Monday, January 31, 2011

"...please restrict your remarks to the weather"

Today's weather:

Snow Snow
Hi: -7
Low: -27

Wind Chill Advisory: In effect until 5 AM Tuesday.

What Exactly is a wind chill advisory?
  • " An advisory that "very cold air" will combine with "strong winds" to generate low wind chills.

How bad will these "WIND CHILLS" be?:
  • -20 TO -35 Today and Tonight.
How might this effect me?
  • Exposed skin can freeze in a matter of minutes at these wind chill temperatures.

What precautions can I take protect myself?
  • Prepare for dangerous wind chills
  • Dress in layers
  • Wear a hat and gloves
What might happen if I do not take these precautionary actions?
  • Frostbite
  • Hypothermia
Tomorrow isn't quite as bad:
Partly Cloudy
Hi: -2
Low: -16
Winds will be lighter

*Information courtesy of the MSN and the National Weather Service

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bagpipes, dancing, and men in kilts - a very happy birthday to Scotland's favourite son

So, a few weeks ago a coworker of mine told me about the Bobby Burns festival that they have here in town every year. The first image that came to my mind was a group of people sitting around listening to someone read the poetry of Robert Burns. While I have nothing against poetry, the thought just didn't sound all that exciting.
Then, I learned that the Bobby Burns festival is a celebration of Scottish Heritage and includes Scottish Dancing, and music, and a meal...Apparently it is called the Bobby Burns festival, because Bobby Burns is revered by the Scottish people. In fact, in 2009, he was voted the "Greatest Scot" by the Scottish Public (Wikipedia, "Robert Burns"). The festival is always held the last Saturday in January, in celebration of Bobby Burns' January 25th Birthday.

(He's a pretty good looking guy, but apparently he had a few affairs in his lifetime)

Anyway, Scottish Dancing, Bagpipe and Drum Music, Men in Kilts...I'm in!

So, my coworker called to get us some tickets, and guess what? SOLD OUT! 850 tickets SOLD OUT! And a 50 person waiting list to get tickets. I learned it is a very popular event on the Eastern side of the state, as many of the people have Scottish ancestry and there are many people who come from neighboring towns that participate and attend.

So, out of luck, right? Wrong! My coworker's daughter was volunteering at the event. Maybe we could volunteer also. We were in luck. It turns out many of the groups who usually volunteer at the event were unable to volunteer that year, so they were more than happy to have our help.
(one of Robert Burns' poems - I added this picture just to break up the words)

The volunteering last from 3:30 to 10:30 - much longer than I expected, and I was busy working most of the time, so I didn't get to see much of the show. I was able to hear it, though, and I was able to watch a couple of performances during our eating break.

I really didn't mind the volunteering, but I would have loved to see more of the show. I think next time I go I'll either try to get my tickets early or I'll try to get a volunteering job like one of my other coworkers had. She was in charge of playing the CD music for the Scottish dances.

The performances I saw were great (and I'm sure the rest were as well). The pipes and drums bands - yes, there were multiple pipes and drums bands - were incredible. But the best part? The men in kilts. I never thought I'd be saying this, but men can look good in kilts. Seriously. (Much better looking than Mel Gibson in Braveheart). -- I tried to find some pictures of men in kilts, but none of the ones I found seemed quite right. I guess you'll have to find your own pictures.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

On the evolution of furniture in my apartment

So, I've gradually been adding furniture to my apartment. When I first arrived, I bought two folding chairs from the Ace Hardware here in town (it is an amazing Ace Hardware store). My mom also bought me a lawn or patio type chair from Ace Hardware, because whe wanted something soft to sit on for the few days that she was here (yes, the chair had removable cushions). I also bought a table to match my folding chairs at WalMart. I obtained a TV/DVD combo from the classifieds section of a local website, and my table promptly became my entertainment center. I also bought an air mattress to sleep on.

Fast forward a few weeks. I was pretty much using the lawn chair for all of my sitting needs, and I decided, "What if someone comes to visit me? Where will they sit? I can't make them sit in folding chairs. That is not very hospitable." So, I decided to visit the local furniture store to look for some comfortable seating for possible guests (visiting teachers, home teachers, etc.). I think I actually visited the store somewhere like a hundred times, and each time I visited, my favorite couch was different. None of them seemed quite right, but I quickly fell in love with a red rocker recliner. It was so comfortable, so I knew that I had to have it. But, I was still undecided on a couch. I had the sales lady but the red chair on hold for me, and promised to come back the next day to purchase the chair and a couch. (I was deciding between to different couches, but couldn't make up my mind). I showed up the next day, and randomly decided to by a completely different couch. I pretty much use the couch for my bed these days.

So, for those keeping track, I was up to 7 (count them...7) seats in my little apartment. I was using a table for a TV stand, sitting in the red chair, using the couch for a bed, and using the folding tables for end tables. And my favorite cushioned chair from Ace? It was relegated to my bedroom, which isn't really used as a bedroom. Just in case I wanted to sit in this room I rarely visit, I guess.

After Christmas, I decided to make some changes. The storage containers were on sale at WalMart (and Ace as well, I found out too late). I absolutely love storage containers...and towels (but that is a completely different topic). I bought a large 50 gallon rolling tote, which became my Christmas decoration, etc. storage container and also doubled as my TV stand. My table was now free to be... well... a table. I also bought a little rolling cart with three drawers storage container to be my end table. Now my folding chairs could sit at my table. I even bought a re table cloth for my table, so that it would match the other decor in the room. I thought I was set for a while... but then...

I saw an ad on the local website advertising a 100% wood pine table for sale, with matching chairs. "Well, what can it hurt to send an e-mail asking for pictures?" I thought to myself. "I probably won't like it anyway." I'm actually kinda picky when it comes to furniture. And then, in response, I received an e-mail with this picture in it.

I loved it. I thought the woodwork was beautiful! I wasn't the biggest fan of the rush grass seats, but for the price they wanted, I figured the table and chairs were a pretty good deal, and I could live with the seats (they're actually much more comfortable than I thought they would be). I decided to buy the table. So many dining room sets I saw in the furniture store just looked kind of cheap, or small, and they usually cost more, and well, I just wasn't satisfied with any of them. I was looking for something more like what my Grandma Gardner used to have. Well, this isn't like her table was, but it is solid, and (at least in my opinion) beautiful and timeless. The local Elders' Quorum was nice enough to help out with transporting it.

And almost a week later, I'm still not regretting my decision (which is a big thing for me). I spend a few minutes each day admiring it's beauty. I'm glad I bought the table.

As you can see, the set has five chairs (I know, a little weird, usually sets have 4 or 6 chairs... apparently the seller's son broke the 6th chair). So, add the 5 to the 7 and you get 12. That means 12 seats for one person. I have not had any visiting or home teachers come by yet, but when they do come, there will be plenty of seats for them to choose from. And now I feel like I can invite people over for a proper dinner. Maybe I can even have a girl's night at my house with the RS ladies watching a movie and/or playing games. The possibilities are endless. I'm excited.

My folding table and matching chairs are now in the kitchen serving as a laundry folding table. Soon, this table will double as a microwave cart so I can free up some counter space.

And yes, my couch still doubles as a bed... I don't really see that changing anytime soon...

If I remember, I'll have to post pictures of some of my other furniture. I think it will make the blog a bit more interesting. Add a little color. You know what I mean?