Saturday, February 28, 2009

Portrait of a blogger

Portrait of me by my son
Originally uploaded by Mike F.
My son drew this picture of me the other day. It's not too bad. He got the glasses and the hat. Though, if you noticed, the hat says "Rust" on it instead of "Rush". Is it a spelling error, or is he making an old man joke?

Friday, February 27, 2009


Yesterday Jenn called me around 2:45pm, while I was at work, and said school had called and she had to pick up our daughter. She didn't eat lunch and she said she wasn't feeling good. Never a good thing, right? Well, Jenn started to get suspicious after she got to school. Daughter seemed a little too happy to see mommy. She didn't want to be picked-up and carried as she normally does when she is sick. But, at this point, we were both willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.

It didn't stay that way for real long, however. Jenn was trying to get things done for work but our daughter was too busy running around and playing. She didn't mention anything about being sick again until the topic ofschool was brought up. Jenn sent me a text message at one point that asked how a less-than-five-year-old can be such a conniver. So, either something happened at school, or she just doesn't feel like being there.

This morning she was fine until I was trying to walk out of the classroom. Not a good feeling for me, but I was getting a little irritated because I know she is playing me. Hopefully this will pass in a day or two. Being the weekend, I'm sure she will be okay by tomorrow no matter what. We are confused as to what to do about this. Do we make some kind of deal with her? Do we tell her she can't go to ice skating if she doesn't cooperate. To be honest, I don't know if either will work. Heck, she was ready to go to the doctor yesterday to get a shot for some phantom illness because it would only hurt for a minute and then she'd be able to stay home. This girls is either going to be an actor or a con artist.

The funny thing about this is I remember doing something like this back in kindergarten. We had a major test on skipping. Yes, skipping, as in skipping down the street like Dorothy, or something. It was a motor skills thing, and I had been practicing in the the basement all weekend. Then, when the time came to perform with the class, I couldn't do it. I was too klutzy. I think I might have fallen down, I'm not positive. So, when my mom came by to check on me in the gym (she used to volunteer there) I started crying. She asked if I was okay, if my stomach still hurt like it did when I went to school. I lied and said yes, just so I could go home. On the ride home, as I lay on the bench seat (who needs booster seats, or seat belts?), my mom informed me that I was not going to be able to play with my friend if my stomach hurt. She knew I was faking it. I don't remember anything after that, but I do know how to skip now. I think. It's been a while.

So, yes, my daughter has picked up another skill of mine. Great. We are in so much trouble as she gets older.

Have a hop-skipping weekend.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The big 4-0(h, boy)

Well, it's official; I'm old. No longer can I pretend that college wasn't all that long ago, or that maybe the high school kids I see walking around won't think I'm an old man, or I still have enough time to get better at golf to join the PGA tour. (I still might have time for The Champions Tour). Time to put away the Rollerblades so I don't break a hip. I have to remember not to try the kid's skateboards when the get a little older. I can't expect to drink a lot of beer and not feel miserable for the next day or two.

Now is the time to update my iTunes library. I need to get rid of Metallica, Megadeth, Iron Maiden, Anthrax, Queensryche and Swap in some Lawrence Welk and Glen Miller. Okay, maybe I'm going a little too far. They guys in the bands I listed are older than me, so I guess I'm fine there.

Do I feel any different? No, but when I was a kid I never thought I'd get here. Remember when you were in grade school, and how old all your teachers seemed? Most of them weren't 40 and they seemed old. Then you'd have one or two teachers that were in there 50's and they seemed ancient. Now, that is me. It's funny, many times when I go pick up the kids at school I feel like I'm too young to be there; too young to have kids in school. Then I look around and notice most of the parents are younger than me. Heck, the principal just had his birthday and he is only 20 years older than me. A principal should be at least 40 years older than me, or so it seems. I guess what I'm trying to say is, I don't feel old. That's a good thing, right?

I was thinking of old birthday memories the other day. I was telling my son how I had the chicken pox on (I think) my eight birthday. He asked me what I did for my birthday and he seemed disappointed that I just had the neighbor kids over for some pizza and watched some movies. I didn't tell them the movies were on a projector and screen. I didn't want to blow his mind with the ancient-ness of that technology.

My 16th was kind of interesting. My mom and step-dad were divorced, or in the process of getting divorced, so I wasn't really expecting anything. After school my friend, who was a grade behind me, asked if I could come over to help him with some math homework. So, being the good guy I was, I went to help him out. Then we went back to my house for dinner. (We had dinner at each other's house quite a bit). When I got there, about five other friends were there to surprise me. I really didn't expect it. I don't remember much else about the party, except that I got Journey Frontiers on cassette. I listened to that a lot back then.

My next big birthday was my 21st. Do we really want to talk about it? It's kind of blurry anyway. I remember going out with some friends to a bar (duh), cracking my head on a small table by the dart boards, having a shot called a Gorilla Fart, almost losing it after that shot, and going around to people's rooms asking for Pepto-Bismol. Somewhere in there I was recorded by my friends as they asked me where Jimmy Hoffa was buried, and while I played harmonica in the hallway at around 2am. Good times.

I think the last time I got together with friends was for my 30th. I think we all met at my house and went to the bar up the street to see a Rush tribute band. Speaking of which, I see they still play around here, though it doesn't seem anybody that was in the band when I saw them is still in the band.

Still, I think my 40th has been the best so far. Sure, I'm working today, but I got to go out to San Diego with Jenn and have a fun, relaxing time. That's the kind of thing us 40 year-olds need. Am I right? Another thing we need is this:

My daughter picked this out for me. She is either going to be in advertising, or be one of those ladies that has a ton of junk in there house. She can recite almost any commercial. Sigh, she is just like me. I feel sorry for her.

I think iTunes has been reading my post. Some songs it has chosen: Creeping Death, Rest in Piece, My Last Words, Among the Living. No, I'm not kidding.

Now, If you will excuse me, I need to go to Walgreen's to buy the reading glasses that are a requirement to be in the 40 and over club.

(Edit to add): I almost forgot, I wanted to say Happy Birthday to Maurissa. Jenn used to work with her and I think she still reads this.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Weekend Assignment #256: Tax Time

This topic makes sense. By this time we should have all of our tax materials and, on top of that, Karen is an accountant.

Weekend Assignment #256: Tax time for individuals in this country starts in late January when the tax forms arrive, and runs through April 15th or so when the tax return is due. Do you file your taxes as soon as possible, at the last minute, or somewhere in between? Is there a particular reason for this?

Let me start by saying we don't do our own taxes. I know that there is software out there that makes it so easy a child could do it, but I know I'll mess up something. I don't want to go to jail. I'm too fragile. Either that, or I'll end up missing out on some good exemptions. We all need every exemption we can get.

A friend of my brother is an accountant, so he does it for us. For a long time we were the typical dual-income-no-kids type people who would get screwed every year. We had a mortgage, but it was on a relatively in-expensive town house out in the suburbs. It didn't off much of a tax shelter. Neither did our dog. So, every year we would wait until the last possible minute to drop off that check.

After our son came along we had adjusted our exemptions enough that we owed very little, and shortly after that, we bought a house, so we finally started getting money back. However, we still have mailed in that late the last two years. Why would we do that you ask? Well, both times we told our friend we want it direct deposited in our account and filed electronically. So, by the time we got the finished papers in the mail from him, we didn't look at them closely. Until we noticed we weren't getting our money and my brother already did. So we had to rush to put everything together to get it to the post office. Two years ago I actually called the IRS to see if they had received our forms. I was kind of nervous calling them. I guess we all have a fear of the IRS, don't we? Adding that to the fact that we were in the last group to get stimulus checks last year and, well, last year wasn't a great tax year. Let's hope this year is better, right?

Extra Credit: Who actually does your taxes, and with what software or other resources, if any?

Oops. I answered the extra credit in the main post. I hope it still counts.

When do you file your taxes?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sleeping on the couch

No, I'm not in trouble with Jenn. I would have titled that, "In the Doghouse," or, more likely, I wouldn't talk about it at all. I've been sleeping on the couch because I have the annoying cold that is circulating around the Internet. No, I'm serious. Half the people I follow on Blogger, Word Press, Twitter, or Facebook are sick. Maybe it's some kind of new biological weapon that's being sent out by some nefarious government. No? Okay, either way, I've felt lousy for a while and now I'm at the point where, when I lay down, I start coughing. It is very irritating. This is the part of a cold that I hate the most. I'm exhausted, I go to bed early to get some rest, and then I start coughing 20 minutes later. Usually just after I fall asleep. So, I've been going downstairs to sleep on the couch where I can sleep in an upright position. It seems to help a bit. As an added bonus for Jenn, I'm not coughing in her ear. No matter what people might say, that is not romantic at all.

What I'm trying to say, is that I have a good reason why I've been slacking a little bit here. I'm planning to go back to daily blogging. I know you are all excited about that.

Anyone watch the Oscars? For those of you following me on Twitter, I'm sorry. I was bored and I couldn't stop typing stuff. I hope I didn't fill your feed up with too much garbage. Jenn said I was being a little mean at times, but it was all meant in fun. Sarcasm is hard on Twitter. I will say that it was a change of pace for the Oscars. Maybe not necessarily a nice change, but it was a little different. They could have cut out the second musical number, and maybe have only two people present awards to the actors. Since they had five people it made it seem like those awards were so much more important than the others. Don't you think?

I took this picture of my daughter's bed today. The cleaning lady was just here and made it up nice and set all her animals up.

It's a good thing she is small. Look, Clifford is even trying to get out and get some space.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ellipsis Monday Photo Shoot #25: Birds

Carly is in the mood for some birds this week:

Flying BIRDS. Nesting BIRDS. Gooney BIRDS. Looney BIRDS. Real BIRDS. Stuffed BIRDS, both the toy and the sustenance. BIRDS with winter plumage, BIRDS taking a bath. BIRDS and their babies. BIRDS all alone. BIRDS in their houses. Red BIRDS. Black BIRDS. Bald BIRDS. BIRDS on a wire. Real BIRDS. Fake BIRDS. BIRDS.

Unfortunately, there aren't many birds in my area at this time of year. Occasionally I will see some geese, but I didn't have time to go to the areas where they congregate. But, we do have plenty of toy birds in our house.

My daughter really wanted this stuffed penguin a couple of years ago.

Also, don't many people call airplanes birds? Well, how about the Blue Angels?

I don't have any pictures for the extra credit. I don't know the difference between a snow egret and a snow leopard. Go check out Carly's blog for the other entries this week. There might be some pictures of actual birds there.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

No sleep 'til Sunday

I'm halfway through my second-to-last midnight shift, which is good, I don't think I can take much more. If there is one thing worse than working the midnight shift it is working the midnight shift with a cold. Then the fun part starts when you get in bed to go to sleep and immediately start coughing. Good times!

Yesterday, after my shift, I went to my daughter's preschool class for Dad's and Donuts day. It was fun, but let me tell you, when the teacher was reading us a story I almost fell asleep. I could have curled up on the little carpet there and slept until it was time for the kids to go home. It would have been perfect. Instead I went home and coughed in bed for 3 or 4 hours. I'm pretty sure I slept a little bit; at least I'm not hallucinating yet.

Guess what we have going on tonight and into tomorrow? A winter storm! Woo! I'm so terribly excited. I think I need to go out and find that groundhog and have a little talk with him. I think I can persuade him to change his forecast. Groundhogs have kneecaps, right? (Sorry, PETA).

I forgot to record the last Conan O'Brien show. I haven't watched his show a whole lot, but I wanted to see it. Did anyone watch it? Anything special, or fun about it? Did Bette Midler sing to him?

Last night I was watching one of the MST3K episodes from the 20th anniversary set while I was at work. (There can be some down time in the middle of the night). I had to turn it off at one point because I was laughing too hard. I thought the people around me were going to thing I was losing my mind. The same thing happened when I was watching a different episode on the airplane. Luckily, one guy was sleeping and the other guy had on some giant noise-canceling headphones. I've never tried those headphones. I wonder if you feel totally isolated from the outside world; like you are in some kind of sensory deprivation chamber but only deprived of outside sounds. I can't imagine eating chips or pretzels with those on. I don't want to hear myself chew. Anyway, if you don't have the 20th anniversary MST3K set, you need to get it. I mean it.

Okay, I need to do some work. Have a good day. Hope you have nicer weather than we do.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Google must think I am an idiot

Every single time I try to search something in Google I spell one, or all, of the words wrong. At this point they should start every search request off with, "Did you mean blank?" (Obviously the word 'blank' would be filled in with something properly spelled. But you know that already). I'm usually not a terrible speller, just when I type in that tiny window in the upper corner of Firefox. Why is that? Maybe I have trouble typing things in the periphery of my vision? Who knows.

Well, as you might be able to tell by the above paragraph, I am on the midnight shift again this week. My focus tends to be a little off on this shift. I tend to ramble a bit more, usually in a nonsensical manner. Really though, is there any other way to ramble? Back in college one of my friend's dubbed me the midnight idiot. Almost every night while watching Letterman my brain would just switch into dumb-ass mode and I would stop making sense. Or, I would just laugh at everything. Actually, I'm still kind of the same way now, which is why I was sitting here a while ago cracking up at MST3K. I had to turn off my iPod so people wouldn't think I was a nut. They probably think that anyway.

What's my point with this post? I don't know. Let me know if you found one. I'm too tired.

What time does your brain shut off? It's okay to admit it. We are all friends here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Weekend Assinment 255: Two Centuries Later

I missed out on Karen's last assignment because I was all messed up last week after our trip. Now I'm back. Before I go on to this week's assignment, I want to mention something about last week's. The assignment was do-overs and what would day would you want to re-live. This was inspired by the movie Groundhog Day. So, my thought was, I want to re-live the day I saw that movie. That way it would be some weird, endless loop that would probably destroy the universe as we know it. Cool, huh?

Okay, back to this week. Karen's assignment is as follows:

Weekend Assignment #255: Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin were born on the same day, two hundred years ago this week. Both went on to propound ideas that had a lasting effect on the world around us. Have either of them had a particular impact on you personally?

This is pretty easy for me. See, growing up in Illinois you have no choice but be reminded about good old Abe Lincoln and how much he meant to our country. Usually this involves a filed trip to Central Illinois to see some log cabins he may have lived in at one time. Also, there is no way one can get through school without doing some kind of report on Abraham Lincoln. I don't remember when I did one, but I know I did. Heck, our slogan is "Land of Lincoln."

I wonder if anything is going to change since Obama is from Illinois. Obviously, a lot depends on how well Obama does as a president. I think it will take a lot to push Lincoln out of the minds of Illinoisans. I could be wrong though.

Now, about Darwin; I'm not saying he wasn't important to me, it's just that being in Illinois it's hard to beat out Lincoln for popularity. Darwin was very important for the scientific community, in my opinion. I know there has been some debate recently about evolution in some states. I don't get it. I don't know why some states want to go backwards in science. Don't even get me started on Creationist Museums. People living along side dinosaurs? Really? I don't want to get too deep into this right now. You can go to Phil Plait's blog and see many arguments he has on it. He's a scientist and can do much better job arguing for me.

Extra Credit: Where do you rank Lincoln on your personal list of greatest U.S. presidents?

Oh, boy. Top five, at least I never really thought about it that much.

What about you? Who is more important to you?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Winter Vacation: Part Deux - Electric Boogaleux

Where did I leave off...

Before I get into day two I need to mention something I forgot about day one, also known as Saturday. When we were eating breakfast at the hotel we saw somebody that we know, or seemed familiar, or something. We know he is an actor, and we have seen him on some show, but we are still not sure which show. We tried searching on Google, but nothing comes up when you type, "some guy on some show we have seen some time in the last few years." Someone needs to design a search engine that can do those types of searches.

On Sunday we decided to eat a light breakfast in our room. The person serving us probably thought we were a little strange. Who orders Frosted Flakes with bacon and toast? Even if it is part of a complete breakfast! Sadly, this was no cheaper than eating a full breakfast in the restaurant.

Since it was a much sunnier day than Saturday, we spent much more time walking on the course. The breeze was a little chilly, but it was still nice. We realized just how big the golf course was since we were able to walk around without fear of being drenched. I'm still not sure we saw it all.

After walking around for a few hours we decided to go back to get some lunch at the lodge. Why spend nine dollars on a hamburger when you can spend nine dollars on a ham sandwich? That's my new motto. Granted, it was a good sandwich, but not nine dollars good.

This is where we became rule-breakers. We noticed that every time we walked onto the course nobody actually checked if we had a camera. So, we went back to the room and grabbed ours. I wasn't going to take a picture of any of the players on the course, I wanted to get some shots on the course after the tournament was over. Where's the harm in that? I did get this shot of Phil Mickelson signing some autographs after his round. I was still on the lodge grounds, so I wasn't afraid of getting taken down by security.

We decided the best way to watch the end of the tournament was to stand along the 18th hole and watch the people finish. It worked out pretty well. Jenn didn't even complain, even though I know she had to be very bored.

After the tournament ended we walked back towards the coastline to take a few pictures.

I don't remember the hole this was, but I liked the paragliders in the background. There were a lot of those out there all weekend. You wouldn't get me up there.

Here I got a little closer so you can see the guys flying.

This didn't turn out as well as I'd like. It looked pretty neat in real life but the sun made it tough to get the right brightness. I need a filter, or better photoshop skills.

I took this shot to try to give an idea on the size of the course. Those tiny trees in the background are on the course just very far away. There is a large depression the course is built around. It can be a lot of walking.

After all the walking, and picture taking, we went back to the lodge. It was close to dinner time, but we weren't very hungry, so we did what everyone should do on vacation, we went to the bar. We had a few drinks, watched it rain (again), and had some appetizers. The sun came out just before sunset and I was able to take this shot. It probably would have been better without the tents, but the tents were the reason we were there, so it works.

Finally, I took one last picture after night fell. I probably should have taken one of the lodge before the sun went down, but this is the best I have. You might want to turn the brightness up on your computer screen.

We packed and went to bed pretty early on Sunday since we had to get up at 4 am for our ride to the airport. Once again Jenn and I were separated on the plane, but we did get the rows with extra leg room. As an added bonus the neither of my row mates were coughing all over the place, but one lady was a little cranky. She didn't seem to like when I needed to use the bathroom. The flight was over three hours, it requires a potty break.

When we got home we were greeted to some nice posters the kids made and put on the front door. I forgot to take pictures of them. After a minimal debrief, Jenn's parents headed back to their house. I'm sure they were happy to get to their own quiet home. Before they left they mentioned they put some pop in the refrigerator in the garage. Uh oh, I thought, we don't have a fridge in the garage. We do have a freezer, though. I think the picture speaks for itself.

We didn't say anything as they were leaving. They just spent three days with the kids, there was no reason to tell them that they made a mess. Jenn did tell her mom the next day though, mostly because of the effort required to clean it all up.

Now, a week later I think I'm ready to go somewhere again. Our next trip is to Disney World in June; that might be a little different than this trip.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Our Winter Vacation: Part one

I know, I know; I've been home a week and I haven't written about the trip to San Diego yet. Now I know I shouldn't schedule myself to go back to work the day after I get back from a trip. It's hard to get back on track! Anyway, if you have clicked over to my Flickr page, you may have noticed some pictures there. I'm going to post them here, as well as a few others.

The story really starts before we even left for the airport. As a bit of back story, I should mention that the door on Jenn's car is having locking problems. It's locks just fine, but it doesn't like to unlock so, at times, you can get locked in the car. Cool trick, huh? I had planned not to take her car to the airport for that reason, not to mention the truck is too small for our two carry-on bags.

So, as Jenn was taking a shower, I took my car to get my haircut. I couldn't look as messy as I did on our trip; it wouldn't be right. As I pulled into the parking space, I turned the car off and took the key out of the ignition...or so I had planned. The key would not come out. In the past few days before this event, I had noticed the key sticking in the ignition and planned to look into it after our trip. Actually, Jenn had trouble getting out of the ignition a few days before when she used my car to drop the kids off at school. I almost forgot about that.

Anyway, as I jiggled, wiggled, and jangled the key trying to get it out of the ignition, I was quickly losing my temper. I swore at the car for a few minutes and finally left to go back home; I certainly wasn't going to leave the car with key in the ignition. Not to mention the fact that you can't lock the doors with the key in the ignition. As I was driving home, I was getting more irritated because I realized that I needed to put the car in the garage while we were gone. As I'm sure I've mentioned before, our garage has about enough room for half of a car, thanks to all the junk in there.

I went into the house, slammed a few doors, told Jenn what I was happened, and went in the garage to throw some things around to make room for the car. After about 20 minutes I cleared a path for the car and pulled it into the garage. As I got out of the car, I realized something. Can you guess? Yep, the key came out of the ignition. I was actually a bit more pissed at first. Then I had a plan. Maybe the key was worn too much? Maybe the valet key we never used would work? Sure enough it does, and still has.

One quick funny thing. As we left the house, after saying good-bye to the kids, the dog, and Jenn's parents, we pulled out of the driveway and headed down the street. All was fine until I realized I put the old key in the ignition again. I drove up the street, out of view of the kids watching out the window, then turned the car off. Luckily, the key came out. I switched back and we continued on to the airport. Phew!

I'll skip ahead past some minor details, since I seem to be going a bit long. Also, this may be a multi-part post.

On the plane, Jenn and I were in the very last two rows, each in the middle seat of our respective rows. Fun! The guys I was sharing the row with were fine, except one guy had a major cold. He was sneezing and coughing nearly constantly. But I will say this, he was very respectful about it. When he sneezed he turned away to the window, and did the same as he blew his nose. You don't see that courtesy on airplanes anymore. I feel bad for the person in the window seat on the next leg, though.

We didn't get to see anything on the night we got to San Diego. We took a cab (50 bucks!) to the lodge, checked in, ordered up some room service, and went to bed. Oh, were both a little ticked off by one thing. Why does the USA Network not have a west coast feed? We were planning to watch Psych at 10:00pm local time. We figured that would be the correct time for it out on the coast. No, it wasn't. We were not happy.

Our first full day, Saturday, was a little on the drizzly side. We got up early, thanks to still being on Chicago time, and got ourselves some breakfast, then headed out to the course.

This show was actually taken from a balcony at the lodge. We weren't allowed to bring cameras on the course. (More on that later). Even though it started off mostly sunny, it did rain quite a bit. One thing I noticed out there; you can see the rain coming from so far away, it's hard to judge when you are going to get wet. Hint: earlier than you think.

Since it was so rainy, we didn't stay on the course long that day. We walked over to the hotel next door to get some lunch. We had to branch out a little bit. At first it was really sunny when we went into the restaurant, so I was thinking we were missing out, then the clouds showed up and it started pouring. I did get a few shots before that happened though.

The second shot was through a window, if you couldn't tell.

That night we went out to dinner at Jack's Ocean Room in downtown La Jolla. We took an eco- taxi, which was a Prius, however the guy was gunning it so much that I don't think the electric motor ever kicked in. We also got to see a large tree blocking the main road through town on the way to Jack's. It seems they really did have a lot of rain in the week leading up to our trip. They couldn't have kept up the record heat for one more week?

After dinner we walked around the area and went to Powell's Sweet Shoppe (notice the 'e', it lets you know it is old fashioned) to see what we could find for the kids. Let me tell you, if you want a wide selection of Pez dispensers, this is your place. I didn't get a picture of them, but I did get some pictures of two things I found interesting, and appropriate.

The first was Over the Hill energy drink. I though it was a good find since we were celebrating my 40th birthday. A little early mind you; I'm not there yet.

The other was bacon flavored toothpicks, because, well, this is the Internet; where bacon rules all.

That is all for now; I'm sure you are bored enough. Tomorrow; more pictures, and words. Exciting, I know.

What happens when the snow melts and the dog comes in?


I wasn't paying attention when I let Quincy in, but I did hear Jenn cry out as he walked up to her. Oops. The good news is tile is easy to clean. The bad news is carpet is a little harder to clean.

I need to make some kind of foot bath for him to walk through as he walks into the house. Or, just never let him in the house until summer.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ellipsis Monday Photo Shoot #24: The Color Red

Carly picked an appropriate theme for this week, don't you think?

EMPS #24: The Color RED.
With Valentine's Day next Saturday, and February being Heart Health Awareness month, what better time to focus our attention, and camera, on the color RED. As always, feel free to step outside the box as far as interpretation goes. RED Beans & Rice, RED hearts, RED roses, RED dogs, a RED crayon, RED cream soda, RED meat, RED rubies, RED cars, RED clothing, Rhode Island RED chickens. You get the idea.

Extra Credit: Show me something Valentine's Day related that isn't RED!

I couldn't find a whole lot to photograph since we have no blooming flowers during February in my area. Here's what I have for this week.

Here is a shot of silicone spoon-type thing that doesn't quite fit in:

Since I was running out of red things, I took a picture of my son's multi-colored basketball. The red portion is centered, of course.

And, since it was Valentine's Day yesterday, I had to take a picture of a heart.

As for something Valentine's Day that isn't red, I give you one of my favorite Valentine's Day candy:

Go to Carly's blog and see the pictures other people have taken.

Friday, February 13, 2009

I ain't Supersitious

Hey, it's Friday the 13th! Lock your doors! Don't go out of the house. Don't even get out of bed. I recommend making a cocoon out of your blankets and staying there all day long. Okay!

A long, long time ago people used to be afraid of this date because of some dude in a hockey mask. It seemed he like to kill somewhat promiscuous young adults. If people would have thought about it back then, they would have realized they were safe if they were over 30 years old,or under 15, and not having sex. Wow! What a reason for abstinence, huh?

I'm not the superstitious type myself. I don't go out busting mirrors to tempt fate, or anything, I just don't concern myself with that stuff. I've walked under countless ladders and I'm fine. Except for that tiny dent in my head from the hammer that fell off of it, but that was due to negligence, not some otherworldly hand. What am I talking about? I really don't know. I started this post out intending to just ask people if they were superstitious and it got out of control. I can't stop!

The funny part about all of this is I was telling my son all day the other day to not open his umbrella in the school building. He asked me why and I almost said it was bad luck. No it's not! You don't open up an umbrella in the house, or other building, because you will probably poke someone's eye out. So, that's what I told him, though maybe in slightly different words.

Speaking of superstition, remember that Brady Bunch episode where they find the tiki and Greg almost drowns because of the power of the tiki? That was a great episode!

So, are there any superstitions you follow? Are you going to go see the new Friday the 13th movie?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Conversation hearts

What are your thoughts on them?

I like them. Sure, they are chalky, weird-tasting little things, but I could eat them all day. I usually eat all of the kid's candy hearts since they don't like them. More for daddy!

I think they are a fat-free food, too. See, they are healthy candies! Just like dark chocolate. And oranges. (Yes, I am a little delusional. Don't tell anyone).

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The big interview

Just before I left on vacation Florinda was doing an interview meme; it sounded like fun so I decided to try it. Here are my answers to her questions.

1. What hobby or pastime that you don't seem to have time for anymore would you like to start up again?

Jeez, tough one out of the gate. Even though I still do sometimes, I'd have to say golf. I only played 2 or 3 times last year. All that does is make you play worse, in my opinion. You get out there and think you might do okay, instead you hack around the course and get frustrated. This makes you think you should never play again, but when you remember that you used to play much better, you realize you need to play more. We'll see how this year goes.

2. List four of your all-time favorite songs, and one you would be happy if you NEVER heard again.

This is always hard for me. I have plenty of songs that I really like, but picking all-time favorites are tough. Let's see what happens.

One -- Metallica. Not sure why. Jenn finds the song very depressing.

The Good Don't Last -- Spock's Beard. The lyrics make me chuckle, and think, all at the same time.

The Trees -- Rush. It's really tough for me to pick a favorite from Rush. There are too many good songs to choose from.

The Preacher -- Kansas. A lot of energy in this song.

Now for a song I never want to hear again. This is harder than I thought.  Maybe China Girl by David Bowie? I don't know, it's too much pressure!

If you ask me this same question next month, some things might change.

3. What's on the menu for your last meal? (The foods can come from anywhere, and can be mixed - six different restaurants, your late grandma's kitchen, the school cafeteria, etc.)

Well, since it won't matter if I have major heartburn after this meal, let's go all out. I'll start with some lasagna, then my comfort food of fried bologna on toast and covered in cream corn, followed by a peanut buster parfait from Dairy Queen. I'll have a Mountain Dew Code Red to wash that all down. My stomach hurts writing this.

4. What is your most surprising talent or interest - the one that makes people say "I didn't know you (did/liked/knew)..."?

I kind of collect coins. I don't have anything really valuable, but I always check my change and still look out for certain things. I haven't bought anything in a long time. I don't have the spare money. I can also play drums. By that I mean I can keep a beat and look only slightly dorky.

5. If you didn't have to worry about earning a living at it, what kind of work would you want to do?

I'd like to do something creative. I don't know what specifically; writing, photography, you know, nothing that I'm actually good at. I wouldn't paint or draw though, unless someone is looking for some stick figure art.

There you have it. Interesting, huh?

So, now that we come to the end, the meme rules follow. If you want me to interview you, do the following:

Leave me a comment saying, "Interview Me." Please include your e-mail address if it is not in your profile.
I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the questions.)
You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Don't worry, no pressure if you don't want to do the meme. I'm not sure I could come up with good questions anyway!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Medical alert!

Alert! Blowing your nose is bad for you when you have a cold!


 Man, it is going to be gross at work if people pay attention to this. I think I'm going to take the next 2 months off.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Back home.

We're back home. I think it's going to be as warm here tomorrow as it was in San Diego. That's not fair.

We need to get everything under control back at the homestead. I'll be back with pictures and stories later tomorrow.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Going to California

We have a few things to do yet then we head to the airport to leave for San Diego. Let's hope we leave in time.

I don't know if I will be around much, though I will have my iPod and the hotel has WiFi; so we'll see what happens.

I'll leave you with this:

What is you favorite vacation spot? If you could go anywhere, where would you go?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Weekend Assignment #253: Roughing It

The guest professor this week is Florinda again. Yes, I am a slacker. We all know it. Anyway, this Weekend Assignment, over at Karen's, blog asks:

Weekend Assignment #253: You've got no electricity, no Internet, no phone, and no car for two whole days. What do you do with yourself?

I'd probably curl up in a ball, suck my thumb, and refuse to leave the house for two days. I mean, come on, no Internet? What am I supposed to do? Read something on a printed piece of paper? That is so 20th century.

I'm kidding of course. But, let's try no to let that happen, okay? Please?

First, I'm going to assume this doesn't happen in the dead of winter. That happened to me once and the house got down to the 40's before the power was restored. It wasn't pretty. I did read by the fireplace, though. I felt a little bit like Abraham Lincoln. (He was kind of a big deal to us Illinoisans). I didn't have the Internet to miss at that time, so that wasn't a big deal. The TV though; losing that was painful.

So, yes, I would probably read some things during the day. The newspaper first, to see if I can find out when the power is coming back on, then some books or magazines that are all over the house. I might even re-read something, especially if I get really bored.

Next, I'd have a pig-out session on all the frozen treats currently in the fridge. And maybe some that are not in the fridge. A man needs to keep his strength up in a time of crisis.

I guess I'd have to find something for the kids to do, too. I do think they'd be able to keep themselves entertained with their toys. My son would probably want to play with some of his Star Wars ships with me. I always end up being the bad guy. I'm not sure why. We'd probably play some board game at night, surrounding ourselves with flashlights and candles. It would be like we were at camp. I've never been to camp, so I'm just guessing on that part.

At night we could all sleep in the family room together. I think the kids would be to afraid to sleep on their own. The kids have sleeping bags, and Jenn and I could use some blankets from our bed. Yes, I know it is dark when they close their eyes, they don't seem to understand that it's no big deal to have no power when you are asleep. I don't get it either.

During the second day we would probably start hunting for food. There are plenty of squirrels in the yard at all times. I know it will only be two days, I just don't think we'd be able to hold off that long. I think our animal instincts would kick in after about 12 hours. Or, we'd just go insane. (Okay, it would be me only).

After the lights came on we'd do a little dance to the god of electricity then go to Chili's for dinner. The kids like their children's meals.

Extra Credit: What do you usually do in real life when an evening power shortage leaves you in the dark?

Usually we fumble around trying to find flashlights. Then we fumble around looking for batteries for the flashlights. They are always dead when we need them. If the kids are asleep already it is no big deal. If they are awake one of us will usually go up the bedroom with them until they fall asleep.

So what would you do in the dark for two days?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Ellipsis Monday Photo Shoot #23: Winter Days

From Carly's site:

It's winter, here in the northern hemisphere, but here in the San Francisco Bay Area, it was 80 degrees yesterday. What's a girl got to do to see some cold weather? Glad you asked. Your assignment for this week is to show me some WINTER DAYS in your neighborhood. Snow, rain, clear, yet icy conditions, bare trees, dead leaves, whatever accurately illustrates a WINTER DAY where you live.

Extra Credit: Show me the current temperature where you live. :)

I know I just posted last week's photo shoot but I need to get caught up with assignments before I go out of town. I don't want to get an incomplete on my report card. So, that means another post later tonight for Karen's weekend assignment.

What do winter days look like here in Chicago? Well, two things came to mind for me right away: Ice and salt. Every car I see looks like it has been covered in a fine ash from a recent volcano explosion. See:

I know it is kind of hard to tell from this photo, but the color of the car is called Ruby Red. It doesn't look like that, does it?

Usually on most houses, especially mine since I forgot to clean the upper level gutters, giant icicles are hanging waiting to spear some unsuspecting squirrel that walks underneath. The have fallen off my roof (no dead animals) but there is still some ice hanging of the edge, just
waiting to fall.

The sky is nice and blue at least!

Oh, today it is 14 degrees right now. It is going to be 39 on Friday. It's sad to get excited about 39 degrees, isn't it?

Now, go to Carly's site and check out the other pictures.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Multimedia message


Somebody pass the Pepto-Bismol

Here I am on the midnight shift again. It's Super Sunday, also know as eat-all-you-can-because-nobody-will-judge-you day. It's one of the special occasions we have at work where everyone brings in some food. I wish I could take a picture of everything for you, so I will paint a mental picture instead. Imagine going to the store and buying every bit of unhealthy food you can get your hands on. Now, take all that food and eat it in one sitting. My stomach is upset on every midnight shift on a normal day; this kind of stuff just puts me over the edge. Does that mean I'm going to have weird dreams? My parents used to tell me eating a lot of junk food, specifically ice cream, before bed gives you bad dreams. I have a feeling they may have lied to me. I will probably dream of the scene in Alien where the little alien bursts out of the guys stomach, though.

The midnight shift is the reason I've been a little quiet the last couple of days. It's hard to find time to write about things when I sleep all day. Besides, I can't think of anything fun to talk about usually. I didn't do much of the weekend except watch the kids ice skate and play basketball.

Oh, my dad had knee surgery. Did I mention that? He had both knees replace this past Wednesday. He's doing okay now, but the first couple of days were rough. I was a little worried at first, but I talked to him today and he sounds much better. I'm sure in a couple of months he's going to be very happy that he had this done. He spent much of his life kneeling down while working on sheet metal and this was back in the days before a real man would wear knee pads. Not that they had any available anyway. So his knees were pretty trashed. He always got around fine, but the last couple of years they were starting to bother him a lot. He could have done it years ago, and probably should have, but he is not a fan of doctors, so he waited as long as he could. Not that I blame him. I feel the same way about laser eye surgery. I want to do it, but I'm scared. I know a ton of people that have had it done, but what if I am that one guy.

The good news about this week of midnights is when they are over we leave for San Diego. Well, La Jolla, you know what I mean. Let's hope we don't have any flight hiccups. Or fog at San Diego. Or something that is going screw up our trip. I'm looking forward to spending some time outside where I don't have to wear a jacket. At least not a winter jacket.

Okay, I'm really rambling. Do you see why I don't write much on the midnight shift? How was your weekend? Did you watch the Super Bowl? Did your team win? By your team, I mean the team that won you the pool at work.