete into the form.

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We originally grabbed two bags, thinking that's all it would take, but it turned out to take 5 bags. Then we let it set for a bit. Watching concrete dry is as fun as watching water takes FOR-EVER!

Concrete donut

After about an hour we started placing the base layer....

Placing first layer

Still placing.

Still placing...

At this point, I sent Carus in with the camera and Adam after flashlights and the kids and I held flashlights for Robert as he mortered and placed the stones. A quick check with the level revealed that the stones were level (amazingly just by him eye-balling it).

Since our hands were busy, that means:


You will have to wait, with me, to see what it looks like tomorrow! Also tomorrow, we'll finish the other layers and we'll have a firepit! And I'll use more exclamation points! Which I probably do too much of anyways, but it's okay because I really am that excited about what I'm talking about!

Monday blahs

Carus's 7days, day 3 - Playing video games.
06-20-11 Carus 7days3

172/365; 7days, day 3 - Working. Simba is my regular supervisor and more often he is trying to sit on my lap, which doesn't work because the desk is touching him, so he lays on my hands and therefore my keyboard. It makes work hard, but sometimes he will get situated where he is happy and I can still work. Today he was just watching from the sidelines. His face is funny because he is doing this chewing thing, like he is chewing on his tongue or something. Maybe he has something stuck in his teeth and that's how he gets it out, I dunno. He's a weird cat.
172_365 06-20-11 Becca 7days3

19 June 2011

And the theme is BLACK. Also, Happy Father's Day!!

For Father's Day Robert wanted to go to Big Al's and play some games.  They also have food, a bar, bowling, and I have no idea what else, but we just played some arcade games.  It was loads of fun.
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Adam and Daddy playing some shoot the zombie pirates game. 
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Then we went out to dinner at Jade Palace.
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Adam isn't the one giving me the bunny ears, the server was; and I didn't know it until after the picture was taken.
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7days today was a theme day and the theme was "Black".
171/365 - My 7days photo. Playing air hockey with Carus under a Black light.
171_365 06-19-11 Becca 7days2 Black (light)

Carus's 7days photo - Black kitty.  Carus was having a hard time coming up with an idea to fit the theme today, and then Timmy walked up and meowed and inspiration hit.
06-19-11 Carus 7days2 Black (cat)

Robert and I also worked some more on the patio and we got it all dug out.  Robert also measured it, it is 11 feet by 12-1/2 feet and down 3 inches over all - about 412 sq feet of soil clay dug out and moved.

We (mostly Robert) then marked out and dug out the base for the firepit.  Tomorrow we will pour the concrete and place the first row of stones.  I should have an update picture for that tomorrow.

It took us longer than I had planned, than I wanted it to, but we did made some progress.  The end is in sight.

18 June 2011

7days Summer fun!

Carus wanted to play along again and took this quick pic today to show off her new jean jacket.  It isn't actually new, it's a hand-me-down she acquired 2 years ago that I've tried persuading her to wear a million times, which she wouldn't because "it's ugly".  But now, it isn't ugly and she likes it. And I think she looks pretty cute in it.

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And me - all smiley and feeling good. Which was before spending 6 hours in the yard trying to dig out the spot where we are putting our patio and firepit. This is also my 365 for today, #170.
170_365 06-18-11 Becca 7days1

So about the patio project.

We just need to dig 3-4 inches down in about a 10 x 12 foot area. That shouldn't take long, especially since we have a little tiller to make the job easy.

WRONG! It was not easy. We are maybe, MAYBE, halfway done. Stupid, stupid clay soil. We were actually digging up chunks of clay that could be used to mold things. I am not joking.  Carus took a bunch of this clay in the yard before, formed it into a ball, and set it in the sun to harden. That sucker could have done some damage if thrown, it was solid.

We have been the annoying neighbors with the 2-stroke motor (think weed eater) going pretty much all day long. Sorry neighbors, but it saves me having to dig it out with shovels (which we did for the steps and don't want to do again).

06-18-11 Patio project

This picture was at the beginning of the day. We have made progress, not as much as we wanted, but we have made progress.

Maybe we should have splurged and rented a larger tiller...

17 June 2011

This week

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Smiley kitty!

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The first vegetables out of our garden. The little one turned out to be not quite ready, but the bigger one (according to Robert) was good and a little spicy.

164/365 - Spiders may give me the heeby jeebies, but I can appreciate that they look kinda cool. Also, this guy only has 6 legs out BUT I'm pretty sure he has two up front that are tucked under him. I did not get close enough to confirm that.
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165/365 - Sleepy pug.
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166/365 - Adam's polite keep out note. He had just put it up, probably because he had spent most of the day trying to keep Carus out.
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167/365 - Adam at the library, stocking up on books for the week. He checked out 8 or 9 and is already done with at least 4 of them. Oh, did I mention that this was only 2 days ago.
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168/365 - Adam baking (by himself) lemon bars and they were good.
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169/365 - Peony bouquet on my front porch because Robert has allergies.
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Tomorrow is the start of the summer run of 7 days and I think I am going to play alone this time.

16 June 2011

Road Trip Saturday

Last Saturday Robert and I took a little road trip north to the Seattle area get him a new car.  The insurance company totaled his car and finally kicked out a check.  Also, I needed him out of my Jeep and not car shopping anymore.  Car shopping Robert can be a smidge annoying. 

Because Robert can be a little picky he was not able to find a car he liked that wasn't a piece of junk locally, so....


So that we wouldn't have to pay for gas on my gas-guzzling Jeep and so we wouldn't have to drive two cars home, and therefore saving yet more gas, we rented a car to drive up there.  It was a really nice car too. Brand new, less than 1,000 miles on it, leather (with the yummy new leather smell), VERY comfortable. I sorta wanted to just take this sucker home.

Except for the blindspots.  They were BAD!!

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Heading for the 405 bridge, which leads to I5.

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Now going over the Interstate bridge. Goodbye Portland!

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Entering Washington.

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Hello Washington!

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Little stop for lunch. Eat at Ms. Beesley's. Exit 59 (I believe) on I5. Pretty good hamburgers, chicken strips meh, french fries - ew.

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Almost at our destination. Kent/Renton is part of the Seattle metro area.

We had 4 cars to look at, and we headed to Robert's first pick where we were met by the salesman saying someone "just" showed up and was currently trying to buy the car. Extremely frustrating to drive 4 hours for a car and have it sold. They knew we were coming, they spoke to us when we were about 15 minutes away, you would think they would put the damn thing in the garage or put a sold sign on it or something.

Good thing we had backup cars to look at! And even better, at other dealerships! Bastards don't need our money.

His second choice turned out to look much cleaner than the first one and we bought it.
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Robert's new (to him) 2008 Mazda Speed3 (the hatchback car, not the van).

161/365 - Robert and his new car.
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We signed the papers, filled gas tanks (rental too, costs less than having them fill it at $6/gallon), dropped off the rental car, and headed home...

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Almost home.

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Just one last stop for dinner. YUM!

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