Saturday, January 31, 2009

Date Night in Westfield



Matt with his new hair cut and a glass of Mazza Chautauqua pinot grigio at Sapore in Westfield.


Picture of me with the same drink in the same place.

Our friend, Tim, had told us about the changeover of Cafe Barista to Sapore some time ago and we've been intrigued about this place on the other side of the county since. The weather cooperated yesterday and we made the trek for date night.

Matt ordered the braciole (fresh herbs and cheese rolled in tender beef pan seared and braised) with a side of roasted new potatoes and pisto (eggplant, Italian squash, zucchini, cippolini onion and garlic). He said he'd order it all again, and was especially happy with how good the pisto was since he's not a fan of eggplant. I ordered quiche that had ricotta cheese, spinach and swiss chard in it. My side was cornbread and sausage dressing. The quiche was light, but filling. I enjoyed the stuffing as well, but the flavors overpowered the quiche. I regretted not ordering a pumpkin dish as my side. Not to fear, the dressing tasted awesome when mixed with scrambled eggs this morning.

Uncharacteristically, we both ordered dessert. We went on our server's advice and ordered the house specialty, cheesecake. I had the mascarpone cheesecake that had a pecan crust while Matt had the chocolate mayan mascarpone cheesecake which had a macadamia crust. Matt had coffee while I splurged and ordered hot chocolate. The hot chocolate is made with milk and it tastes like the restaurant uses a darker milk chocolate. Comfort in a cup.

The restaurant retained much of the stripped down look of Cafe Barista with exposed brick walls, hardwood floors, rough wooden bar for the wine bar area. We decided to have an early dinner (5pm), so we had our pick of where to sit. There were 3 groups there when we arrived, and a mother/daughter group were the only new people that arrived before we left over an hour later. The quality of food merited a larger crowd, so we hope that it's just that winter slow down.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lunch At Cooper's

A half sandwich (Pitt Bull - Panini, capicola, ham, salami, tomatoes, hot peppers, provolone cheese, balsamic vinaigrette) from Cooper's Deli. Well, Cooper's Cafe but I like to call it Deli after the one in my hometown of Irondequoit.

Matt ordered the full-size Greyhound (Double decker, turkey, ham, bacon, tomato, mayonnaise) and had to get a box to take half of it home.
I didn't grab any photos of the interior, but if you visit the cafe's website there's a pic or two. Seating varies from four-top tables, higher two-tops, cushioned chairs, and seating at a bar that looks out the front windows onto Third Street. It's very cozy and someplace I could spend some time in if I wanted to catch up on blogs while drinking Stedman Corner's coffee and eating a Belgian waffle for breakfast.

The cafe is wi-fi enabled, hence the 1990s name of the place (Cooper's Cyber Cafe), but if you're not laptop enabled, with a purchase of $10 you can borrow one of their laptops.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tell Me More..

Erin tagged me on this one.

What were you like when you were five? Quiet with a streak of absurdity.

What are you wearing now? Gray jeans, white dress shirt under a cream sweater, black boots

What story/book/novel have you read over and over again in your life? A Semester In The Life of a Garbage Bag by Gordon Korman

What’s the last thing you read/are currently reading? Sleeping With Schubert by Bonnie Marson

Do you nap a lot? No, but I have been more lately.

Who was the last person you hugged? Matt

What’s your current fandom/obsession/addiction? Morrissey/The Smiths

What was the last thing you ate today? A piece of homemade pumpkin bread

What was the last thing you said aloud? Something went wrong with the direct deposits for everyone on the floor but me.. not sure why.

What websites do you always visit when you go online? Gmail, Facebook, Google Reader

What was the last thing you bought? Groceries at Wegmans

What are you listening to right now? Beth Orton's "Sweetest Decline"

If you could have any super power, what would it be? I used to think flying, but with my luck I'd be shot down. Now I think invisibility would be handy.

What is your favorite weather, and why? Sunny, about 64 degrees with a light breeze

What time do you usually get up? 7:27 a.m.

What is your most challenging goal right now? Staying positive and focused on what I need to do as I continue to live in uncertain times.

Say something to the person who tagged you: Erin, we've never met but you've always sounded like you'd be a fun person to get hot chocolate with!

If you could have a house–totally paid for, fully furnished–anywhere in the world, where would you want it to be? A semi-wooded lot on the shore, but not right on the shore of Lake Ontario near Rochester.

Favorite vacation spot? Canada. It's a foreign country I can drive to and either go to the big city, hit up the rural wonders, or even visit family.

What is your favorite children’s book? Outside Over There by Maurice Sendak

Name one thing you just can’t resist no matter how bad it is for you: chocolate

If you could meet anyone famous - dead or alive - who would it be? Edith Wharton

What was your first job? Babysitting for under the table. Ride Operator at Seabreeze Amusement Park for taxable income

What’s the last movie you saw? Catch and Release

What was the last restaurant you ate at?
Pizza, Wings, & Things in Fredonia.

TAGGED: Not tagging today. Go ahead if you like. It's something to do while it's snowing outside.

THE RULES:
Step 1: respond and rework—answer the questions on your own blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your own invention, add one more question of your own.
Step 2: tag—eight other un-tagged people will be tagged.

How I'd spend $1,000

Part of me thinks I'd put it toward our credit card debt, but that's only if my job situation was a little more stable. If I was given $1,000 today it would go right into savings until things were a little more certain.



If either of those things weren't an issue, I'd probably use the money toward a trip we had hoped to take to the Portsmouth, NH and Portland, Maine.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Endless Walls

Another wall freed of wallpaper. At this rate I might get the dining room completely stripped by the weekend. Such excitement!

By the way, thanks for all the offers to lend me a steamer if I lived in your city (winks). It's going pretty well with the Dif and scraper.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

If I could tame a wild animal


En Garde! by Kevin Pack (Cynergist)

I always liked prairie dogs, but I imagine that I'd quickly tire of this tunneling quirkster. I don't need more holes around my house. Plus, the real dogs probably wouldn't appreciate having to share their dog beds with a new little guy.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Pizza Heaven

We went to Pizza, Wings, and Things (known by locals as P'Dubs) in Fredonia for date night. Date night also included getting a free bag of dog food from Petmor, so it's been a cheap but fun night.

Technique Improving

This section went a lot faster. I altered my technique and made sure to score the paper really well and the soak the bejeezus out of it with the Dif. I'm done for now.

One Wall Section Done

This is all I have done so far, but it's a nice little section. I'm going to work a bit more until we take off for an early date night.

Prepping For Wallpaper Removal

I started scoring the wallpaper in our dining room and sprayed it with Dif. Just letting it soak in before I start scraping.

Friday, January 23, 2009

My first job: Amusement Park

My first job was a seasonal gig as a ride operator at our local Amusement Park, Seabreeze. I only made minimum wage ($4.25/hr), but I loved it. I never had to be into work before 10am, the people I worked with were fun and most of the park visitors were there to have fun which made work fun. By the end of the summer, I could operate 11 different rides and had earned enough to help buy a new bow for my violin.

Plink Plink

Scobleizer posted about another kind of social networking/blogging tool.

What attracted me to this one is the fact that a guy who was around when Blogger was created help come up with Plinky.

With my plethora of blog posts lately, I thought it might be nice to use it to help update the blog, even if it's small, aside from my Twitter updates over on the right hand side (do the clicky thing on that link if you're looking at this in RSS).

So if you want to give it a look-see, see my profile.

Interview - The Dayton Time

Pamela over at The Dayton Time has answered the interview questions I sent her. Take a gander.

What's funny is that I was chiding Matt about not answering his last night.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Coffee Break After Museums

Having coffee with Shelley at Labyrinth after touring the Lucy-Desi Museums as part of "Doors Open" day in Jamestown. All the area museums were free today.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Blue Skies, Blue Lips

This is what negative four degrees looks like at noon at our house. It's sunny out at least. I'll have to dig out the icicle destroyer out of the back of our garage this weekend.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

Interviewed

Emma of Eriepressible asked if anyone would like to be interviewed recently. Since I've been blogging so consistently this year, I thought I'd bite.

Here are the questions Emma sent and my responses:

What first made you want to learn to play the violin? When I was in second grade, the string teacher at the middle school brought over some students to play for us and let us try out their instruments. I remember getting to pluck the strings on Chris Beato's violin. A year later, when we were trying instruments to see if we might want to play one in fourth grade, I was able to pick out the beginning of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" as demonstrated the year before. I decided then that if I could do that then I should play violin. I started lessons in the Fall of 1986 and have been going steadily since.

Why did you start blogging? In late 2000/early 2001, I had come across these things called blogs. Jenny's blog was one of the first ones I followed since I knew her and we had friends in common. I also started reading Meg's first blog incarnation. I've always been an avid journal writer and the blog format seemed to be a perfect fit for my desire to talk about daily life. Plus, with the blogger platform, it was very easy to get started.

What do you like best about living in Jamestown? I like the small community. Until I married a local boy, I didn't have any family in this area, so the friends I've made have become an extended family. If I go out by myself, I usually can count on seeing a few friends out, so I'm never really alone. That can be a downfall of living here too. You're never truly alone.

What's your best childhood memory? The first thing that came to mind was when my parents took me to Disney World and Epcot in 1982. I hadn't the foggiest notion that this is where we were going when my mom got me out of bed, telling me to get dressed and help pack because we were going to see Grandma. When we pulled up to the Greater Rochester International Airport, I asked my mom what we were doing there because I couldn't imagine that we were going to fly to Buffalo to see my grandparents. That's when she whispered, "We're going to see Great Grandma in Florida!" Naturally, you didn't have to tell me, a five-year old going on six in just days, that this also meant Disney World. The trip was wonderful, and the fact that it was a surprise made it even better.

What one thing would you like to do before you die that you haven't accomplished yet? The easy answer is travel more. There are so many places I'd like to go back to (Nova Scotia, England) and places I've never seen (Europe, Japan). Financially, it's been rather difficult to go anywhere that we can't get to in a car the last few years. I've been traveling since I was in the womb, so to die before I get to some of the places on my wish list would be an aberration.

Want to be interviewed?

Follow these instructions:
  1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”
  2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
  3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
  4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
  5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Friday Snow

Matt emerges from our snow bound house as I pick him up after work. Our Friday excitement is going to Friendly's for dinner.

First Violin (Lesson)

Last night I gave my first violin lesson since I was in high school. Our friend, Lori, had bought a violin somewhere and wanted to learn how to play. Lucky for me, she had played clarinet before so that meant she could read music. Plus, the fact that she's an adult helps speed along some of the other bits about learning to play an instrument. To top it off, she had bought a beginner's violin book which laid out detailed lessons I could work from, and it had a DVD she could consult later.

Still, I was nervous. I had to gauge how fast we could go through each lesson. I wasn't sure where to start Lori initially with holding the violin or the bow. This is where I used her beginner's book as a big crutch. I've been removed from the teaching, and learning, process enough that some of her questions left me scratching my head for an answer. She asked good questions like, "Will I always play that note on that string? How do you know?"

Primarily, we concentrated on playing notes on the violin via pizzicato, per her book. We made our way through 11 pages worth of exercises, which should keep her busy until we can get together again. I figure at that lesson we'll start with bow work. Of course, I encouraged her to go ahead and try using her bow since we went over how to hold it.

One thing I'll need to adjust is lesson time. Between spending copious amounts of time tuning and re-tuning, consuming some hot beverages, looking at my CD collection, and actually doing the lesson we were engaged for almost 2 hours. I think that's fine, especially for a friend, for a first lesson but I was a little beat afterwards. Plus, there is a limit for how long you can keep your concentration as the student, no matter your age.

We'll see how this goes. I liked doing the lesson with Lori. It was good to finally get to a point in the lesson book where she was playing recognizable songs, even if just by pizzicato.

A Nice Deed

When I got home last night, I didn't even step much beyond our front door except to put my purse on the kitchen counter. Since I had a friend coming over, I wanted to make sure there was a clear path from our driveway to our back door. Snow tends to drift a bit around our house, creating huge drifts on our walkway.

As I started shoveling the snow and chipping away at the ice underneath, I saw two kids with shovels walking by our house. They stopped at the bottom of our driveway, watching me, and conversing between themselves. I steadily kept going, waiting for the question I knew was coming.

"Would you like us to shovel your driveway?" one of the boys finally asked.

I answered truthfully, "Thanks, but I don't have any cash on me right now."

"Oh. No. We don't want money," the boy replied.

I stood up and leaned on the handle of my shovel, slightly stunned.

"Um. Okay. Well, it would be really awesome if you could just do the end of the driveway from where you're standing on the sidewalk," I motioned, thinking that this would be enough so that I could pull my car into the garage. The two boys shrugged at each other over my odd request and began pushing snow into the side banks.

As I got near the end of the walkway, I looked up to see that they had ignored my directions and had begun shoveling the rest of the driveway. When they paused for a moment, I asked them,

"Would you guys like some brownies? I could wrap up a couple for you."

They nodded, "Sure."

I dropped my shovel and quickly walked inside, wrapping up two brownies each in a big napkin.

"Here. I made these last night," I said as I passed them out.

They thanked me and one boy admonished the other, "Don't eat it right now!"

We finished the driveway together and before they left, I thanked them and asked their names. It turns out they live just a few houses away. I watched them amble down the street, stopping to talk to other neighbors along the way.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Beginning the Winter Months..

Winter can be a long ordeal in this part of the country if you're not equipped to deal with endless days of snow, cold, and sunless skies. I usually try to keep the doldrums at bay by immersing myself in the things that sometimes get pushed aside during the flighty days of Spring and Summer.

I don't concern myself with trying to find ponderous material to stretch my brain cells. If it comes my way and I welcome it, so be it.

The first book of the new year that I've read is Dedication by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus. It's chick lit from the same duo that gave us The Nanny Diaries, however I liked this story better.

Part of what grabbed me and had me laughing throughout the story was that the character is the same age as me and the book featured flashbacks to the main character's youth. The authors manage to mostly accurately capture the era and the trials of junior high and high school. Plus, the main driver of the story is that a girl finally is given the opportunity to tell off a guy who hurt her. I had the guts and opportunity to do this a few times in my previous dating career. There is a certain satisfaction when the telling off is deserved.



Pictures And Sound's self-titled album is something I downloaded from eMusic a month or two ago, but just started listening to more frequently. Yes, the lead singer sounds a bit like Chris Martin of Coldplay, but I like the simplicity of these songs. My favorite so far is "It's You" (Behind the scenes on recording this song starts at the 1:19 point).




Now that I've had a few weeks off from my dizzying schedule of performances, I realized I should replace my strings on my violin before rehearsals for Warren Orchestra started up this month. I decided to try a new brand per Violinist.com's Guide to Choosing Violin Strings.

The Pirastro tonica set for violin seemed to fit my needs and the price wasn't bad on Shar. Unfortunately, I didn't quite have the funds to purchase a back-up of the same brand. For that reason, I've been saving the old set of strings I take off my violin just in case I'm met with a breakage.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

A Saturday Night

Watching some football with my so-called lap dog, Zak, and a beer. Not a bad way to spend an evening.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Keep My Baby Runnin'

It wouldn't be a New Year if I didn't have some drama where my baby is concerned. I'm referring to my Tercel, naturally.

Three years ago, a mechanic tried to sound the death knell. Last year, I had a laugh when it passed inspection with no problems. This year, my car isn't passing inspection without a fight.

Tomorrow morning we're taking it to a mechanic who manufactures his own car pipes. There, we hope he will remedy the exhaust situation that requires an exhaust system replacement in order for the car to begin its trek toward passing inspection. After that, the catalytic converter sensor needs to be replaced. If the paperwork I got from our regular mechanic is correct, there's various wires and plugs that need to be replaced as well in order to achieve that happy little sticker that says my Tercel is roadworthy.

Price tag on all of this? We're told the exhaust work and sensor fix will start the bill at $500. Just the exhaust work alone was quoted at almost $900 at our usual garage. They gave us the referral because of the cost. The owner, Ray, also recommended that I consider replacing my car since it has over 189-thousand miles. Financially, this is not an option right now. The goal right now is to either obtain a much better paying job so we can take on a second car loan or to continue praying over my baby until the current car loan is paid off.

I may need to employ some sweet talking and play my version of happy music on the way to the garage tomorrow. I'm thinking my old copy of Viva Hate will make it remember its "youth" and feel sprightly again.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Wee Hours of 2009 Roller Skating

Matt quit early on me for skating. All the lessons I took as a kid seemed to have paid off since I only wiped out once. A very fun night!

All Night Skate












Roller skating at Evan's Skateland at 3:30 AM.

Away, Away

We're on a mini-vaca in an area where they're experiencing forest fires (thanks asshole arsonist). It's an area that makes Clift...