Sunday, May 31

since i last wrote...

Sometime since I last wrote, I got the rest of the veggies in with the exception of the peppers. I planned on planting those this weekend, but the forecast is calling for it to be as low as 37 tonight (depending on your source), so I'm going to leave the peppers in the cold frame for another day. I considered covering the other plants outside, but never got around to it. I'm crossing my fingers that it doesn't get too cold tonight.

I read something about using Epsom salts on tomato plants so I tried that this year. I don't know if it made a difference, but it certainly didn't hurt the plants--they look great. I threw about a tablespoon in each hole when I was transplanting. I believe I'm supposed to dissolve some in water and water the plants with it once they start flowering. I need to remember to do that. I was talking to a fellow gardener this afternoon and he mentioned Epsom salts were good for peppers, too. So, I'll be trying that as well. I figure it can't hurt.

the devil wears prada

This movie was ok, but just not my cup of tea. When I watch a comedy, I want to laugh out loud, not think to myself, "my, that was humorous." So, that's about the worst I can say about it. The acting was great. The plot was kind of lame, but comedies aren't exactly known for their riveting plots. I've never actually watched an episode of "Sex and the City," but I get the same vibe from this movie. So if you like that series, you might like this. Otherwise, skip it.

Friday, May 29

my bro

My brother has a quote in the current issue of Business Week. Scroll down to see it.

Monday, May 25

the weekend

It was quite a busy weekend. In addition to the wine party on Friday and going out to eat on Saturday and the other things I have already mentioned on the blog, we have gotten quite a few things accomplished.

Besides the boring housework that is always hanging over my head, of which I will not go into detail, we installed an a/c in the office kitchen. Brian also snapped off the remaining tapcons from the "siding removal project."

I got to ride my motorcycle for the first time this season. I felt a bit rusty, but things went just fine. We just rode around Westmont for a bit. I'll need to make a point to get out a lot between now and the end of June so that I'm ready for Thunder in the Valley.

This morning, Jake and I ran to Toys 'R Us so he could spend one of the gift cards he received for his birthday. He got a new game for his Nintendo DS and was happy the rest of the day. I also had to make a brief stop at the Galleria.

And, the weekend was rife with gardening. That was the best part!

progress

I've been working quite a bit outside the past week. First, I got my tomatoes and pumpkins in the ground. I still have to plant the cukes, zucchini, and peppers. Those are slated for whenever the rain stops. I also got all of the herbs in except the basil.

This weekend, Brian built me this nifty compost bin. It's my birthday present! He reworked some plans I found in the Organic Gardening magazine. So now I have plenty of space to put all of my compostable items.

We made a trip to Westwood Garden Haven and bought flowers. This evening Brian helped me plant them in the shed window boxes, the top of my water cistern, and in my new patio planters. We rearranged the furniture slightly on the patio to accommodate the planters. I think it looks pretty good back there. Too bad we're too busy to do much entertaining this year.

We also bought a couple more fish and plants for the pond. They had tadpoles for sale, too, so we threw two of them in for good measure. My pond is currently full of algae, so we can't actually see anything in the pond, but it should clear up in a week or so. The pond was doing great, but the water level dropped a little due to the lack of rain, so I topped it up with the water from the cistern. I happened to open up the cistern today only to find out that the remaining water in it was full of algae, so I think that I might have introduced the algae to the pond. But we have a UV light running in the pond system, and it kills algae, so nothing to worry about there.

I'm kind of glad it's supposed to rain the next few days--there are a lot of plants outside that need to be watered! Plus, I should really get some stuff done in the house, too. But, I have been enjoying all of the time I've been spending outside this year so far.

silkwood

For whatever reason, I had this movie in my queue. It was a story of a woman (played by Meryl Streep) who worked at a nuclear power plant and who was possibly murdered after investigating some suspicious activities at the plant.

This movie is the perfect example of why I don't normally watch older films. The plot was ok, but it played more like a made-for-tv movie than anything else. And it wasn't exactly riveting. I can't really recommend this movie.

doing johnstown

Yesterday, we went to the Roxbury Bandshell to check out one of the acts from their summer concert series. The band we saw was the Cash Review, a Johnny Cash tribute band. They mostly do songs from the Johnny Cash/June Carter era. While I am a bigger fan of the Johnny Cash solo music, I did think they sounded pretty good. I've been wanting to go to one of these bandshell shows for quite some time now, but we never got around to it until now. Brian wanted to get a photo for the Do Johnstown! flickr photostream, so it was a good excuse for us to finally go. There are a few more bands on their schedule that I'd like to see, so I'm sure this won't be our last trip there this summer.

Sunday, May 24

the allegro

Yesterday, we went to the Allegro in Altoona to celebrate my birthday, my brother's birthday, and my parent's 40th wedding anniversary. We picked up my grandmother on the way and that was the highlight of the trip. We were using my GPS and she just about pissed herself laughing every time the GPS spoke the directions--"the car is telling us where to go!"

Anyway, dinner was pretty good. And, it was a nice evening out.

Saturday, May 23

wine party

Last night, Brian's parents hosted another wine party. This party's theme was "animal" so we all brought bottles of wine having an animal on the label. I thought that was a pretty neat theme. All of the wine was great, as was the food and conversation.

I really need to get with it and host another one of these at our place. Maybe this summer...

do johnstown!

Looking for something to do in the Johnstown area? Look no further. The Do Johnstown! website launched yesterday and is chock full of events and information for the area. Check it out!

Sunday, May 17

lights!

Over the course of the past two days, I put all of the solar lighting out. I also buried all of the cables around the pond area. I still need to verify that all of the lights are in working order.

In other gardening news, my tomato plants have been outside in the cold frames for a few weeks and I haven't killed them yet! I've been bringing them in when it gets below 50 at night and I've been opening the tops of the frames during the warm days. I think the key to my success this year was putting them outside when it was cooler and overcast for a few days.

There is still a lot to do outside, but it seems like I never have the time to do it. At least it's still early in the season.

yes man

In honor of Jake's birthday week, we let him pick the movie for family movie night. His choice was Yes Man. This was a story about a guy who decides to say "yes" to everything for a year. Frankly, I wasn't holding out much hope for the film (for one thing, I'm not a big fan of Jim Carrey), but it turned out to be half-decent. In fact, there were a couple of pretty funny moments. The end of the movie played like an episode of Scrubs, though, complete with acoustic guitar music. Overall, I wouldn't rate it as one of my favorite comedies, but it's probably worth watching if you're looking for some comedic fare.

Friday, May 15

blvd

Judy contacted me the other week and wanted to hook up with us sometime soon, so we settled on the Boulevard Grill for this evening. Dinner was good. Afterward, we came back to the house and hung out in the back yard. Jake wanted to have a fire in the chiminea, so we lit the first one up for the season. Much silly talk ensued, thanks to having a 9 year old in on the conversation. It was a fun evening, but now I'm ready for bed.

Wednesday, May 13

happy birthday to jake!

Today was Jake's birthday. He had a hankering for some Mexican food, so we took him to Rey Azteca for supper. This was Brian's and Jake's first time there. I think they liked it. I thought the food was great, as usual. And, you sure can't beat their prices. I'm hoping this becomes his new birthday tradition.

Happy birthday, Jake!

Sunday, May 10

mother's day

We didn't have any major plans for the day. But, my family decided to take my grandmother and aunt out to Eat 'N Park for supper and we were invited to go along, so we accepted. My brother treated everyone to dinner. That was nice of him!

Other than that, it was business as usual, with one exception. This week is spring cleanup week. This is normally my favorite week of the year (there's nothing like throwing away a bunch of crap, if you ask me). Unfortunately, we didn't really have anything to throw away this year, so we imported some stuff from the office. We had some metal kitchen cabinets, that we knew the "recyclers" would take. We brought one of them home on our first trip and then headed back to the office. By the time we got home, it was gone. We put the second one out and by the time we got back into the house, someone was loading it up in their truck. I suppose we should just recycle this stuff ourselves, but we just don't have the time. At least it's not going to the landfill, though.

weed. weed. weed. plant.

I've been doing a lot of weeding, it seems. Yet, there are still weeds everywhere! How does that happen?

In addition to weeding, I've been doing a little planting. I put some more peas in the garden yesterday and I planted a bunch of carrots. I also planted some thyme between the cracks in my fieldstone path. Hopefully those will crowd out the weeds eventually.

Here's a pic of the freshly mulched pond area, as seen from the side porch:

birthday party

Yesterday afternoon, we had Jake's "family" birthday party. We're doing things a little different this year--no kid party! But, later this month (or once the weather turns nice), he'll have a few of his friends over for a sleepover and some other activities.

All of the grandparents, along with a few other family members, came over for cake and ice cream. Jake could hardly contain himself--he was so excited to open his presents. He sure got a lot of nice stuff, too.

The weather ended up being nicer than forecast, so most people filtered out onto the back patio at one point. Unfortunately, we don't have the patio set up yet, but there was enough stuff set up to accommodate everyone.

As far as birthday parties go, we'll call this one a winner.

Saturday, May 9

serpico

This movie was done before Al Pacino became a caricature of his acting self (way back in the early 1970s). It was quite a good character study. Not a lot of action, but it just wasn't that kind of movie. It told the story of a police officer named Serpico, who blew the whistle on police corruption in the New York city police force. Two thumbs up.

Sunday, May 3

landscaping and more!

Brian and I spent a good amount of time yesterday morning and afternoon mulching the pond area and around the trees. We were hoping to get away with two truckloads, but Brian had to run and get a third one in the afternoon. We also extended the mulch to the other side of the shed, so practically the entire side yard is now under mulch, slightly furthering my goal of not having any grass in the back yard. I did a lot of weeding while we were at it, too. Today, all of my muscles are sore. Strangely, particularly the ones in my hands.

Today, I transplanted my pepper and tomato seedlings into pots. I also planted zucchini and cucumber seeds inside. Transplanting day is always the start of my dilemma--where to put everything. I only have enough room under the lights for the peppers so the tomatoes are currently sitting in the shop. I plan on getting the cold frames out of the shed tomorrow and putting the tomatoes outside during the day. Hopefully I won't kill them this year.

more press

This guy is always in the paper. What's up with that?

Saturday, May 2

walk hard: the dewey cox story

Brian and I watched this last night. The movie was a parody of the excellent Johnny Cash biopic, Walk the Line. While there were certainly some mildly amusing moments, this movie was definitely less than excellent. I'm not sure that it would even be mildly amusing if you hadn't seen Walk the Line. I'm all for stupid comedies, but this one just wasn't funny enough. As a side note, the movie did seem to employ most of the past and present comedic talent from NBC. In summary, a disappointment.