Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Turkey Trot Update

The official results are in:

30th place in a field of 135
4th place in the 35-39 age group
28th out of 81 men
My official time was 28:15. A 1:50 improvement over last year.
Not too bad. If I cut that much time off next year we will be eating major award turkey next Thanksgiving.

My next race is December 5th, the Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis. Last year I did not run it for time, just the experience of running in the winter. This year I have been training pretty hard and am much more accustom to cold weather running. There just might be a personal record in the cards. Gotta go sub 20:56. On the fund raising front, I have just gone past the halfway point towards my goal. Thank you to everyone who has helped out so far. I would love some more help in order to get over the $1000 mark.

Tomorrow is turkey day. The Robinson Family wishes you all a wonderful day. Remember to where your fat pants!


Monday, November 23, 2009

It Was A Good Day...

...Because it was my birthday.

At work I only received one birthday wish. It was a very nice wish as I did not tell anyone at work that my birthday was upcoming. One of my employees actually remembered from a conversation about two weeks ago that today was my day. Made me feel pretty good.

Facebook provided several birthday wishes from friends and family. It is very fun to read them and see all the funny comments. I have some pretty good people in my life.

The best came at home.

Nigel picked out a card all by himself for me. He had made one on the computer for me, but while at Halmark he saw one that changed his mind. It had a cute puppy on the front and the card said "It would be ruff to find a better daddy than you". He signed it himself and everything.

Nora made me a card. It was great. Picture a giant block blue "M" that folds open to a maize background. One the background was a picture of she and I surrounded by "Go Blue". That's my girl.

Jim and Karen (father and mother in law) gave me a wonderful card that further feeds my ego, and a stash of my favorite cookie, Pepperidge Farm creme filled pirouettes. They gave me a can of mint, hazelnut, french vanilla and chocolate fudge. Yum!

Robin gave me a great gift. She is not the biggest Christmas fan. The materialistic nature of the season tends to get her down. From time to time during the season she lets that get the best of her and goes a bit Scrooge on me. Her gift to me for my birthday is a promise to try and enjoy the Christmas season this year. Yahoo!!

All in all a great day. Thanks to all!

If you are still looking for a last minute gift for me you can always follow this link to my Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis donation page and make a donation in my honor.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Race Day

Today was the 2009 Turkey Trot. Since running the race last year I had been very focused on performing better on the hill and improving my time. As the race day came closer my priorities changed a bit. You see both Nora and Nigel expressed interest in running in the 1/2 mile youth fun. As I am sure you can imagine I became a bit more focused and interested in the kids. I wanted to make sure they performed as well as they could and most importantly, had fun. For the most part mission accomplished on both fronts. I will start with the kiddos.

I had spent quite a bit of time coaching the kids on how best to run a longer distance than in the back yard. We talked about pace, not running too fast, or getting discouraged by other kids doing better than them. They both seemed to have a pretty good handle on the concept and were excited about the day. When we arrived we got the kids over to the starting line where they received last minute instruction on the course by the director. He gave the commands and they were off like a shot. Too fast in my opinion. Nora and Nigel got off well and seemed to be doing well. After the initial surge Nigel began to drop back a bit. Nora, bing the great big sister that she is, fell back with him. She did not want Nigel to feel bad. What a great girl. Unfortunately, from that point on it went a bit pear shaped for the Nigel. He got mad about half way through because all the other kids were beating him. Robin told Nora to run her race and leave Nigel. He ended up not wanting to finish. Nora, however, ran well. She ended up running the 1/2 mile in 3:43. She asked if that was good. In order to put it in perspective for her I told her she ran at a pace equal to the pace I run in training runs. Pretty great for my little girl! For Nigel's part, he was a bit bummed that he did not finish, but still had fun. I was very proud of both of them. My primary goal was to just have them try.

As for me, I was fairly satisfied with my performance. I know I had talked a length about placing in the race and getting the family a turkey. However, going in I knew that was not going to be a reality for me. I have trained well, but came to the realization a bit ago that shaving 3 plus minutes off last years time was just not in the cards. So, with the mind set of just running my race and having fun I set out to do my best. That takes a load off the mind. I had a nice run on a beautiful day and learned that I have little more work to do before I am a hill master. Hills are hard. I finished with a time of 28:16. That is 18 seconds slower than my last 4 mile race (no big hill climbs in that one), but 1:49 faster than I ran last year. I cannot complain about that. As an added bonus, I was under one minute off the third place finisher in my age group. There is always next year!

My focus now turns to the Jingle Bell Run on December 5th. I am running pretty strongly these days and hope to perform well. However, that is not the performance in which I am most interested. I really want to raise as much money as possible for the foundation. I am about halfway to my goal of $1000. Please visit my donation page. You know tomorrow is a my birthday, in fact many of you may be reading this on my birthday. Do you know what would be a great birthday gift? That's right, a donation to the Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis.

Now for some pictures from the day. Disclaimer: They are not in order. It was late and I was really more focused on my glass of wine! Cheers.

Nigel did not finish because he got off course :-)

Proud Nora with her first race ribbon.

Nora finishing and getting her ribbon.


They're off!

Post race bare foot jog.

That girl beat me last year...not this year missy!

Coming through the trees to the home stretch.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


This past Friday night was a huge surprise. Robin and I had been invited by some friends to go to the Illinois game on Saturday, and were planning on leaving early in the morning. My parents agreed to watch Nora and Nigel over night so they thought that they would kill two birds with one stone and have us all over for dinner to celebrate my up coming birthday. (They will be out of town on my actual birthday weekend.) I was looking forward to a quiet night. That was not to be the case.

After about a half an hour there were visitors at my parents door. Our good friends Josh, Adrianne, Claire and Eve showed up along with Josh's parents, Jerry and Vicki. To say I was surprised is an understatement. Shock is a better description. The dinner and company was fantastic. This was my first ever surprise party. It was worth the wait.

The next morning was a big day for all of us. Josh, Adrianne, Robin and I made our way to Champaign for the game while my parents prepared to take Nora to her basketball clinic and then both Nora and Nigel to the zoo.

The U of I game was a lot of fun. Josh and Adrianne made sure that both Robin and I had the appropriate apparel. In fact, at one point I was even seen wearing a U of I snuggie. Can you believe that? I did break out in Maize and Blue hives shortly there after. The game was a bit of a bummer. U of I lost. There are some who believe that I, due to my recent luck at Michigan games, may be a jinx.

Meanwhile, Nora had a blast a her clinic. She is really enjoying leaning how to play the game. I am looking forward to watching her play next week. After the clinic Grandma and Grandpa took them to the Peoria zoo. They recently opened an Africa exhibit. I have heard lots a great things about it and the kids say they delivered. They both had a blast and want us to take them back.

As you know I usually add photographic evidence for all of these events, however, Blogger is not cooperating tonight. Sorry.

On an unrelated note, only 18 more days to go until the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis. I am about half way to my goal of $1000. I would love you help to make it the rest of the way.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Strange Feeling

I did not go for a run tonight. I have been doing a lot of training recently in order to get ready for the Turkey Trot and the Jingle Bell. Today I just did not have it in me. At the moment that I made the decision I felt it was the right choice. I was unmotivated and positive I would get nothing out of it. Now, however, I am having some version of buyers remorse. Hanging out with the family, helping with the kids homework, and having general quality time recharged me. I miss my run. On the plus side I am feeling pretty good about the training thus far. Knock on wood, I am going to do well in both races. Speaking of...the Turkey Trot is a week from Saturday and the Jingle Bell is in three weeks. Still plenty of time to support the cause!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

State of the Brewin'

As pointed out by cousin Adrian there has been little to no mention of my home brewing as of late. There is a very good reason for that. I have not been brewing. I am both distraught and very thirsty. Normally I do not do much brewing in the summer as the hours of boiling water tends to heat up the house. However, since the start of the fall season I have not yet got into the groove. I am in need of inspiration.

I want to make my Honey Wheat again and either a stout or porter. My biggest road block has been having both the ingredients and or access to them at the same time as I have the time to brew. Oh what to do. I shall ponder this over a cup of coffee.
If you have any suggestions throw them at me. Do not forget to check out my Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis pag. I am still the top fund raiser but want to do more.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Technical Difficulties

It has been a rough couple of days. It all began on Saturday.

Nora had her first day of basketball. For girls her age they do not have teams and play games. They just focus on practicing the fundamentals of the game. She was a bit nervous on the way over, but as soon as she saw a classmate her spirits lifted. She had a blast and has shown marked improvement since the Father/Daughter clinic we attended in the spring. I would love to show you pictures, but that leads into our first technical issue.

Our camera seems to have taken a turn for the worse. I was preparing to focus in on Nora for a good action shot of her driving to the hoop for a lay-up when the viewer went black. The screen showed an error message. Error messages are rarely good.

Later in the day Nora and I were doing a little raking. We decided to split up and tackle the job from separate fronts. I was giving the lawn a final mow and sucking up a few leaves as well. While I was doing that Nora was scooping leaves up, putting them in the wheelbarrow, and hauling them to the street. I cannot stress enough how big of a help Nora was. WOW! During this I was listening to my mp3 player with my headphones. After I finished my area Nora and I teamed up. We both wanted to listen to music, so I went in and got my docking station with speakers. I set the speakers up in the bed of my truck, unplugged my headphones and plugged in my mp3 player. The tunes were blasting and Nora and I were back to work. After a hard day of raking Nora and I had some recycling to do. We climbed into the truck and off we went. Have I mentioned what a huge help Nora is?

The next morning I got up and prepared to go on my run. Gotta have tunes for my run. Unfortunately I could not find my earphones. I borrowed Robin's and off I went. Upon my arrival home the headphones location dawned on me. I recycled them. Technical difficulty number 2.

Let's move to Monday. To say I had a bad day at work would be an understatement. I made a pretty big mistake, and was beating myself up a bit. Robin suggested that I grill burgers. Grilling usually puts me in a good mood. Thanks to my Dad we have a Big Green Egg. The thing is amazing and I love it. Prior to starting the coals I needed to move it back into position after having moved it to get leaves up. While I was moving it I had an issue. It tipped, the wheels shot out from under it, and it came crashing down on the edge of the cement stoop. Ceramic and cement do not mix. It shattered. I was about as crushed as it was. There are several parts not broken and we may be able to get replacement parts, but... Wow what a bad run of days.

Hey, you know what would make me feel better? Clicking on this highlighted underlined link and supporting me in the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis.

Come back tomorrow for an update on my state of homebrewing.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

It Was A Sign

I have what I feel to be very sound advice:

If your cat, first thing in the morning, pukes into your heat vent; go back to bed. The day is not going to get much better. You will get in multiple arguments with muttonheads, and that never ends well. Your boss will treat you as a pack mule, and your lunch will be interrupted at least 37 times. Trust me, you do not need this. Go back to bed.

On the bright side, all days do come to an end. Mine will have a good ending and is off to a great start.

We just returned from the parent/teacher conference for Nora. Turns out Nora is her own toughest critic. She judges the quality of her work and efforts more harshly than does her teacher. Even better, she loves school. Mrs. Rayburn is very pleased with her spelling and reading level, and loves how willing Nora is to participate in class. Could not be more proud.

To finish off the night we are going to dine on homemade chicken fingers, hash browns and peas and carrots. As for the evenings culture we will be viewing Transformers 2: The Rise of the Fallen. The jury is still out as to the libation of choice, but rest assured there will be one.

So, in summary, cat pukes in vent...go back to bed and skip to outstanding review of child followed by dinner and a movie.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Rolling Now

I got it going on now. I am managing to blog on a fairly consistent basis again and I have risen to my rightful place as the top individual fund raiser for the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis. (Click here to support a winner.) Thank you very much to those who supported me last year and have continued to do so this year.

Speaking of running, I seem to be in a bit of a groove there as well. I am following a training program that combines speed work and mileage in order to obtain your personal best in a 5K. I am using it to get ready for the Turkey Trot 4 mile run on Nov 22nd. The top 2 finishers in each age group win a turkey and a trophy. Now I love Thanksgiving turkey, but can you imagine how much better a major award turkey would taste? I have a real shot this year.

Staying on the athletic front, Nora has a big day this coming Saturday. That will be her first day of park district basketball. For girls her age they do a series of clinics every Saturday through Dec as opposed to trying to play games. They will teach and stress the fundamentals so the kids have a better skill level and understanding of the game. I am sure that will make the games next year a bit more enjoyable. Nora is very excited and I cannot wait to watch.

Oh, one final thing...

"V" was awesome!


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tonight They Arrive.

I am pretty excited about a television program that is making a second coming tonight.

As you may remember in about 1985 NBC televised a mini-series called "V". It told the story of an alien invasion by a race that looked like humans and brought the promise of hope and a new golden age. However, beneath their human like exterior was the skin of a reptile and the cold blood to match. Once the Visitors true intentions were revealed the battle for Earth was on.

My brother and I and all of our friends loved it. In fact, that Halloween he and I both dressed as Visitors. Thanks again Mom for making some pretty awesome costumes.

Tonight, thanks to ABC, the Visitors return. I cannot wait to watch it. I can only imagine how much better it will be visually than back in the '80s. I have a few chilled New Castles and am ready for some serious T.V. watching.

During a commercial break why don't you head on over to my Jingle Bell Arthritis Run/Walk donation page. I am currently #4 among the top fund raisers. We can do better!

Monday, November 2, 2009

What A Weekend

I am warning you in advance. I have a week of blogging under my belt and am feeling sufficiently warmed up. This could get a bit wordy.

We had one very eventful weekend in the Robinson household. There was a great dinner with good friends and old folks, illness, tailgating and football, begging for candy and all finished off with cake and ice cream.

It all started on Friday, as most weekends do. The Yoders were kind enough to include us in a monthly dinner they have with his parents, Jerry and Vicki and good fiends of his parents, Jerry and Linda. Adrianne greeted us with her usual spread of fantastic appetizers and Josh warmly welcomed us with a beer and a glass of wine. The eight of us enjoyed nice conversation while Josh slaved in the kitchen over sea bass, fresh green beans, and orzo. The fish had a macadamia crust and Josh made a mango chutney sauce for it as well. Everything was delicious. I was fairly certain I had had my fill until Josh brought out the two person skillet cookies. I maned up and ate my share and a bit of Robins as well. There was only one draw back to the ended. Oh, yeah, and Robin got sick.

Most of the food and drink we had was fairly rich. Robin and rich food is not a great mix. Unfortunately, it all tasted so great that she just could not say no. Her stomach decided to spend most of the day on Saturday reminding her of the bad mix. Lesson learned?

On Saturday I bailed on the family and went to the U of I/Michigan game in Champaign with my Dad. This was part of our continuing tour of the Big Ten. The Yoders were going as well and Jerry & Vicki were taking the RV. Tailgating heaven awaited. There were about 18 of us there, 10 Wolvierine fans and 8 Illini fans. Once again there was a great spread of food including several varieties of brats, burgers, soups, you name it and it was there. We all had a nice time with plenty of friendly banter between the rival fans. You all know the final score so I am going to forgo the pain of actually typing it out.

While my Dad and I were on the way home Nora and Nigel were getting ready for a big night of trick or treating. They were getting together with cousins Pete and Sofie. Once the transformations were complete Pipi Longstockings (Nora), Bumblebee (Nigel), Optimus Prime (Pete) and a witch (Sofie) hit the town in search of candy. Based on the bags I saw once I got home I would say they were successful.

On Sunday we all gathered at the Bressner's to celebrate cousin Alex's birthday. What better way to end a weekend filled with great friends, food, football and candy than with cake and ice cream.

What a weekend.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

If A Tree Fell In The Woods...

...and there was no one there, would it still make a sound?

By the same token, if someone trips, falls over backwards and there is no one there to see it, is it still funny?

The answer is a resounding, YES! Cracked myself up good; funny bone wise no actual cracked bones. Now several of my long time readers may remember my Belly Flop post from last year. Now this is no belly flop fall, but still funny none the less.

I was in the warehouse getting ready to separate a shipment onto separate pallets. I placed a stack on the floor and proceeded to remove the plastic wrap from the main pallet. As I was pulling the loose wrap away I took a step back. My foot came down on the edge of the pallets I had put on the floor. Obviously I lost my balance. In an effort to regain said balance I took a step back with my other foot. Anyone care to guess where that foot landed? Needless to say I went over the pallets backwards sending the contents of my pockets skidding across the warehouse floor.

Quickly I looked around to see if anyone had witnessed my display of grace. No such luck. I alone was there to enjoy my spill. So, I decided to make the most of it. I laid there for a moment and had a good laugh. Then, at the first possible chance, I told anyone who would listen my tale of coordination.

One would think that my story would end there. No, oh no my friends, it does not. After stacking the product up on one of my stacked pallets, I lifted it up with my forklift and prepared to drive it to the cooler. I drove into the stack of pallets. No worries, no damage.

Wait, there is more. At this point I was down to one pallet on my fork lift and one on the floor. I grabbed two cases of lettuce and began to walk around the pallet on my lift to place the upon it. Tripped over the pallet, again. This time, as I had got a lot of practice in, I was able to maintain my balance and not eat the floor. I think these pallets had it out for me.

The rest of the day went off with no further incident.

Thanks to Jim and Karen for the donation. I am off and running now.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


This is not a revelation in its purest sense, but it was a moment of clarity.

As most of you know I manage a warehouse. With that comes the joy of managing hourly laborers. It seems that most of these people lack a certain amount of work ethic and like to blame "the man" for all of their short comings. "The man" in this case is almost always the owner of the company. On several occasions I have tried to encourage the guys to work a little harder, pick up the pace, or put in a little more time. The response is always, "I'm not doing anything extra for him, (the a fore mentioned "the man" ie. owner of the company). "He doesn't do anything for me". Oye!

My revelation:

I do not work for "the man". Now I know that technically I go to work, follow the guidelines he has laid out for his company, and collect a pay check from him. So, yes I work for him. However, at the end of the day I do not really care whether or not my efforts have made his life better. Do not get me wrong, I both like and respect my employer. However, I only care that my efforts make sure my bosses business stays open and profitable, to ensure I have a job. I work solely for the betterment of myself and my family. In short, I work for me, and why in the world would I not put in a little extra effort for me? Why would I not put in extra effort for my family? Have you seen them? They are cute, cool and a lot of fun!

In summary:

Be selfish. Work hard for your self and reap the benefits.

On the other hand...

Did you know that you can cut your ear while shaving your head?
You can!

Thanks to my Dad for getting the ball rolling on my Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis fund raising efforts!

FYI: If you click the underlined blue words you too can help my efforts.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hey, Whaddya Know...

...It's raining!

I am going to look on the bright side of life. Due to the wind and rain the vast majority of our leaves are on the ground. I have only had to rake the yard 2.5 times this year and at the rate the leaves are coming down I only see 1.5 more times in my future. Granted, it will be very hard work, but it will be done.

I spent most of the day Sunday, 9:30 - 2:30 with a half hour lunch, raking. By Monday morning the was very little evidence of my efforts. Today, there is very little visual evidence of grass in our yard.

I should not complain about the leaves. They provide so much shade in the warmer months that we really save on air conditioning. I will just chalk it up to the pride of ownership.

Speaking of complaints, I do have one. I hate cleaning out the gutters. I know, who doesn't. However, in my case the leaves do make the gutter cleaning at my house a special kind of h-e-double hockey sticks. To make it even worse, my ladder broke last week while I was cleaning. Fortunately, I notice prior to it completely splitting in two and sending me through the window. Back to the bright side of life, I got to stop cleaning the gutters.

Have I mentioned that I am running in the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis? Throw me a bone (or donation) people!

Monday, October 26, 2009

One of Those Days

Do you ever have one of those days where you have really been looking forward to something but when the time comes you just can't seem to get excited for it?

Well that happened to me on Saturday before of all things a race. Now just so you understand, I am usually so worked up the night before a race that I can barely sleep. I go over it in my head countless times. When I finally try to sleep I stare at the clock as if I will be able to will the hours away. Once I am up I am pacing the downstairs and trying to hustle everyone out of the house. If I had it my way I would get to the race an hour early.

That was not the case this past weekend. I slept like a baby. Milled around the house in the morning convincing myself that 5 more minutes would not hurt. Once I got there I just did not feel any excitement. I told myself that once I started warming up I would be fine. It must the cool temps that were dampening my spirits. Nope, still did not really care. Surely after the race began my competitive fire would rise and I would be good to go. Yep, that was the ticket.

The gun sounded and I was off. Unfortunately after mile 2.25 I did not care, again. I slowed down and jogged it in the rest of the way. Up to that point I had been running at a personal best pace. That fact was not enough to keep me going. I crossed the line at 21:15. A decent time, but a far cry from the time I had hoped to post.

I am not sure what happened to me Saturday morning, but I hope that does not happen again any time soon. I have been grumpy and kicking myself for two days now. Thank goodness that I am not a world class Olympic athlete. If I had spent years getting ready for an event and then flop like I did on Saturday...Oye!

Hey, since I have your attention, do not forget the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Superman Returns

Sorry about the severe lack of action on the NO Worries Blog. I have been on the run, literally, a lot this spring/summer and now into fall. I am going to take a que from my training for running and keep this short. Don't want to pull a finger trying to type too much on my first post back.

I am returning for the 2009 Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis. Last year you guys were a huge support. Your kindness and generosity helped me rise to the number 2 spot for individual fund raisers. I am calling on your spirit of giving once more. On my end, I am going to try and match last years second place fund raising finish with a top three finish in the race for my age group this year.

In this case green is not my kryptonite. It is my source of power...Let me have it!

I will keep a link on my blog page to my donation page for the run. I just may mention it a time or two as well.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

On Your Mark, Get Set...


The Robinson Family Forth of July felt like one big race, and a good one at that. It began on the 3rd with fireworks in Morton with Mom and Dad Robinson. We have been heading over there for fireworks for the last several years. We had some great dessert, snacks, and a few drinks. Then we moved out to their driveway for the pre-show festivities...Nora and Nigel working the sparklers, or sprinklers as Nigel calls them. The show was nice and we did not have to deal with all the crowds. The night ended with Nora and Nigel staying with Grandma and Grandpa Robinson for a sleepover.

The next morning came early. It was the morning of the Peoria Firecracker 5000. Both Robin and I were running the race. For her it was her first and I was going for a personal record. Needless to say we both had some nerves working. Robin and I got there around 7:00 a.m. and the kids showed up shortly there after with my parents. During our warm-up the rain began to fall, it was going to be a damp run. Since Robin and I had very different goals we lined up in different areas for the start. I eased toward the front and Robin towards the back. The gun signaled the start of the race and a slow but steady increase in rain. By the end there was a solid rain falling and we were totally soaked.
I ran a pretty good race and finished with a time of 20:56. I was hoping to break the 20 min barrier, but I think I expended too much energy trying to get clear of slower runners. Still I cannot complain as my time was good enough for 2nd place in the 36-40 age division, and 49th overall out of 506 runners. My favorite post race comment came from my Mom. I had talked about the race and my goal so she knew what I was gunning for. When I found them after the run she greeted me with, "What happened?", instead of good job or congrats. Thanks Mom!

Robin ran a great race. This was her first race and has only been running for 12 weeks. Her goal was to finish the run strong and finish around 36 minutes. She did both. She ran in 36:28 and had a very strong finishing kick. I am VERY proud of her, and very excited that she was talking about her next race the following day.

Well as I mentioned we were having a soggy start to the Forth. The rain was set to clear out by 1 that afternoon. It did not. Eureka was forced to postpone their celebration activities to the following day. I cannot say I was disappointed. Robin and I were both a bit tired and could use the rest as the next day was going to be packed.

On Sunday the 5th the Forth of July was back on. Eureka's parade had been rescheduled for 4 p.m. We were part of a float for our church. Due to a lack of time and resources our float was a pickup truck, fringe, posterboard, and kids throwing candy. We mainly wanted to have a presence for the church and advertise our VBS. Goal accomplished and the kids had a blast. I think the highlight of the parade was the dune buggy that was in front of us. I am pretty sure regular maintenance had not been performed on said buggy as it continually stalled. In order to get it going it required a push start. Guess who provided the push. Me. It puttered out a total of 6 times during the parade. After the 6th I politely suggested that the driver did not make the turn with the rest of us and instead go straight and off the route. The rest of the parade went off without a hitch..unless you call running out a candy a hitch.

That night called for more fireworks. Unfortunately I get up too early for work on Mondays and did not think I would be able to stay up that late. I was right. I fell asleep in the chair prior to the start. Fortunately the kids were a bit tired as well and saw a good show two nights earlier. Also, you could hear them and catch a glimpse of them from our house.

All in all it was a good but long weekend...kinda like this post. Hope all is well.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Here It Is Sports Fans

Saturday the 20th was a very special day for Nora and I. That was the day she and I participated in the Eureka College Father/Child basketball clinic. The clinic was run by the men's head basketball coach with the help from 4 current players and 1 former that is coming back as an assistant coach. They did an outstanding job. All of the players were patient and considerate of all the children and their various skill levels. They had their work was cut out for them as the kids ranged in age from entering 1st-6th grade.

The head coach ran us through a good warm-up and stretching routine prior to doing any activity. That was followed by good, well explained ball handling skills. They were drills that showed the kids how to get a good feel for the ball, how to use your fingers, not your palms, and focusing on using both hands.

After the ball handling we moved to four different shooting stations. They taught the kids the Mikan drill, lay-up drill, free throws, and a station with the gun. More on the gun later. For Nora and other younger kids they had a 7 ft hoop set up for them to shoot. Nora was a bit hesitant at first because she does not like being put on the spot. After a little calming down she was fine and joined in the fun.

Nora shooting a lay-up.

Giving Nora some pre-free throw advice.

The form may need some work, but the shot was GOOD!

Taking a pass from Nora and putting up a shot.

The above picture was from the a fore mentioned gun drill. The gun is a machine with a tall net up and around the hoop that rebounds the shot and passes the ball back to you. It teaches you how to catch and shoot and put arch on your shot. Since the small kids would not be able to get the ball high enough they had the kids catch the ball from the gun and pass the ball to the Dads for the shot.

After the shooting drills it was time for the Father/Child game. It was actually the kids against the dads. One of the college players acted as the full-time point guard for the kids. We had a blast. The kids won 39-18.

A little in game action.

All in all the day was a huge success. Nora had fun and is looking forward to next year.

Nigel getting ready for next year.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What a Weekend

I am not going to tell you a thing about all the good stuff that happened this past weekend except that the Father/Child basketball clinic was great. However, I am going to tell you about the hectic start to my week which actually began this weekend.

Saturday evening I received a phone call from the owner of my company around 11 p.m. He never calls me just to chat, so, I was pretty sure he was not making a social call. We were experiencing major failure with several of our freezer components. The service company was there and working to get things back up and running. The battle raged on until 3 in the morning. Temporary fixes were made and the big work would be done on Monday.

When I got into work Monday we started digging into the guts of the compressors and evaporators. We found several issues, many of which should have been caught during preventative maintenance rounds that were preformed by the service company. (They are in the process of trying to cover their very exposed butts.) I have spent the better part of the last two days going in and out of the extreme cold of the freezers to the blistering heat of a Central Illinois summer (93 today). I have learned a bit more about the various parts that run our freezers. Not enough to ever really fix anything, but enough to know how to keep some of the items in better working order.

I know I promised info and pics from the clinic. Unfortunately I do not have the pictures uploaded yet. The story needs the pics.

Until tomorrow.


Friday, June 19, 2009

It Was A Wet Day

We had some pretty serious storms come through the area yesterday. They started as I was on my way into work around 4:45 a.m. I was treated to one impressive light show as I was driving. It sprinkled a bit but did not let loose until I made it into the building. When it let loose, boy did it come down. In fact it rained so hard that it overwhelmed the gutters on the warehouse. Water backed up under the flashing and was pouring into the building in buckets. One of my employees spent over an hour and a half moving pallets and mopping and sucking up water. Fortunately the storm was short lived and the amount of rain that came down was pretty unusual.

The water was too much for our gutters at home as well. We had a wet basement. There were a few boxes of stuff down there that we were either going to donate, get rid of, or find a better place to keep. They were just down on our priority list. The water moved them to the top. Robin did all of the moving of stuff while I was at work. When I got home I took over and cleaned up the remaining water. On the bright side, the basement floor is mopped.

Robin and I are looking forward to a few dry days. Oh is supposed to rain Friday. Yay! I think the weekend looks good.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I Blew It

This actually happened a while ago. I missed sign-ups for baseball this year. Nora will not be taking the field. In my defense, Eureka does not have a park district. So, if you do not know the individual people running the league it is hard to get any info. By the time I was able to track the right guy down it was too late. Nora made the waiting list. So far no luck. She is taking it in stride and says she'll be ready for next year.

Instead, we are filling the summer with other activities. As I sit and type Nora and Robin are at the library participating in sit 'n' stitch. People get together, chat, knit and crochet. She has also been taking part in 4H and loving it. As for a sporting activity on Saturday Nora and I will be taking part in the Eureka College Father/Child basketball clinic. It is open to kids (and their Dads) entering 1st - 4th grade. At the end of the clinic there will be a Father/Child game. I am so going to dominate those little rug rats. I will own the low post! Nora and I are very excited. There will be pictures.

Robin and I both ran tonight and enjoyed perhaps one of the few remaining cool days. Tomorrow is going to be 88 and humid. Not good. You all need to have an extra glass of water for me.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Dodged a Bullet

I had a close call at work today. It requires a bit of a back story so bare with me.

It all stemmed from a cooler door being damaged by my night crew at work. One of the guys ran into the door as it was closing with his fork lift. The resulting damage was significant and would require replacing parts, not just getting the door back in shape with "gentle" persuasion. I looked over the door and thought we would be able to get away with just replacing one section of the door.

I called the manufacturer of the door, explained my situation, gave measurements of the damaged section, and asked if we could replace the damaged part. The man on the other end of the phone said, "oh, a door leaf. Yes we can do that".

(Side note: the word "leaf" denotes section, right?)

So I ordered my EXPENSIVE door leaf and patiently awaited its arrival.
Today was the day. My leaf arrived. My 8' x 10' leaf. I was not shocked. I was petrified. What had I done? I quickly called the manufacturer again and asked why my "leaf" was so big. Turns out, a leaf is the whole door. I missed the measurement detail in the quote.

This could have been a huge problem for me. Fortunately, it was the only option we had. We could not replace only the one section, the entire door had to be ordered. We were not expecting the door, but it does make the price of the leaf easier to swallow.

Long story short...sweat the details.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Trying to get back into the swing of things.

I have been keeping myself pretty busy these days. So busy in fact, that I have completely neglected my blog. I have spent most of my afternoons and weekends running in preparation for the Firecracker 5000. It is a 5k race on the Fourth of July on the Riverefront in Peoria. I am hoping to take home another award for a top 3 finish in my age group. Stay tuned. That, however, is not why I am so excited about the run.

For years Robin has kept up the mantra, "why run if no one is chasing you?" Well, I guess after a year of watching me she decided to see what all the fuss is about. A little over a month ago Robin went out for her first run. Since then she has purchased quality running shoes, excellent running attire, created a run playlist on our sansa, and signed up to run in the Firecracker with me. I think she has been bitten by the running bug just like me. I gotta say I am very proud of her and myself for making a convert.

On the home front we are making slow and moderately steady progress on the kitchen. We have all the cabinets repainted and new hardware. A few of the doors need to be planed down a bit in order to close properly. The wall paper is mostly stripped and the ceiling is cleaned for painting. Now we have to patch holes in the walls and ceiling, paint the ceiling and hang the new wallpaper. Once that is down we will tackle the floor and counter tops. We should have it all wrapped up by 2010.

In entertainment news the no satellite experiment is gong great. The kids do not miss the extra shows at all. They spend way more time playing together and spend more time outside. Most importantly we are not hearing the phrase, "I want that", after every toy commercial. Thanks to the website hulu and our computer we get to watch most of the shows we watched with satellite with the added bonus of limited commercials. This is the way to go for sure!

Nora is enjoying her summer off after first grade, and Nigel is enjoying his summer before the start of kindergarten. Nora had great final marks. She exceeded expectations in reading, writing and math. That's our girl. Nigel can read, draws very well and is very well prepared for school...thanks to big sis.

That is life here in a nutshell. I will try to keep you more up to date with our summer adventure.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I Stand Corrected

Thank you to Adrian for pointing out my error. Yesterday I complimented Pixar for an other fine children's movie that adults could get behind. Well it turns out Dreamworks made Monsters vs Aliens, not Pixar. When Adrian pointed that out I suddenly remembered the little guy fishing on the crescent moon (the Dreamworks logo) being abducted by an alien ship. Good save Adrian.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Daddy, Daughter, Son-day

Yesterday I had the opportunity to spend the day with the Nora and Nigel. Robin had some work to catch up on and a meeting at church. She is on the search committee for our new minister. Anyway, that left Nora, Nigel and I on our own on a rainy day.

So, I decided to surprise them with a movie. What better than Monsters vs. Aliens 3D! Don't tell the kids, but I wanted to see it just as much as they did. They have come a long way with the 3D technology. The first 3D movies I remember were nothing more that a publicity stunt to get you to go see a bad movie. That has changed. The images have depth and really leap off the screen. If you ask Nigel, they leap off a bit too much. The preview for Night at the Museum 2 put Nigel in my lap. The dinosaur was trying to get him! Back to Monsters vs. Aliens. The story was great and the 3D effects were brilliant. We all had a good time and really enjoyed the film. Pixar does a nice job entertaining the kids and giving the adults some humor they can get behind. All in all, we three kids had a good time!


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Mission Accomplished

As you know last year I began running. The initial goal was to get in good enough shape to be able to run and finish the Morton Pumpkin Festival 10k. While training to do that run I entered a few 5k races and had good success. At that point my competitive nature began to take hold. I continued to push myself in subsequent runs and was nearing a level that would allow me to place in my age group. With that in mind I set a goal to place in a race this year.

I plotted out the races that I planned to enter this year, and scoped out the competition. I figured out that I would have to maintain a 7:15/mile pace to be able to crack the top 3 in my age range. I have run that fast for a mile or two, but never for an entire 5k or 4 mile run.

Enter todays Eureka Run with Your Heart 4 mile run. They were giving out medals to the top 5 in each age group, so I pegged this as a golden opportunity. I lined up this morning with high hopes and an anticipated time of just under 30 minutes. Anyone have a guess as to what the guy in the picture below put up?


I not only broke 30 minutes, but as you can clearly see I was sub 28 minutes for the 4 miles! The entire run I kept telling myself...DO NOT SLOW DOWN...YOU CAN MAINTAIN THIS...YOU WILL PLACE. At the 13 minute mark I reminded myself that I could do anything for 15 more minutes, or in this case 14:56. My time was good enough for third place in my age division and 24th overall. To say I am pleased with myself is an understatement.



Monday, April 13, 2009

Race Season Has Begun!

This past Saturday I ran my first race of the year. It was held at the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana. They hosted a marathon, marathon relay, half marathon and 5k. Between 7-8 thousand people took place in the combined events. My friend Josh and I participated in the half marathon. What an experience! I loved every minute of it. The course was fantastic, and the community did a fabulous job getting out and supporting the runners. It was a good feeling having so many people shouting out encouragement and support as we ran down the streets.

The course was advertised to be flat and fast. I can attest to the flat bit, but am not too sure as to the fast part. Josh and I started out together and ran the first 7 or 8 miles together. Somewhere in that time frame I lost Josh. I kind of zoned out a bit and when I snapped back to reality Josh was no where to be found. So, from there on I carried on by myself just taking in the scenery and moment. At mile 10 I caught up to a old high school friend of mine who was running the full marathon. We chatted together for about half a mile until we half marathoners turned off to head to our finish. I was in for one amazing finish.

We were set to finish at the 50 yard line of Memorial Stadium. That in itself sounds great, actually doing it is hard to describe. We approached the stadium and ran along the exterior of it for about .1 miles before doubling back and heading to the field entrance. We turned and ran down the tunnel and emerged on the field to the sounds of cheering fans and supporters. Once on the field we ran along the back of the end zone until we reached the sideline. From there we turned up-field, ran the length of the field to the opposite endzone, turned and ran along the back of that endzone until we reached its midpoint. At that moment we turned and ran up the middle of the field to the finish at the 50 yard line. The jumbo tron was on capturing all the runners as we crossed the line. It was incredible. When I hit the stadium I was so pumped up and excited that I could not help but sprint the rest of the way. I crossed the finish with a time of 1:56:09. Not a bad time for a first half marathon. I hope to have some pictures soon to post.

Next weekend will be my second run of the year. I am running a much more modest distance of 4 miles, but with the lofty goal of placing in my age group. To do so, I am going to have to break 30 minutes. I think I have it in me.


Monday, March 30, 2009

Going, going, gone.

On April 10th we will be taking a big leap. That will be the final day we have Direct TV. No we are not replacing it with Dish Network, comcast, mediacom, or any other satellite or cable t.v. service. We are going old school (sort of) and will have only broadcast t.v. and what we can get through Netflix and the computer. Now before any of you feel too sorry for us you must realize we can get about 90% of the shows we watch from the three mentioned sources. The only difference will be not being able to watch the shows the night they air (most networks air their shows in their entirety via their website the following day) and no ESPN for me. The first issue is no issue at all as we have Tivo and rarely watch shows on the night they first air anyway. I will ease my ESPN addiction through checking scores on the internet and listening to ESPN radio.

Why are we doing this? Saving $700 a year is a pretty good reason in itself. Do you know how much beer I could brew with $700? Money, however, was not the reason. As more and more companies tell us how we "need" to have this and "need" to be connected to that we began to feel push around. So, we are pushing back. We do not need cable. We do not need a cell phone plan with unlimited minutes and texting. We do not need most of the "wants" that society has deemed to be "needs". So, we are pushing back starting with Direct TV and then in June giving Verizon Wireless the heave hoe.

There is yet another bonus to losing the satellite tv. No commercials and complete control over what the kids watch. We are very tired of the constant bombardment of material things toward the kids. All kid shows these days seem to be nothing more than filler between commercials for new toys. Nora and Nigel want 50 new things a day. Gotta stop.

The timing cannot be better. Summer and its busy schedule is quickly approaching and I cannot think of a better time to make a clean break. Stay tuned to see how it goes.


Sunday, March 29, 2009


It is over. As some of you may remember from last year my company must go through a yearly inspection to ensure that we are meeting all of the proper food handling requirements. I am responsible for making sure the facility and now trailers (apparently that is out of the transportation managers skill set) are free of pests, holding proper temps, doors sealed, and generally neat and clean. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get an entire warehouse ready for this type of inspection with the help of essentially one other person? Hard, but I have no choice. If I do not get a certain score we must go through this inspection again in 3mths. Not gonna happen on my watch. We, I mean I, scored a 97%...see ya next year EcoSure! Now I can get back to focusing on the more important things in life like my blog!

So, what's new you may ask? Well, I am currently in training for a 1/2 marathon on April 11th. It is being held at the U of I in Champaign/Urbana. I have added a link to the event web site if anyone is interested in checking out the course and all that is planned for the race. This is going to be my longest run to date. My friend Josh and I have been training together since late Jan early Feb. Even before we started training for this event I had been maintaining my running through the winter. Running in snow, ice, sleet and single digit temps is different. It is amazing how warm you can stay with the winter running gear they make now. That being said, I am looking forward to sun and 60's and 70's.

The following weekend we are running in a charity race here in Eureka. It is a 4 mile run to benefit the Hearthouse, a shelter for domestic abuse victims. I have run 4 miles in times good enough to place in my age division, so I am pretty excited to see what I can do in this race. My recovery from the 1/2 is going to be a big factor. Wish me luck.

Now that my inspection is over I hope to be a bit more regular on the updates.


Sunday, March 22, 2009


I knew this day would come, but I thought I had at least 18 more years. Nora likes boys. As you can imagine I am in a state of shock and fear. How did this come about you may ask? Well, gather 'round as I spin a tale of young love.

It was a Wednesday. Not unlike any other Wednesday, so how was I to know I was in for a life changing revelation. Work was progressing well. We are in the midst of getting ready for our annual inspection, and I was working diligently when I got a call from my Dad. He and my Mom wanted to treat us to dinner at a local restaurant...sounded great to me. Nothing works up an appetite like scrubbing, well, everything. (By the way Mom and Dad, I am ready and willing any night!) After a phone call home to Robin to check our ever changing social calender I found that we had two conflicts. One was Robin's choir practice and the other was a play date for Nora with one of her classmates, Calahan (boy name? girl name? These days who knows?) Dinner with Mom and Dad would have to wait.

Once I got home the evening went on as most Wednesday evenings do, with the exception that Nora was not home. I asked Robin about Nora's friend, Calahan, and that is when I found out when Calahan was a boy. My mind was racing. Who is this boy? Who does he think he is inviting my daughter to his home? What are his intentions? Am I freaking out WAY ahead of schedule? I stewed for the next few hours while waiting for her to come home.

Once she came home I wanted to give her the third degree, but I did not want to tip her off to my paranoia. So, instead I asked the basic questions...What did you guys do? What did you have for dinner? Did you have fun? None of the answers were out of the ordinary. My fears were beginning to subside. Then it all went horribly wrong. Nora told me that Calahan was the sweetest boy in her class. I jokingly said, "Nora's got a boyfriend". Big mistake. As they say, "Let sleeping dogs lay. If it ain't broke, don't fix it", and several other cliches. I was fully expecting her to say "ewww", or "Dad, you are silly", or "gross!" She offered none of those reassuring retorts. Instead, she giggled and smiled. GIGGLED and SMILED!

What is that? My world is in turmoil. This cannot be happening. Boys have cooties until at least age 25. How am I to handle this startling revelation? Well, like many great men before me, I pretended nothing happened at all. Let me repeat...Nothing happened at all!

I am off.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Words of Wisdom

"A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, the slowest and weakest ones are killed first. This is good for the herd, because the health of the group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members. In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Exessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest cells first. That's why you always fell smarter after a few beers." -Cliff Claven



Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Found It

I have spent the last month, in fact this entire year looking for my blog. Every time I thought I getting close to tracking it down, poof, the trail went cold. Upon opening up my computer this morning, much to my surprise, there it was. How could I resist, I had to post an entry. A lot has happened since I last wrote.

The year ended. For the first time in several years the Robinson family actually rang in the New Year. Several factors prevented us from celebrating in We got together with some friends for dinner, drinks and Wii. Yes, we got our first taste of the Wii. It is a blast. If you let yourself get into it you can really get a workout playing. Just make sure your kids are out of range or you may pop them in the head.

Last Feb for Valentines Day, Robin and I took a weekend trip to the Chicago area. Part of the weekend was a shopping trip to Ikea where we picked out new family room furniture. Long story short, it would not all fit in BaRT (Big Red Truck), so we decided to leave the chair we wanted and run up some weekend to pick it up. Well that weekend finally rolled around two weeks ago. Robin and I went up on a Saturday morning, picked up our recliner and were home by 3:30pm. Did you know that you could get scrambled eggs, bacon and breakfast taters at Ikea for $.99? I love Ikea!

I finally brewed the much talked about Vanilla Porter and for good measure I have added a Honey Wheat and Saison (farmhouse style ale) to my at home inventory. I have sampled the Vanilla is not quite ready yet, but it is yummy. It should be ready for the big game. The Honey will be ready the following weekend and the Saison is about a month away.

Robin has been knitting up a storm. She really enjoys the hobby. Her most recent completed project was a pair of socks for Nora. They are very warm and fuzzy and Nora loves them. Robin has also become very active at our church. She sings in the choir, extremely well if I do say so myself, acts as the wedding coordinator, and has recently joined a small group committee. We really like our church and the people there, so it has been easy to be involved.

Nora and Nigel are fantastic. We are preparing for Nora's 7th birthday on Feb 5th. We will celebrate it on the 7th with a bowling birthday party. Nigel is becoming well versed in the ways of the Force these days. He has been playing Star Wars everyday for about a week and a half. His favorite guy is Darth Vader. I knew that one had a dark side. Nora is still enjoying school and doing very well. The teachers are really impressed with her creativity and how well she gets along with all her classmates. Nigel is ready for kindergarten. Robin and I are not. Where is the pause button?

The running has started again in earnest. I am training for a half marathon on April 11th at the U of I. I am amazed at the clothes available for cold weather running. My running partner, Josh, and I went for a run on Sunday in 10 degrees and were very comfortable. Our beards froze, but the rest of us was quite warm.

That is enough for now. I have left a trail of crumbs as to not lose my blog again. Until next time....