Odds and Ends

I am calling this post: Odds and Ends

There is no overlying theme today.  There is no specific rant or rave or anything I am praising or disparaging.  It is going to be like a Larry King article, odds and ends, and I hope it is infinitely more interesting.

My son is home from college and brought along a friend from Cyprus.  I thought Cyprus was a part of Greece but it is its own free standing island nation.  It is located closer to Turkey and Syria than to Greece.  It is near Israel and Lebanon but hopefully the ocean is a big enough space for them to keep out of the crap going on in the Middle East.  They speak Greek, our guest looks Greek, and he is going to be going to a Thanksgiving celebration with 30 of our family members.

We are not hosting Thanksgiving but we will be hosting Christmas.  I told my wife that I would paint our dining room.  I have hated the color for five or six years and I want to paint it before we put in new flooring.  That way I can mess up the place and not have to worry too much about splashing.  My wife and I picked out a color but she wants me to do a pattern on it.  I don’t think it will be too hard but she likes to see me work harder than I have to.  Just kidding, her judgement is solid and I know it will look fantastic once I am done with it.  You know the best part?  I get to take down some old wallpaper edging!  I love doing that job.

We got a new TV and broached the world of UHDTV.  It is supposed to be twice as sharp as regular high definition TV but there is really no programming to go with it so who knows?  I bought a Samsung even though I hate that they use the TV to spy on us.  There is no opting out of the user agreement because you have to be in so that you may work the TV.  We got it for out bedroom because the old TV was small and it was not fun to watch TV up there.  Now we have a TV on steroids and the picture is incredible and the TV is a piece of artwork.  I am excited about it.

Other odds and ends

Winter is coming in Minnesota.  I have winterized the lawn mower and readied the snow blower and I am simply waiting for a big storm to come and hit us.  Iowa was pounded last week but we missed it.  In fact it is going to be 40 degrees today which really feels like a fall day.  I like when the weather is warmer, and no, I do not believe in global warming.

My wife has to go in for a colonoscopy tomorrow.  I am lucky in that I have already had that procedure.  It is painless except for the prep work.  By the time you are done cleansing your intestines, your butt is rubbed raw from even the smoothest of toilet papers.  The only advice I gave her was use a gentle touch when wiping.  Other than that she is on her own.

My daughter is supposed to show up Wednesday.  The poor cats.  They are going to get smothered with love.  She loves anything with a fury face.  She has been missing them so bad that she has a cat friend on campus who she goes and visits three times a week.  That cat does not like to be held so she still is missing the hugs and kisses you can give them.  For the next three days they will be smothered with hugs and loves and kisses.  I tried to warn them but they looked at me with indifference.

We are dog sitting tomorrow.  We already have two dogs but this one is a puppy and had high energy.  His name is Nikkon and he is as smart as can be.  He is also hyper and he bugs the hell out of the cats.  Maybe after Nikkon the cats will not mind my daughter attacking them.  There is usually an hour or so of getting to know the level of the pack and then the dogs get along swimmingly.

That is all.  A nice short odds and ends column.

Updates on several things and the diet

The diet is not going great.

I do not know if it is because I am getting older and my body is slowing down or if it is because I am still eating a lot of bad food, or both.  I know that I do not feel lighter and I have not stepped on a scale in a long time.  I am eating better and I am exercising more, but the diet feels more daunting than ever.

I have been running four or five times a week with my son.  I love it.  We talk and chat and help push each other to get out the door and then once out the door we push each other to run further and harder.  This works well with the diet.  When we started running we could only go a half mile or less before we would walk and now that number is up to at least a mile.  We try to run a 2.5 mile loop and I am trying to talk him into doing a half marathon!  I am excited.  He is getting good and he inspires me.

I went out today by myself and had a very good run.  The dog was with, of course, and the weather was beautiful.  I had my wind, I had my legs, and I ran better than I have run in a long, long time.  When I got home I showered and then picked up my son from school.  When I got out of the car my leg buckled and I had immense pain shooting from my knee.  Tears came up in my eyes because of the pain.  I hope like hell it is going to be alright.

Thanksgiving and the diet.

We had Thanksgiving this year at our house and we had 30 people over.  We cooked two turkeys and three things of stuffing and 20 pounds of mashed potatoes.  Everyone else brought things to share.  It was a smash.  The food was great and the families all mingled.  We had a lot of turkey left over so I made stock the next day (thanks Jennifer!) and then we had turkey noodle soup that night.  It was the best soup I have ever made and it tasted great.

The diet was shot over Thanksgiving.  I did not eat breakfast but I ended up eating too much.  It is too hard to diet with all the comfort food around.  It seems that I like stuffing and I love macaroni and cheese.  I had to eat stuffing every day for lunch for the rest of the week and felt like a human garbage disposal.  Good times.  By the time the week was over the diet was over and it had to start again the next day.

Christmas and the diet.

Christmas should be better.  My sister is taking over the hosting of 30 people and I will not have any leftovers to shatter my diet.  I will not have a weeks worth of stuffing to eat and I will not have any macaroni and cheese left over.  It is going to be a great holiday.

I also have an appointment with the clinic tomorrow because I have had tinnitus in my ear for about a week and a persistent cough.  I hope things go well.  If my leg is shot it will be a good time to look at that too.  I do not hold out much hope for my doctor appointment because I have found if they do not specialize they seem to know little.  I will tell him about my diet and we will laugh.

Laughter is the best medicine, I have read, and a diet blown all to hell is pretty damn funny!

Black Friday

Black Friday came and went and I was entirely unaffected by it.

On Black Fridays past I would sometimes go out early in the morning to scamper for deals or I would camp overnight in front of a Best Buy.  I did not do any of that this year and I am for the better.  Black Friday has turned into something not very special anymore and the retailers themselves are to blame.  Instead of opening at 6:00 AM the Friday after Thanksgiving, a lot of stores now open at Midnight of Thanksgiving or some open earlier.

What does this mean for Black Friday?  It has always been a commercial event but now it is at the point of ridiculous.  You can get most of the deals they offer early in the morning on any given day before Christmas.  Yes, Black Friday is a Christmas-themed holiday.  It is not Ramadan, it is not Quanza, it is not Hanukkah, it is Christmas.  By opening earlier they really beat up on their employees, they really are overselling an event, and I predict that in twenty years if this continues that Black Friday will cease to exist.

Why do they only have one Superbowl a year?  It makes it special, it makes it exciting, people build up to it, and they sell a ton of commercials to companies willing to pay for exposure to a billion pair of eyes.  By extending Black Friday they are diluting Black Friday and soon it will be so diluted that it will mix with the rest of all the other days of the year.

I did not go to one store on this Black Friday.

I did go out and buy a paper, I did peruse the millions of ads, and I did look online for any deals that may have been too good to pass up.  I did not see any.  I do not want to go to Walmart in the morning and fight with all the scrum for a video game that would save me ten dollars.  I did not want to go to Best Buy to seek out another electronic gadget that will be obsolete in only a few short years.  I did not want to drag my ass out of bed for Target for a $2 waffle maker.  I am done with that!

This year was peaceful.  I got plenty of sleep and plenty of rest.  I helped my wife put up Christmas lights.  Well, helped may be a bit strong but I was there.  As an aside, have you ever notices that it is only the houses with married couples where they put out lights?  I am sure the men are offered sex in exchange for that loathsome little chore.  I have never seen lights on a house that held a single male.  It is genetically incongruant.

Black Friday and the disappearing of Thanksgiving.

The biggest thing to take away from this Black Friday is that it is now going to continue to eclipse Thanksgiving.  You see, opening at midnight will not be enough.  Soon retailers will be opening on Thanksgiving at 6:00 PM so they can beat the competition.  I am tired of commercialism taking over our culture.  If we continue as a country down this path we will soon have nothing to hold onto of our past.

Black Friday is also when the White House dumps news onto the public.  They do this because all of the reporters are home stuffing their faces.  We get policies implemented or people fires, all hidden on the holidays.  This year in the President’s Thanksgiving speech he claimed that Thanksgiving has always been about giving back to the community.  BULLSHIT!  Thanksgiving has always been a celebration to God for the bounty he has given us.  I am tired of this President raping our language and he thinks because he utters something it is true.  I have never in my life seen a man so disengaged from reality in my life.  He needs to go away and retire and cater to Michelle’s every whim.

I have an idea.  Why doesn’t he take her out shopping on Black Friday?

Thanksgiving Week

Thanksgiving week is here

and it has been a little hectic so far.  We are having about 30 people over to our house on Thanksgiving and I had to go shopping this weekend for the main courses.  I bought two 20 pound turkeys.  They look like big frozen bowling balls.  I also got 20 pounds of potatoes which means I will be a lean, mean peeling machine this Thursday.  My mom dropped off some folding chairs and a couple of big roasters and I notified everyone who is coming that there will be about 20 people attending so everyone has a good idea of how much food to bring.

The cats have never had a lot of people over at one time and I have a feeling that they will be in fine form.  They love people, they love attention, and I can see them now sucking up for love and affection.  The dog will need a Valium to relax.  She may end up getting locked in the bedroom upstairs.  I imagine a lot of activity on Thursday and I am really looking forward to it!

Thanksgiving means a lot of good food.

It also means it is time to reflect on all the good in our lives.  I have a great wife, two fantastic kids and most everyone I know is healthy.  I do have a friend battling cancer, but Thanksgiving could be a day to give thanks for the new medicines that is keeping the cancer in check.  the economy is in the shitter and the government does not want to do a damn thing about it except tax more and spend more.  Could they ever spend less?  Not a chance because it would put them out of business.  The thing this country has going for it is the people and thank God we are still at a point where most people will come out of this OK.

The food at the Thanksgiving table is the same every year for our family.  We always have turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, yams, macaroni and cheese (this is a family tradition my grandpa’s started), stuffing, a pickle tray, a fruit salad, and home-made pumpkin pies.  We have a feast.  I am sure that the Christmas will come barreling down upon us once this day is over but for the week I am happy.  Also, my Green Bay Packers play Detroit that day.

Thanksgiving sometimes means shitting weather.

Not this Thanksgiving , though.  It is supposed to get up near the 50’s and be very nice outside.  I am going to take my son for a run that morning and hopefully this would take the edge off the dog.  The dog is always better with her edges taken off.

The day after Thanksgiving I am going to make turkey stock.  Home made stock takes a day to cook and it fills the house with wonderful smells and I will have enough to make a lot of chicken or turkey noodle soup.  I am not going to go out for any Black Friday deals this year because I do not want to fight the crowds.  My son and I stayed out overnight last year and it was cold and not a lot of fun.  The house will be filled with wonderful smells and the animals should be calm by then.

I love Thanksgiving and I truly am thankful for all I have.

The Diet Diaries

I am naming this blog the “Diet Diaries” because I have not

followed up on my post to eat better, exercise more, go to church, help old ladies across the street, and everything else that makes the world sunshine and lollipops.  It is amazing to me how the world is filled with good intentions but when the shit hits the fan people revert back to their old ways.  It is that way with diet for most people.  Your intentions are pure and god but when it comes to living it every day you fall back into the habits that got you there in the first place.

I am happy to say I am still doing the diet thing.  I have not stepped on a scale lately but I have done this.  My son and I have both started running together.  We have been going three or more times a week (we just went the last four days) and we are getting stronger and going longer.  I love it that my son runs with me now.  He is on a goal to lose weight and I think that he is going to make his goals.  I think if I can get him out the door with me on a regular basis then it will help both him and me stay motivated.  There is nothing better in the world than someone else pushing you to do better.

My dog has never been happier.  She is older now and sore some days, but when she sees us in our running clothes she jumps up and down like a puppy.  I tell her to stretch her hammies and she stretches out.  It is so cute.  When we run she goes at an easy trot, mocking us as we gasp for breath and beg for the sweet release of death.  She goes along our route smelling new smells, meeting new dogs and people, and happy with life.  The other day we saw a nice big buck burst through the woods and into the pasture across the street.

But the diet is the key, isn’t it?

Actually the diet is a key in this way.  Moderation.  When I love a food I tend to eat a lot of it which will shoot any diet all to hell.  I love to eat home made french fries.  I made killer fries.  When I make them I tend to indulge and swim in their salty goodness.  I am starting to make less of them so you get the taste and not the “I feel like a beached whale” feeling.  Of course on a diet you do not have fries every day, either.

I have decided too that I am going to start going to the Y in the winter to get me out of the house more.  I busting my ass at the YMCA and then treating my self to the hot tub when it is 10 below outside.  Nothing makes a lifestyle change work better than giving yourself massive rewards like a soak in the hot tub.

How will the diet affect Thanksgiving?

It will not.  Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of they year.  You get to see family and eat the best food in the world.  For one day you can kick the diet right in the arse and not worry about it.  I fill up on all the usual things but my family also makes killer mac and cheese that we have every holiday.  I get mashed potatoes, stuffing and mac and cheese and I throw it in a swimming pool of gravy.  Talk about a killer carb routine!  The tradition has continued because we have had mac and cheese as long as I remember.  I loved going to my grandpa’s house and the house would be so warm and full, and the smells would drive you to nirvana.  My grandpa was a great cook.  I used to dream of going over there on the holidays.

Christmas comes only a month after Thanksgiving and it too is a day that the diet goes to hell.  The whole holiday season is geared towards ruining a good diet.  I don’t care because I love it.  I love the radio stations that play all Christmas music and I love going to cut down the tree.  The diet is the last thing on my mind.  But, i am eating better, i am thinking about what I eat, and I am running again.  I think it would be safe to say that the diet and exercise are going well.