Friday, November 27, 2015

Happy Belated Thanksgiving

It's that time of year again when we pause to reflect and give thanks for all the blessings we each have.  And right after that is the time we make fun of all the ridiculous items donated to the annual County food drive! 

First up is this extremely appetizing "Bacon Dressing."  So basically what you are telling me is that someone made a salad dressing using the same stuff I drain off of my food and pour in my yard to kill weeds?  


Here is this year's winner from the "Non-edible (but I can kinda sorta see where you might have thought it may have been a different kind of oil)" category. In their defense, coconut oil is all the rage nowadays.

Okay, but seriously, who even uses this crap?

Sweet flippin' follicles, this stuff is amazing!  My hair feels so shiny and strong! Where do I buy this?? 

According to the package, this crust mix is Step 1 of making a delicious no bake cheesecake.  Step 2 is realizing you do not have Step 2 or 3, and Step 3 is being sad.  


I love Kalamata olives as much as the next guy, but I am not sure that making it into a sandwich spread is really going to entice people to find out how delicious they are.

 And according to a recent survey, here are the Top Ten Least Popular Spread Flavors for 2015:

10.  Peppermint
9.  Squid
8.  Licorice
7.  Hot Pocket
6.  Turtle
5.  10 year old gravy
4.  Earthworm
3.  Cantaloupe
2.  Barbecued Bat
1.  Pine

Okay, seriously, if you have an extra 10 minutes, click this link and visit a gallery of the weirdest REAL Japanese Kit Kat candy bars flavors you ever saw in your life.  The Japanese; they do what they want.

Life Pro Tip #12:  If you are ever on Jeopardy and the answer is "This drink was considered to be the prized potion of ancient kings", well, here ya go.  Don't forget to specify "vanilla decaf" when you tell Alex the answer.

Finally! Something normal and totally appropriate for the food drive.  A humble bag of turkey gravy mix.

Let me just check the code date on this thing...Only missed it by TEN YEARS.  So close!

How is the package still intact??

It was a barn burner, but coming in right behind the turkey gravy mix, is this expired Ragu from 2006.  Not only is it a hearty, deep red color, it also comes in convenient bottle-shaped form even after removing it from the jar.

Well sure, you have the sauce, but what is going to taste just right with 9 year spaghetti old sauce?

I know, how about these 5 year old Udon noodles?  Italian sauce over Japanese noodles "traditionally crafted" in Clinton, Michigan; it's a match made in expiration heaven! 

And finally, this year's "Careful, Don't Want to Give Too Much" award goes to this bag of airline pretzels..

I said, like, Dotty, LIKE you.  And by "like" we really mean "resent."

No worries, I really like all my readers.  
Happy Thanksgiving from Sweeneyville :)

Friday, November 20, 2015

Into The History Books

As head soccer coach of the McKeel Girls team, Jacob is now officially part of the "100 Wins Club." It came at the hands of Avon Park last Tuesday night, and even though we had to drive the hour down there, and pay to get in AND we ended the game by mercy rule at halftime, it was well worth it to be there to support him on this accomplishment.

Worst coach's wife in the history of coach's wives redeeming herself BIG TIME! 
Just look at those signs, man!

Lady Wildcats 2015-2016

I have discovered the trick to raising the chances of getting a good picture of Cindy.  It is to A. not take one at all or B. have a stranger do it.  She usually doesn't have the guts to go goofy on someone she doesn't know.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Beware The Long Green Gourd

Just in case you aren't one of the cool kids, here's a new thing that's making the rounds:  Cucumbering Your Cat.

Crazy, right?  Crazy AWESOME!  The day that my brother in law Sean sent this to me I went out and bought a cucumber and we tried it on Cucuface.....and.........

Zero. Reaction.

Okay, fine.  Here, Yoshi, Yoshi.....

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

This Is Quite a Life I Have Carved Out For Myself

As I continue to substitute teach, I have begun subbing quite a bit at McKeel.  Which has now become the best place in the world to be a sub.  Not only are the kids insanely behaved, but I have now had the chance to sub for both Luke and Cindy's classes.  Which means that when I eat lunch with them, I am basically getting paid to spend time with my own kids.  
Best. Job. Ever. 

So two weeks ago while subbing in Luke's class,  a "shushing war" of sorts broke out while the kids were supposed to be completing a silent, independent assignment.  I found it immature, but the kids eventually calmed down and things resumed to normal.  The next day when I picked up my kids from school, Luke told me that his teacher found out about the "shushing war" and made all the kids who fessed up to being involved, write me apology letters.  

Take a gander at these.  I love kids!

And this is what keeps me subbing.  Especially at McKeel :)

Monday, November 16, 2015

All County Chorus

I haven't had time to even mention that Cindy auditioned for All County Chorus this year and made the team for McKeel!  She has tried out for the past two years and this was her first time making it for chorus.  The performance was last Friday night at Florida Southern College and all the songs for each of the choirs were absolutely incredible. The high school choir knocked my socks off (which is hard to do because I don't even really wear socks).  And I am happy to report that if there were any atheists in the audience, they went home highly offended, because every choir sang at least two religious songs and they. were. fantastical.

And look who made the team from Union Academy, why, none other than Cindy's partner in crime, Maddie Adams.

Not only did they sit next to each other at every practice, they performed right next to each other as well.  Cindy must be livin' right!

Bearded piano man was ridiculously good

And because they are some of the most perfect grandparents who ever lived, my mom and dad were there.  And caved in after the performance and outrageously overpaid for a commemorative plaque as a keepsake for Cindy.

Yeah, you better be smiling...

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Sunday In The Life

Just another Sunday afternoon with Luke. 

 Drawing the Eiffel Tower...

And hanging on the pull-up bar.  

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Red Ribbon Run

Every year in our county we have the Red Ribbon Run.  It is a kids race, 5K and Half Marathon offered in connection with the anti-drug programs that are taught in the schools.  The kids runs are a 1K race by grade level and this year Luke begged me to let him participate.  Well, okay.  





 Time to start picking out a race bib display, because this kid is going places!  

Monday, November 9, 2015

For Narnia!!!!

After doing a triathlon with my brother Chris in July, I decided that my little brother Brian and I needed to spend some quality fitness time together.  The stars aligned in a major way and the result was getting to run a Ragnar Relay together.  Which, in all honesty, was a legit bucket list item for me. 200ish miles, 12 people, 2 vans and roughly 28 hours of running from Chattanooga to Tennessee? It's like a sick and twisted running dream come true!

I found a $49 flight that left for Atlanta two days before the race, so I actually spent two nights with my brother Dave before I got to wake them up at 4:30am on Friday so they could drop me off in downtown Atlanta with the MegaBus crowd.  Besides being the only white person in a two mile radius, it was a completely normal bus experience.  Plus, I was on my A game and took a dramamine before I got on and let me tell you, besides getting braces, it was the best decision I ever made.  

Once I got to the bus stop in Chattanooga, I took a free bus shuttle for a few blocks and then hoofed it for about six more to the starting line, all while pulling my suitcase and sleeping bag.  I am 90% sure that most people who saw me thought I was a homeless person just trying to find my next place to sleep.  But I finally made it to the bridge and found Xanadu.


I arrived at about 10am, and because the rest of the team was driving over from Nashville, I had about an hour and a half to kill, all while taking my suitcase and sleeping bag with me everywhere I went.  I looked like I just stumbled upon the race and wanted to watch everyone over by the port-o-pottie. But finally everyone arrived and the fun began.  

I was not prepared for how much everyone in my van was going to be "into" the whole Ragnar experience.  Yes, this is a race where crazy costumes are encouraged, but I was not sure to what extent we cared.  Oh man, we cared.  We cared  A LOT.  

With only my personalized Jessatello shirt, eye mask and stuffed turtle shell to my back, I was a little underdressed.  

Everyone else started wearing these bad boys:

Our team was made up of Brian, Kelly, Me, Jonathan (from Brian's ward) and Brandon and Lori (Kelly's cousin and her husband from Utah.)  He has run over 25 marathons and she has done the Utah Ragnar about 7 times.  So pretty much they are professionals, from the actual running to the van driving to team spirit.  Without them, I think we would have all been lost.  They were crucial.  

The other tidbit that needs mentioning is that Ragnar has an instagram contest at each race location.   And even though Brian had never used Instagram and barely knew how to even use it, he signed up that morning and was determined to win.  And he did! (He was promised $150 worth of Ragnar gear, however I have yet to hear the rest of the story and whether that meant 150 can koozies or (hopefully) something of greater value.)  

First we decided to decorate the van, and consequently, ourselves:

Like a good infomercial, the before and after was quite amazing.

Sad because you don't have a cool van and costumes?

Wham-O!  Then run a Ragnar Relay!

Next, we headed back to the starting line to check in.  No better feeling in the world than walking into a crowded race dressed as six ninja turtles and then telling the volunteer that your team name is "The Chronicles of Ragnarnia."  The look on their face was totally worth the fact that Brian missed the deadline to change our official team name and we had to keep the first one he thought of back in August.  

First name, Michael, last name, Angelo

Don't mess with us, Ragnar

I actually got to be runner #1 and start us off!  I decided to wear the stuffed turtle shell.  I mean, you only get the opportunity to run in downtown Chattanooga wearing a turtle shell once, am I right?  Note to self:  As you run, the weight of the shell pulls the shirt down in the back and the collar of the shirt up in the front, thus creating a nice choking sensation for 4.7 miles.  Next time, pins in the front.  

As runner numero uno, I got to run over the giant pedestrian bridge!!!  Which happens to be a place I have visited before.  My family stopped at this very bridge while on our road trip to Utah a few years ago and now here I was, running in a race over the darn thing.  Life is so interesting that way, isn't it?

And then I got to run over the see through glass street bridge right outside the art museum!  

Again, I was running in the exact spot where I had walked with my family a few years earlier.  Only this time I didn't have time to freak out and be scared.  
I ran with my camera in my hand the entire way, snapping pics as I went. 

Here are the longest switchbacks in the world that I had to run down.  That guy in front of me there was dressed as Tom Cruise from Risky Business only his team name was "Whiskey Business."  
I have learned that a lot of runners are serious drinkers. 

This is one of Brian's winning Instgram pics.  I didn't see it till the last day and I barely remember him taking it of me as he passed me in the van.  But the colors, the smile, the goofy poetry- way to go Brian!

And here is the best sight in all of Ragnarnia: 

And here is the second best sight in Ragnaria:

Van support!

Seriously, my van was amazing when it came to team spirit and support.  
Even though they immediately went to a donut shop the minute I started on my first leg.
 (and took this awesome photo:)

For a group of people who mostly just met each other hours before, 
the loyalty was immediate.  Go team!

My first run was at Noon, my second run was at about 9pm and my third run was at about 4:20am.  So while I was kind of bummed that two of the three runs were in the dark and I didn't get to see any of the scenery, two of the three runs were in the dark!  Which is kinda what I like anyway :)


(For reals, you have to keep a safety vest and headlamp on when it's nighttime and anytime you are out of the van, running or not.)

This is Jonathan.  He is in the ward with Brian and Kelly and he is the happiest runner on planet earth.  He is also a stay at home dad and rocks the man bun.  He was hilarious and such a great person to have on the team.  Did I also mention he is a very, very good runner?

At each exchange we did our best to make our infamous "Turtle Tunnel" for the incoming runner.  

We got wildly creative and used blankets to honor Kelly for her successful escape from a murderer.  Honestly, she had part of her night run that took her off into the woods by herself and she was pretty sure she was a goner.  Until she met another fellow female runner with equal anxiety and they bonded and possibly talked about the Gospel, for which Kelly is infamous.  Brian then continued to make jokes about Kelly trying to "convert her kills."

Best missionary ever!!!

So while you are waiting to give support to your upcoming runner, you have some free time to explore your talents.  Like playing "Eye of the Tiger" on the recorder.  Which Brian absolutely did.  It was inspiring.

And speaking of Brian and killing time, this lovely photo was snapped outside the donut shop, which we all visited again before hitting up the first complete van exchange.  Not only was Brian impressive, but Brandon was equally impressive with his ability to take this picture at just the exact right moment.  It was a highlight, for sure.

We took this photo outside a really cool old time theater, but the lights got a little crazy in the background.  

Good news, Ragnar!  We found a ridiculously photogenic volunteer to take a photo with.

I don't have any pictures, but at about 2 in the morning we made it to a high school where we could sleep on the floor in the gym for a few hours before we all had to get going again.  Since I inherited the "I cannot sleep anywhere but my own bed and sometimes not even there" gene, I knew it was going to be pretty futile to try and actually sleep.  However, I brought that darn sleeping bag all the way from Florida and I was going to use it!  And then we entered the school and walked into the gym and the fire alarm was going off.  
Thanks for nothing.  

Okay, so it stopped ringing after about 20 minutes and our team found some floor space and tried to get some shut eye.  I don't think I slept, but maybe I drifted for five minutes, who knows.

Kudos to Brian for being the ultra responsible team captain and staying awake to monitor the other team and get us up and ready at 3:40am for our next runs.  

This picture is awesome because it shows Brian running his last leg in a turtle suit- which he did for over 5 miles.  Also notice the girl behind him RUNNING IN COWBOY BOOTS.
What. the. heck.

She was regretting her decision with every step.  

We finally finished at about 10am and our reward was Chick-fil-A.    
And Kelly decided in the parking lot before going in that she was going to put back on the full costume before having breakfast.  
Brian is right, her staying power is unmatched.  

Kelly probably got a good 6 hours of sleep.  She can sleep ANYWHERE.

And this was not just because he eat too many biscuits.

The cool part of the finish line ceremony was that our entire van got to go home and shower after breakfast and then put on our full ninja turtle apparel before meeting up with the team to run in the final 100 yards together.  The other team was out running that entire time, so I felt kinda bad at how amazing we were feeling and how tired they were.  It's good to be van #1.

The finish line was in downtown Nashville.  And I mean, downtown. Right across from the Country Music Hall of Fame and everything.  It was a pretty awesome sight.  
As we walked down the street to the party, we were a pretty big deal.  We got our photo taken with more than one adoring fan and everyone really loved our spirit.  

And this photo below was featured on the Ragnar Facebook page more than once.  
Just sayin'...

There was pizza! 

It's every turtle's dream

There was dancing!

There was.......sailing??

This photo was to highlight one of the sponsors, Brooks running shoes.  It will never not make me laugh to look at Kelly in this photo.  The bag, the face- but more importantly the pointed turtle foot.

The medals they gave out were no joke!  Super heavy and when you flip them all over and put them together, It said, "Ragnar 2015, Together we ran 200 miles."  Heck yes, we did!

All for one and one for all!

And there you have it!  The most amazing race experience for me to date.  
When you consider the fact that no one on our team got injured, sick, missed a plane or a bus, forgot their shoes, ran out of gas, got lost on the course, etc. etc. etc.  it is down right remarkable!

Thanks, Brian.

That was a blast ;)

David Bingham, you are next.