Day 48 – Fantasy baseball dreams come true

I am currently the commissioner of two fantasy sports leagues.

That’s one of those sentences that I never thought I would ever say.

I honestly never paid much attention to professional sports growing up. It’s not surprising, I guess, being from Nebraska. I always watched Husker sports, but that was about the extent of it. My Grandpa Wayne was a diehard Cubs fan, so I guess I probably watched more Cubs baseball than anything. And Dad was an on-again off-again Broncos fan, so I remember him often commandeering the TV after church on Sundays to watch the Broncos or PGA golf.

It wasn’t until I became friends with Foerth and Stevie that I was baptized into the world of professional sports fandom. Anyone who has ever been around Foerth and Stevie together knows that you can learn all sorts of random sports trivia, history, rules, strategy, and little known facts during the course of just about any conversation–since every conversation (no matter the original topic) will eventually turn to sports.

In 2008, I got suckered into joining the boys’ fantasy baseball league. Basically, they needed another team to round out the league and they knew I wouldn’t turn them down. They probably also counted on the fact that I wouldn’t really know what I was doing. Two years later, I won the league (with a repeat championship in 2014).

A few years after that, I somehow became commissioner of both the baseball and football leagues–which honestly resulted from both Stevie and Foerth both just getting tired of running the leagues and putting up with the constant harassment from our buddies whenever they didn’t like one of the rules or ended up losing. By that point, I was enjoying the leagues so much that I didn’t want to see them go away, so I took it on and it has honestly been fun.

There’s no real strategy behind my league settings or scoring, other than the fact that I like to experiment and shake things up every now and then. For instance, I think it’s ridiculous that most football leagues don’t include individual defensive players, so I created a system where it is more than possible (and quite likely) that your team could lose each week if you pay no attention to the rock stars on defense (why thank you Lavonte David for earning me an average of 20+ points each week!).

The past couple years, though, we’ve been noticing a ridiculous trend in our baseball league after a few of our managers took advantage of the switch to unlimited moves and inflated points in pitching categories by simply adding the best available players who were pitching that day and then dropping them immediately after the game to pick up the best available pitchers starting the next day. And they did this EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

I mean, come on people, that’s not even baseball anymore. How is fantasy sports even fun when there’s no real strategy involved?

And now we’re officially counting down the days to the new season. Foerth has been emailing and texting me for weeks now to please, please, please, please, pretty please renew the league so he can start plotting his strategy for another new season, which usually involves trying to draft the one player that he thinks Stevie will be obsessed with just so he can use him as trade bait. For a few years, that player was Barry Zito (who Stevie and his Uncle Paul claim is a distant cousin). More recently that player was Jacob DeGrom (who is now on my roster as a Keeper after I traded Foerth for Paul Goldschmidt).

This year, Foerth is threatening to draft Tim Tebow. Keep your fingers crossed for that one, folks, because I’d honestly like to see how that would play out.

And just because the one real rule in this league has always been that all is fair as long as we beat Foerth, I found the perfect photo to use as our fantasy profile pic this year…

Play ball!

365 2016 – Day 37 – Well-Played Uncle Foerth

Cadence was super excited when a birthday gift arrived in the mail from her Uncle Foerth, but then we spied this taped to the package…


Ugh, that dog! I still don’t miss him. Foerth? Yes. Indy? Not so much.

Cadence thought the pic was funny, so I made sure to carefully cut it off the package (since Foerth used so much clear packing tape that the envelope was damn near waterproof) so she could save it. Then she tore into the gift and immediately opened it so she could start coloring some new designs.

Thanks Uncle Foerth! We miss you!!!


Elf on the Shelf – Day 11

We have a thing for giraffes around here. Okay, maybe that’s not entirely true. It’s not like Steven and I are obsessed with giraffes or anything. In fact, I don’t know that I’ve really given this animal more than a second thought over the years. I mean, yeah, they’re majestic creatures, but neither of us has a hidden collection of giraffe figurines on display.

That being said, I should probably admit that we have an over abundance of giraffe toys, stuffed animals, blankets, and baby clothes, and now a 4-foot-tall lighted giraffe decoration for our yard.

It all started about three years ago with our friend Foerth. I’ve already written about him at length in several other blog posts, so most of you are probably pretty familiar with the stories. I can’t remember exactly how it all started. It was just one of those lazy days we were spending hanging out with Foerth, watching TV, bantering over movies and sports. As always, Foerth was getting all riled up about something. And, as always, as soon as Steven and I noticed his agitation, we started focusing our attention on irritating him. It was just some weird coincidence that a commercial with a giraffe came on right when Foerth was reaching is boiling point. In his exasperation, he stood up and declared,

“I’ll have you know, that the giraffe is the most feared animal in the animal kingdom!”

Then he stormed into the kitchen, grabbed another beer, and slammed the fridge closed.

Steven and I laughed until we nearly puked. Then, we started in on a whole new line of harassment.

“Oh really?” Steven asked. “So a giraffe is higher on the food chain than, oh, say, a lion?”

“Yeah Foerth,” I continue. “I guess that’s why you always see so many of those ‘When Giraffes Attack’ videos, huh?”

This went on for hours, days, weeks. Hell, we still like to bring it up every now and then, just to watch Foerth squirm.

Around this same time, I found out that I was pregnant with Cadence. Maybe it was something about the timing of it all. Or maybe it was that I could hardly get the story out I was laughing so hard. Whatever it was, something about the giraffes hit home with my friend and co-worker Nikki. One day, I walked in and found a little giraffe bib hanging on my computer. A few days later, there was a fuzzy giraffe blanket sitting on my chair. Then there were rattles and musical toys and onesies. There were stuffed animals–dozens of stuffed animals, big and small. It was as if Nikki had suddenly begun to see giraffes everywhere, and couldn’t keep herself from delivering each and every one to our doorstep. Soon, our house was filled with giraffes, and each time a new one would arrive, poor Foerth would just shake his head, knowing that there was no way he was ever going to live this one down.

Last week, when Mom and Dad arrived to spend the night before heading to Omaha for Dad’s surgery, they brought along a few extra strands of lights to help Steven get started on our Christmas decorating. They also brought along a 4-foot tall giraffe decoration that Duane had seen in Wal-Mart and couldn’t help but to buy for Miss Cadence.

Yeah, you know the first person he though of when he saw it was his favorite Father Foerth.

Right now, the giraffe, which I’ve named Nelson (don’t ask me why; I just think he looks like a Nelson) is still sitting in our living room, waiting his turn to be relocated to the front lawn for our Christmas display. In the meantime, he’s been getting plenty of attention from Miss Cadence. (She likes to pet him and bring him plates of imaginary food that she prepares in her kitchen). And even from little Cosette, who decided this morning that she wanted Nelson to give her a ride. So, when we woke this morning, this is what we discovered…





At first, Miss Cadence didn’t even notice Cosette playing cowgirl. She ran through the living room, dining room, and kitchen asking, “Where is Cosette? I can’t find her? Where is she?” until I told her to come back in the living room and see what Cosette was up to.



Then, she spied her silly little elf…


Haha! Crazy Cosette! What will she think of next!?

365 Project – Day 213 – A Dose of unReality

Let’s face it. We’ve been duped. This Reality TV craze has us firmly in it’s grip, and yet, very little of it (if any at all) should actually be classified as reality. I mean, let’s take a look at a few of the culprits…

MTV’s The Real World – The first season of The Real World which debuted in 1992 was about as close to true reality as Reality TV would ever come, and yet in spite of the rumors that it was completely unstage and unscripted, let’s not kid ourselves here. The show’s producers handpicked the cast to ensure that there would be enough chaos and tension in the house to keep the audience interested. From the second season on, all they had to do was keep choosing volitile cast members, lock them in a house together and provide plenty of booze. Guaranteed chaos, and everyone knows chaos = good ratings.

The Bachelor/Bachelorette – I’ll admit, I caught an episode or two back in 2002 when The Bachelor first aired, but quickly lost interest. The dating pool is scary enough without all the pressure of being played and rejected on national television. How this show even qualifies as Reality TV is beyond me. Everything from the pool of eligible bachelors and bachelorettes to the final elimination ceremony is staged and edited in order to get the highest ratings possible. And does anyone actually believe that these relationships can really endure outside the controlled environment and scrutiny of the show? At this point, only one bachelorette has actually married the man she chose at the end. The rest of the relationships fizzled out shortly after the cameras stopped rolling. You want a great reality dating show? Get a camera crew to follow around our buddy Foerth. I mean, this is the guy that got up the nerve to ask a girl out to a movie, left to grab some popcorn, and then accidentally ended up sitting next to and chatting with the wrong girl when he returned to the darkened theater during the previews. Oh, and did I mention the movie they chose was Brokeback Mountain? Nobody does dating quite like Foerth.

The Jersey Shore  – I will be the first to admit that I actually watch this train wreck of a show. I can’t help it. It’s just so ridiculous that I can’t tear my eyes away. But I tune in, not because I think that this is, in any way, an accurate portrayal of reality, but because I literally cannot tear my eyes away. I don’t know if it’s the boozing, the fighting, the idiotic remarks, or just to hear Pauley D and Vinny crooning, “It’s t-shirt tiiiiiiiiiiime!” when it’s time to hit the clubs. Whatever the reason, I can’t help myself, but reality? It is not.

So why do we do it to ourselves? Why do we keep tuning in when somewhere, deep down, we all know that these shows are about as close to reality as my uncoordinated dog is to winning an agility contest?

Like all other forms of entertainment, we do it to escape. Reality shows aren’t popular because they portray reality, they suck us in because they offer a reprieve from reality. They give us the opportunity to take a step out of our own mundane, chaotic, boring, frustrating, imperfect lives and focus on someone else’s. We cheer for people on shows like The Price is Right and Wheel of Fortune, imagining what we might do if we won that pile of cash and prizes. We shake our heads in amused disgust at the endless parade of lying, cheating, backstabbing guests on popular talk shows like Maury Povich and Jerry Springer, thinking that our own problems suddenly don’t seem so terrible. We cry along with the sad stories of perseverance and survival on shows like Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and The Biggest Loser, and we laugh at the ridiculous people that show off their athletic prowess (or lack thereof) on shows like American Gladiator and Wipeout.

So, maybe these Reality Shows aren’t doing anything particularly special. Maybe they’re not going to be winning any awards or saving any lives or even keeping our attention for more than a season or two. But maybe they’re not supposed to. In the meantime, tune in if you like, avoid them if you don’t. It’s only entertainment after all.

Tonight’s 365 Project is dedicated to the unreality of Reality TV. Thanks for the mindless entertainment.

A Fistful of Condiments

Steven and I had a lunch date with our favorite Foerth on Friday. We were planning to meet at the Chick-fil-a for a quick bite to eat before heading to pick up Steven’s mom and brother at the airport. First, we had to drop off some photos at Momma Dawn’s house, and since my brothers Beau and Eddie are currently on a two week break from school, Steve invited them along to eat with us.

We pulled into the Chick-fil-a parking lot, looking around for Foerth’s car. Instead, we saw Foerth jogging toward us, dodging in between parked cars.

It was just a typical day with Foerth. We joked around with him on the way inside to order our food. Steve took Beau and Eddie’s orders, then sent them along to find a table. I followed them, and got Cadence strapped into her high chair.

“Do you think we need an extra chair?” I asked Beau and Eddie. “Or can Foerth just squeeze in the booth on your side?”

“No way,” said Eddie. “Foerthy Foerth can sit over here with us. There’s plenty of room.”

Along came Steven with our drinks. He set them down on the table, and then headed back to the front to retrieve napkins and ketchup. Next came Foerth. In one hand, he carried an extra large Coke. The other hand was overflowing with packets of various condiments.

“Dude! What is all that?” Eddie asked when Foerth dumped the packets on the table, and then began pulling even more from his pockets.

Foerth looked at Eddie and said matter-of-factly, “It’s mayonnaise. What does it look like?”

“Holy cow man! How much mayonnaise do you need?” Eddie exclaimed.

Steven arrived before Foerth could answer, dropping a few packets of ketchup in the middle of the table for the boys to share.

“Dang! What is all that?” Steven asked.

“It’s mayonnaise!” Foerth said abruptly, as if annoyed that he kept having to answer the same question over and over again. He pulled a plastic bag with the Chick-fil-a logo from his pocket and began filling it with the mayonnaise packets.

“And what the hell is that?” Steven asked, pointing at the bag.

“Um…a bag. What does it look like?”

“Foerth,” said Steven.


“Foerth, what’s with the mayonnaise?”

“What do you mean?”

“Foerth, what are you doing with all that mayonnaise?” Steven asked.

“What?” said Foerth testily. “I’m out of mayonnaise.”

Steven and I looked at each other, and then started to laugh.

“Foerth, where did you get that bag?” Steven asked.

“They gave it to me,” Foerth replied.

“Wait a minute,” I said. “Are you telling me that you asked the lady at the counter for a bag so you could steal mayonnaise?”

“What?! Foerth!” Eddie said, and then he and Beau burst out laughing.

“Oh Jesus, Foerth,” Steve said, shaking his head. “Why don’t you just go buy some mayonnaise?”

“What? And waste it?” Foerth snapped. “I’m moving in less than a week. How am I supposed to eat a whole jar of mayonnaise?”

“You know, they make tiny little jars right?” I asked, laughing. “I mean, if you wanted to make yourself a tuna sandwich this week, you could’ve just bought one of the little jars.”

“Whatever,” Foerth said, blushing. “Eddie move over.”

“No way dude, you’re sitting in the middle,” said Eddie, standing up so Foerth could squeeze in between him and Beau.

By the time our food arrived, we had moved onto other topics, and Steven and Foerth were arguing loudly over who was going to win Sunday night’s football game–the Giants or the Bears. Eddie took the top bun off his chicken sandwich, removed the tomatoes and put them aside, and then began to sift through the condiment packets on the table. After a moment, he leaned over and nudged Foerth.

“Yo man, can I get some mayonnaise?” he asked.

“Go to hell,” said Foerth. And in spite of several minutes of pleading, Eddie never did get any mayonnaise.

But…I looked it up online

So, we meet up with Foerth for lunch today. Foerth and I arrived at Chick-fil-a about 10 minutes before Steve. Foerth is being his usual twitchy self, and all of a sudden he goes:

“So, I gotta ask you and see what you think…I found this little like pimple thing in Indy’s groin area.” (Indy being Foerth’s mangy little dog). Here’s a pic for those of  you who have never had the pleasure of meeting Devil Dog.


“Okay, first of all, what the hell were you doing looking at your dog’s groin area?” I ask.

“Oh, you know, he was lying on his back on the floor, and I just sorta noticed it,” says Foerth. “Anyway, how long do you think it takes for a black widow bite to set in? I looked online and it said the worst pain is in the first 1-3 hours. I noticed this thing at six this morning, so it can’t be a black widow bite, right?”

“Okay, so let me get this straight,” I say. “You noticed a pimple on Indy’s groin and you think it’s a black widow bite? Wouldn’t you have noticed if he got bit? Did you actually see a black widow?”

Foerth is quiet for a minute, thinking. “Well, no, but I looked online and it might be one. There are a lot of black widows here, and who knows when it might have bit him. He doesn’t seem hurt though, and he’s not licking it or anything, so he’s probably fine, right?”

“Right, it’s probably nothing,” I say.

Foerth is quiet for a minute.

“Yeah it’s probably nothing,” he says.


“But nothing came out when I tried to squeeze it, so it can’t just be a pimple,” he says.

It takes me a second to process what he just said. And when I do, I almost gag a little.

“Wait…did you just say you squeezed this pimple-thing?”

Foerth is quiet for another second, as if he can’t decide whether he really wants to continue with the story now that he has begun to spill the details.

“Well, yeah, you know, I wanted to make sure what it was.”

“Foerth, that is disgusting! Why the hell would you do that?”

He starts to turn a little red and get embarrassed. It’s not hard to tell when Foerth is embarrassed because he paces a lot and can’t seem to keep still. So, he’s pacing around me like a caged animal, and I’m trying really hard not to drop Cadence because I’m laughing so hard.

“Well, I…I don’t know…it would just be my luck if it was a black widow bite, and then he needs medication and surgery and all sorts of other…”

I interrupt him. “Foerth, it’s not a black widow bite! Jesus, it’s probably just an ingrown hair. Why the hell are you so bent out of shape about this.”

Still pacing.

“I don’t know, I just noticed it this morning. I’m sure it wasn’t there before…” he says, but I interrupt again.

“How do you know? How often do you look at your dog’s groin?”

“That’s disgusting,” he says.

“No, what’s disgusting is finding a freakin’ pimple on your dog’s groin and then squeezing it! What the hell man?”


About that time Steve pulls into the parking lot.

“Oh my God, wait til I tell Steve,” I say, laughing.

But Foerth isn’t listening, instead he’s muttering to himself as he digs his phone out of his pocket.

“Why am I even asking you, I can just call his vet…” he says. Apparently, he has the vet’s number programmed in his phone.

“Foerth, don’t do that, I can just ask my Aunt Jen…”

But it’s too late.

“Um, hello? Yes, I have a question. I have a small 18-pound terrier and, um, this morning I noticed a small…well, sort of pimple thing in his…uh…his groin area. I was just wondering how long it would take for a black widow bite to take effect…”

“Who the hell is he talking to?” Steve asks, walking up.

I fill him in on the story thus far.

“Yo! He gave his dog the herp?!” Steve yells.

“Well, no, I didn’t actually see a black widow, but I was looking online….” Foerth continues as he walks far enough away from us that the receptionist can’t hear Steve yelling out the names of various STD’s.

A few minutes later, he hangs up, disgusted.

“Well they are no help!” Foerth says, stuffing his phone back in his pocket. “They said I should just call poison control.”

“Foerth gave his dog the HERP!” Steve yells again. Then asks quietly, “Foerth, were you touching your dog’s penis?”

By this time, we are standing in line in the Chick-fil-a, and Foerth has turned seven different shades of red.

“No!” he says. “But a black widow bite…”

“FOERTH! IT’S NOT A BLACK WIDOW BITE!” I insist. “Seriously dude, you are acting freakin’ crazy right now! What has gotten into you today?”

“Nothing,” Foerth says. “I just don’t know what’s wrong with Indy…”

“Is he acting strange?”


“Does he act like he’s hurting?”


“Does he even seem to notice this little pimple-thing you found, except maybe when you were trying to squeeze it?”


“Then he’s fine dude, let it go!”

We place our orders and find a table. While we eat, Steve changes the subject and the boys talk about sports, movies, Foerth moving back to NY in a couple weeks. As we finish up, Foerth gets all quiet again, and Steve looks over at him. 

“What’s wrong with you?” he asks.

“Nothing,” says Foerth.



Silence for a few moments. Then Steve leans over and says quietly, “Dude, you gave your dog the HERP!” And Foerth turns red all over again.

“But if it’s a black widow bite…”

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