Thursday, April 28

wine update

Last weekend, Brian and I bottled two batches of wine--Pinot Noir and Mataro-Shiraz. Both were quite tasty. This bottling came just in time--my wine racks were starting to look rather bare. But, that problem has been solved as I put the wine on the racks yesterday.

I have two more batches going at the moment--Chardonnay-Viognier and Riesling. We'll probably be bottling those next month. Not sure of the exact schedule...

I have one more kit that hasn't arrived, an Australian Petit Verdot. I've never heard of this type of wine, so I'm looking forward to trying it. I won't be making that one until the summer, though. I've decided that I'm definitely making strawberry-zinfandel this summer and I always like to have two batches going at once (it takes less time to bottle two batches at once versus two batches separately), so I'll make the Petit Verdot after I get the strawberry-zinfandel started.

This concludes this week's wine update.

Sunday, April 24

what's eating gilbert grape

You might think it's his mother, but it's not.

Brian and I caught this flick on HBO the other night. I rather liked it. Now that I'm on the Johnny Depp bandwagon, I've been watching a lot of his movies from years ago. They're all pretty good. Leonardo DiCaprio was also quite impressive playing Johnny Depp's mentally retarded brother. The story was about a dysfunctional family. For some reason, those types of stories are always interesting to me. So, if you like this type of story and you haven't seen this movie, I highly recommend it.

Saturday, April 23


The gods must be smiling down upon Brian. Not only did his motorcycle! motorcycle! motorcycle! arrive this morning, but it is not raining--the sun is even shining. So even though we've barely just begun working, we're taking a break so he can ride up and down and up and down the street. We got an earlier start than expected so I'm not complaining--yet. But, our help is not able to make it today (because he is having back problems) so I suspect Brian will be taking more than his share of "breaks" throughout the day.

I've given him the biker moniker of "Dirt". You can't have a Harley and not have a biker name. Henceforth he will be known as Brian "Dirt" Law. He got this name for three reasons: 1. sometimes he just really needs a shower; 2. it seems like he ends up having to move a few tons of earth every year for our projects (maybe that's why he needs a shower?); and 3. dirt is a phrase used to describe a bunch of individual tattoos on someone (because it makes their arm look "dirty"). while this does not apply to Brian (he has what you call a sleeve, not dirt), it's still kinda funny.

Friday, April 22

not a cager, not yet a biker

Brian's almost a biker. Zepka's called this afternoon, so we went over there and checked out the bike (cool!) and did all of the paperwork. However, it's not going to be delivered until tomorrow. It was pouring down rain when we got there and Brian hadn't yet cleared out a spot for the bike, so he opted to have it delivered tomorrow. It's not like he could ride it in this weather, anyway. So, expect a full report from me sometime tomorrow. Hopefully it will stop raining long enough for him to at least take it up and down the road a few times.

the latest

Zepka's informed Brian that his bike might not be ready until tomorrow. Needless to say, they've been removed from his Christmas list and added to his shit list. It wouldn't be such a big deal except for three things:
1. Brian took a vacation day today (apparently for nothing).
2. It's going to rain for the next four days (starting late this afternoon), so Brian won't get much riding time.
3. We have plans to work on the playhouse all day tomorrow (Jake's not going to be home) and we have someone coming to help us, so picking up the bike tomorrow will surely mess up our schedule.

There's a chance that the bike will be ready late this afternoon, but I'm not going to hold my breath. That would be the best case scenario at this point.

Stay tuned for updates...

Thursday, April 21

obligatory post

It's been a few days since I posted, so I thought I'd catch y'all up on things. Note: I'm allowed to say y'all because I was born in Maryland, which is technically in the south.

We worked on the playhouse Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. We're where I hoped we would be at this point. It's just too early to tell if that's good enough progress. I would much rather be ahead of schedule, but it sure beats being behind. I have another milestone in mind for the weekend, so we'll have to see if we hit that. This weather is surely going to screw things up. There is a lot of painting/staining that needs to be done--some of it starting this weekend. There are some things I can paint ahead of time, but other things have to wait until they're attached. And it's going to be too cold in the near future to be painting anything outside.

And speaking of the weather, it's also putting a crimp in my gardening plans. I was supposed to put some cool-weather plants in this weekend, but seeing that it might snow, I'm going to have to hold off for a bit. I'm a teensy bit behind on some other garden stuff as well, but it's because the playhouse is taking up most of my free time.

Brian is anxiously awaiting the call from Zepka's saying that his bike is ready. Hopefully they will call today so that he can get the bike tomorrow morning. Again with the weather--it's supposed to rain tomorrow afternoon and that's not good weather for riding. He has tomorrow off so that he can tool around the streets and learn how to operate the new bike. Let's just hope he gets the opportunity.

Tuesday, April 19

the countdown is on

Zepka's called this morning. Brian's bike is in! They have to do some stuff to it and are waiting on the accompanying paperwork, so it'll be ready on Thursday or Friday. Unfortunately, Brian has a meeting on Thursday and can't get off work that day. So, the bike will be delivered on Friday morning. Good thing he passed his motorcycle driving test last weekend!

It's going to be a long three days...

Saturday, April 16


My blog is apparently nothing if not informative. Here are how some people found it recently:

#87 on Yahoo for hypothyroidism blog

#38 on German Lycos for peter steele nude

#13 on Yahoo for pittsburgh steelers "here we go" song 2004 lyrics

#2 on Ask Jeeves for what was the temperature new year's day 2005

the project is underway

Jake spent the day with Pappy Law and Brian and I started working on the playhouse. We didn't get as much done as I had hoped we would, but I think we'll see some real progress tomorrow. Things always take longer than you think. Brian spent most of the day digging out part of our yard (most of which ended up in the hedges. if our neighbors ever take the hedges out, they're going to be royally pissed at the mess we've made) so that we'd have a level place to put the playhouse. We didn't even start assembling anything until right before supper.

We are going to have to haul some ass if we're going to get this done before May 13. So, don't bother me for the next 4 weeks. I'm gonna be busy.

Thursday, April 14

vacation in april

I took a vacation day today. Last month, I ordered some plants from the Cambria County Conservation District (or some such organization). Today was pick-up day. So, I decided to take the day off. And, what a day it was. I didn't quite accomplish everything I wanted to, but I got enough done to make the day worthwhile.

Jake was off, too. We both slept in until 9:30. This is rather unusual for him on a weekday, but I'll take it. I had planned on getting an earlier start, but sleep is good, too. After we ate breakfast and got ready, we were off to Ebensburg to pick up our plants. I got some Black-Eyed Susans to plant behind the shed and two blueberry bushes. We also had to stop at the recycling center in Ebensburg to drop off a broken tv for their electronics recycling program.

When we got home, it was time for lunch. After we ate, we went outside and planted the flowers. I didn't plant the blueberry bushes because I can't decide on where to put them. I really like fruit trees, but blueberries are the only types the fruit Nazi--uh, Brian--will allow. Something about cutting grass around a bunch of rotting apples is his excuse.

By this point, it was time to make supper and go to karate. After karate and supper, I did some household chores and downed two Cuba Libres. Life is good.

Wednesday, April 13


This evening, I got as close as I'll ever get to aerobic exercise--I tried out our new reel mower on the lawn. I have to say, it did a nice job. However, there are a few distinct disadvantages it has versus a gas-powered mower:
1. it only cuts on the forward stroke
2. forget about pushing it uphill
3. it takes twice as long
4. cutting moderately high grass is a real chore

I was really curious to see how it was going to work. Thank goodness I got that out of my system.

roses are red

I just completed another book in my James Patterson marathon. This one was in the 'Alex Cross' series--my favorite. This is the same series that the Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider movies came from. I have not seen these movies, but I've always found it odd that they had Morgan Freeman playing Alex Cross. When I'm reading these stories, I can't picture anyone but his hotness, Denzel Washington, in the part. Particularly since the character is in his 40s. I can't see how they could possibly have Morgan Freeman playing the part since Alex has two young children. I mean, Morgan Freeman is older than God (and has played Him well in one or two other movies). Perhaps they rewrote the part to work around his age. I guess I'll find out if I ever watch them.

I really liked this book. Unfortunately, I have not read the Alex Cross books in order. So, when they introduced one of the characters, I said to myself, "wasn't this the bad guy in the last novel I read?". Turns out I was right, but it didn't take away from the book at all.

A highly recommended read.

Monday, April 11

up next

We finally got the lumber situation figured out as much as we possibly can. The bottom line is that Brian's going to have to use up a bunch of cherry this summer if he plans on storing his motorcycle indoors next winter. No complaints here. At least not from me. I could really use some living room and dining room trim.

Next we will build a playhouse for Jacob. This is going to be his birthday present, so we're on a rather tight schedule (he turns 5 on May 13). This is the playhouse we are going to build, but without the slide and swing. Shh. Don't tell him--it's a surprise. We went for supplies yesterday and today and still have another trip to make. Surprisingly, he didn't ask what we were going to build. I guess that's what too many trips to Home Depot and Lowe's will get you--apathy. Brian told him we are building another storage unit--kind of like the shed. We're going to do the same color scheme as we did on the shed, so it should turn out pretty nice.

So, in case you're wondering what I'm doing the next four weeks, this is it.

Saturday, April 9

p-o-o-p. that spells poop.

Yesterday, Jacob was sick and had to stay home from daycare. I was working upstairs and he was sitting on the floor of the office writing on some paper. He said, "Look what I spelled, mom." Impressive, isn't it? The first word my dear son knows how to spell other than is name is poop. I hope this isn't foretelling of the future. I asked him where he learned to spell that. TV was his answer. I'm not sure what shows he's watching, but maybe I ought to start paying attention.

We were scheduled to go to a Chiefs game with Judy that evening. I really didn't think we were going to be able to make it because Jacob seemed really sick. But, he was determined to go to that game so he willed his illness away, if only for a few hours. After nearly two periods of hockey, he was ready to go home and get some sleep. When we left, the Chiefs were down 4-2. The final score was 5-2 so I guess we didn't miss much.

Wednesday, April 6

motorcycle! motorcycle! motorcycle! safety

Brian had his first of four motorcycle safety courses this evening. Last Friday was spent getting a loan and an insurance quote. I guess this really is going to happen. The bike's scheduled to be shipped on April 15 which would put it in Brian's hands on April 22, but you know how that sometimes goes. Hopefully Harley Davidson has a better track record than the Ibanez guitar company ("it's on the boat" should be their motto). Seeing that his bike is coming all the way from York, PA, I would hope that it would arrive relatively on time. Otherwise, he might go over there and pick it up himself.

lumber rack, part 2

It was so nice yesterday that I suggested we take the wood out of the shop and install the lumber rack. Brian agreed. We've been wanting to do it for a few weeks, but the weather has not been cooperative on the weekends. Now that its Daylight Saving Time, we can start doing work during the week again.

Things were going pretty well last night until we found out that we were going to have to install the lag screws by hand because Brian didn't have anything he could use with his drill. Of course, there were only like 50 of them. So, about 4 hours after we started, we finally finished. Funny thing is that there's really not much more room for wood in that area. It's just all spread out now. But, it sure looks nice. Maybe we'll find some more room when we reorganize the other lumber rack...

Sunday, April 3

hide and seek

Last Sunday, my mom lent us a stack of James Patterson books. I ripped through the first one, Hide and Seek, last week. I don't know what it is about his books, but once I start reading them, I'm done before you know it.

This book was pretty good. As usual, there are the ridiculous plot twists, but I like them anyway. It's fun to try and guess just how the main character is going to "get out of this one". Of course, I never guess correctly, so that must be why I keep on reading.

This was a story about a woman who was on trial for the murder of her husband. Unfortunately for her, she also killed her first husband in self-defense and one of her boyfriends died of a heart attack while they were alone on a boat (that is, no witnesses). So, as you can imagine, this did not look good for her. But, as it goes in James Patterson novels, a few conspiracies and a half dozen plot twists later, everything works out for the main character.


What is this--some cruel (albeit late) April Fools joke from Mother Nature? It's calling for 5-9 inches of snow and we're well on our way to those totals. If nothing else, at least it's supposed to be in the 50s tomorrow and the 60s on Tuesday and Wednesday. But, this is uncalled for.

Saturday, April 2


When Jacob was born, there was a song we liked called Ladybug by a band called Agents of Oblivion. Brian always used to go around singing it to Jacob. So, Jacob ended up being called Jacobug or Bug for short. We have always associated ladybugs with Jacob. So, when I decided to get a tattoo in honor of my son, I naturally decided to go with a ladybug theme. I like tribal tattoos, so Brian came up with a design for me that implemented the ladybug idea.

Today, I had my appointment at State of the Art Tattooing. We are tattoo snobs, so we have to drive all the way to Winchester, Virginia to get tattooed. Anyway, this is the first time I was tattooed in seven years. Incidentally, today was Ripley's 7th birthday (Happy Birthday, Rip!). The last time I was tattooed was a week or two after we got Ripley. Judy was kind enough to babysit her for me that day because you certainly can't leave a 10 week old puppy alone in the house for 9 hours.

I was kind of apprehensive about today because I thought my first two tattoos hurt quite a bit. But, John started working and I thought, boy, this doesn't hurt as much as I remembered. It all went well and only took a little over an hour. Then, Brian asked him to touch up a few spots on my last tattoo and then I remembered how much a tattoo can hurt. Much like real estate, it's all about location, location, location!

Anyway, here's a pic of the new ink.