Sunday, November 30, 2008
As it turns out, this wasn't a one time event. On Black Friday we ended up at Kohls again. While Anna and the kids were busy getting stuff for Christmas I wandered over to the kitchen section (I like to cook.) I've had my eye out for a set of omelet pans. A few years ago we bought a stainless steel set of pots and pans. I like them, but it takes a lot of patience and skill to use them to reliable produce good eggs because they're not non-stick.
I dug around for a while looking at hard-anodized cookware. I found these nice Food Network pans and realized they were marked down. 80% off! Yeah baby. So, I picked them up. I was even more surprised when I got up to the register and they rang up an extra percentage off of the clearance price. Here's Hope holding my $70 Food Network pans that I picked up for $11:
When Anna was pregnant with Tori she craved Altoids. A lot. She did not consume them like a normal human being. Instead of gingerly sucking on the curiously strong mints, she would chew them up and eat them four or five at a time. At first, this completely weirded me out, but then I tried it myself and found that chomping up Altoids gives them a completely different flavor experience, and I actually liked it too.
So, now we chomp our Altoids.
Apparently, this phenomenon is contagious because our kids now eat them this way too. When Anna breaks them out, say, maybe after the end of a meal out, there's all sorts of good breath in our van.
At any rate, while Anna has slowed down her Altoid consumption considerably she still likes them a lot. Eating them has turned out to be a rather expensive habit since they're like $3 a tin. Whenever they run them on sale someplace, she stocks up. Apparently CVS recently ran a buy one get one free sale on them because I came home to this:
Yup...that's 34 tins of Altoids in my junk drawer...
Sunday, October 26, 2008
"Tori, did you know that Dad and I are eating baby chicks? An egg is a baby chick, and when we cook it, we're eating a chick. I think the chick is in the yolk and that's why it's my favorite part."
Tori looked at her a little stunned and replied, "I don't think that we should be eating God's creation."
So Hope looks at her and says, "Well, we didn't at first, but things changed and people started eating animals. You ate a deer once and you didn't know that it was a deer!"
Tori just stared at Hope so Hope decided to continue on with her lesson. "Yeah, Dad went hunting and killed a big deer. And you ate it. You didn't know it was a deer and you liked it! He went to this place and they cut off it's head and gave us the meat."
Tori, seeming to have forgotten about her objections to eating animals got pretty interested and started throwing in her own adages.
"Yeah, and they cut off the legs too."
"Nu uh Tori! They didn't cut off the legs. We ate those too."
Tori, a little shocked, replies, "And the shoes too?"
"No Tori, they took off the shoes."
And that, my friends, is how the conversation went this morning over breakfast.
Then, they came out with Wii Fit. Instead of going to the gym you can now work out with your family on your Wii. Now you can play video games and get exercise at the same time. WhoDaThunkIt?
Just recently Nintendo introduced the Virtual Console for the Wii. Now, you can give your Wii your Credit Card Number and buy "points" that you can use to buy and download old Nintendo games to your console. It's awesome! I spent $5 (500 Wii Points) yesterday to download the original Super Mario Brothers...in my opinion the best video game ever created.
I remember one Christmas Eve many, many moons ago when I first played Super Mario Brothers. We went to the house of some friends, Rudy and Mary Guttierez, for Christmas eve 1987- I think. They had a Nintendo Entertainment System. I think it was pretty new. Us kids were completely enthralled and I remember we spent HOURS playing it.
It's amazing to watch my own kids experience the same delight playing the same game which is very cheesy looking compared to the other games out today:
They had a blast playing this thing. Also, Anna and I had a lot of fun playing this too. We were both suprised at how many things we remembered, like where the 1-Ups (Extra Guys) are located on level 1-1 and 1-2. We remembered how to get to the warp zones on level 1-2 and 4-2. It took a little digging but we were also able to figure out how to get to the coin heavens in level 2-1 and 4-2. We had a blast playing Super Mario Brothers.
And then we downloaded Tetris Party, which combines classic Tetris with some new Tetris games, including the ability to play Tetris on the Wii Fit balance board. You want a work-out? Try playing tetris where you have to move your body to make the pieces move. Anyhoo, Anna pretty much whipped me in Tetris. I put up a really good fight, but finally about 1:00 AM she turned to me and said, "Joe, I don't think you're going to beat me."
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
All that changed yesterday. You see, Anna's parents are in town so I was able to talk her Dad into running over there with me while Anna and her mom shopped. From the outside it looks like the museum basically consists of the old Nimitz hotel (owned by Admiral Nimitz's grandfather). We popped in the door around 3 O'Clock expecting that 2 hours would give us plenty of time to see the place in its entirety. We were dead wrong. This place is huge! It spans 9 acres, includes 2 buildings, outdoor gardens, and another set of exihibits a few blocks away. It does have one exhibit hall that is dedicated to Admiral Nimitz, but the remainder of the museum covers the entire pacific war. Needless to say, we got kicked out at 10 after 5 and still had only seen about 50-60% of the place.
Along the way, I learned some interesting tidbits. For example, did you know that every president from FDR to George H.W. Bush was a WWII veteran? There's an outdoor garden at the museum with plaques that commemorates each president's role in the war. In addition, there's a Japanese garden - a gift from the people of Japan.
There's some very, very interesting artifacts on display. They have the spotting scope from the USS Ward, the ship that engaged a Japanese sub just outside of Pear Harbor. In addition, one of the Japanese attack subs in Pearl Harbor was captured. It is on display in the Nimitz museum. They also have one of the B25s used in the Doolittle raids. Lots of neat stuff on display.
Highly recommended if you're ever in the area. Even Hope thought it was neat.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
More action shots here.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Friday, April 11, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
By the way, if you think this set is over the top, check out this or this.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
On the first day, I put together the basic frame with some help from my other neighbor, Bud. Originally, I'd hoped to get farther than this on the first day. I wanted to have it levelled, square, and anchored by the end of the day. I discovered that my back yard is even more unlevel than I'd originally thought and ran into some problems. I decided to get some concrete pavers to help provide a nice smooth level surface. Here's what it looked like at the end of Sunday:
On Monday, I swung by the Home Depot on my way home and purchased the pavers I needed to help with the leveling process. Cody came over again and we managed to level the unit. Once everything was set and we were sure of the position, we moved the frame off the pavers and dug holes for the concrete footings we'll be using for anchors. When we got done, we moved the unit back on to the pavers to make sure it was level before we poured the concrete. Good thing we did because it was no longer level. Somehow, we'd upset one of the pavers while digging our holes. We were running out of daylight and I was frustrated with the ordeal so we quit for the night.
Tonight, Tuesday, we made some real progress. We finally got the unit level again, added braces, and the floor for the second level. Then, we finally got to pour the concrete anchors. I had the kids come out and make hand prints in the concrete. I figure 10 or 12 years from now if I'm still living here I'll tear it down and have an emotional moment and ponder how quickly they've grown up. I also marked the final anchors with the names of the construction crew.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
So, we worked on this thing for several evenings after work over the last week or so. We didn't have a chance to work on it Friday or Saturday, so we finished it today. I thought we were only out there for a few hours because we were having so much fun. I've discovered that building stuff is sort of like having adult sized Legos. Anyway, when I came in and got cleaned up, I noticed that I'd gotten just a tad bit sunburned. I'd actually been outside working in the nice 87 degree weather for about 4 and a half hours, without sunscreen. um, so, I haven't worked up the summer tan yet, and uh, I temporarily look like Trevor when he gets embarrassed:
And of course, I'm getting no sympathy from Anna, so ya'll will have to give me some moral support here.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
If you think that is funny there's some more clips on his site.
Saturday, March 08, 2008
While we were there we picked up a booklet on fun things to do in Central Texas. We saw a little blurb about the Regency Suspension Bridge and decided to go check that out too. Here's a map of where it is, about 30 minutes SE of Brownwood and only 889 miles from Wall Drug. Oh yeah, we took some pictures of that too. Make sure you check out the pictures to see an Axis deer. Well, sort of. It was on the other side of a game fence and I tried for a while to get a good picture of him. However, there were some other tourists driving around and this one old lady kept driving past every time I'd almost catch him. At one point I was only about ten feet away but there was some brush blocking my view. I was waiting for him to take a couple of steps when said old lady zoomed by in her Lincoln Towncar and spooked the deer. ah well...
We've been shooting a lot of pictures lately. I bought a Nikon D40 around Valentines day and I really like it. I bought a Magic Lantern DVD guide to it and it's really helped me to better understand photography. Reading Ken Rockwell has helped me too. So, I'm starting to take some better pictures because the SLR gives more control than a point and shoot and I'm starting to understand white balance, aperature, and some other basics. I have an old Nikon film SLR but I never really learned to use it well because by the time you got the film developed I could never remember what settings I'd used. But with the digital SLR, I can see the effect immediately and it's much easier to understand how the setting changes I just made have affected the output. I've shot almost 2000 pictures in the past 3 weeks. That sounds like a lot, but it can shoot 2.5 pictures per second. It would have cost about $450 to get that much film developed. The camera is a steal. I got it on a special deal at Amazon and paid about $460 for the camera, lens, extra battery. I'd highly recommend it if you're on the market for a new digital camera.
Other than that, not much is going on. We had so much fun stuff going on today that I forgot all about fertilizing the lawn. Managed to get to Home Depot and get the Scott's Turfbuilder but never got around to putting it on the lawn. Guess that will have to wait for another day. And for those of you up north who are still enjoying sub-zero temperatures, yes, I'm putting down weed n feed and watering the lawn already. :-) It's actually really starting to perk up down here. Anna took this picture the other day in front of the doctor's office:
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Both girls, outside in their foot jammies and crocs just finishing up their Texas snow man.
You see, no one really calls us that much, so when the phone rings we can pretty much be sure that it's Michelle calling again. She's very polite, but I just can't figure her out. Really. I mean, she calls and says, "Hi! This is Michelle Obama."
"Hi Michelle," I reply.
"I'm calling to ask you to vote for my husband Barack. If we can count on your support, press one now."
"Really? You're calling just to ask me?"
"Obama needs your help. He stands for change and hope. blah..blah..blah... Press one if we can count on your vote."
And on and on she goes for about 2 or 3 minutes until she politely thanks me for my time and hangs up on me.
Now, this happens about 5 times a week. I've come to enjoy our little chats with Michelle. I even invited her for dinner a few days ago. When she asked me if she could count on my vote for Barack I replied, "Michelle, we'd love to have you and Barack over for dinner. Press one now to accept."
Funny, but she didn't answer me.
Tonight, I fear, will be the last night our post-dinner time will be graced with a call from Mrs. Obama. Ya'll are going to have to start calling about 6:15 in order to take up the slack.
Saturday, March 01, 2008
"We need to be obedient to God and Mom and Dad and stuff like that," replied Hope.
And then Tori shouted out, "Yeah, or you'll get eaten by a really big fish!"