Tuesday, May 30

nebbiolo d'alba

I finally got off my slacking butt and made my 3rd batch of wine for the year. I guess I have the weather to thank for this--it was too hot to go outside to work after supper. This is my 3rd of 5 kits for the year. I've never heard of this particular wine, but it sounds pretty good to me. Italian. Red. How can you go wrong with that? As I think I've mentioned before, I'll probably make a 6th batch of wine this year due to my penchant for bottling two batches at a time. At this point, I'm not sure what I'll make.

I guess I've wasted enough of this evening. Time to go outside.

Sunday, May 28

memorial day weekend

The weather finally got nice. In fact, I think it might be a little too nice tomorrow. We already have plans to get out the slip n slide for Jacob. So much for getting anything done outside tomorrow afternoon. Yesterday was pretty decent, though, so I was able to plant the rest of my garden. Some creature already ate one of my cucumber plants. Argh.

It was pretty hot today, but we went to my parent's for dinner, so I didn't have to contend with the weather this afternoon. My brother's birthday is in May and mine is in June, so we usually end up going to my parent's Sunday of Memorial Day weekend in order to celebrate the two birthdays. As usual, we had a great meal and I got some nice gifts. After we got home, I sat around for a while and waited for it to cool off a little before I went outside to mulch the garden. Now, I'm sitting around waiting for Brian to get back from a short motorcycle jaunt and then the three of us are going to go outside and celebrate the official start of summer by lighting up the chiminea.

Saturday, May 27

open water

Brian's manager at work is a bit of a film buff, so every once in a while he throws a DVD our way. Last night, it was Open Water. This was a very low budget movie ($30,000) shot by a husband and wife team over a few year period (as they had the money to finance it).

The movie was about this married couple who went on a scuba-diving trip. Due to a headcount mishap, they missed the boat (or so to speak) and ended up stranded in the middle of the ocean with a bunch of sharks.

I found the acting to be a bit stilted at the beginning, but it improved as the movie went on. The ending was absolutely perfect--it couldn't have been written any better.

The movie wasn't quite as good as the Margarita and black bean dip we consumed while watching it, but I'll be thinking about this one for a while. That's all I ask for in a movie--one that makes me think.

Thursday, May 25

another biker

Brian has been trying to teach Jake how to ride his bike this spring. All of the hard work has finally paid off. This week, Jake was able to go quite a distance without any help from Dad. He still could use some practice using the brakes and turning, though. But, I guess he has the rest of the summer to work that out.

Saturday, May 20

water, water, everywhere

So, I'm washing clothes today and was putting a load in the dryer when I heard running water somewhere in the house. No one was upstairs so I knew it wasn't coming from there. The washer wasn't running at the moment, so it wasn't coming from there, either. It sounded like it was coming from our "furnace" room, so I went in there to check things out. There was water all over the floor and the hot water tank was making funny noises. I grabbed a chair so I could turn off the water supply to the hot water tank, but it wouldn't budge. Given that, I had to turn off the water supply to the house.

Jake and I removed as much stuff as we could from the room and then I grabbed the shop vac and started vacuuming up all of the water. While I was doing this, Brian returned from an auction he was at all morning. Imagine his surprise. Luckily, he was able to turn the shut off valve to the tank so at least we had cold water at our disposal throughout the rest of the day. We finished cleaning up the room and he started calling all of the plumbers in the phone book while I made us some lunch.

Here's a tip: just because a plumber's ad says they offer 24-hour emergency service, don't count on it. At numerous places he either got an answering machine or simply no answer. A few of the places that did answer couldn't do the job because they didn't have a hot water tank in stock and the place they get them from was already closed (none of the plumbers would install a Lowe's or Home Depot-type tank). He did leave a message at one of the places he called (that guy did end up calling back but we had other arrangements made by that point) and kept calling others in the meantime. Finally, he talked to the owner of J. Clawson Heating and Cooling, who had access to a tank and could do the job today. Well, this evening, anyway. The poor guy was on his way to a wedding and was going to cut out early so he could fix our water problem. He and his wife arrived around 8pm this evening and had the new one up and running about an hour later. Now, that's service. Nice people, too.

Thursday, May 18

somewhere over the rainbow

Did I ever mention that we live in the rainbow capital of the world? Well, we do. More times than not, when it rains and the sun is shining, you can catch a pretty nice rainbow or two in the back yard. Before we moved here, I had only seen a few rainbows in my life. Now, I get to see a few rainbows a year.

This evening was no exception to the rule. It was raining and the sun was shining, so I thought to look out the window. There it was--a double rainbow (we get those occasionally). This rainbow was particularly nice, so I tried taking a few pics of it. Here is the best one of the lot.

Sunday, May 14

happy mother's day

We got to see all of the moms at Jacob's birthday party yesterday, but Brian's parents invited us out for dinner at Off the Rak in Ebensburg today, so who were we to refuse a free meal? Dinner was quite good, as was their wine list. I had blackened tuna with a few glasses of Mondavi's Merlot. Both were quite delicious. Brian had the ravioli with red pepper sauce and Jake had the old standby, macaroni and cheese. The mac n cheese must've been exceptional because he was done with his meal before we were (this is not a usual occurrence, but we'll take it).

Jake's great-grandma Gwen wasn't able to make it to his party yesterday, but we got to see her today at dinner. He got his gift from her today (a ring toss game) and Jake and Brian are playing with it outside right now.

I have been quite lazy today. I need to get something done before 9:00pm when I settle down with The Sopranos...

Saturday, May 13

jacob's birthday, part 2

Well, we made it through Jacob's first birthday party where his friends were invited. It wasn't too bad, but I wouldn't want to do that on a regular basis. Good thing birthdays only happen once a year. Brian was in charge of the kids so that worked out well for me, anyway.

And I totally hit the jackpot with one of Jake's gifts. He's been into legos lately. Meaning: he will play with them for hours on end. This is the only toy thus far that has caused that reaction. A few months ago, he was checking out the lego site and he found this set that he really liked (it was a police station complete with cars, helicopters, etc.), so I bought it for his birthday. He was pretty excited when he opened it. And, after all the guests left, he sat down in the family room and assembled it for four hours. Yes, four hours! I think we're onto something here.

Friday, May 12

jacob's birthday, part 1

Jacob's been wanting to go back to Big Dogz since the last time we went there. Since Brian and I have a long list of restaurants we want to go to and this wasn't one of them, I told him we'd go there for his birthday. So, we went there today. He wanted to go for two reasons: one, he wanted to play a hunting video game they had there (but he hadn't taken any of his money and we didn't have any change the last time) and two, they served his dinner in a dog bowl (he's been talking about it ever since). Unfortunately for him, he didn't have his dinner in a dog bowl this time, but it was enjoyed nonetheless. I reminded him to take some quarters, so he got to play the video game (one out of two--it's better than nothing).

Jacob's birthday is actually tomorrow, so we spent the rest of the evening getting ready for his party (cleaning, cutting grass, straightening up). We still have a bit of work to do, but it's going to have to wait until tomorrow morning because I am beat. I have been working like a woman possessed all week. As you might recall, a few weeks ago, I was enjoying doing my yardwork/gardening at a leisurely pace. Well, the pace picked up and all of a sudden, I gave myself a deadline to have a bunch of the work done before his party, so I've spent some long days working outside this past week. I guess the good news is I can pick up my leisurely pace again tomorrow after the party as we have no other large events planned at this time.

Wednesday, May 10

educated horses

We've been listening to the new Rob Zombie for a few weeks now. I have to say, it's probably my favorite album from him in years. It has a lot of catchy songs on it. Of course, this means that I'll probably tire of it quickly, but for now I'm really enjoying it. I'm not the only one--Jake loves a bunch of the songs on it as well. He will make requests for certain songs when we're riding around in the car.

I was really hoping to catch his spring tour which was with Lacuna Coil, but it didn't come anywhere near us. But, I see that he's touring with Anthrax this summer. It's not as good of a bill, but I'd still go. And, depending on the venue, this would probably be a good show for Jake to go to. I don't know what this tour's supposed to be like, but when we saw him on OzzFest a few year's back, he was pretty entertaining.

Monday, May 8

it's about time

I don't know why they didn't start researching this earlier. It seems like it could save us a lot of problems in the long run: A simple solution to pain at the pump?

Saturday, May 6

bottled

Last night, we bottled two batches of wine. One was called Trio Blanca (which is comprised of Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Blanc) and the other was a Petite Sirah Zinfandel. Both tasted pretty good last night, but they'll be even better with a little aging on the racks. I'm actually sort of behind on my wine-making this year. These have been ready to bottle for a few weeks now. Plus, I have 3 more kits just waiting to be made. I guess it'll get done eventually. I'm probably going to make a 6th batch of wine this summer because I like doing things two batches at a time (it saves me a little effort plus it's always nice to put 50+ bottles of wine on the racks at once).

So, by drinking wine last night, I guess we were bucking the Cinco de Mayo trend. We'll have to make up for it this evening by having Margaritas.

Wednesday, May 3

beautiful silence

The silence is beautiful no longer. The website featuring local bands (local to my basement, anyway) has finally been launched. Check out Beautiful Silence for all the details...

Tuesday, May 2

what's up

It seems all I have been doing is working in the yard/garden, cooking, cleaning wine bottles, and typing recipes. It's quite apparent that I haven't been spending all of my time blogging as of late.

All of the yard work/gardening isn't a bad thing. I've actually been enjoying myself while working on it. This year I got a jump on things. There's still a lot to do, but at the rate I'm going, I'll get to it soon enough.

Today, I received an order from Gardener's Supply. I ordered some new tomato cages, which I'm quite excited about and some willow fencing for my blueberry bushes. It seems the rabbits rather enjoy eating the blueberry bushes I put in last year. They nibbled them down to stubs over the winter (after eating every leaf off of them in the summer). I think they'll survive if I can keep the rabbits away from them this year. Plus, I got two more blueberry bushes last week and I don't want the rabbits near them. Hence, the fence (I would like to actually eat some blueberries at some point).

I transplanted all of my tomato plants over the weekend. I have a bunch of pepper plants that need to be transplanted, but I don't have enough room under my grow lights for all of them so I've been procrastinating. I knew I should've gotten the bigger grow light system. Of course, had I done that, I probably just would've planted more stuff anyway and had the same issue.

As for cooking, sometimes I don't know what gets into me when I'm making up my menus (Yes, I make up menus. I'm anal retentive, remember? Sometimes, I even have menus made up weeks in advance. How about that? Those of you who don't make up menus obviously aren't eating as well as we are. So there.) Anyway, the past two days, I got off work at 3, started cooking, and had supper ready at 6. So much for an afternoon nap...

I am so behind on my wine-making for the year. I have 3 kits sitting in my basement just waiting to be fermented. I need to get on that. Plus, I have 2 kits that are ready to be bottled, so I've been getting my bottles organized and started cleaning them yesterday. Hopefully, we'll do some bottling this weekend.

I've been spending my evenings typing recipes (at least I get to sit while I do that). My mom got some new recipe software (her previous recipes were entered on a Mac and my parent's haven't had a Mac in probably 10 years, so it was time for an overhaul). I volunteered to type her recipes, so I've been spending time each night typing away.

It makes me wonder what I do with my free time all winter when there isn't any gardening to do, wine to make, or recipes to type. Sure, I cook a lot in the winter (probably more so than the summer), but just what do I do with all of my time? Come to think of it, it's been a while since I read a book...