Monday, May 27, 2019

Holiday Fire Pit Views

Happy Memorial Day, everyone.  Though today is rainy, the last two days have been wonderful.  I did as I said and sat by the fire last night.  I also took lots of pictures because I just enjoy taking pictures and I'm still loving the fire pit.  Sit a spell, enjoy the view.  Wish you were here!

Panoramic view makes the yard look bigger.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Plant Day 2019

Yesterday was our annual 'Plant Day,' the day we get plants and fill pots.  Normally I do this on my own, but my wife helped this year so we got it done faster than usual.  And more hands was certainly a big help when potting.  We filled the stump with pots, planted several different ones in the big planter out front, and got the usual two hanging pots, one for by the front door and one for the back.  We only planted one perennial, out front by the stairs, coral bells or something, and the hanging plant for out front is a smaller one this year.  I liked the clean look of the smaller white pot and simple yellow flowers.  On the other side of the stairs out front we decided to, sometime this summer, dig up the bulbs that are there and return the area to lawn.  The soil and lack of sun just aren't ideal for flowers and we find it rather unnecessary at this time.

We've had two beautiful days in a row (for a change), but tomorrow will bring scattered showers and storms again so the time was now.  I wanted to get this done when I was on vacation but that never happened, mostly due to the cool, wet weather at the time.  I think we got a good selection and we look forward to watching them grow.  Oh, my wife also got a couple pepper plants and some herbs for the garden.  We may not be the best gardeners, but we haven't given up!  The garden blog is a different story.  I just don't have the time or energy to keep up a separate blog for the garden stuff, so if I post anything about the garden from now on, it will be here.

Soon I'll post a full yard tour because I want to show more than just the potted plants, I just don't want to take the time tonight, honestly.  And I have work to do on those plants yet.  The arborvitae out front really took a hit over winter and are looking pretty shabby, and the burning bush out back did not come back this year.  It was very old and very overgrown, and only has a smattering of leaves this spring.  I'll have to take the chainsaw to it eventually, and it will seem very bare there until we replace it with something.  My wife has suggested a lilac as our other lilac is also a very old bush and this could happen to it any year now and we wouldn't be surprised.  There's only a couple blooms on it this spring, I think.

Not sure what else to say but I wanted to get this posted sooner than later.  Right after I post this I'll be going outside and sitting by the fire pit and watch the day fade into night.  Maybe I'll try posting a fire pit picture from my phone, or maybe not.  I also want to post about the cats soon, just to explain further how they have been getting along and how we've been trying to get things back to normal after Basil's surgery and all that comes with that.  Plus, cat pictures are cute!

A few more interesting pics from yesterday after the break.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Vacation Wrap-Up

It was nice while it lasted.  Tomorrow morning I will be getting up at stupid o'clock and going back to work.  But I still have today.

Since my last post I've gotten a few things done, but not much as my back required me to take it easy for a few days.  And the weather this second half of the week has been much cooler and wetter than I had hoped for.  I never did get out on the bike, which disappoints me, but we've had a rather cool and wet spring overall with just a few very nice days here and there.  Even today they're calling for rain most of the day so I'll be mostly staying in and catching up on videos and articles that I never seem to be current with.

Friday afternoon I tested my back and knees by walking to our local bar to have a few drinks, and my wife would show up after work and pick me up.  On the way I got a picture of Starkweather Creek at the end of the block, picture taken from the Milwaukee Street bridge.  The water is a bit high as you can only see the top layer of rocks along the side (at the end of our street, further up from this bridge view), and a check on the lake levels shows all 4 lakes at (what is currently set as) the summer maximum.  I've not heard anything about the lake levels lately, but they need to be lowered to prevent flooding issues like we had last year.  Unfortunately, it seems we may not have learned a thing from it.

Also during the walk I passed more community gardens along the railroad tracks.  There doesn't seem to be much activity yet, I'm sure due to the cool, wet spring so far.  We are behind compared to last year.  I hope we still have some time with moderate weather, rather than go straight from heating to air conditioning.  Open window weather is very nice, and we've only had a few opportunities so far this year.  After the walk we grilled out brats and I must have been in a picture taking mood as I took pictures of flowers and some of the trees over us.  I'll include some after the break, along with another picture of the cats, this time they're getting tall on the back of the computer chair.

Yesterday my wife and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary.  I had also planned on getting plants, but sleeping in late and a dreary day and forecast postponed those plans.  Also, recently it occurred to me that I have an acquaintance of over 30 years that owns a jewelry store, so I got my wife a rather nice anniversary gift and we went out for a nice dinner at a more upscale restaurant in town.  I know being married to me can't be easy, but I do try and I love my wife very much.  Cheers to you, Kate!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Vacation So Far

So far it's been a good vacation, mainly because I've not had to go to work, but also because I've been getting lots of things done.  And that's despite coming down with a pretty nasty cold on Friday.  I didn't do much Saturday or Sunday other than lay around and be sick, but I steeled myself and powered through it on Monday and Tuesday, and finally started feeling like myself again yesterday.

First project was getting the basement steps painted, and it took two days because I did it in halves.  If anyone knows a better way I'm willing to listen for next time, but no, I did not feel every other step made sense as I know I would step on one I shouldn't while it was drying.  They had to be painted last at least several years before we bought the house, and we've been here 10 years now (yesterday).  I knew I wanted to paint them but didn't know how badly it was needed until I saw the side by side.  Drying time was mostly while the cats napped so there were no issues with them wanting downstairs.  I had a baby gate to keep them out and a temporary litter box upstairs if needed.

Aside from the stairs, I power washed and water sealed the back steps, washed and waxed the car, got lumber and hardware for the cat box area and did a plethora of smaller projects and tasks around the house that either needed to be done or I wanted done.  It feels good to mark things off my list, but unfortunately there's still just as much on the list as I've crossed off of it.  Mostly things that are not urgent and will not get done this week but I do want to keep them on my radar.

Yesterday evening my Mom and her husband Dan came up to see us.  It was a beautiful day yesterday, maybe the warmest day of the year so far as it made it up to the low 70's F.  We spent the hours around the fire pit talking and ordered out pizza and ice cream for dinner.  It was very nice to see them - and finally exchange Christmas gifts!  Yes, it had been too long as we didn't make it down there on Easter.  Thankfully, both seem very well and happy and it was a very nice visit.

Today is a different story.  I got a few things done early, then the rain moved in.  It should be gone by midday easily though there is a chance for more later in the afternoon.  In between the rains it's supposed to get even warmer today, into the upper 70's F, and my guess is it will also be very humid.  That leaves me to do a few inside chores today, but also a lot of resting as all the early week projects have left my back needing a break.  I've had some issues with my back recently, but thankfully not near as as bad as this time last year when I thought I'd be getting another surgery.

Tomorrow and the weekend looks like a few more showers expected, but hopefully I can get some more things done.  I don't plan on any projects over the weekend other than my wife and I want to get plants and fill pots on Saturday.  I've always enjoyed my spring 'plant day,' but it does get to be a little much so it will be nice having her help.  There are a couple other things planned, as well, but that's for a different post.

There's some more pictures after the break - with a little bit of captioning. ;)

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Latest LIVE Listening Pleasure 34 - Buckethead

In keeping with my resolve since I turned 50 to get out and see more live music from touring acts that I would enjoy, I went out Tuesday night to the Majestic Theater to see Buckethead perform.  Buckethead is a very respected guitar player who has made several lists such as top ten shredders and top 25 weirdest guitarists, among others.  He has performed with many other acts but is probably best known as being a guitar player in Guns and Roses from 2000 to 2004, and his work was also on their 2008 album, Chinese Democracy.  He is also famous for wearing a white mask on his face and a Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket on his head.

He performed with no opening act and no backing band, but played to a track most of the two hour show utilizing lots of effects most of the time, but did play pretty clean guitar at times as well.  I have some of his releases, but I don't listen to them enough to recognize any of his all-instrumental songs.  And he is a very prolific guitarist, having released 307 albums overall.  I had decided to go to this show due to the lack of other shows coming that I wanted to see.  I do enjoy his style of play and I am glad I went, but I also came down with a miserable cold starting Friday that I probably got from someone in that crowd.

Overall it was a good show, though.  Aside from his guitar playing he also does a mean 'robot' and even performed with nunchucks at one point before handing out what looked like dollar-store gifts to the fans in front.  Always handing them out carefully, never tossing or throwing into the crowd.  (That video is here, and a there's a couple more on my YouTube channel.)  Even as he left the stage before and after the encore it was with just a little wave as he was led off by his roadie.  His odd behavior reminded me of autism, but I've not read a word about him being autistic so I gather it's just another part of his act.

I'll be back at the 600-person capacity Majestic in July for a show that I'm really looking forward to - Diamante is coming as opener for the band New Years Day.  (There's a third band playing first that I'll have to look into later.)  I like both, but I'm a much bigger fan of Diamante.  Enough so that I even bought an opera box for the show.  Now I could just use a friend who likes the same kind of music to go to shows with!

Previous LLP Posts...
LLP 1 - Pain
LLP 2 - Nightwish
LLP 3 - Die Antwoord
LLP 4 - Pain part 2
LLP 5 - Andrew Bird LIVE
LLP 6 - Nightwish part 2
LLP 7 - Paramore
LLP 8 - Newsted
LLP 10 - Nightwish Imaginaerum Movie
LLP 11 - Kiss
LLP 12 - Rick Springfield
LLP 13 - Hyrax
LLP 14 - In This Moment
LLP 15 - Faster Pussycat LIVE
LLP 16 - Sebastian Bach
LLP 17 - Cradle Of Thorns
LLP 18 - Amaranthe
LLP 19 - Lindemann
LLP 20 - Halestorm
LLP 21 - Garbage LIVE
LLP 22 - Arcade
LLP 23 - Nightwish LIVE
LLP 24 - Ace Frehley
LLP 25 - Darkc3ll
LLP 26 - Dementia
LLP 27 - Rammstein
LLP 28 - Marilyn Manson LIVE
LLP 29 - The Harp Twins LIVE
LLP 30 - Diamante
LLP 31 - Steel Panther LIVE
LLP 32 - Scum Of The Earth
LLP 33 - Marty Friedman LIVE
LLP 34 - Buckethead LIVE

Sunday, May 5, 2019

May This-And-Thats

I've not written anything for two weeks as things have been a little unsettled around here.  I'm tired and don't really feel like writing, but there are a few things to mention so it's time to start typing and see what happens.

  • A week ago there was another cat fight between Basil and Hamish.  Brief, but nasty, and my wife got bit on the ass.  The first was a few weeks ago and we thought we had moved on.  They've had issues since the cone came off Basil.  We had them separated all week, trying here and there to get them back together and finally yesterday afternoon they have been able to be around each other.   Hamish misses his brother's company, but I think he was the cathole - if you will.  Basil is still defensive around him, hissing and growling at times.  Meal times still seem to be an issue, as well.  So we are tenuously existing with doors open at the moment but things have gotten tense at times.
  • Since my last post we got snowed on again, also last weekend.  They called for 5-7 inches but we only got a couple, it stuck around overnight but melted by midday the next day.  Thankfully no plants seem to have been harmed, and that better be it for several months.
  • I think completing a cat box area under the stairs is a grand plan for my vacation, but a bit unrealistic.  I need to paint the stairs first, so that and several other chores are making my vacation list.  Among them are power washing and sealing the back steps, replacing the dryer vent hose, and there will probably be a day of filling pots with plants.  This is better than putting too much pressure on myself for one big project.  It's supposed to be well-needed rest and relaxation, after all.
  • I've not gotten the bikes out yet but that will change very soon.  Probably on my vacation as the next week is supposed to be rather dreary.  Again, grand plans until the time comes.  Sigh.  I want to spend at least one or two afternoons getting out and about riding on vacation.  Hopefully the weather will agree.
On the right are the same tulips, on April 25, the morning of April 28 in the snow that's left, and yesterday, May 4.  Well, I can't think of much more to say at the moment.  I'm sure I'll post something sooner than two weeks next time as I do expect a bucket of fun coming up this week - but more on that later.