Monday, February 28, 2011

Bear-ly Able to Watch... Cape Wrath, Scotland

I will be the first to admit that when I do occasionally get my hands on the TV remote, I force the dh to watch what I want. You know, skimpily clad gladiators, vampires, serial killers, men in kilts... It serves him right for all of the times he coerces me into watching every fishing, hunting, manly show under the sun. I'm sorry, but there are only so many times a gal can watch Alaskan crab fishing! Every episode is the same!

After being married for so many years, we read each other well. For instance, I will make him a nice dinner and say, "Do you mind if we watch...?" He usually caves. On the other hand, I'm more difficult to persuade. My son and daughter join in and we outnumber his vote, overthrowing the king's command. Due to our rallying efforts, it has influenced the dh to be much more creative.

One of his favorite shows is Man vs. Wild. Yep, I could not tear my gaze away when Bear Grylls drank his own urine the first or the second time and let's not talk about when he actually ate bear excrement. Any man that drinks his own man juice... *cringe* 

Anyway, the other night the dh says, "I taped something for you. I really thought you would like it. I think it was filmed in Cape Wrath, Scotland."

"Really?" I ask with excitement. "What was it?"

"Now before you say anything and roll your eyes, it was Man vs. Wild."

He has me cornered, knowing I'll watch anything about Scotland.

The show starts off with Bear jumping out of a helicopter, living in a life raft and then swimming to shore. Hey, this isn't so bad! The scenery is beautiful and it's Scotland. Wait, he realizes he's on the wrong island and must swim the channel. No big deal. Is that... a baby seal? He's not. Please tell me--he's not.

Pulling out his blade, he cuts the head from the seal. What is he doing? Oh, that explains it. He's making a baby seal wet suit to wear over his chest to protect him from the elements of the sea. Donning his stylish blood soaked skin; he swims the channel--not as shark bait. He made it. Mmm...

The remote scenery of Cape Wrath was breathtaking, but next time, I think I'll leave the Bear at home.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Olde Stonewall Castle

Who would've thought a castle was in your own backyard? More like an hour away, but close to home nonetheless.

The clan and I ventured to Ellwood City, PA to Olde Stonewall Castle and Shakespeare's Restaurant and Pub over Valentine's Day weekend. As if this historical author would pass up an opportunity to wander around a castle!

Sitting upon 269 acres and actually known for its golf course, Olde Stonewall was rated as one of the top 50 places to play golf in the USA. For me, the only interest I have in the sport is the miniature kind. I don't think dunking the ball into the treasure chest would quite fit in here.

Imposing wooden doors that are 12-feet high and weigh 800 pounds have matching intertwined gargoyle door handles. Once you enter the fortress, a 6-foot knight-in-shining-armor greets you in the entryway. Envisioning yourself in the 16th century, clouds are depicted upon the ceilings with medieval chandeliers casting their mystical glow. The owner has antiques displayed in corner nooks and along the walls, mostly which are imported from Spain.

Shakespeare's Restaurant and Pub has a delightful medieval theme. The waiters and waitresses dress in peasant tops--although no kilts are donned--to add to the European atmosphere. Hanging in the main dining room, chandeliers were recovered from former churches in the Pittsburgh area and restored. The food is outstanding and the choices vary from sandwiches to prime rib and lobster. The price fits anyone's budget.

The elevator takes you to the second floor which also boasts several antique rugs and medieval weaponry. Period pictures are also displayed in several additional banquet rooms.

Unfortunately, we did not get the chance to roam outdoors due to the weather, but there is a 20-foot oval water fountain and a flower garden in the back of the castle. We will definitely be returning in the summer months to enjoy the outdoors.

When Scotland is so far away, why not enjoy a Sunday drive to a castle that's so close to home?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Valentine's Day Special--Worst Date Ever

We've all had them. Dates from hell.

In lieu of Valentine's Day, I thought it would be fun to share some torturous moments that all of us are forced to endure--dating. God help you if you are in the dating pool with the sharks and cads. What ever happened to men actually wooing a woman? We used to ask, "Did you kiss him on the first date?" Can anyone actually remember that? In today's world it's, "Did you sleep with him on the first date?" Are you freaking kidding me? No woo... no can do!

Prior to meeting my wonderful dh of 21 years, I had some winners. I'm hoping someone can top me!

I double-dated (aren't those the best?) with a friend of mine and a 'college boy,' only to be taken to a cemetery in the dark hours of the night. Mmm... maybe if I was Bella and the guy looked even remotely close to Edward or Jacob.

Another date I had was with a man who worked at Daily's. When we found out we had absolutely nothing in common, he proceeded to instruct me the entire time on the different products Daily's made. You know, orange juice, popsicles. Yes, let's talk about popsicles and all of the different flavors offered for two hours straight! Yikes!

So I'm attending a really nice dinner and having a reasonable conversation with a seemingly normal guy. Bill comes. "I don't have my wallet." Kill me now.

While I'm ranting, let's go back 'several' years. Prom Night. My 'escort' popped an entire box of No Dose and was ill the entire night. I managed to have a good time by myself, but seriously.

And the best for last... I'm in college. Far away from home. Made a few friends and this is my first college date. He drops me off and is sitting in my living room. He wipes the sweat from his brow and starts to look unwell. "Victoria, there's something I must tell you." Casting me a serious look, he grabs my hand. "I worship the devil. If you want, I can bring him here right now." Pulling out Runes from his pocket, he tosses them on my table.

How could I possibly make this up? Care to share your worst date ever?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Stairway to Seven

I know. What does historical romance have to do with sports? Absolutely nothing.

Where will you be this Sunday when the Steelers make football history (again)? Rest assured that this gal will have her butt parked in front of the TV cheering on her favorite hometown team.  

You could actually feel the excitement in the air in downtown Pittsburgh this week. Between pep rallies in Market Square, Black and Gold Day, Terrible Towels and Steeler mania, Steeler Nation was heard loud and clear. In fact, shh... can you still hear it?

We had lots of laughs at the day job. Food was plentiful and camaraderie was in abundance. Our boss found it amusing that the following document was presented to him this afternoon from the department.

* * *
Official "Won't-Be-In-On-Time" Permission Slip

In celebration of the Pittsburgh Steelers appearance in Super Bowl XLV, I hereby request permission to report late for work on Monday, February 7, 2011.

I plan to join the entire Steeler Nation by participating in the following activities on Super Bowl Sunday:

1.  Shop for appropriate Steelers attire to wear all day and night on Super Bowl Sunday
2.  Stop by the nearest Giant Eagle to stock up on all Steelers essentials (chipped ham, jumbo, etc.)
3.  Listen to "The Pittsburgh Steelers Polka" and other Steelers songs on the radio
4.  Tune into pre-game TV broadcasts and laugh at the stories showing the dirty, smoky city of yesteryear, knowing Pittsburgh doesn't look like that anymore
5.  Wave the Terrible Towel throughout the Super Bowl player introductions or until my arm gets tired
6.  Chant "Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go" non-stop, beginning at noon
7.  Consume large quantities of pierogies, kielbasa, Heinz products and IRON CITY

All of these things will tire me out and make it necessary for me to come in late on Monday.

Boss, I appreciate your cooperation in this important matter and sincerely thank you for your understanding that my heart belongs to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Go Black and Gold!!   

Come on folks! Who's cheering with me for the Pittsburgh Steelers?