Thursday, October 7, 2010

How to make a lawn look pretty

Walnut grove, where we live, is a charming neighborhood. Many proud homeowners take serious the task of keeping the community nice looking, that can present some pressure.

Since moving to a house in North Augusta I have been conflicted about very few things. Most projects I am ready and willing to do on my own, or at least try. Well, the lawn (isn't that such an awful word) has been a point of contention. Meg and I have the sweetest friends in our neighborhood, really our best friends. Both offered us the use of their lawnmowers and other yard maintenance equipment (whatever that means) to tackle the task- safe to say the yards are big.
I wish I could say I feeling positive, motivated, even excited for a chance to make my back and front yard look good. But I wasn't. Meg was like, oh yea, this is no problem, we can take of the yard, easy. So I put on my big girl pants, referred to my "I can do anything" attitude and tried. Twice. 2 times, I went out into my yard and pushed a lawnmower, used a hedge trimmer (and did not have to go to the ER), weeded, edged and all that jazz. It look good, but it was soooooo hard. Meg "did" the lawn like 3 other times (by herself!) outside of the above mentioned (yea I did not do any of that work alone) and the poor kid was aching for days.

I became more negative each time. There was one time we went to Lowes, looking for mulch...I did not know what that even was until I moved to the south. The lady helping us looked at me like an idiot when I asked which mulch was better....I mean clearly there is a quality difference right? Whatever, I think she was just floored that I was doing any kind of manual labor. That was strike one.
Did I mention every time we would go out to "mow" it would start to rain, like thunderstorm rain...thus leading to rescheduling and more frustration. Strike two.
Then I had a day off of work so I felt the need to be productive. Our lawn was on the verge of being protested by neighbors so I decided to mow. Well half way through the front yard the mower was shutting off (there was gas, I checked). I kept restarting it (which is hard work) and after a few speed bumps and uneven patches, it was "mowed". I finished my work by breaking the weed eater...strike three. I was sweating, I was practically crying, I vowed NEVER to do that again!

Oy vey.....The other day I was crying to my neighbor about how much I hated mowing the lawn and he was like oh, I have this guy I will send him over. I obliged.
I thought he would send him over to talk, nope. Friday I pull into my drive way and almost drive through my garage door. My lawn look like God himself waved a wand and gave me a new lawn. Was I in the right driveway? Turns out neighbor sent lawn guy over to just go ahead and cut it, he would take care of the first bill. I know this might seem offensive to some, like wow, that was presumptuous....not to me, I was oh so grateful.

Yesterday Meg and I met with the lawn god....I mean guy, Oscar. I told him of our plights and constricted budget. He told us all about Bermuda grass and crap grass control (whatever that is....I really don't care). I loved him. He is my new best friend. HE will be in charge of the lawn....I think when a professional is doing it, we call it landscaping. Bottom line, I would rather never have starbucks again and eat ramen noodles 5 days a week and spend the money to hire someone, than ever PUSH a lawnmower myself.

There you have it, I did it myself, and then I realized I suck (and Megan cannot do it alone) I hired someone else. Can't say I didn't try.

Commencement Part One

So I randomly came across a bookclub on a blog! Brilliant, so because I have so much free time I joined. I have always wanted to part of a book club or start one, but to no avail. Anyway, I am excited and the book they are reading is Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan. I even went to the library and checked it out; how frugal of me...
Here are my responses to the first round of questions.

1. Which girl do you identify the most with?

I feel like I can identify with a small part of each of them. April with her extreme thoughts and crazy efforts to make a difference. Celia, because I too was very homesick in college; also very lucky that my parents were still married. Maybe not so much like Sally, but I can identify some of my best friends to be like her. I think mostly Bree is who I can identify with. She came in with a plan, so set with a future based on morals and family values--then BAM she became different than expected. SO different that it may have alienated some people in her life.

2. If you're a college student or graduate, what similarities or differences do you see between this story to your own college experience?
This story is not too far from my own college experience. Although I went to co-ed school, it was small, private, and surrounded by nothing. My best friends, the four of us are still very close....despite our differences. I am reading this feeling nostalgic and missing those days. For every college memory the characters share I am reminded of so many of my own.

3. Which girl do you think has changed the most since her time in college? In what ways has she changed?
I am inclined to answer Bree, there is a lot of change that has happened. Still more to come (I cannot wait for part 2). I also think Sally has come a long way. The death of her mother is still lingering, dealing with that grief in different stages can be associated with how she demonstrates change in her life.

This book has been such an easy read...on the surface like so many plots but with some reflection there is so much more to the characters. The girls are easy to identify and bring up friendships of your own. I can't wait to see what will come of the girls in part 2.
I wonder if anyone else reading can identify so easy? I hypothesize my connection to being the age which the characters are in part one; 4 years post undergrad.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Carmel Frappicino

(hi, mom)
I am in mourning. I think I might spend less money at Starbucks because of this DIY. First, I have a philosophy, if you are going to be late to something (which I often am) at least make sure you have a Starbucks in your hand.

I realized, why I was even thinking this way I don't know, that if I go to SBX (starbucks) 3xs a week that is $15 a week, $60 a month, and $720 a year. Wait let me check my math, yea $720 a year. HOLY CRAP! That is alot of money and alot of calories. And lets be honest, I go more than 3xs a week. I am torn. I love those perfectly crafted carmel and coffee yummies-- lets not forget about that whip cream. Anyway, I am not saying I will eliminate them from my life; but it cannot be a morning ritual. So I did what anyone in coffee cost crisis would do....I googled (and I quote) "How to make a carmel frappicino"lo and behold-- saved my life. I followed the recipe. And because people in crisis need specific direction, the website even included a video. Well I read the directions but I would like to say I used them as a guide. Their recipe makes one serving, like a tall frapp. I thought I could save time by buling it up some. SO here is what I did.

I made a pot of coffee, strong coffee. Like 4 TBS of coffee to 6 cups (on the pot) of water.

Put the coffee in a pitcher, added 12-14 TBS of sugar (there is probably a better mesasurement for that). 1 TBS of vanilla extract.

I let it chill in the fridge overnight, becasue of course my idea became reality around 10pm....and we all know I DO NOT need coffee that late at night.

In the morning, I put 2 Cups of the mix (aka coffee and a lot of sugar), 1 cup of milk, and a bit of carmel sundae sauce, oh and a splash of vanilla extract---and 1.5 cups of ice (the crushed kind from my fridge door).

And a blender of course. This is NOT a fancy blender, more like $12 bucks from walmart, it was probably a hand me down because I don't remember buying it. The point is you don't need a fancy starbucks quality blender.

Then I poured it into a recycled SBX cup (I am going for the placebo effect). The result is magnificent. Seriously, I was very proud.....pretty dang close to the real thing.

I am not saying this is an equal substitute, but I will do it again. I mean just think of the benefits. Maybe now I wont be late as often, most common late excuse--long SBX line. Most importantly think of all the clothes I can buy with $720 a year :)


Hi mom.

I feel like I need an preface- an intro, if you will...
When I was in college my friend Tara (no last name, I want to respect confidentiality) made a comment that blogs are just the thing our narcissistic society needs, a soapbox to stand on, shout their every thought and opinion.
Shes right.
With that said, I need no assistance to get on to my box. Although, I am hopeful someone might read this, I am completely content with my mom being the only reader. And like Dr. Taylor said, "You are only special to your mama." So no pressure mom, but I expect you to read and comment like it is part of your religion. I am not worried, I am sure you will.
In case I am wrong (which mom, I am banking on not being wrong, so do as previously instructed) I would like to also add, this will be a documentation source for my projects, kind of like a journal. I mean I have journals at home, but I tend to lose things and this is on the Internet I don't think I can lose it here.
On to the purpose of this thing, I want to see if I can do things myself or if things are worth outsourcing. Eh, I have more reasons: I like lists--its like the best excuse not to care about proper grammar, so here is a list of my deepest aspirations for this grand piece of literature:
1. I love projects, I don't know when this love happened. Maybe it was Ikea, you know you have to build your own furniture.
2. I love creativity. I oh and ah at every original design I see--then I say to myself, I think I can do that too.
3. I love to save money. No really, I love to spend money, but I seldom (I want to say never but that is an unfair word) buy anything full price. DIY projects are my attempt to "save" money.
4. I love the phrase: Why do it yourself when you can just pay someone to do it for you. Sounds contrary to my blog eh? Well lets attend to the latter part of that statement: "pay someone to do it"...typically involves money and a lot of it. Refer back to #3.
5. I love my parents: they have shaped me into a real Millennial kid. I can hear it now, "You can do anything you put your mind to"
6. I love the south: there I said it. I feel like that is gonna backfire on me. But really, the pace of life here is much more, there is a word I am thinking of.....ha... Conducive to free time. You know what they say about idle time...
7. I love the Internet: There is no limit. I am in a love/hate relationship with my iPhone (I like to call it my can do everything). Seriously if I have a question I google it on my phone. So, if I want to make my own deck or Carmel Frappicino I am sure I can find out how to online.
8. I love sharing: no really I do...whats yours is mine. I want people (especially independent myself) to know you can do it too. I mean really I am average; I have no background to support any experience in half the crap I try to pull off. I am however, confident of my "winging it" skills....that is thanks to my pops, Tom always said, "Dazzle 'em with brillance, or baffle 'em with B.S." Good advice, useful in all things.
A little more on #8. It really is the attitude you approach situations with that determine the outcome. In college, I convinced people I could cut and color hair (I even charged). Before I cancel all of my credibility. I will end here.
I suck at consistency, but man I am honest. I will probably forget about this blog. Cross your fingers (mom) that I don't.