Thursday, August 31


It'll bite you in the ass every time.

Today, we had to go to a hearing for the guy who caused the accident we were in last month. We were witnesses in said hearing. It was interesting on an intellectual level because I've never been to anything like that before. It was in front of a district magistrate, so it was pretty laid back. Fortunately, the magistrate wasn't buying the guy's story and his citation stands. Actually, the outcome of the hearing wasn't going to affect my life one way or the other but my annoyance factor over this whole situation has been elevated lately, so I was hoping he'd get yelled at by the magistrate (I heard they do that sometimes), and I was not disappointed. The State Trooper who was in charge of the prosecution thinks that this guy might appeal the verdict and we'll have to do this again in a month or two at the county courthouse. Terrific. Brian and I actually don't believe he will appeal, but maybe that's just wishful thinking. Stay tuned for more information next month.

In even better news, his insurance company called me last week to tell me that they were accepting responsibility for the accident. We've already received our "lost wages" check from them for the sick day we took after the accident. Now, I'm just waiting on our insurance company to refund my deductible and at least the insurance part of this situation will be done with.

Monday, August 28

more cherry?

But, we haven't even used the last pile yet!

Brian got a line on some 6/4 cherry (that's 1 1/2 inch thick for you non lumberjacks out there). Since thicker wood is necessary in furniture building, we opted to buy this because all of our other stuff is 4/4 (1 inch thick) and I have a long list of cherry furniture that Brian needs to make. Unfortunately, he has not had much time to work in his woodshop since he finished the bathroom vanity a while ago. Maybe next year...

I don't know where we're going to put all of this wood. I guess it will go in the shed with some of the other wood we're storing. But the shed pile was supposed to be moved to the woodshop this year. So much for that happening anytime soon.

On the other hand, there's going to be one hell of an auction here someday.

Saturday, August 26

better than a tea party

Last night, my in-laws hosted a wine-tasting party. These wine-tasting parties are quickly becoming my favorite way to socialize. This party featured Shiraz. We got to try eight types of Shiraz (amazingly no one brought the same stuff). A bonus feature of focusing on one type of wine is that you can prepare food that goes with the wine. There is nothing better than drinking wine that goes well with your food. If you don't agree--you're not drinking the right stuff.

Anyway, we had a great time and I'm already looking forward to the next wine-tasting party. I think it might be our turn to have one.

Sunday, August 20

a busy weekend

On Friday night, we invited Brian's aunt and uncle over for dinner. So, this left me cooking all of Thursday evening and Friday afternoon again this week (not that I'm complaining--I'm just saying). Our dishwasher got quite a workout this weekend. Anyway, we had a nice visit--I always enjoy talking to the two of them.

For not having any plans, Saturday turned out to be pretty busy. I got up, started washing clothes, and then we ran out to Somerset to check out a farmer's market they have at the Georgian Place. Brian's boss's in-laws have a stand there so we bought some of their stuff (lamb, chicken, and eggs). I'm looking forward to trying everything--especially the lamb. It's all organic and whatnot, so it was a bit pricey, but I like supporting local farmers when I can. And, I prefer that my meat isn't full of hormones and antibiotics. Yech.

After we got home, Brian took Jake to get a haircut and I ran to Toys R Us to buy a gift for one of Jake's friends who was having a birthday party that afternoon. When we all got back home, we had lunch, I continued to wash clothes, and then Brian ran Jake to the party while I baked communion bread for a special service they were having today at our church. While Jake was at his party, Brian did some computer work, I took a nap, and then made up the grocery list. After we picked Jake up, we went grocery shopping, and then made supper.

In the evening, I helped Jake make cards for my dad's, mom's, and grandmother's birthday party, which we went to today. I also put away all of the clothes I washed throughout the day, read a packet of information that Jake's school sent, and did some general straightening up. It rained all evening, so I never got to work outside yesterday, but I did manage to walk the dogs between rain showers.

As I mentioned, we had a bunch of birthdays in my family recently. They were all celebrated at my parent's house today where my mom cooked a delicious dinner. I went outside after we got home and finished cleaning all of the garlic that's been curing in Brian's shop for the past couple of weeks. I then came in and made us some sandwiches for supper, ordered some garlic to plant in the fall, started blogging, walked the dogs, and finished blogging. So, here I am, and it's almost 9pm--time to watch HBO.

Tuesday, August 15

while jake's away, the parents will play

My Mom and Dad took Jake to the beach this week. Brian and I have been trying to squeeze in an overnight motorcycle trip all summer, but things never worked out--until now. This seemed like the perfect time to do it (especially after our stress-filled vacation of last month). We decided to go on a trip and hit some Virginia wineries. We left town on Sunday and headed to Winchester, Virginia for the night. We left Johnstown in mid-afternoon and, after a few stops, arrived in Winchester in the early evening.

We are well-acquainted with the Winchester area as this is the town where we get our tattoos. Thanks (mostly) to Brian, we've been there a multitude of times. Over the years, Brian has become friends with his tattoo artist, John Joyes, so whenever we are passing through the area, we always stop in to say 'hi'. We hit our favorite local restaurant, Pargo's, that night for supper and then settled in to our hotel for an evening of watching television. This trip was interesting in that we had to pack light. Packing light meant not taking any books to read. Luckily, it was Sunday night, so we got to watch our usual HBO shows: Deadwood, Entourage, and Lucky Louie.

The next morning, we got up, ate our free breakfast (you gotta love the Hampton Inns) and then packed up our stuff and went on our way. I think we're official bikers now because we had to bungee-cord our duffel bag to the back of the bike in order to free up the saddle bags for our pending wine purchases. (Well, ok, there probably aren't a lot of bikers going on wine tours--I was referring to the bungee-cording of luggage in my biker reference.) It was too early to visit any vineyards at this point, so we went to State of the Art Tattooing to say hello to John. After a short visit, we hit the Triangle Diner for lunch. It's been a while since we've been there and the place had changed ownership. The only difference we noticed was that they tripled the prices. Still pretty inexpensive, though.

On our way out of town, we stopped by the local Harley Davidson dealership. We find ourselves doing this everywhere we go anymore. I thought the H-D dealership in Toronto was nice, but it didn't have anything on this place. Next up: the wineries.

We stopped at Three Fox Vineyards, but they were closed. Next up was Naked Mountain Vineyard and Winery. The wines here were quite good. Since Brian was driving the motorcycle, I was the designated taster. We snatched up a bottle of Cabernet Franc. Then we went to Piedmont Vineyards and Winery. We'd been here a few times before, so I didn't do a tasting (I had to pace myself as we only had the one bungee cord--being used for the luggage--and I needed to be able to stay on the back of the bike of my own accord). They are known for their Chardonnay here, so that's what we bought. We fully intended on buying Cabernet Sauvignon from them, but they ripped out all of their vines years ago and no longer make it. This was a real disappointment because their Cabernet was the best wine I have ever had. It's interesting to see the changes the wineries make through the years. We first went here maybe 10 years ago. The same guy is still working there, but their tasting room has gone through a revolution. The guy has gone from nice to snooty back to nice again. It's good to see that (the nice part, I mean).

After that, we went to Swedenburg Winery. For some strange reason they were closed (they were definitely supposed to be open). I was disappointed because we've been here a few times before and I really liked their Cabernet. After not being able to buy any at Piedmont, I was counting on them as my backup. Instead, we made our way to Chrysalis Vineyards, where I did another tasting. Their wines were pretty good, too, but they touted this "Norton" grape, that I wasn't into so much. But, their other stuff was fine. We bought a bottle of really good Viognier here.

Next, we made our way to Leesburg. Our first stop was at Windham Winery. They had a pretty nice variety of wines here, so I did yet another tasting. The hour was getting late, so we bought two bottles from them, Merlot and Riesling. We had the Riesling for supper this evening and it was quite good. It was done in the Alsatian style, which results in a drier wine than the German style Rieslings. Riesling is my favorite white wine, by the way. This winery was very picturesque (there were horses running around outside and there was a pond by the main building) and the lady running the tasting room was the most personable person we met all day. And, to top things off, they had a "winery dog" there. At least that's what the sign said, but Lucy was nowhere to be found.

We had room for one more bottle of wine in the saddlebags, so we stopped at Breaux Vineyards. We didn't arrive there until 5:05 and their sign said they were only open till 5:00, so I didn't do a tasting (not that I needed to do another one at this point, anyway). They had some higher-end wines here, so I grabbed up a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon (finally) and we went on our merry way.

The trip home was uneventful, but we didn't arrive home until 10:45. After leaving the last winery, we headed for Berkely Springs, WV via some non-highway-type roads. We took a wrong turn at one point, but this only put us behind by about 20 minutes. You could tell when we got to West Virginia because as soon as we crossed the state line, you could hear the dueling banjos (not that Pennsylvania is much different, but the way you could tell we finally made it to our home state was the dreaded "road construction"). We finally arrived in Berkeley Springs at 7pm and headed to Tari's Cafe for some supper. The food was good, but we were antsy to be on our way--we really thought we'd be home by that time plus we didn't want to be travelling on the bike in the dark, but there wasn't much we could do about that at this point. The rest of the trip went ok. But, it took extra long because we had to make a bunch of rest stops because my ass was killing me! I guess you could call this my version of the Iron Butt. We did nearly 400 miles over the course of two days and about 270 of them were yesterday. And, not only did Brian get to hone his night driving skills, but he also got to practice his parking lot driving and riding on dirt roads.

We concluded our mini vacation by riding out to the Flight 93 (temporary) Memorial today.

You can view our pictures from the past few days here.

Sunday, August 13

how to clean your room

Here's the latest stop-motion film from J-B Productions:
How to Clean Your Room

Saturday, August 12

social butterflies

Another party tonight. This time, it was at my manager's house. He always puts on a good party and tonight was no different. Brian was the designated driver, so I got to have a couple of Margaritas (the drink of the evening). They were pretty good. So was the tequila he had available for shots. I don't recall the name, but I remember the bottle.

There were a ton of kids there, so Jake had a great time, too. I feasted on some seafood kabobs, though burgers and dogs were available later in the evening. I made a layered dip (Mexican-style). It was another new recipe for the weekend and it turned out quite good--it's a keeper for sure.

We hung out there for a few hours and then headed home to do some work (we're all about work around here--at least I am). The dogs needed walked and wine needed racked, so we took care of that and now I'm sitting around waiting for bedtime. I have a feeling it's going to be soon.

that's entertainment

We haven't been doing much entertaining this year. I'm not quite sure why, but I can't say that it's really bothering me, either. Our guest list got whittled down to nothing this year. But, Brian's parents made the cut, so they came over for a cookout last night.

I've been trying to find ways to use my abundance of cherry tomatoes, so I tried out this recipe last night. It was a big hit. We also had lemon-oregano chicken, thyme potatoes, grilled bread, glazed carrots, and for dessert, a chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting.

We hung out until way past dark, then they had to go home and take care of their dog. I also needed to walk the dogs (there was no time after work because I was busy cooking), so that worked out, time-wise. I've found that Friday evenings are the perfect time to entertain. It's harder to get stuff organized because of having to work that day, but by the end of the evening, I find myself forgetting that it was a work day. And, I guess that's the point, after all.

Thursday, August 10


Absolutely nothing has been going on here. I get up, go to work, get off work, make supper, do housework, walk the dogs, sit down for an hour, and then go to bed. Rinse. Repeat.

I did manage to work in the garden a little this week, but I could use a lot more time out there. I'm having an odd zucchini problem this year. To start off, I planted one zucchini plant. (I did two last year, but that turned out to be a little ridiculous, so I only did the one this year.) Something kept eating my cucumbers so I had to buy cucumber plants at the beginning of the season. Well, it turns out that the cucumber plants I thought I bought were actually zucchini plants. So, I ended up with five zucchini plants instead of the one this year. You'd think we'd be drowning in zucchinis, but all but one plant died, and the others didn't produce much before the great zucchini plague of 2006. Weird. I don't even like zucchini. I mean, I'll eat it, but this hasn't been a great hardship. I actually plant them for my mom. Zucchinis take up a lot of space and she doesn't have room in her garden.

In other edible news, I've found that working full time has magically cut down on our grocery bill. I still cook every day, so I can't blame it on that. I guess I'm just making easier recipes that have less ingredients.

That is all.

Sunday, August 6

got mp3s?

I ordered a cd player and an external cd changer for my new ride. Brian and I installed them yesterday. The cd changer resides in the cargo area, so that presented a bit of a challenge as we wanted to hide the wire that leads to the stereo at the front of the vehicle. You'd have thought Brian has installed 100's of changers the way he tackled this job. It went way more smoothly than I could've imagined.

Next up was the stereo. Brian had to run some errands after installing the changer (and he took Jake with him), so that gave me an opportunity to solder all of the wires from the stero to the harness adapter without being interrupted constantly. That didn't take very long, so I went out to my vehicle, ripped out the dash, and started to install the dash conversion kit. At this point Brian and Jacob returned and we finished up the job after supper. All in all, I'm pretty happy with it. The only bad thing that occurred is that the cover for the passenger seatbelt warning light came off at some point and we can't find the darned thing anywhere. I mean, it has to be in the car somewhere, but I think it must've fallen into the open dash. So, the first opportunity we get, we're going to have to open some things up and see if we can find it. Otherwise, we'll have to go to the Toyota garage for a replacement because I haven't been able to find the part online. I'm sure it'll probably cost all of $2, but I'd rather just find the original.

I did the calculations on the cd changer and if we load up all 12 disks with mp3s, we could drive to San Francisco and back and then back to San Francisco and not listen to the same song twice. Plus, there'd still be 9 hours of music left over. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm not going to have to listen to the radio anymore. And, I don't miss my Scion's six disk changer quite as much as I did a week ago.

american movie

We watched this a week ago. It was a documentary about an amateur filmmaker's attempt to film his latest horror movie, Coven. The movie was somewhat interesting, but it was hard to laugh at the funny parts because it was a real person. That's just being mean, I think. The movie would've been funnier to watch if it would've been a mockumentary (ala Waiting for Guffman or Best in Show), but it was not, so I have to give it a thumbs-down.

Friday, August 4

someday, they will rule the earth

Turns out I was right about cats. They're nothing but bad news:

Study: Cat-Borne Parasite May Affect Human Culture