fuzzy, black dogs

fuzzy, black dogs
All three of my fuzzy, black dogs -- Bob, Ace and Lilly.

Phillip's Scenic Overlook

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Phillip's Freeze Pop Diet

I've discovered a wonderful, new diet. It's affordable and easy and there are no specialty meals that you have to buy. You don't have to count calories. You don't even have to set foot on the scales. In fact, I suggest that you don't. I call it Phillip's Freeze Pop Diet.

That's right. Move over South Beach Diet and Atkins. Watch out SugarBusters! This will be the biggest new fad in eating and dieting.

(Insert gorgeous spokesmodels here.)
"Wow," says hot celebrity number one to number two. "You look so... Unbelievable!"
"I know," says hot celebrity number two. "And to think that I owe it all to Phillip's Freeze Pop Diet. It's the newest thing, you know."

The advantages to the freeze pop diet are too numerous to fully list in a single blog post. However, I can tell you that they're cheap. You get a whole bunch in a mesh bag for only a few dollars! Compare that to a South Beach frozen meal you get in the grocery store.

They come in a variety of colors and flavors. There's orange, red, yellow, green and blue. Those aren't just colors, they're flavors, too! They even come in orangey-yellow, light and darker green, pink, reddish-orange and an off-white which tastes remarkably similar to Pina Colada.
The freeze pops are incredibly versatile. They're good before, during and after meals. Hungry? Hmm... Grab a freeze pop from the freezer and you're good to go!

Some freeze pops are even healthy for you. Once, I found a package of specialty freeze pops that, according the packaging, are from real fruit juice. They even claimed on the packaging that they contained vitamin C!

The thing I personally like most about freeze pops is that they're practical. Run out of ice? Break up a freeze pop and drop it into your drink. Flavored ice. Bee sting? Keep it in its plastic sleeve and apply it directly to the swollen area. Run out of drink? Melt it down and, voila, you have a fruity drink in a plastic sleeve!

I personally find that a freeze pop with breakfast, in lieu of my morning coffee, wakes me up pretty well. I mean, face it, nothing says summer like a freeze pop for breakfast. Or you could even add alcohol for your summer fun. You know, a little rum and your Pina Colada flavor freeze pop... Not too shabby.

However, getting back to the diet plan, here's what you. Eat one freeze pop after breakfast, one after lunch and one, maybe two, after dinner. Not able to eat one of those meals? Don't worry about the meal itself, just grab a freeze pop and you're good to go. You're on your way to a happier you!

On an unrelated note, I suspect my fuzzy, black dogs have gotten hold of my scales. It's not displaying my weight correctly and the number seems to change on a daily basis. My next post may be all about my search for a new dog-proof, accurate scale. After all, the numbers should be going down, not up, on the freeze pop diet.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Nothing Good Came Out of the 80's?

According to the infallible wisdom of my 14 year-old son, "nothing good came out of the 80's." We've had numerous discussions of some of the great things that came from that decade, but he's sticking to his guns and insists that the 80's was, in general, a stagnant period in the world.

First and foremost, Wang Chung came out of that time period. In fact, there was a lot of cool music that came out of the 80's. Men Without Hats, Men at Work, Duran Duran and The Thompson Twins all became popular about that time. His eyes just glazed over.

After coercing him out of his self-induced coma with the promise of a chocolate milk, I continued on.

MTV debuted in the early 80's. You know, music videos? You simply weren't a cool band unless you had a really awesome video to go along with the songs! Take Van Halen's "Hot For Teacher," for example. Wow! Now that was some video. A work of art! And...
"Wait," my son said. "Were you a teenager, Dad?"
Well, yes, of course I was.
"And did it have girls in it, Dad?"
Well, duh! This is Van Halen we're talking about. Of course it did!
"I rest my case," he said, then muttered something something derogatory about 'works of art.'

The movie "Raiders of the Lost Ark" came out in the 80's, as a matter of fact. This one caused him to hesitate because he is a big fan of that particular movie.

"One good movie does not redeem an entire decade of sub-standard quality and values, Dad," he said. Ouch!

I went so far as to point out that HIV/Aids was recognized during that decade. I also made note of the internet, which was 'invented' during that time frame. Heck, the Cold War ended in the 80's. Nintendos and Apple IIe's, high technology indeed, came out of that decade.

"Oh, Dad," he responded, worrying me. He is a history buff. "HIV/Aids? I mean, really?! You're going to go there? And the internet... Well, let's just say nobody could really use it until the 90's. It was kind of an exclusive thing, in the beginning.

"And check your history Dad. I think the Cold War officially ended in the early 90's. Nintendo has since expanded on that simple technology to make bigger and better things. And isn't the Apple IIe the computer you said you programmed a rocket image with big green squares? Lame, Dad."

All this conjecturing led to one very important question. I asked him if this meant that all the people born in the 80's are all lame or, at best, "stagnant."

"The 80's has no bearing on those people unfortunate enough to be born during that period," he replied matter-of-factly. "It only means that those poor people had nothing decent to look forward to for at least another decade."

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Phillip's Practical Guide for Fathers

Being a father probably means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. One thing I can tell you for certain, though, is that, as a father, you'd better have some pretty tough feet.

I'm all about giving some solid, practical advice. Being a husband of 17 years and a father of 14 years, I have experience in this particular area of knowledge, as well as some darn tough feet!

Allow me to break it down for you, so to speak. Items come in four main categories which are immobile/breakable, immobile/unbreakable, mobile/underfoot and mobile/collision. Many sub-categories exist, of course, but these are the main ones any good father should be acutely aware of, especially when walking through a quiet, dark house.

The first category consists of any non-round object that falls to pieces when stepped upon. The danger in these items is that they can and often splinter. This creates small shards of wood or plastic which will then imbed themselves deep into those hard-to-reach areas of your foot. These often hurt, but not like the next one.

The second category, immobile/unbreakable, do not roll or move in any way, shape or form. They simply don't break, either. Instead, it's your foot that gives first and causes excruciating pain which gets proportionately worse after midnight. Lego products are a great example of this category. My son is 14 years old and I still curse Lego for making such a quality product on a regular basis.

The third category, mobile/underfoot, consists of balls, toy cars, skateboards, water puddles or any other wet, slippery surface. Fuzzy, black dogs also fall under this category. Mobile refers to the item moving underfoot and causing you to lose your balance. I've found that a category two often lies in wait nearby for you to fall upon, thus imbedding itself into your foot or other unmentionable parts of your anatomy. This, of course, depends on whether you catch your footing or just simply fall.

And now we come to our final category of mobile/collision. By nature and by themselves, they are not particularly harmful or dangerous. They are more a nuisance than anything else. Large balls, vehicles and robots don't really hurt when they roll into your ankles or legs.

Watch out, though. These often work in tandem with the others. Don't believe me? Let me give you an example.

Some years back, my five year-old's shriek of "DA-DEE!!" from the bathroom pierced the darkness and my sleep. While on my way to the bathroom, a firetruck bumped my left foot, distracted me, and caused my right foot to land in an unknown, slippery substance. My body then sailed swiftly past the bathroom and my 'ailing' son. My left foot, trying desperately to save me, came down squarely on a Lego, sending spasms of pain shooting to my brain.

While that story has a less-than-happy ending, and I won't say what I stepped in, it exemplifies how category four items often team up with the others for maximum effect.

Keep an eye on http://www.fuzzyblackdogs.blogspot.com/. Sometime soon, I may post a follow up and teach you how to deal with and prevent this problem for yourself. In the meantime, I will be figuring out how to deal with and prevent this problem for myself. Then, rest assured, I will share it with you.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

I Haven't Always Been This Way

Stress and trauma seem to be defining my life. I'm being forced to deal with some serious inner turmoil these days. You may be thinking, "Why?" Well, it seems that school is about to come to an end and I'm not sure exactly how I feel about it.

While it's kind of nice having a job that gives me summers off, I've already picked up a part time job for the summer months. I'm looking for a second one as well because I simply don't enjoy relaxing. It's too hard! It's too stressful!

One of the ladies I work with at the school asked me a few weeks back, "What don't you do, Mr. Haworth?"

Relax. I simply don't relax well, even when I'm trying to! Much to my family's chagrin, I don't relax well even when we're on vacation.

Having said that, I'm actually a little sad that school will be over very soon. Summer means a break in routine. Summer also means change. These two concepts and I don't mix well under the best of circumstances. In fact, these two concepts have been known to send shivers down my spine and sometimes shatter my rock, solid psyche.

I haven't always been this way, though. I used to relish summertime and all it entailed. Food, swimming, fishing, outdoors, food, vacation, beach trips, food, sleep, quality family time, fishing and food. And  it seems there was nothing quite like a good grilling or an awesome picnic!

So how am I going to deal the the stress and trauma I've managed to create for myself?

That's easy. First, I plan to put as many meals as possible on the grill on my back deck. Toast? Grill it. Cereal? Grill it. Baked beans? Grill 'em. Yes, I will be firing up the grill for this summer.

Second, I think I've got another part time job lined up, other than the fireworks stand. Originally, I was going to run the stand with my brother-in-law. Unfortunately, there was a geographical problem, so that didn't pan out like I thought it would. That's a shame since it might have been fun.

Third, I may have to plan a few picnics. The first one will probably be near the Wautauga River. Caught a few nice brook trout in there with my fly rod. There might be one by Badin Lake, where I've caught a few good sized bass. There might even be...

Friday, June 1, 2012

Tattoos Are Taking Over the World

I'm back on car rider duty at school. That was one of my original duties earlier in the year. I have made two very interesting observations while on morning car rider duty.

First is that no one, and I mean NO ONE, drives a manual transmission vehicle any more. Out of all the cars that come through dropping kids off at our school, I have seen three straight drives among them. The second is that it seems as though everyone has a tattoo these days.

The first observation is simply shameful. There are very few things that exist in this world that can compare with the thrill of maneuvering a straight drive (anything) through the twists, turns, stops and starts of city driving. Even better is when you get that same vehicle out on the highway, shift into fifth (or sixth) and just simply go, go, go.

And furthermore... Nevermind. We'll save that neurosis for later.

As for the second observation, it amazes me how many moms and dads sport tattoos upon their bodies. I've seen them on shoulders, arms, wrists, necks, legs, ankles and feet. Any other tattoos in any other places are none of my business. And they're all different, too! Like snowflakes, I've never seen two just alike.

As for the actual tattoos, I question the ones that are oriental characters. I'm convinced that somewhere out there is a tattoo artist laughing his you-know-what off because the guy who thinks he's sporting a tattoo that says "stud muffin" is really walking around with a tattoo that says, "butter muffin."

Now with my new part time job, I see even more people on a regular basis with all sorts of tattoos. I still haven't seen the same tattoo twice. Some of them seem to be in Spanish, as well as the occasional oriental character. Some seem quite simple and small, and yet others are quite ornate and, I dare say, borderline on sheer artistry.

Naturally I've decided that I'm going to have to join the ranks of the star-belly sneetches and have my own metaphorical star upon my belly. However, it's not going to be a tiger, snake, barbed wire, oriental character, butterfly or initials. It's not even going to be on my belly! It certainly won't be a star, though that might be kinda cool in a Seuss-ish sort of way. Instead, I'm going to have "Red hot smoldering volcano of manliness" emblazoned upon my shoulder.

There are only two small obstacles, which I think I can overcome, standing in my way. The first is that my idea is a lot of words. I'll either have to go with a really small font size, or start lifting weights to bulk up my shoulder to fit all those words. The second? That would be my wife and my son. Being my voices of reason, I usually bounce ideas off of them before I do anything that they would consider foolhardy, or just plain stupid.

While I think I got this one in the bag, wish me luck anyway.