Tuesday, April 28, 2009


The weekend before last, Kenna and I drove to Maryland to hang out with Leah and Tricia before a speaking engagement that I had at my alma mater last Monday. The highlight of the trip was a Sunday afternoon Nationals game that I attended with Leah. I love baseball. I don't enjoy watching games on TV, but I love to go to live games. Neither of us had ever been to a Nationals game before, so on a lovely spring afternoon, we headed over to the Navy Yard for a game against the Florida Marlins.

The Nationals may not be the best team in the league, but they have an awesome stadium:

I wonder if Father of Ken could do something similar with his yard? Perhaps a "C" instead of a "W"?

Our seats were below the press box (in red below):

We were in the section in the middle of this picture, in the second row back:

It's always fun to see what kinds of creative things teams come up with to entertain the crowd between innings. The Nationals have a "Presidential Race." This is the Geico Gecko waiting at the finish line with the team mascot:

Teddy Roosevelt and George Washington running:

George Washington won, but later John Adams and Abraham Lincoln raced and Lincoln won, I think. Here George Washington and T. R. have a little "exchange:"

One cool thing about the stadium is that they have scores from all of the other baseball games that are going on at the same time. The Pirates weren't doing so well that day, but the Royals were!

The stadium design allows for almost 365 degree views, so here's a shot taken from behind the outfield:

It was a fun game. When we left, the Nationals were ahead 3-2 at the top of the ninth inning. Unfortunately, all hell broke loose as soon as we got on the metro and we later learned that the Marlins scored seven runs in the ninth inning. This resulted in three of the Nationals' relief pitchers being demoted. I'm kind of glad that we weren't there for that part.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Heat of the Moment

I apologize, gentle readers, for my absence from blogging lately. I have a few things up my sleeve, but I wanted to start with a special blog dedicated to my Grambi, who I thought would like to see pictures of all of the work that I did in the yard this weekend. Yesterday it was 91 degrees at my house--it hasn't been that hot here on April 25th since 1915, when it was 85 degrees. Since it was cold until Thursday, we were ready to get out into the sunshine. Kenna and I got up early after Bill the Yard Guy called and woke us up. After a big breakfast, we got to work.

I don't enjoy yard work as a general rule because of the many creatures (including birds and insects) that exist in nature, so I plied Kenna with bacon grease in an effort to persuade her to protect me from nature. Instead of helping, she found a patch of sun:
After she refused to help me pick up and haul the branches and twigs from the yard, I got out my trusty Radio Flyer wagon:

Pretty yard and creek:

Kenna sniffing around for something disgusting in which to roll:

The part of the creek just above the waterfall--we saw a really cute St. Bernard splashing in the water earlier in the morning:

Kenna running in the yard:

After we cleaned up the branches and twigs, I put all of the stuff that was on the porch in the sand pit so that I could clean it:

While that was drying, I set up my little greenhouse. I am attempting to grow some plants from seeds, so here goes...

I already had the greenhouse thing from last year, which was a failure because I forgot to water the seedlings. Must remember to do that this year... I bought new peat pellets and put them into the tray:

Following the directions, I poured warm water over them so that they would expand:

Once they had expanded, I pulled the netting back to expose the soil.

A close shot of the pellets with seeds planted:

I had ten rows of five, so I planted ten different kinds of seeds: lime basil, sweet basil, garlic chives, Italian parsley, impatiens, geraniums, petunias, alyssum, moon flowers, and ocean pearls. I labeled each row after learning last year that it was hard to tell which sprouts belonged to which plants.

Top on, greenhouse complete. This usually lives on top of Kenna's "room" because it has to be in a warm place without direct sunlight. She is, of course, thrilled to be in charge of the seedlings.

Next, I wanted to replant my window boxes. I emptied all of the old dead pansies from all four boxes and filled them with fresh soil.

I found some gorgeous violas at Home Depot on Friday--these are the "babyface sorbet" variety. Pansies and violas are my favorite flowers and I usually don't plant them in the spring, but I'm hoping that New York weather will be cool enough for them to last until mid summer at least. If you plant them in the spring in Kansas, they wilt to nothing by June because it is just too hot for them. Aren't they pretty?

Planted window boxes:

After I put the window boxes back, it was time to clean the porch floor. Here's what it looked like when I started:

While the porch dried (photos later in the post), I washed the car. If this doesn't prove that I am the spawn of Father of Ken, I don't know what does. As soon as I possibly can, I like to get out my car washing equipment and wash the whole thing by hand. This is no ordinary washing--I scrub everything from the moon roof to the wheel wells and I might have a toothbrush to clean some of the smaller parts... Father of Ken is way more hardcore than me, though. He has a car washing station in his garage. What can I say? I learned from the best.

While I washed the car, Kenna enjoyed some fresh hose water in her bowl. She hasn't shed her winter coat yet, so she was pretty hot yesterday. I tried to make sure that she had plenty of water all day and hose water is a particular favorite.

Back to the porch, where I put all of the rugs and furniture back once the floor was dry. I also planted some violas in small pots to put around the porch because I bought WAY more violas than I needed for the window boxes. They were just so pretty, I couldn't resist.

Details of some of the flowers:

The front porch with my new clearance rug from Home Depot:

The violas by the mailbox:

My mail person does not care for the planter near the mailbox, but as the daughter of Father of Ken, I do everything in my power to stick it to the US Postal Service. This is my contribution--nasty notes from the post lady be damned!

You can kind of see the violas in the window boxes, but I hope they get taller soon:

Out in the yard, I have some random bulbs popping up, including these grape hyacinth:

This one came up in the middle of the yard all by itself:

More window boxes:

I moved my fire wood and stacked it neatly--check out this feat of engineering, Father of Ken!

I worked for about six hours total in the intense heat with no breeze, so when I was done, I drank almost an entire glass of lemonade. Leah will be so proud!

I was glad that I got so much done in one day since I really don't like yard work. I would rather do it all at once than drag it out, so the six Tylenol that I had to take last night were worth it.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Waiting for a Girl Like You

My phone rang at 7:00 on Saturday morning. No one calls me that early unless there is an emergency. Well, no one who knows me, that is. It was Lowe's, calling me to apologize for the trouble that they had given me yesterday (after I gave them the online feedback that they requested at the bottom of my receipt). They wanted to know if they could bring my new refrigerator between 9:00 and noon and, of course, I said that they could and thanked them for calling.

Then came the hard part. I had to drag myself out of bed at that ungodly hour of the day. McKenna refused to get up and stayed in bed for another hour, when she smelled bacon cooking. After making a yummy breakfast of strawberry muffins, bacon, and Puerto Rican coffee, I moved things out of the way in preparation for the arrival of the new refrigerator. And then I waited. And waited. And waited. Right at noon, the delivery guys pulled up to the house. The Offensive Beast had spent its last night in my house:
They brought the New Girl in and then began to work on removing the Offensive Beast. I wanted to die when they pulled it away from the wall. The Disgustingtons strike again. Imagine how much dirt is under the average refrigerator and then multiply that by about 100--that's how much crap was under this thing. Besides your basic dust and dirt, there were three pens, a Sharpie, a magnet, part of a phone book, some receipts, and a wadded up extension cord. So, I got to work with the shop vac and cleaned up as much as I could. I was going to just live with the rest of the dirt, but I was just too grossed out, so I told the guys that I wanted to mop quickly and started scrubbing. I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed until my mop head was in shreds and by then it was reasonably clean.

Then, they rolled the New Girl into place:

While the New Girl cooled down, I ran into town to get a new mop head so that I could finish cleaning the floor and to pick up some other things. When I got home, I made myself a Lemon Drop before I started cleaning.

I washed the New Girl inside and out with a Magic Eraser and a mild detergent solution. Isn't she pretty?

By then, things were fairly cool, so I started moving things from the little refrigerator into the New Girl:

I cleaned the kitchen from top to bottom and put the magnets on the New Girl:

The tablecloth is new--Mother of Ken sent it to me this week and it is so pretty.

Finally, life is back to normal in the Ken and McKenna household. After a trip to the grocery store, the New Girl will be full of good food. McKenna has claimed the tiny refrigerator as her own. She plans to keep scraps and bacon grease in there.

Happy Easter to all of my gentle readers. McKenna and I are celebrating our 100th post with Lemon Drops chilled in the New Girl.