Football Season Begins! Again!

The NFL season begins as usual at the O.K. Chorale. We get together on Thursday nights to do our picks for the week. The menu for Eating the Opponent comes up for discussion, and we’re set for the weekend. Mostly.

With the routines in place, we gathered the ingredients to Eat Chicago with a home made deep dish pizza. Thick crust from my breadmaker, Italian sausage, peppers, onions, olives, pepperoni, home grown oregano, fresh tomato sauce from garden tomatoes – are you hungry yet? It was delicious and filling. We’ll have leftovers for lunch for a few days, too.

I’m drafting this post midday Sunday (That’s 3:35 in the NFL world), and Amigo is in the lead so far with picks. He has 7, I have 4, and Chuck and the visiting bunny are tied with 3 each. I keep repeating my script “it’s a good thing I don’t do this for money!”

Meanwhile, our Milwaukee Brewers are in the 11th inning of a cliffhanger with a score on 1-0 over the New York Yankees. Any minute now we’ll hear an update on whether they held the Bronx Bombers to a shutout and swept the series  – or not.

Now it’s time to put the computer down and enjoy the Packers competing with their arch-nemesis, Da Bears. Go! Pack! Go!


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Catching Up With Earth Month

I posted Treehugger’s suggestions for April 1 – 5, and then got lost in real life. Here we go; days 6, 7, and 8 of Earth Month’s actions.

From Earth Month Challenge: 30 Easy Actions:  

April 6: Check for leaky faucets. One dripping faucet can waste a lot of water – treated water. This is an environmental and frugal action. Check the faucets and the toilets for leaks!

April 7: Cook pasta in its sauce, not water. This, again, is a water saving and money saving action. I’ll add my own suggestion: use homemade broth for cooking pasta – or rice. It adds a hint of flavor and uses a resource that’s available and created from potential waste products. At least, my broths are made from scraps that would otherwise land in the compost.

April 8, today: Skip meat and cheese for a day. This one is tougher. I can handle skipping meat or minimizing meat to a side dish portion, but cheese? I’m a true blue Wisconsinite. Cheese is everything! But since Chuck developed a lactose intolerance, we haven’t eaten as much cheese as we used to. I don’t top the spaghetti with parmesan and mozzarella automatically – just to my portion and maybe Amigo’s. And where do eggs stand in this challenge? I had leftover rice and beans with fried eggs for lunch. Delicious! I need to give this some thought.

Stay tuned for more eco-friendly actions throughout April – or go to Treehugger yourself!

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Christmas Trees in Packerland

No one fumbles around with the tree in a Green Bay Packer fan household. Diminutive though they may be, these little delights are like prize jewels of the family ornament collection. This roly-poly guy is a jingle bell decked out in Green and Gold and a football uniform.

These two came from a student (oh, she knew me well). They look fragile, but they aren’t. You won’t see them on injured reserve. Tiny and shiny, the crystal snowmen are small enough to fit in a teacup, but they’re prettier near a string of lights that can reflect on their glory.

 They may not be in the playoffs this year, but our tree still shouts “Go, Pack, Go!”

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“That’s how (blank) felt when…”

We were bowling Friday night. Picture this: a group of teachers and spouses, most dressed in their Friday Green and Gold, gathered at the local bowling alley (and Pokemon gym) for a post-holiday party. I managed to catch several Pokemon critters while we were gathering. Chuck captured a local craft beer for himself and a glass of white zinfandel for me. And then we bowled.

None of us – okay, few of us – were any good at it, so spares and strikes were exciting. It was reminiscent of the Pepsi commercials featuring Odell Beckham and some ordinary everyday folks celebrating their own achievements. Remember “This must be how Shelly felt when she won that purple bear”? I came back from a that’ll show ’em spare announcing to my team “This must be how Aaron Rodgers feels when he throws a Hail Mary!”

And it built from there.

Strike! “This must be how DaVante Adams felt when he scored that touchdown!”

Spare! and a strike to follow! “This must be how Clay Matthews felt when he caused that fumble and recovered it himself!”

Gutter ball. “This must be how Brett Favre felt when he retired – the first time.”

A missed split for a missed spare: “This must be how Odell Beckham felt when he punched a hole in the locker room wall.”

You can imagine the inspirations for these.


This must be how Richard Rodgers felt when he caught that Hail Mary against the Lions.

This must be how Mike McCarthy feels every time Aaron Rodgers throws a Hail Mary.

This must be how Jordy Nelson felt when he got speared in the ribs by that dirty hit.

This must be how Mason Crosby felt when he kicked off and then had to tackle the receiver.

This must be how Tom Brady felt when he got caught deflating his footballs.

Yeah, it was getting lamer than lame as the beers and the gin and tonics got tallied up and we returned our ugly shoes to the counter. In our defense, it was Friday the 13th, a full moon, and we’re teachers, for heaven’s sake!

So readers, let’s leave it at that. Play the game with me. What would you say to fill in the blanks? “That must be how (blank) felt when (blankety blank) happened.” Now put your Diet Pepsi down, and think on it. If it takes a little while, just remember that the 23rd time is the charm. Hey, it worked for Shelly.

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Playoffs! And the Giants are Coming to Town!

The New York Giants are coming to the Frozen Tundra sometime today for a game tomorrow. No snowstorm this week, so Eli Manning and company won’t have to worry about sliding off the runway like Minnesota did two weeks ago. In fact, Amigo remembers a weekend many years ago when the opposition (he’s pretty sure it was the Giants) was snowed in and had to spend a second and maybe third night in their hotel. Maybe it was this game.

Then there was the year when word got out that Manning’s favorite television show was Seinfeld, and the local Fox affiliate decided to show something else in place of the usual rerun on Saturday night. In an attempt to psych out the visiting quarterback, they played an ancient black and white special on Vince Lombardi. Only in Packerland, my friends, only in Packerland do we take our football so seriously that it changes the television schedule – on Saturday.

We’re planning to Eat the Opponent with a choice we’ve made in the past: Jersey Bagels. We’ll be supporting a local business, getting something delicious, and showing our Packer spirit at the same time. The Giants play their games in New Jersey, after all, not New York.

I’m dressed up in one of my warmest and coziest Packer sweaters with a green/yellow patterned turtleneck underneath. It’s cold, cold, cold tonight. The Giants will face temperatures not quite as bad; the thermometer is due to rise above zero Fahrenheit tomorrow. Highs might even reach the teens. Go! Pack! Go!

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That’s My (green and gold) Son.

Actual text message from Chuck a few nights ago, at Barbershop practice:
Team building exercise tonight is Packer Trivia. Each section is a team. Leads are winning. That’s YOUR son.
Indeed. When they came home, I found out Amigo had missed one question: Bart Starr’s real first name. It’s Bryan – Bryan Bartlett Starr. Amigo guessed Bartholomew.
He also wondered about Lombardi Time. Lombardi Time, for those not in the know, meant fifteen minutes earlier than scheduled. If Lombardi scheduled a meeting at 8:30, his players knew to arrive by 8:15. There was no grace period. Bart Starr remembers getting to an 8:30 meeting at 8:15 only to find out he was a half hour late; the meeting time had been changed to 8:00. Ouch.
Well, that’s my boy. Green and gold to the core. We don’t utilize Lombardi Time in our home, but we know a lot about team history.
How about you, readers? Do you have encyclopedic knowledge of sports trivia? Or other trivia? That knowledge isn’t useful very often, but it certainly is fun.

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Using the Celebrity Spokesperson

Hey, Peyton. Yes, you. Mr. Manning. Archie’s son, Eli’s brother. Mr. Good-guy boy-next-door. They’re using you. You recognized that, didn’t you? Or didn’t you?

Take “Papa” John Schnatter. He got himself in hot water by badmouthing the Affordable Care Act in such a way that he ended up looking petty. He said that in order to pay for heath coverage for his employees, he’d have to raise the price of each pizza by a quarter. Twenty-five cents. $.25. Oh, pity party. He feared it would cut down his sales.

Instead, people heard about his reluctance to allow health care for his employees and – get this – customers stopped buying Papa John’s pizza! He was watching his profits go downhill, and “Papa” had to do something.

That’s when he called you, Peyton. He needed a sportsperson who had that innocent, never-do-wrong look about him. I’m sure he pays you a lot more than the projected cost of health insurance for his employees. But what the heck? He needed to upgrade his image, and fast. Peyton, he’s using you. He wants your image to rub off on him.

And that Cable vs. Direct TV commercial. How could you think it was humorous to put down the barbershop singers? Talented, cooperative, fun people like barbershop singers are awesome. Frankly, your boy-next-door image could benefit from singing barbershop. Maybe the media would forget about the steroids shipped to your wife if you let the barbershop quartet image rub off on you. Reading the Direct TV script didn’t help their marketing plan, and the negative attitude may have cost your Q score (likability measurement) instead.

Peyton, call your agent. Let him or her know that while the money might be good, you care about your image. You’re  too close to retirement to mess with your image. Someday, you won’t throw passes, and the commercial income based on your reputation may be all you have.

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Why January is a difficult month

January tends to be difficult around the house because:

  • We’re cleaning up Christmas, a wonderful season.
  • There’s an emotional letdown after Christmas, too.
  • I start putting away my holiday music collection.
  • We’re cleaning. A lot. And I hate cleaning.
  • It’s cold outside, and I just want to stay inside and stay warm.
  • Regular everyday activities mean exposure to the cold.
    • Filling up with gas.
    • Stopping at the convenience store for coffee.
    • Driving through the ATM.
    • Driving through the coffee shop.
    • Can coffee count twice?
  • I want the Packers to win and Chuck – well, playoffs mean something else to the guy who works for a Green Bay television station.

January is tough at school/work because:

  • Going back to school means adjusting to waking up early again.
  • My office is in an old, drafty building. Brrr.
  • The parking lot fills up fast, and the overflow is a block away. Brrr again.
  • January means wrapping up first semester and prepping second semester at the same time.
  • Students I’ve pushed and pulled and nagged to get caught up in their work suddenly panic.
  • The stretch from Winter Break to Spring Break is the longest and brings forth the worst student behavior.
  • Head Count Day #2! In the virtual school world, we have alternate ways of counting and verifying our students.

January feels difficult because:

  • In two of the past five years, I’ve had a medical leave of absence in January.
  • Every January, I get this irrational fear that I won’t make it through the month without a sick leave.
  • When January comes around again, I flash back to the year of my Great Depression and the year of my Hysterectomy.
  • As the year turns, I remember all I’ve accomplished – and all that I haven’t.

Okay, January, I’m ready. My grade book is waiting, and I know how to attack it. I’m (relatively) health. I have warm sweaters and fingerless gloves in my desk drawer. La Petite gave me a (gorgeous) neck warmer to go with my warm wool coat.


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Packer colors?

As seen at local store:

Muk Luks, not.

Muk Luks, not.

The colors are all wrong, too. This store has a contract with the NFL to use the Green Bay “G”, but the logo on these purple/fuschia/pinkish slippers just looks like an afterthought.

I own a piece of team stock. I own real Mukluks. I don’t need to own these ridiculous slippers.

And I won’t even mention some of the garb available in other nearby departments.

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