Saturday, December 30

an incidental redecoration

Sometime last month, Jake and Lizzy managed to bend the handles on my wine opener (I'm guessing Lizzy knocked the wine opener stand over and Jake tramped on it). This wasn't any old wine opener, either--it was a silver-plated limited edition one given to me for Christmas a couple of years ago by Brian's dad. I wasn't too happy about this. Our jeweler recommended someone who might be able to fix it, but they were not able to due to the type of metal it was.

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

kalifornia

We watched this movie last night. It starred Brad Pitt and Juliette Lewis. The movie was rather reminiscent of Natural Born Killers (which also starred Juliette Lewis), but not quite as good. We did enjoy it, though. This movie actually came out a year before NBK, so it wasn't quite the rip-off I thought it was.

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

nine lives

Brian and I watched this movie last night. I have to say, we were both really impressed with it. The story presented one clip each from nine women's lives, some of which intersected. While each clip had a similar theme, the stories were all very different. It was definitely a unique movie, but it didn't really tell a story in the traditional sense. It sparked a 30 minute conversation afterwards, if that tells you anything. This one's worth watching again.

Wednesday, December 27

the fifth day of christmas

We made a road trip to Maryland this afternoon and visited Brian's grandmother. She spent Christmas with Brian's aunt's family this year so we didn't get to see her until today. It was a pretty nice drive because it's all country roads and there's never any traffic. Plus, the weather was good so that made it especially nice. Of course, I slept practically the whole way there because 1. I always sleep in the car and 2. I was all sneezy today so I took a benadryl before we left.

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

the fourth day of christmas

We have this thing with our families where each of us is required to visit the other familys' house once per Christmas season. We've already been to Brian's parent's house (Christmas Eve) and my parent's have been here (Christmas Day), so we knocked out the other two today.

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

the third day of christmas

Today was the big day. I was planning on getting up around 8am (or whenever Jake happened to get up), but I awoke at 5:30am and could not fall back asleep. I tossed and turned for a while before I decided to get up and get to work. I went to the kitchen, cleaned it and started to work on Christmas dinner. After a little while, Jake poked his head out of the hallway and I told him that Santa didn't come. He yelled, "Get to bed!" as he thought it was still night time. I told him that it was actually the morning and to go wake up his dad so we could open gifts.

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.

the second day of christmas

We spent Christmas Eve with Brian's family. His sister and her husband and two boys were in for the occasion. Brian's mom had to work daylight yesterday, so the cooking duties fell to Jennifer. We had the traditional lasagna for supper and it was quite delicious.

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

the funniest thing i heard all day

Brian was on the phone with his mom this afternoon. She was talking about what they got Jacob for Christmas this year. While she did not actually say what it was, she was describing the size, weight and such. His dad heard the topic of conversation and got on their other line and told Brian, "I'm not saying what it is, but you might want to pick up some monkey food while you're out shopping today."

It's funny now, anyway. We'll see if it's still funny tomorrow.

little miss sunshine

This story was about a dysfunctional family that embarked on a cross-country trip so that their young daughter could realize her dream of being in a beauty pageant. It was kind of reminiscent of Vacation (complete with a dead body stashed in the trunk), but in more of a dramatic, rather than comedic way. I liked the movie, but Brian did not. I thought all of the actors did a fine job--particularly Steve Carell, who played the gay, suicidal uncle. It was interesting to see him in that type of role.

the first day of christmas

We kicked off the Christmas season last night by having our friend John and his girlfriend over. His kids had other plans and were not able to make it, so Jake was disappointed. Still, we all had a good time. I put out a nice spread of snacks and we hung out and ate and drank all evening. We're off to a good start...

Wednesday, December 20

ready as i'll ever be

I made my third and last batch of cookies this evening, so I guess I'm finally done prepping for the holidays. Bring on the holiday visitors! I did five batches of dog treats this year, too. Though I started baking in November, things still got down to the wire.

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

black hawk down

We finished watching this movie last night--it was a two-nighter (anything longer than two hours generally becomes a multi night viewing for us). In one word, this movie was intense. It was about The Battle of Mogadishu. The movie was not character-based. There were so many characters in the film and you don't really find out anything about any of them. But, it was a really good film nonetheless. The battle scenes were just crazy. For whatever reason, I tend to like war movies. I find them quite interesting.

Anyway, this is the second best movie I've seen this year (Walk the Line being the best).

approved by penelec

As I mentioned previously, Brian decorated the outside of the house with lights this year. I've been wanting to post a picture, but he was waiting for it to snow before taking one. However, that does not appear to be in the cards this year (I'm not complaining--it's supposed to be 57 degrees today), so he took one last night. And, now I've posted. My job here is done.

Saturday, December 16

christmas party

My work Christmas party was last night. It was held at the City View Bar & Grill. As far as work Christmas parties go, it was one of the better ones. In recent years, each attendee received two drink coupons and then had to pay for the rest of their drinks. This year, the planning committee set a number for the bar tab and once it reached that number, it turned into a cash bar. The tab lasted until 9:30, which is when we left, so that worked out pretty well. It would've lasted longer, but upon hearing that the bar had Cabo Wabo tequila, my coworkers went through three bottles of it (which was all the bar had in stock, by the way).

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: the ballad of ricky bobby

We haven't been watching a lot of movies during the week lately because we've been working our way through the Arrested Development DVDs (highly recommended. we caught most of the episodes on TV, but missed some because they were always changing the timeslot for the show. watching them all in a row is a real treat). We're taking a couple week break from that before we watch the final season, so it was nice to watch a movie for a change last night.

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

beach road

This was written by James Patterson and Peter De Jonge. I'm not sure why Patterson has been writing a bunch of books with co-authors, but I think this is the first one of those that I've read. The book was ok--I read it in a timely enough fashion. I didn't like the ending, though. It was one of those endings you could never guess (because the author doesn't give any hints--he just springs it on you). I don't like that. While it was not one of Patterson's best novels, it did keep me entertained for a few days, anyway.

Sunday, December 10

eraserhead

We watched this one last night. It was David Lynch's directorial debut. The movie was quite odd and there's probably no one I can recommend it to, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it. On the other hand, it isn't going to go down in history as one of my favorite movies (nor one of my favorite David Lynch movies either).

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.

re: beautifulsilence.net

There have been numerous inquiries regarding the source of the photos on the beautifulsilence.net site. Sorry to disappoint, but these photos were purchased from iStockphoto. But, thanks anyway. I'm flattered.

Saturday, December 9

christmas preps

Jake stayed at my parent's last night. Since this was probably our last Jake-free opportunity before Christmas, we spent the evening wrapping gifts. Today, we got all of the decorations out of the attic and put up the tree and decorated the house after Jake got home. The house looks pretty good, but we definitely have some straightening up to do--there are boxes everywhere.

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

a test

Winter has arrived. The weather sure was crappy on the drive home from work today. It took me nearly 30 minutes to get home (normally it takes 15-20 minutes, depending on the traffic). It was a good test for the Highlander, though. The roads weren't totally horrible, but they weren't good, either. My car performed admirably. I had zero issues. I wasn't expecting to have any, but you never know. The guy in front of me was sliding all over the place. Times like these, I'm glad I have 4WD.

Wednesday, December 6

beautiful silence relaunch

Brian redid the Beautiful Silence site so it would be more of a showcase site for his business. Same content, different interface. Check it out.

Friday, December 1

i didn't get the memo

Is Christmas coming earlier than usual this year? We have already gotten two Christmas cards in the mail (and this was before the 1st). I think the earliest we ever received a card in the past was the 6th or 7th. Not to mention the fact that everyone has their Christmas lights up already, but I think the good weather explains that.

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.

back to work order

It's Brian's first day of self-employment and, already, I'm ready to send him back to work. Things started off well enough today. He went for his usual morning run with Lizzy and then even took Alice for a run around the block. He got Jake ready for school and got him on the bus. The Jake thing usually sets me back 15 minutes (therefore causing me to extend my work day by 15 minutes), so this was nice.

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

candles burning

This was a book started by an author named Michael McDowell (who died during the writing of it) and finished by Tabitha King (otherwise known as Stephen King's wife). I thought I'd give it a whirl, but the book took me months to read. That is not normal for me. I kind of enjoyed it while I was reading it, but I just never felt like picking it up. It sat for a week between readings quite often.

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

enjoy it while it lasts

I took advantage of the nice weather this weekend and finished cleaning the insides of the vehicles. I also washed and waxed the Highlander today. What a pain in the neck! I can see this isn't going to happen very often. When I had my Scion, I used to wash and wax it all of the time. It was all glass on the roof (and it also had the plastic front and rear bumpers that are so prevalent on today's cars) so there wasn't much surface area to wax and it could be done quickly. Of course my Scion was the only car I ever made an effort to keep clean and look what happened to it.

defending your life

We caught this one last night. It was pretty light fare. I'm sure it was a great date movie in its day (1991). The movie is about what happens to you after you die--basically what you go through in order to prove yourself worthy to "move on" (go to heaven?) or whether you have to go back to earth and try it again (reincarnation). No hell here, folks. The movie wasn't laugh-out-loud funny, but it was amusing. Unfortunately, not a sophomoric joke in sight.

Saturday, November 25

north country

This movie was on HBO last night. I've been meaning to catch it, but didn't get around to it until yesterday. It was based on a true story of the first major sexual harassment case in the U.S. Charlize Theron played the main character who worked in the mines and suffered through some stuff you wouldn't believe could've happened just over 20 years ago.

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?

speed cleaning

I found this article on speed cleaning last week. It has a lot of good ideas in it. I think we're going to try it out. I'd much rather have the house look good all of the time versus looking good just after I do a major cleaning.

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

ace, it's the place

We used to have a Cambria True Value Hardware store up the street. It was good to go to in a pinch--you could get a lot of things there, but it didn't replace a major trip to Lowe's or Home Depot. Then, the True Value part was dropped and they became Cambria Hardware. Unfortunately, the name wasn't the only thing that changed, as they dropped most of their stock as well. We stubbornly continued to go there for years, but nearly always had to run to one of the big box stores because we couldn't find what we were looking for.

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.

happy thanksgiving

We had Thanksgiving here again this year so we spent the week getting the house in order. I guess it doesn't hurt to entertain occasionally--it keeps the house clean anyway.

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

the big lebowski

Brian wanted to watch this movie, so I added it to our Blockbuster queue. He really enjoyed it. I thought it was ok. It was pretty subtle for a comedy. I like my comedies to be a little more...sophomoric. Still, it definitely wasn't a bad movie--just not my style.

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

the break up

It was a Friday movie-margarita-bean dip night.

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.

light up night

Last night was light up night for downtown Johnstown. Activities started at 4:00, culminating in a parade at 6:00 and the "light up" after that. Due to having to do things like work and eat supper, we didn't make it downtown until the very end of the parade. That was ok with me, though--all I wanted to see was Central Park all lit up. After the parade, everyone gathered in the park. Once Santa arrived, he flipped the switch and the park was lit in Christmas lights. It looked very nice. We'll have to go earlier next year and try to enjoy some of the other activities they have to offer.

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

the squid and the whale

We watched this movie last night. I have to say that I really liked it. I think Brian did, too. It was very engrossing and realistic. It told the story of a husband and wife that divorced and the effects that the separation and divorce had on them and their two sons. On one hand, I didn't like how it ended. But, on the other hand, this wasn't the sort of story you could just wrap up.

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.

Highly recommended.

Thursday, November 16

the end and the beginning

Brian quit his job today to become a full-time freeloader (er--I mean freelancer). His last day will be November 30. Imagine how liberating that must feel. Yeah, I can't relate, either. I haven't directly mentioned this before, but he has been working hard in the evenings and weekends over the course of the past year and now all of his hard work is paying off.

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

good night, and good luck.

This movie was about how Edward R. Murrow broke the McCarthy story. The movie was ok, but I just wasn't up for a history lesson this evening. I suppose a little history never hurt anyone (unless you happened to be a part of it).

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

buzzzzz

My manager at work hosted his second wine tasting party this evening. We were a little late for it because Jake had to march in the Veteran's Day parade in downtown Johnstown. Hardly anyone from his cub scout pack showed up for it so I'm glad we didn't skip it. The parade was probably twice as big as the Columbus Day parade he marched in. It was nice to see all of the people downtown even though it was raining.

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.

a history of violence

Last night we did that movie and a margarita thing that we do so well. We also had chips and dip, which really hit the spot. I forgot to buy dip, so I had to make some. Luckily, I have a good dip recipe (and all of the ingredients on hand), so it was not a problem. Oh yeah, about the movie...This movie was cool. It had a pretty original plot, which I will not get into because I don't want to give anything away. The best part about it was that they didn't feel the need to quote the movie title in the movie. I hate when they do that. But, if you're into drama with a twist of the Sopranos, you'll probably like it. Or, if you like Viggo Mortensen (who doesn't?), you'll probably like it, too.

yesterday

Yesterday, I took advantage of the nice weather and took the afternoon off work.

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

november

The weather is nice
It is warm for November
No complaints are heard

Wednesday, November 8

gin!

Rumsfeld quits.

Democrats take control of the house.

Democrats take control of the senate.

And, to top things off, I was pretty pleased to see how our local elections panned out. Maybe this democracy thing works after all.

Tuesday, November 7

the good girl

We watched this movie last night courtesy of Blockbuster. I thought it was a pretty good film, if you like character studies. Brian, on the other hand, didn't like it at first, but after thinking about it all day, decided it was a decent movie.

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

uhh

Weird news story of the day: Police arrest naked man with concealed weapon

bubba ho-tep

Brian's boss is always lending him movies. They guy has eclectic tastes, to say the least. Because I'm too lazy to summarize the plot, here's an excerpt from the back of the DVD, "When mysterious deaths plague the Shady Rest retirement home, it's up to an aging, cantankerous "Elvis" and a decrepit--and black--"JFK" to defeat a 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy with a penchant for sucking human souls!"

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

the human camera

You have to check this guy out. "He’s an autistic man who accurately draws entire cities from memory after a single 45-minute helicopter ride — right down to the correct number of windows in each building."

bird flu

It's that time of the year again. I scanned through a really interesting online book about the bird flu the other day. It's mostly a discussion of past pandemics and how the current bird flu is brewing.

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

an american haunting

This was a movie about a witch-- The Bell Witch. By all accounts, I think John Bell may have died of bordedom. What an awful movie. And, it wasn't awful in a good way that you could laugh at, it was just terribly not interesting.

Two thumbs down.

Tuesday, October 31

it's alive!

OK, it's just live, but alive sounded better on this All Hallow's Eve.

Brian's design site went live tonight. Can you think of a better day?

Check it out at primedesignsolutions.com.

trick or treat

I thought it was going to be the perfect evening for trick or treating. The weather was beautiful today--it was 60 degrees out at the start of trick or treat night. But, then the rain came. I think that might have put a damper on things. Turnout wasn't bad, but it was definitely less than we normally get. Jake had a pretty good time because he went with the neighbor kids who moved into the house behind ours this past summer. Jake went as some sort of weird ninja this year. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture to share.

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

sleep

I think this is my favorite weekend of the year. When else do you get an extra hour of sleep for free? My only concern is that I got extra sleep Friday night, and then extra sleep last night, and then, just for the hell of it, I took a catnap this afternoon. I may be up all night tonight, but at least I haven't been tired all weekend.

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

the texas chainsaw massacre (the original)

In honor of Halloween, we rented this movie last night. Again, I do not like horror movies. They do not scare me. Do they gross me out? Yes. Entertain me? No. Brian enjoyed it, though. As far as today's horror movies go, this one was pretty tame--not a whole lot of blood and gore (the camera cut away for most of those scenes). It's hard to believe it was banned in some countries when it was released. I have to assume it was one of the first "slasher" movies, so this could be the reason for the ban. Still it was one freaky movie and it sparked a conversation between Brian and I where we discussed all of the things we were afraid of as children. Our lists were very similar. It's no wonder we're married--no one else would have us.

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

it's not easy being green

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

snow

There's snow on the ground
It is only October
That is just not right

Saturday, October 21

a prairie home companion

The Blockbuster frenzy has resumed.

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

ray

It must be the week of biopics. Seeing that I'm still all caught up around the house, I had 2 1/2 hours to burn, so I watched this movie tonight. It was pretty good, but I liked Walk the Line more. However, Jamie Foxx IS Ray Charles. While Joaquin Phoenix did a great job portraying Johnny Cash, there was no getting him confused with the Man in Black.

Monday, October 16

productivity

I like being productive and I was just that this weekend. It helped that I was off today due to Jake having a day off school. Not only did I accomplish all of the housework I hoped to do, but I also made some dog treats, cards, and did a bunch of cooking (including a big old pot of ham and bean soup for today's supper). Jake and I even did some shopping this afternoon. I never go shopping. And, we topped that off with some ice cream from Bruster's. Yum.

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

walk the line

All I ask for is a good movie. I watch a fair amount of stuff and more often than not, I'm disappointed with what I see. But, not this time. What a great story this was! I've always been a fan of Johnny Cash (he is the Man in Black, after all), but I think I would've liked this movie even if that was not the case. Besides the interesting story line, the performances from Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon were outstanding. Who knew they could sing? I'm not familiar with June Carter Cash's work, but Phoenix did a great job emulating Johnny Cash's style.

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

signs that you might be getting old

This evening, the three of us went to catch a set of music from one of Brian's former co-workers, Jenny Drummey. The show was at the Bottle Works. Jenny has been a Johnstown staple for quite a number of years now. The music was all original and Brian described it as folk-rock. Jenny sang and played guitar (she's an incredible singer); there was another guitarist who switched between acoustic and electric guitar; and a drummer.

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

city view

We hit City View for supper tonight and were joined by Judy. As always, it was great to see her.

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

the itch parade

Lizzy was scratching herself like a mad dog last night. I thought she might have contracted a bad case of fleas, though I did not see any on her. After she scratched herself raw in a couple of spots, I gave her some Benadryl and hoped for the best. I figured I'd pick up some flea killer today and that would be the end of it. But by this morning, she was covered in hives--one of her eyes was practically swollen shut. I gave her another Benadryl and called the vets. They had me bring her in immediately. She ended up getting a shot of steroids and is now on steroid medication for the next week or so. The cause of the problem is unknown. She could have been bitten by some sort of insect or ingested something that caused the reaction. We may never know, but the vet didn't think it was flea-related. So much for that idea. Of course, since the cause is unknown, the problem could occur again. And I thought Lizzy was going to be our healthy dog...

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

law arbor day 2006

We've been filling in the front area with hedges for what seems like forever. We were supposed to finish up last fall, but never got around to it due to our bathroom remodel. Today was a beautiful day and seemed suited to working outside, so we went to Ray's Nurseries and picked up our final 8 hedge plants. Poor Brian got stuck with all of the grunt work, but I did what I could to help. Since we haven't planted anything in two years, the new plants look tiny compared to the ones we planted previously, but they'll fill in eventually.

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

wallace & gromit: the curse of the were-rabbit

I've watched too many G-rated movies this week. I need some adult entertainment. Good thing it's almost time for my yearly Blockbuster Online frenzy.

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

dane cook's vicious circle

After Chicken Run was over last night, we watched Dane Cook's Vicious Circle. I used to watch stand up comedy all of the time, but have gotten away from it in recent years (due to time constraints, I guess), so I was not familiar with any of his routines. Heck, I only just heard of him this year. The show started off kind of slow, but as the show went on, it got funnier and funnier. Anytime I cry not once, but twice, from laughing so hard, it's well worth the time spent. I'll definitely be checking out more of his stuff.

lemon-thyme chicken with feta-herb salad

Continuing with this week's chicken theme...we had this for supper tonight. It was so good. I made it once before years ago and I'm not quite sure why I waited so long to make it again. I got to use a bunch of fresh (and some frozen) herbs from my garden in the preparation of this dish, so I guess this isn't something I'll be making again this year. My garden cleanup is almost done for the year. All I have left are a few herbs, my pepper plants, and a lone Brussels sprout plant. The herbs have been trimmed back, but they almost always have some growth on them (unless it is snowing); the pepper plants are still producing so I'll let them go until the frost kills them; and the Brussels sprout plant will continue growing until it gets too cold. I'm sure that will be sooner than I'd like.

Wednesday, October 4

chicken run

It must be family film week. We watched our 2nd G-rated movie tonight, Chicken Run. The movie was fine for the genre, but I was expecting to enjoy it more than I did. Maybe it was because I was trying to do some other things and it didn't have my full attention. In any case, I liked Chicken Little more. But, this movie did make me hungry for chicken potpie. I guess I'll have to put that on the menu.

Saturday, September 30

chicken little

Jake and I watched this movie tonight. It was his second screening of the film--my mom had taken him to see it when it was released. For a kid's movie, it wasn't bad, but it wasn't anywhere as good as Shrek or The Incredibles, or any other films of that ilk. Still, we had a good time watching it and Jake pointed out all of the "good parts" before they happened, so I didn't miss anything. I made a big vat of popcorn and he ate a surprisingly large amount of it, but we still managed to save some for Brian, who just arrived home a few minutes ago.

angela and jacob's day of fun

Brian is at the Penn State game with my dad today. Seeing that he'll be gone most of the day, I figured I better plan some stuff for Jake and I to do. Our day started off with haircuts for the two of us in the morning. We came home and had lunch and did some chores around the house. After that, he helped me put some stuff away in the attic. I have a bad habit of piling things up in the library and there was quite a pile this time. While we were in the attic, we got out the Halloween decorations and then we decorated the house. He's all fired up about Halloween, let me tell you.

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

anchorman: the legend of ron burgundy

I wasn't in the mood to think this evening, so this looked like the perfect movie to watch. About 30 minutes into it, I was ready to change the channel, but Brian was enjoying it too much (he was simultaneously saying how bad the movie was and laughing). Sure, it had some funny parts, but that doesn't make it worth watching. So, I sat here, did some work on the computer, and watched the funny parts. Now, I'm cleansing my brain with some Monday Night Football before I go to bed.

Sunday, September 24

stupor bowl

Brian and Jake went to the Steeler game today so I've been keeping myself busy doing all those things I never get to do (at my own pace, anyway). I got up early this morning because when Brian and Jake are up, everyone is up. I started off my day by baking two loaves of ciabatta (we're going to be having some good sandwiches in the coming month). I always want to make ciabatta, but by the time I think about it, it's always too late to start the sponge (which takes 2-24 hours). Luckily, I had the forethought to do this yesterday.

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

toothless jake

Jake finally lost his first tooth. I say "finally" because every six months for the past year, he's asked the dentist when he was going to lose a tooth. Each time the answer was, "probably within the next six months."

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

indian summer?

You all can thank me for the nice weather we've had the past few days. I had Brian put the cover on the air conditioner this weekend, so some nice weather was practically guaranteed. I did manage to take advantage of the weather by working in the garden a few times over the weekend--I'm on fall cleanup duty now. I really wanted to get out there tonight, but we had a cub scout meeting to attend at 7pm, so I didn't have time. I have a lot of work to do before October (and brush cleanup week) hits, so hopefully we will have some decent weather in the interim.

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

scout's honor

I don't think I mentioned this before, but Jake quit karate a few months ago. It was time to move up to the next class and he just wasn't interested. It seemed like a waste of time and money to force him to continue.

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

derailed

Brian and I watched this last night, sans Margarita (though we did have a lemonade with vodka. mmm. nothing to eat, though). We both really liked the movie. It had more twists and turns than route 56 into Bedford. I can't really get into the plot because I don't want to ruin it for anyone, but suffice it to say, it's not your average affair flick. It was quite entertaining, though I wouldn't call it great cinema. But, sometimes being entertained is enough. And, that was certainly the case last night.

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.

Definitely recommended.

Saturday, September 9

dog run 2006

We were debating all week whether to attend this year's Dog Run party. We went last year and had a great time, but they raised the rates this year and we didn't feel that it was worth the $60 seeing that I don't drink beer and that is the only alcoholic beverage served. Brian finally made up his mind that we were going to just do the run, but not go to the party. As it turns out, no one could have watched Jake for us this evening, so it was a moot point. And, given the fact that it's been raining since 6:30, I'm rather glad we didn't have plans to go.

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

meaty ochre

As you may have read, we installed a new radio and cd changer in my car a few weeks ago. I've been enjoying the changer, but I was not happy with the sound coming from the speakers. Not one bit. We tried tweaking the EQ and every other setting on the radio, to no avail. The sound was mediocre at best, crappy at worst. So, the only thing left was to buy new speakers. We installed these on Labor Day, and oh, what a difference a few speakers can make. It all sounds quite wonderful now. The only thing I don't understand is how is it that this is the most expensive vehicle I've owned, yet it had the crappiest speakers of all my vehicles. I've replaced a few radios in our vehicles over the years, but I've never had to replace the speakers. I'm sure we could've gotten a better sound if I would have, but the point is, none of them sounded bad until this one. I just don't get it.

Monday, September 4

sauced up

Last year, I was looking for a way to process my garden tomatoes for sauce. I didn't have any luck last season, but I found this cool attachment for my KitchenAid mixer in the fall, so I grabbed it up and have been patiently waiting to use it ever since. Before Hurricane Ernsto blew through over the weekend, I picked all of the ripe tomatoes from my garden. I didn't have quite as much as I normally use for sauce, but I thought it would do for a test. So, I attached the fruit and vegetable strainer to my mixer and started to process the tomatoes. It worked like a charm. The good stuff came out of one end of the strainer and the seeds and skins out of the other. My sauce turned out a little thinner than I like, but that happens to me every time I make sauce from fresh tomatoes. Next year (or if I get really lucky with my crop, next month), I'll have to try cooking it longer to thicken it up. But, I do think this is the permanent solution for my tomato problem.

Saturday, September 2

the aristocrats

We watched this movie last night while munching on black bean dip and sipping Margaritas. This was a documentary about a joke whose punchline is "The Aristocrats". This joke has been used as an exercise by comics since the beginning of comedy. It's premise is to tell this obscene story and be funny about it. As a joke, it's not really all that funny. They talked to countless comedians who told their version of the joke. Most were just disgusting, though there were a couple of really funny ones in there. The joke was probably told close to 100 times during the course of the documentary (it seemed like it, anyway), so it was surprising that it kept our interest for the full 90 minutes of the film.

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

karma

It'll bite you in the ass every time.

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

more cherry?

But, we haven't even used the last pile yet!

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

better than a tea party

Last night, my in-laws hosted a wine-tasting party. These wine-tasting parties are quickly becoming my favorite way to socialize. This party featured Shiraz. We got to try eight types of Shiraz (amazingly no one brought the same stuff). A bonus feature of focusing on one type of wine is that you can prepare food that goes with the wine. There is nothing better than drinking wine that goes well with your food. If you don't agree--you're not drinking the right stuff.

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

a busy weekend

On Friday night, we invited Brian's aunt and uncle over for dinner. So, this left me cooking all of Thursday evening and Friday afternoon again this week (not that I'm complaining--I'm just saying). Our dishwasher got quite a workout this weekend. Anyway, we had a nice visit--I always enjoy talking to the two of them.

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

while jake's away, the parents will play

My Mom and Dad took Jake to the beach this week. Brian and I have been trying to squeeze in an overnight motorcycle trip all summer, but things never worked out--until now. This seemed like the perfect time to do it (especially after our stress-filled vacation of last month). We decided to go on a trip and hit some Virginia wineries. We left town on Sunday and headed to Winchester, Virginia for the night. We left Johnstown in mid-afternoon and, after a few stops, arrived in Winchester in the early evening.

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

how to clean your room

Here's the latest stop-motion film from J-B Productions:
How to Clean Your Room

Saturday, August 12

social butterflies

Another party tonight. This time, it was at my manager's house. He always puts on a good party and tonight was no different. Brian was the designated driver, so I got to have a couple of Margaritas (the drink of the evening). They were pretty good. So was the tequila he had available for shots. I don't recall the name, but I remember the bottle.

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.

that's entertainment

We haven't been doing much entertaining this year. I'm not quite sure why, but I can't say that it's really bothering me, either. Our guest list got whittled down to nothing this year. But, Brian's parents made the cut, so they came over for a cookout last night.

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

what?

Absolutely nothing has been going on here. I get up, go to work, get off work, make supper, do housework, walk the dogs, sit down for an hour, and then go to bed. Rinse. Repeat.

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

got mp3s?

I ordered a cd player and an external cd changer for my new ride. Brian and I installed them yesterday. The cd changer resides in the cargo area, so that presented a bit of a challenge as we wanted to hide the wire that leads to the stereo at the front of the vehicle. You'd have thought Brian has installed 100's of changers the way he tackled this job. It went way more smoothly than I could've imagined.

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.

american movie

We watched this a week ago. It was a documentary about an amateur filmmaker's attempt to film his latest horror movie, Coven. The movie was somewhat interesting, but it was hard to laugh at the funny parts because it was a real person. That's just being mean, I think. The movie would've been funnier to watch if it would've been a mockumentary (ala Waiting for Guffman or Best in Show), but it was not, so I have to give it a thumbs-down.

Friday, August 4

someday, they will rule the earth

Turns out I was right about cats. They're nothing but bad news:

Study: Cat-Borne Parasite May Affect Human Culture

Sunday, July 30

and the oscar goes to...

Brian and Jake spent the evening making a stop-motion film. You can view it here. It's 8MB in size, so don't bother if you have dial-up...

oh, what a feeling

I heard from the insurance company on Friday and they're going to be sending me my money this week, so we felt it was safe to go out and buy a new car. I got a Toyota Highlander. Silver inside and out. It's pretty nice. I was actually hoping for a different color (only because I've already had two silver cars followed by two white cars and I was in the mood for something different). But, like Mick Jagger says, you can't always get what you want.

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

bullshit

Nothing ever turns out as easy as it should, so why should I be surprised that our auto accident is turning out any differently? I won't go into the gritty details, but basically the other party has changed their story (neverminding the laws of physics) and now it's going to be a while till the insurance companies decide just who is to blame. But, this only has an effect on the insurance rates, so I guess it doesn't really matter how long it takes just as long as my rates aren't the ones going up.

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

crash! boom! bang!

Here's the photographic evidence.
Photo 1
Photo 2

vacation photos

Enjoy.

Friday, July 21

just when you think things can't get any worse

So, we're on our way home from a funeral late this afternoon and some guy pulls out right in front of us. There was no time to react. I saw the guy. I thought to myself "we're going to hit this truck". I hit the brakes and we proceeded to smash right into the truck. In that split second, I was figuring that we'd be able to slow down a bit and have a minor accident. This was not quite the case.

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

oh, canada

Due to the new passport requirements that are kicking in soon, we decided to go to Canada for our vacation this year. Niagara Falls and Toronto, to be specific. Brian and I went to Niagara Falls before (nine years ago) and hated it--it was way too touristy and everyone was rude. But we figure that since we live so close to one of the natural wonders of the world, we'd be doing an injustice by not taking Jake there.

Saturday:
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.

Sunday:
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.

Monday:
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.

Tuesday:
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.

Wednesday:
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

how not to kill a bug

I meant to post about this a few months ago when it happened, but never got around to it. I thought about it the other day and decided that I should post it for posterity's sake.

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

bob & carol & ted & alice

Alice lives here. I don't know Ted. Carol and Bob stopped over last night for a visit. Honestly, I can't remember the last time we saw them, but I'm sure it had to be at least few years ago. Carol and I always keep in touch--via phone or email--but we never seem to manage to get together. We spent a nice evening catching up and reminiscing. Brian and I used to work with Carol at the place we met, so we've all known each other for a very long time.

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

nightmares & dreamscapes

TNT is running a bunch of stories based off of Stephen King's collection of short stories, Nightmares & Dreamscapes. The first one, "Battleground" is almost over. So far, I have to give it a thumb's up. Two stories each will be running for four consecutive Wednesdays. If you didn't tune in tonight, you can catch a replay tomorrow night on TNT. Here is the official website.

it's a july miracle

It's been so long since I've written about our bathroom project, that you probably thought it was done. But, it's not. There just hasn't been anything to talk about on my end until now. My bathroom vanity is finally complete! I spent 10 days finishing the drawers (2 coats of shellac, 9 coats of varnish) and Brian did the final assembly and added the hardware this evening. I don't quite have everything put away yet, but it'll be done soon enough. I was pleased to find out that there's enough room for everything I need to store in the bathroom.

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.