Monday, November 29

winter cold

Jake and I both caught our first colds of the season over the weekend. I can't believe it held off until almost December this year. It was two years ago that we were both sick from August till May. That year sucked. These are the things they don't tell you about when you decide to have a kid. But, I guess this daycare thing will pay off next year--by the time Jake starts school, he should be immune to just about every bug out there.

And speaking of cold, the weather hasn't been too bad. I actually like having some snow for Christmas, but other than that, I can do without it. If we can just get to January without a permanent blanket of snow on the ground, I'll call it a winner.

Saturday, November 27

attic project, part 2 continued

Jake stayed at my parent's last night, so that gave Brian and I an opportunity to finish up our attic project. Assuming all goes well this winter, we should be done up there. Otherwise, we might need to add some more insulation. Time will tell. I'm almost looking forward to some snow just to see if our project worked or not.

That said, everything was put back in the attic, so the library/office space looks about as good as it's going to. I still have some cleaning to do in the library, but as we found out with the office, that probably won't make much of a difference.

Friday, November 26

sometimes i wonder...

...if it might not be cheaper to just buy a new vehicle. My car went to the garage today for some routine maintenance and an inspection. The garage called to say that it also needs some brake-work and new tires. I can almost see my money flying out the window. Granted, brakes and tires are maintenance items, but they don't come up all that often (unlike an oil change). Oh yeah, Brian's truck needs new tires as well. Needless to say, between this and our previous expenses, our vehicle maintenance fund has been depleted. Let's hope nothing else comes up until it has time to replenish itself.

OK, so it really wouldn't be cheaper to buy a new vehicle unless we were paying out $300+ per month in maintenance costs, but I can certainly dream, can't I? Unless my car falls over and dies, I won't be getting new vehicle until Brian's truck is paid off and that's a good two-and-a-half years away, so I guess I should get used to it. In the meantime, I'm glad we live only two blocks from our mechanic's.

Thursday, November 25

thanksgiving 2004

We spent this Thanksgiving with Brian's family. His Aunt Phyl and Uncle John hosted this year's event. They live in Scottdale, PA, which is about an hour and 15 minutes away. There were various representatives from both families there. All in all it was a nice day.

Jake spent most of the afternoon playing with Brian's cousin Erin and her fiance Justin. Kudos to them because they were playing with him like they were enjoying it. He had a blast. Since Jake was the only kid there, it really made his day.

The only downer today was coming home. We were just about to go up Ligonier Mountain and saw a firetruck blocking the road. As it turns out, the road was a sheet of ice, so it was closed. There had already been an accident on it so I guess they weren't looking for any more trouble. The firemen told us of an alternate route to get home, which added 45 extra minutes to our trip.

This evening we're just hanging out and watching television at home--bouncing between the Pitt/WVU game and the NBC comedies.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 24

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Let me preface this review by sayin' that Jacob spent Monday, Tuesday, an' Wednesday (today) at daycare. Daycare requires naps in th' afternoon. Jacob dasn't need t' take a nap anymore. If he does, then he's up very late. So, after three days o' naps...well, ye get th' picture. So, I thought it'd be a good idee t' watch a movie this evenin' since we don't be havin' t' get up early tomorrow. I thought he'd be into it since thar were sea dogs in it, but it unfortunately only held his attention fer an hour.

Anyway, this was a pretty cool movie, from what I can tell. If ye've e'er tried t' watch a movie while a four year old was runnin' around th' room, ye'd understand what I'm talkin' about. Brian particularly liked th' skeleton buccanneers--nay surprise thar. In honor o' th' film, we drank grog and coke while watchin' it. Johnny Depp be a pretty cool actor. But, this movie does raise an important question--do all buccanneers wear eye makeup?

Th' Flick Filosopher liked it, too.

Arrr.

Translation provided by Pirate Speak.

gmail anyone?

When I set up my gmail account, I received six (count 'em, six) gmail invites for your emailing pleasure. So, if anyone wants one, e-mail me and you can have one. First come, first served.

Monday, November 22

pig sty

The upstairs part of our house (where our office is and our library will be) is a total pig sty. This is mostly due to the fact that it has been a work in progress for a few years and will be for a few more years to come.

It finally got so bad that Brian commented on it. My response was that if it was bothering him so much, maybe he should quit complaining about it and go clean the room. Much to my surprise, he did just that on Saturday. And, that motivated me to mop the floors up there (which I did after work today).

While the office looks about 10 times better than it did before it was cleaned, it still looks like a pig sty. Hence, my lack of motivation to clean it in the first place.

I consider this whole situation to be a trade-off. His cat's litter box is also upstairs. I got sick of nagging him to clean it. So, after eight years of having a cat in the house, I'm now cleaning the litter box for the first time. Eating my own words, I guess.

Saturday, November 20

christmas shopping: done

Today, I met my goal of completing my Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving. I had to go to Boscov's in order to complete it. *gasp* I think I ordered just about everything else through the internet. If only I could get my groceries through the internet, I wouldn't ever have to leave the house.

There are a few items on backorder, but they are scheduled to arrive before Christmas. Of course, the items I ordered from Brian's Rickety Ol' Furniture Shoppe haven't arrived yet, but I expect them by December 24. I don't know how that place stays in business...

We normally reserve a weekend around 10 days before Christmas to get our tree, decorate the house, and wrap all of the gifts. I'd do it earlier, but gifts are a lot easier to store when they're not wrapped. In the meantime, I need to address all of my Christmas cards (which are hand-made this year, by the way) and Brian needs to take a picture of Jacob so that I can send one out with the cards. Oh yeah, there's also the baking. I don't make a ton of cookies, because we don't really get that much company over the holidays. I actually make more dog treats, if you can believe it. I give most of them away to people who love their dogs as much as I do. It's a lot of fun and Jake likes to help with the baking.

150 bottles of wine on the wall

150 bottles of wine. Take one down, pass it around, 149 bottles of wine on the wall...

We bottled two batches of wine last evening. One was a Primativo Syrah and the other a Pinot Blanc. We got a little over two cases each. Both were pretty tasty so I'm sure they'll be even better once they've had the opportunity to bottle age for a few months. These were the remaining two kits from my 2004 Limited Edition collection. Tomorrow, when I put them on the wine racks, that'll bring my total up to 150 bottles of wine! If I plan on keeping up with Brian, I guess I'd better get drinking.

Last week, Brian ordered my 2005 Limited Edition kits. So, the wine cycle will begin again in January. All five kits for next year look pretty good.

I also have a hankering for some strawberry wine, so if I can squeeze a batch of that in this summer, I'll be happy. It's been a few years since I've made it, so I guess I'm due. We'll see.

Friday, November 19

today's lesson

Mea culpa. I had erroneously been referring to the 'national debt' as the 'national deficit' (previous posts have since been fixed). It turns out that the national debt is the total amount of money that the government owes, whereas the 'national deficit' (or budget deficit) is the amount the government overspends in a single year. If you add up the national deficit numbers from every year, you get the national debt.

If the government doesn't overspend, it's called a budget surplus. Clinton was the only president in recent history to have a budget surplus. Bush took care of that "problem".

Our elected officials, in their infinite wisdom, have increased the national debt limit to $8.18 trillion. If this doesn't screw up the economy, I don't know what will. Alan Greenspan concurs.

National debt: $7,449,106,021,485.29
Your share: $25,264.80

You can send your contribution here:
ATTN DEPT G
BUREAU OF THE PUBLIC DEBT
P O BOX 2188
PARKERSBURG, WV 26106-2188

Thursday, November 18

jesus complex

OK. So, Jake's taking karate. About a week or so after he started, we received our payment booklet and some general information from the karate school. One of the things they ask of the students is that they wash their feet before going to class. Karate class is conducted in bare feet, so I can see their point. Anyway, the first time I washed Jake's feet he was pretty into it. Now, every week, way before it's time to leave for karate, he's asking to have his feet washed.

The first time he asks me to wash his feet with perfume and my hair will be the end of karate as we know it.

Call me Mary Magdalene.

Wednesday, November 17

politics, as usual

Comedian Janeane Garofalo was quoted saying that "being a Republican this year is more than a difference of opinion—it's a character flaw." I couldn't have said it better myself.

I should mention that I don't normally talk politics. In fact, I don't normally even make my politics known. Occasionally I will do so with like-minded people, but even that's pretty rare because I don't ever bring the subject up. So, it kind of has to present itself.

The reason I don't talk politics with non-like-minded people is that I'm not going to change their opinion and they're not going to change mine, so what's the point in discussing anything? I'm not one to argue just for the sake of arguing. I can find better things to do with my time (like pontificate on my blog, for example).

It is interesting that I don't seem to have any problem discussing politics on my blog. Of course it could have something to do with my audience (you know, all six of them). For many of my readers, I'm preaching to the choir. For the others, I guess you're learning something new about me, eh? Don't agree with me? Get your own blog.

National debt: $7,451,639,974,177.92
Your share: $25,274.76

Monday, November 15

what would brian do?

Evidently the answer is "drink all of the beer."

This evening, I was raiding my wine bottle supply in order to find a few cases of empties. This Friday, we are hoping to bottle my last two batches of wine for the year. I found just enough so I am in good shape for the pending event.

While going through all of the boxes in our storage area, I happened upon some bottles of beer that Brian made (last year, perhaps?). One of the cases (12, 20-ounce bottles) was one of the better batches he's made--oatmeal stout. So, he was pretty excited about my find. Apparently all of the excitement muddled his brain (or maybe it was the hockey puck he took to the noggin last Friday), because the conversation we had went something like this:

Brian: "This is great. I'll have to put two in the fridge and try them out and make sure they're still drinkable."
Angela: "Yeah, I can't remember exactly when you made that beer. But, since it's a stout, it'll probably still be ok."
Brian: "We'll be able to drink this at practice on Saturday. It's too bad John's not drinking beer right now because I don't know how Shawn and I are ever going to be able to drink all of this in one night."
Angela: "So, what you're trying to say is that Saturday is the last time you're ever going to have practice? You won't be able to drink some of the beer this Saturday, and say, some of the beer the following Saturday?"
Brian (with a look of dawning realization on his face): "Oh, right..."

So, if you ever find yourself questioning what to do with your alcohol supply, just ask yourself, WWBD?

Friday, November 12

'twas a hockey night in johnstown

Brian, Jacob, and I went to a Chiefs game with Judy this evening. A good time was had by all until Brian got his bell rung by an errant hockey puck. After that point, only Judy, Jacob, and I were having a good time. There's nothing like a hockey puck to the noggin to put you in a bad mood. Or, so I am told.

Of course, Jacob ate the whole game, so how could he not have a good time? Eating is his favorite pastime. It's almost hard to believe that he's thin--I don't see how he could possibly eat any more food in one day. Just what are these overweight kids eating, anyway? Sticks of butter for their snacks?

So, we're walking to the car after the game, and there's someone in the parking lot explaining how to use a chainsaw to their friend. That's something you don't see very often.

By the way, the Chiefs decided to win tonight's game for a change, rather than tie it. They beat Peoria 6-5.

Thursday, November 11

last letters home

Brian made us watch this HBO documentary this evening. I was not up for such a show (actually, I wouldn't ever watch a documentary such as this on my own volition--too depressing). Thursday nights are for sitcoms, but try finding one to watch (but that was a different post for a different day).

Anyway, I tried to not watch the show, but you couldn't help but pay attention to it. The documentary was about 10 soldiers who died in the Iraq war and the last letters they wrote to their families. The documentary showcased the 10 soldiers and their families (quite a small sample of the 1100+ who have died so far). Members of the soldiers' families read the last letters they received from the soldier and discussed their lives.

Very sad. It's even sadder when you think that the person who put them there never served a day in his life, but we'll just try to stick to the subject at hand. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't want my kid in a war, either. But, I have nothing but the utmost respect for anyone who has served in the Armed Forces.

If you are looking for a reason to be depressed, I highly recommend this program. I also highly recommend it for Republicans or anyone else who thinks that war is a good idea. I never thought of myself as a peace-loving, hippie type, but that lifestyle is starting to look pretty good to me.

Number of days until the next presidential election: 1245

Wednesday, November 10

i don't like s&m

Oh, the things kids say...

Today, Jacob took a bag of Skittles from his arsenal of Halloween treats. For the uninitiated, Skittles look just like M&Ms, but they have an "s" printed on them rather than an "m". After eating a few of them, he decided that Skittles weren't for him. So, he came out to the kitchen to inform me, "I don't like S&Ms. I want some M&Ms instead." I think most of us can agree with him.

Tuesday, November 9

where have all the sitcoms gone?

I like sitcoms. There don't seem to be many on these days, though. Reality TV is all that's on anymore. I haven't watched reality TV since the first few seasons of the Real World on MTV. And, let me tell you, that was quite a while ago. Nowadays, if I'm looking for reality, you won't find me in front of the television.

The sitcoms I like are the following:
1. Malcolm in the Middle
2. Arrested Development
3. Scrubs
4. Joey
5. Will and Grace

And, thank goodness for Friends reruns on WJAC. I've seen all of the episodes at least six times a piece and they're still funny. How can that be?

At least this lack of quality TV is allowing us to catch up on our movie watching--particularly since we got HBO a while back. Yeah--that, and the "free" Starz channels the cable company added on recently. In cable-speak, free translates to $10/month, in case you were wondering. Like they need a reason to increase the cable bill.

Sunday, November 7

how 'bout them steelers?

The Steelers won another one today--against the formerly undefeated Philadelphia Eagles. Every year, you hear people talking about how they think the Steelers have a chance to go to the Superbowl (well, if you live in Western PA, you do). This year, I heard the usual conversation and said, "Yeah, the Steelers have about the same chance of going to the Superbowl as the Red Sox do of winning the pennant."

Food for thought.

pie crust

The youth group at our church was holding their annual apple dumpling fund raiser today. We bought one for each of us. Brian and I are saving ours for "supper". We're going to have some hot sausage sandwiches and baked beans while we watch the Steeler game this afternoon and didn't want to ruin our appetites. Jake, on the other hand, doesn't have such concerns. So, he went downstairs with it once we got home and ate his in front of the tube.

He brought up his plate when he was done. I noticed that there was an awful lot of pie crust left (like, just about all of it), but the apple was history. What the heck's the matter with that kid--doesn't he know that the only reason we eat pie is for the pie crust?!? It is not socially acceptable to just eat pie crust, so we have to eat the fruit that goes along with a pie, just to keep up the facade. But, no, that's not good enough for "he who must have fruit." He give up the nutritionally void part of the dessert for the healthier portion.

Apparently, I'm doing something right here, but I'm not quite sure what it is.

Saturday, November 6

misery

I just finished reading that cockadoodie book by Stephen King this evening. It was one bitchly book. I've read that effing thing so many times that I can't even count. It was a Christing good movie, but the book was so much effing better. So, if you haven't read this effing story yet, get off your big bastard of an ass and do it immediately.

Now I must rinse.

beef: it's what's for dinner

I just finished defrosting my freezer in anticipation of the side of beef my mom and I are getting next week. We'll each be getting 150+ pounds of beef, so none of us in either family should end up anemic in the next year.

The beef is from a farm in Friedens, PA (which is in Somerset County). They raise Black Angus cattle there. Mmm, delicious. Their meat is hormone-free and they raise their own feed, so that helps them to score some points with me. I'm not some kind of organic zealot, but I try to take the healthier route whenever it is available.

Let's see, I've done the pork and beef thing already this year. Maybe next time, I'll try a whole chicken! I probably won't split it with my mom, though. (I can almost hear the groans.)

kill bill vol. 1

Last night was another margarita and a movie night.

I wasn't planning on liking this movie. I just wasn't interested in watching a gratuitously violent movie last night. However, I did like the film. Don't get me wrong, there was more arterial spray than you could shake a cauterizing gun at, but it was still pretty entertaining. The violence was so extreme that it was almost comical. So, I guess we'll be watching Kill Bill Vol. 2 when it comes to cable.

The Flick Filosopher hated the film, but her review is pretty accurate anyway. I guess we are all entertained by different things.

Friday, November 5

emotive

I got the new A Perfect Circle album, eMOTIVe, yesterday. There are a few songs on it that I like and a few that I will never like. But, I would have bought the album no matter what, just to support the band. They definitely made the covers their own. Maynard seems to have added a new vocal style to his repertoire--the jury's still out on that one, though.

Of my two favorites, Imagine and Passive, Passive is my favorite. Passive is from Trent Reznor's Tapeworm project that never came to fruition. I was never really into the song Imagine before, but I like this version of it well enough.

If you thought their last album was too mellow, this one is definitely not for you. All in all, I liked the t-shirt I got with the cd better than the cd.

Wednesday, November 3

old joke

Brian said not to post this because the image is like, two years old (though he saw it with different text). But, I can't stop laughing about it so here you go.

Number of days until the next presidential election: 1461

what's that in the air?

The stench of defeat...

Things aren't looking good for the Kerry campaign. I guess there's still a chance that they'll win the election, but I've resigned myself to another four years of W. Unfortunately. I'd like to thank all of you one-issue voters for making this possible.

The only thing I have to console myself with is the fact that Kerry won Pennsylvania. What this means is that even if everyone I know voted for Bush, it doesn't matter. Thank you, electoral college.

National debt: $7,451,711,310,009.45
Your portion: $25,285.61

Tuesday, November 2

vote

I hope you all voted today. If not, then we dedicate the next rottenstone song to you. And that's not a compliment.

Brian and I always vote after supper. We were numbers 502 and 503, respectively. I don't ever remember getting a number that high, so voter turnout must've been good today. We can only hope so. A high turnout translates to minorities and youth which translates to a Kerry victory. We'll see...