Saturday, April 30, 2011

A fun filled Saturday

What's better than starting a Saturday morning by getting up at 6AM to drive to the site of a huge service project.  I can't think of very many things, and that's how this Saturday started for me.  I woke up and got ready for some manual labor, and waited for my sister to come.  She showed up a bit before 7 and we packed up the car with gardening tools and headed off to Davis.  We were joining the Woodland Stake for the annual Mormon Helping Hands Community Service Project.  This project was slotted to start at 7:30AM which seemed a bit early but better early to miss any afternoon heat. 

We met at an elementary school in South Davis.  I saw so many people that I knew and was very happy to give and receive hugs while we chatted to catch up.  I even got to see the Padilla's some of my favorite people.  We milled about for a while as people signed in, we received instructions and thanks, and then we had a prayer to start us off on the right foot and went to work.  Our job was to clean up the landscaping around the school.  There were all sorts of fun weeds to pull, bugs to find, and rose bushes that needed pruning. 

I set to work with Abby Padilla at my side and we weeded.  I came across some of my least favorite weeds.  They are long stemmed, with leaves that stick like velcro, and in the late stages of growth it produces little velcro like balls (seed pods) that stick to everything.  I found some of these in my yard a little while back, and found that I was slightly allergic so I was really glad to have long sleeves on today.  Abby and I made our way down the sidewalk pulling weeds and putting them in piles.  Beth and Melanie came over at one point with a cart so we could take all the unwanted greenery to the waste pile.

We all worked diligently and I feel we got quite a bit accomplished.  I have some scrapes and cuts from the thorns on the rose bushes, but the time in the sun and the time visiting with old friends while providing service was great.  I think I would have preferred a bit less wind though....but at least it wasn't raining.  At 11 we started to pack things up and finish our last minute pruning jobs....and we all headed over for some BBQ.  I visited with some more friends and then my sister and I headed to Dixon for lunch with the Uncle. 

My Uncle Bill and I have a long standing tradition of going to Costco for a hotdog for lunch.  This tradition started long ago, generally after a round of 18 hole practice green golf.....but today there was no golf.  We got to Dixon, my cousin Harrison showed me his new rabbit and then off to Costco we went.  I hadn't eaten any breakfast before leaving home for community service, and I passed on the BBQ at the project knowing Costco was in the near future.  I was starving.  We got to Costco and I'm not sure I've ever eaten a polish dog quite so quickly before.  It tasted to good.  The half churro wasn't too bad either. 

We finished our food and then went browsing to look at computers and phones.  After we looked around a little bit we decided to check out the discount electronics over at Sam's Club since it was on the way home.  They have a lot of TVs on sale.  Good thing I already have one.  We made it back to Dixon and I was feeling ready for a nap.  But a nap was not on the agenda.  Since I hadn't had a chance to visit with the Padilla family in a while we took a drive out to the country and stopped by.  I played with the baby for a while, took a tour of the farm and the animals.....and when Abby woke up from her nap we went for a ride.  I haven't had a chance to go on a horseback ride in quite some time.  We didn't go very far but it was very fun.  I love riding horses. 

Then it was time to head home.  I got a dozen farm fresh eggs for the road and picked up some pizza for dinner.  We got back to my house and I noticed smoke coming from the neighbor's yard behind me.   At first I thought perhaps someone was burning their fireplace....then I realized I heard crackling and that the smoke wasn't coming from a chimney.  I walked out back, stood up on the fence rail, and witness a burn pile/bonfire pile on fire in the neighbor's yard.  I quickly stepped off the fence and began to debate what to do.  I know that Sacramento County has some strict guidelines for burning just in the fireplace and was pretty sure that bonfires in residential suburbs was not permitted.  To call or not to call the fire department was the question.  I walked next door to discuss my options with my next door neighbors who after some discussion decided we ought to call.  Next thing we heard was sirens coming down the street as the fire department answered our call regarding the fire.  They got it all put out, and while I wasn't there to witness it, I'm pretty sure the fire department educated the neighbors on fire safety and the burn policy within county limits.  I am glad that nothing got out of the fire was only about 20 feet away from my fence line, and under a tree canopy.  An interesting Saturday!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dinner with the missionaries

I had the opportunity to feed the missionaries tonight for the first time in a few years.  Crazy scheduels, miscommunications, and lack of seeing the calendar caused quite the delay in having the missionaries for dinner.  I invited my neighbors over to make sure there would be another guy.  They checked their calendar and discovered there was a conflict. I asked someone at church who wasn't able, so Brother to the rescue it was. 

I stopped quickly at the store on the way home from work to grab some last minute taco ingredients.  Then it was quickly get everything together before everyone showed up.  Dinner was yummy and it was a great visit with the missionaries.  For the spiritual thought they shared a short video on the purpose for missionary work.  It brought back a lot of memories of my own mission in New York.  I'm glad that I was able to feed the missionaries, and I'm thankful that my brother was able to come.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Cat and Mouse

My kitty has the ability to entertain himself, which is great since he stays home while I'm at work.  One of his favorite activities is to get a toy mouse (he has several to choose from) and toss it around and then chase it as if it were real.  Sometimes after chasing the mouse around for while he will bring it up to me on the couch as if he was bringing me a great trophy/prize.  I'm just thankful that the mouse isn't real.  I thought I'd show a short clip of him playing around.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fun with Davisites

I have had the opportunity twice now this week to meet up with some friends from Davis.  Ever since I've moved to the Sacramento area it seems like I don't get to see them nearly often enough.  We met up on Wednesday to play at the Davis farmers market.  It was fun.  I walked around looked at all the great produce for sale, purchased some peas, oranges, and flatbread.  After a while all my friends came and it was time for dinner.  Of course that meant the world's best corn dog from the Hotdogger.  It was just as delicious as I remembered.  We reminisced for a while, watched all the people enjoying the market and talked about life.  Then as busy Davisites do, it was time for my friends to be off to the next activity.  That gave me a chance to visit with my Aunt and Uncle and get home early.

Thursday came and I was pretty excited to meet up with my friends again.  This time we met at Raley Field to watch the Rivercats play against the Las Vegas 51's.  I admit I'm not generally a sports watching fan, a few games here or there can be fun. Ok I think the last game I saw was more than 8 years ago.  But this game was so much fun.  I sat next to Stuart who I found out loves baseball.  So much so that he brought his own stats/score sheet to keep track during the game.  Stuart entertained me with stories throughout the game.  He also brought to my attention that fact that I cannot trash talk to save my life. 

I looked around the crowd and saw many people partaking of scrumptous park food.  Tyler decided he was going to brave the trip to the concession stand so I asked him to bring me back a hot dog.  When Tyler got back he handed me the hot dog and I was stunned.  This was no ordinary hot dog.  This was a monster size hot dog with a monster size bun to match.  Add on some toppings and it is a recipe for a very messy meal.  I started eating and made it oh, maybe ate an 1/8th before my tummy said no more.  That's what I get for eating anything before showing up for the game.  Luckily Emily had just found us after coming from dance practice and was able to finish off the hot dog so it didn't go to waste. 

We all laughed, cheered, and had a great time as the game progressed.  It seemed to be moving along pretty quickly.  The Rivercats finally got a run on the board.  It seemed like the game would end pretty early.  That's when all the fun began.  About the sixth inning the Rivercats had a runner on second, the batter hit a nice drive toward third and the 51's third baseman got it and moved toward the runner coming his way....he reached out, the runner dodged, and the thirdbaseman gave a second look and threw toward first.  Both Rivercats runners were confirmed safe on base.  The third baseman went over to the umpire at third to petition that the runner had gone out of the baseline.  The umpire disagreed.  Then the 51s coach came out and had a very heated discussion with the umpire about the same thing.  He must not have said very nice things because after a couple of minutes of loud discussion and many gestures the umpire gave the signal that the coach was ejected from the game.  I could tell the coach was pretty upset at this as his facial expression was that of anger and his gestures got a lot bigger, and he got a lot closer to the umpire, so close that there was no space for a personal bubble.  After a few more minutes of this the home plate umpire came out to third base and stood between the other ump and the coach.  This didn't seem to deter the coach very much and he continued his discussion.  After the home plate umpire seemed to remind the coach he'd been ejected from the game....the coach threw his helmet.  I was stunned at the unsportsman like manner in which he was acting. The coach finally went to the dugout, got some things, and made his way to the exit at the center field fence. 

It was exciting, and loud as the fans all wished him farewell while the loud speakers blared a farewell song.  As the game continued on it was clear to see the 51s were not happy with the call or what had just happened.  I was then witness to the most intense game of pickle I've ever seen as the Rivercats runner tried to make it home.  Well, the 51s got a run and the game was tied.  The ninth inning came and went, and I was wondering how late I'd actually be staying out on a "work" night.  By the time the 11th inning began I could tell it was way past bedtime.  I was so glad that the Rivercats scored the winning run to end the game.  We walked up the stairs, took a group picture, and it was time to head home.  I thoroughly enjoyed my visit with all my friends from Davis both long time friends and those I met yesterday.  Great friends always bring a smile to my face.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Flowers and siblings

Today during lunch I stopped at Walmart to see what I could find to cover up the large stone block I discovered in the front yard.  There were so many beautiful flowers and other plants around it was hard to decide what would look best.  I finally decided on Lily's.  They are so pretty, I got yellow, red, and one orange plant which I planned on putting together in one planter.  My coworkers agreed that the flowers were very nice.  Work finally came to an end and I was excited to get home and see what I could do with the flowers I'd gotten. 

As I was thinking of getting started my brother and sister stopped by in answer to my plea for some help that required a truck.  My goal this summer is to grow many of my plants vertically (the squash, melons, and cucumbers).   With that in mind I figured the fastest way to be able to help the plants grow skyward would be to get some trellis for them to climb.  Unfortunately the trellis I wanted would not fit in my civic no matter how I measured things.  Jessica and Salvador came over with mom's truck and we took a quick trip to Home Depot.  Three 4X4 trellises and a quick stop for some food to cook for dinner and we were home.  While Salvador fixed the food, I put the trellises in place, and began mixing ingredients for potting.  I wasn't sure if the 7 Lily plants I'd gotten would all fit in the pot, but I was determined to make it work.  I really like the way that things turned out.  Red and yellow Lily's around the perimeter of the pot and one orange Lily in the middle.  I'm pretty excited, and it looks soooooooooooo much better than leaving the big cement block bare. 

I came in and washed up, helped saute some veggies, and we all sat down to a yummy home cooked meal.  Salvador did a great job seasoning the steak.  Sometimes I wonder if he shouldn't take up the culinary arts. We watched a little of Tangled while we ate, and after we were finished I started to bring in the pieces for the composter I purchased this weekend.  The instructions said more than one adult, and I was lucky enough to have two other people besides me.  I figured we could get it put together in a jiffy.  We got a few pieces together and I checked the instructions for the next step which said.....drill needed..   Note to is important to read all the instructions before beginning a project.  I hadn't charged the battery pack for the drill, and there was no juice left.  I tried to see if it would work even a little bit, and as I pressed the button the drill made a mournful whirring sound and barely made an 1/8 th of a turn before coming to a complete stop.  So disappointing, but a good lesson regarding preparedness was learned. I thanked my brother and sister for their help and for the visit.  I love spending time with family.  The older I get the more I do appreciate it. 

I'll be sure to post some photos of the completed Lily project when it is lighter outside, so check back later.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Garden shots

A Saturday of fun

Yesterday was a wonderful day.  After a bit of cleaning up the house Carie and the boys arrived for our outing. 
First order of business was to have snack time.  String cheese and crackers were had by all as Carie and I explored my garden in the back, and I made a list of things I hoped to find while we were out an about during the day.  After snack was finished we loaded up the kids and ourselves in the car and off we went.

The first stop of the day was the Capitol Nursery.  I'd never been to the nursery before and was in awe when we walked in.  There were plants galore, as far as the eye could see.  We started our visit letting the boys check out the koi pond.  They had a lot of fun looking at the fish.  Then it was off to the vegetable area.  I admit, I've been a bit addicted to gardening this year and I've spent a lot of time on garden box preparation and planting.  Walking into the nursery and seeing everything they had to offer I think my jaw literally hit the ground.  It took a lot of self control to limit my hunt to those plants on my shopping list to replace the ones that didn't sprout in the peat pots I planted several weeks ago.  I was truly surprised to see that the nursery had very competitive pricing.  I found plants there that were cheaper than those I'd seen at Home Depot or Walmart.  The variety was much better as well. 

After finding the veggies we needed we headed over towards the fruit trees.  I've been hoping to find a nice apple tree to add to the citrus I have planted in the back yard.  I've had trouble finding a dwarf sized tree, and I've been having trouble trying to decide which type of apples I wanted to grow.  There were lots of options for me to choose from.  I was glad that Carie was with me.  The boys ran up and down the isles playing with the rocks and planning sneak attacks on Carie and I.  Carie helped me pick out a healthy and well balanced four apple tree.  It is amazing what can be done with grafting.  I will have granny smith, golden delicious, fuji, and gala in my future.  I'm pretty excited.  It's a semi-dwarf so I'll have to make sure to keep up with the pruning to make sure it doesn't get too tall. 

As Carie and I looked at the trees, and options for what I could put in my front yard on a big cement block I discovered after removing a bush, the boys requested another look at the koi fish.  We headed back toward the front, plants, tree, and boys on the cart, and stopped to grab some seeds.  I was so excited to find tomatillo seeds.  I haven't found them anywhere else, and I enjoy using them in my salsa.  The boys got their second look at the koi and found that if they put their fingers in the water and remained still that the koi would come check out their hands.  They thought that was pretty cool. 

We left the nursery with very happy, and the most interesting part was trying to figure out how we were going to get it all in the car, when we still had a stop to make to pick up another good size item.  So we loaded the plants on the floor at the boys feet, and then the only question remaining was what to do with the tree.  It was determined that it would ride in the front seat.  Very carefully Carie and I guided the branches into the car as I maneuvered the pot onto the floor of the front passenger side.  I then played contortionist and wrapped my legs around the pot to squish in the front seat myself.  It was rather entertaining to see I'm sure. 

We left the nursery and headed toward Costco with a quick detour to Lowe's in search of hot peppers.  No hot peppers at Lowe's so we continued on our way.  Costco was a blast.  The boys enjoyed getting samples of the different foods along our walk through the store.  We checked the nursery out there to see what they had.  We looked at tents, we shopped for groceries, and then just prior to check out I found the item I was looking for.  A rotating compost bin.  I am so excited to make my own compost.  It should be a new and exciting adventure. 

We made a pit stop in the food court where we enjoyed hot dogs, pizza, and a churro.  The boys were so excited for the food, mostly the churro, and drinking water out of a food court cup with a straw was great fun for them.  It was the most fantastic outing with my good friend and her boys.  We drove our carts out to the car, played rearrange the car to make everything fit, and I made my way back in with the tree.  We got back to the house and unloaded everything as the kids sat sleeping in the car.  I gave Carie a big hug, and waved goodbye as our outing came to an end and they returned home. 

Then I planted the squash, cucumber, and tomatoes in the garden beds.  I watered the apple tree, pulled weeds, and realized that I should have put a hat on much earlier as the part in my hair was turning quite red.  I found a hat and returned outside to put together my new tumbling composter.  I was so excited as I opened the box and got all the pieces in order.  My excitement came to a screeching halt as I opened to the first page of assembly instructions and found a bold note stating that assembly requires two people.  Disappointed.  But patience is a lesson I am continuously learning and so I made plans to get some help later in the week for the assembly. 

Overall it was a great day, and it wasn't over yet.

I got cleaned up and headed out to Roseville for a midsingles party.  It's never a dull evening when the midsingles get together.  There were snacks, socializing, pool, darts, a spa.  Lots of fun was had by all.  The spa felt great after a day of walking, gardening, and weed pulling.  I even managed to win a game of darts.  On the other hand, I am definitely not any type of pool shark, I think I make all of three shots in two games.  Knowing that I was going to have to wake early for a baby blessing for another good friend of mine I made my escape before it was terribly late.  Yeah for sleep.