Thursday, November 29, 2007

Send Me Your Tinsel

Now that Thanksgiving has past, I can allow myself to write a little about the next big holiday.

No not National Suckling Pig Day, I'm talking Christmas.

Although talking about a suckling pig does sound interesting.

A few weeks ago, Mrs. Joe and I continued a tradition started a few years back. We took Peanut & The Champ and went and tagged our Christmas tree. Every year, we go to a local tree farm and select our tree about a month before Christmas.

It used to be the owners of the farm would simply give you a numbered tag and you went into the field, selected the tree you wanted and tied the tag to the tree. You then came back in December with the matching tag, cut it down and took it home.

Well, some people who might have showed up later than others didn't like the fact that the best trees were already tagged. There were instances of tags going missing and being moved to other trees. The owners now use zip ties to secure the tags in an attempt to prevent this.

But leave it to the public to come up with a better and more festive solution.

Buyers now decorate the trees when they tag them, while they are still in the field. And let me tell you, you have not seen tacky Christmas tree decorations until you have seen this field.

Allow me to share some of my favorites.

Some sleigh bells with an orange wrap.

Caution tape with decorations made by some kids.

Again, with the caution tape. It is always popular.

Pink wrap with a guardian.

Honestly, the crow looked like it was stuffed.

And finally I present our addition to the group.

Not the best but I think we did a pretty good job. Mrs. Joe bought the garland on clearance for 99 cents last year. The star, which to me is the finest example of tacky, is made from cut cardboard and a toilet paper roll which the kids then wrapped in aluminum foil.

I'm looking foreward to getting the tree in the next few weeks to see if there are any other fine examples. I'll post them if their tackiness meets expectations.

Monday, November 26, 2007

On 3

I hope everybody had a nice Thanksgiving. Ours was good. I got some of the lawn raked even though half of the trees still have leaves on them.

Damn oak trees.

After watching a little football on Thursday, The Champ wanted to go outside and throw around the old pigskin. Figuring one toss to the face with a real ball would instantly end that desire, we settled on a small Nerf that he has.

So we were playing catch and like any red blooded 6 year old boy he was diving for almost everything. He was doing pretty well when he stayed on his feet. When he thought he was Randy Moss though he would end up with a face full of leaves.

I asked him if he wanted to run a few routes from scrimmage. After explaining to him that the line of scrimmage is where everybody starts from, he replied,

“Sure. I want you to throw me a bomb.”

A bomb it was. He had no problem running those routes. Although all the passes I threw he dropped.

Damn kid, he should’ve had some of those!!!

Then I said to run a simple “in” route. I told him to just run up field ten steps and cut to the right and be ready for the ball. We had a few problems with those.

First attempt: As he started up field he was only counting his right foot and not both feet. He ended up running too far before cutting right.

I explained that he needed to count both feet, not just his right.

Second attempt: He started up field counting both feet but made a cut to the left, not right.

After explaining the “stick and stone” philosophy we tried again.

Third attempt: He correctly counted, cut to the right and dropped the ball.

It’s a safe bet The Champ will not be ready for this postseason.

But honestly, we both had a great time. He caught some balls and threw some good ones to me. As a kid, my dad didn’t spend too many fall Sunday afternoons away from the couch, but as I was asked if I wanted to go outside the question was easy.

Although it did make me wonder why my dad was so reluctant.

On a side note, thanks to TwoBusy for the tasty suggestion, after enjoying one six pack I went back for two more.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Hidden Under A Blanket Of White

Mother Nature surprised us yesterday with a few inches of snow. A little early in these here parts. It started in the morning as we were getting ready for school. As Peanut & The Champ were getting all excited about playing in what they assumed would be a blizzard, I complained to Mrs. Joe that I had not even started raking the leaves yet. To which The Champ turned from the window and promptly replied,

“You better start raking.”

If anybody needs me, I’ll be outside raking the snow hoping for a warmup.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

I'm Lovin' It

With Peanut being almost two and a half, learning how to talk has rapidly increased every day.

Solved now are the easy ones.




The harder, two syllable words came along soon after.




And today, for the first time, I heard her speak her first three syllable word. It came as I asked what she and The Champ wanted for lunch. With a determined look followed by a beautiful smile, she announced...


I wasn't sure if I should hug her or go get her a Happy Meal.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Sunday Drive

The weekend before our getaway to Newport, Mrs. Joe & I decided to take Peanut & The Champ out for an old fashioned Sunday drive.

Does anybody else still do this?

The weather that day was to be spectacular. Sunny, 60's, beautiful Fall colors, a picture perfect day. So we loaded the kids into the car and took off. The Champ asked where we were going and up until then I had not thought about it. All I new was we had to take advantage of the day.

Mrs. Joe asked if we could stop at this little country market first. They sell these truffles that she likes and she figured if she was nearby....

That's where I took this.

After our little truffle detour, we were back on the road to nowhere. After about ten minutes I realized I could take them here. I can't tell you the last time I was at Quabbin. It was built in the 30's to supply Boston with drinking water. The government has created a bunch of trails for hiking and biking so I figured we could check it out.

That is where I took this.

The kids started getting hungry so after a quick stop at the Golden Arches, we were back on the road. I remembered that there was a old mill town up the road from where we were that had a hidden jewel. I figured it would look beautiful this time of year.

I was not disappointed.

This is the Gilbertville covered bridge. It crosses the Ware River in Hardwick, MA. It has been closed to autos for a while now. Hopefully it can at least be preserved for foot traffic. The kids enjoyed walking out onto it and looking out of the sides.

I took this from the bridge.

Did you spot the guy fly fishing?

After checking out the bridge, we headed for home. The kids could only handle nature for so long. To me Fall in New England can't be beat. Especially when you are close enough to see it by car.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Doubles As A Time Machine

Why is it that if you are in your mid 30's and you are out on a Friday night feeling like you are in your 20's again, you wake up Saturday morning feeling like you are in your 60's?

I went out last night with a couple of guys I worked with at least 10 years ago. Back when none of us were married and the only worry was getting to work the following morning, hoping your boss does not realize how hung over you are. We only get together a few times a year now. Kids, wives, bills, pretty much life in general tends to get in the way.

Lucky for me, Mrs. Joe made a quick dinner, I kissed the kids and off I went. We met at a bar near my house just after 5pm. I don't usually go there. It's known for a much younger crowd. Once we all got there and said our initial hellos we found ourselves in front of one of these.

I don't know why, but whenever I get in front of one of these, I'm transported back into time, somewhere in the early to mid 90's. I was wearing flannel and I think Nirvana was playing.

We had a good night. Between some Sam Adams Winter lagers and one too many shots of Jagermeister, we caught up on who's working where and how our families are doing. All this while standing for hours at the foosball table, knees locked & hands cramped from holding the handles.

I was thankful for my trip back in time. A night out like that is good once in awhile. I just wish the landing on the return trip would go a little smoother.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

If I Only Had A Brain

First, let me announce that this is my 100th post. I realized this yesterday as I went to check when my first post was. That turned out to be one year ago this past Saturday. So here’s to another year and another 100 posts.

Meanwhile, The Champ came home from school yesterday with this picture he made.

The teacher had asked the students to fold the paper into quarters and draw a robot in each area. The Champ explained to me that the red robot is the shortest while the orange robot is the tallest.

He then explained why the gray robot has a frown and wilted antenna while the other robots have smiles and erect antenna.

“The gray robot was left out in the rain and got rusty.”

And here I thought he had a frown because he didn't have a heart.

Oh wait, my mistake, that was a tin man, not a robot, sorry.

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Saturday, November 03, 2007

My Little Barista

I enjoy my coffee as much as the next person. A good cup of Starbucks, black, with no sugar is usually a requirement to get me going in the morning. Sometimes I buy ground coffee, sometimes whole bean. If I have a bag of whole bean, I grind a couple weeks worth at once and keep in the cupboard, next to the coffee maker.

This morning I needed to grind some beans so I asked Peanut if she wanted to help. We would count five scoops of beans as we put them into the grinder. We then put on the lid, turned it on and count to ten as the grinder did its work.

Every time, without fail, as we took the lid off Peanut voiced a curiosity only a 2 year old muster...

"Where da beans go? "

Hopefully she doesn't wonder this much about her depleting Halloween candy stash.