Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Fine Art of Self-dentistry

Little tired today from my late night adventure.

It all started as I was flossing my teeth.  Doesn't sound too adventurous, does it?  But I accidentally (pun!) dislodged an end of a wire retainer from my eye teeth.  So I had this sharp wire thing poking into my tongue.

I used a CD as a makeshift mirror to check out the situation in my mouth.  I tried tucking the poking wire down with no luck.  I thought about using some duct tape but couldn't figure out how that would help.  So I went to the ol' tool box and took out my trusty pliers.

When you don't have dental insurance, sometimes you just have to make do.  As I maneuvered the pliers into position in my mouth, I thought about that one scene in the movie Cast Away when Tom Hank's character had to knock a bad tooth out of his own mouth with a rock.  I tugged and tugged on the wire until I finally freed it from my mouth.

All in all everything turned out just fine... so much better than my DIY root canal.

Monday, November 29, 2010

High Resolutions

Being a graphic designer, using high resolution pictures is a must for completing any graphics project well.  I think the same is true for picturing your goals or resolutions.  The more specific you are, the better the resolution.

With this being the second day of the Church's New Year, I thought it appropriate to share a goal or two with you this week.

My physical goal: I want to lose weight.  That's a great picture but it is way too low res.  Let's sharpen it up a bit.

I want to lose 22.4 pounds (that will be the remainder of a 30 pound goal I previously set).  I want to lose it by April 1st, 2011 (no foolin').

Now how is that going to happen?  I like to further define my goals by adding "and having a great time doing it".  Why be miserable working towards something?  This higher resolution keeps things balanced in your life and increases probability for success.

So how can I lose 22.4 pounds by April 1st and have fun doing so?  
  • Ask wife to make lunch - eat better food - tastes better than junk
  • 10 minute brisk walks during lunch break
  • Tuesdays - Family Night at Y/ Friday - swim w/ Teresa
  • Holiday trimmings club at Y - I'm competitive
  • "30 for 30" competition w/ Erik and Pete - I'm competitive
  • 20 minute workout w/ Teresa.
  • Start going to Y mornings to start my day (30 min) or jog/run*

That last item has a asterisk by it because it kinda goes against my nature and isn't inherently fun.   I may need a good carrot for that one to stick...   Fine.  If I go the Y everyday for a week, I'll take my wife to a movie.  That also means she'll encourage me to stick to the plan and as I've stated before, happy wife, happy life!

Plus I'll have everyone who reads this blog checking up on me.  That's a good thing, right?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy New Year!

Advent begins!  And although I was disciplining my daughter to greet the New Year's beep on my watch (see last post), I'm greatly looking forward to this year.  I'll finalize my resolutions list tonight.  I'll share a few tomorrow.

Turned on the furnace for the first time this season -- perhaps a new Advent tradition.   It is now a balmy 65 degrees in our home.  Maybe we'll turn the heat off for Lent.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Door County Getaway & Green Bay Comeback

Westwood Shores Resort, Door County, WI
We're excited about getting away from the cold... of our house to a heated Door County resort!  (Still holding out on starting the furnace.)

Teresa is already in her swimsuit though it is 58 degrees in here.  We take off as soon as Tracy Lyn gets out of work at the Y.

Well, the best-laid plans o' mice an' men gang aft a gley.  And I don't know about how the mice's plans fared,  but ours went pretty a gley.

Room 314
My mom won a weekend at the Westwood Shores Resort and decided to invite Kai for the weekend and us for some swimming.  The plan was to go there to visit and swim and then drive home.

The resort was cleverly hidden but we weren't too clever to find it right away.  I don't know about you but being lost with questionable directions isn't much fun.

Card Shark
We finally make it to the resort and enter my parents suite which is set to 80 degrees.  That's a 20 degree difference from what I'm used to at home.  This disorientates me into getting skunked in a cribbage match against my dad.

The swimming was a lot of fun and the whirlpool was a nice treat.  Everything was going swimmingly.  We decided to stay after all on the foldout couch.  That was the decision point that in hindsight wasn't the best.  I guess that's what happens when you go against your gut. 

Night fell and Teresa was much too wound up to sleep.  Tracy Lyn was exhausted but could not get comfortable enough to catch any z's.  Baby Pumpkin was even stirring about.  I tried my best to get Teresa to settle down and behave so at least Tracy Lyn could sleep.  I even had to resort to spanking Teresa at which she didn't cry but laughed and spanked her own behind.  Sigh. 

So I had to make another tough decision point... let's leave now and hopefully we could all get some sleep.  At about 2:30 a.m. we were all snuggled in our beds at home sleeping peacefully.   A good call.

The moral of the blog entry?    Well the obvious one is don't be afraid to drive home from a resort that you didn't plan on staying at but then decided to do so anyway against your gut feeling.  Tracy Lyn said staying over night in a foreign bed when you're preggers is not a good idear (I paraphrased that).

Also don't play cribbage in an 80 degree room when you're used to 58.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday and a sentimental bargain

Black Friday is upon us. It is 8:41 a.m. and most of the door-buster sales have busted doors. This is especially good for the economy of not only the retailers striving to get into the black, but also door repairmen and women.

Tracy Lyn just left for work at St. Catherine's Bookstore. Their door has nothing to worry about today since all the worldly Black Friday sales lure the faithful away. Besides St. Catherine's had a window-buster sale of sorts when a cat burglar busted in earlier this summer. Fortunately no cats were stolen. The window repairman did rejoice.

I think the door-buster sales of Black Friday would appeal to me more if I had any money to spare. I guess my situation makes the window-buster sales seem like the only I could afford, minus the jail time.

What could be more impressive than the widow's mite? How about post-dating a $3 check for the Sunday collection plate? I'm exaggerating a bit... it was $2. And maybe I'm missing the point of the parable.

You know they say that money can't buy you happiness... but it can pay for the search.

With no money to search for happiness via the traditional Black Friday means, I'll take the road less traveled and definitely in need of repair. What am I blessed with that money can't buy.
  • Great family and friends. Money could buy friends I guess but not the priceless variety.
  • Expecting a baby in April. Having a beautiful little girl and the joys of being her dad.
  • Being married to my best friend -- no, not Erik, my other best friend.
  • Having a job I love and just having any job in this economy is truly a blessing.
  • And, of course, the biggest blessing of all, the grace and Faith from God -- truly priceless.
Priceless things never go on sale.  Maybe that's what makes them so special.

Oh, and this blog... it was free too.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Eve or T'was the Night Before Turkey Day

I love the eve's of the holidays.  Especially the work days before the break.  I'm actually pretty much caught up with work for the first time this year.  Joe took Alex, Aaron and me out to lunch on Tuesday and Alex treated me to Taco John's today.  Everyone that wasn't on PTO already was in a cheerful, playful mood. 

I think I heard 20 different weather reports for the big day tomorrow.  Sounds like the first winter storm is set to hit in some manner tomorrow.  And listening to what's going on outside, whatever is going to happen is starting to happen right now.

We'll just have to take a page from Little Bear.  "Whether the weather be cold or whether the weather be hot, we'll weather the weather no matter the weather, whether we like it or not."

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What to Expect When You are Expecting

Late last night Tracy Lyn came into bed shivering like crazy.  Like crazy because the temp was 64 degrees.  Her teeth chattering like Scooby Doo's do when he's cold or scared.  At first I thought this was a ploy to get me to turn on the furnace.

Funny thing was she didn't feel cold.  So I held her until the shaking frenzy ended and made sure she didn't break a tooth with all the chattering.  She soon fell asleep but now I was wide awake.  What's the deal with that?

I hit the Internet.  Not always the most reliable resource of information.  Case in point, they'll give anyone a blog!  Even WebMD didn't do the trick.

She did get "the shakes" once before shortly after Teresa was born but only once.  Thankfully we had our regular baby doc appointment the next day.  Doc said it was progesterone and nothing to worry about.

So what can you expect when you're expecting?  With Teresa we had the most normal, uneventful pregnancy.  With Baby Pumpkin we've been to see the doc every week this month.  Every pregnancy is different and prior results are not indicative of future performance.  (Maybe performance isn't quite the right word... but you see a lot of infomercials at 3 a.m.)

You can expect to doubt yourself more, pray more, and hopefully come to trust in God more -- especially when things get shaky.

P.S. We had a later appointment at the hospital so the free valet parking was not available.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Today is the first day of the rest of my week

A Monday indeed.  Hurt my back on Saturday and it's still not back to normal. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Eulogy for the Vikings and Chili Under a Gas Fire

Dearly beloved, we are huddled here today to pay our final respects to the Minnesota Vikings and their 2010 season.  In tribute to his own "fans" calling for his firing, I am have a pot full of chili under a hot gas fire on the stove.

A moment of silence please.... and now "Go, Pack! Go!"


P.S. This blog was typed correctly.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Saturday is not the day of rest

The day of rest comes tomorrow.  Today is devoted to family business or maybe family "busy-ness".  We plan on going to the Christmas Parade in downtown GB which should take up most of the morning.  Grocery shopping in the afternoon.  I've got some outside chores to finish and few things I want need to sell online.  I woke up early today to continue my quest to learn how to type properly.  I have a Saturday goal to learn all the letter keys today.  I also want to continue my InDesign CS5 training.  And so, it begins.
Life is a Parade

The hot-air snowman!
We found a spot on Cherry Street facing the downtown Y's parking lot.  According to the bank clock the temp was 27 degrees... fortunately we had 28 layers of clothing on.  It was a good parade with some great marching bands and even a couple big balloons.  I'm always surprised how lax the security around Santa is at these things but there were no incidents.  Tracy Lyn was Teresa's candy wingman (wingwoman?) in chasing down the candy.  Sometimes they'd even run across the parade street if they spotted a stray piece.  Thankfully there were no incidents.  Right now they are warming up under blankets and I'm serving them hot cocoa.

Tracy Lyn and Teresa enjoying the show

Left: Teresa and a snowball  Right: Tuckered out
Snowmen for security?  Come on!

 Well, got my chores done.  Took Teresa to the Y for a swim and I am typing this blog properly.  Man, this sentence took a long time!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Why my wife is not a widow this year

Sometimes Nature's call is not merely to go to the bathroom.  It also calls for men to don blaze orange, to blaze a trail in the woods and hunt the excess deer that would otherwise be car fodder in winter.

Two years ago I attended DNR classes so I could at last answer this call myself.  You can't keep Nature on hold forever.  I planned on hunting every other year to keep my wife from being a hunter's widow too often.  There is an wise, old saying: happy wife, happy life.

This again is my year to answer Nature's call in the hunting way.  But with all the recent trips to the baby doc and the doctor's call for her not to lift over 20 lbs, my wife asked me to hang up on Nature. 

I still might don some orange of the blazing variety, but it won't be the same.  Now I must go, for Nature is calling me again in another way... and I must take this one.

Erik sent me a pic of what I'm missing so far...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

3 Design Tips and a Hot Dog

I never know what I may end up doing at work.  Could be designing a CD package one minute and taking pictures of a show host dressed in a hot dog suit the next. A question I often get is why does a radio network need a graphic designer?  Well, it's much more than just a radio network, it's an apostolate.  And I like to think I'm more than just a graphic designer...

I wasn't kidding about the hot dog suit!

As far as workload goes, I'm on the high end of the see-saw -- there's much more of it than there is of me.  To create a happy balance I've learned a few things over the years that might be of special interest to fellow designers and perhaps some of the laity out there.
  • Design everything in full-color.  You can easily change a color design into black and white but it's a lot harder to change a black and white design into full-color.
  • ASAP is not a good deadline.  One man's ASAP is another man's "This can be done whenever/if ever I get a free moment."
  • Do your best work.  Some assignments are more important than others but it's important to every assignment well.  Doing so-so work at work leads to doing so-so in other endeavors. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Pox of Technical Difficulties, A Ballet, Revenge at Bethlehem!

I'm tired this morning because I was sick and tired last night trying to figure out why I couldn't connect with Blogger at home.  I stayed up well past my bedtime.  There's a multitude of reasons why I can't connect but they all seem to have unreasonable fixes.  And if this is a common phenomenon with an uncommon solution, maybe I should take my own advice and move my blog to WordPress.
I got out of work early today so I could be my daughter's dance partner at her ballet class at the Y.  I got out of work early with the promise to take a picture of this event.  It was pretty fun -- I just wish we did more plies.

We just got back from seeing Kai's rendition of Claude Herdman in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.  Sometimes I worry he's not acting as a trouble-maker.  They seem to cast him as a Herdman every year... strange!  Anyway we all had a good time and Kai was great as usual.  I asked Teresa if she liked it and she exclaimed, "Yes, it was very nice!"
Now I sit here typing this blog on the very same connection I had so much trouble with last night.  Perhaps it was my mention of WordPress that did the trick.  Is Big Brother reading?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What to say to a pregnant woman

Sounds like we'll be going back to see the doctor again, if for no other reason than to put my wife's mind at ease about Baby Pumpkin. A friend's sister lost her baby under similar circumstances and oddly enough they named that baby the same name we picked out for a girl. Weird coincidence.  I don't get worried about negative possibilities until they happen.  So I'm not so worried... except about the bill from these extra visits to the doc.

Back from the doc.  Everything seems okay with Tracy Lyn and the baby.  Got to hear the heartbeat again which is probably the greatest thing to hear in the world when you're pregnant.  I think Tracy Lyn has much more peace of mind... or at least a bigger piece of peace.   We'll seem the doc again next week.  I think I'll try the free valet parking... but first I better clean out the car.
One nugget of advice the doc gave us is really worth sharing. What should you say to a pregnant woman? "When is your due date?" This gives the power of the conversation to the pregnant woman. All too often people feel it is their duty to share their pregnancy experiences (especially the challenging ones) which usually results in scaring the expectant mother... and they are under enough stress as it is.

Monday, November 15, 2010

So long, two-finger typing! Hello, ten!

It's true... I never learned how to type "properly". To cover this up I even entered a career field which consists mostly of clicking a mouse.

It's been on my to-do list to learn for a long time and today I finally started. Of course I can't type all that many words just yet. "sad dad flask" is about it and I had to cheat with the quotation marks.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


It's beginning to feel a lot like Winter. Ah, the air is crisp and nippy. Even Teresa isn't protesting wearing a jacket anymore.

Thanks to my dad's help, I think we're ready for Winter. Leaves are off the ground and out of the rain gutters. The rain barrels are emptied and in the shed. The grill and hose now reside in the garage. Tucked the mower for hibernation and cranked up the blower. We saw a few snow flakes as we worked but nothing compared to the foot of snow Minnesota got.

I have a date with a sink full of dishes (I stood them up last night but I'm tired of them calling me).

Saturday, November 13, 2010

This Town is MINE!

Teresa had a great one-liner as we were driving around town today. Out-of-the-blue she said, "This town is MINE!" I wonder what she has planned.