"...They talk like people in TV shows that I don't watch..."
This morning we were both up early for the AMC Best Picture event. We drove separately as Neale stays for all five pictures and I have yet to do that. I have attend to Ellis and she takes a special pride in the event. We both watched "Avatar", "Up in the Air", and "Precious". "Avatar" was great visually and a sign of thing to come but as a story simply terrible. "Up in the Air" was a very good film that did not push Clooney beyond his roots. "Precious" was a punch to the chest that reminded me of the power of teachers. However, I would not see "The Blindside" or "Basterds" again.
Checked the weather and organized my gear. Hike is go.
"...fish nets, plastic bottles, its a treasure trove..."
Attended the "N-Word" discussion today in the library, which was part of the Black History Month events at LC. It was not a Diversity Council event as Student Activities handles the Black History events. They were doing it before the Council existed. The good news is each group thrives and we add events routinely. I took photos and submitted to the college for our daily e-newsletter.
Afterwards, I learned more about our situation as a faculty with the state of Illinois. The best possible decision was made.
Made another meal for Neale from her new cookbook. She was pleased.
Watching "Man v. Wild". Considering a hike this weekend.
Coffee roast from Monday. The last of the New Guinea.
Ellis and the only ball he dislikes. My medicine ball.
"...This box is full of stuff that almost killed me..."
Yesterday, I went to a kettlebell training class at Saint Louis Self Defense, which is where my krav and fight classes are held. Kettlebell was a change from usual way of lifting weights. As I am use to using my upper body to lift objects, kettlebell is more about the hips. A fellow tweeter told me to think of my arms like chains. I was given a 16kg (35lb.) kettlebell to start training with during the session. My balance was good, my cleans went well, and I was able to get a good workout. However, I need to work on swings. After the kettlebell class, I stayed for cardio kickboxing. That class is tougher than I thought. It was a great morning and I am not sore this morning. My traps are stiff and my obliques got some work.
After class, I joined Neale at First Watch and she was coming from her time at the rec center gym. Our waitress, Bre, noticed our progress again.
In the afternoon, we saw "The Last Station". I found Giamatti and McAvoy performances very good. Helen Mirren was solid but I think she is facing a tough field and the overall picture was forgettable. Christopher Plummer did well but not an Oscar worthy performance for 2010.
I had Dewey's Webster for dinner. It had been a long time since I ordered pizza and I was not disappointed.
We watched the Olympics. Glad to see USA hockey getting some attention.
Next weekend, we have the AMC Best Picture event. However, Sunday could allow for a hike.
Neale slept late as she was out late. She had a lazy day on the couch.
I decided to paint today. There were a few small paint jobs that needed to be done. The upstairs bathroom ceiling needed a coat of Killz, a few door jams had scraps, and the bottom half of the pantry. Earlier this month, we agreed to paint the main rooms in the original parts of the house before the sale next year. Yes, we are staying in this house until 2011. The good news for me is that Neale finally agreed to consider wall colors besides shades of brown or white. Next year, I get to repaint the upstairs. After the small paint jobs were done today, I cleaned the curtain shears.
Today, I am taking the Kettlebell starter class and probably doing the cardio kickboxing class. Then, breakfast and maybe a movie.
"...I'll kill you if you make that noise once the movie starts! Understand?
And... I also don't like watch alarms going off..."
I was up early this morning and found Neale getting ready for work. I stayed up and saw here out the door. We planned on having lunch together as we had not done that in awhile. We had lunch at Mosaic. I also wanted to see the Missouri Candles and Wax store. Neale bought candles there last year and they were great. They burn slow, smell great, and are cheap. After that outing, I dropped her back at work.
Talked to my Dad today. We are trying to solve a nagging printer problem he has with his HP.
I was able to get my workout done before lunch but I wanted to work the heavy bag. Since it was above freezing and don't want to damage the basement, I went to the garage. Good workout and the bouncing around on cement instead of gym pads was noticeable.
Hello and welcome back. Yes, it seems Tripod or the domain name service had an issue for a few days. The site was not available until recently.
Last night, we watched the Olympics. However, I did something that I did not like. While I was at Trader Joe's getting Neale's groceries, I overhead a women giving results from the Olympics. Vonn won the gold was the statement I overhead. Since I am using Twitter, I have updates very soon after their done in real time. Yet, Twitter posters know to be careful with results in the age of DVRs. Usually the Tweeters make a vague statement and post a link with results. Depending on the sport, I may follow the link. In telling Neale how the woman at Trader Joe's let me know the results without asking, I told Neale the results and revealed the end. Yet, info on our TV for the NBC broadcast said the same about Vonn and the gold. Luckily, Neale did not care as downhill is not her sport.
Valentine's Day here was celebrated with our first meal from Neale's new cookbook. She heard a friend was trying a 400 calorie recipe book and she found one even lower. The first recipe was easy enough to make. It was shirataki noodles with a pumpkin cheese sauce. Quite tasty for limited calories. Neale's first impression of shirataki was positive but found them slightly spongy. I will attempt to solve that issue.
We watched "Julie and Julia" earlier. The cooking in the movie was inspiring as the connection between food and people was very strong. Both women cooked to find meaning in their lives and in the process changed the lives of others. Overall, the one's they loved ate great. Neale's new recipe book did have me using the microwave to cook the main course but the dessert was a reduced cal brownie. So, I did get to bake. It was not the most challenging cooking I have done this year but I am glad I could make her reduced calorie food not reduced in flavor.
The trip to the grocery store was complicated by Webster not being plowed. The 2 inches of snow compacted and the roads were not cleared. When I arrived home around 1:30, the roads were fine. While watching the movie the conditions changed and we needed to gather supplies for our dinner. The hill in Webster that provides the quickest exit to Brentwood was rather slick. Since Neale had her accident there last year, we both realize how bad it can be. A car was disabled in the right hand lane at the bottom near the light. This caused some shuffling in traffic and a fellow driver almost collided with us. On the way back, we passed the same stalled vehicle and it caused a four car collision that stopped traffic leaving Webster. It was just fender bumps thankfully. Bad day for fellow motorists.
This morning Neale went to buy our AMC Oscar Showcase tickets and saw "Crazy Heart". She was impressed. I joined fellow members of Saint Louis Self Defense and tried rock climbing at Upper Limits. It was great. We were a group of ten and had the training area to ourselves for 2 hours. We received instruction on the harness and the carabiners. Then, a short tutorial on how to belay. After that 20 minutes of information, we were let loose to climb. The first eight feet off the ground was open to climb off rope and is know as bouldering. It was the beige area of the wall. The reminder of the wall in red to the ceiling required a rope. I found the straight climb to ceiling rather easy and the fear of heights was removed by the safety rope. A few images of my childhood trauma of not being able to climb the rope in gym class were remembered. As an adult, that inability is no longer. It was probably twenty feet to the top of the wall. The challenge came with the bottom angle (brown area) to the red straight parts of the wall. My fingertips and palms got sweaty so the necessary friction was not there. They did not provide chalk. However, I think I was the only one to need it. I did accomplish the three wall crossover, which was up one wall to walk across the next and down. The tough part of that was the corner exchange. After the two hours were up, my shoulders were sore but I found it interesting. I plan to return and take classes. Probably, in the spring or summer. I need to work it out so it does not interfere with my Krav/fight classes.
Yesterday, I tried to purchase tickets for the Oscar Best Film showcase. I was told it was currently canceled despite it being posted on the AMC website. Neale called today and got a different story. AMC informed her it was on and tickets were available. What? She is taking care of it tomorrow. As I will be at Upper Limits trying rock climbing.
Today, we shopped for my new glasses. One set of frames were described as "too Alton Brown" and passed on. We did find a pair we liked and we purchased them. Since my lens take special care, it will be about a week. Afterwards, Neale went to the gym. I cleaned the house, did laundry, and walked Ellis. We played ball in Jackson park until Ellis my walking after the ball, which is a sign he is drained for a few moments. So, I then walked him around the park. The strange house that existed next to the park (it was adorned with statues) is getting a makeover as the eccentric owner has moved on. It had character, which is what I say as it was not my neighbor.
We watched the Olympics tonight. We watched the opening ceremony last night until Neale left to see a coworker's band. Her night watching the first live performance of the Rattling Bones was enjoyable. It was an open mic night at a north county bar called Joe's Place.
Tonight, I made moujadara with burghul for dinner. I had lentils and bulgur on hand so the dish was worth a try. I trying to clean up our pantry.
Yesterday, I was in the mood to try a recipe that I think can clone a well known energy/snack bar for my hiking trips. It saves money and I can tweak the ingredients to my liking beyond available choices. The oat bars even passed Neale's taste test.
Great night at krav class. Worked on chokes. Fight class was ground scrambling. Knees survived almost unscathed.
Last night, we had an excellent dining experience at the Stone Soup Cottage. The chef serves a 4 or 6 course vegetarian tasting menu. We decided to order the four course and select our own wine. However, the chef provided us with the last two courses for free for a total of six. Since the tastings are small, it really is not an abundance of food. But, the tastes of the individual dishes is fantastic and rich.
Neale was not feeling well this morning so I hung close. However, she felt better this afternoon so our taxes were submitted to our accountant.
Our budget update is done. The new budget has been agreed upon for 2010.
I cleaned the home. Mopped the basement bath and washed the kitchen walls too.
The Pet Parade went well. However, I forgot my cell phone so when Neale and I got split up we were apart for the parade part. Ellis and I walked, she walked, and I threw beads. Lots of beads. At the end of the parade, we found each other. Then, we found drinks and walked the last blocks of the parade again. We went to Chava's for lunch afterwards.
"...As life gets longer, awful feels softer.
Well it feels pretty soft to me.
And if it takes shit to make bliss,
well I feel pretty blissfully..."
On Tuesday, we headed north to Chicagoland for the funeral. The viewing and burial was Wednesday morning. I was a pallbearer as the grandchildren were asked to perform that task. After the funeral events, we had lunch at the Oswego Tap House, which is a good restaurant with an excellent beer list. Overall, it went well. Good to see everyone and we met our nephew. By all accounts, he is a great kid.
Thursday felt a Monday but it was good to get back to work. Many of my students were nice to saw kind things as I had to explain the cancellation. Unfortunately, some lack compassion.
AMC is doing their Oscar Best Picture event. Two days, ten films. We will finally see Avatar 3D.
Good night at Krav and fight class. I reached for that extra 10% and it was not there today.
Great day teaching. Good groups shaping up. Fun personalities developing as we settle in.
The staining looks great. Poly is next.
Electrician repaired the outlet so the basement is back to normal. The same day the power strip for the upstairs television died. We bought that power strip after a series of bad storms in Strongsville in 2002. We lost a few items in that storm. Renter's insurance covered the lost. I think 8 years for a power strip is pretty good.
I finished watching "Requiem for a Dream". Tough but powerful film to watch. Jennifer Connelly and Leto had very good performances. Ellen Burstyn stole the picture.
Today, we had brunch at MoKaBe's and Neale appreciated the veg/vegan options. Good deal for brunch. After that, Neale went to the gym and I worked on the staining. There was a cleaning, sanding, and a vacuuming before actually applying stain. It looks even better. We watched the NFL playoffs, which were great games. This year we are doing a healthy Super Bowl party as each of us is eying our new target weights. I am about 9 pounds away and Neale wants to make sure to reach her goal by April. I am considering a veg fast after the Super Bowl.
Having forgotten my hair cut appointment on Friday, I am bringing a gift to my stylist.
Meeting the electrician in the morning to fix the outlet. I have a few additional questions for them as well.
I dusted off an old PC game I have been playing off and on for two years. Frustrating and fun. I think I got my money's worth.
Earlier in the week, I noticed I pulled a neck muscle while doing leg raises. On Friday, it tugged again doing my SPRI band exercises. Overnight, it stiffened on me so I have been treating it today. Almost normal.
We planned a hike for today after our nephews' soccer game but rain is moving through the Midwest. Our nephews won and won big. Instead, we went shopping for a new suit for me. Since we were in the St. Louis Mills area, we stopped at the Banana Republic outlet. I was looking for gray and found a gray/brown suit with a modern cut. Lighter wool and three season friendly. Given the total for a suit, two ties, and three shirts, we did very well. We were replacing my olive green suit, which Neale and I bought for our first Valentine's Day dinner. I have not worn that suit for a few years and favored my blue Brooks Brothers for special occasions. My blue suit needs to be taken in as I have lost weight. We looked for shoes at Johnston & Murphy but could not find the right color. Dillard's had a few choices in their high end selection but not nice enough to buy. On our way to Macy's, I noticed a new shop (STL. Men's Wear?) and we got lucky. Final trip was to the tailor as the pants and jackets arms needed a slight hem. We stopped at Robust for a drink too.
Neale is at dinner with what may be called "The 40/70" club, which is dinner with her mom and Sara, a coworker's wife.
I made Country Fried Steak with roasted carrots and sweet potatoes for dinner. Very tasty. Gravy was a red eye and white gravy mix as I had leftover coffee. After dinner, I roasted a batch of Papa New Guinea.
As we both had the day off from work and the snow has melted, we went for a hike. Neale requested 5 plus miles so we hike the Chubb Trail. It is her new favorite hike due to the distance to our home (15 mins.) and that it is difficult. Pics here. Ellis got muddy so he had a bath when we returned home. Busy day for the trail as we saw 10 different cars in the parking lot. My new Under Armour and Patagonia gear worked out well.
I made rosemary chicken with steamed green beans for Neale's dinner.
My course prep is going well. Syllabus are printed. I am working in my online classes this weekend.
It is 40 degrees and most of our snow has melted. Ellis and I are going for a walk soon. Since it is a long weekend and a warm 50 degrees on Monday, I am considering a hike. Someplace that is mostly flat. It is stays dry, the ground should be in decent shape.
Back to Krav and fight class. Last night, we worked on punches from the guard position. Simply put, what to do when your on your back and someone is kneeling over you punching. In fight class, it was the core group as the newer folks need a few more Tuesdays before they can spar. Eddie got me in the face once and drew a little blood. The bridge of my nose is sore this morning. However, I can kick to the head as my flexibility allows it.
If you smell smoke, there is fire. I smelled smoke and looked for fire, which prevented a bigger problem. Old houses have their quirks. Thanks to my knowledgeable father, problem solved.
~ 09:33 AM ~
"...tell the story around..."
Yesterday was the mandatory day back to work where we meet as a faculty for updates and reports on the campus. Since my time with the college, that day has gotten better. I was part of a group of faculty discussing the BlackBoard online tool. Since I was part of the pilot group to try it last semester, I actually have information to share. People seemed interest and my comments prompted discussion.
Today, we have our union lunch and there are issues to discuss as we are in negotiations, I believe.
Last night, I was back to Krav and fight class. There was the "January effect" as several new people joined the classes. I believe this is the effect of resolutions people make at the New Year. It is good to have new people but I am curious how long they we stick around.
We're back. We arrived from Knoxville yesterday before 4PM. The weather was tough in TN but we made it after the detour in NC. HWY 40 was closed due to a rock slide and the detour was 150 through the mountains. After eating in Asheville on Wednesday, we stayed the night in Knoxville. We had planned to make it to Cookeville on Wednesday to shorten our last day drive. I shoveled the driveway as we have snow in Saint Louis. However, the cold was also in the south as it was quite chilly. I have posted photos from Savannah on the photos page (HERE).
Videos and pictures from Charleston soon.
Neale is taking it easy after her trip to the gym. I cleaned the house, did laundry, and need to visit the grocery store. Having not cooked from several days, I made English muffins for lunch and have a vegetable soup in the slow cooker for dinner.
We did a carriage ride this morning. Our horse was named "Smokey" and he does not like water. Good tour but we got cold feet while sitting on the carriage. Afterward, we purchased hot drinks at a NY-style pizzeria nearby. They served 24" pizzas, which would be the biggest pie I have seen in person. After a short walk through the city market where I purchased a hot sauce I had not seen before today, we headed to Boone Hall. We just missed the 2PM tour so we walked the grounds until 3. I attempted to recreate the photo of me sitting on a slave house steps from my childhood trip to Boone. A change from my first trip is the exhibits in the slave houses, which include recorded presentations and HDTVs in the various houses. We looked for the Obama in the 'progress' part of the trip. He was there.
After Boone, we found a park nearby to walk almost three miles. They were closing at 5 and the sunset was not an issue as that happens around 6 on the east coast. When the walk was completed we look for a grocer and found a "Hi-Lo" for supplies. I needed a snack before dinner and they had Dogfish Head ale I had not seen in MO. I will enjoy Chicory Stout after dinner.
~ 10:49 AM ~
First full day in Charleston. Last night, we used our hotel's shuttle to get downtown. We had dinner at Southend Brewery and played pool afterward. Today, we are spending our day exploring downtown and a plantation tour is planned.
More video from our trip. Below is video from my Flip while on the New Year's Day Skidaway Island hike. Pictures when I get back to my home PC.
Today, we are doing laundry, Neale is using the treadmill, and we will travel to Charleston. Ghost hunt tour went well. If anything was gained, there were great stories. No spirits. A fellow tourist from England tripped on a tree root on the Savannah dueling grounds. Nothing too scary about that event. She is still among the living.
We ate at Moon River Brewing and the place was great. I was concerned it would be nothing more than a tourist venue given its location but the beer was very good and the food well prepared. While I was there I noticed they served and sold a hot sauce called Screaming Pickle. It is a blend of Serrano peppers and pickle juice. Great taste, good heat, and not too salty. It was made from a BBQ place but worked well on my veg burger.
"...we cannot close our eyes to the plight of the cities..."
Today, we did two walking tours of Savannah. The walking helped us to see the city and get in our exercise. The first trip was rather personal as it was just us and the guide. We walked the city for almost 2 hours seeing homes such as the Davidson Mansion, which is haunted by a cat (no sightings). Next, we did a "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" book/movie tour, which focused on locations related to the events of that story, such as the Mercer House, the diner, and other characters. The Mercer House interior is not part of our tour as the family refers to the events of the book/film as "an unfortunate event". However, you can tour the house for a fee.
Tonight, we are eating at the Moon River Brewery and walking a ghost tour.
Happy New Year. Past journal has been archived (HERE)
After a long and fun night at Tybee, drinking at Fannie's and eating at Marlin's, we slept late. Our local contacts connected us with KaSonya and her cab so driving was not an issue. We even made some money for our cabie as we shared our prearranged pick up back to Savannah downtown.