Monday, January 31, 2011


This morning I headed to Starbucks, as usual, and there were a few people in front of me in line. One of the guys was a large somewhat scary looking black man (I'm done with the African-American thing by the way. I don't want people calling me Irish American or Austrian American...just American if ethnicity is important and just white if you need to use color. I've never even been to Ireland or Austria and they probably haven't even been to Africa.) Anyway, I was thinking that I hadn't seen him at my Starbucks before and was somewhat surprised when this scary looking guy ordered a "low fat very berry muffin" and a "caramel machiato". Ha! Nobody can look tough ordering a low fat very berry muffin. It's impossible. It just cracked me up.

Of course, I laughed to myself.

We are two days away from snowpocalypse here in Chicago. It's supposed to snow starting Tuesday afternoon and keep snowing over night. We could get 18" to 24" of snow, so I'm already adjusting my schedule to be ready to be home bound for the day.

Happy Birthday to LL!!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Food filled weekend

Without a Bears game (or even football) to watch and with no softball yet, it was a rare weekend without much going on....except eating. Yeah, it was tough with the diet and all, but it's LL's birthday on Monday so some birthday dinners were on the agenda.

First, on Friday, we headed down to Blue Island to dine at The Maple Tree Inn with my sister and brother-in-law. The food there is southern, I guess you can say Cajun, and very, very good. It's where I've gone for my first crawfish boil and recently a crabfest. Once again the food did not disappoint. We did try their bread pudding though to compare it to Sapori Trattoria's and there is no comparison. Sapori is still the hands down champ.

After doing some squats, since we ate so much, we watched Inception. Apparently it's received mixed reviews from those who are not critics, but I actually liked it. The stereotypical bad guy misses with 180 shots and the good guy hits within 3 got a little old though. Hey, it's his dream I guess so whatever.

Saturday another fun day that started with a nice, lazy morning and a high protein breakfast of scrambled eggs, cheese, beans and sausage. Good eating that kept us full until an early dinner with LL's parents at Wildfire. Though I've only been to this place a few times, it's starting to grow on me. There's LOTS of steak places in Chicago, but they have a fillet, wrapped in bacon with horseradish crusting that's just outstanding. Their sweet potato rubbed with barbecue spices was pretty awesome too and I might try that at home.

Interestingly, LL's parents brought gifts over for LL's birthday and gave them to her. That's not the interesting part because you would probably expect that. However these gifts weren't wrapped! Yeah, they don't wrap their birthday gifts for some reason. The stated reason of "would you rather have more unwrapped gifts or fewer wrapped gifts" doesn't fly with me. What's a roll of wrapping paper cost? $5 tops? C'mon, what gift are you going to buy for $5???

Anyway, after her folks left we headed out to Glen Ellyn for a birthday party (about an hour away) for a softball buddy of mine (E-Money) and stayed until 12:30 I think. All I know is that we didn't get to bed until 2 and we slept in very, very late. Which meant another late breakfast and no more food until dinner (because we weren't hungry not because of the diet). In the late afternoon I even got a great workout in at the gym. It made me wonder if the protein diet is helping with my weightlifting if not with my weight. Possibly.

For dinner we had pork chops, brussel sprouts and eggplant. Yeah, eggplant! LL went out to the store while I was working out and bought a little one, quartered it and baked it with the sprouts. Good stuff!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Short and Sweet

It looks like the Mexican drug cartels are going old school. You just can't stop these guys. Gotta give them some credit with the tunnels and now this.

Tonight starts the weekend of Laura. Her birthday is Monday so we're going out for dinner tonight with my sister, tomorrow with her parents and Monday with some friends. Very busy and it's going to be tough on the diet. Speaking of which, we had a great, high protein breakfast and a protein bar for lunch. Good eating! We'll see how things go over the next week.

The sun was out today and what a difference it makes on my mood! Sooo much nicer when the sun is out regardless of the temperature (within reason I guess).

That's about it for today. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Movies and Fat

Tuesday night we tried to rent The A-Team from Redbox and were successful, but it didn't work past the first 15 minutes or so. Ugh. You get all set to watch a movie, finished a nice meal, had beverages, then it starts and then it just won't work. Very, very frustrating. I'm sure I'll get refunded the $1, but that's not the point. We even tried to run it in two DVD players, but there was an obvious crack on the edge of the disk so it wasn't going to work in anything.

Tonight we rented RED, a pretty good action movie. Highly recommend it if you like action.

Tuesday I started an interesting little diet change. It came from Tim Ferriss, the author of The Four Hour Work Week and most recently, The Four Hour Body. In the book, Ferriss apparently covers many topics, I haven't read it, but did see his visit on Dr. Oz while I was working out. The upshot is that you can burn more fat by doing some simple things. One of them is to have a breakfast within 30 minutes of getting up and making it have 30 grams of protein. That's the equivalent of 5 eggs. It's also two eggs, a half a cup of cheese and some sausage. Pretty filling. But the key is what your body does with the protein, or how it processes it, versus non proteins. Another segment talks about taking cold baths and showers and stuff that I think is a little crazy. The third thing they talk about in the videos (linked under Dr. Oz above), is that after you have a big meal, within an hour but not necessarily right away, do 1 to 2 minutes of squats. The science is that it engages your muscles which then take energy from the blood stream instead of it all going to the fat cells for storage. Interesting. We'll see how it works. It's a long term change that I'm willing to try.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Doritos vs. Alcohol

I can hear you through the computer: where is Sutton going with THIS topic. Well, it hit me yesterday while I sat in the kitchen getting ready to eat my dinner of yogurt and granola (in an effort to lose weight). Though the planned meal was going to be sufficient, probably, I ALWAYS snack on something while preparing my food or deciding what to eat. For that purpose I have dried apricots and dried bananas available, but sometimes I hit the cheese and crackers and sometimes, just sometimes, I go after Doritos. Do I buy Doritos? Only when there's a Bears game. Love them or hate them, they are a great chip for tailgating. But the entire bag is rarely finished (though it usually comes close). After Sunday, I had about an eighth of a bag of chips left. And I ate them. All.

It got me to thinking: here this bag has been in my house for two days and I couldn't stop myself from eating them. Meanwhile I've had beer in my refrigerator every day for years and I could go a month without drinking one of them. Good beer too: Goose Island and Chimay. So which is more addicting? Clearly it's Doritos. And Doritos are much, much worse for you! Are there any Doritos anonymous groups out there? Lumping them in with people who just overeat in general seems to belittle Doritos. Sure driving after overindulging on Doritos isn't much of a problem and your liver isn't impacted by Doritos like it is with alcohol, but Doritos can make you fat and clog your arteries. They'll kill you just the same!! Sadly, I can't eliminate either entirely from my life.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Of Snow and Copper

When Andy, aka Sausage, Benny Baseball and E-Money came over before the game on Sunday to drop off some stuff for the tailgate, there was another 3 inches of snow on the ground from an overnight flurry. The guys also helped me pack the car; a much easier job with 5 people than just the two of us (or me alone last weekend!). After we finished, Sausage asked why the guy with this big honking snow blower stopped after finishing my neighbor's sidewalk instead of just strolling down and doing in front of my place too. If you live in the burbs, this would be an odd thing to see (even though Sausage lives downtown, he's from the am I really). But downtown, everyone focuses on their own sidewalk and it's really rare for someone to venture across property lines. The biggest reason is that everyone has a maintenance person to remove the snow because the buildings are multi-family dwellings: either condos or apartment buildings. Since they are only paid to clear snow in front of their own building and don't live there, they have no incentive to help others. A little sad.

Remember those new light poles that were installed on our block? Here's the latest story. Yeah, people are busting open the poles and stealing the copper wire!! How insane is that? Or smart...I'm not sure yet. Guess it depends on how much money they can get for the wire at a scrap yard.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Time to start thinking Super Bowl!

No, the Bears are not going to the Super Bowl, but it's time to start thinking about where I'm going to be for the Super Bowl. It's a big day for me when I usually start watching TV around 11 and put in a good 10 hours. Granted, I'm not sitting in front of the TV doing nothing all that time, but it still sucks up the day pretty well.

So what to do this year? Doesn't sound like the softball team is having a fundraiser this year, so I think the day is free. The last two years we have had fundraisers, but there seems to be some uncertainty about the team organization (who plays on what teams and in what leagues) so there's nothing scheduled yet.

Do I have people over? Prior to the fundraisers, I would have a few people over and we'd enjoy the game in front of my 50' plasma screen with two other TV's in the house set up as well. Certainly an option as LL and I haven't really hosted an event yet.

Should I go to someone else's house? No invitations yet and I haven't really done this in the past except for maybe once in the last 10 years or so. While it's nice to not have to cook ALL of the food and make sure everyone's getting taken care of, often my friends don't have a good viewing situation for the game (either the TV is too small or there aren't enough seats).

So I'm leaning towards having people over and maybe having them bring a dish to share. That would be fun. We'll see. Only two weeks to plan!!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Tailgate and Taxes

By now you know the bad news....the Bears lost. They didn't play well which was really frustrating and were down 14-0 at halftime. Even though they won the coin flip, they deferred taking the ball until the second half which I thought was a HUGE mistake and in my opinion ended up costing them game. Seems dramatic? Hear me out:

All week the Packers and their QB, Rodgers, have been planning and scheming about how to make their offense effective against the Bears defense. By deferring, you just give them a chance to put all of that to work with field position and everything in their favor. Plus your defense would have had to face their offense one less time before half. The result? They ran off plays of 20+ yards and 15+ yards on seemingly every play as they marched down field on their opening position to score a touchdown. The margin of victory? One touchdown.

Not only that, the Bears get the ball down 7 points and the pressure is all on their offense. Stupid, stupid, stupid. The Packers offense only scored 7 more points, reinforcing how dumb it was to defer. Ugh.

The tailgate was fun though as we parked next to my buddies, the Punke's (pronounced Punk-ee). There probably ended up being 10-15 people at the tailgate all totaled. Mr. Heater was going in full force providing us a nice break from the chill. Interestingly though when we got to our seats, I ended up not having my coat on until the third quarter when the sun set. It was great to be warm while sitting up there....or standing and screaming.

Last night, just before bed, I realized I missed paying my estimated tax payment. Crap. Not sure how big of a penalty or fine I'll get, but it was supposed to be postmarked by last Monday and it completely slipped my mind because of work and the Bears. Oh well. I'll send it off tomorrow and I'm sure they'll fine me something for the week. Sucks, but what can you do? Actually, if I could finish my taxes and file them before 1/31, I wouldn't have to make an estimated payment in January. That's not going to happen though. This is only the second time I've missed a payment in probably 8 years.

Because I was thinking about the taxes before bed, I ended up having these very frustrating dreams. One was in a resort in Mexico and I couldn't find my room amongst the thousands of rooms. It's a dream I've had before and I hate it!! There was another dream that was similar in nature, but I don't remember it. Just a frustrating 24 hours overall.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Back at Softball?!?

The other night, a bunch of guys and I got together for a softball practice at an indoor facility in Glen Ellyn. It wasn't really a practice though as there wasn't enough room to take ground balls or anything like that, just hitting and some throwing. It's been a few months since I threw a softball and at the start of the practice session, my shoulder experienced the same discomfort that I had most of last season (save for a scant few throws in the summer when my shoulder had no discomfort at all). On the hitting side of things though I was hitting rockets. If you can hit in softball, there will always be a team that wants you to play with them.

This group of guys, with whom I'll be traveling to Arizona at the end of February, was mostly from another team which is actually sponsored by a strip club. Too funny. They do have pretty awesome uniforms though and no, they aren't g-string related. What was originally going to be 8-10 of our my regular team and 2-4 of their guys has flipped to only 4-5 of our guys and mostly their guys. It should still be fun, but probably not as much fun as if it were just our guys.

Before we play ball down there I'm going to get a few rounds of golf in on Thursday and Friday. Should be fun!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Getting cold!

First off, my entry yesterday was inspired by a conversation with Joisey Ken, for which I failed to give him credit. Thanks Ken! He actually asked the question about whether it was true that the Bears and Packers haven't played each other in the playoffs since 1941 and we were both somewhat amazed as to how that could be. I heard today that the Bears and Packers have only been in the playoffs in the same year four times. Tough for them to actually meet with only four chances.

The temperature here is dropping to -6 degrees tonight with windchills of -30. Guess who is not going outside? Yikes. Thanks Minnesota! This crap better leave before Sunday!

Work has been kind of crazy and today was no exception. Pretty much all afternoon I was either on the phone or working on a spreadsheet. As such, my interesting thoughts have been limited. Actually, that's not entirely true as I had some good topics earlier today, but LL and I shared a bottle of wine that I bought recently (92 points for only $8) and I seem to have forgotten the good topics. Hopefully I'll remember tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A little more Bears/Packers!

One of the reasons I wanted to bring up the Bears/Packers yesterday was to point out that the two teams have not met in the playoffs since....1941. Yeah. Wow. It's really odd seemingly until you look at how the playoffs were run throughout that timespan. From 1933 until 1966, there were only two divisions and the winners played each other for the championship and that was the only playoff game. The Bears and Packers were in the same division, so their one meeting was the result of being tied during the regular season of 1941 and so a playoff game was played to determine who would play for the championship (the Bears won and won the championship as well).

From 1967 through 1969, two conferences were created, each with two divisions. Again the Bears and Packers were in the same division and only the division winner's made the playoffs. From 1970 until 1978, a third division was added to each conference and a wildcard team was added in each conference to allow four teams to make the playoffs in each conference. Finally a chance for the Bears and Packers to meet in the playoffs. But it was made more difficult because if they both made it into the playoffs, the wildcard team would play another division winner, regardless of records, before they would play a team in their own division.

So now we're in 1978 and there's been very little chance to play each other. Now another wild card was added in each conference and the two wildcard teams played each other while the three division winners had a bye. The wildcard winner then played the #1 seeded division winner, again unless they were in the same division. So unless both the Bears and Packs were the wildcards, one team would have to win TWO playoff games while the other won one before they would play each other. Again, not great odds.

That lasted until 1990 when a third wildcard team was added in each conference and one division winner would lose their bye. Again, unless the Bears and Packers were both wildcards, they wouldn't play each other in the first or second round.

In 2002, the current system was put in place where there are four divisions in each conference and two wildcard teams. The wildcard teams no longer play each other, but instead play a division winner. There is no current regard though for a wildcard team playing their own division winner. So it's really only been since 2002 that it's even been reasonable for a Bears/Packer match-up to occur. Ironically enough, the Packers have won two games and the Bears won one to get the match-up, the exact situation that for 33 years made the tilt unlikely.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


So the Bears and Packers are playing on Sunday for the honor of going to the Super Bowl and there's a great buzz going on around the city. Tickets for the game are starting at around 5x face value, which I have to say, made me stop and think albeit briefly. The game is at 2:00 which means we can show up at 11:30 or so and have a great day of it. Not sure yet what kind of food I'll be cooking up...but it's gotta be good for such a huge game.

It'll be interesting to see who shows up, but regardless we'll have fun. LL is in town so she'll be joining me this time for sure along with Benny Baseball and Andy "The Sausage King" or just Sausage for short. Sausage was at a bachelor party in Michigan last weekend so he couldn't make it. There was a question in my mind for a brief period of time about whether someone who would go to a bachelor party instead of a playoff game was worthy of ticket, but Sausage is a good guy.

Wedding planning is moving full steam ahead....if it were an 1800's steam locomotive. We're struggling with location and date, the two biggest things really so it's not that bad to be struggling with them. Part of the problem is my attendee list drops from over 100 to probably less than 30 if we do a destination wedding. LL's guest list is mostly family, so they will probably go anywhere. My list is mostly friends and it's just harder to commit the time and coin to go see a friend get married. Completely understandable. In the end, as long as LL and I are happy and have a happy event, that's all that matters. There's just a big part of each of us that just want to have everyone have a great time and that's a really tough chore to accomplish.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Happy Day!

It was a tremendous day at Soldier Field yesterday and not just because the Bears thumped the Seahawks 35-24 (though they were up 28-0 at one point). It was also a great tailgate, both before and after the game and I got to hang out with a lot of friends. The Punke family, who sit next to me at the game, got to the lot early and saved a parking spot next to them for me. So in addition to them, I had: Benny Baseball, George Randall, E-Money, Mrs. E-Money, another friend of theirs and my buddy Tom. Tom is also a client and we had a blast. For a change at a playoff game, Benny didn't get so blitzed that he couldn't walk.....always a good thing!!

Also stopping by was Terry and Sandie, from the Memorial Day barbecue, and Skinny and his boy Ben, with whom I used to share Bears tickets until he moved to Maryland. Lots of food and drinks were consumed. Good times!

The weather cooperated too as it was around 20 without any wind. Not bad. To help take the edge off, I broke out Mr. Heater, the 28,000 BTU propane heat provider.

The shield was constructed by yours truly back in 2008. It blocks the wind and directs the heat at least a little bit so you get more of the warmth from it. It worked like a charm both before and after the tailgate.

Next week the Bears host the much hated Green Bay Packers.

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the 25th anniversary of the holiday. Do yourself a favor and listen to his "I have a dream" speech on Youtube.

Friday, January 14, 2011

New Chili

A few weeks ago, I decided to see how much sodium was in the chili I make. Though I always thought it was pretty healthy (fresh green and red peppers, fresh onion, meat, kidney and pinto beans), it turns out to be very high in sodium. In my best nerdy accountant-type, I put together the following spreadsheet of info:


Sodium per

total sodium

Tomato sauce




Diced tomatoes




Chili beans




Kidney beans




Pinto beans




Chili spice mix








Total sodium


Depending on how many servings a pot of chili makes (10? 15?), it's a LOT of sodium per serving. So I set out to find a lower sodium chili. First and foremost, I found recipes that called for no salt added tomatoes and beans. Well, where the hell am I supposed to find those?? Turns out, right around the corner! Whole Foods carries all sorts of things without sodium added: tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, kidney beans and pinto beans. So tonight I went shopping and came up with the following results:


Sodium per

total sodium

Tomato sauce




Diced tomatoes




Chili beans




Kidney beans




Pinto beans




Chili spice mix








Total sodium


A dramatic reduction!! But does it taste good? Well, that's why I made some tonight. The result? Interestingly, it needs salt. Sigh. So close. In this batch I left out the chili beans (because I couldn't find a low sodium alternative) and the spicy breakfast sausage (I opted for additional ground beef). My thought is that I can cook up some of the beans and add them to the mix, doubling the sodium content, but still reducing the overall sodium to less than 25% of what it was. If adding the beans improves the taste, that would be awesome!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ringing ear

Tonight we rented Social Network. I have to say, a freaking awesome movie which you should absolutely run, don't walk, to go rent if you haven't seen it. Very fun. We rented the movie from Red Box and it made me want to know what the story was behind Red Box. And also whatever happened to Sean Parker, the guy from Napster who advised Facebook until his arrest on cocaine possession? Turns out he's on his way to be being a billionaire again. I love Wikipedia. The Red Box story could be compelling too.

The last couple of weeks my tinnitus has been acting up like crazy. If you don't recall, tinnitus is a ringing in the ear. Fortunately I guess, only my left ear rings (which is actually fairly common with tinnitus just have one ear ringing not necessarily the left one). But it's been ringing very loudly compared to normal. To create background noise (white noise if you prefer) I run a floor fan outside my bedroom door, a habit I picked up as a Resident Advisor in college which would drown out the noises of people on my floor acting up. Actually, I slept through more than one false fire alarm because of the fan. But I digress. Because my ear is ringing, I can't actually hear the fan! That's how loud it's been. Why? It's tough to determine. The disease or condition if you will, is not very well understood. Caffeine, salt and alcohol all impact it negatively, which is why I'm constantly ranting about sodium levels in restaurants. For some reason I don't rant about alcohol though...hmmm. Anyway, as this is my journal and not just a blog, I wanted to make a record of it so next year I can check back and see if my ear was ringing. There does tend to be some seasonality to it ringing, but again, I don't know why.

One last thing, as I know people don't often check my blog over the weekend, I wanted to remind you that Monday is Martin Luther King Day and it's the 25th anniversary of the holiday. As usual, I'm pretty sure, I'll reprint his "Dream" speech. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tough Time of Year

No, not because ESDNM was in town (he left this afternoon after a very productive two days) and not because of the weather, though it doesn't help. It's tough because Christmas starts a barrage of presents and romantic dinners due LL! There's Christmas and NYE, followed by our dating anniversary (yeah, we still celebrate that...what of it?), her birthday and then Valentine's Day!! While I like to fancy myself as a pretty good gift giver, that's a lot to ask from a guy (not that she asks at all and is probably appalled that I'm writing any of this). But so far I'm doing ok on the gift side of things. Hopefully I won't run out of ideas before Valentine's Day!

The Bears playoff game is coming up, just three more days of preparation before the big day. Since it's a noon start, I'll be cooking breakfast and hopefully some celebratory post game grub. It's tough to hang out in the parking lot if we lose though. Pre-game should be awesome. LL is going out of town so I'm taking a client who is also a buddy of mine. Should be fun. Benny Baseball and E-Money are going to be there as well, in addition to Mr. Heater, the propane heating unit I pull out in the cold weather. Can't wait!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Return of Snow

Like the swallows returning to Capistrano, ESDNM came to Chicago and brought with him the snow. We haven't had snow in Chicago for two weeks or so, but got hit with a bunch today. It wouldn't bother me too much, but we had clients to call on today which meant traveling around the city and cleaning snow off the car several times.

No visit from ESDNM would be complete without a visit somewhere crazy and tonight he held up his end of the bargain by convincing LL that we should go to Sun Wah BBQ, a Korean restaurant... I think. Unfortunately the link to Trip Advisor provided by ESDNM had the wrong address, but fortunately they had only moved around the corner. Doesn't seem so bad unless it's twenty degrees outside and snowing while I'm trying to find the email, link and address. Brrrr. But we got there without much problem and the food was pretty good: dumpling soup with noodles (do NOT get this if you are trying to share as the noodles do not cooperate), bbq duck, bbq pork, bok choy and egg plant (which doesn't have as much yolk as you might think). I think ESDNM is going to put pictures of the food on his blog, so check his out.

One more meal the bad influence from New Mexico. I'm hoping to survive.

Monday, January 10, 2011

And so it begins....

ESDNM came into town tonight. Since that time all I've done is eat and drink. Just stating the facts. It was another trip to one of our favorite restaurants, Sapori Trattoria, for their family style price fix menu. Great stuff. As we drove there, I mentioned that we might see my softball buddy John and his wife Carol there as they recently moved into the neighborhood. And they were indeed there!! Once again LL mentioned that we have to get together with them more often because "Carol is so nice". Can't argue there.

Four inches of snow on the way, which isn't too troubling but it makes the day more annoying. Tomorrow is our big day of seeing clients and we park and walk throughout the day so the snow just makes it a little more difficult.

Starting to get excited about the Bears game on Sunday!!

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Bread and water

Heard this song Saturday and though I've head it before, I actually listened to the lyrics this time. The song is "Nothin' on you" by B.O.B with Bruno Mars. Here's a real line in the song that made me actually laugh out loud: baby you the whole package plus you pay your taxes. Seriously? If you're comparing your gal to women "all over the world", I'm not sure how far down the list I would have to go before I got to the "So do you pay your taxes?" box.

After a very busy Friday, the weekend started off pretty laid back. We decided just to rent a movie from Red Box, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Different movie than I thought, but entertaining. LL made chicken cordon bleu. Very tasty!! On Saturday we ran a bunch of errands, mostly stuff I had to do, then I hit the gym. For food we had leftovers, a loaf of bread and a small bag of chips. Yeah, a little weird huh? This bread we bought at Jewel was da bomb! It wasn't completely cooked, so you take it home and bake it for 20 minutes. It was hot and delicious so we had tuna fish sandwiches and then later on in the evening just ate the bread after dipping it into a mixture of olive oil, Parmesan cheese, garlic and seasoned pepper. Uber good.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Well isn't that nice?

So the other day, LL needed to get up early for work and set her alarm for 6 a.m. Yes, that's early for her and for US. After her morning routine, she was running late and was somewhat irritated (there were issues with "getting ready" process). On her way out she came in and hurriedly gave me a goodbye kiss (I was still in comments) and had not much to say before leaving.

About an hour later or so, the phone rang. It was LL. She was feeling bad about being a little grumpy in the morning and felt like she took it out on me. It was really nice because I had noticed that she was grumpy and felt a little bad about it. So she explained why she felt like that, apologized and it was all good. In fact, I went and took care of one or two of the problems that contributed to her mood.

If you've been checking the web news recently, you've heard about the mass animal extinctions going on around the world. That kind of thing really interests me, especially when the far right starts talking about "end of days" crap (and then try to pin it on Obama). Here's a link to a short, solid explanation for a lot of the prevailing reason why.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

How Facebook impacts my life...and yours?

As you know, I'm a softball player and I'm fairly outgoing. Both seem like positive things, at least I think so, generally at least the latter is seen as good. Being a softball player might be a mixed bag! Recently however, I've started to encounter an.....issue. Not necessarily bad or good, but an issue nonetheless (I love typing that word by the way "nonetheless"...seems like it needs to be more than one word but it isn't). Even if you don't play softball, if you're involved in any social events, you probably run across this too....if you are also on Facebook.

See, the guys on my teams are usually 10-15 years younger than me and not all are married. Many are though, so that's fine. The others however have....what? Girlfriends. And the girlfriends come to the games. And they come to our tournaments when we go out of town. And Joe talks to them because he's an outgoing guy and likes to meet new people. Plus I like to take an interest in my teammates personal lives because it's more than just softball.

Then Facebook comes along and now I get friended by these softball teammates' girlfriends. Fine.

Until they breakup.

Right now I'm friends on FB with no fewer than three women who have dated guys on my team, oh wait, just remembered a fourth. Four. Now these folks are nice and all, but now what's my real connection with them? Is there a chance that I'll even see them again? I guess it's no greater or less than many of my FB friends to tell you the truth: people from high school or ex co-workers.

Without FaceBook, these people would have disappeared from my I guess FB is a good thing. It just impacted me in this odd way.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Weird Day

Today was one of those days that just seemed to drag on...without point....without much energy....just sort of there. It was weird. The funny thing is, I was meeting LL and a couple for dinner and then the Blackhawks game. It was going to be a very fun evening, but the day was just blah. When I have days like this, I just try to do little things and accomplish SOMETHING because I know anything big is out of the question. So that's what I did today until it was time to head out for the game.

My mood turned dramatically as I left for the game and was very happy to see LL in her new Patrick Sharp autographed jersey and our friends. They actually gave us their 300 level tickets since they were gifted 100 level seats. But our vantage was pretty good, even though ALL six goals and a penalty shot were at the other end of the ice. The last two minutes were at our end and it was exciting to watch, but the good guys lost 4-2. Well, it was still fun and I'm hoping tomorrow is more productive!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Some Pics

First, here's some pictures from NYE.

Apparently it's been a tradition for the Legal Eagles to go to Fogo de Chao. You couldn't tell that we're in a recession based on how busy they were! The place was packed!!

If you haven't been to a Brazilian steak house, these little disks control your food flow. Each disk has a red side and a green side. If you put the green side up, you're inundated with servers carrying meat on a stick. If you want the flow to stop, flip the disk to red.

And here's the four of us outside Fogo. The picture was taken by Cecil, our driver for the evening.

On to Sunday! Greg, of the Legal Eagles, had scouted out a Bears bar for us to watch the Bears game at. Very awesome! We showed up early and got prime seats in front of the projection TV. The bar, Union Pub, was packed by the time the game started.

Here are just some of the 8 TV's we were able to watch.

Just some of the Bears memorabilia in the bar. And across the street? Armand's Chicago Pizza!

And last but not least, me sporting my Julius Peppers jersey courtesy of Joisey Ken.

The game itself was fun to watch despite the 10-3 Bears loss. Two big plays did us in: a Cutler interception on 3rd and 15 in the redzone, and a timeout called by Lovie (and Mike Martz, the offensive coordinator) negating a 15 yard pick up on third down and a first down.

The former was just an awful throw by Cutler (QB rating of 43 I think) who made bad decisions all game (at least 3 of his 6 sacks were easily avoidable if he only would have thrown the ball away). We were up 3-0 at the time with a good chance to be up 6-0. Instead we were revisited by Bad Jay.

The second play was really confusing for us at the bar since, though the sound was on, you couldn't always hear everything the announcers said. It was third down and 15 with the ball around midfield and the play clock was running down with the score tied at 3-3, but Jay took the snap with 1 second left on the clock, dumped a pass over the middle to the running back who took it 16 yards for a first down. Then we find out Lovie Smith called a time out just before Cutler snapped the ball. The next play they ran resulted in a sack and was followed by a punt. Just awful. Not only was the negated play successful, but why use a timeout that you could need later in the game since the score was close? A 5 yard penalty on 3rd and 15 really doesn't matter. Your chances of making 3rd and 15 can't be much greater than making 3rd and 20. Anyway, Green Bay took the ball after the punt and scored 3 or 4 plays later. Momentum just left the Bears after the time out. It was awful.

One good thing about the game though was Lovie playing our starters the whole game. The Bears had nothing to gain by winning the game, their playoff position was set, but they will have two weeks (13 days) without a game, so they will have plenty of time to rest. Someone could have gotten hurt, but I wouldn't have blamed Lovie at all for it. I like the idea of playing your starters and working to improve. It sends the message that there's always room to get better!!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Back home

It's good to be home! Don't get me wrong, the Legal Eagles were great hosts, but there's nothing like your own bed and getting back to the daily routines. And those routines really haven't been, for several weeks. This week things should be getting back to normal though. With wedding planning beginning, not at a crazy pace by any stretch however, there won't be a ton of downtime.

While we are indeed home, there was no certainty at the beginning of the day that the day would end this way. The morning started positively enough as we got to BWI airport in about 15 minutes and we had allotted twice that amount of time. We're lucky we did! The line for the skycaps to check bags was over 30 minutes. The line INSIDE was unbelievably Vegas on a Sunday morning long. Just freaking crazy. What's the deal? Most people who traveled for NYE, we thought, would have gone home on Sunday right? Well, maybe it's just that BWI is always screwed up, but it was pretty bad. Getting through security wasn't a problem at all though, it was just the checking bags stage of the Southwest process. Neither McDonald's nor Starbucks had abnormal lines. Crazy.

Fortunately we got our bags checked in (we were there 90 minutes before our flight) and had time to get breakfast and coffee and even got our gate reassigned before it was time to board. Smooth trip the rest of the day, but we were both pretty lethargic. Can't wait to hit the sheets tonight!

Tomorrow: football from the weekend.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

"I wanna be a billionaire, so effing bad."

Still in Maryland (Odenton), but we come back tomorrow morning. It's been a nice, relaxing trip which has involved a minimal amount of time away from the sofa. LL's sister and bro-in-law, the Legal Eagles or LE's for short, planned and executed a great weekend. The theme drink for the weekend was caipirinhas, a Brazilian drink of lime, sugar and Brazilian rum. They are awesome! After watching some football on Friday, the LE's hired a limo, driven by Cecil, to take us into D.C. for NYE dinner at Fogo de Chao, the most famous of the Brazilian steak houses. Very good food and massive quantities of it.

Saturday brought much more football, in which every team I cheered for (ALL DAY), lost and more caipirinhas!! Instead of the usual two tablespoons of sugar per drink (yes it is sweet!), we substituted 3 packs of Splenda for one of the tablespoons to cut down on SOME of the calories and sugar....though I realize it's kind of ridiculous to worry about it, but when you have 6-7 of them, it's not a bad thing to cut out some of the sugar.

For food we had various appetizers made by LL and her sister. It was the stereotypical guys-in-the-living -room and women-in-the-kitchen scene. They did a great job though and the apps were delicious: shrimp stuffed puffs, cream cheese stuffed mushroom caps, hotter peppers stuffed with some kind of cream cheese concoction, bacon wrapped shrimp....all very good.

Now it's Sunday morning and we're getting ready to head downtown to watch some football games, including the Bears in the afternoon. I'm wearing my new Peppers jersey courtesy of Joisey Ken and am hoping the Bears play their starters for most of the game. They play the Packers and it's fun to knock them out of the playoffs!

And the title today is from a song on LE's annual mix that is stuck in my head. Don't want to forget that piece of info!