Saturday, May 31, 2008

Tagged Again! And Again! And Again! And Again...

Well…it’s my 100th post. And according to tradition, I am supposed to do a 100 things about me post. I have started it. But I only have thirty something things on that list. And it’s not too interesting. And I am a big fan of avoidance behavior. There could not be a better avoidance technique than doing a meme.

Now the first meme I did was about what was on my desk. I was tagged by my own daughter. Who was tagged before me. (Hey…she needs that “I tagged Jill” badge!) Then, Rhea tagged me for a list of 6 random things and a book meme. I was sure that the book meme sealed the deal on never being tagged again.

I have seen this particular meme played out on several blogs. And I even commented on Mrs. Romero’s blog that it looked like fun. I guess I crashed the party, because she then added me to the list. And then, I was tagged again for the same one by Heather, Lula, and Joye. Four tags for the same meme! I’m feelin’ the love! So…here we go:

What was I doing 10 years ago?

Let me think. End of May, 1998? Ummm…I had just bought a nanny placement agency, and I was trying to balance working that with having a 5 month old baby girl. Who was so happy…except when I paused in my adoration of her to take a business phone call. And she began to scream like a banshee. Phone call ends, smiles and giggles all around.

Five Snacks I enjoy:

Peanut butter crackers
Lazy apples (you know…the ones that are already cut up)
Do desserts count as snacks? Snickerdoodle cookies
Peanut M&Ms

Five Things On My To-Do List Today:

Pack the girls for camp
Finish cutting up strawberries to freeze
Take a shower (I’ve been informed that I must add get dressed as well. Who knew?)
Pick up my car from its check-up
Finished the dreaded “Little Women”

Things I Would Do If I Were A Billionaire:

Buy a house in Hawaii so I could stalk visit the cast of Lost with my other stalkers friends: Lula, Heather, Rhea, Tali, and whoever else wants to join us in our quest for restraining orders. (Thanks for the idea, Lula!)
Travel the world.
Give money to charity
Add three bathrooms to my house
New cars…
OH, the list goes on and on…I already have it spent. Now, who’s going to give me a billion dollars?

Five Jobs I Have Had:

Sales at Macys in high school and college
Personal Assistant
Estate manager
Owned my own company
High school Latin teacher

Five of My Bad Habits:

  1. Impulse shopping
  2. Proscrastinating (ummm…how long have I had this on my to do list? Am I working on the 100 list? Yep…procrastination is also a talent of mine)
  3. Gossiping (my favorite quote is from “Steel Magnolias” – “If you don’t have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me.”)
  4. Taking things too personally
  5. impatience

Five Places I've Lived:

Winter Park, Florida
Coral Springs, Florida
Charlotte, North Carolina
Athens, Georgia
Atlanta, Georgia

6 People I Want To Get To Know Better (yes, this means you are tagged!)
Sugar at I Like Pi
Rhea at Word Tangle
Jill at One Wired Woman
Firefly Mom at Pack of Hungry Snails
Nissa at Nissa’s Niceties
Angie at Angie’s Spot

Five Random Things:

  1. Today we finished watching the Indy trilogy with Katie to prep her for the new movie.
  2. We canceled our “subscription” to HBO when the writers went on strike. The whole reason we had HBO was for the show “Big Love.” And now season three has been postponed until the fall instead of starting now for the summer. We will probably start HBO again when “Big Love” returns. Because as you read in my habits…I am not patient. I don’t think I could wait for it to come out on DVD. “Big Love” is my other obsession. Next to LOST.
  3. I cannot dance. At all. I have absolutely no sense of rhythm. I can’t even follow an aerobics class or video. By the time I have sorta figured out what they are doing, they have moved on.
  4. I switched my major in college from Political Science to Anthropology because the subject was fascinating. And because my professor looked just like Harrison Ford. I took all the classes he offered. By the end of my freshman year, I had accumulated a number of 400 level classes by following him around.
  5. I met my husband in a bar. I wasn’t interested in him at all. I was actually dating someone else. But we did exchange numbers. And I did not return his calls. Until a week later when I had an argument with my boyfriend. And, the rest, as they say, is history.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thursday Thirteen: I will be LOST tonight

You know, my Thursday Thirteens take a lot of effort. A lot. Why am I unable to make a simple list? Like the 13 things I need to do to get the girls ready for camp. Or a list of the thirteen things I have no intention of doing next week because I will be childless. Or the thirteen things I am going to do that I never get to do because my kids are at camp. Or I could get down and deep and review the last thirteen books I read for the 888 challenge. Or a list of thirteen reasons why I hate the book “Little Women.”

But I cannot think of these things. Because today is Thursday, May 29, 2008. Tonight is the finale of LOST. You can look over at the top of my left sidebar and see how many hours and minutes until it starts. And then after tonight…I have to wait until February. 2000 freakin’ 9 until my story picks up. How will I ever survive? I might need meds. Or a hobby. Or meds.

So…here I am. A hopin’ and a prayin’ that some of my multitudinous questions might be answered tonight. Like:

1. Who is Richard Alpert? And why does he not age?
2. What was up with the Dalai Lama like test Richard Alpert gave to Locke?
3. How can Christian Shepherd be a voice for Jacob? Is Jacob just “borrowing” his body? And who is Jacob anyway?
4. Is Claire dead? Was she dead back when Sawyer found her after the house exploded?
5. Will Desmond ever find Penny? Tonight? Will they find a happily ever after?
6. What does Charlie keep telling Hurley in his visits at the mental institution?
7. Why does the Oceanic Six have to keep what happened secret?
8. How are they going to move that island? Will moving the island explain the polar bears in Tunisia and the Black Rock being in the middle of the island? Or even the huge statue with the four toes?
9. How and why did Abaddon recruit Naomi, Daniel, Frank, Miles, and Charlotte? And what do they know about the island? And how?
10. Why can Ben and Widmore not kill each other? What is their connection to one another?
11. Who is in that coffin? Is it Michael?
12. Whose side is Juliet actually on? Is Ben really a “good guy?”
13. Will island time be explained? Or the time travel? Or how Ben lands in the middle of the desert? Or how he has so many passports? Or money?

Okay…I suppose that’s more than 13 questions. I’ve got hundreds of them. I’d just like to leave tonight’s episode with more questions answered than asked. Please. Or send meds.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Not exactly Wordless Wednesday: Landscaping before and after

Well our front yard planting project is finally complete...with only a few minor delays. For some reason, I do not have pictures of the house from when we first moved in a year ago. The previous homeowners made some very strange landscaping decisions.

Let me show you what we had done:

I've already given you a preview of our mailbox area. When we first moved in, there was no landscaping by the mailbox...just some strange vine on a trellis. Last fall, we actually made a bed there and planted pansys and whatever that white/greenish plant is around the border. We left the vine. My mother actually wanted to pull it out for our Spring landscaping project. But thank goodness it bloomed just before we started. We (meaning the landscapers. Not me. No, not me) pulled out the pansys, added some sort of yellow and orange flowers (marigolds and zinnias maybe?), trimmed the other thing (what are they?!), and moved the Clematis vine (thanks Aunt Elizabeth!) more around the mail box. Now, it's just gorgeous.

Next area to tackle is the small bed on the otherside of the driveway. Honestly, I don't recall what was there before. It wasn't memorable. I know that when we had work done in the fall, we moved a bunch of things around. In the fall, we put our lone rose bush as the focus of the bed and surrounded it with some other grassy things (don't you love my knowledge of all things plant? You should have pity on our landscaper when she tried to ask me questions about what we wanted planted!):Well...we moved the rose bush, added some day lilies, maiden grass, and some purple flower (petunias?):And those Daylilies? We tried to get some orange ones to go with the yellow ones that were already there...but our landscaper found this variety instead (hey...I remember what this one is called: moonlight masquerade!):
The next area we (don't you love my usage of the royal "we?") tackled was our side yard. Which was completely empty. Except for the weeds:My first thought was that I wanted sunflowers. Lots of sunflowers. But it doesn't get enough full sun. So...then I had a wild hair...and thought "what about a rose garden?" We moved that rose bush from the front to the side yard and added some more. We got knock-out roses - they bloom continuously from spring to fall:

Moving right along...we have a bed in the middle of the yard. Last fall, we moved some plants around in here...and actually made it smaller. Before, there was no grass between this bed and the street. When we moved in, the only thing in the bed was some weeds and some hostas. We moved the hostas around, moved some plants (my landscaper calls them seedums - but I have no idea if that is what they really are) from the front to the shade...and then this time we added 6 azeala bushes - and they are the encore azealas - and should bloom 9 months out of the year. So far, nothing - I'm sure it's the trauma of leaving their friends at the nursery.And the last bed we tackled was the one right up front and under the dining room window. This one was the strangest when we moved in. There was 2 hedge type bushes right up in the front. And then, nothing in the back. Nothing. It's like the hedges his the nothing. Well...the weeds. They hid the explosion of weeds. That I tried to weed once...and after hours in the sun informed everyone who would listen that we needed a landscaper. There were some other random things in this hedge purgatory - a few day lilies, a jasmine vine, a strange looking hedge that thought it might be a tree, and some terra cotta pots....filled with dirt. Nothing else. Also, shortly after my weeding attempts, these HUGE weeds appeared. They grew to about 4 feet or so. And every time I looked at them, I thought about pulling them out. And then went quickly back inside to enjoy the air conditioning. Or unpack another box. Or read a book. Anything but deal with the weeds taking over. And then one day, my weeds had blooms. HUGE blooms. And then...they bloomed...and those were not weeds at all. They were stargazer lilies. Gorgeous stargazer lilies. One of my very favorite flowers. Who knew they look like weeds?! I cut all the blooms and brought them inside. Not so smart. Stargazer lilies stink. The stench was unbearable...and I had to move them to the dining room so we could all breathe. We'll just enjoy them outside this year.
Okay...moving on. Last fall, when the landscaper came, they put down a pretty red mulch...moved those tacky hedges, moved the day lilies so that they would sort of make a border...and added pansys.
The plan this time around was to put in a crepe myrtle tree...put new flowers into the pansy beds, and add some more color. (see that tree/hedge type thing over on the far right? - the plan was to get rid of that too) Mom wanted the jasmine gone too. Cause of her vine issue. Lucky for her, it, too bloomed right when the landscapers came. And it, unlike stargazer lilies, has a wonderful scent. I decided that it should just be transplanted and trained to grow around our deck in the back. And this is what it looks like now:We moved those terra cotta pots to the front door(and transplanted those stinky stargazers into the we added some other pretties)...added 2 crepe myrtle trees...added a rose tree in the place of the lights...and a bunch of other plants I don't recall the names of. And now, we are brimming with curb appeal.

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Theme song: Elton John, Empty Garden

Monday, May 26, 2008

Week in review: May 19-25

I have just realized that I haven’t actually written a blog entry in about a week. Have ya’ll missed me? Joye says I’m slacking. Rhea has emailed me to make sure that we are all safe and sound. I must admit it’s nice to be missed. But this week has just flown by in a flurry of activity. None of it exciting…or blog worthy…but a flurry nonetheless.

So…what have I been up to? Let’s see. Tuesday night, we hid out in the basement because of tornado warnings. What was that line from that movie “Twister?” It’s something like: “we have hail. We have debris. Cow!” Well…we had hail:

Then on Wednesday, we officially entered summer with Madalyn’s last day of school. Poor Katie still has six more days.

On Wednesday night, we went to our usual hangout…Summit’s tavern for trivia. We were actually in first place when we got the final question: In which comedy series have all of the main characters received Emmy awards? There are three correct answers…and we just had to come up with one. Wow…there was a lot of hashing out to do! I said “Will and Grace.” Someone else said “Seinfeld.” Another, “Fraser.” Then we started digging deep. We ruled out “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” because there were just too many actors to contend with. We discussed “All in the Family” and then thought that Sally Struthers probably never won an Emmy. Then Michael had the brilliant idea that it must be “The Odd Couple.” And especially with only two main characters, it had to be a winner.

We turned in our answer…and then listened to hear the correct answers: “Will and Grace” (ahhh…I was right!); “All in the Family” (we live in a world where Sally Struthers won an Emmy?!); and “The Golden Girls” (cannot believe we didn’t think of that one!). But no “Odd Couple.” We lost. Michael was sure they were wrong. So, naturally, first thing when we get home, he looks it up. We were robbed! Jack Klugman won twice, and Tony Randall won once…but they were each nominated in every year that the show was on! Robbed!

On Thursday, I taught my last Latin class of the school year…and then the girls had friends over to play in the afternoon. In the late afternoon we discovered that our neighborhood pool had opened…so we went over to check it out. I am hoping that the girls will meet more kids in the neighborhood and not be so dependent on the kids next door for their entertainment. But they can actually make their own entertainment. They feel the need to do a dramatic scene every time the camera comes out. Every. Time. Woe is me...
Friday morning, I took the girls to get hair cuts…and Katie’s was finally long enough to donate:

Friday was also Michael’s birthday. When he got home from work…he opened his cards. Here is the card I got him:
And after you all read on Thursday about his favorite things – you know how much he likes the band, Rush. When tickets went on sale for their concert here this summer he decided not to go because the tickets were too expensive. So, I naturally bought one for him! He was quite surprised. After reading about all his penny pinching ways, you all can imagine how he gets when I head out to my happy place.

Anyway…Madalyn had been invited to a slumber party…so we dropped her off and then Michael, Katie and I went to Ted’s Montana Grill for dinner (yummy!) and then to see Iron Man. What a great movie! Very fun…and Robert Downey Jr is so underrated. And if you haven’t seen it yet, go see it…and be sure you stay until ALL the credits are completed.

On Saturday we went to pick strawberries again. Well, first we picked up Madalyn from her party – and she brought her friend Kari with us to pick berries. Why is it that my child feels the need to show off her tonsils every time the camera comes out? This was the last of the season. We picked four buckets full…but they were the tiniest berries I have ever seen. I actually got it in my head that we might freeze some of them to make smoothies when they are not in season. We’ll see how that goes.

After we got home, the girls were invited to a pool party and to spend the night with their friends Diana and Shannon. So…what exciting things do Michael and I have planned? Why to go to the grocery store of course. I can see my husband the coupon man in action. We got $300 worth of groceries for $200. See…this is why I don’t grocery shop. I go and get $70 worth of junk. Because I was hungry. Then he did take me out to dinner. Because he had a coupon. Don’t tell me you didn’t see that one coming.

And then Sunday brought our neighborhood Memorial Day pool party. Because nothing says “remember those that have died for their country” like a hot dog and a good game of Marco Polo.

See?! Flurry of activity. And somehow in all that…we DID manage to homeschool:

MATH: We finished the section on percent. And Katie learned about interest rates. I had to explain to her why the bank would give their customers money in the form of interest. And explain that if you are earning 1% interest on 500…you would have 505 at the end of one year…but if you want to find out how much money you would have in the bank after two years, you cannot just multiply that interest amount times two…but that the interest would be on the $505, not the $500. She finished the chapter with multi part word problems and then a review. We will go back to 5B in the fall…and the plan will be to completely finish Singapore by the end of next school year.

HISTORY: Katie completed both chapters 39 and 40 this week (hey, Gwyneth, no skipping this time!). She learned about the conflict between Iran and Iraq (I remembered their long war…but I had no idea what it was all about), Chernobyl, Gorbachev, Glasnost, and the end of the Cold War.

GRAMMAR: We are about to wrap up grammar…and the last chapter of the book focuses on troublesome words – like the differences between rise and raise; let and leave; lend and borrow; and teach and learn. You know what? I am actually contemplating not doing grammar at all next year. She has such a good basis (she actually scored in the 99th percentile on her Iowa tests in the grammar section) – and will get reinforcement from both Latin and her writing program. I am also thinking of leaving off spelling as well. Someone is welcome to convince me otherwise. It seems so wrong…but there it is

WRITING: Katie continued to work on her first lady paper this week. After a first draft without even a mention of the words “first lady” she was back to the drawing board. The second draft was much improved…but I had her actually hand write it…and even with doing it first on the computer…her spelling skills leave little to be desired. (Again…convince me to keep a spelling program. On second thought…what can I get that will actually teach her to spell…she has a huge vocabulary…but spelling…ack!) And, she actually forgot to do her bibliography. So, after a brief speech about plagiarism…she’ll do what will hopefully be the final draft next week…and include that bibliography.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thursday thirteen: Happy Birthday Michael!

After I did a Thursday Thirteen for Madalyn's birthday...I thought it would be fun to do one for my hubby. But...since they take so long...wouldn't it just be better if he did it himself? And I could give myself a small vacation from blogging. So...I gave him an write a list of 13 things about himself...and he had over a month to complete it. And then, he actually did it! He turned his assignment into me on Tuesday. He wrote it as if I wrote it. Referring to himself in the third person. And I thought I might tweak it. You know, add editorial comments, insert my strange sense of humor and observation into it. But, nahhh. I'll let you all enjoy his list in all of its logical, rational, geeky glory:

1. He’s a Geek Well, he’s not a total geek (some of other numbers on this list contradict a “total geek”), but a lot of the elements are there. Being an engineer, he’s well versed in math and science. He’s good with computers and most electronics. He likes a lot of the ‘geek movies’ (Monty Python, Brazil, Mel Brooks movies, Lord of the Rings trilogy, Pi, Blade Runner, and other Sci-Fi movies) and ‘geek TV shows’ (The Simpsons, South Park, Mythbusters, Doctor Who…), ‘geek music’ (see #2), and will periodically quote any of the aforementioned media. The start-up sound for his PC at work is the sound of the Tardis taking off (you may be a geek if you recognize this sound).

2. Music No, Michael does not play any instruments… but he does love to listen to music. He owns over 1000 CD’s and has a paid subscription to Napster, which allows him to listen to his choice of over 6 million songs on the PC… in the car… on his MP3 player… while at work… He listens to a wide variety of music, including modern rock, classic rock, classical, new age, (classic) jazz, new age, alt.-country, and some forms of music many people would characterize as simply “noise”. A portion of what he listens to substantiate #1 on the list (Decemberists, Arcade Fire, They Might be Giants, Rush…). Michael, not surprisingly, is also full of useless music trivia knowledge.

3. Beer: July 1st, 2004. This was a happy day in Michael’s life, as this is the date Georgia changed it’s archaic beer laws to permit the sale of “high gravity” beer. Michael loves beer – GOOD beer. He is an admitted ‘beer-geek’. He doesn’t drink for the alcohol, he just loves a great tasting beer. We go to a local bar (smoke-free as per Georgia law) for Trivia contest every week, which Michael really enjoys since they also happen to have one of the largest beer selections in the Southeast (over 140 draft beer varieties and at least as many bottled varieties). At this bar—and at a another bar—he is a member of each bar’s Passport Club, whereupon the bar keeps track of each different variety of beer the patron drinks. At our local bar, Michael has already surpassed the number needed to receive his “personalized 20 oz. dimpled mug” and is on his way to a “personalized goblet” for Tier II.

At Christmas, we each make out a Christmas List to make the gift buying easier. 90% of Michael’s list every year consists of CD titles and specific beer varieties. None of the mass-produced domestic beers for Michael (who will often choose soft drinks over Budweiser, Miller, or anything ‘light’), only microbrews and imports are good enough for this beer geek. Coffee oatmeal stout, India pale ale, imperial pilsner, cask-conditioned unfiltered ale, Belgian tripel ale, and barley wine (yes, this is a beer), are just a handful of the beer varieties that Michael enjoys. Here is a picture of one of his favorite shirts – it is the “Beeriodic Table”. It has the structure of the Periodic Table of the Elements with symbols for each beer style, and is organized by the characteristics of each style. Something a beer lover and a geek (see #1) would love:

4. Going to Concerts: This is separate from #2, because Michael insists that live music is a totally different experience from listening to a CD. We live near Atlanta, which has a large number of music venues from the small bars with stages that hold just a few hundred patrons, to various sized amphitheaters, to the medium and large sized arenas. With all the music varieties that Michael listens to (see #2), it’s easy to find artists playing live in Atlanta. He enjoys the small shows with $10 ticket prices (for bands most people have never heard of) as much as many of the major acts who charge $60+ for the cheap seats. And he enjoys going to concerts as much now as he ever has. With some of the shows he’s gone to, he may be one of the oldest people in the audience – but this doesn’t faze him in the least.

5. Food: Michael loves to eat. Since puberty, he has had the metabolism of a 300 lb+ football player, but the physique of an average person. Dieters hate to see the amount of food he eats at some meals for his size. He seeks quality as much as he does quantity when eating. While he is not a picky eater, he does really prefer the “really good stuff”. For instance, Michael likes potato chips. He doesn’t get excited over plain Lays chips or ‘normal’ flavors like barbecue or sour cream & onion. But he loves his gourmet kettle-cooked chips in flavors like “Spicy Thai,” “Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper,” “Tuscan Three Cheese,” “Island Jerk,” and “Death Valley Chipotle”. And Michael likes hot sauce, but he’s not satisfied with just plain Tabasco sauce. He insists on having at least 5 or 6 hot sauce varieties at home, since apparently some foods are paired well with a cayenne and vinegar based sauce, while others might require a Vidalia Onion-Peach hot sauce. Any kind of chocolate is good right? He’ll eat M&M’s or Hershey’s milk chocolate like most people but not get very excited over it. But if dark chocolate by Scharffenberger or Belgian dark chocolate truffles are nearby, you can’t keep him away.

Ask him the question “Where do you want to go out to eat?” and you’d better be prepared to choose among a list of restaurants in the area with eclectic cuisine selections, most of which he hasn’t even tried yet. His favorite is Five Seasons in Atlanta, which, as a brew-pub, not only serves excellent food, but also brews some of the best beer in the state. Still, he’s not a picky eater… just don’t ever suggest eating at McDonald’s to him.

6. Smart shopper: Michael considers himself a very smart shopper and doesn’t like to pay more than he has to for anything. This reluctance to spend money helps to keep #3 - #5 in check rather nicely. He insists on doing the bulk of the grocery shopping to ensure he gets the most out of the coupons he clips weekly — and most grocery shops entail stops at two grocery stores (practically across the street from each other) to ensure he gets the good sale prices from each store. And some items he will only buy in bulk in Sam’s.

And this shopping acumen isn’t limited to groceries. He feels the need to research any purchase where he thinks he can get a better product for a better price. When we needed a new cordless phone with multiple handsets, for example, I couldn’t just go down to the store and buy one… he had to research reviews on, and others to find the best phone in our price range. We rarely end up with the cheapest product; but between coupons, discounts, or just shopping around he makes sure we usually get the best price for what we buy.

7. Thrill seeker: Michael loves things that are fast, high, scary, etc. He loved going skydiving while in college (though is not allowed to do so now). He loves roller coasters and other thrill rides (the bigger, higher, faster, and more intense the better). Some people insist his brain is “wired backwards”, as skydiving, thrill rides, and fast things in general have always had a calming effect on him. Michael relishes the opportunity to get his daughters involved in his thrill seeking. When Katie was tall enough to ride the biggest coasters at Six Flags, he talked her into riding many of them with him (until she discovered that she doesn’t like “loops”). On our trips to Disney, he was able to convince the girls to ride the “intense version” of Mission Space at EPCOT with him (this is the spacecraft motion-simulator ride that is built as part of a giant centrifuge). And while in Belize on our cruise, he and the girls went zip-lining across the jungle while over 200 feet above the jungle floor.

8. Environmentally conscious: Spending a lot of time outdoors growing up, including many years as a Boy Scout (where he attained the rank of Eagle Scout), has given Michael an appreciation of nature in general. He will recycle or re-use just about anything that can be recycled… even to the point of stopping coworkers before they throw an aluminum can in the trash to remind them there is a recycling bin for that. (and yes, he does recycle all those beer bottles from #3) He usually doesn’t miss the opportunity for conservation of energy, water, or other resources.

9. Offbeat humor: In addition some of the examples in #1, Michael enjoys TV shows where the humor isn’t exactly mainstream. Some of his favorite shows are critically acclaimed, but lack(ed) viewers (Arrested Development, Reaper), while others are (were) just “different” (Newhart, My Name is Earl, The Office). The same goes for movies, where a small sample of his most liked include Harold & Maude, Adaptation (& most other Charlie Kaufman movies), any Christopher Guest mockumentary, Fargo (& most Coen brothers comedies), Thank You for Smoking, and Grosse Pointe Blank. Website favorites include The Onion and Stuff White People Like. His favorite comedian of all time is Bill Hicks. And this offbeat humor extends beyond just watching TV’s and movies. For period of time, one of his hobbies was baiting Nigerian scammers (see this link if you’re unfamiliar with this pastime). Where he works, this humor has confused his coworkers at times. For example: if an employee attends a meeting talking like a pirate when no one else in the meeting has ever heard of Talk Like a Pirate Day it comes across as quite strange. Ditto for Talk like a Physicist Day this past March 14th (that’s 3.14). Yes, Michael actually suggested in an informal meeting on 3/14 that mysterious production problems in his plant were caused by “tiny, vibrating one-dimensional strings."

10. Sports fan: This may seem to contradict #1 on this list, but Michael is a sports fan. Every year, he follows NCAA basketball (especially “March Madness”), NCAA football (especially his alma mater Georgia Tech), Major League baseball – where the Atlanta Braves are his team (win or lose), and various other sports. He also follows World Cup Soccer every 4 years. With few exceptions, he attends at least one Braves game every season. The exception came in 1994 - 95. He and several friends had a baseball road-trip planned in 1994 to see 7 MLB games in 6 days in Chicago (the first game against the Braves), St. Louis, and Cincinnati. Ten days before leaving, baseball went on strike. Over the years, he has attended college and/or pro sporting events for baseball, football, basketball, soccer (indoor & outdoor), hockey (major and minor league), and volleyball.
11. Active: Michael has always found a way to stay physically active over the years. He has had a membership at Bally’s gym since 1994 and still works out a couple of days each week. He plays softball for our church team and his work team… and even tried to play for the local bar team (the one mentioned in #3) He has plans to start playing soccer soon too.

12. Health conscious: Recently, Michael found out that he has inherited his father’s cholesterol problem. Though the level is not terribly high, he does have to watch what he eats more closely. He was already physically active (#11) and ate healthy food most of the time, but now has to bring the healthy diet up a notch. Luckily for him, moderate alcohol consumption and moderate consumption of dark chocolate are GOOD for the heart and health in general. And his favorite brand of potato chips (see #5) is trans-fat free and made with oils that are high in mono-unsaturated fat, so he can eat potato chips that are actually heart-healthy. With no need for weight loss, he can concentrate on foods that are good for the heart. Sometimes this gets difficult when his wife if fond of making desserts like this.

13. Just a big kid: With the sports mentioned in #11, it may seem like Michael is a competitive athlete. This is not at all the case. He just likes to go outside and play. Many times Katie and Madalyn say they’re happy to have a Dad who is “like a 12-year old kid”. Although he is a fast runner for his age—and a kid a heart— Michael sometimes needs reminders that at his age he can get hurt much more easily than he used to… and that healing from injuries also takes much longer now. It's always funny until someone gets hurt. Then it's just hilarious.

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