Monday, October 3, 2011

Sickness and Sameness, with Goodness and Badness

My goodness, how long can a person be sick?
Well, I know the answer is “longer than you have been so far.” I get that, but I’m done with this sickness. It may not be done with me, but I’m done with it. I wish that would make a difference.
Fucking cold.
Colds. I think this is at least two colds in succession. Maybe it’s three.
Fucking colds.
I’ve been on blog hiatus. I think it’s largely justified. Journaling daily is hard. It takes time. It gets boring, and it draws my attention to how boring I am; how routine I am. And with this series of sicknesses, I’ve been even more boring.
So what have I done in the last…oh, month or so? I’ve eaten. My breakfasts have been largely unchanged, mostly oatmeal and mochas with the occasional muffin, although I had a week of garlic parmesan bagels because the Sacramento Baking Company finally got a booth at our farmers’ market and I love those bagels so I got some. Bagels: the food so nice, you cook it thrice.
You really do. You boil them. Then you bake them. Then you toast them.
Then I put a butter substitute on them, because it’s good and that’s what I have. I also have a horrible cough—have I mentioned that?
So the eating: lunches have dwindled, and I’d attribute that to the sickness and maybe work stress. Work isn’t great right now. I screwed up, to be honest. Not in terms of performance or quality of work, but in terms of pissing off the wrong person. I could sit here and write about how unprofessional this person is; irrational; rash; incompetent; absurd; overly-emotional; ignorant; annoying; overbearing; passive-aggressive…but what good would that do? Ultimately, I challenged this person repeatedly and those challenges resulted in excommunication from that person’s program. Flat-out cut off. No contact in weeks. It’s childish, but that’s the way it is. Sometimes you just have to bow your head, take your beatings, and do what you’re told no matter how stupid what you’re told may be or how much you may disagree. That, or this happens. Ah well. I’m employed. I learn lessons. I have work to do. But this episode: it hasn’t been good. I hope this will pass. In the meantime, there’s other work and there is a proposal to be done.
Dinners still find me eating plenty. There hasn’t been anything out of the ordinary. We tend to cook our dinners: tacos, pesto chicken, chicken alfredo, steak, burgers, sketti, lasagna, stir fry, and probably some other things. We go out for date night on Thursdays. I drink wine and/or beer. And I’ve been taking various cough medicines and what-have-you that seem to have no effect on this fucking sickness.
Fucking colds.
These fucking colds—I was going to do the Golden State Triathlon. I decided. I was going to do a B.R.ICK workout 2 or 3 weeks ago. I forget now. But before that weekend came I got this viral cough. Possibly foolishly, I’ve still pushed myself through some workouts, but they’ve been low-intensity and pretty sporadic. I NEED to work out. It’s important for my moods and brain chemistry. Hence, I work out. But I’ve taken multiple days off in a row. My runs have slowed to near-walks, or so it seems to me. My body aches. I’ve managed to swim at least once per week, and even got a good mile in this past weekend, but I still can’t shake the sickness. I ran 3.4 miles yesterday, and it was sorta okay, and then I coughed and coughed and coughed when I got home.
I’m not doing the Golden State Triathlon. It’s this weekend. My fitness level has dropped a bit. I’d likely lose a lung. I’d surely scare others with my hacking cough. I’m disappointed.
Things haven’t been ALL bad. There’s exciting news, but I’m not sharing that just yet. I broke my cell phone, but that’s unrelated.
There has been productivity in the garden, but not as prolific as last year. We’ve made more tomato sauce. We have two pumpkins now on our front porch, and I grew those, but they were supposed to be giants and they’re nowhere near giant. They’re nowhere near as big as the one I grew last year, which weighed in at 125 pounds. They’re so small I didn’t weigh them. But they’re pumpkins, we’ll carve them, and I grew them, so that’s cool. I have one habanero pepper ripening. I have two tiny purple bell peppers that may be trying to ripen, but I’m not really sure they’ll make it or be worthwhile. We got a good amount of corn but that’s done and I have a lot of garden work to do right now, really. I need to pull things out. Work the soil. I bought seeds I need to plant. The winter garden calls, but I’ve placed the call on hold. I need to find my motivation. I need to not be sick.
That’s about it since I last blogged. I mean, there have been other details: a wedding, time with friends, family time, house cleaning…these types of things. They happen. I enjoy them. They keep me happy.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Routine: It's What I Do.

I can blog tonight.

Not for any good reason. I never had one before, though.

I have a beer. A beer that fooled me, I’ll admit. It’s an ESB, as proclaimed on the label. I was excited, because I love a good ESB and I hadn’t seen or had this before. The bitch of it (besides the fact that it’s called “Bitch Creek”) is the “B” stands for brown in this case. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good brown ale, and it’s a good brown ale. But ESB is extra special bitter—that’s what it’s supposed to mean. That’s the style of beer. But they call this the Bitch Creek Extra Special Brown Ale, which is just dirty if you ask me. I was fooled. Fooled into something that still tastes okay but isn’t what I’d had in mind for dinner that night.

But not tonight.

No, tonight I had wine with dinner. This ESBrown: it’s just for blogging.

My days are my days, routine-like as you know by now. I actually got up a bit early this morning…around 6:15. I slept well, mostly. Liam ended up in our bed. He has a few teeth coming through right now, and maybe that’s why or maybe it isn’t. But I woke up at 6:15 and went out to the garden to do some watering. I’m not watering as much now because 1) things are dying, 2) I don’t care so much, and 3) it’s getting cooler outside.

We’ve gotten quite a bit of good corn out of the garden, honestly. And some of it we didn’t get to fast enough. There’s still some to be eaten, but it needs to be eaten this week or it’s going to start drying into seed. That’s what corn does. That’s what corn wants to do.

We eat a plant’s hard work.

If it won’t kill us.

(Not like Seymour in Little House of Horrors [Bop! Bop!]. More like a poisonous plant. Although I’d steer clear of Seymour, too. Although I bet some would eat him. But what would a vegan do? Man, that’s a tough one only a vegan can answer, I’d bet. I mean, can only one plant have consciousness…or would it imply all plants have consciousness and hence…well, that’s not my area of knowledge. And a giant personified carnivorous plant doesn’t exist, to my knowledge, which really makes it non-issue. Moving on.)

I may have drunk a Berry Veggie this morning, but I can’t guarantee it. There has been Naked Juice down hatches in this house in the past few days. This is no surprise.

At the office at had my oatmeal and mocha. These things were pleasing.

I worked.

I sat on my ball. My exercise ball has become my permanent office seat lately, which is okay. And it’s still possible to have bad posture on an exercise ball, no matter what the magazines and web articles might tell you. You can slouch. Lean on a desk. Wedge the ball against the back of your legs.

But you can also bounce on it. And balance. And bend backward. And do pushups, but I didn’t do that today. I did some at the gym yesterday. But today I just sat and bounced and leaned and slouched and wedged. Slouched and wedged.

I ate some almonds and I ate a banana and I ate an apple, one of these little organic gala apples that’s super sweet and tart and so darn good. SO darn good. I drank water.

I worked.

I had work conversations.

I left work an hour late and went to pick up Liam, who was still awake, and he passed out on the way home, transferred easily to his crib, and

I worked.

I got hungry so I made a grilled cheese on double fiber bread: real butter, yellow cheddar and mozzarella, yellow mustard. I ate some pretzels with that. I drank water. 

Work frustrates me lately. I’ve mentioned it a lot. Work isn’t usually all too frustrating to me. I shan’t get into details here, though.

Liam woke up just around 4:30, a good 3 hours under his eyelids, and we snuggled a bit because he was in that mood and it’s AWESOME when your kid wants to hold you or hug you or just lay on you. Seriously: awesome.

Of course he ultimately needed milk and I had work to do so he got to playing, some of that involving sitting in my lap typing on his (broken) keyboard while I type on my real one which is honestly just so, so sad and says I shouldn’t work on the computer so much around my boy, I think, but then what’s a guy to do? Other bits of his playing consisted of other things. How’s that for specific? (I honestly know, though.)

Angie got home around 5:30 and I worked ‘til 6, then I went for a bike ride. It felt really good, and I would have worn my Forerunner if the battery wasn’t low. I should start it charging now, but I’ll gamble on remembering in the morning. That’s a big gamble. 

Anyway, the bike ride was nice. Around 15 miles, I went through neighborhoods to William Pond Park, hopped on the American River Parkway, rode along the American River up to Sunrise Park, then rode up into Bannister Park and ended up with a mile or so probably on Fair Oaks and then it was back to residential. None of that means anything to you, most likely. I felt pretty strong. My knee felt good. It took me about 40 minutes.

I got home and started dinner, which was a good one from mostly garden stuff. I made whole wheat spaghetti in a meat sauce, which probably isn’t that exciting, and the meat was ground beef. But the tomato sauce was some sauce I cooked down from garden tomatoes a few weeks ago and I put in some onion, basil, oregano, and gypsy pepper from the garden, along with a bunch of garlic, some salt, some ground pepper, agave nectar…and paprika. I had a bruschetta bread I bought that was already cheesed and/or garlicky or something, but we sliced that down the middle and buttered, garlicked, and put some mozzarella cheese on that stuff and after toasting, it was pretty badass. That with the spaghetti and the meat sauce made my stomach happy.

I drank a couple glasses of some cabernet sauvignon—nothing fancy—one while cooking and the other with dinner. We played with Liam a bit and Angie got him bathed and we brushed his teeth and read to him and then I came here.

I typed this.

And Angie rocked him to sleep. I always depart after reading and turn off the light. Angie rocks him to sleep. (Except when she was out of town, which went REALLY well, by the way.)

I got this beer to accompany my writing.

I’m pretty sleepy.

I’m gonna go to bed now.

So good night, those of you that bothered reading this again. I can already sense I won’t be so consistent in this blogging. I still like the idea. It’s just hard to keep up. It takes time. And sometimes I’d rather read or hang out with my wife or maybe just sleep. Balance is important.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Without the Wife, But Keeping Up the Game: No Rest Around He-ah

Mmmmm…okay: a bit of catch-up. Not ketchup. Or catsup. Both acceptable spellings, but not what I’m after—I need to catch up.

Labor day saw me awake with Liam at 4:00am, Angie too, but me not really sleeping again until about 10 minutes before Angie’s alarm went off on her phone…which didn’t need to be set…and was in the kitchen…and she didn’t hear. So I got up at 6:50. That’s fine, ‘cause I wasn’t really baggin’ the Zs anyway, so why fight it? I made some garden rounds solo-style, probably watered although I don’t much remember, then started water to boil for coffee and steel-cut oats.

~~I tried to find my favorite song off my favorite sleepy-time album, this Francis/Dreyer album, and it’s not on youtube. I didn’t know there was anything that wasn’t on youtube. Elena is the name of the song. Pete Francis and Craig Dreyer. Album: Everything Is One. It probably isn’t for everyone. Pete Francis was one of Dispatch. Craig Dreyer…I don’t know who he is, although he has done other things and he has this real rough voice and it’s almost hard to like, his voice, and maybe that’s why I like it. I really love that album.~~

I was pretty much out of the Mexican so I mixed it with a bit of a light-roasted Sumatran. I think it’s Sumatran. Whole Foods spoils me with their fresh-roasted coffees. Liam woke up but Angie stayed in bed and I drank my coffee and we both ate oatmeal, mine with brown sugar and his mixed with a bit of apple sauce and cinnamon, and Angie woke up as I was finishing my oats and I’d made enough for her so she ate some, too. I went out to the garden to get a bit more done. Then I did water. Now I remember. The first time was a bug check. The second time I watered.

Time was short, odd since it was Labor Day, but Angie had to leave town for work, which meant leaving home at 2:00, so we did another family run. It was about 3.5 miles: the Sutter-Landis loop. We finished that, and I can’t remember if it was before or after that, but I spent a bit more time in the garden playing Search and Destroy with the caterpillars. I had a generic picture a couple of days ago, which was my last post. Yesterday, though, I found the biggest one I’ve found yet. Most I’ve uncovered are about ¼- to ½-inch long, and they’re real thin, but this one: this one was about an inch long and 4 times as thick. This is what I’m dealing with, in close-up, at the end of some tweezers:

Gross, right? This is what it looked like after I SKISHED THAT FUCKER:

Therapy. (Also gross, I understand.)

So since Angie was leaving town, we decided to go out for lunch. Sometimes all you need is an excuse. My lunch filled me all up: PF Chang’s, crispy honey chicken, brown rice, garlic snap peas, and some New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, which was all really good. STUFFED. Home. Not wanting Angie to leave.

~~Angie and I don’t spend much time apart, and never spend nights apart, and she’s gone for three nights. This puts me in full command of everything around the house, including those things I might not typically do, like putting Liam down for bed (which cuts into my blogging time, apparently), but I’m not scared. I take these things in stride. I just hate not having my best friend around. I miss my wife. And I know she misses our boy, and probably me a bit, too.~~

We just kinda doddled around the house after we got home from lunch. Liam would normally have been napping then, but he slept on the fairly short ride to Chang’s and then didn’t sleep again…for a while. Angie left. Liam and I hung out and played. Liam got sleepy. He crawled in my lap and went to sleep, and that was around 3:45—not good to have late naps if you’re hoping for a reasonable bedtime, but also: what can you do? Well, you can work. Or that’s what I did, ‘cause I have too much to do right now.

So I worked for about an hour, maybe a bit more, while Liam napped on the big bag. He started stirring just before 5:00 so I pushed it: I picked him up…I tried to feed him…I tried to keep him awake…I walked him outside…he started waking up more…so I loaded him in his stroller and pushed him toward the tots’ playground at Carmichael Park while chattin’ with my mom on the phone.

He got real excited when he saw the playground: feet kicking and squeals squealing, and I unstrapped him and let him run. I let my mom go so I wasn’t the guy on the phone not really paying attention to my kid (even though no one else was there) and Liam and I played. Slides. Climbing. Trying to jump. Running. Squealing (him more than me, honest). And then we walked out of there and I just pushed the stroller while he walked and we strolled through the park…and the ball diamonds…and over by the dog park, and he had a hard time walking away from the dog park.

Liam loves animals, and he loves dogs. This was no surprise, this struggle to walk away. He’d start to, then turn around and go back. We watched some kids ollying and trying kick-flips off a ledge, and even saw one kid land one, and then back to the dogs. We spent a couple of hours out there walking and such but it was getting time for Liam to eat and although I wasn’t really hungry, I put him back in the stroller and we went home.

Given my lack of hunger, I warmed some refried black beans for Liam, sprinkled cheese on, and let him go to town. It looked like this:

When he finished his beans we split a white peach. I’ll admit it wasn’t as sweet as they were last week, but it was still good and Liam was into it so we ate it, ‘cause he’s not always into it. And it’s a new thing for me to be into, but this is an advantage of having a kid: I make myself eat things I might normally avoid so I can set an example, and sometimes I like those things.

He was a tuckered boy, but we tried a video call with momma which didn’t work for reasons presently unknown, so we just had a chat over the cam/speakers with no video and it was good enough. We said our goodbyes and spent some time in the garden, spraying for the caterpillars. Spinosad. Maybe my order if off there. I’m not quite sure when the call happened, but it did.

I bathed with Liam, which NEVER happens. I never bathe—I shower. But I thought it’d be fun, and it was, and brushing his teeth by myself was not. He has a new tooth coming in, but that’s irrelevant.

Bedtime went pretty smoothly, me drinking wine and reading to him a bit, then rocking him off to sleep and leaving him to his dreams. I think I left him around 9:20, which means he’d probably been asleep since 9:05 or so, and then I spent a bit of time reading and fell asleep.

You get a double day today!

So Liam woke up at 3:15am and I spent about 20 minutes rocking him back to sleep, but when I stood to put him back in his crib his body went rigid (not a good sign) and he wasn’t going to sleep in his crib without a much greater time commitment on my part and I was sleepy so I took him to bed with me and we slept together, which was nice, really.

I’d hoped he’d wake me up kind early—not so. I woke up before him. In truth, I didn’t sleep great, but I woke up before him and tried to prompt him awake and we finally got up about 10 ‘til 7:00. First full day of full responsibility.

I started water to boil to feed Liam instant oats and ignored the garden. There’s only so much a person can do, you know? I set his dirty diapers out for the diaper service. I got all his things packed for daycare and my things packed for work. I slugged a Blue Machine and some water and we left and I dropped Liam at daycare. I was at work just after 8:00, which felt like some weird victory. I made myself my oatmeal: two packs of the instant oats and flax. I also made my mocha because I remembered to buy chocolate.

Then I worked. I got things done. It was a good morning. Nothing special. I ate almonds, a banana, and an apple. I left a bit late and picked up Liam and, as usual, he fell asleep on the way home. I got him in his crib, made myself a turkey sammich on double fiber bread with red-leaf lettuce, red onion, mustard, and swiss cheese, and sidled some pretzels up next to that. I washed it all down with water. I took a few minutes to play Search and Destroy, but only found one little fucker and killed it, accordingly. Maybe I found two. Maybe the spinosad is working. I dunno.

I worked a lot more. Liam napped a LONG time. I like to keep him to 3 hours max, so at 3 hours I turned up the music…stomped down the hall…talked loudly to the dogs outside his room…opened his door…touched his back…he didn’t flinch through any of that, so what could I do but wait? I went back to work. He slept a good 20 minutes more.

He woke up around 4:30 and I got him some milk and he snacked on a banana while I worked more. It got past 5:00 and I needed exercise so I pushed him in his stroller through the River Loop, in reverse for some scenic variety for him, and I have the Forerunner data but I haven’t uploaded it. I ran a bit over 3.5 miles with a 7:05/mile pace. It was 96 degrees. It felt good.

I took time to stop sweating and got to chat with Angie a bit, but I needed a shower and dinner needed to be made so I let Angie go ‘cause she had work things to do and I had home things to do. Don’t think I’m slacking just because I’m doing the single parent thing. Oh no.

I had a quick shower, then Liam and I went outside. I started charcoals for the grill, then sprayed some spinosad on some other plants I hadn’t gotten to yet. I pulled three ears of corn off the stalks, wrapped 3 small Yukon gold ‘taters in foil, and threw those things on the grill. We came inside and I did dishes and otherwise cleaned the kitchen. Well, I loaded the dishwasher and washed some things by hand and Liam played.

I smashed out a boneless skinless chicken breast, rubbed it in olive oil mixed with soy sauce, then sprinkled garlic granules, paprika, and ground pepper on it. I put that on the grill. I blackened it, essentially, but don't think that was all tough and overdone. It was perfect. All completed, dinner looked like this for the boy and I:

I don’t mess around, even if it IS just me and my toddler. And the corn made me feel like I really AM from Indiana. Especially that one big ear on my plate. 

Liam ate well. I ate well and ate what he didn’t eat, and I was surprised how much corn he’ll eat right off the cob. It’s cute, too, ‘cause he mimics me in that regard. I got him to eat it by eating mine. He was amused. He was least impressed by the baked potato. 

It’s getting late, but Liam had napped late so I figured he wouldn’t be tired all too early. We finished dinner after 8:00 and had watched an episode of Bob’s Burger’s we’d already seen. Liam doesn’t see much TV, but when he does, it’s quality. HA!

We did the dishes—Liam helped me unload the dishwasher and I loaded some more dirties in, and then I loaded his dirty self into the tub for a bath. I sat out this time. He had a good long bath and then a short, terrible tooth-brushing, and then the naked rumpus started and it was already after 9:00. Angie called and we spoke a bit but her reception was terrible at the top of the Mandalay Bay and that all ended too quickly. Liam peed all over one of his toys, and I cleaned that up. Things like this can be expected.

I got him diapered and dressed and he ran around a bit more, then we started settling him for the night. He was in his crib and I was reading him—SURPRISE!—Shel Silverstein. I was drinking wine. I have been. First it was a zin and now it’s Penfold’s shiraz-cab blend. I turned off the light, grabbed him up, and rocked him to sleep. Then I came out here and started typing this. It has been a full day. I’m sleepy. I hope Liam sleeps through the night, but I don’t expect it. I expect he’ll end up in my bed at some point in the wee hours of the morning, and I won’t complain too much, although I’ll probably try to get him to settle back in his crib first. I know that’s the ideal. I do.

I do.

So good night, my not-present wife. I sure do miss you. We sure do miss you. Our house is full with me and Liam and two dogs and two cats (who I fed and even took the time to clean the nasty litter box for [cats…cats…caterpillars…cats…cats…why cats?]), but it still feels empty. So I say good night to the emptiness and I’ll go try to stretch across the bed and enjoy the vacancy, but I’ll still end up on my side. There’s only so much space a body can take up, and I don’t sleep like starfish, all sprawled out. Angie…that’s a different story.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

This Is What Good Days Are Made Of

To tri or not to tri? I think I may be trying to tri, although I’m not sure I want to tri. It’s not so much a matter of whether or not I could complete the tri, and I surely wouldn’t win the tri (or even try to win the tri, for that matter), but do I want to try the tri? That’s what I’m trying to figure out.

The Golden State Triathlon: 0.5-mile swim, 15-mile ride, 3-mile run. It’s on October 9. Today is September 4. That’s a little over a month, and I’d save 10 bucks if I were to decide to try and sign up before September 13. Aw, shit. What’s my hang-up? Well, there are two, to be honest. I’ll get to that in a bit, though.

I got out of bed at 7:24 this morning and went out to the garden to make sure the sinosad hadn’t killed any of my plants right off and I neglected to water anything, and I can hear some of those plants yelling at me as I type. It’s 4:18. I came home to an empty house because my wonderful wife took my son out to run some errands with her and I had some energy to burn off. I’ll get to that in a bit, though.

I came in from the garden and was really feeling much better today. Yesterday…yesterday was not a day of good feelings.

~~Now I’m cooking dinner. I’m typing through the day today.~~

Anyway, today was a better day, feeling-wise. All-around-wise, to be honest. I came in from the garden and made myself some coffee (finishing off the Mexican, essentially [finally]) and steel-cut oats. Liam had already eaten breakfast but ended up in my lap eating my oats, too, which is fine with me (‘cause I make a little extra for that purpose, otherwise…).

I may have also written yesterday’s blog around then. I did, as a matter of fact, while eating and drinking coffee and having Liam in and out of my lap, also eating. Not long after that, though, Angie asked me if I wanted to go for a run and I did, so we did. It was a nice, leisurely run. We took the Elbster along because it was pretty early (about 10:30?) and cool, and I pushed Liam along in the stroller. We ran down to the river—or the start of the trail to the river, because it’s too hard to push the stroller while running on the trail thanks to river rocks, and that’s just the way it goes. It’s only about a 1/4-mile hike from there, so we did that and got to the river.

We freed Liam from the stroller and Elba was in swim-and-fetch mode, which was great because she has had one hell of a stink on her lately and this helped make that go away. That was a big reason for the trip to the river, because bathing our big dogs sucks. Anyway, Liam played all about and was stepping out into the river (which is super cold, by the way) because he had sandals on and hence the freedom to do so, unlike me and Angie in our runners, and he ultimately got soaked walking and falling and otherwise playing, and that was good. Elba got goodly tired. We stripped Liam down to his soggy diaper, put him back in his stroller, and strolled back to where we could run, then ran home. The River Loop, plus diversion. We put in about 4.25 miles total.

When we got home we were getting hungry but there was a farmers’ market to attend, so we loaded Liam up in the stroller once again and took Nosta to the market. We walked it, of course—hence the stroller—and I made a point of stopping at this one stand of this guy who grows all certified-organic-like and he’s the one with the super good peaches and nectarines and this week I got more white peaches AND he had APPLES! I sampled everything he had that I could sample and I also bought some gala apples. We made our round and walked on home. Nosta got lots of stranger love, as she tends to do. People love that dog. I love that dog.

We were still hungry, though, and I was really slow about going to get groceries because I’m kinda obsessing over these damn caterpillars in the garden and I like to find them and squish them and watch their heads explode with green goo. Little fuckers. They look like this:


and mine are mostly greenish but also some are brownish, but mostly greenish like that one and they ooze green.

~~And now dinner is over and so is Bubba Ho-Tep and my stomach is SO full.~~

I did go to the grocery, but I declared my intention to swing by the going-out-of-bidness nursery to see if they were still open, assuming they weren’t, and see if they had anything I needed, assuming they didn’t. Well, they were still open (barely) and they DID have things I needed. It was a pretty great stop, to be honest. Upon walking in there was a cart that said “Free Fertilizer” and on the top of the cart was some Fox Farm Big Bloom, a big ol’ jug of it, and although it’s not STRICTLY organic, it was a big $56 jug of a naturally-based nutes (I like Fox Farm nutes [nutrients] in general) and sure, it was only half full and it had no cap, but it was free and now it’s mine. I also got a concentrated version of spinosad and some acidic fertilizer (for some of the natives and maybe some future blueberries) and a fungicide for the peach tree that I didn’t know was a peach tree the first year we lived here (because it had been chopped down and was just a bush of little twigs coming up from the ground) that has peach leaf curl and some fish-based organic fertilizer…and I think that’s it, but I got it all for 40 bucks, which is hard to complain about, except that place is going out of business.

So then I really did go to the grocery, and I got our grocery shopping done, and on the way home, since I was so hungry, I ate some almonds and drank a blue machine. I’d planned on a turkey sammich when I got home but wasn’t all that hungry for it, but I WAS hungry for some more activity. Liam only napped an hour, which was odd, but Angie had some errands to run and I had some energy to burn so I biked to the gym, then I swam, then I biked home, both bikings in round-about ways. All total, I ran the aforementioned 4.25 miles, biked 6.66 (devilish, I know), and swam a good 42 laps, which is nicely over ½ mile.

This takes me back to the tri. The triathlon. What are my hang-ups?

1)      I’m not big on the river swim. I don’t mind the river, and I’ve been in it aplenty, and iv’e even swam it some, but it’s not my favorite thing. It’s cold, for one thing, and although I can wear a wetsuit, that water is still cold and there’s a hole in the back of my wetsuit. It still keeps me warm…except at that hole. I think I could deal with that, though.
2)      This knee thing. Sure, it seems to be gone. But then, it also still hurts a bit. And to push it through 15 miles of biking and 3 miles of running…I fear I may push it a bit too far too fast. I may have to do a brick workout or two and see how things go.

~~A brick, if I’ve never explained and I’m not sure why I would have: Bike-Run-ICK. It’s one of those slang things that pretty well sums up how it feels when you go from biking to running: icky. Going from the fast to the slow. It’s fairly terrible. Hence, brick.~~

Goodness I’m sleepy.

Angie got home with Liam and we goofed around a bit, I went out to kill more caterpillars, I showered, and we skyped with Angie’s parents. I opened a bottle of malbec during that and started cutting up some ‘taters for fries—burger night.

The call ended. I started up the charcoals on the grill (chimney starter, lump charcoal [I’ve typed it before: avoid the briquettes and lighter fluid]), picked some corn from the garden (we really DO have some good ears in addition to the tiny ones I’d picked before), wetted those down and tossed ‘em on the grill. I mixed the hamberguesa with…soy sauce, diced red onion, garlic, paprika, ground pepper, and some chopped up oregano from the garden. Oh, parmesan cheese, too. We deep-fried the fries and I cooked the burgers on the grill and topped ‘em with swiss cheese and it was all very good. I ate too much. I drank wine with dinner. I have wine now. But this is a gap of a long time. Many hours. I’m on my third glass of wine. I may pour a bit more, but I’m also sooooo sleepy. So maybe I won’t.

Okay, just a splash more. There’s still a quarter of the bottle or more left. Honest.

We finished the movie. Liam was all wound up. He only napped about an hour today. That’s the way things go sometimes.

I’ll be playing single dad for the next few nights. Angie has work travels. None of us are excited about this, but it should be an interesting challenge—her to be away and me to do it all around here…plus try to get all my work done when I don’t have enough time to do it. If I were smart I’d try to work some tomorrow, but I’m not smart and I love my time off. It’s necessary.

I read to Liam. He rolled and played in his crib. The crib I made him. It still makes me proud, I can’t deny it. It’s holding up. It stands through his kicking and climbing and thrashing. It’s solid. At least so far.

I kissed Liam goodnight and came out here to finish this blog entry, which I’m about to call finished.

So good night, two-parent household. I’ll miss you over the next few nights. I’ll enjoy the time with my boy, and I’ll hope I can get him to sleep at night as well as my wife. I’ll have my work cut out for me, but I know the routine and there are those who do this all the time. I’m in awe of those folks. I do love my family so. They’re the best, and they’re what I live for these days. What else is there, ultimately?   

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Day I Felt Like Dung

Blogging yesterday…er, I mean, today…ahem (back-dating) is easy, ‘cause I was oddly sickly and that translates to not doing or eating a whole hell of a lot, even though there were still things I got done.

I woke up and it was like the pizza from the night before hadn’t moved in my digestive tract. Or it moved and got stuck. I felt pretty terrible—my stomach full and no desire for any breakfast—so I didn’t eat any, at first. I did water the garden.

Oh, I’d woken up around 6:45, but that’s not important.

Angie made spelt waffles, but I didn’t touch them. I tried to drink some water, but even had a hard time with that because my belly was so full (how?). Finally, around 9:45 I forced some waffles and OJ into my system, roughly 1.5 waffles (‘cause some was shared with Liam) and a pint of OJ, but I still wasn’t feeling better—I just wanted to eat. I’m not one to fast.

I was starting to feel odder (not otter). My legs were strangely sore, but not in a good “I worked ‘em hard yesterday” way—it was odd. Oddness. It spread to my entire body. My entire body was feeling odd. Sore.

But no matter, ‘cause the nausea hadn’t struck yet and there was house cleaning going on. Our house was a wreck, so we’d pretty much started cleaning straight out of bed, and we got most of the house clean. After I ate we loaded Liam in his stroller, threw his Strider bike on top, and started walking toward Carmichael Park. We stopped off in the parking lot of a church nearby because there were some slopes and it’s going to be fun when Liam realizes he can pick his feet up on the Strider and coast down those slopes, but he’s not there yet. Regardless, we strapped on his helmet and he strode around a bit before we again loaded him up and headed over to the playground at Carmichael Park.

I still wasn’t feeling terrible, just weird. Odd. Maybe I never did feel terrible, but it did get worse.

We played at the playground. Liam learned he doesn’t need Momma or Poppa to go down the slides anymore, and it was pretty cute to watch him walk up to one, sit down, then scoot forward and take the dip to the ground. I got pictures.


Look at that smile. I love that kid.>>>>>>>>>>>>

We had an interesting experience in different parenting styles, Angie and I. Liam walked over toward this edge where he had climbed up earlier but where he couldn’t easily get down and it was a bit of a drop, maybe 2.5 or 3 feet, and Angie kindly guided him away. A bit later, when he approached again and I was closer than Angie and she said “Don’t let him go off the edge!” …well, I let him go off the edge. He tumbled, cried for about 10 seconds and of course I jumped off and picked him up and he was fine—he stopped crying and pushed away to get down so he could play more. Sure, it could’ve been worse, but a lesson was learned. I think. He didn’t do it again. 

There were two praying mantises on a bench, and we tried pointing those out to Liam, but he wasn’t super interested. I should have caught them and brought them home to deal with some of the garden pests—these damn caterpillars—but I didn’t think about it.

We came home and I started feeling worse. Nauseated. Just generally crappy. My skin hurt to touch. Odd. I didn’t eat any lunch. I tried to drink some water and it nauseated me. I tried to get some garden work done and it nauseated me. I napped, at least a little, and that didn’t un-nauseate me.

I tried to do more garden work. It’s these caterpillars, see: they can do some significant damage real fast. I felt terrible, though, and not real up to the task. Even worse, if I was going to get something chemical-wise to try to hurt them, I’d have to go to the nursery I hate and I’d have to do it soon because it was after 4:00 and they close at 5:00 no matter what and surely aren’t open on Sunday or Labor Day and I’m not sure my garden can take much more of these caterpillars. I mean, they don’t affect everything, but what they do affect, they affect.

I went to the nursery I hate to get something to try to deal with the caterpillars—spinosad—and that stuff’s kinda cool because it’s some bacteria that was found in a soil sample taken from a Caribbean rum distillery by a vacationing scientist or something and it was declared a new species and it has never been found anywhere else but the guy that found it fermented it and discovered this new organic pesticide…or I guess it’s probably not always organic, but it can be. The stuff I bought is. And if those little fuckers (the caterpillars) eat it, like I hope, it’ll over-excite their nervous systems and they’ll die. That’d be grand. But it’s a gamble, ‘cause they have to eat it. So I picked some off by hand, too, but I wasn’t feeling too up to the searching, so I only found one or two. One, I think.

I actually just sat on the ground at the nursery because I didn’t feel well enough to stand up, reading labels, trying to decide if I was gonna get spinosad or bacillus thuringiensis, but the latter wasn’t an organic formulation and that’s important to me. They both do essentially the same thing.

There’s a guy that works there that sorta reminds me of a white version of Thorny from Sooper Troopers, except he isn’t funny and seems a bit more like a dick, but he reminds me of him none-the-less in his aviators he seems to always wear in the three times I’ve been there. He’s the guy that tried to sell me non-organic fertilizer when I was looking for organic fertilizer. I refused his assistance this time, and I sat and read labels as I’m wont to do, anyway. (Ask my wife: I research damn near everything. I typically know or have an idea of what I want before I ever even start toward buying it, then I read the labels anyway.)

I didn’t eat dinner, but I did drink a glass of water. (I think I’ve mentioned wasn’t feeling well.) We watched a bit of Bubba Ho-Tep, but we didn’t finish it. Liam ate his first hot dog. (Not an Oscar Meyer, but a GOOD hot dog, and I was a bit jealous, but there was no food going into my stomach—I felt like the dung.)

I mostly just laid around and maybe started feeling a bit better before bed, but definitely not 100 percent, and I read some in the bean bag and I read some in the bed some and then I went to sleep some. No food, no alcohol, no pills, just sleep, although it wasn’t the best sleep, but you’ll have that. Or I will.

I’d bet some money I’ll be feeling much better tomorrow, since, you know, it’s tomorrow right now and I’m back-dating this entry. So don’t you worry about me. I don’t know what was wrong, but dang, it sure was odd.

So I say good day to the better day that finds me feeling better. And I say good riddance to the day that found me feeling so crappy. That was annoying. Now I need to figure out what I’m going to do today.

“What are we gonna do tonight, Brain?”

“The same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try to take over the world!”

Friday, September 2, 2011

Bi-Sigh-Cle. And Beer. And Other Things.

Like Tag Team, I’m back again. Check it. Wreck it.

Sit and spin.

No no no. That’s not right. Laundry going: that’s right. Spinning. Spin cycle. Bi-cycle.

I say “motor-sickle.” My wife thinks it should be “motor-sigh-cle.” Nobody says “bi-sigh-cle,” though, so I stick with “motor-sickle.” Motorcycles: not my favorite things, especially those loud “look-at-me (but don’t look at me) kind.”

Beer: Little Sumpin’ Wild. Number three, and it’s the last beer slash wine (beer/wine) in the house, unless I dip into something real special, and that ain’t gonna happen. There’s no desire, really. I swear. I have a full beer here in front of me. Beer here dear. I rhymed queer, earlier, as in odd. Again, this is the effect Shel Silverstein can have on a person.

It’ll worsen.

But the first’n, maybe I should get down to bidness. Aw, hell: the whole day was bidness.

My…low mood was quite evident yesterday. Work: I owe it all to work. Hey, thanks work! Work also cost me some sleep last night—I may have mentioned it hasn’t been my best week—and then Liam didn’t help in the wee hours of the morning, but I can’t complain too much about snugglin’ with the kid.

I CAN complain about having too much work to do while he’s around. But I won’t. Just know it’s possible.

I got up this morning and I wasn’t well rested and I went to Bella Bru kinda early, like I left around 7, and given the earliness my wife requested a hot chocolate and I forgot to order it—not my routine. Don’t get me wrong—I got it. But I ordered my usual: lemon poppy seed muffin, large mocha. I paid. I sat down, waiting for my mocha, and then I remembered. I think I let out an audible “Shit!” (I don’t have the best control of my expletives. My son will surely suffer at school because of it. But if I do things right, he’ll also spin some philosophy on his punishers. “What’s in a word? Henceforth I declare the word tasty to mean ‘fuck’ in my world, so tasty you, hamster penis!”) I ordered the hot chocolate and got all three items and chatted a moment and left. I think I looked like a zombie, so maybe all I chatted was “Braaaainns.” But I think there was conversation.

I came home and started working, which is sad, right? I ate my muffin on the way. Oh, I did underwater the garden—it let me know later when I looked out the window and was aware it was hot and most plants just looked at me, shoulders sagging, eyes drooping, asking me, “Why? Why? Why-hy-hy-hyyyyyy?” A tear fell. It was mine. But that was later. For now (which was morning), I had work to do.

Work got done. Or, some of it did, and other work got pushed forward on the slider bar. I could sit and try to explain all I have to do right now, but it would mean nothing to you. I could explain the odd situation I was put in to have to manage my own supervisor on a project, but what good would that do? I apparently failed, if you ask him. This has been my week…plus 2 documents I have due in less than 2 weeks that are inexplicably complicated, another I’m overseeing production of, an ongoing project that’s surprisingly demanding AND requires quarterly reports, a completely different project (two, really) I’m managing for which I need to review…6 documents, at this point, none of which I’ve even had a chance to look at…oh, and I’m interviewing 3 people next week. Could we postpone Labor Day a few weeks? I’d prefer to enjoy it. But at least Angie will be in Vegas for work next week! Oy. Ugh. Ouch. Oh.


I really spent a good 10 hours or so at the computer working today. Fun, right? Especially when your toddler is crawling in your lap with his own keyboard and pushing keys and taking your hand off your mouse to make you punch keys on his keyboard and you feel like a complete loser jackass jerk horrible father because this is what he mimics and you can’t step away to do otherwise. I wanted to play blocks. I wanted to zerbit his belly and run in the backyard and stroll next to him on his Strider bike and get pushed through my office on a spinning pedestal on wheels, spinning with both middle fingers in the air then go home and share a beer with my boy…but of course I didn’t—I couldn’t—do any of these things.

Except share a beer with my boy.

                                                I’m kidding.

Liam went down for a nap around 11 (he’d basically been up [and had me awake] since 4), so that was cool and I really buckled down on the work plans. The cupboard runs bare but I made myself a turkey sammich (how old is too old for turkey?) on double fiber bread with mustard and shredded mozzarella and no greens—I’m out of greens—and I piled some BBQ chips next to that. I drank water. I worked.

Liam woke up 2-ish and I set him up with a lunch of refried black beans and apple sauce and some watered down OJ and two strawberries, but he didn’t eat the strawberries. Neither did the dogs, although he tried to feed them to them. He ate well. It’s so nutty to see a kid developing, especially when it’s your first kid. I feed him on a plate now. He uses a spoon. He doesn’t just shake his head—he has started saying “no,” just in the last few days. He says “shoes,” and tries to get me to take him outside. He loves birds, and shouts “BIRD!” He loves our “CAHT(s)! and our “DAHG(s)!” He tries his voice at some simple tunes. When I put a new diaper on him then stand him up and put a pair of shorts in front of him and say “Right leg,” he lifts his right leg and puts it in the shorts and then does the same with the left leg and then he has pants on. These things are all so simple yet so remarkable when it’s your first kid.

I worked while Liam ate. I really did NOT give the poor boy the attention he deserved today. Half-assed parenting: I think that’s what it’s called. Maybe quarter-assed. Angie got home around 5:30 and we decided to go for a run together but I kept working…and working…and finally sometime around 6:30 I forced myself to stop and we went for a run—me pushing the stroller and all of us (minus Elba because it was too hot, Nosta because she’s too old, and the cats for obvious reasons) ran the river loop (~3.5 miles), which doesn’t actually involve seeing the river but gets us close to it. The Ancil Hoffman loop, by our more formal namery. It was a nice 96-degree run, maybe a bit hotter, but family runs are tops. Being outside and running with your best friend and pushing you kid along and chatting about things—family runs are tops.

We got home and I chugged down more water, then showered while Angie and Liam played outside. I started dinner, which turned out to be my favorite pizza I’ve made in a while. Tomato sauce (from a can because one batch of sauce we made had gone bad and the other is in the freezer) mixed with green onion, basil, oregano, diced gypsy pepper (all from the garden), garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper…all that simmered for a bit then put on a fresh dough (from Whole Foods—I tossed it myself) then covered with a mix of cheese, more green onion, more gypsy pepper (but not diced), and pepperoni. I steamed some of my favorite green beans from the garden with some butter, salt, and pepper, and we had those on the side. I ate too much: 5 slices of pizza, plus my green beans.

I drank beer number one while cooking. I drank beer number 2 with dinner. I’m drinking beer number C right now, still. Lagunitas. Little Sumpin’ Wild. I took a little sumpin’ to help me sleep. I’m trying real hard to stop thinking about work—to avoid opening a document and start typing away. Researching. Obsessing. These are things I do, but not tonight. Not now. Now I’m going to finish these last drinks of beer while reading One Hundred Years of Solitude, sitting in my giant bean bag, trying to convince myself I really am going to clean the house tomorrow.

Oh, I did do the dishes tonight. That’s not to say I cleaned the kitchen, though. I wish we could afford maid service. I also wish cats were useful, but….

Instead, I’ll cap this off.

So good night, those of you who encouraged me to keep going with this blog thing. It’s nice to assume someone cares, but it’s even better to know one or two people do. Maybe even three. Three, ah ah! Three caring people! (Thank you, Count. And good night to you, too.)  

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I'm Not Unique...So Now What?


Well well well.

A month of my life in journal-type bloggery. I’m not a unique guy, right? If you’ve read much of this, you see this.

I work full-time plus, and often don’t get paid for the “plus.” I have a son I get to spend time with and wish I could spend more time with. I get hurt, physically and mentally. I drink alcohol, I sometimes take pills to help me sleep, and I eat ice cream. I also manage to stay active, and get bits of exercise in. That’s the point of all this, of course: I’m no different from anyone else, even though people see me and sometimes think I am. They assume I’m training for something. They ask about my dietary habits. They think I have opportunities they don’t or lack challenges they have.

I don’t.

I’m not unique.

This brings me to a point where I’m unsure what to do, as far as this blog is concerned. Do I force myself to continue cataloguing my days as I have? Sure, I can. But does that accomplish anything? If you’ve read even a few of these entries, you could probably guess with 90% accuracy how my day goes.

“Let me guess: you got up around 7, you got your son started on the day, you went to the garden, you worked, you worked out, you may have cleaned or cooked dinner, and you probably ate oatmeal, an apple, a banana, some almonds, and you probably had a sandwich on double-fiber bread with some sort of pretzels or chips. You drank coffee, OJ, Naked Juice, beer, and/or wine, or some combination thereof. You don’t sit down much, you get about 30 minutes or so of exercise in. Neat, Stan. Well done. I’m bored. You’re routine. And my life is still the same.”

If I accomplished anything in this month of blogging, I hope I’ve at least gotten you to look at your life in a different way. Maybe you’ve reassessed. Wait, that sounds wrong; arrogant—I shouldn’t assume you NEED to look at your life in a different way. Lots of people, and probably YOU, are better off than I am. You eat better. You exercise more. Maybe you exercise less but maintain better fitness. (Yes, that’s possible.) You make more time for family. You navigate your work challenges better. You handle your frustrations better. You’re more balanced. You’re healthier than I am.

In many ways I feel like forcing myself to write these things nightly (or as close to nightly as I can manage) has sucked originality out of it all. Spontaneity. Goofiness. Style. I’ve become regimented in emphasizing my lack of regimen.

Not only that, but in paying such close attention to what I do, I’ve started doing things better. My diet has been improving. I haven’t eaten as many sweets. Before this blog, I’d eat a half pint of ice cream nightly. I’ve eaten two peaches this week, something I’ve forgotten to include in my blog because it’s so atypical—I’d never eaten peaches before this week. Believe that or don’t, but it’s true. I haven’t eaten a banana and an apple daily until this blog was going, or shortly before it, and I’ve come to really like that and I eat more of each apple than I ever used to (I could explain but won’t now). I swim further and longer, although some of that may be due to my knee problem, which seems to be gone now. In short, I’m not sure my blog has done what I intended: I’ve presented a healthier version of myself than I was before this blog, although it wasn’t intentional. If I were in a more positive mood, I could probably spin that positively. Try to preach some sort of lesson. I’m not in that kind of mood.

Sure, I’ve exercised more in my life. Much more, at times. I’ve been more active in lots of ways. I’ve lost drive in the last month or so. I haven’t started or completed projects. There’s still the trim to finish on the house. I need to work out something with our gutters. I’ve done a poor job of setting up and maintaining the garden. I haven’t kept house as well. Yes, I mention many of these things. But two months ago, I’d be searching out projects, not resting until something was done, then immediately starting something else. I don’t sit idle. I generally take on new things: painting, wood-working, sewing, setting up irrigation systems, landscaping, whatever random thing may peak my interest at any given time—I’d dive right in and not come up for air.

So have I portrayed anything I’d consider to be normalcy in my life? I don’t know. It’s a question I’m not able to answer for myself at the moment, and surely you don’t have the answer.

I’ve had a rough week at work. I didn’t blog yesterday, but it was the same as any other Wednesday: I ate, I worked, I spent time with my family, and I swam. The same happened today, minus swimming because I took the day off exercise and we went out for Mexican food for date night. My work frustrations got me drinking. I still haven’t drunk enough to be drunk. That’s just not my way. I’d never deny a buzz, though.

Angie and Liam are playing. Our dogs are playing. There’s barking and growling and screeching coming from Liam’s room, and it’s all in good fun. I want to go join them, and will shortly, but I feel compelled to keep writing here…to dwell in the futility.

Then I wonder if it IS futile…or at least if it HAS been. I won’t pretend there are lots of people reading this. I type that time and time again. I know of a few who do, and google analytics tells me there are others who’ve at least checked it out and I don’t know who they are, but they aren’t loyal readers and I don’t blame them. I wouldn’t follow me, either. I’m not unique. There’s nothing particularly likable about me that comes through in this stuff.  

I’ve had people reach out to me too, though. People who’ve had some of the same struggles and maybe felt relieved to read about me having experienced the same. People who have asked me questions or advice about different things, and I’d like to think maybe I’ve helped in some small way in those matters. There are plenty of other sources out there that can too, though. I’m not unique. I live what I’ve read and learned and chosen to go with, and you can all work the googler, too. You can read magazines and check multiple sources and make decisions about your own lives. If I’ve learned anything about those reading this, it’s that most of you HAVE and DO do that. I’m not unique.

So what do I do at this point? I don’t know. I’m at a point of stagnation—a fork in the road with nothing to lure me down either path. There are changes on the horizon, but I won’t be comfortable sharing them in a public forum. I could probably surprise you, but those surprises are the things I won’t share. So what’s the point, then? Even sharing beyond what I have would only serve for an initial “REALLY?!?” and then I’m more vulnerable and you go on as you are.

I’m obviously a bit down tonight. I’m struggling. Struggles happen, and I’ll make it through. This isn’t some cry for help or encouragement or complaint about my life—I love my life. I LOVE it. I’ll never say otherwise.

I never expected to make it through a month of this blogging. Now I have. My journal has over 500 hits. My blog, overall, is near 1,000. What does that mean, really, other than nothing? Bounce rates are high. Average time on the site can be low. I’ve surely been blocked from several peoples’ news feeds on facebook.

Now what? What do I do? I’d like to think I have more to offer; that I can help initiate changes; that I’m witty or my writing is amusing; that things on this blog other than my daily entries may offer more benefit than my daily entries; that this blog, maybe on other tabs and themes, can provide an outlet I still need, whether anyone else reads or cares or not. Of course, we’d all like to think things like that. I’m not unique.

I’m not unique. So now what do I do?

I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.

So good night, good night. Date night is good, the rest of this day was shit. Shit with decently healthy food but a lack of a definable lunch. You’d think I’d be excited about an extended weekend, but I’m not. If I’m gonna get my work done on time, I’m gonna have to work this weekend. My wife will be out of town some next week. My life will be no less stressful, and maybe more stressful than it has been this week. I don’t know. I just don’t know. All I know is:

I’m not unique and, as far as this blog thing goes, I don’t know what to do now.

Let me end this with a favorite word of mine, one near and dear to my heart that I repeat quite often, to myself an out loud: fuck.