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!