Monday, September 30, 2013

End of September Weekend Windup

Aaron was in Denver at a trade show from Gwensday until Saturday night. For me, Aaron's absence means eating junk food (and regretting it afterward), napping, shopping and watching tons of TV (convenient, since the fall season just started).

I did venture out Saturday morning to watch our niece Lauren run a cross country meet. She's in 8th grade so she ran middle school varsity and she finished 17th out of 215 girls! She's tearing it up this season, and she (stubbornly) ran the whole race while her calf was giving her major pain. We're so proud of her, even if she probably shouldn't have run. I don't have any pictures because my phone was on stopwatch duty, and the picture taker (ahem) hasn't forwarded any pictures.

My sister-in-law said that Lauren had developed a habit of turning around to see who's behind her. One of the coaches told her this:

“Run in your shoes, not in your head.”

I'm not a runner, but I think that's good advice in a lot of areas.

I'm not sure where September went, but I do love October. We have the Italian Festival coming up, which is just a few blocks away from home, and we'll be getting into sweaters, scarves and boots season! I bought a couple pairs of boots over the weekend.

And of course, this year I have reason to be excited for the baseball playoffs! Tomorrow night is the one-game wild card playoff between the Pirates and the Reds. Aaron and I have already decided that we're not watching the game at home. You remember the house divided issue, right?

It's a good thing I have baseball to hold on to for at least a bit longer, since the Steelers are sucking it up right now. Yesterday we went to a bar to watch the game, sad as it was. But we did see this curious sign:

"Everyday open to close ... $2 Off All Appetizers." Huh? 

Also sucking right now: my fantasy football teams. Ugh, rough day yesterday in both leagues.

And finally, yes, another cat picture:

I think we'll be re-washing this sweater.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Need Some Inspiration?

If you're not from Columbus, you might not know about an event that occurred last Saturday. Ohio State had a home game against Florida A&M, and the game itself was a blowout (76-0). I'm sure some people may have thought "I paid $75 for this?" But from what I've heard, the halftime show was worth every penny.

The Ohio State Marching Band is highly revered by fans. It's known as TBDBITL (The Best Damn Band In The Land). One of their traditions is "Script Ohio," and while I must reiterate that Ohio State is not my #1 school, even I really enjoy Script Ohio. At the end one of the sousaphone players is given the honor of "dotting the i."

From the game we attended a few weeks ago

Last Saturday the Ohio State School for the Blind Marching Band participated in the halftime show. Along with their red-jacketed assistants, this group performed on the same field as "TBDBITL" and spelled out "Ohio" in Braille. Since the "i" in Braille is made up of two dots, two sousaphone players dotted that i. If you haven't seen it, trust me, it's five minutes that you'll be glad you spent watching a YouTube video.

Venus Trapped in Mars

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Gwensday Dose of Random

My brain is fuzzy today. Could that have anything to do with the (very) late night I had singing karaoke? All signs point to yes. I love that my friend Kat comes to the neighborhood bar to sing with me. Right about now I love even more that I work from home so I can do my work in pleasures and biscuits (sorry, Kat). Here are the songs I did:

Time After Time (with Kat)
Love is a Battlefield
What's Up (with Kat and Amy)
Galileo (with Kat)

One of my favorite parts about being home all day:

These two napped together ALL day.

Have you seen any good new shows yet? I still haven't watched Hostages or The Blacklist. Tonight I'm excited for the returns of Modern Family, Criminal Minds and Nashville! And as much as I feel like Law & Order: SVU should probably end, I can't wait to see how Olivia gets herself out of last season's cliffhanger.

Have y'all heard? The Pirates are going to the playoffs for the first time in 21 years!


Speaking of sports, I kicked some ass in both of my fantasy leagues last week. Observe:

And finally, go over to Life According to Steph and wish SMD and MFD a happy third anniversary!

Happy Gwensday! I'm going in search of a fountain coke.

Insert Classy Here - Gratitude

Monday, September 23, 2013

Weekend Windup - I cooked, y'all!


I did the opposite of cooking on Friday. Aaron ran the March of Dimes Night Moves 5k. I ate ice cream for dinner and watched the Pirates/Reds, which ended sadly for me. The cats seemed poised to cause some trouble:

Poor Clover's legs are too short; she can't get up there.


The morning was rainy and gross, but by afternoon we had a lovely fall day - perfect for our garden party. Everyone brought amazing food, we watched a slideshow of the past year's antics, our neighbor Martin's band performed on our front porch, neighbor Nelson read French poetry, more live music and finally a dance party in the garage. I made Brown Sugar Oatmeal cookies, which were a big hit - no pesky raisins; just oatmeal and caramelly goodness.


Lots of singing in the morning: I sang a solo at the 8:30 church service, then two more services with the choir, then a short rehearsal. Later I made a vegetarian vindaloo. I ground the spices myself and this was one of the most complicated recipes I've tried. It needs some tweaking but I'll try it again.

We went to Colin and Amy's to watch the Emmys. We were so excited for Jeff Daniels and for Modern Family! I thought NPH was a great host - he's bound to be the Oscar host someday. I enjoyed the in-depth memorial tributes, especially Jean Stapleton's and James Gandolfini's, but the immediate music playing to run winners off the stage was super annoying.

Aaron and his friend Sam Adams

Thankfully Penn State won on Saturday. I can't even discuss the Pirates or the Steelers, although Antonio Brown got me lots of fantasy points.

If you haven't read my fall TV preview, check it out here. To be clear, I don't watch every single show listed there; I'm just letting y'all know what's out there. But I do watch a lot, and I try to at least check out most of the new shows. Here's what I'll be watching/recording tonight (so happy for DirecTV's DVR with monster storage capacity):

The Voice (blind auditions)
The Blacklist
How I Met Your Mother
Sleepy Hollow

Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday Faves

Aaron often starts a grocery list and sticks it on a cupboard door. Usually it has items like coffee, half and half, eggs, toast (yes, "toast" because there's a certain bread that we only use for toast). On Monday I glanced at it from across the kitchen and only saw one item, which I thought was odd because we had pretty much nothing to eat. Here's what it said:

Another favorite F word

Sunday was the season finale of The Newsroom, which Aaron and I both really enjoy. So last night we finally watched the pilot of Homeland (yeah, I know, we're late to that party). I see some binge watching in my future.

Tomorrow is our neighborhood's garden party. There are empty lots next to our house and several years ago we started a community garden. The lots are now ready to be developed so this was our last growing season. Here are a couple pictures from last year's party:

Salmon encased in salt

Back in April I did a birthday post for my grandma and in it I mentioned that she loves gambling and sports and that years ago she won the newspaper's football contest. This week my mom sent me that article. This was in 1964 - check it out:

That's my aunt and my grandpa in the picture with her. The article starts like this:

"Okay, men, it's time to rally and come to the rescue of the stronger sex. A woman, mind you, has become the first person to win The Times-Mirror football contest and she did it on a week when the closest a man could come was 15 correct out of 20!"

(Grandma Elmo picked 18 of 20 correct; there were both college and pro games on the ballot.)

I could use a little assistance. For the second straight week, I picked less than half of the NFL games correctly against the spread.

Venus Trapped in Mars

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Fall TV

Hidey ho, neighbors! Today I’m giving you my breakdown of the new fall TV schedule. I’ve done this for many years for my imaginary internet friends (hi, nice ladies!) and now I’m sharing it with you, my probably-not-imaginary internet friends.

Notes: All times listed are Eastern, ‘cause that’s where I am. I’m mainly sticking with network TV (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and CW), with a few exceptions. New shows are in red; I’m listing the premiere dates in parentheses.

8:00        Once Upon a Time (9/29)
9:00        Revenge (9/29)
10:00      Betrayal (9/29) A photographer has an affair with an attorney who, turns out, is defending a murder suspect and guess who’s the prosecutor? Yep. Photographer’s husband.

8:00        Amazing Race (9/29)
9:00        The Good Wife (9/29)
10:00     The Mentalist (9/29)
Word to the wise CBS viewer on Eastern or Central time: set your DVR to go at least an hour extra due to potential lateness caused by NFL Football. Personally, during football season, I just watch Good Wife on demand.

8:00        Sunday Night Football

8:00        The Simpsons (9/29), now in its 25th season
8:30        Bob’s Burgers (9/29)
9:00        Family Guy (9/29)
9:30        American Dad (9/29)


Also of note for you zombie lovers: The Walking Dead returns on AMC at 9:00 on 10/13. AND Homeland is back on 9/29 at 9:00 on Showtime.

8 – 10    Dancing With The Stars (premiered 9/16)
10:00     Castle (9/23)

8:00        How I Met Your Mother (9/23), and hot damn, we’ll FINALLY meet the mother. Someday. I can’t believe I’ve stuck with this show for eight seasons so I’ll be damned if I’m giving up on it in its final season. Plus I can’t get enough of Neil Patrick Harris.
8:30        We Are Men (9/30) Even though this sounds like a lame comedy about four divorced/dumped dudes, I’m willing to give it a watch if only because one of said dudes is Tony Shalhoub.
9:00        2 Broke Girls (9/23)
9:30        Mom (9/23) This has potential for me, but again it’s because of the cast. It stars Anna Faris and (hello, CJ!) Allison Janney.
10:00     Hostages (9/23) People, I can’t wait for this show. It looks super intense in a 24 kind of way AND it stars Dylan McDermott who often makes an appearance on my “list of 5,” plus Toni Collette, who I think is fabulous. She plays the President’s surgeon and he plays a bad (maybe?) dude who holds her family hostage and threatens to kill them unless POTUS dies in surgery. This show is supposedly following the one season/one storyline format so they’ll do 15 episodes of this plot and wrap it up and then do a new story (assuming CBS doesn’t drop it).

8 – 10    The Voice (9/23), in which Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green return as coaches. I don’t know… I really liked Shakira and Usher, but I’ll at least watch the blind auditions because I enjoy those.
10:00     The Blacklist (9/23), starring James Spader as one of America’s most wanted criminals who turns himself in and offers to give up a bunch of other nasty criminals but he’ll only talk to a female rookie FBI agent (played by Megan Boone). There are high hopes for this one, and I’ll be checking it out.

8:00        Bones (9/16) and later in the fall will be a new show called Almost Human (11/4) which takes place in 2048 and right there you’ve lost me.
9:00        Sleepy Hollow (9/16) I watched the pilot and although I’m skeptical of the whole apocalyptic theme, I really like the leads, both of whom are fairly unknown to me.

8:00        Hart of Dixie (10/7)
9:00        Beauty and the Beast (10/7)

8:00        Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (9/24) Aside from the unwieldy title, this is supposed to be one of the best new shows of the season. It’s a spinoff of The Avengers with non-superhero peeps fighting crime.
9:00        The Goldbergs (9/24), a family comedy which takes place in the ‘80s. I was in high school and college in the ‘80s. I loved the ‘80s, but I don’t need to relive them in a sitcom.
9:30        Trophy Wife (9/24), stars Bradley Whitford as a guy who is on his third wife (who happens to be much younger, in case you couldn’t tell by the title) and is also in contact with both of his exes, one of whom is played by Marcia Gay Harden. The premise of this show wouldn’t get me to watch, but again, the cast is intriguing.
10:00     Lucky 7 (9/24) about gas station employees who win the lottery. About seven years ago, there was another lottery-themed show called Windfall. It only lasted one season, and it starred Luke Perry and Jason Gedrick, and it was sudsy good melodrama. This new show doesn’t show much promise to me.

8:00        NCIS (9/24)
9:00        NCIS: LA (9/24)
10:00     Person of Interest (9/24) – new night

8:00        The Biggest Loser (9/8)
9:00        The Voice Results (9/24)
10:00     Chicago Fire (9/24)

8:00        Dads (9/17) I mentioned this a couple days ago and I watched the pilot. It’s bad. I’m usually willing to give sitcoms a second chance but not this time.
8:30        Brooklyn Nine-Nine (9/17) The pilot was good but not great, but sitcom pilots are rarely home runs. Still, I love the cast, especially how Andre Braugher is still very serious and stiff, even in a comedy.
9:00        New Girl (9/17)
9:30        The Mindy Project (9/17)

8:00        The Originals (10/3, which is a Thursday) This is a spin-off of The Vampire Diaries, hence the Thursday premiere immediately following TVD premiere.
9:00        Supernatural  (10/8)      

8:00        The Middle (9/25)
8:30        Back in the Game (9/25) A family comedy with baseball as the setting. Stars James Caan as a former baseball player who clashes with his daughter (Psych’s Maggie Lawson) and her non-athletic-Little-League-playing son.
9:00        Modern Family (9/25)
9:30        Super Fun Night (10/2) Two words: Rebel Wilson. Do you need to know anything more? I don’t. I’ll be watching.
10:00     Nashville (9/25) HOORAY!           

8:00        Survivor (9/18)
9:00        Criminal Minds (9/25)
10:00     CSI (9/25)

8:00        Revolution (9/25) – new night
9:00        Law & Order: SVU (9/25)
10:00     Ironside (10/9) This is a re-boot of the popular ‘60s/’70s series about a wheelchair-bound cop, with Blair Underwood in the Raymond Burr title role. I love crime dramas, so I’m in.

8-10       The X Factor (9/11)

8:00        Arrow (10/9)
9:00        The Tomorrow People (10/9), about a teenager who discovers he has special powers and others like him.

Also of note: American Horror Story: Coven premieres on 10/9 at 10:00 on FX. More Jessica Lange and some other returning actors but ALSO Angela Bassett and Kathy Bates. This season’s storyline is about witches in New Orleans. Sign me up.

8:00        Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (10/10) Look, I’m a fan of Once Upon a Time, but I have concerns about a spin-off. Might be too much fairy-tale.
9:00        Grey’s Anatomy (9/26)
10:00     Scandal (10/3) Can. Not. Wait.

8:00        The Big Bang Theory (9/26)
8:30        The Millers (9/26) Again, cast is king: this stars Will Arnett, Margo Martindale and Beau Bridges. I’ll reserve judgment until I watch it.
9:00        The Crazy Ones (9/26), a David E. Kelley show about a father-daughter team of ad execs, played by Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar. I will watch and then decide.
9:30        Two and a Half Men (9/26)
10:00     Elementary (9/26)

8:00        Parks and Recreation (9/26)
8:30        Welcome to the Family (10/3) This is focused on the families of a pair of teen parents. Stars Mike O’Malley as one of the dads.
9:00        Sean Saves the World (10/3) Stars Sean Hayes as a single dad and also stars Linda Lavin and Smash’s Megan Hilty.
9:30        The Michael J. Fox Show (9/26 – with TWO episodes starting at 9:00 on that night) If Michael J. Fox is in it, I’m watching it, at least in the beginning.
10:00     Parenthood (9/26) – new night

8:00        The X Factor Results
9:00        Glee (9/26) If you watch Glee, you probably already know that they’re only showing three episodes, with the third being a tribute to Cory Monteith/Finn, and then taking a hiatus.

8:00        The Vampire Diaries (10/3)
9:00        Reign (10/17) This is a Mary, Queen of Scots show described by the executive producer as “Gossip Girl, Game of Thrones and Felicity in a blender.” Hmmmmm…

8:00        Last Man Standing (9/20)
8:30        The Neighbors (9/20)
9:00        Shark Tank (9/20)
10:00     20/20

8:00        Undercover Boss (9/27)
9:00        Hawaii Five-O (9/27) – new night
10:00     Blue Bloods (9/27)

8:00        Dateline NBC
9:00        Grimm (10/25)
10:00     Dracula (10/25) Jonathan Rhys Meyers stars as Dracula, pretending to be an American in London.

8:00        MasterChef Junior (9/27)
9:00        Sleepy Hollow “encore”

8:00        The Carrie Diaries (10/25)
9:00        America’s Next Top Model (premiered way back early in August)

Anything you're looking forward to watching?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tuesday Quickie

Last night we went to the Bengals/Steelers game in Cincinnati. It was a late night, though we stayed with friends there and drove home this morning. Here are some scenes from before and during the game:

1 - Tailgating!
2 - Aaron and two of his best friends, Mike and Mike - and hey! you might recognize them from last week - and their wives Amy and Tracy (and yes, I made a costume change)
3 - I don't know how well you can see that girl's outfit but yes, she's wearing a short skirt and high heels. To go to a football game. (At least they're wedges and not stilettos...)
4 - Proof that we really were at the game. The Steelers lost, but we had a great time!

I also got a glimpse of my blog friend, Erin, who was working at the game but ran up to say hi. We didn't get to talk or take a picture, but it really did happen!

Today's fall TV info is that FOX premieres its Tuesday lineup tonight. Here's the scoop:

8:00 ET - Dads, a new show from Seth MacFarlane (of Family Guy and American Dad, only this one's not animated). Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi star as dudes whose fathers (Martin Mull and Peter Riegert) move in with them. Apparently they're going for an All in the Family vibe here, but I wonder if Carroll O'Connor might be rolling in his grave.

8:30 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine, stars Andy Samberg in a cop show that's actually a comedy (Barney Miller, anyone?). This looks funny and I'll be watching, especially because it also stars Andre Braugher, and I can't WAIT to see him in this comedic role as a police captain who also happens to be gay.

9:00  - New Girl returns.

9:30 - The Mindy Project is back. Both of these are shows that I started out watching but they just didn't stick with me as must-sees.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Weekend Wrapper Upper

I was a bad blogger this weekend and didn't take a lot of pictures, although honestly it was a low-key weekend for me. And that's just fine.

Friday we walked to the North Market for the Columbus Microbrew Festival. I looked at it as a job requirement. (Hahaha) We didn't even taste other breweries' offerings; we just stayed at the Columbus Brewing Company's tent, and Aaron ended up pouring beer for a couple hours. He loved it!

1, 2 and 3 - Scenes from inside the North Market.
4 - That's my brewery!
5 - View of downtown from the festival

Saturday was a mostly leisurely day for me. Did some laundry, watched some football and did a little research of the upcoming fall TV season. Later this week I'll have an intensive look at the new and returning shows. Most of the programs start the season next week, but tonight is the series premiere of Sleepy Hollow, which I'll check out (it's on FOX at 9 ET). Also tonight are the season premieres of Dancing With The Stars and Bones if you're a fan of either of those. Personally, I'm excited for the season finale of Under The Dome.

My favorite issue!

Sunday we sang at church and then volunteered for the Short North Home and Garden Tour. Our friends/neighbors Dru and Jeannie were on the tour this year so we hung out there and drank wine provided valuable information about the house and the neighborhood.

Tonight we're headed to Cincinnati for the Bengals/Steelers game! I'm very excited to see some friends and go to Paul Brown Stadium for the first time, although I'll be wearing enemy colors. Go Steelers!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Understanding Point Spreads

Last week I made reference to picking games against the spread (and last year I did a post about it here). I had some readers -- OK, one reader -- ask about how that works.

Warning – Math Ahead

**UPDATE: Now that I've typed all this out, I don't know that anyone will really "understand point spreads" after reading it. But read it anyway, pretty please!

First you need to find out what the spreads are for all the games (the spread is also called the line). You can Google "nfl spreads" and you'll find a lot. For our purposes, I'm using ESPN.

There are about five different sources, but they're fairly close. I'd say just make sure to use the same source on each game. Remember: THIS IS ALL JUST FOR FUN. So I've drawn around because that's the one I'm going to use.

So for last night's New England vs. NY Jets game, the line/spread was 11. You see that next to NYJ is +11 and next to NE is -11. That means New England was favored by 11 points. Another way to look at it is that the oddsmakers are saying New England will beat the Jets by at least 11 points.

When Aaron and I picked the game, he picked New England and I picked the Jets because an 11 point spread is pretty big, and it turns out I was right. While New England won, the score was only 13-10. They only won by 3 points, not 11, so I won the game. Another way to look at that (and to freak out my math-challenged friends) is that in our world, the final score was 13-21 in favor of the Jets. Or minus-2 - 10.

The next game shown above is Atlanta vs. St. Louis, and they're putting the line at 7 points, so if I pick Atlanta, they need to win by at least 7. Note that the lines change during the week. All that matters is the spread when you make your pick.

Last week for the first week of the season, here's how Aaron and I fared:

Not great, although since I won last night's game, we're currently even. And we already have a tie! Chicago was favored by 3 over Cincinnati and they actually won by 3, so it didn't matter who we picked.

I'll stress again: THIS IS ALL JUST FOR FUN.

I will not recommend or endorse gambling because bad things can happen, like your roommate who is a gambling addict doesn't pay the rent and gets you evicted. **This didn't happen to me but to someone very close to me who shall remain nameless.

On the other hand, you're all adults so you do what you want. But I know nothing.

Venus Trapped in Mars
Love, Fun & Fotball