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Guys Wild Game Night and my Toasted Nuts Adventure!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Well what epitomizes a a guys' weekend more than feasting on freshly killed meat!

SWMBO was out of town this weekend, so #2 son and I had the run of the house. A friend of mine had "Wild Game" night over at his place Saturday night. It was a father/son kind of a get-together, so the timing was perfect.

NOTE: If you're a vegan, please stop here and proceed to the next blog.

It was pretty darn cool! Now I'm not a hunter....the last thing I need is another hobby, but we had a good old time. There was hair growing on the walls from all the testosterone in the room.

My friend had some local "Game Chef" come over and prepare about 5 different kinds of meat that they had gathered up here or had flown in from around the country over the last few weeks. On the menu was;

- Pulled Feral Boar
- Elk Stroganoff
- Venison Stew
- Alligator Gumbo
- Moose-Schnitzel

The cool part was he was actually doing it as part of a fundraiser on "Game Management" and so he had some of the local Park Rangers come and talk about local game in the area (we have everything from gators, to black bears, to bobcats/panthers, and tons of deer in the woods around here). Some of the kids were pretty amazed.

It all tasted pretty good (except for the gator....they put way too much okra into the gumbo, so I had to pass....tried to pull out a couple of chunks, but decided it wasn't worth the hassle). #2 son and I had a good time. For whatever reason, he found fascinating the fact that the biggest threat to the deer population in the US are coyotes; apparently they go on a spree in the spring going after young doe fawns and this has had a huge impact on the population. He kept repeating this all weekend, so I better make sure he doesn't think this means coyotes are going to go after his new girlfriend.

Then I started doing some real weird stuff!

Aside from getting some admin chores done around the house while SWMBO was away (oil change for the cars, swap out filters in the HVAC, etc.) I found my whole routine thrown into a quandary while she was out of town. You see, I'm usually the one on the road and she usually does a whole bunch of stuff that I now had to figure out; make coffee in the morning (where the hell are those filters), feed the cat (the damn thing pounced on me at 5:30 AM...SWMBO gets up at 4:30 every day and feeds the cat first thing), etc.

So I read here on Sparkpeople the other day about how some members soaked dry nuts in water to have some of the salt and resins leach out and I decided to give it a try. We had a large tin of pistachio/almond/cashew mix, so I emptied them into a big basin and filled it with water.

Within 5 minutes, the water was brackish/brown! So I emptied it out, put in some new water and over the next hour, did it twice again, then let it soak overnight.

In the morning, there was a thin film of oil on the top! Cool! So emptied it out and tried some of the nuts....pretty tasty, a little mushy, but they still had a good crunch to them. So then I figured I should toast them!

I cranked up the stove to about 400, got out a sheet pan and lined it with foil and spread these bad boys all over. Within 20 minutes the house smelled like a Christmas feast! I tried a handful more....crunchier and now a wonderful toasted texture....double yum!! I left them in there for another 10 minutes then let them cool and put them back into the tin for future snacking.

So I might be on to a new snack routine here people...more to follow. I'll probably have to do some better selection, instead of relying on Mr Planters, though.....this was a lot of effort for "pre-salted" nuts.

All in all a nice relaxing weekend. I'm off work for a few days this week, but plan on hitting the gym religiously!

Have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    The nuts sound delicious! Sounds like you had fun :)

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BILL60 2/20/2012 8:37AM

    Sounds like some great Father/Son bonding.

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SAFARIBABE 2/20/2012 6:22AM

    Soooooo jealous of your game night! I LOVE all of those -- well never had elk but figure moose must be pretty close! Sorry to hear the cat attacked! Funny, I was watching Pet Semetart yesterday....your description reminded me of the cat there. Hehehe. Have a great Monday! Enjoy the days off, you've certainly earned them.

P.S. They DO sell unsalted muts.....

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KAYZAKCX 2/20/2012 12:55AM

    Wild Game night...mmmmm...sounds like a blast. Reading that got me drooling.

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HEALTHIERKEN 2/20/2012 12:01AM

    Ducks Unlimited have an annual Game Banquet here. I've never been--those who go say it costs a lot for tickets and then once you get there you're expected to bid on auction items. You how it is when a bunch of guys get together! Competition soars.
How to best "win" an auction?
Whether or not you want the item . . . .

Toasted nuts sound great!

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Evil in Blue

Friday, February 17, 2012

Now I consider myself a fairly patriotic fellow, but today I am concerned....very concerned fellow citizens, that we are being infiltrated by a subversive element, intent on destroying us from within. They wish to impose their will on our country and many of us are just sitting idly by, not just letting this happen, but unwittingly supporting the very overthrow of everything we hold dear! And today I saw them for what they truly are -- evil angels, deceptively beguiling us to take the road to perdition!

How did we let this happen?!? I woke up today, and it felt like many other mornings past, with just subtle signs that something was not quite right. Then I realized that these blue-suited storm troopers have occupied every strategic stronghold of our great nation!

My office alone held 10 of the repugnant little beasts, smiling away even as their ziplocked pouches opened up spewing thousands of unnecessary calories in their evil insurgency to recruit the weak minded.

"What is this madness?" I screamed as I saw my secretary hefting a carton full of these chocolaty-covered pretzels bags.

"It's Boy Scout pretzel time!" she squealed.

"What the hell? Didn't we just have GIRL Scout cookie time a little while ago" I asked

She looked at me over her bi-focals and said, in that school marm voice reserved only for helping idiots comprehend the nuances of English grammar, "yes, but those were COOKIES....these are Boy Scout PRETZELS!"

"You're friggin' crazy woman, get those out of my sight" I screamed, running into my office and covering my eyes!

Then they started popping up everywhere!!

I had a morning meeting, and strewn across the table in little Dixie cups were oodles and oodles of chocolatey-covered pretzels! I walked down the hall to the men's room and enroute saw one of the finance gals with a bag in each hand, smiling away as she described how her mom loves these things! The morbidly obese towel guy at the gym had 6 bags on a corner of his desk, almost salivating as he counted the hours till closing when he could do an uninterrupted deep-dive into his treasure hoard!

What the hell people, does no one but me think this is a communist plot?!?!

Alas, even your iron-willed author is not immune to the wily ways of these blue-suited cherubim. How can one withstand the constant onslaught, the relentless pressure to conform, the never-ending assault on our senses as friend and neighbor alike yield to this over-powering enemy?!?

Yes, I tried to rally our battle weary troops. I stood alone on the battlements of my office watching as tens, then hundreds, then thousands of hunger-weary workers surrendered to the enemy and listened as they laughed in their new found pleasure of chocolatey-covered delights.

Then I too, licking my parched and sun-burned lips, walked out of my fortified office, watched as the crowd parted, unsure if this new person was friend or foe. Then, like Winston Smith proclaiming his love of Big Brother, I cried out, "I too love chocolaty-covered pretzels!" and basked in the warm, sweet-salty glow of being part of something bigger than myself, a community of like-minded zombies, enjoying the savory smooth taste that heralds the end of civilization.

I write to you now, having woken up from this deep slumber, having shed those calories after 90 hard minutes of ST and cardio. I awoke to warn you that we must all keep fighting -- together Spark workers! Our enemies are subtle, smart, sweet, and savory with absolutely no emotional investment in our well-being. They seduce us with their siren songs, their cute little slogans, and their false promises of future utopia. Silently they plot against us; their motto, "Be Prepared"!

I have been there and made it back. I know their evil ways and promise you today that I will watch out for all of you and not again bend a knee to this, our common enemy!

Yes, Spark friends, I promise you today that I too will keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.....for all of you!!

Have a great night!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FANGFACEKITTY 2/21/2012 10:14PM

    Oh, man, you got white chocolate covered pretzels? We only get the (stale) popcorn here, which is also vastly overpriced. The Girl Scouts never came door to door in my neighborhood this year but any day day they will be staking out not only the grocery stores but also Lowes and Home Depot. If they ever team up with the Boy Scouts and come out with a white chocolate Samoa I am seriously doomed.

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HEALTHIERKEN 2/18/2012 11:35PM

    Remember when all the Scouts wanted you to do was give a quarter and take an apple???????

I'm *so* Boy Scouts in Canada don't seem to have discovered door-to-door sales. I'm sucker enough for Girl Guide cookies!

Keep your finger in that dike, GETSTRONGRRR!


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SHERYL_B 2/18/2012 8:38PM

    As a greenblooded Girl Scout in a town where the boys sell their popcorn (we don't get pretzels, but it sounds like they cover the popcorn in the same flavors) at the same time as our cookie sales, all I can say is at least you can buy one box of cookies and not have to take out a mortgage. The boys popcorn prices start at $20 if i remember correctly. That's a lot of money when you try to support an organization - most people can only buy from one boy scout, but can buy from multiple Girl Scouts for the same amount.

BTW - I don't know about boy scouts popcorn or pretzels, but I do know that Girl Scout cookies are listed in Spark's nutrition tracking!!!!!

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ORGANIC811LFRV 2/18/2012 5:31AM

    They, as well as any other phakephood item, are loaded with so many unmentionables that I won't even mention them. They are truly no temptation.

GREENS!! Now that is a different story. And, they SUSTAIN my life, not take it away.

You are a great writer of blogs team mate. Step away from the pretzels. The body can't get a thing from them.

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HAKAPES 2/18/2012 2:25AM

    Fortunately, we the Antibodies within the nation, who pull the sparkling alarm trigger in their blogs when the SPV (Scouting Pretzel Virus) starts to infiltrate again! We need immunization! And we stand and we fight!

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MOUNTAINS2CLIMB 2/17/2012 11:44PM

    Love this blog - Thanks for the smile!

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SAFARIBABE 2/17/2012 10:50PM

    ROFLMAO!!! Can always count on you for a great blog! Somehow the Boy Scouts have not infiltrated NYC as deeply as the Gir Scouts. I generally get 5 boxes of the cookies for the word processing dept. They always have snacks out. This is my annual contribution to that. NOT that I partake of any of their goodies anymore other than the occassional pretzel rod. But until today...I never even knew that this threat existed from teh Boy Scouts as well! Thanks for spreading the word!!

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ILIKETOZUMBA 2/17/2012 10:40PM

    LOL this was hilarious...and yet so true. My enemy is not so much the Boy Scouts though, but the girls in green/brown/blue, because the once-a-year novelty of Girl Scout cookies is just too much for me. I surrender willingly and just try to maintain some portion-controlled dignity rather than ripping into a whole box of Thin Mints at once. But I totally *could* take down a whole box in one sitting.

Thank you for standing up to the (little) Man!

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Decompression time

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I was actually having a very good day today and, truth be told, ended the day on a very good note.

Except for the 10 minutes or so right after lunch when I was livid!

I get over things pretty quickly and my staff has learned that when I get pissed off about something, to take care of it quickly, come back to me with a solution, and we all live happily ever after.

Well today, I never heard the right answer to the "one thing" that needed fixing, and instead, people kept bringing it back up to me in a schadenfreude kind of way, shaking their heads, yet secretly glad that someone else instead of them had messed up, which just got me even more pissed off because I really don't care who is to blame I just want it fixed godammit!!

So I think I need a break.

Tomorrow is actually going to be a very nice day. I have a few planned recognition events for some people and I got the results of an external audit today which went swimmingly well, so I get to pat a bunch of people on the back for that too. I think the dumbass "one thing" above will be resolved by then, so I can put that behind me. But all in all, I can tell I have been quick to lash out and my tolerance for buffoonery, always low, is even lower than normal.

So I'm going to take a few days off next week, Mon-Wed, to re-group a little. Told SWMBO that maybe we'll go see a matinee of The Artist or something. Thursday I fly out to Oklahoma City on business for a few days .

Choices, should one decompress? One school says to decompress through exertion;

One school says to release through meditation;

Of course I used to relieve stress by smoking;

and over-eating;

and over-drinking;

or being just plain nuts;

So these days I deal with my worst days better than I handled my best days in the past. I know what healthy living and choices feel like, and none of the extreme solutions above are appealing in any way

Have a great night Spark friends

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ORGANIC811LFRV 2/18/2012 5:34AM

    One thing I've used recently that works: Don't take myself so seriously! Take my shoes off, go out to the grass, plant my feet wide and close my eyes. This drains all that toxic build up out of my body. It's free to everyone and it does work. It's called "grounding".

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SHERYL_B 2/17/2012 2:35PM

    Good luck at actually taking those 3 days next week. If I could bet with you I would to give you additional incentive to stay away from the office. Given our discussions the last couple of weeks, since you aren't off someplace where you aren't accessible, I am guessing you will end up at the office. At least if your traveling to OK at the end of the week, you will be forced to be out of the office, even if you are still connected.

Good luck!!!!!!!! emoticon

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KAYZAKCX 2/17/2012 11:04AM

    I vote for "just plain nuts". emoticon

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HEALTHIERKEN 2/17/2012 12:25AM

    Get retired. Then you only have to go to work when you're to be un-decompressed ; )

Just joking. You recognize when you're overstressed and you do something positive about it. You've got a handle on it.

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SAFARIBABE 2/16/2012 10:40PM

    Know what you mean about the 0-100 in .06 seconds FLAT! Might I suggest some quality Kindle time as a means of decompressing??? That little backlit screen always seems to have a soothing effect on your psyche! Sounds like you've got the plan all worked out! WTG!!

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CHEEKY1000 2/16/2012 9:16PM

    Right now, the punching scenario seems most appealing to me. Big ole punching bad would be lovely. Alas, I'll be doing push ups and crunches, etc.

I think it's great that you're taking some time off. It's so important to decompress every so often. Have fun!

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A fitness lesson learned

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Well I'm a little beat today. Between cardio and ST, I've worked out six days straight. Add to that almost 3 straight weeks of working 10-12 hour days plus 4-6 on the weekends and I can tell my patience/tolerance is shrinking.

It's all good. I know when my mind plays Jedi mind tricks on itself and can recognize the signs, although today I displayed a serious lack of good least that's what I found out later.

I got to the gym as usual and hit the elliptical to warm up before ST. Trainer guy said he had to make a few calls, so after about 15 minutes on the machine I thought, "Hey why not do some abs BEFORE lifting"

Nothing too wacky, just some basic crunches and some oblique twists.

The gym was pretty packed, so instead of starting off with squats, we did back first, then started on legs.

Well on my third set of squats, I got this wickedly sharp pain just right of center in my lower back, so I stopped.

"What the hell," said trainer guy

"Sharp pain....not the good kind.....lower back," I grimaced

"Hmm, your form looked real good, anything else going on?"

"No, just the usual warm-up and I added some abs before we started"

"Not good brother! Always do abs after your workout. All they'll do is increase your chance of straining something"

"No scheisse Sherlock! I didn't get the memo! Next time, make sure I'm on the distro list for these updates!"

So you can see my tolerance was low.....

Anyway, the good news is, unlike in my 20s, I can tell the difference between good pain and bad pain, so at the first (well OK, it was more like the second.....OK, OK, the third!) sign of pain I stopped. I think that helped keep it from aggravating much and right now, it's actually not bad at all.

All that leads me to conclude that tomorrow will be a fitness day off. Damn if Sparkguy and his Point-taunting cronies don't make me shoot for yet more and more fitness points every month!

Have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 2/17/2012 9:57AM

    Sounds like you're really putting the SPARK to it!

Hopefully that strain passed uneventfully...!


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CHEEKY1000 2/16/2012 9:21PM

    I learned something new! I did not know that about doing abs last. Good to know. I usually do them last anyhow, but when I'm feeling crazy and carefree, I consider rebelling and doing them out of order. I don't, but now I know it must have been my subconscious saying: "that way lies doom." Or pain.

Way to be smart and stop at the...3rd sign of pain. :o)

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SHERYL_B 2/16/2012 7:48PM

    Good job listening to your body so that you didn't make it worse!

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KAYZAKCX 2/16/2012 10:38AM

    Rest days do wonders for the body. I find that it's not uncommon to feel stronger after a rest day. Something about giving the body time to repair itself.

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BEATLETOT 2/16/2012 8:42AM

    Hah, so THAT's why they do that!!! Who'd've thunk! Thanks for letting us know!

Point-taunting cronies?! I love that! =)

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SAFARIBABE 2/16/2012 7:09AM

    You know I empathize with the back pain!! IT's important to remember to take a rest day. You're a Fitness Warrior....but even Fitness Warriors need to rest the muscles from time to time. Why don't you take SWMBo for a nice walk around the neighborhood after dinner. Nothing record breaking, just a little stroll. On top of the flowers earlier in the week she'll think you're a Romance Guru too!! AND you can still score some cardio points!!

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ORGANIC811LFRV 2/16/2012 6:17AM

    Wow! So glad you know how to take care of yourself in this case.

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HEALTHIERKEN 2/16/2012 1:35AM

    Backs like to trick us, that's for sure!
Sounds like a day off heavy-duty fitness will be good for you anyway.
ps, from your reply to my blog "Dr. Butterfinger"!!!! that's a new one for me. Got a kick out of it : ) Thanks for the chuckle!

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ILIKETOZUMBA 2/15/2012 10:53PM

    Wow, I had no idea you're supposed to save abs for the end of a workout. Guess I've been doing that wrong for a while. :) Thanks for the info!

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V-Day recap

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Well first of all, Happy Valentine's Day Spark friends!

I was a hometown hero this weekend....I ordered up flowers and had them delivered to SWMBO on Saturday, beating the rush, getting some good flowers (I learned a long time ago that they send out the dreg leftovers on the 14th), and reaping the benefits of having flowers on display in the house when her gal pals come visit and she can say, "look at these beautiful roses!" attention gentlemen, it works wonders!

The work day went surprisingly smooth. I have my big staff meetings on Tuesdays, did a big contract review late morning, then spent the afternoon doing feedbacks to a bunch of my senior guys. It's always a good news/bad news thing. I try to be objective, honest, and realistic, telling them what I see that's good, what needs work, and what their potential looks like from my perch. Some folks have promising futures, some have peaked, and some are lucky to be where they are. What always surprises me is when I have to tell someone that they're not doing so hot (something all their peers & supervisors seem to already know), that they always tell me, "well no, I've always thought I was doing one ever told me otherwise"

I guess that's why 90% of the people think they're in the top 10% of good drivers!

So it felt good after 5 straight hours of straight talk to get my butt over to the gym. I was kind of pressed for time (I couldn't come home late on V-Day!), so I got about 30 minutes in on the bike (yeah, I texted my status update while riding!), then did the Nike Training Club Abs Burner for another 15 minutes....still haven't crushed this little routine yet, but it's a damn good app!

It's been a hectic 2 weeks, so I'm looking forward to the weekend. SWMBO and I did a quick calendar check and she reminded me that she has a speaking engagement at a conference this weekend, so #2 son and I are on our own starting Friday night, which worked out pretty nicely because a friend of mine invited us over for a Wild Game dinner at his place on Saturday night!

Will have to do some more cardio this week to gear up for a carnivorous weekend!

Have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAFARIBABE 2/15/2012 6:30AM

    Love wild game!! There's a place in Brooklyn that features wild game for a month. Hmmmm that's coming up actually....hmmmm.... I loathe doing performance evals. Have a folder full of ones I need to do this weekend. Blech! I really have to look up this Nike thing. Have a great Post-VD!

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BEATLETOT 2/15/2012 3:04AM

    The wild game night sounds delightful! Have fun!!!! =)

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GOODGETNBETR 2/14/2012 11:08PM

    Thanks for the flower advice. Keep up the great workouts and enjoy the wild game.

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FANGFACEKITTY 2/14/2012 10:51PM

    I don't know about the rest of the majority but I'm pretty sure I'm the only decent driver in MI.

Of course, my definition of decent driver is "I am always correct in whatever I do and if you do not stay out of my way you are wrong". Now to educate the rest of the motorists on this absolute truth.

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