Friday, February 27, 2015

2015 Summer Movies #1: Finding Vivian Maier (Story of an unknown master photographer)

Just a fascinating film starting with one box of negatives bought from the estate of an obscure nanny.

I actually wish sometimes we had our current viewfinders located the same as the old cameras.  There were some advantages in some types of photography.  The movie came out in 2013, is not rated (although I would give it a "G" rating) and runs 84 minutes.  If you like black and white photography, old vintage photographs, and excellent examples of every day city life, then this movie is worth your time.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Two Trees Taken Down With Crane

Red Oaks West Tree Service headed by Adrian West removed two giant old trees from our new yard.  Their bid was right in line with other firms but they use a crane and they had the two trees taken down in a matter of a few hours rather than all day or over a couple of days.  No damage to the foundation of the house because of the weight of the tree limbs, the trunk and limbs can be moved directly over to the truck staging area for disposal, minimal debris (some small piles of sawdust), proper safety equipment used and protocol followed-what's not to like about this form of tree removal?  We're very happy with the job they did and would happily call them again for future work and to recommend to others.

 The corner tree had trunk, trunk, trunk, then large extending branches that mostly towered over neighboring yards.  You can see it's taller than the utility pole.  Plus this particular tree had been cut previously and had grown around the old cut stump as shown below.

 This second tree is an ash that was partially dead and had also been previously cut and had grown around the old cuts.  The tree also had some major branches hanging over the driveway of the neighbor to the west.  We just thought it would be prudent to take down both trees before they came down on their own due to weather or other factors.  There's maple in between the two that's in good shape and it's staying.
 They tie the crane hook to anchor the branch or trunk section and then they cut that section away from the tree.

 Then the crane lifts the section over to the staging area to be cut into manageable chunks for the chipper.  Notice the safety gear-these guys were really prepared and careful.
 Here's the crane bringing over a section of trunk that's too big for their chipper and was being taken to green waste with the other big logs.
For more information, visit their website at:     If you want tree removal done right, this is the company to call!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sunday Randomness #255: Bakery Cake

We bought a Groupon to One Sweet Slice and the next day I checked their FB page only to see the notice that they were closing in about a week!  So we rushed to order our cake before they closed.  I've never ordered a bakery cake like this before-we've had birthday cakes from Costco that we just picked out of the "ready-now" case (not special ordered) but that's the closest thing.  We decided on the Strawberry Lemonade flavor which has strawberry cake and lemon curd filling.  There was fondant over a shortening frosting.  We enjoyed the details and the sprinkle of glitter.  I didn't specify any design-they put down creative freedom on the order sheet.  

We thought it was a very cute design and the cake was yummy.  We wish there had been more lemon curd filling  (see picture below to see how much the frosting went in between the layers) although I know that they like the filling to stay contained so it doesn't leak out.  The very thin fondant layer and decorations  were definitely edible but the thick white shortening frosting? Meh.  No buttercream-just straight shortening, powdered sugar and a little bit of flavoring that couldn't save it.  (At least that's what it tasted like.)  We scraped it off as much as we could-that was the only downside.

Overall it was a fun experience and we're glad we got to try One Sweet Slice!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sunday Randomness #214: Game Box Shield

How to protect yourself from flying pieces of popped popcorn during a lively game of Life.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sunday Randomness #388: Jack still approves of Reading

Jack would like to share a public service message:

Read Aloud

Read to your children, your parents, your companion, your pets, your plants, yourself.

Reading aloud has many benefits some of which are explained in this interview with Jim Trelease:

Mr. Trelease encourages reading aloud not just for vocabulary but to develop a love of reading and a way to explore different ideas and the lives of people outside of our individual experiences.  He even encourages high school teachers to read to their students to help them develop into life-time readers-not just school-time readers.

Jack prefers picture books (as you can see from the picture!) but you can read aloud any book-just start reading!