Thursday, January 31, 2008

Why I Love The Colonel...

One of the best parts of living in Lexington was that we made some incredible friends. One such character is a guy named the Colonel. Although he'd prefer you to think of him as witty, subversive and deeply cultured in an alternative sort of way, I've seen past the veneer. Besides all of the aforementioned attributes, he's a devoted husband, father and friend who would come to your aid at the drop of a hat and he and Mrs. Colonel are forever opening their home up as a gathering spot for friends. And on top of that, he's a REAL KY Colonel.

Short story- his friendship has definitely made my life richer.

And now he's gone and done THIS. (Tip: The video will take forever to load. You can play it before it is finished.)

Love you Colonel.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Jen and I decided that we would jump in with both feet and get to know Raleigh. This is a lesson learned after living in Lexington for four years and never experiencing Red River Gorge, Keeneland, The Bourbon Trail, etc. Lesson learned. We won't make the same mistake again. A couple weeks back, Jen and I had the chance to go on a date sans kids and we chose to dine at The Irregardless Cafe. Irregardless is the longest running restaurant under the same owner in town, so it is distinctly Raleigh.

Last weekend we decided to take the kids (and a couple of friends from Lexington) to the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. As the state capital, Raleigh is home to this and other state museums. With free admission to boot!

It was definitely a hit. Addyson has finally reached an age where she is patient enough to enjoy what is in front of her instead of just moving on to the next thing. She loved anything with animals- dead or alive. Addy ogled the dinosaurs, and got hands on with a real snake and bearded dragon (lizard).

The adults learned a thing or two as well- like our new home state is the only place in the U.S. that mines emeralds and that NC is the national leader in producing tobacco and sweet potatoes. So watch out once I get my yard. Let the mining and farming begin!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Make Sure You Check Your Pockets Beforehand...

...You never know what you'll find in the dryer.

By the way, we didn't stage this. Addy climbed in and then asked for the phone to make a call.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Evolution Of A Smile

Went to the NC Museum of Natural Science here in Raleigh yesterday. (More on that later.)

While there we saw evolution in process...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Counting Crows Sighting...

I've dug the Counting Crows since "August & Everything After" first dropped in 1993. Although I don't care if I ever hear "Mr. Jones" again (thank you radio overkill), I'm usually up for whatever this group is offering. And, they don't seem to over-produce, releasing only 4 studio projects in the past 15 years. Their 5th (Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings) is due out on 3.25.08 and the band has decided to give away a couple of the new songs gratis. If you want a taste of what's to come from the Crows, download a free digital 45 here.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Best Movie I've Seen Lately Is...

I love movies. Spending weekends in Raleigh without my family for the last few months afforded me the chance to actually see a few in the theater. (A rare occurrence in my life anymore. Sniff, sniff.) Really enjoyed "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" and "I Am Legend".

But the movie I wholeheartedly recommend is.....


A cursory look at the film info might not leave you too impressed- yet another movie for the mtv demographic; about teenage pregnancy; complete with required sexual innuendo, language and rebellion; featuring the acting talents of one "Teen Wolf Too" Jason Bateman- and it is easy to see why you'd take a pass on this one. Watch Juno for yourself and you'll discover there's a rich, satisfying film under the bright candy shell.

Here's a short list of why I'm finding myself recommending director Jason Reitman's latest effort:
- Juno is funny. I've seen it in the theater twice, and both times the crowd (me included) laughed out loud multiple times- starting with Rainn Wilson's quip heavy cameo. ("Your eggo is preggo.")
- But fairly mainstream. I'd describe Juno as a more accessible Napoleon Dynamite. If you wanted to find Napoleon as funny as your friends (or the teens you know) did, but just couldn't- give Juno a chance. You won't have to fake amusement to fit in.
- The acting is good all around. Every cast member is believable. No one texts it in. Yes, even Jason Bateman pulls his weight.
- Nice sounds. The soundtrack fits the film really well and is engaging. After my first viewing, I went home and bought a few of the songs that were stuck in my head. The second time I saw it, I heard people in the crowd singing along with a few key tracks. Keep in mind, these aren't songs you've probably heard before. ("Anyone Else But You" by the Moldy Peaches is my current favorite.) You can hear full versions of the songs HERE.
- Strong messages. Although you can ingest Juno as merely satisfying entertainment, you can also digest slowly and savor some great conversations about any of the topics the film addresses. Juno opens the door for reflection and discussion on a slew of real life issues: teenage sexuality & pregnancy, abortion, infertility, consequences, disappointment, materialism, divorce, parenting, commitment, image management, judging others, being yourself, forgiveness, trust, real love, suburbia, etc. Without giving too much away, I'd encourage every parent or adult who works with kids to see this film. Aside from the cultural flavor, you'll be exposed to some interesting perspectives.

If you've seen or go see Juno, let me know what you think.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The best $1.75 I've spent lately...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Generic = Craptastic

On Wednesday I managed to take multiple layers of skin off of a couple of my fingers. After burning through the band-aids we had on hand in a few days, I rolled up on my local CVS to replenish our first aid kit. After tracking down the appropriate aisle, I found myself facing the age-old shopper's dilemma:

Name Brand OR Generic?
There I stood, wavering between the known quality of the brand name and nearly double the quantity of generic bandages. Trying to be the good steward, I went generic.

Now I've got twice the quantity of bandages that are 1/2 the quality of the ones I SHOULD have bought. Next time I'll get 1/2 as many that will last twice as long. Arrrggghh. And the worst part, I knew better.

How about you? When do you go generic? When does it pay to go with the name brand? Do you see a big difference between the two?

Cowboy Baby... (who needs more words)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Reunited...And It Feels So Good

They say that everything we ever experience gets filed away somewhere in the recesses of our brains. Every now and then, something we've assumed was buried in our cranial long- term storage shows up on the mental desktop. Exhibit A: The hook from a song from my childhood- courtesy of Peaches & Herb.

Yesterday, Jen, Addy, Colston, and the Balm grandparents made the trek from Lexington to Raleigh. They made good time (a relative term with kids) stretching the 8 hour drive into 10 1/2 hours. Translation- if you like car trips- don't have kids.

As I watched my road weary family roll into our apartment complex and get their first glimpse of the new (but short term- that's another post) digs- my internal mp3 player dialed up "Reunited and it feels so good". So good in fact, that it is a bit surreal.

I'm grateful to be playing with my kids today in our new city. Hope all of you who aren't local can come visit us sometime soon.

In case you find it helpful, our new address is:
4202 Village Cross Way
Cary, NC 27518

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Icing On The Cake

Since we loaded our moving truck last Thursday, we've been bunking with Jen's folks, taking care of last minute errands and enjoying time with family and friends.

Here are a few of the sweet moments from the last couple of days:

New Year's Eve Bash @ The Carter's Loft
Two of our dearest friends in Lexington just closed on a downtown loft. In a matter of two days they furnished it and threw a prom themed dinner party to ring in the new year. Many of the folks we'll miss the most in KY were there. The food, dancing and conversation were top notch. The New Year's kiss, fruit bombs from the balcony and near streaking by one participant weren't too shabby either.

New Year's Day @ Walmart

Despite my best efforts, I've been unable to sell my Bronco. So, the gas guzzler (9 miles to the gallon) is heading to Raleigh on Thursday. Whether or not it will make it to my new hometown remains to be seen. To up the odds (and safeguard my life) I sprang for new tires all around. It took the tire techs about an hour to play pit crew. In the meantime I bought a magazine and breezed through hundreds of insights into how to make 2008 my best year ever.

I was also treated to two surprisingly nice conversations with fellow shoppers. One lady was in a motorized wheel chair in the middle of the Subway where I was sitting. As I got up to leave, I smiled at her and she started talking to me. I learned that she had a house full of people coming to stay for a week (thus the overflowing shopping cart) and that she was using a scooter because she'd been in a vicious car wreck in October. She's still receiving transfusions of some kind, but is hoping to be done with those soon. After a couple of minutes, I wished her well and headed to pay for my new treads.

When I reached the counter the clerk was helping someone else. Which left me standing next to a guy wearing a bass fishing hat- complete with large gold fishing hook on the brim. He was waiting to get his oil changed. He filled me in on his plan to travel to Leesburg FL tomorrow- designed to get him away from the cold and the plethora of grandchildren who invade his house here non-stop. Can't blame him. Our chat was only interrupted by a timely "Can I help the next customer please?"

Although I haven't made any resolutions for '08, I am hoping to be more present in the moment and aware of the folks around me. Guess I got a chance to practice today.

A Surprise Snowfall

Although the forecasters weren't calling for it, we got more than just a dusting of snow today. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to be heading to a warmer climate in Raleigh. But it was nice to see the snow today.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Jen's New Email Address

Since we turned in our cable box, Jen's old email address is now defunct.

Fortunately though, she was smart enough to join the gmail revolution.

You can now reach her at:

And for what it is worth- she's great at replying when folks write her.