Saturday, July 30
We planned on going for a short ride on Saturday night and a long ride on Sunday afternoon. We ducked out of the wedding early so we could go riding while it was still light. On the way home, I commented on how it was getting darker earlier these days. Of course, I didn't think it was getting dark quite that early (8pm) yet. Shortly after, it started raining a little. The little bit of rain then turned into a downpour that lasted over an hour and a half. Around 9:45, Brian decided that he still wanted to go out (probably just to prove that he didn't forgo alcohol all day for nothing). We weren't out for long and it started to rain a little again. And things were just too wet in general, so we returned home rather quickly. He's in the kitchen right now making vodka on the rocks with a twist of lemon. Didn't take long to start drinking, eh?
So, the general theme seems to be if I'm riding or plan to go riding, you can expect rain. So, don't make any outside plans for tomorrow at 1pm.
Sunday, July 24
My parents took Jake on a little "farm vacation" where they stayed at this farm bed and breakfast somewhere in the State College area. Jake was given chores to do while there and had a great time. He was away for two days which allowed us to complete our project. I took a vacation day Friday (it was Brian's flex day). The next time Jacob is away, we're going to have to plan something fun rather than a crappy project (like I always manage to do).
Since my parents were dropping Jake off in the late afternoon, I suggested that they join us for a cookout. My brother came over, too. Yesterday was a nice day to be outside. After supper, we headed over to a party at my boss's house for some drinks. We had a great time there. Jake played with some kids the whole time, so he was thrilled. I am beat today, though. I think I'm going to need to get some couch time later this afternoon. Maybe after I finish a few chores...
Friday, July 22
1. Riding a motorcycle is better than meditation (thoughts of hitting the pavement remove all other worries from your head)
2. Going 35 miles an hour feels like 60
3. Going 55 miles an hour feels like 100
4. It's probably more fun to be the driver
5. I'm obviously going to have arthritis in my knees and hips judging from the state I was in after the ride
6. Wind chill is definitely a factor
7. Wind chill with rain I could do without experiencing again
When we were first driving down the road, I thought to myself, "I'd probably enjoy this more if I were in driving." We all know what a control freak I am, so I guess that thought isn't surprising. I also think that I just don't like someone else having quite that much control over my destiny.
But, did I like it? Hell, yes. I'm already looking forward to the next ride.
Wednesday, July 20
Sunday, July 17
Recently, my grandmother decided to get rid of her sewing machine. I decided to take it because I figured that I could use it for upholstering the furniture Brian makes. It turns out that her sewing machine is this kick-ass black cast iron number from the 1950's. It's so cool. I haven't sewn anything since 7th grade home economics. Doing the math, that was 23 years ago, so I thought it might be a good idea to buy a book on the subject. The book has a few cool plans in it that I'll probably attempt for practice before trying anything major. And, if anything happens to come out, they'll probably be doled out as gifts this Christmas.
I was leafing through a Pottery Barn catalog the other day and saw a sideboard in there with a runner on it. That sounds like a good idea for a first project. Not only did it look great, but it will also help protect the top of my sideboard from the "claw of the doberman". So now I'll probably make myself a runner for my sideboard if I can find material that I like.
Then, damn that Pottery Barn catalog--I found some drapes that I really liked. They would be perfect for our living room and dining room. Unfortunately. they don't come in the sizes that we'd need. I happened to be leafing through my sewing book to check out the runner plans and lo and behold, they also have plans on how to make drapes. So, that's another thing on my "to do" list. I doubt I'll get to any of this till fall, though. I'm just too busy in the summer with the garden and "exterior home maintenance" and whatnot.
Over the 4th of July I mixed up this concoction called "Lemon Drop Liqueur". I had to buy some canning jars in order to make this. This got me to thinking about canning vegetables from my garden. Brian would love if I'd can tomatoes. Then, he could have pasta with fresh tomato sauce "all winter long" or so he says. I'm still on the fence about this concept. It seems like freezing stuff is an easier route to take. But, it does have some merit for certain items, I suppose. To add to the madness, I was telling Steve about this yesterday and he was highly encouraging the activity as well. So, this might be another thing for me to try. I'll admit, a bunch of canned vegetables sure look a lot nicer than a bunch of bags of frozen, blanched vegetables. And, they'd be easier to store as my freezer tends to overflow at certain times of the year. I probably won't try it this year. But, if I end up with a bumper crop of tomatoes, who knows? More likely, though, I will research this over the winter and plan on it for next year.
First of all, the previous weekend, I looked for a small leg of lamb roast while we were grocery shopping. The store didn't have one. I figured maybe they'd get some in by the next week. No such luck. So, I sent Brian on a mission to two more grocery stores Friday night, with a contingency plan to buy a defrosted turkey breast with a bone in it if his mission should fail. So, he comes home with boneless turkey tenderloins, of course. I was concerned that these might dry out on the grill, so I didn't want to make them for company. He did say that the one store had a boneless leg of lamb that was larger than I wanted, so I decided to go with that. (I just cut it in two pieces and froze the extra part for another meal).
With that done, Friday night, I was making the dessert. I turned the stove on and it took 30 minutes to preheat (it usually takes 7). I'm not sure if the dessert came out right or not (as it was the first time I tried this particular recipe), but it seemed to be ok. Then I was making bread yesterday. This time the stove took 45 minutes to preheat and it wouldn't heat to the required temperature. Due to the lower temperature, the bread didn't brown properly, but it still tasted quite good. I guess I'll be calling someone tomorrow to service my stove. Just what I need--another expense. Good thing it is the summer and I don't rely on it much for cooking.
The weather was thundery all afternoon, but it only ended up raining for a few minutes so we were still able to have dinner outside. Brian and I figured the storm had to be pounding someone somewhere. Evidently, that 'somewhere' was Richland.
Steve is a big gardener. So, when Brian started band practice, that gave us a chance to swap gardening tips for a bit. I don't know many people who are into gardening even more than I am, so it's always nice to have someone like that to talk to.
In the end, everything turned out ok, so I guess that's all that matters. All in all, a very enjoyable evening.
Thursday, July 14
Wednesday, July 13
Monday, July 11
Sunday, July 10
Brian heard from both Jeff and John yesterday and the three of them decided to head out for another long ride today (I'm such a tolerant wife). They basically went to the same place Brian went yesterday, but they took a different route. The three of them (can this be considered a gang?) took off from our house. Jacob and I saw them off, jealous that we had to stay home all afternoon while the guys were out having fun on their bikes.
*rich urban biker
Friday, July 8
Tuesday, July 5
We started off the holiday weekend with a party at our friend Lish's house on Sunday. Jacob had a blast because there were a bunch of kids for him to play with there. That night, we came home and took the pups for a walk. Once it got dark, we had a fire in the chiminea and watched everyone's fireworks while Jake played with his sparklers.
On the 4th, we didn't do much. Jake went to my parent's in the morning and came home around supper. While he was gone, Brian and I got caught up on our work around the house. Then, the three of us had a little cookout for supper. Last night, we were hoping to catch the fireworks that were going on downtown, but they couldn't be seen from our place. And there weren't as many fireworks going off yesterday as Sunday so we didn't catch too many (much to Jacob's chagrin).
Saturday, July 2
On the way home, we stopped at Giant Eagle and bought 16 pounds of strawberries. What are we doing with 16 pounds of strawberries you might ask? Well, the girl at the checkout counter wanted to know, so I'll tell you, too--we were making strawberry wine. I've been waiting for a good sale on strawberries, but have not seen one. Giant Eagle had them on sale this week and I didn't want to miss the summer "strawberry window" so I bit the bullet and bought them today (though they were certainly not at the best price I've ever seen by any stretch of the imagination). So, if you see strawberries on sale from this point forward, I don't want to know about it. Making strawberry wine sure is a lot more work than the grape wine kits I usually make (particularly when your helper is out riding his motorcycle for the first 90 minutes of the process). But, the deed is done and 5 gallons of strawberry wine are currently fermenting in the kitchen.
Now for the computer problem of the week: our cable modem was not working again today. For the average person, the lack of internet access might not be a big deal. But, we have Vonage for our phone company, so it is more than a mere inconvenience for us. Luckily, they have a feature that when the internet (our our network) is down, our cell phone will ring at the same time as our house phone so we don't have to miss any calls. But, this is certainly not as nice as when everything is working properly. Given this, we went to Circuit City to buy a new cable modem this evening. Before we left, I checked to make sure our cable modem was still broken. It was. When we returned home with the new cable modem, I checked ours again. This time, it worked (of course). So, I left it plugged in for now. I didn't have a whole lot of confidence that Atlantic Broadband could activate a new cable modem at 9:00 on a Saturday night. What do I hate more than computer problems? Well, a couple of things, but I can't list them here so we'll just go with that for now.