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.