How about a Game 7 road trip?

Please note: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. Learn more in my Disclosure Policy.

Well, it’s actually happening. Of course it’s happening. What do you expect from two teams who haven’t played for baseball’s ultimate championship in…oh…forever…? Neither team is going to go down without a fight. So Game 7 is upon us. This one’s for all the marbles.

1908 Chicago Cubs

I’ll be honest. I’m glad I don’t have a dog in this fight. I don’t think my heart could take it after so many years of saying “Wait ’til next year,” and now next year is THIS year. But I know a lot of my friends, family, and readers of this here blog are big fans of the Cubs. Or the Indians. So I’m happy for all of you. And tomorrow, I’ll be sad for some of you. Unless MLB miraculously decides to make this series go even longer. I know. That won’t happen. It can’t happen. This is the end, my friend.

So maybe you live in or near Chicago and you’re thinking, “This is Game 7. It’s going to be magical. I really want to go to this game. No, I must go to this game.” I don’t blame you. There’s nothing in sports like a Game 7. It’s on my non-bucket list to attend one some day (#78). And maybe you’ve decided that this is the year for you to scratch “Attend Game 7 of the World Series” off your bucket list.

Well, you’re in luck.

Google Maps says it’s only a 5 ½ hour drive from Wrigley Field to Progressive Field.

You really don’t have to worry much about tickets, either. Thanks to Venue Kings, World Series Game 7 tickets are still available right now! And if you use the code VKTURKEY16, you’ll get $5 off any $30 purchase (or more). And these tickets are definitely going to cost more than thirty bucks. But it’s going to be totally worth it.

Can you imagine? Even if you’re ‘just’ watching from home, you’ll have the chance to watch your team exorcise some pretty old demons. I’m pretty excited for all of you. Watching your team win the World Series is fun. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be a Cubs or Indians fan right now. My heart can barely take the excitement and I’ve got no dog in this fight at all. It has to feel pretty amazing right now, even if you’re from Cleveland and your team has let their 3-1 lead slip away. Enjoy this moment. As you know, they’re rare.

So who’s up for a road trip?

And if you’re worried about the drive back, you can always stay at a bed and breakfast in northeastern Ohio.

Come on. You know you want to. You’ll kick yourself the rest of your life if you don’t. I’m still kicking myself for some things I didn’t do. Don’t make the same mistake.

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‘When War Comes Home’ at the Heartland Film Festival

When War Comes Home

Veteran Crisis Line

I recently had the opportunity to preview When War Comes Home, an entry in this year’s Heartland Film Festival. It was eye-opening. And heartbreaking. But it also has a hopeful message. Although we probably haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of the implications of war-related PTS (post-traumatic stress) and TBIs (traumatic brain injuries) we’re making strides. In the meantime, documentaries like this are important. They show how far we’ve come. And how far we’ve yet to go. But we have to be there for the men and women who have stood in the middle of hell and somehow tried to return to a normal life.

Here’s an excerpt from the press release about the film:

In Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Michael King’s powerful new documentary WHEN WAR COMES HOME, three soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress (PTS) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) share their stories of coping with these devastating invisible wounds of war. Now back home from Iraq and Afghanistan, they face the toughest battle of their lives – trying to find a way to readjust to life with their families and build a healthy and hopeful future out of a present that is wracked by pain, stress and loss. From Indiana, to Florida, to Colorado, the film follows the men and their families as they wage their personal fight for freedom from these ever present debilitating illnesses that affect an estimated 20% of the 2.6 million military service members who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Many assume that  veterans who participated in active combat are the only ones who suffer from PTS. When War Comes Home shatters that myth. If you have a chance to see it, I hope you do. It helps shed the light on the horror that some of our bravest men and women encounter every single day.

When War Comes Home is still showing at the Heartland Film Festival. You can purchase tickets here. It will also be showing in other locations around the nation. You can find their updated film schedule here.

It’s worth your time to watch this documentary.

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Deals of the Week (October 23-29)

Deals of the Week

Before sharing the deals I’ve found for this week, I want to take a second and congratulate Chicago and Cleveland for their huge baseball playoff wins this week. Fanatics has a huge selection of items to celebrate this momentous baseball week. Please note: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. Learn more in my Disclosure Policy.

Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Champs

Cleveland Indians 2016 AL Champs

Now, on to the deals for this week…

Costume Finder: What will you be this Halloween?
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50% Off Select Bibles!

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Early Bird Special Banner

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Some highlights from Aiden’s football season

Aiden Todd - Number 5

Aiden’s football season is over. He’s still practicing, helping the practice squad as the Center Grove Varsity Football team begins its quest to win another State title. And that’s important. But the Junior Varsity team’s season is over. So, for all practical purposes, Aiden’s season is done, too.

It’s really no secret that being a Sophomore on a team that has its share of upperclassmen makes it a challenge. So Aiden really hasn’t gotten as much playing time as he’s been used to having. That’s OK, though. Because he took advantage of the opportunities he had. Some people choose to sulk and complain about not getting very much playing time. And then they use that as an excuse for poor performance on the field (I’ve even heard some professional players do this). I’m happy to say that Aiden didn’t rely on excuses like that (even though it was probably tempting at times). He gave it his all, every time he was on the field.

In the final two games of the season, he was on the field a total of six plays. Like I said, this wasn’t really unexpected. But even though he wasn’t on the field very long, he had a huge impact on the games. Because within the span of just six plays, Aiden recovered a fumble and successfully defended a potential touchdown pass.

Earlier in the Summer, I asked my facebook friends to help come up with a nickname for Aiden since he was going to be wearing #5 this season. As you can see, we came up with a pretty good list.

I was partial to Red Five or Johnny Five, but those didn’t really gain much traction. When I presented the list to him, Aiden’s favorite was Five Finger Discount. Fitting, since he plays defense. Right? The problem was that it was such a long nickname that we never really used it.

We probably should have. Because he had a knack for robbing his opponents of the ball. Here’s some photographic evidence to support my claim.

Fumble Recovery

aiden-recovering-a-fumble

As this play unfolded, we saw commotion around the ball carrier. As you can see, #5 (aka Johnny Five aka Red Five aka Five Finger Discount) is about to jump into the heat of things. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to get a picture of what happened next. After the dust settled and the refs started peeling players off the dogpile, Aiden popped up and held the ball in the air.

I have to admit that I wasn’t sure if it was really Aiden or not. I mean, it looked like him and I was pretty sure it was #5 with the ball, but I didn’t see the ref say he had recovered the fumble. It was only after his name was announced over the PA system that he was, in fact, the one who came up with the ball, that everything caught up with me. It was a pretty cool moment to watch.

You could see that Aiden was excited about the fumble recovery as he bounced off the field. And that excitement didn’t fade throughout the rest of the game. Take another look at that photo at the very top of this post. I took it some 10-15 minutes after this game was over. He was still beaming. You can see it in the smirk on his face. I think he was trying to hide his excitement for the picture. Because, you know, serious football players aren’t supposed to smile (or something like that). But he really couldn’t.

From Five Finger Discount to “No Fly Zone.”

Before the final JV game of the season, Aiden said that he didn’t think he was going to have the chance to play. In the Varsity that took place the night before the JV game, Center Grove fought tooth and nail against Cathedral and wound up winning in overtime. It was a high scoring affair, but it was close throughout the game. That meant little room for any JV players to play on Friday night, which meant they would get more playing time during Saturday’s JV game. And that meant less opportunity for Aiden to play.

He did get to play, though. And again, he made the most of the opportunity. He probably saved a touchdown in the process. The opposing quarterback threw a deep, deep ball to his receiver, but #5 was there to break up the play.

aidens-almost-interception-detail

Aiden football highlights aidens-almost-interception-2 aidens-almost-interception-3 aidens-almost-interception-4

The crowd cheered. The team shouted. Some of his teammates called him “No Fly Zone.” Pretty cool stuff.

But here’s the thing: Aiden wasn’t happy about it. “I should have caught it,” he told me later. And he might be right. Although it looks like there could have been offensive pass interference on the play, he did have his hands on the ball. There’s a chance he could have caught it. But breaking up the pass the way he did? That was huge.

And he wasn’t satisfied with it.

You know, they say that football and other sports can make you a better student. After talking with Aiden about this play, I can see how that’s possible. He wasn’t happy with just a “good” play. He was kicking himself for missing the “great” play. It was only a matter of inches. That’s the difference between doing what’s “good enough” and what’s “excellent.” It can be the difference between getting an B+ and an A. And, of course, that can mean the difference between receiving a partial scholarship in college and earning a full-ride. So you shake off the past and keep working towards getting better.

Because sometimes it’s a matter of inches. That’s true in football. But it’s also true in life.

Hard work and dedication pay off. They don’t always result in accolades or recognition. Sometimes they don’t even result in a win. But you keep working. You keep trying. You keep pressing on and keep getting better. Sure, there will be difficulties. There will be obstacles. And there will probably be a failure or two (or more). But we keep going. That’s what makes a heart of a champion.

Regardless of what the scoreboard says.

What are you doing to become a champion today?

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Deals of the Week

Deals of the Week

In an effort to help you, the beloved Life in the Fishbowl community, I’ve decided to start sharing some of the great deals I’ve come across. Hopefully, this will be a valuable service for you as we head into the Christmas shopping season. Please note: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. Learn more in my Disclosure Policy.

Show your support for those who serve with NFL Salute to Service Fan Gear
From now until 9 a.m. on Tuesday, October 18, you can get $25 off an order of $50 or more when you checkout with your Visa card!

Fall Sale: 20% - 40% off almost everything


33% Off Select Sweats and Tees!

Tee Fury
Shop the Tee Fury Halloween Collection with 20% off! Use code 20Treat1016. One time use, customer must be logged in. Valid through 10/20

Have a great week, y’all!

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How did we get here?

This election is making me cry

Growing up, I was taught that your presidential preference was a private matter. It really isn’t anyone’s business who you voted for, so you should just keep that information to yourself. I get the concern. I really do. You don’t want anyone to bully you into voting for someone you don’t support. Announcing your political preferences could impact your employment. Even though that kind of stuff is supposed to be illegal, it could happen. And there’s always the chance of losing friends over politics. It’s stupid. I know. But it happens. A lot. So I’ve generally kept quiet during election season.

So I hope you understand how uncomfortable this makes me. Yes, I’ve hinted before at my displeasure with candidate choices – I even joked about running for governor earlier this year – but I don’t think I’ve ever come out and used this platform to discuss who I was voting for or against. That was too private. Besides, my choice might offend someone. And that’s the last thing I want to do. Being offended? It’s no fun. It’s also no fun doing the offending. So I’ve sat back and stayed quiet. I can’t stay quiet anymore.

This presidential election makes me weep.

There. I said it. I know some of you are ardently for Mr. Trump. Others of you proudly say “I’m with her.” Me? I listen to the mudslinging and the pettiness and the name-calling and the fear-mongering and the intellectual dishonesty and the patently false accusations and the intimidation and the mind numbing rhetoric coupled with refusal to listen to anyone from the other side from the two most unpopular presidential candidates ever (EVER!!) and I wonder,

“How on earth did we get here?”

I really don’t know. But it makes me weep. It makes me weep when I hear one candidate say whatever is necessary to get elected. And then I hear the other candidate say whatever it takes to get elected. It makes me cry when I see venom spewed online. It’s not just directed at the candidates, but it’s also at their supporters. Nobody’s listening to each other. Everyone is just trying to shout down the other side, screaming louder and louder, refusing to pay attention to anything.

Anything.

And this is for the two most unpopular candidates ever?

What are we doing to each other?

I assume some of this has to do with the way we tie our political parties to our beliefs. Since there are only two major parties, American politics has become an “us vs. them.” You’re either for me and my party, or you’re against me and my party. I don’t see how anyone is supposed to get anything done at all with such a polarized attitude. And don’t point fingers when you read this. Both Republican and Democrat supporters are doing this.

So with this “if you’re not for my party, you’re against my party” type of attitude, the shouting begins. Then the mudslinging. And the vitriol. And the hatred. Then we forget that the “other” side is made up of Americans. They care about our country just as much as “we” do. So we build up these walls between the two parties, between “us” and “them” and  support anyone “our” side puts forth as a candidate. Because “my” candidate isn’t “their” candidate. And “my” candidate will win and make America greater (or great, depending on who’s saying what) again.

I had a teacher in high school tell us once that her father was a staunch Democrat. He was such a dedicated Democrat, that he would vote for any candidate the party would put forth. He said he’d even vote for the devil, as long as he had a (D) by his name.

I thought that was a little extreme when I heard it. But we’re not too far off from that now. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying Trump is the devil. I’m not saying Hillary is the antichrist. I highly doubt either one of them smells like sulfur.

I’d say these two are more like clowns, but clowns are already getting a bad rap right now.

And people are voting for them. Blindly. Because Hillary is not Donald and Donald is not Hillary. How messed up is that?

That’s entertainment?

And then there’s the debates. Don’t get me started on those. Are any of you actually listening to what they’re saying? Or are you just looking for “gotcha” moments you can turn into a meme? Do you really care about a proper discussion of ideas? Or are you simply looking for more reasons to justify why you’ve chosen the winning side? Are the debates merely entertainment now? That’s twisted. But if that’s the case, then pass the popcorn. It’s only the future of our republican democracy that hangs in the balance. So let’s focus on The Donald’s hair or Hillary’s cackle. Because those are the things that really matter.

I thought we were better than this.

I hoped we were better than this.

Are we better than this?

These presidential debates make me weep.

I didn’t even bother watching the second round of debates. And I still wept. All I had to do was look at my facebook news feed or my twitter timeline. Nobody was really listening to what the opponent was truly saying. They were just looking for reasons to prop up their own candidate. Or maybe they were watching simply for entertainment value.

So we have the two most unpopular presidential candidates in the history of the United States because we want to watch the debates turn into train wrecks? Because that’s what this election season has become. A train wreck. I wish we could hit a restart button. Or vote “none of the above.”

While I’m close to a decision about who to vote for, I’m not quite there yet. I can tell you this, though: I am not voting for Hillary Clinton. And I am not voting for Donald Trump.

No way.

Uh uh.

Not on your life.

Their candidacies make me weep. 

So voting for them would be…oh…what’s the word…?

Deplorable.

What’s an upstanding citizen to do in a situation like this? I might have an answer. Then again, I might not. I’ll be sure to share whatever conclusion I come up with. Because I have a feeling that I’m not alone in this conundrum.

*You’re welcome to comment on this post. But you have to be nice. If you’re going to try to convince me to vote for a candidate, make sure you’re actually talking about reasons to vote for the candidate. “Trump isn’t Hillary” or “Hillary isn’t Trump” isn’t good enough. I will delete anything that comes close to name calling or trash talking. Or better yet, I might edit your comment and make it link to the *other* candidate’s site. Let’s keep this civil, friends. Got it?

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Sweetest Day is almost here!

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. Learn more in my Disclosure Policy.

Sweetest Day #SweetestDay

What? You’ve never heard of Sweetest Day?

That’s OK. I’d never heard of Sweetest Day until a friend of mine from Chicago mentioned it while we were at Milligan.  I wondered.

Well…

Yeah. It is. It’s a made up holiday. Its roots have something to do with candy makers wanting to “bring happiness to those who were forgotten,” like the poor, old folks, and orphans. Since the first Sweetest Day in the early 1920s, the day has evolved into a day to spread goodness and cheer to everyone – especially your significant other, and especially if you decide to give away sweets. Because that’s what makes it sweet, right?

So, it might be true that Sweetest Day really is nothing more than a made up holiday in a thinly-veiled attempt to get us to buy more chocolate on the third Saturday of October, even though we’re already stocking up for Halloween. It’s still a good opportunity to make sure that Special Someone knows you’re thinking about him or her. Right? I mean, who doesn’t like being told that they’re on someone’s mind?

Go Big or Go Home?

You could choose to go all-out and do something like plan a romantic getaway with BedandBreakfast.com. Since Sweetest Day is always the third weekend in October, you might want to check out south central Indiana. It’s beautiful this time of year!

eCreamery $10 Off Banner AdOr there’s ice cream. There’s always ice cream. What’s sweeter than ice cream? That’s the perfect gift for Sweetest Day, do’t you think?

And what makes ice cream an even better treat for Sweetest Day? Personalized ice cream!

We like to say that there’s always room for ice cream, even if you’re full beyond full. That’s because ice cream oozes through the cracks. It’s proven.* Because science.

Of course, if you haven’t done it yet, you could always try your hand at writing a love note.

Or, there are a few other small gifts you could give for Sweetest Day. They’re simple. They’re corny. And they’re sweet. For Sweetest Day. Get it? And you can find many of these items at Dollar Tree (you can order them online with FREE In-Store Pickup. [Restrictions may apply]). So it’s a pretty good deal!

Socks

Sweetest Day gift

Who says you have to give food for Sweetest Day? You could give a pair of socks with a note attached that says something like “You knock my socks off!” They could be serious socks. They could be silly socks. It’s really up to you!

Corny? Yes. Absolutely. But wait. There’s more!

Donuts

Donut you know I love you? #SweetestDay Sweetest Day

Or you could always surprise that Special Someone with donuts (or some other type of snack cake) with a silly note like “Donut you know I love you hole lot?” Or something like that.

It’s goofy. I know. You might even call it punny. But it’s a simple way to celebrate Sweetest Day, don’t you think?

I know there are other simple, punny Sweetest Day gifts you can give. Share your ideas in the comments below!

I hope you have a fun day, sharing sweetness with your friends and family!

 

 

*No. It isn’t proven. This is just a joke. But it sounds good. Doesn’t it? That’s why we use it as an excuse to eat ice cream.

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In the Limelight

It took me long enough. I was invited to participate in this project back in 2013. After dropping the ball and never getting back with my answers, I am pleased to finally be part of the ongoing “Dads in the Limelight” series hosted by Dad of Divas. I don’t really know why it took me three years to answer the questions. But it did. It was totally, 100%, completely my fault.

Hopefully it’s worth the wait. So why don’t you mosey on over there and check out what I have to say? While I don’t promise anything profound, you do get to look at some pretty fun pictures.

kisses

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Take The #40Pounds Challenge and change the world

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #40Pounds #CollectiveBias

back-to-school-and-changing-the-world-40pounds-ad

School has been in session for almost two months now. I know. You don’t have to say it. Many of you didn’t start school until Labor Day. But in order to have longer Fall, Winter, and Spring breaks, something has to give. So that means a shorter Summer for us. For our three teenagers, that wasn’t exactly happy news. For our youngest? Well, she started counting down the days as soon as school was out in May.

first-day-of-school-40pounds-ad

Yes. She’s a goofball. And we love her.

So now we’re just a few days away from the end of the first Nine Week Grading Period. That means we’ve had plenty of time to work out all the kinks and become a fine-tuned, well-oiled machine when it comes to getting our three high schoolers out the door and on the bus by 6:30 in the morning. Right?

Well, not exactly.

I’m not going to lie. It’s still pretty stressful in the minutes leading up to the bus’s arrival. But there are still a few tricks we’ve learned along the way. I’m happy to share the wisdom we have gained over the last two months.  Continue reading Take The #40Pounds Challenge and change the world

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Happy songs

happy

A few days ago, the world was rocked with a stunning announcement. It was an earth-shaking surprise. OK, not really. It really wasn’t a new development. In fact, a similar announcement was made in September of last year.*

Apparently, researchers at Mizzou have decided to determine what the happiest song is from the last 50 years. And they can make such claims because used science to help determine the happiest song. So they analyzed all kinds of aspects of different songs, including rhythm, tempo, theme, and key. And so they took the answers were from a focus group, ran the numbers, and came to this conclusion:

Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen is the world’s happiest song in the last 50 years.

Because science.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love me some Freddie Mercury and Queen. A Night at the Opera is probably one of my most favorite albums. Whenever I hear Bohemian Rhapsody, I have to…well…you know…

But I’m sorry. I don’t think I can say that Don’t Stop Me Now is the happiest song in the world. I’m not even convinced it’s even the happiest Queen song. We are the Champions comes to mind. So does You’re My Best Friend. How can a song that includes “atom bomb” in its lyrics be considered the happiest anything?

I think science has failed us, y’all.

In light of this, I have decided to conduct my own search for the happiest song from the last 50 years. And I have a feeling my findings will be just as legitimate as the group of neuroscientists’ results.

Here are my candidates. In no particular order.

Good Vibrations
The Beach Boys

Don’t Worry Be Happy
Bobby McFerrin

Holiday
Madonna

Celebration
Kool and the Gang

Happy
Pharrell Williams

YMCA
The Village People

The Touch
Stan Bush

For the record, if you don’t understand why The Touch is a happy song, I don’t know if we can be friends.

I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)
The Proclaimers

Walking on Sunshine
Katrina and The Waves

Top of the World
Van Halen

There you have it. My totally unscientific list of happiest songs in the world. So how should I pick the #1 song? I don’t know. Maybe I should just flip a coin.

I know this list is biased. It leans heavily on songs from the 80s and the 90s. I don’t think I have a problem with that, though. At least you smiled a little when you listened to some of these songs. Right? That’s kind of the point of a list like this.

I’m sure it’s missing a song or two. Which song(s) do you think should be added to the list?

*Strangely enough, I could not find a link to an announcement in 2016. Could it be that the internet is abuzz about “news” that was released a year ago? I promise I heard a local news station talking about it this week.

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