Monday, July 30

progress edition: the office

We are in the process of finishing the basement at the office, in order to expand our office space. The first step was to have the basement windows replaced, which we paid a contractor to do. After this was done, we needed to paint around the windows. We decided to go with a darker color than the last time, so this necessitated all of the trim needing to be painted, which we completed this weekend. Of course, now the upstairs windows look like crap and I want them to be replaced. But, this won't happen until the basement is finished, so I guess I'll have to be patient.

Now that the windows are done, Brian was able to do some framing. The rooms are all partially framed because the basement was kind of finished before, but there's still a lot to do. He was able to finish the conference room framing on Saturday. Getting that room done is somewhat of a high priority because then we can use it for meetings, recording, etc.

I'm sure this project is going to take a while, but at least things are moving along now. I'd really like for the whole space to be usable (if not finished) by the end of the year, but who knows if we'll have the time and money to do that.

Sunday, July 29

a quiet place

This was a really great movie with a very unique plot--aliens have invaded earth and they hunt by sound. The movie followed one family during this ordeal. It was quite compelling. Plus is was written, directed, and starred in by John Krasinski (aka Jim from "The Office").

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday, July 24

had it

Yet again, my tomato plants have succumbed to Septoria Leaf Spot. I guess there's no avoiding it at this point. I'll be lucky to get any tomatoes this year. I guess I should have put the potted tomatoes out front. I shall learn from my mistake.

After doing some research on the issue, I found out that there's a septoria-resistant tomato available called "Iron Lady". I'm definitely going to try that one next year. And, put the pots out front again. I only wish my garden was large enough that I could effectively rotate my crops. Maybe someday...

Monday, July 23

why him?

This movie was a comedy about a father who tries to keep his daughter's boyfriend from asking her to marry him. It had some decent star power--Bryan Cranston, Megan Mullally, James Franco--but didn't do well with the critics or at the box office. It came across my radar and I thought I'd give it a shot anyway (I usually don't agree with the critics as to what's funny, as they always seem to dislike lowbrow humor). While it did not have any hysterical moments, I thought it was pretty amusing throughout.

My rating: 3/5

Sunday, July 22

simplifying

In 2018, I am trying to cut things out of my life that take too much time or cause stress and concentrate more on things I enjoy doing.

As a first step, we sold our rental property in May. That place was just one more building to upkeep. When you look at the bottom line, it was not worth the effort. Plus, having one less building has renewed our interest in finishing the basement at the office, so now that project is underway and making some good progress.

Secondly, I put my bike up for sale. You might wonder how a motorcycle is complicating my life. As it turns out, I just don't enjoy riding as much as I thought I would. I mean, it was fun at first, but lately it has seemed like another thing that "has" to be done. The bike's bought and paid for, but there are ongoing costs (insurance, upkeep) that make me feel like I need to put it to use, when I'd really rather be doing other things. Who knows if it will sell or not, but I haven't even been out on it this year. Worst case, I can probably just trade it in when we get a new car in a year or two (or if Brian takes me up on my offer of a new bike for him). Jake was all interested in motorcycles last year and I thought he was going to be riding it, but he quickly lost interest when motorcycle season started up again.

Thirdly, I'm closing Everyone Drinks. While I still enjoy making crafts, I haven't been able to get my sales up to a level that makes it worthwhile, so I've decided to hang it up later this year. I've been waffling on this for a while now, but Etsy made some changes this year that are making it all but impossible for a small company like mine to sell anything, so that was like the last nail in the coffin.

The thing I'm looking forward to the most is cutting my paperwork load in half when we merge our two companies down the road. But, that is still a ways away.

Saturday, July 21

foo fighters again

Brian, Jake, Jake's girlfriend (Megan), and I went to see the Foo Fighters at PPG Paints Arena on Thursday. What a great show! They are such a fun band to see live. Much like the first time we saw them, they played for almost 2.5 hours--way longer than most bands. That was our first show at the arena. I thought the acoustics were really good--I'd definitely go there again. We made it in and out of Pittsburgh without a hitch (plus we found a $5 parking lot just blocks from the show). After 20+ years of going to Pittsburgh for shows, I think we finally have things figured out.

Friday, July 13

improvising

While we were getting packed for vacation on the 4th, a storm rolled through and knocked out the power for the better part of the day (12:30pm-10pm). Brian had to hook up the generator so we didn't lose any food in the fridge and freezer. Good thing the power outage didn't occur while we were away! The power being out kind of put a damper on packing--we kept putting it off because we thought it would come back on at any minute (and things would be easier to see in the light).

Another problem was that I prepared some sourdough pizza crust before the power went out. Without a stove, I didn't have a way to cook it. A quick Google search told me that my baking steel would work on the grill, so we tried it out and had pretty good results. I feel like it would have been even better with regular pizza dough, but it certainly did the trick. I think that's something I will be trying again in the future.


Thursday, July 12

the outsider

I read this book from Stephen King while we were on vacation. It was quite good. It had a really interesting concept--I don't want to give anything away so I'm not going to try to explain it. The only negative was that I felt that most of the characters were one-dimensional (I really had problems visualizing them). But, the story more than made up for that.

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday, July 11

austin, pa

For vacation this year, we visited Potter County. Specifically, we stayed in the town of Austin, which is near Cherry Springs State Park. The park is known for its dark skies--due to its remote location--and is ideal for star gazing. While we didn't go to the park, we had our own star gazing field at the cabin. And, the sky was spectacular. Thank goodness for clear weather!

Brian, Jake, Jake's friend (Tanner), Esme, and I all went on the trip. The boys mostly hung out in their hammocks and slept. Connectivity was sparse, so it was a mostly electronics-free affair. It's always good to disconnect. We went from Thursday to Tuesday to lessen the amount of days out of the office, which is always a concern when we can't check in via telephone/internet.

I did a lot of knitting and reading. And, I mean a lot. There wasn't much to do up that way, but we did visit the Austin Dam Memorial Park and Sinnemahoning State Park one day. Given that we're from Johnstown, home of the floods, the dam was interesting to see. Unfortunately, we visited the wildlife watching area in the afternoon so there wasn't anything to see (dawn and dusk are the best times for wildlife viewing), but it still made for a nice walk. Another day, we drove up to Coudersport and visited the Potter County Artisan Center. There, Brian and I picked up some pottery--coffee mugs for each of us and a tea light holder for the living room.

We did the usual campfires and such, but that was really about it. Entertaining Esme took up a lot of time as well, but she was so good--you could just let her out and not have to worry about her running off the property. She got plenty of exercise, but still was not tired by the time we got home. Her store of energy is boundless.

Monday, July 2

the 4th

It isn't the 4th yet, but we went to a 4th of July part at Lish and Brent's on Saturday. That's the first one we've gotten to in a while, so it was nice to catch up with some people we haven't seen for a bit.

In other July news, despite all of the rain, my garden is looking pretty good. Some, but not all, of the tomato plants are turning brown like they always do (I think it's a fungus). I'm pondering whether to pull them out or just let them go. Not a lot to harvest at this point, but in a week or two, some stuff should be ready. Thank goodness we have the CSA to hold us over in the meantime.