Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Flowers Make Me Happy

Spring brings many wonderful things. Warm weather, birds, and most importantly, flowers!

Despite my past battles with my very small, mostly shaded backyard, I teamed up this year with my fiancé to put a bunch of pots filled with flowers in the one section of our yard that gets a decent amount of sunlight.

The first thing we had to do was put up a fence around the area to keep the dogs (especially Vander) from peeing on them. Anyone with a male dog knows that their favorite thing to do is pee on any object taller than them. LOL

Putting up a simple plastic fence is easy and inexpensive. First, we picked up some metal stakes. I would plan on one stake for each corner of the area being enclosed and a few extra stakes for the longer sides. Ideally, you should put a stake up about four to five feet, to ensure the strength of the fence. Once you have your stakes up, you can start putting the plastic fencing up. We didn’t get anything fancy; we just wanted to make sure it was pliable, which makes it easy to attach to the fence. To hold the fence in place, we cut strips of twine and tied them on at the top and bottom.

After the fence was up, I pulled out all my planting pots and refilled them with soil. Then, I laid out each plant where I wanted it, and started digging holes. :)

I am very happy with my little flower garden and will likely add some herbs once the last of the cool weather is gone. Giving the plants a little water each day is a nice break from the normal schedule. It is also fun to glance out the window at my flowers when I am tired or feeling cooped up.

Here are the types of flowers I picked up from Lowes:
  • Three red varieties of Dahlias
  • Yellow Asiatic Lilies
  • Yellow Snapdragons
  • Multi-colored Celosia
  • Purple Impatient
  • White Dianthus
  • Blue Lobelia
  • Purple Pentas

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bookworm At The Winery

Last Saturday was not a good day for me. I was really out of it and could not seem to get anything I wanted done. Rather than try to stick to all my original plans, I decided to go out The Winery at La Grange to re-hide the geocache that I had hidden there.

Before my original cache hiding place was torn down, the manager at La Grange rescued the container and contacted the geocache approver. At first, I did not think I would make it out there for a while, but when I needed the change of pace on Saturday, I jumped at the chance to visit this beautiful winery again.

Because of the beautiful weather, the winery was packed! But with a little patience, I was able to get one of the servers to retrieve my cache from the office. I meandered around for a while scouting out new potential locations. Many of the likely spots were close to muggles, and I had to keep looking. Finally, I found a cozy spot that looked promising, repackaged the cache, and tucked it into the new hiding spot. For my fellow geocachers, you can find the new coordinates here.

With the cache hidden, I decided to spend some extra time relaxing. I picked up a bottle of refreshing Cuvee Blanc, a container of artichoke and crab dip, and a bag of pita chips from the tasting room before traipsing down to a comfy wooden beach chair near the grape vines.

The view was stunning; the sunshine warming; and I lost myself in the pages of The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett. Oh, if only every Saturday could be so delightfully spent!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A PC-Raised User Learns About Steve Jobs

Growing up, I was one of the lucky kids whose father was a programmer and got to bring home older PCs from the office. I remember playing Qbert and Burgertime on giant five inch floppies on my dad’s DOS machine, and I remember being one of the first kids in my class to turn in an assignment typed up in a DOS document program and printed on the perforated printer paper that used to feed through old printers. These are all great memories for me, and ones that I am glad to have experienced.

One thing I did not get to play with growing up was an Apple computer. This is mostly likely because Apple tended to be more expensive, as well as unable to integrate with many of the external plugins and software that my dad preferred. Of course, I knew that Apple was Microsoft’s big competitor; however, I never knew much beyond that.

My first big experience with Apple was my freshman year of college. When I walked into the computer lab to print out a document, all the PCs were taken and only these strange green machines in the back were available.

I knew they were Apple computers, but I am embarrassed to say that my lack of Apple experience was immediately evident when I tried to run a regular floppy disk on one. My face turned beat red as I struggled to remove my incompatible floppy, and the experience kept me away from Apple products for years. I’m actually blushing a little bit right now remembering this event. LOL

Since then, I have become a little more familiar with Apple products. I am on my second iPod and am still happily fiddling with the iPhone I purchased last year. As I got more exposure to these products, I became more curious about the man who built and developed this innovative company.

Recently, I picked up an audio copy of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. I did not really know what to expect as I started listening to performer Dylan Baker read through the book, but what I heard was all-together fascinating, horrifying (at times), and inspiring.

My first observation of Steve Jobs is that he was an asshole, but I will immediately follow by saying that he knew how to bring the most creative skills out of the people around him. His story shocked me with how hurtful, inconsiderate, and self-centered he could be, but then, I would be fascinated at how he was able to just walk up to someone he had never met and obtain the information or supplies he needed to produce his next masterpiece.

In short, I learned that he was human, while also being brilliant. Reading about both his masterpieces and his disasters was encouraging, and I loved his intensity for detail and love for artistry. His biography horrified me at times – hearing him doing things that made me shudder and shake my head. But no one can deny his amazing contributions to our society.

I definitely recommend this biography to anyone who has a love for technology, creativity, or artistry. You will learn a lot about life, both good and bad, and at the end, you will have hopefully gained a new perspective on what our future can be.