Friday, December 31

full dark, no stars

More like five stars. What an excellent read this was. It came in the mail right after I started reading Dexter and that booked dragged on a little longer than I would have liked. But, this one more than made up for it. I finished it in a couple of days--I just couldn't put it down. Each of the four novellas in the book were excellent, though my favorite was the last one, "A Good Marriage". Two thumbs up.

Tuesday, December 28

grown ups

We watched this movie the other night. It was not good. It was hardly the worst movie I've ever seen, but it was the worst Adam Sandler movie I've ever seen. For all of the star power in this movie, you would think it would have been at least half decent.

The premise was interesting enough--a group of old friends reunite with their families in tow. But they just couldn't pull off anything funny--very few laughs. Not recommended.

Sunday, December 26

darkly dreaming dexter

This is the first book in the Dexter series, upon which the Showtime television series is based. The show very closely followed the beginning of the first book, but then veered off course at the end. Just for the record, the show is better than the book, so save yourself some time and just watch it on television.

christmas: day 2

Christmas Day started off early. Jake woke us up at 6:30 even though I specifically told him not to get us up before 7:30. I should have penalized him one gift. Instead, we let him suffer until 7am. I had to get the ham on at 7:30, so I needed to get up anyway. We opened gifts and I got a lot of great stuff, the best being an art project Jake made for me (a hand-lettered design). My favorite gift from Brian was a pair of noise-canceling headphones. They worked well for my early evening nap.

The rest of the morning was spent cooking. For dinner, we had cappelletti soup, ham, turkey breast, mashed potatoes, gravy, lima beans, broccoli, cranberry sauce (brought by my mom) and bread. It seemed like a lot of food for seven people, and it was. But at least I won't have to cook for the next couple of meals.

My side of the family attended our celebration. Specifically, my mom and dad, brother, grandmother, and the three of us, of course.

After dinner, we opened presents. We got a lot of nice stuff. I got a ton more books to read. I need to get on that. My brother got Jake got an iPad. He hasn't put it down since he opened it. After presents, we had cookies. Today, I'm back on my diet.

Buster was really good. That's two days in a row for him!

It was a really nice day and best of all, I don't go back to work until Wednesday!

Friday, December 24

christmas: day 1

Whether I was ready or not, Christmas started today. I spent the week (and most of today) getting ready. And, I made it--just in time.

Brian's parents and his grandmother celebrated Christmas Eve with us. We met at our church for the 4:30pm children's service. Our church started this service a couple of years ago and it's really nice. Plus, there's only a "children's sermon" so it's not as long as the main service at our church (at 7:30pm).

After church we all headed to our house for dinner. I made stuffed shells and a caesers salad. I prepared everything this morning. When we came home from church, I got the shells out of the fridge to put into the oven and knocked the salad dressing onto the floor. Of course, it was in a glass bowl and made a complete mess. So, I got to make that again, but no big deal. We had bread, too, but it was bought and not homemade. So, it was a pretty easy meal. But, given the hour we had to go to church, there wasn't time to make something more involved.

Whenever we have company, it is always a challenge to manage the three dogs. Buster was surprisingly not too bad this evening. I think he has turned a corner. It must be the magic of "3", which he turned earlier this month. Lizzy and Alice were their usual selves (Lizzy being overly energetic and Alice being unobtrusive). So that worked out pretty well.

After opening presents and eating some cookies, the night came to an end. Brian and Jake still had to wrap presents, so they did that while I finished cleaning up. Now, everyone's relaxing until it's time to hit the sack.

Saturday, December 18

vinegar and cider

As if I don't have enough going on with the holidays approaching, both the cider and the vinegar I made in the fall were ready to go this weekend.

Last night, Brian and I bottled the cider. I don't know if it's any good or not at this point because it was warm and flat when I tried it (it will take a few weeks to carbonate). Plus, I've never had hard cider before so I don't know what it's supposed to taste like. Brian assured me that it tasted like it was supposed to.

Tonight, I bottled some vinegar I started a while ago. It tasted pretty good. I only got one bottle, but I started another batch this evening. If I keep this up, in a few months, I should have more vinegar than any one person can use.

Top this day off with laundry day and a trip to Costco in Pittsburgh, and not much else got done.

Sunday, December 12

brothers

This was a movie about the horrors of war, but more from the standpoint of the effects of war on families than on actual combat (though there was some of that, too). So, it was a refreshing take on war movies.

It starred Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Natalie Portman. All were excellent in their roles.

I really liked this movie despite it being a depressing affair to watch, but the ending gives you just enough hope to make it worthwhile.

Thursday, December 9

christmas prep

I'm kind of behind on my Christmas preparations this year, but I'm hoping to gain some ground this weekend.

On the plus side, most of the cards have been sent out and I have most of the dog treats made. I also finished shopping this evening. On the minus side, I haven't made any cookies, wrapped any gifts or decorated the house yet.

And, we are having both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinners at our place, so I have some additional preparations to do for that, too.

But, I guess everything will get done sooner or later. Either way, Christmas is on the 25th.

Sunday, December 5

the day after tomorrow

We watched this movie last night. A while back, Brian watched part of it on television and liked it so I figured we might as well rent it. Jake even joined in. At first he didn't want to watch because it wasn't a comedy, but given his obsession with the weather, he couldn't help but get pulled in.

The move was ok. If you don't mind suspending a little disbelief and don't try to think too much about what is going on, it is entertaining enough. And it went well with a margarita and some popcorn.