Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Horse is a Horse, Of Course Of Course

Except when that horse is a dog.

I have a very large dog that lives in my backyard. For many years I didn't think she was that smart, but apparently she's not quite as dumb as I thought.

This is the horse:

Her name is Zoe and she is very sweet. Unfortunately she thinks she's about four pounds and should be an indoor lap dog. I do not agree with this analysis.

As I have a pool in my yard I didn't want her to have full run of the yard, so she has a pen. Lately she has not exactly wanted to stay in the pen. In order to mow her pen the lawn guy has to move the fence to get the lawnmower in. At first this wasn't a big deal, but as the years have gone by the stake that the fence is attached to hasn't gone as deep into the ground and the gate has not shut as well.

Last year the gate wouldn't latch and she got out. That was fixed by weaving a leash through the fence and gate. That worked until very recently.

About two weeks ago I had put her back in the pen after the big storm and a few minutes later she was roaming the yard. I realized that she had managed to crawl under the fence to free herself. Following the disaster that was that storm and the clean up that followed I wasn't up to figuring out how to get her to stay in the pen, so she was a happy indoor dog for a few days.

A few days later I realized that she absolutely could not live in the house and I had to figure something out. I just needed to block where she was getting out. I have a very heavy bench that generally sits by the pool. I picked it up and hauled it to the back of the property (where the gate is) and used it to cover the hole. Success!

Today was lawn day, so Zoe got to be an inside dog for the day. Usually she goes right back out at lunch, but I had a lunch date with the lovely Katie Dodd, so she got the whole day inside. When I got home everyone went outside and Zoe went back in her pen. A little while later I was inside mentally preparing to clean the pool filter (more on that in a bit) and guess what I saw outside my bedroom door...Zoe. I grabbed the leash and back to the pen we went. I put her in and sealed the gate with the leash not knowing how she was getting out.

I said earlier that she was smarter than I previously thought, however she is not brilliant. My fluffy dog, Ty, is pretty small and can squeeze between the gate and the fence to get in to visit Miss Zoe. Apparently Zoe had been watching him go in and out and decided to try it herself, successfully. What was not successful was that she did it while I was watching. I put her back in the pen and moved the bench over and put a large tree branch over the part that was exposed that I thought she might be able to crawl under.

I go back in to change clothes to clean the pool filter. I look outside and there is Zoe. I am a little irritated at this point and head back to the pen to figure out what she's doing now. Apparently I put the bench over part of the gate, but she could still wiggle out. I then began the search for items to keep the gate closed. Luckily I happened to have some rubber bungie cable that I use for the pool cover sitting in the pool cabinet. I had left the leash on the gate this time around, so Zoe got walked with a bungie cable.

I got her back in and this is the finished product:

I added the stone just in case she tried to crawl under again!

Poor little Ty Ty will not get to go visit in the pen anymore, but that's the price we pay to keep the horse in the corral!

In other news I think I've finally got this pool thing down! I noticed a few days ago that there was quite a bit of dirt in the pool. I didn't really think all that much about it because of the leaves that had fallen due to the storm and they kept flying back in anytime the wind blew. Then I started to notice that this dirt was accumulating at the corners of the pool. I knew it had to be a little bit of algae and I knew what had to be done: filter cleaning. I had not done it this year and I've known that it needed to be done, but I was putting it off as long as possible. I won't go into details about the process, but you can read about them in the 2010 pool drama, here, here and here if you want a little laugh. Let's just say there was no drama to cleaning the filter today! I simply backwashed, used my ratchet to get the seal off, pulled the guts out, hosed them off, put everything back together, filled the pump basket to prime the pump, turned the pump on and it was perfect! It was crazy. I just new that I would be cursing and mad by the end of the evening. I managed to have the horse situation and the filter cleaned in 38 minutes! I was SHOCKED! I then brushed the sides to get the algae into the water so it would make it through the filter. I should have a perfect pool in a day or so! Woo hoo! I really like the pool when it doesn't make me cry.

In neighborhood post-storm news, thirteen days later the city finally removed all the tree branches from the neighbors to the south's front yard and the neighbor to the north finally got the tree that landed on their car removed. With my freshly cut lawn our cul-de-saq finally looks good again!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Movie Challenge: Day 30

Done! Woohoo! This has not been my favorite series, as much as I love movies. I am glad it is done, although I've enjoyed some old friends' opinions of things I've posted on here. Here is the last day:

your favorite movie of all time


I've already written about this right here, so I'll just let you read that. If you haven't seen this movie and you believe in signs or just like a good love story set in NYC check this one out!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Movie Challenge: Day 29

a movie set in your favorite city

One Fine Day

I heart NY. For real. This should be pretty evident in most things that I write. Literally the last three vacations I have taken have been to NYC. Besides the fact that I want to go to Italy, England, France, Ireland and Scotland I pretty much would go to NYC for every vacation. One Fine Day came out when I was a freshman in high school (or maybe a sophomore, I don't remember when during the year it came out). Can you really go wrong with anything that involves George Clooney? I think not! It is a great movie. The kids are adorable! (Though they are all grown up now) This movie was the first time I had heard of Serendipity, though it wasn't really highlighted it was there. They spend the whole day all over New York and the story is just cute. I also LOVE Michelle Pfeiffer's hair in it, though my hair dresser wouldn't do it to my hair! :( I also wanted that bad she had; it had EVERYTHING in it! My freshman year of college the soundtrack was the only thing I listened to when I was studying, and now that I'm working on my Masters it still is! For some reason it just puts me in a studying mood (I also listen to the Serendipity soundtrack). Overall it is still one of my favorites.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Movie Challenge: Day 28

a movie from your childhood

Escape to Witch Mountain

I don't remember when I saw this, clearly it was on VHS. I liked the story and just overall thought it was really good. Looking back at it I'm going to say that it might just be a little weird. I did not see the remake with The Rock. I probably won't. Some things are better left with the original.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Movie Challenge: Day 27

favorite movie from your favorite director

Across the Universe

I'm not real big on picking movies by directors, so this is a little random. Julie Taymor directed Across the Universe and she was the initial director for Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark and one of the creators. If you have read this you know that I LOVED Spider-man the musical, it also featured several of the actors and actresses that were in Across the Universe. Across the Universe is a movie that is set during the Vietnam War era and incorporates the music of the Beatles: LOVE! It really is pretty amazing and has a great cast. Clearly the music is amazing, but overall it was just a good movie.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Movie Challenge: Day 26

a movie that you wish you had seen in theaters

Playing by Heart

I found this one on the 4 for $20 table at Blockbuster my freshman year of college. I'm sure I grabbed it because Ryan Phillippe was in it, but I was thoroughly impressed. It has an AMAZING cast: Angelina Jolie, John Stewart, Gillian Anderson, Dennis Quaid, Sean Connery, Gena Rowlands, and Madeline Stowe. There are several stories that are all told and seem to have nothing to do with each other, yet at the end they all come together to make an awesome story.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Baby Proof

Love, love, loved this one! I love everything Emily Giffin writes, well except the last one, wasn't a huge fan of that one. I skipped this one initially because I didn't think I could possibly like this one because it is about a woman who DOESN'T want kids which is totally opposite from me. I really liked it though! There was a cameo from a character from Something Borrowed and Blue. Since I read Love the One You're With before I read this one I'm wondering if I missed a cameo, so I have to reread it now. Overall it was good, there was a happy ending, though I wasn't sure at first. It was set in NYC, so that always makes me happy. Great book! Now they need to make a movie!

Movie Challenge: Day 25

a movie that you love that someone made you watch

If Lucy Fell

This is another one I can blame Katie for! There is nothing about this movie I don't love. The cast is great, the story is great, the location is great, overall it is just great. It showcases NYC, which I love, and it goes to some of my favorite places. It has some of the best quotes ("You know, I sort of like this dating thing, I'm sort of getting the things here. What I do is, sit back and watch as these strange men try to impress you in weird and stupid ways and then... and then you pick the least disgusting one, I guess.") Plus there is Calendar Day! I always loved Calendar Day! Not to mention the soundtrack is great too. All the songs are by Marry Me Jane and they are amazing. One of my favorites! Thanks Katie!
(Although the premise of the movie is that they are supposed to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge when she turns 30 if they aren't married...I turn 30 in about a month...uh oh.........................)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Movie Challenge: Day 24

a movie that hasn't been made yet
Something Blue by Emily Giffin
I have been checking all the sneak peek websites to see if they are planning to make this movie and it seems like they are. They cast Darcy (Kate Hudson) and Ethan (John Krasinski) really, really well, so I think they have to be working on it. Surprisingly I actually liked Something blue better than Something Borrowed, even though Darcy was a total brat. It seems like everyone that I talk to that has read both agrees. I also would like to see two of Emily Giffin's other books (Baby Proof, which I'm about halfway done with, and Love the One You're With) turned into movies. Heck most books I've read I want to see in movie form!

Monday, June 20, 2011

I Was Wrong...

This may be the only time I say that and totally own it!

I remember a band trip when I was a junior in high school. I was talking to my friend Vanessa and was writing, because I've always done that for a stress relief. My particular writing and discussion that day was about high school and how I would not continue most of my friendships after high school, they just were what they were: fun at the time, but not lasting. I figured there would be a few that I kept in contact with, but most would fall by the wayside. I remember telling my mom to not worry with who I dated in high school because there was NO way that I would ever get really serious with them because it was just Ardmore and I wanted so much more out of life.

I just knew that my college friends would be my lasting friendships, the people I would vacation with, the people who I would raise my kids with. They're husbands and my husband would be the best of friends. We would be at craft shows together and do all the things that I always imagined forever friends would do.

Tonight I was going through some photo albums my mom brought me a few weekends ago. There were both high school and college pictures in them. The pictures that gave me the warm fuzzy feelings were, surprisingly to me, the high school ones, not at all the college ones. I'm not saying my college friends meant nothing to me, not at all, but the lasting relationships were my high school friends. The memories I truly cherish the most are those from high school.

It might have been the bonding over hating high school so much, playing fruit basket turnover with boyfriends, generally rebelling from our parents, having secrets that caused us to bond, thinking we were so mature when we clearly weren't. I don't know what it was.

I can maybe blame facebook for this too. I don't think I would be in contact with nearly as many high school friends as I am. I think I'm glad for that! ;) I never thought I would be one who actually appreciated my hometown and would enjoy going back, but I really do. I like running into old friends and catching up. I don't know if it is because they know me and have always known me and I don't have to pretend to be anyone, not that I pretend to be anyone that I'm not now, but there is just something more honest about high school friends.

I know that if anything ever happens I won't be able to keep them away. If I ever need them they'll be right there. I consider myself very, very lucky for that. We showed that back in September when we all came together for a friend's funeral. That wasn't exactly the best way to have a reunion and I'm very glad we've had a couple of others on much happier terms.

I love when I have a "like" or a comment on facebook from one of my high school friends. It doesn't matter how different our lives are now. Some are married, some aren't, some have kids, some don't, some went to college, some joined the military, some stayed in Ardmore, some moved away, some make a lot of money, some don't make much, but no matter our station in life when we come back together it's like nothing changed.

Or that's how I feel. It might be because I moved away and only go back to visit. It could all be different if I was still there. I have noticed that our little group might have splintered we splintered together, meaning the "best friends" are still best friends. There are several groups like that, both the girls and the guys.

I think we were lucky to grow up where we did. There is some crazy bond that we all have. I don't have that bond with nearly as many college friends; it is a lot harder to pick up where we left off with them. I was only friends with most of my high school friends for two or three years and some of my college friends were that long or longer, yet there aren't the same number of memories and songs that bring back those memories. The pictures don't mean as much. It just isn't the same.

I've said this before, but I think I was my truest self when I was in high school. I didn't care what the "it" crowd thought about me, in fact I did things just to make people talk. I was a conservative rebel: I didn't really do anything too outlandish, yet there was always something independent and original about me. I think I am certainly a lot closer to that point than I have been in recent years.

I've been pretty introspective the last few days. I think a certain impending birthday is really getting me thinking. By no stretch of the imagination do I think I "peeked" in high school, but as much as I never thought I would say this, I do kind of think high school was amazing and college not so much (besides drinking being legal!).

By the time I got to college everything became so serious: people were coupling and planning engagements, which turned to weddings, which turned to babies. They were planning for what they would do after college as far as a career or job. In high school I was always thinking about college, but there was something more carefree back then.

One of my goals for my thirties is to regain that carefree attitude. This is not to say I'm going to sell my house and move to NYC (though the idea has crossed my mind a few thousand times the last few months), but really just getting back to the fun loving person that actually goes out and enjoys life rather than worrying about everything that comes next. I am a planner by nature, and that's okay, but sometimes it's okay to just live for the moment. That's what high school was for me, there was never really a worry as to what would happen to me after graduation, I was going OU, even when I was seriously considering Colorado College and Vassar, it was always going to be OU, but when I was in high school I just didn't have to worry about what comes next. I think the moment I set foot on OU's campus that's all that it became: worrying about what would come next. Would I find the boyfriend so I would get the ring and the wedding in the months following graduation? Would I figure out what I wanted to do with my life professionally?

I think it is easier to not worry now. I know what I'm going to do in the long run when it comes to a career and it is going to be amazing. I know that I'm going to fall madly in love at some point in my life, I think it is going to be with a husband to be, but it might just be with the my child, which I will have, somehow, some way.

High school was amazing. College was okay. My teens were amazing. My twenties held some good times, but there were a lot more tears than I like to remember. My thirties are going to be amazing. I just know it and if I learned nothing else in my twenties it is to follow my gut...

While I was writing this a preview for a new Winnie the Pooh movie came on and it had Keane's song Somewhere Only We Know (which yes I only know the Glee version because well that's just me). I put the Glee version on repeat on my media player and I think it is pretty fitting, so I will leave you with that, after this long ramble:

I Go Back...

At some point I'll scan all the pictures, but for now I'm just going to post the messages on the back of dance pictures from high school. I'll leave off the names, but see if you recognize writing any of them and comment if you do!

Sophomore Homecoming:
Love ya

Sophomore Winter Ball (Winter Ball was a REALLY hard night for all of us :( ) and Prom:
No one wrote anything besides names :(

Junior Homecoming:
He buddy baby! How ya' doing? You're the bestest, girlfriend! Don't ya' ever forget me! I love ya' lots!

Junior Winter Ball:
hey sweety! Good luck w/Barry! Thanks for being there. -<3- always

Hey girl, thanks for everything this year. Stay in touch I'll more help. Stay sweet, and Keep Barry in line. Have a great year.

to: Wendy
Hey! Hope you like the picture too bad we aren't together anymore! Oh, well I got Jared I'm happy! Good luck w/Barry!!!
-<3- ya
Stay Sweet

2: Wendy N.
Hey sweetie! This year hasn't been that bad, actually it's been really good. Anyway, guess I'll go! Bye!
<3 - ya

I hope things work out for the best. If you need me I'm here.

Junior Prom:
Well I'm finally going to leave you. Try to have fun without me. I know you'll miss my yelling in Guard. I'm just glad we aren't fighting over guys anymore. Come visit me sometime!

Here's a memory for you. I'm not having a creative thought, but oh well. It's been real (saying of the day)!
<3 ya

Wendi, (***not spelled wrong, it was my preferred spelling!***)
hey girl, well we survived our first prom. was I the only one who thought that the prom was very shitty!?! Anyway always remember

Senior Homecoming (we were so not into homecoming!)
Hey Senior, Have fun this year it'll count Later

Senior Winter Ball:
I can't believe your graduating! The dance wasn't that bad! If I was w/Jeff & your were w/Michael it would have been better!
Love always

giving you a picture of me and another girls kinda weird anyway take the picture smile and thanx for being with me

Hey yo
Its been great knowin ya

to: Wendy
hey girl! stay sweet & remember me when you go to college. :)
<3 ya

Senior Prom:
You were one of the first people I met at Ardmore. Thank you for being so sweet & giving me a great friend!

Sweetie, you've been there for me and with me longer than anybody else. If I ever get famous, you'll have so much blackmail on me! Thanx for everything. I luv you so much.

You suck, have fun at OU and be rich.

2: Wendy
hey! What's up? not much here! You have fun being outta school & I'll try to have fun the next 3 yrs!

Here's the pic!
Thanks for being a great friend, I really appreciate it.

Hey girl! It's been so fun getting to know you better this year. Group just isn't going to be the same next year w/o all you guys. Have fun next year!

Hey yo Have fun in life. loosin up a little you will have a whole lot more fun
(yeah, still working on that one! :))

It's been fun in Color Guard miss ya next year! <3-ya

Have fun at college! Don't get in too much trouble! You've been a great friend!

Senior Pictures:
Girl, we have been through so much together! It's a miracle we're still speaking! :) I love you and don't you ever forget it!

Hey girl! Can you believe this is our last year at AHS? Well enjoy the rest of the year. Don't study too hard! Remember Cancun!

Good luck in life. Be proud of yourself and always remember your friends!

Well let's recap... Band trips! UGH! Bahamas! Woooo! Well, I guess it's been semi-productive. have fun @ OU next year. We may just have to meet up & shop sometime! No klepto there, though! <3

Well that's all for this little trip down memory lane! I hope you enjoyed. If you might be one of these people hopefully you laughed. If I didn't know you then, hopefully you laughed really hard! (and yes they were all hearts not less than threes, since that didn't exist WAY back then!)

Movie Challenge: Day 23

favorite animation

Lilo and Stitch

I loved this movie before I saw it. So much so I even went to Hawaii to see it the day it came out! Well that might be a slight exaggeration, however I was in Hawaii when it came out and I did see it opening day at a theatre on Waikiki Beach. We just happened to be going on vacation there that week, but it worked out quite well! We missed the premiere by one day. :( We got there Wednesday and the premiere was Tuesday.
As the years have gone by the movie has come to mean more to me. My future career involves working with kids without families and that's what Stitch was!
You cannot forget the line: "Ohana means family, family means nobody gets left behind. Or forgotten."
Or this one: "This is my family. I found it, all on my own. Is little, and broken, but still good. Yeah, still good."

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Movie Challenge: Day 22

favorite documentary

1939, Hollywood’s Greatest Year

I couldn't find a trailer for this one. It was a documentary on Turner Classic Movies about the year that was 1939. It was probably the overall best year of film. Think about it, Wizard of Oz and Gone With The Wind came out that year. That would be good enough, but you also add Stagecoach, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, Of Mice and Men, The Little Princess and many, many more. Sure there are tons of great movies that come out each year now, but can a year in film really compare to all of that?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Pool Saga 2011: Part Four

When I left off with part three the pool was good to go except I could not get the lid off of the filter basket. My wonderful neighbor came over at lunch on Tuesday and loosened it for me, as well as removing the squashed (dead) frog from the basket. I really couldn't ask for a better neighbor.

Monday night I had shocked it and put in stablizer, after which you are supposed to wait 48 hours to backwash, so I could vacuum, but was going to wait until Wednesday night so I could backwash the filter after I vacuumed. Well as they say, the best laid plans...

Tuesday night we had a microburst, or I guess that's what they decided to call it. It was a really bad storm and you can read all about it here. The pool ended up looking like this:

I knew there would be A LOT of work to be done and I was right. I came home after work Wednesday and started to it. Well, let's back up, Tuesday night, after the storm passed I used the leaf rake to remove all the debris from the top of the water. I worked on it until it got too dark to work on it anymore, or I would have kept going. So Wednesday after work I started in some more. I spent about four hours working on it that night and was determined to have it totally clean by the time I went back inside, because there is no way I was letting my perfect pool turn green this year.

I scooped and I scooped and I scooped. Finally I thought I had scooped enough. I then filled the hose and got the vacuum ready. I had apparently left way too many leaves in the pool and should have scooped some more. I got a clog in the valve just before the pump basket, so I took it apart and removed the leaves. (Sidebar: fresh, crisp leaves are much easier to scoop than wet, algaed leaves) I kept up the vacuuming and did pretty well and had the pool looking pretty good. I did have a few minor mishaps of the hose coming off the vacuum to which I said a few four letter words about how you shouldn't have a pool by yourself, it is a two person job, but moved on.

I got almost done and the vacuum stopped sucking. Uh oh. I realized that I had another clog. I looked everywhere: in the vacuum (because that had happened once or twice already), in the skimmer, in the pump basket, in both valves by the pump basket, nothing. To say I was frustrated might be the understatement of the year. I said a few more choice words, burst out crying and ultimately had a full on panic attack. In the process of this little meltdown I did what I had been taught to do: shock the pool, just in case, and add more chlorine sticks to the skimmer, even though I didn't think water was getting through. I had also backwashed the pool hoping that it might do the trick, which it didn't, but I put in Eco-clean in the skimmer because that's what you're supposed to do. When I had the water flowing from the main drain and the skimmer I had really good water flow, though I knew it was from the drain and not from the skimmer, but I knew that the shock would work its way through the filter. I went in and to bed thinking very bad things about the pool, cursing it, thinking we should have never replaced the liner, and wondering how much it would cost to fill it in.

Thursday I was a little more calm when I got home from work and went to check on the pool. First of all, in Oklahoma we have a lot of wind, so all the leaves that fell from the trees two days before and the ones I had removed from the pool the night before were now in my pool, again...great. I went through my best troubleshooting on the pool to figure out the exact problem before heading to Thompson's. I opened up the pump basket and all my Eco-clean from the night before had gotten trapped. This was a good sign! Something was getting through the skimmer, even if it was just a little bit. This explained why the pool was looking good, even if it had leaves it in, the chemicals were still circulating. I threw it on recirculate, since the Eco-clean had not made it to the filter, and headed to Thompson's.

I had posted pictures Wednesday night and Mike commented on them, so he knew the situation we were facing. Clearly I was not the only one in this situation, he said they had about 80 calls on Wednesday with storm problems. I explained what all I had checked and that I had narrowed it down to the skimmer. He put in a work order to have the line blown clear. Then he told me to shock it and put in some extra chlorine: done and done! I was very proud of myself for having done exactly what I was supposed to without being told! The have taught me well at Thompson Pool and Patio! If you have a pool you really should go to them, they are the best, and are totally understanding and heck, they can keep me from having a nervous breakdown about the pool, that is saying a lot! We discussed the Eco-clean situation and he told me to mix it with water and then pour it through so it would have a better shot of getting to the filter.

I wasn't expecting the lines to be clear until early next week, but again, Thompson's is the best! I came home Friday night and was clearing out the skimmer basket and noticed I had great water flow. Woo hoo! I used the leaf rake to remove all the leaves I possibly could before I started vacuuming (a lesson I will not soon forget). I got it all vacuumed and clean and perfect again.

Today I enjoyed four hours of laying out and floating and reading. I decided that I'm glad I didn't fill that silly little hole in and I guess I do pretty much love it. Crazy as it is, when it is not trying to kill me and my anxiety level, I love working on the pool. I really do. I wouldn't pay someone to do it for me (okay if I had enough money I might). It is really relaxing and gives me such a feeling of accomplishment when I can get it back to perfect.

As I was floating around I looked at my yard and my pool and had to think, how on earth is this my life? I don't know how I got this lucky, but I sure wouldn't change it for anything!

What the Hail?!?!?!?!?

I got off work Tuesday and went appliance shopping (I'm going to get all new kitchen appliances in the next six months or so, thus I was scouting prices and styles and such). On my way home I got hit by a sprinkle or two, no big deal...so I thought.

I came home and was eating dinner and checking in on blogs and writing a little bit and all of a sudden it sounded like someone was shooting at me. It was not gunshots, but HAIL. And I don't mean a little bit. I ran out to the front yard and crammed the car in the garage. This is what it looked like (my picture didn't turn out, so I'm stealing my friend Brianne's, but it was the same thing here):

Imagine that all over the yard. It looked like it snowed. It was CRAZY. The storm came so fast. Apparently they called it a "microblast". I'm still not ruling out a little tornado. A friend shared this video from youtube shows what we were up against, watch how quickly it comes and goes and look at the damage in that time frame.

I generally bring my outside dog in when it is storming, but this happened SO fast that it did not happen. She was smart enough to get under the storage building and as soon as I could get outside to get her I did. I heard her whining and crying and just knew she had been hit by something or was stuck under the tree that fell. She was fine though, just a little (okay a lot) scared, however she got to come in and spend the next day in the house, so I'm pretty sure she ended up happy.

After the storm I went to check the damage (didn't have much else to do because the electricity was off by this point). I had one tree split:

And part of my bamboo privacy shade on the north side fell. Luckily the fence was fine, but the zip ties were ripped off (I fixed that today and we're good to go). When I went out the front to check on the fence my neighbor to the south asked if I had seen the neighbor to the north's damage. I hadn't, but here it is:

There is a car under that tree. They haven't done much on the clean up effort because the tree is still sitting there four days later. Oh well. I'm sure they'll get a nasty gram from the city.

Here is the damage I had, well not damage, but the pool was a WRECK:

All of that green is leaves from the massive trees in my backyard. It was crazy the amount that fell in such a short time. And yes it was still raining when I went outside and took pictures.

This is my poor sad pool. All the dark stuff you can see in the pool are leaves; hundreds of thousands of leaves. Before this happened it was PERFECT (well there was a little dirt that I was going to vacuum the next day, needless to say I did more than that!).

I cleared most of the stuff off the top that night. (The power was out, what else did I have to do?)

This was the morning after. Still lots and lots of leaves in the pool.

I got my power back around 1:30 am, which was very, very lucky. There were downed power lines about a mile from me that kept the road closed for two days. The next morning I was awoken by a call that said our office was closed, but on standby because we had no power. I only live about a mile from the office, so I was quite surprised by this. The office didn't get power back until around 11:30 on Thursday (storm happened Tuesday) and it blew off part of the roof and destroyed seven out of eight air conditioning units, so it was a little toasty in there.

As for the pool...see Pool Saga 2011: Part Four

Movie Challenge: Day 21

favorite action movie

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World

This is totally random I realize, but I'm not really all that into action movies. This movie was made in 1963, so it is old and most everyone in it is dead I think, however it is great. It is from my parents teenage/college years and they got me hooked on it. I remember taking it and showing it to my fifth grade class. I don't really think they got it. If you've seen the movie Rat Race from 2001 it is basically a remake of Mad, Mad, Mad World. Story line: there is a lot of money and a whole bunch of people race across the country to try to get it. I highly recommend both movies, but Mad World even more!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Movie Challenge: Day 20

favorite movie from your favorite actor/actress

Sweet Home Alabama

I love Reese Witherspoon. I love this movie. It made me cry (there may be a theme to this). There is something about the old versus the new and having to decide between the two that freaks me out. I've always been afraid this will happen to me, frankly I still am. Plus you have McDreamy proposing in Tiffany's and saying "pick one" from the time the movie poster came out with all the T&Co boxes all my friends knew this was a movie I would love.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Movie Challenge: Day 19

favorite movie based on a book/comic/etc.

PS I Love You

First of all how can you say no to Gerard Butler??? I saw the movie before I read the book, but I loved both of them. There were several changes between the two, but they definitely worked for both. I did watch the movie when I was a little, how shall we say, fragile, so I cried, a lot. I was in a little better place for the book, but I still bawled like a baby.
Oh, and HCJ is in it too, what could be better?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Movie Challenge: Day 18

a movie that you wish more people would’ve seen


Before last December I had never seen an episode of How I Met Your Mother. I recorded a movie on Lifetime and the beginning of an episode was caught at the end of the movie so I watched it. I loved it. While we were in NYC I watched it every time it was on and we were in the hotel. Funny side note, my mom has watched it from the beginning and I even bought her a couple of seasons for Christmas a few years ago.
I have now watched every episode and I LOVE Ted Mosby! Well I love them all, but especially Ted. I am a fan on facebook and one night last March they posted that Josh Radnor (Ted on the show) had just written, directed and starred in this movie. I was set to be in Tulsa for the weekend for a class and looked to see if it was playing anywhere. Well I live in Oklahoma, so of course it wasn't. I did, however, see that someone mentioned they watched it on movies2k.com, so I popped over to the website and watched it.
It is a really good movie and I highly recommend you check it out. It is an interesting storyline that you kind of have to see to understand, but overall it is great and I wish it would have come to theaters so more people would get to see it!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Movie Challenge: Day 17

a movie you watch when you’re in a bad mood

The Last Supper
If you have not seen this movie I HIGHLY recommend you check it out! I love, love, love this movie and always did in high school too. I honestly don't remember how I heard about it (but I blame Katie, all my good movie choices in high school seemed to come from her!). It is a DARK comedy. The general plot includes five very liberal graduate students who live together and invite people with opposing viewpoints over to dinner in order to try to change their opinions. If the person does not agree with them, they kill them, with poison in the form of wine. Happy, huh? It really is a great movie and has Cameron Diaz, Bill Paxton, Ron Perlman, Charles Durning, and Mark Harmon (yum!) in it.
If you have a day that you are mad at the world, check this movie out!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Movie Challenge: Day 16

a movie that you used to hate but now love

Varsity Blues
I initially saw this movie in early 1999, my senior year. Our group of guy friends dragged us and I didn't protest too much because James Van Der Beek was in it and I loved Dawson's Creek at the time (heck I still do!). At the end of the movie I was NOT impressed. This was before I liked football, in fact I hated it at the time. I could not believe that a school and town would devote itself so much to some silly sport. I did, however, LOVE the soundtrack and my favorite song ever (Run by Collective Soul) is off of that soundtrack.
The following fall I came home from my freshman year of college to visit my best friend (who was a senior in high school) who had transferred to a small school system east of our town, Dickson. I had several friends from church that were cheerleaders and they all were dating football players. After being at a game with them I realized Varsity Blues wasn't so far out of the realm of reality.
In the end I came to love the movie (and football for that matter).

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pool Saga 2011: Part Three

Two and a half weeks later I stopped by to check on the liner status and find out the liner is in and the work team had the order to put it in! Mike said the first step would be to drain it. I said "step one: done", you see a few weeks earlier I got a "nasty-gram" from the City of Norman over the "stagnant water" in my backyard. Clearly they did not see the rips in the corners and realize that I must have been in the process of getting a new liner, so I just drained the thing, again. The bad part was that about a week after I drained it we had a HUGE rain storm and it filled the dang thing up about halfway in the deep end, so I got to drain it again.

I was in the midst of Oklahoma United Methodist Annual Conference (there will be a blog about this eventually so swimming wasn't a priority. I snapped some pictures before the liner installation began:

the little problem
the big problem
from the east

from the west
So now we see the problem, right? That was June 1. On June 2 I came home and found the pool looking like this:

Naked pool!
Clearly I was not aware of all the things that go into replacing a pool liner. I have now figured it out, somewhat. Step one, drain pool. Step two, remove old liner. Step three, fill in any holes and whatnot. So that was Thursday. It stayed like that forever and forever and forever (or until Tuesday).

What I have forgotten to mention is that garden gnomes were doing all of this! Until the very last day I never saw a human doing anything and they were very sneaky about it! (I am by no means complaining, it was just really funny.)

I came home Tuesday at lunch thinking about spray in bed liners (hehe) and walked in, thinking no one had been in my backyard and saw this:

There's a liner in my pool! There's a liner in my pool!

This is the vacuum that has to run to pull the air out from behind the liner while it fills (who knew?).

Notice anything wrong here? Yeah nothing was cut out. I didn't think about that, I guess
I just assumed it would come all ready and cut, but I was wrong!

This was about 11:30 am on Tuesday! There's water! The gnomes strike again!

Onto Wednesday! I got a little nervous because the water level was rising and the light under the diving board was hiding behind the liner. Wasn't so sure about that. So here are Wednesday's pictures:

Light cut out! (sorry for the wretched picture, my phone wasn't playing friendly)

Stairs cut out!

Almost finished! All that was left at this point was to cut out the skimmer and the jets.

By Thursday everything was cut out, again the gnomes struck. It had about a foot and a half of water to go when I went to bed. Friday morning, when I woke up with a migraine and had been up half the night with an earache (I now understand why little kids are so upset when they have earaches, it HURT!) I turned the water off because it was about to overflow and went back to sleep. I was woken up around 2:00 by the garden gnomes! They do exist! They got everything all going and put the chemicals in. After that it was a little foggy from the stabilizer, so I did not take pictures, but here is the finished product:

All ready for swimming! (Now just to get the house acceptable for guests!)

Hopefully there won't be a part four of the saga and I'll have a nice easy pool season along with an easy closing come this fall. One can hope. I will say that I managed to miss cottonwood season, but the pool is now open in the middle of what I like to call "grapenut season". I call it this as there are little seed thingys that fall off the trees in my backyard and when they accumulate they look like Grapenuts cereal. Those are the only two seasons I can think of from last year, until the leaves a-fallin season. :)

It is a little dirty and needs to vacuum, but apparently a guy's version of "do not overtighten" on the pump basket and a girl's version are very different, so I can't get it open myself and need a guy to come and help me (accepting offers!). I think there's a dead frog stuck in there (I've fished two out and there was one in the skimmer that I'm afraid went down the skimmer...oops). I laid out today and am a nice pretty bright pink, which is a color better than white, so we're making progress on the tan of 2011!

Movie Challenge: Day 15

a character who you can relate to the most

Something Borrowed

I loved this book when I first read it last summer, though I ended up loving Something Blue better! I don't think I relate to this book as much as Emily Giffin's Love the One You're With, but I definitely relate to Rachel from Borrowed. At the beginning of the movie/book she is at her 30th birthday party and her best friend is kind of a brat (I've always had a friend that acts like this through my life, do I have one now? hmmmm ;)). She is single, her best friend is getting married, and she should have been with the guy that her best friend is engaged to. From there craziness ensues and there is a lot of drama, but in the end (at least of the second book) everyone ends up happy.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Pool Saga 2011: Part Two

Or should I say ripS. There were two, in the corners of the shallow end. I'm pretty sure I almost had a heart attack or hyperventilated right there by the pool (pretty glad I didn't because I didn't really want to fall into the water and die).

I did the first logical thing I could think of: try to repair them. I grabbed some extra vinyl and started to patch. Of course I was patching over two foot long holes that were not up against the side of the pool, they were just kind of floating.

I said a little prayer. Okay I said a big prayer, and even put the poor pool on the prayer list at church (yes I prefaced it with: this might be silly, but).

Monday I checked them and the patches did not hold and the holes were getting bigger.

I went by Thompson's Tuesday at lunch assuming that the only possible solution was a new liner, which I did not have the money for. Mike Thompson, bless his heart, kept me from having a nervous breakdown by telling me to call "Dr. Vinyl" and they should be able to repair it for around $400.

So I did just that. Only Dr. Vinyl couldn't. Neither could any of the places that I googled that did vinyl repair. I went back to work and realized the problem I was facing: I had no money and had to have the liner replaced.

I burst out crying and slightly hyperventilating due to a nice little panic attack. I knew exactly what had happened: when we were getting in and out of the pool to clean it the vinyl pulled enough away from the sides that it made kind of a bubble. When we were stepping on it the corners just gave way, the liner was OLD which did not help my cause.

I went to my boss' office, tears streaming down my face and said I needed to go. She took me into the conference room to calm me down before I attempted to drive and I had to explain that I was freaking out because of a tear in my pool liner (this sounds silly, but own a pool and you'll understand).

After halfway composing myself, I hopped in the car and headed to Ardmore to talk to my mom. We met at El Chico where, again, I burst out crying. I'm pretty sure the stress of the previous nine months all came down to that one moment. I was absolutely exhausted, physically and mentally. I had been running like a crazy person, completing 18 hours of grad school in two semesters, all while working full time, being on a relatively time consuming committee in JLN, plus working on a big JLN new member project, and jumping on board another committee, which I will be chairing next year, plus I was helping with youth every Sunday. I was exhausted. I hated being in Norman and I was not happy with life in general at that moment. About a month before I had gone to Ardmore for a weekend and had a really good time. It was stress free and it was nice. I knew that when I was in Norman every moment of my life was planned. Generally speaking I like that, the structure and purpose of it all, but I had just had enough. I hadn't been writing like I like to so much, which I use as my stress relief, I hadn't been reading for fun, which is another stress relief, though I had been going out a lot. I was just worn out.

At that point I still didn't know what I was going to do about the pool. A few weeks later, when things calmed down a smidge, my mom called and said she would help with the cost of the liner (praise Jesus!). I set out calling around to get estimates.

That was a chore in and of itself. I didn't know the measurements of the pool, well I knew it was 24,000 gallons, but that's about all I knew and I figured that would be enough to get an estimate. Wrong! Finally I got hold of a few people who would come out and measure it and call me back with estimates (without charging to do so).

The first I got was $3500-4000. Um, no!

Another was $3200.

One really nice guy came out and measured and it would be $2850 with the thinnest liner they made.

After all of that I went to my favorites: Thompson Pool and Patio and prayed they would have the best price because I really wanted to use them. I went in and they put me on the list to have it measured. This was Monday, May 9 and told me that it would be about 2-3 weeks before they could be out to just measure it. Really? Well that was not the case, Mike called me on Thursday with a price that beat the others (praise Jesus again!) and that I needed to come in and pick out the vinyl.

I went in at lunch and picked one out, pretty quickly, which was thicker on the bottom and sides than the one I'd had previously. I was ready to order it then. This was a relatively large investment, so Mike sent me with a brochure with all the liners in it and told me to think about it and to get opinions from my friends and come back.

I showed about 10,000 people the different liners (okay maybe exaggerating a little bit), and came down to two: one that was thicker all the way and one that was thicker on the bottom, but not the sides (or vice versa). There wasn't a price difference and I wasn't going to get that much more time out of one than the other, so I knew I needed to see the vinyl and would be able to decide then.

I was right. And I ended up picking the exact same one that I had picked out the day before:

Capri Fresco II

I liked that it was lighter than what I had before and I liked that the top looked like tile and not just a printed pattern. Mike said it would make the yard look different because it was so much different than what I'd had before. I liked that idea because I wanted this to be mine, my decision and my pool. He ordered it that day and said it would be two and a half to three weeks before it came in...

Movie Challenge: Day 14

a movie that no one would expect you to love

Triple X
I love Vin Diesel. I love him because of this movie. I cannot tell you how many times Haley and I rewound the scene where he says "the things I do for my country." We'll just leave it there!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Movie Challenge: Day 13

a movie that is a guilty pleasure

Cruel Intentions

I love this movie. I will always love this movie. The part when Reese Witherspoon's character comes up the escalator to Ryan Phillippe's character and she says "I'm impressed" and he says "I'm in love." Oh my gosh! I can't get over that right now! Oh boy! I'll leave it at that, but Heather if you're reading this you KNOW what I mean!

Pool Saga 2011: Part One

First a little recap from the end of Pool Season 2010.

September 19 I had the youth group over to swim and had a clear, though slightly cloudy, pool. Then the longest week of my life happened: we closed an office, I was taking 9 hours of grad school (which of course had assignments due that week), and I did not see the light of day at my house until Thursday evening. By that time the pool was black. I don't really understand how it happened in such a short period of time, but it did.

I was a little bit frustrated and dumped all kinds of chemicals into it trying to get it back to clear, though I had NO time and the temperature was starting to fall, so swimming was becoming less likely, however I did not want to close it and cover it looking like that because I remembered how horrible it was to open a few months earlier.

After trying to work in pool maintenance time into my already ridiculously busy schedule and leaves falling at ridiculous rates (I live in a very wooded area) I finally decided to cut my losses and plan on replacing the liner, which would mean draining the pool anyway.

So that was the plan. Spend tax return money on a new liner. Well life has a way of sneaking up on you when you make plans and some other stuff came up that my tax return had to be spent on, so I decided I would just rough it and make the liner last another year.

And here is the timeline of what the pool has looked like in 2011:

Spring Break: planned to start working on the pool, but the previously mentioned life got in the way and put it on hold.

April 1-8: attempted to vacuum the pool to get the leaves out of the bottom. Two problems with this idea: First, the water was BLACK, so I couldn't see what I was doing. Second, I live in a heavily wooded area and left the pool uncovered all fall and winter, so there were A LOT of leaves and the basket on my pump is tiny, not to mention there is the issue of pipes clogging.

April 9: I admitted defeat and decided I would drain the pool again. I put it on waste and went to Junior League Charity Ball. I came home a few hours later and the entire shallow end was drained, not exactly what I expected.

April 10: I cleaned all the leaves out of the shallow end in about an hour, not too shabby. I then attempted to start the pump again to get the deep end drained. It was a no-go. I was a little bit frustrated.

April 11: first trip to Thompson's of the year. I took in the O ring for the pump basket, though it looked fine, and tried to figure out what was wrong. They greased it and I came home, hoping it would work. Again, no-go.

April 12: Enter my handy little sub pump. This little sucker drained the whole deep end (it was a very, very, very good investment last year).

April 13: Kristin, not knowing what she was getting herself into, came over and helped clean out the deep end. It was disgusting, but she was a trooper.

April 14: I started filling the pool and realized that one of the spots that was patched before I owned the house had come loose. It looked higher than I could stand up in, so I decided that I would fill the pool to that level, get a raft, float over, fix it and hop out of the pool. Let's just say if there had been a video camera I would have won $10,000 on AFV. My attempt at floating did not work, so I ended up wading through the muck, praying there were no snakes and fixed it. A little known fact is that when you get a pool liner wet it becomes very, very slick. I have fallen into the water a few times and I tried to scoot up the liner on my rear and let's just say it didn't go very well. As I was in the pool I did not have my phone with me (water+phone do not mix), the ladder was too high, so the only way out was up the steep, now very slick slope. Somehow I managed to get up and out of the pool. I'm not sure if the neighbors saw me, but if they did I'm sure they got a laugh.

April 15: Running up the water bill while filling the pool.

April 16: I see the rip...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Movie Challenge: Day 12

a movie that you hate

Night at the Roxbury

Another easy one. Yeah it is really, really, really dumb. I walked out of the theater ready to demand my money back, but there was one problem: half my friends worked at the movie theater in high school, so we never paid to get in. Oh well! It is still time that I will never get back in my life.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Movie Challenge: Day 11

a movie that changed your opinion about something

Alice in Wonderland/Alice Through the Looking Glass (1985)

I don’t know that it changed my opinion, but when I found it recently on youtube I realized that all the houses that I really love are the style of house from this movie, the Tudor style. This is an excellent version of Alice. Besides the animated version I haven't seen any other versions (even the scary Johnny Depp version) besides in clips, but I still think this one is the best. It stays very true to the books and has an AMAZING cast. I seriously recommend you go check it out. It is on youtube in 20 parts (10 for Wonderland and 10 for Through the Looking Glass). It is well worth your time!

Because These Are Always Fun...

I have a few good blogs rolling around in my head, unfortunately they seem to be staying there, so I'll do this instead. It started at 100 truths, however there are some numbers missing (but they were missing when I copied it!).


1. last beverage: coke
2. last phone call: Mom
3. last text message: Ryan
4. last song you listened to: Kissing by Bliss (from Sex and the City: The Movie)
5. last time you cried: I can honestly say I don't remember

6. dated someone twice? Yup
7. been cheated on? more times than I care to admit to
8. kissed someone & regretted it? Never
9. lost someone special? Yes
10. been depressed? Yes
11. been drunk and threw up? There was this one time after Club Rodeo and Korean BBQ...oh...or the Power Hour rally...oh college...or the night I bought the TV

12. Green
13. Crimson
14. Cream

15. Made a new friend? Yes
16. Fallen out of love? Nope
17. Laughed until you cried? Two words: Something Borrowed
18. Met someone who changed you? Yes
19. Found out who your true friends were? absolutely
20. Found out someone was talking about you? arg, but yes
21. Kissed anyone on your fb friend's list? no!
22. How many people on your fb friends list do you now in real life: All of them
24. Do you have any pets: 3 puppy dogs
25. Do you want to change your name? more than you know
26. What did you do for your last birthday? actual day: lunch at Inspirations Tea Room and shopping with Brittany and then to the Mont, party was the Saturday after...FABULOUS! (even when the cops showed up)
27. What time did you wake up today? 7:12 when the Helpdesk called
28. What were you doing at midnight last night?: sleeping
29. Name something you CANNOT wait for: the pool to be done!
30. Last time you saw your mother: May 21
31. What is one thing you wish you could change about your life?: nothing! (okay I would like to have more money, but that's it :))
32. What are you listening to right now? television
33. Have you ever talked to a person named Joe. a few of them
34. What's getting on your nerves right now: most things regarding my house
35. Most visited webpage: Facebook
37. Nicknames: none really
39. Zodiac Sign: Leo
40. He or She? She
41. Elementary? Lincoln
42. Middle School? Ardmore Middle School
43. High School? Ardmore High School
44. Hair color? Blonde
45. Long or short? Medium (ie. way the heck too long)
46. Height: 5'2"
47. Do you have a crush on someone? nope!
48: What do you like about yourself? everything
49. Piercings? ears: two in the left, one in the right
50. Tattoos? absolutely positively not

51. Righty or lefty? Righty
52. First surgery- gall bladder
53. First piercing- Ear rings
54. First best friend- Meredith Griffin or Katie Wilson
55. First sport you joined- softball (though I danced too)
56. First vacation- real vacation? Puerta Vallarta, but lots of business trips before that
58. First pair of trainers- how am I supposed to remember this???

59. Eating - crackers, cheese and summer sausage
60. Drinking - coke
61. I'm about to - clean the house
62. Listening to - tv
63. Waiting for - pool to be done
64. Want kids? yes, but kid, singular, just one
65. Get Married? yup
66. Career? executive director of a non profit

67. Lips or eyes? Eyes
68. Hugs or kisses? Both
69. Shorter or taller = Taller
70. Older or Younger = Older
71. Romantic or spontaneous = both
72. Nice stomach or nice arms = Both
73. Sensitive or funny = Both
74. Hook-up or relationship = ask my friends who have received texts about my birthday request ;)
75. Trouble maker or hesitant = I say trouble maker, but should say hesitant

76. Kissed a strange= more times than I can count and alcohol was not always involved
77. Drank hard liquor = more times than I can count
78. Lost glasses/contacts = No
79. Sex on first date= No
80. Broken someone's heart = probably
81. Had your own heart broken = more times than I can count
84. Cried when someone died = yes
85. Fallen for a friend = unfortunately

86. Yourself= yes
87. Miracles = yes
88. Love at first sight = yes
89. Heaven= yes
90. Santa Claus= of course! otherwise you don't get presents!
91. Kiss on the first date = oh yes!
92. Angels = Yes

93. Had more than one bf/gf at the same time? No
94. Is there one person you want to be with right now? nope
95. Did you sing today? nope
96. Ever cheated on somebody? No
97. If you could go back in time, how far would you go, and why? I wouldn't go back and change anything, but there are several days I would love to relive
98. If you could pick a day from last year and relive it, what would it be? Jan 3, Jan 12, Jan 15, Mar 18/19

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Movie Challenge: Day 10

favorite classic movie

Wizard of Oz

Easy! The summer before my freshman year I was in Wizard of Oz at our local community theatre. I had the starring roll of Ribbon Salesman. My lines were: ribbons and bows, ribbons and bows, and I don't remember the rest. At any rate when the show was over Wizard started haunting me. By this I mean just about every day there would be some reference to Wizard. This went on for several months, or years.

My junior year my high school did Wizard. By this point I had started to do more behind the scenes stuff (because I cannot carry a tune in a bucket) and was Stage Manager for the show. It was a lot of fun, though a pretty stressful show, because even though it was a high school production we had Flying by Foy come and so the witches could fly through the show. At this point my high school music teacher (now my good friend Lisa) and I were informed that our high school auditorium should have been condemned. We also had a little issue with getting the backdrops. Lisa and I had to hunt FedEx down (needless to say I'm not all that fond of FedEx to this day). There was also a little issue with one batten (the pole that holds the backdrop) that would not come down below about 18 foot above the ground. Guess which loyal stage manager got to climb a ladder and tie one tie, then be pushed over a few feet (while still on the ladder) and tie the next, this went on for the length of the batten.

Overall both shows were amazing experiences and I love them both. Wizard, which I now collect memorabilia from, is my favorite classic movie to this day.

As a side note, I don't remember when I first saw the movie, but I do remember not being allowed to watch it for a long time because my parents were afraid I would have nightmares.