Saturday, May 28, 2011

Whoa! We’ve Got Cherries!

When we first saw our house, moved into it, and pretty much every day since most of our outdoor attention has been focused on our back yard.  However, last week we were in the front yard visiting with our neighbors and we notice that 2 of the trees we were standing near were cherry trees.  Earlier this afternoon we took another look at these trees and they were covered in cherries.  After a quick sampling, we realized that they were actually covered in delicious cherries!

After 20 minutes or so of picking, we had a large number of cherries in our hands (well actually in a box) to bring in and clean.  Yay for nature!

2 New Koi

This afternoon we went shopping for some new pond supplies.  While we were out we came across 2 beautiful small koi that we couldn’t pass up.

As soon as we got home, we placed the bag that we brought them home in into the second pool of the waterfall to make sure that we didn’t shock them due to temperature change as they entered our water.  The video below shows how they left the bag and began swimming freely.

Friday, May 27, 2011

(our blog is now) Mobilized!

I have seen an increase in the number of cell phones that are viewing our blog lately, and I know that the templates that we use are not always easy to read on a small screen.  So, I have enabled a mobile template that should make that experience much better.

 

If you are part of the “in crowd”, you can use the QR code to the left to take a look at that template on your phone.  Or if you just open our site in your mobile phone, your phone’s browser will be redirected to an appended URL with this view:  http://www.barbieandzack.com/?m=1.

 

Take a look, and if you have any problems or suggestions let us know.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Poster Child For “In-Kind” Donations To NVFS

Last week I had the pleasure of taking part in AOL Monster Help Day.  One of the organizations that I provided “in-kind” donations to was Northern Virginia Family Services.  Below  is a snippet from the top of their monthly newsletter that is sent to all of their staff and volunteers.  This photo was taken of myself and a friend of mine helping the IT person at SERVE refresh several computers.  Very cool!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

USAF Thunderbirds at the 2011 JSOH

The grand finale of the 2011 Joint Service Open House was the US Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration team.  I have very fond memories as a little kid of going to air shows with my dad to see the Thunderbirds perform, but I have never been able to take pictures of the caliber of those below.  Enjoy!

USN Legacy Flight from the 2011 JSOH

After the F-18 demonstration completed, but before it landed an F-4U took off to join it in the air.  This formation is known as the US Navy Legacy Flight.  These two aircraft were used by the US Navy to perform the same role, so to have them fly in such close proximity to one another is quite rare.

F-18 Super Hornet from the 2011 JSOH

The third modern day areal display that I saw was the US Navy’s F-18 Super Hornet.  This demonstration is another one that I have seen many times.  Just as in the past when performed at the same show as the Thunderbirds, I get the feeling that the Navy F-18 pilots like to turn their performances up a notch.  Almost as though they are inferring that they want to make sure that the crowd doesn’t forget that their branch of service has a demonstration team as well.

USAF Heritage Flight from the 2011 JSOH

The US Air Force will have an A-10 and an F-15 fly in formation with a privately owned P-51 Mustang at various air shows and call the assembly the USAF Heritage Flight.  The pictures below are from several passes of this formation.

F-15 Eagle from the 2011 JSOH

The second modern day areal display that I saw at this year’s JSOH was the US Air Force’s F-15 Eagle.  This demonstration is one that I have seen dozens of times at different air shows since I was a little kid.  And for as long as I can remember, this has been and still is my favorite demonstration.

A-10 Warthog from the 2011 JSOH

One of the first modern day areal displays that I saw at this year’s JSOH was the US Air Force’s A-10 Warthog.  These pictures came out fairly well considering that the sky was overcast and the plane was also a gray.

Art and Badges from the 2011 JSOH

Today I attended the 2011 Joint Service Open House held at Andrews Air Force Base.  Below are a few pictures that I took of the nose art and insignia badges on some of the planes that I saw.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Monster Help Day 2011

Today was the second annual AOL Monster Help Day and it was nothing short of magnificent.  This annual event is based in part on one of AOL’s company values:  We are in the business of helping people period.  On this day AOL employees from all of our offices around the world take time outside the office to help their communities.  Here is a link to monsterhelp.aol.com which contains information about what types of activities were conducted in each of AOL’s major office locations.

This year I had the opportunity to volunteer at several non-profit locations as part of this event and I took some pictures at each stop.  Below are some of the images I captured throughout the day:

Coaches lining up outside AOL’s Dulles office to shuttle employees to various locations in the DC Metro Area


A new computer lab was installed at the Lake Anne Fellowship House in Reston, VA


The grounds near Runnymede Park in Herndon, VA were cleaned and maintained


Landscaping and building maintenance was done at Graydon Manor in Leesburg, VA


A new employment assistance computer lab was installed at the SERVE shelter in Manassas, VA

I hold a special place in my heart for the SERVE shelter as this was there I spent last year’s Monster Help Day.  On that day I painted the fire lanes and fire hydrants, I painted walls and helped restock their food bank.

This year one of the AOLers that spent all day at SERVE recorded a few clips with his iPhone and assembled the video below to document his experience:

Thursday, May 19, 2011

More Pond Progress

I took advantage of this afternoon’s great weather to share our latest progress on our pond with you.  In this video you can see the proximity of the pond features to the rest of our back yard.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Criteria For Success: A Bottle Opener

Several months ago we bought a new grill for our house.  If you are a regular reader of this blog, you most likely know that event was a very long time coming.  We both had very specific criteria that we wanted in a grill, and one of mine was a bottle opener.  This afternoon after a long day working in the yard we decided to have dinner on the deck.  Barbie laughs every time I open a bottle on our grill because I smile ear to ear when I use it, so I thought it would be worth sharing with you.

There are few things that are as satisfying as an ice cold beer on a hot afternoon (that has been opened on your own grill).  Ahhhhhh…

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Familiar Surroundings

This morning we visited St. Joseph Catholic Parish for the first time in more than 2 years.  Todays visit was to attend Barbie’s god-son’s first communion.  Our last visit to this church was for our wedding, so our day was full of many good memories.  Once we entered the church Barbie, her mom and I  found our way to some seats close to the middle of the church and we noticed something very familiar.

The church was still using the floral bows that Barbie’s mom made for our wedding.  In fact, those bows were adorning the pews that the first communion participants would sit in for today’s ceremony.