Monday, November 30, 2009

Cute Kitty

My holiday weekend began with me being sick and spending most of my time sleeping on the couch and in bed.  I was hoping that my illness wouldn't set the tone for the rest of the holiday season.  Thankfully, my wonderful husband spent time surfing the web to find anything that would make me smile.  It didn't take long for him to find something.  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Gobble, Gobble

Tonight we made out first Thanksgiving dinner (with Turkey and all).  We planned on having Thanksgiving dinner with our friend’s Shawna and Quinn, but due to a sudden sinus infection, our plans for Thursday were quickly changed to a steady diet of medication and sleep on the couch.  It was quickly apparent to both of us that we had to have turkey this year, so we quickly found a fresh 10 pound turkey who was called in to make our Thanksgiving complete.


So, late this morning we began preparing the Turkey by stuffing the cavity with apples, placing pads of butter beneath the skin and seasoning everything.

After several hour of cooking, the Turkey emerged from the oven with a beautiful dark orange color and wonderful smell!

We made mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy and green chie corn bread to accompany the Turkey on the table.

All in all, it was a wonderful dinner…for Thanksgiving, or any day for that matter.  :-)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Software Value Proposition

After a few days of installing Windows 7 on all of our home computers, I began the inevitable task of evaluating some of the programs I was re-installing. Namely the photo editing applications. Like most people, I strive for that perfect value proposition that is made by software developers. Adobe has a value proposition that is hard to argue long as you can utilize all of the features Photoshop or Lightroom contain. On the other end of the spectrum is GIMP which also has a pretty solid value proposition since it is open source...however the challenge there is support and sustainability of the version you use.

Since I am still in the "experimental" phase of this task, I am opted to use a free (nut not open source) solution that many people also use - Picasa by Google. The image below was modified with Picasa and includes the following changes:
  • sharpened (not that you can tell the way I reduced the size for this post)
  • cropped
  • black & white with color focus


Friday, November 27, 2009

Another New Favorite Show

We have seen commercials for “Whatever, Martha!” for more than a year on HGTV and FLN, yet we hadn’t seen a reason to actually watch the show.  Last month we were channel surfing one night and stumbled upon an episode on FLN.  Oh my goodness!  I LOVE this show!


The format of the show is pretty simple:  Martha Stewart’s daughter, Alexis, and her friend, Jennifer, watch old episodes of Martha Stewart Living.  While they watch they comment on the episodes like normal people…you know…by saying “what in the hell is that?!”, “who would wear that?”, and my favorite “look at how she wants to tell the special guest that they are doing it wrong.”.


It’s particularly interesting to listen to Alexis’ stories of the staff personnel that appeared on the old show.  Some of those stories include details of how individuals positions changed from before the 2004 conviction of her mother to after her mothers release from a Federal prison.


My favorite part of each episode is when Alexis and Jennifer try to make something that Martha made on the old tape.  The set-up for this segment seems to the the same each show:  Alexis and Jennifer are watching the Living episode on a laptop in a kitchen.  They usually have all of the materials needed on the counter in front of them as the segment begins…and then comes the calamity as they try to keep pace with Martha.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Every year as the holidays arrive we all see videos from US military personnel around the world who send well wishes to their families in the states.  Never before have we actually known anyone who did this…until this year!  My cousin, Tito, was filmed by ABC as they were doing a story on how American service men were spending Thanksgiving.  Below is a still image of the video he was in.  Yes, his name is actually Raul, but he has always been (and will always be) Tito to me.  :)

How many of you see the typo on the screen?  Apparently the ABC News spell checker doesn’t know how to spell Tucson…they will be getting  an email shortly after I post this.


If you would like to see the full video that aired you can see it here:  ABC News.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

CVN 68 – Exactly What That Means

The other day Barbie got her first email from our niece, Bianca, who has been deployed to the USS Nimitz.  I have read a lot about the Nimitz, as military history is a hobby of mine.  However, when Bianca’s email came the domain was  I was surprised (but I don’t know why) since this domain is essentially the entire ship as the USS Nimitz is CVN 68.


I explained that the name CVN-68 is the hull classification and hull number which can be explained as follows:


C  – This indicates primary purpose of the ship (c=aircraft carrier)

V  - This indicates type of equipment (v=fixed wing)

N  - This indicates the power source (n=nuclear)

68 – This is the unique identifier for this hull


So, the USS Nimitz is CVN 68 which means that it is a fixed wing aircraft carrier with nuclear propulsion.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

We’ve Been A Little Quiet Lately

Just wanted to post a quick update to let everyone know what we have been up to lately since we have been blogging sparsely.  Work has been taking up most of my time.  My company has been preparing to spin-off from TimeWarner and become an independent publicly traded company next month.  That should be complete by mid-December, so hopefully these crazy-long work days won’t keep going too far beyond that.


In the mean time, at home we have been slowly migrating or house to Windows 7.  Yes, this the latest technology-based migration we have ever made.  Maybe it’s because work has been occupying so much of my attention, or maybe we are just growing up…either way it’s feels a little odd to put our “early adopters” titles at risk.  We will have to keep an eye on the tech-rags to spot another “next big thing” to regain our titles.  :-)


The regular blogging should resume soon.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

11 Rounds Of Shootout!

11 rounds of a shoot out is what it took the Capitals to beat the Islanders last night.  11 rounds!  For those who may not know, the format for an NHL game that ends regulation in a tie is as follows:


Both teams take the ice for a sudden death period of play called Overtime that lasts no more than 5 minutes.  During this additional period of play, both teams loose a skater on the ice.  (During regulation play each team has 6 players on the ice, typically composed of 5 skaters and 1 goalie.  In the Overtime period of play each team has 5 players on the ice, typically composed of 4 skaters and 1 goalie.)


If at the end of Overtime, the score is still tied teams will select three skaters each to take part in a shoot-out.  Teams will alternate turns with one skater trying to score on the opposing goalie.  If one team scores more than the other after three rounds, that team wins the game.  If after those first three rounds, the score is still tied, then additional rounds are added one at a time.


Last night’s game took 11 rounds to determine a winner.  That means that 11 different players from each team took penalty shots!  Below is a clip of the last two rounds of the shoot out.  Other than the Capitals score made by Chris Clark, my favorite part of this clip is the reaction of the Capitals goalie, Semyon Varlamov, after he stops the Islanders last shot.  Varlamov has been characterized as a relatively quiet player (mostly because he began his NHL career at the age of 19 with little experience learning English).  However, his physical reaction says more than any language could.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

What To Do With Pumpkins After Halloween?

Barbie and I never really thought much about what to do with pumpkins after Halloween.  As long as we could both remember, we would just throw away pumpkins after Halloween.  However, our friends Shawna and Quinn invited us out to a new experience today.  They belong to a community farm that offers a new twist on old pumpkins.  We headed out to this farm to join Shawna, Quinn and their two boys for an afternoon of “pumpkin chunkin’”.


When we arrived at the farm, we were among more than 50 families who brought their old pumpkins.  As soon as we got out to the car we saw what I can only describe as “The Pumpkin Free-Fall”.  Pumpkins were taken up more than 60 feet in the air to be thrown down to the ground with a very distinct splat sound.

We all laughed as we watched the pumpkins fall, but there was more to see.  So, we walked further into the farm where we spotted a silo with an interesting piece of rope rigging attached to it.  This was a spot there people could hoist their own pumpkins up almost 40 feet in the air to drop them themselves.

Later we walked further into the farm, where we saw things like hay rides, giant slides, mazes, and an animatronic dinosaur called “P-Rex”.  P-Rex was corny and really entertaining at the same time.  One of the farm employees performed with P-Rex while she would place pumpkins in it’s mouth.  P-Rex had 3 inch steel teeth and a hydraulic jaw that could probably crush anything that was placed in it.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Northern Shore

Our last stop before heading to the airport was Lake Erie in Lorain.  This stretch of the beach was owned by and maintained by the city of Lorain when I was a child.  A few years ago, it was sold for one dollar to the Cleveland Metro Parks.  The Metro Parks had a very successful group of parks, and the city of Lorain was struggling to maintain a budget to support the beach.  Based on what we saw, and the pictures we took, it looks like this was a tremendous win for everyone involved!

Visiting Grandpa

While in Ohio, we stopped by the cemetery where my Grandpa was buried more than 20 years ago.  This tree is almost 30 feet away from him.  On this day, it was the largest tree in the entire cemetery full of brightly colored leaves.  It may have been coincidence, but I would like to think that there was something more to this than that.

The Scariest Halloween Ever!

So, there we were…driving down some tree lined dark roads.  A haze was in the sky, almost diffusing the moon as it lit the sky.  It was almost midnight when Mike, Barbie and I were driving home from a late night run to the store with a quick stop at a drive through.


We were less than 2 miles from home, when out of no where – BOOM!  We hit a deer…or a deer hit us…we hit each other.  The deer came from the left side of the road and we first made contact with it just above the left front tire.  We had the moon roof open, and as the deer went up in the air we saw it’s head through the opening.  Barbie was in the back seat of the car, and from there it looked like the deer may come through the moon roof.


We stopped, and after making sure we were okay we went back to check on the deer.  To all of our amazement, the deer ran away.  No blood was left on the car or on the road.  So, Mike’s Jetta seemed to be the only victim of the incident.  This picture was taken in the garage after we got home.