Monday, February 27, 2006

Back On

A.A.B.-Artichoke Advisory Board

I am back on track dietwise again. February was really tough: Superbowl, 3 nights of cards, my birthday, family in town, and tons of gift card to restaurants. So today I skimped by on calories and then went out with the family as we split a few meals at a local restaurant. Total bill: $7.16.
Total calories for the day, 1600. I also hit the treadmill for 30 minutes while watching The Apprentice. Now, in the background, The Bachelor is on. I am really glad I've got my new DVR.

BalderNash: W.P.F.
(Pigs better get this one!)

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Angel Food Ministries

April 30, 1939-The New York World's Fair opened to the public.

Yesterday I went by a local church and picked up our food order from Angel Food Ministries. What a deal. Select foods are pre-boxed and ready to go when you stop by your food pick up place. Our's happens to be at a local church.

For the month of March we are able to order a bunch of for for $26. This includes some of the following: 5 lbs. chicken leg quarters, 4 pork chops, 3 lb. chicken tenders, 8 breaded beef cube patties, a meatball sub, 2 lb. boneless chicken breast, dinner rolls, corn and veggies, a dessert item, 2 lb. french fries, a bag of vegetable blend, mac and cheese, pancake mix, a breakfast cereal, powdered milk, tomato sauce, and a dozen eggs. They place the retail value at $60. We can also order from the specials list: 5 lb. New York Strip Steaks $18, 10 lb. popcorn chicken $15.

Check this out at and find a drop off place near you. We can order March's food up until March 11th.

Maybe this is the BIG LOTS of foods. We got 2 orders last month and one box had fish sticks and the other had fish burgers. Same size box, just fish served differently. On one fish box it said, "Chet Special." I don't know if an actual CHET put the fish together or if they mispelled Chef. So the food we get may be good-rejects. They also reserve the right to substitute for any of the food that you've ordered. This month we were to get bacon-wrapped pork and got the pork chops instead.

BalderNash: A. A. B

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Red Rain

PCCA-Police Car Collectors Association

Red Rain

One of my all time favorite songs is Red Rain by Peter Gabriel. On some music awards many years ago he was joined live onstage by Michael Stipe and Natalie Merchant. I have or had it taped somewhere. If you ever come across it you could make some money and sell it to me.

Speaking of rain we really got much needed rainfall. It was damp here for about a week, but not wet enough to muddy things up. Well, the past 24 hours of steady rain took care of that. It sure made for good sleeping whether. I actually slept most of the night under 6 layers of sheets, blankets and a comforter. ALMOST got a nap in today.

Going to see "The Three Burials of Melquiade Estrada" tonight with a friend. It has scored a 7.8 out of 10 after 1500+ votes on the Imdb website. Sure beats my other choices of movies: Pink Panther(4.9), Freedom Land(4.4).

Today's BALDERNASH will be a date: April 30, 1939!

Friday, February 24, 2006


I am going to try to add a little something to my posting so each day I will add a little Balderdash into my posts. In the game Balderdash they only use crazy words so I will use the Beyond Balderdash approach as they add in acronyms and dates. I might give the letters CPS and you entertain guesses as to what it might mean. Some examples of guesses:

Child Protection Services
Chicago Polish Society
Crawfish Po'Boy Sandwich

The real answer is.....Concrete Paver Systems.

I may give a date and you guess what happened that date. I guess you COULD do a little research on dates so feel free.

Today's letters are: P.C.C.A.

Today was easy and uneventful. Our team did get to enjoy a fajita lunch provided by our parents. It was tearing me up even 6 hours later. Hopefully the pizza that I threw on top of it will allow me to sleep well tonight. Throw in a steady rain and a few tums and I'll be deep asleep minutes after crashing into the waiting mattress.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

On Demand

I previously posted about getting cable instead of Dish and one feature I REALLY like is On Demand. There are man types of programs I can pull right up, most without having to pay for them. My daughter would watch a program called Zaboomafoo before they pulled it from Dish and not I can pull it up anytime and there are 12 programs without commercials. When I can let her watch decent programming without commercials I am all for it. Last night my wife mentions that there are many CBS programs on demand so I pulled up the last week's Survivor and watched it for 99 cents. Now if I were really on the ball I would have recorded it on our DVR last week, but I rarely plan ahead for anything.

Last night it took forever figuring out the "favorites" channels. How many channels out of 250 should be on a favorites list? When you add in that we can only create one favorites for the whole family we ended up with channels like HGTV, Animal Planet, ESPN, Food Network, A & E, DIY, Noggin, and Encore.

I just wish I could DELETE the crappy, seldom watched channels like I could on DISH. On Dish we could create a favorites channel for each family member. That said, I am still glad we switched to cable.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Giftcard Overload

Right now my family is stacked with giftcards. These all accumulated over the Christmas break, teacher appreciation week, Valentines, and my birthday. Right now these are the following cards we have plus the totals on them:

Goodhues Steaks: $50
Texas Roadhouse: $25
Texas Roadhouse: Dinner for 2
Chilis-On the Border: $25
Macaroni Grill: $20(my wife used it today)
McDonalds: $10(I spent 1/2 today)
Mama Emelias: $20
2 free kids meals at Chilis: $8
Barnes and Noble: 2 at $10 each
Lowes Home Improvement: $20
Target: $40
Heard Animal Museum: $16
Panera Bread Company: $10
CASH: $70

I have been conditioned over the past 2 years to NOT SPEND MONEY and to do without. Now that I have money to spend on myself I don't know where to start. Do I actually buy something that I want or do I buy something that I actually need?

Part of the difficulty in using dinner gift cards is the fact that we have 2 kids. To use a $20 giftcard we would need to spend $20 on a sitter and up until about 2 weeks ago we could afford to do that. We also don't want to take the kids to some of the places because we are less likely to actually enjoy the special treat. And, I'm trying to get back on track on my calorie diet and who wants to "be good" when going to a nice dinner spot?

I guess this is a good situation to actually be in!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Great Weekend!

My mom and best friend came in Thursday night and we sure packed in a plethera of activities.

Thursday night: Firewall movie 1/4 stars
Friday: bowling and cards
Saturday: Good Night and Good Luck movie 2 1/2 of 4 stars
Saturday night: 40th birthday party that ended up with Texas Hold Em
Sunday: church, shopping, Cinderella Man and dinner at home.
Monday: treacherous icy drive to and from airport.

I am the type of person who loves to post an activity on the calendar far in advance and this special weekend was one that I eagerly awaited for weeks. Once Thursday arrived I automatically felt a sense of letdown knowing that I was about to experience special times and that it would only last for about 4 days. The days went along rewardingly as expected and we woke up this morning around 5:30am to prepare for their 8:25am departure. With it being a National holiday I figured traffic would be light. The problem was the overpasses were icy and the first 5 miles took over 30 minutes to drive. There were accidents everywhere with one vehicle even turned upside down. I made it to the airport in time and actually got back to school just 10 minutes late. Their flight didn't crash and I made it back safely. Prayers were answered.

Now it will be tough to get back to a routine. I've been off the 1500 calorie diet for about 10 days and really need to get it going again.

Next date posted on the calendar is March 10th, 3:30pm. That is when my Spring Break will officially begin and we will head back to St. Louis to enjoy friends and family.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

3 Pizzas

First of all....Happy Birthday to me! I'm 40 today. Half empty or half full kind of guy?

Last night we played cards and the host provided pizza for everyone. The pizza was from a local mom and pop place and was probably pretty good. I say probably because it was pretty hard for me to judge how good it was because of the kinds of toppings my friend ordered:

1. Deluxe
2. Veggie
3. Hamburger with jalapenos.

The three choices were kind of extreme. Having worked in a pizza joint for a few years I know pepperoni is the #1 choice(37% of orders according to one study). Cheese only would come in second, sausage third, sausage and pepperoni next followed up by the deluxe. Pizza eaters can be picky, but I think Little Cesars knows what they are doing when they always have pepperoni and cheese pizzas "hot and fresh" ready for you to conveniently pick up on your way home.
That said, I think I would order 1) pepperoni 2) sausage 3) 1/2 cheese 1/2 pepperoni and sausage.

What would you order for your guests? JH, you can not vote since I've displayed your choices from last night.

Happy Birthday to ME! Thanks JH for hosting cards last night!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


I wonder what percentage of people actually despise Valentine's Day? This is definitely a created holiday that is big business for candy companies, flower shops, restaurants and card companies. I had to announce tonight right after school so I did much of my shopping with my 2 kids last night while mommy was busy tutoring. I first tried a small grocery store by my house and ended up buying a lilly plant and 2 cards. $10 for the plant and $5 for both cards. We proceeded to walk out to the "convenient tent" on the parking lot. They didn't have much. I had in mind something nontraditional like a tulip bouquet or arrangement. They had nothing. I then drove to a florist. Entry point rose arrangements started at $69.99. My wife would be disappointed if I spent that much. I saw a 6 tulip display in a small bowl and inquired about the price: $39.99. NO WAY! I then went on to a nicer grocery store that actually has a decent in store florist. I ended up buying the Holiday bouquet for $15.

My wife got the flowers last night and my daughter gave her a card tonight. I gave a simple card with a self made A to Z adjective list describing my wife. She also received a $20 Stamp It up set from me a few days ago. She says she was extremely satisfied with my efforts.

Today at school we had mind numbing Valentine's parties. During the day I ended up with many items: 2 different stuffed bears with boxing gloves, another smaller bear with Hershey's kisses, a $10 card to Barnes and Noble, 2 heart shaped candy boxes, an M & M shaped jar with M & Ms inside and other miscellaneous cards and candies. During the party the kids made ice cream Sundaes. I passed since I was on my calorie counting diet. Now if someone had brought in chips and hot sauce I think I would have dove right in.

The high light of the day was when the office called saying I had a special delivery. I was concerned that my wife might have spent money on flowers for me. Instead she made a heart shaped rice krispy treat along with a card that she and my daughter constructed. It was a special moment. I really felt appreciated by all of my kids and then was reminded of how special my family actually is to me.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Financial relief

Our tax return came as expected Friday and it was about the equivalent of one month's paycheck so it definitely boosted our bank account. With my wife staying home and only doing some tutoring we have scraped by for about a year and a half so this is a huge relief for us as I'll get paid in 4 days also.

So what does this mean for us?

At least Friday it meant being able to order lunches for everyone without first having to collect money so I could pay. It meant actually filling up both vehicles instead of putting in $5. $5 went a lot farther in my 65 Chevy Malibu about 20 years ago. It also meant going shopping Saturday morning without wincing at the final bill. It also meant being able to play poker Saturday night without worrying about losing $5.

It will mean buying my wife nicer flowers for Valentine's Day. It will mean being able to enjoy my 40th birthday next weekend. It will allow us to buy decent pots and pans instead of cooking on the $19 set we bought at Christmas that are ready for the trash. It will also allow us to pay off our car, give more to the church than we gave all of last year, pay a few other debts down, and it will surely reduce the financial stress level here in our house.

Tonight we went to a Conquering Debt God's Way workshop and we are probably going to start working on getting mostly out of debt altogether. But, for right now we will breath easy, get 2 drinks at dinner time instead of one, get the oil changes that are 3 months over due, and we will not worry about overdrafting our account for a month or two.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

M _ _ _ Nash!

I announced my last boys basketball game for the year last night and when I looked at the visitor's score book the 2nd name listed was M. Nash. I kind of chuckled and when I asked their team manager for first names so I could announce them during the game he said the name and it was my name. Deja Vu!

A few minutes later I was handed the starting line up cards and I WAS STARTING! When I announce line ups I announce the visitors to the Top Gun Theme song so it went something like this: Now starting for the Texans, playing post, 6'3" Junior, number 4, M _ _ _ NASH! The crowd went wild. Really only the hand full of visitors clapped. I actually hesitated when announcing the next name. It felt kind of surreal.

During the game M _ _ _ Nash only scored 7 points, but he played most of the game. I had a side wager with the guy running the clock that I would score 10 points.

Have you ever heard your name out somewhere else?

Friday, February 10, 2006

Casserole Etiquette

It was teacher appreciate week and I benefited from a 15 minute massage, plants, flowers, breakfast and today was casserole day. The idea is each teacher is provided with a casserole made a parent or parents. I received mixed signals because parent ONE asked what I would want and parent TWO stated they would bring one by. This is how today plays out: One of my students left campus for lunch and when he returned he brought a gift certificate for a local establishment. The card read, "This is your casserole." This provided by parent THREE.

Yes! I thought. I dodged having to take home a meal prepared by someone else. I have issues with food prepared by someone else mainly when it is packaged and transported. Was the food handled properly? Was any of the food spoiled? How long had it been since it was cooked? Had it sat out any length of time. So in general I am casserole fobic.

Then it happened. Unknowingly parent FOUR caught me in the hallway with a 20 pound casserole that was still warm. She was so excited I thought I was going to have to take a bite right there. Good thing she didn't have a fork. Then parent TWO brings in 2 meals. One baked chicken along with a box of rice and a bag of salad lettuce. Another meal was chicken spaghetti from a local company that specializes in catering.

After all said parents left I ended up the joke of the HALLway. General consensus was that I could not eat the casserole prepared by parent number FOUR. So what to do with a 20 pound casserole? I'll end up having to lie about how good it was. The consensus was I'd be okay with the 2 meals parent TWO brought in. Definitely the steal of the day was the gift certificate. I also got a giftcard for a local bakery.

Being raised in and around a Baptist church it is not uncommon for meals to be provided for different occasions: death, birth, illness, etc. I always trusted those meals for the most part. But what do you do when you receive a meal from someone that is less than appealing or from someone you have doubts about?

Good thing I've racked up about $150 in restaurant cards and certificates. Now I just have to find a sitter to watch the kids so my wife and I can enjoy a night out!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

I Was Wrong

Yesterday I was approached by a parent of a student the other day. The warning flags go up when a parent tracks you down out on the playground during recess duty. As soon as this parent mentioned what had happened I knew right then what I did was wrong. In customer service training long ago I was trained to apologize immediately and then take the steps to recovery. Well, I apologized immediately and thanked the parent for letting me know. I later pulled the student aside discretely and apologized. This child had his best day today in a long time. I also reaplogized to the parent via email.

My poor decision came when I said something in front of the whole class that embarassed this student. Yes, this student needed to be confronted about the behavior, but not in front of everybody. I've had about 4 years of experience working with students with behavior disorders and confronting a student about behaviors is best done privately and quietly. Think about a time when you've tried to discipline a child no matter what the age. If you are loud when you discipline then the child will probably be just as loud in reply or will act out in some way. When you deal with the child discretely they are less likely to rebel.

This is your lesson for today!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


I announced boys basketball tonight and the boys lost by one point. Great game huh? We are in last place in district and we played the 2nd place team so it shouldn't have been that close. We started off down 9-2. After one period we actually led 14-13. In the second period we did not make one basket. We were outscored 23-3 and were down by 19 a half. I was ready to consider it another big loss at home. Our boys got back into the game and were down by 8 after 3 periods. We actually got the ball with 17 seconds down by 3 points. With 6 seconds left one of our boys passed up a 3 point shot and drove in for a 2 point lay up. We did intercept the long inbounds pass and shot a desperation shot that was no where near the basket. We lost 63-62. Heartbreaking for sure. Take away the 2nd period and we outscore them by 19. Every second counted tonight.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Did you watch the Bachelor?

I'll be watching The Bachelor tonight and tomorrow at lunch time our conversation at lunch will go something like this:

Co-Worker #1: "Did you watch The Bachelor last night?"
ME: "Yes, I did."
Co-Worker #2: "Don't say anything. I recorded it and didn't have time to watch it."

This has happened the past 3 weeks so it will likely happen tomorrow. You know you've been in this situation before. I remember going to church Superbowl Sunday night and having the game on tape hoping nobody would leak the score and ruin the opportunity watch it innocently.

So who is in the right of way here? Should the 2 people who have seen it have to yield their conversation to the person who hasn't seen it? Should they talk about it anyway. Should the person who recorded it just accept that it will be talked about and then go watch it with a little bit of knowledge?

Chime in!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Cable TV

We've had cable for almost one week and the jury is still out with the verdict.

Pro: it only costs $24.95 for one year....savings $20 + over Dish.
Con: I can't figure out the channels. I need a channel poster.

Pro: We got DVR back.
Con: I can't figure out the channels in order to record.

Pro: Animal Planet, my daughter prefers this to cartoons. I like it too!
Con: I can't delete the Spanish channels or shopping channels like with DISH.

Pro: We now have 1 remote for each room. We permanently lost one remote with DISH.
Con: I can't figure the buttons on the remote without having the light on.

Pro: I'll get to record the Superbowl and review commercials.
Con: I'll have to figure out how to record.

Overall it was a great decision for us to get Cable over DISH. We've got a few more channels and I really do prefer my daughter to watch shows on Animal Planet than on ToonDisney. She isn't brainwashed with the latest toys.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Announcer Elbow

I think I've been inflicted with something similar to tennis elbow. For about the past month my left are has been tight, especially around my elbow area. My left arm sometimes feels has a tingly sensation in it as if it has fallen asleep. I've got a few possible explanations for this. First, I tend to carry my son with my left arm and balance him with my right hand. Second, I've had a cell phone for a little over a month now and I hold it in my left hand and really cock it up while I am talking. Third, this is the first year that I announce back to back basketball games, roughly 4 hours worth. I tend to sit in the same position with my arms rested on the scorer's table and I hold the mic in my left hand. Last, my arms are slightly raised as I sit at the computer to type or surf online. It could be a combination of these things, or maybe I have partial blockage of my arteries.

Time for the 40 year old physical............"moon RIVER......"

Friday, February 03, 2006

3 Big Weekends

I've been fairly successful on my diet and have increased my treadmill time and just this week started light lifting of weights. Just in time for 3 big weekends. This weekend is Superbowl Sunday. The following Saturday is card night. The following weekend I turn 40. My goal by my birthday was to get down below 200. I'm at least 14 pounds away and with the Superbowl 3 days away I think that is far fetched. I guess my goal this weekend is to really hit the treadmill and weights. Maybe walk one hour each day.

I also was told about the Wendie Plan that says to fluctuate your "points" or calories so the body doesn't get used to a certain amount. I think I've been pretty consistent only having between 1400 and 1600 calories. I may need to have one blowout day this weekend and see if I recover.

At least I'm feeling better!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Those Crazy Catholics

While looking thru my high school yearbook last night I looked at the teacher pages remembering which teachers I actually had. After the teacher pages there was one general staff page: custodians and such. There were about 5 guys sitting at a table and 2 of them had Budweiser cans in their hands. WOW.

Having grown up in St. Louis many people identified where they lived by what Parish they lived in. During the Summer we would often visit Parish picnics on the weekends. Our St. James the Greater picnic was every Memorial Day. Plenty of rides, bingo, poker, pull tabs, and beer flowing. We often were served even though we were minors. One year we went up on Memorial Day after the picnic was over to play basketball. The Budweiser beer truck that they actually poured draft beers from was still parked on the court. We checked the tappers and one of them was still active. How liable would the church be if a few teenagers ended up getting into trouble or even in an accident after drinking FREE beer?

Those were crazy days. The days that cigarette smoke poured out of teacher lounges and it appears there was even alcohol on campus.