I completely stole this from the internet- but it is 100% accurate.

THE MAN COLD or I'm-dying-slowly-someone-please-kill-me-itis

It’s specific to the male species and demands fast attention.

The symptoms are horrible: coughing, sneezing, sore throat, low energy and the telltale man-whine. What’s a wife to do? Yes, it’s up to the opposite sex to save their men from their colds. Let’s go through the drill:

Do not put him in bed. Instead, let him recoup here.

Turn on the TV - fast. Find some sports or cartoons and give him the remote control.

He’ll be too weak to call for you, so make sure to check in on him every three minutes. A little bell is also helpful.

He’ll need an endless supply of tissues, fast food, cookies and lots of tea.

Once he shows signs of improvement (by asking you what you’re doing every 10 minutes), he’s ready for movie therapy. Star Wars, James Bond, or sports related movies work well during this next step in the man cold treatment plan. Note: No matter how much he begs, do not let him watch “Brian’s Song.” In his weakened state, the emotional drain will be too much for him.

If a week has gone by and there’s no improvement, bring out the big guns: have a chick flick marathon consisting of Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, Steel Magnolias, and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and if he’s not in the shower after that, tell him you can’t remember if you feed a cold, starve a fever or the reverse, so you’d better ask your mother to come over.

He’ll be back on his feet before you can say, “Do these pants make my butt look big?”

10 Things I am thankful for

1. My 10 years in the Army; the experiences and them being over.
2. The people willing to go overseas again and again knowing that they don't want to be there.
3. My three boys fighting to get in bed with momma this morning
4. Remembering three feelings-
a) The last moment I looked at Jane Anne before leaving for Iraq.
b) The first hug I got from her in the airport when I came home for R&R from Iraq (and the tears... and the people clapping)
c) A year's worth of stress washing off of me as I felt the plane's tires hit the ground when I brought my company home from Iraq
5. David. If he was born 100 years earlier, I would be a single father of 1.
6. Jonathan. He has the purest of intentions. Always.
7. Thomas. He is going to keep me laughing for decades.
8. Elisabeth. She's all I could dream of in a daughter.
9. Hard times. God is teaching me more now than I ever dreamed.
10. Jane Anne. The second greatest gift I have ever received.

Veteran's Day

It's different from this side.

It means more.

Ways I have changed:
- I don't like watching war movies with the sound on (I watched the end of Saving Private Ryan on mute- I don't really enjoy the sound of gunfire)

- I think more about those who served during Vietnam, Korea, and WWII and really want to thank them

- I really appreciate my friends who are there or will be going back soon

- As the second Major Owen that served in the Army from my family, I really appreciate my heritage

- I wouldn't change the way I did any of it

Bye Phil

I'm glad he's leaving as the coach because I want to win. I feel sad because the guy gave Tennessee it's best football years ever (and some of the worst). The guy loves Tennessee regardless of his recent lack of popularity.

From the "Tennesseean", a Nashville Newspaper:
"One interesting figure could also give some tips. Fulmer will be offered a position in the athletics department following this season, and he said he would do anything he could to improve the program's direction. "I will help my successor if needed…in any way possible, if he chooses," Fulmer said."

That will be interesting.

I am an Idealist

Brilliantly Titled

I am struggling with a title for this post so I am going to stop trying to think of one and just start typing.

As I was getting on the plane this afternoon in in Los Angeles, I stood next to, in my estimation, the happiest girl I had ever seen. She was probably about 18 or 19. I wouldn't have thought that old, except for the fact that she was married. I thought she must have been on some kind of drugs. She was bouncing around and way to happy to get on an overbooked flight to Portland. I made my way down the aisle and into my seat and noticed that happy little girl was sitting across the aisle from me. I politely said, "hello" and went back to my book. When we took off, she giggled and laughed. I raised an eyebrow and kept reading. After several other events like this, she asked what I was reading and I showed her the book (Playing For Pizza by John Grisham). I then asked her if she was going home or away from home. She teared up pretty quickly and told me that she was finally going home. Through a brief conversation I learned quite a bit, so here is her story:

She fell in love with her boyfriend in High School in Portland and got married just after she graduated. Then she got deported. Apparently, being married doesn't automatically make you an American citizen, even if you've lived here since you were 7. So, she spent quite a long time in Guatemala trying to get her visa so she could move back to America, where her husband, mom, dad, sisters, etc all live. Her husband went to Guatemala for a while, but had to come back to go to work. She was coming "home" for the first time in her married life and was going to finally live with her husband.

I put all of this together as we exited the plane. As I came around the corner out of the secure area, she was in the arms of her father who was crying a river and surrounded by no less than 15 others. Her husband was waiting dutifully for her to finish kissing her father before he stepped in.

What did I learn from this? Life (work, bills, kids, pets, other family) has a way of bogging me down and I forget about the giddy excitement I used to feel when I would see Janey. I feel a deeper love than ever, I need to show a little bit of the excitement. It'll be good for me, her, AND the kids...

I DON'T hate Bama, but...

I grew up hating Alabama. There was nothing worse than to lose the game on the Third Saturday in October. Nothing. I married a wonderful woman who graduated from Alabama, and still managed to hate Bama. But... now I have three boys. None have spent any significant time in the Southeast and all have chosen their teams to cheer for. They either cheer for Oregon or Oregon State AND Alabama or Tennessee. One PAC-10 team and one SEC team. It hurts my heart, but I cannot openly hate Bama anymore because my little clone LOVEs Alabama. He Loves everything Red and Loves screaming Roll Tide at the top of his lungs. My oldest loves Tennessee with such a passion (and subsequently hates Bama with equal energy) that I KNOW they will get in fights later in life over this game.

But I do not hate Bama anymore. Do I sound like someone in a 12-step program? Just in case you want to know the passion that people in Tennessee have for their football and how much they do NOT like Alabama... click anywhere.

Stranger thoings have happened

As alluded to here stranger things have happened than an unranked Tennessee playing at home beating a #2 ranked Alabama. Hmmmm... as a matter of fact, that EXACT thing happened in 1982. That's right- lets review our history boys and girls:

Alabama rolls into Knoxville in 1982 ranked #2 in the nation. They, as required, were wearing white jerseys and white pants while Tennessee, the unranked Volunteers had not beaten Alabama in 11 years. Tennessee donned the all orange look that game. What a site to see! Bama had just beaten a VERY powerful Penn State and were looking to continue their presumed dominance over the Volunteers. Although Alabama scored first, a 52 yard touchdown pass to Willie Gault got Tennessee back into the game.

Watch the Video Here, I know you want to.

Final Score? Alabama 28, Tennessee 35!


One of the things I love about my wife:

She loves college football.

Right now she is finishing up a cup of coffee and couple sausage and biscuits in bed while watching College Game Day on ESPN. One of the first questions she asked my this morning while she was rubbing the sleep from her eyes- "What time's the game?"

She has sat in the driveway in the truck listening to her team playing on XM radio when they weren't on TV. I brought her pizza and a beer for dinner in the truck.

I love that she loves college football!

Not Me Monday

I certainly most assuredly did NOT pass gas and blame it on the trash can after my wife warned me that if I did it one more time I would be sleeping on the couch! No- Not ME!!!

And I would never, and did not suggest that I blog about it in order to get her to laugh instead of kicking me out of my bed for the night. Nope- I didn't.

Little ditty about Jack and Diane

Two American kids growin up in the heartland.

For my wife

Guilty as Charged

My guilty pleasure:

I absolutely love...LOVE corn dogs.

Funny- it would have been funny if it was someone else.

I don't trash talk. I'm just not good at it. But, apparently when I left work last Monday, I mentioned that although I was really excited about Tennessee's opening game, it would be a piece of cake and there was no way we could lose. Well, apparently people in PAC-10 states are pretty big PAC-10 fans and word got around that I thought my SEC team would kill the PAC-10 team we were playing. Since I was off work on Tuesday, my peers and boss (all PAC-10 fans) had plenty of opportunity to reind me who won the game. See pictures below.

The Truth of Dads and Moms

Sometime in June I mentioned to Jonathan that we would, sometime this summer, have a "Video Game Night" where the boys could stay up as late as they want, play video games, eat junk food, and generally have fun. I know, what a fun idea, right? The truth of how great ideas start and finish in my house was never more evident than yesterday.My great idea was to have the video game night. Jane Anne- made cookies, made sure the boys took naps, made some excellent trail mix, bought other goodies, made sure we had movies for Thomas to watch because he's not a video game aged kid, and made sure we had pizza for dinner. She stayed up and helped get the boys in bed when one of them melted down at 2:30 AM.
So- behind every time I seem heroic to my kids, its because momma is doing all of the work in the background to let me look good.

Home, Sweet Home...

It should be rare that you turn on Fox News and see an article about my home town (Knoxville, Tennessee) unless it is about football.

Twice in the past 30 days there have been violent acts in safe places that garnered the attention of the national media. A man walked into a "church" (Unitarian Universalist type) about a month ago and killed several people. Then yesterday, two kids at Central High (famous graduates include Todd Helton of the Colorado Rockies)were arguing, one pulled a gun out and shot the other in the chest. He died before getting to the hospital. I write this as my seven year old is slaughtering countless little Lego-men on the XBox 360- the irony is not lost on me. I received the book "Stop Teaching our Kids to Kill" a few months ago. The premise is that we are, through video games, movies and stories, making it very easy for our kids to make the jump between bullying/ playground fighting to pulling the trigger. I will be off on the facts here, but not by much- The kid who shot and killed 7 people in Paducah, Kentucky several years ago had never once fired a gun or rifle in real life. He had fired them hundreds of thousands of times on his video game in the 1st Person Shooter games he played. (Jonathan just blew away about 25 Storm Troopers- Go Jonathan!). When the kid started firing from a semi-concealed position, he fired 10 rounds- 7 of which were head or torso shots. The average law enforcement officer (including CIA/ FBI/ US Army) does not hit more than 3 of 10 under duress (firing when it counts).

My point is convoluted. Having guns in the house does not matter (Paducah boy went next door and took the gun out of the neighbor's house). Teaching children to deal with their problems without resorting to violence is important. Also- letting children repeatedly kill on games and watch killing on TV desensitizes them to killing. They do not see the person on the other end of the front sites as a person, but another pixel on the video game- and they now have an easy way to solve their problems.

"Hey Mom, why is that fat guy running?"

I ran this morning. On purpose. Completely unrelated, today marks my one year anniversary with Target.

I used to enjoy running, a little. I used to think I enjoyed the health benefits more than the actual running, but than I discovered I was doing it wrong. Not the actual running, that's pretty straight forward (one foot, other foot, one foot, other foot, and so on until you get tired). But I was running with the wrong clothes on. My choice of clothes used to be a gray shirt with the word "ARMY" screen printed on it. Somehow, that shirt made running nearly unbearable. And as I looked around, there would be upwards of 300 people with the same shirt on that looked just as miserable as I felt. And they would yell. Trying to run in step with each other and yelling things like, "I DON'T KNOW BUT I'VE BEEN TOLD..." and other similar things that hardly made sense. Google "Running Cadences" if you don't know what I'm talking about.

But this morning was different. I woke up at 4:30 AM, not so much on purpose, but because of a result of a seven year old biology experiment in procreation. As I was lying in bed, I decided I would give it a shot. I mean, I used to run 11 miles at a time. I could certainly make it to the stop sign and back, right? Well, probably not, but I thought I should try anyway. I mean, I ran at least three times a week, 50 weeks a year for 10 years at no less than three miles a day....carry the zero... that means I ran a lot.

I have wanted to start running again for a while, but I lacked the proper motivation. Apparently, that motivation comes in the form of me seeing myself in the mirror one too many times as I step out of the shower.

So, here is something I learned. At 5 AM while running on rural roads, every sound you hear is probably a skunk. And one time, it really was. Skunks, even when it is really dark, can easily be located because people are running away from them... and they have a very peculiar white stripe. No, I didn't get sprayed. Also- Walmart is a lot further away than I thought. The sprinkler at the guys house down the street is set WAY too high, but the cold COLD water feels good. Geese do not have a sphincter muscle. (I didn't actually learn that today, but was reminded of it a moment ago when the third flock of geese flew right over my head. They missed me.)And one last thing i learned: it is really peaceful at 5 AM in Lebanon, Oregon. Running is a lot more enjoyable when there aren't 300 people yelling and puking around you. Just me, the sound birds chirping, cows mooing, and my 220 lbs hitting the ground.

I may have to do it again on Friday.

When you don't think things can get worse...

Those who don't think things can get any worse, lack imagination...

David woke up last night with a belly ache and got in our bed to keep us up... I mean, to be comforted by his parents. That's an hour of sleep I didn't get back. Then When I had a classic day at work today. It was busy and tiring. I knew that when I got home tonight JA was going to be heading out and going to a MOPS meeting. I'm not saying that I don't enjoy every moment of taking care of my passel of kids, but there are some days that I look forward to quiet. Anywho- the headache hit just before JA called me at work and told me that the the baby had diarrhea. I was SO looking forward to going home. I got home, JA gave me the high 5 as she was walking out the door and I think she looked a little too happy to leave :). I had just set down the crying baby because my stomach wasn't exactly feeling great, two of the boys were borderline fighting, I was cooking dinner and trying to find 12 seconds to go to the bathroom. That's when I thought, "Oh things are just about as bad as they could get..." Then I heard it...

"Daaaaddyyyyyy.... I pooped in my pants."
Wealth of "knowledge" Wednesday

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? I think the story is that the Doctor said, "push" and my mom was counting the contractions on a Seth Thomas Clock. Actually- thats a complete fabrication. I wasn't named after anyone.
2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? I don't cry. Like Chuck Norris, I make onions cry.
3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? I love it, unfortunately, no one else can read it.
4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? Bologna. Fried with Velveeta Cheese on it.
12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Physically- average.
15. RED OR PINK? Red
23. FAVORITE SMELLS? Coffee brewing, Camp fire burning
24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? The Facility Operations Senior Group Leaders from Region 2
27. HAIR COLOR? Brown
28. EYE COLOR? Blue/ Green
32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? Not sure. Probably the opening of "Transformers" at Keith's place.
35. HUGS OR KISSES? huh?
39. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? "Border Crossing" by Cormac Mcarthy
42. FAVORITE SOUND? My boys laughing.
44. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME??? DMZ, South Korea... Or Northern Iraq. I didn't check the odometer when I was there to see which is further.
46. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Austin, Texas
47. WHOSE ANSWERS ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO? I think everyone who has done this is everyone who will do this.

Not so funny things kids say

"Daddy, I need to pee. And I pooped in my pants. And I don't need to pee anymore."

How did I end up in Oregon?

A friend from high school asked me how in the world I ended up in Oregon. There is a long, medium, and short version to this answer.

First- the short. I got out of the Army and was offered a job with Target at a distribution center in Oregon. I took it and moved here.

I won't tell the long version.

The medium version. I always, in the back of my mind, knew I was going to be an Army officer. It is really the only thing, besides marrying Jane Anne, that I have ever really wanted. When I was in high school, I wrestled in a match against Jeffeson County High School at their school. At the school, I wrestled against the son of the commander of the Carson Newman ROTC department. He gave me a scholarship application and beacuse of that I went to college instead of enlisting in the Marine Corps. Wait- this is turning into the long version. The medium version is that God put an opportunity in front of me to go to college that I would not have otherwise had. And I was able to finish school and go directly into the Army as an officer.

During the first training I attended, I had orders to go to Germany next. Jane Anne and I both started doubting we really wanted to go overseas though. So, when a friend there found out he was going to Colorado Springs and was upset he didn't get his first choice of Germany... well- we traded. Colorado Springs was our second choice. David and Maggie, good friends from college, were already in The Springs. So, I figured, once again, God gave us an opportunity to be really happy. When we left COlorado 3 years later, we headed to Virginia. We got there September 20 2001. Funny- if I had left a few days later, I would have stayed in Colorado Springs and deployed with my unit to Iraq. Anyway- I had three choices of where to go next from Virginia. Korea, Korea, or Korea. I thought about it a lot and decided that, after much praying, I would go to Korea. It was a 1 year, unaccompanied tour so Jane Anne and the baby stayed in Knoxville. While in Korea, I got to choose my next assignment. I decided I wanted to get out of the Army, but it would be hard to find a good job from Korea, so we went to Tacoma, Washington. After four years and a tour in Iraq there, I finially decided to get out again. I searched and searched for a job. I went to conferences in Atlanta and flew around for interviews in the Southeast. What I figured out was that none of the jobs interested me nearly as much as the Army did. So, I decided to stay in the Army. Choices, choices, choices. That's when Target called and asked me to come for an interview. I did. We liked each other. I said I would happily work in Texas, Georgia, Alabama, Virginia, or South Carolina. They said there were opening in New York, Minnesota, Oregon, and California. Since I really didn't want to live in New York or California, and Minnesota just seems a little too cold, Oregon seemed like the perfect choice.

We moved down here in August of 2007 and mostly love it. It rains differently than it did in Washington, but the summer is just as beautiful.

So, Grace, the answer is God gave me choices, but made it pretty obvious where we should be.

A funny thing happened on the way to Minneapolis...

Seriously. It was funny. Brace yourself for the end of this story.

I am particular about flying. I have flown enough that I know that I do not like sitting in the center, aisle, or non- exit row seat. So, depending on the airline, I check in as early as possible and do whatever I can to ensure I get a window seat in an exit row. Last Sunday I flew to Minneapolis (again) and got an exit row (again). I was prepared. I had my Ipod with some great music, a book (Cormac McCarthey's All the Pretty Horses) and an empty bladder. I was ready for a 3 hour undisturbed flight. I was sitting minding my own business when a very nice elderly couple came and sat beside me. AS they were sitting down, the woman told the man that she was supposed to be in the middle seat. He said that he would sit there so she can be more comfortable in the aisle seat. I disengaged from my book long enough to give them a "that's very sweet" smile. Then back to my book.

Soon enough we were underway. Oh- the other thing about flying and me- I sleep hard and fast on planes. So, I put the headphones on before we took off and was sound asleep before we went wheels up. Here is where things got a little interesting. "How can things get interesting when you are asleep, Seth?" you ask. Let me tell you, they did. Not so much interesting for anyone else but me and the cute couple lucky enough to be in seats 14D and 14E. I was trying to not infringe upon the man's space so I had my arms crossed, left over right with my left hand sorta wedged between my ever expanding body and the arm rest on my right side. That way, when I fell asleep, my sheer mass would keep it there and I would stay in my personal space.

Apparently, in a dream, my hand wedged between my hip and the arm rest felt like my dog biting me. So, I did what any level-headed-red-blooded-American would do- in my sleep, I jerked my hand away from the the "dog" and (in awake-land) slammed my elbow into the very nice man's shoulder.

He yelled
I must have yelled
People turned around in their seats
His very nice wife looked at me with such vile you would think I just told her that I was responsible for the outlawing of all outlet stores in the United States.


I apologized. He said that it was OK. Told me I am forgiven and I went back to my book.

Strangely enough, I didn't sleep anymore on THAT flight.

Memorial Day

Taps is the saddest song I will ever hear. It doesn't matter how many memorial services or funerals I attended, I was never ready for the sound of the rifles firing the first of three volleys. Each time, those shots signalled for me the time to try to hold back the tears. When a Soldier kneels on one knee and hands the flag to the wife/ daughter/ husband of the deceased, I usually bite the inside of my cheek to stop from crying outwardly.

Until I started looking up memorials of people I knew, I didn't realize how deep the feelings of appreciation for those who died and sorrow for their families run within me. Bill Jacobsen was someone I got to know a little. After reading these memorials, I realized that my opinion of him was mirrored by lots of others. Here is the NY Times Article about his last three months.

So, today I worked. No barbecue, no day on the lake, no party. And I'm glad. I would hate to have been too tired to spend some time hurting for my friends and their families today.

Its good to feel the hurt again. And remember.

I hope you enjoyed your Memorial Day and took just a few minutes to remember those Soldiers who have died. If you didn't, spend a minute reading the articles about Bill and know that there is always going to be hope for the US Military as long as men like him keep joining and serving.

I wish I could stay home all day and not work

In order to do that, i would have to not be married, independently wealthy, not have any kids, and not care about the condition of my house (or cardboard box) I am living in.

I tried it the other way today and I had to run off to work at the very first opportunity to relax. Jane Anne had a thing at the church today and I figured I could get a lot done in order to get the house cleaned up for tomorrow's celebration of motherhood. I worked my tail off for four hours. I was covered in sweat, smelled bad, the kids barely ate before I ran them back outside, and I didn't get anything "done".

As I was running out the door to head to work, I noticed all of the crumbs and bits of food that had fallen to my freshly mopped floor during lunch. I mentioned to JA that I couldn't believe how messy the floor was and that I had swept and mopped it just before lunch. She told me that she thought that I had mopped, but the crumbs under the table threw her off. I was deflated.

Thank you Stay At Home Moms everywhere (and especially in my house in Oregon).

I am beat. Maybe I will work a few more hours.

Technology and the Irish

Amazement. I sit in amazement. When I started college in 1992, I was excited when I, as a freshman, learned that I could email JA in Alabama. What an amazing tool we had at our disposal. Now, I am sitting on a bus driving 65 miles per hour down the interstate posting a blog about the Irish food I ate at the airport. Seriously- in 16 years, we have come a LOOOOOOONNNNNNNGGGGGGG way. Amazing.I commented on other blogs, I looked at, I spent the last 40 minutes looking at work email and responding to about 20 of them, and now I am blogging. Oh- another piece of amazing technology- The Ipod Nano. I told JA that it was a waste to get one of those. she knows me MUCH better than I know myself. I sat on a plane and watched the last 3 hours of the best Miniseries ever made. I don't have to tell you what it is. I KNOW you know. That's right. I watched Lonesome Dove on my Ipod while flying over the United States. Granted it is on a 1 1/2 inch screen, but I don't need a huge screen when I have about 4 1/2 inches of legroom on the flight and the large guy sitting in the seat next to me spills over onto my seat. Amazing technology. Everything (including the seats on the plane) is getting smaller and more compact.

Now- on to Dinner- just to finish out the week. There was an Irish pub in the airport next to my gate. As I was on the phone with my wife telling her how much I missed her, I kept smelling the yummy food from there. My stomach took over and I got off the phone and went and found a seat. I ate at O'Gara's Pub I had a Reuben and some sort of medium beer. It was good. The cole slaw was too wet and watery. Besides that, a good grilled Reuben with lots of sauerkraut washed down with the beer was delicious. Or as the Irish say, "Cathain a bhainfidh an traenach amach i Cill Airne?" Which translates to mean- when does this train get to Killarney.

Actually- here is your Gaelic phrase of the day:
PHRASE: Gle mhaith!
PRONOUNCED: glay moth
MEANING: Very good!

Enjoy your new- found knowledge! I am enjoying the technology and the motion sickness I am feeling from trying to type for the last hour on a moving bus.

Good Day!

Brit's Pub

Walked a couple blocks down the street and ate British.

All of it looked... well, unappetizing until I saw the item at the top of the menu: Fish and Chips washed down with a good old beer straight out of... St Louis. Fish and Chips with a Bud Light. They had one other domestic beer there (Blue Moon) but I was feeling like a good American beer at a good non-American restaurant. It was too nice a night to actually go inside though, so I sat on their patio. And when I say patio, it is really a sidewalk with tables and chairs right in frontof the restaurant. I ate, read a book, and went back to the hotel- where I not sit.

Hope you enjoyed the week o' food from the Twin Cities! I'll be home Friday Night!

Din din

No, I did not go without dinner last night. I was just overcome with a debilitating headache after dinner.

I ate here. My momma would be so proud. I had some combination dinner with steak, chicken and shrimp. the proud momma comes in when I ate the chicken liver for the appetizer. yum (YUK!). There was vegetables, rice, meat, and green tea ice cream chopped up and served by a very white guy who thought it was funny to talk in a Japanese accent; a very POOR Japanese accent.

Dinner in the park

Had dinner in the Twins Ballpark tonight.

Bratwurst with sauerkraut and mustard, chips, macho nachos (with lotsa jalapenos) and a bud light.

I've been to Coors Field in Denver where the Rockies play and Safeco Field where the Mariners play in Seattle. This place in Minneapolis is like a warehouse with a field in it. But- it was something to do instead of sitting in my hotel room.

Food Blog


Disadvantage: Waking up and having no idea where you are.

Advantage: The company I work for encourages us to spend time socializing and building networks. How do we do this? Going out to eat. So I will let you all know everything I eat for dinner for a week.

Sunday night: The Newsroom I had the calamari as an appetizer and the jambalaya with a Fat Tire to drink. The jambalaya was ok; it was cream based so I didn't just love it. The calamari was crispy on the outside and nice and chewy on the in. Yum.

Monday night: Ate at Joe's Garage Eclectic American where I had the Lamb burger and the spicy cream cheese eggrolls as an appetizer. Lamb Burger: very yum. It had goat cheese and some great grilled peppers. It was great with a Blue Moon on draft.

Couple more days of this- I will need a new suit or two

Waking up Strange

I'm not good at waking up when I travel.

This morning the thoughts I had at 6:00 AM Central were:

"Where am I?"
"where is my alarm clock?"
"What is that music coming out of my alarm clock?"
"Why is it going off?"
"I still don't know where I am, but I think I am supposed to get up."
found alarm clock- fumbling with it, "Where is the snooze button?"

"Oh- I have a meeting at 8; and I am... in... minneapolis."

That was my first 2 seconds of being awake this morning.
I would rather be home in the familiarity of my room.

Growing Grass

Apparently birds like to eat grass seed.


Let me tell you everything I know about grass (the legal kind growing in my back yard, that is.)

It needs water. It needs to be cut. Sometimes, and I don't know when, you may want to fertilize it. That's it. I tell you that to tell this story. I wish I could convey the looks the salesperson gave me. I will note them in the story below with the words "the look" in parenthesis.

My backyard is about 2/3 grass and 1/3 bark dust. Before moving here, I had never heard the term "bark dust", but when you live in a Pacific Northwest Logging Town, there will be descriptive terms to describe the remains of a tree after it becomes plywood, a kitchen table, or a house. The bark dust (that most of us would just call "mulch") is a very mean joke. It is actually made of millions of tiny splinters that infest your hands, feet, legs and any skin that happens to come into contact with it. Maximizing the play area in the backyard is very important.

We are also in the grass seed capital of the world. No joke. There is a sign so it must be true. I don't exactly know when the election was where all of the grass seed producing communities got together and voted for the Mid-Willamette Valley to be bestowed that honor, but it must have been impressive. That being said, the people around here may know a LITTLE about grass seed and how to grow it. I went into the closest farm store to grab a bale of hay and some seed for my backyard Bark-Dust-Replacement Project. I asked the gentleman behind the counter (wearing bib-overalls) if they had hay. (the look). Oh- I should say that the look asks the question, "Boy, you ain't from around here, are ya?" while expressing the fact that you are the dumbest individual ever born. I believe the last time I can remember using the look on someone was the very beginning of my freshman year in college when my suite mate (from Ohio) asked me what a Vol was, while mispronouncing it. Yeah, I am certain I gave him the look. And if you don't know what a Vol is, you should DEFINITELY not be attending the University of Tennessee. I digress. The gentleman asked if I wanted, ALfalfa, Orchard Grass, mixture, or... something else.

me: blank stare. "Uhhh, I'll start over. I need to grow some grass and need some hay to spread over the seed."
him: blank stare. (apparently I broke some sort of hay/ grass etiquitte). "You mean for a pasture?"
me: "Nope, just for my backyard. I want grass to grow where there isn't grass right now."
him: "Oh. You don't want hay. You need to just get some straw." followed by the look

At this point, I was thinking that he was joking with me.

me: "Ok, I need some straw then."
him: "Alright, well, we have two-wire and three-wire"
me: "Why don't you just tell me what I need and I'll pay you for it."
him: "Sounds good. Anything else?"
me: "I'll need some gras seed"
him: "what kind would you like?" as he walked me over to a wall of grass seed bags and explained in painstaking detail the benefits of each of the 8 or 9 different types of grass.
me: "WHich kind feels the softest?"
him: the look x 10
him: "This one" continued look

I bought it and a three wire bale of hay... I mean straw. The grass had better grow, I would hate to go back there and have to tell overall man that I failed as a farmer and needed him to explain to me how to actually do something.

Textually Active

I just received a text message from a female (who enjoys text with LOTS of people). My wife is ok with it. I know her husband fairly well and my wife is slightly more than an aquaintance with this couple.

Is it ok to enter a textual relationship with another that isn't your wife? I mean- I love text with my wife, don't get me wrong. We have a perfectly healthy text life right now. As a matter of fact, she EVEN brought up that I need to buy her a new device that will allow us to do it even more often. This friend is encouraging my wife to expand her textual abilities and to do it as much as possible. She caught my wife having cyber text and claimed that my wife was a cheater! There are also times that the husband of the female who enjoys text with lots of people (including me) has occassionally had text with my wife when he thought (he says) he was texting me. I believe we are pretty open textually, but I want to know what others think...


What happens on the other side of 30

JA has always commented that I have fairly bushy eyebrows. I can live with that. I like my pudgy, hairy body. I wouldn't change anything about myself. But apparently my barber would change something about me. I got a very army haircut the other day. My barber, Dennis, apparently feels that I look better with short hair. He cut it as short as I have ever had it in the army. Then, after completing the butchering of my hair, he swiftly took the comb, ran it through my eyebrows and trimmed them! Apparently the bushyness of my eyebrows had extended to the point where he felt that it went without saying that he would trim them back for me. I may have to go somewhere else for now on. I am SURE JA will manage to post of picture of my man-scaped eyebrows somewhere.

Super Surfing

I have found (thank you Carmen) the best way to surf the net. I mean, this is real surfing. Want to use the internet for what Al Gore intended it for? Then let Stumble On do it for you. This is just plain fun. THe ultimate chewing gum for your brain. Some of my favorites thus far are:
Look like your Dog? Funny
Pac-Xon A really Cool PacMan Game

Washington Wines

I did a google search and found an incredible looking bottle of wine from Washington. I love most Washington wines. Anyone know where I could pick up a McCoy 2007 Plum?

Big Night

There are probably three people that read this that know the significance of last night. The University of Tennessee's Men's Basketball team beat Memphis. This is not abnormal in any way. Last year they beat Memphis by nearly 20 points. But this year is different. Memphis was undefeated (26-0) and ranked #1 in the country while Tennessee was 24-2 and ranked #2 in the country. It is the 38th time a #1 team has played a #2 team during the regular season and only the 5th time those two teams are from the same state. Of the 38 previous meetings between #1 and #2, The #1 team has won 19 times and the #2 team has won 18 times (before tonight!) Now Tennessee has evened that number up. The game was incredible! it was a nail biter right down to the last second! I watched the first half with Jonathan giving me a second by second score update, put the kids in bed and watched most of the second half after bedtime stories. ESPN and had built the game up as the game of the season all week long. It lived up to the hype. If you didn't see it and you like basketball- I hope you get to see a replay of it soon. If not- oh well.

Let'em Be Boys!




Wife said there is NO WAY in the world she would blog about this. She said that she only took video and pictures as proof for the Child Protection Agency when they came and tried to take the kids away. She wanted to ensure they knew she had NOTHING to do with it.

Husband says- Let'em Be Boys! Let'em get dirty, throw rocks, smash bugs, get in a fight, touch the electric fence, slide down the stairs on cardboard, shoot bb guns, and jump out of the loft of the barn on a pile of hay.

The boys were working their way up to bed and I had a great idea. I never had stairs at my house growing up. And I would have been WAY too scared to try this. But I sure as shootin encouraged my kids to try it. There were two really funny parts of it. The first was when I went down the stairs on a piece of cardboard. It was anything but graceful. It hurt. I ounced the entire way- completely out of control. Jane Anne almost peed her pants laughing at me.

Here is David and Jonathan on the short trips down the stairs. The first time, Jane Anne wasn't able to video because she was diving to get in front of Jonathan before he slammed into the wall. Notice the bean bag brake strategically placed at the bottom of the stairs. It wasn't there when Jonnie took the trip from the top of the stairs. The boys understand that they are NEVER allowed to do this when they are home alone with Momma. But you better believe we'll do it when Daddy is around!

This is Jonathan's first trip down- Since flying down the stairs and breaking both bones in his right forearm in July, he has been timid around the stairs. This picture is Jonathan conquering his fears. Way to go Jonathan!

Deep in your Soul

I love that we have five senses. It's amazing that a smell, a song, or a tase can bring you back to some other place in time. Somehow these are connected deep in my soul and every time (if not overdone) will bring me back there. When I hear a high school band play, I remember the fall nights in my back yard when I would sit in the cherry tree and hear the Farragut High School band practice. The sound of jitterbugs or the smell of smashed lightening bugs (I know- gross but true) bring me back to the old neighborhood also. When I was growing up, I SWEAR every Sunday we would listen to BJ Thomas singing "Peace in the Valley". My mom played the tape so much, I swear it wore out. Granny Shanks had an old Oak Ridge Boys record (yes, record) and we would dance and sing along with them singing "Elvira".

So, I updated the playlist with a few songs we used to listen to growing up. Enjoy! And I added a good version of "Rocky Top" for all to enjoy!

Old Favorite and a new one.


I knew there was a way that I could put music on here without using youtube! So, now I'll occassionally update with a song or two I am listening to that particular day. Feel free to tell me how much you love the music! Thanks Keith for the suggestion. I made this on it takes a few minutes to figure out how to do it, but I think its pretty cool.

I heard this girl (Sunny Sweeney) sing this morning as I was driving to work... She may be the next big thang cuz she got that twang!

And- A song Matt introduced me to back in High School. His version was slightly different. Matt- do you remember the name of the group that covered it on the album you had?

Friday Food

I am passionate about food. I LOVE the different tastes of different foods. Today, I decided I would eat a bratwurst or two for lunch. Simple- a bratwurst and a bun, right? Well, here is the result:

If you look hard, you will see that under the cheese, chili, dill pickle relish, onions, and ketchup is actually an undersized bratwurst. Of course, one is never enough. And who can eat a bratwurst without a beer, right?

I took that picture laughing at myself for overindulging. Then I saw this sequence of events take place. Thomas (who definitely shares my passion for culinary delights) had just polished off his hotdog and was starting in on his rice krispies treat. Kimberly- avert your eyes.

That's right- my 2 yr old is dipping the rice krispies treat in ketchup

Past the teeth, over the tongue, look out belly, here it comes!

And he loves it!

I need some antacid.


Janey just sat down to eat HER lunch. As if to shame me, she put her daily salad on the table in the same place I sat to polish off about 1500 calories in Bratwursts, chili and cheese.

Odd in Oregon

Catchy Title, huh?

So today I saw something that I never thought of as possible. First, for those who have not lived in Oregon or travelled through, let me explain a strange law. You, as the driver of a motor vehicle, cannot pump your own gas. Weird, I know. I discovered this when I moved to Washington in late May 2003. I pulled up to a gas station in Northeast Oregon just after saying, "Oh. THIS is where Oregon is!" I jumped out and started pumping gas. A (maybe barely) post-high school girl working at the gas station ran out and told me that the pump was full service. I was embarrassed and asked which pumps were not. She then explained that all of the gas stations in Oregon were full service. I felt very uneasy as a young lady pumped my gas as I sat there useless. Now to the events of today:

I pulled into a gas station and there was a trainee. He was somewhere between 25 and 30 years old. Here is what I heard:

Trainer- "Ok, you try this one"
Trainer- "Take the card and put it in the slot there."
Trainer- "No, with the stripe facing the other way."
Trainer- "Take off the gas cap and pick up the nozzle."
Trainer- "Select the type of gas."
Trainee- "Uh, sir, which type of gas did you want?"
Seth- "Regular"
Trainer- "See the buttons there beside the regular gas? Push that one, it selects that type of gas."
Trainer- "Now put the nozzle in there. Squeeze the handle. Feel lit click- it locks in and will shut off by itself."
Trainee- "Seriously? By itself? Cool."

Then they walked off.

I was filling up the gas tank for my dad or grandfather when I was seven. Every teenag boy looks forward to being able to pump his own gas (but not paying for it.) And I watched a full-grown man filling a gas tank for presumably the first time. Weird. Only on Oregon and maybe New Jersey.

The Good and Bad of McDonalds of Coffee

I have trouble deciding if Starbucks has done more good than bad for coffee in the US. (If I phrase it like I actually know something about the coffee industry in the US, maybe it will lend validity to my poorly formed opinions. I definitely know less than nothing about the coffee industry outside of the US.)

It used to be that you could get a cup of coffee for a quarter or so. I know- you used to be able to get a gallon of gas for less than a dollar too.

So- here is the good- lots more people drink coffee.
Here is the bad- coffee costs too much now. Its Starbuck's fault. And their coffee tastes bad. Seriously- try a cup of their drip coffee- not yummy.

Dillanos on the other hand tastes delightful (very yummy). For you Washingtonians- go to BigFoot coffee next to the church- or, well, the church has delicious, wonderfully smooth Dillanos. MmmmMmmmmMmmmm. Freshly roasted, Freshly Ground, Freshly delicious.


Oh Snap!

A Message for Keith

Keith- Click Here

Bakatari- Air Supply says it all

I would like to rely on Air Supply to help me say... Goodbye

When Introverts Attack...

The picture here is the result of me getting flustered when my wife and I were (good heartedly) arguing about whether I am an intovert or not. I dropped a 1 quart bowl of leftover chili that splattered from the sink to the top of the blinds, down onto the window sill and landed on David's freshly sanitized nebulizer parts. Jane Anne laid claim to blogging about the intovert argument, so I cannot tell you any more about it. But she will eventually share how much she laughed at me.

Skunk Ape- For Kimberly

The Skunk Ape is said to be a large hairy, bipedal mammal that calls the Florida Everglades home. They have (allegedly) been spotted as far north as Tallahassee and as far south as Lostman's River. Large adult males are said to weigh in excess of 450 lbs and stand 6 to 7 feet tall with reddish or dark brown hair similar in appearance to an orangutan or gorilla. Some believe that this biped is part of the same species as the famed Bigfoot. A handful of sightings have also happened in the Western US, including Simi Valley, CA. In recent months, several sightings have been reported near the Withlacoochee River in Brooks County, GA, between Quitman and Valdosta.

The smell of a Skunk Ape has been reported to be similar to rotten eggs or Hydrogen Sulfide.

They are known to be afraid of human contact.

In 2000, two photographs of an ape, said to be the Skunk Ape, were taken anonymously and mailed to the Sarasota Sheriff's Department in Florida. They were accompanied by a letter from a woman claiming to have photographed the creature in the palmettos at the edge of her backyard. The photographer claimed that for three nights the ape had entered her yard to take apples from a bushel basket on her porch. She was convinced it was an escaped orangutan. The police were called to the house continuous times but when they arrived the 'Ape' was gone. The pictures have become known to Bigfoot enthusiasts as the "Myakka skunk ape photos".

Sweats and Ankles

The bad of living this side of 30 (for Melissa and Kimberly) is that my memory isn't as good as it used to be. Suddenly today, I remembered why I haven't worn sweatpants since I was 13.

My grandfather had a pool built in his backyard when me and his other 13 grandchildren were growing up. Since we all lived in the same town, it was a good bet that it would be well-used. I was 13 and smart. I also was lazy. There was no way I was going to waste time going home and changing clothes after football practice rather than go straight to my grandparent's house to go swimming. This particular day I wore just my swimsuit to practice (that means no underwear underneath). We did a lot of conditioning without pads and received our new football warm-up suits. My girlfriend (did we really have girlfriends in 8th grade?!?!?!) was one of the cheerleaders and she sat with her friends off to the side of practice, not unlike the Fair Maidens awaiting the return of their valiant knights after a battle. We went into the locker room and changed into our cool sweats to finish the walkthru portion of practice.

Before I finish, let me tell you what reminded me of this traumatic event in my life. This morning as we were leaving for church I could find Thomas' shoes nowhere. They simply disappeared off the face of the earth. Once I put some shoes of Davids on him and got him in the car I realized that Thomas' shoes were in the car. When in the world did they get in there? That's right- Christmas Day. That was the last day that our kids have left the house! Suffice it to say that have a LITTLE bit of pent up energy. And yes, I put on my sweatpants today after getting home from Church. A perfect mixture of snow and rain was making it's way down from the clouds. Perfect nippiness necessitated the trading of my slacks and dress-shirt for my trusty gray sweatpants and a ragged old T-Shirt. Man, I am sooooooo comfy! But, when three boys' pent up energy and Daddy's new sweatpants (which I neglected to securely tie) come face to face, Daddy ends up getting ankled! It is foreign to me that I may need to explain what "ankling" is, but I will. In this real life experience, it was Jonathan grabbing a handful of sweats on my right hip as David simultaneously grabbed a handful on my left hip and, not unlike a well-planned and executed football play, they both pulled in a downward motion. The end result was my ankles being warmed by the pants that were previously covering my funny parts.

Back to Football practice. Practice ended and Shawn (who for the next 5 years had a nickname for me whose jumbled letters were "lamls nepis") came up behind me and, in full view of God, my waiting father in the parking lot, the football team, and my 'girlfriend', proceeded to grab handfuls of sweatpants and ensured that my ankles were thoroughly warmed. Unfortunately, my funny parts received a few seconds of direct sunlight and laughter. I didn't talk much to my 'girlfriend' that day after practice.

Too long a pause

I made a mistake. I deleted two comments with the intent of posting them as part of my next post, but unfortunately, due to my advanced age, I went to bed (not in mt sweatpants) before completing the post. And now I cannot get the comments back (thus the definition of "Delete" holds true) and I cannot do what I wanted to do on here.

But trust me- it would have been funny and well-worded. You would have laughed out loud (even if no one heard you.) So, Kim, I am sorry that I deleted your comments. It was only supposed to be temporary. If you notice that two comments were deleted, it was because I deleted my wife's reply to Kim as well.