Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Throwback Sunday

Let me state this for the record: I love my church. I love our mission, I love the people, I love almost everything about it. The people there, though, are not afraid to tell you that you need to step it up on those times when you might start letting yourself slip into the dark abyss. And let's face it, we all let ourselves slip every once in a while. Some of us more than others...

That was the situation I found myself in this past Sunday. Usually I know when I start to slip towards the abyss, but this time I was clueless, or if I was aware that I was starting to slip I hadn't let myself admit it yet. But my church was not afraid to tell me, ever so subtly. Perhaps nobody at church even realizes what they said to me, it was so subtle. Yet, it was powerful enough that it has made me think about maybe possibly trying to change and head away from the abyss that I didn't even know I was headed towards. Here's what happened:

Every so often our church does something to celebrate our heritage, and it's called "Throwback Sunday". Our wonderful pastor wears a suit and tie and preaches from behind a pulpit, two things he usually does not do. And the rest of us are encouraged to dress up like church-goers of yesterday, as well. Us men are supposed to wear suits, and the ladies of the church are encouraged to wear dresses so we all look the part. We even sing hymns instead of our normal more-modern choruses. Most everyone gets in the spirit and we have a grand old time.

Except this time it wasn't all that much fun for me. The morning of, I walked over to the closet in the Boy's room, which is where all of my six suits hang. One by one, I tried on suit after suit after suit, and none of them fit. Sure, I got a couple of the pants buttoned after much sucking in, but couldn't breathe once I did. Not breathing is not a fun way to go to church, or any other place for that matter. I think my suits were in cahoots with my church and trying to tell me something, but I didn't want to listen.

I did end up listening to my dress shirts, though. I had quickly scrapped the idea of wearing a suit, but figured a shirt and tie would still look somewhat "throwback". I picked out a dress shirt that I have only worn a handful of times, a bright raspberry red number with white stripes. I thought that I would look dapper in it, but it was so tight around my neck that my head turned the same raspberry red as the shirt. At least I was color-coordinated, I guess.

I took this all to mean that the people behind the seemingly harmless "Throwback Sunday" were telling me that I have been sliding towards the dark abyss known as gluttony. Perhaps I should cut back on the seven-egg breakfasts or the six-taco dinners every once in a while. Either that or get rid of all my dress-up clothes and go out and buy a whole new wardrobe...Anybody need six suits?

This is an artist's rendering of what happened when I buttoned the top collar on my dress shirt this past Sunday. The only problem is that in reality I couldn't actually get my suit coat on, but apparently the artist forgot that fact. You can't trust artists these days. They're the worst! Rendering by Scott Hanson.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Friend or Pho?

The first time I tried to make soup wasn't exactly a disaster, but the end result was not really all that soup-like either. It was before the Wife and I were married, and it might have been before we even knew each other, so that would make it at least 10 years ago now, and I remember it like it was yesterday...

For some unknown reason I thought that I could make some delicious chicken and dumpling soup, even though I never had made any before, and I had never even really watched anyone make any kind of soup before, other than the kind that came from a can. I think I had recently been to Cracker Barrel several times, where I always order the Chicken & Dumplings with two side orders of dumplings, so I had dumplings on my brain. I didn't really know what I was doing, or how to make dumplings, or what other ingredients go into chicken and dumpling soup, but all in all it turned out to be not all that bad, except for the fact that the dumplings were more like enormous globs of dough, I put way too many of them into the soup, and they pretty much just clumped together, filling the top of the pot with one giant dumpling mass. Looking back at it, it turned out to be more like a stock pot sized chicken pot pie, but the filling was more liquidy than in real pot pies. It was pretty much the worst. But it was food, so I ate it.
This photo really has nothing to do with this blog post, but I thought it was hilarious, so here it is.
For some other unknown reason, I decided to try my luck at soup again last night. Only this time I wasn't foolish enough to try my hand at chicken and dumplings again. Oh no. This time I decided to attempt to make some Pho, a Vietnamese noodle soup that not only had I never eaten before, but I hadn't seen up close in almost 15 years, and I had no idea what was in it. How could it possibly go wrong?

Well, aside from the fact that I have no idea what Pho is supposed to taste like, this experiment didn't turn out too bad! I pretty much followed the recipe I had found online, so that was a plus. And it didn't look like a pot pie or anything else other than soup, so that was another plus. And, none of our kids liked it, which puts it in the same category as 99% of food, so I would consider that yet another plus. What put it over the top was that I ate three bowls of it, and I didn't experience any more gastrointestinal unease than I usually do after I eat way more than I should have, which happens at least twice every day. And the Wife said she liked it too! I would consider my Pho experiment a rousing success! Will wonders never cease?

Monday, January 12, 2015

I Feel Lighter Already

I have started to lose weight in the new year, and I haven't changed a single thing about my diet or my (lack of) exercise. I still drink way too much pop (that's Minnesotan for "soda"), I still graze on food all day long, and I still hardly ever get up off my tush, yet every time I leave my house I weigh about 5 pounds lighter than I have for the last 6 years. It's awesome!
This scale shows about what I weighed when I graduated from high school. That was more than 60 pounds ago...

You may be wondering what my secret is. It's easy, all you have to do is have three kids in rapdfire succession, and then one day, when the youngest is somewhere around, oh, 2-and-a-half or 3 years old, much like the Little One is in our family, a miracle will happen: he or she will suddenly be potty trained, and you won't have to carry a five pound diaper bag around with you wherever you go. That is what has happened with us over the past couple of weeks, and it's pretty cool, if I do say so myself.

We haven't left our house without a diaper bag for almost 6 years, ever since the Girl was born, since we have had at least one, sometimes two, thankfully never three, kids in diapers every day since then. By my calculations, that means we have been carrying around a diaper bag for the past 4 billion days. Sometimes I thought it would never end...

But, the miracle has happened, the Little One is about 95% potty trained, only needing to wear a diaper at nighttime, so we can go out any time we want, and there's no need to bring that annoying diaper bag with any more. Other than the fact that I am walking a little lopsided without that extra 5 pounds hanging off my right shoulder, it's pretty sweet. Maybe if we can get rid of the bags of toys I am always lugging around on my left shoulder, I will someday walk upright like a normal human again. Is it preposterous to wish for two miracles in one lifetime...?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

What's the Deal With Suburbanites? Who Are These People?

I have been an avid suburbanite for my entire life. I did live in St. Paul for a couple of years, but St. Paul is really just a suburb of Minneapolis, so that doesn't count. I consider myself to be an expert on all things suburbia, yet there is one strange phenomena that has popped up in suburbs throughout this great land of ours in recent years that I just cannot wrap my head around. It's quite possibly the strangest thing I've ever seen, and I've seen some strange stuff, some of which actually happened. Maybe one of you, my loyal readers, can explain this phenomena to me, because I sure don't get it.

Of course, the phenomena I am talking about is the proliferation of pergolas that are popping up all over the place. What is a pergola, you may be asking if you've spent the last ten years huddled within the cozy confines of a large city or under a rock. Let me explain, as well as I can. A pergola is a large wooden structure that suburbanites erect in their backyard. It looks kind of like the frame of a tall rectangular building that is waiting for some siding, and a roof. Yes, there is no roof on a pergola, which brings to my mind the question, What good is it?
You can make your pergola as fancy as can be, and I still won't get it...

Without a roof, it serves no purpose if it rains, because the rain will still hit you. If it's sunny, I don't see the purpose of a pergola, because it provides no shade, so you might as well just be sitting out in your yard. As far as I can tell, the only reason to build a pergola in your yard is because you really enjoy digging post holes, and I've never met anybody like that in my 40 years of living.

I must be in the minority though, because I see pergolas all over the suburbs. And today I even noticed that they are starting to sell them at Sam's Club, the center of the suburbanite universe. I don't think I will ever understand, but if you have any thoughts on the matter, I would appreciate some help. I will look for your email right after you get done digging that post hole.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015, So Far

If you haven't looked at a calendar yet today, I've got news for you - it's 2015. We rang in the new year last night by putting our kids to bed at their normal 8 o'clock schedule, and then heading downstairs to the newly-renovated home theater/kids' playroom/kids' craftroom/spare bedroom/dungeon to watch a classic movie from 1993, The Sandlot. I had never seen it before, despite the fact that dozens, if not hundreds, of people had told me how great it was. I have a weird quirk -some people, like the Wife, would call it an annoying trait- in which the more people rave about a movie, the more I don't want to see it. Usually my intense stubbornness subsides eventually, but it could take years, if not decades for that to happen. In this case it only took about 5 years. I must be getting soft in my old age. Just don't ask me to watch Titanic...

I chose this photo because it was the most free one I could find, but it serves its purpose.
Any way, we watched The Sandlot, which was quite fun, and by 10:30 PM or so we were ready to call it a night. Which we did...and then when we woke up it was 2015. Not a lot going on around here today, except that we received the news that the nominations for the 2015 Bloggie Awards are now open! We were extremely fortunate to win a Bloggie last year, thanks to all our wonderful readers, so we thought we might as well try to win one again this year. If you feel so inclined, head over to 2015.bloggi.es and fill out the nomination form. I think this blog would fit into several of the award categories, so nominate us for whatever you think fits. If you do, I will be grateful forever, unless you somehow wrong me in the future, but we'll talk about that when it happens.

Hey, thanks for being a loyal reader in 2014, I hope you keep reading in 2015! Happy New Year!