Monday, August 28, 2006

Quickly catching up

Okay, here's the Readers Digest verison of the past few days:

I sprayed weed killer on all the weeds in the yard (and there are a TON of them). 48 hours later, no noticable results. Now I'm planning on returning the pantywaist-nancy-boy weed killer and getting Roundup from the farm supply store. And now, my young will die. Too late, you realize the power...of the dark side!

I had a couple of dizzy spells over the weekend. I got suspicious and we took my blood pressure and it was 102 over 58. Very very low, especially for me. I have my theories, but they all center on the diet. For now, I'm not planning to do anything about it.

Bernie and I went to Sam's Club and I cheated on the diet a bit, tasting the free samples. Real food is like a nuclear taste explosion in my mouth compared to the Nutrisystem food. Bernie got revenge on me by eating KFC and McDonalds in front of me while I ate my recycled cardboard.

My secret project is progressing and I may have a decision to make come Wednesday afternoon. We'll see.

I put some jalapeno and poblano peppers in my smoker this weekend and made some chipotles. Now I just need something to do with them. I've had a jalapeno craving lately, and I think it's actually a vitamin C deficiency making me crave them. More juice!

Work is improving. One account is being extremely demanding and I've had to email my boss to tell him that I don't have time to accomplish some things for other customers. So far, he's been very nice about getting me some help. I can't wait to stick this customer with the bill for the time they've been using.

The glider seat we got for my birthday finally arrived today. I guess I'll assemble it tomorrow.

Madden '07 rocks, and I had to get a new game controller as my old one died (one of the springs in the D-pad broke due to my grip of steel). I decided to buy a good one instead of breaking more cheap ones, so I got the Microsoft XBox 360 controller for Windows. It's awesome! Bernie completely disapproves of my spending even 10 minutes playing a game, though she's being polite about it.

We hung up the new curtains in the guest room, officially making it the nicest room in the house, where we spend absolutely no time at all. At least Bernie's folks will get to sleep in there and enjoy it. It's probably the best decorating job I've ever had in my home. Bernie's pretty darn good at it.

Well that's all for now!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Football Game

Last night, Brian and I went to the Panthers game. Brian had an extra ticket since Sophie was suffering from an acute case of sports apathy. Her loss is my gain, most definitely.

I took advantage of Brian's generosity to do something I've never done, and always wanted to do - TAILGATE!!!!

Now, to be fair, I've "tailgated" to games with my parents plenty of times before, but they always wimp out and get KFC or Jersey Mike's subs or some other fast food for the tailgate, and arrive about an hour early, eat out of the minivan, and go to the game. Brian and I arrived 3 hours early, and I brought a grill, and a pickup truck with an actual tailgate.

I spiced and marinated a top round steak overnight (couldn't find a skirt steak, so I made do), and I grilled it over charcoal and sautee'd vidalia onions on tinfoil. Then I sliced the steak as thinly as I could and we put it and the onions on grilled tortillas with that good mexican cheese and sour cream.

(Yes, I broke my diet for this - it was totally worth it and I'm back on the wagon today.)

The game was just OK, but it's preseason, so you don't come in with great expectations. The Panthers are going to be really good this season, but the offense didn't really get it together for this particular game. They've had a lot of time off since the last game and it showed. Despite their offensive woes, they won the game handily.

I had a great time and I would like to thank Brian again for the ticket. I slept like a baby last night thanks to the welcome break in my routine and my good mood continues today.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Sick Wife!

My poor darling is sick. I think she caught it by reading Chris's blog.

Seriously, she told me that the apple pie she made (and subsequently ate half of) had an expired crust, so maybe that's the culprit. I can't imagine how a frozen pie crust would make you sick, however. Bad butter? She's down with fever and nausea and headache.

Anyway, get well soon, honey! I'll be home from work in a few hours and make you chicken soup.

It turns out she isn't sick, just a migraine. No soup for her after all. She was well enough to beat me at Empire Builder this evening.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Guilty Pleasures

I had a stunning realization this morning. As an adult, I haven't been a happy person. It seems like worry and depression are my constant companions. Only since I've been married has happiness come back into my life, but lately it seems like I've been slumping back into my old depressive ways, and I don't want to go there. So I wonder: what is the root cause of my depressive tendencies?

I started adding up the things that make me happy. There are a lot of them, but as I was making the list I realized something: Most of the little things that make me happy are "guilty pleasures". Thinking about it further, I realized that most of my little pleasures are things that the other people in my life do not approve of.

Here are some examples:

Playing games
Watching sports on TV
Food Network
Shopping for Electronic Gadgets
Sleeping late

Every one of these is something that I like to do, but a lot of the pleasure gained from them is lost in the "guilt" that they generate because others in my life are disapproving.

Maybe I care too much about what others think. The only problem is whenever I try to ignore what others think, I get in trouble. This is going to require some more thought.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Writer's Block

I've had a mild case of writer's block regarding this blog lately, so I've been avoiding posting much. I'm sure I'll get over it soon.

Here are the highlights of my life lately:

1. The diet is coming along nicely. Lost 5 lbs the first week, which meets my goal so far. 4 weeks to go and I'm not dead or disgusted yet. Not being able to go out to eat over the weekend was tough on me. I'm used to rewarding myself with food, and being denied that is really difficult.

2. Work is improving. My manager let me know that he knows my workload is more than anyone else's. He said I need to make sure my work is visible to others, though, because no one else seems to know it. I'm going to be travelling to Oklahoma once a month from here on out.

3. We did some yard work by putting out 10 bags of river rock around the trees and plants this weekend. I think maybe another 30 bags, placed in our natural area in front of the porch, around the driveway side of the fence, and between the crape myrtles and the fence will finish the job. I want to make it so I don't have to use the weed eater.

4. Bernie is jealous of my pre-packaged Nutrisystem food. I think she's a TV dinner junkie and doesn't know it. Since coming to the US, she's developed a liking for the 99 cent Banquet frozen dinners and Dinty Moore microwave meals. This has been an interesting observation on American culture infiltrating a non-native. What is so addictive about frozen dinners?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

It Ain't Easy

Today is day 2 of the NutriSystem diet, and here are the highlights:

1. I'm not starving (much). Along with the entrees, you get a fruit, a protein/dairy and a low glycemic carb serving. This means that I can have an egg sandwich on double-fiber bread along with my breakfast bar and snack on an apple afterward. So far, this is keeping me sane.

2. Lunch entrees are tiny. They are hardly worth it, and so far they haven't tasted good, either. The sandwich and fruit are saving my life.

3. Dinner entrees are quite good so far. I've had a burger and a chicken sandwich and both were not bad at all. You do your own bun, so I bought whole-wheat buns, and I put a big slice of onion and romaine lettuce on them with lots of mustard.

4. I'm drinking a lot of water. At least a liter at work, and whatever I can take at home. I'm rationing myself to one diet soda in the morning (need caffeine!!!) and a glass of diet soda with dinner.

5. I got the first completely flavorless orange that I've ever experienced today. I peeled it and it smelled so good, but no juice and no flavor at all. When you are already 'settling' for fruit when you want french fries, this can break your heart.

6. I don't think I'm going to die from this, so I'm hanging in there. 5 weeks to go!

Monday, August 14, 2006

It's Killing Me!

I've been wracking my brains for a week now. I have a birthday approaching rapidly, and I can't answer the "what do you want for your birthday?" question. I literally do not want or need anything at the moment. Not clothes, not gadgetry, nothing.

That's bad enough.

On Friday, I got a bonus from work. Pretty nice one, too. I have nothing that I want to spend it on. This means it'll go into the bank account and slowly disappear with nothing to show for it.

Even when things are good, I can't enjoy them thoroughly. Sigh....

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Mini-Vacation

This weekend, we went to the mountains of North Carolina. Specifically, we went to Linville Falls, Boone, Valle Crucis, and Blowing Rock. Originally, we were going to camp, but the weather forecast caused us to change to renting a cabin instead. (The cabin had satellite TV, so we got to watch the Panthers game on Saturday night as a bonus!) Not exactly roughing it - it was more of a fine-grained buffing, I suppose.

Anyhoo, on with the boring vacation pics:

First, Linville Caverns:

An amusing moment at the caverns - the tour guide told us it was considered good luck to get dripped on in the caverns, and water was indeed dripping on most of us from time to time. I snuck up behind Bernie and tapped the top of her head with my finger, and she turns to me and goes "Just got dripped on, hon!", so naturally I did it again a few seconds later. She turns and goes "Just did it again!". Finally, I fessed up, and it was a source of much teasing for the rest of the weekend.

Then lunch and a little free bluegrass music:

Then a little gem mine panning:

Gem panning used to be much better when I was a kid. Back then, you paid and got a bucket of mud that you knew had come out of the mine and no one had tampered with. Now you get a bucket of rocks, which you can be sure has been combed through and had pretty stones of no value added. Sure enough, the garnets and sapphires that we used to find when I was little are no longer present in the modern buckets.

And a quick nature photo on a damp day:

Then time for a Blenheim (the world's best Ginger Ale) at the Mast General Store:

The next day, we went to Grandfather Mountain, saw the bears and other captive wildlife, and walked across the mile-high swinging bridge:

It's a pretty nice trip, and only 2 hours from Charlotte, so we got home on Sunday in time for supper!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Just a Quick Note

Things have improved this week.

We got a 2 inch memory foam mattress topper that seems to have cured my back problems.

I'm going on NutriSystem for five weeks and plan to lose 25 lbs. If successful, I'll do it again for 4 weeks. I'm actually looking forward to this, believe it or not.

We're going camping with the parents this weekend to Boone and Grandfather Mountain. Should be fun!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Job

I don't know if I've ever been as close to just walking out on my job as I was this week. That includes my time at IBM. At IBM, I wasn't happy with management, but I was willing to take the money as long as they were willing to pay me. This is not the case this week.

This week, I was so overworked that I literally couldn't think. I found myself making mistakes in the most simple tasks, not noticing it until days later, and those mistakes caused me even more work and worry.

I am not in a job where work can wait or be done after hours. The stuff I do must be done during a window of time, and if there's too much to do, you can't stay late and do it - it's gotta be done now or never.

I travelled for 2 days this week. The first trip was a day trip to Atlanta, and it went well - I straightened out a problem at two stores. The second day was to Tennessee, and the power supply for the PC I brought was missing - I never checked before I shipped it. We had to ship a new one overnight and I made do with my laptop to train the contractor I met there.

This left 3 days to do a week's worth of work, and the contractor was calling me at night while he did two more installs. I got woken up at 2 am at least twice in those 3 days due to cell phone calls. Add in the stress of the mistakes I made due to mental fatigue, and I think I might have fired myself if I had been the boss. I couldn't remember things that I had done an hour ago. And then the weekend on-call schedule comes out and I have to be on call this weekend. Wonderful.

It's time to take some time off.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I'm Eviller than Chris!

You Are 70% Evil

You are very evil. And you're too evil to care.
Those who love you probably also fear you. A lot.

Of course you knew this already, didn't you?

I'm also mostly conservative, though I'm ethically liberal, whatever that means.

Your Political Profile:
Overall: 65% Conservative, 35% Liberal
Social Issues: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal
Personal Responsibility: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal
Fiscal Issues: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal
Ethics: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal
Defense and Crime: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal

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