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Saturday, May 26, 2007

How Cute!


How Cute!
Beth was holding her and needed to have a
picture taken. Mother and Daughter. :)
So today was just simply windy and cold. Two words to very clearly describe the day. My thermometer says the high temperature reached 61, but I believe that was in the mid-late afternoon when the sun hits the unit directly (I need to move it to a different point that doesn't receive direct sunlight). Realistically, I don't think it got any higher than about 55. It's okay for a speed limit, but not really for a high temperature on May 26.

In random news of the, well, random. I noticed on Friday on my way home from work that BNSF put stop signs at the railroad crossing on our road. At least I'm assuming it was BNSF. They didn't just do it on our road, though. It was done at every county road crossing. So that's something new to get used to.

We went to Alex this afternoon to make a pilgrimage. We took both vehicles (because we needed my pickup for some 8' shelves), which seems silly...but it really didn't save or waste any more gas than any other situation. I simply took advantage of having Beth along with me...because I'd have needed to go to Alex with my pickup in any way to get the longer items. Since there was no way we'd all fit in the pickup (along with the other stuff we needed to get), two cars it was. So I parked at Menards and we took the car everywhere else around town.

I got the wiring harness for the trailer sprayer, so I can hook that up anytime. Good times. We also picked up the necessary bits for some shelves which we're going to put up (possibly tomorrow, we'll see) in the kitchen. This means that we'll actually be able to store all the stuff we currently don't have room for in the kitchen (so it ends up on a shelf in the basement). Should work out really nice.

When we got home, I went out and mowed the lawn. It worked out pretty well because the wind had switched directions (when we left in the early afternoon the wind was from the southwest, and when we returned it was from the northwest, which means it's much more calm around the house) so I wasn't going to get terribly dirty. I got pretty much all of the mowing done -- there's some I'll have to do either tomorrow or Monday (around the garden and dog yard), but I got everything else done. Even managed to do the push mowing part and broke out the weed eater. I re-borrowed back my push mower from Mark (who's been keeping it for me to mow his lawn in town) so I could get those tough-to-reach places. He and Abby will be leaving for Madison, WI, sometime in late July, I believe. So until then we'll be sharing my push mower.

Anyway, that's about the state of the world. Not a whole lot new, but something about which to ramble.

So until next time...

--MZ

Another Birthday Down


First Teenage Babysitters
Nicole and Bobbie pose with Kirstin for a quick
picture before they take off for the evening.
Well, I'm writing this post about 24 hours after I probably should have, but I was quite tired when we got home last night. Beer does that. Go figure. It wasn't even that much. Ah well.

So as the picture implies, Beth and I went out to the local Italian place for my birthday, which required a babysitter. In this particular case, it ended up turning into two babysitters (because they happened to be together hanging around that night).

Turns out that Kirstin basically slept most of the time we were gone. So that works out just fine. Nobody's upset. :)

The group of us at work (in the building) went out to the Italian place for my birthday lunch. Good times. I'd not been there for a few weeks (when we celebrated someone else's birthday). So I ordered something new off the lunch menu and pseudo-planned what I would order for my supper later. Anyway, after I got home from work, I got a few things done around the house and we then got ready to go out to eat. Somewhere in the process, we got a call from Jill asking if she and Erik could 'crash our date' and go out with us. There was no problem with that, and they found a babysitter for Henry, so we turned it into a double date. Good times. We met them at the restaurant and ate a significant amount of food (at least I did, but it seemed as though I was being offered food all the time). I didn't end up ordering what I'd planned at lunch, because their dinner menu is more expansive than the lunch selection (and also had more new things to try).

Regardless, we had some good conversation, good food, and good times. All-in-all, a successful birthday. :)

That's basically the highlighted portions of the celebration of the day of my birth. Now I'll write another post about today to make up for my absence.

--MZ

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Always A Flirt


Always A Flirt
She can be a real heart-melter at times.
Well, today was a relatively mundane but somewhat interesting day. Kirstin finally had a day with me where she was doing the cat nap thing throughout the day (rather than sleeping for somewhat extended periods of time (an hour or more)). It wasn't quite as unproductive as I expected it to be, but she was also fidgety enough to not want to be held for long periods of time either. So she spent a good amount of time in her bouncer with the play gym thing to keep her occupied.

When she slept, she slept fine (unless I tried to move her). When she woke up, she'd play more. Go figure. :)

It was really quite cold all day today. I don't think it got above about 53 degrees. There was a minimal wind factor, but it was still quite cold. So short of going outside to get the mail, I pretty much stayed inside all day. Until Beth got home.

When Beth got home I went out to do a bit of mowing (I wanted to mow the field and tree line one more time before changing the blades). So I got that done. During that process, one of our neighbors came by with my birthday present delivery (seeing as how it didn't fit in the trunk of Beth's car) from Beth. She went and got me the tow-behind sprayer that I'd been talking about getting for some time. Yay! So I can now wire up a harness to get it power from the lawnmower and go to town.

The real reason I wanted such a contraption is so that I can pull it behind the lawnmower and use it with products like 2,4-D (I have a 2.5 gallon jug of the LV4 Ester variety -- much more concentrated than the pre-mixed stuff you get in the store) for weed control in the yard. Specifically with dandelions and the few other pesky bits. But, I can also use it possibly to spray Roundup on the entire field section to kill it off before I work on trying to get it properly seeded and prepared. So that's awesome. Will make some of those jobs considerably easier.

So anyway, after I finished mowing the bit of lawn I wanted to do, I removed the deck and changed out the blades. So I can mow properly again this weekend sometime (and do the whole yard)...depending upon if it's rainy or whatnot.

I also took the opportunity this evening to do my semi-annual thorough cleaning of the litter box. I don't wish this job on anyone. I'm really glad we use scoopable litter (because I can't imagine doing this very often), but even still it's a Good Thing to do this about twice a year (spring and fall). That probably took an hour to complete, start to finish. Half of the house smells like lemon Pine-Sol now (which isn't bad), but I can tell when the cats have been to the litter box -- because they also smell of Pine-Sol upon their return.

So tomorrow's my birthday. Go me. :) The planets aligned in such a way that Beth and I are actually going out on a date -- by ourselves -- for the first time since Kirstin came along. So she gets her first teenage babysitter for a few hours tomorrow night while we go to eat. Should be good times.

I was curious how this comment thing worked with the blog. For some reason, the make/view comments link doesn't show up on the main page, but will show up if you look at an individual post (click on the title which will take you to the individual post page). I'm not exactly sure what's going on; we'll see. I may have to tweak the template a bit. But I did verify that once I found where I could make a comment that it worked. So I guess that's good. :) We'll see if it gets used at all.

I've been repeatedly playing 'Close Every Door' from Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat soundtrack. Why, I'm not quite sure. It came up in the playlist this afternoon and caught my attention. So I'm in one of those weird moods where that particular piece works. I'm not sure what that means (if it means anything), but it's been in my head now.

So, all of that said, I think I'm heading for bed now. So until next time...

--MZ

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

An Interesting Hump Day

I'm a bit devoid of interesting material tonight, so I'm just going to ramble on about a few random topics that have come up (or various other items).

First off, I forgot to mention in last night's post about my little experiment with Kirstin on Tuesday. I was carrying her between the living room and office when we walked by the full-length mirror in the hallway. I stopped and turned to see what she was doing on my shoulder, and she smiled at me. She could see me in the mirror. So I took it a step further and made attempts to get her to see herself, just to see what would happen.

When I finally got her to see herself, she looked for a second, then got a really big grin and smile going on. It was quite amusing. The song 'You're So Vain' came into my mind (I believe that's a Carly Simon song, but don't quote me on that -- I've not looked it up and I don't have it in my collection)...

In other news, we received about 9/10ths of an inch of rain in two events since about 7:30PM last night. One at around 8, then another sometime in the middle of the night. It was a good little rain that was needed. I can handle rains like that; it's the multiple-inch rains that I can do without. Especially when they come with great frequency.

Kirstin is 10 weeks old today. Almost hard to believe, really. Still growing like a bit of a weed, but from what I'm told that will continue for some time. :)

I'm also experimenting with opening up comments here on any new blog entries. It should be open to the public, so if the feeling to leave a comment is too great, try it out. We'll see how it goes. If it gets used I might keep it available, otherwise I might just shut that functionality off again. I haven't decided yet. But I thought I'd change things up just a little bit.

And as my final bit of rambling tonight, I really had to 'chuckle' at one of the 10PM news headlines (for a local network whose news broadcasts I never watch, I might add) I saw this evening. There's all this talk about gas price gouging and whatnot, and the teaser was to imply that this particular station had some 'insight' into what's really going on with prices jumping before a busy holiday weekend.

I'll tell you what's going on -- simple economics of supply and demand. I need automobile gasoline just as much as the next guy, and I don't really care to pay over $3 a gallon for the stuff. But, I do very little frivolous driving, therefore my 'demand' for the stuff is less than some others. I use it as much as necessary, but try not to outside of that scope. Do I have any big holiday weekend plans which include copious amounts of traveling? No. Why? Well, amongst other things I don't like going out on the busy weekends, but I also listen to forecasts that imply prices will 'stabilize' after the busy weekend. This is purely speculation on my part, but I'm guessing that it's because the 'demand' will be less. Go figure. Price invariably follows demand.

I honestly doubt that we'll see gasoline prices below $2.50 again, at least not for a long period of time if it gets that low. But until the frivolous demands for gasoline are reduced, it's not likely that we'll be seeing any sort of price reduction in gasoline. Some speculated that $3 gasoline would be the breaking point. I personally think it's going to be $5 before people take their consumption seriously. I think it'd do people well to take the standpoint of 'stocking up' or consolidating trips to help with their incessant need for gasoline. Living three and a half miles from the nearest town (and 12 from the nearest town with multiple services), I'm not overly stoked about a 30-minute round trip just to pick up a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread. Which I know far too many people who don't think as much of something like that.

It's a bit ridiculous. But time will tell how attitudes eventually change. We'll see.

Anyway, until next time...

--MZ

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Gloomy And Humid Tuesday


Cute Outfit!
This is one of the outfits that
Minda got her -- it looks so cool.
And yes, that's Deadliest Catch
on the Discovery Channel in the
background.
It's been a bit of an interesting day today. For starters, it's been incredibly humid all day today, but then it's also been quite warm and overcast all day as well. I was at home with Kirstin all day today, and it was a good day. She actually slept a lot throughout the day which was nice.

I managed to work in her baby book and calendar a bit, went outside and did some work in and around the bushes in front of the house while she was sleeping, and actually got a few work-related things accomplished. There are other things, but it was a pretty productive day. We got a short shot of rain in the mid-morning, which was welcome. I don't want buckets of rain, but it was a nice rain for about 10-15 minutes. Soothing, really.

While I was outside for a few minutes working on weeding the bushes, etc., I walked over to the garden to take a quick look at my handiwork from Monday. I wasn't quite sure exactly how much of the root and grass/weed material I'd removed from the space, but it was quite apparent after the rain that I'd done a pretty good job. So that should be all ready to go now. I know Beth is looking forward to working out there shortly.

Tonight's supper was ribeye steak and asparagus. I got out two steaks (and we've no shortage of asparagus) and prepped them for the grill. They turned out fantastic, so that was a good meal. I don't mind doing that sort of meal at all, but I try to pick items that give me leftovers to take to work, etc., during the week...so we don't do the steak thing that often (because I'm not keen on steak or similar leftovers). But, seeing as how we had tacos on Monday night and 'the pasta stuff' when Minda was here on Sunday, I'm set for the week as far as lunch goes, so it was a welcome change.

We got a significant rain event later in the evening...sometime around 7:30 or 8. I haven't gone out to the rain gauge to check exactly what we got, but it was really coming down for a while there. It's rain events like that which remind me that I need to get a section of rain gutter back on the house (I took it down last fall when I replaced a fascia board) and also get some extensions to keep the (front of the house) rainfall from collecting or being deposited in the rock bed around the front of the house. It was just pouring into the rock and essentially being pooled there to a degree by the edging material. It's much easier to watch now that I've done some of that random maintenance on the bushes and area in general (which started last fall).

One outside thing I'd like to do (perhaps this summer, we'll see) is to essentially re-landscape the rock beds. In particular (I don't really want to change anything) temporarily remove the rocks, re-grade, put down a new weed barrier (e.g. plastic or fabric), re-place the rocks, and possibly plant a new bush or two (we'll see how the big/tall bushes recover this year). I need to do some re-grading around the sides of the house where the edging ends anyway, so I might as well do it all out and get it done the way I want.

It should actually be a fairly minimal cost (aside from time), because I really shouldn't need to buy much of anything (unless I want more rock) short of fabric and new edging. We'll see what happens. A lot of this will depend upon if I do any other dirt work this summer or not. Since I need to move some dirt, I'd rather borrow a skidloader and do it all in one weekend (or shot) rather than split it up into separate projects.

Anyway, enough of that stuff. I'm going to cut this a little short tonight and head for the hills. So until next time...

--MZ

Monday, May 21, 2007

A Good And Busy Weekend


Who Farted?
I have absolutely no idea what was so funny in
this picture, but knowing how our family works,
it could've been anything.
Well, it's pretty obvious that this is the first blog post since Thursday evening. My apologies to the two people who read this frequently. :)

We had a good weekend, and I was intending to write an entry or two during the weekend, but I was always just tired and wanted to go to bed rather than sit and write...so it's all coming out now (well, in a more condensed version).

For starters, we went to my folks' place on Friday afternoon. Ma was having a baby shower at her house on Saturday afternoon, so we pretty much hung around Friday evening and Saturday morning. Good times were had; the shower turned out really well. It was cool to see some of the people that were there. Many I'd not seen since our wedding, and there were even a few I'd not seen since my graduation or before (on the order of 10 years). We came away with quite a few items, so it worked out really well.

We came back home Sunday morning and Minda came out for the afternoon. Excellent times. Minda had not yet met Kirstin (although she's a huge fan of the Flickr site), so it was good to get those two acquainted and just hang around and get caught up. The weekend wasn't all that productive from a project standpoint, but we certainly got to see a lot of people and share good times. Always important.

So today was back to work, which wasn't nearly as intense as Friday had been. Of course, I was trying to get out a little early on Friday because of our pending trip, so that didn't help at all. Friday was incredibly productive and it worked out in such a way that I was able to sneak out when I wanted. Anyway, today I managed to finish something that was left hanging (but not worked on much) on Friday. So that was good. Sometimes I surprise myself. It took some time and dedication, but I got it working.

So tomorrow (Tuesday) is another day I get to spend at home with Kirstin. In a perfect world she'll sleep enough during the day to let me get a few work-related things done. That doesn't always happen, but the sooner I can get that stuff done, the less busy I'll be for a while. So we'll see what happens and go from there.

In other news, I re-tilled the garden plot a bit tonight. It'd been tilled good and deep a few weeks ago, but not yet planted (namely due to Beth's lack of time) so it was getting a bit weedy. So I broke out the weed eater with tiller attachment and went to town. It probably took a good half hour or better, but I got it all dug up (really pretty well). I then raked the junk out, spread some preen, and raked it in. Since preen is a pre-emergent herbicide mix, it doesn't do any good for existing weeds but prevents new ones from coming up. The garden likely won't get any planting done until this weekend (and it's supposed to rain a little bit during the week), so I figure my application is just in time to keep things going well.

I also took time this evening (it was nearly an hour and a half) to upload some new pictures. I don't like doing more than two days worth of pictures at any given time...and this time I had four days of pictures. Eesh. Ah well, by the time I got to thinking about uploading pictures last night, I was way too tired. So I did it tonight. Something like 48 pictures got uploaded tonight. It takes a bit of creativity to keep things from getting too boring with captions and titles.

I know I had something else profound about which I intended to ramble, but I can't recall off hand. So, I'm taking that as my cue to stop for the night and bid thee adieu.

Until next time...

--MZ

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  • One Gorgeous Daughter (Kirstin)
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