Dogsitting: I've found someone to watch Dakota and Harvey while I'm in home for my brother's graduation, and I think I have some leads on possibilities for the weekend away to visit Kate and Rockbridge at the end of the June. That's a huge load off my shoulders.

Walking: Heather and I try to walk together twice a week, though our current schedule is making setting regular times kind of difficult. Tonight, though, she came over and we walked for over an hour (with a potty break in between) around my neighborhood and the one across the street, and saw some absolutely beautiful views of the water and the sunset. I've decided to commit myself to just walking a minimum of 15 minutes each day. Just setting up that habit will be a great start, I think, and I'm really enjoying being outside now that I can be (my allergies are finally under control). I want to take adventure of this weather while it exists, before it gets too hot to spend a lot of time outside.

I'd also like to take Dakota for a walk on the beach, to see how she'd like it. I only have a few more weeks (until Memorial Day) before that's prohibited for the summer, so I'm thinking that I might do it for my birthday weekend.
Allergies: I finally found something to take care of my allergies - I spent a significant amount of time outside both yesterday and today and have been doing fine. I've been taking Zyrtec, and I have Benadryl to take at night as needed. The problem is that both make me tired, Zyrtec more so, but its a relatively small price to pay to avoid being miserable for the next several weeks. I took a nap for a couple hours today (I'm not even sure exactly how long), and am going to head to bed as soon as I finish this post and let the dogs out.

Dogsitters: I've been having the hardest time finding dogsitters for Dakota and Harvey. I found someone for this weekend, but I've got two weekend trips planned for June and haven't been able to find someone yet. I could board them, but I just really hate doing that. I'm still searching.

Good friends: My friends Kate, Bethany, and James came to visit for the weekend, and it was so, so good to be with them again. Saturday afternoon we went down to the beach and walked along the water a bit, which I loved (I've vowed this year to take more advantage of where I live). Saturday night we hung out at Nick & Heather's, then went to a church picnic after the service today. Here are a handful of photos, some from last night and some from this afternoon:

We were able to spend a lot of time with friends from around here, and it was neat to see my two separate worlds come together a bit. We had a church picnic after the service today - it was a ton of fun. Here are a handful of photos, some from last night, some from this afternoon:

Landscaping: I've decided to use part of my tax refund this year to landscape the front of my house. I've asked Robbie to help design it and do the work - I don't really like gardening work (though I have enjoyed the research I've done the last couple weeks) and even if I did, my seasonal allergies would make it impossible to do it myself. So, I've been paying attention to the houses I drive by, and clipping photos online in order to show Robbie the kinds of things I like.

Here's a photo of the front of the house from last year - it looks nearly the same now, except for the American flag.

The small shrub on the left is a white azalea and is blooming now, and looks beautiful. I'm hoping to keep it, even if it gets moved around somewhere. Also, there are several larger azaleas in two different shades of pink in the backyard that I'm hoping to move as well. Eventually, I'd like to put a patio or deck where they are currently, so they would need to come out then anyway. The two trees on either side of the stairs are going away - I really don't like them, and they close in the entry too much. I might also change out the railing to something that creates a bit more space on the stairs - but pulling out the tree might be enough. There are decorative house numbers behind the tree and a white outside light fixture - I might change those out, and I'd like to remove the awning from the upstairs window. The grass is in pretty decent shape, except for a path between driveway and the front door that I walk each day, so I'd like to add a brick pathway or pavers there.

My brother: I think its time I introduced you to my brother, Jon. We don't talk about him much.
Laptop: I picked my laptop up tonight - woo hoo! I haven't been able to check my personal email since Tuesday, and even that was just a quick glance. That's a big deal for me. The weird thing is, having Internet access at work, but certain sites aren't accessible. So, I can look up info on Norfolk Botanical Gardens, as a possible option for my friends' visit next weekend, but I can't see if they've emailed me about the weekend. I can read through all my blog subscriptions and see any posted photos from Flickr just fine, but not from Photobucket. Isn't that just a little weird?
Catching up: My personal time online has been very limited over the past several days, as I had to take my laptop to the Geek Squad to be sent away for service. I've got lots to say, but haven't had a chance to say it.

Virginia Tech: I can't even begin to wrap my head around the events that happened on Monday at Virginia Tech. Hearing the news reminded me of the shootings at Columbine, probably because I was in college myself when those shootings occurred. I was sitting in the Student Union, trying to do some last minute studying for an test in a few minutes, when the news reports came on TV. Most of the people around me weren't paying attention, and when I went to my class to take the test just a few minutes later (literally), I thought it was weird that hardly anyone in the room knew that there were high school kids across the country running out their classrooms, for their lives. That's the most amazing part of it all to me, that I can hear these news reports and check for updates throughout the day but actually get work done in the meantime. Or that I can write about something like this, and then go on to talk about something as mundane as washers and dryers.

Flooding: And yet, I am going to talk about them. Because I have new ones, and I really like them, even if they are so new and bright and clean and fancy that they make the rest of the garage look like a dump. I needed a new washer, after the last flooded my garage not once, but twice. Given how little I paid for them and how old they are, I figured I'd go ahead and just replace them both. I bought two open-box models (and no, they don't match), but they work great. I'm going to ask Hannibal, the next time I see him, to build a platform for me. And the best part? I hooked up the dryer myself. Jenni told me what to do, but I did it. Boy, I love stuff like that - not the doing it, especially, but the empowering feeling I get from knowing that I did it. I hooked up a dryer.

Harvey and Dakota: I'm still toying around with the idea of taking Harvey and Dakota for training, mostly because I don't think I'll be able to really walk them (and definitely not together) if I don't. In the meantime, though, I've been working on a few basic things - coming when I call, going inside when I tell them to, sitting. The next step is to get them to sit and wait when its time to go outside, rather than barreling full-force at the door. If they can learn that (especially Harvey) it will make it much easier to train them to behave the right way when people come over to visit.
Easter: My entire family came to visit for Easter - Mom and Dad, my sisters, my brother, and my nephew Jacob. It was a lot of people for such a small house - I have a ton of laundry to do, my kitchen is a mess, and I'm definitely valuing my solitude tonight, but I wouldn't have had it any other way. This is my favorite photo from the weekend:

New collar: I got Harvey a new collar. I haven't taken a picture of it on her yet, but you can see it here. I don't normally like pink that much, but figured that a female dog with a name like Harvey needed a very feminine collar.

Family visit: My whole family is coming to visit for Easter (less than a week away!) and I'm so excited I can't stand it. I told them I'd clean out the back room for the visit, so we can put a queen-sized air mattress in there. I finally started working on it last night, and immediately realized I should have started sooner.