Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 30 -- The Finish Line

Today ends another year of National Blog Posting Month. For me, these have been the only posts of 2010 -- not just November. As is the case every year that I've done this, I've enjoyed the exercise. It's not easy writing something every day. And as you can attest, it's even harder to write something well every day.

Thanks, I'll be here all week! Try the veal. And tip your waitress.

While I've been writing these relatively short posts for the last 30 days, there's been another segment of society that participated in National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo). I've wondered if I could come up with that many words each day to end up with the 50,000 requirement -- much less 50,000 words that result in a coherent story.

But I'm intrigued. I think I may have that many words in me, but I'm not sure yet what story to tell. I have 11 months to mull it over.

Monday, November 29, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 29 -- Waiting

Our church is celebrating the advent season this month. With that comes a four-part series each week. Yesterday's message centered around Waiting for God. (Not the British comedy series.)

There were several points that struck me in this first message. But one stuck out more than the others.

That point is one that shouldn't really shock me or you. Waiting for God can be frustrating. I don't think anyone's ever yelled out "WELL, DUH!!" in church, but it felt really appropriate yesterday, and I was tempted to be the first one.

The key the that fact though is it's impetus. The waiting is frustrating because we want control. Let's face it. We're control freaks. I know I am. If you don't think I am, ask Jen. (Ask our Scotland leadership team! They'll tell you. Ha!) It's not a revelation that I like to be in control, and that's why I get frustrated or even discouraged while we're waiting for the Lord to show us the next step in this journey.

I like to control the means and the ends. That's where the frustration comes in. Because I know what I need. What we need. I live this life. I must know. I know what I can do. What I'm trained for. What jives with my personality. So, of course, I know best.


I only know what I can see. And some of what I can "see" for me and for us is distorted by my fears. Looking through the lens of fear is debilitating. The lens of fear is myopic. Fear says there is only one way forward. Fear says don't try that because you don't know how it's going to turn out. Fear says you can't do that. Fear lies.

What I want to cling to as we wait is that I can trust the Lord to have our best interests at heart, and that He knows what is best for us and that what is best for us may not be what we think is best for us.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 28 -- RIP Leslie Nielsen

Growing up in the '70s, there are certain comedy classics that are a part of my DNA. That is, quotes from a handful of iconic comedies are indelibly fixed in my head. One of those quotes is "... and don't call me Shirley" whenever I hear someone say something like "Surely, that isn't how it happened" or "Surely, you can't be serious," I can't help but think:

I am serious, and don't call me Shirley.

That quote is one of many legendary lines uttered by Leslie Nielsen in the movie Airplane! -- one of those classic comedies from my childhood.

Nielsen died today.

And it's not that I admired the man or thought he stood for some cause that I support. It's just that his comedic roles made me laugh, and they remind me of my childhood. As I age, more and more people that "I grew up with" have taken their last breaths. It makes me pause.

The thing about Nielsen that I've always found humorous is the straight, deadpan way he delivered his hilarious lines. I like Stephen Colbert (his politics aside) for the same reason. Colbert owes a debt to Nielsen. Zach Galifianakis does too.

Many know Nielsen for his role as Frank Drebin in the Naked Gun series of movies. But that character was first in a short-lived TV series in the early '80s called Police Squad!

Here's a clip from one of those episodes. RIP Mr. Nielsen.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 27 -- Crazy Day

We got a call this morning out of the blue. A real estate agent that Jen met a few weeks ago called because he had a couple that was interested in buying a home in our part of the city. He asked if he could bring them by. As many know, when you're selling your home, you have to be on alert in case you get such a call from an agent. That also requires that you keep your home in a perpetually clean state.

We were not selling our home. So we were not on alert. And our house was far from clean.

So we spent about 4 hours cleaning the house. Ugh.

Actually, Jen spent 4 hours cleaning the house, and I spent 4 hours cleaning my office and the bathroom in my office. She'd been on me to clean my office for months. The 4 hours made a nice dent, but it still wasn't really "clean." It was better. Presentable. But it wasn't completely clean. But it's a nice start.

We'll see what comes of the visit. The realtor said he'd call us tomorrow.

Should something come of this, I think it will be another turning point in this journey of our. A friend asked me tonight where we'd go if we sold the house. I have no idea. I guess we'll cross that bridge when we have to.

Friday, November 26, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 26 -- Long Day

Today was a weird one. It started last night. After a long Thanksgiving Day filled with a gluttonous amount of food and drink, we came home a little after 8:00 pm. I probably should've gone to bed then. Instead, I fell asleep downstairs for a couple of hours. Then, of course, I couldn't fall asleep. I watched most of the movie Radio. I'd never seen it. Decent flick.

Eventually, I went to bed in the wee hours of the night/morning.

K-Man was up a little after 7:00 this morning. Jen leaned over and asked if I "wanted" to get up with him. As opposed to what? Sleeping for a few more hours? Sure, I'd love to get up. I knew Jen wasn't feeling well, so I didn't mind getting up to give her some more hours of shut-eye.

Kee did a great job "playing quietly" downstairs so he didn't wake up Mommy. And Jen managed to get several more hours of sleep, but she struggled most of the day with the crud. Similar to the crud I had the other day, but maybe a little more flu-like. We'll see.

Jen stayed up for a few hours before taking some more Nyquil. The Nyquil required a nap. Keegan always "gets" whatever Jen has, so when she said she needed to nap because she wasn't feeling well, Kee said he needed to rest too because he had a cold too. Kee laid down, but only lasted about an hour. Jen was out for over three.

When Keegan woke up, we planned a trip to the Thrashers game tonight, but I told him not to tell Mommy -- because she was still sleeping, and I didn't want him to wake her up.

Just as we were about to leave for the game, Jen woke up and came downstairs. The first words out of K-Man's mouth were: "We're going to the Thrashers game."

And after two beats, he added "but I'm not supposed to tell."


We headed downtown for a little pre-game Chick-Fil-A at CNN Center before the game. Here's Kee working on his last chicken nugget:

We lasted the usual two (of three) periods because Keegan was ready to leave. We had a little incident in the restroom, so I had to introduce Kee to the freedom of "going commando." He adjusted well. Better than I thought he would. He can be rather particular about his clothes. I think the fact that he was wearing his fleece-lined jeans made the transition a little easier.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 25 -- Giving Thanks

It's been a good day. We celebrated the day at my parents' house with a truckload of family! K-Man loved running around all day playing with "the cousins." He and his cousin, Jonathan, ran around playing with their nerf guns until they were sweaty messes. He should sleep incredibly soundly tonight!

When you have a blog, you are almost obligated to write a post today about the things for which you are thankful. Far be it from me to ignore that responsibility. I am thankful for much. Much more than I will capture here today, but this is a good representation.

My wife -- who has walked beside me for a long time encouraging me along the way and occasionally kicking me in the behind when I need it.

My son -- who reminds me regularly to see the joy in life. To laugh. To be silly.

My family -- that has supported and shaped me.

My in-laws -- who raised one heckuva daughter and who are incredible grandparents to K-Man.

My friends -- (too many to name individually) who have picked me up when I'm down and with whom I have made some great memories over the last four decades!

My church -- that challenges me to grow deeper in my relationship with the Lord and seek opportunities to live a life reflective of that relationship

I'm also thankful for a lot of "lesser" things too:

Tivo -- stopping live television to use the lavatory is epic

Mike and Ikes -- fruity, chewy morsels ... if only you were sugar-free!

Plungers -- no details necessary. Just thankful.

Smyrna Soccer Club -- really enjoyed getting Keegan involved in that this year. Great organization for the community of kids in the area.

Facebook -- when used for good, it really can be a great way to keep up and reconnect with friends and family scattered across the globe.

24-hour gyms -- it's great to have the freedom to go to the gym at 2:00 a.m. if I can't sleep! (Wouldn't have to go so often if those dastardly Mike and Ikes weren't so delicious!)

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 24 -- Thanksgiving Preparations

I'm working on my oatmeal chocolate-chip cookies tonight. The first batch is in the oven as I start this post. So far so good. Here's what they look like in the bowl:

Here's what they look like cooling on the cookie rack. (Yes, I have a cookie rack for cooling my cookies. Shut up.)

Based on the required precautionary taste test, I think this batch will be well-accepted tomorrow at my parents' house.

Jen is a fan of oatmeal raisin cookies, but she hasn't asked me, until tonight, to set aside a portion of the cookie mix to add some raisins to. Done. We'll see how they turn out.

I enjoy Thanksgiving a lot. The football games. The food and drink. The time shared with family and friends. I'll probably have a list of things for which I am thankful tomorrow.

It would be funny (or odd) if Thanksgiving came with a tradition like this one: Slapsgiving!

And Slapsgiving II - The Revenge

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 23 -- Turning Points

Life is full of turning points. Some we enjoy. Some we don't.

Some might say that the best turning points are those that lead to productive or positive changes and require the least blood, sweat and tears.

I'm not sure that I fall in that camp.

For me, it takes the adversity for the lessons that come at the turning points to make the appropriate impression on me. I can be thick like that.

Jen and I have been praying for something the last few years and that intensified over the last few weeks. The time spent over that time has been great for us, because it's put a number of things in perspective. Some we took for granted. Some we just needed to do better.

Today, we learned about another turn in this journey. Not so much a turn as another closed door. We've encountered a number of closed doors over this stretch. As noted above, I can be thick, so I kept looking for similar doors to open. So far, all of them have been closed.

Several months ago, Jen and I sensed that we needed to try a completely different door. I've been resistant for a number of reasons that don't need to be fleshed out here. At least not yet. But after today's news, I can no longer deny the need to stop focusing on the doors I've been focusing on and need to consider others. Doors close over and over for a reason. I'm starting to see that now.

I took a step in the new direction today with a simple email. No response yet, but sending the email itself was another turning point.

And we are trusting that the faithful and obedient step of sending a simple email may be enough to overcome the inertia that exists and open the next door for us.

Stay tuned.

Monday, November 22, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 22 -- I can't be trusted at the store

It's Thanksgiving week. That means at some point I have to make my oatmeal chocolate chip cookies to bring to dinner on Thursday. My family might disown me if I failed to bring them.

But to make them, I have to go to the store to buy the ingredients. And I can't be trusted at the store. Just ask Jen.

I'll explain.

So I made the list, which included some generic groceries that we just needed around the house. For example, I bought some Lysol spray to disinfect the kitchen garbage can. (Actually it was a store-brand generic that "compares to Lysol.") But my cookie recipe doesn't call for Lysol. Or generic Lysol-substitute.

At the store. I bought the essential cookie ingredients: sugar, brown sugar, butter, chocolate chips, oatmeal, and egg beaters (I'm 40 now, so I got to balance out all the good stuff with some egg substitute).

But true to form, I bought some other stuff -- none of which are in my cookie recipe.

Mike & Ikes -- because I just like those.

Reese's Pieces -- because they were right there next to the Mike & Ikes.

Wine -- they say red wine goes really well with chocolate, so that's kind of a pairing rather than something that is completely off the mark.

A tiny light bulb -- that's actually a safety issue. I needed to replace the bulb for one of the tail- lights on my car, so I should get a pass for that one.

Black tea -- because I'm still fighting some crud in my throat and the tea helps with all the coughing I'm doing.

Two bags of marshmallows and rice krispies -- those were for Jen to make rice krispie treats for K-Man.

Before I went to the store, I stopped by Sam's Club. One of the staple, non-cookie items that we needed was bread. Well, rather than buy the bread at the grocery store, I picked some up at Sam's Club. There, I can get two loaves of bread for a better deal. So I went there to get the bread.

I also walked out with a shirt. (Another item that is not germane to oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.)

See, I can't be trusted.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 21 -- UF's Rudy ... sort of

Yesterday was the last regular season home game for the Florida Gators. So it was senior day. All of the fourth- and fifth-year seniors were honored before the game started with a short ceremony as they ran out of the tunnel. This happened at a number of schools this weekend and more will happen next weekend as well. It's another one of those things that makes college football better than NFL football.

Many of you have seen the movie Rudy -- the story of the walk-on and undersized defensive tackle who sold his soul to dress for one football game at Notre Dame. The movie exaggerates the story, but he did actually get in the game and did record of sack. It's a great scene -- even if you hate anything Notre Dame.

During yesterday's win over Appalachian State, a four-year walk-on defensive tackle -- not particularly undersized -- but not the most gifted athletically -- lived his own scene from Rudy. Gary Beemer is a senior at UF. He's been a glorified tackling dummy for four years on the football team. But he gives 100% and has become a favorite of UF coach Urban Meyer. That must be the case or what happened yesterday would never have happened.

With UF winning by a healthy margin, Meyer approached Beemer on the sidelines and asked if he'd be interested in running the ball in a goal-line situation if UF was able to get the ball down that close. Stunned, Beemer told the coach that he was ready and willing.

Then late in the fourth quarter, the Gators did actually get the ball close -- inside the 10 yard line. And Beemer was told to run out to the huddle for the first down play. Here's what happened:

If that doesn't give you chills, you may be reading this from six feet under.

You can hear the fans cheering for Beemer as he runs out, and they yell louder when he actually gets the ball on first down. You can see his teammates -- many of them starters -- screaming for him and waving towels. That's a kid who's left an impression on his team.

But when he doesn't score on first down, Meyer doesn't abandon him. He calls the play for him a second time. He gets stopped short of the end zone again. But he gets a third shot, and he buries himself into the line and emerges on the other side of the end line clutching the ball all the way back to the sidelines.

But he's not just clutching a football. He's holding tightly to four years of blood, sweat and tears. And pain. And laughs. And shared meals. And a memory that will never leave the front of his mind. Oh, that more of us had opportunities to make moments we would hold so dearly.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 20 -- I miss the movie theater

I am a card-carrying member of the trailer-loving society. Not homes on wheels. Those two-minute movie previews that precede the feature presentation at the movie theater.

The problem is, I don't get to the movies anymore unless we're going to see the latest Pixar movie with K-Man. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy seeing movies with him, but it would be nice to see a movie without dodging strollers and puddles of who knows what. And my love of trailers is left wanting at those movies because they only show trailers for more animated and talking animal movies.

When I was in high school, we used to see just about every movie that came out. We saw some stinkers too -- probably because the trailers always captured the best elements of the movie, and we weren't that picky. (I didn't go to high school in Greenwich Village.)

Today, I get my trailer fix online. Apple and Yahoo both have trailer sites that I visit periodically.

My love of going to the movies goes way back. I can recall being 3 or 4 and going to the Drive-In with my parents. I was supposed to be sleeping in the back seat, but I wasn't. I probably should have been because I can still see the climactic shooting scene of Walking Tall starring Joe Don Baker in my mind.

But who can afford to go to the movies these days? It's not just the price of tickets. With a kid, there's the sitter to pay for. Hard to justify spending all of that money for 2-3 hours to watch a movie when I know the same ones will be available on satellite in a few months for fractions of the cost.

So I'll stick with my online trailers and satellite movies. But I still miss the movie theater.

Friday, November 19, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 19 -- Thoughts from coffee with a friend

It's hard to watch people we love live through the consequences of their actions. Sometimes it's a one-time action and sometimes it's a chronic dysfunction that showers their lives with unwanted results. Even when we have no real role in their predicament, the outcome can affect us in a variety of ways. Maybe if we'd been more involved, we could've saved them the pain of this. Now that they're in this situation, it's going to require more of our time or resources to help them. It's their problem, but it impacts us as well. Can't get away from it. We're connected.

I was having coffee with a friend the other day. He had something on his mind that he wanted to talk about, so we'd scheduled some time to meet. He wanted to talk about a loved one of his who is dealing with some consequences at the moment. My friend was dealing with a myriad of emotions about the situation. There was a little guilt. There was some helplessness because he wasn't in a position where his assistance was welcome -- and part of him really wanted to help.

As we were talking, I tried to reassure him that he had nothing to feel guilty about. The choices made by his loved one were their choices. So the consequences were the loved one's to own. The helplessness that he felt was understandable, but again, it wasn't his situation to correct or unwind or put back in the bottle.

In some ways he had to come to grips with the fact that there was going to be pain for his loved one. They may not be aware of the full scope of that at the moment, but they likely will down the road. He wanted his loved one to realize the full impact of his actions now -- not in a "you get what you deserve way" but more to deal with it now and get started on healing from the situation. But again, he was helpless to make his loved one understand that. I tried to encourage him that even if his loved one didn't get it now and suffered some lingering pain from the circumstances, the Lord can redeem that when they do come to terms with the full scope of what happened. I hope it was encouraging. I hope it eased his mind.

I try to have the same approach with Keegan. He's going to make mistakes that have consequences. He has to learn that cause and effect. For now, those effects are relatively minor. At some point, he'll be facing something bigger, and I'll be struggling with wanting to protect him from the larger, maybe more painful, consequences. I'd do anything for that kid, but there may come a time -- there probably will come a time -- when the best thing I can do for him is to do nothing except love him and walk beside him through the mire of whatever he's gotten himself into. That may sound detached or cold in a way, but for me, it's more a statement of faith that I can trust the Lord to watch over him and see him through whatever he faces.

And maybe in letting him deal with the consequences of his actions without intervening to "save" him from himself, he'll come to understand that there is nothing that he cannot overcome and that we'll be there for him no matter what.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 18 -- New template

You may have noticed the new template for the blog. It just felt like it was time for a new look. (No, I'm not going to re-introduce the mullet. Not yet anyway.) I settled on this particular background because it reminds me of my times and my friends in Scotland. (I know it looks like the English coast, but it was the closest I could find.) Can you smell the sea air and feel the cool breeze?

Let me know what you think of the new look.

I started this blog over three years ago. K-Man was 2. That seems like so long ago now. I was perusing those early posts a little bit today. Some great shots of Kee and funny stories. (OK, enough with the sappiness.)

In some ways, the new template is an expectant metaphor for life. We go about our lives day upon day. Sometimes life steers us in a new direction. Sometimes we choose a new direction. Either way, we can make the choice to make the most of the new direction by embracing it. In the end, we're different -- hopefully for the better. It feels like we're in the midst of one of those times of change, and the new look is a way of embracing that. Stick around to see how things turn out.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 17 -- Team Party & K-Man's Awesome Prayer

Tonight we had Keegan's end-of-the-year soccer party. Team United had a good season. A team mostly of first-time players had their ups and downs (and by that, I mean that it was good the under-6 league doesn't keep score, because some of our kids probably can't count high enough to keep track of the goals scored on us). But as the year went on, we saw improvement from the boys and girls on the team (of course, even in the last game, there were still occasions where I had to remind the kids to kick the ball in the other direction because we don't want to help the other team score more goals on us).

It was a great outlet for Kee's endless energy levels. I cannot wait until he figures out how athletic and fast he is. For now, he spends more time watching his shadow run alongside him. Which -- I tell myself -- is just fine. His day will come.

The party was at Stevi B's Pizza Buffet. But most of the kids couldn't wait until we unleashed them on the game room. Love of skeeball knows no age apparently. If there are pink tickets to be collected and turned in for cheap plastic toys made in China that will get lost under a bed, thrown out by a parent, and cried over when their absence is stumbled upon, kids under 6 will go berserk for them! At least they did tonight.

Such a situation is perfect for a K-Man meltdown too. And tonight did not disappoint. Because once the tokens for skeeball run out, Kee begins the negotiation for more "moneys" for more tokens. That usually amounts to another dollar (have you seen the kid's eyes staring up at you asking for more "moneys?" You'd cave too! Don't judge me.) But once those tokens run out, Kee begins round 2 of negotiations, but this is where I walk away from the table. He becomes insistent. I remind him that I told him the last dollar was the "last dollar." He then cries. Which has no impact on me. Once the waterworks start, the kid's cuteness loses its effect on me.

When we left the restaurant, we let Keegan know about our disappointment in his behavior. He made "bad choices." ("Bad choices" is parent-speak for "you screwed up kid" but you can't really say that to a kid, because he'll repeat it to a teacher or someone in authority and then yesterday's post about possibly fostering kids becomes a moot point.)

When we got home, after a quick bath, it was time for K-Man to hit the hay. We said our prayers, and I asked Keegan to ask God to forgive him for making bad choices tonight. And these were the first words out of his mouth: "Hey Jesus ...."

If I'd had a mouthful of water, the kid would've needed a towel to dry off from the spit-take.

"Hey Jesus, please forgive me for making bad choices."

"Hey Jesus, thank you for bringing that kid into our lives!"

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 16 -- Day in the life

I cannot think of anything to write about today. Does that mean I've had a boring day? Live a boring life? Hardly.

The day started with a good time of prayer and worship. Really needed it. Our pastor challenged us on Sunday to make prayer a part of our daily life. That wasn't really the impetus for today's time, but I'm going to make it count for that if he asks me.

I changed the bulbs on my brake lights today. One of them had been out for months. The second one went out recently as well. A nice couple stopped us at a light the other day to tell us. It took me an hour. No lie. I am not mechanically gifted. It took me 10 minutes just to find an allen wrench that would work. I tore up my hands in the process as well. But those who follow me now will know when I'm slamming on my brakes. Lucky them.

I had lunch with a friend. Actually, he bought me lunch in exchange for a little advice on how to respond to a claim for unemployment benefits. Yes, I trade in kind. Legal advice in exchange for a nice burger and fries.

Tonight, we had a family dinner at our church. These quarterly get-togethers are always a nice time. A pot luck, church-wide time to share a meal, meet some others we may not know that well, and get the latest information about all that the church is doing and planning for the immediate and/or long-term future. I noticed tonight as we were waiting in line the large number of kids under 7 in the crowd. That cohort seems to have exploded over the last year. I think that bodes well for the future of the church. It also will require more generational investment on the part of everyone.

So it looks like my day wasn't that boring. I'm not sure what it's like for you to read about it. But thanks for indulging me. It's better than a generic list, isn't it? I hope so.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, November 15, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 15 -- Thoughts from a recent meeting

We went to a meeting at our church on Sunday afternoon. Some friends of ours have taken the steps to be approved as foster parents and are doing so through a private agency called Faithbridge Foster Care. Faithbridge works with the state and county agencies who have the placement needs. When their foster families are not available, they call private agencies, like Faithbridge, to see if they can fill the gap with one of their Faithbridge families. Faithbridge's model centers around establishing relationships with churches. The goal is not only to find willing families in the churches but also for the members of those churches to help serve as support for their member families who decide to foster.

Faithbridge has the statistics, but if the Church stepped up, there would be no need for the state agencies who place foster children because there would be none without a family to take them in. The meeting that we attended was an introductory meeting into what it means to be a foster family or a respite care family and how Faithbridge operates. It was also a time for people to ask questions and hopefully, for the Faithbridge representative to dispel some myths about fostering.

When we jumped into the world of adoption, we went to a similar meeting where we heard an adoption consultant dispel many of the movie-of-the-week myths about the adoption process. That was a good exercise for us. (And the reality for us has been nothing like those myths that continue to circulate about adoption.)

But I digress.

I have two psychology degrees, so in meetings like this, I cannot stop myself from monitoring the comments of others (and a little commentary in my head about what is being said or asked). This meeting was no different.

The first question that got me thinking was "how can Faithbridge do this with the whole separation of church and state?" My first thought was that there's a need that has to be met, and if there is another group that will help with some of the heavy lifting, the county is not going to mind that a faith-based group is helping out. Second, the state isn't as interested as many think it is in the spiritual lives of the rest of us. Third, this is the Bible belt. There is a lot more openness to faith-based initiatives here than in other parts of the country, I am sure. But I would still think that similar agencies in whatever other "liberal" state would accept the help of a group like Faithbridge even there. Finally, if someone thinks that fostering through Faithbridge is a way to force religion on a child, then perhaps, they are missing the point of serving as a foster parent (and I am not saying that I think the questioner is of that mindset, but I can see something similar running through the minds of those who want to "rescue" these children from their situations.)

The other question that sticks out for me was asked in the context of bringing in a foster child who was older than your own child or children -- a teenager perhaps. The questions was "how do you know that there won't be any sexual issues that your own children will be exposed to?" My immediate thought was "you can't." Thankfully, that was the ultimate response from the Faithbridge rep as well. It reminded me of our adoption situation. We couldn't really "know" anything about the background of Kee's birth parents. The limited info we have is based on self-report for the most part. We trust that what we know is true. But we cannot know. We made the conscious decision -- even before we launched into the adoption process -- to trust that the Lord would walk alongside us regardless of how things turned out with Kee. We reiterated that statement of faith after K-Man was ours.

I think we would have to walk into a foster family situation the same way. We would certainly try to determine as much as we could about the child's background, but we would have to remain vigilant and pray that the Lord would protect our family and heal whatever scars and pain exist for the child we brought into our home.

We haven't decided how or if fostering is a part of our future. But we wanted to know more about the process if for no other reason than to help our friends who are working with Faithbridge. We'll see what the Lord has in store for us though.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 14 -- Video Sunday

Today has been a long, but restful day. We went to a meeting this afternoon that made me pause. I have a few thoughts rolling around in my noggin, but they're not fully formulated, so I won't bore you with them just yet. Everything has its time.

Today, I am going to pass along a few videos of interest to me. The first one reminds me of an old girlfriend. I married her, but this video reminds me of one of our dates while still in college. We went with a few other couples to a haunted house. Jen is not a fan of haunted houses or being scared or even being tickled. Recently, the talk show host, Ellen Degeneres, asked one of her writers to visit a haunted house for her Halloween episode. The woman hates being scared, but when sent into a haunted house, it's comedy gold!

We love the show "Friday Night Lights." The show originally was on NBC, but the last 2 seasons have originally aired on DirecTV. The current season is the last one of the series. This is the latest promotional video for the show. We love the drumline in this tune.

The drumline of that video reminds me of a drumline I saw this past summer in Glasgow. These guys were awesome!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 13 -- Season Review

I know the season isn't over, but for all intents and purposes, it is. I watched tonight as my Gators had a chance to redeem this season with a win over South Carolina and UF's former coach, Steve Spurrier. The game was at home in the Swamp, but it didn't matter. Tonight was a microcosm of the season, and tonight ended with a loss.

In no particular order, here are my thoughts about the season (well, I guess there is an "order" because the thoughts are numbered):

1) Urban Meyer made a mistake by not revamping the offense for the skill set of John Brantley. In 2005, when Meyer came to UF, he attempted to run his Utah offense with Chris Leak, a traditional drop-back passer. It didn't work. During the bye week before the game against Georgia, Meyer and his offensive coordinator, Dan Mullen (now the head coach at Mississippi State), retooled the offense to take advantage of Leak's skills. And the remainder of that season was saved, and it paved the way for the national title the following season. I expected Meyer to follow that template with Brantley this season. For whatever reason, he did not. The team has suffered because of it. Perhaps Meyer's health issues last off-season affected his memory.

2) The play-calling for the last two years has been questionable at best. After winning the national title game again at the end of the 2008 season, Dan Mullen was hired away by Mississippi State. Meyer had two options in selecting a new offensive coordinator: Steve Addazio, the offensive line coach with a couple decades of coaching experience, or Billy Gonzales, the younger wide receivers coach. Meyer went with Addazio. And Gonzales was not a happy camper. He stayed for last season, but he took a job with LSU at the end of the year. Last season, Addazio had Tim Tebow to bail him out of a lot of bad calls, but the offense did not run as smoothly as the year before when Mullen was calling plays and Addazio was just coaching the offensive line. This year, without Tebow, the offense has looked anemic. Meyer and UF are in a tough spot with Addazio, because he stepped in to run the program when Meyer resigned and then returned but took considerable time off last spring. He was a great O-line coach, so I don't necessarily want to lose him, but he needs to yield the play-calling responsibilities.

3) Meyer and co. need to decide what kind of team this is going to be ... and what kind of program he is going to run. It's OK if this is going to be a spread program. That means UF will never get a pro-style drop-back QB prospect, but so what?!?! If that type of QB can't run your offense, why recruit them at all? It's worse to recruit a pro-style QB and say that you can adjust to his talents, when in fact, you don't really want to. The Chris Leak situation tells me that Meyer can adjust his offense to the talents of his QB, but this season with Brantley tells me that he doesn't really want to. Fine. Tom Osborne ran his running offense through the '90s for multiple national titles because that was his offense. He still got players who could run it and run it successfully. Meyer just needs to own that the spread, read-option offense is what he prefers.

4) This three-headed QB system can't work long-term (or against teams not named "Vanderbilt"). Because Meyer won't commit to one offensive approach, he has now gone to 3 QBs -- none of whom can get enough reps in practice to do more than one thing. That means that defenses know exactly how to play against each of them. Brantley gets blitzed snap after snap because they know he's the passer. Trey Burton gets 8 in the box because they know he's not going to throw. Jordan Reed can throw the ball, but he doesn't get enough reps to run more than a minor portion of the playbook to be effective yet. This goes back to #3 above, but Meyer has to commit to one way of doing things and pick the best guy to run that offense and give him the most reps.

5) The offensive line has struggled throughout the year, and I think it's directly related to Addazio's offensive play-calling responsibilities. There is a reason for position coaches. There is a reason that some guys are great position coaches and not good coordinators. I think Addazio is one of those guys. He could be a good head coach, but he's not a coordinator. And those responsibilities are making him a poor position coach this year as well.

6) Meyer's top priority in the off-season needs to be to find Addazio a new job somewhere else. The program probably owes Addazio at least that given his willingness to step in for Meyer when he was away from the team. Once he handles that, he can then find a new play-caller. I would not be opposed to Meyer bringing Gonzales back if that relationship can be patched.

7) There is a considerable amount of youth on the team this season. But after the 10th game, I would expect to see more maturity and/or development.

8) Hopefully, this down year follows Meyer's pattern at UF. Each down year has been followed by a solid and/or championship year. I wouldn't mind that pattern repeating itself.

Friday, November 12, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 12 -- Some Just Don't Get It

So I was watching an interview of Jon Stewart today. Rachel Maddow was talking to him about his recent March to Restore Sanity with Stephen Colbert. They discussed a number of topics, including Stewart's belief that what he does on the Daily Show is different from what Maddow does on MSNBC. Maddow wasn't in complete agreement about that.

The interview was refreshing in some ways because it was a discussion and not a "who can yell loudest" school yard tantrum.

Over the course of the interview, Stewart attempted -- several times -- to explain to Maddow how what she does is different from what Stewart does AND that what MSNBC does is not that different from what Fox News does -- just from the other side of the argument. Again, Maddow didn't agree with Stewart.

Stewart probed further. Although he was the interviewee, Stewart asked Maddow if she and her network viewed a difference between liberals who interrupt events to declare that Bush was a war criminal and the Tea Party supporters who interrupted town hall meetings on health care reform to make their points. Stewart believed that MSNBC was willing to give the liberals a pass for the displays but railed against the Tea Partiers. And by implication, MSNBC was as one-sided as Fox News can be on the other side.

Maddow seemed almost offended that Stewart would suggest such a thing.

Maddow is of the belief that the Tea Party folks were only yelling at those town hall meetings because of a select few puppeteers who were trying to advance their economic interests. In effect, Maddow said the Tea Partiers were different because they were part of an organized assault on Obama's health care proposal. And the Code Pink group was a self-initiated collection of change agents.

Maddow misses the point. Even if those who support the Tea Party movement, or identify themselves with the Tea Party movement, have been organized in a way by a smaller group with their own agenda, the fact that these people are upset enough to yell over speakers at a town hall meeting should alert Maddow and others that maybe they have a point worth discussing -- or at least listening to. Stewart was willing to acknowledge the possibility that "Tea Party" didn't equal "clueless nut job" and perhaps that it was simply the group that best fit those who want smaller government. Maddow wasn't willing to go along.

Some people just don't get it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 11 -- Veterans Day

As most of you know, today is Veterans Day which is a time for our nation (at least) to celebrate and honor and thank all of the men and women in the armed forces who have protected the freedoms that we all enjoy.

Some of them were drafted. Some volunteered. But they all served.

Some saw action. Some worked behind the lines. But they all served.

Some left limbs behind. Some never returned. But no one was unharmed.

And yet they served. Today we honor that service.

My grandfather, who will be 90 in a few weeks, served. My other grandfather served. My father served. My father-in-law served. My uncles served. Cousins. Friends. Neighbors. Classmates. All of them served.

We all know, or know of, someone who served in the armed forces. That service is the backbone of this country. Those who fought over 200 years ago established the freedoms we enjoy. And every serviceman who has followed has defended them -- even to the death.

Saying "thank you" seems insufficient. But what do I know? My grandfather thinks otherwise, as he said earlier today:

"Your thanks are for all of us; especially the fallen. They are the ones to whom I am beholden. That I survived .... is the luck of the draw."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 10 -- Long Day

Man, was this a long day. (And I didn't make it to bed last night on the postmeridian side of zero hour, either.) And I am dragging! But I don't want to deprive you of your daily dose of my "perspective" on life. I think I only have energy to share some of the things I noticed throughout my day:

1) Fall Foliage: Fall is my favorite season. I love the crispness in the air in the mornings. I love the vibrant colors when the leaves change. And autumn is the season of college football, so what's not to love about that? The name of this blog derives, in part, from my love of this season. I saw some great displays of fall color this morning.

2) Free internet: I had a few opportunities today to take advantage of free web access. Maybe it's a sign of my advancing age, but I am so hesitant anymore to jump on a free internet hotspot given all the email/Facebook hacking I've seen over the last 24 months. I might also be tired of paying the computer nazi to de-malware my computer. (If you need a computer repair, the computer nazi that we use is great. He's not German. He's Asian actually, but he's as no-nonsense as the "Soup Nazi" of Seinfeld lore. Hence the name. Sue me, Seinfeld! I dare you!)

3) Club sandwich: I do not recommend the club sandwich at a lunch meeting. Especially when the woman on the other side of the table only eats half of her turkey & swiss. Clubs are good, but that extra slice of bread is problematic. No one on the other side of the table should have to see how wide I can open my mouth and count my fillings as I try to cram that thing in my pie-hole and explain how I can help her business. Even when nothing flies out of the back end of the sandwich, the stress of worrying that I'm going to have a huge dollop of mayo on the side of my face after a bite wears on you.

I am going to sleep well tonight (fingers crossed). This has been one long day. See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 9 -- Sleep

For the last several months, I've had some weird sleep patterns. Insomnia mainly. When I go to bed, I can't fall asleep. After several nights of that, I just stopped going to bed until I was completely exhausted. That often results in falling asleep on the couch or in the recliner at some antemeridian hour with a small number. I have a long day on tap for tomorrow, and it's going to start in the wee hours of the day. So I really need to go to sleep tonight on the postmeridian side of zero hour. I'm trying not to think about it, so as not to give my mind something else to focus on when I lay down (or lie down -- whatever).

Insomnia is bad enough without grammar getting in the way!

Monday, November 8, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 8 -- Dinner Guest

Tonight we had a single friends of ours over for dinner. It was a great time to share a meal and catch up with how she is doing. Jen and I do not fancy ourselves as matchmakers, so we enjoyed the time to just share a meal and catch up with how our friend is doing. As a married couple, we don't always get a chance to spend time with our single friends, in part, because they think we don't have time to spend with them because we are either changing diapers and/or spending time finding odd locales to share intimate moments. Neither of which are reality, by the way.

We dined on a great meal of tilapia and rice and a fresh salad. The better part was the conversation about life and where we are and where we are going. Jen and I both believe in investing in the generations. That's why we've supported and been a part of our church's mission trips to Scotland. But that also applies to the cohort that is a decade-plus behind us. While that requires us to admit our advancing age, it also permits us to devote time in the world of the 20-somethings we know. As we grow older, Jen and I appreciate those we know who have invested their time and energy in us individually and as a couple. It is humbling to think that others might benefit from something that we could share. I have no idea if our dinner guest tonight enjoyed any facet of dinner and/or the conversation we exchanged. I felt good about simply opening our home and making the time to listen to what our guest was dealing with and encouraging her in where she is and where she's headed.

If you have folks in your life who are younger than you who could benefit from another perspective, I would encourage you to make the time for them. Not for you, but for them. As insignificant as you may seem, your life experience is likely more than them which gives you instantly more credibility than others. Don't waste it, but don't hide it either.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 7 -- Uncertainty

Life is funny. The longer I live, the more I believe that the only thing about life that is certain is the uncertainty of life. We plan for things, and they don't work out as planned. Some of us pray for certain results or opportunities or outcomes, and it doesn't end up as we envisioned. Sometimes, we're minding our own business and something falls into our lap.

I can look back on various times in my life before I was married and since. Before we had Keegan and since. I wanted things to turn out; I tried to set things up to work out as I wanted. And it didn't come to fruition as I wanted or how I thought it would. I take solace in knowing that even when things didn't work out as I might've hoped, I didn't "miss out." I enjoyed the times I had where I was and being used in the ways that I was used.

All of that sounds sort of vague. Maybe it is. The details aren't really the important part.

Don't get me wrong, I get disappointed when things don't work out the way I hoped. It's not like I'm sitting around hoping to win the lottery or some other outlandish possibility. We're talking about job opportunities or relationships or financial situations. I tend to withhold my enthusiasm about things that I hope for. It's nothing more than a defense mechanism to limit the pain of disappointment. But that's a lie. You can't limit your disappointment. You may limit the number of people who know about your disappointment, but you don't limit your disappointment. Even when I don't tell someone about my hopes or dreams or expectations, I still know what they are. I know what I hope for.

This isn't the forum to share all of my hopes and dreams, but I can tell you that there are people who know what those things are. I will continue to share them with those people. I would encourage any of you to do the same. You're going to dream and hope. I think part of being human is to dream for something different, better, grander, etc. Share those things with people who will breathe life into your hopes and dreams and who will walk along side you if certain things don't come to be as you wanted.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 6 -- Boys Night at the Thrashers Game

We went to the Thrashers hockey game a couple of weeks ago with some friends. Their son is a huge fan, and they were celebrating his birthday there. Keegan had a great time -- mainly because when the Thrashers score, they blow a train horn and 2 Thrasher heads hanging from the rafters blow fire! What four-year-old doesn't love train horns and fire?!?!

So tonight, K-Man and I went to the game against the Chicago Blackhawks, the defending Stanley Cup champions. We started with a meal from Wendy's which we enjoyed sitting on the floor of CNN Center. Chocolate milk with his kid's meal seemed appropriate for the special occasion. Kee certainly enjoyed it. And the fries.

We got inside the arena in time for the pregame introductions, which meant some pre-game streams of fire from the Thrasher heads. Kee is a huge fan, but he can do without the volume. He watches the goings on fully enthralled, but with his hands over his ears the whole time. While we stood for the national anthem, Keegan wanted to know if there was going to be more fire.

As we watched the game, I was able to explain that we wouldn't see fire unless he first heard the train horn, and I was able to get him to understand which goal counted for the train horn and fire.

Intensely watching for goals and train horns and fire!

At the end of the first period, we went for some refreshments. We secured some Sprite and some Dippin' Dots. For those of you who've never seen Dippin' Dots, they are some space-age concoction that we will no doubt learn is completely carcinogenic. For now though, they are a unique way to enjoy ice cream -- if ice cream had to be prepared in a trendy enough package to be used in the final rounds of Top Chef. We got a small bowl of half vanilla dots and rainbow sherbet dots and returned to our seats for the second period. Here's a shot of Keegan shoving a spoonful of dots into his pie hole with gusto!

I ended up finishing the dessert because early in the second period, the Thrashers scored 2 quick goals and the presence of a bowl of ice cream dots interfered with Kee's ability to cover his ears, so he abandoned the cool treat in exchange for muffled decibels.

It was a really enjoyable evening and a hint of some of the fun I've always seen in my mind's eye for K-Man and myself. I look forward to many more games to come!

Friday, November 5, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 5 -- Trip to the Barber Shop

So I went to the barber shop today. The same one that I've been going to since I was about 11. The barber shop itself has not really changed. Most of the barbers today are different from that first visit, but it's the same barber shop for the most part because barber shops are all populated by the same characters. One barber who plays a character may move on, but he or she is replaced by the same sort of character to maintain the barber shop equilibrium.

The first thing I do as I approach the barber shop is assess how many cars are in the parking lot. The more cars, the longer I will be there. Duh. I was pleasantly surprised to see only a few cars there when I drove up. When I walked in, there were only three barbers working. Based on previous experience, I quickly assessed the situation. The closest chair to the door was open -- which I thought odd, because that guy is ALWAYS there when I go in. He's the resident racist barber. You know, the one who loves to tell jokes but whispers the racist punchline so as not to offend someone waiting who may sing in the church choir. (What about the guy whose hair you're cutting, dude? Ever think maybe, I don't want to be privy to your "wit?") I stopped going to that guy years ago, so his absence was a non-starter.

The next chair was the resident woman barber. Every barber shop has one woman to cut the 2-year-old's hair or in case Edith Bunker walks in and needs to get a trim while Archie enjoys the banter in chair no. 1. She was occupied, so I just sat and read the paper.

The last chair in the corner is reserved for the "new guy." He remains the new guy until he quits or until someone newer comes along, and he can displace someone else to move "up" the row. I've been to this new guy before, but he had someone in his chair already. He's decent, but he doesn't have the years of experience that some of the others do.

In between the new guy and the woman is the resident old guy. He's past his prime, but you can tell there was a time when he might've been the guy in a barber shop -- although this old guy was never "the" guy in this shop. (I know; I've seen him age at this shop.) Now, he likes to talk as much as cut hair. Going with him is a crap shoot because if he's really into talking, he loses focus on the actual hair cut.

Missing today are two folks -- either of whom would be easy choices to see. One is the owner of the shop. He's grown up here. He's been cutting hair here about as long as I've been going, but he must've started right out of high school because he's not 10 years older than I am. It's Friday; the owner doesn't work on Friday. That's why he's the owner.

The other missing guy is the guy I prefer when I'm there. He's good with both the clippers and a pair of scissors. A marriage of those barber skills is not as common as one might think. Anyone who knows me, knows that I've had the same haircut for the last 25+ years (except for my mullet period(s) from various parts of 1986-90. Sue me, I played soccer in high school and college; the mullet was part of the uniform.). That cut requires the #2 blade on the clippers and a little work with the scissors to thin out the top. (At my age, I'm somewhat happy to report that I have enough hair on top to pay someone to thin it out.)

So as my luck would have it, old guy is the one who opened up first today. I just resigned myself to having to listen to whatever stream of consciousness he had to share today. Wow. Today included references to a new kitchen, a possible hunting trip this weekend, a stated preference not to bow hunt, a couple of cooking shows that he watches on the tube, his love of grilling with the underlying implication that I must as well given my maleness, and our shared dislike for driving on Barrett Parkway. I could tell as the cut went on that certain areas were not getting the requisite attention and that other areas had been clipped ad nauseum. Eventually, my time in the chair ended, and I paid the man and bid him a nice weekend.

When I got home and more closely inspected the cut, I was not surprised to see several areas where the #2 blade was not held closely enough to the side of my head to actually clip anything. Nothing I couldn't fix with the trimmer I have at the house.

The moral of the story is to call ahead to make sure your guy is at the barber shop before you go.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 4 -- Boys Night

So K-Man and I went to Taco Mac tonight for a little dinner. We refer to it as "Boys Night." It's a fun time to get away, and Kee gets his usual -- cheese quesadilla and french fries. Typically, I ask him questions about his day, and he may or may not answer. The "discussions" never go the way I envision them going, but I keep trying. One of these days, we'll actually be able to have a conversation during one of these boys nights. It's still a great time because inevitably, he does something that makes me laugh.

The first time I laughed tonight, we'd been sitting in our booth for about 10 minutes. We were munching on some chips and salsa. Keegan looked across the room and said "there's a girl." I said "yes, that is a girl" (and I was thinking, "there are about 10 others within our line of sight too."). But it's "boys night; there're no girls tonight."

The second time I laughed was when we were taking pictures at dinner. I took a few shots of him enjoying his quesadilla. Like this one:

Then, he wanted to take another one. This time he wanted to take one "backwards." Here you go:

He loved it. And I laughed out loud!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 3 -- Ajax and Cigarettes

I spent several hours at my mom's house today. She died two months ago. We are still figuring out what to do with all of her belongings. We've donated a number of items and likely will donate more. My sisters and I reclaimed a few items from our childhood as well. I visit the house at least weekly to turn on a different set of lights and to check the mail. (I shouldn't have to check the mail, but the efficient postal service intermittently fails to forward the mail despite my efforts to inform them of where to send it. They must need that extra penny on the stamps to ensure that all the mail gets forwarded.)

Every time I visit the house, I can't help but wonder what my mom did in the house with her free time -- aside from clean it constantly. Growing up, my mother was ridiculously obsessed with maintaining a clean home. In our first house, we had a septic tank in the yard because we lived too far out to be attached to the sewer line. We had to buy yeast packets at the grocery store and flush them down the toilet because my mother cleaned the toilets at least twice a week with that blue powdered Ajax cleaner. With all that cleaner in the septic tank, it wasn't working properly, so we had to add yeast to it so there was an agent in the tank to break down the waste. Based on the current state of the toilets at her house today, she would be mortified. (Let's not tell her. It will be our secret.)

The other thing that I cannot help notice when I visit the house is the absence of the stale cigarette smell that so dominated my childhood. My mother was a 50-year smoker. And growing up in the 70s and 80s, it was common for smokers to smoke in the house. To smoke inside everywhere. In the office. In the car. My mother was very common in that sense. Looking back on it, we must have reeked everywhere we went. I understand now why my mother wore so much Chanel No. 5. But that staleness is not present in her house. She became rigid about smoking outside. And her house was the benefactor of that. Her lungs weren't so lucky in the end.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 2 -- Election Day

It's a big day in the United States as we sit at the mid-term between Presidential election cycles. Over the last several mid-term elections, much has been made of the people making statements about the popularity of the President by the way they vote in the mid-term. In 1994, the US Congress swung to a Republican majority for the first time in decades in an apparent reaction to Bill Clinton as President. Today's election appears to be a similar statement -- even if the Republicans will wake up with control only of the House of Representatives.

The net gain of over 39 representatives by the Republicans should at least make President Obama and the Democrats sit up and take notice that there is a significant segment of the American public that does not approve of Obama's policies. I am not a political consultant or an expert (assuming those are different), but I feel comfortable saying that it would be a large mistake for the Democrats to consider today's results and forge ahead undaunted and attempt to foist their plans upon the people. And the nice thing about the separation of powers and the checks and balances built into our form of government is that these results will make it very hard for anything to be foisted upon US citizens that doesn't have bi-partisan support.

Monday, November 1, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 1 -- Halloween Surprise

So we woke up this morning to find a surprise on the front porch. We've all heard stories of Halloween pranks of many varieties. Egging. Toilet-papering the front yard. Smashing jack-o-lanterns. Flaming bags of poop. Fortunately, none of these were awaiting us at dawn's early light.

Instead, Jen found two small cages sitting side-by-side. Each one containing separate members of order rodentia. Yes, we'd been visited by the rodent fairy. Well, the domesticated rodent fairy -- like Glenda the Good Witch, but not without the knee-jerk thoughts of the Black Plague. We found ourselves with two mice and a rat. Thankfully, we'd watched the Pixar flick Ratatouille about 379 times, so we were able to personify the "little guy" as K-Man referred to him. Jen took them to the vet to have them checked out. One of the mice has a little skin issue and got some antibiotics (yes, they make antibiotics to nurse rodents back to health.) The other two seem to be just fine -- as fine as abandoned rodents can be I guess.

Keegan gave them all names. The mice are female and were bestowed the names Gabriella and Molly. (Gabriella is a character on "Sid the Science Kid" and Molly is from the Toy Story trilogy.) The rat is a boy, so Kee declared him "Costco." Maybe because he instinctively knows that a rat could eat through a 5-pound block of cheese or one of those Millennium Falcon-sized cheesecakes that are readily sold at the warehouse retailer.

This was destined to happen because Jen made the comment over the weekend that she didn't think we were ready to get another furry pet. She jinxed us. And K-Man has a few new pets as a result.