Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tales of the Tail: The One With the Ocean

Also filed under "Watch Us Torture the Dog" - I mentioned in an earlier post that Kip wasn't overly impressed with the ocean. Specifically, he didn't like the waves coming at him.

We eventually found a spot with a sandbar about 50 yards out, so the water was calmer up near the beach. I was able to coax him out into the water a bit. In his defense, the water was really cold. In my defense, I didn't know my ass would be starring in both videos. GAH.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Atlantic Beach, NC

BD, Kip, and I made our first trip to a North Carolina beach this weekend - Atlantic Beach - about 3 1/2 hours from our house.

We rented a small condo about a 1/2 block from the beach and spent the long weekend relaxing by the water.

BD and I both grew up going to the Gulf Coast beaches which are very different than the two Atlantic Coast beaches (Myrtle and Atlantic) we have visited so far. The Atlantic Coast beaches are very wide and flat with compact sand. There were areas of Atlantic Beach this weekend that were literally covered in shells...great for shell-hunting - not so great for walking barefoot. We also discovered that vehicles are allowed to drive on these beaches, although we didn't see any this weekend.

BD enjoyed hunting for shells and found several really cool ones. I spent most of my time in a beach chair with a book.

This was Kip's first-ever trip to the beach. Atlantic Beach is very pet friendly, so he enjoyed meeting all the other dogs and investigating the sand, but he wasn't very impressed with the water. We took him on long walks along the beach in the early morning and late evening and then he napped in the condo during the heat of the day.

The weather was gorgeous, and the beaches weren't overly crowded for a holiday weekend. We give Atlantic Beach two thumbs up (and a tail wag)!

Anatomy of a New Flower Bed

BD and I have been wanting to create a new flower bed in the front yard around a maple tree we planted a couple of years ago. Earlier this spring, we decided to wait until the fall to tackle this project in case we had another drought this summer. However, a couple of weeks ago, we made the mistake of going to a local nursery "just to look" at what we could plant in the flower bed. Right. We came home that same day and started working on the layout. Over the next several days we de-grassed the area and brought in new dirt to create the bed. It's been finished for about two weeks now, and we are really glad we went ahead with it. Here are some shots of our progress:

We first used the garden hose to layout the shape we wanted the bed to be - then we went back and marked the perimeter with flags. It is a diamond shape but with rounded points.

Next we de-grassed the area, so we wouldn't have to fight as many weeds down the road.

The real challenge was getting all the plants laid out so it looks good now and so they won't be on top of each other as they get to full size.

This is the finished bed. We planted a total of 6 double knock out roses (3 to the left and 3 to the right of the tree), 4 abelia kaleidoscopes (bright green leaves - 2 in front of the tree and 2 behind the tree), and 2 loropetalum rubies (dark purple leaves - 1 in front of the tree and 1 behind the tree).

Unfortunately, the roses went into some pretty severe transplant shock (wilted and dropped their flowers) when we planted them. They are finally starting to recover now, and we are hoping to have some more blooms in a few weeks. I'll post some more pictures as they bud and bloom again.

On a somewhat related note, does anyone know what this is? It is on a few of the leaves of the maple tree and a Google search of "red bullseye on maple tree leaves" didn't turn up much info.

Operation Grow Garden: 4 Weeks In

(You can see the "newly planted stage" pictures here and here.)

We've had these planted for about four weeks now and almost everything is doing well.

~front flower bed~

~planters on front steps~

~window box~

~plants on the back deck - the purple heart is several years old~

~BD's ferns: the one on the right is 2 years old and the left is 1 yr old~


~cucumbers: these are not doing so hot thanks to Kip who has been caught red-handed (pawed?) sampling the leaves several times~

~cherry tomatoes: I didn't zoom in close enough to see but there are small yellow flowers on the top of this one~

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Ten Years + Six Years = One Marriage

Ten years ago today, BD and I had our first date. We went to dinner at a Mexican restaurant and to see the movie City of Angels.

~May 1998~

Six years ago today, BD asked me to marry him at that same Mexican restaurant. I cried; I said 'yes!'. The wait staff cheered, and neither of us finished our dinner.

~May 2002~

BD and I are not "two halves of one whole" or "soul mates" or any of those other cliches that people love. We are two individuals; two whole people who choose to love and respect each other. Granted, some days it is easier than others, but it is a choice that we make each day. It works well for us; it works well for us because we work hard at it, and we try not to take it for granted.

We don't often celebrate this day. Tonight we're celebrating with a Mexican dinner in honor of the decisions we made ten and six years ago and in honor of the choice we make every day to grow this relationship. It continues to be the best choices I've ever made.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Breakfast for Supper

We like to eat breakfast for supper - this is something I remember from childhood - since it is a quick but filling meal. Tonight I decided to make omelets even though I have never made them before and didn't exactly know what I was doing. We had diced ham, mushrooms, and cheese for the omelets.

I started by chopping and sauteeing the mushrooms.

I poured the egg mixture into a skillet, added the toppings, and let it cook until it started to get pretty firm. It was really a total guess as to when it was firm enough to fold. It started to get bubbles under the surface before I folded it.

Once it got firm, I used a wide spatula and flipped it over (this was not as easy as it sounds) -with a little manuevering, it worked.

Ta-da!! Ham, mushroom, and cheese omelet with a side of fried potatoes. (Fried potatoes courtesy of BD.)

BD wanted his "well done" so I let it cook a while longer. It also dawned on me to flip it again once I folded it over so both sides would brown.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

In Case You're Running Low

Fern for Rent - Move in Ready

We have a fern hanging on the front porch.

The house wrens have moved in and started a family.

We were thinking of charging them rent, but they are good little guard birds and announce when anyone is coming by squawking and flying out of the fern. It is quite startling if you're not expecting it.