Sunday, July 29, 2007


Heather and I arose bright and early this morning. So early it wasn’t even bright yet. The plan was to walk down to Denny’s for breakfast and return to the hotel in time to pick up the car and be on the road at 5:30 a.m. Well, we didn’t quite meet our deadline, but we were still on our way before 6:00.

We knew that we wanted to arrive at the USS Arizona Memorial well before the opening time of 7:30 a.m. We had also heard from another member of Heather’s program that she had arrived at 6:30 a.m. and been assigned to the ninth tour group. But we decided that arriving at 6:00 a.m. was about all the sacrifice we were willing to make during our vacation. Luckily, even with our actual arrival time of about 6:15 a.m., we were still the first people to arrive. Literally, the very first. As in, people who work there arrived after us.

So, we sat in the car for a few minutes, playing games on our iPods, applying sunscreen, and calling people back home to tell them where we were (it wasn’t rude, it was afternoon there). Within about 15 minutes other cars started to arrive, and when we saw the first tour bus arrive, we knew it was time to get in line.

The early rising paid off. When the park ranger started handing out tickets 45 minutes later, we were in group one. We entered the visitor center and had time for a quick bathroom break before entering the theatre where a 23 minute film about the attack on Pearl Harbor and the memorial is shown. From there it was directly onto the shuttle boat, run by the Navy, which would take us to the memorial.

The boat ride was a somber eight minutes. It is deliberately that long because it took the same length of time for the Arizona to sink following the torpedo hit. Every person aboard the shuttle sat in quiet reverence for the sacrifice made all those years ago by the thousands who died during the attack on Pearl Harbor. And to think that I was, at that moment, gliding through calm waters that were once so memorably disturbed by torpedoes and machine guns was unimaginable.

Our time on the memorial was limited, as we would leave when the next group arrived, so mixed in with the somber mood was an urgency to see as much as we possibly could. A few highlights: The bases of gun turrets still visible above and just below the water.
The flagpole erected so that the USS Arizona would forever fly her country’s colors.

And, of course, the shrine room, where the name of every man killed on the Arizona is listed, in alphabetical order instead of by rank, because no man’s life is worth more than any other.

And when it was time to leave the memorial, I was struck by the feeling that many of us on the shuttle left a piece of our hearts behind with the men still entombed there.

A sobering way to begin the day, but luckily, things cheered quickly with a visit to the USS Bowfin (the Pearl Harbor Avenger she was called as she was launched one year to the day after the attack), a submarine docked nearby. Both Heather and I noted that we could never work on a submarine! I don't think I could rest well knowing that there was a torpedo right below me!

Then it was time for the shuttle bus to the battleship USS Missouri, on the deck of which the formal surrender documents ending World War II were signed.

I felt I would do better on board a battleship than a submarine, but then, we never got further below decks than one level. If I had to go further down than that, I don’t think I’d do well. I was impressed, though, that the crew did have a library on board! (I'm such a nerd.)

We arrived back at our hotel about 3:00, but it felt much later (probably due to the fact that we had been up since about 4:00 a.m.). Heather went to do some shopping while I visited the pool. We met back up later for dinner at the Yardhouse, quite the happening restaurant/bar that played great music.

And now we’re back in the room. Another excursion is planned for tomorrow, but luckily, the alarm won’t be going off quite as early!


Saturday, July 28, 2007

Just Chillin'

Yesterday was the ultimate tourist day. Heather was gone all day, so I enjoyed the amenities of our hotel and surrounding area. First I walked around and made good use of my digital camera, then decided to enjoy the lagoon and pool. Sounds like a fun, relaxing day, and it was.

At least until I gouged a nice cut into my left foot in the lagoon. I didn’t realize I had done it at first. I thought my foot hurt a bit as I was swimming to the front of the lagoon, but it wasn’t until I was drying off that I looked down to see the blood pooling by my foot. But did that stop me from moving on to the hotel pool? Of course not. I had to get in at least a few minutes of prime sunning time.

Later, when I returned to the room to shower, I investigated my injury. Definitely cut and definitely needing some Neosporin, but nothing that I felt required medical treatment. Of course, it did take a couple of days to get all the sand out of it. And I guess I’ll always have the scar to remember my trip to Hawaii!

After getting cleaned up, I ventured out along Ali’i Drive to do a little shopping for souvenirs until Heather got back from her day’s activities. When she did I learned that the entire program plus the spouses and add-ons (like me) would be going to the Kona Brewing Co. for pizza and beer that night. What I didn’t realize until later that night was that her instructor, Chuck, was buying dinner and the first round of drinks! I guess he must make some good money showing people around the Big Island. Oh, and by the way, when in Hawaii, you must sample some of the brews from the Kona Brewing Co. I had the Lilikoi Wheat Ale and it was incredibly yummy. Unfortunately, this particular brew is only available at the brewpubs on the islands, so I guess I won’t get it again for a very long time.

After leaving Kona Brewing Co., we ventured across the street from our hotel to LuLu’s, which appeared to be a happening place. There was more fun to be had at LuLu’s: beverages, dancing, flirting with young men on vacation… ah, good times.

Saturday morning arrived bright and early. Heather wanted to do some shopping and we had lunch plans with a couple from her program before heading to the itty-bitty Kona airport for our flight back to Honolulu. We dropped off the rental car and waited to check in with Hawaiian Airlines. And waited. And waited some more. As Heather put it, “I don’t think I’ve ever been in such a small airport, or such an inefficient one.”

But we finally found our way to Honolulu. And then the adventure began. I don’t think I’m a fan of driving in Honolulu. Far too many one-ways and all the street names seem to start with K, making things a little confusing (this was very much the case on the Big Island, too). Of course, it probably didn’t help that I forgot to pick up a map at the car rental desk..

Eventually, we got a map and located our hotel, but once we did we were exhausted and the best plan we could think of for dinner was the McDonalds that was just a few blocks away. And yet we still got a bit of surprise when the cashier placed the container of fresh cut pineapple on each of our trays. The look Heather and I exchanged was priceless. We both seemed to be wondering, “Were we supposed to specify that we wanted French fries with our value meals?” But no, it seems that McDonalds in Waikiki included pineapple as part of the meal… at least that one did!

And then it was back to the Waikiki Parc for bed as we plan to be up early tomorrow to go to Pearl Harbor. My little history geek nerves are just tingling with excitement!


Friday, July 27, 2007

At Rainbow’s End

Heather’s group loaded up the van at 8:00 yesterday morning while I headed out in the rental car to see the waterfalls. My first stop was Rainbow Falls, primarily known for the rainbows visible at the bottom of the falls if viewed in the morning when the sun is behind you (If you look close, you can see one).
Then I continued on to the Boiling Pots and Pe’epe’e Falls (pronounced Peh-eh Peh-eh). Unfortunately, the current was a bit too calm for the pots to be boiling (they aren’t actually boiling… it’s just the way they look when the current is strong), but the falls were still spectacular.
Next stop was Wai’ale Falls, which showed the massive power that that the current is carrying. All of these falls were within about three miles of our hotel in Hilo. Then I returned to Dolphin Bay to pack up the car. I had Heather’s bags to load in addition to my own because she didn’t really want her luggage strapped to the top of the van for transport (I don’t blame her!). We didn’t want to load them in the car before she left because the parking areas at the falls are notorious for break-ins.

After loading up and checking out, I visited the Pacific Tsunami Museum in Hilo and learned about the devastating tsunamis that have hit Hilo in the past, and the efforts that have been made to reduce the death and destruction should one occur in the future (which they know will happen). Then I had a quick lunch, spotted an out-of-state license plate (I won the license plate game!!), and visited some of the areas that had been wiped out by the tsunamis. One (Lili’uokalani Gardens—named for Queen Lili’uokalani) is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.
Another has made a clock which is stopped at the moment of impact into a monument.
Next was a quick stop to snap a picture of Kamehameha the Great before hitting the road for Kailua-Kona. But the sightseeing wasn’t even close to done. As I drove up Highway 19 along the Hamakua Coast, I made a few more stops. I ventured along the four-mile scenic route, making a stop to view a cove with some crashing waves. Later I took a side road to see the spectacular Akaka Falls and neighboring Kahuna Falls. Finally it was time to begin the two hour drive to the west side of the island. I arrived at the Royal Kona Resort about 5:15, but the rest of the group wasn’t there yet, so I could do nothing but drive around and see where things were until Heather called to tell me they had arrived and I could return to the hotel to check in. We then got cleaned up and met in the lobby at 7:30 so that we could go to the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. for dinner, drinks, and good times.

Exhaustion finally brought us back to the Royal Kona so we could turn in for the night and prepare for another day.


Thursday, July 26, 2007


That is the only word to describe yesterday’s excursion. I again had an opportunity to tag along with Heather’s group for the day. And what a day it was. We drove to the top of Mauna Kea, the world’s tallest volcano (it’s dormant… we’re not crazy!), and then hiked to the very summit (13,796 feet above sea level). On top of the mountain there are multiple observatories looking at everything from astronomy to global warming. We got to go inside of one of them, but didn’t actually get to see a lot because we were there in the daytime and their active time is at night.

But the views… the views were staggering. To be able to look out over the Pacific Ocean and look down on the clouds… unbelievable.

The trip is made slowly due to the change in altitude. The first 6000 feet were hardest for me because we were driving along a winding road (“across the Saddle” between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa). I find as I get older that I am more prone to motion sickness, so I was pretty happy when we stopped every now and then to catch our breaths. Those stops also gave Heather’s group leader a chance to explain things in the landscape. Eventually we headed up the Mauna Kea access road to the visitor information center. Visitors are expected to spend a minimum of a half hour at the visitor center to allow their bodies a chance to adjust (we stayed about an hour and a half… there was a video… and a gift shop). We were a little disturbed to learn that pregnant women and children under 16 should not ascend to the top because the change in altitude, change in pressure, and lower levels of oxygen can actually affect development!

After leaving the visitor information center, we continued up the ten mile road to the top. The first five miles are unpaved… we think to discourage the faint at heart. Then the road is paved again, but still very winding. Luckily, we were forced to travel as speeds slow enough to keep any motion sickness at bay. As along the Saddle Road, we stopped periodically so that Chuck could explain different layers of rock and formations caused by glaciers. We also added layers of clothing at each stop. By the time we reached the top, I wished I had my winter coat and gloves… in Hawaii!!

At the end of the road we gazed out on the amazing view and Chuck pointed out the trail to the top of another peak, explaining that it was the actual summit of Mauna Kea. At that point I was pretty tired from hiking and traveling, but figured that, I’d gone that far, I might as well go all the way.

And then it was time to descend. After another rest at the visitor center, we headed back to Hilo along that winding Saddle Road. I was very happy to see the hotel again! Then Scott, the husband of a program participant and my driver that day drove me out to the airport to pick up our rental car because Thursday (today) was moving day. After dinner at a fabulous Mexican restaurant, we returned to Dolphin Bay (our hotel) to pack up and go to bed.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

“It’s going to be about another 20 minutes. Thanks for your patience.”

In the larger scheme of things, the first day of our trip (Sunday) was pretty uneventful. All of our stress came as a result of a ridiculous delay in Minneapolis. The video system on the plane wasn’t working right, so the technicians were working on it as we boarded. Now, while it is nice to have the video system for an eight hour flight, we probably could have lived without it. I, myself, only used it to watch the plane’s progress along our route and to see what time it was both at home and at our destination (I was too busy reading Harry Potter).

At any rate, it took about 40 minutes to actually fix the video system (with this post’s title for an update every so often… it was always going to be another 20 minutes), and I have no problem waiting that long to have it done. What I did have an issue with was waiting for yet another hour and 20 minutes for the paperwork to get done! I mean, seriously… couldn’t the paperwork have been done en route?

So we got into Honolulu a little late. We managed to make up about 45 minutes in the air, but it wasn’t enough. We were supposed to land at 2:42 local time, but it didn’t happen until 4:15. Kind of a problem since Heather and I were supposed to be on a 4:20 flight to Hilo. I also didn’t want my mom to worry since I had told her I would call her about 9:00 (Eastern Time) when we got to Honolulu. I was already over an hour late in that promise, but I did call her as soon as we could turn cell phones back on to put her mind at ease.

I decided then that I wasn’t going to stress about it. I knew we would get to Hilo sooner or later and I wasn’t going to worry about it. It was pretty important for Heather to get to Hilo Sunday night since her program started at 8:00 a.m. the next day, but I was on vacation! I had no set time table, so I would be okay.

Heather had booked her entire trip together, so she didn’t have to claim her bag and re-check in with Hawaiian Airlines. This allowed her to go directly to her next gate and get on the standby list for the next flight. She ended up getting on the 5:20 flight. I had booked my inter-island flights separately, so I did have to claim my bag and check back in, but I still managed to get on the 6:20 flight.

It was about 8:00 by the time I got to the hotel and I was exhausted. So was Heather. We had both only gotten about two hours of sleep the night before (Heather had to get up at 3:15 to make her first flight) and didn’t sleep a wink on the flight from Minneapolis. It was comical how slap-happy we were from exhaustion and hunger. We ordered a pizza and went to bed about 10:00. But you should keep in mind that it was already 4:00 a.m. back home… which was about the time I had gotten home from the class reunion the previous night. And Heather had been up for almost 25 hours at that point.

And we slept so well, we barely even heard the tiny little tree frogs with the big voices that sound like a relaxation CD.


Monday, July 23, 2007

“Can you GET homeowner’s insurance in a lava plain?”

Today was the first day of Heather’s program and she was scheduled to be gone all day. We both awoke early (around 5:00 a.m.) due to the six hour time difference from home. My plan was to go for a run when she left at 8:00, then do a little reading and exploring, find a grocery store and pick up a little sustenance for our hotel room.

However, I soon had a much better option. Heather returned to the room and asked me if I wanted to go with them to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. There were other “add-ons” who were going to follow the program’s van and there was a spot open in the car. I absolutely wanted to go see the volcanoes (and had actually planned to do so on my own once I pick up our rental car), so I quickly pulled a t-shirt on over my sports bra and threw a few necessary items into my backpack (so glad I decided to pack my old backpack from freshman year of college!).

The day was amazing. I know I can’t fully describe the magnitude of seeing the Kilauea Caldera, the lava tubes, Devil’s Throat Crater, the only tropical rainforest on American soil, or the way the sky glowed over the most recent eruption. We stood on a huge lava plain that had been a town and housing subdivision until the 1990s… the top layer of rock was about two years old. The only thing that kept it from being a perfect day was the absence of flowing lava. The only active lava flow on the island is in areas inaccessible to anyone without a helicopter. There was a couple who had taken a helicopter tour yesterday and they did get to see the lava flow. They said it was incredible.

It was an incredibly long, physically taxing day, but it was well worth it. Even if I had driven out to the national park on my own, there is no way I would have seen many of the things I saw today. Chuck, the man leading Heather’s program took us to areas that I never would have ventured into alone. There were numerous times that we simply pulled to the side of the road and started walking. And there were a great deal of instances where we ignored warning signs and those forbidding entry. And those were the best part!

And I can go to the grocery store tomorrow.


Sunday, July 22, 2007

“I’m still waiting for the naked laps around the port-a-potty”

I’m currently sitting on an airplane*, but more about that later. First I must update on the fun that was my fifteen year high school class reunion.

Originally, the class reunion was to be a pig roast held at the home of one of my former classmates. Unfortunately, there was not a great response by the RSVP deadline, so plans were dialed back to a potluck, but there would still be a party. I knew I was going to go since I would be at Mom and Dad’s that night anyway, and they live only a few minutes away. I was just hoping that a few people that I had been friends with would also be there.

After arriving fashionably late, I chatted with a couple different groups of friends. First was the group that I was friends with because we were all in choir in high school. Then I moved on to a couple girls I was close with in junior high. I had a good time catching up with them, and, before long, my friends Chad and Mark arrived and I spent the vast majority of the rest of the night clowning around with them.

It turned into quite the long night as the bonfire was lit and the drinks continued to flow. Of course there was the perfunctory catching up with classmates (many of which I never knew all that well when I was in school), and lots of inside jokes (including the title of this post). I was told by many that I look very much the same as I did in high school (in a good way) and that it’s almost like I haven’t aged at the same rate as everyone else. I exchanged contact information with a couple of people and I hope that we really will stay in closer contact.

I got home at 4:00 a.m., which made the alarm going off at 6:45 a.m. very unwelcome. I’m hoping I’ll be able to sleep a little during the flight.

*I am on the plane as I type this, but will obviously have to post it later. I’m not sure of my internet access, so it may be a few days!


Saturday, July 21, 2007

It's Hard Work Being a Murderer

Copper may have committed her second murder in a year and a half. The first could have been deemed accidental (how was she to know that chasing that bunny rabbit around the yard might cause him to keel over from stress?), but there is no mistaking this one was cold-blooded murder.

The only thing is... I didn't witness the attack, so I only assume. Her accomplice was the one actually found with the body, but said accomplice is used to baby kitties, so I doubt she is the guilty party. I believe that she was only an accessory after the fact in her attempt to hide the body.

It's my own fault... If I had known there were baby kitties at ground level, I would have been watching her more closely. I keep joking about how the boarding kennel is like doggie prison (as opposed to her crate, which is just doggie jail), but maybe she's headed for incarceration for real!


And We're Off!!

Personally, I think it is a testament to my blogging dedication when I am sitting here typing instead of packing up the Jeep with my suitcases and pet paraphernalia like I should be. I was just afraid that, if I didn't update now, I might not get a chance again for a while. See, in the next hour or so, I will be departing for my parents' house. Tonight is my fifteen year high school class reunion, and tomorrow, I am headed for Hawaii!! I'm really hoping to have at least occasional internet access on my trip or else I will be having some serious withdrawal issues. You probably wouldn't know it from how infrequently I post, but I am majorly addicted to the internet.

At any rate, a brief recap:
  • My iPod chose this week to crash on me. It pretends like it is syncing to the computer when I plug it in, but, when all is said and done, it has no music on it. Or rather, the files are there (because it shows that the correct amount of the hard drive is being used), but it is not recognizing them as music or something. I tried everything to get it to work again, but to no avail. It might be fixable, but I can't spend 20 hours on a plane over the next two weeks and not have my tunes, so I bought a new one yesterday. I can't believe how much money I have spent this month.
  • Speaking of money, at least I avoided this purchase... not that I wanted to. I found the cutest sundress yesterday and it was on sale!! But do you think they had one that fit me? No way. Lots that were one or two sizes too small and one that was a size too big, but none that worked for me. I hate that.
  • I joined the midnight insanity at Barnes and Noble last night to buy my copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I originally intended to just go pick it up this morning, but decided that I would still be up packing anyway and it would save me a trip this morning. I haven't started reading it though due to lack of free time... maybe this afternoon. But for now it is packed in my laptop case and will be cracked open no later than tomorrow morning on my flight to Minneapolis (and then on to Honolulu after I meet up with Heather).
  • Copper is going to have her first boarding kennel experience while I'm gone. She and Coal will be at my parents' house the majority of the time, but Mom and Dad are going to a tractor show next weekend and we don't think she'd handle that kind of stress very well. They take their own dog, but she has gone to them since she was a puppy and is used to them. Copper was a wreck after watching a small town parade a few weeks ago. I'm just glad I'm not the one who has to drop her off there... I think I'd cry!

So, I may be posting next from the Big Island of Hawaii... or Oahu... or my parents' dining room... or maybe right back here at home! Only time will tell.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

It's Amazing What You Find...

I started cleaning the garage today. And, yes, it is a list item, but it's not done yet because I have a large piece of furniture that needs to be removed before I will post pictures. But here's the funny part... Look what I found once I started moving things around (and no, I'm not referring to the My Little Pony paraphernalia... I knew that was there!):

That's right ladies and gentlemen... a full six-pack of lemon flavored Propel water. The date stamped on each bottle is "Feb 27 06" which leads me to believe that it was purchased some time in mid 2005... approximately two years ago. But, hey, it's water, right? I now have it in the refrigerator and I'll try one tomorrow. If it tastes nasty, I'll dump them out, but what have I got to lose?

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Say It Isn't So

I was in Target today doing a little shopping for my upcoming trip when I saw that all the freaking Back to School stuff is out! Already?? It's only mid-July! And we don't start until after Labor Day (by law)! This is just wrong!

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Oh Yeah... The Party

The party (last Saturday) was a lot of fun. A couple people we were expecting didn't show, but it was okay because they weren't people from work and almost everyone who was there was from work. They probably would have felt a little lost anyway. The one person who wasn't from work that did come didn't stay very long. She swore up and down that she was just tired, and I'm sure she was, but I also know that, if she'd been having a good time, she would have stayed longer than an hour. I feel kind of bad about that.

But overall, it was a great time. There was booze, there were snacks, and there was a whole bunch of gossiping over work politics. This allowed us to laugh a lot!

I was concerned that Copper was going to end up in her crate (where she would cry and howl) due to bad behavior, but she actually was pretty well behaved. There were a few who nearly lost the food on their plates because they put it a little too close to the beagle, but I don't think she actually got anything. And, as I had hoped (but didn't actually expect) she only barked at the first couple people to arrive. After that, I think she decided there were too many people to figure out who had been there awhile and who had just arrived. Even Coal ended up coming out of hiding and became social after a while. This surprised me greatly as he is not a fan of crowds. He's a weird enough cat in that, if one or two people are over, he is all over them wanting to be petted, but I didn't imagine him coming out from under the bed the whole night!

Lots of pictures were taken, but, being the paranoid one that I must be, I cannot post them here. It would be kind of a dead giveaway seeing as, not only am I in them, but lots of others from work as well! But those of you who are my MySpace friends can check out the group photo on there if you want.

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

The List--Installment #2

Project #3--Sew Bedroom Curtains

Actually, these have been done for a little over a week. They were on the short list of things that I wanted done before my party last Saturday, and, while most things on the short list still didn't get done, this one did. It only took me ten months after painting the bedroom and buying the fabric!

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Is It Too Much to Ask?

Ever get home from the grocery store and find that you didn't get what you asked for at the deli counter? I mean, I guess it's not a huge deal, but it just annoys me that when I pointed right at the turkey breast that was on sale, I was instead given another brand that cost $2.00 more per pound. Or, at the very least, that's what I was charged for. Guess that will teach me not to check the label before I leave the counter.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Just Beachy

I enjoyed a fantatic day at the beach today. It was absolutely perfect... temperature... sun... water... all fantastic. I even managed to sufficiently cover myself with sunscreen so I'm not in pain from sunburn tonight. If I were to have a complaint, it would only be about the mess of rocks that one must go through in the first several feet of water in order to get to the sandy part of Lake Huron. But, other than that, it was fantastic. A few photos:I'm trying to take more pictures. I used to be really into it, but that was back in the days of film cameras. I know, what an ancient contraption! At any rate, I'm sure I'll have lots of opportunity in Hawaii in a couple of weeks.

And I will leave you with the thought for the day: As we were driving home, I was talking about how I've been putting Copper in her crate when I'm gone again because she's been a little too destructive lately and I found a wet spot on the carpet when I was painting last week. I hadn't been gone very long that day, so I knew she had done it because she was mad at me, not because she couldn't hold it.

Heather's thought: "What if people did that? Peed on your floor when they were mad at you? Imagine (assistant principal's) office."

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

The List--Installment #1

I am a big fan of lists. I have a list of things that have to be done at work (when I'm working, that is). I have a list of regular chores that need to be done at home. And then I have the summer list. This year's list is particularly lengthy since it is my first summer in three years that I actually have time to get some things done around the house. What's really sad though, is that when I pulled the legal pad out of the cupboard to make this year's list, I found last year's list still present... without a single item crossed off. So the items that didn't get accomplished last year were simply added to this year's list

At any rate, I'm pretty proud of having crossed two tasks off my list already this summer! And to celebrate the accomplishment of my tasks, I've decided to chronicle them with photos (before and after, as applicable) as I finish them.

Project #1--Flower Beds

The corners of my backyard are notoriously difficult to mow, so I decided to put in some new flowerbeds. Here is flower bed #1 before:
And here it is after. It doesn't look like much now, but I've planted some perenial seeds, so hopefully it will be pretty next year.

And here is flower bed #2 before:

And after:

Project #2--New Paint in the Living Room

I love the fresh look that new paint brings to a room, so I've been wanting to do the living room almost since I moved in. But the living room is a large room with lots of trim that requires painting right next to the carpet. As much as I wanted the new look, I was really not looking forward to actually doing the work. But, one week after commencing the project, I am thrilled to say that I am done!

Living room before (very before as this photo was actually taken over a year ago when I got the new carpet):And after:

So that's two projects done. I still have many more to go, but most are not as major as painting the living room (thank goodness!). I'm hoping several of them will get done this week as I am having a gathering at my house on Saturday and it would be nice to have my house looking nice when people are over. Here's hoping for the best!

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