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Keeping true to my promise, here are my seven quirks.  Welcome to the weirdness.

  1. I listen to music I like over and over again.  Anyone of my former college roommates will tell you this is true.  If I am introduced to a song I enjoy, I will listen to it until I can’t stand it anymore.  This can last for months.  Some of these repeat songs include: The Kingdom by Bethany Dillon, Hosanna by Hillsong United, Fresh Feeling by The Eels, Save the Last Dance For Me by Michael Buble, Praise to the Lord, the Almighty by Christy Nockels, Your Song by Elton John, Umbrella by Marie Digby, anything by Sara Groves and, as of recently, Today by Joshua Radin and Mighty to Save by Laura Story.  I highly recommend all these songs. :)
  2. I. Love. Soft. Things.  Clean laundry, unusually fluffy towels, Drew’s freshly shaven face, puppies…doesn’t matter.  If it’s soft, I want to rub my face on it.
  3. Please don’t try to get out of the car before I unlock the doors.  It’s a small pet peeve of mine: the passenger unlocking the door and getting out before I do.  I have a get-out-of-the-car routine.  Put the car in park, pull emergency brake, unbuckle my seatbelt, turn off the ignition, THEN unlock the doors and get out.  It must be done in that order.  
  4. Almost every morning, I wake up with a random song in my head.  I noticed this in college when I would wake up, step in the shower and realize I was humming a song.  These songs are extremely random and are not necessarily songs I have heard recently.  They have included I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston, Show You the World from Aladdin, and the Charmin Ultra commercial jingle.
  5. I love buying new shampoo.  It’s like buying clothes.  I could spend hours in the shampoo aisle.  And there’s nothing like the feeling of blow drying my freshly shampooed/conditioned hair.
  6. Books about death fascinate me.  Drew posted about this strange interest of mine already, but it’s definitely worth being on this quirks list.  I ripped through a book about death in Yellowstone and am now plowing through death in the Grand Canyon.
  7. I cannot be awake by myself.  There is nothing I hate more than being awake ALONE.  If I wake up in the middle of the night, even to go to the bathroom, I wake Drew up.  I know I sound like a terrible person.  I just can’t stand it!  Kaley can attest to this as well, being my roommate when I went through a season where I thought demons were after me.  You are a good woman, Mrs. Patria.  And Drew, you are a fantastic husband.

I tag Kaley, LP, and Fisch!


And the game of blog-tag continues! Here are seven “quirky” things about yours truly:

  1. I love maps to an abnormal degree. I could be entertained for hours just reading an atlas, or looking around Google Maps. As a result, I’m a self-proclaimed whiz at geography. (Seriously, next time you see me, try to stump me!) I love seeing my dad’s side of the family because they’re all geography dorks too, and we have contests to see who can stump everybody else. (This past summer on our road trip, I stumped everyone except my Aunt Genny on the capital of Azerbaijan.)
  2. I freak out about little noises in my car. If there’s any kind of rattling or creaking, I seriously can’t relax until I know what it is and how to make it stop. This drives Drea insane, as I frequently assign her the task of locating the noise and stifling it.
  3. Thinking about cottage cheese makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit. OK, not literally (yet), but let’s face it, folks: cottage cheese is disgusting. For me, it’s the texture. I mean, what is cottage cheese? Simply put, it’s a thick, semi-firm, creamy goo with chunks in it. That is simply horrifying. I think if I went on Fear Factor and had to choose between eating cow brain and cottage cheese, I might just go for the cow brain.
  4. I suck at team sports. To anyone who’s ever seen my “game”, this probably comes as no surprise. I’m a half-decent swimmer and distance runner, and I’m trying to get better at tennis, but I’m pretty much useless in games like football, basketball, or soccer. Simple tasks such as correctly throwing a football or sinking a basketball into a hoop are daunting challenges for me. My hand-eye coordination is probably comparable to that of a kindergartner. I have 8-year-old cousins who can beat me at “horse”. It’s sad, really. But it’s OK because my macho map-reading skills really make up for it.
  5. I habitually twirl my hair. I will inadvertently reach up and twirl a certain tuft of hair in the back of my head, especially when I’m tired. The tuft then takes on a life of its own, protruding “alfalfa-style” from my head and taking on a tangly coarse texture. It makes me look like quite an ass, which is why I’m careful not to do it until I’m home for the night, so only Drea can make fun of me (until now, of course.)
  6. The door thing. When I was little, I loved doors of any kind. The simple open-and-close mechanism fascinated me to an untold degree. I used to sit at my grandmother’s house and open and close her cabinet doors for hours. My mom used to reward me for good behavior at the grocery store by letting me run in and out of the automatic doors multiple times. I’m told that this made me an easily entertained child. (You’re welcome, Mom and Dad.) While the door phase has long since passed, I’m still generally fascinated by how things work. I love watching those extreme building/engineering shows on the Discovery and History channels about how they designed Japan’s “floating” airport, or a record-breaking roller coaster, or the world’s tallest building.
  7. I have eaten the same sandwich for lunch for the past six months. Drea packs my lunch most days (score), and about six months ago I decided that a turkey, pastrami, and cheese sandwich on pumpernickel bread sounded simply delicious. It’s now the only sandwich my sweet wife makes me, and it hits the spot every time. I try not to be close-minded about anything, but that sandwich hasn’t failed me yet, and I intend to continue my discrimination against all other lunchmeat sandwiches until further notice.

Drea has promised to list her quirks here as well, so you guys will have to hold her accountable! I’d also like to tag the Janes as the next “it” people. We know you guys are a couple of weirdo’s, so let’s hear about it!

Quirkily yours,


The pluses and minuses of our jaunt to Nashville this weekend to celebrate Drea’s grandmother’s 100th birthday:

  • We flew instead of driving 11 hours. (+)
  • Realized after going through security that we had to go back to check our bag. Repeat process of standing in counter line, standing in security line, removing shoes, etc. (-)
  • Free entertainment watching guy at ticket counter COMPLETELY LOSE HIS MIND because the lady wouldn’t accept an expired driver’s license as valid ID. Totally worth standing in line again for. (+)
  • Flight delayed. (-)
  • Got to meet most of Drea’s extended family for the first time. (+)
  • Mild state of lingering nausea from riding around in the backseat of Drea’s dad’s convertible. (-)
  • Didn’t have to pay for a meal the whole weekend. (+)
  • Colder in Tennessee than Maryland (?!). (-)
  • Free breakfast (and great coffee) at hotel. (+)
  • Ridiculously saggy beds that gave you a backache in the morning. (-)
  • They have Sonic in Nashville! (+)
  • Got back too late on Sunday to go to life group. (-)
  • Drea’s grandmother is 100 and still looks great. (+)

Well, if you guys were expecting a “post-election” post on this blog…you were right! (I know I’m like a week late on this…sorry.)

I still can’t really get over what happened Tuesday night. We all knew that it would be historic if Obama won, but I don’t think it really sank in for me until it actually happened. For the first time ever, the leader of our country, our primary representative overseas, the person who will address our nation from the Oval Office, will be a black man.


I’m not an extremely emotional guy, but I couldn’t stop from tearing up a little bit as I watched our President-elect address the crowd in Grant Park. It was obvious that people were there not just to celebrate their candidate’s victory, but to see a noble and long-awaited dream finally realized. While it’s obvious that the celebration was particularly meaningful for African-Americans, that didn’t stop people of every color and background from joining in the celebration. This was what I found most beautiful about the night. At least for those few moments, any hints of racial conflict or bitterness seemed to be forgotten, and a spirit of “we’re all in this together” appeared to saturate the evening.

And as poignant and moving as it was, I couldn’t help but realize that this is not what it’s all about. The real “hope” and “change” that we need is not in a black President, or even in racial reconciliation. Our Messiah gives us real hope, and it’s His kingdom (not Obama’s America) that is truly good, and any good work we do on earth should be for the glory of God and His kingdom. I hope that for Christians, Obama’ s example of good work will not just encourage us to work alongside him for the sake of our country, but spur us on to join God in His bigger redemptive work in the world.

When I think about the reasons I voted for Obama (his decency, common respect for people, love for his family, concern for the poor, desire to reconcile people together, etc.), I realize that Jesus blows Obama out of the water by embodying these things perfectly, and that it is He who will ultimately make things right. If Obama can point our country in a more redemptive direction, we should be thankful for his efforts, imperfect as they are. I just hope we will continue to look to Christ for our true hope, example, and glory.

With that said, congratulations to Barack Obama for an absolutely history-making win, and hopefully a fine four years to come!

Being friends with Tom and Renata, Drea and I usually get in a little bit of parenting training with their kids when we get together to hang out. This weekend was no exception.

On Friday we all went over to my parents’ house in Dunkirk for Halloween duty, as my parents were on vacation in Utah. While Tom and Renata took the almost-2-year-old Hayden out for his first trick-or-treating excursion, Drea and I stayed behind to hand out candy and keep an eye on Jack.

This was when I had probably my first extended experience feeding an infant from a bottle. This was more of a challenge than I anticipated, as Jack engaged himself in an all-but-uninterrupted farting extravaganza the whole time, which resulting in a considerable amount of crying and allowing the bottle’s contents to dribble down his chin and neck. But I think I did OK for a rookie! (Diaper duty was averted as I realized that Jack had soiled himself only seconds before Tom and Renata returned. Score!)

The four of us ordered Chinese and debated over which movie to order. (The usually gore-averse Drea wanted to watch Interview With the Vampire – WHAT?) We eventually decided on Run, Fat Boy, Run, whose funny, off-beat humor made up for a somewhat predictable plot.

On Saturday night, Tom and I ended up driving to Lexington Park and back (110 miles roundtrip) because Drea and Renata lost their car keys at a wedding they were shooting down there. After dropping off a spare key, we grabbed some Taco Bell on the way back home with Hayden and Jack in tow. This is not unusual, as our wives are often off together on photo shoots on the weekends. We joke about how seeing two guys together with two kids probably leads some people to make incorrect assumptions about our lifestyle.

The weekend was topped off by meeting up with our life group people on Sunday night for a bonfire/pumpkin carving/fondue/Wii shindig, and much fun was had by all.

Life is good. Weekends are the bomb now. We miss living in Annapolis a little bit, but being closer to so many of our friends, and to our church, definitely makes weekends more relaxing and enjoyable. The fall colors are particularly stunning in our neck of the woods this week, and the weather is crisp and cool. AND (thank goodness) the Presidential race is over today! I’ve enjoyed the political conversations, debates, etc., but I’m definitely ready for it to be over.

Til next time, folks!