Thursday, December 30

the day the talking stopped

Our good friends, the Shaffers, invited us over this evening. I guess you could call it a holiday visit.

We were hanging out in the kitchen eating, drinking, and swapping stories. For the first time ever, Brian was at a loss for words--he was in the middle of telling a story and suddenly had no idea what he was talking about and completely clammed up. Come to think of it, this happening was probably funnier than the story would've been so it all worked out ok.

Jake enjoyed playing with Katie and Johnny. The poor kid was hoarse by the time we got home. No sooner were we walking through their door to leave did he ask "when are we coming back?"

There always is a downside to hanging out with the Shaffer clan, though. Every time we end an evening with them, my face hurts from smiling/laughing so much. What can I say, my facial muscles aren't used to such a workout.

wascally wabbit

I was letting Lizzy out after supper this evening when she started barking her proverbial head off. I figured it was probably the one neighborhood kid who always seems to be walking his dog whenever I let ours out. But no, it was a rabbit. A rabbit. In December. I suddenly had a flashback to May and June--the two months out of the year with the worst proliferation of rabbits. Starting in May, there are always rabbits outside--particularly at dusk and dawn. So, I always have to go chase the bunnies away before I let the pups out. You can normally see me around 5am in my PJs chasing rabbits (well, hopefully YOU don't see me). Not only do I have to chase rabbits out of the yard, but out of the dogs' sight as well (and this can take me quite a distance). At dusk, I'm normally fully dressed, so feel free to watch and/or help out.

Anyway, I digress...I brought Lizzy in, put on my shoes, and then chased the rabbit out of the yard. Just like in spring/summer.

You know, the only good thing about winter is that I never see any rabbits. If you can't count on that, what can you count on? But, I guess if the worst thing about the winter is that it is too spring-like, I shouldn't be complaining.

Wednesday, December 29

noodling

Now, this puts some sport into fishing!

Monday, December 27

christmas 2004, day 5

OK, this is my last Christmas post of the year. Finally.

Brian's parents came over this evening for a visit and to check out the goods we got for Christmas. Alcohol, cookies, and snacks were consumed. It was an enjoyable evening.

Since they were coming over, I had to straighten up a bit after work. I moved a bunch of the boxes and whatnot to the garage. I was also able to put away some of the gifts they already saw (i.e. the ones we opened at their place).

Tomorrow is one of my favorite days of the year--putting all of the Christmas presents away! I've always enjoyed doing this, though I admit it is more of a challenge than I like now that Jake gets a roomful of toys every Christmas. But, putting my own stuff away is always fun.

On a side note, Jake had a soda hangover this morning. All of the caffeine and sugar he consumed yesterday kept him up late last night so he wasn't able to get up this morning. Seeing that he had to go to daycare this morning, this wasn't a good thing.

Sunday, December 26

christmas 2004, day 4

Today seemed like the most hectic day of all Christmas weekend. I don't know if it was because we had to leave the house so many times or if it was due to all of the hours we spent in the car.

It all started off with church this morning. The Sunday after Christmas is always student recognition Sunday and there is a combined service (rather than the usual two services). This year's service took place at 9am, so I had to get up rather early this morning. Jacob and Brian are used to getting up early on Sundays, because Brian takes Jacob to Sunday school every week and that is also at 9am. After church, we came home, had lunch, and fooled around with our Christmas gifts for a bit.

Sometime around 1:00, we went to visit Brian's grandmother. She was staying at Brian's aunt's house in Scottdale, PA. Luckily, the same people who entertained Jake at Thanksgiving were there, so Jake had a great time. We stayed there for a few hours--pretty much till the Steeler game ended, and then we came home. Jake and Brian crashed out in the car while I drove.

We did some stuff at home for an hour and then headed to my parent's for a short visit. We only stayed there for an hour or so before we headed home.

Jake is still wired from all of the soda he drank earlier in the afternoon, so I don't know how he's ever going to sleep tonight, but we can only hope he does at some point, because it's back to the old grind tomorrow for all of us. At least it's a short week. The three of us are off Friday. Brian and Jake are off Thursday. Gotta love those long weekends. Too bad it's the last one until Memorial Day...

Saturday, December 25

christmas 2004, day 3

Well, today was the big day. I have to say that things went about as well as I could've hoped. Brian got up at 6:30am to put on the turkey. We got it ready last night, so he pretty much just had to put it on the roaster and into the oven. But, it was still nice of him to do so. My dogs have me trained to feed them every morning around 5am, so I wasn't in the mood to get up again.

Our plan with Jacob worked--he didn't get up until about 8:45am. We told him to go see if there were any presents under the tree, otherwise, we were just going to stay in bed. We heard him squealing a few times as he looked around. He came into our bedroom to tell us Santa had come and left a sleigh! (Jake got a sled as one of his presents.)

So, we opened all of our gifts and Jake played with his. Here was his favorite. That's right, a box. We kept telling him that Santa was going to bring him a box and a chair for Christmas because that's all he ever seems to play with. You'd think the kid didn't have any toys. Maybe next year we'll save some cash and go pick up a refrigerator box for him to play in.

Afterwards, Brian and I started getting ready for dinner. I kept the menu pretty simple because I figured there would be enough to do this morning. Things went smoothly. My mom, dad, brother, and grandmother were in attendance today. None of us could eat fast enough for Jake, though--he wanted to open the gifts that they brought and we weren't doing that until after dinner.

Brian's dad stopped by this evening because they forgot to give us our gifts from Brian's grandmother when we were there yesterday. And since we're going to visit her tomorrow, Brian's mom would've caught hell if we wouldn't have opened our gifts by then. I can put this on the internet because Brian's grandmother doesn't have a computer. His dad stayed for a few drinks and we had a very enjoyable visit that consisted of much bs'ing.

All in all a great day for all. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Friday, December 24

christmas 2004, day 2

Today, we raced around like a bunch of crazy people trying to prepare for Christmas (it wouldn't be Christmas Eve unless Brian was working on someone's gift in the wood shop). We had some stuff that needed to be done today, and the rest of the work was preparation for tomorrow's festivities (we are having Christmas dinner here with my family).

The turkey for tomorrow was still frozen like a rock, so we tried defrosting it submerged in water in the sink. Unfortunately, our sink decided that today would be a great day to leak, so we had a watery mess to clean up. Multiple times.

After this, it was time to go to Brian's parent's. Brian's sister, Jennifer, and her family were in from NY today, so we got to spend the evening with them. We had a nice dinner, opened gifts, then went to church.

Now that we're home, Jake wants to play with all of his toys. We're planning on letting him stay up a little later than usual this evening so that maybe (just maybe) he won't be up at 5am wanting to open his gifts. Of course, either Brian or I has to get up at some ungodly hour to put the turkey on, so it might not matter anyway.

Thursday, December 23

christmas 2004, day 1

Judy came over this evening for our annual present exchange. Somehow, I think she's getting screwed on that deal. Let's see--she has to buy presents for three people, we have to buy for one. Hmmm. I'm no math major, but that doesn't seem to add up. Wait a minute--I was a math major, so maybe I'm right.

Jake was very excited at the prospect of getting some presents this evening. Last year, he kinda got the Christmas thing, but this year, he's running on high octane. He has been telling everyone all week about the fact that Judy was coming over on Thursday (just ask the daycare staff--they'll tell you). And today, he only asked every 15 minutes what time she was going to arrive. It's not so much he was anxious to see her (though he always is), but he was REALLY excited about opening some presents. And this, my friend, is just the beginning.

Anyway, we got some cool stuff and had a great time bs'ing all evening. A few adult beverages were also consumed, of course.

dishwasher=fixed

The repair guy came on Monday to take a look at the dishwasher. Of course, he had to order a part (we all saw this coming, didn't we?). Luckily, the part arrived today and he fixed it today, so my dishwasher is back in working order. And, by 'the part', I mean a new motor. The motor seal on the dishwasher was leaking and the only way to fix it was to replace the motor. So, I guess I will be adding Frigidaire to my list of companies to boycott (They're right up there with Dodge...Brian got a recall notice for his truck today. The upper ball joints for the front wheels might fail and the wheels might fall off while he's driving. How nice. At least Dodge is footing the bill for this one).

But getting back to the point, I know I use my dishwasher a lot, but shouldn't a motor last more than four years? The cost to repair the dishwasher was over 1/3 of the price we paid for it. Granted it was cheaper to fix than to buy a new dishwasher, but I think if this happens again, we're going to have to seriously think about replacing it.

Let the dishwashing commence!

Tuesday, December 21

now i've heard everything

I don't even feel the need to comment on the absurdity of this:
Extreme Ironing

Monday, December 20

my second haiku

Even more than snow
I do not like frigid temps
It is too damned cold.

frosty the monday

When I checked the temperature this morning it was minus two. Minus two. That's the actual temperature, not the wind chill factor. This is the sort of thing I'd expect to see in January, not in December. That is one of the many reasons why January sucks.

That's all I have to say.

Saturday, December 18

jaded

At some point in the past 10 years I started viewing holidays through jade-colored glasses. I'm not sure how or when this happened, but I believe it was a slow progression brought on by marriage and having twice as much family to contend with. When it comes down to it, I tend to have a good time wherever we spend the holidays, but the stress of thinking about all of the running around does me in beforehand.

But, then there are days like today...Last Christmas, Jacob was bemoaning the fact that he didn't have a Christmas tree for his bedroom. My father caught wind of this and picked him up a little artifical tree after the holidays. This morning, Brian and Jacob picked out and cut down our tree. While we were putting it up, I suggested that he decorate his tree. We got it all set up on a table, put on the lights, and he came out to the living room periodically and picked the ornaments he wanted to hang on his tree. On one of his trips, he exclaimed, "This is the best day of my life!" This even made me, the jaded holiday queen, smile (for more than a few minutes at that). Just wait till Christmas, kiddo. I guess this is one of the benefits of having a child--they can make you remember how much and why you enjoyed the holidays in the first place.

Friday, December 17

dishwasher blues

My dishwasher has been leaking all week. This happened once before and it was caused by the dishwasher being out of level. Unfortunately, that is not the case this time. Brian pulled the dishwasher out from under the cabinets and there's an important-looking part that's leaking underneath the dishwasher. When I say important, it's like the motor or something.

So, we had to call the repair guy. We waited all day for him to call back and he called to say that he can't come until Monday morning. Good thing I work at home that day. What do people with real jobs do when the repair guy has to come--take a vacation day? Anyway, I'm not thrilled about all of this because I'm going to be without a dishwasher for who knows how long. I'd put money on the fact that he's going to have to order a part for it, so that'll probably push the fix back until after Christmas.

I guess part of the reason I'm so bummed out about this is that we generally fix everything ourselves. What's next--hiring someone to remodel our bathroom? *gasp* The second reason is that I cook A LOT. The dishwasher is run every day. There are some days the dishwasher gets run two or three times.

Brian, being the sweetheart that he is, washed all of the dirty dishes that had been piling up in the kitchen. Will this be a regular occurrence until the dishwasher is back in order? Time will tell.

It's not like I always had a dishwasher to do my dishes. My mom always had one, but after I moved out, I didn't have one until we remodeled our kitchen in 2000. But, I'm afraid four years of not having to wash dishes has spoiled me and I'm going to be lamenting the fact that it is broken until I no longer have to wash dishes by hand anymore.

Thursday, December 16

bad santa

Now, that's my kind of holiday flick. No one's going to mistake this movie for It's a Wonderful Life, that's for sure. The movie was fairly amusing, but pretty much forgettable. Billy Bob Thornton, while a total freak in real life, is actually a pretty good actor. I like him (and Angelina Jolie) ever so much more now that they are divorced.

The whole Santa concept was interesting. I've done my best not to perpetuate the whole Santa thing with Jacob, but, as you know, he does have grandparents, so I cannot totally shield him from the myth. I remember figuring out the Santa thing at a very early age--mostly because Santa had the same hand-writing as my mom and stored our gifts under my parent's bed. And, oh yeah, we didn't have a chimney for him to come down. Jacob, being the little genius he is, is sure to figure it out himself sooner rather than later. But, we'll keep going along with the idea as long as is necessary. Just don't expect to see me at the mall in the line to see Santa.

The Flick Filosopher totally loved the movie, but what do you expect from an athiest?

Tuesday, December 14

let it snow!

Well, the first official snow of the season is upon us. Jake's all excited about playing in the snow. Lucky for me, my dad watched him while I worked today, so he got to go out and play in the snow with Jake. Surprisingly, they were out for quite a while.

On a sort-of related note, the "by Angela" stamp I bought for my Christmas cards came on Saturday, so I got all of my cards ready and they are being mailed this week. Seeing that I'm too lazy to go to the post office, I'm putting a few in our mailbox each day this week so they'll all be mailed by Friday. Friday, incidentally being "gift wrapping" day. Jake will be at preschool in the a.m., so Brian and I will get his gifts wrapped while he's gone (we're both off on Friday). After he comes home, he'll have to entertain himself upstairs while we wrap the rest. I guess we'll have to decorate the house a bit between Friday and Saturday as well. We also need to get our tree on Saturday. The place we buy our trees is only open on Saturdays and Sundays, hence the wait.

And, I've been baking dog treats like a mad woman since the weekend. Three recipes down, two to go. I still have my human treats to make. All of that should be wrapped up by the weekend. Busy week--not only here but at work as well. It seems like I'm always ridiculously busy at work around Christmas. You'd think I could catch a break somewhere. The main problem is that I'm doing some testing for a project I reviewed, and the testing takes four days. So, pretty much everything else is getting pushed back until I'm done, which will likely make my next few weeks incredibly busy. Oh well, at least it makes the day go fast. I don't mind having a lot of work to do, I just hate getting interrupted every few minutes when I'm trying to do it.

Sunday, December 12

weekend update

Today, the boys went to see Santa Claus at a Shriner's function in Altoona. They went with Pappy Law and Jake's cousin Erika. This gave me an opportunity to accomplish a few things on my Sunday "to do" list. First off, I took a nap (of course) on the couch with the pups. Then I went down to the shop to work on one of my finishing projects. Note to self: never do a finishing project after sleeping on the couch with the dogs. I spent about as much time picking yellow hairs out of the project as I did shellacing it. I guess we'll call it my "Mission Hair" finish.

Afterwards, I wrapped a few Christmas gifts. This coming Friday is our official gift wrapping day, but I thought I'd try to get a jump on things. Now that Jake is in the picture, gift wrapping has taken on a whole new dimension. After that, I ran to Em's for a sub. By the time I took two bites out of it, Jake and Brian returned (about an hour earlier than I expected). So, I still have some things to accomplish. Maybe after the Steeler game is over...

Friday, December 10

driving

Every time we are in the car, Brian says "just think, next year at this time, we could be on the motorcycle." This statement is patently false for two reasons:
1. Jake is always in the car with us. Three people cannot fit on one motorcycle (at least not legally without a sidecar--of which Brian's motorcycle is not going to be equipped).
2. It is winter and we live in Western PA.

Needless to say, he is even more excited about the motorcycle! motorcycle! motorcycle! now than he was before. He even has a timeline in place to get him through the next few months:
1. Christmas=good (presents!)
2. January=bad (nothing good ever comes out of January)
3. February=good (new tattoo for him and it's also his birth month)
4. March=good (time to order motorcycle accessories)
5. April=good (new tattoo for me & motorcycle safety course for him)
6. May=good (motorcycle delivery)

One subject that keeps coming up is whether to drive the motorcycle home or to have it delivered. Seeing that he will be taking the motorcycle safety course before delivery, I think he should decide after he sees how that goes. I mean, if he wrecks the bike at the course, he'd probably be better off having it delivered, you know? Otherwise, I guess I'll be trailing him in the RAV4 after pressing the 9-1 portion of 9-1-1 on our cell phone.

Thursday, December 9

is it spring yet?

I ordered a bunch of gardening stuff over the weekend--the main thing being a "grow light" system so that I can start my own plants from seed. Now, I'm anxious to start planting! The seed catalogs usually start coming out after Christmas, so the planting season is closer than it appears. I'll probably have to start planting stuff inside around February/March. I already have my garden plotted out for next year--how's that for anal?

Yes, I am the Queen of Anal Retentiveness. What can I say, I like to plan. I got it from my mother. I used to think all of her planning was ridiculous, but I have far eclipsed any planning benchmarks she ever set. I mean, I even have a "to do" list for the house that has the year a change is planned for. I could go on and on with more examples, but I probably shouldn't. That said, I should probably go and make another list or something.

time to play...name that illness!

Today, I feel kinda woozy, my nose is stuffy, and I have a sinus headache. I think I might have a minor sinus infection. Hopefully it will resolve on its own because I don't like taking antibiotics. Antibiotics are the devil. Besides, my doctor won't prescribe them without me having to go into the office and going into the doctor's office is something I like to avoid at all costs during the flu season (particularly when I haven't gotten a flu shot, like this year).

Sigh.

Wednesday, December 8

deja dead

aka CSI: Montreal

I finally finished reading Deja Dead this evening. It was written by an author named Kathy Reichs. I can't say I really enjoyed it, though it's probably because I'm not much into the whole crime scene investigation thing. This might be surprising to some, but is a fact nonetheless.

Since NYPD Blue is going off the air this year, I thought it might be a good idea to find another police drama to watch. CSI: NY seemed like a good choice (maybe we just picked it because it had NY in the title). Brian and I barely made it through one episode. It's not that we were grossed out--just bored. Everyone else seems to like those CSI shows, but we just couldn't get into them.

So, I guess it's no suprise that I wasn't into this book. My impetus for reading it was mainly to finish it so I could move onto something else. This should've been the tip-off...this was the author's first work of fiction--her previous books were "focused on forensic anthropology and fossil humans." Zzzzz.

On that note, I'm going to bed.

sickboy

Another health update. If this keeps up, I'm going to have to change the name of the blog. How about "Name that illness?!?"

Well, Jake was sick again last night, so he had to stay home from daycare today. Rather than taking another sick day, I opted to work at home (normally I work in the office on Wednesdays and Fridays, and at home the other days). Jake seemed to feel ok today, so that's good. Of course, he seemed to feel ok yesterday until he threw up all over the living room last night, so who can say? He kept himself busy by watching the tube most of the day. His eyes should be falling out any minute now. My mom's watching him tomorrow and Brian's off Friday, so hopefully this will give him a chance to recover before next week.

Tuesday, December 7

sardonic to the point of bitter*

When this phrase* was muttered on Three Sisters, I knew I found a character I could relate to. Three Sisters was a short lived (about one-and-a-half seasons) show on NBC a few years back. Not only did it deliver one of my all-time favorite lines, but it also had a profound influence on our lives--it was the impetus for the Sunday brunch that is now a staple at the house of Law.

The show wasn't that great to begin with, but a sitcom's a sitcom, and it did have its moments. The first season was much better than the second, so it's no wonder the show ended up cancelled. In the second season, they tried to make the 'bitter' sister more likeable, and the show went downhill from there. What's wrong with bitter, I ask?

Just daydreaming about the time when there were sitcoms...

Monday, December 6

sick day

Not for me, but for Jake. He had a belly ache when he went to bed last night. He woke up at 4:30am with the same issue. This quickly turned into the dreaded "stomach flu". Unfortunately for me, I couldn't fall asleep last night due to laying on the couch all afternoon yesterday, so I got a whopping 3.5 hours of sleep last night. In retrospect, I guess I should've just stayed up and finished watching the Steeler game.

Anyway, I had to take today off in order to take care of him. He's doing much better now--he even had some crackers and tea. I think he'll be fine tomorrow. I'll be happy just as long as I don't catch what he has. If you thought I washed my hands a lot before, you should see me today. OCD--it's for me.

Sunday, December 5

oh, my aching head

I thought I had a cold last week--it turns out that was just a precursor for today. At 3am this morning, I awoke to a sore throat. I have a splitting headache and my nose has been running all day. I still made it to church today and we had our traditional Sunday brunch, but after that, I laid on the couch for a few hours.

But, there's always work to be done, so I'm up and at it again. I only hope I feel better tomorrow. I hardly think I'll need to call off sick, but I have a lot to do at work this week, so I'd prefer if I didn't feel like crap while I was doing it. And, this is the last week I'll have to work a Friday until 2005. Brian and I took off the 17th in order to get ready for Christmas. And, we're off due to the holidays the following two weeks.

Saturday, December 4

productive day

Brian had to help his Dad with some electrical work at his house today, so he and Jake went there this morning. I expected them to be back by now, but forgot the cardinal rule of Law time management--whenever someone with the last name of Law says something is going to take x amount of hours, you can safely double it.

I'm not complaining, though. In their absence, I accomplished a lot of things today in addition to my usual Saturday chores. All without interruption, I might add. Additionally, I managed to grab a coveted nap this afternoon. All in all, a good day.

Right now, there's a pot of lamb and barley stew simmering on the stove. Hopefully I won't have to eat it all myself.

Friday, December 3

american wedding

Not being in the mood for intellectual stimulation this evening, I suggested that we watch American Wedding, which was playing on HBO (It's not TV, it's HBO.) this evening. I have to say, we were both pleasantly surprised. I laughed, I laughed till I cried (twice). It was all good. And, the perfect way to end a long week. Besides, that guy who plays Stiffler is darned cute. He must be quite the actor, because I can't imagine how hard it would be to play that big of an ass.

The Flick Filosopher didn't have anything to say about the movie.

it's that time of the month

You know, time to go to the liquor store! I made my monthly trip there today and picked up a little extra for the holidays. One more thing to check off my Christmas "to do" list. While there, I picked up the holy trinity of alcohol (according to the book of Angela, chapter 6, verse 13)--tequila, rum, and vodka. Mmm. Methinks this is going to be a margarita night. I ran out of liquor last weekend and could use a good stiff drink this evening. If you don't think a margarita is a stiff drink, then you're not making them right.

Thursday, December 2

time

Time is something I don't have too much of. I am constantly busy. When I'm not busy, it only means that I'm procrastinating. There are always things to do around the house. And if I ever run out of actual work, I can always fall back on my hobbies. It probably wouldn't kill me to practice my guitar or bass once in a while.

With the holidays upon us, things are even worse. There's all of the holiday crap to deal with: decorating, shopping, wrapping gifts, baking, parties, visiting, sending cards, etc. As if I don't have enough to do already.

There are some people, however, who apparently have too much time on their hands. Take this site, for instance. Whoever compiled this list of fictitious books certainly had a lot of reading to do. The Stephen King ones alone would've kept me busy for quite a while. And, it just goes to show how busy I am--I never even would have thought to compile such a list.

Wednesday, December 1

you might be a redneck if...

I work at the office on Wednesdays. I rarely make it in on time (I'm 5-10 minutes late, usually), but I've been making a concerted effort the past few weeks to get to work on time because they changed breakfast time at the daycare. So, if Jake is to eat, I need to get his butt there early. OK, so I don't really care about getting to work on time--Jake just needs to get to daycare in time for breakfast. But, if he's on time, I'm on time, and we're all happy.

This morning, time was on my side for a change. I went into the kitchen to pack my lunch and looked out the window to see one of our garbage cans blown halfway across the yard. The other garbage can was nowhere in sight. So, half-dressed and with wet hair, I braved the elements and went on a garbage can/lid scavenger hunt and reclaimed our property. (At least I think the cans I reclaimed were ours. Either way, we win.)

Now for my pet peeve. Normally Tuesday is our garbage day. But, Monday was a special holiday here in western PA otherwise known as "First Day of Buck Season", so the garbage men had the day off and it pushed back pickup by a day for the rest of the week. Otherwise, we could've avoided the situation entirely.

I guess it could've been worse. Our neighbors lost about a half dozen shingles on their newly shingled roof. I can always buy a new garbage can, but I'd prefer to not have any roofing projects on my plate in December.

Oh yeah, I was 5-10 minutes late this morning.

rudolph the red-nosed reindeer

The 40th Anniversary showing of Rudolph was on this evening. We thought Jake might enjoy it, so we all watched it. Boy, did that bring back the memories. Remember when the month of December used to drag on for an infinity? Now, time seems to go by so fast. All December means to me anymore is that I have a crapload of work to do in order to get ready for Christmas.

I used to watch all of those Christmas specials every year when I was a kid. Jake enjoyed it for the most part, though he yelled "BORING!" during the singing parts. And the stop-motion animation looks so dated--nothing like the CGI used for movies like Shrek, that's for sure.