3:36 PM Monday, January 3, 2022
Wow, surprised I missed posting my monthly update the last 2 months of 2021. That's worse than usual for me. Let's see, have been borrowing my parents car because Jackson's indoor soccer practice conflicts with Lucy's swim practice, and too far and too cold to do any biking for that. Also means we've been fitting 2 cars in our garage, which is a tight fit. Mostly kept up with the Apple Fitness+ 10 minute HIIT workouts, but that finally trailed off towards the end of the year, and I haven't picked it back up yet. More sporadic right now, once to twice a week maybe. I also joined Movement Wrigleyville the bouldering gym at Clark and Addison. Jackson and I went with Dave and Hudson once, and I liked it, and they had a grand opening deal, so I pulled the trigger. Been going once a week, only short 30 minute sessions, but pretty good workout. I'm enjoying it. Even got myself a chalk bag and a set of shoes. Oh, right, Halloween. Tracy and I went as Molotov Girl and Free Guy from the movie. And no one recognized us. Kids went with inflatable costumes, Jackson getting carried by an alien like Hudson and Lucy with a jet pack. We were supposed to host a halloween party for the Six Families, but got cancelled due to one of the families getting COVID, so only met up with the Thorngren's. Tried out Crumbl Cookies for the first time. Drove down to Wicker Park location with Lucy. Pretty annoying with traffic and parking, so from then on just paid for delivery instead. Had it I think 3 times so far, so maybe need to take a break for a bit. Had a random weekend night out at Lucky Strike with some of the Six Families. I like bowling, but don't think I could do that on a weekly basis. Saw a feral cat sleeping on the chair on our porch, so made an enclosure for the winter with insulation and straw and a camera and temperature sensors and everything. But haven't seen the cat back since then. I even got catnip and put it in there. Made crack pie and a pumpkin pie layer cake for Friendsgiving with the Six Families. It is or was McRib season, so I've had it maybe like 3 times. Kids got vaccinated. I got my booster. Jackson had a bad reaction after his second, so he got sent home sick that day. I also got wiped out by my booster (walk in to CVS). Jackson had to self quarantine during Thanksgiving break because of a close contact with COVID positive. Timing worked out well though, so didn't miss that much in school days. Figured out how to store pictures of vaccine cards and bring them up on my iPhone via Shortcuts. Finally made it back to Sushi+ conveyor belt sushi. As good as I remember it. Went to a Winter Solstice party with the Six Families. Started researching and getting whiskeys. Got more glasses. Trying to make clear and fancy ice for cocktails. Had to get new Christmas lights for the fence. Next year have to get real garland for the fence. Also might upgrade to Twinkly lights for the tree. Sous vide a tomahawk for Tracy's birthday. Did Lucky Strike for Jackson's birthday. Successfully roasted the turkey without setting off the smoke/fire alarm. Christmas eve at my parents, Christmas Day at Tracy's parents. Watched Spider-Man: No Way Home afterwards. Had a belated original Friendsgiving when the Cases came on an impromptu visit. Went ice skating at Gallagher Way. Jackson likes it. And got a true date night out with Tracy while the kids slept over at the grandparents. And now it's 2022.
2:23 PM Monday, February 28, 2022
Let's recap the first 2 months of 2022. Kids had a little break as teachers had a work stoppage for better protections and practices with the Omicron variant surge. I do wonder if having that mini strike helped prevent a surge by just keeping the kids away from each other for 5 days. Been taking Jackson to his indoor soccer games at the Chicago Fire Pitch on Saturday mornings. Supposedly they're playing up a level, which explains why they're winless, but definitely a stark change from the fall season. I think they're just slow to start, and with the scheduling, there's no warm up, and they start pretty early, and games are only 45 minutes. It does seem like the last 10 minutes or so they seem to come alive. Been trying to take pictures the whole time, not sure how many of them are any good though. Also been getting way too many Dunkin donuts, since it's on the way back from the pitch. Had a bunch of weekends with just me and Jackson, since Tracy took Lucy to a bunch of swim meets, trying to qualify for regionals, which she finally did at the last meet, and swam in 2 events at regionals this past weekend. Had to shovel a handful of times as a couple snow storms blew through Chicago. Nothing too bad though. Been keeping up with weekly sessions at Movement Wrigleyville. Seem to be plateauing at V2. Usually only do 30 minute sessions, about how long my forearms can take. Still enjoying it. Slacked off on the Apple Fitness+ HIIT workouts, but just recently started to get back into it, supplementing with some core workouts (trying the 30 day core challenge). Oh, I started pipe smoking. Well, trying to start. I've only done it twice, sitting on the porch on a sunny weekend, reading a book. Think it'll be my thing. That and I'm trying to get into whiskey again. Starting a small collection. Started up a 2nd cocktail subscription, Shaker & Spoon. More variety but more cocktails (3 x cocktails, enough mixers for 3-4 services), but no alcohol. Some interesting stuff so far. Also finally turned off the alcohol part for Cocktail Courier, so it's just the mixers for that one also. Had a bunch of parties with the Six Families, or at least it seemed like it. Was actually just 2 (Chinese New Year at the Brizzolara's and we hosted a Super Bowl party). Made some layer cakes; chocolate chip layer cake (amazing), cookies & cream layer cake (just ok), banana layer cake (probably the winner). Switched hands/pockets for my phone/keys. Taking a while to get used to it, but getting there. I was having some pain with my left wrist/elbow/forearm. Wasn't sure if it was related to climbing or phone overuse, but decided to make the switch. Got myself a gym bag (Tom Bihn Old School Carry All)) for bouldering. Had a birthday. Tracy made me steak and I got treats from Vanille Patisserie, mochi donuts from 2D Restaurant, and bourbon from Binny's. And that's pretty much it.
9:51 PM Sunday, May 1, 2022
Ok, so now to recap the next 2 months of 2022. Got used to being mask optional for pretty much everything. Was going fairly regularly to Movement Wrigleyville 2-3 times a week for 30 minute bouldering sessions. Felt like I was close to leveling up, to V3. Was pretty regularly doing a 10 minute Apple Fitness+ core workout daily, but that started to slip to bouldering off days. Started just walking to Movement instead of driving or biking. Close enough and warm enough that it wasn't too bad. Started playing Pokemon TCG with Jackson and Lucy. Actually learned the real way to play, got a lot of premade battle decks. Got a couple HexClad pans. Started with an 8" to try it out, liked it, so we also got a 12" one. Replaced our non-sticks that were getting old. They heat up pretty quickly, sear well, and are pretty non-stick too. Tried out some edibles, but didn't have a great effect or me. Read the rest of The Expanse novels. Started watching the TV series. Not bad. Made Guinness beef stew for St. Paddy's day, since Tracy made corned beef and cabbage. Had a Dad's happy hour Irish whiskey tasting before the Mom's Trip to Scottsdale. Went to ClimbZone which was pretty cool. Should probably head back there at some point. Had to drive around the city one day for Lucy's tryout with CWAC then dive clinic at LSF at the Illinois Center. That was a lot of driving around the city for an afternoon/evening. Did try Nando's I think for the first time. It was really good. Finally started playing Acron on the Oculus Quest 2. Fun game for the family. Lucy started wearing Ortho-K contacts, so she doesn't have to wear glasses during the day anymore. Had to drive down to a couple follow up appoints with her. Ended up owing a lot in taxes. Took an intro to rope climbing course at Movement Lincoln Park. Need to go back and get certified as a belayer (if I can remember what to do). Did some rope climbing, but prefer bouldering. Went to Long Beach for Spring Break with Tracy's family. Even though it was cool, kids still swam in the outdoor pools. Managed to get out for a date night. Went to the Aquarium of the Pacific. Went to the wedding of Tracy's cousin. Danced a lot. That was nice. Long day to get back because of a 5 hour layover at the Phoenix airport. Turns out Tracy caught COVID, tested postive the Tuesday after we came back. I tested positive the Friday, which meant Jackson couldn't go to his soccer tournament in Indianapolis. But good news, the kids never got it (and we're like 9 days out from my last positive test). We've all tested negative multiple times so I think we're in the clear. Got a bunch Peak Design bags and stuff. I got a Peak Design Everyday Backpack - Ash / 20 for the trip, and liked it enough to get a bunch of other things. Also buying a lot of whiskeys, but I'm easing up since I'm running out of space. And that takes us to May.
8:54 PM Friday, July 29, 2022
Seriously, 3 whole months without an update? Whoops. Completely spaced on updating here. So Lucy ended up catching COVID on May 8th. Jackson continually tested negative. So far he's still hasn't had a positive test. Finished up watching The Expanse. Pretty good, but sad they didn't get to finish out the book series. Granted it gets pretty out there towards the end. Was pretty good on keeping up with sessions at Movement Wrigleyville up until the trip to Ireland. Then really haven't been for a month, then went back and got a couple flappers (calluses peeled off) on my left hand, so haven't gone back yet. Almost feels like my calluses are all gone. But I was consistently doing V3's before I stopped. So had been making progress. Played Ultimate for the first time in a very long time at the Old vs. Young game at Northwestern. Tracy and the kids came up to watch. Tun and I were the oldest by far. Next youngest was from 2012. Young team looks like atheletes, all tall and stuff. Definitely nothing like the team I played with. Young actually held their own, didn't get blown out. I actually did ok. Actually got a D. Go figure. Didn't hurt myself (no tears or sprains). Right knee swelled up something fierce though. Icing brought it down, but thought it was something worse. It wasn't. Jackson had club soccer tryouts for Northwinds and Chicago City Soccer. Ended up on Premier 3 (which is what he was supposed to be on last year, but I'm guessing got moved up because they didn't have enough to have Premier 2 and 3 last year. But this year, they've got enough. Three of his P2 teammates this year also are moving down. Funny though that Hudson tried out and made P2 this year. So they don't get to play together. Kind of sucks, but after talking to Coach Ahmad, Jackson's got to work on his ball skills. Got a Solo Store Bonfire to replace the fire table in the backyard that was rusting out. It's pretty amazing. Only got to use it a couple of times before it got pretty much too hot to use. Hopefully it gets lots of use this fall. The heat deflector works pretty well. Went camping again over Memorial Day weekend at Buckhorn State Park. DIdn't go up until Saturday, had to get the ranger over to clear out some kids stuff who had setup at our site. Took a while. Chris and Elliot came up and camped with us. Pretty fun. Jackson didn't get a mosquito bite until the last day. Watched Moon Knight. Blainapalooza was fun. Especially because Jackson went off with this friends, and I got to spend time with adults the whole time. Also managed to get rid of a the tiny bottles of Fireball. Found a new favorite cocktail from Cocktail Courier, Five Points Pavilion. Learned how to fat wash liquor (coconut tequila). Watched Severence. Watch that one. Watched The Good Place (some time jumping since Lucy was also watching it and started ahead of me). Kids made it to the end of school. Johnson's organized a beach party on the last day of school. That was fun. Went to Ireland for a week with the Cases. Galway was awesome. Castles are fun to stay in. Company was great. Drank some Guinness and the entire lineup of Spot Whiskey, as well as a Redbreast 21. That's some good stuff. Snuck in to take photos of the Trinity Library. Also checked out the Jameson distillery. But otherwise not that impressed with Dublin, except for Meaghers. Kids stayed with my parents. Went to South Haven, MI for 4th of July weekend where Kelley and Dave and Hudson were for the week. Lucy's been doing Junior Lifeguard Camp at Montrose Beach. Jackson's so far done a Northwinds soccer camp full day for a week, a basketball camp with Hudson for for half days for a week, and just finished up another camp with Hudson at Lakeshore Sport & Fitness full day for a week. He's only got one more P2 Soccer Camp full day with Hudson in a couple weeks, but that's been a lot. Had to drive and drop Lucy off at Nike Swim Camp at Hillsdale College and pick up her and Charlotte later that week when it ended. Did some bourbon hunting while in Michigan because Mythology doesn't distribute in Illinois. Only took an extra hour to get home after dropping Lucy off. Actually made it into the office for the 2nd time since COVID started. It was really nice. Convinced me to get a real work from home space. Tried moving up the 3rd floor, but wasn't good enough. Ended up ordering a real desk and chair from Fully and outfitted what was the LEGO nook to my office now. Today ended up being the first day I worked out of there. Watched The Boys S3. Pretty crazy. So yeah, that's the last 3 months.
10:30 PM Friday, August 5, 2022
Blog Birthday post. 24 years old. Crazy. Feels like only yesterday I was amazed that it was old enough to vote. This blog has definitely seems some wild times over the years. Anyway, trying to finish off Star Wars: Rebels. Just trying to finish it off, not getting too much enjoyment out of it. Not all that invested. Finally finished off Obi-Wan Kenobi. That felt like a useless series. Saw the trailer for Andor. Now that looks good. Did 2 sessions at Movement Wrigleyville this week. Feeling pretty good. Think I'm a pretty solid V3. My crimps aren't strong enough though. Work from home setup is pretty sweet. Using daylight LED bulbs and bias lighting behind my monitor. Getting too much noise from the data center fans and stuff. Need better cooling so I can close the door. Oh, got a couple more Outlier New Way Shorts in a light blue and a maroon. Love those things. They've got a little plastic piece for the drawstrings, so you don't have to tie them anymore. Strange.
9:27 PM Wednesday, August 31, 2022
Starting to lose interest in cocktails. Cancelled my Cocktail Courier and Shaker & Spoon subscriptions. Started feeling like a bit of a chore to do all that drinking. Also, feels like homework trying to decrease the size of my whiskey collection, a bottle at a time. Can't remember the last Milk Bar style cake I baked. Can't remember the last time I baked anything. Did just plough through Silicon Valley. Makes me glad I never tried to do the startup thing. Finally watched Predator: Prey. Quite enjoyable. And could totally see how they could just run the concept back in various historical periods. English knights, Japanese samurai, Aztecs, Aborigines, Mongol Horde, Sparta, gladiators, Wild West, Vikings. Although you wonder how different any of those would be, but then again, how different should they be? Kids are back at school. Jackson's walking home by himself. Not quite walking himself to school yet, but hopefully soon. Lucy's taking the bus to/from LTAC by herself (with friends). So she's riding the bus way more than I did. I feel bad for her though because she's got to use a school issued chromebook. The resolution is so bad, so 3 years ago. It's rough on eyes. I definitely couldn't go back to such a "normal" resolution. Finally doing something about the cooling in the data center. Adding a ventilation fan to the crawlspace. Hoping it helps a bunch. Just need to cut a 6" hole in the wall. Back to Apple Fitness+ core workouts, I had taken a little break. Haven't been back to climbing in a couple weeks. Think I strained something in my forearm, so trying to let that get better before heading back. I guess I should start doing V4's now, but I'm not comfortable on every V3 yet, and there's still definitely some I haven't gotten. Tracy and Lucy are almost caught up in Stranger Things, so we'll watch S4 together.
9:41 PM Tuesday, October 4, 2022
Party season is ramping up. Blainflix post party just this past weekend. Booze and Candy tasting next weekend. Halloween x 2. Friendsgiving. Solstice. Figure I'll make a Milk Bar Apple Pie Cake (one of the few left I haven't made yet from the cookbooks) for one of the parties we're hosting. Speaking of apple, went to Lincoln Square Apple Fest last Sunday. Jackson's been dealing with injuries, so he had to skip his soccer game last Saturday. But being an 8 year old kid, he bounced back to normal a couple days later. Taking a break from paring down the whiskey collection. Made a good dent the last month or so. Already got my October bottle, and have to start thinking what my November bottle might be. Keeping up with the exercising, not so much with the diet though. Have to get back on that horse. Still stuck on V3s at Movement Wrigleyville. Not all, but still some. And I don't feel comfortable enough trying the easy V4s if there's still V3s I can't do. I can't dyno anything. And my grip strength is still pretty poor. Maybe need to up my session times. Finally finished off Stranger Things with the family, and Cowboy Bebop (original anime). Still working through Star Wars Rebels. Started up Blue Mountain State for fun. Hard to believe Thad becomes Reacher. Also would be interested in seeing something action/adventurery in a sitcom format, but I can't think of anything. Also watched a bunch of movies that are getting sequels, like Constantine and Avatar, Rogue One because of Andor. I did also plow through Cyberpunk: Edgerunners. I actually didn't think it was that good, thought it was pretty straightforward? But still, a fun world to watch. Also made it through Terminal List. Finally watched some blockbusters, like Jurassic World Dominion and The Gray Man. Also stuff like Hustle and Lou. So been watching a lot of stuff.
10:24 PM Wednesday, November 30, 2022
So from the last time I posted, started ramping up my bouldering at Movement Wrigleyville. Started having slightly longer sessions, and ending with a 4x4 (do 4 sends on a set with no rest, for 4 climbs). Then took a couple weeks off because my right forearm didn’t seem to be getting better, and just got back to it this week. Sent my first V4. Still haven’t landed a dyno move yet. Finally started carpooling for Lucy’s swim practices. That’s been nice. Didn’t really for Jackson’s outdoor fall practice, but starting too with indoor this week. We’ll see how long we can put off until we have to start borrowing my parents car again. Lucy’s swim team lost their head coach, again. But Lucy and her best friend on the team decided to stick around instead of switching to a bigger, established more stable team. Jackson’s team actually got a couple wins toward the end of their season. Much easier to watch when they score. Got our parkway area redone out front by JDW Landscaping. Did a pretty good job. Was able to setup the Solo Stove on Halloween night post trick or treating. Then haven’t used the Solo Stove or the parkway really since then, even though the weather seems pretty warm for this time of the year. I dressed up as Mike while Tracy was Elle from Stranger Things S4 at the roller rink. So we skated around Trick or Treat on Southport. Switched over to the Dread Pirate Roberts (me) and Inigo Montoya (Tracy) for the Thorngren’s Halloween party. Then I think back to Mike and Elle for actual trick or treating. Got the McRib plenty of times while it’s been in season, supposedly on its farewell tour. We’ll see. Still available roughly 10 days after the season ended, at least at the one McDonald’s that’s closest. Killed a bunch of bottles of bourbon, replaced them with other bottles of whiskey, decided to concentrate on Redwood Empire, Spot Whiskey, and Redbreast for my distillers. Still got a handful of others to go through, but mostly good stuff now, not so much cheap stuff anymore. Went out to a boys’ dinner at Gene & Georgetti since Whitney was in town and organized. Haven’t done that in a long time. Blaine Gala was fun. Dressed up fancy (bow tie and a scarf went over well). Danced. Reused the outfit when Tracy and I went to Bazaar Meat by Jose Andres for her birthday. The Waygu flight was amazing, best part of the meal I thought. Jackson had a birthday party at Whirlyball (bowling and lazer tag). Way too much bowling though. Got a new Apple Watch, handed my old one down to Jackson for when he goes out to play with the neighborhood kids. Works out pretty well. Tracy got an air fryer for her 15th work anniversary. I’ve been loving it for stuff. Need to get some fries to really show it off. Checked out the Winterland at Gallagher Way. The ice rink inside Wrigley Field is pretty cool, if expensive, but lots of rides and stuff. Looking forward to checking it out when there’s actually snow on the ground. My mom cooked for Thanksgiving, but we hosted at our house. Only my parents and Tracy’s parents this year. Kids had the whole week off. Lucy built a bunch of Christmas LEGO sets (Home Alone house, Santa’s Visit, Elf Clubhouse, Holiday on Main Street). Got lots for the winter village this year. I think that’s all the highlights. Otherwise just chugging along at work, watching stuff on TV. Decided to nuke and pave my devices last week, so it’s been nice starting fresh.