Thursday, April 07, 2011

These things don't grow on trees...

One of the curious things about owning a home is how much there is to know about all sorts of situations in which I never previously found myself.  Before owning a house I had not given much thought to the concept of cleaning a dryer duct, figuring out paint colors for a given room, or pulling weeds from the front yard.  But these are just some of the joys that come with home ownership, and yes, I use that word intentionally.  I try to not think of the various processes and odd jobs around the house as chores, but as learning experiences (even though when it comes to choosing paint or hanging pictures I just as often as not get kind of frustrated with the whole ordeal) and, yes, a chance to buy tools.  Hey, I'm a dude.  ;)

One thing about which I am almost entirely clueless is yard care.  I get that there's grass out front, along with some tall green things like trees and shrubs, but I don't really know what to do with them.  A couple times a week we put the hose under one of the trees that's not looking so great, and in the summer I mow the lawn often enough to keep it from looking unsightly, but a lawn just isn't something in which I really want to invest a lot of time.  That's partially (ok, mostly) what led to our weird bagworm problem last fall, and what also led us to finally call in a tree-care professional to come take a look at our situation this week.

Turns out our friends Jon and Sarah were right:  the bagworm-infested pine tree is, sadly, dead.  The good news is I now have an excuse to get a nice shovel and spend an hour getting rid of it.  We also have a couple other trees that Nate, from Nate's Tree Service, said could use a bit of trimming.  Fortunately I can do a lot of it myself, but not on the big one out back.  That'll take a professional's touch, along with more equipment than I could reasonably purchase.  We're now in that do-we-go-for-it-or-leave-it-alone phase of the decision process that seems to be common with a lot of homeowners, and right now I think we'll stay in a holding pattern for a while and just wait and see.  And in the meantime we'll keep watering the cypress tree out front and hope it starts looking better soon...

Saturday, April 02, 2011

400 Posts

A couple of days ago I made a list of things I wanted to get done this weekend, and updating my blog was one of them.  My dad told me that people are more likely to accomplish their goals if they actually write them down, and I don't know if this serves as evidence in favor of that or not (correlation does not equal causation, as we all know) but here I am, updating my blog.  So that's gotta count for something, right?  Anyway, this marks the 400th post on this blog and even though I don't update it nearly as often as I used to I plan on keeping it going for quite some time.  Maybe I'll hit 500 posts someday too!

A few weeks ago my wife and I took a trip to Washington DC to collect data for her research at the Library of Congress, and just like the first time I visited DC a couple years ago I was struck by so many things about it.  The history, the locations, the buildings, and the people all add up to a confluence of so many aspects of our country that really is unique.  Add to that the singular trait that the district is the seat of our country's government and you have a place that is quite like no other.  As we strolled down the National Mall and walked past the Supreme Court and Capitol buildings, we sort of marveled at the fact that whether one agrees or disagrees with the individuals in power, and the policies they are enacting or laws they are debating, it's pretty remarkable that it all happens in such an open and pedestrian fashion.  Congressmen and national leaders dine at the same bars and restaurants, just up Pennsylvania Avenue, as firemen, policemen, and even the custodians that clean the very buildings in which they work.  The halls of our government buildings are, for all intents and purposes, fairly accessible to the public.  And should one choose, he or she can stroll right up to the offices of their representatives and present an opinion or offer advice.  Granted, our government can be a mess of inefficiency and gridlock, not to mention partisan bickering and stonewalling, but seeing the National Archives and reading the very document that was signed by 39 representatives over 200 years ago which lays out the foundational tenets of our system of representative government helps restore a bit of faith in the overall system.

Not sure what this was, but it's right next to the Capitol.
I like to think it's a secret fort some congressmen use
for playing Cops 'n Robbers.

We were able to attend a Wednesday service
at the National Cathedral.

On my birthday my wife took me to the Air and Space Museum.
(That is the real Space Shuttle Enterprise)

A row of houses near the Capitol. You don't really
see houses like this in Oklahoma  :)

The Metro--the only way to travel in DC.  It looks
almost exactly how it does in Fallout 3, too.

Overlooking the National Mall.

Last weekend I was in Nebraska for my dad's 60th birthday, and it was cool seeing lots of relatives, playing cards, and pretty much spending the day just hanging out with family and friends.  At night I went to see my buddy Nick's show down at Knickerbocker's, as it was his band's final gig with their drummer Matty who is moving away to Phoenix for college.
Still one of the best venues for local shows in Lincoln.

Along with posting on my blog, I have a lot of other things on my list for today so that's gonna just about do it for now.  :)