Gentlemen’s Hamburger Clug

Tonight I joined seven other gentlemen at the Austin chapter of the Gentlemen’s Hamburger Clug. (Yes, that is Clug with a G, a running joke after a typo many years ago, apparently.) This club has a chapter in San Francisco as well, and it consists of a monthly visit to a local sit-down restaurant to try a new hamburger while wearing a full suit and tie and discussing gentlemanly topics. I was invited to attend by friend Brian Mego, who was former co-workers with one of the founding members. Tonight’s restaurant was The Silo on 7th, which seemed to please everyone. With a baby due soon, chances are somewhat probable that was my one and only clug meeting. But we had a good time!

Interview With Elizabeth Burke

Today’s interview comes from a great friend who I met 12 years ago at Valleyfair! When we met in 2002, Liz Burke was my supervisor in the Games department. By late 2003, I was her supervisor when she returned for a brief stint as a Game Op. Between various weekend road trips between DSU and Creighton, Liz serving as an usher in our wedding, Carpenter Bashes, Microboards and MDA doing business together, and spring break in 2004 in Las Vegas and in 2005 in Detroit, Liz and I have many fun memories together. Since Lauren and I have relocated to Texas, there are few friends who I’ve missed seeing more. So, let’s see what Elizabeth, her husband Curt, and children Leah, Nick, and Ben are up to these days!

10275436_10100106956675086_8152079235547723177_o1. Hello Elizabeth, how are you today?

EB: Oh man, I’m surviving!

2. How have the first six months of being mother to twins gone?

EB: It’s been a ton of work, but I really love it. I wasn’t very excited to have twins when I was pregnant, and maybe not when they were still squirmy, floppy babies who barely slept, but now I love it. I feel like I won the lottery! These guys are so stinking cute and sweet. I’m overwhelmed by how much I love them and how lucky I am to be a twin mom.

3. Are these two combined easier than Leah as a baby alone?

EB: Absolutely! These boys are physically exhausting, whereas Leah was physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausting. She almost killed me. These boys are so sweet and happy and are good at sleeping. It makes a huge difference!

4. Please share some of the hilarious nicknames you have for your three kids… and for Curt, if you have one!

EB: I’ve always been really into ridiculous nicknames. I call none of my siblings by their given name and often renamed our family animals. Perhaps that’s why I appreciate Marcy’s animal nicknaming so much. It’s only natural I came up with good names for my own offspring. An important note is that Leah responds to all her nicknames and also uses the boys’ nicknames on a regular basis. Some of my favorites are:
Leah: Bird Face, Bird Head, Pinecone, Nanny Goat
Ben: Doody, Benny Boy
Nick: Little Sir, Nicky Baby

5. What did you end up doing with your night of freedom on Mother’s Day when Curt took over parenting duty for the whole night?

EB: You know, I did a lot of things a mother would find exciting, but those without young kids may find boring. Just doing any of these things without children is so enjoyable. In order: Eyebrow wax, browsing The Container Store, going to open houses with my sister, nap, massage, dinner, crossed the street to buy some snacks at Walgreens, back to my hotel with my sisters to watch half of Forrest Gump before I fell asleep in my quiet hotel bed. It was heaven.

6. Which of your friends do you think has the most exciting day-to-day life?

EB: I bet it’s Dan Jaker. He is always up for a good time, still goes out to do crazy things even on work nights. He has dozens of hilarious friends so I bet things are pretty much always funny in his life.

7. Is there something that happened in the past to you or someone you know that makes you burst out laughing out loud every time you think of it?

EB: Most of those quotes from your website make me burst out laughing! If I was a part of them, just reading them and remembering how hilarious it was makes me laugh. Our whole Vegas trip makes me burst out laughing.

8. Do you think you’ll one day in the future go back to work or are you loving being a stay-at-home mom?

EB: Being a stay at home mom is no joke, but I’m so thankful I’m able to do it. I’m not sure how seriously I’ll go back to work, but I’ll probably go back in some capacity once the kids go to school, even if it’s just working the check-in desk at a gym. I’d love to be a stay at home mom forever, mostly because I think once the kids all go to school it should be ridiculously easy and relaxing. Maybe I’m crazy to say that, and I apologize to any stay at home moms of school age kids if that sounds rude, but I just think it sounds so fun to volunteer at school events, watch them play sports, and actually take a minute to myself again.

9. Do you miss us living in Minneapolis? Do you think we should ever move back?

EB: YES! Move back! Please?! I miss you guys so much! But your timing is good to be away. I’m so busy with children I rarely see friend who live 10 minutes away. So make sure you plan your move home for when I have lots more free time. Maybe two years?

10. One of the main reasons I re-posted my list of top quotes recently is I know how much you enjoy reading them. Which of our friends’ classic quotes is your all-time favorite?

EB: You’re a true friend! I love those quotes. As you know, I’ve been keeping track of quotes since high school. I think my all-time favorite quote actually comes from you!

Travis, while eating a Moons of Mi-Hammie at Denny’s in Vegas: “I’m full”
You, not missing a beat: “Full of sh*t! Finish those fries!”

11. Well thanks for joining us today Liz, any closing remarks?

EB: Screw Celine Dion!

Memorial Weekend

Not much time to post anything before bed tonight! I have a couple other interviews sent out to be filled out and returned. I had written an interview with Baxter and posted it and then moments later realized how stupid it was and took it down. The one benefit to it staying online was someday if I was ever on trial I could plead insanity and point the jurors towards the interview with my dog that I typed up.

Memorial Weekend was spent almost entirely at home. Saturday I put together the baby IKEA furniture. Sunday we had our fellow Minnesotan friends the Chapmans over for fajitas. Monday I was off but Lauren had to work, and a monster thunderstorm passed through, thwarting my plans to grab lunch with her downtown. And today it was back to work.

Watching a rare thunderstorm from the baby room window.

Watching a rare thunderstorm from the baby room window.

Mom-orial Day Interview

Next up on the interview series is dear old mom. Let’s see what she’s up to these days at her job at HRMC and on the farm!

IMG_08761. Hello Mom, how are you today?

MG: To tell the truth, I’m beat. I volunteered to work today so that another co-worker could enjoy the weekend at the river with her family. How stupid could I be? When I started working at the hospital, I thought, “Hmmm….I can’t believe that the ER in Huron would be very busy…that should be a cushy job!” NOT. I worked from 7-3:30 and it was non-stop. No lunch, no bathroom breaks, no drink of water. Just go, go, go.

You wouldn’t believe some of the lame things people come in with, but there are also lots of very serious things, too. Today was one of those days when the rooms were all filled with people waiting to get in as quickly as the rooms became empty. Then I had to come home and bake cookies for the Memorial Day program tomorrow. Why do people have to eat every time they attend something? Can’t they wait until they get home to have a cookie? OK, done with my rant.

2. How relieved are you that it’s no longer winter?

MG: I am so happy that the winter months are behind us for awhile. It wasn’t so bad as for the amount of snow this past winter, but it set all kinds of records for cold. 30 below got to be the norm. I love me some sun and some damaging UV rays.

3. Do you miss us yet? Should we move back north?

MG: Of course I miss you! And yes, you should move back north, but at the same time, I like having an excuse to go south during the winter. If you ever get tired of the traffic and heat, you can always come back and be a farmer. You know you loved stacking bales and sorting calves and all that stuff.

4. Do you and Dad have any fun plans for the summer?

MG: Maybe…I set aside a few days in June with PTO in case we decided to something fun. We haven’t decided yet, but I am thinking of a trip to the hills, or maybe a lake in Minnesota where we could go boating and sleep late and see some scenery. In reality, we’ll probably do none of those things.

5. Are you excited to add your seventh grandchild to the family this summer, or is #7 just, ho-hum, another grand-kid?

MG: A new grandchild is very exciting, even though it will be #7. Especially as you and Lauren haven’t had any yet. I am glad you decided to keep everything a surprise until the big day. The only one who may not be excited is Baxter, but he’ll get used to the addition before too long.

6. What is the latest news and/or gossip from Carpenter?

MG: Well, the big excitement around here is the new fertilizer plant. Now, that may sound boring to some, but it is a huge building (we can see it from our house, a good 2 or 3 miles away). It doesn’t take much to get us Carpenterians excited.

7. What is your pet situation? I heard you were looking for a new dog!

MG: I am. I’ve had puppy fever for some time, now. It isn’t often that we have only one dog on the farm, and Buster has been the lone mutt for nearly 2 years now, after Rufus ate a decaying calf and the bones punctured his innards. He was a good dog, but not very bright. I would love to get a sheltie, but they are few and far between. I’ve been watching Craigslist everyday and have been keen on a miniature aussie, a German shepherd/lab mix, a golden retriever and a few mutts, but every time I get my hopes up, they end up being sold. I think that someday the perfect dog will just end up being in the right place at the right time.

8. How do you like your new job compared to the mail route?

MG: I like certain aspects of it, for example I may work three days and then get two off, then work one and get two more off, etc…every week is different and it’s really nice not being trapped in a 6 day a week job. On the other hand, I have to leave home earlier and get home later, and the work is a lot more stressful than delivering the mail was. Although, delivering mail in a blizzard or on icy roads was really stressful, too. The hospital will let me stay in one of their rooms for free if the weather is bad, and that’s a perk (though it’s kind of creepy being in a room on a floor that is totally deserted).

9. I heard you got a trampoline. Have you and Dad played on it?

MG: I have jumped on it a few times, mainly when Hadley has been here. It’s really comfy to lay on, so I got the bright idea the other day to put on my swimsuit and lay out in the sun on the trampoline. It’s in our backyard and there’s a net around it, so there’s no chance anyone is going to see me. Right…I was pleasantly dozing off when here comes Alex. I was thankful that I hadn’t taken my top off like I had contemplated doing, and so was he! I was so annoyed that I can’t ever hide from people and he said it was pretty clear that I was on the trampoline since the dogs were laying under it. Damned dogs.

10. You are always one to have an annoying radio ad or TV commercial or song that you hear every day and complain about. Is there anything currently annoying you?

MG: You’re right, I am always complaining, but now that you ask, I can’t come up with one in particular. There is a new show that’s coming on soon called Rising Star, and the announcer makes it sound like it’s a ground breaking concept…a show where people will sing and people will judge them. Uh…I think that’s been done before. That annoys me so I won’t be watching that show.

11. Well thanks for joining us today, any closing remarks?

MG: I’m honored that you thought I would be interesting enough to interview. I’m sure I’ve disappointed you now, but thanks anyway.

Interview With Jordan

Next up in the interview series is Jordan Krogman, my sister from Vermillion, South Dakota.

1. Hello Jordan and thank you for joining us. How are you today?

JK: I’m a little worn out today! I was a bridesmaid in a wedding yesterday that I also was the photographer for, so it was a really long and hectic day (as I’m sure you can imagine) but lots of fun. Stayed out a little too late, had a few too many drinks, but all in all it was worth the effort.

2. The kids are almost out of school for the year. What sorts of emotions are you going through, and what kinda of things do you have planned for the summer?

JK: As of Wednesday, the kids actually are out of school. The past month was probably the most chaotic month I’ve ever lived through with all of the kids’ school programs and activities coming to an end. It seemed like the recitals, programs, concerts, tests, and field trips would never end. Now that they finally *have*, I’m just looking forward to not having a strict schedule to adhere to. It will be nice to have some time at home to just breathe and unwind after that craziness.

I’m trying to keep this summer a little more low-key than usual because I’m tired of always having to be somewhere. Each of the kids will be doing one activity this summer to help keep the running-around to a minimum. Peyton is going to be in a contemporary dance class (she’s also continuing on with her Tae Kwon Do, but she’ll be taking herself to and from class so that doesn’t count); Emmy is going to be doing a combo dance class that incorporates ballet, jazz, tap and even yoga; Hudson is doing gymnastics (he insisted on it because –in his own words– he “loves being around girls”); and Colton is going to be in Mom and Tot tumbling. I may need to be slightly drunk for that to be fun.

3. Will there be any summer vacations or is it too much of a hassle to travel with four youngsters?

JK: I’m sure we’ll make a few short trips, but we don’t plan to venture too far from home. Well, I take that back…as I sit and type this, Calvin has the kids in Kansas City at his brother’s graduation from seminary school. I wasn’t able to go along because of the wedding I was involved with, but they were excited to go straight from the last day of school to a pretty good vacation. Other than that, though, I think maybe we’ll hit up the zoo, Story Book Park, maybe the Ingalls’ homestead….things that are closer to home. I can’t handle road trips with all that bickering going on behind my head. And I loathe packing and unpacking suitcases for all six of us….it’s a lot of work.

4. From what I’ve read, Peyton seems to be going through an annoyed pre-teen phase. Which of the kids has changed the most over the past year?

JK: Definitely Peyton. She’s grown the most physically and emotionally…she doesn’t seem like a little kid anymore. She and I have been swapping clothes and books; she can sit and have a real conversation with us; she pretty much eats any and all foods I prepare for her without protest. It’s actually been really nice to have a bigger, more mature kid. Yes, she can be a bit moody, but I still get that way too so…who am I to complain? Her little eye-rolling/sighing/emotional outburst moments are much, much easier for me to deal with than flat-out tantrums with a toddler who can’t be reasoned with.

5. You seem to have lost lots of weight and are doing lots of yoga. What is your daily workout routine?

JK: I have not actually lost a lot of weight. I have lost a lot of inches and put on a significant amount of muscle mass, but the number on the scale has barely changed at all. I think that I’m maybe 6 pounds lighter than I was 2 years ago. I try to exercise every day to some capacity, whether that’s going for a jog outside, lifting weights, doing yoga, or doing HIIT training. I try to mix things up a lot so that I won’t get bored. I do love to practice yoga, but I think I like weight lifting even more. We inherited a set of dial-up weights from Calvin’s brother and I’ve been doing the ChaLean Extreme DVDs by Beach Body pretty often….the program focuses on doing a low number of really slow reps at a high weight. I’ve gotten to where I’m doing 20# bicep curls and using 35# weights in each hand when I do squats and lunges. If I didn’t have muscle, I wouldn’t be able to do yoga because it requires so much core strength and stability. I also did P90X3 a little while back and that helped get me out of a rut I’d fallen into during the holidays.

6. Are you excited to become an aunt once again this summer?

JK: I’m ecstatic! I love being an aunt…it’s a much different experience than being a mom. I’ll try to keep my potentially-annoying parenting advice to myself unless it’s specifically asked for, but I tend to get really excited about baby stuff so you may just have to learn to smile and go with it. I hope I can make it to Texas to visit for a while after he/she arrives.

7. Are you and Calvin set in your jobs for a while, or will it be yet another big search for permanent employment again this fall?

JK: Calvin is pretty much constantly looking for other job opportunities. He has his doctorate now and could be earning quite a bit more money in a different position…but he’s having a hard time finding anything. We would prefer to stay in Vermillion, so he has to limit his search to jobs within reasonable driving distance. I’m very happy at the job I have now, and have no intention of leaving any time soon (unless Calvin gets a job somewhere that would require it).

8. How did you cope with what was one of the longest winters in memory last year?

JK: Well, the kids’ busy schedules helped to keep us occupied during the week. They probably spent a lot more time playing video games than they should have, but it was too cold to have fun outside. We had barely any snow at all, so it would have been stupid to send them out in the below-zero weather to stomp around on the frozen dead grass. We did a lot of baking (Emmy found a love for being in the kitchen); a TON of reading; more than enough fighting; and generally being lazy and depressed. This winter took a lot of spunk out of us, so I’ve been pushing really hard to get everyone interested in the outdoors again now that it’s warmer.

9. Are you at the point where Peyton is old enough to trust her alone with the other three kids, or do you still need to drag everyone around every time you need to run an errand?

JK: I can trust the three bigger kids home together, but I’d never leave Colton with one of the other kids. He’s even hard for ME to keep track of! He’s a great escape artist and a very crafty little boy, I suppose because he has been watching the older kids and getting bright ideas from them. Sometimes I’ll be doing something (folding laundry or doing dishes or whatever) and I’ll hear the front door slam shut. By the time I get to the door, I’ll see him racing full-speed down the sidewalk with a shit-eating grin on his face. He LOVES to get a rise out of people and is generally just very, very….um….spirited. I’ll go with spirited. That sounds nicer than what I was originally going to type. No, it’ll be a while before I can trust Colton home without an adult present.

10. What high school activities do you see each of the children excelling in?

JK: Peyton is really into things like singing and dancing, and has shown some interest in doing show choir. I could see that being right up her alley. She’s very argumentative, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she eventually found herself on a debate team or something like that.

Emmy has a knack for music, so I think she’ll be very involved in band and choir. She’s also very artsy…she’ll probably do anything that allows her to create and be free-spirited.

Hudson….he’s a tough nut to crack. He’s a great runner, so maybe he’ll do cross country or track. But he doesn’t like competition of any kind and isn’t a fan of contact sports. (None of the kids are) He’s never shown an interest in music the way the girls have, but who knows…he’s only 6. I’m sure we’ll find his “thing” here in the next couple of years. Or maybe he’ll be a gymnast if that goes well this summer.

Colton is going to have to be a football player or something. He is the most physically aggressive of the kids and seems to be the toughest. If we can keep him out of juvie, I’ll be happy ;)

11. What current TV shows are you most obsessed with?

JK: I love Downton Abbey, but it’s been a while since they’ve had any new episodes. I am anxiously awaiting the show’s return to PBS.

Calvin got me hooked on the Walking Dead, which surprised me as much as everyone else. He used to watch it on Sunday nights and I would knit or edit photos while it was on. One day I found myself sneaking a few peeks at the screen, and before I knew what was happening I was asking questions about the characters and getting involved in the many story lines. I bought Calvin the first two seasons of the Walking Dead for Valentines Day this past year so I could start back over from the beginning and get answers to all my questions about the show.

Hmmm, what else? I like to watch Suits, Sherlock, Glee (although I’m giving up on the show after this last shitty season), The Voice, Orphan Black (I just started watching this on Amazon Prime)….I’m working my way through Pretty Little Liars right now, though I can’t say that I *love* it. I just needed something to watch. I have a LOT of free time on my hands while I’m at work.

If you have any recommendations, I’m all ears!

12. Well, thanks for joining us today Jordan, any closing remarks?

JK: Thanks for making me feel like there might be people out there who will find my boring mom stories interesting! Calvin and the kids are driving from Kansas to Vermillion right now, and I’ve got lots of stuff to accomplish before their arrival, so I should get away from the computer and do something productive or I’ll be mad at myself later.

Interview With Lauren

Interview was conducted orally… I was attempting to type Lauren’s responses in real time, so if she wasn’t quoted correctly, you can blame me… and I had had several drinks at that point. But really, it was an admirable effort on my part.

1. Hello Lauren, how are you today?

LPG: I’m doing pretty well. I burnt my tongue on some soup earlier, but otherwise no complaints.

2. So… you’ve been pregnant for about six months. How do you feel physically?

LPG: I feel pretty good! Getting more tired now, and I’ve had some bad sciatica, but it’s been thankfully pretty boring so far, and that’s a good thing.

3. And how does it feel to know that in less than three months, you will be someone’s mother?

LPG: It’s kind crazy… but very cool!

4. What sorts of things do you feel need to be done before Tiny Baby arrives?

LPG: Well, there’s a lot left to be done as far as the house. Need to do home improvement projects. Lord knows we won’t have time to take care of those things once we’re parents of a human baby, not just a beagle. Lots left to prepare–need to find a pediatrician, need to do lots left in terms of the act of having and raising a child.

5. Any preference on boy or girl whatsoever? Is there a pro or con to either? And what do you think it might be?

LPG: Well, I don’t have a preference of boy or girl, no. Whatever variety comes out, they’ll be wearing Vikings or Twins gear, and if you have your way I suppose they’ll be wearing Chargers gear once in a while too. But, no matter what I’ll be very happy if the baby comes out happy and healthy.

6. Are there any names you have in mind, or is it going to be one of those situations where you have to see the baby first?

LPG: Of course I have names in mind. Nothing I’m ready to share with the blog audience. But I don’t think we’ll pick a name for certain until we see the baby.

7. Do you think it will be tricky to raise a child with no family within 1000 miles?

LPG: …uh, of course? Kinda a silly question.

8. What do you miss most about living in Minnesota?

LPG: Oh being close to family, certainly. Being just a few short hours from the Glanzer Klan. It’s not very often we get to see either side of our family. Occasionally I miss snow… very fleetingly. Remembering how we had to dig out of snowbanks, and how we had to start the car ten minutes before we left for anywhere, and scraping ice off the windshield… those things I don’t miss so much. But it sure can be pretty. And I do miss just being able to hop on a bus, or just make a late afternoon decision to head to a Twins game and go! Of course, if we had a dog in Minnesota it would have been much different too.

9. How is work at Whole Foods going?

LPG: It’s going pretty well! Just getting the hang of the new job, and now doing a lot to train someone else on how to do it for a while before we have the baby, and then trying to re-train myself on how to do it before I come back!

10. How is knitting going?

LPG: Great! Thanks for asking. I’ve been knitting quite a few things for the baby. Of course, living in Texas there’s not much call for sweaters, but if things get chilly this baby will have plenty of them.

11. Well, thanks for joining us today Lauren. Any closing remarks?

LPG: It’s been a pleasure, Ryan. Go Twins!

Can I Connect Any 2 MLB Players From History?

As you may know, I possess a bizarre amount of useless baseball history knowledge. Ever since receiving a gigantic Encyclopedia of Baseball for my 10th birthday in 1992, I have been memorizing statistics, records, and standings. I always want someone to try quizzing me but to no avail. So today, I will quiz myself.

Baseball-Reference.com has a frivolous feature called Oracle of Baseball where you enter any two player names ever and it will connect a chain of common teammates. Today, I will attempt to wow you with my baseball knowledge.

I am choosing two players completely at random and will try to talk my way through connecting the two, before checking my answer online.

Marlon Byrd, current Phillies outfielder
&
Kevin Tapani, former Twins pitcher from early 90s

Let’s see…

Tapani pitched with the Twins through about 1995 when he was teammates with a very young Eddie Guardado.

Guardado came back to the Twins in 2008 when he was teammates with Justin Morneau.

Morneau and Byrd played together in Pittsburgh last season.

I think that’s accurate.

According to baseball-reference.com, yes, my way is accurate.

But there is a much shorter connection…

Wow, they were both teammates with the ageless wonder, LaTroy Hawkins! Tapani on the ’95 Twins, Byrd on the ’13 Mets.

How about another one? Glad you asked!

I’ll try 80s power-hitter Ben Oglivie and current White Sox lefty Chris Sale.

Oglivie was with the ’82 Brewers, where he was teammates with Paul Molitor. Molitor played on the ’97 Twins with Brad Radke, who was on the ’06 Twins with Jesse Crain. Crain was teammates with Sale in Chicago.

…And, the results?

Wow, I was damn close! Oglivie played with Paul Molitor, who I am surprised to learn played with AJ Pierzynski on the ’98 Twins, who was Sale’s catcher in Chicago as recently as 2011.

Got any more for me? Think I can be stumped?