Saturday, May 31, 2008


...At least, that's what he thinks.

And, yes, that's his stool. One must have the proper tools for the job.


After.Yes, we call them "mud poodles" because whenever there is mud, a certain poodle will find it and track it into the house.

Over the past 3 years the grass all along the back side of the house has become worn bare by Bailey. See, poodles apparently feel severely abused when put outside by themselves. Every time we put him outside he does his business right away and runs back to the door to be let in. If he is left out, he runs to the windows that you see in the pictures and stands in front of which ever one he can see someone in an attempt to capture our attention and remind us that he is, God forbid, STILL outside. ALONE! So, over the past few years he had worn this area down to dirt patches. It was time to do something about it because when we would use the garden hose or when it rained, this area became a giant muddy mess. And, when Bailey had to go out, where would he run to? Yup, right into the mud.

So, after several hours of backbreaking work and 1 ton of river rock, all fixed now!

Monday, May 26, 2008


For the past several months I've complained that the water heater is dying. Andrew mostly ignored me. You see, the shower he uses daily had one of those crappy, low flow shower heads that barely got you wet enough to wash all the way down to your feet. The shower that I use has a great shower head that claims to be low flow but sure doesn't feel like it. Anyway, Everyday when I began my shower, the water felt nice and hot, but by the time I'd get lathered up I'd have to turn the cold down a little and the hot up a little. By the time I started to wash my hair I'd have to adjust again, and so on. By the end of my shower I'd have the cold water turned all the way off and the hot water full on and I was still standing in barely warm water. Irritating.

After many discussions and having him shower a few times in the shower that I normally use, he agreed that we needed to do something. Mind you, he would never verbally admit it, but all of a sudden one day a new water heater turned up in a box on the family room floor.

We had been discussing what kind of water heater to replace the old one with. The one that was there was a standard, natural gas, 40 gallon monster that was 5 feet tall and about 18 inches in diameter. It took up a huge amount of valuable space in the utility room that we could really use for storage. As he does with most major purchases, Andrew researched it to death. After several months of discussing and research, we came up with this:A tankless, natural gas, highly energy efficient water heater. And, the best thing about it, you NEVER run out of hot water. No, wait, the BEST thing about it is the huge amount of floor space we freed up by not replacing it with the same old 40 gallon tank style water heater. This one mounts on the wall and now we have all that space to use for other things.

Actually, these tankless water heaters have been very popular in Europe for years but are just becoming more popular in the U.S. I'm not sure why it's taken the U.S. so long to introduce these to the general public. They make so much more sense than maintaining an entire 40 gallon tank of water at 120 degrees or hotter 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. With the tankless types, you turn on your hot water faucet and the flow of water through the unit turns on the burner and heats the water to your desired temperature instantly. When you shut of the water, the unit shuts off. I'm really excited to see how much we can save on our natural gas bill!

And, yes, I installed it all myself. I was so proud of myself, I then installed the new water softener right next to it.Yeah, I'm told I'm pretty handy to have around the house. :-)


What's a Memorial Day weekend without a dessert made with fresh strawberries?

Monday, May 19, 2008


So, we got home last Friday evening to find the Rachel Ray garbage bowl in the 3 season room next to our back door. Our friend, Sue had struck again.

Remember, in my last post, when I said "people will buy ANYTHING"? Well, I should have known. Sue already owned one. AND, after reading my post about the stupid Rachel Ray garbage bowl, she thought we needed one too. Go figure.

Surprise #2 for this week...

I came home, walked into the kitchen to see this...
Andrew was in the kitchen, making fish tacos for dinner and USING the garbage bowl! It just goes against all of my principles. I don't know why,'s just so stupid! People with a plethora of bowls already in their cupboards will go out and buy a "special" bowl just for putting their kitchen waste in while cooking, just because it has Rachel Ray's name on it. Gaaaaahhhh!!!!

Thanks Sue. We love it!

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Last weekend when we were in Pella, Iowa for the annual tulip festival, we went into a kitchen store to look around. We normally can't walk by one without stopping.

Now, I know Food Network and HGTV cooking shows are all the rage and I admit, I love them too. I actually do like watching Rachel Ray's cooking show and we TiVo her network show everyday and watch it when she has an interesting guest on. But Rachel Ray tends to really bug me sometimes with her "bubbleyness" and her silly garbage bowl. I've always scoffed at it when she mentions it on her show. What the hell is wrong with a kitchen garbage can? Why do I have to use a "garbage bowl" just because Rachel Ray tells me I should?

So, as we were browsing through the kitchen store last weekend, we saw the bowl pictured above. And, sadly, yes it said "Rachel Ray garbage bowl". You've got to be F****** kidding me! People will buy ANYTHING.

Note to all you unimaginative, Food Network chef wanna be's: Reach into your cupboard, pull out a bowl and call it a garbage bowl. Really, you can wash it later and use it to put food in again. Do you honestly need to buy a bowl, specifically to put your cooking garbage in??

Sunday, May 04, 2008


What a gorgeous day we had today! 70 degrees and sunshine. A perfect day to take a drive to Pella, Iowa to enjoy the final day of the annual tulip festival. ...if only today had actually been the final day of the annual tulip festival.

I must have mis-read the schedule that said this year's festivities were to be May 1st, 2nd & 3rd. I think I assumed that was going to be a Friday, Saturday and Sunday when I read it and made our plans about a month ago. Since we couldn't go on Saturday, I figured we would just spend our Sunday walking amongst the beautiful, multicolored tulips which were in full bloom, and sampling some mouthwatering dutch baked goods from the bakery on the town square.

This morning at about 9am Andrew, Robin and I packed a picnic lunch and started out on our 2 hour trek to Pella. As you can see, Robin was pretty excited about going. Here's a picture of Robin in the backseat of Andrew's new car as we're heading into Pella.

A short few hours later we rolled into Pella. This park, complete with windmill is right on Main street as you drive into Pella from the North.
Being a town with a strong Dutch history, You'll see a windmill at every turn through town.
This is the visitor's information center in the town square.And this is the largest, working Dutch windmill in the United States. Right in downtown Pella, Iowa. 135 feet to the top.Even with very few of the shops open and the street vendors all gone home, we still had a great day. We enjoyed our picnic lunch sitting on the benches in this wonderful little alleyway we found just a half block from the town square.After our picnic lunch, we headed over to this ice cream shop that we saw on our way into town earlier. (Well, we didn't get any of the goodies from the CLOSED bakery. Jeesh) By the way, does anyone know how to pronounce the name of this place?
I'll leave you with a few shots of some of Pella's beautiful buildings. I tend to take a lot of pictures of architecture because that's what really interests me.


I know the feeling.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


I know the feeling!