Sunday, April 29, 2012

Extreme Makeover: Home Office Edition

We're participating in the Historical Homes Tour next weekend, or--as my friend Amanda calls it--the Hysterical Homes Tour. That second one is much more suited to me! Anyway, I have spent the better part of this weekend tidying up my office, which was no small job. I had stuff that got put here "temporarily" when we moved in almost 2 full years ago!

Here's one "before" picture to give you an idea what I was up against:

And now . . . after!

Baby birds!

I noticed a couple weeks ago that we have a bird's nest way up at the top of one of the columns on our front porch:

Ordinarily that wouldn't have been a problem, except that housing was in the process of renovating said porch:

The workers promised me that they would go out of their way not to disturb their nest, and they were true to their word.

We now have a lovely, non-rotten porch and this:

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Annabelle: LHS Acapella Choir for the win!

The musical successes just keep stacking up! Both the Men's and Women's Acapella Choirs received 1's for their performances at the state competition at Emporia State earlier today.

I don't have any video from today, but here's a clip that another choir parent took of the women's choir's performance at regionals earlier in the month:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mike v. Food

You might remember how last year, Mike capped off his freshman year at FSU by successfully completing the Quint-Quint-Double Challenge at the Tomahawk Sports Bar. That was 12 burger patties, each with a slice of cheese, plus a pound of fries, finished in 29 minutes.

This year, he went to Monk's Bar and Grill and took on their burger challenge. He was successful, finishing this beast of a burger in under 30 minutes:

For his prize, he got to name his burger creation. So if you're ever in Tally and in the mood for an 81-ounce burger with a pound of cheese and, as Mike would say, "some random ass cucumber slices and carrot sticks," go to Monk's and ask for the "Come At Me, 'Bro" burger. Tell 'em Mike Taylor sent you.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Annabelle: Academic banquet

I just flew in from California, and boy, are my arms tired!

Actually, we got home this afternoon, picked up the dog from the kennel, showered, and headed out to the high school for the annual academic banquet. Annabelle was part of the top 10% of her class honored at tonight's event.

Here she is with her friend Aimee after the dinner:

Congratulations, Annabelle! We're proud of you!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday in San Diego

We've had a lovely last day in California, starting with meeting my friend Tim from high school and his family for breakfast:

We met Tim for breakfast in the summer of 2001 when we stopped in California on our way back from Hawaii:

After breakfast, we hung out in the hotel for the afternoon, leaving briefly for a little stroll when housekeeping came by to make the beds. Here are Fred and Annabelle shivering by the water:

More trees, freaky or just plain pretty:

One of the rescue seals in the Bahia Resort Seal Pool:

Later in the afternoon, we drove downtown to the waterfront for an amazing supper at The Fish Market. Two mojitos later, I decided we had to have this shot in front of the USS Midway:

My final act in San Diego was stopping by the side of the road to take cuttings of the amazing succulent that grows everywhere:

I'm going to take them home and try to root them.

It has been a lovely visit to California, but I am eager to get back home to Kansas!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

University of San Diego tour

The weather has been disappointingly cool and dreary here in San Diego. I can't say I wasn't warned, but I was in denial. This is southern California! Fortunately though, the sun came out for our tour of the University of San Diego today, which made a lovely campus even more beautiful.

I took a lot of pictures of this blue dome but love this one best because of the bird:

I also took lots of pictures of trees, flowers, and other plant life:

I kept saying, "Oh, I wonder what kind of tree THAT is!" This must be what it's like to be my dad; he is a noticer of trees. They pretty much have to look like they were designed by Dr. Seuss before I notice them.

(By the way, I bought a new camera the other day--a Canon PowerShot S100--and I really had a lot of fun playing around with it today. Click on the photo of the white flower and gaze in awe at the veins or whatever in the bee's wings.)

Here is the Institute of Peace and Justice:

Peace and justice are big focuses for the university, and in fact, the Dalai Lama was just here the other day!

One question I always ask on college tours is "Do you need a car here?" Some schools say, "No, you can always find a friend with a car," which I've decided is college-speak for "Good heavens, yes, bring a car!" If Annabelle goes to USD and needs to find a friend with a car, maybe the car can be a Ferrari. No joke. When I saw this, I told Annabelle, "Smile! I'm pretending to take your picture, but really I'm just documenting that car over there," which is why it looks like she's thinking, "My mom is such a weirdo."

If I went to USD, I would spend all of my time here:

You can see the rest of my USD photos by clicking here.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Eating my heart out in San Diego

I went out tonight for an AMAZING dinner at The Prado at Balboa Park. I meant to take pictures of all my food but forgot until it was too late.

I did manage to snap dessert though. That was the hardest decision of my day.

Should I have the Tres Leches ("traditional 'three milk' soaked sponge cake, baked pistachio meringue filled with caramel bananas, vanilla bean ice cream")?

Or should I have the Triple Chocolate Threat ("chocolate cookie crust, dark chocolate baked custard, dark chocolate ganache, salted caramel ice cream")?

I went with the chocolate:

Here's a shot of the exterior of the restaurant:

I shouldn't have to eat again for at least a week.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Annabelle: LHS Band for the win!

So far this year, the Leavenworth High School Band has made straight 1's in all their competitions for an entire year, and nobody can really say how long it has been since that happened. Today's state competition capped off this amazing streak with, yep, another 1.

I don't have any video from the competition, but here's some video that another band parent made of their spring concert earlier in April:

Please forward my mail.

Just kidding.

Kind of.

I'm at the Bahia Resort Hotel in San Diego for the annual conference of the American Society for Indexing, and my room is gorgeous!

Check out the view:

I can't wait for Fred and Annabelle to get here tomorrow!

Friday, April 06, 2012

Squirrel without a tail

Last summer, I saw a squirrel without a tail in our yard a couple times. This year I've already seen him more than a couple times either in our yard or our neighbor's. It's such an odd feeling to be able to identify a particular squirrel, because really, they all kind of look alike. (They probably think we all look alike, too.) I feel somewhat attached to him and call him Stumpy and hope the day never comes when I see the corpse of a tailless squirrel in the middle of the road.

Here's a really bad picture of him taken with my cellphone (you can click to get a slightly larger, equally bad picture):

Aw! Stumpy has a bunny for a friend.