Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Church and Dating

The last 3 weeks my wife and I have visited 2 churches away from our home church. It has been on our hearts that we need to possibly make a change for at least 6 months. I compare church family hunting to dating. You know pretty soon whether or not you want a 2nd date. This weekend though we are going to celebrate Christmas with our closest church friends from our home church and we will attend this church Sunday. This should give us a solid feeling of whether we should continue looking elsewhere or should we try to reconnect spiritually at this church. Like a dating relationship, in this case we still like most things about our current church, but feel we haven't grown spiritually in a while.

So, did we fall out of love with Christ at this church? We do know that wherever we are attending we will need to start serving others.

I am looking forward to good times with special friends this weekend.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Dinner and Lunch

Last night we went to look at Christmas trees. We went to the location where I trade out auto details for a tree. The owners were there and he said we could work something out again this year. After looking we decided to eat dinner. My wife had a $50 giftcard to a local steakhouse, Texas Roadhouse, so we drove by to see that people were spillling out of the place. I quickly called the "call ahead" number and was told about 35 minutes. We drove around a bit and came back in 20 minutes. I received my number and we waited for about 20 more minutes. When our number was finally called I went to motion to my wife who was taking my son outside since he was choking on one of their free peanuts. We were seated and I ordered drinks for us and was trying to figure out how to spend $50 AND stay within my alotted Weight Watcher's points when my wife informs me that the giftcard was to Saltgrass Steakhouse right across the highway. OOOPS! Our free dinner turned into a $32 dinner, and this was with sharing ONE meal. So much for being frugal.

Today we took a long drive looking for garage sales and such. We even drove by BillyV's old house and our former church. Around lunch time we began to look for another place to eat. We came across Cane's chicken. All they have are deep fried tenders so we moved on. We ended up at Burger Street Cafe, a fancier version of the small Burger Street fastfood drive thrus. The sign said $1 off combos so we went in. I was disciplined and ordered the grilled chicken as did my wife. Tough to do when this place has great fastfood level burgers. The combos with $1 off were still $6. I was disappointed to find that my grilled chicken was a pressed parts patty injected with a smokey flavoring. How can they charge $6.99 for a 2nd rate sandwich combo? I'd rather had a real breast from Wendy's or McD's than to eat a processed chicken sandwich. I did grab a comment card on the way out and will mail it Monday. Maybe I'll get coupons for free food. The biggest mistake I made was to put purple onions on my sandwich. Boy is my breath ripe!

Eating a Weight Watcher's meal for dinner. I weighed in last Wednesday and was down another 3+ for a total of 13 down. I'll have to hit the gym every day to make up for Thursday and a bad Friday evening.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Black Friday

Last night after our company left and we cleaned up a bit my wife got the itch to go to Garden Ridge. This was about 10:10pm, my equivalent to going to a late movie by myself. On her way home she drove past the outlet mall and traffic was backed up for about a mile at that exit. This was 12:25 AM. The mall opened at midnight. As I think about these shopping habits and crazy ONE DAY ONLY sales I wonder how many men are actually a part of this madness? I am thinking less than 5%. And think about all of the people who had to work at midnight just to help feed this shopping addiction.

I know it is called "black Friday" because this one day can really bring a struggling store or company into the black, or profitable margin. I personally have NEVER gotten out and shopped on this day.

Question #1: Is it REALLY worth it getting out and battling all the maniacs? Are the sales THAT good?

Question #2: What time did you eat your lunch/dinner yesterday?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Giving Thanks

It may be cheesy but today I post about 10 things that I am most thankful.

10. Parents who raised me right
(AND both are still alive)
9. My health
(ability to lose weight)
8. Local Christian friends
(Chet, Chad, Trey, Scott)
7. Brothers in Christ abroad
(BillyV, Jon, Dave C., Dave F.)
6. My "Eastside" house
(with new hardwoods)
5. 2 Wonderful, healthy kids
(anyone want to baby sit?)
4. My teaching position
(all I teach is Science and common sense)
3. Beautiful Day
(any U2 song AND it's awesome outside)
2. St. Louis Cardinals-World Series Champs
(I invested plenty emotion of the years)
1. Perfect Wife-for me
(we NEVER fight out loud and she's simple)

My faith in Christ has blessed me with so much, friends, family, health, joy, peace.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Cheese Balls and Buttery Popcorn

I've spent the last year or so on the constant lookout for cheese balls or butter flavored bagged popcorn and I usually end up empty handed or with some other alternative snack. A few times I hit the jackpot at Big Lots on cheeseballs when they stock the cylinder cannister of Planter's cheeseballs. In St. Louis the QT's stock Okee Dokee butter flavored popcorn and it is better than movie popcorn. When I say I am always looking I basically mean that at every store I would check for these snacks. Even when we would travel from Texas to Missouri I would check at a gas station when we'd stop. If I were driving by myself I would consider stopping at EVERY station in hopes of scoring.

If you've followed my blog at all you know I started Weight Watchers early November and I have made some major changes in how I approach food and snacking. Instead of stopping by Big Lots right after a large Sunday lunch I go home instead and eat a few pickles during football. Well, today I picked up Subway sandwiches for myself, a friend, and 2 hired day laborers and since it was right next to Kroger I walked a few extra feet to get the Light Lays and a bag of regular generic BBQ chips for the others. Then it happened, within 5 feet of each other in the chip aisle I see Kroger brand baked cheese balls AND buttery flavored popcorn. Why is it when you aren't looking you find something. OR when you are looking to do well temptation jumps right out at you?

I refrained and stuck to plan. I bought the $4 bag of light Lays and the $1.50 bag of Kroger chips.

Other news: most of the hardwood flooring is installed(looks great) AND I weigh tomorrow at noon, one day early since they are closed Thanksgiving. No food or drink until NOON Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Dieting Roadblocks

I've managed to do pretty well on my Weight Watchers diet and only had one day since 11/2 where I planned to blow my diet, but the plan I am on allows for special occasions like poker night as long as I have enough "points" to spend on food. Two times now that I've gone out and eat I've been put in harms way by receiving extra or more food than I ordered. Last Tuesday night I ordered the 4 piece strips from Chick Fil A and I got a 6 piece. Of course I ate them. It put me over by 3 points on the night because I didn't plan on anything extra. Tonight I went thru Jack In the Box's drive thru and ordered one monster taco and a small fries.....14 points total and I had about 17 to spend. The girl manning the drive thru window was a student of mine 4 years ago and somehow I got 2 extra FREE tacos. I used up 2 of my 3 remaining points by munching on 1/2 of a taco. Pre-diet I would have munched on both and not thought twice about it.

I weigh in this Wednesday and I am hoping to break the 10 pound barrier. I feel pretty good and have been to the gym multiple times. I'll probably go over points Thursday, but I've saved my extra points for that occasion. I'll have what I want Thursday, but not too much of it.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Garage

I spent about 3 hours Saturday morning cleaning the garage in hopes of parking my truck indoors at night. I put a dismantled crib into the attic along with breaking down 2 storage shelves that basically were a holding spot for trash. I also brought down a few Christmas decorations since we usually decorate the week of Thanksgiving. After noon the big moment arrived. I pulled the truck in lign with the newly cleaned garage bay. Next I pulled my side view mirror in and eased the truck into the garage. With a little help from my wife I nudged the front bumper against the front wall. IT FIT! It fit by about 2 inches and I had to squeeze out the driver door to get out. I was both excited that it fit, but defeated in that I probably wouldn't be jamming the truck into the garage every night.

My most realistic option is to let my wife park the Neon inside while I continue to park outside. At least I know it will fit should we be expecting severe weather. I will probably let my brother install a remote starter on it so I can let it run for a few minutes on those mornings where frost has settled . I'm the guy driving down the street with my head sticking out the window for about 2 miles while the defroster clears the windshield for SAFE driving. The remote starter will also come in handy during the summer months when we have 100 degree days. I could shut it off with the AC set on full blast and then allow it to cool down before getting into my new black Silverado.

Tonight we stuffed the garage with furniture as we have installers coming tomorrow to start the process of installing hardwoods. Wiccachicky would be pleased to know that we chose Lowes! So if you are planning to visit this week you have to wait until Thursday since the install will take 3 days.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

In A Pickle

Since I am partaking in the Weight Watchers program I've come to like a few foods that are FREE(no limits) on the plan. Last week I happed to purchase a sliced pickle made by Claussen and they served me well as a late night snack, and then I ran out. I went to 2 place Saturday looking for them and couldn't find them. I ended up buying Vlasic pickles and didn't like them. I then purchased Mt. Olive pickles and didn't care for them either.

Tonight I had a little time after dropping my daughter off at church so I drove to a different grocery store, no luck. I faught traffic and went to a 2nd store. Again I struck out. Determined to find them I went to a 3rd store. While peeking down the aisles looking for the "pickles" sign I ran into someone from school who is also doing the WW program. I told her I was looking for pickles and immediately she said, "You're looking for the Claussens aren't you?" My eyes must have lit up. YES! We discussed how they were different and she said that they are always refridgerated. After a brisk scavenger hunt we found them in the back corner of the store. I really felt like I hit the jackpot. I ended up buying 2 jars, one of 1/2 pickles and another of slices.

After eating a point's worth of Light chips I partook of the spoils of a good Claussen pickle.

I weigh tomorrow. I lost 6.6 pounds the first week. Not too sure about this week. I really only blew it one day and that was last Friday. Will let you know.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

One Week

Last Thurday I went to my first Weight Watcher's meeting and it has already been one week. I am on the counting points system and I really feel that I've done pretty well. I am allowed 28 points a day and a bonus 35 to spread out if I need them during the week. I've only used about 3 of my bonus points and I earned 3 by working out one day.

I'll go Thursday to meeting number 2 and will let you know how much I've lost.

Counting points has really helped me be conscious about what I am shoveling into my mouth. It also helps me make better choices when it comes to deciding what to eat. A typical day for me might involve the following:

Breakfast: Egg McMuffin and hashbrown 10 points
Lunch: SmartOne entree from Weight Watchers 5 points
Chick Fil A for dinner: 4 tenders and 1/2 order of fries 10 points
Weight watchers ice cream for a snack: 2 points
1 serving of a rice snack: 1 point

28 points for the day

Pickles and vegetables are free so when I feel the urge to nibble I will have a dill pickle spear. My weakness has been filling some of the points with 2 milk servings, fruits, and getting enough water.

I do have room for improvement.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


High school volleyball announcing ended for me about 3 weeks ago and tonight officially kicked off the girls basketball season and I am announcing my 3rd year for the girls. If the boys coach ever asks I'll probably start announcing my 4th year for the boys program. I've also announced football, wresting one year and most likely will do softball next spring. I really enjoy announcing and get so pumped up for the player introductions. I used to get nervous, but now I do most of the announcing unscripted. During the volleyball season on 2 occasions referees made comments that I was the best announcer that they've every heard. I loved hearing that. Our athletic trainer usually comments, "Great music tonight."

I do my best to present a quality product on a paupers budget. I have rag tag cds put together and remixed over and over. During the players warm ups I will play mostly music that the players have put together as long as it is clean, clean from words and suggestiveness. It is difficult screening some of the crap that is out there. Once the game is going I feel it is my job to keep the tempo of the crowd and game itself upbeat. Whether we are up 20 points or down 20 I try to stay upbeat. In the past I was told that a visiting coach had complaints that I was more of a cheerleader than an announcer so I have toned down my biased game calling.

On a typical night I may leave the house about 6:30 for a 7:3o game that could go as late as 9:30. I think I make about $35 a game and it does tie up about 3 hours of my time. My question is, "Is it really worth it?" During basketball season I may announce 2 nights a week taking me away from family. When my wife stayed home the extra $200-$300 a month did come in handy, but now the extra isn't as crucial. All told I do REALLY enjoy being around the athletes, the games and sports in general. I always said I wish I could announce full time and teach part time.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Habit or Addiction?

In 1996 my mother quit smoking "cold turkey" after suffering a heart attack that doctors contributed to her smoking for 40+ years.

During the summer of 2004 my father quit drinking alcohol "cold turkey" after doctors told him his liver couldn't handle any more alcohol and if he didn't quit he might be dead within 12 months.

If you asked my parents to quit these "bad habits" before their near death experiences they probably couldn't have stopped. Although my dad drank everyday for over 40 years he felt he could stop any time he wanted. Thankfully he wanted and could. Does this mean he had a drinking habit or a drinking addiction? My mother still craves a cigarette now and then, but doesn't give in thankfully.

Could one person have a bad habit while another person has an addiction? Am I addicted to eating bad food, or is it a habit? Right now I am trying to break some bad eating habits. This will probably mean avoiding situations that put me into temptation's way. As I think about instituting discipline it is tough to do, but when successful the feeling is awesome.

Laundry or Dishes?

Would you rather do the laundry or the dishes?

2 of the main chores around here that sometimes get neglected are washing and folding clothes along with doing the dishes. If I had to chose one that I'd do and assign my wife the other then I would pick doing the dishes. I don't mind washing clothes, but folding is another issue. Picture planes taking off from airports with nowhere to land. That kind of describes the way I do laundry. Wash, dry and PILE, PILE some more, PILE again.

That said I guess doing the dishes is no big deal. The only thing I could get better at, just as with the laundry, is unloading the dishwasher when they are clean. That way I could rinse and place dirty dishes as I use them instead of letting them stack up in the sink and get a little crusty.

Now that I've posted I would say that I just like washing the clothes and the dishes. I just don't like putting things away.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Trick or Treat?

Top 5 Things I Like About Halloween
5. Handing out candy(for about the 1st hour)
4. Variety of candy given out
3. Smaller kids and creative costumes
2. Seeing my kids trick or treat
1. Adult Halloween parties

Top 5 Things I Dislike About Halloween
5. Cost of giving out GOOD candy
4. Kids that don't dress up expecting candy
3. Knocks on the door even when the light is out
2. Keeping my kids from eating it ALL in one night
1. Teens who go around for candy

I sometimes turn into a party pooper on nights like Halloween. I do enjoy it SOME, but the enjoyment wears down quickly as I see teens who have no business trick or treating. At least put out the cigarette tough guy, OH, you're James Dean. Does a child less than 1 year old in a stroller really need a bag for candy? I think neighborhoods need to coordinate the pre-dark trick or treating where GOOD candy is given out and then give out the cheap stuff after dark when all the kids outside the neighborhood come looking for freebies.

The number one thing I liked about HALLOWEEN while attending a Catholic High School was November 1st, ALL SAINTS DAY where we had the day off.

November is here. Look for changes!