Thursday, April 29, 2010

Stories I've read recently

The other day I saw a story on the news about the waste involved with the Yellow Pages, White Pages, Yellow Book and other phone books. Seriously, other than as a booster seat for a kid, when was the last time you actually used a phone book?? Anyway, it turns out that you can opt-out of receiving them. Here's the opt out links for Yellow Book and Dex Knows Yellow Pages.

There was a good story in the Tribune today about salt intake, but I couldn't find a link to the actual story. However, I did find this link to the L.A. Times graphic which was pretty interesting as well.

Why are Americans so unhealthy? Start with this story and then go to this story. Pretty much sums it up!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

How about a standing ovation?

The IOC stripped the 2000 Chinese women's gymnastics team of their bronze medal because one of the women on their team was 14 instead of the required minimum age of 16. The fourth place team who now gets the bronze? The USA!!! Whoop-whoop!!! I want NBC to interrupt programming and show the US team getting their bronze medals somewhere on a podium and with the national anthem playing. That would be awesome.

Today I put in another 2.5 miles on the treadmill and felt pretty good doing it. Next week I start going to PT only one day a week and Tuesday nights I'm going to drive to the burbs to start fielding and throwing with my team and maybe taking some batting practice or some swings. Saturday I'm going to manage the team in a tournament and field and throw throughout the day as we play. Hopefully my arm strength will start coming back soon.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

So the Bears have it right?

Few times in my over 1,000 posts have I lauded the actions of the Bears management. Time and time again, they've drafted poorly, developed little talent and seen players go elsewhere to be successful. That hasn't necessarily changed, but maybe, just maybe the big boat that is the lousy management of the Bears is starting to change directions.

To wit, last year they traded for what they believed to be (and who might be) a franchise quarterback. Without a first or second round pick this year, they picked up the consensus top defensive end available, a solid running back (which they took from a division opponent no less) and a highly touted blocking tightend to fit their new offensive coordinator. Today they traded a linebacker, where they have a surplus, for a safety, where they have a need. Both players were quality, but you have to give value to get value.

So I asked myself, who are these guys? They seem to be addressing needs and doing so relatively intelligently. Or am I missing something?

On the opposite side of the argument, they traded their second round pick for a defensive end who then up and died. Bad luck or bad scouting? That franchise quarterback will now be playing under his third offensive coordinator in three years. That's difficult on any quarterback. They let a quality defensive end go (who ended up signing for the Super Bowl champs for 1/2 the money the Bears would have had to pay) and believe they can replace him with people from the team last year who rotated in and out of the lineup. Then there is their firm belief in their woefully under skilled receiving corps.

I think they are still the same dumb group of people who have happened to do some things right. Sadly, them doing ANYTHING right makes it seem like they've turned things around when in reality they are still behind the eight ball. Every team in the division got much better during the offseason or at least stayed at a level above the Bears. It could be a long year!

*******An Addendum*******

It turns out that the Carolina Panthers had told Chris Harris, the safety for whom we traded, that they were going to release him if a trade couldn't be worked out. A released player can sign with anyone with no compensation to his prior team. So the Bears could have picked him up for NOTHING!! This is what the Saints did with Alex Brown when we couldn't trade him after saying we would release him if we couldn't trade him.

Now the Bears had no guarantee that they could sign Harris, however, a little homework on their part would have revealed that he still lives in Gurnee!!! Of course he would have come back here. Ugh. Maybe it is the same old' Bears.

Today they traded another safety to the Rams for a draft pick next year, though they didn't disclose for what round pick. I'm guessing it's a 4th, but could be a 5th. Ugh again, not that I was a huge fan of the safety they traded.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday = Holiday

Not a holiday from work, but a holiday from working out. It's nice to have a day off! Tomorrow I head back for more therapy, my last week with two sessions. After this week I'll go back to just once a week as I want to save some PT dollars in case I need them later in the year.

Anyone know a good eggplant recipe? There's always really good looking eggplant at the grocery store and I never buy it because I don't know how to cook it.

Today I had a similar question regarding swordfish. Anyone know a good recipe and do you like swordfish? The guy at Whole Paycheck said it tastes sort of like chicken.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Mediocre news?

Where to start??

First, I actually threw a softball this weekend!! Saturday I headed down to Joliet to see my teammates and make my first throws in almost 5 months. Unfortunately it was rainy and we couldn't find a place to take batting practice, so I didn't get to take swings. My throwing was ok, but I was hoping to be surprised on the upside. While I was hoping to be at 85-90%, I was really more like 65-70%. That was a little disappointing, but it just means I need to actually do more throwing before I'll be ready to play. Before the first game I was able to field some ground balls though and that went well. It was like riding a bike.

On the weight loss front, I tipped the scales at a weight I haven't seen since last November, so that's good. On Thursday after I had made some weight progress, my therapist said that 90% of weight loss is diet. The statement was reinforced when I realized I burned less than 400 calories while running for 2.5 miles. That's a lot of work for not a ton of return in calorie burning, but it's one of the BEST ways to burn them. Anyway, I'm down 4-5 pounds and I'd like to lose another 4-5.

Some incredibly exciting sporting events in Chicago this weekend. The biggee was the Blackhawks victory over the Nashville Predators on Saturday afternoon. They tied the game with 13 seconds left in regulation, then killed off 4 minutes of power play time to start the overtime and scored the game winner less than 10 seconds after the penalty was over. Great theater. The Sox and Cubs both swept as well! The Sox had consecutive walk off home runs to win two of their games.

Friday night, we went to dinner with a softball buddy of mine and his extremely nice wife who just turned 40. It was a good meal and then we had drinks afterwards before heading home. Remembering that 400 calories means another half hour on the treadmill, I took it easy on the food and beer. It was tough though as Saturday was a going away party for Aussie Rick and Deb. They are moving back to Australia next month, but are taking the long route via: an Alaskan cruise, 5-7 days in Hawaii, another week or two in Japan and China before actually getting back to Australia. Nice!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Good Food

Had another solid run at the gym today and am holding onto my 3 pound weight loss. I really only need to lose 5-10 pounds, so this first 3 is important. My physical therapist told me yesterday that she had read that weight loss is 90% diet and 10% exercise. If you think about it, it makes sense. Today I ran for 25 minutes and cooled down for 5 and burned 400 calories. That's a couple of beers or bowls of cereal! Not much.

The weight I've dropped was hard to get off first and I think it's because I was building up muscle tissue at the same time. So while I was burning some fat probably, I was also putting on some of the muscle I had lost over the last four months. That's fine though because that muscle also BURNS more calories, so it's good to build it up.

With LL cooperating, we've been having some really tasty, healthy meals. We start every meal with a spinach salad with cucumbers or tomatoes. Then we've been having either sweet potatoes or butternut or acorn squash, just delicious. We've also had portobella mushrooms on the grill, pork chops, scallops, or steak. Quantity is important and so is quality. It's easy to eat well when the food tastes good!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Late Start, Could be Bad.

The Blackhawks started their post-season play on Friday the 16th, even though their last game of the season was on Sunday the 11th (I know because I was there). Every other playoff series started on Wednesday or Thursday and only the Hawks started on Friday. Now that they are in a dogfight with the Nashville Predators (down 2-1), I'm thinking about what happens if they pull the series out and move onto the second round. They have to go at least to game six at this point and likely will have to go to game seven if they win at all. Their late start and long first round though, might cost them a day or two of rest going into the second round. Sure, they COULD have won four games straight and it wouldn't be a problem, but they didn't and it could be an issue for them. Just interesting to me that only ONE team started later than everyone else.

Yesterday was my running day and I decided to step it up a notch. Though I kept my speed at the lower speed (10% below what I was running at last Fall), I decided to up my time running from 20 to 25 minutes, a 25% increase. For three one minute intervals, I went back to my faster pace. The run went really well! The increased time, not coincidentally, resulted in a 25% increase in distance too. Good stuff!!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Most of my adult life I have owned vests. Not like hunting vests or anything, just vests that you throw on when it's a little chilly, but you don't need a coat. Actually, I haven't been sure when the hell you wear these things. Mind you, I've owned probably....10 vests over the last 20 years. Pullovers, zippers, golfing vests, more insulated, less insulated....all kinds. Most of them I've won or be given through golf events of some kind. This year, finally, I've found the beauty of the vest. The weather has been in the low 50's and the vest is perfect with a warm shirt to keep me completely warm enough. A coat or jacket is still in my repertoire, believe me, but I've been wearing a zipper up vest which I received for Christmas I believe, and it's pretty dang nice.

Either this weekend or next weekend, I'll be hitting the softball field to catch some ground balls, do some more light throwing and hopefully hit off a tee. Let's hope the weather (and my shoulder) cooperates!!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Some Good and Some Bad

Think all athletes are steroid using cheaters? Certainly not I hope, but you might not believe how honest some athletes can be. It happens in golf more than any other sport and it happened a week ago Sunday which cost this guy $400k and his first tournament victory.

Have you seen the new commercials for The Olive Garden? The Olive Garden chefs went to
The Olive Garden cooking school in Tuscany to "learn the art of Italian cooking". There they developed a new dish using super fresh ingredients and came up with the new Fonduta line. Fonduta? What a stupid effing name. Here's the nutritional information for this artistic Italian cooking.

CaloriesTotal Fat
Sat. Fat (g)Sodium (mg)Carbohydrates
Grilled Steak Fonduta1100583322206910
Grilled Chicken Fonduta108057281680705

Holy crap! Look at that sodium content, much less the fat content. The OG continues its rampage on its own customers.

Crazy hectic Monday

Missed my post last night, but topped it off with missing a 7 a.m. meeting this morning because I set my alarm for an hour later than necessary. I blame the hectic Monday I experienced. It seemed like it was going to be fine, but then blew up.

Around 10 a.m. I left the house to get a car wash, the first of several errands I needed to do before a noon meeting at the local branch of a national charity. If you get your car in before 10:30, it's only $7. When I arrived at the car wash, I was greeted with a line of cars 5 deep and a sign that reminds me I have to be "in the building" at 10:30 to get the discount. Fortunately I just made it in, got the car all clean looking and headed to the emissions center.

Every other year or so I have to get the car tested at the emissions center. It passed with flying colors and the process was quick. Then a stop and the bank and post office and it was time for my meeting. They serve lunch during the meeting, so that was covered too.

An hour and fifty minutes into the two hour meeting, it was brought up that the budget for next year beginning in July was short a half million dollars and they were looking to me as the investment subcommittee chair, to reallocate our investments to maximize interest and cover the short fall, though they didn't want to do anything crazy. They basically wanted me to triple the interest income!! Ugh. Thanks for the heads up guys.

Right after the meeting, I headed out to the burbs to pick up LL's dog from her parents who are heading out of town themselves. The hand-off went smooth and I was back home by 5. Unfortunately, that's when my work started. There was a flurry of emails with the charity CFO not to mention catching up on communications for the day. I headed to bed early, but messed up with the alarm....and so starts my Tuesday.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Boy, that's gotta suck

Another gorgeous weather weekend in Chicago without a cloud in the sky Saturday or Sunday. Unfortunately, the skies are not as clear everywhere as you are probably all to aware. Imagine that you've trained, potentially for years, to run in the Boston Marathon, but when it comes time to head to Boston, you get stuck in the airport because a volcano in Iceland erupts. How crazy awful!!

All eight playoff hockey series went to one game a piece after two games. That means that the home team lost the home ice advantage in every single series! Insane! Washington, the #1 team in the East and The President Trophy winner for having the best record in the regular season, had to come back three times before they could get the win in OT against the #8 seeded Candiens who only got into the playoffs by the skin of their teeth. What an exciting game!

So this weekend I tried to enjoy the sun as much as possible, despite the somewhat chilly temps and went to the gym both days. My new plan is to take one day off, go to therapy two days a week, lift weights at least twice and run three days. So some PT days I might lift or I might run. Depends on how it goes. The good news? Monday looks like the best day to take off!!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

....ashes to ashes, we all fall down! (or don't take off)

In case you wanted to see graphically what area is being affected by the Iceland volcanic ash, I found this link today which I thought was pretty useful. Hit the next button and you can see the areas affected on different days and different times.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Well, I had a great topic earlier in the evening to write about, but then I went drinking and to watch the Blackhawk's game. They lost 4-1 with two empty net goals, so I'm a bit down. Ugh.

Today I ran for 2 miles again and took a nice sphitz. Not sure if that's how you spell it, but it's basically sitting in a steam room for a bit. Anyway, it was a good workout and tomorrow I go back to the gym to hit the weights. With PT, I'm now working out 4 days a week in an effort to 1) get back into softball shape and 2) lose some weight. While I was essentially immobilized after surgery, my mouth was apparently NOT immobilized as I put on about 5 pounds. At the end of last year I wanted to LOSE 5 pounds, so that puts me 10 pounds overweight now. Crap. Well, I'm working on it!!

This weekend is the first softball tournament that I actually would have wanted to play in. It's in Rockford which is 90 minutes away, but the weather is nice and the guys on that team are pretty fun (I actually play on two teams, but a lot of guys play on both teams). The fields there are decent as I recall, which is why I would want to play. Oh well, next month seems like a sure thing for my return. In both PT and after PT, I've been able to do some light tossing with balls of various weights (4 lbs in PT and basically a tennis ball afterwards). It's all good!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Happy Tax Day

Well, I hope you all got your taxes filed by today or at least filed for an extension. Happily, I did the latter as usual. Could I have got them done in time and reviewed? Sure. But really, what's the point? Since I pay estimated taxes, even if I'm getting a refund, it just lowers the amount that I turn over. Much less stress this way and if I'm anything, I'm all about reducing stress.

Had lunch today with a woman who used to work with me at Morningstar some.....15 years ago or so. It was one of my few experiences of having a meal with little kids. She's got a 5 and 3 year old who are both very good kids, but they are kids. It was really tough to have any type of in depth conversation about anything when the kids were not eating, not chewing, not drinking, drinking too much, throwing crayons, not coloring, coloring things other than the coloring book, etc. She handled them pretty well though and I realized I'm pretty far away from mentally being able to handle two kids at once. Probably after you have one kid, you get used to what you need to do and the second isn't as difficult as it seems. She did give me the advice to travel and do whatever I wanted BEFORE I have kids, because they pretty much just take over.

It was another beautiful 80+ degree day here and that's outstanding for April. It seems like last year we didn't get an 80 degree day until July!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Go Cubs, Go!

Today, despite being the day before my taxes are due (or before I have to file my extension), I headed to the Cubs game. Normally I don't go to any game in April because the weather just sucks. Yeah, yeah, I know the weather is far colder for Bears games, but something about watching baseball in cold weather rubs me the wrong way. Maybe it's because I don't like to PLAY baseball in the cold either, but playing football in the cold never really bothered me.

Fortunately, the weather was killer awesome today!! It started off a bit cold, but it warmed up nicely and I didn't even need a coat. In fact, I may have gotten a bit of a sun burn! Since our seats were in the shade, the burn happened BEFORE the game. My buddy and I were meeting at Goose Island Brewery, so I got there early and got a table on the patio out back. It was still about 2 hours before the game, so I had my pick of tables and chose one in the sun for maximum warmth. It backfired a bit as I got too warm and had to take off my shirt and go with just my undershirt for a while.

Here's the set up at Goose Island and my first beer. Yum.

And here is the view from our seats. Nice! Third row in the upper deck. Cubbies won 7-6 in a great come from behind win in which they scored 4 runs in the 8th!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Financial Pundit?

Though I thought I wrote about making a move in the stock market, it appears that I did not. Or at least I couldn't find it. It would have been back in November though. Anyway, at that time, I sold some of my stock mutual funds and moved into bonds (moving down to 65-70% stocks). My reasoning was two-fold: 1) the stock market was at 10,600 and I had no reason why given the bad news in the economy. 2) One of the funds I was selling the most of was up 50+%. So how did that turn out for ol'Joe? The Dow dropped to 10,000 and then jumped 10% to 11,000 over the first quarter. The fund I sold was up 6.5%.

Back in January, a stock I was holding, Fastenal (FAST), had run up to $46 a share and had a short ratio of over 20. That means a lot of people were betting that the stock was going to go down. Usually a stock would have a short ratio of 1-7, depending on the amount of news about it, so 20 seemed crazy! So I sold the stock and it dropped to $40 and I looked smart. Then it started climbing again and the short interest backed off to a more reasonable multiple of 10 times the average daily trading volume. Now the stock is north of $53 and again the short ratio is over 20. Their first quarter earnings were up 15% and thus Joe has failed again!!

So next time you call me or email me for financial advice, consider the source!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Busy Day

Interesting day today with the Cubs home opener drawing large crowds to the neighborhood, including a fellow softballer and person for whom I do some consulting work. He was meeting his wife to go to the game (she was coming from work), so we went for a very traditional pre-baseball meal: falafel. He has some dietary restrictions and I just happen to know a place that makes it fresh.

While they went to the game, I hit the gym and stepped up my cardio workout on the treadmill a few tenths of a mile per hour. Got through 2 miles in good shape and went to lift some weights. Tomorrow is my PT session, so I didn't push too hard on the weights, at least on anything I'd be doing tomorrow anyway.

After the game, my guests came back to my place and when LL got back from work, we all went for sushi. Good stuff!

Though the day was busy, I did manage to fit in an episode of Barney Miller from 1976 in which they needed to get flu shots due to an epidemic. The type of flu? Swine flu!! No kidding!! Back in 1976. I didn't recall ever hearing before last year. Maybe that's why "they" wanted us to call it H1N1 instead of swine flu. Or maybe that was the pork lobbyists.

While catching the weather at the end of the day on our local Fox affiliate, WFLD channel 32, from the some-time-poster Amy Freeze, there were some disturbing comments thrown out by the peanut gallery surrounding my tv. As it was only LL and me, you can guess where the comments came from. "How do we know she's even qualified to do the weather? Where's her degree? She's probably lying." Hurtful comments. I apologize on LL's behalf Amy. No hard feelings! I'll let her apologize in person when we take our tour. No date has been set yet, but Katie, you're in! Probably only 5 more spots to fill.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sort of a Return

Had a pretty fun weekend which was capped off with going to the Blackhawks and Redwings game at the United Center. We went early enough to park for free on the street about 15 minutes away and had a nice walk to the stadium. LL used to live down there, so it was really just parking west of an area she knows pretty well. Since we arrived early enough, we were able to get the free hat they were passing out. In the three games we've gone to in the last 45 days, we got two hats and a bobble head doll!! Good times.

Since we're both trying to eat a bit healthier as well, we opted to have a late brunch which meant we wouldn't eat anything at the 2:00 game. Now, we did have some frosty beverages at the game, but we still have to live!!!

Saturday we took a drive out to Arlington Heights (45 minutes to an hour away depending on traffic) to where my softball team was playing in a tournament. For many of the guys, it was the first time I've seen them since my last tournament in Vegas before my surgery. Some of them I saw at our Super Bowl fundraiser. It was good to see them and I even hopped on the field to coach third base for a few innings. I did my best "waving Wendell" impression, but didn't get anyone thrown out at the plate. One inning we scored 6 to get back in the game, but ended up losing. While we were in the field, I took one of the bats and took some dry swings. The shoulder is feeling better and better, so I'm itching to get back on the field. The weather was a little chilly, so we took off after one game. Unfortunately they lost the second game later in the day. It was a one day tournament with several teams who play a level above us and it was in an organization with some rules that hurt us, but it was still a tournament and we don't like to go 0-2.

After doing some grocery shopping and taking a nice walk around the neighborhood, we broke out the grill and had a relatively healthy dinner of baby spinach salad, butternut squash and a hamburger on whole wheat bread. Good stuff. I hope you had a great weekend too!!!

Friday, April 09, 2010


Earlier this week I had my PT session for an hour and then headed to the gym to further my workout, specifically to run on the treadmill. The week before I had put in 30 minutes on the elliptical machine, but it's just not the same as running and bearing your own weight. Since it's been a while since I've been running, I reduced the speed but kept the time at my normal 20 minutes. My performance on the treadmill was.....less than exciting. In fact, it was downright depressing. Even at the reduced speed I had to revert to walking every 5 minutes or so. Ugh.

That was Wednesday, so today I headed back to the gym to see if Wednesday was an aberration or the new norm. Again I used the reduced the speed and targeted 20 minutes again. This time however, I ripped it off without much of a hitch and now walking. Turns out my PT sessions really are exhausting! Maybe I'll try to space out my gym visits and my PT sessions, but that would mean working out 4-5 days a week......yikes, I might be too old for that!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Sure Sign of Spring

There's one sure sign of spring in Chicago; street cleaning. Today the big sweepers came by one side of my street and will do the other side tomorrow. It's nice to have the dirt of winter swept away....or at least pushed around a bit and mostly picked up.

Update on Basra! While I was in Switzerland, the landlord next door, or the city, put out a big industrial sized rat bait trap. I'm not sure if they go in there and die, or eat the poison and die somewhere else or what, but the rat population is down to single digits. For a while, there was only one rat hole left! And one of them caught their foot in T-Rex, but flailed around all night until the string holding the trap down gave way and then T-Rex itself busted! Yowza, that was one pissed off rat.

So even though I killed about 30 rats over there, this city trap put the finishing touches on the extermination. The parallels to Iraq are compelling. They might not all be gone, but there is a significantly lower threat that they will come over to my yard now! Victory!!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

On the road again.....

Regarding the FBI story yesterday, there was something else I wanted to say. Why the lawyer would say nothing good can happen is pretty simple if you think about it. If you've done nothing wrong, here are the options: 1) you're going to get falsely accused ( totally sucks) 2) one of your friends is in trouble and they want info from you(sucks) 3) since it was at work, one of his employees could be in trouble and they want info from you (sucks) 4) one of your clients is in trouble and they want info from you (sucks) 5) one of your vendors is in trouble and they want info from you (most likely sucks, but could be cool if your vendor is a prick). :-)

Two games left in the regular season for the Blackhawks and they are in a tie for most points in the conference and the #1 seed. They have set a franchise record for most points in a season with 109 (not goals, but points--in hockey it's 2 points for a win and one point for a tie). They have set a record for most wins in franchise history with 50. They have also set a record for most road wins in a season with 22 and this brings me to my issue.

A hockey season is 82 games and you play 41 on the road. The Blackhawks have been around since 1926. So in 84 years, no Hawks team has won more than 22 games on the road which is only slightly better than 50/50!! If you go 21-20, that's not very good in any sport except if you play hockey on the road. To go 22-19 means you've done something worthy of a franchise record!!

That means to me that the rules are slanted too far in favor of the road team, if other teams have these type of stats at least and I'd have to believe that they do given the Hawks were one of the original 6 teams in the league so they've been good and bad as much as anyone.

What are those rules? Well, you're at a disadvantage with line changes. As the road team, you have to put your players on the ice and then the home team gets to match up against you, always putting their players out last. That's a pretty unfair advantage. If there isn't too much stoppage during the game though, it becomes less of an advantage.

The other advantage is with faceoffs. The visitor has to put their stick down on the ice or be ready first. I'm not sure how big of an advantage that is in reality. The home team also gets to decide whether to shoot first or second in a shootout now, but the shootout is a relatively new development anyway.

Why such bad road records? Anyone know?

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Busy work days

ESDNM was in town Monday and Tuesday, so there was a lot of work going on and I was too tired to post.

Here's the baseball play of the year entered in by White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle. Opening day and it's already at least a finalist for play of the year.

Have you seen Miley Cyrus recently? She looks stoop shouldered to me. She was just on an episode of Jimmy Kimmel, which I Tivo, and someone should really straighten out her shoulders before she ends up with a hump!

Here's a situation for you: a friend of mine received a call the other day FBI agent. Out of the blue! The agent said, "Don't worry, no one is in trouble. We just want to have lunch with you. How's your schedule the next few days?"

What would you do? My friend has a neighbor who is a friend and a lawyer. So he asks the lawyer whether he should go to lunch with this guy. The lawyer said, "Nothing good will come of a meeting with the FBI." It's true! If no one is in trouble, wouldn't everyone be getting asked to lunch by the FBI at some point? I haven't been asked to lunch yet, so it seems suspicious to me.

I'm intrigued to see how it all turns out. I'll let you know.....if I can.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Heading Outback

Saturday, for possibly the first time, I went to Outback Steakhouse with LL and her parents. The reason I'm writing about it is that because it's a big chain, they have to have their nutritional information readily available. And do they ever! On their website you can figure out the cumulative nutritional value of your entire meal. The really interesting thing is that since they are cooking steaks, you have much more say in how they are cooked to begin with. What you can do is tell them to not cook it in butter (cooking the steak in butter is the default) and to not season it and it saves a ton of calories, fat and sodium. I also strongly suggest the sweet potato as one of your sides. Delicious.

In a rare George Castanza move (from Seinfeld), I actually brought my own bottle of salad dressing into the restaurant (courtesy of LL's purse) and we used that on our salads. Now that I think about it, Jerry brought his own maple syrup into Monk's for his pancakes. Too funny. Castanza brought in his own cucumber for his salad. Living the sitcom!!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter Everyone!!

It was a busy weekend filled with traveling, family and cheer. It was also filled with church as it's the most important weekend of the year for Catholics and Christians alike. On Saturday night, I drove back from Joliet after having dinner with LL and her parents, so that I could attend mass at St. Alphonsus on Easter morning. Obviously more people go to mass on Easter, so I opted for the early 7:45 mass instead of one of the later masses. That was pretty smart on my part, but boy were there a ton of kids there! I figured they would all still be sleeping.

Easter mass is always uplifting with a strong and loud, very uplifting organ performance opening the service. It's in stark contrast to Good Friday's mass where we leave in silence.

For Easter, like Thanksgiving, my mom wraps a whole bunch of smaller presents (31 this time) ranging from flashlights and candy to socks and sunglasses. Everyone is allotted the same amount of play money and then we bid like fanatics on the gifts, even though we have no idea what's in the presents. After a trading flurry when the bidding was done, I ended up with a star shaped candy dish and cups with lids (like Starbucks cups). One of my gifts was traded to obtain various scented bathing gels (for LL) and my cherry, chocolate covered pretzels were traded for something as well. It's great fun.

The Easter egg hunt was a total disaster this year! I broke my cardinal rule of "always follow Sommer around" and while I was on my own she was getting assistance from everyone and her mother.....literally. As such I was dominated something 10 eggs to 4 and I finished in last of the four of us who competed. Ugh. I blame Sommer's blinking tennis shoes.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Playing Hooky

It's like 80 degrees in Chicago today, so I'm playing hooky from my blog. After going into the office and hanging out with Ricardo, we decided that we need to go out after work and be outside somewhere. First it's off to the gym for me and then I'm chilling outside.