Winter Hammock

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There isn’t inappropriate weather, just inappropriate clothing. – Karla Barker

Winter doesn’t have to be miserable. It can be quite fun if you have the right equipment. As a Christmas present, our daughter received a hammock. To show it off we went outside and set it up. It was cold, but she hung out in the swing for quite a while. Don’t let winter get the best of you, but make the best of it.

Things Kids Say

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The other day I was at a school that messed with my esteem. Let me explain. First, there was a student who said to me,

“You don’t look like a science teacher. You look more like an art teacher.”

I said, “Really? How’s that?”

He replied, “You have a colorful way about you.”

Floating for most of the day with that beautiful comment, my bubble was popped by another student who was walking down the hall and yelled out to me–

“What’s up ma’douche!”

My feet quickly came down to earth.

Honestly, though, I smiled inside at both of them.

It’s Not a Socky Gift, So Ask For Some!

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One of my favorite things are creative socks. In fact, if you are looking for a great gift to give me, try these two:

There is something about creative socks that gets a smile on my face. Maybe it’s because something exciting is going on undetected. Or, maybe I just like a splash of color in my life. The attention doesn’t hurt, of course. And, it sets me apart from all those mono-chromed sockers out there.

You don’t have to break the bank, either. Even though both of these sites have expensive socks, you just have to wait for the deals. Styles go out of style, so you just have to be patient. The picture with all the socks is around $20 of socks (including shipping). Plus, get your mother-in-law to get them as Christmas presents. They like making you happy and adding a little color to your life, too.

No matter what brand you get, make sure when you get into wearing great socks they have the following attributes.

  1. Padded: Your feet deserve it
  2. Mix and match colors. I love wearing 2 different socks from 2 different pairs
  3. Ankle height (or higher)
  4. Machine washable. Believe it or not some socks have special washing instructions.
  5. Inside jokes. This isn’t a must, but it’s nice to have a sock set that means something that not everyone gets.

Put it on your Christmas list. You won’t regret. it.

Beggar’s Night Joke

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If you are not from the Des Moines area, then you have probably never heard of Beggar’s Night.  It is an invention by a school teacher to get Halloween off of October 31st. So, around Des Moines, on October 30th, kids come out and Trick-or-Treat for candy.

It not really something I embrace. Mostly because the actual holiday of Halloween the streets are empty and it feels like some kind of apocalyptic event took place taking all the children and their parents.  The houses are decorated for Halloween, but there are no kids or parents walking the streets. It’s just weird.

However, as part of Beggar’s Night (again, a made up holiday to make Halloween less scary), the kids are supposed to use humor instead of fear. So, every kid who comes to the door rarely says, “Trick or Treat”, but says, “Want to hear my joke?”  I kid you not! So, the host home listens to the corniest jokes that the kids have found from outdated joke books are their school library, or from Highlights magazine they read at their family dentist office. I don’t know how many countless fake “ha ha’s” I have thrown out to make myself not look like the mean ol’ man on 42nd Street.

But this year a kid got me. Karla was told a joke by a young costumed ghoul that actually gave me a chuckle. Now, I am going to share it with you.

Question: What has a bottom at the top?

Answer: Legs!

Feel free to use that when your community decides that Halloween shouldn’t be scary.

 

Here’s another joke to get you ready for next year:

Question: Why did the bike fall over?

Answer: Because it was two tired.

Quad Cities Style

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I have been making pizzas for over a decade now and trying to master the pizza taste that I grew up on. The difficulty has been that people in my metropolitan area like thin crust pizza. They like square pieces of melted cheese on a cracker.

I have never really been able to describe the pizza I love until large attention has been brought to Quad Cities style pizza. If you want to try a pizza like none other than stop by Franks, Wise Guys, or The Pizza Shack in the QC. I recommend their sausage pizza.

If you want to know what makes up a QC style pizza the graphic below explains what makes them so good! Put it on you list of stops next time you need a road trip, or are passing through.

Month of Thanksgiving

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There are many things in my life that I am thankful for. Here are just a few:

  1. My awesome wife, Karla
  2. My 2 wonderful kids, Grace and Seth
  3. My parents (Donnie Joe, Rita AND Karen)
  4. Supportive friends who show as much unconditional love as they can muster
  5. Pizza, and people’s love of it
  6. Students and learning
  7. My fantasy football league
  8. Motorcycle rides
  9. Creativity and innovation

There are a lot of things to be thankful for this month. Don’t forget to appreciate them.

Kevin Bromund (10/23/72 to 8/18/17)

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Kevin Bromund was a badass. I’m sorry, but I don’t know of a better way to describe him. And, if you knew him, you would say the same thing. Ever since I met Kevin he possessed this quality.  He was 16 years old when we first crossed paths–I was dating his older sister. He looked like a young Tom Cruise. He had a VW beetle and was getting into this new sport called snowboarding. Long before there were runs on ski hills for snowboarding Kevin and his friends would make them up on the backside of ski resorts in MN.  They would also bring their boards to a local sand mine and board down them like hills. Like I said, badass.

As he got older, his confidence grew. He wanted to be a pilot. He longed to fly at fast speeds across the sky with 2 miles of nothing between him and the ground. He lived a lively, raucous life and no one could stop him.

It was during a physical for this pursuit that he found out about his heart defect. His heart was flip flopped. It’s called a transverse heart. It is a rare condition and one that would change Kevin’s life forever. Because of his heart’s design it would have to work harder, which caused it to enlarge. The enlargement caused his valves to leak, which caused Kevin to receive his first open heart surgery when he was 25 years old. More sobering than the surgery is that Kevin was given a timeline on his life. He was told that he would probably not live beyond his forties.

Did he crawl up into a ball and cry? Did he sit home and watch TV for the rest of his life? No. He traveled, He built homes. Drove motorcycles. Caught lunkers, Drank. Smoked. Got married. Had kids and settled down. Kevin was not the type of person to be told what to do, even by doctors. He gulped life as he desired and made the most of every opportunity to try every flavor, aroma, experience and sight.

Kevin died yesterday. He valiantly fought for 34 days at the University of Minnesota’s hospital to continue to live the life that he wanted to live, and not the life that people told him to live. His family is  going to miss him, so will his friends. Not just because he carved his way into their hearts, but I think they will miss him because deep down they liked knowing that there was someone who did as he pleased and made the most of every opportunity of the life he had on this earth. Most of us don’t know when we will pass on. Perhaps we shouldn’t see this as such a gift. Our ignorance of our own death makes us passive in life. There is always a tomorrow. There is always another day to procrastinate our humdrum nature toward. Kevin was given a gift. He was told that he had to make the most of his years on this planet–and he did. For that, I will miss him.