Woohoo!

This has been the most exciting and eventful few days that I can remember. First off we had all the holiday madness, friends, family and all the turmoil as usual. We had a good Christmas and got some great gifts. But after all that, like two nights ago it all got a little weird.
I’m sure most of you know that I’m on twitter (@gibb626) and pretty active within my one little group. I follow about 300 people and its mostly reciprocal. I “speak” with probably 15-20 regularly. Jim Irsay is someone I follow but he doesn’t follow me and I don’t speak with him at all. Until Tuesday night. He posted a riddle and the winner got a trip to Hawaii and the ProBowl.
I won.
Seriously, yesterday I spoke with his assistant and they are working out all the flight and hotel details, but we’ll be spending 5 nights in Honolulu and the end of January! Erin and I are both still in shock a bit to say the least.
The answer to the riddle was “one hundred forty characters” the question was basically a long tweet that had the numbers 1, 4, 0 and the word characters at the end. It wasn’t that hard but it wasn’t that easy either. Tons of people got it right after me. I was lucky.
After Irsay declared that there was a winner but that they were working on determining exactly who it was, I started to check to see if it was me. I was flooded with tweets that said i had won, of course not from anyone with any authority but still… People were saying I’d won! I was wired. Did I mention it was after 11pm and Erin had work the next day? She didn’t quite believe what I was talking about mainly because she wanted to go to bed and secondly because I think she thought my Twitter fascination was a waste of time. But I didn’t really care, I thought I had won and I had no chance of actually sleeping until the real winner was announced. Irsay then tweeted that they would announce the next morning.
Kyle and I headed the Steak N Shake to kill some time. I got home about 2:30am. I laid down and stayed awake all night. Waiting…
The next morning at 8 I moved to the couch to wait. At 10 I got a direct message that they thought the winner was me but they weren’t announcing for sure yet. Well that pretty much made me twice as excited, phone calls went out to friends and family with the caveat that it wasn’t official yet. At 2pm I got another direct message this one was a phone number to his assistant to setup the travel arraignments. Moments later he announced it on Twitter. I was flooded again…

The other big news is that Erin and I are moving forward on our Debt Snowball. Yesterday we also paid off the next in the line. We still have a ways to go but since this was our first big payoff, I think now this is just the start of really getting the snowball rolling. It only gets bigger as it rolls along.

Another week gone by

So another week has gone by and I haven’t blogged anything more than the auto-tweet posts.

As you might remember we signed up for Hoosier Organics a few weeks ago and I must say it’s gone pretty well. We had our second delivery last week: Romaine, Bananas, Oranges, Brussels Sprouts, Strawberries, Potatoes, Grape Tomatoes, and a whole Pineapple. All very good quality and most importantly, shoved into our home and putting them right there on the counter for us to eat. I hate wasting fresh food. We are going to eat it. We actually up’d our deliveries to weekly, since we liked it so much. I’ve found myself making new recipes and experimenting in the kitchen again, it’s wonderful. A few quick things I’ve made up lately.

Pickles in the Fridge

Take a few cucumbers and cut them into quarters, place into a jar or other container that will allow them to be covered in liquid. The liquid: 1 quart of water with 1.5 oz. of salt dissolved in it. Add a teaspoon-ish of garlic, a teaspoon-ish of dill seed and dill weed, about 10-15 black peppercorns and a dash of red pepper flakes to the jar. Pour the brine liquid over the cukes and seal/cover. Let it sit for about 4-5 days and you’ll have amazing refrigerator pickles that are crunchy and fresh with perfect flavor.

Tomato Cheese Salad

Cut some grape or cherry tomatoes in half. Add cheese, mozzarella or colby jack works well, cut it up into chunks about the same size as the tomato pieces. Toss with creamy italian dressing. Chill and enjoy.

Better Tasting Brussels Sprouts (Not great, just better)

Clean Brussels Sprouts, cut in half. Toss with a bit of vegetable oil and Mrs. Dash to coat. Spread on a cookie sheet and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes until sprouts are just barely tender. NOT SOFT! Eat with a little butter on the side.

I’m going to try to post some more recipes as I figure them out and adapt them.

In other news, I won free popcorn by following the right person on Twitter this week. Saturday we went to Shipshewana and shopped all day with my grandparents. Today was the best though, I got up, we cleaned the house top to bottom for the first time in a few weeks and the I laid on the couch to watch the 400. I fell asleep half way through and got a good 30 minute nap. Hung out with Kyle for a bit and I’m heading to bed soon.

Ya know, if the weather would cool down a bit this would be the perfect time of year for me. Fresh fruit and veggies all around makes for great cooking opportunities, there’s baseball and tons of sunshine. Its just 10 degrees too hot out.

A nice long weekend

Friday I headed out to Ohio for work, just the usual easy trip over there and back, nothing spectacular.

Once I got home though, I headed out and did something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, bought a new charcoal grill. It’s just a little Weber Smokey Joe, perfect for Erin and I to make dinner on. We had pork chops on it that night too, they were amazing!

Saturday, Kyle and I headed out early to Wright-Patterson AFB to see the National Museum of the Air Force. We had a good time, just kinda wandered through the place and got to see some real pieces of history up close. I love looking at the medals and awards of soldiers, sailors, and airmen, the valor they exhibited that got them highest honors among their peers and among all Americans. On our way home we stopped for some Big Boy, it’s been a while since I’ve been here too.

The last stop we made on the way home was Hoosier Park. Horse racing and a casino, the perfect place to end the night. We placed a few bets on some races, if we would have had a clue as to how to bet on a race, we might have won a few bucks. It was cool though, I did learn quite a bit about how the betting works and maybe next time

Once we got home, I found the perfect way to end the night. A small fire and just some quiet time to reflect. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Sunday was a typical Sunday. Mowed the yard while Erin cleaned the house up and then headed out for dinner and grocery shopping.

Today: I worked. Kinda. It was slow and long.

Back to the grind tomorrow

Well the long weekend is finally over. I’m sitting here winding down and getting ready to head to bed after a delightful long weekend off.

Yesterday Ali and Kyle came over for dinner, Erin made friend chicken for us along with all the fixins’ of cole slaw, baked beans, and chips and dip. After dinner we headed out to Cicero to watch the fireworks over the lake. I think we all got a bit bored while the fireworks were actually going off though, we had more fun people watching before it got dark.

This morning I got up and painted the shed a second time with my grandpa, it’s got two full coats on it now so it should be good to go, although I might put one more coat on before winter just to be tripley sure.

I did manage to get into town today and picked up a new bird feeder and shepherd’s hook to hang it on for our yard. I also got a rain gauge for the garden, I’m always intrigued by the weather.

Tonight, we went to Ali’s for dinner at Five Guys and then hung out for a while playing Scattergories, always good times.

I’d better get to bed though, Erin’s not feeling well and I want to get in bed before she falls asleep so I don’t wake her.

Gotta get back at this…

There’s been so much going on the last few days this might just be a dump post to catch everything up, I’ll probably miss a bunch too.

My birthday was last Saturday, the 28th year, it’s already begun and I feel like it shouldn’t be here yet. I feel like I’m getting older but not moving forward as fast as I always thought I would. I guess I just feel old or something and don’t know how/where to push forward right now. I’m sure in 20 years I’ll look back and wish I wouldn’t have pushed forward so much.

I wonder if I’ll still be writing then?

Saturday, Erin and I went out on the town so to speak, not a fancy thing, just out and about in Indy. We don’t do that much anymore, life gets in the way too much. We went to an auction first thing in the morning but didn’t stay long because things were just going for way too much money. After that we went to get her a new iPhone 3GS, I got my iPhone 4 Friday so she was itching for a new one too I think. We’re both pretty happy with each of our choices. We stopped at Lowes next and bought a new microwave, we had to do it, our old one took like 3 minutes to cook pizza rolls, now we can do it in 1. Then we went home, installed the new microwave, and chilled for a bit. Dinner at Logan’s and a quick grocery trip rounded out our day.

Sunday was my official birthday party or whatever you want to call it, family dinner basically. We had a good time. I did a good deed, and honestly it made me feel like I was making a difference and helping out someone who really needed it. I love that feeling. That selfless giving feeling that you get when you go out of your way to make a miracle happen for someone.

Last night, I went out with Kyle for a traditional guys night dinner, Hacienda and Best Buy. Had a pretty good time there too.

Work: What can I say about work other than it’s been stressful at times and dead at other times. Just not into talking about it now I guess.

Its odd to have old friends coming back into the picture now, we’ll see how that goes.

Courtney just headed off to Tasmania, it’s going to be a while before she gets back. I hope we can pick up right where we left off when she gets back.

I’d better get going… more forthcoming, including July 4th plans.

We got like 2 inches in an hour!

I just got home from dinner with Kyle tonight, it was snowing off and on and we joked about a delay or something with the schools tomorrow, he might be right, we have about 2 – 2 1/2 inches of snow in our driveway right now. It’s the nice, light, fluffy stuff though so I’m not sure that the wind won’t just blow it off the roads later tonight. We’ll see.

Erin’s watching a movie right now, nothing I’m particularly in to so I’m just cruising the net and thinking about going to bed soon.

I got quite a bit done at work today but I still have a big pile in front of me, I might go in a bit early to stay ahead of the game. That may change when the alarm goes off tomorrow morning early.

The basement is pretty much completely dry now, at least with the ground freezing up again, I don’t have to worry about it happening again for a while.

I ate way too much at dinner tonight so I think I’m going to head to bed.

Looking back…

The other night, during one of our storied visits to McAllisters, Kyle and I started reading some old posts from here. Mostly ones that were from this time last year, the year before and even three years ago. We had several inches of snow on November 23, 2005, I totally forgot.

It was a bit strange honestly, looking back at years gone by, and even though it seemed like forever, three years isn’t that far back. I wonder what posts would like if I had blogged in high school. What was I thinking in November 1996? Surely there would have been something about freshman year, the girls I was dating, band practice, new friends and the excitement of the friends who had a car and could take me places! I wish that I had started blogging, or at least journaling much earlier in my life. In my younger years there was usually a notebook, a sketch pad or just a scrap of paper that I would often write things on, I wonder whatever happened to all of those? I know where some of my “note books” are, essentially composition books that I passed back and forth with girls I dated instead of tearing out paper from our notebooks. I have 2 or 3 around somewhere. Maybe I should delve into those sometime to reminisce. But I’m not sure there are any surviving “journals,” places where I wrote the kinds of things that I write here. Pieces of paper with short quips, quotes and long, drawn out prose on my life and my thoughts. The memories I have of that time are incomplete, not because I can’t remember every detail (which I can’t) but also because I’m sure there are days gone by, and thoughts that passed to quickly that I didn’t document in some way. How sad, my past is but a memory because I didn’t take the time to record it.

Looking at those posts from a few years ago I realize that life has changed and has changed me. Mostly I think it’s been for the best, but at times there I things that I miss about the past, things that I wish didn’t happen or things that shouldn’t have happened. I like where things have ended up though. I’m happy with life and where it’s taking me in the future overall.

I am grateful for the future that I have and still, at times, I mourn for the past that is no more.