Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Turkey cake and stuffing
Originally uploaded by Mike F.
As you can see, we'll be eating turkey and turkey cake. Not a bad deal!

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving. If you read this and are not from the US, have a great Thursday!

I plan on eating as little as possible until we go to my mom's for dinner. Unfortunately, I have to work during the day and some food is going to be supplied. I have to show some willpower, of which I have none. I better wear the stretchy pants tomorrow. Maybe the rest of the week, too.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Weekend Assignment #293: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

At least in the stores it is. So far we still have green grass. Let's hope it stays that way for a while.

Karen's assignment this week is about the holidays and when they start for us.

Weekend Assignment: #292: Halloween is behind us, Thanksgiving ahead, and Christmas advertising has begun. So how about it? When do the holidays begin for you? Do you avoid thinking about Christmas and Hanukkah until after Thanksgiving, or is any time after Halloween okay? Is it time for Christmas lights in your neighborhood, and do the neighbors agree with you? How about Christmas music? When does that become okay, if ever?

I'm not a huge fan of Christmas decorations going up in the stores right after Christmas. It has nothing to do with the fact that Thanksgiving isn't here yet, or that it contributes to the commercialization of Christmas. I don't care about that. I just hate that it makes me stressed out thinking I have less time to get presents. True, Jenn does most of the shopping now, but I'm a last minute shopper, so I don't want to think that last minute is here already. Does that make any sense? Sure, you could say that the decorations up early would remind me to go shopping so I'm not doing it on the last minute, but that's just stupid. Once I realize I have a month-and-a-half until Christmas I just forget about it until the next time I go into the store. That's why I avoid stores from now until December 22nd. It's easier on my heart.

What was the question again?

Oh, yeah. I have noticed people put up lights on their house, but they aren't turned on yet. Here in the Midwest you put them up when the weather is nice. That way when you go to turn them on and they don't work when it's cold and snow, you can say that at least you made an attempt.

And Christmas music? Well, that's playing here on the local "Christmas" station. They started last week, which is a little late for them. I want to say they started right after Halloween last year, but it might have seemed that way. I'm not against Christmas music this early. My problem is there is not enough good Christmas music to start this early. Unless you want to repeat the same thing every day, you need to dig deep into the Christmas music bin. When you are dragging out Christmas music sung by cats or dogs, you need to have a better plan.

Extra Credit: Have you bought any holiday presents yet? If not, when do you think you'll start?

Actually, we have bought a few gifts. We bought a Wii due to a special sale, and we picked up a few games today because of a sale. We are out of control! Jenn is going to his some stores on Black Friday. I'll be asleep. I mean, keeping an eye on the kids!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Trying to sleep here

Trying to sleep here
Originally uploaded by Mike F.
Doesn't Cruise's head look freakishly small here? I know it's the angle that I took this shot from, but still, it looks weird.

This is his, "Can you keep the key clicking down? I'm trying to sleep" look. Jenn is in Tampa this week for a work thing so I took the time off to keep an eye on the kids. Somebody has to, right?

So, I'm trying to catch up on NaNoWriMo. I'm quite behind, and I don't expect to make the 50,000, but I'm over 12,000 now. I'm pretty happy about that. This month started off poorly due to work, and illness in the household. hat's my story and I'm sticking to it. I hope I can get halfway to 50,000. That would make me happy. Hey, it's my first time! Don't give me that look.

Now I need to go clean up so I can get the kids at school.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ellipsis Monday Photo Shoot #63:Downtown

This week Carly wanted us to take shots of our downtown area. Even though I live in a suburb, we have a decent downtown area. We have a several large buildings and hotels, but they are not all that close together. I could have gotten a shot with all of them, I think.

I had a good plan for this week's assignment. I knew where I wanted to go to get a shot or two of the downtown area in my town. Unfortunately, when I had the free time from work I was sick. But, I did get something!

But, I did get these in the outskirts of the downtown area. For some reason we have a little Helistop right in the middle of town. I've only seen it used a few times, but still, it's neat to have it.

To cheat a little and show you what I mean, he is a shot I took a few weeks ago coming into town. You can see a couple of the larger buildings. (Sorry, Carly. I had to sneak in an archived photo.).

Now, go check out the rest at Carly's site.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Weekend Assignment #292:The Oldest thing

This week Karen wants to know what kind of old stuff we have in our houses. It's kind of like that show where you find old stuff in your house and hope it's going to make you a millionaire. That's not going to happen here.

Weekend Assignment: #292: What is the oldest thing in your house or apartment?

By far the oldest thing in our house is one of my coins. I'm not a big collector, but I have a few things I've picked up since I was a kid. A few I got through the mail, but most of what I have I got through the regular money circulation channels. I used to wait tables, that is the best way to get a lot of change. Especially when you work in a restaurant that caters to old people. It was not unusual to get a tip of 78 cents. At least this was the before people had easy access to tip calculators, I probably would have been given pennies cut in half if that were the case.

Anyway, my oldest coin is a 1895 Indian Head Penny. As you can see, it has seen better days; about 41,600, or so. Exciting isn't it? Imagine, this coin has gained about 5000 percent in value since it was made. Of course, since the value started at 1 cent it's not that big of a deal. I wish I had a ten dollar bill laying around that had gained the same value.

As I was looking through the coins I have, I found some I had forgotten about. Don't worry, I won't bore you with the all of them. I found a few from other countries that I forgot I had. I have some from Israel, Mexico, Sweden, Italy, and the tiniest coin from the Netherlands. Look how small this is compared to our old giant silver dollars.

Isn't it cute? It's like a tiny baby coin. Can you imagine carrying around those tiny things and trying to find it in your pocket to buy a Coke?

Extra Credit: Is there anything from your childhood that you've managed to hang on to all these years?

I have a lot of things from my childhood at my mom's house. The kids have brought a few of them over here. My son had brought my old Star Bird spaceship toy home a long time ago. I loved that thing as a kid.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Originally uploaded by Mike F.
This is what happens when you go to pour dog food out of a giant container and the lid isn't secure.

Jenn decided this was something she had to take a picture of. Obviously I was the one who made the mess, but I blame the dogs for needing to eat. And the maker of the dog food container. I'll take about 10 percent of the blame. Sounds about right.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Weekend Assignment #291: It didn't work

I don't like when things don't work. I get very angry when I spend my time putting something together and it doesn't work. Especially since it takes me ten times longer than the average person to put anything together. Much like Peter Brady, I'm not mechanically inclined. Karen wants to dredge up bad feelings in this week's assignment:

Weekend Assignment: #291: Sooner or later, everyone buys, is given or otherwise acquires something that just doesn't work as expected. Tell us about that useless, broken, fraudulent, glitchy, disappointing acquisition.

Extra Credit: Did you eventually end up with something that worked?

I had some trouble coming up with a good story for the week. I know I've had many things not work, but I couldn't come up with anything good. I have several examples of kid's toys that didn't work as advertised. (When did Hot Wheels stuff becomes so poorly made?) But, nothing of mine; until I looked into the yard. Then the anger flowed back into my memory banks.

A few years ago I bought a new lawn mower. I won't mention the brand, let's just call it a "Zorro." I bought the new Zorro because the lawn mower I had was a little old and didn't cut very well. Or run very well. So, I brought home the box that the Zorro was in and set out the parts. There weren't many things to put together, just the handle and maybe the wheels. I think that is right.

I checked the instructions to see what needed to be added to make it run. All it said to do was put gas and add the oil that came in the box. No problem I can do that. I think I was done and ready to go in 20 minutes. I was feeling good about myself. Now it was time to cut grass and try the sucker out.

I pulled the handle to get the motor purring. No dice. I expected that, though. The thing was brand new and I expected it to be a bit difficult to start. Pull again, and again, and again. Each pull was raising my blood pressure a little higher. Not because of exertion. I can't remember how many times I pulled that stupid cord, but it did start eventually, but it didn't stay running. No, why would a brand new Zorro start and stay running on the first day? That's silly.

I don't know how long I kept working at it, but I eventually gave up and used the old mower. The one that didn't cut well or run well, ran better than the new Zorro. I was not a happy camper.

I can't remember now how I figured out the cause of problem. But it boiled down I followed the directions. See, for whatever reason, there was already oil in the mower. I over-filled it and messed it up. It had about double the amount of oil it should and it wouldn't run properly. I was able to get some out and get it going eventually (not the same day of course) but I was still ticked off. My guess is, someone bought it and put the oil in and returned it, though I could be wrong. Maybe the company was trying to screw with me.

This is why I need a handy man to live in our shed. It would make my life much easier.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ed Grimley's love child on Dancing with the Stars?

Look at this clip of Aaron Carter on Dancing with the Stars, especially at the 30 second mark.

Now, let's look at Ed Grimley dancing.

The resemblance is uncanny!

That's all I have for you today. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chocolate, running and family

Last Sunday I ran in the Hot Chocolate 15K/5K in Chicago. I think Jenn had found out about this race last year after it was already over, but we knew we wanted to do it this year. Who wouldn't want to run in a race that has hot chocolate, chocolate fondue and candy bars after the race. You'd be crazy not to!

Turns out,  A LOT of people thought the same thing. Last year I heard they had a bout 2500 people. This year it was about 12,000. Maybe more. I don't know if they expected it top be this big, but I had some concerns after the sixth e-mail letting us know about a change in the parking, packet pick-up, more parking issues, etc. I was concerned this had grown too big, too fast and was going to be a logistical nightmare.

I went with their plan of parking at Navy Pier and taking a shuttle they set up over to Montrose Harbor. I don't know that area well, not that I know much of the downtown area well, but I guess there is not a whole lot of parking in that area. After the 5th e-mail warning me that this parking lot would fill up quick, Jenn told me I should leave around 5:30am to get there and get a spot. Good thing we changed the clocks back that night! Let me tell you one thing, I had thought about not going. I really thought this was going to be a complete disaster. I had visions of standing around and not being able to get to the race, of chocolate running out, and lack of porta-potties. I'm not sure what I was more worried about. Probably the chocolate. But, I went anyway and it was mostly due to the fact that I was meeting my second cousin there.

I should back up here. See, I've never met my second cousin, Kristina. I know, you are wondering why that could be, especially since we lived close by, heck we went to the same high school for one year after mine closed down. I know! I know! Let me explain, okay? So, she is my dad's cousin's daughter. Got that? But, since my mom and dad divorced when I was very (I mean very) young, I never lived with him so I didn't get to see a whole lot of his family. Except the closest relatives of course. I didn't know where she lived. I didn't know she was in my school. I just didn't know.

Anyway, back to the present day. See, there is this thing called Facebook. You may have heard of it. Jenn and I have a friend on there who Kristina is also a friend of, she saw something Jenn wrote on our friends wall, let's call her Jenny, since that is her name, and she reached out to Jenn. Then, after many messages back and forth we set up to meet at this race.

It wasn't easy. She was coming in from Wisconsin(!) and meeting a friend and then taking the "L" in. Of course, there was a problem so she was delayed and didn't get there until after the race already started. So, after I finished she texted me and let me know when she was done, but I was in the longest line ever to pick up my gear, then we finally met there and met up with her friends. (It was actually a little more difficult, but I decided to spare you some of the details.) The extra funny part was that I went to school with two of her friends that she brought. Weird, but cool!

We all talked for a little bit, her friends asked how the heck we never met, then we had to part ways to go back home. I'm sure she wanted to go to sleep since she was up at 2 am to get there. much crazier than me getting up at 5. We are planning on getting together for another race in December. This time Jenn is going to come, and hopefully we can get some lunch, or something.

So, back to the race. The line at Navy Pier was long, but once they started getting some extra busses running, it was okay. There definitely was plenty of room at the race site for all the people. I don't know how the chocolate supply was since I only ran the 5K and people were still running when I left. Oh, and there were plenty of porta-potties, too. I know you were on the edge of your seats for that news. Overall, it was fun. I'm glad I went, though I didn't need any more chocolate in my life one day after Halloween.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Full moon tonight, you know what that means.

Full moon tonight
Originally uploaded by Mike F.
It's crazy day! Good this this didn't happen on Halloween. How would I figure out who was a real werewolf from a kid in a costume?

Blogging may be a little light this month. I'm doing something a little crazy, otherwise known as NaNoWriMo. I'm a glutton for punishment, what can I say?

I will be back soon to tell you about this weekend's race. It's a good story. Really!