Blog Archives

…just add water…

103 things:

  1. When I was younger I wanted to be a paleontologist or be in the Coast Guard.  If I could have combined the two, I would have been unstoppable
  2. I have a profound fondness, nay, love for dogs.  If it weren’t for Jess, I’d be my own version of a cat lady.
  3. I’ve stayed awake a whole night, not by choice, but because I couldn’t remember Don Knotts’ name.
  4. My dreams are way too realistic, often I think I am teaching and have to ask Jess if my students have left the room.
  5. I can’t stand the feel of Styrofoam.
  6. I’ve seen James Taylor in concert at least 4 times.
  7. I am a frequent Deja Vu-er.
  8. I’m taller than both of my parents.
  9. Sometimes I miss being in college and other times I’m completely thankful that I’m done with it.
  10. One of my best friends from college, Chris Pratt, and I share the exact same number of letters in our full names… we even lived in the same dorm room, on the same side of the room one year apart.
  11. I hate the movie Ol’ Yeller… and I won’t go see Marley & Me.
  12. The first time I met my wife, I scared her.
  13. When my dad gave me “the talk” he accidentally ran over some ducks.
  14. I was a good kid in high school, I was never written up, I never did anything illegal or that stupid.
  15. At home, though, I was usually grounded for something like coming home a handful of hours too late. At which point I would be made “Amish”.
  16. Many objects were flattened by myself and my friend Ben, anything we could find would be taken to the railroad tracks as we patiently waited for a train to come through and smear it 5 feet long.
  17. I’m pretty easy to read in the morning, if I’m humming or singing a song as I get ready, I’m feeling good.  If I’m squinty and non-verbal, stand clear.  But I’m usually in the first category
  18. I always thought I’d end up living in Mount Angel or Silverton… but I think I found a better place.
  19. Growing up, I wished my name was TJ.
  20. I wish my sister still came down for dinner on weekly basis.
  21. I have an autographed picture of Christopher Lloyd.
  22. Even though I’ve been to Pendleton more times than I can remember, I’ve never been to the underground.
  23. I didn’t have my license until I was 18.
  24. I was really into ska and punk during high school and college.
  25. Many a chair has been rendered asunder due to my posterior.
  26. I spoonerize in my head all the time.
  27. I love college football, I could sit down and watch any game.
  28. My wife and I are almost exact opposites, which is probably good news for me.
  29. I had a teacher tell me: “You’ll end up just like me,” and I have, now I say that same phrase to some of my students.
  30. Once, on a midnight drive to Corvallis with my friend Derek, I threw a stick of butter straight up out of the the car window.  It landed with a thunderous smack onto the top of the car–one of my most rewarding moments. ever.
  31. My sister and I had a pastime throwing her talking dolls down the stairs until they spoke a new language.
  32. I am a world-champion Sorry player.
  33. I suck at checkers.
  34. The one time I went to an overnight camp when I was six or seven, I stole a teddy bear.  In my defense, it was just like the one I had just lost.  But Karma caught up with me and later that summer when we were in Canada, someone broken into our car and stole my backpack full of toys, including the pilfered teddy bear… days after my birthday.
  35. One of the best things about staying home from school was watching  the Price is Right.
  36. I’ve always wanted to be able to play the guitar and not just a couple of chords from Nirvana songs.
  37. Gluttony: I used to be able to eat a whole large pizza by myself.  Plus bread sticks. Why was I fat?
  38. Sometimes I wonder if I’m slightly autistic.
  39. I have a very severe case of phantom cellphone vibration.  Which the major symptom is pocket slapping.
  40. After I bought Jess’ engagement ring, I couldn’t sleep… for the weeks before I gave it to her I would lay there awake.  I would have to get up in the middle of the night to look at it.
  41. I wish I had gone by the name: “Topher” or the even shorter, cooler version ” T’pher.”  But not the too short ” T’ph’r  “
  42. I can turn my eyelids inside out.
  43. Horses are too flighty for me.
  44. At some point, I would like to visit every continent.
  45. I’m a bad speller, to make it worse, I don’t like to reread my own writing.
  46. I have 12 years and five months to finish writing a book.
  47. I have scent memories, I smell something and sometimes it gives me a vivid memory linked to that smell.  I call them Smellories.
  48. I was a strict vegetarian for four years.
  49. Fish ‘n’ Chips unvegetarianed me.  Followed by breakfast sausage.
  50. I’m a habitual nail picker…. of my own nails, especially when I’m nervous.
  51. Teaching has made me better at witty comebacks.
  52. Up until I met my wife, I had no idea what I was going to do with my life, she got me to volunteer at a school.
  53. I used to have a hard time running one mile, now I can run ten easily.
  54. I accidentally stabbed my foot three nights ago.
  55. Mumbling, at least for me, is an art.
  56. I try to live by the rule: If its hard for me to do, it’s probably worth doing.
  57. Maine is the only other state in the U.S. I would even consider living in.
  58. I think eggs go with everything: Top Ramen, Hamburgers, Steak… it’s all good.
  59. Both oral surgery and eye surgery scare me.  Seriously.
  60. I often wonder if I had been better at Math, what else I could have done, especially because  science still fascinates me.
  61. I’ve never been in a fight and don’t look to have my first.
  62. I predicted the date of my sister’s birth, I was 4 at the time.
  63. My sister really owes me, I’ve pulled her out from in front of a car and out of a pool when she couldn’t swim.  I prefer cash.
  64. Summary of every one of my parent teacher conferences as a student: “He’s got so much potential, he just doesn’t use it.”
  65. Fine motor skills: I’m still working on them.
  66. I love to cook.
  67. Being squeamish has long been a problem of mine.  My retching can be heard from miles around.
  68. I read Dante’s Inferno as a ninth grader because my friends in higher graders were reading it.
  69. Sports I suck at: Golf and Bowling… and I’m ok with that.
  70. Almost anything with peanut butter is fantastic.
  71. I wore this number in football.
  72. The worst picture ever taken of me was on my first license.  Seriously hideous.  And no, I will not be posting a copy of it.
  73. I easily succumb to cabin fever.
  74. I once had a duck version of E. coli.
  75. I love crosswords.  Finally, useless knowledge pays off!
  76. I don’t like avocados, except in my own guacamole.
  77. When I was younger, we frequently played “guns” in the fertilizer mill compound.
  78. I’ve been kicked by and thrown off of a horse all within the same day… and the same horse.
  79. I’m leery of trampolines.
  80. I used to sleep walk as a kid.
  81. I was born in the only month without a holiday.
  82. I love to crab but I’m not a huge fan of eating crab.
  83. My hair grows out, not down.
  84. I have a wicked serve in racquetball.
  85. I’m a Calvin and Hobbs fanatic.
  86. I can play the saxophone.
  87. I really don’t have a problem with flying, it’s the take offs and landings that I’m not fond of.
  88. One of my favorite memories of our honeymoon was sitting on the rocks in Nova Scotia, watching the sun go down in front of a lighthouse which we were the only ones staying at.
  89. I actually love my job.
  90. I have hammer toes.
  91. Yesterday, I jumped up and touched the rim of a regulation basketball hoop for the first time. ever.
  92. If there is one meal that will always remind me of my childhood it would be biscuits and scrambled eggs.
  93. Just about every time I got on a skateboard, I ended up on my back with the wind knocked out of me.
  94. I’ve been yelled at by the Woodburn police to stop playing on the boxcars.
  95. I never want to go to Florida.
  96. I am constantly disappointed that I’ll never go to space.
  97. I’ve never been able to eat an ice cream cone like a normal person.
  98. I have phantom earthquake sensations, too.
  99. Doing homework in high school: no recollection of it.
  100. I hate having to multiply my eights and sevens.
  101. My mom was sure I was going to be a girl, my name was going to be Jordan.
  102. I helped a new born foal stand and nurse for the first time  today.
  103. I still feel like I’m 12.

each feather fell from skin

This posts has been knocking around inside my head for a couple days…

I’ve never been one to take on a new year like a chance to be reborn and improve myself, this year isn’t any different.  However, 2008 has had a distinctive yet blurry feel to it.    I get stuck finding the right adjective to give this year meaning.  Do I lambaste it for its numerous scary and sad moments or do I champion my personal triumphs that arrive in 2008?

I’m stuck.

I can’t get over hating 2008 for all of the medical scares my dad had.  Never before, I had I had to confront the actual possibility of the mortality of my parents.  Never will I forget the drive from Cottage Grove to the hospital in Oregon City where my dad had urgently been admitted.  Until then, hospital trips were resigned to the oldest generations of my family, for broken bones, but never for something that was life-threatening and so close.  It is amazing how the mind sorts through and presents every possibility and how rarely it is positive.  I can’t shake the sense of mourning that had already begun to fog my mind and body as I drove faster and faster.  Thankfully, I was very premature.

I can’t let go that 2008 has been one of the best years for me personally.  To change myself so drastically, to improve something that had been weighing me down literally and metaphorically.  To run my first 5k, to be able to feel like I had never felt has been truly a metamorphosis.  2008 has helped me not only lose nearly 70 pounds but also fix those habits and tendencies that plagued my life to the point that it was dragging me into a unhealthy lifestyle and most likely a premature death.  I never thought that I was able to run over four miles continuously without stopping… both mentally and physically.  It makes me what else am I capable of?  What have I been telling myself “no” about for so long that I wholeheartedly accept a misconception.

How can I hate a year that brought me that?

But I think it is far more complicated than I have laid out.  These two events, which are by far the biggest, are laced together.  Had my dad not had his pulmonary embolisms, I wouldn’t had realized that I was at far more risk for far worse consequences of my own.

I don’t think 2008 was a good year, I’m glad its gone, I also know that it wasn’t a soul-crushing year either, and I’ll be fond of it.  So if it wasn’t either, than it had to be a year of my own education.  Hopefully, I have learned, or at least begun to learn that I must value my body and take care of it.  As well, hopefully I have begun to learn the wealth that exists in the people around me and to let go of the trespasses that I have long held onto, to improve upon my faults and mistakes that I committed on others.

We’ll see what I do with it.  Hopefully I’m not all hyperbole and metaphors but of action.  Here comes 2009.  I don’t have any resolutions.  I just want to keep on learning, hopefully these lessons are at the hands of positive situations, but if not, I must make the best and not let the bad take the fight out of me.

I’m sure it only gets more interesting after this.Train to Salzburg Chris

Speed Sledding

Like every year, Jess and I make the CG-Bend-Woodburn Triangle roadtrip spectacular.  On our last day there, it was suggested that with all of the ample snow, we should go sledding… but not your regular down-the-hill, walk back up, dependence on gravity sledding.  We used the four wheeler to sled.  Behold:

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Yes, I am wearing a cowboy hat, but not, I don’t honestly believe I belong in one.

And a happy Snow day to you…

This week, Jess and I were happily snowed in.  Two extra days off of school meant that we had a lot of time to hang out together, something we didn’t get to do as often as we would like.  We had nice breakfasts, worked on the house, watched movies… what else could you ask for?

Then my boredom set it.  This is not insult to Jess, but rather, I’m not a person who is very good at hanging around inside a house for more than just a day.   One our second snow day, I decided to break out my camera to entertain myself.  In particular, we found the smile sensor on my camera to be quite interesting.  Apparently, when it is turned to this setting, when a smile is detected, the camera takes a picture.  Most of the time it was accurate, other times it caught pseudo smiles or smiles that weren’t there.

After that novelty wore off, I coaxed Jess into helping me with a project.  I took four pictures and with some editing on photoshop I came up with this:


Boredom at it’s semi-productive best.

When taking pictures inside the house and then working on the computer got old, we braved into the snowy cold of Cottage Grove.  As we usually do on snow days, we went for a walk just beyond where our house is, up into the hills:


I thought that I would make use of this post and get a couple of different things into it.

First off, here is a picture that was captured at one of our home games, I’m assuming it was earlier in the football season as it was starting to get dark earlier at the later part of the season.  I’m pretty sure that was taken when I was running over to the whole team with the linemen after their group warm ups:

Second item on the agenda; I’ve decided to run a 5k this Saturday.  I’ve been running pretty regularly for the past couple of weeks.  The race is call the Jingle Bell run which is put together to help support the Cottage Grove Jog Club as well as a charity here in town.  Believe me, I have no intention or want to (nor believe that I could) win the race.  I’m looking for a steady pace and a finish.

Emphasis on the finish.  Luckily, I’ll be running with at least two other teachers from the high school.  Their pace is little faster than my natural gait but I can easily keep up, hopefully keep enough energy for a kick at the end.  I’ll post the results here.

Like I said, I’ve been running consistently, three miles here, four miles at other times.  I’ve ran with Jess, my mom and co-workers… and I haven’t had a bad run yet, even though I have had to scare away a couple of dogs.  As for today’s run, I couldn’t find a partner so I ventured off on my own, which was a first.   I was worried that I would lose my motivation to keep a pace and finish without stopping if I didn’t have others to pace me or compete against.  But I was wrong, I plowed through nearly four miles.  Here’s a Google Map view of today’s run:

My buddy Ricky, who is the long-distance coach for the track team, sent me a wonderful site that has helped me map out my routes and tracking what I have done.  You can find a link here.  Using Google Maps, it allows me to click out my path, giving me mileage counts and even elevation.  As well, I can save my routes for later use or look up other saved routes to give me a variety of runs.

Ricky also gave me an immense spread sheet that charts absolutely everything.  Mileage, Year-to-Date mileage, Life-to-Date Mileage, average pace, heart rate, how far I’ve ran in a particular pair of shoes and even tracking my progress to the moon or around the world.  Twenty-eight miles down.  Hopefully, I will be diligent and keep track of my progress.

To help me do so, even when I’m away from my spreadsheet I’ve added the WPss plugin to Box of Whine.  This allows me to intergrate spreadsheets into this site.  If you haven’t notice, there is a new section to the top of the post and to the side that says “Running Log”.  Here, you can see my progress, when I’ve done well, when I’ve slacked.  This is just a parred down version of Ricky’s spreadsheet, but nonetheless, it helps me track and I can add to it from any computer with internet access.

The race for less… update

It has definitely been a while since I’ve updated my on-going fisticuffs with my weight.  This doesn’t mean I’ve been regressing, it just shows that as I continue to lose weight, it seems like it is harder for me to do so at a faster pace.  I’m not sure if this is because of the changes to my size and body, or maybe my suspicion is that I’m sliding on my eating regiment.  I’m just slightly frustrated, still losing, but frustrated.

Thankfully, I have been fairly diligent on exercising.  By random chance, I’ve started running with a couple of teachers at the high school.  We usually run about three miles each time we run, which is between two and three times a week.  Granted, I’m not the fastest, but certainly keep up but most importantly I don’t stop.  In the past, even running a continious half mile seemed to be a great undertaking.  Every time I run, I definitely find ‘The Wall’ (not a Pink Flyod reference) where mentally I have a hard time feeling that I can last the entire run, but then I give myself short goals: “make it to Harrison St.” or “Just back to the High School”.  These help, they are always within my sign and they have made it so I haven’t quit. 

Even the boundires of my usual run of three miles gets pushed.  This weekend, my mom spent two days with us in the Grove.  On Sunday, she and I went for a run and ended up doing four miles and by the end of the run, I felt as though as I just did a light jog around the block. 

On to the numbers… As of this morning, I am down to 236 pounds, wihch is an overall weight loss of 64 pounds.  I’m down 2 pant sizes and a shirt size.  Which is why we’ve spent a ridiculous amount of money refitting my wardorbe because I can’t walk around looking like I’m wearing garbage bags.  I’ve lost 21.3% of my original weight and I am 6 pounds shy of my inital goal.  That’s like I lost a fifth grader. 

Everyday is a battle and choice, I just need to make sure I’m making the best of both of those.

The race for less… update

As of this morning, I have offically lost 20% of my original body weight of 300 pounds.  Now that I am at 240, I have only 10 pounds left to shed before I reach my inital goal.  As for my main goal, I’m striving for 40 more pounds.  Honestly, I don’t think I have weighted so little since freshman year of high school.  My weight on my drivers license now out weighs me by 20 pounds.  If it didn’t cost money or use up valuable time, I would have like to get a new license, just kind of a reminder for myself. 

There have been so many different benefits from this, it has truly changed me.  I sleep better, I feel happier, people treat me differently, I get sick less, I run faster, I work out longer, I get angry less, and I have a overwhelming burst of self-confidence and a positive self-image.  My only regret is that I didn’t do this years ago, how much of my life could I have made brighter if I had implemented self-control and a workout routine?  I guess that sometimes, one’s head can only be removed from dark places at specific times in life… luckily, I pulled my out when my chance came along.

This has honestly been the hardest, yet most fulfilling and affirming 10 months of my life.  Here’s to taking a scary situation and making it work for you.

Top Search Phrases

We here at Box of Whine like to beleive that our content is wide and varied, as well as entertaining.  With that, here are the top three search terms for 9/24/2008:

The race for less… update

Another weight update which for some reason precludes anyone from commenting. 

Down to 243 as of this morning, making a total loss of 57 pounds, 13 pounds away from my goal and 3 pounds away from hitting the 20% total body weight loss.  The 20% mark is my closest goal that I’ve been pushing for, when I finally get there I’m going to celebrate by eating like I do every day, less than 2,100 calories of total intake; it’s going to rock!

Current issues: exercise; as perdicted, finding time to excerise is hard with football.  For a while I was getting up at 5:30 in the morning and getting an hour work out in but I think that came with negative consequences.  I was no longer losing weight, in fact, I had gained some poundage back.  The conclusion I came to was the lack of sleep was negatively affecting my plans.  So I excused myself from getting up so early and working out, narrowed my eating, and moved exercising to the weekends.  Hopefully it pays off.

Sixteen candles, times two, minus five

As of this evening (6:45?), I will be officially 27 years old. It’s funny how time progresses in a linear motion; honestly, I never sat around and thought, “When I’m 27…”, and yet here it is. I know that this next phrase will get a bunch of “well, at least you’re not X years old like me”, but I feel old. Time seems to speed up as each year is tacked on. It felt like I was a kid forever and then high school seemed to drag on, then college went pretty quickly, and here I am and my twenties are almost over.

Luckily, I’m happy where I am. Accidentally, on purpose, or by pure buffoonery, I’ve got a pretty sweet life. I’ve got someone to spend my life with who is not only beautiful, but also compassionate and understanding of my smudges and torn corners. I have a job that I actually enjoy, not to say that some days it doesn’t get under my skin, but nine days out of ten, I am happy to unlock my classroom and interact with the students. As well, I have a supportive family… on both sides, who cheer me on and correct me when I’m not myself. Even though a certain siblings of mine believes that I “fall” into everything, I think I’ve done good with what I’ve been given, worked, and fought for.

What does my next 27 years bring? Whose to say? All I know is that I have to live by my rule of, “if it hard to do, then it means that is the direction I should take.” I want to give more, I want to donate my time more, I want to continue to see the world outside of Cottage Grove and yet carefully examine every little oddity and beauty that surrounds me. I want to continue to better myself, mentally and physically. Shut off the TV more, read more books this summer than I did last summer; push myself to run the fastest mile yet, weigh another pound less. Be a little wiser and kinder.

Here’s to my 27 years and to the understanding that inside, I just turned 12 again.