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Latesst Posts From My Garden Blog

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Long Time No Blog

Hi everybody. I know its been like... two weeks since I posted. And yes... I know that the post-every-day-in-November thing is coming up... in, well, three days to be exact. So, I better get my act together. Lets hope that this post is me climbing back up on the blogging wagon.

So, first I must tell you about our cool Halloween costumes this year. Usually I almost dread Halloween, since it usually equals me standing in the Halloween store a day or two before I need a costume trying to pick one out something that isn't lame. So, when Nick and I were standing in the clearance section of the local take-over-an-abandoned-strip-mall-space-for-the-month-of-October Halloween store, it appeared that this year was going to be no different than any other. Should I be the banana or the poo-poo-plater (seriously, I"m not kidding)... But THEN I got the best Halloween costume idea EVER! (at least the best one I've ever had, although I'm sure its not the best Ever EVER ever in the world. So, let me cut to the case:

OK, let me explain: I (right) am George W. Bush (aka: "The Decider") and to the left, that's Nick, oh I mean Darth Cheney (aka: "Dick") and he's holding my puppet strings... cuz I'm George W the puppet president who's secretly controlled by Vader and the Dark Side forces of evil. Get it? Get it? (This will make even more sense to those of you who are friends of the Daily Show and familiar with the Dick Cheney= Darth Vader bit .)

Yes, we could barely see or breathe out of our masks. I became acquainted with a phenomena that I had not experienced before:a rain shower inside the mask (aka: condensation). But, it was totally worth it. We had a great time at our friend's Halloween party and we even one the prize for most original costume (a bottle of Rum, yay!).

Who knew that Darth Cheney was an MGD guy?
(Nick bought the flex-y straws specifically for this occasion (they only come in packs of 200 so we'll have enough to last us for the rest of our lives) and he drilled a hole in his mask so that he could drink w/o having to take it off.... even though I think he was looking for any excuse to take the mask off after a while.)

And, if I've ever wondered what would happen if I dressed as a life-size kitty toy,. this is the answer:

And, there was even more kitty fun with the box that the Darth Vader mask came in....

There will be more Halloween fun on the actual day. We're expecting to get more trick-or-treaters than we're used to (there are a lot of kids in this neighborhood.) We even got a pumpkin to carve and put in the front porch (our attempt at symbolizing our non-psycho-killer-ness to the neighbors.)

That's all for now.

Oh- I should probably let you know that the Mo cat situation is fine (well, almost fine). He had his ultrasound and out of the possible outcomes, the actual outcome of the ultrasound was very good. I'll explain more later and show you pics of Mo's shaved belly. :)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Mo Update

Thanks for all of the concern and well wishes I've received regarding the totally awesome Mo Cat. I wanted to give you guys an update to let you know that Mo will be undergoing an ultrasound next Thursday. Hopefully that will give us more answers about what's going on with him. In the mean time, he's being extra cute. All the animals have been extra cuddly since its gotten cooler. Lat night Nick got pinned under the blanket by all four animals (one at each corner of his body) who were in a snuggly mood, apparently.

Hang'n Out With Frank Lloyd Wright

I'd like to thank Nick for being awesome and knowing people who own and live in a Frank Lloyd Wright house in Oak Park. Here's a pic:

Those of you who visited Nick and I back in August will probably remember this house. Its two houses down (on the opposite side of the street) as the FLW Home and Studio on Forest Ave. At the time, I had no idea I'd be hanging out in this house a couple months later.

We were there for a UIC graduate program in education policy get together. The house was totally awesome. I'm not a FLW expert, but I am acquainted with the basics of his aesthetic and I must say that the owners of this house have done an awesome job refurbishing the house in FLW style. This house is huge; probably eight of our houses would fit inside it (and coincidentally its probably worth at least eight times as much as our house too.) Even if it wasn't a FLW house, it would be an awesome house, but the fact that it IS a FLW house gives it a whole new dimension of coolness.

I wish I could show you some pictures of the inside, but I didn't bring my camera with me to the party and I can't find any interior pictures on the web. The basement is totally pimped out with a steam shower, pool table, 60+ inch tv, and a walk in wine cellar. There are poured concrete surfaces everywhere, and almost all the furniture throughout the entire house is of the FLW prairie design.

The owners of the house were telling us stories about having people stand at their front gate and take pictures on a daily basis. Once, they even had a Japanese TV crew sneak into their backyard and start filming a TV show right there.

I dunno if it was a function of the FLW design or just that the house was so immaculate, but while I was there I was surrounded by a feeling of "This is really liv'n the good life." Did I mention they had a grand piano in the living room?

Nick and I are pretty much in love with our house, and even if the opportunity came along to live in a FLW house, I'm not sure that we'd do it, BUT let me say that our house looks like a total piece of shit in comparison to this one.

Grass is always greener, right?

Thanks to Mark and Sally for a wonderful evening at their totally awesome home... and if my house is reading this blog: yes, I still love you!

Friday, October 5, 2007


*tries to refrain from humming Britney Spears's new song "Gimme More" (cuz "Mo" reminds me of "more".. i dunno).... dude, I read way to much entertainment gossip*

anyway... So, for those of you who aren't aquanted with the ongoing saga of the MoCat, let me give you the 411: (note to those more sensetive readers: I use the word "pee" a lot in this post) So, Mo cat started peeing outside the box a few months ago.. at first we thought it was stress (moving to the new apartment and then into the house and having to live with the dogs) and then we thought he was just pissed off and THEN we finally thought "gee, maybe he's sick" ... so about a month ago we took him to the vet and, sure enough, the vet found crystals in his urine (a sign of kidney stones, I think) as well as blood. So, the big guy was indeed sick... apparently he was associating the pain of urination with the litter box so he kept trying to find a place where he could "go" and not be in pain... hence the peeing on the brand new couch which happened shortly before we took him to the vet the first time. So, we were told to feed him special (and might I add, expensive) prescription food for three weeks and then bring him back in. We did, and the next uranalysis found no crystals but still found blood... so THEN we were given a bottle of REALY gross smelling brown liquid medicine for inflammation that we'd have to shoot down his throat once a day.. at first he actually liked the stuff.. he'd voluntairly lick the medicine out of the dropper then I'd squirt the rest into his mouth.. but by the end of the first week, he was pretty much done with the stuff... which meant that we'd have to corner him, pry his mouth open with our thumb and squirt it in... he'd put his ears back and be afraid of me for a couple of minutes.... So after two weeks of that we took him back to the vet to have him checked again. We were hoping to get a clean bill of health from the vet. But, allas, poor Mr. Mo cat still has pee pee problems (still blood in the urine) so NOW he apparently needs an ULTRASOUND! of his abdomen so they can figure out if he has a stone, whether it will require surgery, or whether its something (far less likely but still possible) like a tumor. So, Mr. Mo will be getting his belly shaved (necesary for the ultrasound) probably within the next week. Our vet doesn't own an ultrasound machine, but she can call lin a specialist to do it, which will cost us about $150. The other option is she could send us to another vet's office where it might cost less. So, I've gotta call around to find out prices etc. At this point we (and our vet) are feeling very optimistic, hoping that its just a cranky stone that needs a few more weeks of the special food in order to desolve. Mo cat remains happy and he hasn't peed outside the box in a couple weeks now *knock on wood*

so yeah, that's the deal with Mr. Mo. Thanks for reading.

One of our favorite comedians has a funny bit about the ratio of how cute a girl is and how much he'll tolerate hearing stories about her cat... So if you've made it all the way to the end of this post, apparently you think I'm pretty cute. j/k :)

check him out:
the cat joke is at minute 3:05 , but the whole thing is funny

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Fiddle Death

This is the sad sad story of what happens when I try to be good and practice my fiddle like I'm supposed to...

Although this will probably ruin the arch of the story, I'll start by telling you that when I got home from work last night I found that my fiddle case, with the fiddle secured inside, had fallen off of the window seat (about a three foot drop). I blame Morgan since he's been cuddling up next to the fiddle case on several occasions recently.

So, after feeding the animals and experiencing the joy of the pepper discovery (from yesterday's post), I sat down around 7:30 to practice the fiddle... I was tuning it up when the E string snapped... if you've never seen a fiddle (or other stringed instrument) snap before, let me tell you that its a pretty noteworthy event; its fast and loud and makes me jump off my seat every time it happens.... So, I started googling... where could I find a replacement string near-ish to my house at 7:30 at night (or more around 8:30 since that's when Nick (the one capable of driving to the store) would be home..) I found an instrument store that was about 10 miles away that would be open until 9:00. Via phone I confirmed that did indeed sell strings, however their tech had left for the day so no one could help me install it. Sweet! When Nick got home I told him the "good" news that instead of being able to change clothes and drink a beer and then walk up to Madison street to have dinner at one of the restaurants up there, that we'd be driving 10 miles into suburbia to buy a violin string, that I wasn't even sure I could replace myself. I'd never fixed a string before... the other couple of times that its happened I'd been using a rental instrument so they'd always put the string on for me... But, after watching some YouTube lessons, I was convinced that I could do it myself. So, Nick is such a good sport. He was like "ok, sure" so we drove out to the store and got the string... I ended up spending like $60 bucks because in addition to geting the one replacement string I needed I also got a full set of replacement strings for when this happens again as well as a metronome. We stopped at Culver's on the way home to pick up some food.. not nearly the good meal we were planning on having.. but it was fast and it would do. (I had a salad in case you're wondering what a vegetarian eats at Culver's).

So, we got home, we ate, we watched the freaking hilarious Daily Show from Wed. night that we had DVRed... Nick went into the bedroom to watch TV while I set to fixing the fiddle. It took me about ten minutes, but I got the string on with not much problem. I was tuning up when all of the sudden BAM! something broke, flew up into the air, and landed on the table. Not another string!!! I looked and was confused to find that all the strings were still on the fiddle.. WTF. It took me about five seconds to realize that the BRIDGE had poped off. At this point a few expletives were said. Nick came out to see what was wrong... I started YouTubing again and soon discovered that the bridge isn't actually attached to the fiddle at all and is only held in place by the strings ... so all I had to do was loosen the strings and slide the bridge back into place underneath them (making sure to get it back into the precise place where it was before... I know that it might not be perfect, but hopefully I could get it close enough to practice and them have a real fiddle technician double check it for me later). Let me point out that by this time it was already 10:15 and I hadn't even begun to practice. I slid the bridge back into place, and, feeling a sense of accomplishment for having fixed things myself, I brought the fiddle up to my shoulder to tune it when I heard the sound of something ROLLING AROUND INSIDE the body of the fiddle. At this point, I knew that things were over. It took me about five minutes of shaking it around to get a glimpse of the 2 inch long dowel object that was inside my fiddle... I have no idea what it is or what it does or how to fix it (or how someone would even get it out of there; the F-holes in the fiddle are tiny...

More expletives where said... followed by some crying... Then, pouty and defeated, I went to bed.

Being the fabulous husband that he is, Nick volunteered to drive the fiddle up to the place where I purchased it (the place where I take lessons) to see what they can do. I have no idea how long it will take them to fix or how much it will cost. But I do know that the square dance that my fiddle class was supposed to attend and play in on Friday night is pretty much out of the picture for me know. Even if I do get my fiddle back before the event, I've already missed out on the vital practice time I needed to learn the 10 or so tunes that I don't know yet.


I find myself wanting to blame Morgan, since he knocked the fiddle into the floor yesterday... but the fiddle was inside its case and strapped in and the case is REALLY sturdy... so , I dunno if that's what caused this catastrophic instrument failure or not.... Or, what is me and my attempt to replace the string / bridge myself ... did I ruin my new $400 fiddle?

I'll let you know what happens....

UPDATE: Ok.. word on the street is that the thing rolling around inside the fiddle is called a "sound post" and that replacing it and the bridge wont set me back more than $50. No word as to who takes the blame for the injuries to the fiddle, although a third suspect is now being questioned: the humidity.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Surprise Peppers

Dudes! Ok.. this is why I LOVE gardening! I was out in the "garden" (a small patch of the yard where I planted some sickly root bound veggies after we moved into the house around July... in retrospect, I should have started a fall garden from seeds... but whatever, I digress.) Anyway.. I was looking at the purple baby butts (baby eggplants) and the green tomatos (all five of them) on my tomato plants.... and as I went to say Hi to my pepper plant (a plant I bought at Costco and had felt cheated after it didn't bloom or anything and I convinced myself that it was just an ornimental plant... I bet you can see where this is going, right? So, there I was, looking at the plant and touching its leaves and, all oi the sudden, completely out of the blue... I found these:

When I felt them I got so excited that I immediately tore them off the plant... the one to the right is definitely ripe for picking (its as big as my hand) but the one of the left is a bit small and probably could have hung out there for a little while longer... allas! I was like "HOLY CRAP!" to the dogs, since they were the only ones around to hear news of my discovery. And to top it off, there are at least four baby peppers that I managed to NOT tear off, so I've got more to look forward to.

Dude, this is why I love gardening... there are always (mostly good) surprises!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Yay Yardwork!

Over the weekend Nick and I had a great time working in the yard. I thought I'd share some pictures of our accomplishments.

First, we have a couple pictures of our new rain barrels that Nick installed on Saturday. These barrels will catch about half of the rain water that comes off our roof and store it so we can use it for watering plants later. The first barrel is connected to a diverter in the gutter. When the first barrel fills up, the second will fill. When the second one is full too, the diverter will switch and water will then go down the gutter into the drain. In case you 'd like to purchase your own rain barrel(s), we got ours at (where we also got our compost bin). YAY! (I think that Nick took these pictures around dusk, which is why the house looks so dingy orange/brown).

This is the "leaf turd" that Nick pulled out of the gutter during the process of connecting the rain barrels. To give you a sense of scale, this thing was about three feet long. We put it into the compost bin.

While Nick was busy installing the rain barrels, I was busy making executive decisions about the yard (hehe). We've been planning to redo our yard ever since we moved in. We've spent months talking and thinking, reading books and seeking the advice of friends in the know. I think I had a bit of a freak out this weekend; I felt overwhelmed by the never ending amount of different ideas we came up with, all of which I liked. Should we put the garden over here or over there? Should the pond be a geometric shape or should it be more natural? Should the path curve to the left or to the right, or should it be straight? I decided to just make a decision, put things where I wanted them, and see what I thought.

So, this is what I ended up with. We had bought several pannels of black medal fencing on sale at Menards. I decided that an arbor would make a nice entrance for the garden area. We were happy to find that the arbor that we had seen several times at Menards was still there, and was even cheaper than before (like $70 bucks). So, here it is folks, the begining of what will be my veggie garden area next year. I'm going to get several more of the square raised beds that you see in the picture. I'm going to also have to move several of the plants once they go dormant. And, of course the dirt pile will be used to fill the raised beds.... oh yeah and the chair is completely random; I dunno why its there. lol! Oh yeah, and we're also going to tear up the existing path and build a new one. hehe!

And finally... just because I find it difficult these days to post pictures to my blog without a picture of kitties... here y'a go. Kitties asleep on the sun porch.