Wednesday, December 26, 2007

It did not all stay there...

Last week was my family's annual Vegas Vacation...unlike Chevy Chase, we actually stay at a nice hotel (typically the Mandalay Bay) and we only gamble a very small amount...

The trip was particularly fun this year, with the fam seeing 2 different shows, buffets everyday, and we even went out to a lounge for some chill'n and danc'n...

We saw the Beatles Love show at the Mirage and it was GREAT! The music was fantastic, the choreography was perfect, and we all found ourselves routinely wide-eyed and clapping hands...We also saw Defending the Caveman over at the Golden Nugget. It was fun, but Love was really so much better.

By the way, I think I am finally over the Amazing Johnathon incident of a couple of years ago. I saw his picture a couple of times and never once had to rock back and forth or fight the urge to punch something...I am making progress!

Anyway, thought I would share some pictures...It was a lot of fun and we all can't wait to do it again! Thanks pops!!!

December 25th Recap

Coffee and Stockings are how my Christmas morning started...and it just keep getting better from there...My good buddy (who may or may not be the infamous Teddy) drove in from NC on Christmas Eve and spent the day at my place with Claire and me...We had so much fun!

The stockings were full of really cool things like styrofoam airplanes, fart whistles, magazine subscriptions, loofahs, liqueur and even this really cool book...I can't wait to make a water bomb, tan a hide, and build a go-cart!

We raced our new drifting cars and generally busted them buddy's front axle broke about 2 minutes before he left to drive back home...I think the two things might be related.

In the afternoon, we had some friends over for dinner...A honey ham, green bean casserole, Yiftee's, and Yellow Corn Grits adorned our table...for dessert we had homemade cookies, brownies, and the best Egg-Nog Ever!!

The day ended perfectly with Claire and I alone, sitting on the couch, grazing on leftovers and watching the Nativity Story (which, by the way, was very well done and we enjoyed it a lot...looking forward to watching it again next year!).

It was a wonderful day that had some wonderful traditions started (watching Nativity Story) and others carried on (eating Yiftee's) and a day that was almost perfect. Yes, Claire and I both spoke of missing our families...A LOT. This, being my first Christmas away from the fam in SoCal, was difficult at times, but I managed...I was surrounded by great friends, great food, and an even better woman!

I am sad that Christmas is over...I love the 4-5 weeks between the fourth Thursday in November and December 25th...the lights, the wishing people "Merry Christmas" and general festivity that seems to surround everything I get into...It will be missed again, but I am relieved to know that it is only 11 months away again!


On Thursday, Claire and I are off to Copenhagen, Denmark...we are going to see my good friends Jeff & Dorthe for New Year's. We are so figg'n excited...we have a new portable DVD player to use on the flight (Thanks Janet & Marty!), exit row seating (Thanks Continental Gold Card), and an adventure waiting to be had. I think there will be a day in Sweden, a short hop to Germany, and a lot of walking around the cool city of Copenhagen. It is cold (try 30's with snow flurries), but we will manage. Hot Toddy's and steaming coffee will be mandatory.


With all that being written, let me wish all 3 of my readers a very MERRY CHRISTMAS for one last time...Happy New Year seems a bit premature...

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas...

As Claire and I celebrate Christmas together...with some friends visiting from both in towne and out, I hope that your day is as wonderful as ours.

Please take a moment to reflect on this day...why we celebrate it and what it means to you...if you don't know about Christmas and what it is to know who this guy Jesus was, feel free to drop me a line and I can tell you all about him...One of the coolest things I can tell you about Him is that He IS NOT mad at you...He loves you...He longs to have a relationship with you...and this day is about Him...Merry Christmas!

Now, check this out...

I thought I would share a very enjoyable Christmas 12-Days...amazing, funny and fun...

Friday, December 21, 2007

Open Mouth...Insert Foot

Have you ever have one of those days you should just cover your mouth with tape and refuse to speak...I had one of those days recently. Claire was trying on a lovely dress...a new one that she is very proud of and, frankly, looked really nice in. Me, being the golden tongued man that I am said something to the effect of:

"Hey, you know with some light brown leather boots, big hoop earrings, lots of bracelets, and bug-eyed glasses that dress would make a great costume for a 70's party."



Note to the guys out there...this, apparently is not a compliment. It is akin to saying that your girlfriend's perfume reminds you of your grandma...NEVER a good idea. (Yes, I did that one in college...guess I am not the catch I think I am!)

They both have forgiven me...College Girl and Claire...I think.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

You Know What You Did

Because I am always so amazed at what people believe God thinks about them...


My favorite line..."Frank, you know what you did, but I can't repeat it 'cause I'm Jesus". Cracks me up everytime I hear it!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Somethings are Too Funny Not To Share

Those crazy, wacky Germans...they sure know how to rock!

Cindy und Bert really give Ozzy a run for his money, eh?


Tip-o-the-cap to

Thursday, December 13, 2007

We're Off to See the Wizard

Getting excited about jumping on a plane to New Orleans for the weekend. Claire's sister is graduating from college. It should be a lot of fun. Not only is her family great, but it is a start of a little vacation for both of us.

I read yesterday that someone calls the little trips they take "Adventure Weekends", but our trip(s) could be referred to as "Adventure December". We are in Louisiana this weekend...Vegas for 4 nights with my family next week (our annual trip that is one of the highlights of the year. Oh it will be so cool!)...then back to Louisiana for a couple of days...all-in-all we will be gone for 9 days...wooohooo! But then, on December 28, we take off for a little European adventure...Copenhagen, Denmark for New Years. We are just traveling fools!


I got to say, this Vegas trip is always great! A few years back, pops decided that his present to us would be a trip for the family to Vegas...we usually stay at the Mandalay, but we have also been to Planet Hollywood and THE Hotel...but Mandalay is one of our favorites and they run great rates over Christmas...

The fam will eat at the buffet's, see a show (Beatles Love show this year), spend a day at the day spa, and probably check out the art at Bellagio...It really is a time for the family to be together and enjoy hanging out...This year it is a bit different than in the past...My lady is joining us...why is that different? Well, a couple of years ago we (meaning I came up with it) instituted a Ring Rule...if you are not blood, you need to have a ring on your finger to come. Well, despite what some people have said/thought, not only are we NOT getting married this week, an engagement is not matter what Steve/Stacey or James/Sabra say...I digress.

A couple months back, my parents asked if she would come...mainly because she lives on the East Coast and they don't really get any time to meet and get to know her. I flat refused at first...did not think it was OK and just said no...but after talking a few times with both pops and mom, I flipped and decided it would be good for her to come along...When else will they get a chance to spend time with her? How else am I supposed to know if my sisters approve?


This is the first year I get some say as to what show we see. I may never live down the Great "Amazing Johnathon Incident" of 'ought four...See, that was the first year I really made a decent living...I was in the process of buying a house, got a big bonus, and thought it would be nice for me to give back to the family...I went to Vegas a little early and got tickets for everyone to see "The Amazing Johnathon", we will call him wee that was a mistake...

How quickly did I know it was a mistake? About 10 mins BEFORE the actual show started.

AJ sends a camera around the audience and focuses in on someone, then they will put funny things up on the screen about them...So, a camera might focus in on me and they would make fun of my scraggly, red beard. AJ might call me a pirate or something...hilarity ensues and the audience is happy...but not in see the camera stopped on my pops and put a line on there that nobody wants to say or hear or even think about with their parents...

Camera squarely on pop...line on the screen says "HE HAS A REALLY BIG $%##@#$%^".... and that "#$%^*&%" was a word that should not be spoken unless you are in a porn movie...I was were all my siblings and my mom...holy mackerel, is this for real...but wait, it gets better...

AJ then puts the camera directly on my mom and the screen says "AND SHE LIKES IT".

Ok...there is no good in that. Nothing is more uncomfortable than seeing that written about your mom/pops on a screen...I would rather get a hot poker in my ear or a paper cut on my eyeball than to ever go through that again. It was horrible and terrible. My stomach is in knots just thinking about it.


If I ever see AJ, I might punch him in the nose...I was way to embarrassed to do it that a matter of fact, I spent most of the night in the fetal position humming "Jesus Loves the Little Children" to myself...

Ahhh to be Young Again

There are days that I am reminded that I am on the wrong side of know, grunting as I roll out of bed because my back hurts, having a lady in church ask if I am hurt because she could see me grimace as I sat down in a chair that seemed to be made for munchkins, seeing guys I played sports with/against retire and that I get tired at 10pm...then there are days, like today, that I am like a spry-teenager, basking in the glow of my, I exercised my childhood leanings and bought myself a little Christmas present...

This sweet little number (I went with the Orange...partly because of the cooler body design and partly to gain points from my lovely lady...she is an Auburn grad and thus has an affinity for burnt Orange) is going to be great as it zooms around the hallways of my building. And, the best part is that it has "Drifting" tires...which, I think means bald tires, allowing it to "Drift", meaning slide barely in control, around turns and corners. Oh yes, I can't wait!


Got my friend "Teddy" to get one as well...yes, "Teddy" the "you look fat in those pants" dude...he is cruising up to my place for Christmas and we are going to race. He went with the blue one...sucker.


Ate Mac-and-Cheese with an Italian Sausage last night...operation clean out the fridge and cabinet before you leave town is almost complete...I am down to margarita mix, mustard, and Ritz crackers...Claire has Olive Tampanade, Mayo, and a shelf full of Mac-&-Cheese/Dirty Rice/Canned soup...Guess where we are eating tonight!


By the way...lest there be any discussion...there is only one mac-&-cheese that gets eaten in my house...Kraft Macaroni and Cheese...the blue box...its the Cheesiest!

All other M&C is from THE DEVIL!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Real People...Real Gifts I have a love/hate relationship with gift lists. Most of them are, frankly, crappy. Others are fun, but have little functional value. There are so many of them this time of year...Wall Street Journal ran a few of them last week...go to Amazon and they will give you a list for anyone and everyone...Red Envelope has some interesting ideas...but none of them are all around good lists. So, I thought I would attempt to throw out 3 things that will work for just about anyone...Oh yea, you still have time to get them for Christmas...Hanukkah is almost over, but Kwanzaa is still a viable option.

#1. Quelf. My friends J&A gave this game to me last year and it is great. If you enjoy, even a little, playing games, then this is the all around winner. How to describe about every drinking game you played in college mixed with a little Pictionary, Charades, and Jeopardy thrown in. I have to say that there are not many times I laugh harder than when I am playing this game. As an added bonus, if you order off of the link above Mr. Hersch (the J of J&A) gets a portion of the profits for his class. Trust me. If you like games, even a little, this will quickly become one of your favorites!

#2. Planet Earth. I know, I know, documentaries can be so boring, but seriously, the picture on this is ridiculous! It is worth your time to sit and watch...but only if you have the big screen with 1080i...or something like it. Here is a clip if you don't believe me:

#3. Jenny's Ice Cream. "Ice Cream, for Christmas?" Yea, it is a bit odd, but it does have flare...Not sure about the requisite 37 pieces of flare, but certainly has an air of coolness, no? The flavors are different that you would expect, but they the are very good. I would make sure to get the Pear and the Melon...but that's just me.


Last week I got my first Christmas Gift for 2007...I raved about it then, but I got to tell you it was better than I dreamed...Oh my goodness the sweetness that is California Avocados has been phenomenal. I have made guacamole three times, eaten them plain, and even on Nachos. So soft and green...mmmmmm....mmmmmm....good. If the rest of the season is anything like that, I am going to be freak'n stoked, yo.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

December is for Memories

So, one of the things I love about Christmas is the reminiscing that always seems to take place...this morning I was reminded about one of my favorite all-time stories...entirely non-Christmas happened when one of my best friends, we will call him "Teddy", was out at a bar with some college buddy's. "Teddy" was challenged to talk to the prettiest girl in the went something like this:

Teddy: Hi...I'm "Teddy", wanna dance?
Hot Girl: No
Teddy: No what?
Hot Girl: No, I don't want to dance.
Teddy: I did not ask you to dance. You must have misunderstood me, I said you look fat in those pants.

That was the sound of "Teddy's" face getting slapped...and if you are not laughing, reread the exchange out loud...

Ahhhh memories.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Nutty Buddy

There is just so much I could say about this...but, for your sake, I will refrain...

If you want more info, the Kansas City Star wrote an article about it.

Kubler-Ross Model...and an Otherwise Great Weekend

I need to recover from a great weekend...had a date with Claire on Friday night: dinner at The Monastary and a movie (Don't go see Beowulf...don't even rent it. Really quite silly). We watched Elf on Saturday morning...I golfed all afternoon...We went to a party on Saturday night with some friends. We played Pictionary and Quelf. Both were a lot of fun...Even found time to get a cup of coffee and stroll around downtown P-Towne Sat evening, watching Santa arrive via fire boat and then following him in a parade.

Sunday was a bit longer, church was good, but run/walking 18-miles is a big frigg'n commitment (4 1/2 hours of constant movement) and now my legs hurt. I am concerned about this 20-miler we are supposed to pull off in 2 weeks.


I have realized that during the longer runs we are undertaking at about mile 15 you start going through the 5 stages of grief...the same ones many people experience during a loss...

Denial: The initial stage: "I don't think anyone can go this far."
Anger: "Why ME? It's not fair! This is stupid. Dumb marathon. I can't believe how mad I am at Pamela for suggesting we do this!"
Bargaining: "Just let me live through this. I want to see my child(ren) graduate. Heck, I just want to be able to function well enough to have kids one day. Please God make this end...I'll do anything."
Depression: "I'm so tired, why do I bother even doing this? It is not like I can really do it. I think I will just turn around and go to bed where it is safe and warm."
Acceptance: "We only have a mile left and I am going to make it. It is going to be okay. As a matter of fact, I have so much energy I can double-time it to the finish. I did it! I did it!"

The bad part is, in 2 weeks I will be going through these stages yet again...Stupid training...


Anyone up for a 1/2 triathlon next summer? It can't be as bad as this marathon thing...can it?

Friday, December 7, 2007

A Bag Full of Liars

It has been a quiet week...lot's of frigg'n running I can tell you that.

This whole training for the marathon is some serious business...We ran 4 miles on Tuesday 9 miles on Wednesday and were supposed to run 6 more last night (that was pushed aside because it was colder than a witch's titty outside and we wanted to watch Earl/30-Rock/Office/Scrubs)...thank goodness it is warming up this weekend. Supposed to be in the low 70's on our 18 miler on Sunday! WoooHoooo.

I don't know who I need to punch in the nose, but a number of people swore up and down that it really did not get cold here in P-Towne..."no sir, it will only get into the 40's...might drop below that for a week or two in January, but it never really gets cold here."

I am going to go ahead and cry BS on that. I mean, I can take cold if I have when I am skiing or enjoying a Cuban cigar on a cold snowy night with James or Derek, but this idea of living in cold for month's at a time is for the birds...When your nose hairs get stiff because it is so cold outside, there is something wrong.


I guess it is in the high-50's and rainy in SoCal...that is strange itself. I bet my boys in SD are reeling from the nasty weather...what to do.


Before y'all laugh, you need to realize that as a SoCal native, I have never really even owned a coat (besides my ski jacket and a sport coat)...Lived my entire life out there and the best I could say is that I would need a hoody or a windbreaker at most 51 weeks of the year...the other week I was skiing, so a jacket was required.


By the way, why is a witch's titty cold? Has anyone ever confirmed that they are indeed on the frigid side?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

And So It Begins

I just stepped outside my door and found that I had a package waiting...not unusual, especially during the Christmas season. I get lots of baskets and doohickeys from other companies...So I opened the box, expecting to find some chocolate, some pears, or maybe even Omaha Steaks...

But was OHHH so much better...the very first Christmas present of ought-seven...

Some of my favorite people in the world, the Schell's, sent me a little slice of heaven...California Avocados.

As my 3 loyal readers will remember, I really miss the fruit and food in Cali...especially the avocado's. And so, for this box to show up...makes me tear up. Just a little misty eyed...and my stomach is rumbling...Oh I am sooooo happy!!!

Thanks SSST (Steve/Stacey/Squirt/Tiny)!!! You guys rock.


As an addendum to yesterday's crisis post, I wanted to let you know that the matter has been settled...she really does not care which way the roll goes. She just sticks it on however it goes...After discussing it, I am sure my lovely lady will try much harder to make sure that proper toilet paper protocol is followed closely in the future.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A Crisis*

Oh no. Really, really bad. I am so worried right now.

Just when I thought things were going so well. I mean, I moved 3000 miles for this girl. Left all that I knew behind. Gave up 365 days of sun, surf and sand. I left my best friends. I said adios to my family. I even had to part with my Beloved Truck. But it has been so worth it...I have been so happy. Having a great time...looking forward to spending the evenings with her. Having a blast doing all sorts of stuff on the weekends...heck, I have even been really enjoying training for this marathon with her...

Yes, she is amazing. I have to say that so far she has proven to be exactly what every guy would want...she is smart, beautiful, can cook, has cool friends, is adventurous, loves to travel, can hold her own in many different social events, looks forward to church, contributes to society, is successful, would love to have kids someday, has a good job, can support herself, her accent is cute, she plays golf...she even has very good taste in clothes (save for that red leather jacket)...

She is, what many would call, the perfect woman...But I have found the flaw and I am concerned that it may be fatal.

The first time it happened, I said it was a fluke. You know, a mistake made early in the morning or late at night...the second time gave me pause, but again, it must have been on, it happened for the third time...and I don't know that I can chalk it up to a "whoops" or a "my bad" any longer...

What did she do? Please make sure you are sitting down...

My lovey lady...the girl of my dreams...the object of my affection...puts the toilet paper roll in upside down! UPSIDE DOWN...I mean, she rolls that sucker out from underneath the roll...

I don't know what to do...I have fixed it...AGAIN...but I am really worried...what if we continue dating and she tells me that it is important to her to have the roll come out bottom up? I mean, let's just play this out...I no longer can hang out at her place...if we advance in our relationship and get married, we would need separate bathrooms...children would grow up more confused than a group of Dennis Kucinich supporters...Think of the ramifications people. I am talking long term here...

It is a dark day...a dark day I say. I am really hoping she has a good explanation for this...maybe we can retrain her.

*Please note, I am completely and totally smitten by this young woman...any illusions or references, either intended or implied, to ending our relationship are purely fictional and totally baseless...there is not a chance this girl gets away from me over something so trivial...heck, I am trying to convince her to keep me around. She makes me look good and I am definitely dating above my head...I mean, she has two degrees from a solid school, can sing, likes to make me happy, and makes really freaking amazing baked goods. I may be a bit off my rocker, but I ain't crazy. Women like this don't grow on trees.

Gentle Reminders

There are days that I am reminded that I really am a bachelor.

Yes, I love to cook...I love creating meals...I love adding background flavors and critiquing my food...

But there nights like last night. The nights that I realize there is entirely too much food in my freezer/fridge/cabinet that needs to be eaten. So, I eat like I did last night...

A glass of Beaujolais, a frozen vegetable pizza, and Bread & Butter Pickles on Ritz Crackers...yes, I am "Big-Pimp'n".

Monday, December 3, 2007

Yea Christmas!!

Trimming the tree has always been something I enjoy...a little bit of tradition that I like to carry on. Unfortunately, because of travel, I bought my tree 1 week later than I like, but it is up. Claire and I spent yesterday afternoon doing a bit of Christmas shopping and then heading over to my place for dinner and tree trimming.

Claire made a killer Southwestern Turkey Chowder (yes from scratch) and while it simmered we put up our lights...We got done with that and went to hang the rest of the decorations...unfortunately, we somehow forgot to get hooks, so that part would have to wait until Monday we sat and ate chowder, listened to Christmas Music, then watched a couple episodes of Scrubs, Season 5. It was a good evening.

I will neither confirm nor deny that I forgot to buy the hooks on purpose. It has been suggested that I did it so as to have a second night of Christmas music and tree trimming. That rumor seems to be dogging me and at this time, I will simply say that it it vicious.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

I Think My Oversized Ego Can Handle It

Claire and I went out to eat with some great friends last night...has some amazing french fries (it seemed like they were all crunchy and golden), good pot stickers, and a pretty sweet little Thai Ahi Salad...mmmm I love me some food.

Afterward, we headed over to Dick's sporting goods to get some running pants. While there, we spent a bit of time checking out their indoor climbing wall. We checked it out enough to actually give it a shot.

There are 3 levels of climbing, all based on difficulty. #1 is fairly easy, straight, and with good holds...#2 is awkward because at one point you have to jump off the bottom and swing up to the top. A "jump" that requires a pull-up of some sort...#3 is fairly straight, but the difficulty comes in the smaller hand/feet holds.

Claire decided to start with #1 and me, being the climbing expert with hands and feet that were made for climbing (do they make XXL gloves and size 14 climbing shoes?), decided to hit up #2.

My lovely compatriot killed some sort of spider monkey hyped up on Mountain Dew, she scaled that wall, hit the buzzer and triumphantly repelled down. I attacked #2 like a bat out of hell, cruising past the jump/pull-up portion and motoring towards the top. Sure, I got about 2/3rds of the way done and it felt like my forearms were being torn from my body, but I was determined. It was also about this time that I realized that I had forgotten to breathe. Now I had to hyperventilate to get any air. I got lightheaded, dizzy, and overly tired. How in the world did I forget to breathe? What does that say about the brilliance I think I posses?

Anyway, I ended up making did take a little longer than I thought. They had to cart oxygen tanks up to me and I had to stop for a snack (Ho-ho's and a Dr. Pepper), but I made it, repelled down, and hi-fived the staff. I am, after all, a man of accomplishment...

Then Claire said she wanted to go again...#2 this time. After a slow start and a little bit of trouble with the jump/pull-up part, she looked like a lioness stalking her prey. Of course she made it...of course it was faster than me... Did I mention that it was her second climb of the night? (Of course, she is dating a ninja and those skills have worn off!)

Next time we might try level 3 and see how we do. In the meantime, I have to stop typing because my forearms are burning like fire.