Day 630–Sportspocalypse

Sometimes I love sports. Sometimes I hate them. This is one of those “hate” experiences.

Since I awoke Friday morning, the Rangers have lost two games (and are attempting to blow a third, even with Mike Napoli suddenly remembering how to hit, but somehow they pulled it back together and won), Manchester United only showed up for 45 minutes of futbol, the Longhorns won on a phantom touchdown after falling behind on a phantom kickoff penalty, the American Ryder Cup team suffered the worst collapse in the 80 year history of the competition, and every team I hate managed a victory except for the Angels minor hiccup tonight.  I feel like I’ve somehow coated every team I care about in a layer of stink…doesn’t bode well for the ‘Boys tomorrow night. We’ll see if it wears off with the changing weather.

Breakfast–Yeah…about that. Breakfast on Sundays rarely happens. Sleep is too pleasant.

Lunch–Pei Wei! Smaller portion of Mandarin Kung Pao chicken, fried rice, spring rolls and edamame. Quite the enjoyable way to end up “breaking the fast.”

Dinner–Ah yes…the thrifty teaser from Friday.  I was charged to cook dinner for our Life Group, so I did BBQ chicken, garlic roasted potatoes, and salad, all for under two dollars a person. Not bad, if I do say so myself.  I overestimated the amount of salad and underestimated the amount of chicken by one or two servings, but not bad.

It’s going to be a good week…the temperature is dropping a bit, the calendar is turning closer to fall and the holidays, and we’re moving closer to the start of the soccer season and our Fall Retreat.  Getting excited people…getting excited.

Have a good one.


Day 629–Feelin’ Thrifty

New mission: spend less money on food.  After crunching some numbers (and using Fidelity’s awesome budget reporting information) we came to a disturbing conclusion: a LOT of our spending goes to food, whether it be restaurants or groceries or what have you.  So here’s the new standard, which I know has been done before (and I think has something to do with Dave Ramsey, whom I’ve never seen or heard): at the beginning of every month we’re pulling a small amount out and setting it aside for food.  It may fail miserably the first month or so while we figure it out, but I think it’ll help cut things down a lot.  I’ll let you know how it all goes down.

In a related note, I was able to get food for those twenty people I talked about last night for less than two dollars a person. Granted, its easier to save more when buying in bulk, but I still feel good about the effort.

In an unrelated note, all that patriotism from yesterday was put to the test when Clint Dempsey beat my boys from Man United this morning.  I’m thrilled he scored, and even the Tottenham goalie is American, but did they have to WIN? Couldn’t they play hard and lose at the end? Disappointing. (But seriously…proud of Friedel and Deuce.  Way to rep the USA.)

Breakfast–Lemon poppyseed muffins with added cranberries and a brown sugar crust.  They were awesome.

Lunch–Peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and a small piece of chocolate-peanut butter brownie.

Dinner–Penne pasta with caramelized onions, peppers, and chicken-apple sausage.

So all in all, it was a pretty simplistic eating day with lots of staples, but that’s what you do to eat on the cheap.  Hopefully I can keep it cheap AND healthy.

Church tomorrow! Life group tomorrow! Woo!

Have a good one.

Day 628–Ryder Cup Fever

I got a fever…and the only prescription is more Ryder Cup. Seriously.

For those of you with normal jobs that couldn’t sit around and watch the madness this afternoon, there were incredible shots, back and forth drama, the temporary resurgence of Tiger Q. Woods, unconscious putting by Nick Colsaerts, and most importantly, a Day 1 lead for the Americans. ‘Merikuh.

Really, the Ryder Cup is perfectly placed in the sports pantheon.  The MLB playoffs haven’t started yet, the NFL isn’t really off the ground yet, the NHL and NBA haven’t started their preseasons, much less meaningful games, AND thanks to a reset in the schedule due to 9/11 (‘Merikuh) they can build off the patriotism of the Olympics.  Such national pride.  I love it…I want more Ryder Cup. Let’s do this.

In non-sporting news, Luke and Lindsey are here visiting us, which gives us our first real visitors at the new apartment! (No offense to Kathy, who stayed here when we were still putting it all together, or to the Toys and St. Germains, who just came for dinner.)  This is awesome for multiple reasons, not the least of which is that they’re great people and great friends.  I also got sushi, but we’ll talk about that in a bit.

Breakfast–Granola, Mountain Medley variety.  I intentionally measured out one serving so I didn’t OD on granola.  That’s some fattening, sugary junk, but its so filling if you take care of yourself.

Exercise–I screwed my knee up on Wednesday, so “exercise” consisted of riding the stationary bike for 10-15 minutes and lifting weights. I find myself really enjoying lifting weights, which I always hated in football and in college because my arms and legs are so long that things like bench press and squats hurt like heck.  But free weights are much easier to handle, and I like the benefits.  So I think I’ll keep at it.

Lunch–Two sandwiches (unfortunate byproduct of working out…my freaking appetite is through the roof) with buffalo chicken, candied jalapenos, lettuce, bacon, and a side of cayenne okra.  Such an amazing meal.

Dinner–Sushi with Luke and Lindsey!  I’ve wanted to go to this place since we moved in, and I could never get Abby to go with me.  So we finally outnumbered her…totally worth it.  Half-price sushi/sashimi and 3 for 2 classic rolls.  Deliciousness…I’ll definitely go back. AND THEY DELIVER.

Dessert–To celebrate Lindsey’s birthday I made peanut butter brownies that were SO good.  The more baking I do, the more I’m learning the benefits of different icings and expanding my repertoire.  These are fantastic, and will be made again.

Tomorrow I get to make food for twenty people, but I don’t get paid for it.  Want to know why?

Tune in Sunday. That’s right…a tease for future posts.  Things just got real.

Have a good one.

Day 619–Stretch Armstrong

The one problem (I know…any of you who’ve actually used a Stretch Armstrong are currently saying, “One problem?!” Get over it) that I had with our dear elasticky friend Stretch Armstrong is that in order to get him really good and stretched out, you needed a lot of people with about the same level of strength.  If one person was too strong, it got ripped out of everyone else’s hands.  If one person was too weak, you got a foot/hand in the eye on whiplash.  It was always a dicey proposition playing with him, but if the stars aligned correctly you sure could make him do some ridiculous things.

I feel a bit as if my brain is Stretch right now.  Between church (teaching Sundays, Life Groups, and this week Wednesday night) and school (essays and responses every week, as well as two projects) and coaching (organization, strategy, putting together a team) and life (remembering to cook dinner, to have food in the house, to clean) and everything in between (finances, family, friends, etc) I’m getting to do some crazy mental gymnastics.  When one side is too dominant–this week it was soccer–then others suffer, namely preparation for my church duties.  When one side is too weak–for instance, hypothetically losing track of finances for a bit–then it all comes crashing down.  And that’s how you end up on the phone with a financial institution about to lodge a claim of account fraud when you realize that yes, you did in fact make that withdrawal, you moron.

Stretch always was more fun when you just melted him.

Breakfast–Finished off the apple cinnamon scones, which had been properly stored so as not to go bad. Calm down germ freaks.

Lunch–Buffalo chicken sandwich with salt and pepper pop chips.  I decided to branch out and try a couple of different/new flavors of pop chips since the BBQ ones are okay but not great, and I have to say–the jalapeno REALLY suck and the salt and pepper are decent.  At least they’re healthy, and the sweet potato version is delectable.

Snack–We saw Finding Nemo in 3D to continue our trend of giving Disney too much of our money, and while there I ate a bag of candy.  It was good. The movie was better.

Dinner–KFC before church.  Extra crispy strips (3) and potato wedges.  Fast and cheap…it fit the bill.

Dessert–Part of a Reese’s Sonic Blast.  Had kind of a stressful church experience, so I decided to cope with ice cream.  Not the greatest health choice, but I felt better afterwards.  And I lifted weights and hit the bike earlier today, so it wasn’t a total disaster…just a minor one.

Tomorrow we meet with a CPA.  Should be about as exciting as dental work. Yeehah.

Have a good one.

Day 613–Fall is Just a Tease

I went to the UPS store today to send some stuff back to my parents and was REALLY excited about the store windows as I drove by.  Lots of fall decor, pumpkins, scarecrows…the best. Fall is the BEST, and its not even up for debate.*

*Disclosure: I live in Texas, and therefore “fall” goes from October through mid-January.  Then the bottom falls out and it rains and gets nasty for a month. Then spring happens. I love Christmas, but I’ll take Halloween and Thanksgiving in a package deal any day.

After taking care of my business and answering the question “What can Brown do for you?” I made my way to Kroger. More scarecrows, pumpkins, gourds of various shapes and sizes, and then watermelons. WATERMELONS.  Seriously? Way to destroy my fall dream. Stupid Kroger.

I want it to be cold, I want leaves changing colors, and I want to buy pumpkins when they aren’t sitting next to the epitome of summer.

Breakfast–One piece of apple cinnamon scone.  I did better!

Lunch–Leftover soup from a few days ago.  Chicken, carrot, onion, farro, hatch chile…deliciousness.  Some of the best soup I’ve ever made.

Snack–Lucky. Freaking. Charms. So glorious.

Dinner–Leftover purple hull peas, mixed with pinto beans, seasoned onions and peppers, and honey-cayenne cornbread. Ohhhh yeahhhh.

Dessert–Ice cream. Duh.

Tomorrow we become housesitters and I start planning for all the fun stuff I have/get to do this weekend, like teach class, teach life groups, get ready for coaching, etc.  Gonna be fun.

Have a good one.

Day 612–Flying Cats

As I was typing this, I watched London (our cat) jump onto the sofa, size up the distance between herself and the back/top of the couch, take a flying leap…and miss by a good 8 inches, half land on Abby’s face, claw her and the sofa a bit, finally scramble up the back, and fall off onto the ground.  It was funny, it was moving, it had twists and turns…I give it four stars.

It also sums up pretty well the “health” aspect of today.  Breakfast would have been healthy if I hadn’t eaten so much, lunch would have been healthy without the ice cream, dinner wouldn’t have been healthy in any context, and I would have exercised if I didn’t keep putting it off and then our dinky workout facility been too crowded.

Careful planning…poor execution.

Breakfast–Apple Cinnamon scones.  Three pieces.  In my defense, they were small…still stupid.  Tasted pretty good though.

Lunch–Two sandwiches of the buffalo chicken/candied jalapeno/bacon variety, more okra (Must. Get. More.) and some water. Followed, of course, by…

Snack–Ice cream. Dangit. It’s just soooo good! I need to move away from a Kroger’s.

Dinner–Chick Fila.  Twelve nuggets, fries, and a lemonade.  And then Abby wanted sno-cones, so we got sno-cones. Mine was Wild Cherry and Lime…and delicious.

Tomorrow I vow to do better. Hold me to it please.

Have a good one.

Day 611–Call Me Coach

Well, enough of the suspense.  Assuming something doesn’t go horrifically wrong over the next couple of days/weeks, I’m the new boys soccer coach at Westbury Christian.  Now, there are two seemingly large problems with this scenario.  First, I’ve never really coached before.  I’ve got some experience at the intramural level, which was all successful, but as for all the paperwork and whatnot, that’s going to be new.  Second, of all the sports I’ve ever played, soccer was by FAR my worst.  I don’t really have the lungs for endurance, my feet are smallish for my height, I’m not fast, and until very recently my idea of cuts and angles was confined to elementary school math projects.

That being said…

The most successful and important job I’ve ever had in my life, and probably the most important experience of my life, was working at Wilderness Expeditions.  As a mountain guide, there are two innate skills that allowed for a great hiking trip: a solid sense of adventure and a solid sense of direction.  I get freaked out on second story balconies (true story) and consistently got lost in my science building at ACU.  You’re reading this correctly: I was a mountain guide with no sense of direction and a fear of heights.  I was able to overcome those flaws to excel at my job and have an impact on lots of students…something I hope repeats itself here.  Flaws are ways to improve.  I hope I’m better four months from now.

Breakfast–The last piece of whole wheat naan, Elvis style.  That’s right–peanut butter, honey, and bananas. Breakfast of champions, and overweight rock legends.

Exercise–Weights and elliptical.  Felt good to workout again…get some of the soreness out from ultimate this weekend and start the day off right.

Lunch–At Westbury I was able to indulge in some of Tony’s brisket, red beans and rice, peas, and baked potato. And a job. Not a bad meal.

Snack–Celebratory ice cream.  It was necessary.

Dinner–Which Wich.  The first time I went there, it was a disaster of disgusting proportions.  This time? Sandwich bliss. A regular turkey, toasted, with bacon, jalapeno, green pepper, cucumber, caramelized onion, and salt and pepper.  It was glorious.

Tomorrow Abby gets a day off! Yay! And I have to figure out how to coach soccer.

Have a good one.