Thursday, November 13, 2014

My First Crack at Three Things Thursday

So I've started to see Three Things Thursday popping up in a lot of social media circles, so I thought I would give it a try. I think if I make this a (semi) regular thing on FTF I'll use it as an opportunity to talk a little about things outside of my running world so you can have the opportunity to learn more about me.

Here goes!

* My life got a lot busier earlier this week when Kevin's 8th-grade basketball season got started, and our first game is Saturday. I coached Matt for two years in middle school and this will be my fourth year of coaching Kevin's class. I actually run the B team but that's OK with me because it affords the chance to spend four days a week for the next three months with Kev. When I lived in Aurora I would often take him to school every day, and planned to a day or two a week this year, but now he enjoys riding the bus to school and would rather do that. No big, but I do miss him sometimes.

Kevin is just rounding back into shape after having surgery in August to have a rod inserted in his chest. He had what is called pectus excavatum, a condition where his sternum was sunken into his chest. For the longest time he didn't have a problem with it, but he grew six inches in the last year and it got worse. It was a tough few days for him after the surgery, but he is so happy with the results and feels much better about himself. He's also breathing a little better and the stomach problems he had before the surgery are gone, so we are thankful about that.

The first few practices were a struggle for him, but his conditioning is quickly improving and now he is running up with some of the stronger runners on the team. With his knew confidence I think he will have a great track season in the spring too.

I think he will do well in basketball too, and I have high hopes for our team. We don't win a lot since we spend most of the season playing A teams but our athletic director has us in a couple of B tournaments, and the thing I want most for these kids is a tournament trophy. They have worked hard and really deserve it.

Here's a picture of us taken in July on my wedding day. I'm pretty proud of both of my guys, they are really awesome kids.

*Matt and I meet every other Wednesday for dinner, just an opportunity for us to catch up and for me to give him the occasional motivational speech! Really they aren't necessary because he's doing a great job in school but I give them to him anyway.

His favorite place now is Mongolian BBQ, which is great because it's one of mine too. If you haven't been to one, it's a place where you pick your own ingredients (meat, veggies, etc) and put together a sauce and they cook it in front of you. The food is outstanding and I discovered (by accident) a great sauce that I use for my own stir fry: two parts teriyaki sauce, one part soy sauce, and a dash of both minced garlic and red pepper flakes. It's super spicy but really good!

I enjoy these little get-togethers, it's great to see how he has grown up and really taken to the challenge of college, not only in the classroom but his running, too. He told me yesterday that he had spent "several hours" writing a paper for class today, and that was after having to read a book for said paper, which he dusted off in two days. He sees his future, that's for sure! I'm glad that he didn't go very far away for school, it's nice to give him his space but at the same time be able to get together as often as we do.

*As a new foodie, I had a neat experience last Saturday night. Darcy is on the board for the Boys and Girls Club of Dundee Township, and they had their fundraiser over the weekend. It's a fun event and it raises a ton of money for the kids in the club.

The event has both a silent and live auction, and one of the live auction items was to have Chef Joe Arvin come to the winner's house and cook for the host and 12 people. If you are unfamiliar with Chef Joe, he appeared on Season 14 of the show Big Brother and has also been on other cooking shows, including Cutthroat Kitchen, which is on this Sunday night. This week he is also competing in the World Food Championships in Las Vegas.

You can check out his Madlove Cooking website or follow him on Twitter @JoeArvin.

Joe and his wife Sarah sat at our table and I discovered in talking to him that he is an extremely passionate guy who loves to create new dishes and dinners. He also assured me that yes, when he is creating something it takes several run throughs to get it right. I find that a frustrating thing sometimes so I'm glad it happens to everyone!

Before bidding began, Joe talked about how a boys club was such an integral part of his life growing up in Kentucky, and how he owes a large debt of gratitude to the people that kept encouraging him to chase his dreams.

Bidding opened at $2,000 (yes you read that right) and when all was said and done his dinner had sold for $4,500! As he went over to the table to congratulate and pose for pictures with the winners, I looked at the table next to us and one of the women looked incredibly disappointed, and I overheard her say, "I really wanted to win that."

So I nudged Darcy and told her an idea...have Joe go over to their table and see if he could swing something with them. He did and they settled on a price of $3,500...so all told Joe helped raise $8,000 for the charity! I was so impressed with Joe and his giving spirit, mind you, he makes nothing for this and will put several hours of time in to come up with each six-course meal. It's just cool to see someone do something like that.

Darcy and I were shut out in both the silent and live auctions, but it was great to meet some new friends and get a few cooking tips!

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