Dinner and a Movie

After dropping off our daughter with Mel's aunt and uncle in Robins, Mel and I went to see a movie and out to dinner without any children coming along. We finally saw Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It opened this weekend at the Collins Road Theatres in Marion. Since we never got around to seeing it when it was in its original run in town, this worked, plus we saved some money on the ticket price. After the movie, we went to Biaggi's for dinner. That was the same place we went the first time we went to dinner and a movie without Emma after she was born. I managed to save most of my Weight Watchers POINTS for this evening, so I did pretty well with not eating too much today.


Wrapping Up the Week

This week was fairly busy for me at work. I had plenty of tasks to keep me busy until I went home this afternoon. My manager was in the office this week. He works in our Austin, Texas, office so I do not see him very often. However even though he was in the area this week, I did not see much of him until today. A dozen of my coworkers and I went out to lunch with him today. We went to Mondo's Tomato Pie in Coralville. I tried to pick a meal that would not be too unhealthy since Mel and I are going out for dinner again tomorrow night, without Emma. I think I did a good job by picking the French dip sandwich which came with mashed potatoes. I wonder if I will be able to pick a healthy entree tomorrow night when we go out to dinner.


Weight Watchers Week 22

199.8 pounds!

My weight is finally below 200 pounds! Actually, it did dip slightly below that mark at least twice in the past few weeks, but by Wednesday, my weigh-in day, it was always back up over 200 pounds. This is probably the first time my weight has been this low since my freshman year of college, although I am just guessing about that since I didn't pay much attention to my weight back then.

I lost three pounds since last Wednesday, which means that the Weight Watchers website once again scolded me for losing too much weight. My net weight loss since beginning Weight Watchers in April is now 31.6 pounds.


It's Been a Few Days

It has been a few days since I have blogged. I am slowly getting software reinstalled on our computer. All of the essentials are installed, but I have a few things to finish adding to the computer. I have to say that Windows is running noticeably faster than it had been.

This weekend I saw a couple of movies. First, on Saturday Mel and I rented Fracture, starring Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling. We picked up the movie at Mr. Movies on our way back home from an hour-long walk. It was a very good movie. In the movie, Hopkins's character shoots his wife in the head then waits for the police to arrive, confessing to the shooting. The rest of the movie shows his trial, with Gosling's character as the prosecuting attorney, as the antagonist tries to get off from the attempted murder charges.

Then on Sunday, I got together with some friends to see The Simpsons Movie. This was also a very good movie. Much like an episode of The Simpsons on TV, the movie's plot changed directions several times toward the beginning before settling on a main plot line. There were references to occurrences in the many seasons of The Simpsons that added to the humor.

Prior to going to see The Simpsons Movie on Sunday, Mel, Emma, and I went to the baptism of the baby of one of Mel's former coworkers. After the baptism at the church, we went to a party at the former coworker's boyfriend's parents' house. They live just a few blocks away from us. We had a good time there, although I did eat a bit more than I think I should have. I still think I am on track for losing weight this week though, so I shouldn't worry too much about that. But I guess we'll see about that tomorrow morning.


Computer Issues

For the past several months, our home computer has been extremely slow, so today I decided to backup all out data files onto our external hard drive and reformat the hard drive. I figured that this would take care of any crap on the computer that is bogging down its performance. I did this this morning before taking Emma to her six-month doctor appointment. Besides the appointment and going to Wal-Mart to get her pictures taken, I worked on restoring the computer for much of the day. I had some issues getting the Internet working once again. Apparently, the drivers for the Ethernet controller were not on any of the CDs I had. Fortunately, the DSL modem I have can be connected to the computer via a USB connection. This allowed me to get online where I was able to find the necessary drivers. Now I am reinstalling the software that we actually use. This is taking a bit longer than I predicted it would, although the computer itself is much faster than it had been recently!


Six Months

I can't believe that it was six months ago that Emma was born. She is half a year old today! It doesn't seem like it has been that long. In these six months she has changed so much. She now has some teeth, can roll over completely (requiring that a gate be installed above the stairs in our house to keep her from rolling down them), and she is now eating baby food, not just formula. She is also making all sorts of noises, more than just crying, She has recently begun making growling noises, and of course she also laughs quite a bit.

She looks like she is about ready to sit up on her own, and she may begin crawling soon. She has her six-month doctor appointment tomorrow and in the afternoon we are getting her picture taken. Hopefully she smiles this time. She would not smile for the photographer for her three-month pictures. Anyway, we do have plenty of pictures of her smiling that we took ourselves.

Read for the Record

Today I will be reading The Story of Ferdinand, written by Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson, to two classes of students at an elementary school in Coralville as part of Jumpstart's Read for the Record which is sponsored in part by the company I work for. This is the second year for read for the Record. Last year, The Little Engine That Could was read to more than 150,000 people. One goal for this year is to break last year's record. The purpose for this event is to raise awareness about disparities in early education, supporting early education, and fundraising for Jumpstart. Tonight, Mel and I will be reading the same book to Emma.


Weight Watchers Week 21

My weight is now up to 202.8 pounds, making for a gain of 1.2 pounds this week. Considering all the eating out I did this weekend while in Minnesota, including two trips to McDonald's, this doesn't really surprise me.

After two weeks of weight gains, I am going to make a couple of changes in how I follow my diet this week. First, I am going to record every little thing I eat for the entire week. This means that I will curtail my snacking on foods that people set out at work, or if I do eat something, I will determine the number of Weight Watchers POINTS it is and record it! Second, I really need to be getting regular exercise. This is an important part of the Weight Watchers program, one which I have been largely ignoring the last few weeks. I will have to start making the time to get some exercise.


Vote for My Photo!

A week or so ago, I posted this photo of a spider that was outside my office. Besides posting the photo in my blog, I submitted it to the Cedar Rapids Gazette for their summer photo contest. I thought it was a good photo, but I was quite surprised this morning to learn, quite by chance, that it won the contest for the week. Of the ten photos that were candidates for voting, my photo received forty-eight percent of the votes cast! Anyway, now the Gazette has the eight winning photos posted and is taking votes for the best of those photos. I would appreciate it if my readers would go to their website and vote for my photo. Thank you in advance.


Sick Girl

I got to stay home from work for most of the day today. Mel noticed this weekend that Emma hasn't been feeling well. It looked like she had come down with a cold, and maybe an ear infection. Since I have a fairly flexible work situation, where I am able to work from home or shift my work hours somewhat, I stayed home with Emma today. The only problem was that I hadn't brought my work computer home since we were going out of town for the weekend. So, Emma and I took a trip to Iowa City to pick up my computer and some work to work on. I didn't get a whole lot done during the day because Emma was quite a bit fussy, especially this afternoon following her doctor appointment. So instead of working much this afternoon, I got my work done this evening after Emma, and Mel, had gone to bed.

It turns out that Emma just has a cold, otherwise she is fine. I should be able to return to the office tomorrow.


Before returning home from Minnesota yesterday, Mel, Emma, and I stopped to see Grandma one more time. I wrote in my previous blog posting how Grandma is doing. From what I have been told, she hopes to make it to Christmas this year, but I do not believe that others share her optimism. I was told that she may go downhill pretty quickly once all of her friends and family have stopped by to see her, and I think we were among the finally people who hadn't yet stopped by to visit with her. Hopefully we will be able to make it up to see her again in the coming months, but this may have been the last time we get to see Grandma.



I have been in Minnesota this weekend with Mel and Emma. We left Friday afternoon after Mel and I each got home from work and we arrived at my sister's house in Woodbury around 9:30 Friday night. Emma slept for most of the car ride up here, only really waking up when we stopped at McDonald's in Clear Lake, Iowa, for dinner. Betweeh feeding her the baby food squash we had and her bottle of formula, as well as taking time for us adults to eat, I think we spent about an hour at the McDonald's. That has to be the longest I have spent at any McDonald's.

Yesterday morning we did some shopping at Babies "R" Us. We needed some new car seats for Emma as she is about to outgrow the one she has. We had some coupons for Babies "R" Us, but the closest one to where we live is in the Des Moines area, so we thought we'd stop at the one near my sister's house. Now we just have to figure out how to fit the two car seats into the car for the drive back home.

After shopping, we all headed down to Hastings, Minnesota, to see my grandmother who is in a care center there. She is doing pretty well considering that she is suffering from cancer and has decided to discontinue treatment for it. She is sometimes hard to understand when she is talking because she tends to switch around consonants in words she is pronouncing. She also has a tendency to use the wrong name or to refer to people using the wrong gender or relationship. Nevertheless, we understood most of what she said. We are planning on stopping there on the way back home to see her one more time before returning to Iowa.

Before seeing my grandmother yesterday, we had lunch at Green Mill with my aunt and uncle who live in Cottage Grove. It had been a few months since we had seen them. We had a nice lunch of pizza before heading back to the care center to see my grandmother.

For dinner yesterday, Mel, Emma, my sister, and I went to Saint Paul to meet some of my sister's friends for dinner at Fabulous Fern's. They had really good food there. I would recommend it as a place to go for my coworkers who occasionally come to the Twin Cities for work, but I am not sure I could give them adequate directions on how to find the place.


Voice Overs

A few weeks ago, a coworker of mine brought in the fall catalog for classes offered by the Iowa City Parks and Recreation Department. One of the classes was titled "You're On the Air." It is a class about how to get into voice-over work. A few years ago, one of the people with whom I ride on RAGBRAI mentioned to me that she thought I would be good at voice-over work. Since that time, it has been something that I have been interested in, but I just haven't had any idea as to how to get into it. I had mentioned this desire to my coworker some time ago, so when she saw this class, she thought of me. Today I registered for the two-hour class that is being taught early next month. Now I don't want to even start thinking that this will become a new career for me, but if I can get into it, voice-over work could help to supplement my income, and it could be fun.

Weight Watchers Week 20

Well, I gained 0.6 pound this week. This is just the third time in the twenty weeks I have been on Weight Watchers that I gained weight. My downfall seems to be weekends and the inability to get myself back on track after the weekend. However, my weight loss has required me to start buying some new clothes. I had three pairs of jeans with a waist size of 36. Those were getting a big baggy, so on Monday I bought two pairs of jeans with a waist size of 34! I have no idea when I last wore clothes with that small a waist size. It was probably when I was in college, and it was just a few years ago that I was wearing size 40 jeans! So overall, I think I am doing pretty well.

Perhaps this bit of news will help me with the weight loss and then the eventual maintaining of my weight. The Gazette reported earlier this week that T.G.I. Friday's has decided not to put a restaurant by Westdale Mall in Cedar Rapids. I enjoy Friday's and had been hoping that they would return to the area, but I guess that will not be.


Staying Home Today

After waking up this morning, I was not feeling very well, so I emailed my manager and some coworkers to let them know I'd be staying home sick today. After dropping Emma off at daycare and stopping by my voting precinct to vote in today's school board election, I returned home to recuperate. It's been over a year since I have stayed home sick from work. The only sick time I have used this year has been for Mel's or Emma's doctor appointments, so it's probably alright that I miss a day of work.


Home Improvement

Today I got around to taking care of a home improvement project that I had been meaning to get to for a while. I stained the deck! I bought all the materials I needed last weekend when I started by cleaning the deck. Since then, everything that had been on the deck has been sitting on the lawn at the bottom of the stairs from the deck. Thankfully, we didn't need to mow the lawn this week, otherwise everything would have been in the way. The lawn does need mowing now however, so tomorrow afternoon, I'll put everything back on the deck so that I can mow. Now I need to find the time to pull the weeds from the large patch of dirt where our bushes used to be, so I can plant some grass seed there. Maybe there will be time some evening this week.

Nerd Test

Reading Side Notes and Detours, I saw that she had taken a test to see what kind of nerd she was. She ended up being a history/literature geek. Taking the test myself, I have affirmed what I have long known. I am a cool nerd king! Of course, the fact that I am watching The Empire Strikes Back while taking this quiz only serves to reinforce the 98 percentile rating I received in the Sci-Fi/Comic category.

NerdTests.com says I'm a Cool Nerd King.  What are you?  Click here!


New iPods

I've had my black, four gigabyte iPod nano since November 2005. Now, less than two years after joining the millions of iPod users in the world, my iPod is now two generations behind. Apple just released new versions of their iPods. Shown on the right is the new iPod nano. This new model has a slightly larger screen and is a bit wider than the nano I own. The new version can also play videos and has a longer battery life than my iPod does. Apple also released a version of the iPod, called the iPod touch, that resembles the iPhone, having many of its capabilities, although not the phone itself. My iPod nano is still working quite well, but I have to say that if I were in the market for an iPod today, this would be at the top of my list.


Weight Watchers Week 19

Somehow I managed to lose 2.4 pounds since last Wednesday, giving me a total weight loss of 30.4 pounds since beginning Weight Watchers nineteen weeks ago. I was really expecting my weight to be approximately what it was last week. I had started the week counting points really well, but over the three-day weekend, I was not as careful with counting the Weight Watchers points as I could have been. We had Godfather's Pizza on Sunday which made me exceed my weekly points. I did actually look up the points for each slice, using the nutritional information available on their website, but I didn't enter all that I ate into the points tracker on the Weight Watchers website.

With my weight now down to 201 pounds, I am very close to being below 200 pounds, which is a goal that I would really like to reach, and it is definitely in sight now. Last week I indicated that I wanted to get my weight down to 187 pounds. After talking with my wife and a friend of mine this weekend, I may not try to get my weight that low. They both think I'd look way to skinny if I got my weight down that low. I do at least want to get my weight low enough below 200 pounds though so that even if it fluctuates some, I will still weigh under 200 pounds.


Bitter Dregs

With Mel working this weekend, Emma and I have been watching the third season of Star Trek on DVD. Ok, Emma probably couldn't care less about watching Star Trek, but I have been enjoying it. Watching the episode "Plato's Stepchildren" this morning inspired me to look to YouTube for a particular video clip from the episode. Here, I present Mr. Spock singing the song Maiden Wine!