Wednesday, December 30, 2009
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
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!
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
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!
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
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
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
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
Saturday, December 12, 2009
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
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
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
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.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
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
Friday, November 6, 2009
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
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
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
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
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
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:
- The total changed from $10 to $20 (that is a huge difference when you start with only a dime!)
- 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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
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
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
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
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.
Monday, August 10, 2009
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
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.
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!