Friday, August 29, 2008

By the end of this entry, you won't think that I'm a very nice person

Unfortunately, it's sad but true. After last weekend's excitement, this week started off as being fairly run of the mill: field work on the South Branch Flint River by day, knit-in at Irene's and Mid-Michigan Knitter's Guild board meeting by night. Before I start with the truly depressing text, let me just say that this year's Guild program is going to be pretty cool with a good mix of demonstrations and workshops (yarn painting, weaving, mixing fibers, invisible ends, etc.). So, if you're in the Guild, definitely get ready for a fun-filled year!

Also, let me say that this week, I did happen to watch one movie ("An American Crime" -- disturbing, so don't watch around the kiddies), one disk's worth of Torchwood episodes, and attempted another movie but found that it wouldn't work in my DVD player and needed to go back to the store ("Goya's Ghosts"). I traded the bum disk in for a different copy and exchanged the Torchwood one for "The Scorpion King 2" (hoping to appease Chuck & Sylvain).

Okay, now on to why I'm a rotten person. I was in the field on Thursday, wrapping up my last bit of surveying on the South Branch Flint. This particular time, I happened to have my boss come along as an assistant. He used to do this type of work before moving into his current management position, and I think that he misses collecting field data from time to time. By noon, we were had everything we needed, so returned to the vehicle. My phone was beeping, letting me know that I had received a call, but I didn't think anything of it since Sylvain usually calls me when he gets done with football practice (usually around 11:30), so there was no rush to check it.

Once we had the equipment stowed away in the van, got our stinky waders off, and were ready to go, I check the phone. "4 missed calls" -- one from my brother Sam, two from Sylvain, and one from my cousin Evangeline; and only one voicemail message. Skipping past the voicemail, I called Sylvain first. All was well: besides being tired, he wanted to visit with friends. Okay.

Next, I listened to voicemail. It was Evangeline, and in her shaky voice, she managed to tell me that her father was found in his vehicle that morning and had suffered an apparent heart attack.

[ For those of you that don't know me very well (or at all, for that matter): my parents passed away when I was in my early teens. My brother and I were taken in by my Aunt Connie, Uncle Ray, and their 5 kids. For reasons I won't go into here, ever since moving away to the East Lansing area for college, I haven't kept in contact much with my family, mostly because I don't feel as though they ever really knew me that well and because the more I knew about each, the less I respect I had. Yes, that sounds judgmental, well that's because it is. Sad to say, but just based on the fact that you've found your way to my little blog and are actually reading it, you already know far more about me than any of them ever had.]

At any rate, I phoned my brother and he confirmed Evangeline's message, though there was some confusion as to why he was in his truck. He worked part-time as a rural mail carrier, so I just assumed that he must have been either on his way to work or while on his route. I later found out this morning that it is believed that he was attempting to drive himself to the hospital, must have suffered the heart attack while on the road, so drove right through a stop sign and into a small wetland area off of the other side of the street. A passers-by happened to see the truck among the cat-tails and phoned in 911. Now, if you're from the White Cloud area, and are familiar with any of the back-roads nearby, you know just how unlikely it is to have someone pass by in any sort of timeframe that is helpful if you were to become debilitated and stuck in a wetland. I'm not sure if anyone really knows how long he had been there.

But I can say, that has got to be one of the worst ways to go. What runs through one's mind at a moment like that? "Why didn't I call 911 from home?" "How the hell did I get stuck in this ditch?" "Dear God, can I even get out?!?" Well, the only thing that I can think of is that this is where canceling a land-line in favor of a cell phone doesn't help -- which is what my aunt and uncle decided to do; unfortunately for them, White Cloud is not known for its fabulous reception, and the cell phone of choice actually belonged to one of my cousins who still lived at home, and it's not clear to me whether she was aware of her father's condition or if the phone was anywhere that he could get to it...

So, I'm a truly rotten person because in this time of tragedy, I can't help but feel resentment. Why didn't he take better care of himself? (Lifelong beer-drinker, smoker since he was young, etc.). Weren't there any signs that he was a sick man? Why wasn't any of my cousins paying any attention to him? Sadly, it's my understanding that my uncle had let his life insurance lapse and there wasn't any sort of death protection on the house, so not only is the family pulling together (well, actually only 4 of us) to make sure the funeral is taken care of, but there seems to be uncertainty as to whether my aunt can stay in her house. She hasn't really been working since she's been staying in Ypsilanti to take care of her grandkids (won't get into that here either, so please don't ask), which in fact is where she was when my uncle was found.

So, my last question: of the 7 of us "kids", how come only 4 of us can seem to get our act together to help here? When talking to my brother, I can hear the distraught strain in his voice. Yes, he's sad and upset, but he's also not in a position where doling out the kind of cash needed isn't going to hurt him a bit. Hell, I'm not well off by any stretch of the imagination, and can see that this'll put a damper for a time to come. But neither of us feel as though this is something that we can turn our back on and not help with, no matter the sacrifice we'll have to make.

And my preachy moment of the night: my brother and I got into a mini-argument over life insurance. The reason my uncle dropped his was because his rate was going to be increased beyond reasonable affordability. Sam thought that this wasn't a fair practice; I don't think it's fair either, but if you're not going to pay it, at least take the money you used to set aside for it and put it into a bank account or something so that it's still accumulating somewhere useful. Apparently that wasn't done. I firmly believe that life insurance protects you and your family from the asshole that blows through a stop light and bifs your car. It doesn't protect you from yourself, and if you're out to drink (in excess that impacts your health), smoke, and not maintain any sort of exercise regime, paying a life insurance premium is basically useless. Okay, now that that's out, I can bite my tongue the rest of the weekend when I'm around my family and just be satisfied that my opinion has been voiced at least somewhere....

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Tired but happy

Hi everyone. What a day it's been! I can't believe that a whole week had flown by without me posting anything. Before I start on today's adventure, let me recap the week:

Monday-Wednesday: was in the field for work, came home tired and smelly from being in a river all day, went to bed early;

Thursday: Rode bike to the office, leaving home around 5:45 am; worked all day at the office; left early so that I could get ready for that night's Lugnut Stitch-n-Pitch. Ran over a large staple somewhere on Jolly Road, which flattened my rear tire. Irene graciously picked me up and took me home. Went to Stitch-n-Pitch with Teresa, Irene, Rod, and Erin. Had a good time hanging out with about 40 or so knitters on a Thirsty Thursday ($2 drafts) at the ballpark.

Friday: Worked some more at the office; hung out with Cheanne after work; then went home. Pretty tame evening.

Okay, so now we come to Saturday: Our bus to Stitches Midwest rolled out of the Threadbear parking lot at 7:30. Along the way, we made a couple of stops to pick up additional knitters in Charlotte and St. Joseph. The bus was sold-out, yet I only knew a handful of people: Marcia, Wendy, Norma, and Pat; so had plenty of people to meet!

I sat with a knitter named Pat (not the Pat mentioned above, a "new" Pat), who had recently moved to the Allegan area. I mentioned having lunch at the London Grill with Sarah (see last Sunday's post), and she agreed with our take on the restaurant being out of place in little ol' Plainwell. [Seriously, folks, if you've been to the Allegan area since reading my raving about this restaurant and didn't stop, you should just accept the fact that your taste buds might as well be dead.] Pat reminded me of the other Plainwell surprise: a restaurant across from the London Grill called "Aries". I don't think that was there when I had last worked in the Plainwell area, but I'll give that one a shot next year...

At any rate, while on our way to Stitches, door prizes were handed out and those ranged from smaller knit kits (scarves, baby sweaters) to gift certificates. Well, guys, you can imagine my surprise when I won a $100 gift certificate to the Interlacements booth!! I hardly ever win anything; and to win something so big was a real shocker. The photo on the right are the four (yes, four!) hanks of Rick Rack II yarn that I picked up with the certificate. The purchase came with a "free" pattern for the Feather and Fan shawl and I hope to make 3 of these to give as Christmas presents (and keep the fourth for myself; pop quiz about me: anyone care to guess which hank is mine??). If you happen to follow the link provided above to the shawl photo and pattern, please note that the shawl looks far better in person and if I were to receive such a scowl (as the one the model has) on Christmas morning from the recipients, I will likely become unhinged...

I did happen to pick up a few things: size 17 needles (needed for the "Pansy Stole" in Hip Graphic Knits), the "Swirl Shawl" pattern (by Jojoland), the "Second Book of Modern Lace Knitting" by Marianne Kinzel (though this book was published in 1972, I'm still amazed to be able to find it on sale anywhere; I decided to buy it now even though I'm not likely to work anything out of it anytime soon before it becomes more difficult to find); and a kit for the "Petals" capelet from the Just our yarn booth.

Throughout the day: when I wasn't busy wandering aimlessly among the many vendors, I visited with friends who were at Stitches on their own: Sarah (who was teaching and working at the conference), and Rae and Lynn (who were shopping); I also managed to finish one Great American Aran Afghan square and start on the last square (and make it over half-way through before the night was done). There was so much to choose from and to be inspired by.

The ride home was pretty poor: the A/C went out on the bus, and you can imagine how hot it was with a bus packed full of women and wool. Our driver tried to get the A/C going again, but ended up giving up on it and having us switch buses in Kalamazoo. We ended up getting home about an hour later than originally planned.

So, I really don't have much to complain about. What more could I have asked for in having such a fun day?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Have you had your daily dose of FIBER?

Sarah and I had a very fun and relaxing trip to the Michigan Fiber Festival yesterday. Our adventure started out at 8 with breakfast in Haslett at this little breakfast/lunch diner whose name is completely escaping me. It's at the corner of Haslett and Marsh, where "Great Wall of China" used to be. I've never eaten there before and thought that it was just what this area needed -- a non-chain, little place to have a good breakfast.

With that said, we didn't actually make it to Allegan until 10:30-ish, but that was still early enough for all that we had wanted to do. We first visited the barn and the vendors there, ran into friends, and saw a sheep-herding demonstration, though the dog didn't seem to be taking commands too well and kept taking off and hiding under a nearby truck and trailer.

After that, we visited the animals in the second half of the barn and saw everything but the goats. If we really wanted to buy a llama, sheep, or anogora bunny, we could have; but then I'm sure there's an Okemos-code against that.

The llama in the photo on the left reminded me of Chuck's mom's dog; the one in the center just loved posing and having its photo taken; and I thought the guy on the right had quite the mop-top cut.

The bunnies were really quite something and if Sylvain were with us, I'm sure he'd beg for one. Unlike the llamas, they really didn't like to pose and since they were in these smaller cages, I needed to get up close to take their photo without having the cage take over the picture. Every time I approached the cage and got the camera in place, they'd each run over thinking that I had something to fed it or that I wanted to pet it.

Luckily, I got quicker on the draw and was able to get a couple of decent shots of these guys. They're like live-action bunny slippers!

There was an overwhelmingly large variety of sheep. If I were really into knitting (okay, roll your eyes) or if I were into spinning, then I'd probably be able to tell each from appearance, but pretty soon, they all started to blend together. Sarah kept commenting that she'd love to just reach over the fencing and pet a couple, but after seeing one nip at a guy standing next to us, her fears about how deceptively unfriendly the sheep could be were confirmed. We ended our tour of the barn by watching part of a shearing demo.

After we visited the animals, we headed over to the other two buildings, which were full of vendors. We were both very good, with Sarah purchasing only one skein of a very nice silk (called "Silk Thread" by Blue Moon, which I was also tempted to buy b/c of the beautiful colorways and luster that each shone). Maybe when I really get into lace knitting, I'll take the plunge and try out this yarn. I bought a table-top swift that I've been looking for. It's maple and doesn't need to be clamped to a table.

Needless to say, I was very satisfied with my trip to the fest; so, before leaving the Allegan area, we decided to have lunch at a restaurant in nearby Plainwell that I had visited before while doing field work on the Kalamazoo River. It was a small "colonial British-Indian" restaurant called London Grill. If you didn't know for a fact that the restaurant was there, then you'd never guess that such a place would be in Plainwell. The menu is very unique (check it out for yourself as it's on their webpage).

Our lunch started with an order of papadam chips and a very tasty chutney (was it apricot?) that had a little kick to it that came at the end of each bite. Sarah had the sauteed cod, which was topped with a black-bean sauce and came with a side of white rice and spiced cabbage. I ordered saag paneer, which is a vegetarian Indian dish of spinach, mustard leaves, curry, and a cheese called paneer (I dare you to find that one at Meijer!). My dish came with a side of rice, grilled veges, red dahl, naan, and *I think* a dollop of dill sauce. We can both say that our lunches were excellent and were very filling.

The ride home was uneventful and seemed to go pretty quickly. I was so geeked by all of the yarn and project ideas seen throughout the day that I was inspired to sort through my stash (and if you're not a knitter, I know you're probably thinking something else right about now). In the process, 4 UFOs were uncovered; and several other queued projects were re-discovered. Now, I just need to do all of that again before Stitches Midwest, as a reminder that more yarn is needed in my house like a hole in the head....

I did feel a little guilty about spending my day playing with animals and yarn when I saw that Chuck had spent the day painting our house. I'm glad that he's keeping this project going and I'll be sure to join him out there next time out.

I did manage to watch a movie last night and thought that it was a good one: "Flawless" with Demi Moore and Michael Caine. It mostly takes place in the 1960s with Moore as an executive employee for London Diamond who keeps hitting the glass ceiling and Caine as a janitor for the firm who has plans to rob it of its jewels. I thought that it was suspenseful and this movie kept me watching. I also watched Disk 1 of Season 1 of Hex and really got into that. If you're a Buffy fan, you might want to try this one out; it's from the BBC and is somewhat different.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Chuck is so easily entertained!

When I arrived home from this evening's walk, I found both breezeway doors wide open with the hose running from one side of the house to the other and no one in sight. At the time, Sylvain was at a friend's house, so that left only Chuck, who was fiddling around the yard when I left.

First off, let me say that it really irks me when he runs the hose through the breezeway b/c it tracks in wet and mud onto the carpet; but if you knew the guy, those things aren't really high on the priority list. Secondly, is it really that difficult to run the hose around the outside of the house to the back yard? It is more than long enough, but that would involve winding it back up when done -- which he never does anyways.

So, I go into the back, called his name, and figured that he was done with the hose since all of the plants looked good and watered, so I put the stupid thing away. I really don't like having my house doors stand wide open, but that's just me. [Did I ever tell any of you guys about the raccoon that we had living under our porch and shitting on our roof? No? Well, that's one varmit I certainly don't want in the house!]

At any rate, just as I'm done with the hose, Chuck comes from around the front, pushing the mower. Excitedly, he says, "You've got to check this out. It's really cool!" I follow him to the pile of wood chips left from last weekend's chipper adventure. "Here, place your hand here," he said and laid his hand flat against the top of the pile. "It feels cool; doesn't it? Well, dig your hand in, you don't have to go really far, but feel how hot is in there." Who is this guy? Why is he so excited about hot wood chips?!? Or better yet, exactly how long has he spent crouched here playing in the wood chips? What would it take to inspire him to put those chips to good use and cover our flower beds with them?

While we were standing there, looking at the pile, he started to muse about how this would be "perfect for cold weather survival if caught in the wilderness." Who knew that I was in love with the original "Man vs. Wild"?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

It was good to see Jessie, but am happy to be back in town!

So, for those of you who know Jessie and may not be reading her blog (though you should be!): she's doing very well and even received a promotion last week! I caught up with her on Thursday night and was given a tour of Boston. I didn't know that you could literally walk from one end of town to the other in an hour or so, but you can! Jessie's office is downtown to begin with, so we walked across the street through Boston Common, then through a couple of blocks to Quincy Market. Had dinner at Ned Devine's. I guess if I were a real history buff, I would've read up a little more about the town and knew to head directly to one place or another. It was a little over-whelming to see all of these places at once!

The return flight was fine. I would've updated the blog earlier but couldn't access wi-fi service at Logan or Detroit-Metro (I thought we had a gov't pass on these laptops?!?). The biggest thing that made the Boston-Detroit flight interesting was that I sat next to Stuart Slavid, who is one of the appraisers for the Antique's Road Show. He was on his way to Grand Rapids to tape a show this weekend. We made small talk (me asking about pottery and porcelain that he specializes in; him about the knitting in my lap), but since I don't watch the show and have seen it when Chuck has it on, I couldn't really ask anything intelligent. That's just as well b/c I'm sure he's tired of being interrogated every time he's a captive audience on an airplane.

I got home to find my house a complete and total mess. The guys themselves have been home only a couple of days, having spent the earlier part of the week out and about; but I'm still just amazed at how much damage they can do in that short amount of time!! For when I'm out of town, I really need to hire a maid service that can come in and do the major cleaning on the Fridays before I return home. Having them come in at any time earlier in the week would be self-defeating....

So, we went to East Lansing last night: Sylvain to a 8-8 LAN party at the FRAG center; Chuck and I to the Folk Fest. We ran into Becky and the three of us spent the rest of the evening on the patio at Harpers for dinner, good conversation, and enjoying the music (since the dance tent was right across the street). Afterwards, Chuck and I picked up three movies that we didn't watch ("Stargate: Continuum", "Vantage Point", and "Flawless") b/c I fell immediately to sleep. I'm getting so old!!

Sylvain phoned us from the party at 4:30 saying that he was too tired to stay and wanted to go home. Talk about being woken up in the middle of the night by a sad child! And I thought those days were over! So, the party had it's usual suspects: geeky men and young teens. I was happy to see that one of ELPD's finest was there playing along on one of the computers. This is the first lock-in that Sylvain wasn't there without Chuck, so was a little nervous about letting him go alone.

Well that's more than enough for now. Looking forward to getting the house in order and going to a going away party for Dave & Anne....

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Back on the keyboard

Hi there. No, I haven't been intentionally neglecting my blog. I just happened to have chosen a hotel whose idea of providing wi-fi service means that their guests would have to use the service in the hotel's small lobby (and even then, your IP address needs to start with some other number than what mine or any of my collegues here's start with). I also found that the Borders acrossed the street charges (yes, CHARGES!) $10 for customers to use their cafe's wi-fi. Where am I? Cheapskate city??

Actually, I'm in Northborough, MA for a training workshop on GIS data preparation for use in the USGS' National StreamStats program. It's been very eye-opening and I have a million ideas for me to bring home to the Lansing office....

Okay, enough about work. So, let's go back to Monday. While I don't try to make it my place to trash businesses, note that I will never, never, never call on Lansing's own "Big Daddy Taxi" for a ride ever again. [Attention all non-Lansing-ite; yes, this is really the name of this company....] My Lansing-Detroit flight out of town was for 3:10; so on Monday morning, I phoned the cab company and requested a 1:30 pick-up from home, hoping to get to the airport with time to spare. Okay, if you are from Lansing, I'm sure you're laughing right now b/c that's definitely on the conservative side for time, but hey, I like to be places early.

By 1:25, I received a call from the cab company that their driver was on their way and would be a couple minutes after 1:30. By 1:40, I phoned the dispatcher to find out how much longer it would be and was reassured that the driver was "just around the corner". Well, by 1:50, I was waiting outside my house, hoping to shave a couple minutes off of the pick-up. By 1:55, I was in my own car, driving to the airport and on the phone with the cab company, who still assured me that the driver was "just around the corner". Well, not to be pushy or anything, but isn't it their job to get folks from Point A to Point B when the customer wants to be there? I was peeved beyond belief and am writing them a horrible review on GE. Nonetheless, I made it to the airport and my flight on time. Thankfully, there's not usually a line at the Lansing airport!

The Detroit to Boston flight was interesting. I should've known when I walked up to my seat and one of the people sitting next to me had the Book of Mormon on their lap. Not that there's anything in particular wrong with that, but when every part of any conversation turned to something really off the wall. I ended up getting to the point where I was being very short and giving one word answers, trying to completely immerse myself into the latest edition of Craft:. The other person sitting next to me was a college-age girl who was visiting family in the Boston-area. She's from Minnesota, but had just returned to the U.S. after spending 2 months volunteering in an orphanage in India. That was really interesting and helped focus attention away from "fire and brimstone woman."

Navigating Logan was very easy and getting from Boston to Northborough was a breeze, except for all of the toll stops. So far on this trip, I've done some knitting (now am on the second handle of the Daphne purse), and watched a couple of DVDs I brought (Torchwood, Season 1, Disk 2; and Henry Fool).

Last night, we had dinner at "The Purple Rhino" in Worcester, which I'm told is the 2nd largest city in New England. Tonight, I'm catching up with Jessie in Boston, though the local news is already saying that this afternoon's commute into town will be hectic b/c the Patriots have a home exhibition game and there's also Jonas Brothers concert....Stay tuned. Hopefully, tomorrow, I'll be able to access the airport wi-fi better than any network around here....

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The sum of Sylvain's travels

I am so happy to finally have Sylvain home after his week long visit with his dad. As you can see, he didn't come home alone -- bringing a 5' tall "friend" he won at one of those Carny games at Cedar Point. The text message I received from him when he won it was a photo of him with the stuffed toy, followed by the plea: "Hey mom bring the jeep when you pick me up [from Alma]". He knew right away that there was no way it was going to fit in the Honda.

On the up-side, we can refer to the "gorilla in the room" and really mean that...

As for the rest of my day today:
rows knit -- about 5 on the Daphne purse;
movies watched -- zero;
housework accomplished -- much.

Though, I must say that our neighbor whose yard we totally trespassed through to clear out that debris I mentioned yesterday called. After being unable to catch them while home, I left a note for them and taped it to their doorway earlier this week. The note explained what we were going to do [did] and when, as well as providing our home number so that they could reach us if this weekend wasn't a good time. I was assured by a local police officer that that was more than sufficient and that'll cover our butts in case our neighbor turned out to be less than friendly and wanted to make a ruckus over our invasion of their yard.

As it turns out, he was a very pleasant person to talk to on the phone and even insisted on paying us for the work!?! Of course, I turned him down, and hoped I didn't offend him in the process b/c he was quite insistent. We do have to rent a chipper to take care of the debris, but I can't stand the thought of someone paying me for damage to my own tree.

Chuck focused on priming the back of the garage. This poor part of our house has been the focus of much scraping, sanding, patching, followed by more scraping and sanding. We definitely over-did the prep work on this one part of the whole enchilada, but hey we're newbies at painting and want it to look good.

We took a little break and went to a Troop 125 parent's BBQ at Tom and Kathy's house. That was quite nice, and we probably stayed much longer than we should have, given that I'm going to be travelling to the Boston area tomorrow and still needed to do laundry and pack. Chuck's key-lime mini-pies turned out really well; though, they're definitely something that you leave in the freezer until folks are ready to eat it. Even the short while they were set out on the counter with the other desserts, the key lime started to melt. Maybe he should consider adding some plain gelatin or something to the mix...

Chuck was quite the trooper, though b/c he really wanted to try out painting the part he primed. After we returned home from the BBQ, he quickly got the paint and supplies together and hit the ladder. Even though it was dusk already, he was painting away. It's supposed to rain tomorrow, so hopefully, the paint will be okay and all wouldn't have been for naught.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

"Why read your blog when I live your blog?"

Hi! And welcome to my blog! I guess everyone needs to start somewhere and today's the day to finally get this thing off the ground. If you managed to find your way here from Ravelry, Facebook, or stumbled upon this by mistake, enjoy! I'll try to post something daily, or will at least let you guys know when I expect to be out and about in the middle of nowhere and computer-less; in which case, I'll Twitter. I'll do my best to protect the innocent by not naming the kids I'm sure to complement and complain about (at least those that aren't my own) and won't print last names of adults I do talk about.

So, let's get started: I decided to title this post with Chuck's reaction to me telling him that I'm starting a blog. Can you feel the love?

The day started off well: caught up with Sue at the local Beaner's coffee for a quick hour's worth of chit chat. Got enough knitting accomplished on my "Daphne" purse to merit adding a second ball. The project is from Louisa Harding's "Knitting Little Luxuries" book and is being worked using Euroflax Geneva. While, I wouldn't recommend this yarn for most projects (mostly b/c it splits very, very easy, but most cottons do), I'm confident that this yarn will stand up to the beating that most purses endure.

The rest of today was spent atop a ladder, scraping the crap out of the crummy yellow paint that's currently on my house. Yep, 6 hours for 15' worth of space.

Sorry, Lynn, I had every intention of seeing you and Brian perform tonight at the Lansing Jazz Fest, but the day slipped away from me.

In addition to doing this suck-ass prep work on the house, our neighbor Steve came over to lend a hand with a tree that had fallen from our yard into our neighbors. I felt really bad about it, and hated just barging over into their fenced-in yard, but we've yet to meet these people (after living here for 2 years) or even see signs that the house is actually occupied.

As I was walking through their yard to retrieve brush cut by Chuck and Steve, I half expected to see someone shackled in the basement, clawing at the egress window for help. Needless to say, not crazed hostages were found and Steve had the right toys for us to use to get the job done. All that's left is to run the debris through a chipper, which oddly enough were all checked out from the nearby rental store.

So, once our painting project stuff got cleaned up and put away, Chuck and I enjoyed a nice pasta dinner (cooked by Chuck, of course, and using fresh basil from our pretty pathetic garden) and a bottle of Canadian Riesling (Thirty Bench winery in Beamsville, Ontario).

Chuck's now making a disaster zone of the kitchen...I mean, he's whipping up an authentic key lime pie for tomorrow's Troop 125 parent cook-out at Tom & Kathy's. He thinks that he can make little mini-pies (ala the mini-cheesecake recipes that seem to be popular nowadays). Stay tuned for tomorrow's post to see if he got the proportions down correctly to pull it off....

As for movies I've seen recently: saw "The Dark Knight" twice over the past week and "X-Files: I want to believe" yesterday. Won't discuss at the moment since I've probably bored you enough and will wait until a day that I don't have much to say (whenever that may be). Tonight, there's nothing really on the tube, so we'll likely watch something from my BB request list; either "Henry Fool" or disk 2 of season 1 of "Torchwood" (thank you Rae for piquing my interest in this series through your scarf!).