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December 2009
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February 2010

Backyard Update #2

So, I finally wrote last week's backyard update, and figured I'd better do this week's while I had the chance! After all the digging mom and I did last weekend, the rain still won out and while it didn't flood, it didn't drain, either. So today we went out and widened the trench and straightened out the curve in the hopes that the water will drain easier (yes, it's supposed to rain AGAIN this coming week!).

Here it is BEFORE:

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Aaaannnnddd AFTER:

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After1


After2


It didn't take too long to get the trench widened, and since I got my ELPHie back from the Camera Hospital last week, I went around and took a few piccies:

Some berries or seeds or something on some bush I can't remember the name of now:

Plant


And I'm not sure if this is a disease or freeze damage on these leaves or what:

Disease


Doesn't matter since it's going to get ripped out along with pretty much everything else in the backyard when it gets redone.

Luckily it looks like out daffy are doing really well:

 

 

Daffys


And the bees are enjoying the rosemary blossoms. Yes, we have bees in January. Weird I know.

Bee


Cheers!


Backyard Update Part 1

I never did get around to writing about our adventures last weekend, and there's really no point in going on about it now, so here's a quick summary:

After six straight days of rain, mom and I ventured out to dig up the backyard to find the end of the drain which was installed shortly after I moved in, what? 11, 12 years ago? Something like that. Anyway, we hadn't had any significant rain fall since then so we were totally unprepared for it and the backyard flooded something fierce! le sigh!

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After doing some digging, we discovered the drain didn't end in the middle of the yard as we originally expected, but makes a sharp curve and just ... ends. The rest of the "drain" is comprised of gravel that runs along the side of the planing area by the house. Which is exactly where the flooding problem is. Brilliant. Just brilliant.


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Our best guess is they simply ran out of pipe, and rather than going out to buy more, just stopped and filled in with the gravel. We suspected this after seeing two sections of pipe put together with duct tape.


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Anyway, we went ahead and dug a trench all along the planter area in the hopes that the water will run down to the mouth of the drain and LEAVE OUR BACKYARD!!


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Lastly, we filled in the space by our patio with some pea gravel to soak up some of the water we discovered standing there after the downpour. We sloped it so it would also run down to the drain.


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It's a good thing we're planning to redo the backyard anyway, since it's pretty much destroyed now. Also, luckily (I guess) the new cars that were on my short list for purchase this summer (Toyota Corolla and Honda Fit) are now having troubles, being recalled, etc., so we're not too disappointed that we can't buy a new car this year and instead have to spend our "car money" on the backyard. Okay, maybe we're a little disappointed.


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Oh, and speaking of cars, after all the work we did in the back yard, we were SO ready to head inside, clean up and have a nice, relaxing lunch and rest of the day only to discover one of the tires on my car was TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY FLAT!

ARGH!

So, we drove around looking for a tire store that was open on Saturday (and I'm totally cutting this whole horrible experience in halfbecause it was long and horrible and took HOURS) and luckily found Tire Pros. They were SO nice and set me up with a brand new set of four tires for under $500.00! SCORE!


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So, yeah, last weekend was pretty horrible, but both mom and I survived, I got new tires, we figured we were ready for the next storm coming and I got a fun new pair of boots:

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Gotta look on the bright side, right?


New Beginnings #3

1. Health and Fitness

o   Get down to size 12 (currently at 16).  Still at size 16, but some pants are requiring a belt to keep from slipping down my hips, so that’s good right?

o   Try three new recipes per month (one of which will be vegetarian). I didn’t even cook, this past weekend; we just ate frozen meals and Subway sandwiches.  

o   Hit the gym four days per week.  I didn’t make it to the gym at all last week. Between my trainer being sick and having to deal with the rain at his own place, and my stopping at Home Depot a couple days to pick up more bags of rocks and paver sand, there was just no time.  

 

2. Writing  

o   Write 1st draft of book 1 of Falcon's Gate Trilogy. Haven’t really started, but I have been jotting down some new notes. I had a dream recently that might just change the entire story and I’m not really sure how I’m going to go about this now, but I’m excited to explore the new possibilities.

o   Write 1st draft of book 2 of Falcon's Gate Trilogy during NaNoWriMo. Begins November 1st and continues through November 30th. However, I’m contemplating having my own NaNoWriMo in February, just to give me some excuse to write something as well as some deadlines.  

o   Write some poetry. No poetry, but I was reminded of NaPoWriMo coming up in April, so we’ve got that to look forward to.

3. Photography

o   Take more artistic photos. They’re not really artistic, but I did take some pictures over the weekend.

o   Spend more time composing photos rather than just “point and shoot”. Well, I did kind of compose the mushroom picture by adding the green rock, which was not really sitting right next to the ‘shroom.

o   Go "old school": take some pictures using film with manual 35mm camera. I tried a couple shots of the gorgeous sunrise yesterday morning, but I don’t know if they came out yet, and I doubt they’ll be very good anyway since I was on a moving bus at the time.

4. Homefront

o   Organize stuff. This is a work in progress, for sure!

o   Reduce clutter. Nothing in this category this week.

o   Work on landscaping project(s). Because this has become a much larger project than anticipated, there’s a chance we might end up hiring it done. The ENTIRE backyard has been destroyed by the storms last week and our attempts to keep the water away from the house, so a professional landscaper may be our only option.

5. Fun Stuff Haven’t done a single thing on this list yet.

o   Go to the beach more often.

o   Learn to surf (or at least body board).

o   Get new ink.


Teaser Tuesday: The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Ttue

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  1. Grab your current read

  2. Open to a random page

  3. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

  4. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

  5. Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Lostworld


 

My teaser otday comes from page 93 (and a little of 94) of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic The Lost World

Professor Challenger, who, with the two local Indians, was in the van of the party, stopped suddenly and pointed excitedly to the right. As he did so we saw, at the distance of a mile or so, something which appeared to be a huge grey bird flap slowly up from the ground and skim smoothly off, flying very low and straight, until it was lost among the tree-ferns. 


Some Pretty Pictures

While I work up an entry describing the hellaciousness which was Saturday and part of Sunday (which ended with the Vikings losing - LOSING!!- to the Saints which was sucktastic in and of itself), please enjoy these pretty pictures. All the pictures were taken on britney treo since ELPHie is still at Sony Camera General Hospital, and were enhanced using some fun and awesome tools at picnik.com. Enjoy!

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My little daffodils are starting to come up!


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Wacky sun-streaks when I tried to gert a shot of the side of the house before digging the trench.


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Another pretty cool sun-streak shot.


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Yes, it rained a lot here recently, hence the 'shroom in my backyard.


Rosemary

My rosemary bush LOVED the rain.


Friday Finds & Purchases

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Found (but not purchased)

Twilight_graphicnovel Twilight: The Graphic Novel by Stephanie Meyer (It's not available until March, but I might just have to pre-order it!)




 



 

Hungergames The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. (I've been hearing a lot aobut this book and though I put it back on the shelf, it is on my TBR list at the library!)




 



 

Uglies Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. (Another one I've been hearing a lot of good things about and have put on my TBR list.)


 

 

 

 

Purchased:


Jane_Bites_Back_red-_C3E7D4Jane Bites Back
by Michael Thomas Ford (Jane Austin is a vampire who runs a bookstore! How cool is that?)





 


 

July1520091131amimpossible Impossible by Nancy Werlin. (Inspired by the song Scarborough Fair by Simon and Garfunkle, the book is about a girl who has to break a family curse to save herself and her unborn child. Sounds really good!)


OMG! YUM!

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If you haven't tried the delicious organic steel-cut oatmeal from Jamba Juice, go now. I mean it: GO NOW! Not only is it the best thing I've ever tasted (I got the one with fruit and candied pecans!), on Wednesdays, IT'S A DOLLAR! Well, here in SLO it's a dollar on Wednesday. I guess I shouldn't speak for ALL the Jambas! A Very Special THANK YOU shout out to Lola and Ashley for braving the wind and rain to pick up several little tubs of this steamy goodness for those of us working on this stormy furlough day (but not brave enough to go out in this mess!). Cheers!

New Beginnings Update #2

1. Health and Fitness

o   Get down to size 12 (currently at 16).  N/A

o   Try three new recipes per month (one of which will be vegetarian). I didn’t try any new recipes this past week. Maybe next weekend.

o   Hit the gym four days per week.  I succeeded in doing this last week - including three days with the trainer! – but I will only manage three days this week.

2. Writing  I have done nothing with this category yet.

o   Write 1st draft of book 1 of Falcon's Gate Trilogy.

o   Write 1st draft of book 2 of Falcon's Gate Trilogy during NaNoWriMo.

o   Write some poetry.

3. Photography Nothing done on this list yet.

o   Take more artistic photos.

o   Spend more time composing photos rather than just “point and shoot”.

o   Go "old school": take some pictures using film with manual 35mm camera.

4. Homefront

o   Organize stuff. This is a work in progress, for sure!

o   Reduce clutter. I mailed off a box of CDs/DVDs to SecondSpin.com yesterday, and have two more boxes to go through probably next weekend..

o   Work on landscaping project(s). I’m not sure if this counts, but over the weekend my mom and I purchased five bags of Mexican River rock and four bags of patio sand. While we used these items to keep the floodwaters away from our house during this nasty El Nino we’re currently having, we do plan to use them for our dry creek bed and maybe some other work by the house which is just in the planning stages.

5. Fun Stuff Haven’t done a single thing on this list yet.

o   Go to the beach more often.

o   Learn to surf (or at least body board).

o   Get new ink.


El Nino

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Well, the Forecasters weren't kidding when they said we'd be getting a big storm today! On Saturday, mom and I bought five bags of Mexican River rocks to use as a barrier against the flooding (and which will later be used in the dry creek bed we plan to put in the back yard), and boy are we glad we did! Unfortunately we put them in front of the plants along the house hoping that would keep the water away, but the wind blew the rain right behind the bags and uncomfortably close to the house. So during a break in the action, I ran out and moved the bags up closer to the house; that really helped a lot! I also dug up some of the sod and some pavers lined up along the gravel patio on the other side of the yard, approximately where the French drain is, to help the water drain better. That seemed to help, too, as I could see the water flowing in that direction before the wind picked up and it started to rain again.   


New Beginnings Update #1

1. Health and Fitness

o   Get down to size 12 (currently at 16).  N/A

o   Try three new recipes per month (one of which will be vegetarian). So far I’ve tried two – Spaghetti with Quinoa & Goat-Cheese Meatballs and BBQ Chicken Pizza, both from the Jan/Feb 2010 Clean Eating magazine. The pizza was really good, but the meatball meal was just so-so. My mom said the meatballs were good, but I personally didn’t like the flavour (and I think she might’ve been just saying that to be nice because she knows I’m tried to get us to eat healthier!), and had trouble making enough sauce for us both. Luckily I had some tomato paste left over from the pizza, and combined that with the roasted tomatoes to make more sauce. Next time I’ll double the number of tomatoes for the sauce.

o   Hit the gym four days per week.  I’ve done very well with this. I already see my trainer three days a week, so I just have to get one in on my own. Last night I was actually able to get the Tread Climber, which was REALLY hard, but very satisfying in the end!

 

2. Writing  I have done nothing with this category yet.

o   Write 1st draft of book 1 of Falcon's Gate Trilogy.

o   Write 1st draft of book 2 of Falcon's Gate Trilogy during NaNoWriMo.

o   Write some poetry.

3. Photography Nothing done on this list yet.

o   Take more artistic photos.

o   Spend more time composing photos rather than just “point and shoot”.

o   Go "old school": take some pictures using film with manual 35mm camera.

4. Homefront

o   Organize stuff. This is a work in progress, for sure!

o   Reduce clutter. I recently went through my dozens of CDs and DVDs and set a lot of them out to sell to Second Spin and/or give to the library, and cleared my closet out of ALL size 18 pants and tops. There’s no going back now!  Mom and I also took several books to our favourite local used book store, Bucket of Books, and traded them in for some new-to-us books.

o   Work on landscaping project(s). Haven’t even started on this yet.

5. Fun Stuff Haven’t done a single thing on this list yet.

o   Go to the beach more often.

o   Learn to surf (or at least body board).

o   Get new ink.