Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Post 30, Not My Best Day

Sitting here drinking beer and reflecting on my day. A Little Sumpin’ Wild from Lagunitas, it’s number 2, and maybe it’s a good descriptor of the day, but mostly probably not. The Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ would probably be more accurate, but I don’t have a 6-pack of that.

It wasn’t my best day. It wasn’t my worst. I think there was a battle I’m not sure I intended to start, and I’m not sure if I won or lost or if there was no battle at all. I wish there wasn’t a battle. I hope there wasn’t a battle. This is work stuff. It’s professional. I’m just trying to do my job. But sometimes I can be brash or too direct and I still have ample to learn. I often think of a line, it’s just a brief portion of a line, and it’s from a song by Brother Ali: “I’m not arrogant—oh shit, well yeah, I’m arrogant.” (When the Beat Comes In. I highly recommend Brother Ali.)

I just put on my favorite sleepy-time album: Everything is One by Pete Francis and Craig Dreyer. I think it’s Craig. Francis/Dreyer: that I know. And I listened to this album nightly when I was in Costa Rica for 10 days by myself several years back and it still holds such a place in my heart, and I still wind down to it often. I’m probably listening to this more often than not when I’m writing these entries. Tonight I really feel uncertain…about what, I’m not certain. I’m just not in a place I feel comfortable. It’ll pass, I’m reasonably confident. Tomorrow is a new day. But given all the drama and the fact it’s so off-topic from the “why” of this blog and it’s nothing anyone wants or really needs to hear about, most likely, I should just move on.

Liam had a rough night last night, unlike any we’ve known. He’d fallen asleep, then woke up around 10:00 screaming and crying and I tried to console him and he wouldn’t calm down and Angie tried to console him and the usual mommy magic wasn’t working and he cried and screamed and wailed longer than we’ve ever known him to do. Thirty minutes, forty, an hour…calmed down…then a repeat. It was hard on all of us, but ultimately he slept on Angie in our bed and we got rest, although it maybe wasn’t the best rest, especially since it didn’t really start until after midnight.

I actually woke up in a good mood, a bit before seven, and I’d done most of my garden stuff last night, including watering, so I just browsed a bit then came in and got in the shower and went to Bella Bru and got a lemon poppy seed (how often I type poopy seed, then have to correct it…) and large mocha. I got to work in good spirits and set out to do good work. At this point, my office chair has been completely replaced by my exercise ball, and I sit and bounce and sometimes just balance with my feet off the floor. I started with music but was really trying to concentrate so I turned it off. I researched. I built a case. I presented it wrong, and I learned some lessons. See Brother Ali quote above.

I’m still analyzing it all. I’m still thinking. Planning. Confident…then regretful…then okay. My vagueness about these things is likely annoying, and I’m still off-track from the “why” of the blog.

Okay, I was at the office and on the ball. There were highs and lows and OH MY GOD’s. There was also a banana and an apple and lots of almonds, but no sammich today. I stayed later than normal, risking a total schedule fuckup for Liam, which did come to fruition. But I had things to work out. Interactions. Apologies. Progressions. I think something positive came out of the day…maybe more than one thing…but I need more time to assess that.

At one point I took out my angers on some pushups, 20 or so, feet up on the ball. I got around to picking Liam up at 2:00, and he was asleep, but he woke up and didn’t go back to sleep but was tired for a while, and all of that was fine. Documents to review, documents to write, interviews set up. Believe it or not, these things all got done. I worked a bit late to ensure it.

I made myself stop working around 5:30 or so and dressed for a run. I pushed Liam in the stroller and took Elba along with us and actually timed myself, and I’m not adding the Forerunner map because I’m just not motivated to, but the first mile was at a 7-minute pace and the only limiting factor was Elba, which is fine, and we finished 3.5 miles with an average 7:30 pace. I think my knee is mostly okay, though I’m not positive, and I sorta wanna ice it just because, but I try to think it’s okay and it will be okay. I was glad to get a good run in.

When we got back from the run, Angie still wasn’t home (she was at the gym) and I decided to strap the helmet on Liam and give the Strider Bike a try again, and he was all over it this time. We went up and down a side street and he just walked along with the bike between his legs (that’s the point right now) and was realizing he can steer a bit and a few times I picked his feet up and sat him on the seat and pushed him along and he was squealing in delight and it was really pretty wonderful. These things make work irrelevant; they make work go away. These moments are the reasons we’re here, I think. Sure, work allows these things—I get that. It doesn’t change the fact. Or my opinion, at least.

We worked out way to the backyard and Angie came home and was pleased to see Liam on his bike and he pushed it around the backyard a bit and I picked some tomatoes. There were tacos to be made and dog food to be purchased and I gave Angie the choice, so she stayed home to spend time with Liam and I went to get our expensive dog food and bought some cat food, too. (Stupid cats. Hey, why don’t you puke, poop, and/or pee in various places around the house? What’s your value, again? Oh, you’re cats. Okay.)

I just switched to a glass of wine. I had beer with dinner and the beginning of this blog. I had 4 beef tacos on hard shells with onions and lettuce and cheese and taco sauce, and I had one on a soft shell. I was hungry. I haven’t been eating much dessert lately.

Atypical. I keep saying this blog, so far, is an atypical snapshot of my life and I won’t explain it, but it’s true. Diet- and exercise-wise it is not, but in other ways it is. Mood-wise it is. Dessert-wise it is.

We watched some Bachelor Pad. I read Shel to Liam. I love reading Shel to Liam. I really do. It’s something I cherish each night. He hadn’t napped much and he went to sleep pretty easily. I’m sitting here, reflecting. I’m indifferent about the day, all in all, with a slight lean toward pessimism. Learning is good, though, even if it’s learning from struggle. Maybe that’s the best learning. It reminds me of another blog entry I could write, but then I seem to be having a hard time finding time. Time time time. It’s so important and so limited…and also so arbitrary.

For now, though, I have good things in front of me. I have wife-time in front of me. I love my wife. I love special time with my wife, and I’m gonna go enjoy some of that. I finished Less Than Zero last night. I liked it. I won’t remember what it’s about but, as usual, I’ll remember Ellis’ style. I love his style. He’s a talented writer.

So good night, Mr. Ellis. Sometimes you come through too much in my writing and I acknowledge that, which isn’t to say I’m anywhere near as talented, only that I feel sometimes I grasp on to the rhythms and the runons. Maybe even that’s a misinterpretation of self. Regardless, I wish you a good night. And since most of you who read this probably don’t read it at night, to you I say good day. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Two for One, With a Choice String of Expletives

Where was I? Where am I? Why am I here?

Oh shit balls fuckstick hell nuts and butter.


It’s Monday night and it’s 9:13 and I’m sleepy. I skipped Sunday, which was a good day, and I was thinking about y’all; about this blog.

I had a great weekend. Sunday started off just swell with some time in the garden and then me frying some bacon, which I put on double fiber bread and allowed to share some stomach space with some instant oats and flax and a pint of OJ.

Waiting so long to chronicle the past day results in loss of detail, which results in faster reading, especially since today is Monday, which is a long, boring, frustrating day at the office. I’m digressing.

I didn’t really eat much in the way of a formal lunch yesterday.

Wait, I’m starting to have memories. The wife and I were feeling lazy yesterday morning, and lazy Sundays aren’t a bad thing, but we had to get ourselves moving so we went to the farmers’ market. We bought marketries. Some of these marketries included white peaches. I don’t eat peaches, but these aren’t bad, and I intend to eat one.

Lunch: I really didn’t eat much of one. I grazed. Nanners, apples, almonds…I don’t much remember. I remember going for a bike ride and still taking it easy because of the knee, and in the interest of taking it easy I’m not timing myself and I don’t know how far I rode. What I do know is I ended up at my favorite plant nursery because I was gonna buy a thing or two, but I rode up to see a “Going Out of Business SALE!” sign and I almost cried. Sersly. I let out audible NOs as I rode up, and it was an odd situation with so many plants gone and so many regulars and workers so sad to have the place closing. I was just there three weeks ago and everything seemed fine. Damn.

I’m still tired. I’m wondering if I’ll get to today. I may super-summarize.

Anyway, I bought some plants. I came home on my bike and went back in our truck and I bought some things, but pickin’s  were already slim so it’s not like I could rake in the natives or bring home lots of fruit trees—I got some lavender and a couple mimulus (monkey flowers) and some sort of grass that I forget the name of and a goji berry plant that needs some care and was expensive, but it was my one big gamble of the outing.

I got home again and went to Whole Foods for the week’s groceries. Then we made dinner, a tag-team affair, and it was badass. Cheeseburgers on the grill: bits of basil, oregano, green onion, and tomato (all from the garden) mixed into the beef with some soy sauce and fresh-ground pepper in there, too. I topped ‘em with swiss cheese. I harvest some miniature and reasonably normal-sized corn and grilled that, too. We deep-fried some red ‘taters, and Angie breaded and baked some zucchini she had cut into sticks and they turned out to be quite tasty as well. The burgers were put on whole wheat buns (lightly toasted on the insides), and I put ketchup and stone-ground mustard on mine. It was all delightful, and it looked like this.

The zook "fries" are right in front of the burger, to the left of the normal fries. Yes, I did eat both ears of corn. Andthe stein you see there is full of Stone’s 15th Anniversary Ale: that Imperial Black IPA--that kick in the palate. That masterpiece of craft brewing. The write-up on the bottle is worth sharing, but it’s probably in my recycling already and I’m too tired to deal with it. It’s long, but it’s brilliant and not just about beer. It’s damn-near inspiring. Beer.

The night ended in the usual way, and I surely drank a bit of wine and might have even read. I’m still not through the relatively short book I’ve been reading, but I’m close.

Then there was today, which started in the usual way: Liam, garden, shower, off to work. My good weekend mood came crashing down—no, it was more like being enveloped by a cloud of not-such-a-good-mood—as I drove onto the former Air Force base and headed into the office.

I was out of my chocolate so I just made a latte, and I ate my two packs of instant oatmeal and too many almonds and bounced on my ball (which I added some air to [it’s a GIANT ball, by the way]) and I worked. I snacked. I ate more almonds and a banana. I had PB&J for lunch with some BBQ chips. I kept wanting to get away from my desk but mostly failed until finishing a document review which had sent me into research radioactivity surveys. THAT I actually enjoyed. I like learning. I ended up sitting and discussing some things with my boss for a bit and that was pretty good, too.

~~I confess I’m checking my work email right now. And I have work emails. And I’m reviewing something. I sorta hate myself for it, so I’m gonna go close it and get back to this. Work can wait ‘til tomorrow.~~

Long work day, anyway, and I left the office after 5:00 and headed to the gym where I used the cardio machines no one knows the names for. I spent 15 minutes on the thing that’s like an elliptical machine except you can vary the incline and there is nothing to do with your hands. I spent 10 more minutes on this thing that’s like a recumbent bike except you CAN use your hands (like an elliptical machine) and you can “supercharge” the workout by having these periods where you just use your arms or your legs and the resistance jumps up and it’s a good workout, I guess. I think it’s called Octane something-or-other. I wrapped it up with a superset of some pullups and pushups. The pushups were variations with my feet on a ball or a bench and my hands on a bosu ball or the regular ball. I’m ripped.

I came home and, short story shorter, we declared a Whole Foods night and went there to buy pre-made dinners. I made myself a salad with spinach, romaine, carrots, beets, onions, broccoli, cheese, and Italian dressing (the croutons and dressing and some of the cheese I added at home), and I also ordered (from the cold section) some fried chicken breast tenders (3 for me, 1 for Liam) and garlic pasta (which isn’t whole wheat and always has some useless green stuff in it, which I have yet to figure out [although the ingredient card would surely tell me]). We came home. We ate. The night ended in the usual way.

Oh, as a surprise and break from routine, I had wine with my dinner (a bit of carmenere), and I’m drinking a glass of…barbera now, I think. I’m tired. I want to read. I want to finish this book. I’m not sure I’ll make it.

So good night, book-finishing aspirations. You’ll probably still be there in the morning, so maybe I’ll force it tomorrow. I have some errands to run tomorrow. The dogs need food. I have work to do. I need a vacation. Oh shit balls fuckstick hell nuts and butter.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

"Like, YAY! It's the Weekend!"

I’m not usually one to be all, “Like, YAY! It’s the weekend!” But I’m all, “Like, YAY! It’s the weekend!”

Saturday. It was Saturday yesterday and it ended with me tired so I’m once again back-blogged, but that’s okay—the few of you reading this don’t mind, I’m pretty sure.

I had a pretty full day yesterday, and it was a wonderful, fulfilling, and in many ways, relaxing day. The whole house woke up at the same time, which was probably a bit before 7:00am. I drank a pint of OJ while making some steel-cut oats for Liam and I—Angie ate cereal. As usual I sweetened the steel-cut oats with brown sugar because, although I CAN eat them unsweetened, I just prefer not to. I like sweets. That’s one of my motivations to exercise: so I can justify eating sweets. I made my French-pressed while making the oats, again the light-roasted Mexican beans, and I had two cups of that, black. I left Angie and Liam in the house while I went out to pick some beans in the garden, but was joined by the two of them shortly thereafter and Angie helped me with some harvesting. There were a couple tomatoes to be picked, and I know there’s some corn ready but I like to leave the corn until I’m actually gonna cook it because it’s sweeter and more nutritious that way.

~~All fruits and vegetables, of course, are more nutritious when they’re perfectly fresh. The minute you pick something it starts to die and the nutrients within begin to degrade. It’s not necessarily THAT fast, but it happens. And with corn, the sugars quickly begin to convert to starches after being picked (making the sweet corn less sweet), although newer hybrids have resulted in corn that stays sweeter longer. Anyway, this is why it’s not bad to eat frozen fruits and vegetables, although I still prefer them fresh, but grocery store “fresh” is generally going to be less nutrient-dense than frozen because the frozen things are frozen very soon after harvest and, according to most studies I’ve seen, lock the nutrients into the foods. I don’t know. I’m just relaying what I’ve read. Corn, for the record, is also supposed to be more nutritious when grilled versus boiling, although I’m not sure where steaming fits into that equation.~~

Saturday was a day for Liam and I around the house, because Angie left about 9:30am to head into San Fran for a bachelorette party—a trip I’m very glad to avoid. Not that I’d be invited to a bachelorette party, I just mean I hate going to San Francisco. I hate big cities, for the most part, especially one that rarely gets warm, is often covered in fog, and pretty much consistently smells like piss and shit. But people pay big money to live there. I really don’t get it. Keep your San Francisco. I’d rather live in L.A., probably, and I don’t like L.A., either. Ah well. I’m way off topic.

So Liam and I played in the back yard for a while, and the dogs fetched sticks, and it was a good time. We came inside because it was hot and I figured I could get a few things done inside, like straightening the kitchen a bit…doing some dishes…starting loads of laundry…and starting to fold some laundry that was already complete. I don’t really tend to sit down much, if I haven’t made that apparent, except when I’m working or otherwise typing at the computer (like now), or when I’m eating.

The only time we watch TV is when we’re eating (which may stop as Liam gets older because we like the concept of sitting down to a family meal to discuss the day), so it takes us a whole week to get through one episode of Bachelor Pad. That’s right: crap TV. I’d never claim I don’t love it while hating it. I’d never claim I don’t lose IQ points watching it. But that’s the only thing even on during the summer that we’re watching, so judge me. Occasionally we’ll watch an old episode of 30 Rock, because we started on that show way too late and it’s funny, and during the actual “good TV season,” we have some shows we record on the DVR, but we’ve found we just get further and further behind trying to keep up. TV just isn’t a priority in our household, but we’re also not those folks that shun TV. Moderation is important in all aspects of life, really. TV does have some things to offer, even if we miss most of the good things it has in those respects.

Liam banged his head a bit sometime after 10:00 and I was holding him in my arms and played some music videos on the internet with him there and was doing some typing and he fell asleep around 10:30, which was early for a nap, but I went to transfer him to the crib and he woke up, which I was happy about, so we went to Whole Foods to get some things ‘cause I really needed to do that.

We came home and I made us turkey sandwiches, mine with oven-roasted turkey (not peppered, this time), lettuce, swiss, and mustard on the usual double-fiber bread, and I had a craving for some BBQ chips so I’d bought those and had them with my sandwich. I also had a few almonds, ‘cause I bought more of those. I drank a couple o’ pints o’ water. I ate a zucchini muffin or two. (I was hungry.) Liam wasn’t much into what I was offering, except the pretzels (I won’t give him the chips because I know they aren’t great for a person and I’d rather keep him on a better track than me.) He did eat some apple sauce, though, and I’m pretty sure I got a whole sentence out of him when I put the apple sauce away: “I want more!” I’m not one to easily understand baby words or to designate random sounds to be words, so I’m pretty confident he actually said the whole sentence, which really surprised me, so I dished out some more apple sauce and he ate it. He also had zucchini muffin…s.

Liam went down for his nap around 1:00 and I was able to focus a bit more on the laundry, and I got our bed clothes changed and just took care of some miscellaneous things around the house, and I sat and read a bit. I haven’t been reading as much, largely because of the time I’m dedicating to writing this blog (which still puzzles me), and it’s taking me forever to get through such a short book, but I’m okay with that, ultimately.

Liam didn’t nap long—he was up again at 3:30, so I strapped a bike helmet on him and took him out for his first real experience on the strider bike. (It’s a bike with no peddles, intended for the young’uns, and the concept is they first learn to just walk over it and eventually learn they can coast a bit and then learn balance, all without training wheels, and then when they can balance you can throw ‘em on a regular little bike because learning to peddle is easy—it’s the balance that’s difficult.) I won’t try to claim it was some great success and he was real into it, but it was a bit of fun for me no less, and I did get short video clip of him doing essentially nothing on the bike, which I’ll throw in here because I haven’t posted any video clips in my blog yet. Plus it’s real cute to see a toddler in a bike helmet, if you ask me. He got distracted by a passing car.

We’d been invited to some friends’ house for dinner and were due there around 6:00 and I really wanted to get some exercise in, but with Angie gone and my general unwillingness to leave our boy with people I don’t know (technically, we could check him in to the Kid’s Club at our gym while we work out), I decided I’d try to run. My knee has been feeling good, and the photocopied info my doctor gave me about patellofemoral pain syndrome says I can get back to normal activities when I can straighten/bend my knee without pain (easy since there hasn’t really been pain from the start); strength is the same compared to the other knee; and I am able to walk, bend, and squat without pain. Check. Check. Check. I’d intended to wait until Monday, at least, but I decided to just do it, like a Nike ad.

Of course, I planned an easy route for myself (5K, about as flat a course as I could imagine with a mile of that being out/back with another 1.1 mile loop in case I got a mile in and found my knee hurting—I could just turn around and walk home without doing that loop), and I ran really slow. I don’t know how slow because I didn’t time myself, and I was probably faster than some other people run. I don’t think I can run a 10-minute mile—I call that walking. But I have long legs, and we’re all different. It’s okay. I’d imagine I did something like 8–9 minute miles. I pushed Liam in his stroller. I made the whole loop and the knee is fine, so I’m happy.

I stopped sweating, then hopped in the shower to clean up before heading out for dinner. Liam played. I got dressed, packed everything Liam could possibly need except a change of diaper (BAD DAD! BAD!), loaded up his high chair, and we were on our way.

Socializing and dinner were both good. It’s funny: I don’t have many friends, which I’ve mentioned, and every other time I’ve hung out with this couple (the only couple we hang out with—the guy I had drinks with earlier this week), Angie has been with me, so it was a bit different to be completely responsible for Liam and chatting up both of them at the same time. It was really a good time. They have a great little son as well, about 6 months Liam’s junior, and it’s so crazy to pick up and hold such a little guy again. He’s just starting to pull himself to standing. It’s fun to think of all the major changes they have coming in the next few months, because it’s fun to think of how rapidly those changes came for us and how those changes change your life in ways, too. Babies/toddlers are a lot of fun.

They made us a great dinner: chicken tacos on tortillas, guacamole and cheese and I even ate a cherry tomato (which I never eat), and there was yellow rice and I even ate some beans, which I really never eat but have been trying to get myself to dive into bits here and there, and they were good and I actually had seconds of the beans, and three of the tacos. I’d taken a 6-pack of Lagunitas’ Little Sumpin’ Wild over, and I drank two of those.

I had a moment of extreme guilt when Liam had blown out his diaper and was soaking wet and had pooped something that burnt his balls to a flaming swollen red and here I was: no diaper. Luckily our friends had a disposable (they use cloth, too, but not the same cloth [we plan to go their route next time, we think]) and although it was a bit too small for Liam, it was bigger than the one disposable I’d had in my car, so I got him changed up but he was not a happy guy with that big red swollen nutsack. What guy would be?

I’m really not focused in on the health and fitness topic today. Sorry. I know it’s the point of this blog, but I’m sure reading the same essential thing over and over gets boring, and then I get to thinking about it and I can’t imagine why anyone would want to read this, either. I know I keep saying it, but I can’t believe people actually read this. I’m flattered and baffled. I feel like I should start sharing some dirt on myself to make it more interesting, but I don’t have all too much dirt, and there’s a chance someone from my office might read this once in a while.

The boys were getting tired so Liam and I loaded up and headed home, and he fell asleep during the drive.

Putting Liam down for his naps is cake: when I pick him up from daycare and he falls asleep on the short 5-minute drive home, I could pretty much throw him into his crib from the doorway and he wouldn’t wake up. Nighttime, though: that’s a whole different beast. He was asleep when I got him out of the car…asleep on my shoulder walking in (just like coming home from daycare), but when I went to lay him in his crib: roll…”eh…EH…AAAAAHHHHH!” Back up in my arms he went. Right back to sleep he went. We rocked in the glider. We rocked a good 10 or 15 minutes. He was out. I went to lay him down…he rolled…”eh…,” but he was settling…then Nosta came strolling into the room, nails clicking on the ground, a little chirp from her, and immediately Liam sat up and started wailing again. DAMNIT! (Angie usually puts Liam down to bed and doesn’t tend to have such a hard time, and Angie is going to be out of town for several nights in a couple of weeks which means this will be my duty and it’s the one thing I’m most worried about while she’s gone: getting him down to sleep at night. I fear I’ll just cave and have him in bed with me every night. But I’m gonna try real hard.)

Back into my arms, right back to sleep. We rocked about 10 more minutes, and he was mostly out, but then Angie got home from San Fran and when she walked in his eyes cracked sleepily open and she peeked in (as one would expect of a mother who hasn’t seen her baby boy all day) and he was still eye-cracked so she asked me if she wanted her to take over and of course, frustrated (not with her but with the fact that I couldn’t get him to bed on my own), I handed him over and went out to grab a beer. I didn’t even sit at the computer or consider blogging, although I consciously noted I wasn’t planning on blogging. The beer was the last of a 6-pack that’s nothing outstanding, New Belgium’s IPA, which is just a pretty standard, reasonably acceptable IPA, and I sat in the big bean bag in the dark and drank that beer while getting more and more tired. I went to bed. Angie had Liam in the crib sleeping in only 15 minutes. I fell asleep. Angie ate, then joined me in bed some time later. I don’t know when. I slept well, but I’m still tired today.

I don’t know what I’ll do today. I know what I’ve done thus far, but I don’t have plans for future-today.

So good day, future-today. I’ll meet you once I post this blog entry, and since the rest of my family is now napping, maybe I’ll head out to the garden to do essentially nothing, or maybe I’ll go swim, or maybe I’ll just call my mom because I haven’t spoken to her in a while. Whatever you may hold for me, future-today, I’m glad you aren’t tomorrow.  

Friday, August 26, 2011

You "Know Exactly Where [My] White Ass Is Comin' From"

It’s Friday, Friiiiday! (Where’s Rebecca Black when I need her?)

I work from home on Friiiday.

I forget if Liam went out to the garden with me this morning. No, wait—he didn’t, ‘cause he was sleeping in our bed again and I got up because I needed to because I…I don’t know why. I had a real hard time falling asleep last night. 11. 12. 12:30. I kept getting up. Tossing. Turning. But ultimately, I slept. And Liam ended up in our bed. It’s hard to complain when you look over and see a little piece of you sleeping peacefully at your side, or reaching over and draping its hand on your arm…or your chest.

Ellipses: I like ellipses…. (Ellipses = 3 dots. Ellipses at the end of a sentence = 4 dots [ellipses + period] That’s my outlook, at least….) I probably use them wrong. I surely overuse them.

I’d watered some last night so there wasn’t much to do in the garden—I just perused. I woke up bitter—bitter about work. It’s something I can’t—or maybe just won’t—explain…like my love of em-dashes and ellipses. The garden was a bit of pleasure, though, and I came back in and drank the remainder of a big jug of Naked Juice.

~~I wonder how high Naked Juice ranks in my blog keywords. Or Blue Machine. I’m an unintentional advertiser, I’ve realized. Bella Bru: I actually noticed that as a keyword in my blog. By the way, google analytics adds fun to this whole thing. Who are you in or near Yakima? I’m not sure. But you’re reading this. Thank you.~~

I didn’t only have Naked Juice (Blue Machine)—I made me and Liam some steel-cut oats. (Angie left for work. NO OATS FOR HER!) I put brown sugar in them. I French-pressed the Mexicans, which I’ve been grinding through slowly. I drank my coffee (black, two cups) while Liam and I ate oatmeal, and it was good. Liam used his spoon to eat, which was also good. That’s not to say I didn’t have to clean up afterward, but….

Not my best mood day, at least ‘til later. I generally like my job and my projects at work, but I’ve recently been pulled back into something I’d escaped and it’s a constant annoyance. The details aren’t important. Me ceasing to complain about them to specific people (persons…a person) is. I need to exercise control. But it’s SO fucking annoying. Done.

I’ll skip work today, then. Just know that I did it. Too much. So much that I felt guilty not giving my boy much attention, but sometimes he’d sit in my lap and otherwise he played or napped, and I got a lot done.

Fucking work.

Lunch…what’d I do for lunch? Oh, right: green beans from the garden, steamed with butter then salted and peppered, and miniature corn that I boiled, and I never boil corn because you lose nutrients, but I was in a hurry and firing up the grill wasn’t the right choice. Miniature corn: I’ve promised a picture. I took one. Notice the quarter in the photo for scale.

I ate all that stuff, minus what I tried to get Liam to eat, plus one ear I tried to get him to eat but he just mouthed up and I’m not so proud to turn that down. It was good. It’s fresh corn, after all, even if it IS tiny. I buttered some, but not all. It was sweet.

Liam went down for his nap, which I already mentioned but am now putting in its proper narrative place.

Worka worka worka. Complaina complaina complaina. (Sorry, you, if you’re reading this.)

And then? Aaaand theeeennnnnn?

And then Liam woke up. I tried to get him to eat all sorts of things he wasn’t eating today, which resulted in me eating a bit of pear, which I don’t tend to eat. Okay, I NEVER eat pear. But I’d cut a bit off a pear and didn’t want to waste it and wanted to set an example so I ate it, and although the flavor isn’t horrible pears, in my experience, have a gritty or sandy texture and I just don’t dig it. But I ate some pear. I ate a whole wheat cracker or two while Liam did the same.

Liam and I did the dishes.

Angie got home. I ate corn chips because I was hungry.

My knee feels normal again and the photocopied info the doctor gave me on patellofemoral pain syndrome says I can go back to my normal activities, but I have some new Superfeet insoles on the way (shout out to Superfeet!) so I’m trying to wait for them before I run again. I might bike Monday, or at least ride the exercise bike if I don’t have my insoles then. Anyway, I swam again today.

I could feel the swim from yesterday. I’ve never swam so much before in my life, especially in succession. A bit over a mile two days in a row, plus however many times I’ve swam in the last 2 weeks, which have tended to be a mile or so. It’s weird, but I’m sorta enjoying it, which is good. I could feel my lats (latissimus dorsi) and pecs (pectoralis) and core muscles (too many to name) all being worked and tired.  I could also feel the horrible cramp I sometimes get from swimming: usually on my left leg, in the front, shin-ish but on the outside, and it coincides with foot/toe cramping. It’s fairly unbearable, but I try to bear it and sometimes that results in regret. I made it through. I’m alive. I soaked in the hot tub.

The steam room is down for repairs. BOOO! (But that’s not infrequent. I imagine it’d be hard to battle the mold and possible health effect [i.e., lawsuits] of mold in and around a steam room.) I did sit in the sauna, though.

I like to sweat when I’m not dressed to not sweat (i.e., when I'm dressed for work or to go out).

There was one other person in the sauna, a guy, and he was sitting on the bench below me but looked up a couple of times. He surprised me with a question and resultant comment I won’t pretend wasn’t flattering or anything: “Are you training for something?”

-Nah, just my health.

“You look really fit.”

-Thanks. I work at it. Are you working toward something?

He looked at me blankly. He was a pretty average-looking guy. I wouldn’t call him fat or skinny or hot or ugly.

-Training for something?

“Oh, no. Just trying to get in better shape. If I could get back to the 14-year old version of me, that’d be great, but that’s a long way off.”

My blog felt so relevant, but it’s not like I can just flash a card: Here, you should check this site out. It’s AWESOME.

-Eh, it’s just a bit at a time. It all takes time. Doesn’t happen overnight.

“True. Whu’d’you do?”

-For workouts or to work?

Work talk ensued. He’s in computer programming. He probably makes more money than me. Most people do. But not everyone gets that ego boost I got from his initial question/comment, so I’ll take it. My life is good.

I got home and Angie was showering after a run and my shirted, bottomless boy came running out. He’s so darn cute. I got video of him playing with Elba (the big pup) earlier today, but not video of the best parts when he was laughing so heartily and Elba was playing right back. These things just warm my heart so.

I started some brown rice on the stovetop. It was stir-fry night, and we hadn’t had such a night in a while. What went into it? Well, brown rice for one thing. But it was a TON of vegetables and a bit of chicken. What vegetables? Okay: snap peas (from the grocery); farmers’ market broccoli and carrots; green onion, zucchini, and gypsy pepper from the garden; and sauce. The vegetables, before cooking, looked like this (minus the snap peas):

The sauce is one of those things that never tastes quite the same, partially ‘cause I never measure anything for sauces, but it consisted of a mix of orange juice, soy sauce, paprika, garlic granules, fresh-ground pepper, red pepper flakes, and corn starch. When it was all in the wok, it looked like this:

I burnt the rice a bit. No matter. When it was all plated up, it looked like this:

And it was tasty. I’ve been drinking wine. Zin first, from Montevina, and now a red blend from Kenwood. I’d really wanted to get drunk tonight before I went swimming. Now I’m buzzed and happy, but I don’t generally like drunk. I don’t want to get drunk. I just want to get buzzed. Mission accomplished.

I’ll finish this glass and I’d bet on one more while reading before I go to bed. I feel like I’m forgetting something. I feel like I had a witty title for this entry while I was swimming, but it has escaped me. It’s not like I’m witty, anyway. Who are you, Yakima? You can tell me, even if it’s in private. I wish everyone reading would start to “follow” this blog. You can do that to your right. Right now. To your right. You might have to scroll up a bit, ‘cause I’m wordy. You’ll see seven other followers. There’s no shame. People are even starting to come across this crap I spew through google searches. Who’da thunk it? Not me.

So good night, people who are reading this but I don’t know…or likely DO know but am not sure who you are. If I REALLY knew how to use google analytics, it would probably tell me your name, address, social security number, PIN, and show me a picture of your house, possibly that one time you were out getting the mail in your skivvies. But I’m not that savvy. So you remain a mystery. How True Romance: “Now see…we're sittin' down here…ready to negotiate…and you've already given up your shit. I'm still a mystery to you. But I know exactly where your white ass is comin' from.” Yes, you do. And you are. Damnit.  

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Starting in the Middle...Sorta

It’s funny how an email can sidetrack you. Irk you. Make you not want to write a blog entry.

Okay: ME. I’m talking about me here. Not you. Duh: it’s a blog that’s all about me. Ego satisfaction…sometimes.

Although maybe you experience the same thing.

I never start in the middle, so I will.

There was a bee death today. There were certainly several, but I saw one of them. Or the beginnings of it. I can’t claim I actually watched it die. That was after I ate and apple and someone asked me “Are you eating an onion?” and I told them no. I mean, who eats an onion like an apple?

It was also before I picked up Liam, who did his usual napping, and before I ate only pretzels for lunch (other than that apple) just because maybe I wasn’t hungry enough or I was feeling lazy or something. Maybe it’s because I was engrossed in my work. I didn’t eat much. I worked. Liam slept.

I’m tired. I’ve had a mild headache all day. You know I worked. You know I didn’t eat much of a lunch. You don’t know yet that my knee was feeling pretty solid today so I went and swam. I swam 40 minutes, which means around a mile but I’m starting to not count my laps anymore, especially when I swim at this other pool.

I swam at this other pool today.

I kicked the whole time—no pull buoy. I’ve promised myself I won’t try to run or bike until next week. Healing takes time. And/or magic.

Swimming isn’t the best headache cure, I don’t think. Tension in the neck, shoulders, and upper back isn’t known for curing headaches. I did feel a bit better after my swim, but then I also didn’t, so essentially I just got my swim done. I think the Geico caveman was hanging out by the pool. It’s the second time I’ve seen him there.

I soaked. I steamed. I sauna…d.

Just for narrative confusion, I had an “Everything Bagel” toasted with butter today, and they actually gave me butter, not cream cheese. In fact, it was buttered FOR me. That’s right. And I drank a mocha.

Liam woke up around 3:00am and I got up to try to help him back to sleep. He slept, but I didn’t, and he wouldn’t be put down, and this headache had started and I really needed to pee, so after moving from the rocker to the bean bag then finally taking Liam into bed (about 60 minutes after he’d initially woken up), I peed. I laid in bed and went back to sleep. It was a bit after 4:00am.

I had weird dreams. I HATE dreaming.

I woke up after Liam did (again) around 6:45 and went out to the garden by myself this time. I watered. I came in and drank a bit of Blue Machine. I showered. I left for work.

I’ve been sitting on my ball all day at work lately. Or all morning. It has replaced my chair. I bounce on it. I roll on it. I did 25 pushups with my feet up on it. I get comments on it because it looks like so much fun or because some people think it’s weird.

I got a fan in my office today. A mini fan, but I was able to make it blow directly on me and it sure did feel nice—I stopped sweating. Not that work isn’t WAY more fun when you’re sitting at your computer and feeling sweat drip down your sides, but the fan: it was a nice change.

I’m inexplicably annoyed about things I can’t write about here, which is fine, I guess, since I already declared these things inexplicable. To explain would make me a liar.

Work. Huh. Good times.

It was date night and we went to Matteo’s, a local place that’s badass that I’ve surely already talked about. I had 2 glasses of a red wine—some blend from Lodi—and Angie and I split a salad (greens, cubed carrots and cucumber [the latter of which I avoided because I hate it], and a balsamic vinaigrette), I ate a couple slices of a parmesan garlic bread, and my main course was fettuccine alfredo with chicken. I gave some bits of chicken to Liam. He was in a great mood today. He looked like such a little boy today, partially because my wife bought him new clothes and shoes yesterday.

I thought I lost one of my debit cards, then realized I’d just put it in a weird place in my wallet, so that was bad then good and also odd. I’m a man of routine.

Following routine, we went to Cold Stone and got ice cream. Mine: a Like It of cake batter with Kit Kat bar and M&Ms mixed in. I like getting M&Ms mixed into my ice cream because the colors run and it makes it pretty. I like to eat pretty.

We got home and it was mostly dark—not fully dark, but mostly dark. The days are getting noticeably shorter. I had some garden chores to do and a few things that NEEDED to be harvested, so I strapped on the headlamp and went outside while Angie bathed Liam. We brushed his teeth. We read to him. Angie got him to sleep. I drank a glass of wine. We…snuggled.

And here I am, drinking another glass of wine to try to get myself to sleep, smelling my cats and thinking how gross cats are and how I’d be okay with not having any but at least one of the cats we have will outlive both our dogs. Shit. I hate that. And I don’t get this whole cat thing anymore. I need to go to bed and get away from the stink of cat shit. Cats: yuck. Kittens sure are cute, though.

So goodnight, non-kittens, and work-annoyances: you’ll both still be here in the morning. Some I’ll confront before others. I’m betting Liam will be at the office with me for a bit in the morning. But until then….

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Smoking Man, Smoking Tires, and a Free Mocha

Getting to yesterday today. Boy, that’s a non-promise I wish I could take back, but I bet I can take care of yesterday pretty quickly.

1.      Wake up.
2.      Change Liam and get him some milk and zucchini muffin.
3.      Eat some zucchini muffin myself, because that shit’s good.
4.      Liam and I to the garden. Water. Inspect. Lament.
5.      Work.
6.      Instant oatmeal with flax, almonds (unsalted), mocha.
7.      Work.
8.      Banana.
9.      Change cars with Angie.
9.5.Apple (I ate it while changing cars.)
10.  Pick up Liam, Liam falls asleep, transfer Liam to crib.
11.  Work.
12.  Turkey sandwich, double fiber bread, lettuce, swiss, mustard.
13.  Work.
14.  Work.
15.  Work.
16.  Liam awake.
17.  Work while listening to Bruno Mars Lazy Song.
18.  Dance to Bruno Mars Lazy Song.
19.  Zucchini muffin.
20.  Work.
21.  Fold Laundry.
22.  Angie home.
23.  Swim 35 minutes, mostly with pull buoy.
24.  Make pepperoni pizza with pesto sauce, salads with carrot and cheese and croutons and Italian dressing.
25.  Drink wine; carmenere; honor 120 chileans.
26.  False blog start.
27.  Read in bed.
28.  Sleep in bed.

Today, though, I knew I had no oatmeal at the office. Hence, I went to Bella Bru for my lemon poppy seed muffin and mocha.

—Shit. Start over.—

I got up at 6:25, as did Liam. Diaper change, milk and zucchini muffin (we both ate some muffin [I LOVE eating muffin]), out to the backyard. I watered corn and Liam stepped in fresh dog poop. This was a first. Sure, he has picked up fresh dog poop, but this was all over his sandals and his toes. So I watered Liam. Sprayed him off. Cleaned both him and his sandal. With the hose.

Liam picked a tomato. It was ripe. I thanked him.

Inside, routine things, off to work. Now, back to before: I knew I had no oatmeal at the office. Hence, I went to Bella Bru for my lemon poppy seed muffin and mocha.

“Stan, right?”


“Do you have a coffee card?”

-OH! I DO! And I think I get a free one!

I did. And I did. So I only paid for my muffin, got a free mocha, and tipped her for reminding me. That’s worthwhile. I was also reviewing resumes while driving to the coffee shop, waiting in line at the coffee shop, and then once I got to the office ‘cause I can’t eat, drink coffee, drive, AND review resumes all at once, and eating is way better than reviewing resumes.

I was a bit stressed about an upcoming interview that I wasn’t really prepared for (interviewing a prospective employee, not interviewing for another job) and all the work I had to do otherwise. The interview happened and was not as organized as I would have liked, and that was my fault.

~~I’m tired and making tired typos, which hopefully you won’t see, but it’s slowing this process, and all I really want to do is go to bed. This is how dedicated I am to the two of you reading this. Hi Angie!~~

The interview also took longer than I planned. It ended. I got a few things done. I finished my unsalted almonds. I ate a banana on the way to the car switch. I ate an apple on the way to Liam. Liam fell asleep on the way home and I transferred him to his crib and considered just eating pretzels but instead made a PBs&strawberryJ on double fiber bread to go along with them. I drank water. I took the day off exercise, except for some yoga and pushups with Liam on my back because that’s what happens when I lay on my stomach these days: Liam crawls on my back…then I do pushups because he’s there.

But before that yoga and pushups, I worked. I accomplished things. I moved mountains. I made things that weren’t going to happen happen, because that’s what it takes sometimes. It’s funny how you can turn a two-week delay into prompt action when you do it right. I was commended. (I hoped this would be remembered at raise time, which is right around the corner. Hope hope hope.)

I folded more laundry today. Uncharacteristically, I met a friend out for dinner and a few beers. This isn’t something I do…ever…and I still feel a bit guilty for missing time with my family. Does that make me weird? Unbalanced? Whatever.

A good time was had though, as were a good burger (hand-pressed good beef with cheddar cheese, but I’m pretty sure those steak fries had been frozen and deep-fried) and beer. There was a small salad, too, off of which I pushed the cucumber and tomatoes and onto which I put some sort of vinaigrette. The beer, though: that was the point of the place. I had a pint of Green Flash’s West Coast IPA. I had a pint of Lagunitas’ Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’. I had a 12-ounce of the Old Rasputin. These things are worth a night out. You don’t get these beers on tap everywhere. AND the conversation was good.

It was nice to have a night out and bullshit with a buddy. Maybe I don’t do it enough. I don’t have a lot of friends—I’m quick to admit that. And those I do have that I really cherish don’t live near me. I’m bad at staying in touch. I hate talking on the phone. Email is impersonal. I have one guy here locally that I hang out with, usually it’s a family affair, and that’s who I hung out with tonight, just me and him.

Drives home are usually uneventful, as most driving is, but I had a good laugh tonight. I stopped at a red light and heard tires screech beside me. I looked over and saw a cloud of smoke—the rubber from the tires due to the friction of the quick stop—and I saw the driver, a guy…maybe my age but I’d guess younger—look quizzically over his shoulder. I looked away. I smelled the stink of rubber. I looked over again. He looked at me.

“Was that me?”

I laughed loudly.


“Man, I didn’t even smoke that much.”

I laughed again. I’m pretty sure that’s what he said. Then the light turned green and we moved on and we were coming up on a light and it turned red and he was in front of me but still in the other lane and there was plenty of time before we got to that red light and I knew it would be green well before we got there but he was on his brakes, slowing down way too early, and then I was more confident he’d said, “Man, I didn’t even smoke that much,” ‘cause apparently he did. I laughed the rest of the way home.

I came home to the porch light on, around 9:30, and it was kinda cool because it was the first time I’d come home to the porch light on since I installed the new porch light months ago. Angie was just putting Liam down to sleep. I got to sneak a kiss in on him, which made me feel better. Angie and I got to chat and catch up on our days and the evening. I poured the remnants of my bottle of wine from last night, which I’m about to finish now before I head to bed. I’m real sleepy.

So goodnight, guy who smoked more than he thought and couldn’t quite handle it. Way to over-correct. I hope you made it home safely, and any potential roadkill in your way did as well.

Wine glass empty, I’m going to sleep.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Today has been amusing…in that way you’re sometimes amused by things that might otherwise annoy you and you try consciously push buttons and then end up typing a blog entry when you’re pretty sure you’d rather be reading.

I’d rather be reading.

I’m gonna go read. I’ll get to today tomorrow. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Doctor Delay Day: Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome.

Runner’s knee.

That’s the diagnosis, which I find reasonably comforting. Sure, it’s probably an indicator that…well…that running is gonna fuck me up in the long run. Biking too. Or it’ll fuck my knee(s) up, at least. So will age. These things are to be expected, I guess. But for now I’ll heal. For now I don’t need any pills or surgeries or anything other than ice. For now, I can swim.

As usual, I’m getting ahead of myself.

I got up with Liam around 6:30. We went out and watered the garden. I didn’t drink a Naked Juice or any orange juice. I ate a few almonds. I packed up and headed for work, thinking I might go to Bella Bru, then deciding at the last minute (I was in the left turn lane to go to the coffee shop then turned right when the light turned green) to go to the office for my mocha and oatmeal.

I got to the office.

I made my mocha.

I made my oatmeal.

I ingested these things: the oatmeal and my mocha…and some of the unsalted almonds. Then I got to work. Or tried to. People talk a lot on Mondays, I’ve noticed. Also, my office gets REALLY hot when I shut the door. I mean it’s like a special torture intended to keep our doors open—I shut the door and the gates of hell open and in less than 30 seconds it’s 20 degrees warmer in my office than it is outside my door and start to sweat and I wonder Do I open the door to let in the cool air and indirectly encourage random conversation while also chancing forcing others to listen to the music I decide to listen to, or do I sit here and sweat? It depends on my mood.

I started with my door open.

I ended up bouncing on my exercise ball, typing, listening to music, and sweating. There’s work to be done, after all.

I did some work. I made an appointment with my doctor. I’m lucky to be able to get same-day appointments because I go to a teaching office so there are always residents available, and the residents pay closer attention in my experience, and they’ll usually consult with the attending physician, so why would I NOT go that route? It’s awesome.

Except when you show up and the board says they’re on time and then someone tells you they’re running 30 minutes late…which really means 75 minutes late…but again I’m getting ahead of myself.

I made an appointment for 2:30. (That was for my fucking knee.)

Worka worka worka. Typa typa typa.

“Right on top of that, Rose!” (Adventures in Babysitting, in case you were wondering.)

It got to be lunch time and apparently I hadn’t eaten enough almonds so I made myself a PB—I forgot the J at home. Damnit! But I had the peanut butter (real stuff, of course) on double fiber bread and ate some pretzels. I downed a 40 of water like a straight-edge gangsta. (My dead homies got no drinks.)  I did some pushups with my feet on the ball, which makes me pretty much inverted a little bit, which makes the pushup kinda hard, but that’s not bad.

I ate a banana.

I left for the doctor. I ate an apple on my way to the doctor and drank more water and, given the time delay I mentioned above (I can’t use the word “aforementioned” in every blog entry…or can I?), kept having to pee way too much and I don’t know about you, but even in the dead of summer and even though I’m no germaphobe in general, I’m not a big fan of touching things at the doctor’s office—especially a communal key to the bathrooms and things in the bathrooms themselves.

~~Germaphobes. Man. I’ve seen those who—well, let me describe the worst I’ve seen. Or to be more accurate, he actually TOLD me this because he told me he won’t do it when others are present because he knows it’s too weird. He’d pee at the urinal. He wouldn’t flush, because that required touching the knob, or if he felt he had to, he’d use his foot. Okay, I get that, but keep going. He’d go to the paper towels. He’d pull one out and use that to turn on the faucet (because others have touched the faucet with dirty hands, see?). He’d wash his hands with soap and scrub ‘em good (as you should). He’d rinse and leave the water running (wasting water) and get more paper towels. He’d dry his hands. More paper towels: turn off the water. Use those to open the door. Toss paper towels in the trash on the way out the door. The part that always gets me, though: then you use a bare hand to grab the knob to walk into the office! Effort, water, and paper wasted, jackass. Germs are everywhere. Deal. (And wash your hands.)~~

I truly never know what I’m going to write here, exactly.

I showed up at the doctor on time (2:30) and the board said my resident was “on time.” Ten minutes later I was told the doc was running 30 minutes late, so she wouldn’t be able to see me until 3:15 (you do the incorrect math), and would I like to reschedule. Time-wise rescheduling made no sense, so I waited. I got called back at 3:30. (Math. Estimates.) The resident came in at 3:45.

“Sorry to keep you waiting. My first appointment showed up 30 minutes late and that pushes everyone back 30 minutes.”

Well, your board said “on-time” when I got here, and then was adjusted to 30 minutes delayed when I was told of this “30 minute” delay, and now it’s 75 minutes past my appointment time…but okay. Let’s deal with this knee.

I’ve been hoping it wasn’t all-that-bad and preparing myself for the all-that-bad. It’s not all that bad. (I also got my TDAP vaccine, because of the whooping cough problem here in the C-A, but that was just a matter of convenience.)

~~It’s always nice when your doctor says something like, “You’re obviously a fit guy….”~~

Runner’s knee is the knickname. The full name is at the beginning of this blog: Patellofemoral Pain Sydrome. It’s irritation of the inside of the kneecap, I guess. Running can cause this.

So can biking.

So can being knock-kneed.

So can over-pronating.

I’m a prime candidate, given I’m a knock-kneed over-pronating runner/biker who’s getting on in age, even if I am still relatively young. Luckily I pay attention to my body. I’ve learned over the years. You know I’ve been doing the R.I.C.E., minus Compression plus Calcohol, so I did what I was supposed to do. Most of the yoga stuff isn’t bad. Don’t run for a while. Don’t bike. Swimming is the least problematic, but not kicking is good. The swelling is gone. There’s no pain. I swam again tonight.

But I DID use my legs half the time. I swam 80 laps, or a bit over a mile, in 43 minutes. I did half that with the pull buoy, half without. I felt good about it. My knee felt good about it.

I came home between the doctor and the swimming. I played with Liam a bit and kissed my wife—both important things.

I came home from swimming to tacos all ready to eat. I had three beef tacos on hard shells, one on a soft shell, lots of red onion, some sauce who’s name escapes me, red-leaf lettuce, and I always add way too much cheese and love it. Yellow cheddar this time. I drank two Inversion IPAs—not the world’s strongest brew or best IPA, but drinkable. I wanted more tacos, but we’d eaten all the beef, so I was left to starve.

I could have eaten some zucchini chocolate cake. I probably should have. But I didn’t have a sweet tooth (there’s something wrong with me) so I didn’t. We played with Liam. We bathed Liam. We brushed his teeth. We discussed the need to google “brushing toddler teeth” to see if there are tricks to make it more enjoyable for him…or at least keep us from having to strap him down on a table like the death machine in The Princess Bride. Death machine may not be the right term. But maybe it is. Liam doesn’t like getting his teeth brushed. But he DOES like holding the tooth brush, turning it on (it’s electric), and holding it in his mouth.

I read to him as I tend to do and he was tired. I turned off the light and came out here for this type of stuff: this blogging. I’m posting two tonight, like some kind of wizard. I’m drinking a petite syrah as I type. I’ve had two glasses…that were pretty big. Okay, three—but the third one was just because there was so little left in the bottle it wasn’t worth leaving, so two regular glasses plus bottle remnants equals two big glasses.

Maybe I should drink less alcohol.


Again, this isn’t necessarily typical. I do enjoy my drinks. But I’ve been drinking an additional one or two per night lately and I spread them out over hours. (Does that matter? I'd think so) This too shall pass. I know myself. I know my ways. I know what’s what. Don’t doubt me. I’m finally sleepy. I'm not the model of health, I'm just reasonably healthy.

So good night, hot house. I don’t know how you get so hot when it’s reasonably cool outside. I’ve opened some windows. That’ll help. I’ll end up chilled in the night, down comforter up to my neck, but right now I’m pretty hot. I’m on the verge of sweating. This too shall pass. I can already feel the coolness, and it feels…cool. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Another Busy Day of Doing Nothing and Accomplishing Things

“YOU get to get up early today.”

That’s how I remember my day starting as I heard Liam wake up and gave my wife the boot from the bed. (Turns out it wasn’t all that early; around 6:45, which is pretty standard, but in my head it was early like it was yesterday and I wanted more sleep.) I tried to sleep on, and might have caught a few more Zs…but if I did catch ‘em, there weren’t too many and I lost ‘em. Regardless, I laid there in bed, pillow over my head, trying to sleep. I could hear Liam running. I could hear bits of music. I could smell bacon. But I fought it all and laid in bed. Until I couldn’t anymore, and I got up and it was about 8:00.

I was grumpy.

~~You’d think from my blog I’m grumpy a lot which is not really true—I just started this blog at an atypical time in my life and have been grumpy. If I stick with this blog thing, you’ll probably read things going back to a more normal me. I’m not explaining this, I’m just stating it.~~

I got up and pressed my Mexicans as the French would, left ‘em black (I know: Mexicans aren’t black…unless they are), and put some bacon on double fiber bread. I drank a Naked Juice, and I think it was a Blue Machine, and I know it was the last one we had.

~~I don’t ALWAYS drink Naked Juice daily, either—this is also relatively blog-new, although I do love me some Naked Juice and do tend to drink some often...just not daily...but it's on sale...and Berry Veggie sneaks veggies passed Liam (and me) without him (or me) even realizing it.~~

I went out to do some garden watering. It was a busy day, but full of busy-time around the house. I kinda forget all that happened. My morning, when my mood was subpar, is a bit less memorable. I played with Liam some, although not as much as I probably should have given a lazy Sunday morning. I did some typing. I uploaded photos from my wife’s art show yesterday and shared them on facebook. I wished I didn’t rely so much on facebook.

I ate almonds. I’ve been eating too many almonds. I need to cut back on that snack attack. They’re just there, and I didn’t really have a lunch—just almond/banana/apple grazing, and ultimately my wife made popcorn (on the stove, no microwave shit) and I ate some of that, but that was after her nap. I had a lot to do in the garden today, what with my miniature fruit and vegetables and my fertilizer-eating dogs. I needed more temporary fencing. So while Angie napped, I went to Home Depot and bought a bit more. I also have some pests I’m dealing with out there. This is unacceptable. Gardening should be easier.

But it isn’t, necessarily.

I got back and my wife was still sleeping and Liam was, too (they napped at the same time), so I did some research and typing. Angie woke up and I did a full yoga workout, which I haven’t done since this knee thing, and it felt mostly okay. There’s still a touch of swelling. I’m gonna make a doctor appointment.

I plan to begin starting all my doctor appointments with, “I was doing some research on the internet and I think [insert ailment] is what’s wrong with me.” My guess is doctors love that. And seein’ as how I have a friend who’s a doctor, I KNOW they love that.

I did my yoga, about 45 minutes worth, probably, including sun salutes and all kinds of balance things and other yoga-what-nots (I’m never confident of the names), and I considered that my workout for the day. That and everything else I was doing.

Angie went to Whole Foods to get some groceries for the week and Liam and I put away the dishes. “A FORK! Thank you! A spoon! Thank you! Another spoon! Thank you!” (He loves to hand me things from the dishwasher. I don’t discourage this…except when I’m loading the dishwasher with dirty things.) I washed some things by hand because that’s sometimes necessary, and I cleaned the countertops. I got some laundry going, although I’m still staring at a pile of unfolded clothes on the couch, but at least they’re different clothes from the last time I mentioned such a thing.

With the kitchen cleaner and Angie still gone, I decided to sauce most of the tomatoes I’d harvested from the garden this week (we just aren’t big on raw tomatoes, although we eat the bejesus out of some tomato sauce), so I got started with that. It’s not a prompt, lazy process: boil water, score the tomatoes, drop ‘em in boiling water, boil them ‘til the skin loosens up, pluck ‘em out and put ‘em in an ice bath, let ‘em cool, peel ‘em, cut ‘em and squeeze out the seeds, puree them, then put ‘em on the stovetop and cook ‘em down a bit. By the time I got to cooking ‘em down Angie was in the kitchen putting the zucchini to good use (bread, muffins, and chocolate cake, all with zucchini), so I headed to the garden. Her baking and my saucing looked a bit like—no, exactly like—the pictures below (which are process pics of these processes).

With the sauce cooking down and Angie on watch, I took Liam out to the garden and picked a bunch of green beans for dinner…and maybe someone else’s dinner. (We ended up with a mason jar full of sauce, which pleases me.) Much to my surprise, there were some ears of corn to be harvested. Now don’t get me wrong, they weren’t LARGE ears of corn. In fact—and I should get pictures but haven’t—some of them are probably about as long as my pinky finger. But they’re corn, with full kernels, and a couple of them were longer than my middle finger (so take that!) and they became part of dinner. Liam picked a tomato, too. He likes red things but doesn’t realize they aren’t all strawberries. At least it was ripe.

I took the beans and corn and tomato and Liam inside, then went to work on the garden chores. Not watering—this was the fence work and pest killing. There’s plenty of pest-killing to come, I suppose, but this was the…continuation. And the start of a more rigorous control regiment, for the time being. I finished all that and started the charcoals.

~~Never briquettes, if avoidable. Sure, lump charcoal is sorta weird, it’s irregular in shape, it crackles and pops as it burns, and it burns hotter and faster, but it’s not full of weird fillers and it’s healthier for you and it smells better, too. And we always use a chimney starter because it’s faster and WAY better than squirting lighter fluid all over the place. These things make differences. WE make differences...even if only to ourselves...but what's more important that that, in our whole scheme of things?~~

With the charcoals started and my wife doing the dinner prep, I got into the shower because I was stinky and, more importantly, itchy from reaching into all the miniature corn to pick the beans. I really need to get a picture of that madness; that mess of vegetation. I will. Just you wait.

Out of the shower, corn and ‘taters on the grill, I took over the rest of dinner. Team efforts are a good thing. There are no "eyes" in team--we do it blindfolded. There was still some baking going on. Dinner was running late. I got the steaks on. I got the beans on. Liam got his bath on. Dinner finished cooking. I poured myself some meritage. (Right now I’m drinking petite syrah.) So dinner, on my plate, was petite-cut sirloin (about as lean a cut of steak as you can get) which my wife had put some soy sauce and balsamic vinegar on then rubbed with some of our leftover pesto (it may sound weird, but…); two small ears of corn from the garden with real butter, salt, and pepper; grilled potatoes with garlic and some garden-grown gypsy pepper, olive oil, salt, and pepper; and garden-grown green beans also with the gypsy pepper, olive oil, salt, and pepper. (The gypsy pepper, as it turns out, is a reasonably large, bright red pepper with only a mild spiciness, but enough that I wouldn’t quite call it a sweet pepper.) My dinner looked like this:

and it was DAMN good. That possibly weird-sounding steak marinade was pretty awesome. Our steaks were well-done.

Liam’s bedtime was pretty much immediate after dinner, so I took a bit of that zucchini chocolate cake and ate it while drinking some wine. It was super good. It IS super good. There’s plenty more. It has chocolate chips on it.

I just yawned. I’m sleepy. It has been a busy day, ultimately. Or at least one that didn’t find me on my ass all that much. Things got done, even if the house still isn’t clean. Our house is never clean—we have a toddler, two big dogs, two cats, and two messy adults. We do our best.

So good night, dirty house. I have a long work-week ahead. I already dread tomorrow, only hours away. It’s 10:30. I could read. I might read. Or I might just go to bed. Bed sounds nice. Hopefully I don’t dream I’m wondering an endless stream of farmers’ markets along the American River with John Goodman and ultimately end up in some weird room with some strange drug situation I’m completely uncomfortable in tonight. Repeating that would be awful and weird.  

Saturday, August 20, 2011

ART DAY! (And the Mood-Changing Swim)

I got up early because Liam got up early. It was 6:10am. I drank a Blue Machine. I started water boiling for coffee. And I curled up in the big bean bag, trying to wake up. Liam crawled up with me…then off me…then on me, this time with his little tool box, and he played. I tried to wake up.

The tea kettle whistled and I ground my light-roasted Mexican beans, poured, and stirred. I waited several minutes, then pressed, then poured myself a cup. I measured out enough water and steel-cut oats to make 4 servings of oatmeal and got that all to a boil. Liam and I went out to the garden. The experiment in miniatures continues.

We had a big day ahead of us: the 3rd Saturday Art Walk was on at Beatnik Books starting at 7:00pm, and my talented wife is the featured artist this month. I let Angie sleep in, and sleep in she did.

The oatmeal was ready around 7:30, so I mixed some brown sugar into mine and a bit of the same plus some banana for Liam and gave him a spoon. He tried the spoon a bit…the decided forego the spoon and use his hands. It’s easier, but messier, and I’m fine with that. I drank my coffee and he drank his milk. I drank no milk. Simple black coffee. Calorie-free, high caffeine coffee. (Light-roasted coffees have more caffeine than their dark-roasted doubles—and they taste better, if you ask me, which you didn’t. But they’re fruitier—you taste them on the tip of your tongue. You actually taste them—they don’t just pass the majority of your tongue by then tap the back of it on the way down your throat. I find that to be…better.)

We finished up breakfast and momma still wasn’t up so I did some dishes and took out the compostables and just sorta doddled around the house, playing with Liam. We spent some time outside with him pointing at and chasing the birds. He’s newly fascinated with birds. I’ve already vowed never to buy him one as a pet.

Angie got up just as I decided her oatmeal was well past its prime and tossed it in the garbage. Oops. But seriously, I wouldn’t have eaten it. It had been sitting more than an hour. I can be weird about these things, though.

With Angie awake I did something somewhat out of character: I picked up my phone and called a friend of mine. I’m not good at staying in touch, whether ye be family or friend. I’m just not good at it. I hadn’t spoken to this guy, other than an email or two, in about 2 years now, and it was nice to catch up. I spent probably an hour or so on the phone, which I really just don’t do, but I was sitting outside and it was nice outside and it was nice bullshitting, so that’s what I did…until my phone got close to death. We said our goodbyes with the usual promises not to wait so long to talk next time and I came back inside; Angie had been cleaning some.

~~I've been eating almonds like mad. I can't write about every time I eat them. I graze. They're there, and I eat them. I long ago learned the best way for me to avoid snacking was to not buy snacks, and I generally don't, but almonds are so good. Nuts are so good, I'm just on an almond kick lately. So assume I was eating almonds at various points in the day. And at some point, I ate an apple and shared a banana with my boy.~~

We found out there was more room for more art at the bookstore and I’d left a painting that was crying out for display in my office (it’s a favorite of mine, and I love it; hence, it hangs in my office and always gets compliments), so we went over there to pick it up. Going to work on non-work days is somewhat surreal and I don’t much like it, but I felt like an art thief so that at least made it a bit more fun. Liam fell asleep so Angie hung out in the car with him.

Painting retrieved, we went to the bookstore. My mood turned south for no good reason—I was tired and hungry is the best explanation—and Liam and I strolled the streets a bit while Angie hung a few final pieces. I heard a man telling others of his 40-minute conversation with God and I’ll jump to be judgmental and say, based on his looks, this probably happened during an acid trip, but what do I know? God may just get bored sometimes.

I felt like I was going to fall asleep on the way home, and Liam was getting testy about being hungry. Luckily, we made it home. I made me and Liam a turkey sandwich, much the same as normal: peppered turkey on double fiber bread with mustard and lettuce and swiss cheese. I ate pretzels. I ate an apple. I lamented my knee.

Yes, my knee is still messed up. Or at least it’s still a bit swollen, although there’s improvement, but I suspect I’ll go ahead with scheduling a doctor appointment tomorrow because the knee worries me so.

I was so tired and in such a foul mood I decided to try to nap. This was sometime after 1:00pm, I think, or around then, and I laid in bed and tried to sleep. I pulled pillows over my head. I wondered at one point if increasing my intake of CO2 would help me to sleep, but then I also didn’t want to suffocate myself, so I made sure that wouldn’t happen. I listened to the noises around the house. I got up to pee. I went back to bed. I listened to more noises. I thought of things I should be doing. I heard the house go quiet. I tried to sleep. I’m pretty sure I didn’t, or if I did it was so little I didn’t benefit from it, and I got up feeling more tired than I was when I laid down. It was 2:40pm. The house was empty and I decided I’d probably benefit from a swim. Angie got home and I went to the pool.

Again I did the entire swim workout with the pull buoy in an effort to rest my knee. I recognize it’s possible swimming and kicking may actually help my knee, but I’m not willing to risk that call on my own, so I continue to rest it. I swam 40 minutes, did my hot tub soak, then sat in the steam room and sauna, just as I always do, although this was my third time in the pool this week—that’s unusual, but what else am I to do? The end result was the desired one: my mood shifted to the good side and I felt more energized. I came home and Angie was out for a run with Liam so I played the drums.

I often settle into a rut in drumming—similar beats I have a hard time breaking from. This was one of those good days, though, when my mind freed up a bit and I was able to play better and more creatively and I really enjoyed it. I was sweating a bit when Angie got back. It was around 5:00pm and we weren’t sure what we’d do for dinner with the art show that night. I drank a beer. We showered, I donned my Uncle Sam F**ks YOU t-shirt, and we headed to the bookstore for the show. I had a coffee with some whiskey and Kahlua in it for when we arrived ‘cause…well, do I need a reason?

Liam fell asleep on the way to the show. I sat in the car with him sleeping while Angie put some final touches on the setup. I sipped my coffee. Liam slept. I drank my coffee. Liam slept. Angie was done. I was hungry. I really had to pee because I’d also drank 80 ounces of water in the past couple of hours. Liam finally woke up, I finished my coffee, and we strolled in to the store. Liam played and I took photos.

We talked to some folks and my stomach was rumbling, begging for nourishment.

Angie did a bit of scouting while Liam napped and we ended up at an Irish pub across from the bookstore that had surprisingly good (and FRESH) food for dinner. Nothing frozen and cooked from a box; they actually cooked. The owner was chatting with us, said he had actual trained chefs in the kitchen, and he goes to the store twice per week to buy food. “All fresh.”

Liam was testy but we had the dining room to ourselves, so his testiness was little issue. He has been a bit more…uppity when dining out lately, largely because he gets antsy and wants to run around, but he was also so far off schedule last night it just wasn’t helping. We ordered a Guinness-breaded and fried chicken appetizer to try to appease Liam, and it came with a tasty BBQ dipping sauce and some kind of ranch dip, but I never touch ranch anything. I ate one of the chicken breasts because it was really good. There were fresh-cut fries, too, but I’d ordered a burger so I didn’t touch the fries ‘cause they were coming with my burger. Angie touched the fries because she didn’t realize she’d ordered salad with her burger in lieu of fries, the poor girl. It worked out well, though.

My salad was greens and a bit of cheese and croutons with a balsamic-vinaigrette and there were tomatoes and cucumbers on the side but I don’t like either of those things. Hence, Angie at the cucumbers and my napkin at the tomatoes. My burger was Angus beef, lettuce, onion, mustard and ketchup on a sesame-seed bun (not wheat), and I had a side of those aforementioned fresh-cut fries which were super good. I ate too much. Luckily my Racer 5 (I only had one) gifted me with a couple of burps and I was able to get it all down.

We paid and headed back over to the bookstore and realized we’d missed a couple of friends that had stopped by, which was unfortunate. I followed Liam around, in and out of the bookstore, my wife sold a bit of art, and with the little man getting so tired, we left around 9:30. We got home and Liam went down for bed. I poured a small glass of barbera and was planning to read but didn’t really feel like it because I was so tired, so I just went to bed.

And now it’s the next day and I’m back-blogging again. I need to get back on top of this. But it can be so hard to do this every day. Or night. I really can’t believe I’m still going. I can’t believe anyone is still reading. I need to see the doctor. I think I’m gonna try some yoga. I have no reason to say good night.

So good day, beautiful Sacramento day. We’re in the midst of the mildest summer since 1982. Or, we’ve at least had fewer triple-digit days than we have since 1982—only 5 so far, when typically we’d be around 27. Nutty. Nutty, but kinda nice.