Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cooper's Thanksgiving

Before it was time for turkey and the fixings, Cooper had some time to roam outside and had a blast at Mammaw's house, what with all the leaves in the yard:

Monday, November 29, 2010

Who's a turkey now?

Okay, so that was entirely unexpected, though I'd prefer not to gain four pounds in any given week, even if it involved copious amounts of turkey, dressing, hashbrown casserole, potato salad, rolls and pumpkin pie. Really, really, yummy stuff, with a second helping of leftovers Saturday night when I was at work.
It just means that to lose this weight and then some, I'll have to plan ahead so as to not be so decadently bad at the Sunday School Christmas party this weekend.
I really need to kickstart what's been a sluggish diet for the past two months and aim to get down to 300 pounds by spring. It can be done, but only if I set my Early Avoidance Fattening Food Detection System to Defcon 1.
Starting weight (July 12, 2010) - 387
Last week (Nov. 23) - 343
Current weight (Nov. 29) - 347
Total lost - 40
15% target - 329
Ultimate goal – 225

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thursday, November 25, 2010

What I'm Thankful For, 2010 Edition

- A wife and child who meet me at the door when I come home after work.

- Every giggle of Cooper's adorableness. How he smiles when he gets what he wants.

- That the basket by the register at Old Timer's always has a root beer flavored Dum Dum after lunch on Sundays.

- Department stores that have chairs for guys by the fitting rooms.

- Keeping up with people on Facebook I otherwise wouldn't hear from for years at a time.

- A big, loud family in which to be heard you have to be the one shouting loudest at the time. You have five seconds to be interesting or the conversation will move on without you.

- Working on a morning TV show full of witty banter that doesn't feel stuffy.

- Free weekends for paid movie channels to catch up on all the flicks we've missed in the past year.

- When we smell a toot by Cooper and look down and no, thankfully no dirty diaper yet. The pooptastrophe is averted for another couple of hours.

- Chicken fajita quesadillas at our favorite Mexican restaurants.

- The new wave of Republicans leading the House of Representatives. Now don't screw it up.

- Funny web videos.

-  The smell of pumpkin pie, as cooked by my Darling Valerie.

- My MP3 player to listen to podcasts on the way to and from work.

- When you need a few pennies in the drive-through, and feel around under the seat and find a whole nickel, or better yet, a quarter!

- Warm days to take Cooper for a walk in his wagon, and the waves and smiles I get from passers-by who are happy to see a Daddy and his boy enjoy a wagon trail.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Demand equality for calories!

You know what's depressing? When you see how quickly you can consume hundreds of calories in four bites, and then see a chart that shows how few calories you burn with exercise. It takes, what, six hours to burn off a cupcake? And that's if you're carrying a yak on your back. Shouldn't it be more equal than that? Say, a cheeseburger is 30 minutes on the bike, but an entire pie is a three-hour hike?
In other news, I dropped the pounds that I gained from our first Thanksgiving dinner, although it feels like kind of a cheat. I forgot to weigh in Monday, and ever since my gallbladder was taken out a couple of years back I've had gastrointestinal problems, so without getting too "ewww," it's easy to drop a few pounds in a day, if you know what I mean.
And now, our second Thanksgiving dinner is coming up Thursday, so I have a few days to work it off before the next weigh-in.
Starting weight (July 12, 2010) - 387
Last week (Nov. 15) - 349
Current weight (Nov. 23) - 343
Total lost - 44
15% target - 329
Ultimate goal – 225

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Our little man Cooper

Some random shots of Cooper in action ...

Getting himself stuck in a corner ...

The kid likes his Kool-Aid ...

Our little puppy ...

How do you say no to this face?

Cooper was a big fan of his 1st birthday helium balloon ...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Not my thing

Last week we were watching the CMAs, one of approximately 30 televised country music award shows. During a performance by one of our favorite groups, Rascal Flatts, I couldn't help but notice the lead singer was wearing a glittery shirt, which was actually tame compared to what many of the guys were wearing, and I asked my Dearest Darling Valerie, "Can I pull that off?" It was indisputably decided that, no, I could not.

In fact, as a 35-year-old white male who is unhip, Christian, conservative, a big fan of Star Trek and unable to learn any cool handshakes that involve more than one step, there are a lot of things that I can not "pull off," including but not limited to:

- Putting the lights that change colors underneath my car.

- Using phrases like "Word, homie," or "Fo' shizzle."

- Watching "Mad Men," "Breaking Bad" or any of those "serious" shows that are really just an excuse to have nudity and cursing on TV that get all the critics' awards.

- Texting in shorthand, such as, "UR 2 FUNe."

- Eating (or cooking) foods with French-sounding names.

- Shouting "Amen!" during a sermon.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cooper says, "Go Tigers Go!"

This one's for Dad, who wanted to make sure that I'm indoctrinating his grandson properly into the Tiger Way...

More pictures from last Saturday's get-together ...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Melting in his sad puppy dog eyes

Y'all, I hurt my buddy's feelings. It was so pitiful.
Last night while Val and I were playing with our mini Cooper on the couch, he started putting his mouth on Val's leg, like he's done before when biting her. Val gave him a firm "no" but he tried again. This time I did it, a firm "no" and a stern look.
Oh my gosh, little guy got this sad look on his face and you could see him building to being more and more upset, and finally he started crying actual tears. Sad, weepy tears with that curled lower lip.
All we could do was hold him and say, "Awwww, our poor baby!"
I know that this will happen a lot over the next several years, but you guys, I don't know how we're going to be able to punish our Cooper Duper!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cooper's just super!

Great balls of fire, it's Cooper!

The first batch of pictures from this weekend at the Burk Birthdays/Thanksgiving feast, Val's Mom's side of the family:

Hello, holiday season

I am weak at the holidays. Weak, weak, weak. Saturday we had our first Thanksgiving feast, the get-together for Val's Mom's side of the family. It wasn't so negative that I enjoyed dressing and hash brown casserole and potato salad and green bean casserole and pumpkin pie, it was that we always bring Tupperware to take a bunch of leftovers home. Not to make excuses, but we have a one-year-old and one job, so if there are free meals we'll take 'em! That, plus it's all extremely yummy, and now it's all gone, and we can get back to the business of losing weight this week. At least, until next week.
The good news is, with the temperatures in the 70s all last week I got some exercise by being able to take Cooper on a daily wagon walk when I got home from work. The bad news, this week is 20 degrees colder and possibly wetter, so I may not get to do that.
Starting weight (July 12, 2010) - 387
Last week (Nov. 8) - 346
Current weight (Nov. 15) - 349
Total lost - 38
15% target - 329
Ultimate goal – 225

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Oh, the joys of children

After the dedication service at the Baptist church for his baby brother, Jason sobbed all the way home in the back seat of the car. His father asked him three times what was wrong.

Finally, the boy replied, “That preacher said he wanted us kids brought up in a Christian home. But I want to stay with you guys.”

(From Grif.net.)


Reasons You Fell In Love With Your Baby (And Out Of Love With Your Old Boyfriend)

1. His endless babbling.

2. He loved snuggling in your bed - but always wanted to go back to his own crib after.

3. His way of spending hours roaming around the house naked, his poochy belly hanging out.

4. The wet, sloppy kisses.

5. He was content to lie quietly and gaze at his navel as you did all the housework.

6. His birthday gift to you was simply a wilted flower.

7. His idea of dancing was to bend his legs and bob up and down with a goofy, self-congratulatory grin.

8. His smell.

9. You could always count on him burping right after he finished a meal.

10. The fact that he'll never, ever love anyone as much as he loves his mommy.

(From Parenting magazine)


Your baby can learn sign language!

Here's how to say:

- "Please change my diaper": Turn beet red and make straining expression, then smile.

- "I'd like something to eat, please": Cram fist in mouth and suck wildly.

- "I'm tired": Make a series of weeping gestures before closing eyes and lolling head backward.

- "Please pass me that thing up there that I can't reach": Point and grunt, then continue pointing and open mouth into screaming position.

- "No thank you. I think I've had enough": Throw food or object to floor with exaggerated grin.

(Courtesy BabyCenter.com)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Cooper's daily wagon walk

Every morning Val takes Cooper out for a walk in the stroller and when I get home I take him for a stroll in his wagon. Here's my route, starting in the backyard by the golf course, past the neighbor's doggies and up and around the neighborhood, careful to stick to the shade and ride over the bumpiest parts (he loves it).

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Jeff's Top 5: Brands I Have To Get

Usually, when it comes to shopping I go with "Whatever's cheapest." These products aren't for compromise, however:

1. Dentyne Pure gum - Oh sure, Dentyne sugarless gum was just fine. And Dentyne Ice a little better than that. But now they introduced this Pure gum that squirts minty freshness out of that first bite, and I'm hooked! I won't go back! You can't make me!
2. Colgate toothpaste - They were the first that I found with the flip-top cap, eliminating extra effort and precious seconds of unscrewing a cap that's covered in sticky toothpaste.
3. Schick Quattro disposable razor - One blade can be done by cavemen. Two made you feel special. Three was revolutionary. But four? Geez Louise, four blades is life changing! If they come out with five blades, the hairs on my face may leap out in terror before I even take a swipe!
4. Chunky Beef soup - This is a particular request. Only the Beef With Country Vegetables goes properly with my Chunky Beef With Rice lunch staple. Any other kind or brand just won't do it.
5. Le Sueur - I will eat other brands, but if you ask me, I will request Le Sueur's Very Young Small Early Peas for my pea consumption needs.  

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Though you're a tree, you have no wood

The good news: This weekend, when Cooper was being especially fussy during drives back and forth to Millington, we found out that he'll get lulled into a calm trance if we play the opening song from the Veggie Tales "Singing Christmas Tree" album.
The bad news: None of the other songs have the same effect, meaning that we have listened to the veggies' version of "O Christmas Tree" many, many (many) times. It could be a long, long 3 1/2 hour drive to Mom's in December!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Strangely, I'm OK with this.

Hey, smart pretty people come and go, but good 'cue is forever!

Magazine poll ranks Memphis last in intelligence, attractiveness, first in barbecue

Memphians aren't very smart or attractive, but they can smoke one mean pork butt, according to a poll released Monday by Travel + Leisure magazine.

Travelers rated 35 cities in topics including microbrews and shopping and, once again, Memphis bombed another popularity contest.

The Bluff City ranked dead last in categories of intelligence, attractiveness, safety, romantic getaways, environmental friendliness, athleticism and pizza, according to the magazine's 2010 America's Favorite Cities survey.

Memphis, however, was not outdone in its pork perfection, ranking tops in the nation for barbecue.

Travel + Leisure plans to release its findings in the December issue, on newsstands Nov. 19.

Its fourth annual online poll garnered more than 50,000 responses. But with no limit on how many times someone could vote, even Rich Beattie, the magazine's executive online editor, said it's not a perfect picture.

"It's a snapshot of the people who participated," he said.

Memphis was one of seven new cities evaluated this year by visitors and residents. In almost all categories, Memphians assigned lower rankings than did visitors.

Regina Bearden, vice president of marketing with the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, wasn't surprised.

"If you live in Orlando, you don't typically go to Magic Kingdom. That's true here," she said.

Skeptical of the survey, she added, "I wonder if those people who voted have even been here."

The survey follows a rash of lists painting a dreary picture of Memphis. Forbes magazine earlier this year ranked Memphis third on its "America's Most Miserable Cities" list.

"For every negative ranking, I can show you 10 times more positive stories," Bearden said.

Ironically, those stories have appeared in Forbes and Travel + Leisure, she said.

"They've written incredible stories about Memphis," she said.

To view the survey, check out travelandleisure.com/americas-favorite-cities/2010.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Weekend wrap-up

Busy weekend for the Rushings. It started Friday night with a nice dinner at Logan's with Tracy and Craig to catch up and wonder why we as adults can't make time to get together more than once every six months.
True story from Logan's: When I asked the hostess if we would be seated "in about a half-hour," she replied, "No, about 30 minutes." True story.
Saturday morning Val was whisked downtown with the Jackson Gang for their girls' weekend to celebrate Heather's upcoming nuptials. They went to Gould's Spa first, then lunch. I spent my time cleaning out the garage enough to get the 13 Christmas bins out, then go to Walgreens, Aldi's and Kroger for the grocery run, a quick trip to Dollar Tree to replace one of Cooper's toys (A Tigger tamborine) that his Daddy stepped on and broke.
Val didn't stay for dinner or the hotel overnight, since we had tickets to the Memphis-UT game that night. I picked her up downtown, we went home for a nap, and her family came to Valfrey Estate about 5. Her mom watched Cooper at the house while we went to the Liberty Bowl with Val's Dad, sis Cheryl and brother Ken. I was the only one wearing blue, by the way. Yep, I married into a Vols family.
Little did we know when we bought the tickets in August that both teams would be in mourning by now. The woeful Tigers were 1-6, soon to be 1-7, and truly dreadfully awful. The Vols may have been 2-6 going into the game, but they still have SEC talent that is ten times faster than what Memphis recruited. The Vols cheer dudes were clearly out of shape, though, not used to doing that many pushups after each score.
There was a lot of orange and we were one section over from their pep band, so "Rocky Top" was loud and clear. I hadn't been to the Liberty Bowl and outnumbered that much as the home team since 1997 with the Steelers fans packed the place to see Pittsburgh and the then-Tennessee Oilers play.
Sure, the Tigers lost 50-14 and gave up 27 points in the second quarter alone, but at least it was freezing cold, right?
We actually left in the third quarter due to the cold, either that or my family instituted a pity rule where, if Memphis was down 36 we'd skip the rest of the carnage.
Sunday was Val's grandmother's 80th birthday shindig, so after church we partied all afternoon. Actually, I spent the first two hours upstairs with Cooper napping with me, then he crawled underfoot the rest of the time.

Cold, humiliation, little pigs don't derail good week

I am down two pounds this week, though it probably should be more if not for, let's say, this weekend's "excesses." 
Apparently there is something about abject defeat together with freezing cold that flipped off my Careful Weight Control switch at the Tigers-Vols game and I had an extra hot dog and chili cheese nachos at halftime. Then Sunday afternoon we went to Val's grandmother's 80th birthday party, where weenie wraps were being served, and that's a pretty big weakness. So I'll take it, and work on my will power next weekend!


Starting weight (July 12, 2010) - 387
Last week (Nov. 1) - 348
Current weight (Nov. 8) - 346
Total lost - 41
15% target - 329
Ultimate goal – 225

Saturday, November 06, 2010

More for Cooper's birthday

Here are some pictures of when Val and I celebrated Cooper's birthday on his actual birthday, just the three of us, some cake and a few gifts!

Upcoming TV news

Sweet Sassy Molassey, this is good news!
"Syfy orders new 'Battlestar Galactica' series pilot"

Holy frak!

Syfy has just ordered a new "Battlestar Galactica" series pilot.

The two-hour backdoor pilot chronicles a young William Adama's adventures during the first Cylon war.

BSG executive producer David Eick is back on board, though visionary showrunner of Syfy's first reinvention of the series, Ron Moore, is not.

The title is the very Spartacus-esque: Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome

Official description: Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome takes place in the 10th year of the first Cylon war. As the battle between humans and their creation, a sentient robotic race, rages across the 12 colonial worlds, a brash rookie viper pilot enters the fray. Ensign William Adama, barely in his 20’s and a recent Academy graduate, finds himself assigned to the newest battlestar in the Colonial fleet… the Galactica. The talented but hot-headed risk-taker soon finds himself leading a dangerous top secret mission that, if successful, will turn the tide of the decade long war in favor of the desperate fleet.
I didn't catch on to "Caprica," since there was a complete lack of space battles, religious allegory and anything interesting, so I'll be back for this!

Meanwhile, there's also talk of an "Indiana Jones"-style reality show. Fewer Nazis, I expect. I hate those guys.

Friday, November 05, 2010

TV this week

HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER - Just an awful episode. Get rid of that Zoey chick and move on with Ted. Maybe, you know, start introducing the "mother?" Any time now? The show's far too inconsistent the past two seasons.  
DANCING WITH THE STARS - I think it's fun to see Bristol keep advancing and thus peeing in Palin haters' Corn Flakes, but it's time for her to go, and she knows it. At the very least, Kurt should go, too, even if I'd miss Anna dearly, but Rick wasn't that bad this week, even as awkward as his bouncing and happy faces looked.
COMMUNITY - The stuff with Jeff and Troy and the magical trampoline was legendary.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Cooper's Fall

Our little man loves the great outdoors, whether playing on a blanket in the grass, going for a walk in the stroller with his Mommy or being pulled along in his wagon by Daddy. We'd better enjoy it now before it's too cold, alas.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Notes on a Friday Eve


"Christ Buys Two Orthopedic Practices"
Physician: Heal thyself.

"It's Tough Being an Agnostic"
Some days you can't make heads or tails of it.

- HALLOWEEN IS A FUN day for Memphis Memories. First, 50 years ago in 1960 the dresses were scandalous, I tell you, scandalous!
Everyone knows that when hemlines of dresses go up, things generally look pretty bad, economically speaking. Well, there's a dress out now with a hemline so high they call it the "knee tickler." It started out as a mistake in a showroom in England, then caught on in this country. Now, except for Boston, where it was banned, and the South, it's already swept on a wave of popularity from one end of the country to the other. It's at the Cotton States Fashion Exhibition at the Peabody. "Yes, I've got it, all right," said Eli Lipton, one of 155 exhibitors at the show. "But no one's buying it. It's immoral in the Bible Belt. I wouldn't sell it to the buyers, anyway, because I know they couldn't sell it to their customers." In the trade, the style is known as "war dress," he said, "because when she sits down the battle is half won."
Second, apparently there was some Halloween spirit of destruction back in the day:
75 years ago: 1935

Determined to substitute Halloween carnival spirit for the mania for destruction of past years, Memphis tonight will observe the holiday with programs and games at playgrounds and parties in private homes and hotels. It is hoped this will stop the riotous raids on fences, swings, lawn furniture and other property but Police Chief Will Lee has instructed his men to keep a sharp lookout for malicious pranksters nevertheless.

100 years ago: 1910

Darkness tonight will signal the advent of spooks and spirits as Halloween takes sway. Gates will disappear as if by magic, wagons and other ponderous articles will be transferred to rooftops -- so wise Memphians will chain everything they own that is movable.

2010 MLB Predictions in Review

In my original picks in April I said there "will be at least one surprise, but good luck figuring out which team that will be." Guess I should have said "at least two" surprises, such as our World Series winner and runner-up.
AL EAST - Boston. Actual: Tampa Bay. *Sigh* I could say that if not for injuries this could have been different, but "ifs" and "buts" and all that jazz.
AL CENTRAL - Minnesota. Actual: Minnesota. New ballpark, good manager, not much turnover by other teams in the division.
AL WEST - L.A. Angels of Anaheim. Actual: Texas. God's honest truth, in July as the Rangers were whoopin' the Red Sox I turned to Val and said, "Just watch, these guys will make the World Series." I may have said "win," but I was close.
WILD CARD - Dang Yankees. Actual: Yanks. At least they didn't win the division, right?
NL EAST - Phillies. Actual: Phillies. They had a tremendous September to win the division, then crumpled in the playoffs. I was fine with this.
NL CENTRAL - St. Louis. Actual: Cincinnati. Really? Did the Cards even try after July? What a weak effort. Quick, name me two Reds players.
NL WEST - Colorado. Actual: San Francisco. Rockies tried to come back, but the Giants were too busy letting the Padres implode.
WILD CARD - Atlanta. Actual: Atlanta. Gritty bunch stuck around even after Chipper went down with two months left.
WORLD SERIES - Red Sox over Phillies. Actual: Texas vs. San Francisco. You didn't see that coming, either. Giants had some masterful pitching.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Our little explorer

Val took this pic this morning of Cooper after he'd climbed up on the dishwasher behind her back. Oh dear. Time to cover him in Charmin head-to-toe?

Monday, November 01, 2010

Cooper's Halloween

Cooper was only three days old for his first official Halloween, so this year is his first to dress up and look adorable in whatever costume his parents wanted. We went with a puppy dog, 'cause it's just so adorable and he follows us around the house like a little puppy already.

Sunday night we had our church Fall Festival, so we brought Cooper to show him off for Val's parents' friends, and to look cute for pictures. He's too young to enjoy the games and candy, but he'll be ready by next year!

Afterward we all went to Chili's so Cooper could chew on his Granddaddy's watch ...

October is my favorite month. And fattest.

Sure, October turned out to be a waste for my diet, since I'm pretty much where I started, but hey, it's my favorite month for a reason, and most of it involves some awesome food! This weekend, for instance, Val and I went to Outback Steakhouse, starting out with a blooming onion from heaven, to celebrate our anniversary. So losing two pounds this week is a victory.
But this is it. Back to being good all the time. I'll probably starve myself Saturday before we go to the Liberty Bowl for the Tigers-Vols shared mourning experience of a football game so I can have a hot dog. Otherwise I think I can manage skipping the bad stuff this month, even if we have two Thanksgiving dinners and a wedding to attend. If I'm not good, December certainly isn't the time to start trying, am I right?   


Starting weight (July 12, 2010) - 387
Last week (Oct. 25) - 350
Current weight (Nov. 1) - 348
Total lost - 39
10% target - 349
New 15% target - 329
Ultimate goal – 225