Sunday, October 31, 2010

Day 302 - Halloween

A perfect Halloween evening - clear and a little cool (but it is the end of October - it's supposed to be cool).

I drove Erica to her friend's house and then wove back home, passing by the endless stream of parked cars in the 'hood. I know people come to our neighborhood to trick or treat, but didn't realize the magnitude until today. No wonder our huge stash of candy goes quickly.

Erica and her friends are dressed up as a tennis pro, a bum and a sports fan:
Teen Costumes

[note - I do not endorse those Yankees. She is a product of her father when it comes to this baseball stuff.... and Go Red Sox!]

As usual, Brian and George went out together.
Brian and George on Halloween
Brian's costume is a result of the past two years' costume meltdowns. So this year, I refused to put much time into it and he came up with his own costume idea. The boys only visited three houses - ours, George's and our next door neighbor's. I think they are at the age where they don't care about trick or treating. It's a phase that will pass in about two years.

At least George's brothers dressed up appropriately:
Scary Jester

Part of the reason why Brian doesn't want to walk around the neighborhood, is he would rather spend time at George's house handing out candy and working the spooky "tricks" of the house:
After all, Jill has her house decorated to the max:
The Haunted House
Brian's favorite activity - hiding in the coffin, making noises and jumping out to scare the visitors. If you look carefully at the above picture, you can see Brian peeking out of the coffin - he has the Elmo mask on his head.

It was another fun Halloween in our little town on the prairie! A great end to October.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

301/365 - The Last Soccer Game

Erica's soccer team played their last game of the fall season. Erica had a shot on goal, but it was a little off to the left. The team won again in windy conditions.


Erica playing left wing, running into some opposition from the other team.

The girls will start back up in the Spring and hopefully continue their success.


Friday, October 29, 2010

300/365 - Sammy Takes a Car Ride

One of those spur of the moment ideas. Sam was hanging out in the garage, I needed to run a quick errand to a friend's house and I didn't want to pick him up and put him in the house. When I opened up the door to the car, Sam jumped right in, so I decided to take him with me.

Sam roamed around the back seat of the car, eyes wide and taking in all the scenery that flew past. He didn't venture up front until we were on our way home and he was perfectly behaved.

10.10.29 - Sam Takes A Ride
Taken while we were safely parked in my friend's driveway. He's checking out the action across the street.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

299/365 - Morning Coffee

I'm sure I've posted pictures of my beloved Starbucks coffee, but I don't think I've posted one this year.

The cooler air outside really makes that morning coffee taste better. Warm, steamy and cozy...

I make my coffee with 2/3 decaf and 1/3 full test coffee from Starbucks. I like to choose Starbucks' "seasonal" coffee and this fall I found this 25th Anniversary blend. I snatched up the last bag in the local store and haven't seen it since.

10.10.28 - This Morning's Coffee

It's a perfect match for the Decaf Sumatra I'm blending it with, and that Pumpkin Spice syrup I'm using. Fall in a cup!


Bonus Shot - Relaxed Hannah

After I posted last yesterday's Daily picture, Erica summoned me to take a picture of her and Hannah on the couch.

Hannah Relaxes

Hannah never gets this relaxed and "unlady-like". So we take her picture and post it to the blog. Will she ever live this down?

I think if we give her more food, she won't care at all.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

298/365 - Practice

Brian practicing saxophone. He's figured out how to play "Hot Cross Buns", "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and "Ode to Joy".

10.10.27 - Practice Time


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

297/365 - Candlelit Breakfast

Big surprise this morning - storms (well, that's really not too surprising), high wind (again, not surprising), and lots of rain.

Then, just after the storm passed through, the power went out. That was the surprise.

And as we were scrambling to light candles (yup, no flashlights, no surprise there), I noticed our neighbors in the cul-de-sac still had power! No fair!

Oh, well, at least we got to enjoy breakfast by candlelight.

10.10.26 - Breakfast By Candlelight

And the power was restored 3 hours later.


Monday, October 25, 2010

296/365 - Fast Shipping, Great Service

This is our second experience with Zappo's and once again, they have impressed us with their great service and fast shipping.

Ordered Saturday evening, arrived today. Wow.

10.10.25 - Speedy Arrival

Erica's latest [expensive] purchase. Yes, she agreed to pay for them herself, draining her account down to about 20 bucks.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

295/365 - Hanging On the Couch

I got to snuggle with Sammy this evening. He's in his standard "spot" - the corner of the loveseat. And laying on the "bear blanket" (a bonus, as it is the most sought after blanket in the house, especially in the cooler months).

10.10.24 - Hanging Out With Sammy

Such is the life of a kitty cat. Tough, but someone's gotta do it.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

294/365 - Friends

Erica helped me today while taking pictures of our friends. She may have been helpful soliciting their smiles, although they were pretty smiley to begin with.

All Smiles


Friday, October 22, 2010

293/365 - Dough and Visitors

Brian got to play with pizza dough tonight:
10.10.22 - Rolling Out Dough

And we had a surprise tonight - a gaggle of visitors looking for Erica. Too bad she wasn't around at the time. The girls were out for a pre-Halloween scavenger hunt, which included taking a picture of a cat. They took a picture of Sammy.

Where's Erica?


Back to Italy - Arriving in the Cinque Terre – Monterosso

Yes, I still intend to complete the "Stories of Italy". Slowly but surely! Afterall, I still need to create a Blurb Book with all the pictures and stories....For previous entries, click on this handy-dandy Italy Trip Link

Our drive out of Modena led us north on the A1 past Parma, then south on the A15 towards the Ligurian coast. Along the trip, we viewed the beautiful mountains of the Tosco-Emiliano National Park, before heading into the Cinque Terre.

Driving in the Cinque Terre reminded me and Scott of our adventures in Scotland, three years ago - narrow roads and limited visibility with the added feature of sharp cliffs to the sea. I am glad I wasn’t driving. We felt much better once we could see the coastal beach coming ever closer and finally, we had arrived on the main strip of Monterosso al Mare, the furthest north village of the Cinque Terre.

We checked into our hotel, La Spiaggia, located right along the Monterosso’s long strip of beach.
La Spiaggia

After the three hour car ride, it felt good to be out and about, taking in the beautiful ocean view and breezes. And check out the view from the room. (This was the view from Dave and Dawn’s room, but ours was very similar, being two floors down).
The View from the Hotel
The first thing we checked out was the beach where we dipped our feet in the salty water.

Monterosso is the largest of the five villages of Cinque Terre, with a lively resort and touristy feel. Along the Walkway The temperature was perfect – in the low 80s with that cool ocean breeze (we just missed the heat wave from a couple weeks back).

We enjoyed dinner outside as the sun went down, and as we walked back to explore the shops along the walkway, we saw a full moon rise above the mountains.
Moonlight In Monterosso
And yes, the image is a composite of two shots, but it gives you an idea of how beautiful it was at night! We experienced our first gelato from the little stand right outside our hotel before calling it a night.
Our First Gelato


Thursday, October 21, 2010

292/365 - Annual Haircut

Time for Erica's annual haircut.

Well, maybe it hasn't been a year, but it just seems like it.
10.10.21 - Hair Blown Out


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

291/365 - Stuffed in the Jacket

Erica stuffed Sammy into her North Face jacket. And Sammy didn't mind (too much)! I think it's because of the cooler weather.

10.10.20 - In the Jacket

It's the only way he gets to go outside - stuffed inside Erica's jacket.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

290/365 - Orange Jello

Brian has been on a big Jello kick. Probably because Jello is 99% sugar, with some citric acid. I've limited him to one package a week, otherwise he'd eat it all week long.

He can make the Jello all by himself, and today he used new containers - two ramekins and one mug.
10.10.19 - Orange Jello


Monday, October 18, 2010

289/365 - Goofing Off

Just another shot of the kids goofing off in the back yard. Today, both kids and I visited the dentist. Wow, another six months have flown by. No cavities, no issues.

10.10.18 - Goofing Off

We're enjoying the weather while we can - we've been spoiled these last two weeks!


Sunday, October 17, 2010

288/365 - The Family Picture for 2010

Long story short, here is the 2010 installment of the family photo.

This Is the One

Taken in the backyard, with the remote shutter release.
Of course, the entire event was fraught with the usual drama and silliness as the kids had to check each picture as it was taken. We really gave our neighbors some comic relief with our shenanigans.
Some of the outtakes:
Brian Goofing Off

Looking at the Cats

And then we added in an extra dynamic - pictures with the cats:
Outtake 2

This is as good as it gets with three cats who don't really like each other:
As Good as it Gets with Three Cats

Because soon after, one of them always gets away:
Losing Control


Saturday, October 16, 2010

287/365 - Kicked In

Soccer bright and early today - an 8:30 game! Fortunately, the sun was shining and the winds weren't blowing like their last 8:30 game.

10.10.16 - Kicked In

And another win for the green team!


Friday, October 15, 2010

286/365 - So Many Colors and Patterns

I just had to take a picture.

Erica and her friends had their nails done this afternoon, after school let out at 11:00 for a half day.

10.10.15 - Designs and Patterns Galore

Speaking of cell phones - today marks the one year mark for Erica and her phone. And yes, she already wants a new one....


Thursday, October 14, 2010

285/365 - Deep In Thought

I think Scott is mulling over the latest Colts injury and new reports.

10.10.14 - In Deep Thought

And the sweat pants have made their first appearance this fall season. It's a little chilly in the evening, but the days have been perfect.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

283/365 - Starting to Look Like Fall

It's been so warm, it hasn't seemed much like Fall. Last week, the leaves were still green, and only now they have started to turn and fall. The yellows come first.

10.10.12 - Along the Path

I hope the warm temperatures don't prevent the vivid reds from appearing.


Monday, October 11, 2010

282/365 - Hannah's Turn At the Vet

Since the cats don't get along, we take them to the vet on separate days.

Today was Hannah's turn. Since she is young, she gets an additional vaccine for Feline Leukemia. She wasn't happy about that.

But on the way home from the vet, Erica took her out of her cat carrier so she could enjoy the car ride.
10.10.11 - Hannah's Turn at the Vet

And what about Sam? We'll take him in March.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

281/365 - Football on 101010

Sunday means football.

10.10.10 means a very warm day - I think it hit 85degF today.

Football and warm means football in the backyard.

10.10.10 - Football


Saturday, October 09, 2010

280/365 - Another New CD - Tiger Suit by KT Tunstall

I generally don't buy new music completely "unheard", unless the music is from an artist I admire. Lucky for me, two of my favorite artists released new CDs in the last 4 weeks. Sara Bareilles released her beautiful sophomore "Kaleidoscope Heart" in the beginning of September and last week, KT Tunstall's "Tiger Suit" was finally released in the US (the lucky UK got it a week earlier).

10.10.09 - Tiger Suit

I've been listening to the CD in the car since Wednesday morning. This album is certainly KT's most upbeat, with hardly a slow song. I like the rhythmic beat that weaves throughout, giving the entire album an African feel, of course fitting for the album's namesake. My only complaint, is why KT feels she needs to make a "Black Horse and Cherry Tree" wanna be track on each of her albums. It was "Hold On" on Drastic Fantastic, and for this album, "Come On, Get In" just sounds like more of the same. But one small song is a minor thing to complain about, I guess.

Tracks that have made an impression -
Difficulty (the lyrics here make you think)
Glamour Puss (totally rocking fun)
Fade Like a Shadow


Friday, October 08, 2010

279/365 - After A Trip to the Vet...

.....Rascal needs some time chill in the backyard.

On the Prowl

She's doing great for a 17 year old kitty, with the exception of her continued weight loss. She's down to 6 lbs, 14 oz, one pound down from last year. I may have her tested for her thyroid, but at her age, I know that there could be more serious stuff coming down the pike.

But we just take each day as it comes. We think she has the gumption to keep at it just to spite Hannah and Sammy.
10.10.08 - Rascal Chills After Visiting the Vet


Thursday, October 07, 2010

278/365 - Thursday Night Soccer

A special Thursday edition of soccer. A perfect evening to watch the Green Team play the Red Team. It's like Christmas on the field.

The coaches confer with the girls before the game. What perfect lighting for today's pictures.

10.10.07 - Team Strategy

I'm taking photos for the entire team and trying to focus less on Erica, like this photo of the goalie kicking away the ball.
Kick It Away

And like week 1, the green team won over the red team, 3-0.


Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Day 277 - Fire Extinguisher Training

Scott decided that we should buy new fire extinguishers for the house since they were 10 years old (at least). And allow the kids to use the 10 year old extinguishers as a hands on training exercise.

We do this at work every year, and I have to say, it is a useful exercise. At work, we actually discharge the fire extinguisher at a real fire.
Fire Extinguisher Training
Taken last year - we are trained never to fight a fire past the "incipient" or small stage. This fire is past the incipient stage, in my opinion!

We won't go this far at home, but the training was enlightening to the kids.
Let's See How we Operate This
First, we check the pressure gauge on the extinguisher. It needs to be in the green area.

Then you pull the pin. And squeeze the trigger.
Pull the Pin Out
[I just noticed that Erica is wearing my scarf! That girl!]

Aim at the base of the fire and sweep side to side.

If you've never operated a fire extinguisher, the first time is always a surprise - the pressure causes the cylinder to "kick back" a bit.
What Happens When I Push The Trigger?

But when you get used to it, it can be fun.
Getting the Hang of It

And if you are Brian, you really get into it:
Take That!
Take That Some More!

I hope they never have to use those things for real.


Favorite Equation

Yesterday, I posted some graphs and mathematical equations. I asked if my friends would guess what my favorite equation is.

First, the slope of a line can be determined by "Rise" over "Run" of the line on the graph.

10.10.05 - Math Homework
For graph one, to get from the dot on the far right to the dot on the far left, you travel up (rise) on the graph 7 spaces, then travel left (run) 9 spaces. Since we are traveling to the left, that's considered moving in the negative direction. The Slope is Rise over Run, or 7/-9.
Mathematical equation for the line is y=mx+b, where m is the slope and b is the y-intercept (where the line passes the y axis). So the equation for the line is y=-7/9x.

As for my favorite equation. I should have mentioned that it is an equation I learned in Chemistry, not math. A couple of you guessed a^2 + b^2 = c^2, or Pythagoras's Theorem. A very good equation!

But the most useful (and hence favorite) equation for me is:

PV = nRT

Or the Ideal Gas Law.
P = Pressure
V = Volume
n = moles or molecules of gas
R = a constant
T = Temperature

SO useful where I work! Because if the temperature goes up in a container and you have the same amount of gas in that container, guess what - the Pressure of the container will increase. This law is practically demonstrated if you blow up a balloon and stick it in the freezer - when you take it out, you will see that the balloon has shrunk in size. The volume shrinks because the temperature went down. As the gas heats up, the balloon will expand again.

OK, enough of the geeky stuff tonight! Back to our regular programming!


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