Wednesday, August 31

first day of school

Ever.

Jake's first day of kindergarten was today. Brian managed to work at home so he could see him off. I was already working at home. Pappy Law also stopped by. The bus was 15 minutes late, though I was warned that the buses tend to run late the first two weeks. Neither Brian nor I were sad to see him go to school. Maybe it's because he's been in daycare for the past few years. I'm not sure. I do know that now we'll be able to take all of that money we're saving on daycare costs and buy gasoline with it. Good timing.

Here is a picture of the happy kid waiting for the bus. He wasn't so happy this evening. Brian asked him if he had an assigned seat to sit in at school. Jacob didn't understand the question. Brian rephrased it and asked if he had to sit in the same seat when he goes to school tomorrow. Jake was like, "But, Grammy is watching me tomorrow." Brian told him yes, but that he still had to go to school in the afternoon. After a few rounds of this, Jacob's response was, "Oh."

nola

The hurricane and consequential disaster that has taken place in New Orleans and the surrounding area really saddens me. This has the potential to be one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. While it pales in comparison to what happened to the tsunami victims last year, it has really hit home with me.

Back in 1998, Brian and I went on vacation to New Orleans. It was the best trip either of us have ever been on. It has become a measuring stick for all other vacations. I don't know what it was about the place, but we felt at home there. I think that's the most relaxed I've been in the past seven years (maybe it was all the alcohol). Brian is always threatening to move to New Orleans, even now (well, up till the hurricane, anyway). One of the highlights of our trip was a ghost tour. We had this cool tour guide named Bloody Mary. We got to cruise the above ground cemeteries and check out a voodoo museum. I was delighted to see her on a Discovery Channel special about New Orleans a few years ago. The trip frequently comes up in conversations between Brian and me.

Anyway, if you have the means, please help these people out. Make a donation to the Red Cross or The Salvation Army. These two organizations seem to be doing the bulk of the work down there--throw them some cash so they can continue their good works.

Tuesday, August 30

mary had a little lamb

And two helpings of corn.***

After years of trying different varieties, I finally got some good corn from my garden. This evening, I was pondering what vegetable to make for supper when I remembered that my corn looked like it was ready. So, I picked a few ears and was pleasantly surprised that it appeared to be edible. I cooked it up and we had it along with some grilled leg of lamb and couscous for supper. Dee-licious.

I guess this means I should plant the same corn again next year so I can determine if this year was a fluke or not. Conveniently enough, I am currently plotting next year's garden, so I guess this was a good time to find out about the corn. I was figuring this year was going to be a wash, so it looks like I have some rearranging to do. In case you were wondering--yes, I do like to plan ahead. I used to wait until winter to plan the next year's garden. But, I like to do it at the end of the gardening season now--while everything is still fresh in my mind. e.g. Under no circumstances do I want to plant two zucchini plants again next year. This thought may have been forgotten if I waited till January to do my planning, you see?

*** paraphrased from one of my favorite The Far Side cartoons

Saturday, August 27

company picnic

This afternoon, my company picnic was held at Idlewild Park. It was more on the idle, versus wild, side. Somehow we managed to miss the rain. It was raining on our way there and it was raining on our way home, but only drizzled a few times at the park. Jake had a really good time playing with my coworker's children. This was his second trip to Idlewild this year, so he's practically a pro. He also went with his daycare earlier in the summer. He was hoping to hit the SoakZone today, but it was not warm enough to do so. I'm sure Brian was relieved because there was no way in hell I was going to do that, so he "volunteered" for the duty.

Friday, August 26

johnstown brewing company

This evening, we went to the Johnstown Brewing Company with Judy. We didn't have the cod. I had chicken marsala, which was quite good. And I have leftovers for my lunch tomorrow, which is cool. Brian had the pale ale and rather enjoyed it. Judy stopped by our house afterwards and hung out for a bit. It was good to see her again--we don't get to hang out as often as we used to.

I think this was only the second time we've eaten at the JBC. We've been there for drinks numerous times, but only for food twice. Both times, I enjoyed the meals. It's kind of cool to have a brewpub in town, so hopefully they will have continued success.

dead meat skulls

This is the name of Jacob's new band. Please note the lack of pretentiousness--they are "Dead Meat Skulls", not "The Dead Meat Skulls". I don't know if they're punk or what as I have not heard any of the music yet. But seeing that Jake's playing guitar for the band, I'm sure I'll hear something soon enough.

I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, August 24

the weather outside is delightful

At least that's how AccuWeather has described it recently. I'm inclined to agree--70s and sunny during the day; upper 50s to lower 60s at night. Talk about good sleeping weather! Does weather like this exist anywhere 365 days a year (I'll even take some rainy days--that would be ok)? If so, let me know because I'm going to move there.

Saturday, August 20

family reunion

Today, we went to Portage for my family reunion. It was a pretty laid back affair this year. Jake had a lot of fun playing with his distant cousins. Brian and I just hung out and relaxed the whole time. Brian's really going to have to start taking his camera with him everywhere we go. We missed a great photo op on the way home. Some guy had a sign in his yard that read "doe and buck urine for sale." Where else but Portage could you find a gem like that?

band bash 2005

Last night, we had our annual band cookout. What band, you might ask? Well, representatives from Garden of Ashes, Rottenstone, East of Eve and Temple to Blackness were in attendance (and that only accounted for three of us!). I made way too much food (due to the fact that some people can't commit--don't worry, I've made note of it), so it looks like we'll be eating BBQ for the next few days. Fortunately, no one's complaining about that.

Thursday, August 18

feeling saucy

Steve gave me a bunch of tomatoes this week so I whipped up a batch of marinara this evening. This marinara was totally organic--it consisted of tomatoes, from both my garden and Steve's, along with onions, garlic, basil, and oregano that I grew. It came out quite tasty. Brian helped me skin the tomatoes. It is never a fun task. I used to do the boiling water/ice water bath method but this year I wanted to try something different. I was looking for one of those tomato crusher contraptions, but couldn't find one on short notice. So, I ended up settling for a food mill instead. Granted, it was a cheap one, but it was not up to the job. Brian and I ended up skinning the tomatoes by hand which was not a fun task. I make tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes virtually every year so I really need to find a good (that is, easy) way to skin my tomatoes. Ideas, anyone?

Sunday, August 14

new religion

Last night, Brian asked me if I wanted to get up early and go for a motorcycle ride with him before church. Let's put it this way--the only day I've ever voluntarily gotten up early was the morning we bought Ripley (my Doberman). So, my answer was 'No'. Then he was like, "What if we skipped church and went for a ride instead?" I was agreeable to that because Brian never lets me skip church. I'd hate to miss out on that opportunity. Plus, riding motorcycles is fun--just not at 8am. (The only thing that is fun to do at 8am is buy a puppy.) He then went on to say that he'd get up and go to early service and then we'd go for a ride after that. Right. Needless to say, he didn't get up early, but we did go for a ride this morning. I guess you could say he's now worshipping at the altar of Harley-Davidson. In the name of Harley, Davidson, and Ghost Flames. Amen.

Saturday, August 13

for the seafood lover in you

Brian and I got a Red Lobster gift certificate for Christmas last year, so we decided to use it this evening. Jake was at my parents for the Portage Summerfest, so it was a good night for us to go out to eat (alone, for a change).

After dinner, which was pretty good, we went to Home Depot and bought the tub and sink faucets for our upcoming bathroom remodeling project. I also wanted to check out the other stuff we need to buy (e.g. tile, toilet, tub, etc.) so we can compare it to what Lowe's has to offer. Unfortunately, we didn't make it to Lowe's this evening, but I'm sure we will get there shortly.

I guess Jake should count himself lucky. While he likes to eat out, he certainly doesn't like to go to home improvement stores with us. This probably has to do with the frequency of our trips and the length of our shopping lists. I can't imagine the bathroom project is going to do anything to assuage his feelings, but at least today was one less trip he has to make.

Thursday, August 11

wine & cheese

Last night, we went to a wine & cheese party at a coworker's house. What a great idea. Everyone brought a bottle of wine and we all got to sample them. Getting to try a bunch of new wines was really cool. There was one in particular that I definitely want to try again, Fleur Ducap's Pinotage. It was quite delicious.

The host kept good notes regarding everyones impressions of the wine. I think I'm going to have to hang onto this information. Since we make so much wine, we don't buy much for ourselves. It'll be good to have a list of stuff I've tried and liked (or disliked). Perhaps this will motivate me to start my own wine list.

jack & jill

You thought the James Patterson marathon was over? Think again. My mom lent me another stack of Patterson novels. Fortunately, I had already read all of them but one, Jack & Jill. This was another one from the Alex Cross series, so that automatically makes it a good read. It was about this pair of serial killers (with an extra killer thrown into the mix later in the book) whose ultimate goal was to assassinate the president. I won't give away the ending, though. There was also a side story about this teenager who was going around killing these little kids. I guess that makes him a serial killer as well. Boy, that Alex Cross is one busy guy having to track multiple serial killers at once.

With each murder Jack & Jill completes, they leave some great poetry like this:

Jack and Jill
Came to the hill
To kill
To kill
To kill

I'm not kidding.

My only regret with the Alex Cross series is that I did not read them in order, so I never know where I'm at in the "big picture". Patterson does a pretty good job of explaining this in each story, but it still would've been nice to read them in order.

Tuesday, August 9

harvest

It's harvest time once again. What we haven't been eating, I've been freezing for winter use. I had to pick my potatoes today because something was eating the tops and killing the plants. So, I didn't get quite the harvest I hoped for. But at least we'll get a few meals out of them. We had the first meal today and it was quite delicious--nothing beats fresh potatoes. I've been getting tomatoes on a regular basis (Jake eats them about as fast as I can pick them), but it doesn't appear that I'll be having a bumper crop this year, so I might not have enough to make tomato sauce at the end of the season. And, as it usually turns out, I'm up to my ears in zucchini. Note to self: next year only plant one zucchini plant. I don't even grow the zucchini for us--my mom's the one who wants it (she doesn't have room in her garden). I like to plant a lot of different things so I never end up with too much of any one thing, but I do usually have some extras to freeze. I've got quite the array of herbs this year thanks to my new herb garden. I'm actively freezing some of the herbs and I'll be drying the rest of them at the end of the season.

Saturday, August 6

i got carded at the liquor store

Everybody sing it now!

I got carded at the liquor store...
I got carded at the liquor store...
I got carded at the liquor store...
But yet I'm thirty-five!

Getting carded always makes my day. Well, it only happens about once a year anymore so I guess it makes my year. Remember the days when you'd get carded every time you tried to buy alcohol? It wasn't fun then, but it is now. My goal is to one day get carded when I'm 40 years old. Of course, I may have to dye my hair in order for that to happen the way the gray hairs are sprouting up these days.

There was a new woman working at the register today (who was a good 15 years older than me). When I was pulling out my credit card to pay for my purchases, she asked to see my ID. I showed it to her and she let out a small guffaw. I don't know what was so funny. I guess I will have to ponder that this evening while I'm sipping on my margarita.

friday night

Yesterday evening, Brian's parents came over for a cookout. We had some good stuff to eat and then chatted and drank wine and beer the rest of the evening. Brian's dad made some delicious Italian sausage-stuffed hot peppers for the occasion--I'll have to get the recipe from him some day. These went well with dinner, which consisted of the following: BBQ boneless pork chops, three bean dish, a mesclun and romaine salad, thyme potatoes, and a yellow cake with chocolate icing.

Jake and Pappy Law played their version of "Calvin Ball" most of the evening. This involved most of the items on the porch, a few hockey sticks, and a big plastic puck. Interesting.

Tuesday, August 2

"c" is for cookie

And that's good enough for me.

Monday, August 1

six feet under

Only three episodes left in my current favorite television show. After the uninteresting 3rd and mostly uninteresting 4th seasons, I didn't think I'd be sad to see the show end. But, they've really picked up the pace of the plot and this season has my undivided attention--not quite to the point that seasons 1 and 2 did, but it's not over yet...

I will definitely miss it once it's over. I might have to watch the first and second seasons again. Historically, HBO will likely run all 5 seasons in a row sometime soon. I don't know that I could sit through seasons 3 and 4 again. Maybe 4, but definitely not 3. We'll have to see. It's not like there's much else on tv these days. I can only hope that HBO's newest series, Rome, will help fill the void. The Comeback definitely did not make the cut at our house. That show was supposed to be funny (I think), but it was just painful to watch. Still, I would've watched the whole season, but I was sick of hearing Brian complain about it the entire time it was on, so I gave it up for reruns of Family Guy (which is definitely hilarious).

I used to look forward to the new television schedule in the fall, but not any more. Now, I just look forward to my HBO favorites. Lucky for me, HBO runs new programming all year round, so there's bound to be something good on at any given point. HBO: whatever the cost, it's worth the money.