Sunday, June 28, 2009

MORE Gardeny Goodness!

Remember this post from a few weeks ago? Well, we've had a really cool and rainy June this year, and our plants haven't minded one bit....




My zinnias are going to take over the building soon. If you never hear from me again, assume I've been strangled to death by one of these guys!

We're also going to have flowers soon! A few of my zinnias are budding!

And Graham's pot of wildflowers and native grasses are pretty large and in charge here....


Oh, and our tomatoes are doing reeeeeeeeeeeeeally well....


We've got tomato flowers!!!! We'll have vegetables soon enough, my friends.


Graham's marigolds are finally starting to bloom! We struggled with them early on this year, and they've finally figured out that the roots go down and the stems go up. Way to be, flowers. Way to be!


My herb "garden" is doing really, really well, too. I've been able to harvest some basil, and I'll be using my sage, dill, and parsley really soon, too. The pot in the foreground has been struggling, some, but my chives and the other herbs are doing okay despite the rain and oppressive humidity.


Our garden is really taking off! I'm really impressed with all we've accomplished so far this summer. I can't wait to use some of our tomatoes.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Kim & Ken Get Married

On June 13th, Graham's cousin Kim married her boyfriend Ken. It was a gorgeous day and a beautiful ceremony. It was the first wedding in the family since ours, so it was wonderful to be able to celebrate with everyone again, and I must say it was great to not be on display like before. I loved my wedding dress, but I loved just being able to sit back and enjoy the party, too.


Kim & Ken say their vows....awww....



Graham's cousin Craig pulls together a mean outfit for a wedding!


Obligatory photo of us from the day.

Overall it was a great day. I love to dance, so being able to dance at the wedding and "get down with my bad self" was really fun. Now I can't wait for Brian and Robyn's wedding later this summer!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

States We've Visited



Together we're not terribly well-traveled, but on our own we've each been to a number of different states. I took this little "quiz" last night and found out I've been to 27/50 states, which is roughly 52%.

Hopefully we'll add more to our list in the next year. We're talking about a trip to a few different states next summer, especially to places neither of us have ever been. It's a great opportunity for us to travel now--no kids--and visit places and do things our future spawn won't want to visit and do. Let's face it, I love me some wineries, but I have a *feeling* a 6-year old will want to spend time in Florida with Mickey over time with me in the tasting room.

We're not big travelers, but we love traveling together. We're good traveling buddies, or "exit buddies". I can't wait to add more memories to our life together.

And, for all Graham's fans on facebook, this really just means more albums and captions to look forward to!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Worms!


Angie has given me permission to buy red worms for composting in our apartment. To the left you can see a picture of the little guys before they were put into their new home. Let me explain the process.
We got an 18 gallon Rubbermaid container, which I had to rinse out and then drill a bunch of air holes. Next I shredded approximately two newspapers (no glossy sales ads) and wet them down until they had the feel of a squeezed out sponge. Finally, I fluffed the newspaper and added the worms.
As we have gone along, I also learned to add a layer of dry paper to the top. The worms are used to having a larger cruising area (they came from a worm farm in McHenry County, so they are accustomed to more space), hence they kept crawling up the sides of the bin. By adding the dry paper, the worms are discouraged from climbing the bin.
Finally, we have also fed them a couple of times. Banana seems to be a popular dish. We have also given them coffee grounds, water chestnuts, green beans, tomato, spinach, lettuce, and bamboo shoots. We can basically feed them scraps from any fruit or vegetable product, as well as coffee and tea. We can put newspaper in there, too, as well as egg shells and breads. Big no-nos include meats, bones, fish, dairy products, glossy paper, and anything greasy or overly processed. The goal is to produce are own compost/fertilizer using the worms, and it should take about two months. We also will be producing less garbage.
Oh, it is also a really cool conversation piece, even if it means we have to get a kitty someday now.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

You can call him Mr. T

After our fish Prince died, we had to let his former home filter for about a week to clean our all the impurities he so graciously left behind. Saturday morning, Graham suggested we go get a fish to live in the tank. I figured, why not?

After a brief visit holding and squeezing the cats up for adoption at Petsmart, we decided on this lovely little red guy. We've had a few betas but they've all been blue. This little red guy spoke to me (figuratively speaking, of course) and he's a great addition to our fishy family. It's nice to have a red fish for a change,

We decided on the name Tolstoy for our fish. Why? Well, when I looked at him the first time, I thought, "He looks like a Tolstoy." Graham likes that we picked a Russian name for our Red fish. While Tolstoy wasn't exactly a communist, I have to admit...it's growing on me.


He's an entertaining little swimmer. I'd forgotten how much fun it can be to watch a beta swimming around in its tank, especially after Prince got sick and didn't much feel like moving. After 2 days with us, Tolstoy is still swimming around and seems to be enjoying his new home. Let's hope it stays that way!

Spiffin' Up The Place

This weekend, my good friend Liz came in to visit me (okay, and her mom) all the way from Honolulu. Liz is married to Avery, and Avery's in the Navy. They're stationed at Pearl Harbor. Tough gig, eh?

Liz & I at her wedding in December.

A few months ago, I was on the phone with Liz and she was telling me that she misses the mainland more often than she thought, and that particular week being so far from home was really getting to her. (What? You mean being stuck on an island in the middle of the Pacific doesn't scream 'heavenly'?) Liz said that she missed Illinois and really wished she could make it home for a week, but she and Avery just couldn't afford the trip. Then, about 2 hours later, Liz wrote on my facebook page, "I just booked my flight home for June!" It turns out that she called her mom right after our conversation ended and she found a really cheap flight to Chicago! I was beyond excited to see her again. College made visiting one another quite easy--just a quick trip downstairs to say hello. I saw Liz briefly last spring, and then it was another 8 months before we flew to Honolulu for her wedding. Once we left, we didn't know when we were going to see one another again. It was a great surprise and a wonderful visit to look forward to!

Liz came to visit us at home yesterday. I was fine with meeting her in the middle, but she said, "No, you came to Honolulu. I owe you a visit to YOUR home." So she drove the hour down from O'Hare to visit. We had a great time! We ordered pizza and played Trivial Pursuit (Graham won) and just caught up on life. She looks good, and it was wonderful to see her.

Another great thing about her visit is that we got to deep clean our apartment. It's normally pretty clean but we needed to spiff it up anyway, and this was a good reason to scrub behind the toilet and straighten up. :-) In addition to cleaning up, we also got some special photos framed and hung up. For my birthday gift, Graham let me pick my favorite photos from our trip to Hawaii and got them framed. It was such a difficult decision! I had a really hard time narrowing it down! I chose 5 photos and I kept changing my mind once I "made my decision."

We also had a painting framed. We picked this up on our second to last day in Maui. There was an art fair being held under the Banyan tree on Front Street, and we were both drawn in by the work of "D. Marie" (Her name's Dorothy). We picked a painting and since we returned I've been dying to get it framed and hung up. We dropped everything off at the store last week and finally got them back earlier this week. Right now, the painting is in our living room.

Painting of a waterfall on the road to Hana.

The 5 photos are currently in the bathroom. We've got a beach theme going on in there and these compliment the bathroom really well. It also gives our guests something to look at (as opposed to staring at the dirty floor).


You'll have to pretend the glare isn't there....I took the photos at night and couldn't avoid the flash from the camera.

I'm really glad we got them framed and now that they're hung up, it helps make the place look a little more settled. The photos definitely add some character to the restroom, and the painting helps fill in a large gap on the wall in the living room. Now we just need to add some photos from a few weddings we have coming up and we're all set!

Gardeny Goodness

Remember these stringy little guys?



Well, as of earlier this week my zinnias are still hardy and strong!


Our tomatoes are doing well, too!




This year we planted Patio and Tiny Tim tomatoes, as they're supposed to fare better in small containers. So far, so good! We also planted some parsley with the tomatoes, as the parsley is supposed to promote growth for the tomatoes, and then the tomatoes return the favor.



Graham's also experimenting with some wildflower seeds we got from our visit to Midwein. Nothing's blooming yet, but they're doing well despite all the rain.



And finally, some petunias we got from my in-laws. They had some leftover flowers, and my Moss Rose and Poppies just weren't digging the garden thing this year (Aaaaaand, rimshot!) They're looking good and they seem to like hanging out on the balcony. (I kill me, I really do!)



It's been raining a lot lately, and as soon as the rain stops and the sun comes out, our plants take off like crazy! I'm almost afraid what the next week will do to my zinnias!