Monday Miscellany

2bigstockphoto_Happy_Sun_103457I am not going to start off with that whole, “I haven’t been blogging much lately” song & dance. Truth is, I’ve been blogging quite a bit – in my head. It’s just that none of it has actually made it to the blog. Which is probably a good thing considering how scattered and out-of-whack I’ve been here lately. Work has been overly stressful due to a major project that I’m in charge of not progressing on schedule. Home has been busy. Not in a bad way, just a lot of projects that need to get done that I’ve either been putting off or that need to be completed in a tiny window of time due to weather and other schedules.  And that’s not even taking into account the fact that I’ve been battling with minor bouts of depression lately. We are also trying to squeeze in a “date-night” that we’ve been planning for a month, but hasn’t come to fruition yet.

Most of my writing for the last week was focused on a sermon that I delivered yesterday. For whatever reason, I really struggled with this one. There was a particular scripture that was stuck in my head that I couldn’t shake no matter how hard I tried. It didn’t make sense that it would be for Father’s Day either, but every other direction I tried to go fell flat. So I just kept coming back around to where I started. I think it ended up okay. I got some positive feedback, but my cynical nature keeps telling me that they’re just being nice because they like me or don’t want to hurt my feelings. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’ve never been one to take a compliment very well.

Only being able to speak two or three times a year makes it even harder in my opinion. But why is it that the ones that come easily usually end up stinking, and the ones that you really wrestle with come out fairly decent? Is this common, or is it just me?

I did have a wonderful Father’s Day though. My wife is awesome. I got to meet my wonderful daughter for lunch at one of my favorite local restaurants. I grilled-out for my Dad and my Father-In-Law for supper. My Cardinals won again. And I was able to get in a nice long afternoon nap. It was a great day!

One of the big things that we are preparing for this summer is baby-sitting. In July our seven year old niece is going to be staying with us for a few weeks while my wife’s sister & brother-in-law go on a cruise. Our daughter is 21, so having a young one in the house again is going to be a challenge. It will also mean that my Father-In-Law will be at our house nearly every day too. After all, she is his only biological grandchild and lives 350 miles away. So I understand why. It’s just that dealing with that many extra bodies in a house that is typically just me and the wife could be tricky. Wish me luck & say a little prayer if you’re the prayin’ kind.

Luckily her stay will be punctuated by our July 4th Family Soiree, a Southern Illinois Miners’ game, a quick trip to St. Louis for the Magic House & Grant’s Farm, as well as whatever else Mrs. Arachnerd has planned.  We should have a good time if all goes well. I’m sure there will be some much needed blogging during this time and pictures that will just have to be posted! (So stay-tuned!)

The House of Seven Trees

Every year, we kick off the holidays by putting up seven different Christmas Trees. Basically, one for each room of the house. The newest one pictured is the St. Louis Cardinals tree in my room. It is lacking ornaments right now, but I figure like everything else, they will accumulate as time goes on. The Room With No Purpose tree, which we call the “Gold Tree” is where we hang a new Angel Ornament each year since we’ve been married. So including this year’s, there are 10 Angels with dates written on them here. The Living Room is our main Family tree and the only one of the seven that’s real. The kitchen & bathroom trees are both small table-top trees, but the wife put so much effort into decorating them, they count! The Dining Room tree stands amidst all of our wrapped presents and Nutcrackers. It’s decorated with Rankin/Bass Rudolph characters & dried fruits. The Bedroom tree is where we hang all of the old crocheted ornaments that my Mother-in-Law made years ago.

Monday Miscellany

Weekend Update

Not that you care, but my Office Holiday Party on Saturday went well. The food was good, the company at my table was excellent, and we left with 3 prizes and $40 in gift cards. Plus the weather wasn’t bad and it didn’t last too long. Unfortunately nobody got so drunk as to embarrass themselves. (Darn!)

After church & lunch on Sunday, we changed into our sweats and spent the rest of the day, literally, wrapping presents and cleaning. Sounds thrilling, doesn’t it? Oh it was! …I am thankful that it’s done though.

I am still debating on the previously mentioned, and as of yet unpurchased, Dirty Santa gift. And now I’ve waited too long to order anything since our gift exchange is this Wednesday! Yep, day after tomorrow. I have excellent timing. So I guess I will be hitting Best Buy after work if the weather’s not too bad, and praying for inspiration.

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Favorite Christmas Movie Moment, Part 3

Everyone loves A Christmas Story, right? It’s a holiday classic no matter how hard TBS tries to run it in the ground with their annual 24-hour showing on Christmas Eve/Day. (Drives me nuts! How can you watch a show for a solid 24 hours and always seem to catch the same two scenes over & over? Grrr…) Here is one of my favorite scenes though; the desecration of a major award, causing the old man to fly off the handle and utter a line that I frequently quote throughout the year, “NOTAFINGAH!”

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A Monkey Sneezing

(randomness makes me happy)

Monday Miscellany

Favorite Christmas Image (for today anyway):


It’s not the only thing that’s toasted!

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Gotta Go Back to Work to Get Some Rest

Another busy weekend of shopping (which, short of three items, is now complete) and decorating (a tree in every room. That’s seven in all: six artificial and one big live specimen. Most of what’s left to do is our outside lights and decorations which we will put out tonight, hopefully before it starts raining.) among other festivities. The singing in church went okay I guess. And the wife’s children’s sermon was excellent. She got a good laugh too; when she began she made a statement to the effect of, “I am very nervous to be up here. It’s not the kids – I talk to kids all day every day – but my hind end isn’t facing an entire congregation while I’m doing it.”

So, overall, not a restful weekend by any means. But not unexpectedly so either.

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Favorite Christmas Movie/Special Moment, Part One

Complete with Kazoo Solo!

Monday Miscellany

Doodlebug Mom posted a little time-waster meme on her blog today, so I thought I would join in since I’m too busy to write anything that requires much thought.


Stuff ya Didn’t Know about Me or Wish you Never Knew!

1. Number of pets you have adopted or rescued over your lifetime: Too many to count. My childhood home was a prime pet dumping location for some reason.

2. Most embarrassing childhood memory: In Junior High, I had to wear a headband for a few months because of a surgical procedure on my forehead which was a direct result of a car wreck I was in. Except that my classmates didn’t know that; they just thought I was a big Loverboy fan or something.

3. Name a quirk: I am so obsessed with the embarrassment of having food on my face while eating in public; I can destroy a huge stack of napkins during a meal.

4. Favorite lunch: Whether it’s a sandwich or a bowl of chili, I just want it to be alone, engrossed in an online episode of the Daily Show or an interesting Podcast.

5. How you like your coffee: as agent Cooper said on Twin Peaks, “black as midnight on a moonless night.”

6. Name an interesting family “secret”: We are direct descendants of Sioux holy man, Sitting Bull.

7. Give us another one: That last “secret” was a total lie.

8. Current wish: For me & my whole family to be healthy & happy.

9. What I wanted to be when I grew up: My dad likes to tell the story that I once answered, “either a doctor or a shoe-shine boy”.

10. Most painful medical procedure: I would have to say that some of the dental procedures I have had done were far more painful than any medical procedure so far.

11. An insult that has been given to me: A piece of advice, never address a fat guy as “Big’un” or “Tiny”. They don’t think it’s funny or cute. Trust me.

12. Favorite color of clothing: Black.

13. How many trees in your yard? 9 or 10, there used to be more, but we’ve had several die in the last 5 years.

14. If I had 10 million dollars, I would: Open my own business that I loved doing whether it was profitable or not.

15. Meanest or craziest thing you’ve ever said: After being examined very thoroughly in a private place by an attractive female P.A. in an emergency room while passing a kidney stone (& whacked out on morphine), I turned to my wife and said, “I think I just got past 2nd base with her.”

Monday Miscellany


St. Louis Cardinals first-baseman Albert Pujols was just named the 2008 National League MVP. He is only the 11th player to ever be given that honor twice. He has finished in the top 10 in voting each of his 8 years in the majors and 7 of those in the top 4. He is a fantastically talented, consistent & classy player that any team would be proud to have on their team.

This award, along with several others this post-season almost makes up for the stink-fest of a season it was.

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I Like Pie

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They Grow Up So Fast

I have a great kid, I really do. When I visit Jason’s Chicago Dads blog and read about his struggles & joys with his baby girl, it almost makes me miss those days. But now that my little girl is not a teenager anymore I am experiencing heartbreak over things that I didn’t expect. Like seeing her make life-decisions on her own, having to take her off of my health insurance becasue her job has benefits, having to actually invite her over for supper and special events. It sounds crazy, but until you experience it you will never know how that feels.

She posted a MySpace meme this weekend called What I’ve Come to Realize, in which she wrote, “I’ve come to realize that my dad doesn’t want to control my life, but for me to be happy.” She’s right. Seeing her happy makes me happy and proud and satisfied and… (sigh) Did I mention I had a great kid?

Monday Miscellany

Home alone today, and as much as I enjoy a quiet day off, I’m beginning to be bored out of my head! I don’t know how you people that do it all the time survive – just ain’t my thing.

So anyway, I just finished watching Good Rockin’ Tonight, a documentary/tribute about Sun Studios in Memphis, TN. So, not surprisingly, I’m feeling pretty rockabilly-centric right about now! Here’s a little Charlie Rich to share the mood…

Monday Miscellany

Where Does the Time Go?

I can’t believe that Halloween is already over and that tomorrow is Election Day.

We had well over 300 trick-or-treaters Friday night in the span of about 2 hours, followed by our annual Halloween night festivities for family and friends which centers around an enormous, seemingly bottomless pot of chili. We had a good time as usual. I just always wish it could last longer without having to end at 2:00am. It’s also nice to know you live in a community and a neighborhood small enough that the residents feel safe to send their kids trick-or-treating up & down Main Street to that extent. There are without doubt distinct advantages to living in rural, small-town America.

And now finally after tomorrow we can watch TV without the constant stream of attack ads, the landscape can be free of those terrible little campaign signs, and George can start packing his bags. I don’t really care where your party affiliations lie, but I am urging you more than anything to ignore the ads, do a little research, make some informed decisions, and most importantly, VOTE!

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‘Tis the Season

The week of Halloween also signals the beginning of the holiday season. This might sound like a fun and happy time to many people. But for me it generally means that from now through the first of the year there will be no rest, no free weekends, hectic and busy schedules, and a never-ending supply of cheesy, poorly acted holiday specials and made-for-TV movies.

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You Heard It Here First

Yesterday marked the final appearance of Opus the Penguin in the Sunday funny pages. It was connected to a contest to benefit local animal shelters and humane societies, where readers had to guess from clues given in the last few strips where Opus had chosen as his final resting place. If you remember, when I blogged about this a few weeks ago, I titled the post “Say Goodnight Opus“. Well, it turns out that I was correct. Kind of. It was revealed yesterday that Opus will spend the rest of his reality, snuggled up in bed on the last page of Margaret Wise Brown’s classic children’s book Goodnight Moon.

So for one last time, Goodnight Opus.

Monday Miscellany

Klaatu Barada Nikto

I was distraught to learn this weekend than one of my favorite movies of all time, the Day the Earth Stood Still, is being remade. And to add insult to injury, it stars Keanu Reeves of all people.

I love the 1951 version because it’s really a preachy, hippy movie wrapped in a Sci-Fi skin. The aliens come to earth to warn us that if we don’t change our war-mongering, bomb building ways that we will be destroyed in order to protect the rest of our planetary neighbors. It’s a movie that heavily promoted peace and harmony during a time of extreme fear and uncertainty (the Cold War).

On second thought, maybe it’s more relevant now than I realized. But still, Keanu? Seriously?

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But Who Will Snope Snopes?

There is a politically charged email making the rounds about the Urban Legends Reference Pages,, claiming that it is owned by a “flaming liberal” who is “in the tank for Obama”. And that the site is “a secret tool of the Democratic Party to promote Barack Obama.” The problem is that the forwarders of this email have failed to do a little fact checking for themselves. Even the website that the email urges readers to use instead of Snopes, Truth or Fiction, condemns the claim as pure fiction.

Bottom line, sometimes the truth hurts. Get used to it.


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Happy Birthday Satan

I get sick and tired of the annual debate about how Halloween is evil and that, as a Christian, I shouldn’t celebrate it for fear of inadvertently praising and celebrating the Devil.

In a word, “Hogwash”.  (That’s a great word, don’t you think?)

Whatever ancient traditions the modern Halloween was born from, it doesn’t matter. Our culture has evolved and embraced it as a fun night for make-believe, sweet treats and silliness. Guess what? Many other holiday traditions have pagan roots too. Christmas, Easter, you name it! And again, who cares?

I believe that the parent who is filling their kids’ heads with fear and forcing them to sit out of parties and festivities is doing much more damage to their tender little brains, psyches and emotions than the one that embraces and has fun with it.

So, fair warning, my brain is pretty much focused on the upcoming holiday this week, so my posts may have a tendency to reflect that. Did I mention that I loved Halloween?

Monday Miscellany

Overworked & Underpaid

Well, not really I guess. I am just super busy today. More physical labor than I am used to anyway. Sure helps the day go by quickly though! So this is going to be short & sweet out of pure necessity.

Hay Ride

Last night was our church’s annual autumn hay ride/weenie roast. I opted out of the hay ride because of my allergies. We stayed behind, sat around the fire and acted silly (as we are prone to do). But I totally underestimated the effect the smoke from the fire would have on my sinuses anyway. My head still hurts. Oh well – it was still a good time.

New Music

I picked up Darius Rucker’s new “country” CD on a whim yesterday. I know that doesn’t seem like a music geek kind of thing to buy, but I’ve been a Hootie fan for a while and had heard a few of the new songs here and there and frankly my curiosity was piqued. And you know what? It ain’t bad. It’s a pretty good marriage of country and jangle pop. And it’s totally listenable. Haven’t listened to it enough yet for it to make What’s on the iPod, but it has potential.