Wednesday, February 29, 2012

It's in the numbers

It was a busy day today as we had great weather in Chicago: somewhere in the 50's! In between phone calls, scheduling other calls and reading documents, I went the driving range to hit a bucket of balls and then to the gym to run. I've been putting in 3 miles in around 31:40 and then do weight room leg exercises. Tomorrow is my day off from the gym, but I'll be hitting softballs at the batting cages. Should be good, in between scheduled phone calls.

For a little picture distraction, my car turned 124,000!! I like to take pictures of my odometer. Guess I'm just a numbers guy.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Rude awakening

After three days of relaxing sun and warmth, it was back to reality today. And what a start it was. Our monthly finance council church meeting was moved back a week to today, which was good as I couldn't have made it last week, but bad because it's at 7 a.m. That means I have to get up before 6 to get ready and get there by 7, which is not a fun thing for me to do....especially after a long weekend. That said, I was up on time and ready to go, in part because I went to bed early due to being tired from traveling and still being on the eastern time zone schedule.

The rest of the day was fairy uneventful: scheduled some phone calls, hit the gym (lifting day) and cleaned up after LL made dinner. She wasn't too excited about the vegetable dish (spaghetti squash with mushrooms and tomatoes) that went along with the baked pesto chicken (made with a new pesto sauce that has 50% less sodium), but both were delicious!! She's becoming quite the cook and I couldn't be happier.

The big news around the condo building is that one of the six tenants is being foreclosed on. Ugh. The main issue to me, or us, is the payment of assessments. We can stick the bank or the purchaser of the unit with SOME of the assessments, but I've read that it might only be 6 months worth (prior to foreclosure). Currently the tenant is paid up so there isn't a problem, but thinking that will continue is like putting your head in the sand.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Land of no snow and no gators....??

Friday was an early morning with a 6:30 trip to the airport. A "snowstorm" was coming through the area the night before and early morning. Flights were cancelled by the dozens and all of Southwest's flights were cancelled on Thursday night. By the airport and by us, we got maybe two inches of snow...maybe. Far out west and to the north though, they got hit with 6-9". We thought we were going to be ok, especially after checking with the skycap who told us the flight was on-time still. Unfortunately, by the time we go to our gate, it was already delayed two hours. Nuts.

Then the news got worse: our plane hadn't left Buffalo yet. Those poor folks were on the tarmac for two hours while we at least were able to walk around the airport. Fortunately the flight was only delayed the two hours. LL and I had a discussion about how long we'd wait before we'd scrap the weekend and use the tickets another time. Eventually we agreed on sometime around noon would be our drop dead time. That would have put us at the airport for 5 hours and not get us to Florida until close to 5 probably their time, which would have cut out half a day of our two full and two half days. Fortunately we didn't come up against the deadline.

We took off and everything went smoothly. Our gracious host, Doug, was waiting for us at the airport and off we went. Doug spends three months or so in a community with decidedly older folks for the most part, though very nice people. Everyone has a golf cart and tools around on them. Of course the speed limit most places is an appalling 20 mph, but older people have slower reaction times, so it's probably for the best. It's a gated community too, so no strangers are running around.

Inside the gates though is a marina, a bar/restaurant and 27 holes of golf. Good stuff! Doug took us around to where manatees swim into the marina and hang out. Unfortunately with just my phone, I couldn't get pictures of them as they were basically the color of the water. Pretty cool to see. But all we saw was wildlife all weekend: an osprey flew within 3 or 4 feet of Doug and I while golfing, an egret swooped really close to me while golfing on day two, not to mention the blue herons and several huge turtles. The big prize though was a gator!!

So on to my very limited amount of pictures.

Here's Doug's bulletin board of Christmas cards and such, including our card!! Yay us! Doug's place has 3 bedrooms, two baths, a kitchen and living room. As you might expect, there's no basement, as is the case with most homes in Florida I think.

This is Doug's lanai. A pretty good sized, heated pool. There's a table to the right and a TV up in the corner. Very nice to sit out there and watch TV. It's also nice to sit out there in the nice weather without bugs getting at you.

This guy was a LOT closer than the picture makes the bird appear (an Anhinga-species courtesy of Back-to-baseball). It was right next to the cart path on the course and was really strutting around for some reason. I wasn't sure if it was strutting for females or if we were getting too close to its nest and it was trying to scare us off.

And here's the gator! He's across the pond from me here and is about 6-7' long. All of the water on the course is connected by drainage pipes, so he has access to everything. We saw an egret catch a fish and something in the water was moving towards it, but didn't attack. We thought it was the gator, but there's no way it wouldn't have gone after the fish and/or bird being as close as he was.

And here's our last shot of sunshine at the airport. Thought it was deserving of a picture.

So now we're home where there is no snow (awesome) and no gators (not so awesome).

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Good Times

Tomorrow, Monday, we return from Florida. After 27 holes of golf and some time in the pool, it's going to be tough to return to the winter. I know why snow birds make this trip every year! Lots of things to talk about and some pictures too when I get back on my own computer. Hope you had a great weekend!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Off to warmer weather?

Hopefully, in the morning, we'll be off to Ft. Myers Florida. It's not like we don't have the tickets or anything, we do, but there's supposed to be 3-9" of snow tonight and Southwest has already cancelled flights for tonight and started on morning flights. Ugh. Nothing worse than a day at the airport. Already we can do is check with the airline and hope that we get to takeoff. Sitting on the tarmac would be the worst.

So either we'll be off to Florida tomorrow or not. I'm wondering if we'll go on Saturday if the flight gets cancelled. I'm guessing not since we'd come back on Monday. Though I'd be up for staying longer on the back end, LL has an important meeting on Tuesday (which I sort of chastised her for making) and we have guests coming into town the next weekend. Let's hope the snow gods let us head to Florida and sunny, 80 degree weather!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mardi Gras

ESDNM was in town from Monday afternoon until this morning and Tuesday night we went out to dinner (with LL) to The Gale Street Inn for dinner as he had a hankering for chicken. Interestingly, that's actually a difficult request to fulfill for me. When we have chicken, we usually prepare it at home. I don't remember the last time I ordered chicken out when it wasn't a sandwich for lunch. And ESDNM doesn't JUST want chicken. Nooooo. It's got to be chicken on the bone. A little bit tougher to think of places now huh?

Anyway, Ash Wednesday and Fat Tuesday both snuck up on me and it never really occurred to me that it might be a busy night at some restaurants. The Gale Street Inn was no exception. If the name sounds familiar, it should as we went there with Joisey Ken the last two years and the fellas and I went there before going drinking for our holiday night out. It's a solid place to go for ribs especially, but the chicken and steak are good as well. It's a very....ethnic type of place, but by ethnic I mean old school neighborhoody. It's one of those places that you KNOW some people have been going to for like 40 years or something (in fact I just looked up when it opened and it opened in 1963). Cops go there in massive numbers I'm sure. You know the kind of place if you're from Chicago.

So it was packed, but we got a seat after waiting for about 20 minutes or so.

Here's a close up of some of the mardi gras decorations. There scary dudes were everywhere!

My dinner seems sparse, a half rack and spinach, both delicious, but we had already had gumbo as well as catfish tacos from the special mardi gras menu. Good eating!!

LL had ribs as well, but here's ESDNM with his chicken. Doesn't he look happy? You'd think he'd at least look happier with his chicken.

While ESDNM was here, he opined on my pb&j sandwich that I was having for lunch. His comment "doesn't peanut butter have a lot of fat?", was met with incredulity. Noooo, high protein and if there is fat, it's the good fat. So that's partially true, there's no transfat and it's almost all non-saturated fat, but it still has 17 grams of fat per serving. That's 25% of your daily allowance if you're NOT trying to lose weight. Ugh. Even the low fat pb has 12 grams of fat. Way to go ESDNM. Ruin another thing I like. Now what the hell am I supposed to have for lunch??

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Happy Fat Tuesday! (or Ash Wednesday by the time you read this)

Work day today with ESDNM in town, so we called on three clients and had lengthy meetings with two of them. Then it was off to The Gale Street Inn for dinner.

Pictures and more to come tomorrow. I'm beat!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy President's Day!!

A day off here, or partial for me at least, so I extended my weekend by another day. And a busy weekend it was!!

As I mentioned, I had a flat tire on Friday, which though I inflated it, was flat again Saturday morning. Fortunately, since I bought my tires at Pep Boys, there fixed it for free! Nice. Since I had wanted to get an oil change last week anyway, I had them do that while they had the car up on the rack. Everything went smoothly and the car was ready to go for my trip to the burbs on Saturday night.

Sunday was card picking day at my parents' house. We do this every year: get the family together and vote on the best card my parents receive for Christmas that year. The winner is often a card purchased from the National Wildlife Organization or the National Wildlife Federation, with probably 5 or 6 winners so far. The winning card is framed and gets hung in the hallway of my parents' house. Even though the card we sent this year was clearly the best, it had 7 pictures from our wedding on it, it was disqualified for having writing on the front, a risk I knew when creating the card.

The final two cards, both NWF cards, were from each of my sisters. I didn't know for SURE that they were from them, but I had little doubt. As it turned out, I was right and both were from my sisters. It was a close vote and I believe the winner this year was my sister Lori with a cute bear cub card.

Winter Play Card
Here's the winner

Christmas Puppy Card
And here's the runner up. Both good cards.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Flat day

Missed posting yesterday as it was a busy, busy day. After a meeting with a client downtown, I went to a routine doctor's appointment and then to the gym (where I benched my max weight 6 times...pretty solid already!). Then came dinner (steaks with blue cheese crust) and the great Thursday night shows along with a Blackhawks' game (started at 6:00). We ended up going to bed at 10 or 10:30, so there wasn't any time to write.

Today I was blessed with a flat tire. Well, I wasn't blessed exactly. In fact, it pissed me off a little because I'm pretty sure it was a valet that ran over something causing the flat. Fortunately, the car was right outside our condo. Unfortunately, not one but two cans of Fix-A-Flat failed to actually work because they were too cold. Damn! So I was going to put on the spare, but of course, the lug nuts were nearly rusted on. So the first thing I did was get some WD-40 on the lug nuts to loosen them up. In the interim, I remembered that I received this really cool emergency battery jumper/outlet/tire inflator for Christmas a year ago. After hooking up the inflator, I flipped it on and amazingly, it started inflating the tire!! It got up to about 30 PSI which is all I needed to get to the Shell around the corner. Once there I filled it up further and was able to drive myself to the gym, fully aware that there was a good chance that the tire would be flat when I came out. After running my 3 miles, I came back out and it was still inflated! We'll see whether it is in the morning or not.

The Dow is closing in on my future headline entry, though I guess it's still about 4% under. Still, progress is being made. The Greece debt debacle has lingered a bit longer than I thought
(I mean really, you're out of money and people are willing to bail you out but you have to cut spending, how hard is that to agree to??). Still, here's a CNNMoney headline today:

Dow at highest point since 2008

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

V-Day Pictures!

How could I let the big V-Day go undocumented? I couldn't. Despite Terri Terri's entry, SOME people are still romantic and care about Valentine's Day. So here are some pictures of the night, which is the restaurant we went to for our first and third Valentine's Day dinner. We went elsewhere for the second one and weren't all that thrilled.

Yes, it's a swanky restaurant and just two blocks away!

They don't have a permanent menu, I think it changes weekly, so having a custom one for Valentine's Day is normal.

Here's my beautiful date who I forced to stand in front of roses for a pre-meal picture. Sooooo pretty! You can't see her earrings which were great as well.

The menu from which we chose our delicious meals. It was prix fixe so we had an appetizer, entree and dessert.

We both opted for the tuna carpaccio, which was delicious.

For the second big meal out, I opted for the braised short ribs and for the second big meal in a row, I was shocked at the lack of actual meat with the dish. LL ordered the duck and had a generous portion. Odd.

And for dessert, a nice little sponge cake with berry ream topping and a chocolate dipped strawberry. Not bad, but not great.

Overall, a wonderful night out with my valentine, but the food was a bit of a let down this year (LL's duck was great and what there was of my ribs was good as well) so we'll see about maybe trying another place next year.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Short entry because of the holiday. Hope you're enjoying the day with someone special!!

I heard on the radio that Papa John's, the number 4 pizza company (behind Domino's, Little Caesar's and Pizza Hut), sells heart shaped pizzas on Valentine's Day. Now, these guys sponsored the Super Bowl. Huge company. How many heart shaped pizzas do you think they expect to sell today nationwide? This is the whole nation for the number 4 pizza chain. And they've been selling these pizzas for a few years now. Only 75,000. Seems like a pretty small number for a relatively good idea. Lots and lots of couples go out the day before or day after Valentine's Day which means pizza for dinner on V-Day seems to be fairly common. You'd think they'd sell more than that.

Monday, February 13, 2012

More than one way to skin a rat

Ok, maybe "skinning" a rat is a little much, so how about killing a rat? As you recall, not too long ago I re-opened the war in Basra against my neighbors' rats. The little buggers started pushing the poison cubes and pellets out of the four holes they had dug, so I had to redeploy T-Rex. He took down two of them in the first three nights on the job and then found it a bit rough going. So I put out reinforcements: a brand new T-Rex right out of the box. BAM! Another kill that night and a few more followed over the next few nights. Then nothing. No movement. No nibbles.

A few days ago, after about a week of no activity, there was another kill. So I decided to fill in the rat holes and see which holes were still active. Much to my surprise, the holes remain filled with dirt! Nothing has left nor entered the rat holes and it's been 3-4 days. I may have won the short-term battle, despite knowing I can never win the war.

Made my rainbow trout with mushrooms and green/red peppers tonight for dinner. Just awesome. So happy!!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Saturday Guy Style

First and foremost, I found the baby in the King Cake!! While I wasn't treated as a king for the day, I'm sure I'll be on the hook for the King Cake next year. Damn.

When guys go shopping, we don't really go shopping like women. We go to buy something. Saturday was a perfect example. As I've written, the HD on our DirecTV is up and running as it should be and it's pretty sweet. As such, I decided it was time to upgrade our kitchen/pool room television from it's current 27" status to something bigger. Unfortunately, the way the room is situated, hanging it on the wall per se wasn't going to be a great option. The smaller TVwas on a platform that hung off the wall and could rotate a bit. The DVR box sat on top of it and both were strapped to the platform. This all just meant that I was going to have to get creative to get something to work.

A local appliance store, ABT, was having it's annual sale, so I figured that was the place to go and I'd like the prices I had seen in their flier. So LL and I decided to get up on Saturday morning, drive about 45 minutes or so to a bagel shop for a nice breakfast sandwich and then loop back down Milwaukee Avenue to ABT on the way back home. By noon we were home with our new 46" LCD TV.

With the thinness of the new TV, it wouldn't just stand up on the same platform as the old TV. Realizing this was going to be a problem,we bought a TV with a stand. The stand is sufficient to keep the TV on the platform as long as we tied it down with some picture hanging wire. The only thing that was going to be a problem was where to put the DVR receiver. Unfortunately we didn't realize this until we were on our way home. After some discussion though, we came up with a pretty good solution: strap it to the BOTTOM of the platform. Which resulted in this look:

The TV is easily viewable from the cooking area or the table where we eat and has worked out awesomely. We couldn't be happier!

And, it was purchased, delivered and installed in the same day. That's the way guys do it.

Also on Saturday, I had my first softball game of the year in the dome in the burbs. Unfortunately, the game wasn't until 10:00 at night, which really means it wasn't going to start until about 10:30. Ugh. Plus, with the much colder temperatures we've been experiencing the last few days, it was pretty damn cold in the dome. Still, we had fun, won by the slaughter rule and I was 3-3. A good start.

Friday, February 10, 2012


The other day I was watching on show on how the planet was made or something like that and they talked about something of particular interest to me: the next ice age. Scientist agree that the atmosphere is heating up and that the ice caps are melting. It's not debatable, but there is question as to why and what part of the warming is due to human actions and specifically burning fossil fuels. The why is what it is. The result however, means some very specific things.

In very simplified terms, here's what happens: first, the melting of the ice cap causes the water in the northern Atlantic ocean, off the coast of Europe, to be become less salty as more water dilutes the vast ocean. The resulting desalination causes the North Atlantic current, which brings warm water from the equator to the North Atlantic, to slow down. As less warm water is brought north, less heat is released into the North Atlantic region which would normally regulate the temperatures in the region. What should happen is that the slowing will actually cause another ice age in Europe! A good chunk of the region would actually become like mid to northern Canada. Here's an article that I found which also talks about the "conveyor" that is the North Atlantic current. It mentions that it would take 20 years of fresh water runoff to stop the conveyor, so the assumption is that a slowing down could happen much faster and result in the start of an ice age relatively quickly.

So maybe real estate in Europe is going to get a lot cheaper in our lifetime.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

No baby from the King Cake yet!

At some point in the future, a movie is going to be made about what is going on in Syria currently. It's absolutely awful and terrifying. Check out just a day or two from this guy who is one of the group being targeted by the government. I really don't know what I can do to help, but when you don't have water or bread AND you're getting bombed or shot at by snipers, it sees like I should be able to help somehow. But how? I don't want to be watching that movie and thinking: "Holy shit, THAT was going on? Where was I?"

Regarding my entry yesterday, yes, I'm fully aware of that a huge ass King Cake is NOT going to help in my weight loss in anyway. But I didn't go out and BUY the cake! It was a gift. Much like the leftover brownies and the pie were gifts for hosting the Super Bowl party. One of the better things to come out of that party was the leftover guacamole, which we've had on burgers the last two nights. Yes, I fired up the grill despite the 30 degree weather the last couple of days and made enough burgers for two dinners. Good eating!! We also realized that if we add this salsa (heavy on the tomatoes and onions) to the guacamole, it's even better! I'm thinking I might make a batch to help get the proportions right so it's ready for the next party or tailgate!

Ran my 3 miles today in just under 32 minutes and I didn't even feel all that great when I started the run. For my day off tomorrow I'm going to hit the batting cages, so SOME exercise, but not real strenuous stuff. Saturday is my first night of dome softball, so I'll actually have two days off and then hit the weights again on Sunday.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

An Older, Better Joe?

Today was my lifting day at the gym and if you recall, I was going to try to move up in weight. The gym was unusually crowded, though I arrived a little later than normal. The gym only has two bench press setups and both were occupied by people doing multiple sets. So I did my curls, some oblique exercises, my tricep exercise and then finally one of the benches freed up.

Even though my exercises were out of order, I thought I'd still try to up my bench press. After a warm up set and then a middle weight set, I sat down underneath the bar with more weight on it than I've ever attempted to bench and, coincidentally, is the weight I'm trying to get down to from a....weight perspective. Did that make sense? Anyway, as I got ready to bench the weight, I thought, if I can do ten pounds less eight times, then I should be able to do this weight at least once right? Even if I really struggle with it and can't push it up all the way, there's a place to rest the bar half way up. As it turns out, no problem! I did five reps and was jacked! After my max weight, I do another set at a lower weight and this time I added 10 pounds to that as well. Good stuff.

Since I'm stronger than I've ever been (at least from a bench press and curling standpoint) and I'm running three miles twice a week regularly, which I've never really done for any length of time, am I a stronger, if not older, Joe? Seems so. Am I better though? Well my right shoulder is better than ever, or at least since my 20's. My left shoulder is ok, but I do have that pinched nerve in my neck on that side. My weight is higher than I'd like, so that's a negative. All things considered, I'm in some of the best shape of my life. Gotta feel good about that!

Not sure if you know about King Cakes or not, but LL was sent one for her birthday from a friend in New Orleans. Boy is it tasty! It's not too dissimilar from the Christmas wreath dessert my mom makes. Inside this "cake" (it really is more like a braided wreath isn't it?), is a little plastic baby. If you get the piece of cake with the baby in it, you're "king" for the day and you're supposed to host the next party. Cool. Here are some pics:

No baby found yet. I've included a picture of the box in case you want to get one because these things are delicious.....and 'tis the season!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Heavy Lifting

I seem to be at a loss for a topic today. Weather remains the same. Already talked about the Super Bowl. Work has been fine and steady. So what should I talk about?

As good as anything, I guess, is my weight and workout regimen. One of my longer term goals is to bench my weight, not just once but to workout with it (so a minimum of 4 times). To help achieve that goal I'm running (to reduce my weight thus making the goal easier) and sticking to my lifting routine (every third day). Now clearly the bench press is simply one measure of strength, but I'm hoping it helps in softball and golf as well as just keeping myself healthy.

So anyway, before the Super Bowl party, I did my (relatively) new lifting routine and benched my max weight 8 times! Normally when I hit 8 reps, I move up the weight the next time. Doing so now will get me probably within 5-10 pounds of my weight, depending on how much I move up. Actually, the new weight is my goal weight, so hopefully that's where the two will meet.

When I lift, I don't just do one set of bench presses though. There's actually a warm up set and then another set and a higher weight before I get to the max weight. Then I do another set at a lower weight to finish off the workout. So moving up this time will probably include an increase in the second set of reps and the fourth set as well, so who knows how I'll end up physically at the end of the workout. We'll see tomorrow!

Monday, February 06, 2012

The Rest of the Story

When preparing for my Super Bowl party, I sort of figure that since the game isn't until 5:30, I can pretty much cook what I need to cook during the day and if I prep some stuff the day before, I'll have even more time available day of game. So in my email invitation, I said people can come anytime after 1:00, which is what I said last year and no one showed up until 4ish anyway. This year though I invited Markakis (AKA Nick), who is 20 something. The morning went by quicker than expected as I had to go to the storage locker to get a cooler and table and then the office to get extra chairs. As 1:00 rolled around I had still not yet made it to the gym for my scheduled day of lifting. After telling LL that I was going anyway, she said "Fine, but if anyone shows up, I'm not letting them in!". She was just kidding, but it did get me to thinking. So around 1:30 as I'm walking into the gym, I email Markakis and tell him to come after 3 instead of his projected time of 2:30 just to be safe. He texts me back, "You're killing me! I'm on the bus!" Doh! So I tell him not to sweat it because it would be kind of funny if he did show up and LL would have to entertain him while drying her hair. Instead though he turned around and went home and I picked him up after my workout. Plus Bill the Bear was arriving early, which I did not know, as his fiance is not interested in football and didn't want to come this year.

So I picked them up, apologized and we had plenty of beer and played pool while LL and I finished preparing some of the food. Good times.

Future Headline:
NFL changes key rule after Super Bowl

The NFL will have to change a rule that allows a team that is winning the game to play with ANY number of men on the field and only get penalized 5 yards for it. The trailing team would get 5 yards and the down over, but what they don't get back is the time it took to run the play.

This happened in the Super Bowl as the Patriots had the ball with about 20 seconds left and about 60 yards to go for a score. The Giants had 12 men on the field and were penalized for it, but they successfully defended the play leaving the Patriots 55 yards away from a score but only about 12 seconds left. Even at our party I said I'd put 14 guys out there for the next play!! As long as you stop the play, time runs down they only get 5 yards. The game can't end on a defensive penalty so you have to play with 11 guys for the last play of the game, but it's a serious loophole that has to be closed before it impacts the outcome of a meaningful game.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Super Bowl!

The Super Bowl and our party celebrating it, is the reason why this post is going to be very limited.

Attendees were: Ricardo and Jodi, Bill the Bear (sans wifey who is not a football fan), Smitty and wife Beth, Markakis (AKA Nick), Naperville Greg with wife Kleveland Kim and a friend of Jodi's whom we know from mutual friend's parties and tailgating at Bears games.

Food on the menu was:
Chili with crescent rolls and/or whole grain bread
Salsa (courtesy of Nick)
Cheesy potatoes (courtesy of Kim)
Some venison sticks (courtesy of Greg)
Mushrooms stuffed with sausage (delicious!)
Brownies (Kim)
An angel food cake dessert (Jodi)
Cheese and crackers (Beth and Smitty)
Pepper crusted pork slices as well as pepperoni (Nick)
And lots of chips!

Bill also made some beer at home and brought it. It was great! For the first time I made Snake Bites at home (1/2 lager and 1/2 cider with some black currant liquor). They turned out great too! Lots of fun was had by all....but boy am I tired!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Tiring day

Today I had to go see a client who had some year-end financial statement issues. Actually I didn't "have" to go see them, but a) I was pretty sure it would be more productive than trying to work through the data over the phone and b) it's a client which I particularly enjoy seeing. In fact, after I was done meeting with their bookkeeper, the principals asked me if I wanted to go to lunch. Good stuff: a fun, free lunch after helping out the client. Unfortunately even with me on site, we couldn't finish all that we needed to do so I'll be going back down next week.

When I got home though I was pretty tired and it's a lifting day for me. I was questioning whether I would be able to go to the gym at all and if I did, would it be productive? Well I did go to the gym and it was a pretty solid lifting effort. Tomorrow I'm back to running as scheduled. Today it was really all the thinking I had to do at the client's office that caused me to be tired I think. Some days you really have to put your thinking cap on and today was one of those days. That's good though. It's good to be challenged sometimes.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Birthday Dinner!

Yesterday was LL's birthday and we decided to head south to the Maple Tree Inn for some cajun food with our good friends Terry and Sandie (who live about 20 minutes from the restaurant). I should have taken pictures of the food and festivities, but forgot as we enjoyed the company. To top it off, they paid for dinner!! It was sort of a combo birthday gift for Laura and thank you gift for taking Terry to a Bears game. So nice of them!!!

After every visit with Terry and Sandie we comment on how we need to get together with them more often. Hopefully that will happen this time! We're working on Hawks game and dinner. I also had the thought, since we were just trying to plan a trip up north for a boys weekend, that Terry would be a great fit with the group going up there: he smokes cigars (I don't but the other guys do), drinks whiskey (I don't but everyone else does) and loves to cook a good piece of meat. He'd be fun to hangout with up there. First I have to find a time when I can make it up there!!

Here's a picture of Terry and Sandie from down in Puerto Rico. I also have a bunch of pics from their annual Memorial Day party, but this pic is fine.

Unfortunately LL didn't get her big birthday gift yet. We decided to buy each other new iPads for our birthdays (mine is in March), but then I read that a NEW iPad is coming out at the end of this month or the beginning of March. Seems silly to buy old technology if we only have to wait a month. We'll stay updated on the new release and see if we have to breakdown and buy the iPad II instead due to delays. Hopefully not!