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.

Monday, September 1, 2008

54: Read a book for parenting Toddlers

I have finished my first book off my list. I read the book "Fathering Your Toddler: A Dad's Guide to the Second and Third Years" by Armin A. Brott. It was a good book. There were definitely areas that I will have to store in my memory bank about what they will be like in the future. The book covers them from their first birthday until their third. It was a pretty long book with small font, but I made it! (This is probably where I will get comments mentioning how the classic novels will be longer with smaller font) I enjoyed reading the book because it gave me perspective of what the next few years will be like. It also gave me some pride in knowing how much of being an active father for my girls will boost their development in the future years.
The next book I will read is the one that Melissa got me for my birthday. I will be reading it to help me know how to raise the girls in our world today.