Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Gus and Ted

Had Gus' Pretzels yesterday for lunch. Had 1/2 a pretzel dog, pretzel bites an one pretzel stick. After shopping at a small t-shirt shop we bowled and then had Ted Drewes frozen custard for dinner. There I had a small plain cone and a mini chocolate chip concrete. If you are from St. Louis this is a pretty good thing. If you are from somewhere remote(Oklahoma or the rest of he USA) you just don't understand as my friend CB said something like this in 2006, "It's okay......"

Long sleeve dark blue St. Louis Billikens shirt $10
Heavy duty St. Louis Cardinals Hoody $29
St. Louis Cardinals hotwheel Hummer $2
St. Louis cap for wife $10
Black hoody $6

We did The Funnybone Comedy Club last night. Open mic night with about 15 different comedians. The first one was the most vulgar. A few didn't use profanity and did just well. Definitely a weird bunch. They were the odd group hanging out in the small bar befpre, during and after the show. Wonder if a Christian comedian could break into their fraternity. Or would the atmosphere be a beatdown?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Crunch Time

We'll be heading home in just over 48 hours. Hope all the stuff fits in the car. Still have things to do, places to visit, food to eat, friends and family to see. My dad is coming in today. Going to the Funny Bone comedy club tonight. New Year's Eve with friends and driving home January 1st.

Sunny and 50 in St. Louis.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Dream day for me yesterday as I went to the movies with my mom to see Doubt(loved it), bowled 4 games with me brother(won 3 games) and played in a card tournament with a good friend(came in 2nd place). In the movie Doubt the priest has one sermon on intolerance and overall I think I am tolerant to much, or at least I think I am.

2 things that I know I'm intolerant of is disrespectful behavior and profanity. Twice on this trip I've become uneasy with the behavior of the local youth. One time in my life I'd quickly refer to them as "white trash." At the movies the other night about 6 teens kept going in and out of the movie and when they were in the theater they were often texting. They'd also leave to go smoke. Also at the bowling alley one kid(maybe 12 years old) was disrespectful to the bowling alley people and I could just tell he wasn't up to any good. Also, as a teacher I don't have much patience with a student who falls way outside the norm of what is expected.

The last thing is profanity, especially frequent use of the F word. I grew up around some of it and had a grandpa use the GD term in every other sentence. Had an uncle that always said "C" sucker with every sentence so it is not like I'm sheltered. Last night I played poker with a largely baptist crew. At least 6 of the 10 were associated with baptist backgrounds. At this poker match there was alcohol which included whiskey, rum and tequilla to mix with drinks. Totally okay with all of that in moderation. Our "gambling" was just for $5 each and by coming in 2nd place I earned $15 for 3 1/2 hours hard work and entertainment. The only thing sour about the night was the use of the "F" word by one lady there. She also threw in a few other words and her boyfriend of many years threw in a few sexual connotations. I'm not sure if they were connected with a church, but it didn't appear so.

Then upon coming home I ended up on the Comedy channel and Chris Rock was on. He said the "F" word in every other sentence. People were laughing and after a few minutes of hoping the dialogue would smooth out I changed the channels.

So, I'm fine with gambling, alcohol in moderation, have bi-racial friends, many friends of different race, have become friends with gay couples. I feel over all I'm very tolerant. I just get repulsed by rude behavior and profanity. I'm not talking about the occasional "SH.." word my mom uses or a random hell or damn. The spirit inside me just doesn't do well with severe and vulgar language.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

WE Moved Away

I am always more excited to come back to St. Louis than my wife. Slowly I am figuring out why. Before we came she commented, "Just don't turn me in to a single mom." That purpose of the comment was to point out that I often have much more to do than she does. I grew up in St. Louis and maintain many friendships. My wife doesn't have many friends here and another point is she doesn't tolerate her family as well as I do mine.

Out of the 4 grandparents only my mom goes overboard to make us feel welcome and to make our children the center of our visist. She is always willing to keep them and take them to go and do things. My dad will come and visit, but he is definitely a part-timer. Her parents are more distant and do very little to make things happen. Even when we go the extra they may or may not participate. I now know that it frustrates my wife and by coming home her disappointments are reinforced many times over.

We just remind ourselves that we moved away and to make thing happen we often put ourselves in vulnerable situations when it come to our feelings.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Made It

Drove up to St. Louis on Tuesday the 23rd. Only got about 30 minutes from home before we had to pull over for a while due to icy conditions. The temp teetered between 32 and 35 all the way and the 9 1/2 hour trip took 11 hours. It was rainy and misty the whole way. We were able to meet up briefly with friends who were traveling the opposite direction. We were 7 hour into our trip and they were about 2 hours.

The roughest stretch was after meeting them we still had about 3 hours as we cut across Lake Ozark. First I saw a deer dart across the road and wondered if more were coming. I caught the shoulder one time and without our stability track steering we may have hit the ditch. The worse ordeal was seeing that a deer had been pulverized and while doing 65mph I came upon the rest of the carcass and had to hold the line with the pavement being wet. I ran over it and felt like I ran over a 50 pound dog. I checked the front end a bit later at a gas station and didn't see any damage. I told my daughter there was a deer head under the car. Only $19 to fill up.

Earlier in the day there was a traffic fatality and a 12 car/truck pile up on the last highway we were on. We did pray to make it safely when we left. Thanks God!

Did the 3 Christmases. May do the zoo today. Cards tomorrow night. Football watching and a Blues hockey game Sunday. Funny Bone comedy club Tuesday. New Years something Wednesday and probably drive home New Years Day.

Monday, December 22, 2008

3 Christmases

1. Today my immediate family started the Christmas season off by opening our gifts. Our Christmas kicks off the Saturday after Thanksgiving with us all going and picking out a tree. Even with a shorter span between Turkey day and Christmas our tree fell about 10 days short or surviving. It really didn't take on much water and turned dry and brittle very quickly.

We opened presents this morning. Good times for us as we have a 4 year old and a 7 year old. We wrote a letter to Santa telling him to deliver our gifts to grandmas house as we will be in St. Louis Christmas morning.

2. Tuesday the 23rd we will travel most of the day and end up at my sister-in-laws. They have 3 kids and we will probably will do Christmas together during the day Christmas Eve. I hope to travel in to St. Louis early enough to maybe catch a Christmas Eve service with good friends.

3. My kids will wake up Christmas morning at grandma M's house. My dad, brother and his 2 girls will come over for the gift exchange and we'll probably do the typical potluck roast, green beans and Hooter's wings luncheon.

My wife prefers to do Christmas here and avoid all the running around. She sacrificed and gave the okay to do Christmas here today allowing the kids to actually play with their gifts. In the past we did the 25th here and we were on the road by 10am. Her big thing is not to be driving all around Christmas day so this plan hopefully was a fair compromise.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Where is The MAN?

I haven't posted in a while. We had 5th grade camp last week. We left Monday with the temperatures in the 30s and it was really windy. Compared to sunny and 70 on Sunday. All of our camp activities were based on outdoor activities: boat ride to an island, hiking a small mountain peak, survival trails. It really wasn't bad IF you had the right clothing.

Tuesday was the toughest. We received word that school had been cancelled, yet we were plowing ahead with our activities. We are trying to find out if WE have to make up that day since we were still "at work" and "at school."

Our last day was a 1/2 day Wednesday and we arrived back at school all in one peice. I survived the trip without getting sick. I did acquire something that hit me Friday night so I'm currently taking Sudafed and Benadryl at the same time.

Our Christmas is Monday morning and we'll head out to Missouri on Tuesday. Temps in St. Louis today in the teens with a windchill near ZERO. Wonder how tailgating was for my brother this morning.

Meet Me In St. Louis for Christmas.

Friday, December 12, 2008

CP Down

We've had our Toshiba laptop for I guess 5 years and last summer the power jack came loose and we had to have it serviced. While servicing it they said the mother board fried and the $115 cost now became a $275. "Sure, go ahead and fix it." They then talked me into spending an additional $100 to reimage it since nothing had ever been done to it since we've had it. I've never added an anti-virus software either. Lucky it hadn't crashed on us.

We got the laptop back and it worked fine, but it never seemed any faster or more efficient than before I dropped $100 for a reimaging. Then this week as I was trying to find songs to download and simultaneously searched UTube for the songs the thing came to a grinding chug. I also downloaded a song from an unknown sight and then started getting pop-up 2009 anti-virus sight. It was relentless.

Anyway, I took it in Monday morning and let our school tech look at it. He said it was very much infiltrated by trojans and spyware. He recommended a few anti-virus software packs. He did clean it up and it seems a bit faster now.

Just frustrating spending about $400 with tax and for just a bit more I could have purchased a new one MUCH faster.

I'm back.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

How to Save on XM

When we bought our Pontiac G6 last March it came with 3 months of (XM) Satellite for free. After 2 months it cut off so I called and told them. Seems the dealer had it turned on for about a month since this car was an autoshow car. They gave us an additional 3 free months. In August when it ran out we got a call to extend it for 3 months for only about $15, or $5 a month. I agreed.

Well, yesterday I opened a letter from XM saying we now owed $155 with taxes for one year subscription. I called and the gentleman, he was nice, told me that they had it on recording that I agreed to a one year subscription once the 3 month deal ran out. I asked to listen to the recording and he said it wasn't possible from my end. I assured him that I was pretty cheap and would never agree to pay about $13 a month for the service.

After about 20 minutes of talking he said he would offer me a one time deal for just $77 for a year. I asked if I could call the next day and have the "deal" cancelled in December 09' without any suprises and he said yes. SO, I got a DEAL!

Deals can be had when it's not really worth it to you at the original price. Seems right now it is a buyer's market.

Now, go deal!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Going Commando

Monday morning I packed my gym bag and headed off for work. Right after work my Monday routine usually involves about an hour long work out and then I go weigh in to see if I've lost weight. I put my time in the gym trying to sweat off a few last ounces and showered before going to the meeting. When I unloaded my bag I could not find my underpants. My dilemna at that point was put my sweaty drawers back on or go commando. My first incling was to put my old drawers back on. Once they were on I knew that was a mistake so I went commando.

The toughest thing was just worrying that the barn door might be open so I walked basically with my hand over my fly. I weighed in and figured those few ounces with not having drawers on would have helped. It did not. I gained 2 pounds this week. This after going to the gym 8 straight days.

I figure I have let the little snacks creep in along the fact that I really don't push myself at the gym. I also have quit journaling or keeping track of what I've eaten. I'd rather walk for an hour on the treadmill to do 3 miles instead of jogging and getting it done in 30 plus minutes.

We'll see. I am thinking of taking a month off and start back up in January LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.

Next Blog: How I saved money with my XM Radio service.

Monday, December 01, 2008

I Gained

Of course I'd expect to gain something over Thanksgiving break, but it was as if I weren't on a diet at all AND I went off the deep end. In 2 weeks I've gained 3 pounds and I'm frustrated because I made a concentrated effort to hit the gym 8 days in a row. I do know I've fallen short in many areas: drinking water, counting all my points and spreading out food choices throughout the day instead of holding all my points for 6pm and later.

I'd love to lose 8 pounds and hit my goal before Christmas, but know I feel if I can just hold steady until the 1st of January and not be so caught up in thinking about eating and making choices for just a bit.

We'll see. I'm kind of going this alone so my only accountability is myself and my students who asked today if I gained weight. Tomorrow the answer will be, "Yes."

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Free Christmas Tree

Yesterday we left the house with the goal of getting a Christmas tree. We really had 3 options. We could go to Lowes and buy a tree and use our Lowes card with has a $300 balance in our favor. Or we could go back to the local tree place that a friend of mine owns and work out a trade. We discussed going to a cut it down yourself place as well.

The last 4 years we have gotten our tree from this place in exchange for auto details. 2 years ago we got a $139 noble fir, the most expensive tree I've ever had. This year we found a 10 foot tall douglas fir and worked out a deal for 2 future auto details. I actually owed a detail to the co-owner, the father in law, so I detailed his 2 door Lexus convertible. Nice doing a 2 door, smaller car compared to an SUV.

The tree looks great. My wife decorated it with red and white lights along with red and silver ornaments. Simple, yet attractive.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Break is Almost Over

We had a nice dinner yesterday. A friend and her son came by as her husband had to work at the firehouse. So we didn't get shut out on visitors this year. Other than that it was just the 4 of us. The wife worked hard as if many people were coming over. We ended up with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, homemade rolls my son helped make, a pumpkin cheese cake, an apple pie that my daughter helped make. Our dine time was about 3pm so I was able to eat again after my 5pm nap.

Well, as of 4:15 pm today I consider my break over. Even though I still have Saturday and Sunday I consider my break over when the last minute that I would work expires.

3 weeks and then we're off for 2 whole weeks. Nice to be a teacher.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The Good: Movies-Saw Bolt yesterday with my family and it was pretty good. I also went last night with 2 friends to see The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. It too was very good, although on the sad side.

The Bad: Went to the gym 8 days in a row, but still gained weight this week.

The Ugly: Played a CD that the coach gave me that was supposed to be clean and the 2nd song has the F word a few times along with a few other choice words. A parent from the visiting team pointed this out to me as I wasn't really listening that close as I gathered the line ups.

Happy Thanksgiving: We stayed home so if you are bored come on over.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Announcing Music

I walked into my first boys varsity gig of the season Tuesday night and saw the guy who covers for me when I can't announce. The first thing I asked was, "How long before they(the boys players) give me a Cd to play for warm up?"

No sooner than my feet hit the court 3 varsity players asked if I would play a CD they made. "Play number 10, it's the clean version." They brought out a CD player so I could listen to it during the Junior Varsity game. I listened to it and it was In This Crazy World by Young Jeezy. The explicit version has the "N" word, the "F" word, "D" and "SH". The clean version you can her the "D"s and "SH"s.

I brought the CD home and really an offended that they would try to pull this crap on me and have me play this in front of families and little kids. I probably won't accept another CD from them the rest of the year. I should burn a CD full of Frank Sinatra and the Beach Boys for them to warm up to just to show them.

Good thing is the Coach backs me 100%.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


This is my 553rd blogger post. I'm slowly closing in on Barry Bonds. About 200 more posts. If you add this to the many that I posted on tblog and I'm sure I'm approaching 1000 entries. I've always thought about going back and printing 10 a day until I'm done and put the entries into a binder, thus creating sort of a blog biography. I'm curious to see how my style in sharing has changed over time and how along the way you pick up different blogger friends.

Top 5 Things Going On Right Now
5. 3 more days of school before the break
4. Lost 3 pounds this week. Closing in on the 200 pound barrier.
3. Love my teaching position this year. The kids are great.
2. Currently narrowing in on which church to attend regularly. See link.
1. Got an email from GM today asking me to contact congress.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Last Saturday my wife and I stopped by the local animal shelter, SPCA, and casually looked at cats and dogs. We are not in the market for a pet, at least I'm not, but we still like going. At least we're not wasting someone's time like we would if we just went around test driving cars. On the way out we saw someone in the adoption process and one of the things on the contract states that you will not sell the animal or put the pet up for adoption online. First of all, OOOPS! That's what we did with our siamese cat when we got hardwood floors and it was scratching them. I heard the lady say that the policy is to simply return the pet to the SPCA so they can put it back up for adoption.

As we were leaving my wife cracked a funny. She said if you did that you would have bad animal credit. Funny, but she's probably right. If you return the pet you'd probably ruin your chances of adopting from the SPCA again. Kind of like turning your car into the bank because you can't afford the payments anymore.

Wow, bad animal credit(BAC).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Cling to the Word

I remember being in church when I was a kid and a teenager and couldn't wait for the sermon to get over so we could get out and get lunch. Once I was old enough to drive myself I would often come from Sunday School class, walk into the sanctuary, get my hugs from the old ladies, shake the hands of the deacons and then walk right out the back door. The Sunday School part made me eligible for sports( 2 of 4 Sundays required).

In the early 90's a young pastor and his family moved to St. Louis and became our pastor at MBC. This was the first time in my life that I actually listened to sermons with a purpose. It helped that I liked this guy and he was kind of a mentor for me and my friends and we spent all of our time with him and his family. He also pastored our wedding and when my wife and I moved to Texas in 1996 he ended up in Texas, which was his home state. He had us check out a church in Garland that was courting him to pastor their church.

It was a nice time in my life before children that he pastored a church close enough for my wife and I to attend. We started a young married without children class and we had a special 3 years at this church as well.

My wife and I moved to Missouri in 2000 and back to Texas in 2002. We decided that the 20 mile drive would not be in our best interest, especially since we had children, so we found a church close to home. We've spent the past 6 years at 2 different churches and I've never really clung to the word of a pastor like I have of this pastor friend.

When he called Sunday night checking in on me and how our church hunt was going he did inform me that his sermons were available online. My wife and I haven't fully settled on a full time church to commit to and she mentioned going back to this church again. After listening to his "pre-election" sermon that had no slant on how to vote, unlike my last church, I could see us visiting this church on a regular basis again. The nice thing is many of our friends from 10 years ago are still there, albeit with 2-3 children now.

I just want to get up on Sundays and cling to God's word from someone who speaks a message that is practical and applicable. I can't use gas prices as an excuse not to drive now.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Not Much To Say

I've fallen down on the job blogging lately. Not much happened this weekend. Played cards Friday night. Spent about 3 hours Saturday with the wife and WITHOUT the kids. A friend from school kept them. Neighborhood bible study Saturday night and church with my son on Sunday. Had great pizza at . A simple pizzeria with tasty pizza at a cheap price. Got a phone call from a former pastor/mentor Sunday night. Haven't settled on a home church just yet.

Rainy Monday, my first basketball game Tuesday night. Burned myself 3 new CD's. Basketball season is upon us!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Jury Duty

I skirted jury duty for 28 years and finally this week I had to serve. Some of that could be due to the fact that my wife and I lived in 7 places the first 7 years of our marriage. We have currently been in this house for 6+ years and it caught up with me.

I actually got my summons back in August but postponed serving due to teacher inservice commitments before school started. I planned a day off from school and had a lesson that was easy for a substitute to implement.

I arrived at 8:05, but didn't have to be there until 8:30. All potential jurors were filed into a large room with at least 400 chairs and the room ended up being full. We watched a powerpoint and a 15 minute video showing us what to expect. Finally about 10am a lady came in with 2 sheets of paper and called somewhere between 25-40 people per group and called 2 groups. My name was not called. After the last group was lead to a court room we were released. It was 10:37. Part of me wanted to experience being a juror though.

I had heard many stories of people being let go early so I was planning my FREE day. I was hoping to make a 10am Weight Watchers meeting, but was about 30 minutes too late. So on the way home I stopped and washed my truck. It was still before 11am so I figured I could take lunch to my wife. I surprised her and had lunch with her at 11:45. After lunch I came home for about 30 minutes to get workout clothes. I watched "W" at the $3.25 show and DID NOT order popcorn. Had I made the 10am weigh in I guarantee you I would have splurged for the $10 large combo. After the movie I went and picked my daughter up and went to the gym. 2 miles on the treadmill, 15 minutes in the dry sauna, 5 in the hot tub and then on to Weight Watchers. I lost 1.8 pounds of the 3.4 I had gained* the 2 weeks prior(St. Louis food).

It was nice having a free day!

*I have a deal with my students that they receive a reward on any Tuesday following a gain and I've only had to pay one time. Talk about accountability. It will not happen again.

Monday, November 03, 2008

College Football

The offer: I got an email Friday from my good friend CB, a.k.a "me" when commenting saying he could possibly have an extra ticket to the Oklahoma vs. Nebraska football game in Norman, Oklahoma. It worked out that he didn't have an extra ticket, but with the wife's blessing we found a single $87 ticket on EBAY for $29.

The trip: We left around 10am and after stopping 4 times for sunglasses, an OU hat, a long sleeve shirt and a remote for our TV so we turned a 2 1/2 hour trip into a 3 1/2 trip. We checked into our hotel and made it to start tailgating around 2:30pm.

Tailgating: Cold drinks, plenty of sunshine, grilled burgers and dogs and bean bag toss game.

The game: My seat was near the end zone and 33 rows up. Pretty good seat next to grandma. I ended up leaving 1/2 way thru the 2nd quarter when OU held a 35-0 lead. Just being inside the stadium with so many loyal and crazy fans was worth the $29.,

On my own: Wanted to find this pizza place my neighbor recommended, no such luck. I ended up back at the outdoor courtyard by O'connells. They had a jumbotron with the game on. When it was over we were treated to the ended of the Texas Tech/Texas game. WOW!

Midnight: Right as we were leaving I ordered the largest funnel cake I've ever seen. It only cost $5.50, but if I bought one this large at Six Flags it may have cost over $50. It was HUGE....and good. I nibbled at it as we walked back to our truck. 3 out of 5 of our party wanted to go to the nearby casino.

Casino: I've been to Vegas one time and have been to 2 different casinos in Oklahoma so going to this one wasn't going to be anything new for me. I did find out that casinos may be the last place on earth where people can smoke indoors. I ended up walking around and ended up putting $2 into a video poker game. That was enough for me. After we left I found out that our driver would have been just as happy going back to the hotel room instead of going. Darn it.

The Hotel: $90 for a basic room. This was a real old Motel 8 that was slowly being renovated. Our room was clean but it had its flaws. The bathroom light took about a minute to actually turn on. This set up a few peeing in the dark adventures. I couldn't get the shower to turn off. The bathroom door was warped and really didn't lock. Somehow I ened up with the queen sized bed and the other 2 guests took up a roll away cot and a blow up mattress. Thanks guys!

Sunday: We did get to sleep an extra hour. It was badly needed after staying out so late. I ended up getting home about 1pm.

Overall: Good trip and I'm glad I went. It is not an every weekend type of thing. Maybe if I were an OU fan.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween Candy

I finally purchased Halloween candy to hand out for tomorrow night. I went by Dollar General and bought a big bag of Tootsie Rolls(360 pieces for $4) and miniature Tootsie Roll Pops(135 for $3). I figure that was the most bang for my 7 bucks. I was careful not to buy a kind of candy that I couldn't resist.

Part of me wants to give out the best candy, the kind that won't last til the next day. Then the cheap side of me says who cares and lets give them the cheapest stuff since their bags will be so full anyway. I think I ended up in the middle of the road because at least I purchased a brand name candy.

What do you do? Turn to lights off and pretend you aren't at home and then eat your child's candy after they return from pilfering from all of your neighbors?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Getting Sick

Monday during conferences about 8:15am our fire alarm went off in the school. If you've been to a place of business these alarms are really loud and annoying. We were assured that we did not have to leave the building since it was a false alarm. About 10 minutes later we were indeed told we needed to evacuate the building since nobody really knew why the alarm was going off. The fire department showed up and we stood around outside for about 15 minutes. I think it was during this 15 minutes in the chilly morning air that my sinus system became irritated.

All weekend I felt fine. Even up until about 2pm Monday I felt fine. Then I felt it coming. My nose began to run a little. My nose was really cold and if I could have found a nose muff I probably would have worn it. I apologized to my afternoon appointments because I just did not feel my best. I began to fatigue and I sensed I was getting sick. I went from feeling chipper to feeling like I needed to take a LONG nap within about 4 hours.

I still don't know if I have a cold or if the cold front brought something in triggering some allergies. I took a benadryl knock off yesterday and caught a buzz while teaching. I won't take 2 again while teaching. I got a good night's rest and today felt better, but I moved from runny nose to sinus drainage in my throat to now I seem stopped up and my throat is scraggly. Hopefully I'll be 100% by the weekend.

When I'm feeling ill like this I love to drink orange juice and drink soups. The vitamin C probably does boost my immune system and if I had been filling myself with fruits and veggies on a regular basis I would probably not get sick that often. I also get confused on what meds to take when I get sick. I'll stand in the aisle looking at all the boxes trying to diagnose myself and what I need. What is the best way to spend at quick $10?

What do you do when you get sick? What are some of your routines you do to try to ward off sickness or at least shorten the duration?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Conference Day

Students were off today as the district provided the teachers a full day to conference with parents. I have 22 students and offered conference timeslots of 15 minutes long from 7:45am to 3:30pm. I did meet with one parent last week so I needed to squeeze in 21 more. I only met with my homeroom and not the other 2 classes......NICE.

This was the smoothest conference day I've been a part of. I never had more the 4 in a row without getting a break. I didn't have anyone waiting more than a minute or 2. I only had one cancel and was able to add one appointment midday. Just 3 of my 22 parents did not make appointments so my success rate was pretty good.

Probably the best thing about this day was that I was able to say positives about every student that I have. My homeroom is awesome and I know how lucky or blessed I am to have such a good group. As Trace Adkins would sing, "These are the good times...."

I pray the rest of the year goes as smooth as the first 9 weeks have gone.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Feeling Ripped Off

I only spent $5.40, but felt ripped off. I stopped by a local grocery store tonight to pick up tortilla chips for dinner and checked out the Redbox to pick up a movie for tonight as well. I glanced thru the movies and nothing realing jumped out at me. With someone standing behind me waiting to use the box I left and came on home.

After dinner I decided to run to Blockbuster to pick up a movie since they would have a full selection of movies. More choices for me really isn't good because I'll take forever to make a decision. I ended up picking a movie that was available in the Redbox and I knew I was going to pay more at Blockbuster.

I always feel the wait at Redbox is long when you actually have to wait, but my wait at Blockbuster was longer and more torturous since I knew I was waiting to pay more for a similar movie. I finally got checked out and pulled a $5 out of my wallet hoping it was going to be under $5. NOPE. With tax it ended up being $5.40. About $4.33 more for the same movie. I left the store feeling ripped off. I wish I had gone to the Blockbuster that was on the side of town that the Redbox was located. I would have left and saved $$$ and felt better.

It would be like paying the following:

$50 for a pizza from Dominos
$750 for a Southwest Airlines round trip ticket to St. Louis
$15 for a kids meal at McDonalds.
$150,000 for a loaded Jeep Wrangler
$250 for our lunch at Red Lobster today

I am once again reminded why I don't rent from Blockbuster.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

State Fair Report

I took a 1/2 day and took my 2 kids to the State Fair of Texas. As soon as my daughter and I stepped out of school it started to rain. The forecast was for 60% coverage and the radar showed a huge system pushing through downtown Dallas. It was in a full fledged downpour when I picked up my son so I decided to back track to our house to get aqua shoes and rain gear for the my kids. Good move.

Traffic wasn't too bad once the rain let up. We hit a little downtown traffic due to a tractor trailer that had spun out. Got there at 2pm and paid the $10 parking. We got in free with a teacher pass and student passes. As we walked into the fair there was a light drizzle. It continued to rain between 2 and 4pm. We visited a few indoor venues: petting zoo, dancing dogs, horses and the market. I searched the market hard for the Dallas Morning News guy. Last year he was giving $50 in vendor coupons just for subscribing. No luck this year.

I ended up buying $30 in coupons. It bought 1 Fletchers corn dog, two $1 hot dogs, 1 kiddie ride a piece for the kids, one family ride on probably the scariest ride for my 39 inch tall 4 year old son. He was petrified. We also bought a bag of cotton candy.

Overall it was a good experience. The place was a ghost town compared to most other days I'm sure. I couldn't imaging being there last weekend during the UT/OU game. It stopped raining in time for me to enjoy my favorite fair event, the Birds of Prey wildlife show. We also watched a domino exhibit. My daugher said her favorite part was her one kiddie ride. The kids did GREAT! My son loved jumping and splashing in all the puddles since he had on aqua shoes. We did a lot of walking and looking at all the games and rides. Part of me felt bad that I kept declining my daughters attempts to get me to allow her to play the games. Every ride cost between $4 and $5 so if you let them ride a few rides a piece AND play games this fair would make Six Flags look like a discount park.

I could easily have given the kids each $100 in coupons and it wouldn't have lasted the afternoon. We left the park at 7pm having spent 5 hours frolicking in the rain and cool weather. A cool front pushed in and with the windows open, I'll get a great night's sleep.

Tomorrow: St. Louis!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Dating Again

My wife and I are officially married to "the Church", but are dating a local "church." After having left our last church for a few deal breaking differences we have found ourselves at a church where we are able to enjoy worshipping God without interference. We made one visit to a former church where the pastor and good friend Bro. Bill A is still shepherding the flock. It was a much needed Sunday with a great lunch and helpful counsel.

As my wife and I reflect on our transition we are able to see that we were over-extended at our last church which was a starter church with attendance hovering around 100 people and my wife and I were serving in multiple capacities. I think that interfered with us being to worship on a regular basis. Our current church has 4 services with about 300 people at the main service and we'll keep a lower profile for a little while. There are kids everywhere and both of our kids have yet to complain. This past Sunday the bathrooms were rendered useless due to construction efforts. We kept waiting for one of our kid's #'s to come up for a potty run. It didn't happen.

One other plus of this church is that my good friend B goes there and we can discuss the sermon topic and sharpen each other. He is the one who was my link to this church. Our next step in this relationship is to find a bible study group to join. Then slowly, but surely, I'll get involved in Men's Ministry and start serving as well.

As Bro. B said, we'll need some time to heal.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Texas State Fair

Every year the students get a free state fair ticket that is good during the week. This year the ticket was good any Monday thru Friday starting this Friday the 10th. Every since I started teaching in Texas there has been a "state fair" day, usually on a Monday where all students and teachers can go to the fair for free. Last year it was a nightmare to go that day since it takes over an hour to drive that last 10 miles. Then the skies opened up on us as well left and it took almost as long to leave the park.

This year is a bit different. We do not officially have a state fair day, but the students and teachers still got their free ticket. Students did have a 1/2 last Friday, but teachers didn't. The teacher ticket is at least good ANYTIME though. What I see happening this week is that we'll lose a few attendance days to kids taking off to go to the fair. The weather is great right now compared to near 100's this late in the year last year.

I'm tempted to take a 1/2 day and pull my daughter out at noon and go enjoy a 2pm-8pm day at the fair. If I do go I will seek out the Dallas Morning News guy who is selling subscriptions. Last year they were offering $50 in state fair coupons if you subscribed to the newspaper. Really a no-brainer if you think about it.

With going to the state fair and then heading to St. Louis my 5 straight weeks of weight loss may be in jeopardy. I'm so close to a milestone. May need to treadmill for an hour everyday. Moderation is the key. I've just got to maintain!

State Fair and St. Louis or bust!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Just a Few Things

1. My son is playing tee ball and he is only 4. His team is very much at the beginner stage with most of the kids just starting their 2nd season. The first season was in the fall. Until last night IF a kid hit the ball with live pitch it rarely got off the dirt infield. No matter where the ball ended the kids would throw the first base...sometimes a minute after the runner arrived. This team last night must be in their 2nd year of playing, they were hitting line drives and a few went well past the infield. Last night was our first experience of kids running the bases for homeruns. That said, if your player misses the 3 live pitches, hits the tee twice before hitting a roller to the outfield, you probably should have him stop at first base. Really, a homerun for hitting off of a tee? My son hit live pitching 2 out of his 3 at bats.

2. Is it okay to exercise the right to NOT vote? In the past I think at least 50% of the people didn't vote in the big election. This year there is greater interest for sure. I just am not excited about the choices. I can't even find the "lesser of 2 evils" as I once heard during a church sermon.

3. St. Louis trip is only 5 days away!

4. Texas beat OU today. Looks like Mizzou could possibly play the best team in the Big 12 South twice again this year. Mizzou plays Texas next weekend in Austin. AND if both teams are tops in their division they would meat for the Big 12 Championship. Last year Mizzou's only 2 losses came against OU. Hope that theme doesn't repeat itself.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Positive Props

Yesterday I received two positive comments from parents of 2 different boys. One parent said they their child just thought I was the greatest and another parent said her child was having a great year as a first year student at my school. I'm tempted to ask these parents to put the words in email so I can document it in my professional folder.

Side Notes:

My son was up again in the middle of the night complaining of ear aches. This happened a week ago as well. We check his ears and he had tons of wax compacted. My wife took off this morning and they flushed both of his ears with peroxide and water. Guess we'll need to do that here as well.

I ordered a 10 peice wing to split with my daughter and they cheated us a wing and only gave us 9. My daughter had a hard time accepting that I got 5 wings and she got 4.

48 degrees last night here in North Texas.....AWESOME!

8 more days before heading to St. Louis.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Church and Politics

If you have followed by blog for the past 6 months you would know that we recently are in the hunt for a new church. The last 3 weeks we attended a non-denominational church about 20 minutes away. It has been very refreshing visiting a church where the pastor preached a message straight from the bible and he made it very applicable for my life without watering down the gospel and there was no hint of judgment for the lost, no slandering of a certain political party, and nothing said about public schools.

I have struggled this election about which Presidential candidate would be the best for our country without regards of religion. Over the past few years I've felt that it has been my religious duty to vote the Republican Party regardless of a person's character and true religious commitment. One of my best friends is clearly an Obama supporter and we are attending church together and he is a man of integrity. Billy Graham is a registered Democrat. So I've looked long and hard to judge the candidates fairly.

There is an article on page 13A of the USA Today and it is one that I actually read the whole article. The author hints that a new evangelical is emerging taking a step away from the thought that the Republicans are God's Party. He is stepping away from the far right wing whose agenda was based on what they are against rather than the good they hoped to do and somehow turned into haters in the name of Christ.

The article states that the new evangelicals are eager for candidates who are devoted to faith and they were surprised that none of the major speeches have included any statements of faith beyond the obligatory "God Bless America" or "so help me God." The new evangelical seeks to be more biblically based than generically affiliating with one party. To affiliate with just one party this new evangelical might side on the party that suggests that it will defend the unborn and protect the traditional family while ignoring the care of the poor, cause of the stranger and pleas for social justice.

I personally think God would be angry that he is being used to endorse a certain party by many pastors and Christians without first getting HIS approval to do so.

If you get a chance check out this article.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Studio Movie Grill

Took my family to see Beverly Hills Chihuahua today during the lunch hour. We went to a movie theater called Studio Movie Grill. The concept of this theater is to eat lunch or dinner while you are watching the movie. I surprised my kids and for lunch we went to watch the movie. I took my $5 off diet Pepsi cans and we all got in for FREE! Before the movie started we ordered a hamburger cut into 4ths for the girls, my son got a pizza and I got a grilled chicken sandwich. We each ordered a soft drink that included free refills. For some reason I splurged and ordered the $8 potato skins which drove our overall cost to $45 for lunch.

The kids loved the movie and it was entertaining enough for adults as well.

The downside of the experience was that the seats, all leather type office recliners, were jammed side by side. Since the movie wasn't sold out I fixed this by pulling one chair back thus creating a little more elbow room for everyone. Each row you were given the choice of a counter type seat or you could sit back at tables for 2. We sat at the counter figuring it would be easier for the kids to see. It was also very cold inside the theater so my wife went and got the one small blanket that we had in the car. I was surprised and disappointed that there were no salt and pepper to be had. Guess I could have asked for some.

Good experience overall. Guess this idea goes over well with couples who want to save baby sitter time by getting to have dinner and a movie at the same time. Instead of reserving 5 hours you could get it all done in about 3 hours.

Check it out

Saturday, October 04, 2008


What a day. I left the house about 9am to help a friend move his mom out of her house. After 25 or so years she filed papers yesterday and we went over this morning for the first time since he got this letter. I was a little apprehensive not knowing the situation, but everything went well. The guy, "Dale" just sat in his chair while we carried out items. Dale is my friend's step-dad. My friend said his biggest fear would be that we'd find Dale dead. Good thing we didn't. I was more worried about someone finding us dead after a confrontation. I said a few prayers and things went smoothly.

We loaded things in both our trucks, took 2 trips, and our day ended about 5pm.

The biggest pain of the day was the new neighbor at the apartment complex who is just below my friend's mom. She actually knocks on the door and I answered. She introduced herself as the neighbor down below and I invited her in. She tells me, "I know you are moving in, but you are being a little loud. We can here every little step that you take."

REALLY. I've busted my butt for 8 hours, walked a flight of stairs moving out and then moving in and the first impression we have of the new neighbor is a whiny neighbor. Cut us some slack, it's 4pm in the afternoon.

Good luck friend's mom. Guess the grandkids won't be visiting that much.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

74 cent dinner

I had to post this one. Tonight after my son and I got our haircuts we went to the nearby Chick Fil A. Of course I had my coupons in line: 2 free kids meals, a free 4 pack tenders with a medium drink purchase. I ordered all that and got the #1 Sandwich meal for my wife. Before the cashier rang it all up the manager recognized me and told the young man to ring me up as the police 50% discount. I get this deal on Friday mornings and he doesn't charge me for my drinks. I told the manager that I had a bunch of coupons and didn't need the discount, but the young man rang it all up anyway. When he was finished he said I owed him 74 cents. I chucked and asked if he was sure. He double checked and assured me that was the total. 74 cents for about $20 worth of food. After analyzing the menu board I'm sure the guy didn't charge me at all for my wife's sandwich meal. He only charged me for the medium drink and then halfed it.

My frequent Friday order is usually two-3 pack chicken minis, a cinnamon cluster, a chicken and egg biscuit along with a large diet Coke. Retail value about $11. I usually pay less than $5. At this rate when someone asks me to pick them up something I usually refuse because I don't want to overextend my welcome.

Again I can never say enough good things about Chick Fil A. They take coupons that have expired and their service is always great. That's one thing I miss in St. Louis. They don't have free standing Chick Fil A's. I really only know of 2 that are located in malls and I'm not sure they have breakfast. I'd way rather do breakfast at Chick Fil A than dinner. They will also cook waffle fries during breakfast time too. Although I've never ordered them. They are delicious.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


This is my son's first year for playing baseball and Friday night was his 2nd game of the season. We were worried because we signed him up with many boys who are older than him and who had already played last year. I was pretty anxious that first practice to see if he could hold his own and keep up. I left that practice knowing he'd do alright. The first game the coach put him at first base knowing he would have a good chance at catching balls thrown his way. When I say catch I really mean stop all the balls that are rolling his way because not many 4 and 5 year olds throw the ball that well.

His first game he actually fielded 2 grounders and tagged the bag for his first 2 put outs ever. He hit off the tee and really had a good understanding of the game.

Friday night he hit live pitching and hit the first pitch he saw. He popped it up and the pitcher almost caught it, but nontheless he did pretty good. If a child doesn't hit 3 live pitches then he will hit off the tee. My son hit live pitching both times. The highlight of the night was that he fielded 2 balls in the same inning getting 2 more unassisted put outs. He knows what he is doing because he is already doing a little bit of a fist pump. He was bummed out when he was moved to 3rd base for the last 2 innings. He already knows he'll see less action at third.

I think I had unrealistic expectations for him since he seems to be a natural at all things that involve throwing, catching or kicking a ball. Thing is he's really exceeding my expectations because he almost needs little to no coaching. He really learns by watching and learns quickly when told. The cool thing is he looks like a ball player as well.

Time to start video taping.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Lost Badge

I dressed up yesterday and right before walking out the door I decided to change shirts. I grabbed one that didn't need ironing and I was on my way. I got to my truck and realized that I didn't have my badge for work. I was sure that I put it on previously, but couldn't find it anywhere as I traced my steps back thru the house. I even checked for it twice on the first shirt I put on. After about 10 minutes I had to leave.

Last night I was all over the house looking for it. I folded all the close in our room. Checked that shirt again. I looked in the hamper as well as the washroom, our cars and under furniture. No luck.

This morning as I was spending my last 30 minutes dozing while my wife was getting ready I heard, "I found your badge." My wife tossed it onto the bed. She found it in her make up bag. Guess it fell off as I changed shirts. I would NEVER have found it on my own.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Sunday evening I did a little grocery shopping and asked for $40 cash back. I was engaged in conversation with a younger gentleman who has worked at this store for a while. We talked football and I grabbed my things and was on my way. I had already made plans to go to the movies with my friend B and right before heading out the door I told my wife that I got us each $20 for the week. I then check my wallet, no luck. I grabbed the receipt from my pocket, no luck. I then checked the car, again, no luck. I realized I never received the money from the cashier.

Now I was in a bind because it was near 7:30 and I was to meet B at the movies about 10 minutes away for the 8pm movie. As I pulled from the driveway I called B and said I'd be pushing 8pm. As I walked into the grocery store the young man was carrying his drawer to customer service. This is when I ran up and tackled him.....not. I walked to customer service and said I was sure that I didn't receive the cash back. The manager on duty asked who it was and I said the guy who justed checked out.

I am thinking I'll have to leave my name or wait a while. That's when she said, "Give me a minute and I'll count his drawer." I sat and read a little about Hurricane Ike from the Sunday paper and within 5 minutes she handed me $40.

This was one of those moments that made up for the times you do get ripped off AND/OR you have to wait a long while.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Weekend Update

Friday night my wife and I met a few other couples at a local establishment to watch Kyle Sherman play acoustic guitar. The owner admitted that business was down since our local town passed a "no smoking" law in restaurants and bars. The town closest to us is collecting the defectors. I liked going out not having to deal with 2nd hand smoke. Kyle Sherman was great! He mixed some cover songs from The Fray, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Brittney Spears(yes), Matchbox 20, Goo Goo Dolls and then some of his own songs. Check him out: Kyle was a former music minister for a DFW church.

Our friends J and L stayed over Friday night until 3am. Then Saturday night I went to a birthday party and ended up playing cards. At midnight I was 1 of 3 remaining players when I turned my seat over to a girl who teaches at my school. She came in second and doubled my money for me. NICE! Can you say TIRED.

Sunday morning we visited ARBC . The pastor who married my wife and I is leading this church. He actually started there in 1997 and we were members there until about 2000 when we moved to MO. It was great seeing many people from when I started a class back in 1997. The worship setting was unique because it was in the gym and there were round tables and chairs. My 4 and 7 year old did great as they were able to color on there notepads during the service. I liked having them in there with us as my son was trying to sing along during the praise part. The kids easily went to their class afterwards as the new childrens building has a 3 story slide. It helped that they had 2 fish tanks and a bird cage. The kids loved it. We had great fellowship at lunch as we went to the pastor's house and talked about our current church situation and old times. Pasta was good!

Last night I went to the movies with B. Not too late as it was the 8pm movie. For some reason I wasn't able to get to sleep. I was tired, but I guess the 44 ounce diet Coke had me wired.

Long weekend. It has been nice coming home and not having to be anywhere. Busy week coming up.

I got on the scales today.........................................................

Monday, September 08, 2008

Dine Out Cheap

I still wish someone who knew about websites and servers would hook up with me and start a website called . I am the professional on how to take your family out to lunch or dinner CHEAP. Mainly it deals with when kids eat free and knowing portion sizes and how many certain meals will feed. Splitting meals is often involved and do avoid paying for kids meals.

Tonight: McD's(not the healthiest) Quarter Pounder meal, upsized, 3 double cheeze and one additional $1 drink. $10.

Last night: Dickeys BBQ 2 meat platter with 2 sides, FREE kids meal pulled pork sandwich with a side, add a kids drink, ice cream is alway included. $12.

Last week: Chick Fil A did a free 3 piece strip package for anyone wearing a football jersey or team logo. 2- 3 peice strips, 2 coupons for FREE kids meals, Large waffle fries, sandwich no pickle, one more drink. $8. Chick Fil A ALWAYS has coupons and takes them long after they expire.

Every Friday: Chick Fil A for breakfast, 2- 3 pack chicken minis, 1 cinnamon cluster, 1 chicken with egg biscuit, one large diet Coke. $5.50. Okay this deal is just for me. One of the students I've had the last 2 years has a parent who works there every Friday and I get the 1/2 "public servant" deal. I actually got the deal this Friday from another worker who has seen me for so long.

Last Tuesday: New York Sub Hub. They have a footlong sandwich of the day for $4.79 and the six inch for $2.79. Add a $3 bag of chips and have the family split ONE drink and you get in for under $12. WAY better than Subway or Quiznos.

The Zone Pizza Buffet: On Sundays kids eat free. The buffet is about $6 per adult. If you must have drinks the cost ends up being about $16 for a great buffet with TVs to watch NFL as well.

That's why I am in charge of lunches at my school. Especially on Fridays I manage to find ways for us all to eat for about $5 each when other teachers are ordering delivery and spending as much as $10.

My long term goal is to prove that you can dine out cheaper than dining at home. You do have to get some staples like milk and ice. I find deals on that. Once again, I'm FRUGAL, not CHEAP. Cheap is buying Kroger brand drinks. Frugal is finding diet Pepsi on sale for $2 per 12 pack.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Those Crane Machines

Last week my daughter and I went to the store for a Redbox movie. Next to the Redbox they have those 50 cent crane machines where you try for the stuffed animal. I NEVER let my kids play those since I feel they are a rip off. My brother plays them all the time, but he frequents bars all the time that have them and that's just part of his entertainment value.

As I'm checking out my movie my daughter goes over and notices the "out of order" sticker on the window. She goes ahead and moves the joystick and the crane moves. It drops, doesn't pick anything up, and returns to normal. I told her that the reason it is out of order probably is because the crane isn't working properly.

As I'm grabbing the Redbox movie my daughter says, "Look dad, I got one." I disappointed her by saying, "That's like stealing sweety." She quickly shoved it back into the compartment. After rationalizing for a while I told her we need to walk it up to customer service. The lady looked perplexed that we actually went to turn it in. She asked if we lost any money and I informed her we had not. She simply said, "It looks like your lucky day little girl."

Part of me says we did the right thing by offering to give it back. Part of me says we should have insisted on giving it back since we didn't pay for it.

Thoughts? I'm just impressed she actually got something out of there.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

To Hooters or Not to Hooters

I got the invitation today by a good friend to meet him, his wife and a few friends at a local dinner/drinking establishment. When my wife informed me that her plans included going home and going to be early I accepted the invite. The jackpot moment of the night was when my friend informed me that all restaurants and bars in our town had become smoke-free Sept. 1st. I was so disappointed....not.

The get together started to break up about an hour and a half after I arrived so I was a little disappointed. I figured I'd be out til about midnight and now I had 2 hours to spare. Since I hadn't had dinner I decided to pick it up on the way home. The Jack in the Box drive thru had about 15 cars in it. That's when the idea for chicken wings came about. My favorite place closed at 10. My second option was Buffalo Wild Wings, but the idea of getting Hooters wings to go jumped right to the forefront. Thus the conflict.

I personally don't have a problem with Hooters. The waitresses are wearing less revealing clothing than many high school girls. It's the "taboo" thing for many people like me who are committed to a more conservative church. I'm married to a wife who went one time and would never go again. If I do go with friends and someone from church sees me it could be a bad witness moment, and so on.

I pulled up and walked right in. I was surprised at how empty the place was for a Friday night. The ratio was probably 75/25 guys vs. girls not including the waitresses. I'm sure the place will be packed on Saturday for college football and Sunday for NFL. I ordered 12 wings, fries and a diet Pepsi(to go). I got my bill and it was over $20. WHAT. I checked and the order was for 20 wings. Oh well. My drink was more than my fries too. I tipped and my meal ended up costing $24.....OUCH. For me....double OUCH OUCH.

The late night dinner was G R E A T. I got my wings with the sauce on the side. I LOVE their fries too. 10 wings would have been plenty.

End result. I don't feel bad about going. I didn't sit around getting sloshed and I didn't stare...that long at the waitresses. I actually was being a critic of the girls. Not a very flattering outfit for most of the girls there. You don't really see any skin, but you do know exactly what each girl has. AND that said, most of the girls at this Hooters would benefit from 30 minutes daily on the treadmill and/or a membership to Jenny Craig.

So, are you a Hooters fan?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I meant to post on this long ago, but finally the topic popped back up. Is anyone else offended or put off by the Edge Gel shaving cream commercials that have scantilly clad women flying up into the guys nose with these mint odor machines. Or the one where the women are spraying on shaving cream?

I'm in my early 40's and I will not buy Edge now that I'm offended by dumb marketing.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Nice Change

After having reached 100 degrees for many of the days in July and the first week of August it sure has been nice lately to have plenty of rain and lower temps. Saturday at my retreat near Lake Texoma it was awesome only to have temps in the mid 80's. Last year's camp it was near 100 and we had outdoor ropes activities.

Both yesterday and today brought rain. My yard is soaked and maybe the grass will dominate the weeds finally. Tonight I played a little bit of whiffle ball with my son inbetween rain systems. I was squishing around in the yard.

Also another nice change took place today. It is my first day with my new electric company with rates nearly half of what I've had the past 2 months. We also just started with new auto insurance as of Sunday. SHOP AROUND!

Here comes the school year.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Breaking Up

Do you remember what it felt like when you realized that you no longer wanted to date someone that you had invested a lot of time in? Maybe you avoided phone calls or made excuses for not being able to get together. More than that I'm thinking about that actual feeling of when you began to wonder if this person was right for you or not. Kind of a feeling of confusion wondering if it is something that you were doing wrong, or just second guessing if you made the right decision in the first place. Or maybe this person what just the right person to get you through a certain period in your life before you moved on.

Well, today my friend Bobby and I were driving back from our retreat and I knew I had enough time to get home, freshen up, and then get to church in time for our worship service. As we were driving I was having these feelings about my church . I'm not sure I was looking for feedback, I just think I needed someone to express my thoughts and feelings to. When you are dating someone that you are really excited about you just can't wait to be with them and spend time together. I just wasn't experiencing those feelings about church today. I had every excuse to NOT go. I got 5 hours sleep the night before. My duties were covered. I could just show up late for our luncheon.

I decided to go and really went to be with my family.

End result: I'm not sure my feelings were addressed. I was validated by many of my friends who let me know that they missed me at bible class and a few told me they were glad that I was actually able to make it.

I'm really going to need to think this one through. Or maybe I should go to my knees in prayer. I need clarification if this is the right church for me and my family. We are very involved so uprooting would be a hard thing to do. In my 20+ years of going to church as an adult I've only left a church to find a new one just one time. Keep me and my family in your prayers.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Defending Public Schools

I went to public schools in big inner city for 8 years and spent 4 years at a major Catholic H.S. I am now a public school teacher. Within the last 2 years I feel like I am having to defend the fact that my kids go to public schools and often times have to defend the overall status of my job setting. A few years ago a real good friend made a comment while he was showing me his new home and where his wife was going to home school their kids, "There's no way I'm letting my kids go to a public school." His dad's career was as a teacher, coach and administrator AND he's telling this to a public school teacher. I was insulted and we talked about it.

Over the course of the last year or so I feel like I'm "on guard" again at my current church. There seems to be a heavy anti-public school bias and it has really made me extremely sensitive when blanket statements like, "what they teach at public schools" or "the unchurched who are in charge" and so on. I've been on the defensive enough to research on Google things like public school bashing, Christians and public schools and other words that might pull up articles I could read.

It seems like 3-4 years ago there was a call for all Christians to pull their kids from public schools. My wife said she found that this was in California. Let's abandon the mission field!

My feelings: The public school system is a huge mission field for me and my kids. My 7 year old has already expressed feelings about other kids and whether they go to church or not. I feel like many Christians have separated themselves from "the world"so much that they don't really know any non-Christians. Also, the system may be flawed, but I'm part of it so when you bash it, knowingly or not, I'm offended. I may be the closest thing to a Christ like example for many of these kids who come from broken homes or dysfunctional families. A high percentage of the people I have enjoyed bible study with over the past 10 years are involved in public education. The family that had the most impact on me as a Christian had both parents who worked for public schools.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Stop Calling Me

I got a phone call from my friend B the other day wanting to know why I keep calling him over and over. He would answer and here nothing but crackling noises. I then informed him that I can't find my cell phone. After doing a little detective work I've decided that it has to be in the house somewhere. My last phone call was to my mom Saturday about 1:25 pm. The whole family was in my daughter's room playing Webkinz Idol. I do recall leaving her room during the phone call and my mom reminded me that I was telling the kids to go to their rooms for some quiet time. This all about 1:30 on Saturday.

I did not leave the house Saturday nor did I take it to church on Sunday. It is nowhere to be found. We've torn apart my daughter's room, my son's room. Thoroughly checked both vehicles and I sorted thru the recycle bin and went dumpster diving. No luck. I've double checked couch cushions as well as both of our leather chairs. I've peered under my bed and even stripped the bedding for washing. All afternoon and evening Saturday I was in bed watching TV and playing computer games on the laptop.

During a power outage last night I repeated called my phone hoping to hear the vibration assuming it's not turned off all together. My friend B said after about 20 calls it finally quit calling him.

My only out at this time is to order a new phone since I am due for an upgrade.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Church Bulletins

About 15 years ago or so at the church I belonged to in Missouri a few of my friends and I would doctor up the church bulletins on Sunday during the service. We would severely alter the worship agenda by changing names of songs and people into funniers names or sayings. Ex. Our call to salvation song was Jesus Paid It All and we may change it to Jesus Played Guitar. We'd also turn in guest cards for David Letterman and P.W. Hermann to mention a few and they would often make the church newsletter. Well, this weekend I came across a few guest cards that I'd done up. I did the backs which had things to check for more information like: How to become a Christian, How to Join the Church, Youth Activities and such. The following is the list of items I added for checking: the theme was Texas week and I still lived in Missouri. My friend billyv and a few other church friends had moved to the Fort Worth area.

I'd like information about:

__ The country of Texas
__ How to become a Texan AND a Christian
__ Burning Texas Toast
__ Burning Texans
__ Open hunting season on Texans
__ Bomb Texas instead of Iraq, it's closer(my guess 1990s)
__ How to humble a Texan(can't be done)
__ Cowboy hats, horses, boots, big belt buckles
__ Y'all come Texas Choir
__ Building a fence around Texas(already being done)
__ I'd like someone to contact me and share information
about the church that has no Texans in it.
__ I'd like to talk like a Texan and our pastor.

I also would give a survey question on other requests at the bottom:

We should have a Texas Pride:
a. day
b. week
c. month
d. year

Friday, August 08, 2008

The MAN Fan Club Explained

First off my initials are M.A.N. and the play on my initials is I'm The MAN. This isn't a "man" fan club, it's The M******* A. N*** Fan Club. Back on April 16, 1986 my friend Billyv and I put out our first MAN Fan Club newsletter. The following is most of what is on the original letter that we typed up.

Dear M.A.N. Fan(4 members strong):
Thank you for being very considerate and patient. Many impatient people wouldn't have been so considerate and would have cancelled their memberships, but you did not. It means you are very faithful, and YES, this is our first paper that we've attempted to publish, and I hope you are pleased.

More About Me:
I'm 20, born 2-18 to Fred and Margie and I have a brother Terry. I learned my first life lesson in kindergarten whe I stole a kid's hotwheel he got at our Christmas party because I didn't like the present I received. I was forced to return it. Since then I've mingled through life's measures and treasures. I graduated from (a Catholic H.S.) and am currently attending my 2nd year at UMSL. My brother got married and moved out 7 years ago. I've been attending MBC for 11 years and have been an active member at this church for 7 years. I guess it's home.

My Favorites:
Song: In the Name of Love-U2
Groups: Hooters, Bryan Adams, Cars, Sting
Pizza: Dominos Pepperoni
Color: Purple (Rain)
Cars: Cutlass Supreme, Porsche 911
Movie: The Dead Zone with Christopher Walken
Comedian: Steven Wright
T.V. Show: The Cosby Show
Lt Nt Show Host: David Letterman

Please Vote for Our Motto:
____ "But Officer I know M......A......N......"
____ "To Err is Human, to Forgive- M.......A......N....."
____ "I Only Wish M........A.......N.......was here."
____ "Who are We to Play M......A.....N......?"
____ "Liberty, Justice and M......A......N....for All!"

Notes from the Editor:
Hi, I'm BillyV, editor of the MAN Fan Club Newsletters. This is the first of what I hope to be many wonderful informative letters about the MAN. Look forward to your MANFC newsletters periodically, meaning, they will come out when he feels like it. We know you won't complain, you'd be more than happy just to fold his underwear. Centerfolds to begin in the next issue.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Groundhog Day

One of my favorite movie with tons of one liners is Groundhog Day. I think I lost interest in a girl I was dating when she said the movie was stupid. Anyway, it is beginning to feel like Groundhog Day here in North Texas. We had triple digit temps for 13 straight days and it has been dry. I checked and it has been 93 and over since July 1st.

Hurricane Eduoard came thru and gave us a somewhat nice day yesterday when the temps only hit the mid 90's. It is funny when you hear the meteorologist say a COLD front is coming and it "may" only get to about 96 on Friday with a chance of some rain. A cold front? Can't they say a cool front?

I start worrying about us having indoor recess for a month and a half. When the temps get over 90 we can only have outdoor recess for 10 minutes. I think when it hits 92 or the heat index is 92 we have to implement the indoor recess policy.

7 days before I have to report for duty!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Doing Nothing is Tough

All I've got to say is it is tough to sit around the house and do nothing. I've had the house to myself the last 3 weeks and for the most part I've had enough to stay busy. This week my running around partner "B" is on vacation and my things to do has run out. Both Monday and Tuesday I've managed to nap and lounge around after the family left until about 10am. I was extremely productive Monday, but today all I managed to do was fold close and load the dish washer.

Normally I'd run off to see movies, but there really isn't much to see and we're out of cash until we get paid on the 15th. I'm not even creative enough to blog about something interesting, sorry.

Monday, August 04, 2008

I Made The Switch

I opened up our auto insurance envelope last night and saw that our monthly rate was what I thought was ridiculously high. We've been with GMAC insurance for 4 years and supposedly have multiple discounts, but our monthly rate has gone up about $60 a month and we haven't had any claims. So last night I started searching for better rates. I visited Progressive and GEICO websites and it appeared I could do much better. I finally called GEICO and talked to someone who spoke english and believe it or not is from the Dallas area and I really enjoyed our conversation. No lie, in 15 minutes I saved about $700 for this incoming year, or 37%.

I guess since I am a teacher I am getting a "government" discount that is almost $60 a month less than what GMAC was going to give me. So if you teach in a public school system it may be worth checking out. Contact me and I'll give you a special "promo" code.

What I was impressed with was all of the great customer service I received from all parties: Al Boenker insurance agency(my broker), GMAC agencency, and GEICO.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

An Ounce of Prevention

Ben Franklin once said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." That saying has recently popped into my head as I try to gain control of my yard. This week alone I have spent about 3 hours working on weeds and planting new grass seed. Add to that spending money of a few things to assist me as I struggle to make make yard look presentable.

I realize now that my biggest mistake was not preparing well enough last winter and this spring. Last winter I should have covered my yard in some type of pre-emergent weed and feed. Then my costliest mistake was this spring when I mowed my yard for the first time. Our bermuda grass dies and turns brown during the winter. When spring comes we "scalp" the dead layer off so the frest layer can grow. I failed to bag all my lawn clippings and it has choked my lawn not allowing enough water and oxygen to make it to the soil. Where grass stuggles, weeds thrive. If I had only taken the extra hour to bag all those clippings I'd not be spending so much time and effort now in 100 degree heat messing with my yard.

Also while I was in St. Louis for 30 days my sprinkler system tripped off and my yard didn't get the water that it needed as well. A healthy lawn will keep weeds away.

As I think about the ounce of prevention saying I know that it applies many other places in my life:

If I'd only drink a bottle or 2 of water before mowing or working out I would get leg cramps or be as sore the next day.

If I would throw away trash and unload my vehicle of things I've transported then I wouldn't spend 30 minutes cleaning it out each week.

I know there are others, but they are not accessible right now. Do you know of any situations where an ounce of prevention would keep you from major headaches?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Big Kids

Went to Amazing Jakes with my friend and co-worker yesterday with our free passes. We found a game that was giving out double points and a ridiculous number of tickets. Even the worker there said the game was malfunctioning and he likes to play it. Well, after being there for 30 minutes I had enough tickets to bring home a glitter lava lamp for my son. I kind of felt like an arcade rock star with all the kids staring at us. Especially when I ran my 1000 tickets thru the counter. My friend cashed his tickets in on a Route 66 glowing clock.

Today my friend and I are going to Six Flags for FREE compliments of our school reading program. The Six Flags here in Arlington is not my favorite. It is nestled amongst a true concrete jungle and between 2 major highways. We'll hit the big rides and come home. I'm still taking $50 even though it is free. Since B is driving I am paying for parking...$20.

If I had planned it correctly we could have went to the Texas Rangers game tonight because teacher admission is FREE tonight. That would be one LONG and HOT day. Anyway I need to be home by 6pm tonight so my wife can go out with a friend.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Step Brothers Disappointment

I decided to see a movie yesterday afternoon and I narrowed it down to 2 movies that started near the 2pm timeslot that I needed. Neither of these movies are in the MUST SEE category for me, but I had spare time and the cost to go was $3.25 during the day. My choice was between Step Brothers and the X-Files movie. I'm not a big Will Farrell fan nor did I watch any of the X-Files while it was on TV in the 90s. I picked comedy over suspense.

Within the first 10 minutes I knew I would not make the movie. I thought about getting up and catching the beginning of the X-Files movie, but was not sure what theatre number it was located. I did know that Hancock started at 2:40 and it was right next door to where I was sitting. At 2:35 I visited the restroom and casually entered Hancock.

I knew there would be some crude humor in a Will Farrell movie, but there was so much profanity and vulgarity that it bothered me. The last straw, as if there needed to be one, was when Will Farrell whipped out his testicles and whiped them on his step-brother's drums. They actually showed what appeared to be testicles. I'm sure they were fake, although not 100% sure.(Will Farrell's 15 minutes of fame must be tanking fast).

I guess one thing my faith and relationship with Christ does for me is it stirs my spirit when I am around vulgarity, profanity or anything contrary to what is good in the eyes of God. I must have a long way to go in the maturity of my faith because it seems I am only offended in extreme cases like this.

I would not recommend this movie to anyone who has an ounce of decency in their character. Sure some of it will make you laugh, but most of it will make you cringe.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I really only had one objective today, fix our electricity situation. Friday we were shocked to see that our electricity rate had nearly double in the last 4 months. When we signed on with Amigo Energy a little over a year ago we locked into a rate of 12 cents per kilowatt hour. I guess our little agreement expired and the rate has gone up progressively over the last 4 months to about 25 cents per kilowatt hour, with current fair market rates around 15 cents per hour. That added about $170 more to our bill than should have been expected. We received the highest bill ever AND we were gone for 10 days with the AC turned off.

Either they adjust my bill or I'll go to another electric company to get a fair rate. In Texas you can go to to compare rates. You should really check around for a better deal. A year ago Amigo Energy saved us about 25% over the company that we had.

Had to call the Houston area code number because the 888 number was "circuits busy" all day. Was on hold for almost 30 minutes. They were willing to knock off $50. Not enough. I'm switching to another company called Champion. They rate the best # for customer service 1/5. The company I'm leaving is a 3/5, # 21 out of 30 companies. They are going to lose about $2000 a year losing me. They'll probably rake me over the coals until the change over takes place.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


We played cards last night and out of the original 6 that started playing 6 years ago only myself and Huffdaddy were part of the mix. I met Huffdaddy in 1999 as I taught at my 1st regular elementary campus. Huffdaddy taught 5th grade and I was the new resource/inclusion teacher. Huffdaddy and I got along pretty well, usually easy to do when there are very few men teachers on campus. Our friendship solidified one night that year as we both stayed on campus for a sleepover that one of the students won.

I left HP after one year and moved back to Missouri. I did go back and visit Huffdaddy and a few other friends on campus as I have the tendency to stay in touch with people. While in Missouri I became part of a teacher fraternity that played cards once a month and when I moved back to Texas I started up a new group of poker players, mostly people in the education world. All 6 of us last night were in the growing kids business.

6 years later I still manage to get 5-6 guys together once a month for friendly low stakes games of cards. One of the most reliable players is Huffdaddy. This is very impressive on many fronts:

1. He lives 20+ miles away.(He even battled rush hour traffic last night as he rode his new scooter...hope he made it home last night). My poker chips even fit under his seat!!!
2. He is a principal and is busier than most educators, other than my coaching friends.
3. He is successfully battling a life threatening illness.(He even played one time hooked up to some type of contraption).
4. He was poker challenged when he first started, but has progressed to best of the class.

When Huffdaddy last hosted cards he had food catered in from a Mexican restaurant and usually goes above and beyond when it comes to hosting whereas you know I'm trying to feed the most for the cheapest possible cost.

Huffdaddy, I appreciate you as a friend, respect you as a principal, and am inspired by your positive attitude with all that you have gone thru.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

You Never Know

You never know when you are going to run into someone who knows you. As a teacher I know that a lot more kids and a few parents are going to recognize me when I don't have a clue who they are. The other day at a local burger joint a couple with their 7 year old son asked if I was ready for school to start back up. I chatted a little bit out of courtesy and the lady finally admitted that I had her daughter in my class this year. Both parents praised my school, my team and me for what we did for them this year as they moved in mid year. Nice.

Today at the gym as I was grabbing stuff from my locker a guy asked if I was enjoying my summer. Immediately I asked if he had a child at my school and his son is going into 3rd grade this year. He said he loved our school and has 2 kids in college and he was impressed how well last year went. He said his son has a blue mohawk just like the one my principal, my friend BH and myself got in front of the school at the end of the year. I also saw another parent at the gym and came away feeling real good about our conversation as well.

I told the parent that last year was the best year I've had and I've taught for 11 years. We both agreed that we had super administrators that students, parents and maybe most importantly teachers like and trust leading. My last comment was, "I'm usually on my best behavior because you never know when your going to run into a student or a parent."

The Dark Knight Tie Ins

My daughter was eating a "Go-Gurt", yogurt in a tube, and I noticed The Dark Knight marketing on it. This extremely violent, dark movie is being marketed to kids. I don't understand it. I'm sure other kid items are being marketed as well. Most likely there are toys in the aisles of Target and Walmart. Which fastfood company will have Batman toys in their kids meals?

What will be next? Boogie Nights kids meals with a Dirk Diggler doll as a toy? I really don't like that an adult movie has toys being marketed to kids. It would be different if they exploited the "Batman" awareness to push generic Batman toys.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Deal or No Deal

I'm not much of a risk taker. Ask my wife, I didn't try to kiss her until our third date or so. When we play cards I don't take risks either and more times than not an aggressive, semi-wreckless player will win a Hold Em tournament. I rarely more than 5 mph over the speed limit, etc.

This summer on 2 occasions my daughter and I played the video game Deal or No Deal at the arcade. I love this game and could be addicted to it. I could care less about the TV show though. On this game you pay basically $2 for a chance to win as many as 400 tickets. If you pay double you can win up to 1000 tickets.

The first time we played back in June my daughter played the game down to the last 2 cases. The 1000 and 40 were still in play. The banker's offer was 520 tickets. I convinced her to take the deal. She had the 1000 case ): I'll add that she also won a 250 jackpot on another game and we had enough tickets to buy her the lava lamp at 1300 tickets. Her mom played the game and ended up only winning 2 tickets.

This Monday I took her again to this place and we played. She dropped a few heavy #s early and at one point had an offer of 78 tickets. I was trying to convince her to take the deal. She pushed on and her last 2 cases were 20 and 150. The banker's offer was 85 tickets. TAKE IT I urged. She pushed on and her case was the 20. I look at it as her losing 65 tickets. She looks at it as almost winning 150 tickets. I calculate that each ticket is worth about 2-3 cents each.

I played the 2nd game and picked case #4. My daughter wanted me to take #6. I reminded her that this was MY game this time. I played on and had the 1000 in play along with a few other big #s. I was ready to take a deal at 220 tickets but my daughter pushed NO DEAL. My last 2 cases were 2 tickets and 1000 tickets. Banker's offer.....501 tickets. My daughter wanted to push NO DEAL. I let her know that the 501 tickets would get her the lava lamp and she reluctantly agreed. My case, 1000. She was so mad at me. There was a couple standing there waiting to play and all I could say to them was, "she's a risk taker, she didn't get that from me." There is often a wait for this game. One kid and his mom hogged the game for about 30 minutes. It did take longer for the 501 tickets to print than it took to play the game. They should just print a receipt.

We did get the lava lamp and she loves it. She had to tell mommy that I wimped and took the deal.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Trying to Stay Cool

Came home last night to find out that our A/C wasn't working. The fan was blowing, but the unit outside wasn't working. Called one local company this morning and they were booked, but could do an after hour higher rate visit. I found a second local company and had a guy come out. He said the compressor was locked and I'd need a new unit. The dilema is do you call a few more companies or do you go with a well known local company with a full 2 page ad in the yellow pages? I got online and checked out what a 5 ton a/c heat pump would run and the unit alone is close to the price that I am paying to install it. They just arrived to install it as I began posting.

I was able to use a $200 off internet coupon AND they installed a digital thermostat at no extra cost. We also got a "no interest" loan as well.

July has been a costly month. Paid off my heart bill from January. The laptop is at the repair shop. Now the air conditioner has gone out. The month we commit to getting out of debt I have a repair that will require a 24 month installment loan.

The conversation tonight will be:
"Honey, I've got good news and bad news. The good news is we have cold a/c tonight. The bad news is we'll be paying on it for 24 months."

Guess this is not life or death. I just don't like the feeling of being at the mercy of the company installing the a/c. At least with my cars I usually shop and plan 2-3 months in advance.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Dark Knight Experience

Wednesday night I schemed with a few friends a plan that involved going to see the 12:01am showing of The Dark Knight late Thursday. I figured we'd go to a local theatre a little early and get tickets since they had it showing on 3 screens. One friend called asking if we had tickets already and I said not yet. He informed me that the movie was sold out. We were both online checking out the closest theatres with no luck. About 13 miles a way a large mall that had an AMC theatre showed that they still had tickets. My friend tried to buy tickets, but it would never process his order. I called the manager and she suggested trying the automated phone system. Ring, ring, ring. Finally it hit me that my wife was meeting somewhere with a friend who lived about an hour away.

JACKPOT! She was at this mall and purchased 4 tickets for us.

3 of us left my house at 10pm and stopped by Walgreens to stock up on snacks. I wore my movie shorts with DEEP pockets. We picked up Big Mike and made it to the theatre around 10:50. The mall was closed, but the theatre inside was buzzing. I was pleasantly surprised that we were able to go right in and get good seats. I figured we'd be lined up and down a hallway and would have to wait until 10 minutes before show time.

We sat and joked for a while. I really enjoy observing the general public. 2 guys wearing Batman and Robin outfits. Girls in pajamas, one in Batman skivies. One older guy who had to be in his 80's made it slowly and gingerly to the top of the stadium seats. Lots of high schoolers and college students. Only a few married dudes like us.

We were able to get popcorn and drinks in a timely manner as this place was well prepared for the large crowd. $11 for a large popcorn and soda...WOW......nearly criminal. Most of the time I take my own popcorn in and save the $6.

We left the theatre about 2:45. I made it home at 3:30am and wasn't able to fall asleep until about 4am. My wife never knew I made it home.

Fun experience. Nice not having any commitments today (:

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sams Club

My wife and I got a Sam's Club membership last year and only went 2 times. For us it is a huge waste. I knew our membership was about to expire so I went today to look for snacks for our church game night. I took my son and shopped for over 30 minutes. End result, 2 items in my cart not including my son. A huge barrel of Utz cheeseballs and a 32 ounce jar of On the Border salsa. As I was checking our I fumbled for my membership card. I handing it to the checker and mentioned that it will expire this month. That's when she told me it had expired 3 days ago and if I wanted to buy the items I would need to pay an additional $40. At that point I said "no thanks" and left.

I did go up and down almost all aisles and don't see the big deal about Sam's unless you've got to get BIG on everything. If you know me I shop hard for deals and I didn't really see that many deals today. I can buy 48 diet Pepsis at the QT for $10. 32 today cost almost $9. NO DEAL. Bacon for $3 a pound....NO DEAL. I just didn't see GREAT deals in the store.

I did eyeball the 500 count styrofoam 32 ounce cups for $29 and the accompanying lids for $15. I figured it out to be about 10 cents a cup plus my usual 25 cents for a diet Pepsi- 35 cents vs. buying a fountain drink at $1 or more....DEAL.

Not impressed with I'll scour the weekly store ads and keep an eye out on QT for soda and bottled water prices. It's more fun anyway.

One good thing about this Sams was the wide parking spaces. The clientel seem to be a bit cleaner too.

Violated or Not?

When I left Texas on Friday June 13th I had just attended a very emotional memorial for a fellow teacher and friend who died the previous weekend. I was one of about 6 speakers for this private memorial. As soon as the memorial was over my family drove the 10 hours to St. Louis and I was able to separate myself from this tragic time in my life.

Upon coming back to Texas last week I decide to search and see if any more details about the accident had been released. The only other article I found was one about the memorial. I was surprised to find that I was directly quoted. I read it a few times and still wonder if I said something a specific way.

I called my friend "B" who also spoke at the memorial and after talking to him I didn't really know how to feel.

First, it was a private memorial and someone from our local internet news must have attended or gotten someone else to relay information. Second, it was PRIVATE and now information about this personal family moment was shared ONLINE for everyone in the world to see. Third, the person referred to one thing I said and was nowhere near what really happened. And, for me, the last thing is I'm not sure he quoted me word for word.

So, I don't know whether to feel honored and let it go. Or should I be offended and contact the person who wrote the article. I'm sure if you google my name you'll find the article.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Staying Busy

I'm not one for staying home and watching TV. If I do that I get extremely tired and lazy. Yesterday I worked out, cleaned up trash at the church along with weeding around the main building. I then came home and cleaned house, folded close and made dinner. That was my kind of day.

Today I detailed B's EXBIGtion(Expedition) for 3 hours. I plan on going back to church to mow and then head over to B's for a little pool jam with the kids.

I think I have another car to detail this week as well as mow for 3 people. I do so much better keeping busy. Must take after my dad. He's retired and has put out over 100 tomato plants along with cabbage, green beans, cucumbers, zucchini, beats and on and on. He mows for 2 other people as well as his own 2 acre lot. When I call him he's always in the garden or on a mower.

I can relate.

On a side note my $115 repair on the computer just turned into a $265 repair. Add $100 for thet reimaging and I'm sinking $365 into a 3 year old computer. Hope it lasts a while.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Blessed With Friendship

I went over to a friend's house tonight to teach him the basics of poker. I took some chicken wings, a deck of cards and me. We sat around for a few hours and had a great time. I also go to church with this friend.

As I drove home I reflected on how many good friends I actually have. I'm talking about the kinds of friends that you might go to the movies with or go out and watch a ballgame at a local bar and grill. I have 3 solid friendships thru my current church. I also have a great friendship from my previous church(CB), a newer great friendship from my school(BH) and 2 long-term friendships from previous schools I've taught. I then have at least 10 other friends that I could call and invite over for poker as well. One thing for sure is I manage to stay in touch with a lot of friends and I also connect people from different backgrounds.

Add to these friendships the many strong friendships I've established back in Missouri and I just know that I am very blessed to have such quality friends in my life.

When my wife and I talk about possibly moving back to the St. Louis area I feel torn between possibly leaving behind such great friendships, many that would still continue, and picking back up with my 3 longest and strongest standing friendships that started 30+ years ago out of Maplewood Baptist Church. I also know that I would establish new friendships as well. I also know that my wife has had 3 close friends from this area leave and relocate and she would like to reconnect with some of the St. Louis friends as well.

That said, I'm enjoying all the people God has put in my life who bring value to my life. I thank God for the people who accept me for who I am and can challenge me to be better than what I am as well. Church has provided me with the majority of my friendships, but one common denominator of all my friendships is that most of my friends have an active faith in Christ.

Friendship originally got me involved in church and church ultimately has provided me with great friendships.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Bored Already

It is hard to stay home and not do anything*. I think that is the biggest reason I head for St. Louis each June and spend about 30 days with family and friends. I've been home 5 days and a lot of that time has been staying indoors. I have worked out 4 of 5 days and the one day I didn't I mowed 2 lawns so I'm staying active.

One day we took the family to Amazing Jakes, a pizza/game place. We went for FREE since I had 4 promotion cards for a free buffet and a $10 game card for each person. Total value $72. The food is nothing to look forward to. The catch with this place is you have to buy the buffet to get in to play the games. Won't be going when we have to pay. Not worth it.

*Our new commitment is to only dine out twice a week, most likely Wednesday nights before church and Sundays after church. We are also trying to eliminate a bit of debt and want to focus on sticking to a set budget. When we get paid on the 15th the new system will start up. Will keep you posted. A good friend in STL implemented this plan and really set his family in a positive financial situation.

Going back to my home church tomorrow for the first time in 5 weeks. Looking forward to it.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Wall-E vs. Kung Fu Panda

My family saw both of these movies this summer and the best of the two for me was Kung Fu Panda. My two kids, 4 and 7, still talk about them both, but Kung Fu Panda seems to have left a longer impression. The only thing about Wall-E is how he says his name and they new that already before going.

Kung Fu Panda-when I first saw the movie trailers for this movie I just knew I wasn't going to let my younger kids see this movie. It seemed like it would be in the same category as Over the Hedge, Surf's Up or Open Season which is filled with lots of crude or bathroom humor, especially since it was a Jack Black movie. I do love Jack Black personally, but he's not normally a young kid role model. When a neighbor said she saw it and told us it was really clean we went as a family. I personally was engaged the whole time and really liked the message. I left with a smile on my face.

Wall-E- This movie was advertised LONG before it came out and I really wondered how entertaining could a movie mainly about a robot be. Right before it was released the UsaToday newspaper had a great article that gave it 4/4 stars so I got excited. My family went with another family while in St. Louis under my prompting so I feel like my reputation was on the line while watching it. It was a decent movie that was mildly entertaining with a message to mankind, but it wasn't as entertaining as KFP. My friend did not seem to enjoy it that well and I've heard from others that it was disappointing. So why all the talk about Oscar award? Quite confusing to be honest.

So if you haven't seen these movies and plan on taking your family I highly recommend Kung Fu Panda first and then Wall-E if you need a 2nd fix. Next up might be Space Chimps.