Day 600–Rushmore

(SIX HUNDRED.  Yikes…where has the time gone? I wish I had the results to go with the time spent, but plateaus happen. Just can’t let it stop me.)

I’m not sure which factoid is more amazing. that Mt. Rushmore cost less than a million dollars to make  or that my Great-Grandpa was alive (and I believe he was my age when it was completed. Freaky.) when it was being built.  We took our second trip to that most American of monuments today, although it was Jenna and Seth’s first pilgrimage, and I have to admit…it hasn’t changed much in two years.  No new additions. Still very…mountainous. But we enjoyed the drive, got to see another buffalo up close and personal, and family time is always entertaining.

In an unrelated note, this season’s Cowboys roster might be enough for me to commit to the Texans/Titans/Buccaneers full time.  I’ve known for a long time Jerry Jones is a moron, but wow…this is getting ridiculous.  I’ll give it the season and then reassess, but he’s done nothing over the last fifteen years to show me it’ll get any better.

Breakfast–Before Rushmore, we went to Cheyenne Crossing, the amazing little wide place in the road that has some of the best breakfast offerings ever.  I had Wild Bill’s Skillet, a cast iron vessel full of breakfast potatoes, sausage, onion, pepper, mushroom, and two scrambled eggs served with TWO biscuits and flavored Black Hills Honey.  Wow.

Lunch–Several hours later we finally got hungry again, so we went to the restaurant at our hotel.  I had a club sandwich that wasn’t half bad along with a side they call “Buffalo Chips” which are basically home fries sliced thin and sometimes crispy.  Not a bad meal.

Dinner–Um…frozen custard from Culver’s.  Breakfast was at like 9:30, we didn’t eat lunch until 3 or so, and then “dinner” was at 7:30 and I just wanted ice cream.  Chocolate custard with peanut butter and Reese’s cups.  Deliciousness.

Tomorrow we have the celebration de Grandpa and some awesome family time, and I’ve been promised some phenomenal blueberry pancakes.  We’ll see what happens.

Have a good one.

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Day 599–A Century of Awesome

I’m in South Dakota, and (most likely, unless you’re family) you’re not. It’s okay to be jealous.

We flew in a little jet–and by little I mean I couldn’t stand up all the way–from DFW to Rapid City non-stop this morning, and the disturbing thing is that I STILL had more leg room than I did coming back from Israel. El Al…you suck at plane making.  Upon our arrival we got our rental car (a tricked out Suburban) and had glorious lunch before heading over to Spearfish to see my amazing 100 year-old great grandpa.  He still drives, walks miles everyday, does stretching exercises, and when recently confronted by a doctor about high blood pressure with the threat of “but you could die!” his response was something to the effect of “Fine by me. I’ve lived a great life.”  A few weeks back he fell and probably broke a rib, but upon waking the next morning he looked up, smiled, and said “Today is going to be a great day, even if I fall again.”  His advice for the rest of us is “Get your relationship with God and Jesus straight, and don’t let any preacher mess it up.”  I wish I was that cool now, and he’s been rockin’ it out for a century.  All in all, 34 different members of my family will be here for this celebration, the first time all of us have been in once place probably ever.  A great tribute to a great man.  Well played Loy…well played.

Breakfast–Three eggs, some sausage, red pepper, onion, and mushrooms.  We knew it was going to be a long time before lunch so we tried to stock up on protein.  It sort of worked?

Lunch–BEAU JO’S. Oh how I’ve missed your sweet, sweet, pizza deliciousness.  Between the six of us (yep…indoctrinated Jenna and Seth into Beau Jo’s mania. I don’t think they minded.) we split a Sausage combo, a Pacific Plantation, and a Skier Mike’s.  They were all amazing.  We also had a salad bar option…it was salad.

Dinner–Perkins’ Family Restaurant with Grandpa Stockburger.  I had a burger, sweet potato fries, and Abby and I shared pieces of banana creme and chocolate French silk pie.  Pretty darn good.

Tomorrow we have the greatest breakfast known to mankind, I restock my honey supply, and we go check out some rocky presidents.

Have a good one.

Day 598–Masterful

My apologies for the vagueness from yesterday’s post.  My life has experienced enough strange twists of fate that I try not to jump the gun and talk about things before I’m 100% sure, because God has big plans for me and sometimes they aren’t what I had planned.

That being said…looks like I’m going to graduate from the GST within the next year with my Masters in Christian Ministry.  I started the degree in Abilene after deciding to not be a doctor (SUCH a great life choice…this was even before Obamacare. I’m apparently psychic.) but only got through a year and a half before moving to Houston to be with Abby.  Since then I’ve slowly hacked away at it (and I mean slowly…when I started this thing, no one had ever heard of Justin Bieber. It was a happier time.) and it looks like I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  One class this semester, one class next summer, and then I walk with fancy robes. Pretty awesome.

The downside of this is the time it’ll take to complete my coursework.  If everything else I’ve got lined up falls into place–again with the vagueness, sorry–then I’ll go from not having anything to do straight into having a LOT to do in a short period of time, and as we all know one of the biggest things to suffer will be healthy eating and exercise.  When writing a 20 page paper, spending half an hour on an elliptical just isn’t on the top of the priority list, even though it should be.  So I hope to keep up with this, hold myself accountable, and continue to make decent choices, but you’ve been warned.

Breakfast–Frosted Mini deliciousness before hitting the road for mini-vacay.

Lunch–I’ve wanted to get sushi since the day we moved back to Katy and Abby has been incredibly whiney about it, so we compromised and got it with my parents today when we got back to Allen.  I had a spicy tuna roll with pineapple (still the best) and an El Cubano, which isn’t really sushi per se but is REALLY good.  Look it up on The Blue Fish menu if you care.

Dessert–And then Abs and I split a piece of red velvet cake from Bonnie Ruth’s.  Good cake.

Dinner–In an effort to help my mom clean out the fridge (because I’m nice like that) I sauteed together some baby new potatoes, red bell pepper, onion, mushroom, and celery in some bacon fat mixed with red bell pepper oil, threw in some crushed red pepper flakes, and then filled the mixture into some corn tortillas.  Sweet mercy that was good.  I hadn’t realized how much I was craving veggies, but apparently I was.

Dessert–Apple with Nutella.  It’s been a month since I had Nutella, and I couldn’t resist.  Besides, we needed to clean out the apples? I lack willpower.

Tomorrow we head to South Dakota and I get to see Jenna and Seth! Woohoo!

Have a good one.

Day 597–ETA

I’ve lamented the ebb and flow of life in this space before, so I’ll try to not bring it up again and drag everyone through the sludge, but it really is remarkable how things seem to move so slowly and then BAM–everything happens all at once.  I got some great progress on a lot of different things and was ridiculously productive today, which is always gratifying.

The day started with a trip to Half Price Books, which is always better for removing clutter than actual income, but it gave me enough cash to pay for lunch (which was AWESOME!!) so that was good.  And it was two full bags worth of books and DVDs that are no longer collecting dust in our apartment, which is always an improvement.

After that I went up to WCS to try to talk to some people about job stuff, but of course I didn’t call ahead so nothing happened.  Whoops.  One car inspection later (Pass!) and I got home to a pretty incredible email from ACU about my degree.  Turns out it might not be as complicated as I originally thought.  It’s still a work in progress, but I hope to have some good news on that front really soon.

Breakfast–FiberOne bar.  I made the mistake of leaving my cookies sitting out last night, so of course I was greeted by chocolate walking into the kitchen this morning. FiberOne is a good compromise.

Lunch–CHINA STIX.  The greatest Chinese food in Houston, and its been over a year since I’ve eaten there. Since I was already near there (actually, “near” is probably more accurate…I was twenty minutes away) with the WCS trip I decided to take my newly acquired cash from HPB and indulge. It was glorious…chicken and vegetable rice bowl with a splash of soy sauce and chili paste.  I want to go back. Now.

Exercise–After Abby got home from work, we went to the workout facility and did work.  Some arm/chest/neck work and then a nice cardio blast on the bike.  It felt good…I’m finally getting back into the groove.  Hopefully we can keep it going in Allen/Spearfish.

Dinner–Spaghetti with sausage, zucchini, mushroom, and onion.  A simple meal to refuel after a workout.

Dessert–Sigh…cookie dough.  I didn’t want it to go bad?

Tomorrow we head to Allen and then SD.  If the posting becomes sporadic again, I apologize in advance.  Try to persevere.

Have a good one.

Day 596–The Unlikely Disciple

I started rereading a book today. This is noteworthy for two reasons: 1) I’m using my time productively as opposed to taking naps or watching cartoons (although I do that too…I love cartoons) and 2) I never reread things. Ever. Part of the unfortunate nature of having a really good memory is that I don’t really like rewatching movies or rereading books (or checking my answers on tests…shh. Don’t tell.) because the element of surprise and mystery isn’t there anymore.  I know what happens.  I know how it ends.  I know WHY I picked a specific answer.  It’s a blessing and a curse.

Anyways, I picked up The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose because I loved it the first time and needed a good reset on my idea of community (playing off yesterday’s post).  It’s just as great the second time around; grab a copy if you can.

Breakfast–Frosted Mini Wheats.  The break was good while it lasted, but I’m trying to empty out the pantry and fridge before we head to the not-so-frozen-quite-yet north of South Dakota.

Lunch–Buffalo Chicken sandwich with candied jalapenos and lettuce, and then I finished off my cheesecake from last night.  I can eat a LOT but one piece of cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory is a lot for even me.  Spread over two days, however…its just deliciousness.

Dinner–Flank steak with a dry rub of brown sugar, cumin, ancho and chipotle peppers, and salt seared off in jalapeno oil.  Amazingness.  Some salad, Italian Farro cooked in chipotle chicken broth, and a small drizzle of cherry-jalapeno dressing as a side and we have one delicious meal.

Dessert–I decided to tinker with my awesome chocolate chip cookie recipe because Abby had a bad day, and ended up making them even better.  These I would DEFINITELY sell.

Tomorrow’s our last day in Houston for a good long while.  I’m excited about seeing my family!

Have a good one.

Day 595–Cravings

First and foremost, I’d like to wish a happy birthday to Evan St. Germain.  A great day to honor a great friend.

Church this morning was all about our natural tendencies as humans to crave community.  Mark threw out some pretty amazing statistics about longevity and happiness and their correlation to important relationships in our lives.  One of the biggest, if not the absolute number one, reasons we chose to move back to Houston was for community.  We missed our friends, we missed our church (a LOT), we missed some of the professional relationships we had developed.  No man is an island, and Mark gave us a great biblical reminder of that truth today.

An offshoot of that sermon was thinking about ways to get even more plugged into church.  We already help lead a Life Group for the teens,  I’ll be taking over teaching the Jr./Sr. class in a couple of weeks, Abby is doing a Women’s Bible Study, and when we lived here last time I was involved in VBS (some of my greatest stage moments, which isn’t saying much. At all). However, there’s a really great event at Sugar Grove called Holiday at the Grove that has booths for holiday shopping.  I’m thinking about peddling my wares for Thanksgiving and Christmas…help spread a little sugary goodness.  Any thoughts from those who might be involved?

I also found myself craving exercise today, which is nuts for where I was just a few weeks ago.  I’m still afraid of burnout, but I love being in this honeymoon stage where I enjoy the sweat and the soreness.  The unfortunate flipside is that, for some reason (I’m sure its scientific but I’m lazy) the more I work out, the more I find myself craving chocolate and sweets as well.  It’s a rough Catch-22, especially when I can (incorrectly) justify eating them because of the workouts.  Booooo.

Breakfast–A FiberOne bar before church.  A good example of the chocolate thing, but not as unhealthy as say, for example, cheesecake. In other news, guess what I had for dessert tonight?

Lunch–Woof.  We went to Berryhill for tamales and fish tacos, and it was possibly one of the worst meals I’ve ever had.  The masa on the tamales was complete mush, the chicken tasted like wet cardboard, and the fish tacos were flavorless.  Pathetic…I’ll never be going back to that location.

Dinner–Pei Wei!  Crispy Honey chicken with brown rice and extra vegetables…also wildly disappointing.  The Mandarin Kung Pao at this location is amazing, but apparently the CHC is a waste of money.  It was a rough day for eating out.

Dessert–Abby had dinner with a friend at Cheesecake Factory and was kind enough to bring me home a slice.  She’s a good Dr. Wifey.

Laundry, packing, flank steak for dinner, and hopefully some progress on the financial front. Going to be a good Monday.

Have a good one.

Day 594–Etiquette

Apologies for the tardiness of this post.  I would say I got all wrapped up in the Cowboys’ game, but it was preseason, it was boring, and it ended several hours ago. So…that’s probably out.  In all reality I just forgot and as I was drifting to sleep I realized I had abandoned you (yes you…specifically) and felt compelled to share my wit and wisdom for today.

But since I’m sleepy, don’t hold this against me.

The wife decided to join me for the workout today after she got done doctoring, and I’m really glad she did because I needed someone to verify that what I saw is actually what happened.  We went in, Abs started on her C25K workout, I lifted a few weights (I now understand why mirrors are so prevalent in workout facilities…they used to be horrible reminders of my rotundity, but they’re really helpful for form and, you know, narcissism) and then jumped on the exercise bike for some easy cardio.  About two thirds of the way through my ride, a woman came into the “gym” and proceeded to walk up to me very slowly, stare at me for a second, make eye contact with me, glare, and then slowly back away, stand in the corner, and wait for me to finish before pouncing on the recently vacated bike.  It was terrifying and weird and wrong.  I was going to finish off the workout with a few more weights just to cool down, but I was afraid she was going to get mad I was using something else that she wanted so we just left.  So gym etiquette lesson for today boys and girls: in an empty gym, don’t creepily stare at someone like you want to wear their skin as a suit (the distinct vibe she gave off). Just wait your turn. It’ll be okay.

Breakfast–NOT FROSTED MINI WHEATS. BOOYAH. Some thinly sliced chicken-apple sausage, hatch chile, and mushrooms sauteed together until nice and caramelized and then two eggs.  Delicious.

Lunch–Chicken sandwich with lettuce and candied jalapenos.  Not the same brand we had in Allen, not as good, but passable.

Exercise–See above.

Dinner–Leftover barbecue chicken, potato, and purple hulled peas.  Just as good the second time around.

Dessert–Ice cream…of course.  The good news is that Abby likes it too, so she can help me finish it off.  The bad news is that she likes it too and therefore reminded me I had it.  Whoops.

Church tomorrow, leg and abdominal workout, and then I get to organize all of my books I haven’t seen in over a year. Yay…

Have a good one.