Wednesday, December 30, 2009

28 years until I finally had my first Big Mac

While it wasn't a goal, tonight I ate my first Big Mac. I got a coupon for a free sandwich last night at the Bulls game because they scored over 100 points. I had jokingly thought about adding it to my next list of goals. While I go to McDonalds plenty, I usually stick to the typical double cheese burger and fries. I don't stray too much from my normal routines when it comes to food. Thus why I had my goal for trying new foods.

Here's a pretty view of my first bite.

The burger wasn't bad. Honestly, it wasn't too much different than a normal burger. I expected more from the special sauce. I'm probably not going to get another one any time soon, but I probably won't make it another 28 years until my next one.

Here's the finished shot. It looks nothing like the Portabella burger that I had over the summer. It was far better than that thing. Too bad this one isn't a goal that I can check off.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bulls v. Pacers 12/29/09

The original plan for the night was for me to take the girls over to my friend Ryan's house to give both Melissa and his wife Leslee a break from the kids. It turned out to be nothing close to that.
At 4:21, I got a text from my friend Jay asking if I would go to the Bulls game tonight. He had tickets from work that he couldn't use and was looking to give away. I asked Melissa and she said no problem. So....Ryan and I went to the game together leaving the wives to entertain the kids while we were away. Our seats were on one of the ends of the court about 20 to 25 rows up. Face value of $110! It was great! I have only been to two Bulls games and the last one was about three years ago with Matt. It sure is different when you are down by the court watching the game.
Here's a picture to show the view from our seats.
A shot of the scoreboard after the game.

Because we were not in easy-out parking we had time to stroll around outside after the game. We made it over to the Jordan statue and snapped a few pictures. It was a pretty popular place to be after the game and took quite awhile to get a shot.
Altogether it was a great night. Definitely something that doesn't happen too often. Melissa said that the kids were good and that she had a fine night. Thanks Melissa for being so great!

66. Merry Christmas from Matt/a baseball from every MLB ballpark

I got a great Christmas gift this year from Matt. We both have a goal that in our lifetime we will be able to make it to all of the Major League baseball parks. We have gone to quite a few together (10, I think). A neat idea that Matt gave me was to buy a baseball from each park that we go to as a souvenir. The problem is what do you do to show them off? I had them all in a bowl on the coffee table, but after having kids, there was no way for that to stay together so I just began storing them in a bin in the closet. Matt was great enough to construct this to help show off what I have.

After seeing them on display I am more motivated to add to the collection. August 15th is one day we plan on seeing the Twins play in Minnesota. Other than that we don't have any other trips planned. Maybe sometime this summer Melissa and I will take a trip somewhere for a weekend to get away. Baseball game for me, Broadway show for Melissa? Sounds like a win-win to me!

Monday, December 28, 2009

38. Red Badge of Courage

I just finished this classic novel. Tonight begins my attempt to read each night after the kids go to bed until I go to sleep. Goal #93. I might also try to mix in goal #100 during that time as most of my typical TV watching is after the girls go to sleep.
The book was ok. **Spoiler alert** Boy joins army. Boy is in battle, gets scared and runs. Guilt makes boy feel bad so he rejoins his group and fights again with his battalion. Boy becomes a war hero for his efforts on the battle field.
It's a good story. Semi-quick read. I've heard about it enough over the years and now I have read the story to know what the book is all about.
One more book to go and this goal is done!

62. Visit My Grandparent's Grave

Matt and I went out for a run this morning. I have to say that after the run today I am so glad that I got a treadmill for Christmas. Aside from a few times with uncomfortable wind, the weather wasn't too bad. The snow was the problem. The city of Aurora apparently takes over two days to plow some of the side streets. Our destination that we wanted to get to was the cemetery where our grandparents are buried. After taking a roundabout trip to get there we made it to the entrance. I had done a little research at the library to find out where they were buried, but that didn't help so much due to the large amount of snow that we had gotten over the past few days. After a lot of walking around and trekking through snow we finally found a headstone with the "Weis" name on it. It was in the right area that the library materials said it would be, but from what I thought I remembered, their names were on the headstone. Maybe it was on a smaller plaque hidden under the snow.
Due to the large amount of snow we couldn't tell if there were smaller stones on the ground signifying if this was indeed where our grandparents were buried. I will have to stop by again when the snow disappears to check again. Its not too hard to stop by the cemetery. I just wanted to do it with Matt the first time I went there.
After leaving the cemetery we stumbled upon this opportunity.
I was in no shape to top out at Michael Scott's max speed of 31 mph, but I just had fun running with it picking up my speed.
When we were done running I felt pretty tired. Between the wind and snow it gave me a greater appreciation for the treadmill at home. Having Matt out there on the run made it much more bearable for sure.
27 days until the race! Hopefully I will be ready!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

13. Sit ups

This morning I watched Melissa's 89 year old Grandfather do 40 sit ups with no problem. He says he does them every day just to keep his strength up and to keep active. He didn't struggle at all to get them done at all. Makes me think that I really need to get into the groove of working on my own sit up and push up goals. I didn't dare to try to max out in at that time. I'm going to wait for a more private setting to see what I can do. Hopefully I can get to 40 easy ones sometime soon and make my way to 100. Sometimes you find motivation in places you never expected it to come from.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

1. I finished the New Testament

I'm half way done (not really!) with reading through the whole Bible. Today I finished up the New Testament. I didn't start out too diligent reading through, but lately I have been really good at getting my reading in each day. I have gone non-traditional in my reading. Each morning when I get to school I log on to Bible Gateway and read a few chapters. It has been a real nice way to start each day of school.
It was the first time that I had read all the way through the New Testament in one "short" period of time like this. It was interesting to see the connections between all of the written letters. Next up, the Pentateuch.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

34. Curriculum Renewal/Reform

Another class down! (2 of 14) Not much to say but I'm glad it is done.
I'm using the wildcard on the memorization of presidents/vp/party because I don't have as strong of a desire to memorize the vp/party section anymore. I still look at the list of presidents and try to get them down, but I don't think the other two parts are as important anymore. Another goal down!

Monday, December 14, 2009

37. The Last Lecture

I finished my 5th biography! Last week one of my students told me that their mom was reading the book, The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. His lecture became quite famous on the internet for his ability to speak so easily to a large group about his life with pancreatic cancer and things he has learned along the way. I haven't seen the whole lecture yet, but plan finish it some time soon.

This book was really written with the purpose for his kids (ages 6, 4, and 18 months) to have something to remember and know their father by. It is a really good book and an easy read. As I was reading through it reminded me of Ron Clark's book The essential 55 where Ron Clark talks about 55 rules he has for his classroom. The Last Lecture has 62 chapters with each one containing a certain memory or important lesson. These chapters are his way of teaching his kids how he wants them to live their lives through giving stories about his own life. It is a great read. While you know he will eventually lose his battle (died July 28, 2008), you know that he isn't going down quietly.

I enjoyed this one a lot (I finished it in 3 days) and thought that the life lessons that were given in the book were a great piece that he could leave to his kids and to the rest of the world. Next book on the agenda is The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. I'm thinking that one will take a little longer than 3 days to finish.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

91. Foundations of Curriculum EDU 8130

I just finished my first class of my program (1 of 14). The second will be finishing later this week. While having a class on Saturday mornings beginning at 7:30 isn't the most ideal time to have a class, I enjoyed the class quite a bit. The group of people that I have class with is a really good group. This class studied how curriculum is put together and what components make it up. That's the least boring way for me to describe the class.
As enacted earlier for marathon completion, Matt suggested that each class that I finish will also count as a wildcard. I think that is a fair suggestion as it trades the time that I am taking for my studies for a task that is no longer one that I see as important.
The thing that I see as not as important is cleaning out the car. While I do see it as important, I haven't kept the integrity of the goal getting it cleaned as much as the goal intends. Another goal down!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

69. Read a book about nutrition that would help me understand nutrients and vitamins better

After what seems like months of reading this book, I'm finally done! Nutrition for Life is over! I bought this book a long time ago at Borders because it seemed to be the best book in the nutrition section of the store. I have really grown to like the DK publishing group for non-fiction (Mom, take note!). They really do a good job putting pictures together to help explain the content of the book.
After reading the book I have a better understanding of why vitamins do the things that they do. There was nothing earth shattering in the book as far as new things I learned, but it was a good book to read. I definitely didn't internalize a lot of what I read, but I did learn about a lot of different foods to eat more of. Lima beans seemed to be mentioned a lot for high nutritional value. I hadn't realized they were thought of so highly.
This book is finished. I am going to try to get one or two of the reading goals done in the educational section next. I have a little bit of a break from reading for my classes right now and think I have a chance at getting those done. Now I just have to find something interesting to read.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Little bloggers

I had a kid at school tell me that he asked his parents to start a blog. His parents did the same thing that I did, they laughed. I then asked why he wanted to start one, his reply was that he wanted to type out the 50 goals that he had set for himself so he could keep track of them and write about them.

I share with my students that I have a blog. I usually use it as an example if I am talking about experiential writing or something in that area. I talk openly about my goals and they constantly ask what goal I am working on or what goal I want to begin next. I have had kids in the past say that they had one or two goals that they wanted to do, but never have I had a kid that had a list of 50 that he wanted to begin right away (his time line is 3 years for completion). I was touched to see that he wanted so much to do something just like me.

The solution that his parents came up with was that he could just open up a Microsoft Word document and write everything there (sound's like Creed's blog).

We went to the library right after he had shared this information with me. I walked by his computer and saw that he had typed into the search box "how to start a blog."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Gotta keep trying!

I wrote another letter to Time today and got this message:

In a nut shell, the letter is a way of saying, you took too long to write in for the week. Next week be faster. I get this message about half of the time. I usually save the content and send it in the next week. This particular article was one I had to sign my name as "Paul Lewis." I talked pretty openly about things that happen in our school. I figured it wasn't something I wanted my name on. Not a great career move.

39. The Millionaire Next Door

I have been wanting to read this book for awhile. It is often discussed on two of the personal finance blogs that I read. One of them is The Simple Dollar. The author of this blog is a guy from Iowa who went from being a huge spender to being a guy who finds joy in frugality. I like his site and find plenty of tips that I can use in my daily life. His site is actually the site that I first read about 101 goals in 1001 days. The other site I go to is Get Rich Slowly. The author is from Oregon. He was also a huge spender that turned his habits around. He tends to write on a lot of topics that I find interesting, but he gets into numbers which tends to lose me after awhile.

Both of these guys have done reviews on the book which can be found here and here.

The biggest point that I got out of the book was that there are wealthy people and there are people that try to look like they are wealthy. Most of the truly wealthy people (those who have a net worth of over $1 million) are people that don't live the lavish lifestyles. They don't have a need to impress others with their money.

A point to take out of the book is to spend less than you earn. That's pretty obvious. Avoid trying to impress others with the things you have. I know I can't afford a lot of things I see other people with. I've learned that is ok. Paul says in Philippians 4:12 "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." Paul's words come from the extreme areas of having plenty and being in need. I know that I haven't really learned Paul's "secret" completely, but I understand what he means. After having kids, my list of things that I want has gone down greatly. I have most of the things that I need. The book discussed clothing, houses, and cars as being downfalls for people to not gain wealth. I'm happy with where I am at with all of these.

This was a good book to read. The formula to becoming a millionaire isn't a secret. Be wise with where you spend your money and save wisely and regularly.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Blood Bank, Twilight style

After school today I decided to stop by the blood bank to make a donation. Little did I know that today was the promotional day for "New Moon", the newest movie in the Twilight series. The lobby was full. There were cardboard cut-outs of the main characters. There was a line for people to get there picture taken among these cut-outs. Girls were gawking at how cute Edward was and how real the cardboard picture of him was. It was nuts. My favorite part was when the photographer carried one of the characters around in the back (where they draw the blood) and set him by some of the donors so they could have their picture with it. The girls were so excited to be part of it. If anything, it was entertaining.
I considered leaving and coming back another day, but saw that they were fully staffed in the back and moving people along pretty fast. I'm happy I stayed, I think that it was the fastest service I have ever had. I also got a free t-shirt themed for the New Moon movie and a Heartland sweatshirt for continuing to donate. Not sure when or if I will wear either of these, but it's always nice to get free stuff.
My next day I can give is January 14th. I'm sure I will have to wait until January 25th or later.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fall Clean-up

I was able to use my time at home to do some more household chores. With the weather being so nice out this past week, I started tackling the leaves in the yard. The girls are finally old enough to spend time outside helping out. The girls picked up the leaves in their hands and then they put them onto the tarp. When each tarp was filled up, they jumped into the middle and took a ride to the leaf pile. They had so much fun. When the ride was over they would jump off and go find another pile to load onto the tarp. They had a blast!
Off we go!

Maddie was such a good helper. She kept picking up leaves and putting them onto the tarp. All while holding her water bottle.
Isn't she cute?
Getting ready to add to the huge pile of leaves.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Another Marathon

I'm signed up for another marathon. This one will be nothing like the other ones I have done. First off, it is an indoor marathon. That should make things really interesting as the landscape will be the same the whole time. Matt has already talked about it in previous posts, and has run it before, now he's taking me along for the ride. It looks like 96 laps around the track will get the job done to be able to finish the race. I don't know if that is cool or if it is really stupid. I'm 100% confident I wouldn't be doing this race if it weren't for Matt.
Last year I ran a few of these with him and thought it was "fun" so I figured doing another wouldn't be too bad. The rough part is finding time to train this time. Last year I was just working and helping out with the girls. This year, I am in two pretty intense classes, working and have a new baby. It's making running interesting, but I will be ready. It's not going to be my best time, but it will be fun. Hopefully Matt will slow down for a couple laps and run with me to keep me up to speed. The race is on January 24th, so it's coming up soon. It should be interesting when the time does come. I am looking forward to it.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Food plus $30 in coupons for my next trip, all for $14.49

I went to Jewel today. They're having another pretty good deal. I bought everything pictured for only $14.49. Add to it when I was done, I got $30 in coupons for my next trip! This is just one of those deals that I couldn't resist. I used a bunch of coupons to get this deal. I'm glad that I no longer feel weird when going to the cashier with close to one coupon per item, if that was the case, I would be in real trouble. Here's the list of what I got:
3 boxes of cheerios
2 boxes of Pillsbury Savoring bites (haven't had them yet, but they look good)
4 4-packs of yogurt
3 bags of Chex Mix
1 bag of Gardetto's
3 cartons of chicken broth
1 carton of ice cream
5 lbs. of flour
this stuff wasn't in the deal, but was in the total price
2 lbs of ground turkey, Buy one, get one free and I used a $5 off coupon for the original one so it was $.49 for 2 lbs. Can't beat that!
I also got 4 light bulbs as we are out of them and need to replace a couple that have gone out.
I also got a pack of cat treats. I had a coupon to get them free and will bring them next door to Sharyn for her cats. Thought an explanation was warranted for why I had them in my pillage.

I know these kinds of posts are not really that interesting, but I just get excited when a deal like this comes along. I'm thinking I will make another trip or two out there again before the deal is over. We'll see how the week goes.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Paper is Done!!! (for now) A Nation at Risk

Well I just finished (almost) my first major paper for my program. Major means that it is 40% of my grade. The almost means that I will most likely need to make revisions to it. (We turn the paper in, the professor grades it and hands it back with notes telling what needs to be adjusted and recommendations for further reading to include into the paper. Although annoying, it's a good practice to make sure that you get as much as you can out of each assignment.) The paper was on a report from 1983 titled A Nation at Risk which had a pretty big impact on educational reform. Nothing too interesting, but still it was a big deal when it came out. I used 13 sources. 13! I used each one and read as much as I could out of each one.
I know, another boring post, but I had to at least include some of my progress to share what was going on with me. I want to get a goal done, but find that my time is pretty monopolized with getting acquainted with Charlie, taking care of the girls, and reading/writing for my classes. All good things, just roadblocks for getting some of my goals accomplished.
If you want to read the report (mom), here's the link for it. A prize goes to whoever can get it done in one sitting without falling asleep.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It's been awhile

I haven't blogged in a LONG time. I really haven't done much as far as my list. I have read a ton for one of my classes, nothing worth counting for my reading goals, but that has taken up a bunch of my time. Now I need to write a paper on all that I have read. I am not excited about making citations out of 10-15 resources. That is going to take forever, but it will get done.
The other thing that has taken up my time is the birth of our son Charlie. I'm guessing I will continue for awhile not having much going on for my goals. I might find one that can get done, but really I think it might be a little while before I can get it all together. Maybe I will come up with songs for the girls. We'll see.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

98. Take bags to the grocery store 50 times

After over a year of grocery shopping, I have finally attained this goal. I originally put this on as I find myself going to the store multiple times each week and found myself bringing in scores of bags each week. I knew something needed to change. I got myself a couple of recyclable bags and have greatly reduced the number of plastic Jewel/Osco bags that have made it into the house. I guess that for one of those bags, I save two or three plastic bags. They can just hold so much more.
While it is a little bit of a hassle bringing in bags with you each time going to the store, it turns out not to be too bad. I have actually started keeping my coupons inside the bags. That ensures that: 1) I always remember to bring my bags, and 2) I ususally have the coupons I want with me each time that I go to the store. Now if I only knew how many dollars of coupons have been used over the past year...
Now that the goal is over, I'm not stopping. I go to Jewel too often to keep adding up the bags again. I went tonight, and I will most likely go again tomorrow. They're giving away quite a few things over the next week. Time to restock our cereal stockpile and quite a few other free or almost free things. Another goal down!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

84. Cash out on ($20)

Finally! This goal is probably the one that I have been working the hardest at accomplishing. I have written about it a few times before about my frustrations from how difficult it has been for me to complete. When I get on the computer, I check my email, check facebook, then make another wager. Almost everyday since I completed my list of goals (and a few months before), I have been on and placed wagers on athletic events. I have bet on everything form baseball, football, basketball, tennis, nascar, MMA, and even golf. I have tried everything. Finally, I have been able to go on a bit of a run and have been able to accomplish what I set out to do when I wrote my list of goals.
The concept of centsports is fairly simple. The website gives you a dime to bet with and you are able to grow that dime as far as you can as long as you keep winning and don't lose all of your earnings. If you lose all of your money, you get another dime. The sponsors pay for each dime as you go along.
Here's where it has gotten more difficult. When I started playing, the rule was when you get your total up to $10, you can cash out and they will send you a check, for your earnings. Since then two things have changed:
  1. The total changed from $10 to $20 (that is a huge difference when you start with only a dime!)
  2. You don't automatically get a $20 check when you hit that magical number, you need to qualify for it compared to other people asking for checks in that week. If they have done better (made more bets, bet on harder games, risked more money in their wagers and a few other things) then they will get their money ahead of you.
Here is the screen shot from my computer to show that I actually did it. The quality is pretty horrible on the post, but if you click on the picture you can see it clearly.

As of right now, I'm a ways off to getting my payday. I have conseeded that I most likely won't get my check, but I am saying that this goal is done. I set out what I wanted to do from when I wrote this list of goals, but the rules changed later. I'm not going to say that I am done betting, but I think I will be on the site a lot less.

Monday, October 5, 2009

39. Standardized Minds

I finished another book that I needed to read for class. It is about standardized testing and all that is wrong with it. It is something that is partially interesting to educators and that there are few others that really care for it. 300+ pages in small single spaced font, really thrilling stuff! I am putting this book into the "read for fun" section, not because it was a fun book, but because it was so long and took up so much time to read that I needed it to count for something so that is where I put it.
I'm in the midst of writing an analysis of it. It's going to be the kind of paper that only my professor and my mom would show any interest in reading (thanks for your constant support mom!). The paper is due tomorrow. It will probably be near 10 pages. I am at 5 now. I've got some work to do.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

37. J.P. Guilford

This past Saturday I gave my first presentation for class. I gave it on psychologist J.P. Guilford. I did not read one whole book, but I did read from many sources and learned quite a lot about him. The original purpose of the goal was for me to learn more about different people. And to get some reading in, and I think I did that with my time that I put into the assignment.
Basically, J.P. Guilford was the guy that came before Howard Gardner of Multiple Intelligence fame. His research was what Gardner used to help develop his findings about different intelligence levels. I know, nothing too interesting.
I am thinking that I might have to find ways to work in ways to make class assignments transfer into this list of goals. I still think it works.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Another dentist appointment down

I thought I had posted this, but apparently not. Some might say it would have been better if it wasn't. Yep, nothing exciting.

Yesterday was a crazy busy day. It started off with a 6:00 a.m. trip to the store to pick up some garbage stickers before the garbage man made it to our house. After getting ready for school I dropped Sammy off at the groomer and headed off to school. When school was done, I quickly hustled over to the dentist for my 6 month check up. After the dentist appointment was done, I had hoped to stop by the post office to mail a package, but didn't have enough time because class started at 5:30. Class went well. I'm enjoying myself in there. It's interesting being in class where everyone genuinely wants to be there. It is a totally different feel all around knowing that people are in there truly for the educational aspects that are being offered.

Overall, it was a long day, but I am happy to say that I made it through and am happy to report another trip to the dentist with no cavities!

Monday, September 7, 2009

40 gallons of blood!

As I was checking out the headlines on Yahoo's homepage, I came across this link. The next time this guy donates blood, it will be 40 gallons. That equates to be 320 trips to the blood bank! That is amazing. I'm not striving to be this guy, but I have to say that his feats are quite remarkable. That is dedication and service. Melissa's response to hearing this news was, "You sure do hope that if that guy needs blood that it is there for him when he needs it." So true. Another reason to get out there and make sure that the blood banks are well stocked.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


I finished reading the book Night, by Elie Wiesel. If I had not seen Schindler's List this year it would have really been a shock, but after seeing that movie, nothing dealing with the holocaust really is shocking to me anymore. The book details Elie's trip from being herded onto a train all the way to liberation from the concentration camps. It gives a lot of details that I'm comfortable not writing about. "How can stuff like this happen in the 20th century? This isn't the Middle Ages." Those were the words of Elie toward the beginning of the story. These words were in the first quarter of the book. It only got worse after that.
Another classic novel down. We will see how much more reading is in store over the next few months. I'm sure I will count some of the books that I read somehow into my list of goals.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Another stop at the Blood Bank

I stopped by the neighborhood blood bank today to make another deposit. As I was filling out my registration forms I noticed that my printout had the words RARE and ENZ listed on my form. I asked what that meant, and they told me that my blood is rare and that I have rare enzymes in it. That is great and that isn't so great. It's great because it allows me to help boost the bank for O blood and the blood that takes on the special enzymes (I don't know what they do, but the nurse was excited that I was there as it is one that is often in very short supply). It's not so great because if I ever come to a time that I need a transfusion (God forbid), I am going to be hoping that others that have my blood type with the enzymes that I have.
I don't know how my desire to go to give blood really began. I know I began giving regularly after 9/11. I always used to go thinking that someone else's grandmother needs my blood. I think it's worth it. I know that the blood I give helps to supply a need for someone who is in a really bad situation at the time. That said, if you are in a position to give blood, get out there and do it! Someone's grandmother needs it.
Another plus...I got a free pint of ice cream from Oberweis and a free blanket for donating today.

Friday, August 28, 2009

"New" news

This is new information to some of my readers, but to most of the people I see or talk to, you have probably already heard. I got accepted into the doctoral program at Aurora University. I began the application process in the middle of the summer and didn't hear that I had been admitted until this past week. Classes start this coming Tuesday and go for the next 2 years. After that it will be time to write the dissertation. I will say the next three years are going to be really challenging, but it is gonna be an accomplishment that I will be able to keep with me for the rest of my life. I only wish that I would have listed, "Be admitted into a doctoral program" into my list of goals. This one is gonna take up a ton of time. I still think that my list of goals is pretty attainable in the next year and 9 months. I'm not giving up on blogging, but I know that I will be spending more time writing papers than blogs. I'm sure I will keep up on posts for how things are going.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

One year down!

Well, I'm 4/11ths of the way done with this huge undertaking. Today marks the 365th day that I have been at work on my goals. I had set the goal a month ago to get 33 goals completed (which would explain why I have been on such a role lately) and I just made it with my to do list. This has been fun as it has challenged me to do things that I normally would not have done before. It has also gotten me to work a little harder to get things done on a better time line. I know that if I didn't have this blog with these goals, I definitely wouldn't be motivated to get some of these things done. That's the point of setting goals with a time line and having people keep you accountable to it. I'm going to keep going strong at getting as many goals done as fast as I can. It's fun to have legit stuff to write about as an update. I know I will go into a drought here soon, but hopefully it will stay away for awhile. I'm really feeling a good sense of accomplishment!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

85. Complete my current house to do list

This was quite the interesting task. I can't believe it was only worth one goal. When I initially wrote it down, I had a list of things I was procrastinating to do. Obviously it has been something that has taken me quite awhile to finish. There were some very easy tasks, and some that were much more involved. Here is what I did:

Storm door in guest room (finished 8/14/08)

This door has been on and off quite a few times since we moved in. We finally got it painted and got the hardware taken care of. I also replaced the screen.
Put brackets to anchor shelving in basement (finished 8/23/08)

This was another relatively easy job as all I needed to do is buy some brackets and attach them to the shelving and then to the wall. Some parts were a little more difficult as I needed to add some wood in for spacing help, but it wasn't too much of a problem.

Change pull cord in girls room (finished 9/3/08)
This job took me about 2 minutes to do. The ceiling fan in the girls room isn't hooked up to the light switch so we have to pull the chains dangling from the fan. The chains don't have extensions to them so you have to reach all the way to the fan to be able to turn the light and fan on or off.

Box in laundry room (finished 11/7/08)
After finishing the basement and laundry room, there were a few tasks that still didn't get finished after we finished doing the work in the basement. This was one of them. Before the box, it was just exposed piping, studs, and concrete. Now it is covered up and has a function. I was dreading this one as I was planning on putting doors up, but Melissa came up with the brilliant idea to just add curtains and eliminate the door idea altogether.

Lock on guest room door (finished 3/31/09)
Can you believe there was never a lock on this door? It is an exterior door, but on the second story. When we moved in, the previous owners had just put a screw through the door into the framing. Hopefully some day we will be able to finish the porch up there so the door can be used a little more. This was a job that needed to be done. Now to put locks on the last few windows that don't have locks.

Fix small hole on basement stairs (finished 4/2/09)

This was just a spot that annoyed me every time I went up the stairs that didn't get finished when I did all of the other drywall. I don't know why I left it unfinished, but I did. Now it's done.

Finish threshold on basement stairs (finished 7/29/09)

Another unfinished part of our basement.

Finish stone/sandbox (finished 8/9/09)
This job took many days to complete. I started it last summer, but took a lot of time to get motivated to get back out there to finish the job. Furthering my desire to not finish the job was
the new swing set that we have out in the yard, but I knew I had put far too much work into this to not finish it. It looks pretty good now and is no longer an obstacle course for the girls to go through when they want to play in the sand.

Paneling on bathtub (finished 8/18/09)
When we remodeled the bathroom we did a pretty good job at completing the whole job. Except for this little part that has driven me nuts. It is not something that really stands out, but it is something that I notice every time I see it. It took some detail cutting to be able to get a piece that would fit. I have actually tried to do this a few times only to have the piece not fit and have to start it all over. I finally got it all figured out and caulked so it looks much better.

I would have gotten done a lot faster if it wasn't for this project that developed this summer. Melissa found a great deal on this swing set so we had to get it. The girls love it and it gives Melissa another place to spend time with the girls during the day.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

31. Learn how to make videos on the computer

I put together my first video. I looked over all of our videos and tried to find something that would be good to put together. I picked two clips that I felt worked together. I chose the first steps of each of the girls. I enjoyed doing this, it was fun spending more time watching the first steps of the girls. They've grown so much!
This is a really elementary level of making a video, but I feel like I have a good grasp as to how to make a video. I used titles, transitions and learned how to use sections of video that we have filmed. There's a long way to go before I feel I have it mastered, but I feel like I have a good idea for how to make a video.

For the record, I filmed Hannah and Melissa filmed Maddie. Melissa did a great job, I didn't do so great. Sorry Hannah that the end of your first steps video isn't so great.

Monday, August 17, 2009

37. Lucky Man

I just finished up with Michael J. Fox's memoir "Lucky Man." It really was a good book. As many people who know me know, I love the Back to the Future trilogy. It seems that at many opportunities I am able to pull out a quote from one of the movies without too much effort("100 years ago? That's this year!"). I thought it was neat to be able to read about his progression as a normal teen growing up in Canada all the way to the top of the world in the late 80s.
The book chronicles his steps through battling Parkinson's disease. The first chapter begins talking about his first realization that something was wrong with his body. At that point, I had worried that the whole book would just be an attempt to bring awareness to Parkinson's, but it definitely did not. There was plenty of details of his life talking about the ups and downs of a Hollywood lifestyle.
I had no intentions of reading this book originally. I was just strolling through the biography section at the library looking for something interesting and I stumbled across it. I'm happy I did.
When I started my list of goals, I knew I would have a lot of reading to do. Surprisingly, I have kept up pretty good and have stayed right on track. The next book I am reading is for goal 69 dealing with nutrition. Melissa and I were at Borders the other night and I found one that should be good. It is titled "Nutrition for Life." It discusses in detail vitamins and nutrients and what they do for your body. I'm sure it won't generate too many comments (not many posts do) but it should be a good book to read to understand foods better.
3 biographies done, 2 to go!

Friday, August 14, 2009

61. Garfield and McCarty Parks

Melissa and I made it out with the girls to Garfield Park last night. Before going to the park, we stopped at Banana Split for some ice cream cones. What a mess Maddie can make with an ice cream cone. Hannah was eating it while leaning over a bit so there wasn't too much ice cream that made it onto her shirt.
After eating ice cream, the girls played on the swings and on the jungle gym. The girls really enjoyed jumping on the bridge. I think they could have played there for an hour.

Today I finally got news that a movie I put on hold, "The Rocker," was available at the library for pick-up. Matt gave the suggestion to check it out so I'm trusting him that it won't be a flop. I'm expecting good things. I decided to ride my bike down to the library to pick it up and decided to stop by McCarty Park on my way over. Our church was one of many Aurora churches supporting the "Celebrate Our Children" festival that was going on at the park. It was a big deal, a lot was going on. There were a few familiar faces there, but mostly just kids loving playing on the bounce houses and running from station to station playing games and riding/petting animals.
The girls were sleeping so I knew I wouldn't be able to bring them. I'm glad I didn't, they are still about a year away from being able to enjoy most of the things they had there.
I have now seen the parks of Aurora. None of them were really a big deal, but it was a good goal to have. I've lived in this town virtually my whole life, this was a nice way to check some of the places out that I haven't seen in awhile.
Goal Done!

Monday, August 10, 2009

22. Finally Done!

Matt, I know you are happy this one is over as it will hopefully bring on some more interesting posts, but honestly, there aren't too many interesting things to write about from my list.
I finished my goal to eat 5 new fruits and veggies. This is the last in a series. I had written here, here, here and here before.
Last night I finally tried to tackle a coconut. While wandering the produce department, I looked for my next item that I would attempt. I picked out the coconut thinking it would be a good thing to try as I have seen in a few movies and on television that it was quite a task to get them open. I bought it a couple of days ago, but didn't have the knowledge or time to get into trying to open and eat it. Last night was finally my night to try to get it open. The first thing I did was to drain the coconut. I poked a hole in the bottom with a knife in a soft spot in the coconut and drained it all out. That was a pretty easy step. One could definitely do that on a deserted island with just a stick. The next step was also not as difficult as expected. I took the coconut out to the front steps and banged it against the stairs. The first time I hit it down I cracked it. It only took one more whack to get it open. I had thought it would be much harder to get open. It seems like every person stranded on television spends as much time opening coconuts as they do trying to make fire. Hmmm...
Now came the rough part for me. I never knew that I hated the smell of coconut. I know that in the past I haven't really enjoyed dry coconut in foods, but I never had really smelled fresh coconut. I was hoping that the real stuff would be much better. To me it smells terrible. I had to step up and give some a try so I could complete this goal. Melissa picked a little piece off the inside and gave it to me. I ate it, but didn't like it at all. I disliked it so much, I felt as though I was going to throw up for the rest of the night. I worked hard to get rid of the taste in my mouth. I followed by finishing off a cup of jello, a cup of pudding and then a bowl of ice cream. Unfortunately for me, when I went to bed, I could still smell and taste it. I'm pretty sure I won't be picking up a coconut at the grocery store again.
At least this goal is now done!

Did you know that a coconut has three eyes on the bottom of it? Two are really hard and one is really soft.

While researching, I came across this video.
It says, "how to open a coconut in 30 seconds." Wouldn't you think it would be easy? I didn't get this type of coconut, but I just thought this video was pretty funny as it presents itself to be an easy way to open it, but then turns out to be pretty labor intensive.
(thanks Gretchen for showing me how to embed a video.)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

17. Solving the Rubik's Cube = Done!

I have finally gotten this thing done. I had gotten it together, but never have I solved it with confidence that I could do it again. Most of the times that it was solved, it was more a fluke and nothing that I felt that I knew I could do it again. Today I did it once, and felt that I knew how to replicate it. I have done it a bunch of times today so I now know that It is something that I can do over and over. This skill is one that won't win me a job interview, but I have always been interested in knowing how the cube works, and now I really think I've got a handle on it.

I did a video of me doing the cube. I tried to upload it onto blogspot last night and after over 4 hours of uploading, I decided to put it on youtube this morning.

Don't get too excited.

New park and new veggie

I made it over to Solfisburg Park yesterday. It isn't much. Actually it is just three ball fields. When I played for Platt Electric in Aurora Boys Baseball, I played on Frett Field and when I was in high school I played on the other field (I don't know the name, but Aurora University now calls it their home field.).

This is the field that I played at in high school. I have a bunch of good memories playing on this field.

After stopping by Solfisburg, I stopped by a nearby grocery store that I hadn't been before.While in there, I walked through the produce section for quite awhile. I was trying to find something that I hadn't tried before that looked like something I would want to try. The interesting part to this trip was that everything in the store was in spanish. After enough strolling around, I picked up another cactus looking thing. I brought it home, checked out what it was and found it to be a leaf of aloe vera. Unfortunately, that is not something that is regularly edible. I was actually hoping to have an ailment to be able to use it, but unfortunately, I'm good right now. Oh well, at least I got to try out some of my spanish I have been studying. ( I take my final tomorrow for my class I have been taking this summer.)
On a side note, it baffled me to see people picking out green prickly pears by the bag full. I wanted so bad to ask them what they use them for. From my experience, they were not so good. I would be interested to see what they did with them.

Tonight for dinner, I prepared an interesting mix. Initially, I was going to just grill hot dogs and asparagus, but Melissa found a recipe for eggplant that looked pretty good. The recipe called for the eggplant to be sliced and topped with spaghetti sauce, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, and basil. It was really good! I could have cooked it a little longer to make it a little more tender, but I thought it was pretty tasty.
I would definitely make these again!