Friday, March 31

wash and wax

I took advantage of the nice weather the past two days and cleaned my car inside and out. I knew it was supposed to rain today, but I didn't care--I just wanted a clean car if only for a few hours. Plus, the car was really dirty. It hadn't been cleaned since before winter. I've made a concerted effort to keep my car clean since I just got it last year (it's easier to keep up with a clean car, that's for sure). Of course, I probably could've found a more fun way to spend those few hours, but I guess I'll have time for fun after the work is done.

Wednesday, March 29

all caught up

For the first time in a long time, I'm practically caught up with my work. I mean, I'll never be caught up because there's always something to do, but this weekend, I got a good jump on things. Jake ended up staying at my parent's Saturday night, too, so this gave me a chance to do even more than I had anticipated last weekend. I daresay a little boredom set in by the time Saturday evening arrived.

Another thing that has helped me with my workload is HBO. Let me explain...HBO is running Six Feet Under again at 8pm on weeknights. Normally, I like to do housework until around 9pm, so to make up for watching tv, I've been ironing while catching the show. I hardly have anything left in my ironing pile. I think this is the lowest it's ever been.

But, enough talking. I need to get some work done.

Friday, March 24

we're so pathetic

Jake is staying at my parent's tonight. We were supposed to go out to dinner with a friend, but that got cancelled earlier in the week. So, we spent the past few days pondering what to do on our night off. Should we go out for drinks? That never seems to happen. Why pay for drinks when we can drink for free at home? Seems kind of silly. Should we go to the movies? We've actually had our fill of movies lately, so no. Should we go see a band? We didn't know anyone who was playing out this weekend, so it didn't seem like it was worth the effort. That was about all we could come up with, so we just stayed home, did a little work, watched a little tv, and started designing the bar Brian's going to build for our family room this year. We did manage to wash down a Margarita while snacking on some killer black bean dip, though. So, all was not lost.

Tuesday, March 21

you belong to me

This was a book written by Mary Higgins Clark. It is the first one I read from her in a long, long time. After reading it, I remembered why. Her stories are all whodunits. And, the bad guy is never who you think it would be. But, after reading a few of her books, it is easy to figure out the pattern and pick the bad guy out--he's the last one you'd think would be it. And, this book was no different. So, I guess I've had my fill of her for a while.

Monday, March 20

r.i.p. satin

This morning, our friend Judy's dog Satin lost the fight with her illness. Her story is here. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Judy at this difficult time.

Sunday, March 19

dinner with the parents

Today was our annual "Dinner with the Parents". After two days of cooking, I'm finally getting a chance to sit down (incidentally, just in time for The Sopranos). I'm freaking beat, but it was worth it. Everyone seemed to have a good time (and, more importantly, enjoyed the food). We started off with some appetizers (sausage-stuffed mushrooms, peppered garlic confit with prosciutto on Italian bread, garlic-stuffed olives, pepperoncini, and soppressata). After this, I wasn't even hungry, but I ate anyway. What are you to do? The main course was herb roasted cornish hens along with the sides of lemony asparagus-mushroom stir fry, sage risotto with fresh mozzarella and prosciutto, and a Moorish-style salad with cumin and smoked paprika. All of this was washed down with some Pinot Noir (from Pepperwood Grove and Brancott Vineyards) and Chardonnay (from Monkey Bay). The Chardonnay was particularly good. And, to think I almost didn't buy it because it had a monkey on the label! Almost forgot...I made a white cake with Italian meringue icing for dessert. I have yet to have my dessert (maybe tomorrow for breakfast).

I went all-out for this dinner. It was definitely more work than when I cook for a holiday, but I only do this once a year so it's kind of fun for me. Jake and Brian were gone all day yesterday, so it gave me a chance to hang out in the kitchen all day and work without interruption. In the past, I used to go all-out every time we entertained, but I usually ended up tired and irritable and that is no way to be when you are having guests. I have since learned to put forth a more balanced effort and this makes the rest of our entertaining more fun for me. But, this one time of the year, I like to show off my skills. And, I know our parents appreciate the effort, so who better an audience?

Saturday, March 18

the talented mr. ripley

We watched this movie last night. It was the last of my Blockbuster Online movies. That was fun while it lasted. I'm definitely going to sign up again next winter.

Anyway, the movie was ok. Nothing spectacular. I don't particularly care for Matt Damon or Jude Law, so that was two strikes against it. In honor of St. Patrick's Day, we had a Margarita while watching the movie (limes are green, you know).

I would write more about it, but I have to go. Tomorrow, we're having our annual "Dinner with the Parents", so I have to go as I have much cleaning and even more cooking to do in preparation.

Wednesday, March 15

was that a bear?

On Monday night, I let Lizzy into Jake's room at bed time. She kept looking out the window and growling. All I could see was a bag of trash laying in the neighbor's driveway. It looked like maybe his trash can blew over and the garbage bag fell out and something got into it.

Last night, I was in the living room and saw an ambulance stop in front of our house. They were shining their light towards the houses on our street--we assumed they were searching for a house number. A little while later, the ambulance was back and a police car was sitting right in front of our house. Brian went out to see what was going on. It turns out that a bear has been wandering around our neighborhood lately. Last night, someone on Goucher Street hit it with their car, so now it was wandering around, injured. So, the authorities were searching for it.

Now I'm thinking that maybe the bear got into the neighbor's garbage on Monday night and Lizzy isn't as dumb as she looks.

We've had quite an array of wildlife on our street in the almost 10 years we've lived here--groundhogs, raccoons, deer, bear, and a ringneck pheasant. You'd think we lived in the woods or something. If only.

Sunday, March 12

i came. i sewed. i conquered.

I finally took the plunge today and hemmed my shower curtain on my sewing machine. Brian's mom came over yesterday and gave me some sewing pointers which enabled me to do the job. It turned out pretty good. Granted, it's not the straightest hem ever to be hemmed, but it works. I mean, I won't be hemming Brian's pants anytime soon, but it's a shower curtain for goodness sake.

Jake wants me to make him a shop apron. So, I guess I'll have to go to JoAnn Fabrics at some point and see if I can find some plans for one. Also on my list--a runner for my sideboard (and maybe the mantel), napkins, placemats, and curtains (gasp). The curtains are a long way off because Brian needs to re-trim the windows first. And seeing that there's already trim on the windows (albeit crappy trim) and not trim pretty much everywhere, he's going to tackle the places that don't have trim first. But, I found these cool curtains that I like and they look like they'd be pretty easy to make. So, someday I'll make them. For now, they're sitting in the project file.

Saturday, March 11

house of 1000 freezers

We got the new freezer installed this evening. You wouldn't think this would be worth blogging about, but that just means that you're not as well-acquainted with Murphy as we are.

Before moving it into our utility room, we eyed it up. Things didn't look good so Brian broke out the measuring tape and confirmed our suspicions--it was going to be a tight fit.

We took off the utility room door and then tried to squeeze the freezer through a number of times--each time removing something else. First went the hinges. Next the door stop. It would've fit at this point if not for the tube running down the back. I told Brian to tilt it up and this was enough to squeeze it through. Phew! Of course, it didn't fit nicely in the spot where I wanted, so we had to swap places with the refrigerator. That seemed to do the trick. I fired it up so it'll be ready for my frozen food tomorrow.

If anyone's looking for a good, used chest freezer (around 5-7 cubic feet in size), let me know. Otherwise, it'll be going in the Trader's Guide next week.

the others

I'm going to have to stop reading movie reviews before I watch movies. I was all pumped up for this one, but it didn't quite deliver. The movie was ok. It had a cool twist at the end, that's for sure, but I wasn't quite as impressed as everyone else, I guess. And, it got a little slow in the middle. So slow, in fact, that I started to read the owner's manual for the new freezer I bought yesterday (finally, I got a large freezer. now, all I have to do is fill it up with food. that shouldn't be hard since all three of my current freezers are overflowing.) Not only was I doing that, but I was also surfing the internet and drinking a margarita in addition to watching the movie (I tend to multi-task) and I still didn't miss anything.

Alas, the plethora of pseudo movie reviews will be coming to an end. I am cancelling my Blockbuster video subscription next weekend. Not that I didn't enjoy every minute of it, but spring is sort of here and I'm not going to have time to be watching movies a couple of nights a week anymore. Not only that, but The Sopranos is starting up again this Sunday and a promising new series called Big Love is debuting on HBO. Plus, HBO's re-running Six Feet Under. I've been wanting to catch that series again (at least the first two seasons, anyway) But, I digress...I enjoyed Blockbuster Online so much that I plan on signing up again next winter. I always say, if only I could get my groceries delivered to the house, I'd never have to leave home.

Thursday, March 9

he loves me

He loves me not.

I seem to be the marginal "favorite human" of Marley, the demon cat. He kind of likes me most of the time (well, as much as he's capable of liking anyone), but it's not something you can count on. I was the first one to get him to purr, though. He still hisses at Lizzy a few times a day, so I don't know that the two of them will ever get along. Considering the fact that Lizzy and Ariel have been living together for a number of years and still aren't on friendly terms, it's probably a safe bet. Marley hasn't attacked Brian in weeks so Brian must now be on his good list as well. Jake is slightly above Lizzy on the Marley-scale. So much for him having his own cat. I guess he can get one when he moves out in 16 years or so.

We haven't formally introduced the two cats yet, but anytime they've seen each other they haven't been impressed. I'm thinking about doing the formal introduction this weekend (during regular vet hours, of course). I'm sick of having pets living on three levels of our house. Two levels would be more than sufficient, I think.

bathroom

Brian took some pictures of the house recently so I thought this might be a good opportunity to show you all our recently remodeled bathroom.

vanity 1
vanity 2
tub

As you can see, the vanity still needs drawers. And, the ceiling still needs trim, but other than that, it is done. I don't know why he didn't take a picture of the toilet area. I can only surmise that since our bathroom is so small, he couldn't get a good angle on it. Nothing exciting there anyway--just a toilet, magazine rack, toilet paper holder and our cool Gashlycrumb Tinies poster hanging above the toilet tank.

Wednesday, March 8

primer

I don't think I mentioned this before, but our two year old living room television conked out the day before the Super Bowl. Great timing. After $100 in repairs, we got it back this week. So much for my high opinion of Sony... Luckily we have backup televisions throughout the house so we didn't miss any of our regularly scheduled programming.

Last night, we got to watch our first movie (in a month) on the "big" screen (as compared to the 13" tv we've been watching, our 20" tv now seems quite luxurious). Primer was the flick. It was a little too ambitious for my tastes. I don't like having to think quite that much in order to be entertained. The fact that the film was made for $7000 and all of the actors in it were in their first roles was a little impressive, though.

The movie was about these engineers who invent a time machine. They get a little greedy and things go down the shitter for them from there. Here is a good description of the movie's convoluted timeline (in case you happen to watch it and didn't get everything--like me).

Tuesday, March 7

i have a need for speed

Our internet connection seemed to be lagging a bit lately. So, I did some research into the current plans AtlanticBB has to offer and compared it to what we currently have. It was a real eye opener. We were grandfathered under a plan from the previous cable company, Charter, and had an internet connection so slow that it wasn't even offered anymore. After discussing our options, we decided it would be worth the money to upgrade to their middle-tier internet offering. I made the call at lunch and they've already made their adjustments and now we're blazing. I had to tweak some of the settings on our side to get things working properly, but it wasn't difficult.

Here are some useful tools: This url allows you to test your upload and download speeds. I noticed a definite improvement after AtlanticBB made their changes, but we still weren't getting the results we should've. I then went here and ran the test listed in step 3 (from speedguide.net). Some of our numbers were off and this was causing our internet to run slower than it should. I used their recommendations and changed the settings with DrTCP, which I got here.

Tweak away...

Sunday, March 5

spring?

Well, it might not be spring yet, but I started planting stuff for my garden today, so as far as I'm concerned, it's close enough. I planted some broccoli and brussels sprouts. I'm anxious to see how things go this year because I went through a definite learning curve last year--my last batch of plants definitely fared better than my first due to changing some of my methods.

More gardening updates will surely follow.

Saturday, March 4

sin city

We watched this movie last night--while drinking Margaritas, of course. We got a late start on it because I was IM'ing TurboTax support in an effort to find out why one of my totals isn't being transferred to my 1040 correctly. No luck there. I'm going to try deleting and re-entering some more data today and see if that works. If not, I'll have to call their support line because the online support staff has given up at this point. Terrific.

So, between going to bed late and the fact that Brian and I got up early to do yoga (yes, Brian's jumped on the yoga bandwagon, too), I'm too friggin' tired to write a movie review. Suffice it to say, this was a very cool movie. It was like a comic book come to life. I guess that shouldn't be surprising, because the movie was based off of a comic book, but I mean, it really looked like a comic book come to life. The movie was shot in black and white, with occasional splashes of color. I've never seen anything like it before.

Anyway, if you want to read a good review, the Flick Filosopher has one.