Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Quiet around here

The end of summer is approaching. It's been a great one so far. Haven't really traveled, with my focus on little things around my house. The bar is done, now I'm just trying to find a time to have people over. It's been busy the last few weeks, with cookouts and dinners popping up everywhere. Right now I think the weekend of the 17th. I need to start checking around with peeps to see what works for them.

Chris and I are making plans for the holidays already. Last year we visited his friends in Chicago for their annual get together. This year it looks like they're all coming to town, to stay at either my place or at a local hotel. I can't wait! I'm already thinking of menu ideas.

Speaking of Chris, we've been going out for over a year now, and it's going wonderfully. I really can't remember someone I've dated with whom I felt such a shared connection. We aren't carbon copies by any means, but our interests do complement each other's to a rather unusual degree.

It may sound odd, but in the past I found it hard to treat my boyfriends like real people. Jokes or playful cracks would too often be taken the wrong way, and the end result would be a relationship where I was walking on eggshells, with a forced niceness at all times, not knowing what would set them off. Chris is the complete opposite. I can be myself, at last.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Summer has hit Ohio (and most of the country) like a bag of bricks. Today it's only 87, and it feels downright springlike. Luckily, the skies keep cranking out storms ever few days, so nothing is getting too dry in my garden. The downside is that it is waaay too hot to do any sort of outside work on the bar. I was able to get a bit done early Saturday before it got too hot, but the pace of that project has slowed considerably. Damn.

Monday, June 27, 2011

3d Rendering

Here's a rendering of my bar done in Google Sketchup. Probably the coolest program I've seen in a long time.

Hopefully I will start building it this weekend...long holiday weekend coming up, so can probably find a few hours somewhere.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The $50 Bar

Remember that countertop that I picked up a few weeks back? Well, it's going to serve as a top for an outdoor bar on my patio. The best part? the wood for this project will cost under $50. Really.
I drew out the framing for it, I'll need a dozen 8-ft. 2x4s to build the frame. They run $1.97 each.

I'm designing sort of an open frame look to it, here's a rough rendering I did to visualize my ideas - i finished this up on Thursday night:

The brown areas with thin darker brown vertical lines represent wainscotting. The side areas on the front view with wider grey areas are open cutouts that are crossed with smaller wood pieces to break up the look a little bit and give it a more airy outdoor appearance.

I just realized that the rendering is also a kid's project. You can print the image, and cut out the pieces and assemble a model of the bar!

I can't wait to get started!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Work work work

This has been the year to get the yard into shape. The front garden is more or less done for the year, and now I'm tackling the back. Yesterday I removed about 2 dozen flat stones from the front that were doing little else than damaging the lawn mower, and poled them in the back. I'm slowly gathering materials for a small patio, so far by just reclaiming items around my property. I'm about halfway there.
I also cut back a lilac bush that was getting out of hand. It was at least 12-15 feet high, and had taken over an entire corner of the yard. Now it's about 8 feet high, and should be fine for a few years until it needs attention again.
Tonight I'm going to plant some annuals near the lilac (end of season clearance is the way to go) and maybe lay out the stones to see how much I still need. Slow but steady progress!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


My backyard is in need of help. I have several half ideas, but no kind of cohesive design. For years, I've wanted to do something with the un-loved and neglected nook by the back door, where my table sits slowly sinking into the yard. I can't decide on a patio or deck. A deck would look weird, and a patio would be nice, but pricey. I think I might try a landscaped style, with mulch and walkways blending the whole area together.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Simple pleasures

Several weeks back, I bought a bicycle. The weather didn't cooperate for several weeks afterward, so I did't have a chance to try it out until Memorial Day. That day was an education in how to purchase a bicycle.
- The bike I bought was a 'Comfort bike', and was indeed very comfortable, and pretty to look at.
- Those were the only redeeming qualities.

Out on the paved trails, this bike was horrible. The gearing was set up for very casual cruising, up to about 10 mph. Anything above that and the short gearing would wear you out very quickly. I discovered this when riding with Chris and Brad, who both had bikes better suited for the type of riding I prefer.

I tried the bike again a few days later, thinking maybe it was the extreme heat that day that caused me to run out of breath quickly. nope, same thing. I was totally spent after about 20 minutes.

Discouraged, I returned the bike to the store. I looked at the inventories at a few local stores, but couldn't find anything suitable that was in my budget. So I started scouring the Craigslist ads, which is where Chris had found his bike.

I found a nice older bike for $100. A Raleigh Olympian 12 speed road bike. As near as I can tell it was built around 1984. It's seen a lot of use, and the paint shows some scrapes and wear. But it's obviously been well cared for - the frame is solid and straight, the rims are great, and all the mechanical bits work perfectly. A comparable bike new would be over twice as expensive.

I took it for a ride with Chris that same night, and quickly fell in love. We were out for about 90 minutes, and I never felt tired. The gearing is ideal for my current style of riding, and it felt like I could ride all day without really breaking a sweat. Another ride on sunday was a bit over 2 hours, and the same result. I think I'll own this one for a long time, it's just about perfect.