fuzzy, black dogs

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

Phillip's Scenic Overlook

Monday, November 21, 2016

Dinner Planning Made Easy

When I was younger, weekends were all about fishing, partying, eating and doing wild and crazy things! Now that I'm older, my weekends have turned into planning, laundry, cleaning and grocery store runs.

I like to think of myself as a professional grocery store shopper. I plan out my weekly meals (with my wife's help, of course!). As you can see from the diagram below, a lot of thought goes into the creation of a weekly menu at my house.

A glimpse into the insanity of genius, or something like that!

I diligently go through my kitchen as I make my grocery list to make sure I don't purchase anything I don't already have.

Like rice. One week, following my grocery run, I discovered I had three bags of rice! And I had just purchased another bag! Seriously, four 2 pound bags of rice might be just a little over the top. But I digress...

I list. I count. I mark. I strike through some items. I make notes on other items. I would take a picture of a typical grocery list, but viewings of my lists have cause textual blindness in the viewers. Don't ask. It's not pretty.

Regardless, I've been known to rewrite one list as many as four times. Even then, something always seems to get left off or forgotten.

I must admit that if grocery shopping was an Olympic sport, I probably wouldn't even qualify.

I still don't organize my shopping by sales, stores and coupons. My wife won't let me. She says five hours is too long for a single grocery run. Pure silliness!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Random Facts About Me

I read a pretty funny blog post on www.laughwithusblog.com recently. The author listed 25 random facts about herself she felt might be interesting. Or humorous. Or both!

Regardless, I thought that might be a good challenge for myself. Considering how long I've been writing my blog, you probably know all sorts of random facts about me that you hoped you might forget by now. You are in luck! Here's 25 more to store away for future knowledge!

I haven't always been a health nut. As a kid, the only green items I ate were M&M's, jelly beans, Skittles, freezer pops...

My favorite color? Green!

I'm not the laid back, chill individual I profess myself to be. Sometimes I can be a little uptight.

I make my own dishwasher detergent.

My fastest 5K ever was just under three minutes. My fastest running time, however, was 33 minutes and 16 seconds.

I once put an entire peanut butter and jelly sandwich in my mouth. It was a dare. I won.

I died once. Well, I thought I had, at least. It turns out our black cat just wanted a warm place to sleep and curled up on my face while I was asleep!

My first career goal that I ever remember making was to be a mountain man. I didn't know what it meant, but that was my goal.

I originally went to Cape Fear Community College to be a marine biologist. The marine diesel mechanics class scared me off.

I went to NCSU for a few years. I took fencing, archery, rock climbing...

I finally graduated from High Point University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a concentration in creative writing. (Imagine that!)

I drowned in a pool once for a Raleigh news station.

I like meat. Doesn't matter what kind. I'm a carnivore.

When I was a kid, I used to wish something bad would happen to me. Something bad enough that when I was "fixed" or healed, I either had bionics, or super powers.

Though my first attempts were nearly fatal, I'm a pretty good chef. And I enjoy cooking.

I once made a spaghetti sauce that a skinny, stray dog refused to eat.

I tried to change my name once to make myself more distinguished. I added Forrest. (Yes. This was before Forrest Gump!)

At 10 years old, I knew I was destined to be a professional stunt man.

The Beatles were still a band when I was born. "The who?" my first-graders used to ask. "No. Not The Who. The Beatles." Lame joke, but it amused me.

I like to amuse myself.

I find things. Like my sister's lost earring in the front yard. And a diamond ring once in my own back yard. And a five dollar bill on a recent run. And...

I've had dogs, cats, turtles, gerbils, a parakeet, rabbits, snakes, frogs, fish and snails. I think there were some others, but I don't remember!

There are some beef jerky dog snacks that taste like cheap human beef jerky. Deduce what you will from that statement.

I know the numbers one through five in Spanish. I know seven through 15 in French. I know six only in English.

I like to make lists!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Move Over, Martha!

I maxed out my recipe binder. I think I've created, and perfected, each of the recipes that I lovingly collected and three-hole punched for that binder. I reached the pinnacle of my culinary prowess... Until I met Martha.

She came in my house through the front door. Her blonde hair was coiffed perfectly. Her ever-present, inviting smile a permanent fixture upon her visage. And she was lying in a smallish, plastic tub. All 12 of her!

Ginga, as my mom-in-law is affectionately known, finally relinquished a full years worth of Martha Stewart's Everyday Food magazine, bequeathing them to me. Each one of these mini-magazines is chocked full of the most tantalizingly delectable, culinary delights this chef has ever seen!

Needless to say, I'm starting all over again on a new cookbook. Due to the magazine's small size, I've found dual half-page page protectors to house these recipes. Score!

Now I'll have to scour the house to find an appropriate binder with which to contain my new treasure trove of recipes. In case you can't tell, I launched into the magazines immediately upon their arrival.

I have not yet told my wife and son that the menu of meals for this week has changed drastically. My gluten free chicken fried rice may become gluten free pork fried rice instead.

While I refuse to defile the sanctity that is hot dog night, oven-baked taco night has now become skirt steak with pan-fried polenta. Steaks have skirts? And just what the heck is a polenta? Yoo-hoo! Oh, Google!

Regardless, I've discovered around 50 new recipes to try out on my unsuspecting family. And that's just from three magazines! Nine more to go! My family has no idea just how lucky they really are!

Needless to say, I have a new, growing stack of recipes that require my attentiveness and mad chef skills. As they say, practice makes perfect!

Move over, Martha. There's a new chef in town!

Friday, March 11, 2016

What I wish...

I absolutely adore writing prompts! My third-graders were given the following prompt and three minutes to write whatever they wanted. This, however, was my response...
Oh, the limitless possibilities!

(Prompt: If I could have one wish, I would wish for...) I would wish for large vocabularies for all my students.

If my students have large vocabularies, they'll understand what I mean when I tell them they are doing phenomenally. They'll be able to perform stupendous work. They'll be able to write prolifically.

They'll know to avoid egregious and audacious behavior. They'll also be able to keep the decibel level in the classroom to a manageable minimum. And they certainly won't be loquacious!

Above all, their reading levels would be monumental! Words like insipid, retroactive and redundant would inspire them to read with deep comprehension and alacrity! Wow!

I simply couldn't muster the courage to read any of the students' responses. I'm too afraid I'll see "I wish Mr. Haworth didn't throw all those big, scary words at me! What do they even mean?"

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Battling Darth Lilly in the Snow

I normally love my three fuzzy, black dogs. But when it snows, I don't. Snowstorms bring out the worst in my dogs.

As I detailed in my very first blog post, there's a certain protocol that must be followed when the dogs go out to go potty. I open the back door. They run into the yard. They do numbers one and two. They run back up. I let them back inside. All done!

Five years later, the fact is, Lilly still hates snow. The "all mighty princess" now takes three steps out the door, turns to face the door (and, of course, me!), looks me in the eye and squats on the deck. If she were a Star Wars dog, she would be an evil Sith Lord!

She still refuses to go outside in any adverse conditions -- defined as any conditions that don't include sunshine and blue skies!

Bob is usually oblivious to the weather conditions. Rain? No problem. Fog? No problem. Night? No problem. The snow, though, throws poop Bob off his game.

He ran outside. He paused. Whoa, everything looks different! Let's have fun! Excitedly, he begins running around like a crazed animal, except he's like a race car with no traction with his back end spinning wildly out of control.

Sadly, as he comes spinning back up onto the deck, he realizes that in all his exuberant excitement he forgot to do numbers one and two in the yard. Do I need to finish this paragraph? Really?

Luckily, Ace still uses the yard in all conditions. You've got to take the small victories where you can.

Meanwhile, I'll be waiting for the snow to melt in order to clean up the near-miss victories. And I'll also be waiting for the next snowstorm when I'll once again do battle with Darth Lilly.