Tuesday, December 30, 2008

89. Have my brother's family visit



Matt and his family came down this past weekend to visit. It made it easy because it was also Christmas. It was really fun having them come down to visit and to enjoy Christmas with. The little girls all wore the same Christmas outfits and looked great together. There were two exciting parts of their visit that came out of my Christmas gifts this year. The first one was a game that my mom gave me called Ticket to Ride. If you enjoy board games and haven't played this game yet, it is a fun one. My sister-in-law introduced me to this game and I really like it a lot. It is similar to Settlers of Catan, which is also a really fun game.
The second exciting part was that I got a Wii for Christmas. I am not a video game person. My brother and I had plenty growing up, I just didn't put too much time into developing the skill of gaming. I am a good watcher though! The fun thing about the Wii is that anyone can play it. You don't need to know the correct combination of how to press A + B + X + Y, all you need to do is move the controller in a logical direction. I have enjoyed it a lot, I think the part that was most fun playing was when we all played the computer in boxing and cheered each other on. Nothing looks more ridiculous than watching someone else box on Wii. I don't know how anyone can do it well looking graceful.
Overall, I had a good time and look forward to the next time that we all get together.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Why do I even cook?


I came home today to a kitchen that was a complete disaster! The word disaster was what Melissa used. Honestly, I didn't see it as that bad. The reward for that "disaster", a beautiful assortment of Christmas cookies. Melissa said that she had been in the kitchen all day and had been snacking on sweets for a good portion of that time. She asked me what I wanted for dinner and I didn't have much of an answer. Really, I would have just been happy with cookies for a meal, but I know that wouldn't have been an acceptable answer. She found a recipe for a Monte Cristo sandwich that looked absolutely delicious in the magazine. I told her that it looked awesome and she should cook that. Lucky for me, she wanted it too so she was ok with making it. She told me not to get my hopes up about the picture because hers wouldn't look as good. After a quick trip to the store to get a few supplies for the sandwiches Melissa began to put it together. It looked as good as what the picture did, and tasted just as you would expect...delicious! I told her she could put it into the regular rotation of meals. I'm hoping that she does.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I made dinner on Sunday

I made dinner on Sunday. I made the same roast that I did a month or two ago. Melissa said it could count being that it is a full meal. I was hoping that each meal I made would be different. The meal didn't turn out as good as it did the first time. It wasn't bad, it was just different, and the first time it was really good. I think I will try to come up with something else before the month is over. I feel like I cheated a little making something I've already done. I'm marking it off on my list of goals, but I still feel like I need the challenge of coming up with something new.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

67: I drank a lot of water last week

One gallon of water, each day, for a week. That is a lot of water.

I did this goal because I knew I should do a flush of my body and to make sure I was plenty hydrated for the race on the weekend. As I wrote last week, it is really important to drink water. I can write nothing on this post that would make it interesting, so because of that, I will write no more.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Tecumseh Trail Marathon.....Done!!!


Yesterday, my brother and I went down to Bloomington, IN and ran a marathon. We woke up, opened up the blinds and saw what was the makings of a blizzard outside. On a normal day I would have looked outside and thought, "Okay, I guess I'm not going to go outside today." We had to run a marathon in that weather, it was tough. We drove to the finish line, parked our car, then boarded a bus for an hour long ride up to the start line. After the ride, that made us feel completely stiff, we got off the bus and felt the 20 mph winds and snowflakes blasting our faces. What a wake-up call! After the race started we began our march to the finish line. The reason for the word march was that we were on a trail most of the way which meant we were in a line with people most of the way. I don't think that I had the complete idea as to what this marathon would be like. First of all, I fell 6 times. None of these were big falls, but they were all times that I found myself needing to put my hands down to make sure I didn't make it all the way to the ground. Because of the snow, it made for icy conditions on the trails the whole way. Our pace was barely over a walk for most of the race. This was because: 1) it was icy and any attempt to run would have surely resulted in a hard fall. 2) There were an incredible amount of hills on the course that took a bunch of energy out of you if you decided to run them. 3) I hadn't run in 2 weeks and both my cardio and my foot were struggling to keep up. The biggest thing that I had going for me was the fact that the doctor said I couldn't do any permanent damage to my foot. That was good to know, it helped to keep me going. Plus, it didn't hurt bad enough anyway that would have taken me off the course at any point. The thing that really kept me going was the fact that I had my brother there to push me along. If he wasn't there, I think I still might be out on the course.
The ride home was tough. I'm sure Matt will comment about how I was almost asleep the whole way home. He is right, I fought sleep for the last hour and a half. He is an amazing driver and I am very happy he was behind the wheel on the way home.
What's next on the race calendar? I don't know yet. I know May 30th I've got a 5K. Before that, we'll see. Matt is trying to get me to do another marathon. I am waiting for my body to recover before I get too far ahead in making a decision about that again. I'll keep everyone (all 5 of you that read this thing) posted.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Updates

First thing is first. Drinking a gallon of water a day is hard! I've done it for a couple days in a row. I find myself liking my breaks more and more throughout the school day. 4 more days!

Next, the doctor I went to see today gave me a good report. She said I probably had some tendonitis in my foot. I was then told, welcome to the world of running. This aparently is a fairly common occurrence that I didn't know about. Upon some examining, she determined that there was no long-term risk for me running the race this weekend. She did say there might be some discomfort afterward, or possibly during, but that I wouldn't be doing any damage to my body. I felt that her assessment of my foot was fair and I trust her. Aparently this is something I might have to get used to.

Matt, I can say with a big smile on my face, "This is going to be quite the memorable experience!"

Monday, December 1, 2008

The benefits of drinking water

Goal number 67 is for me to drink a gallon of water each day for a week. That is a lot of water, but my body needs it, and so does yours. I typed in the phrase "benefits of drinking water" into a google search and came up with a ton of reasons for why I should make sure I get enough water and I couldn't argue with any of them. The big thing I am thinking about this week is the fact that the marathon is coming up at the end of the week and I need to make sure that my body is fully hydrated. That is the reason I listed the goal in the first place. After doing some research, here are some reasons to drink plenty of water:
  • limits cramping while doing physical activities
  • improves your energy
  • Increase Your Mental and Physical Performance
  • Remove Toxins & Waste Products from your body
  • Keep Skin Healthy and Glowing
  • Help You Lose Weight (or maintain weight)
  • Reduce Headaches and Dizziness
  • Allow for proper Digestion (you can eat all the fiber you want, but without proper hydration, it doesn't have the same impact.)

The rule of thumb they said is to drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water. With this in mind, the typical thought of 8 glasses of 8 ounces of water doesn't work unless you are 128 lbs. For those of us that are bigger than that, we need to drink more. For those that are exercising and active, it goes up much more. The lesson here is, drink your water. Early and often.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I'm feeling like this marathon is going to happen

My foot feels good. I haven't ran in over a week, but I haven't had it hurt since Tuesday night. The medicine that the doctor gave me was basically a pain killer which means that it is sedating the pain, but not fixing what was the problem. I'm hoping that time is healing the problem. I have a doctor appointment with the orthopedic surgeon on Wednesday morning and they will tell me whether I can run or not. I am thinking that since I don't have pain when I move my foot around and haven't had any pain for awhile, then I should be able to run it.
Another good point that I have to work with is the fact that I am not running this race to win it. I am doing it to finish. As long as I keep up a 17 minute mile pace, I'm good. I plan to go much faster than that, but if it is necessary with injury it is there. (Matt, I'm not planning on taking up that time. That would be horrible!)
All that awaits is my Wednesday morning appointment with the doctor to tell me if it can happen or not. I'm hoping for yes.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Setback?

I am writing this post worried about my foot and my ankle. As some of you know I have a marathon coming up in a little less than a week. Last weekend I had an 18 mile run. It went well the first half, but terrible the second half. My foot started hurting a little bit at the beginning, then it got worse as it went along. I was hoping that tylenol and advil would help to get rid of the pain, but it is only getting worse. I am steps away from accepting crutches to make walking easier. (this is only at certain times, it isn't that bad all of the tiem) I have a doctor appointment scheduled for 4:15 today and I am hoping that they will give me some quick fix to make it go away. I want to be able to do this marathon with Matt and am going to do as much as I can to be able to do that, but if they say I can't run, then I can't run. Please pray for me if you read this anytime soon before the appointment.

***Update***
I went to the doctor. She didn't give me too much to work with yet. She did send me to get x-rays and I will hear back about those tomorrow. She thought it might be a stress fracture. I was told to wait on running until the x-rays come in. I'm hoping that results come back with good news. She did prescribe me a pain medicine that I have to take twice a day. I'm hoping that helps out with the pain I've got right now.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Goal #25 has been selected


I picked a new goal #25. I don't know why I dragged my feet so long picking a new #25, but I did it. I looked over some of the suggestions that were given and decided I wanted to cook a turkey dinner. Turkey's are really well priced right now and I picked one up. I am thinking I will be waiting until January to cook the dinner, so I have got some time to do some planning. It will be a complete turkey dinner. I am not sure what the sides will be yet, (I'm sure Matt will make a comment for some suggestions) but we will see what comes up in the next month or two. I have never cooked a turkey dinner before. Actually, before I started my list, I hadn't cooked much at all before. Melissa says I am doing pretty well, but I think she would say that no matter what because then she isn't responsible for dinner.

I will give credit to Gretchen for this suggestion. Now I will need to do some looking over of my goals and see if I there are any other ones I need to change-up.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

100 more to go!


I wore a tie to school yesterday. It is the 14th week of school which makes the 14th week I have worn a tie. I counted out how many weeks it would be until the 1001 days are over and I counted 114 weeks that I would be in school. I have worn a tie more times than just the 14, but the goal is written to wear one each week. I like this goal. It helps me to make sure that I am looking more professional and it gives me a chance to wear all of the ties and shirts that I have collected over the years.
When I wore a tie in the past it was a strange occurrence. People would ask what the occasion was and I had my standard reply, "I've got an interview today." Now, people don't ask anymore. I like it that way. To answer the question that many of you reading might be wondering....I don't have any interviews in the works. It's just fun to tell that to your boss. Try it some time.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Family Visit



My brother's family came and visited this weekend. It was a good time. They came down just in time for dinner on Friday and left not too long ago today (Sunday). We had fun. It was pretty busy.

Here are some highlights:
  • We played Settler's of Catan Friday night
  • Matt and I went on a 15 mile run Saturday morning
  • Matt has a watch that judges distances and we confirmed that one lap around ACS is .26 miles. As we hit the mark, we both apologized to our former PE teachers for questioning their measurements.
  • The girls got to go out shopping and left the boys to care for the girls.
  • I had a chance to hold Calvin.
  • Matt and I went with Casey and saw ACS win another playoff game 24-17. It was an awesome game!
  • We had the Hartman family over for lunch after church. It was fun to see all the kids run around together.
We had a really fun time this weekend. Melissa and I are really looking forward to this holiday season coming up because we will have more chances to see Matt, Gretchen, Lilly, Calvin and Wrigley.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I want to learn Spanish


So goal number 29 for me is to learn Spanish. I have wanted to learn Spanish ever since I began teaching. I have bought some books over the years. I have a dictionary. I have listened to Spanish radio (although it was only a couple of times). The latest thing that I have done is to download some podcasts to be able to listen to while running. I have not really gotten anywhere yet.
The reason I took on this goal was because I live in Aurora. The Spanish population in Aurora is growing every day and the reasons to learn Spanish are increasing just as quickly. As a teacher, there are many reasons to be able to speak more than one language. I have already been able to share sign language with some of my students and I would like to be able to do the same thing with the Spanish language.
I ran across a little problem today with this goal. I was perusing through the internet and went to a site that I have grown to enjoy quite a bit. The site is titled Stuff White People Like. The site is supposed to be a guide for any non-white people to know how white people get by. There are many things in this site that I relate to a lot, but I got worried when I stumbled onto #115. Read it. I need to get beyond just the thought of learning Spanish and actually do it. I need to get by just the idea of learning the language and to actually know the language.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Not fun moments today

I didn't have the best day off today. I woke up, put my 3 miles in running and took care of the girls in the morning. (this part was fine, I enjoyed being with them the morning rather than just running off to work) All morning while I was doing things, I had a stinging feeling on my tongue. That had started on Sunday and progressively got worse. Today was the day that I needed to get something done about it. After consulting WebMD, Melissa and I decided that I needed to go see my dentist.
After looking at my tongue for a couple of minutes, the dentist said that she was pretty sure it wasn't cancer! Although I wasn't expecting to hear those words, I was glad to hear it wasn't cancer. After she said that, I started to think, "Should I be more worried about this?" From that moment on, I was more worried. After talking to the dentist a little more, she said I should go to see my physician to get an opinion from there. I called there right after I left and they set an appointment up for about an hour later. I didn't get much out of that appointment. The doctor said that there was a chance that I had hand-foot-mouth disease, (I mentioned earlier that we thought Madeline had it and she went with that as a diagnosis). She said it looked different from anything that she had seen before and didn't know what to do for me. She wanted to get a second opinion before treating it and she sent me to a ear-nose-throat doctor. At this point I was getting more worried.
At this doctor, the first thing he said after looking at my tongue is that he was sure it wasn't herpes! First cancer was ruled out, now herpes. What an interesting day. He finally came down with the diagnosis that it was most likely a salivary gland issue and that it needed to be flushed out. That was a good thing to hear. All it takes to fix it is some lemons, some mouthwash, and a prescription mouth cleanse. After spending some time with that treatment, my tongue is feeling better. Unfortunately, it took my entire morning and some of the afternoon to get that all settled. At least it is getting better. I'm hoping that tomorrow morning that I have even less discomfort. We'll see how it all goes.
***Additional note: I picked up my prescription this morning. The medical term for the prescription is "Magic Mouth Wash". I looked at the bottle and saw that and wondered why a pharmicist was giving it out. I thought the criteria to get a drug in the pharmacy was that it had to at least have one "x" in it or something strange with the lettering. I took it when I got to schol and realized right then what the magic was. My mouth went numb instantly. I felt like I just got a shot of novicaine at the dentist. It stayed pretty numb for about an hour. I didn't dare drink any water or anything during that time for fear that I would drool all over myself.
For the record, my tongue is feeling a lot better. It's not perfect, but I don't think I am going to need that follow up appointment. We will have to wait and see in a few days how it is feeling though before making the real decision.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Aurora Christian Tour

Today I got to run 14 miles. I did the Aurora Christian Tour. That constituted of me running by all three Aurora Christian Schools. I started off heading over to "The Big School." This school is no longer an Aurora Christian School, but was the place that I went for 8 years so I still consider it Aurora Christian. When I got there, I did four laps around the block. I did this because this is what I remember from running when I was younger. 4 laps apparently constituted as a mile. I don't think it really was that long, I think it is farther, at least I hope it was, it felt like forever for me to get through. As I was running around, I kept thinking about how many memories I had in that building. It was a fun bit of time for me. After I got done with Aurora Christian #1, I headed over to the Aurora University area. I got to run by the Hartman's old house. It hadn't changed too much from how I remember it. The trees are a bit bigger and there were some bigger plants, but that's all that seemed different. I ran by Aurora University, then headed to the new Aurora Christian campus that is on Sullivan Rd. It was quite a few miles away. By the time I made it over there, I was excited to run by the football field. My pride came out as I was imagining the 28-20 victory the team had last night over Coal City. A couple more victories and ACS will be the 4A state champs. I'm hoping to see the game next week against Driscol with my brother. Getting back on track...after my jog past I was in the home stretch. The ACS elementary school is on my way home. As I ran by the school, I imagined me as a kindergartner going there. It was a good thought. Oh how long ago that was.
Now that I have given the tour for my run, now for the details for how it went.
The run was horrible! I was really struggling throughout. I probably stopped to walk 8-10 times. The only reason I let myself walk was because I knew that for the marathon we will be walking as well. It was tough. Matt, I really needed you at times to get me through. I'm looking forward to doing some runs with you over the next few weeks. I'm going to need you!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

11. Run a mile in under 7 minutes

It wasn't pretty but I did it. I woke up a little late today and didn't know if I could get my whole 3 miles in. I decided that doing only one mile quick would be doable. I figured if the options were either running fast or not running at all, I should at least just do the fast running. Today, I had to vote and get to school by 8:00. I accomplished all of those tasks.
I used this website to help gauge what a mile was. I found a spot that I could loop around and get back to the front of my house and it be a complete mile. Now, I don't know if it was correctly 5,280 feet, but it was close enough. I don't know any other way to really get a full mile measured totally correct unless I just found a high school track to run on. I didn't want to do that, so this is as good as I could get. When I started running, I was curious if my pace was too fast or not fast enough. On my training runs, I lumber along at a steady 10 minute mile. That isn't exactly break-neck speed. I don't know how to run fast anymore, that is how I felt as I was running today. I made it to the end of the block and my breathing was pretty strong. I ran a couple more blocks and finally got to my halfway point. I looked at my watch and saw that I was at 3:26. I was pretty nervous at this point that I wouldn't be able to do it. I found myself breathing harder than I had in a long time, including after my marathon. When I hit the home stretch that I could see my house, I saw my watch and knew I didn't have a ton of time to get there. Finally, I made it to the house, stopped my watch and read it saying 6:54. I was hoping for something much better, but I'll take what I got.
I don't know if I should be proud or sad. I finished the goal in one shot. I probably should have set the goal for a better time than it was, but I don't know how I could get it much better without doing some speed training, which I'm not up for doing at this point. Oh well,
Another goal accomplished!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

What a waste of daylight saving time!

I ran this morning. I didn't get to enjoy the glorious feelings that so many others did by sleeping in. I should have ran yesterday, but we had an event at church that I wanted to be part of. Had I ran yesterday, I would have had to start running at around 5:00 a.m. and that didn't seem like the greatest way to start off my Saturday, so I delayed it to today. I enjoyed the run. The weather was great. It was like 40 out when I left and only got warmer. I ran a few routes that I had never ran before. It was nice to venture out and run in some different places. The cool thing about my run this morning is when I started, there were no cars out on the road at all. I ran through downtown Aurora and the only car that was out was a parked police car. I ran the east side of Aurora for awhile first, then I ventured over to the west side after I got tired of carrying my gloves and hat. After tossing my stuff on the front stoop, I had a few miles to still do. I finished pretty strong on the run and that felt good.
I put some Dane Cook on while I ran. It was a pretty poor choice of track for having something spiritual to think of during my almost two hours of pounding pavement. I did find myself laughing out loud while running. At these times I was happy that there were no cars or people out on the roads.
I had a good time running. Right now, I'm not ready to get out and do the complete marathon yet, but I'm getting closer. I am excited about getting another race under my belt. After talking to Matt about his marathon he did today, I am really excited about doing the race with him. We've got a few weeks left. I have got to say, I am really looking forward to this one.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

18. Make nice dinner one time each month

I made dinner tonight. Actually I made it this morning and I ate it tonight. I used the crock pot. I don't know why, but I have been looking at this blog for awhile trying to find a good recipe and have become really intrigued by it. Ask Melissa, she will agree. This lady set a new years resolution last year to use her crock pot every day for a year. She's at 304 days and counting right now. I have looked over a lot of the things on her blog that she has made and thought, "Wow, it seems really easy to cook in the crock pot." After today's dinner, I realized, it is pretty easy!
I made a roast. Here is the link for the dinner I made. I didn't use the wine, because we didn't have it, I did some looking around and it said that it wasn't really necessary. Other than that I followed the recipe. I have to say it was pretty good. We had rolls and I mashed up some potatoes to go with it.
Melissa said that she loved the flavoring. She also said that I should do this one again. I thought it was pretty good. I think it cooked for a little too long.
Two meals down and just before the month was over. Like I tried to say in my last post, I should do it before I am pressed to do it quickly at the end of the month. Melissa said next week. I say, we'll see.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Great Gatsby, a classic novel


I didn't want to post this for awhile. I was feeling so great about having a post that had so many comments, I wanted to leave it as the headliner. Unfortunately, I have to write more and bore everyone into not commenting ever again. If you want to continue giving suggestions for alternate goals, I am all ears. I loved the ideas so far.
I finally finished The Great Gatsby. I had to renew it from the library because I had it out too long (they consider it a high read book that high schoolers check out often, so they shorten the check-out time). I finished it in about four weeks. Not too bad.
The book was pretty good. I followed it pretty well and was able to know the general idea throughout (sometimes I struggle with older books, which is why I have this goal). If you want a summary of the book you can check it out on wikipedia. I looked their summary over and the stuff about the book checks out. You can trust the content on this one.
Overall, I liked the book. It is another classic book that I now know what is about. There are still plenty that I have no clue about that I will hopefully get to in the future.
What's up next? I am not yet sure. Probably a book about canoeing. I need to get some reading in before next spring when we have got the Walter V. Weis Memorial Canoe Trip. I'm sure I will keep you posted as to what I am reading.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I need suggestions


What should goal number 25 be? I need help. I don't know what to put. I have been reading over my goals and trying to figure out another one that I could do. I want it to be something that would only take one time to do. I don't want another goal that I have to keep track of it to make sure I am maintaining it. I want a one and done goal. I also want it to be something fun to do. I think I have a good mix of goals, and I want a task that I can put in there that I will look forward to doing and blogging about. Suggestions? Post a comment.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

9 more miles down

Today was my first day that I ran a path that brought me to hills. I came to the conclusion that hills are a lot harder to run than flat areas. I thought I did pretty well considering it was new to me. The route I ran brought me about a half mile from my house, then, a one mile loop, 8 times. I finished the loop with the half mile trip back to home to complete 9 miles for the trip. The loop I ran had some pretty aggressive hills both up and down. I think it was good practice for me to get and it went well. With the hills I decided to put in planned walks in at the tops of each of the hills. Each walk consisted of only about ten steps for me to get enough water into me, then it was back to running again. It was a good plan.
Last night when I was getting ready to go, I got some spanish tutorials onto the ipod. I was looking forward to getting some new words into my spanish vocabulary. Unfortunately, I spent too much time getting the arm band on over my sweat shirt and not enough time remembering to bring headphones. Yep, I was the dork carrying the ipod around, but not able to use it. I did say "buenos dias" to a few people that I ran by. I figured that was some practical experience with the language. Hopefully next time I will remember the headphones.
I got to flag down a police car as well. As I was running, I came across a manhole that wasn't covered. I was in a groove running and didn't want to stop to figure out if I could lift the cover. I also didn't want to have a "Baby Jessica" incident, so I kept a lookout for someone who would be able to get it covered. I got about three laps in before I saw a police car drive by (two of the roads I was running on were pretty busy so I expected to see one sooner or later). It was a girl cop. I told her where it was and she said she would take care of it. I got to the place where it was about 4 minutes later and saw her driving off. I figured she wasn't able to locate it, but nope, she was able to find it and cover it up in that 4 minutes. Kind of embarrassing, but at least I didn't have to do it.
Overall, it was a good run. I was happy with my progress and thought I could have done a few more miles. I got home feeling good and think I might tweak my running plan to put more miles in in order to get me closer to ready for the marathon. Only 6 weeks left. I am pretty sure I will be ready for it when it comes. Matt, I probably won't need that piggy-back ride.

Friday, October 24, 2008

24. Drink no pop for two straight months


I am surprised I made it through this on the first shot. There were many times that I found myself craving a can of pop. Is that pathetic? Tonight was the first time in two months that I was able to take a drink and I crumbled at the first instant.
When I was driving home, I passed Pizza Hut and decided then and there that we were going to eat from there and I was going to have a delicious can of Cherry Coke to go along with the pizza. I did, and it was delicious. I'm probably not going to have a streak of two months again for a long time. I know it was probably really good for my body, but I don't know if I could give it up forever. I am a Coke fan and will be for a long time.
What do you think of Hannah's face? I love her "smiles". If you look close, you can see the scratch on the left of her forehead from her fall yesterday. It has healed up a ton in the past 24 hours. I am so thankful!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

4.5 more miles down!

I got up this morning and ran. It was 40º outside. It felt nice. When I started running, I didn't really have my route planned out. I was supposed to run 4 miles and I was running through my head all of the different ways I could go this morning. Finally after a few blocks of running, I figured out where I would go. It was really dark outside. I looked up in the sky and was amazed to see a sky full of stars. I didn't realize that at 6:00 in the morning you could still see them as bright as you might in the middle of the night. During this time, I couldn't stop thinking about my brother's encounter with the wolf/coyote. What would I do if something came out at me? I couldn't see too far ahead of me. There were a few people out walking that I saw only when I was about 20 feet away from them. I also saw another runner. It is only the second week into my run and I saw one. Last time I was training for a marathon it was probably about 14 weeks in before I saw anyone out running. He was crossing a road that was ahead of me so I didn't get to say "hi" or anything, but it was nice to see someone else out there running.
During my run, I thought about my need to begin working on my Spanish. Goal number 29 for me is to learn Spanish well enough to have a conversation with my neighbors across the street. I don't want to just be able to have a quick conversation, I want this to be my chance to really get a handle on the language. I have a teaching assistant at my school that I am sure that I could begin conversing with her. I have plenty of podcasts downloaded that I can put on while running. I have plenty of books that I have purchased over the years. Now I just need to put all of those things into circulation to be able to actually learn the language. Today while running I was trying to think of all of the verbs that I already knew, I didn't get too far. I'm hoping that my knowledge will increase as this time goes on.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Driving Miss Daisy

Matt, you want a boring post? Get ready for this one. I watched Driving Miss Daisy yesterday. Yep, another movie down. I was expecting the worst as far as a boring movie and not being able to understand it, but honestly, I liked the movie.
***Spoiler Alert***
Miss Daisy is a widowed Jewish woman who is getting older and is not able to drive herself around anymore. She is very stubborn and thinks that even though she is getting older, she doesn't need any help.
Hoke is a black man who has been a driver for a few prominent people in his life. He is such a nice and genuine guy. He really wants to help and is hired on by Miss Daisy's son to be her driver.
They form a connection between them and Miss Daisy slowly warms up to Hoke. They eventually find that their differences in race bring them together as they both are from groups that have been persecuted. They finish the movie in being very close friends all the way to the end.
I think I enjoyed the movie also because it was only about 95 minutes. It seemed like the last couple of films were really long and it was refreshing to watch a movie without too much of a time commitment attached to it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Centsports is killing me!


I can now tell you how tough it would be to be a professional gambler. At least from the earning money standpoint. I can't tell you about swindles or about getting an inside hint. I can not tell you about wasting an entire paycheck trying to earn lost money from the last grind. What I know is that it is incredibly hard to excel and make money easily.
Goal number 84 on my list is to cash out on centsports.com. This requires your account to be up to $10. This is not an easy task, ask Matt. How centsports works is, you start with 10 cents. This money is put up by advertisers. You have to put no money at all into this account, it is all paid for, which is what makes it a little more fun. You are gambling with someone else's money, and can never lose any of your own. If you lose your 10 cents, you get another 10 cents. When you win a bet, you can use that newly won money for another bet and increase your account through those means. I can not tell you how many times I have had to restart with that fresh dime. It is agrivating!
If you are at home doing the math, what has to be done is I have to grow my 10 cents 100 times over. That is a lot. One bright spot in my chance to cash out is that if I recruit people into this site, I get an additional 5% of what they earned. That is part of the way I kept floating for awhile. My brother Matt had quite a run back in August, and my brother-in-law Josh actually made it over $10 which gave me some nice returns. If you are interested in giving free gambling a try, click here and sign up! I can use all the pennies I can get!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Where have all the free throws gone?

So I haven't shot a free throw in weeks. The reason: the hoops are up in the gym. The P.E. classes are doing a football unit and need the hoops up. There are two hoops up on the end of the gym, but they are both under 9 feet and I don't think that would be a good gauge. I just wanted to let you all know that I am not neglecting getting this task done. I still think it is one of my toughest which means I am going to have to work the hardest on it to get it done.

Another run down

I have to say, the feeling I had this morning is exactly why I was very hesitant to register for another marathon. The training is very tough and boring. I have been "blessed" with missing the first 10 weeks of a typical 18 week marathon schedule so I missed those miles and weeks of on-going runs. The problem is, I have got a lot to make up that I had missed. Am I worried? Not really. Matt told me he would carry me if I didn't make it through in the race, so I'm good.
This morning, I didn't want to get out of bed at all. The alarm went off, and I did the snooze thing, then I turned the alarm off after it went off for the second time (I have a habit of doing this and then thinking that with it off, I will be more alert because it is then up to me to get myself up, it works most of the time) luckily I got up. It has taken me a little longer than I was used to to get out of the house, today I found myself slowly moving around the house. I have to improve my time to get out of the house. It should be about 10 minutes from wake-up.
Today's run went alright. It was 40º outside. I asked for cold yesterday and I got it. Now I want it warmer, it was cold this morning. It made me think of the days when I trained for the last marathon when it was 3º outside. I realized this morning how horrible those days were. I didn't bring the ipod with me this morning. That was attributed to the fact that I already had taken enough time to get out of the house and I didn't have too far to run. I realized a little over half-way through the run, I forgot to drink anything before running. This made me cramp up a bit toward the end of the run. I put in 3 miles today and wanted to do better than I did yesterday. Unfortunately for me, I had to stop and tie my shoe twice. Once for each foot. I double-knotted each one after it came untied. Jose, just so you know, I didn't walk at all. I used you as a motivation to make sure I didn't walk. I ran faster towards the end to make sure that I didn't think about walking. I beat my time from yesterday by 2 minutes. I am not speed training, but it felt good go the same path/distance and finish it faster than the day before.
Overall, I am not so worried about the race or the training that I have missed. I have felt pretty good after these two runs. I think the big test will be this weekend when I've got 6 miles on the schedule.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

First run on the schedule

I ran my first scheduled run this morning. 3.2 miles. It was 58º outside. It was warm compared to what I am used to running in. I have to adjust to that for tomorrow and wear some shorts, I think that would help. The run went well. I ran down to the house that I grew up in on Fordham Ave. and back. I walked for about 15 seconds when I turned around and that was it. It felt great.
I rocked out to Amy Grant while I was running. I started by listening to some spanish podcasts that I had downloaded, but realized that I needed something more elementary. I will work on that tonight for tomorrow's run. I really didn't listen too much to the lyrics of the songs, but rather just had it as background noise. I got to the song "Curious Thing" and it was the first one that I started to think about. The song is basically about life and how things can change quickly. It's true. Things can change quickly. It is just a matter in how you adapt to the change. I would like to think that I take change pretty well. Some might think differently, but I have just learned that some things are tough and things happen that are out of our control sometimes. Remember, you can not control some things, so don't spend too much time worrying about something that you can do nothing about. This is something I learned while selling books and it stuck with me. I'm hoping it keeps sticking to me. I know there will be plenty of changes to come.

68. Find a doctor and get a physical exam


I went to the doctor yesterday after school. Not because I was sick, but because I wanted to make sure I was healthy. I haven't gotten a physical since I started teaching five years ago. While I am still relatively young, I know there are a lot of things that could be hiding that I don't know about. The doctor that I "chose" is Dr. Sachs. I called the hospital and asked for an appointment, they told me they had an opening at 4:20 and I said that worked fine for me. He was great. I would say he is in his low 30s and I felt very comfortable with him. He gave me a ton of time to talk about issues that I have and spent time on each one really checking it out. I hate it when doctors just jump to conclusions so quickly and move on because they are so busy.

It's good to have this goal done because now if there is an issue that comes up with my health, I know who I can call instead of wondering what to do. I got a good report and he said I was in great shape to be ready to tackle the marathon.


p.s. For those of you that care, I asked about my phlebitis in my foot and he referred me to another doctor to get that checked. We'll see how that goes......

Monday, October 13, 2008

59. Eat at a Waffle House (if they have a juke box, play "Magic Carpet Ride")



I made it! This morning I went to Waffle House with Melissa. I put this goal on because when I lived down in Atlanta with my brother and Nate Jarot, we went there every morning. Well just about every morning, we went to Shoney's first, but that didn't quite work out after awhile, so we made Waffle House our permanent breakfast spot. My breakfast every morning was the All Star breakfast. It consists of two eggs, two pieces of toast, three strips of bacon, a bowl of grits and a waffle. It is a lot of food, I can't believe I used to eat that much each morning. It used to be $3.99, but today, inflation has brought it up to $6.50. It still isn't too bad for all the food you get, plus you are paying for great service. The Waffle House that we ate at was much different than any ones that we ate at in Atlanta. It seemed to be somewhat clean. I think it is the fact that our waitress wasn't smoking in the corner of the restaurant between visits to our table. That was a good improvement. Melissa and I both enjoyed our meals. I was surprised that Melissa almost finished all of it. I was proud!
One sad point was that they had a juke box, but no Magic Carpet Ride. Actually, I was a little glad that they didn't have the song. Not that I didn't want to hear it, but that the restaurant was full and if I put it on, I would have felt weird because up to that point, there wasn't music going on. It would have been a nice nostalgic moment, but I am alright with that part not being able to be completed.
I enjoyed conquering this goal because I don't know when I would have ever made the effort to get to a Waffle House again. It was fun to get back to one, I would actually enjoy going again sometime.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Good thoughts

I was doing some blog hopping today and stumbled across a some good quotes. The blog is managed by a pastor in the Quad cities area. He is down at a conference in Atlanta (I think) called Catalyst. From what I have gathered it is a place for pastors and the such to get together and be bombarded with really good speakers.
The author of the page just shared his notes on his post and there were a couple that I thought were pretty good.
The first thought was that, "not all time that we have is equal." We have more time today than we will for tomorrow. Each day we live, we are that much closer to death. We don't know when our last day will be, but you will never get today back...ever. Make today count! This goes along with the book that our community group from church is studying, One Month to Live. The book is taking us through a journey of thought that would make us live each day as if we were counting down our last month of life. It is not as morbid as that last sentence makes it out to be. The key question that I have gotten out of it is, How would I live my life if I knew I only had a few weeks/days/hours left in my life? I will say, I sure do hug Madeline and Hannah a lot more lately because that thought is on my mind.
The second point that jumped at me was, "Good is the enemy of Great." It's true. It has comparisons to the lukewarm Christian. There are many things that we do in our lives each day that we strive for goodness. Some of those things don't always need to be great, but if in our lives, we always do just a good job, then have we accomplished the best for our lives?
I enjoyed the thoughts of Austin, the author of judahrock.blogspot.com. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with the rest of the world.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Did I just do what I think I did?


I just signed up for a marathon. Is this a big deal? YES! Why is it a big deal, because it is on December 6th. Just about 8 weeks away, and I haven't run in months. I will still be able to get it completed. At least I am not Chad with less than 24 hours of notice. That would be worse!

The reason I signed up is because my persistent brother Matt wanted me to do it. Honestly, I had thoughts of not running another marathon for another decade, I didn't know that it would be just over a half of a year past my first one.

If this marathon was a road marathon I probably would have said I would not do it, but it is a trail marathon which means that most of it is on a trail in some type of forest area. I think it will be nice to have a different experience. There are a few things I am worried about though. 1) It's going to be cold. I don't remember too many December 6ths that were in the 50s or 60s. 2) Training - I am going to have to stay on my game if I want to get to the finish line. 3) I hope it doesn't rain. 26.2 miles with mud on my shoes would be a long run. 4) Looking at reports from runners in the past, they said be careful running on the trails because they can be slippery. I don't want to fall during the race. Some have said that it is inevitable. If that is true, I hope Matt falls first. 5) This one is a big one. The elevevation chart looks similar to what you would see in a hospital showing someone's heart rate. It goes up and down a lot.

Those are some of my worries. I am sure I can overcome them.

I am excited to do the marathon, not because I want to go out and do another 26.2 mile race, but because I am excited to work toward this goal with my brother and to enjoy the time with him. We will drive down together and stay the night before the race together. It will just be a good time for us. He did say if I couldn't make it, he would carry me. I am just hoping that it is not too uncomfortable.

Stay tuned. Training reports to come. I am excited again for those because they give me some quiet time again that I missed out on a lot this summer.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bible reading

I haven't really put anything up for Bible reading yet. I am doing it, I just haven't really had a chance to really write anything on this site about it to this time. There is a group of guys that started up a blog of reading the New Testament together that I am starting to get back on track. I stopped doing anything over the summer, just as I did with running and most of the other things that I was consistent in last year. I can't share this blog with the masses (all 4 of you that actually read this blog), because it is not all my work and we haven't really shared it publicly. What I can do is to include some of my posts into this blog to share with those of you that do read. As of right now, I am in Mark 10. I will share posts that I think are pertenant to others, some of the posts might not really be that interesting, or I don't want to share them, those I will keep to myself and the group of guys. Here is what I wrote for Mark 10:

Looking at verses 17 - 31, the part that talked about giving up all of your possessions to follow Christ, it looks hard. The only thing that I thought of that this would be possible would be in the field of missions. This would be where you would need to uproot yourselves and to relocate with the purpose of ministry. Is this the only way in which you could follow these scriptures to the letter of the law? I'm not going to sell my house, quit my job, and to constantly look for people to share Christ with, I don't think that is what God is asking me to do at this point. Not needing to get into the debate of how literal to take the bible, I was just curious how a guy living in the suburbs with his family could do this. I tithe, I go to church, I know I could do better ministering to those around me, but how can I put these verses to action?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Superman type skills


This post that I am writing has nothing to do with me. I play no part in this story. The only part that I am involved in is spreading the news of the legend of Chad Nelson.

Chad is a guy that my brother Matt went to college with. They hung out a bunch and I only knew him a little bit in passing. I knew who he was, and he knew I was Matt's brother. During my time knowing him I had learned that he seemed to be a guy that was always doing something, he's the kind of guy that couldn't keep his feet still. This was my thinking of him before yesterday, now, he has made the hall of fame in my book for always wanting/having something to do.

Sunday morning was the Lakefront Marathon in Milwaukee. My brother Matt and a few of his friends were running in it and had been training for months to be able to complete the race. One of his friends who was running the race, Nate, called Chad on Saturday to tell him that he was coming up to Milwaukee to run in the marathon and that he thought they should get together. Somewhere in the discussion Nate came up the idea that Chad should try to do the marathon (Matt told me that Chad's only physical preparation for this race was a kickball team that he played on in the summer), and Chad jumped at the idea. (editor's note: I don't know if this was all Nate convincing him, I know Matt has quite the ability to convince people to do things that they probably shouldn't do.) They went through the motions of the pre-race meals and everything that a good marathoner should do the night before the race and got their rest for the race.

Sunday morning came, at this point, Chad had less than 24 hours of advanced notice that he would even be attempting to run 26.2 miles. Chad showed up in his worn down sneakers and started the race just like all of the other competitors at 8 a.m. Matt did not expect much from Chad (would you?). After beginning the race, he had no intentions of meeting up with him until after the race. Matt thought that there was no way that Chad would have been able to keep it up for the entire race. It took a little over two hours until Matt would have his next glimpse of Chad. It was near the 14 mile mark! Matt had thought that Chad was behind him the whole time. What a shock to find him out in front of him. And for that long! How anyone can run 14 miles with no training is beyond me. Matt passed him at this point and eventually made it to the end of the race. He wondered if there was any chance of seeing Chad again that day. I would wonder as well. Could the guy that made it 14 miles have any chance of completing the next 12? Matt got to the end of the race and was slowly finding his friends that he had run with. They were discussing what they should do. Should they wait at the finish line for Chad, not even knowing if he would finish? He didn't have a phone that they could call him and see how he was doing. The only thing that they could do was to wait. Matt ate the post-race meal and watched the finishers. It was around the 5 hour mark that they saw him coming to the finish. Less than 24 hours earlier, he didn't have any intention of RUNNING A MARATHON! He did no training. Didn't carbo-load all week, he didn't even think about his shoes that he would have to depend on for the entire race. He, being a guy that flies by the seat of his pants, ran (and completed) a marathon just thinking it would be a fun thing to do.

I had thought I would be writing a post saying how proud I was of my brother for completing his race (Matt, I'm proud of you, good job!). I am sure that Matt would appreciate some notoritey, but I would guess that he would also say that the legend of Chad was bigger than the race, and that the word needed to be spread.


Chad, I barely know you, but that, was amazing!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Grocery Bag Ettiquette


Goal number 98 is for me to bring bags to the grocery store 50 times. I have done alright bringing bags over the past month and a half. I am currently at 5 times, but I could do better. Melissa got me a couple of bags for my birthday and they have been great. They fit just the right amount. I took on this goal, because I have been throwing grocery bags away for years and thought it would be a good thing to stop doing that. I am not trying to stop global warming (I'm with Sarah Palin in saying that I'm not sure if it is really a human thing), I just think it is a wise thing to not add to a garbage dump.

Most of the time when I go to the grocery store, I do the self check-out. When I am there, I am in charge of bagging my own groceries. I don't mind doing it at all, actually, I like it. The problem that I have is when I go to the regular check outs, I don't know how to effectively use my own bags. There is a guy (usually more of a boy) at the end of the register ready to bag everything. What do I do? Do I just hand him my bags? Do I just not use them?

That is the question that I am trying to figure out.

I know that this is probably ranking as one of the more boring posts that I have put out, but I was just thinking about this as I was at the store and it was on my mind. I'm sure that if you want something more interesting, you can stop over at my brother's blog in the next day or two. He is running the Milwaukee Marathon tomorrow and I can't wait to hear how it went. Matt has been training for 18 weeks for his race and I am sure that he will have a great story to tell after the race. I know that he is going to do great!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Validation of setting goals

So this blogging thing is pretty neat. It's cool to be able to write about things that are going on in our lives. It gives a place for people to openly journal about their thoughts and feelings. It gives aspiring writers a place to publicly share their work and hope to gain a following. I really think it is cool. My favorite part of blogging is seeing other people's blogs and checking out who they read. I was looking at the blogroll on my friend Jose's blog. I was proud to know that I had taken up two spaces on there. I came across a blog from a writer named Justin who is a pastor out in the Quad City area. I don't know much about the guy except the fact that his blog has two things I like in a blog: He writes almost every day, and he has interesting stuff to read each day. I was looking through some of his posts and stumbled across a post that talked about setting goals. He gives good reasoning for setting goals. In the post he quotes Emerson "the world makes way for the man who knows where he is going." Through having goals, it helps to set yourself apart from others that are just wandering around. I am not saying that having my list has given me a step above all others that do not have written goals, I am just happy to see Justin put to words the importance of having goals to set a direction of where you want to be.
I am going to add www.godinaheadlock.com to my daily reads. Thanks Jose!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

OUCH!!!!

The latest financial news over the past week has been pretty rough. There has been plenty of talk about how the market is doing poor and that stocks are plumeting. I decided to check in on my Evergreen Energy stock that I bought last month and did not get good news. I bought it at $1.67 per share. It had gone down slowly for the past few weeks....until today. It started the day at $.99 and has plumeted down to $.56. This is a 43% drop in one day. (When I checked it after posting this, it had already gone down to $.54...another 2 cents gone. Thus making it a 45% drop.) I am glad of a few things from seeing this result. 1) I only bought 3 shares of this stock and didn't have a big financial commitment to this stock. 2) My other investments are in mutual funds that don't have the tendancy to drop at this rate in just one day. (although they have dropped quite a bit over the past month) 3) I got a $50 bonus for buying the stock, so my initial $5 investment has grown to over $50 in just a few weeks. If you go to Sharebuilder.com now, they are running the promo again. The code to use is 50CITIZENS and you will get $50 put into your account about 4 - 6 weeks after making your purchase. You only have to buy $5 in stocks to get it. Sounds like a nice way to make a couple of bucks as well as to try to pick a nice cheap stock that could be the next starbucks or walmart company. Unfortunatly at this point, I did not choose correctly.
This post went from being a sob story to a sales pitch. Sorry for that. I just thought it was a good deal that could be shared with others.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What do I do?

I am sitting looking at my list and wanting to figure out what I can do next. As I look at my list I am seeing that with the warm months fading, there are going to be less options for goals to check off. I am also struggling with the goals that will not be done for awhile that I have been working on. There are many goals that are monthly or that will take about 1001 days to complete. Those goals are tough because I want to check them off, but they will be there for a long time. It is also tough looking at goals that can not be attempted until many months from now. I am writing because I don't know what to do and I am sick of checking into the blog to see the same thing. I am sure I am not the only one. Last Friday I checked off two goals. I was so excited to be able to check off multiple goals on the same day, I am wanting that feeling again. I know that overall, having three goals accomplished each month will get this list completed in the 34 months, but I want to get these goals done now and don't like waiting.

On a side note, I wanted to write about something great that happened today. (I call it great others might not) I was on the way home from work today and Melissa called me telling me that she needed some stuff from the grocery store. I changed my route and made my way over there to pick the stuff up. She told me that she needed some potatoes and some tofu (for the girls). Some people know that I am an avid watcher of the sales papers and that I keep a close eye on coupons matching sales. Today was a good day! I picked up: 5 bags of Hershey's chocolate chips, a loaf of Sarah Lee bread, a jar of Hidden Valley ranch dressing, a pound of tofu, a 8 pound bag of potatoes, a jar of seasoning sauce, and a bottle of Jet Dry. It was a lot of stuff. The total before the savers card and coupons was $34. After savers card and coupons: $11.20. Didn't I tell you it was a good day! It doesn't quite match the CVS trip that I had last weekend (diapers, tp, body wash, garbage bags, ibuprophen, sandwich bags, and two packs of sprees, all for about $6), but it was a good one for sure. Unfortunately, there isn't much measurable in using coupons and watching for sales to put it onto my list, but the good thing is, we are saving some cash!

Friday, September 26, 2008

56. Go to an Aurora Christian football game

Tonight I did what all good alumni should do. I went back to my high school for a football game on homecoming weekend. I am amazed as to how much the school has changed in the past 9 years since my own graduation. Aurora Christian is in their first season having their own stadium. I have got to say it looks great! I went with my dad and he took me on the tour. We were able to go down on the turf before the game and it was really neat. They have the fake turf that many of the professional teams are getting. It was pretty cool.
As far as the game went, it would have been great if they only played the first half. Their quarterback, Jordan Roberts, set the IHSA record for touch down passes in a career. His first one (95) tied the record and the next one (96) set the record. He was pretty impressive. He finished the first half with 4 TD passes. The first half finished with a 35 - 7 lead. The second half was rough. There were a bunch of difficult penalties which caused the team to not be able to move the ball at all. Chicago Christian brought the game back to 35 - 21 and had momentum. We left the game with 4:00 remaining and Chicago Christian was driving. They finished the game with a 42 - 21 win. It was a good night. The only thing that I think was missing was the fact that there were very few people that I recognized. I know I've been gone for awhile, but I thought that there would be a lot more familiar faces.

It's official, I can write


Goal number 28 has the innitiative to relearn how to write cursive fluently. Is this a measurable goal? I didn't know when I could think that I could count it off. I was told by my class that today could be the day. Over the last month as I have been teaching, I have used a blend of curisive and print up on the board. As I was writing today, they said, "Mr. Weis, that looks pretty good." As I was writing I actually was thinking about how far I have come in the past month.

I decided to take on this goal when I was making my list because I have noticed the fact that I barely write by hand at all anymore. A few years ago I was taking a test for certification and had to write something in cursive. It took me awhile to write it all for the reasons that: one, I don't write by hand much anymore, and two, I didn't remember some of the cursive letters. I put some things up on the board when I am teaching, but the art of actually putting the pen/pencil to paper is an art that is being lost every day. Michael Scott would disagree and say that paper is at the root of our civilization, but I have to disagree and say that the skill/art of typing is quickly killing the need to be able to write by hand.

During this month, I have had to step back while writing to look at my alphabet strip to make sure that I remembered how to correctly do a cursive capital "G" or the difference between the lower case "q's" and "g's". My class has helped and they really have been excited to be able to see my progression. I don't know if I should be embarassed or proud of how they have taken to cheering me on in my drive to be able to write?

I am not looking for an award at the end of the year for most improved penmanship, but I am really proud of the fact that I can do this again with the same relative ease that I could do it back when I was 7 or 8 years old. Let's just hope that I can do a better job over the next 20 years to not lose this skill again.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The doctor made me do it!

I missed out on my fruits and veggies on Monday and Tuesday. I was sick. I was really sick. I was put on a diet of clear liquids by the doctor on Monday and I kept pretty close to it again on Tuesday. I missed a couple of days, but honestly, if I did eat them, I would not have kept them down. That goes the same for my vitamins. I was given medicine from the doctor and have been taking them as diagnosed.
I am feeling a lot better now that it is Friday, but overall, I feel as though I will never really be fully healed. I am hoping that over the weekend here that I will be able to start to feel better.

What a perfect picture


As I was looking for sites that would have toys that I could make for the girls, I stumbled upon this gem from a Popular Mechanics issue in 1950. What do you think? Should I put one of these together? It is amazing how American culture has changed over the past 50 years.

38. Read 5 classic novels


Well, I didn't finish all five, but I've got one down. 380 pages of size 10 font and single spacing. This task is going to be a tough one. I read the book The Jungle by Upton Sinclair this past two weeks. I took advantage of my being sick to just lay down and read the past couple of days. It was amazing how fast you can read through a book when you have many hours of uninterrupted time.

I don't know why I picked the book. Actually, it was about two weeks ago that I went to the library to check out Chariots of Fire and just decided to look for a book to read. I wandered the aisles of the library and decided that was the book that I wanted. I wasn't looking for it specifically, but have heard about it before and had some interest in reading it.

The book is definitely not one that is a fun read. It follows the life of a Lithuanian family in their quest to find a better life in America. They found the opposite and everything went wrong. It was kindof like "Meet the Parents" meets (insert any sad movie that has people dying in it). Anything that could go wrong did.

The one thing that made the end difficult was the fact that the whole book turns into socialist propoganda for the last three chapters. It is a tough way to finish such a story, but it was Sinclair's intent to write the book for the betterment of the Socialist party. If this book were written in today's world of literature, I am sure that it would have left planty of the Socialist stuff out.

After finishing the book, Melissa and I were preparing for Bible study and came across the question of, "If you could spend some time in conversation with any person that traveled the earth in the last 1000 years, who would it be?" I thought about it for a little bit and decided it would be my great-great-great-grandfather (I think that is how many it is) that came over from Luxembourg after the Chicago Fire. I thought about the book I had just read and wondered how life was for him and his family coming to America. I can only imagine that times were tough. I have read plenty of stories that have told of very meager beginnings for immigrants to America, and I wonder what it was like for the Weis family when they got here.

Overall, I am happy I read the book. It opened my eyes to some of the things that went on in our country and I think I learned a lot from it. This is an American classic novel that I am happy that I read.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

26. Eat no fast food for a month

I made it. I didn't eat fast food for a month. I have got to say it was harder than I thought it would be. I know I don't have a job where I drive past countless fast food chains, but there have been plenty of times where dinner could have been much easier if we would have just driven out for a couple of minutes to get food. I think Melissa was as inconvenienced at this one as I was. There were two big positives from this goal being achieved. 1) We found good alternatives for food instead of going out and getting food that isn't the healthiest. 2) We saved money eating food that was already in our house instead of going out and buying something else.
I know this is pathetic, but after completing a month, all I wanted was a double cheeseburger from McDonalds. I know, what a splurge, but I love them. Melissa said we could go anywhere, and I picked there, because that is all I wanted.
I'm glad this one is over. I think Melissa is relieved as well.

Friday, September 19, 2008

18. Make nice dinner one time each month

I made dinner tonight. Audacious, Herbaceous Beef Burgers. They were good. It was not a normal burger that you might expect. It is ground beef, mixed with parsley, dill, worchestershire sauce, and other things. The thing that made the burger set apart from all the others is the fact that all of the meat is wrapped around some goat cheese. The cheese actually tasted great! I had to make the sauce and put together some other fixings for it. It wasn't too tough to make. Melissa said she liked it. I now have to figure out what I will make next month. Hopefully I don't wait until the last two days before the deadline next month. I have pictures, but I don't know if they are the recipe book quality photos that Matt requires.

Free Throws

Out of strict curiosity, I am going to start a counter to tally up the free throws that I shoot. I am going to keep the total missed/made plus the percentage. I just want to know over a long period of time (or short if I make 20 in a row next time) what my percentage would be. I am only starting with free throws from this week, because that is all that I can accurately remember. Look for the box off to the side.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Reflection to the past

I spent some time this morning going over some of my old blog posts. I stayed home from school yesterday because I just couldn't talk without pain. I had this happen in the spring and wanted to read my post from back then that I wrote. I knew the doctor told me to just take tylenol and advil in 2 hour intervals, I just wanted to see what else was going on at that time. I have to say, after reading some of my posts to find the one when I was sick, I was humbled. I was on fire for God at that time. Every day I was reading my Bible and looking for ways in which God had had an effect on my life. Today, I'm not doing those same things. I got out of the practice when I was not running and when the summer started. Those two things gave me consistency in each day and they gave me my chance to be with God each day. I was reading over some of the posts that I wrote and was sad to think that I got out of that habit. It was a great thing! I am not saying that I am going to be running daily again, but I do need to find a way to have time to myself with God on a regular basis again. Another thing that I did back then was think with the purpose for journaling. I find myself thinking about what to post on this blog based on my list. It is true that this blog has lived on because of the list. I would not find myself writing these words if I didn't create that list. I need to find an outlet to get my daily spiritual thoughts back into my writing. It was at that time that I was enjoying my time reading the Bible and reflecting on the things that God has given me.
To some readers this will make this blog more interesting as a place to look for challenges in your lives. To others, it may not. Overall, I would like this blog to be a place that I can reflect on my spiritual journey as well as accomplishing my goals. Those two things can go together.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Free throws

I made 10 today. It was very easy. I only shot 15 of them today. I made my first 3, then missed one, then made the next 10. I missed the 11th in that series. I then had my class waiting for me to go. I wanted to keep shooting. This is going to be a very difficult goal, but it is still attainable.
On a side note, I'm feeling better than I was this weekend. My voice held out through the whole day. I think I might do the gallon a day for a week thing starting yesterday. I had 10+ big glasses yesterday and have had 3 quarts already today. I need to get the fluids into my body to get better. I also need to keep medicating myself. That has helped too.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Movies, and what could have been

Today I finished A Beautiful Mind and watched Chariots of Fire. A Beautiful Mind was good as I remembered it. For Chariots of Fire, I didn't get it. I don't know what happened in 1981 that made that the best picture of the year. There must have been better! First, the British accents didn't help. Second, I couldn't tell who the main and supporting characters were. Right when I thought I knew who the story was about, it got changed. I couldn't tell who I was cheering for in the races or what I wanted to happen in relationships that were developed. The movie is about running, and that is all I got out of it. I consider my time watching that movie a waste.
Next order of business. Josh could have cashed out on centsports with his $10. He had a great run in his bets last week and was right up near $11 but kept on betting. He is currently at $3.15. I'm hoping tonight and tomorrow are better days for him and he can get up past the $10 mark again. I was liking the 5% kick-back I was getting all week.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

My first book that I read was "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" . All of my students read this book last year. I know, it's an elementary book, but I wanted to read it to see what it was all about. It won the Caldecott award in 2008 which means that it had the best illustrations for any children's book that year. While I am not helping legitimize the fact that the book I read is a children's book that has a ton of pictures, I can say that it has over 500 pages.
After finishing the book, I could tell why my students enjoyed it. I finished it in only a couple of days. I am going to start my next book here soon. I checked out "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair yesterday. That means, I only have a month to get it finished. I have heard it mentioned a couple of times and just wanted to give it a read. It will qualify as one of my classic novels. It is definitely going to take more than a few days to get through. I'm looking forward to getting another thing started. I have a lot to read and am excited to get it in swing so I don't have a ton to read at the end of my quest.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

73. The Walter V. Weis Memorial Canoe Trip

On Monday night, my friend Ryan was talking about the canoe trip down to St. Louis. He asked my grandpa's name and upon finding my grandpa's name he out gave the canoe trip a name. The Walter V. Weis Memorial Canoe Trip. I have wanted to do this trip for awhile after hearing that my grandpa did it many years ago. I thought it sounded like a ton of fun. The trip will consist of dropping the boat into the Fox River in Yorkville just past the last dam in the downtown area and taking the Fox River to the Illinois River. After meeing the Illinois, we will take that all the way down to the Mississippi River. We will not be in the Mississippi too long, but we will take that for a few remaining miles down to St. Louis. We are planning on camping out on the islands on the rivers in the evenings. We will also need to stop a couple of times to get some fresh food.
Melissa and I talked after Monday night about the trip and she got my mind going. She was talking about there being a lot of people planning on doing the trip. I don't know if it is a lot, but more than two have expressed interest. I am going to have to start now with the planning. I know that my brother-in-law Mike is coming and that Tyler should be coming, but I don't have for yeses (sp?) from anyone else. Many people think it sounds like a lot of fun, but in reality, taking the time off work and actually getting down to doing the trip is another thing. I am struggling to think if it would be better for more to go, or for less people to go. We would all have to be paddling at the same speed and would all be counting on each other to be able to cover the same distance each day. On the positive of having more, we would have more people to count on if something went wrong. There are a lot of things to consider. This is a trip that I want to do and have wanted to do for awhile. I want it to go well and to be able to do it completely.
I think now is a time that I should start planning the time when I will go and to start getting the things that we will need for the trip.
There are a few things that I know will be needed:
  • maps of all three rivers
  • another canoe (possibly)
  • waterproof bags to keep our stuff in
  • maps with the towns that we will be passing through
  • A list of people who will be coming
  • figure out where grocery stores are close to the river
  • probably a million other things I don't know I need yet

I think that getting the maps together soon will be a good goal. I will then be able to actually gauge how far we will need to go and will be able to know how much time the trip will actually take.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

One Month to Live

Yes Matt, I am going to chase a rainbow!

Our group meeting went well last night. I'm looking forward to the group. I think there will be dinner next week! It should be fun.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

One Month to Live

Our church began a new series today titled, "One Month to Live." The idea is centered around the idea that if you found out that you only had one month to live, how would you carry it out. We are only at the beginning of the series, but the concept of the thought has had me thinking a lot about it all day. During the sermon, there was a lady that got up and spoke about her husband's recent death. He found out that he had cancer and only lived for five weeks after hearing his fateful news. She spoke of his optimism and his peace that he had upon hearing that he would most likely not make it. She said that he considered his treatments a "win-win" in that either he would die and be able to go off to heaven, or he would be cured of his sickness. WOW! What an awesome way to live your life. I sat and thought about how amazing his faith was and how much peace he had during the whole process. I want that!
Another thing I have thought about with the idea of one month to live is how I have taken on these goals. This is by no means a bucket list but rather a list of things that I want to accomplish over this amount of time. I do love the idea that I have selected many things that I would want to do if I only had one month to live.
I am excited about the next 6 weeks in this series. I am excited to see the growth of myself, and the growth of all of the members of our church. All of the community groups in the church are also using their weekly meetings to discuss the sermon and from other materials. It should be a great time of growth throughout and I can't wait to see where everyone that is participating in this series is when the 6 weeks is over.

Friday, September 5, 2008

I hate splinters!


I know when you read the title, you immediately went to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and their Master Sensei, but I'm not talking about that Splinter. I'm talking about the type that gets under your skin and just jabs you on your nerve endings and just drive you crazy. I got one of those kinds of splinters today while teaching. I had to go for an hour with it in me until I could get to the nurse and pluck it out. It was a rough hour. Just try not using your right thumb for an hour.
First, let me say, I'm not very good with my left hand. The task of maneuvering tweezers to get to a tiny little piece of wood in my thumb was not as easy as it should have been. Sure, I could have asked the nurse to help me out, but I didn't think it would be right to cut in line in front of the girl who said she was going to throw up, and the kid that skinned his knee at recess. So, I did the noble thing and did it myself. I plucked and pulled for about five agonizing minutes and finally pulled the plank from my thumb. I was definitely bleeding after jabbing and tearing skin. I put some ointment on it and a band aid and was off to conquer the remainder of the day.
I wanted to shoot free throws today to try and see if I could improve my personal best. I missed the first three. I realized that shooting without a thumb was making my shots be much more difficult than I would have thought. I was used to the ball rolling off my finger tips but didn't know my thumb was so important. My shot percentage today was much below 50%. It was embarassing. I had one stretch of making 5, but that was as close as I could get. I am really hoping to have some time off on Monday's day of meetings to sneak off to the gym and give it a better try. Hopefully my thumb will be healed by then.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

20. Make Sweet Tea From Scratch





Tonight I took on the task of making sweet tea. Melissa's parents brought me some tea leaves last weekend when they were here. The picture of the tea didn't come out too great, but if you could see it in person and smell it, you would think it was great!
I have been looking for recipes for awhile for how to make it. It seems like every house wife in the South has a recipe posted out there for the "best" sweet tea. Most of them have the same general make-up. First boil water, then put in tea bag. Remove tea bag and put in sugar. Finally, put in more water, then serve with ice.
I followed those steps and I must say the tea didn't turn out too terrible. (I did expect the worst!) I learned after trying it once that I will need to put in much less sugar next time. I guess in the south, if you don't have a 6:1 ratio of water to sugar then it is not sweet tea. That is definitely too much sugar. Next time, there will be less for sure. It didn't take too much time to make this so I know that when I make it next time it isn't the big task than I thought it would be. I am also very glad that I made this during a time that I am trying to stay away from pop. It might become a Sunday afternoon staple this fall as I watch football. That will help ward off the cravings to go grab a Coke.
Another task down! I'm enjoying checking these tasks off and hope to keep up this pace.

Weekly rundown

I haven't posted in a couple of days and thought it would be good to get something on here on my progress. Here are a few things I have done this past week to keep up with my goals.


  • I changed the oil in the car. The mileage was just under 104,000 miles. It was a nice clean quick job.
  • I have kept up with taking my vitamins each morning. One day, I realized as I was leaving the house and ran back downstairs to get one. Still no days missed.
  • I am keeping up with reading to the girls. Madeline has taken more to reading. Hannah is a lot more squirmy and it is tough to keep her attention, even for a 6 page book.
  • I have continued to tell the family that I love them each day. I know this shouldn't be a goal, it should be a given, but it is nice to have it down to be able to ponder whether I have done it that day or not.
  • I started the movie A Beautiful Mind and am about half-way through it.
  • Melissa's parents bought me some tea leaves. I think I might make my sweet tea tonight. I'm a little nervous it won't go well. I've read a few different ways to try it, hopefully I pick one that works.
  • I'm still shooting free throws a few times a week. Yesterday I hit 6 in a row twice. I shot about 50 times and only missed about 15 of them. I know that is a lot, but my stroke feels good and I know that it will come in time.
  • Pop has been a temptation a few times, but I have resisted. I am actually enjoying water, milk and juice each day.
  • Still no fast food since the first day that I started. I think I will be able to make this one right away, we will still have to wait to see. I have 33 months to get this thing done. If I don't get it this time, there is plenty of time left.
  • I have made flash cards to study the presidents. I use them each day in the car on my way to and from school. I am pretty solid for the first half of the presidents. I get a little shaky around 20.
  • I am a few pages into the book that Melissa got me for my birthday about raising a daughter in a godly way.
  • I have an appointment scheduled for a doctor appointment on October 14th at 4:20.
  • I'm still trying on centsports. It's tough to do well when you haven't won a bet in over a week. I think I need to start thinking small in my bets rather than going for a home run each time. Good thing it's free!
  • Lastly, I'm typing this at school before the kids are here while wearing a tie. I picked a good day to wear it. All of the other days have been incredibly hot.

That's how I am doing. I am enjoying this goal oriented life. It makes me think about what I could be doing with my time and how I can organize things better.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

74. Portage a canoe through downtown Aurora



Yesterday, Melissa's family came over to celebrate Labor Day. It was a good day. We all hung out, got Melissa's parents on Facebook, and had a cookout. Melissa's brother Mike and I have gotten into the habit that every time that he comes over we have gone out canoeing. It is a good habit to get into because both of us enjoy the activity of canoeing. The first task, (which I didn't know would be a task) was getting the canoe out of the garage. As Mike was undoing the rope that holds the canoe suspended in the garage, he didn't realize that he would need to hold onto it. This resulted in the canoe falling onto his head. Not a good start. Luckily, there was no blood or damage to the canoe. We got loaded up and got to the river. It was nice starting off going downstream. I haven't yet ventured over to the downtown area. It was nice, there were a lot of people out fishing that we were able to say hello to. We made it to the point where we would have to portage (another word for taking the canoe out of the water and carrying it around an obstacle). The city has made a lot of improvements in the last few years, one being a walking path under the main roads in Aurora, which meant, all we had to do is take the canoe out and carry it down the path to safer waters. I don't know if I was disappointed or relieved to find out that I wouldn't have to carry it up the stairs and across the street. After getting through, we canoed around for awhile. Unfortunately, after we got through downtown, the river was really rocky. On one of those rocks, we hit really hard. I got a big gash in the bottom of the canoe and took on a ton of water. We got out to get rid of some of the water, put the boat back in the water and canoed back to the portage point. After we got to that point, we realized that we would take on too much water for it to be worth canoeing the whole way back to the van. Since we were only about a half of a mile from where the van was parked, Mike volunteered to go get the van so we wouldn't have to carry the canoe the whole way back. This was a sad way to end such a joyous occasion.
For those of you wondering. The canoe is fixed. I patched it right away when we got home. All I am hoping for now is more rain to get the water level back up. One more done! Pictures will come when I get home from work today.