Friday, July 31

r.i.p. ariel

We finally decided it was time, so Brian took Ariel to the vets this evening to be put to sleep. The poor cat was getting way too skinny. Brian found some canned cat food that she ate for a little while, but she stopped that a week and a half ago so it made the decision pretty easy.

Ariel has been a part of the family since the beginning (13 years). She will be missed.

Thursday, July 30

cleveland, ohio!

We got a lot of strange looks when we told people we were going to Cleveland for vacation. I'm not sure why exactly. We really enjoy vacationing in cities and seeing what they have to offer so that's how Cleveland made the list. And much like every other city in the USA, this one has a lot to offer.

Sunday 7/26
We arrived at our hotel (Hampton Inn downtown) in the early afternoon. The first thing we did after checking in was let Jake go on a shopping spree at the b. a. Sweetie Candy Company. For those of you not in the know, it's only the largest candy store in the USA! Needless to say, it did not take him long to burn through the $20 we gave him to spend there.

After that, we went back to the hotel and got situated and then went on a walking tour of downtown, thanks to this guide. We hit a few of the landmarks, which started an impromptu photography contest between Jake and Brian, and then went to the Winking Lizard Tavern for supper. The Winking Lizard is a sports bar so we had plenty of televisions to watch while eating our supper. By the time dinner was done, we were ready to go back to the hotel to relax for the rest of the evening.

Monday 7/27
Today was spent at Geauga Lake's Wildwater Kingdom. We came back exhausted and sunburned (despite multiple applications of SPF 55). One of the disadvantages of having one kid is that they don't have anyone to play with at activities like these, so Brian took that role upon himself today (and for that I am grateful).

After Geauga Lake, we returned to the hotel and got showered and then went to Flannery's Pub for dinner. On our way back to the hotel, we continued our walking tour of downtown. The rest of the evening was spent relaxing in the hotel again. There's not a whole lot going on at night here--most of the touristy things close at 5:00. Though I have to say, by the time evening rolls around, we're all pretty much content to hang out in the hotel.

Tuesday 7/28
This morning we went to the Cleveland Botanical Garden. It was so beautiful there that even Jake liked it. They had a number of different types of gardens there, my favorite being the water gardens (though the herb garden was pretty nice, too). They also had a butterfly conservatory that was worth seeing. I could have spent half the day there.

In the afternoon, we hit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Steamship William G. Mather Museum. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was cool, but it mainly dealt with the founders of rock rather than rock across the board (there was a disappointingly small mention of metal there). The ship was cool, but by this point it was getting pretty hot, so we hoofed it back to the hotel to get ready for our next adventure, which was a trip to see one of Brian's friends who lives in the area. She had us over for a dinner and we hung out and chatted all evening.

Wednesday 7/29
This morning, after Brian took care of some work stuff, we went to one of the Cleveland Harley Davidson dealerships. That afternoon, on the suggestion of Brian's friend, we checked out the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum. They had quite a nice selection of antique cars there (some airplanes and motorcycles, too). Then we spent the rest of the afternoon walking around The Cleveland Museum of Art. By this point, we were spent, so we opted to order dinner in. And, we spent the rest of the evening, watching tv, surfing the net, and reading. Our last night of relaxation before heading home.

Thursday 7/30
On our way home today, we stopped at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. We figured that we'll probably never be in Ohio again so might as well catch it while we're there. We thought it was pretty nice--probably the nicest of the 3 HOF's we've been to (hockey, rock, football).

So, we're back home now and getting things in order. I should have our pictures up by the weekend.

Monday, July 27

weekend blogger

I noticed that I've only been blogging on the weekends lately, so I thought I'd take a moment to get caught up.

Ariel is still hanging on. She's not eating much, though and is getting really skinny. Brian found a canned food variety that she will eat some of the time, so she's been eating that, at least. She still acts ok, though.

Work at Prime Design Solutions is going well. It's definitely a different environment that I'm used to working in, so I'm still adjusting to that, but I can say that it's the best job I've ever had.

Sadly, I have not been riding the motorcycle much this year. When it's not the weather, it seems that there is always something else going on. On the plus side, I have been doing a lot of gardening. (though never as much as I'd like to!)

I can't believe it is the end of July already. Where is the summer getting to?

Saturday, July 25

american psycho

The premise of this movie sounded promising enough, but the execution (no pun intended) left a little to be desired. It was a story about a yuppie serial killer (that is to say, a serial killer who is a yuppie) named Patrick Bateman. Part of the problem with this movie was that all of the characters were incredibly annoying. The other part was that I just didn't find it interesting. Patrick should take a few tips from Dexter.

Saturday, July 18

vicky cristina barcelona

This was my first Woody Allen movie, believe it or not. The movie was about two women who went to Spain for the summer. Both fall in love with the same guy, an artist played by Javier Bardem, who is hot, hot, hot, in my humble opinion. Brian and I both enjoyed the movie. It was good, light fare for "Movie and a Margarita Night."

t is for trespass

This was another one from Sue Grafton. I haven't read all of her books by any means, but I've read quite a few of them at this point. The good thing is that you don't have to read them in order to be able to follow the plot.

This one was much like all of the others--a good, but not spectacular read. That's the thing about these books--they are all good, but at the same time they aren't stories that stick with you after you've read them.

Saturday, July 11

biker wedding

We went to a biker wedding today. There were real bikers there (unlike the fake bikers we usually hang out with). The sister of one of Brian's high school friends got married. It was pretty cool. The ceremony took place at Lake Rowena and then all of the bikes rode together to the place of the reception. It was fun riding through downtown Ebensburg in a parade of a few dozen bikes--heads definitely were turning.

paul blart: mall cop

I'm thinking about cutting Jake off from picking future movies. From what I read about this film, I didn't think it was going to be any good and it wasn't. It's not like it was completely horrible, it's just that it wasn't even mildly amusing. I'm pretty sure I could write something funnier than it. At any rate, he liked it, but I'm hoping his taste in movies improves soon.

Wednesday, July 8

freedom

As I mentioned in my last post, I quit my job recently. My last day was yesterday. I'm taking the rest of this week off and then starting full time with Prime Design Solutions on Monday. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to that.

The next two days, I'm scheduled to go to cub scout day camp with Jake. Brian likes to go, so he did the duties today. This will be my first year for this as Brian always went in the past. I'm sure it will be an interesting experience.

pea farmer


I spent the evening pulling weeds from the garden and removing spent peas plants. In doing so, I picked a whole basket of peas, which can be seen on the ledge in the photo. I'm not sure who is going to eat all of these as I'm just about good on peas at this point. (We have been eating peas multiple times per week for the past few weeks.)

I also picked some garlic that looked ready to go. My grandmother's tip of refrigerating my garlic harvest paid off as I'm still using garlic from last year.

In other news, after a few minor disasters, the pond is fairing well now. The plant life is really taking off this year. We had a few fish mishaps, though. First, all four of the goldfish we bought this year died. And two from last year died (one from some sort of disease and another from a pump mishap). We had some water quality issues that are now under control and may have contributed to the death of the new fish. But, on the bright side, the remaining goldfish have spawned and we have some babies in there now (some as large as an inch). Hopefully these will survive and I won't have to buy any more fish!

I trimmed the front yard hedges over the weekend. I had a little bit of help from Jake, who wanted to use the "chainsaw" (i.e. electric hedge trimmers). But, the novelty of that was short-lived so I had to finish the job myself. Normally I use the manual trimmers, but this year, since they were out, I used the electric ones and finished up quite a bit faster than usual. I think I might be onto something...

Sunday, July 5

w.

This was the second of two consecutive Oliver Stone movies for us. While the casting of the supporting players went from bad (Rice) to good (Rove, Cheney), I thought Josh Brolin's portrayal of Dubya was superb. But, I thought the overall portrayal of Bush was too sympathetic and I was certainly not expecting that from Oliver Stone.

Thursday, July 2

garden progress

I need to get a new picture up of the garden. It is doing really well. We've had a bumper crop of peas this year so they've been on the menu practically every night. All of the other plants have been fairing well in this odd weather we've been having. I guess it must be warming up just enough between the rainy days in order to keep things moving. There are a couple of tiny zucchinis out there that should be ready soon. The tomato plants are growing like weeds and there are a few peppers growing already. I think this year will bring a good harvest.

since last week

We went to Thunder in the Valley a few times. It was cool, as usual. We didn't check out anything in particular--mostly people-watching. We also went on a number of bike rides over the weekend and that was fun. The weather has not been very conducive for bike riding this season so it was nice to get some riding in.

The vet called on Monday. Ariel indeed has cancer. There isn't anything they can do for her so now we're just waiting and watching. She still seems fine, but I'm pretty sure she isn't eating much--she is visibly thinner. The vet put her on steroids in order to reduce the inflammation in her lymph nodes. We'll see what happens. But, it's really just a matter of time.

This next thing didn't happen in the past week, but since I haven't mentioned it, I will now. I quit my job! I'm going to be working for Brian full time starting on the 13th. My last day at work is Tuesday. I can hardly wait!