Saturday, December 30
I searched the internet for parts and finally came upon the manufacturer's website. I was able to order exactly what I needed and the price wasn't too bad, either. I was pretty excited to find this site because all parts for my opener are available. However, when I received my part, there was a note on my receipt saying that this was the last one they had.
Given that, I decided to find a safer haven for my wine opener. It had been knocked over a few other times in the past and I didn't want it to happen again since the last time was nearly fatal. I ended up putting it in the nook by my sideboard, which used to house our Grandmother clock. It should be pretty safe there. Upon doing that, we took a good look at the room and ended up moving everything that was on the walls to a different spot, too. We also moved a piece of art from the living room into the dining room. Brian has to make two picture frames, but other than that, the walls are done in there.
While I was at it, we removed an ugly phone jack that was no longer in use. Doing this left an outlet-sized hole in the plaster that I had to fix. It wasn't anything I hadn't done before, but moving the location of my wine opener sure turned into a bigger job than anticipated.
Friday, December 29
It was interesting to see Pitt playing a total bumpkin, who also happens to be a serial killer. Much like Tom Cruise, the guy can't grow a beard to save his life (but it still didn't hurt to look at him). To be honest, if the movie starred anyone else, I wouldn't have bothered to watch it, but when Brad Pitt is on the screen, nothing else matters.
Thursday, December 28
Wednesday, December 27
Brian's parent's were there. And, their big dog, too. We stayed for a few hours and then headed home before dark. We spent part of this evening putting some of our gifts away, but now we're down to the hard stuff--finding a place for everything Jake got--so we're taking a break from that until tomorrow. Maybe there will be more room then.
Tuesday, December 26
We went to my parent's house at lunchtime and they ordered some wings and pizza. That was a nice change of pace from the past few days. We hung out for a little bit and then played a couple of games of Boggle. I kicked everyone's ass. Multiple times (do you sense a theme here)?
This evening, Brian's parent's came over. Drinks were drunk, snacks were eaten. It was a good time.
Now that all of that is done, I can do one of my favorite Christmas things--put all of the gifts away.
Monday, December 25
Jake had just about as much fun opening his gifts this morning as he did last night. After that he went to work on his new toys (that kept him busy for much of the day) and I went to work on dinner. Cooking Christmas dinner was definitely less work than Thanksgiving dinner, but still a decent amount of work. My parents, grandmother, and brother joined us for dinner.
On the menu: shrimp cocktail, chicken soup with pasta cheese squares (both homemade and done ahead of time), leg of lamb, turkey breast (I had to do this on the grill because there wasn't room in my oven for both the lamb and the turkey), mashed potato gratin, baked yams and potatoes (for the non-gratin eaters), lemon-garlic broccoli, oven roasted asparagus, dinner rolls, and salad (the last two provided by my mom).
Dinner was pretty good if I do say so myself. After we ate, we opened gifts (again). Then we sat around and talked for a bit before having dessert. A short while later, everyone left. Brian and I got the kitchen back in order and then Brian and Jake played with the pirate ships Jake got for Christmas while I arranged my jewelry in the new jewelry box I received today. When the guys were done playing pirate, they assembled the air hockey table and we all played a few rounds. I am the undisputed champion. I kicked both their asses. Numerous times. It was a lot of fun.
Jake has been bouncing off the walls for a week now because of Christmas. And, I think this is his best Christmas yet. Brian's parents bought him an air hockey table. They didn't know he wanted one, but he's been talking about getting one for months now. You should've seen the look on his face when he opened that gift--it was priceless.
Here's a lesson I learned two years ago...no matter how much Jake says he wants something, don't bother buying it until November because he will change his mind and want something else by then. This year, he didn't really ask for anything so I finished my shopping. As soon as I was done, he started talking about how much he wanted a Snow Monster Mega Rig Adventure. He talked about it for weeks. Not wanting to disappoint, we decided to buy it for him as an extra gift. No sooner did that arrive and he changed his mind and wanted the lego version of Captain Jack Sparrow's Black Pearl. But, I couldn't really justify buying another gift at this point, so we were just going to go with what we had.
Brian told his sister about it and she went and bought the Black Pearl for Jake even though she, too, was done with her shopping (he'll be getting his original Christmas present for his birthday, instead). Wasn't that nice?
I could go on, but I need to get ready for Christmas dinner, which we are having here.
Merry Christmas, everyone!
Saturday, December 23
It's funny now, anyway. We'll see if it's still funny tomorrow.
Wednesday, December 20
And, just in time for the holidays, I've gotten myself a cold. Jake has one, too. Nothing major, but still kind of annoying. I always seem to get one over Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Work has been a little crazy this week, so I'm looking forward to Christmas if only for the time off. My company added Christmas Eve to our list of paid holidays, so we get Monday and Tuesday off this year. And, I'm taking the rest of next week off, so I have a nice little break coming up.
Sunday, December 17
Anyway, this is the second best movie I've seen this year (Walk the Line being the best).
Saturday, December 16
The food was pretty good. It was probably the best meal I've eaten there so far. I also won one of the prizes--a Misys camo bag that had a shirt and a desk clock in it. I gave the bag and clock to Jake--he thinks it is great that Misys gives us stuff like that.
Jake went to Brian's parents house while we were at the party. We had to pick him up last night because he had a birthday party to go to at noon today so we didn't want to have to rush around this morning picking him up. By 9:30 we were just about ready to go anyway so it all worked out.
Wednesday, December 13
Talladega Nights was a funny movie. It was not a hilarious movie. I did not cry from laughing even once while watching it (which is how I measure my comedies). We both enjoyed it, but that's as far as it went. I don't think I need to summarize the plot--if you haven't heard about this movie by now, it's probably because you don't want to.
I did like it a lot more than the last Will Ferrell movie I saw, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Of course, I didn't like that movie so this one was bound to be better.
Time to watch another movie. I have a Blockbuster quota to fill before spring.
Tuesday, December 12
Sunday, December 10
It was a story of a man living in an industrial wasteland whose girlfriend becomes pregnant and gives birth to some sort of weird creature. That's about all I can tell you--not because I don't want to give anything away, but as is typical of David Lynch--I didn't "get" the rest of the story.
Saturday, December 9
And, I finally finished making my Christmas cards last week. I started sending them out a few days ago. I'm too lazy to go to the post office, so I send out a bunch per day over the course of a week. They'll all be mailed in the next few days.
Still left: baking.
Thursday, December 7
Wednesday, December 6
Friday, December 1
I guess this means I better finish making my Christmas cards. I have one last batch to make, but I've been having problems coming up with a good idea. I have a few now, so with any luck, I'll hammer those out over the weekend.
I am 99% done with my shopping. There are some things I won't get until the last minute, but that is all I have left to buy.
Brian and Jake put Christmas lights outside today. I can't wait to see them tonight. I suppose I'll need to decorate the house soon. Normally, I don't like to do that until the middle of the month (actually, I don't even "like" doing it then), but Jake's been pushing to decorate earlier, so we probably will. And, I won't have any excuses not to because we bought an artificial tree last year, so it's not like the needles are going to fall off if we put it up early.
Last week, I started baking. One batch of dog treats down, four to go. I haven't baked any cookies yet. I'm going to try to do at least one batch of dog treats and/or cookies each weekend until all of my baking is done.
My favorite holiday preparation is wrapping Christmas gifts. But, now that Jake's around, we need to do that when he's not home. I don't know when that is going to be, but I'm hoping to do that mid-month. If that doesn't work itself out, I guess I'll need to schedule something.
Lunchtime rolled around and Brian wanted to put the bike in the shed for the winter. He was outside for a bit and then he called me from his cell to tell me his bike was stuck in the yard. And stuck, it was--up to the frame. We tried pushing and pulling, but nothing worked--it just made a bigger trench in the yard. We were able to slip a brick under the back tire and this helped a little, but still, no luck. Then, we threw some cat litter in the hole and this gave us just enough traction to push the bike out of the trench and onto a piece of plywood on another spot of the yard. We're hoping the ground either dries up or freezes (without snow) so that he can get the bike in the shed for the winter.
This set me back 45 minutes. I would have rather gotten Jake ready for school.
Tuesday, November 28
But, then I got the new Stephen King book, Lisey's Story, so I had to sit down and finish reading this book once and for all. In the midst of this revelation, Brian's dad lent me a James Patterson novel, so I guess I'm going to have to read that before I start on the new Stephen King because I want to get it back to him. But, judging from past Patterson novels I have read, this won't be much of an issue. I have just the opposite problem with his books--I can't put them down. Besides the fact that his stories are interesting, he writes these really short chapters. So, there's always time to read "just one more".
Back to Candles Burning...Yeah, I guess I really didn't like it.
Monday, November 27
Sunday, November 26
Saturday, November 25
Brian and I both enjoyed the movie, though he is totally offended that men could act the way they did in the movie. Isn't that sweet?
In other house cleaning news, we spent a good chunk of yesterday getting the office in order. It really needed cleaned. But, it still doesn't look good up there mainly because that is the last area of our house that needs to be remodeled. I attempted to straighten up the office a few months ago, but could never get Brian up there to work on his desk so only two-thirds of the room was completed then. At that time, I managed to organize the cables for two of our three computers and clean. By yesterday, the room definitely needed to be cleaned again, so we did that. And, I organized the cables for Brian's desk and he filed a bunch of stuff away and set up his desk so that he's ready to work come next Friday (his first official day as a full-time self-employed person).
Thursday, November 23
Enter: Cambria Ace Hardware. The old place is under new ownership and a new franchise. We checked it out this week and they have quite the selection of goods (more than the previous store ever had). I hope the store is a success because this should save us a lot of time and running around. It seems like any time we are working on a project, we're always missing something. Running to Richland to get a part or whatever supplies we need isn't conducive when you're in the middle of something, so this will be a good deal if it pans out.
My parents and grandmother and Brian's parents were in attendance today (besides the three of us, of course). It was nice to be able to spend a holiday with both families--this was the first time for that. Hopefully, it won't be the last.
Thanksgiving is an interesting holiday in that there are certain things that are expected for dinner. That definitely makes the menu planning easier. And, actually, most of it is fairly easy to prepare, so it wasn't too much work until the last hour, when it was crunch time, and everything had to be ready at once. We managed, albeit 30 minutes later than I had planned, but everything turned out just fine.
Wednesday, November 22
I've really been enjoying watching these movies (and this is just the beginning--we have all winter ahead of us). There is nothing on television these days (except for Thursday) so it gives me an excuse to turn on the tube in the evenings. Not that I'm looking for an excuse, but it's a nice way to relax at the end of the day.
Saturday, November 18
Continuing the theme of this week's movies...I thought this was a pretty good movie. I went into it knowing how it was going to turn out so I didn't mind the ending. Apparently a lot of people didn't like how it ended, but I like things that have a different plot than every other thing out there. Vince Vaughn's character was a total oaf, and while he turned things around by the end, it was a case of too little, too late. Even Brian said, "that guy's a jerk." Of course, he has a special place in his heart for Jennifer Aniston as she's one of his best friends.
There was some guy downtown (I like to think of him as the Santa Nazi) screeching through a megaphone about "the lie of Santa". We could barely hear him from where we were standing, but he went on. And on. And on about it. Free speech, and all, I guess.
Friday, November 17
It was billed as a 'dramedy', so it wasn't entirely depressing. None of the characters were likeable so that helped, too. It wasn't so much the story that was good, but the way it was told. The acting was superb. It was definitely the best role I've seen Jeff Daniels in.
Thursday, November 16
In addition to Brian's freelance duties, he'll also be handling the roles of Mr. Mom and Handyman Brian. We pretty much haven't done any work on the house in the past year. That is about to change. I would really like to have all of our remodeling completed (for the most part) before I'm 40. This should help quite a bit .
Of course, I have an ulterior motive. I'm hoping beyond hope to be Prime Design Solutions' next employee.
Tuesday, November 14
I don't know if this was a good movie for Brian to watch as everyone was smoking like a chimney throughout the movie. He commented. Hopefully, that's as far as that will go.
Saturday, November 11
Anyway, my parents took Jake out to eat at the Szechwan afterwards and Brian and I went to the wine tasting party. This has got to be my favorite type of party to attend. I don't know why people aren't hosting these things on a monthly basis. I guess we're overdue to have one, but I'm holding out until Brian builds a bar for our family room (it made the "short list" today, by the way). As usual, when large amounts of wine are made available and consumed, we had a great time this evening. We had to cut out a little early because my parents had some things to do this evening, plus Brian scheduled band practice for 8pm. But, I made the most of my time and got to try a number of new wines. The winner of the evening was a Steele Zinfandel. I'm definitely going to have to try some more wines from that winery.
First on the agenda--running to Somerset with my mom and Jake to pick up our annual side of beef. This was the first side of beef we've bought since we got our upright freezer--that sure made my life easier.
Next, I planted garlic in my garden (finally--I seem to do that later and later each year). It sure was a beautiful day for gardening. I only wish I would've had more to do in the garden.
After that, I vacuumed the vehicles and installed some rubber floor mats in preparation for the winter. I was hoping to Armorall the interiors and clean the windows, but ran out of time. With any luck, I'll catch another nice day next week and finish up. Brian's outside right now trying to wash and wax before the rain comes. Ideally, I would finish up my end of the cleaning today, but we have a lot going on, so I don't think I'll have time. Here's to hoping for another nice day this week--is it too much to ask for?
Thursday, November 9
Wednesday, November 8
Tuesday, November 7
Jennifer Aniston starred, and this was definitely her best movie role to date. As it turns out, she really can act. Who knew?
Saturday, November 4
Need I say more? Brian actually liked the movie. In case you haven't figured it out, I did not. I will say that it was better than An American Haunting, though.
Friday, November 3
And, I stumbled upon this great preparedness guide today. The password is 'fluwikie'. Get it while it's hot.
And while we're on the subject of the flu, why is it that I can't seem to find a flu shot anywhere? Well, ok, there are some flu clinics going on at various drugstores and grocery stores, but who wants to wait in line for an hour for that? Supposedly, there were more flu shots available this year than people who would want to get them. But, I read something about a distribution problem and that certainly seems to be the case. Um, how about if someone gets in a truck and delivers this stuff? If I get the flu this year because I missed my shot, I'm going to be really pissed.
Thursday, November 2
Tuesday, October 31
Note to self: make up less bags of candy next year and buy some bags of chips or pretzels to hand out for the second half of the evening. At least if we're stuck with a bunch of stuff, it won't be candy.
Sunday, October 29
It was a good weekend, too. We didn't go anywhere or do anything, so I had plenty of time to do whatever I wanted to do around the house. I guess that's not uncommon for us at this time of the year, but I still have the busy summer weekends on my mind, so I'm still enjoying our new winter lifestyle (if not the weather).
Saturday, October 28
One thing I noticed was that Rob Zombie borrowed heavily from the plot of this movie. Had I seen this first, I wouldn't have been quite as impressed with his two films. I mean, there were some things he outright stole. But, I guess there isn't much originality in the slasher genre, so that's probably the reason. All slasher films seem to be a derivative of this one.
Trivia for the day: the movie was inspired by the story of Ed Gein, one of the more famous serial killers.
Thursday, October 26
I've been trying to do some things to make our lives "greener". I think it all started a few years ago when our friend Steve told us about this thing called a CSA (community supported agriculture). You can read all about them at Local Harvest. One year, we split a share (at a vegetable farm) with him. Once a week, he'd pick up our share of veggies, divvy them up and send them our way. We got to try a lot of things we don't normally eat, plus we were supporting a local farmer. And, I froze a bunch of stuff, so we had some nice vegetables into the winter months. I, of course, have a vegetable garden, but it's pretty small, so I don't get to freeze a lot of stuff from it. We only did the CSA thing the one year because it wasn't terribly convenient (due to the farm being located in the State College area), but I would really like to do it again if only we could find a farm closer by. In lieu of that, I really need to start visiting the local farmer's markets more. I guess I'll have to make that my goal for next year.
The second thing I've been doing right is that I've been buying most of our meat locally. I heard about this local meat packing company, Froehlich's, sometime after we moved into our house. We tried one of their hams for some holiday and I've been going back ever since. The meat there is so good and the cost is usually lower than the supermarket, so how can you go wrong? And, while this is an assumption on my part, I'm pretty sure all of the meat they butcher is locally raised. I know for a fact, some of the hogs I've ordered have been Cambria County Fair winners. (They were delicious, by the way.) Mostly, I just like going there because it's like Cheers--everyone knows my name. In addition to supporting Froehlich's, we've been getting beef from Errer Hill Farms in Somerset County for a few years. I suppose becoming a vegetarian would be a greener thing to do, but I don't think that is on my horizon.
Another thing we are doing is trying to conserve energy. We started replacing our light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs. They are supposed to last a lot longer than regular light bulbs and use less energy. It's too early to tell how they're going to work out but we are forever replacing bulbs around here so I have to think they will be an improvement. And, we've also been adhering to that "turn the light off when you leave the room" concept. Well, Brian and I have. Jake, on the other hand, turns on all three bathroom lights (including the one above the tub) when he goes to the bathroom and then leaves them all on when he leaves the room. We'll have to work on that.
I suppose another area we could work on is our vehicle situation. Brian's truck gets crappy gas mileage as does my Highlander. We took a peek at the hybrid Highlanders when we were looking for a new vehicle, but I'd like to see how the new technology works out before I commit myself to it. That, and they were way more expensive than the non-hybrid models. On the other hand, now that Brian's working in Johnstown, we really don't rack on the miles anymore. My office is in Richland, but I work at home three days a week. When the weather is decent, Brian takes his motorcycle whenever he has to go anywhere (and it gets excellent gas mileage), so I guess that's how I can justify my vehicle purchases. Plus, you can't fit two dogs and three people in a car. Don't ask me how I know.
I found this great website recently, Ideal Bite. I was so impressed with their website that I signed up for their daily tip. It's a good starting place if you're looking for ideas. I know I've gotten quite a few from them.
The only thing I don't like about going green is that it takes a lot of green to do it. Living in what is essentially a farming area, we lucked out on the meat and veggies end of things, but almost everything else requires a commitment from your wallet. Small price to pay, I guess.
Tuesday, October 24
Saturday, October 21
We watched this movie last night, which is a fictionalized version of the NPR show of the same name. The movie was ok, if a little goofy. I've never listened to the actual show (I'm not an NPR devotee), but Brian, who is an NPR devotee, has and said that's pretty much how it goes. Brian thinks I've been watching too many wholesome movies lately and he blames that on my indifference towards this film. That said, if you enjoy the radio show, you'll probably like this movie.
Tuesday, October 17
Monday, October 16
I actually feel caught up on things at the moment. I'm sure it will be a fleeting moment, but it feels good, nonetheless.
Sunday, October 15
While I don't really have a favorite genre of films (I probably like thrillers the most, but I'll watch anything if it's supposed to be good), biopics are pretty low on my list (maybe it's because there are less of them than other types of films). But, it just goes to show--if you make a good movie, you make a good movie--it doesn't matter what it's about.
Definitely worth watching.
Friday, October 13
OK. Now for the old part. The ironic thing is that the Bottle Work's parking lot is adjacent to The Ace's Lounge, which we used to frequent in our younger days. So, this is how you can tell you are getting old...you go to a show at 7:30pm on a Friday night, with your 6-year-old kid, the show's an hour and 15 minutes long, and they're serving cookies and coffee as the food and drink. And you're home by 9:30 so you can play a game of Yahtzee and a few games of Boggle before you retire for the evening. I'm not complaining, I'm just saying...
Tuesday, October 10
We first went to City View right after it opened. The decor of the place is fantastic, but their menu didn't impress me. The food is good, but I wouldn't call it great (of course, rarely do I call a restaurant's food 'great' so no offense to them). Anyway, I saw an ad in the paper saying that their menu had been changed so I thought now would be a good time to check them out again (we don't eat out much in case you haven't noticed). This time around, I thought the menu looked pretty appetizing.
I have a new menu challenge these days--I always order whatever kind of wine I'm thirsty for and then have to plan my dinner around it. Tonight I had a red zinfandel, which I really enjoyed. It has been years since I've had a glass of that. I ordered chicken for my dinner, which technically does not go with red zinfandel, but it actually all tasted pretty good together.
Monday, October 9
In other news, Jake made his public Cub Scout debut this evening in the Johnstown Columbus Day parade. Didn't know that there was a Columbus Day parade? Join the club. It was over in about 10 minutes, but he had a great time and so did Brian (who marched with the kids in his Republican regalia. no, he's not a Republican, but he hopes some day to make enough money to be one).
Sunday, October 8
This just about concludes the landscaping in the front yard. The only thing that is left is a small enclosure in front of our picture window. I used to have herbs in there but I expanded my herb garden last year so I removed everything and have unsuccessfully tried to plant some shade flowers from seed in there the past two seasons. So, I'm either going to find some kind of shade-loving bulb plant or remove the mint from my herb garden and put it there (at least it will be contained if I do that).
Saturday, October 7
I liked this movie about as much as I liked Chicken Run. Coincidentally, both Chicken Run and Wallace & Gromit were created by the same person, so that probably explains my equal enjoyment of them. I'm finding that British humor just isn't my cup of tea. No pun intended.
Thursday, October 5
Wednesday, October 4
Saturday, September 30
By this point, it was time to make supper. Chicken soup was on the menu. I was hoping he'd help me cook, but the TV was more enticing. After the soup was on, I zoned out on the couch while he watched TV. After this, we ran an errand and I put the finishing touches on the soup. Right now, he's outside playing with his neighbor buddy. And we have plans later this evening to watch a movie. The day has been quite pleasant thus far.
Monday, September 25
Sunday, September 24
After doing my usual morning routine, it was time for lunch. I made a white bean and chicken salad that I really like, but the guys would never eat it, so today seemed like a good day for that recipe. After lunch, more housework. Next, it was time for the game. I watched it for a bit and it started off pretty good, but things went downhill fast, so I thought that would be a good time to grab a little nap. I slept for about 45 minutes and when I woke up, the Steelers weren't any better off. I watched the game for a few more minutes, then had to run to Nanty Glo to let Brian's parent's dog out (they're at the game, too). By the time I got home, there were only a few seconds left in the game and, of course, the Steelers had another turnover and lost the game.
This was one of the most bumbling games I've ever had the displeasure of watching. If I counted the stats correctly, there were 8 turnovers (5 interceptions and 3 fumbles) plus a couple more fumbles that were not turnovers. Messy. This was between the two teams, of course. Anyway, I have not lost hope yet. It looks to me like the Steelers offense hasn't clicked yet and a lot of that has to do with Roethlisburger right now (he was definitely looking like a post-Bradshaw Steeler QB today). I still think they can turn the season around, but I'm not expecting another Super Bowl win this year.
Thursday, September 21
His tooth was loose for nearly two weeks before the darned thing came out. If that were me, I would've had the bugger out on the second day. The tooth was literally hanging by a thread the night before it finally came out, but he wouldn't pull it or let us pull it that night. The next day, he was pushing it back and forth and it finally came out.
The good news is that since he waited so long, his new tooth is already poking through.
Teeth are going a buck a piece these days. I wouldn't want to be the tooth fairy. Damned inflation!
Monday, September 18
We managed to get through the summer without a lot of activities, but they have all culminated into one busy September and October. I'm not sure how that happened.
Thursday, September 14
While I'm not one to push extracurricular activities, I do think it is important for him to be involved in something. If only so he gets to interact with other kids on a regular basis. Being an only child, things can get pretty boring around here for him at times. This issue has been mitigated somewhat this summer because a new family moved into the neighborhood and they have three kids around Jake's age, so he's been playing with them a lot. But, still, I think it's good to have a more structured activity to go to.
Continuing our "character-building" theme for activities, we thought cub scouts would be a good thing for Jake to try next. Brian was involved in boy scouts and really enjoyed it, so he's looking forward to some of the activities as well. Sign up was this past week, so Jake's ready to go just as soon as we buy his handbook and uniform. He wasn't all that interested in joining, but he had a great time at the sign up meeting because a bunch of his friends from school were there. I think this should work out pretty well for him.
Wednesday, September 13
I heard mixed reviews about Jennifer Aniston's performance in the movie, but I thought she did a pretty good job--particularly once the story line unraveled.
Saturday, September 9
But, we "unofficially" did the run along with one of my friends from work, Jeff. Brian tried to get some of his biker friends to go, but no one was available this weekend. I'm glad Jeff went with us because it's definitely more fun to ride with someone than by yourself--at least for something like this.
I think Brian was bummed about not going to the party because this evening, he expressed an interest in going to next year's party and camping there overnight. Unfortunately, he did not read the fine print of our prenup agreement--"Except as otherwise provided below, Prospective Husband and Prospective Wife waive the following right: camping."
Wednesday, September 6
Monday, September 4
Saturday, September 2
I haven't watched stand up comedy for a while, so it was interesting to see how all of the comics have aged over the years. And it was fun trying to recall their names. So, if you're into stand up, you might like this--unless you are easily offended, then you might as well forget about it.
Thursday, August 31
Today, we had to go to a hearing for the guy who caused the accident we were in last month. We were witnesses in said hearing. It was interesting on an intellectual level because I've never been to anything like that before. It was in front of a district magistrate, so it was pretty laid back. Fortunately, the magistrate wasn't buying the guy's story and his citation stands. Actually, the outcome of the hearing wasn't going to affect my life one way or the other but my annoyance factor over this whole situation has been elevated lately, so I was hoping he'd get yelled at by the magistrate (I heard they do that sometimes), and I was not disappointed. The State Trooper who was in charge of the prosecution thinks that this guy might appeal the verdict and we'll have to do this again in a month or two at the county courthouse. Terrific. Brian and I actually don't believe he will appeal, but maybe that's just wishful thinking. Stay tuned for more information next month.
In even better news, his insurance company called me last week to tell me that they were accepting responsibility for the accident. We've already received our "lost wages" check from them for the sick day we took after the accident. Now, I'm just waiting on our insurance company to refund my deductible and at least the insurance part of this situation will be done with.
Monday, August 28
Brian got a line on some 6/4 cherry (that's 1 1/2 inch thick for you non lumberjacks out there). Since thicker wood is necessary in furniture building, we opted to buy this because all of our other stuff is 4/4 (1 inch thick) and I have a long list of cherry furniture that Brian needs to make. Unfortunately, he has not had much time to work in his woodshop since he finished the bathroom vanity a while ago. Maybe next year...
I don't know where we're going to put all of this wood. I guess it will go in the shed with some of the other wood we're storing. But the shed pile was supposed to be moved to the woodshop this year. So much for that happening anytime soon.
On the other hand, there's going to be one hell of an auction here someday.
Saturday, August 26
Anyway, we had a great time and I'm already looking forward to the next wine-tasting party. I think it might be our turn to have one.
Sunday, August 20
For not having any plans, Saturday turned out to be pretty busy. I got up, started washing clothes, and then we ran out to Somerset to check out a farmer's market they have at the Georgian Place. Brian's boss's in-laws have a stand there so we bought some of their stuff (lamb, chicken, and eggs). I'm looking forward to trying everything--especially the lamb. It's all organic and whatnot, so it was a bit pricey, but I like supporting local farmers when I can. And, I prefer that my meat isn't full of hormones and antibiotics. Yech.
After we got home, Brian took Jake to get a haircut and I ran to Toys R Us to buy a gift for one of Jake's friends who was having a birthday party that afternoon. When we all got back home, we had lunch, I continued to wash clothes, and then Brian ran Jake to the party while I baked communion bread for a special service they were having today at our church. While Jake was at his party, Brian did some computer work, I took a nap, and then made up the grocery list. After we picked Jake up, we went grocery shopping, and then made supper.
In the evening, I helped Jake make cards for my dad's, mom's, and grandmother's birthday party, which we went to today. I also put away all of the clothes I washed throughout the day, read a packet of information that Jake's school sent, and did some general straightening up. It rained all evening, so I never got to work outside yesterday, but I did manage to walk the dogs between rain showers.
As I mentioned, we had a bunch of birthdays in my family recently. They were all celebrated at my parent's house today where my mom cooked a delicious dinner. I went outside after we got home and finished cleaning all of the garlic that's been curing in Brian's shop for the past couple of weeks. I then came in and made us some sandwiches for supper, ordered some garlic to plant in the fall, started blogging, walked the dogs, and finished blogging. So, here I am, and it's almost 9pm--time to watch HBO.
Tuesday, August 15
We are well-acquainted with the Winchester area as this is the town where we get our tattoos. Thanks (mostly) to Brian, we've been there a multitude of times. Over the years, Brian has become friends with his tattoo artist, John Joyes, so whenever we are passing through the area, we always stop in to say 'hi'. We hit our favorite local restaurant, Pargo's, that night for supper and then settled in to our hotel for an evening of watching television. This trip was interesting in that we had to pack light. Packing light meant not taking any books to read. Luckily, it was Sunday night, so we got to watch our usual HBO shows: Deadwood, Entourage, and Lucky Louie.
The next morning, we got up, ate our free breakfast (you gotta love the Hampton Inns) and then packed up our stuff and went on our way. I think we're official bikers now because we had to bungee-cord our duffel bag to the back of the bike in order to free up the saddle bags for our pending wine purchases. (Well, ok, there probably aren't a lot of bikers going on wine tours--I was referring to the bungee-cording of luggage in my biker reference.) It was too early to visit any vineyards at this point, so we went to State of the Art Tattooing to say hello to John. After a short visit, we hit the Triangle Diner for lunch. It's been a while since we've been there and the place had changed ownership. The only difference we noticed was that they tripled the prices. Still pretty inexpensive, though.
On our way out of town, we stopped by the local Harley Davidson dealership. We find ourselves doing this everywhere we go anymore. I thought the H-D dealership in Toronto was nice, but it didn't have anything on this place. Next up: the wineries.
We stopped at Three Fox Vineyards, but they were closed. Next up was Naked Mountain Vineyard and Winery. The wines here were quite good. Since Brian was driving the motorcycle, I was the designated taster. We snatched up a bottle of Cabernet Franc. Then we went to Piedmont Vineyards and Winery. We'd been here a few times before, so I didn't do a tasting (I had to pace myself as we only had the one bungee cord--being used for the luggage--and I needed to be able to stay on the back of the bike of my own accord). They are known for their Chardonnay here, so that's what we bought. We fully intended on buying Cabernet Sauvignon from them, but they ripped out all of their vines years ago and no longer make it. This was a real disappointment because their Cabernet was the best wine I have ever had. It's interesting to see the changes the wineries make through the years. We first went here maybe 10 years ago. The same guy is still working there, but their tasting room has gone through a revolution. The guy has gone from nice to snooty back to nice again. It's good to see that (the nice part, I mean).
After that, we went to Swedenburg Winery. For some strange reason they were closed (they were definitely supposed to be open). I was disappointed because we've been here a few times before and I really liked their Cabernet. After not being able to buy any at Piedmont, I was counting on them as my backup. Instead, we made our way to Chrysalis Vineyards, where I did another tasting. Their wines were pretty good, too, but they touted this "Norton" grape, that I wasn't into so much. But, their other stuff was fine. We bought a bottle of really good Viognier here.
Next, we made our way to Leesburg. Our first stop was at Windham Winery. They had a pretty nice variety of wines here, so I did yet another tasting. The hour was getting late, so we bought two bottles from them, Merlot and Riesling. We had the Riesling for supper this evening and it was quite good. It was done in the Alsatian style, which results in a drier wine than the German style Rieslings. Riesling is my favorite white wine, by the way. This winery was very picturesque (there were horses running around outside and there was a pond by the main building) and the lady running the tasting room was the most personable person we met all day. And, to top things off, they had a "winery dog" there. At least that's what the sign said, but Lucy was nowhere to be found.
We had room for one more bottle of wine in the saddlebags, so we stopped at Breaux Vineyards. We didn't arrive there until 5:05 and their sign said they were only open till 5:00, so I didn't do a tasting (not that I needed to do another one at this point, anyway). They had some higher-end wines here, so I grabbed up a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon (finally) and we went on our merry way.
The trip home was uneventful, but we didn't arrive home until 10:45. After leaving the last winery, we headed for Berkely Springs, WV via some non-highway-type roads. We took a wrong turn at one point, but this only put us behind by about 20 minutes. You could tell when we got to West Virginia because as soon as we crossed the state line, you could hear the dueling banjos (not that Pennsylvania is much different, but the way you could tell we finally made it to our home state was the dreaded "road construction"). We finally arrived in Berkeley Springs at 7pm and headed to Tari's Cafe for some supper. The food was good, but we were antsy to be on our way--we really thought we'd be home by that time plus we didn't want to be travelling on the bike in the dark, but there wasn't much we could do about that at this point. The rest of the trip went ok. But, it took extra long because we had to make a bunch of rest stops because my ass was killing me! I guess you could call this my version of the Iron Butt. We did nearly 400 miles over the course of two days and about 270 of them were yesterday. And, not only did Brian get to hone his night driving skills, but he also got to practice his parking lot driving and riding on dirt roads.
We concluded our mini vacation by riding out to the Flight 93 (temporary) Memorial today.
You can view our pictures from the past few days here.
Sunday, August 13
Saturday, August 12
There were a ton of kids there, so Jake had a great time, too. I feasted on some seafood kabobs, though burgers and dogs were available later in the evening. I made a layered dip (Mexican-style). It was another new recipe for the weekend and it turned out quite good--it's a keeper for sure.
We hung out there for a few hours and then headed home to do some work (we're all about work around here--at least I am). The dogs needed walked and wine needed racked, so we took care of that and now I'm sitting around waiting for bedtime. I have a feeling it's going to be soon.
I've been trying to find ways to use my abundance of cherry tomatoes, so I tried out this recipe last night. It was a big hit. We also had lemon-oregano chicken, thyme potatoes, grilled bread, glazed carrots, and for dessert, a chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting.
We hung out until way past dark, then they had to go home and take care of their dog. I also needed to walk the dogs (there was no time after work because I was busy cooking), so that worked out, time-wise. I've found that Friday evenings are the perfect time to entertain. It's harder to get stuff organized because of having to work that day, but by the end of the evening, I find myself forgetting that it was a work day. And, I guess that's the point, after all.
Thursday, August 10
I did manage to work in the garden a little this week, but I could use a lot more time out there. I'm having an odd zucchini problem this year. To start off, I planted one zucchini plant. (I did two last year, but that turned out to be a little ridiculous, so I only did the one this year.) Something kept eating my cucumbers so I had to buy cucumber plants at the beginning of the season. Well, it turns out that the cucumber plants I thought I bought were actually zucchini plants. So, I ended up with five zucchini plants instead of the one this year. You'd think we'd be drowning in zucchinis, but all but one plant died, and the others didn't produce much before the great zucchini plague of 2006. Weird. I don't even like zucchini. I mean, I'll eat it, but this hasn't been a great hardship. I actually plant them for my mom. Zucchinis take up a lot of space and she doesn't have room in her garden.
In other edible news, I've found that working full time has magically cut down on our grocery bill. I still cook every day, so I can't blame it on that. I guess I'm just making easier recipes that have less ingredients.
That is all.
Sunday, August 6
Next up was the stereo. Brian had to run some errands after installing the changer (and he took Jake with him), so that gave me an opportunity to solder all of the wires from the stero to the harness adapter without being interrupted constantly. That didn't take very long, so I went out to my vehicle, ripped out the dash, and started to install the dash conversion kit. At this point Brian and Jacob returned and we finished up the job after supper. All in all, I'm pretty happy with it. The only bad thing that occurred is that the cover for the passenger seatbelt warning light came off at some point and we can't find the darned thing anywhere. I mean, it has to be in the car somewhere, but I think it must've fallen into the open dash. So, the first opportunity we get, we're going to have to open some things up and see if we can find it. Otherwise, we'll have to go to the Toyota garage for a replacement because I haven't been able to find the part online. I'm sure it'll probably cost all of $2, but I'd rather just find the original.
I did the calculations on the cd changer and if we load up all 12 disks with mp3s, we could drive to San Francisco and back and then back to San Francisco and not listen to the same song twice. Plus, there'd still be 9 hours of music left over. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm not going to have to listen to the radio anymore. And, I don't miss my Scion's six disk changer quite as much as I did a week ago.
Friday, August 4
Thursday, August 3
Sunday, July 30
We went to my parent's last night for a family reunion of sorts, so we both got to try the vehicle out. I have to say, it's a pretty nice ride. I think I'm going to like it. Since I didn't get leather seats, we bought one of those wire pet barrier things today so that the dogs can ride in the cargo area (and I do believe that action makes me an official card-carrying member of the crazy dog ladies club). At least the dog hair will be contained to one area and not be all over the seats. That's all I ask for, really. Well, that and an mp3 player. The factory stereo that came with the vehicle is a piece of crap, so I'll be ordering a new one this week. I sure am going to miss the 6 disk mp3 changer I had in my Scion, though.
Thursday, July 27
On the other hand, I should be getting my money fairly soon. My car is wherever it is that they take the demolished cars and someone from my insurance company is supposed to look at it this week. Here's to hoping I actually get the amount I think I should.
That said, I think we're going to buy a new car this weekend. While it would've been nice to have some of the insurance money as a down payment, they have some really good deals going on until the end of the month and I hate the thought of missing out on a good deal. I don't like the idea of having a big car payment, but after I get the insurance money, we'll only have the one car payment, so it won't be an issue (and if, for some reason, it takes a long time to get the insurance money, well, I still need a car, so...). I've already secured financing, so if things don't work out this weekend, there's always another day.
Monday, July 24
Friday, July 21
The car hit the truck and immediately some guy was grabbing me and telling me to get out of the car. Apparently there were fluids leaking from the vehicle and they weren't sure if it was gasoline or what, so people were trying to get us away from the car. I went over and sat on the curb and some lady came over and said she was an EMT (off-duty) and she started checking me out first because the airbag smashing against my face gave me a nosebleed and the inside of my bottom lip was also cut by my teeth. Before I knew it, the ambulance and firetrucks arrived. They checked the three of us out in the ambulance, but we were all ok (shaken up, but ok) so we didn't want to go to the hospital. The other guy wasn't so lucky. I didn't get a look at him, but he did go to the hospital.
We were just seconds from Brian's parent's house, so naturally they looked down the street to see what was going on. They thought they saw a white car, so Brian's dad and our brother-in-law, Bill, came down to check things out. Needless to say, they were quite alarmed to find out that it was us. They took Jake back to the house then came back and stayed with us while we waited for the state police to arrive. The police officer filled out his report, the other driver is being cited, and both cars appear to be totaled. I don't know about the truck, but the front of my car looked like an accordion so I'm pretty sure 'totaled' applies to my vehicle, anyway.
I guess the important thing is that we are all ok. People keep telling us that we're going to feel like a pile of crap tomorrow and an even bigger pile of crap on Sunday, so we're already planning on taking sick days on Monday. If we do feel that bad, we'll go to the doctor's. If not, there will be plenty of other things to get straightened out that day. Brian already called the insurance company, but our local office was closed for the day, so we couldn't get any details from them today. Hopefully this will all get resolved quickly.
Incidentally, Jake is now adamantly refusing to ever ride in a motor vehicle again. I hope he changes his mind because we are out of groceries and I'm not walking to Richland tomorrow to buy them.
Wednesday, July 19
Today started off with vacation preparations. I had to take the dogs to the kennel in the morning. I felt bad taking Alice there because we've only had her for a month. I didn't want her to think that I was returning her to the Humane Society. But, I'm sure she'll figure things out when I pick her up. We went to Brian's parent's that afternoon because his sister was in from NY for her birthday. After we got back from that, it was time to pack. As usual, I didn't get done packing until minutes before bedtime. I'm not sure why, but this always seems to happen. I should start packing earlier in the day, I guess. Brian's mother was aghast to hear that we weren't already packed. Apparently she likes to pack early.
We left home around 10am and arrived in Niagara Falls around 4pm. It was a pretty nice drive--we didn't run into any traffic or other issues. After getting here, we walked through the throng of people and went to check out the falls. Jake was enthralled by all of the kitschy tourist attractions along the way. At first he wanted to check out one of the haunted houses, but the one he really liked said there was "no turning back" once you entered, so that kind of freaked him out and that idea got nixed. I hung out at the hotel for a little bit while Jake and Brian went through the "Mystery Maze". We had supper at a place called Kelsey's Neighbourhood Bar and Grill. It was pretty good. It was very hot today, but I guess it's that way back home, too, so at least we're in air-conditioned comfort here. That night, we got to see the biweekly fireworks over the falls. They only lasted about 5 minutes, but they were spectacular.
Today started off with a trip to the Butterfly Conservatory. It was really cool. We also checked out the grounds of the Botanical Gardens the conservatory was located on. We didn't go here the last time we were in Niagara, so it was a nice change of pace. After that, we checked out the Classic Iron Motorcycle Museum. They had quite a collection of bikes there, mostly Harleys. We then grabbed some pizza for lunch and intended to go back to the hotel room for a few hours and cool off. Unfortunately, housekeeping hadn't taken care of our room yet. So, Jake put on his trunks and we headed down to the pool. Brian and I read while Jake goofed off with some kid. The pool was only 3 feet deep on one end and 4 feet on the other, so it wasn't really worth going in if you were an adult. That night, we had supper at the Rainforest Cafe. It was OK, but one time there will probably be enough for me. The food was decent, but the ambience wasn't quite what I expected. After supper, Brian made us walk all the way over to the horseshoe falls. That was a haul, but the mist that was coming off of the falls cooled us down a bit (it was still very hot today). We hung out in the hotel for the rest of the evening. I am pleased to say that no one has been rude this time. I guess we'll have to chalk the previous rudeness up to the fact that the last time we were here it was Labor Day weekend and things were probably even busier than usual.
We got up early today and headed out to the African Lion Safari. Brian and I went there the last time we were in Niagara, but thought it was worth visiting again. It wasn't quite as cool as the first time, but it was still fun. I was disappointed that no babboons crawled on our car this time--with my moon roof, we could've gotten some great shots. After the safari, we headed to Toronto. Till we got there, it was late afternoon, so we didn't do much but walk around the city. For such a large city, it is very nice--clean and easy to get around in. We took a long walk to the local Harley Davidson Dealership. Jake got a hat and a shirt and I got a shirt, but Brian couldn't find anything he liked in his size. On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at a pub and had dinner. I guess we'll spend the rest of the evening relaxing in the hotel room because we have an early day tomorrow.
First thing today, we went to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Seeing all of the historical hockey stuff was pretty neat. After that, we walked to the Harbourfront and sat and watched the water for a little while. We also took a stroll through the St. Lawrence Market. While I've never been to the food market at Pittsburgh's Strip District, I have a feeling this is very similar. It was pretty cool. I only wish we had a place like that around here for food shopping. They had everything--meats, cheeses, fish, breads, etc. And it was all reasonably priced. I could go wild in a place like that. But, I guess I'll have to stick with Giant Eagle for now. Between all of the walking we did yesterday and today, I think we must've seen every major tourist attraction (if only from the outside) in the city of Toronto. Brian and I really enjoyed the city, so we may end up having to get passports after all so we can go back and experience everything it has to offer.
Unfortunately, due to a family emergency, we had to cut our trip short. We arrived home this evening rather than tomorrow afternoon. But, we didn't miss out on too much since we stayed through the afternoon--we just didn't plan enough time to begin with.
I'll be posting a link to some pictures in the next day or two. Stay tuned.
Sunday, July 16
It must've been a weekend or a day off work because all three of us were home. Jake went upstairs to do something while Brian was working on his computer at the dining room table and I was sitting on the couch reading. Jake came downstairs and told us that he killed a bug. That was cool with us because that's generally what we do when we see a bug in the house.
So, I'm sitting there doing my thing and Brian's doing his when Brian said something to me. I looked his way and thought I saw a drop of water fall from the ceiling. So, I kept looking over that way and eventually saw another drop of water fall. I looked on the floor and a small puddle was forming. Alarmed, I told Brian about this and we ran upstairs to find out what was leaking. We were figuring it was the toilet upstairs because it had leaked before. It was not--everything in the bathroom seemed to be in order. Then we noticed a bunch of water on the floor in the corner outside the bathroom. Long story short, Jacob killed the bug by drowning it in a few cups of water. We didn't give him too much grief (mostly because we were relieved that it wasn't a plumbing disaster). But, Brian did give him some sage advice: don't use fire to kill bugs, either.
Saturday, July 15
Carol called to say they were running late, so I thought I'd take the dogs out for a quick walk before they got here. That turned out to be a mistake. It was raining a little bit when I left. By the time I got up the road a ways, it started to rain even more. So, I stood under a tree for a little while, hoping it would pass, and then it started to pour. Then I said to hell with it and ran home with the dogs. We were all drenched. Of course, I arrived home at the same time Carol and Bob pulled up. Not that it really mattered, I guess. But, it's probably best not to look like the girl who crawled out of the well in The Ring when you are having guests over.
Wednesday, July 12
Now all that's left is a new door, a little trim, and a new hamper. I've finally convinced Brian that there's not enough time to build everything for the house, so we're going to buy the door. He'll kick out the trim some weekend this summer. As for the hamper, it's still up in the air--if I can find one I like, I'll buy it.