The Weight

I've had enough.  I can't take it anymore.  I'm too fat!  Looking at myself in the mirror or in the reflection of a window, I don't really notice it.  But in photos, man, that's another story.  They say about TV/movie actors that the camera adds 10 pounds.  When I see myself in a photo, I'm reminded of Friends when Chandler, upon seeing a video of a humongous Monica from several years before, asks her how many cameras were actually on her.

I've never been what you would call skinny, more like slightly stout, portly, or husky.  I'm not that tall, and I've always had thick legs and a generous rear end.  I partially attribute this to the fact that I played hockey from the time I was 7 through graduate school.  One of the most embarrassing experiences of my life was a visit to the doctor's office when I was about 9 years old.  I had to get some kind of shot (penicillin maybe?) and for some reason the nurse stuck the needle in my butt.  Now I thought once you passed the age of 3, shots were supposed to be given in the arm of your choice - left arm for righties or right arm for southpaws.  I complained but had no say in the matter.  Maybe the nurse was old fashioned, or maybe she just liked to look at the asses of 9-year old kids.  Anyway, as she gave me the shot she said, "You have a nice meaty rear."  What?!  Upon hearing this I'm sure that my backside turned a shade of red not unlike a fresh tomato.  I was mortified.

It's not that I have been gaining weight lately - I've probably been within 5 pounds of my current weight for the last 8 years.  And I'm not huge, although according to that BMI number I'm perilously close to obesity.  If you're unfamiliar with the Body Mass Index (BMI), it measures a person's "body fatness" based on one's height and weight.  When I first saw my number and corresponding description (Bowling Ball), I did a double take and assumed that I must have incorrectly entered my details using metric values.  But alas, I had not, and I truly am at the tipping point, only a pint or two of Ben & Jerry's from moving from the overweight to the obese category.

So what am I going to do about this overabundance of me?  Well for one thing I'm going to eat less.  I just eat too damn much.  However, eating less may be easier said than done.  It was one thing when I was still working at my old office job all day.  For the last several years I normally brought my lunch to work after previously eating out almost every day during the first half of my career.  Those homemade lunches were typically pretty healthy, and outside of the occasional splurge on a 1-pound burrito from Chipotle for lunch, snacks were usually limited to the 10-15 trips per day past the community candy bowl while on my way to the printer, a meeting, the men's room, etc.  Now that I'm staying home it's a whole new ballgame.  I hate throwing food away and often finish the kids' uneaten remainders from breakfast or lunch.  And over the course of the day I'm usually only, on average, 10 feet from the kitchen.  So it's too easy to grab a Triscuit or sneak an M & M or 2 (or 15).

Now you might say that the wife and I should just not buy snack food.  That would be a great option if not for the existence of the boy and the girl (mostly the boy), who subsist mainly on cheese, crackers, fruit snacks, nuts and cookies.  But I have decided that I will simply no longer be tempted by these tasty treats, even the bags of Doritos that call to me while I'm in a totally different aisle in the grocery store.

In addition to the eating better thing, I'm going to dust off the elliptical machine and stationary bike and use them on more than a monthly basis.  It's been tough to get into a workout habit, which I blame on the environment in which the equipment resides - the basement.  I was hoping that we'd have a better setup in our new house than the old one, but we still have an unfinished basement.  And instead of staring at the furnace when working out, we now get to stare at the furnace and the water heater (the water heater was hidden from view at the old place by the furnace).  I also thought I'd have all this time to work out now that I'm staying home, either when the girl is napping or watching a show on TV or whatever.  Ha!  Anyway, enough with the excuses.  It's time to get to work.

This may seem like a bold move - making a promise to the entire world (or at least the 3 followers of this blog) that I'm going to lose weight by eating better and working out more.  However, in my first blog post I similarly committed to regularly contributing to this blog, and I am now leading Peter in Sterling, Virginia 3 posts to 1 after not even two weeks!  So my motivation will be to let neither myself nor any of you down.  If you happen to see me several months from now and I look thinner, please let me know.  If I look the same, or heaven forbid obese, please forget you ever read this blog entry.


I've contemplated how this blog's content with respect to the trinity of Legos, diapers and beers may be affected by my new healthy lifestyle.  I expect that playing with Legos burns calories (no matter how few), so that's cool.  The stink of dirty diapers is an excellent appetite suppressant, so we're good there.  It's the beer, I'm afraid, that might take a hit.  I guess I'll just have to focus mainly on the pale yellow stuff for now while throwing in an occasional Guinness or Boddingtons when I want to splurge.  This shouldn't be too difficult.  My roommates and I survived college drinking Busch Light Draft, although I can't remember the last time I had one.  I haven't tried many of the relatively newer low carb, Atkins-friendly, (very) pale yellow beers like Michelob Ultra, but I did come up with several options overall:
  • Amstel Light - 5.0 grams carbs/95 calories per 12 oz.
  • August Schell Light Beer - 4.0 grams carbs/95 calories
  • Bud Light - 6.6 grams carbs/110 calories
  • Bud Select - 3.1 grams carbs/99 calories
  • Busch Light - 6.7 grams carbs/110 calories
  • Coors Light - 5.0 grams carbs/102 calories
  • Corona Light - 5.0 grams carbs/105 calories
  • Labatt Sterling - 2.5 grams carbs/88 calories
  • Michelob Ultra - 2.6 grams carbs/95 calories
  • MGD "64"- 2.4 grams carbs/64 calories
  • Miller Lite - 3.2 grams carbs/96 calories
  • Natural Light - 3.2 grams carbs/95 calories
  • Rock Green Light - 2.6 grams carbs/92 calories
My initial inclination is to go with the Labatt Sterling or Rock Green Light, since I enjoy the regular Labatt and Rolling Rock beers.  A slightly higher carb/calorie option is the August Schell Light, which I might try since it's a local brew (also the producer of Grain Belt).  And if I really want to go on a bender one night, that MGD "64" looks mighty tempting at only 64 calories per bottle!

Feel free to comment on your own light beer preferences and let me know if I am missing a good one.

Kippis! (Cheers in Finnish)

The Mommies

The girl and I began attending our first Early Childhood Family Education class (otherwise known as Mommy and Me) a couple of weeks ago.  The first two weeks have gone well, but I think the moms were a little surprised when I showed up the first day.  Most of them were in class together during the first session last fall, and there were no dads enrolled with their kids in that class.  So I feel a bit like an interloper showing up and spoiling the chick bonding time.  I can't help but think of Eddie Murphy in that Saturday Night Live sketch from many years ago when he wore makeup to look like a white man.  In the sketch Murphy was riding on a city bus and sitting in silence with his fellow passengers.  When the last African-American got off at his stop, the driver turned on music, people started dancing, and a waitress began serving drinks.

The ECFE moms have all been friendly thus far, but I wonder if the topics of discussion are different because I'm there.  I don't know - I guess I thought they might just sit around griping about their husbands the entire time.  I'm tempted to dress in drag one week (the wife's old maternity clothes should work) and pretend that I'm my wife just to see if things are any different.  I could then start bitching about my husband, i.e. me, and see where the conversation goes.  I think I could pull it off - my family can attest to my mastery of the falsetto voice.  If I only had a burqa.  I'll look around the basement for our sewing machine and some old blankets or a shower curtain to convert.


One of my favorite everyday beers is Grain Belt Premium, which is produced just down the road from North Mankato in New Ulm by the August Schell Brewing Company.  Originally produced by the Minneapolis Brewing Company in Northeast Minneapolis in a castle-like building that reminds me of Willie Wonka's chocolate factory, Grain Belt has a storied history and was acquired by Schell's in 2002.  I think the main reason that I like the beer so much is that when I lived in downtown Minneapolis the balcony of my apartment overlooked a giant Grain Belt billboard.  It was originally built in the 1930s and apparently used to blaze nightly with a neon glow, although now it's just lit with floodlights.  After recently reading that the billboard is for sale!,  I ran out to buy a Powerball ticket and tried to figure out how to have the sign taken apart, transported, and reassembled in our backyard.  I really enjoyed that view from my apartment.  And I'm sure the neighbors would love to have a little slice of history behind the house (as would the North Mankato zoning commission).  Anyone remember the Kenny Roger's Roasters episode on Seinfeld??

The Launch

Alright!  Just what the world needs - another yahoo writing a blog because he thinks there are people out there who care what he thinks.  Actually I don't think there are many people at all out there who care what I think.  And I know for sure there are several people out there who dislike what I think.  Despite knowing that such people exist and might even read this blog, I've decided to go ahead with it anyway.  And I cannot take credit for the idea. It was actually my wife, Liwanag, who suggested that I give this a try.  At first I resisted the idea, but upon further consideration (and the promise of a trip to Vegas if I keep it up for a year!) I decided to go for it.

Writing for fun is not something I would have ever imagined doing.  Personally, trying to write a 3-page book report in middle school or an essay exam in college was like trying to get a professional athlete to stay off the police blotter in the newspaper.  I think it was in 7th grade that I was supposed to keep a daily journal in my English class, using each line and both sides of the paper.  I conveniently wrote just enough each day so that I had one line of text on the back of each page and then started the next day's entry on a new page.  I don't remember receiving an 'A' for that assignment.

So what is the purpose of this blog and what's with the name??  As for the name, you either get the reference or you don't.  For those of you who do, you're probably saying to yourselves "I never knew Eric was such a big fan of Judy Garland."  And for those of you who have no idea, you're probably thinking "What a dumb name for a blog."  I'm sure some of you who do get the reference think the same thing.  Just to clue in those who don't get it, the name is a play on a line from the movie The Wizard of Oz.

I'm actually not a mega fan of The Wizard of Oz.  It's a great movie, but it wasn't my love for it that led to the blog name.  My original ideas were things like "The Stay-At-Home Dad's Blog", "Two Kids and a Dad" or "The Young and the Restless".  However, upon setting up the blog on I found that stay-at-home dad blogs were a dime a dozen and most of the names were already taken.  For example, I thought about using "homedad" in my URL.  Alas it was already in use, and when I checked it out I was directed to a blog written by a guy named Peter in Sterling, VA.  The name of this guy's blog is "Start of a New Life: Homemaker and Dad".  The first post was made on October 19, 2002, and here it is:
"Monday is the start of a new life. Carolyn will go back to work and I will stay at home with the kids."
I don't think the new life lasted very long.  That's also the last post!  Are you kidding me?!  One and done?!  I guess I shouldn't be too surprised after reading Peter's blog profile:
"I like quiet evenings, walking my dog, LOVE sunsets and sunrises anywhere, motorcycles, fast and exotic cars, picnics in the park, coffee in an outside cafe preferably in Europe somewhere, LOVE walks on the beach, discussions about almost anything, one of my favorite past times in the winter time is sitting in front of the fire place enjoying a glass of port."
He doesn't sound up to the challenge of staying home and taking care of kids (or for that matter being married to a woman - not that there's anything wrong with that).  I, on the other hand, plan to pursue this idea full steam ahead and promise to make at the minimum two posts to this blog.  And once I decide to do something, I stick with it (just like the jiu jitsu lessons I took as a kid - for three weeks).

So instead of a boring stay-at-home dad blog name (since that obviously gets you nowhere), I decided to try to be a little more original.  Legos and diapers are two things that currently occupy about 87% of my free time, so it's a no-brainer there.  In addition to writing about my kids and family life, I plan to mix things up a bit and include other topics such as food, travel, sports, etc.  Therefore to complete the TWOZ quote, I decided to go with beer.  I like beer (in moderation of course - I'm not the type to drink a 12-pack on a Sunday afternoon while watching the Vikings).  I like different kinds of beer - from the pale yellow stuff to the darkest, heaviest sludge.  And there are infinite topics to discuss related to beer, so I'll include a beer-related nugget in each of my posts.

Finally I would like to introduce my family, who had best prepare themselves to have every minute detail of their lives discussed and dissected.  First is my lovely wife of more than 8 years, Liwanag, to whom I gave credit above for the idea of creating this blog.  For simplicity sake and to save me a few keystrokes when typing, she will hereafter be referred to as "the wife" or "my wife".  Please don't interpret that as a sign of disrespect.  At home I often call her "Wife" and she calls me "Husband".  There is also our 5-year old son Cameron, who I will refer to as "the boy".  And finally we have our 21-month old daughter Ana, the filler of diapers, who will be called "the girl" (and yes, I realize that typing "the girl" takes longer than typing "Ana" - buzz off).

Hopefully I still have your attention after getting the formalities out of the way.  I will do my best to make this blog interesting and worth reading.  This post is actually quite long - I should send it to my 7th grade English teacher.


Contact Me

Thanks for your interest. Please leave a comment and I'll get back to you as soon as possible.

About This Blog

The purpose of this blog is twofold:

- to inform family and friends of current events in the Ojala household
- to serve as an outlet for me to address whatever topics I desire, both humorous and
serious (mainly the former)

I hope you enjoy reading it!