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Where I chronicle my Monday mornings

This Monday, I figured I’d share a little bit about what my Monday mornings are like. Because things on my end are downright crazy. – Weekends are more structured than they used to be, but since I have a 6am videoteleconference with my team in Manila, things are truly a whirlwind around me until I get to work.

My alarm goes off, insanely early, at 4:10. My first thought is “I’m not running, so let me reset the alarm.” Fortunately, an inner voice tells me that resetting the alarm isn’t an option – it’s Monday, and I have my 6am meeting.

I find clothes to dress myself in to walk the dogs, because I’m pretty certain that walking about nude and/or in my skivvies would be bad. Even at 4 in the morning, it’s not a good idea to indecently expose myself unnecessarily.

I then try to calm the one dog down because walks are his most favoritist thing in the whole wide word while also trying to motivate the other dog to walk with promises of steak & bacon because he’s lazy and would rather be in bed. Eventually, I give up on the promises and pick up said grumpy dog (causing much growling) and take the dogs for a walk.

We walk about a mile . . . and wouldn’t you know it, there’s a neighbor out & about, so I’m especially grateful that I didn’t decide that today was the day that I’d be able to streakwalk. At some point, while reading through tweets & deleting junk mail, I nearly trip over the curb, which is minor compared to the “introduce myself to a tree” or “introduce myself to a parked minivan” that I normally pull while not paying attention to the world.

Anyway, I get back with the dogs and feed them (the lazy, unmotivated dog is now quite eager to be awake because he loves food) and start making myself coffee. Soon into the coffee making process, though, I realize that Snickelfritz, the dog who doesn’t like walks but loves food, is eating from the bowl of Hobbes, the dog who loves walks but is very “meh” about food. After separating the two of them, I go back to preparing the coffee. I hit “go” and head upstairs, convincing the dogs to come back with me, where they promptly lie back down and go back to sleep.


I get into the shower where I think I fell asleep four separate times.

After showering, I dress for work . . . which means jeans, because I like “comfortable.” I grab the laptop and wine glass solo cup from the bedside table, kiss my wife goodbye, and tiptoe my way downstairs, careful not to wake the wife or babies sleeping in my bed.

I get downstairs and remember that it’s trash day. This would have been handy information the previous night, when I could have been all orderly & stuff. So, I head back upstairs and grab the bag of dirty diapers from the nursery, and then I grab the dirty diaper bag from the kitchen (we have changing stations both upstairs and downstairs), as well as the kitchen trash bag and take them outside.

I realize that I was wearing socks but not shoes, and dew on the socks doesn’t feel all that great.

Put on shoes.

Make three trips to take out all recycling.

Walk back upstairs to replace trash bag in nursery diaper bin.

Leave house but realize that I forgot my laptop.

Get laptop and realize that I forgot my coffee.

Go to my truck to get my coffee mug and return to house to fill it.

As I fill my coffee mug, see the pile of mini-strawberry danishes that I bought for myself last Friday. Eat one. Bring another for “breakfast.” Because breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Remember “project frugal” where I try to bring lunch into work. Find leftover Chinese food and realize that it’s swimming in sauce. Go to dump excess sauce down the drain. Spill excess sauce on my shoes. Marvel that I’ll smell like garlic sauce all day.

Try to think back to last week to remember if I used my “emergency shirt” at the gym1 and decide to go back upstairs to grab a shirt to work out in, in the case that I’m able to sneak off to the gym over lunch. I’m somehow able to get back upstairs and grab a shirt without stubbing my toe, startling either dog into a barking frenzy, or waking my kids. I’m proud of myself.

Finally leave. I plan, every Monday, to be out of the house by 5 . . . and, like most Mondays, I was on the road by 5:30 – giving me a whole 2 minutes to catch my breath when I get to the office before my video teleconference starts.

1 I don’t think any of you would be shocked if I mentioned that I can get quite sweaty. I can, typically, wear a pair of shorts for two workouts before I’m able to detect an odor, but I absolutely need to clean any shirt I’ve worn before I can wear it for another workout. Because of this, I always keep a single “emergency” shirt in my truck. The problem is, at 5 in the morning, I don’t always remember back to the previous week. Because of the time, I didn’t want to turn on the lights in the bedroom to find a pair of shorts that I could wear, so I made the decision to stretch to a third workout for a pair of shorts if I did wear my emergency shorts…which, I know, ewww, but workouts over lunch on Mondays are always iffy propositions.

It turns out that I did not, in fact, use my emergency shirt, so I only wore my shorts twice, so they weren’t truly stinky, and I did get a pretty kick-ass workout in.

Where I write in six words #SixWordSunday #InappropriateChurchTweet

I like playing with my organ.

Where I bring the random on a Friday, yet again.

It’s Friday, so it’s time for disjointed random.

  • I have a truly beat up iPhone cord at work that’s my “emergency cord.” Normally, I keep a cord in my laptop bag and it travels between my truck & work. Somehow, that cord ended up inside the house and therefore it hasn’t been on me. My beat up emergency cord will no longer charge my phone, so at the end of the day, every single day, I have a dead phone. Those of you who know me quite well know that this drives me absolutely bonkers.
  • It got really freaking cold overnight. Yesterday morning, I walked the dogs to a truly spectacular lightning display — the rain came in at the very tail end of the walk and it rained all day. When the rain finally stopped, we had Fall. The air was brisk & cool – the breeze carried something special on it. It was truly marvelous.
  • This morning, however, the temperature wasn’t so marvelous. I knew it was chilly, so I put on a sweatshirt & sweatpants to take the dogs for their morning walk . . . this is significant because I always wear shorts whenever it’s socially acceptable. I was freezing in the 45° temperatures. In a month or so, I’ll be just fine and will be back to my shorts-wearing ways, but for now, brrrrr.
  • Speaking of walking my dogs, the younger of the two dogs (who is 10 years old, so he’s not exactly young) absolutely refuses to get out of bed to walk anymore. And, ever since “The Arrival1“, this dog has really had an issue with weight. Before kids, he was this rambunctious puppy (even when he was full-grown, he had a lot of puppy-like tendencies) who loved to eat and play fetch and run around. Between regular walks and strict diet, we had toed the line between “obese” and “not obese,” (this dog is the most-food-motivated dog I’ve ever known . . . and considering that our other dog is the least-food-motivated dog I’ve ever known, this has been problematic) but now that the kids are in the food-chucking stage, he’s eating way too much people food. I’m not sure how to get him to want to walk in the mornings (right now, I literally lift him out of bed and walk him to the door so that I can drag him around the block). It drives me, and the other dog (who loves walks like nothing else), crazy.
  • I really need to find more time to write, regularly. And not just here.
  • The smell of bacon really makes me rethink my decision to not eat “land meat.”
  • I have a truly epic knot in my right shoulder. The bad thing is that it’s really, really deep into the muscle. For some past Christmas, I gave Duffy one of those weird back massage thingies where you can apply pressure to those parts of your back that you can’t ever hope to reach my yourself. When I hit the knot, I get that “pins & needles” feeling all along the right side of my body, and I get a tremendous ache in the lower left side of my back. I do believe one of you has a voodoo doll made of my likeness. If stopping these hijinks is too much to ask, can I ask that you start selecting other body parts, just for some variety?
  • I have this Zombie run coming up in the near future, and I’ve been tasked with “popping Lindsay’s zombie movie cherry.” I take this task seriously. Zombi 2 will make the list. But, do I go traditional for the second movie of a double feature with Night of the Living Dead, or do I pull out something more obscure but just as awesome like A Virgin Among the Living Dead or I Eat Your Skin? Or, do I go with the awesome with Zombieland or Shaun of the Dead?
  • I haven’t had a drink since a single beer on Sunday night – and this followed a day with a single beer on Saturday. I’m not kicking liquor, but I was kind of fearing the amount that I was drinking day-in and day-out (using gym and running time as an excuse that it was “ok”). I’ll have a few glasses of wine tonight, though.
  • Speaking of running time, I finally ran on back-to-back days this week. It had been far too long.
  • I’m in the middle of writing my absolute favorite guest-post ever.
  • My band is playing a birthday-party gig tomorrow . . . and while I love private parties because the crowd is usually much more engaged, private parties don’t necessarily bring about more gigs, and my band kind of needs more gigs.
  • I’m giving serious thought to migrating my blog from the “Free WordPress” to a hosted solution, if only because I feel like screwing around with styles & possibly moonlighting as a blog theme designer.
  • I’ve come up with a “thou shall not nap” dance that I’ve deployed against my kids. I need to vlog this, if only because I’ve heard one too many compliments lately, and there’s no way that you’d find me remotely attractive after seeing me flop around.
  • Speaking of compliments, they’ve been pouring in after my Love Thyself post – and they’re all greatly appreciated.

1 “The Arrival” may very well be the turning point in the lives of my dogs. Brining CJ back from the hospital turned has left the dogs in a constant state of paranoia and resentment, and it only got worse when Leila came into the picture.

Where I experiment with mayonnaise

This isn’t the first time that spinach dip has lead to a change in the way I live my life. However, normally, the change that spinach dip leads to is me going to buy larger pants.

Anyway, I wanted spinach dip1 and started looking for the ingredients to make it. Alas, I had no spinach. Or sour cream. Or mayonnaise.

But, then I started thinking about mayonnaise, as I had no idea what it was2. I recalled some real old anecdote about some French general and a promised salad dressing if he won a battle or something, but that was really it.

So, I turned to Alton Brown. Mayonnaise is an egg yolk (I figured eggs were involved, but I really thought that, considering the color, it would be egg whites) that has some spices added to it (most notably a little mustard powder) and is then beaten like hell as you add some acid and then add oil very, very, very slowly.

My first attempt at mayo just didn’t turn out – I beat the hell out of an egg yolk, but my hand slipped pouring in the oil, and I never was able to successfully emulsify the product. My second (and every subsequent) attempt was much better.

You take an egg yolk & add a half-teaspoon each of fine-course salt and mustard powder along with a pinch of sugar. Beat the hell out of it until you have a yellowy goup. Then, in a separate bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. Pour half of that into the yolky yellow goup and, again, beat the hell out of it.

Then, very slowly (and I cannot overstate how slowly you need to do this) add 1 cup of oil (I’ve been using corn oil, but I’ll likely switch to grapeseed or olive oil) – starting with mere drops at first. Add a few drops, beat the mixture like hell, add a few more drops.

The mixture will start to thicken — and after 1/4 cup of oil, you’ll start to see things turn white. After 1/2 cup of oil, you can mix in the rest of the vinegar & lemon juice mixture, and then you can start adding oil a little more quickly (but do NOT add the oil fast – as you’re whisking the hell out of everything, there will be a distinct line between “oil” and “not oil,” and the whisking will clear that line – but, as you’re doing this, you’ll notice that there has to be a point where the entire mixture can break down – that’s when you completely stop adding oil & whisk until it feels like your arm is going to fall off).

Each cup of mayo takes me about 20 minutes to make — according to Alton Brown, you can keep it at room temperature for about 2 hours and refrigerated for about a week. The result is…different than store-bought mayo, and I much prefer the stuff I’ve made at home. It doesn’t taste greasy (and I wish I had a better way to describe this – but I don’t), and with barely any sugar, it’s a very subtle, refreshing taste (I’d argue that you could cut the sugar out, completely, or add just a dab of honey).

So far, I’ve used it in two great-big batches of macaroni salad (I tried my best to copy the “Amish” recipe – the best part about making it at home is that, at the end, the macaroni isn’t swimming in this sweet, goupy, and soupy mixture concoction). According to Duffy, it’s the best she’s ever had, but I think there’s some room for improvement – my first batch was overly-oniony, and my second batch was actually too subtle. When I perfect my recipe, I’ll post it here.

I’ve also made a pretty stellar coleslaw (head of finely chopped cabbage, two grated carrots, 2/3c homemade mayo, 1 tablespoon each of whole milk & white vinegar, 1 teaspoon sugar (which can be omitted, entirely), and salt & pepper to taste) and some of the best tuna salad (2 cans of tuna, 1/2c homemade mayo, 3 stalks of finely chopped celery, 1/2 finely chopped onion, 2 teaspoons of Old Bay, 1 tablespoon of garlic powder, 1/4 cup of pickle relish (pickles are something I’d consider making myself, except that cucumbers don’t last for very long in my house), 2 hard boiled eggs, and some oregano).

I’m not sure it’s truly healthier….well, fewer processed ingredients is probably healthier than more processed ingredients, but the results are far yummier.

And, when you’re really frustrated – beating the shit out of an egg yolk until it turns white is quite effective.

1 This is misleading, as I always want spinach dip. Among other things that I always want: a beer, a glass of wine, a backrub, sex, guacamole, bacon (yes, even though I no longer eat most meat, I still crave bacon), a songwriting contract, Minerva McGonagall’s history of Hogwarts as she’s known it.
2 Besides delicious. I knew mayonnaise was delicious.

Where I make thinly-veiled masturbation references in an attempt to be sincere

Over the weekend, I ended up flipping around channels and Tosh.0 came up. Now, I’m not the biggest fan of “let’s make fun of people” shows, and much of Tosh.0 is just that, but I really like his “web redemptions,” where he’ll bring back the butt of some internet video to figure out just what was going through his/her mind and give him/her a chance to cast themselves in a better light.

In this episode, Tosh had brought back this very optimistic girl. When you watch her video, you can’t help but love yourself – she’s that contagious.

Anyway, later that day, I ended up explaining the concept of Healthy At Every Size (HAES) to someone who was looking to drop a lot of weight quickly. Basically, what I wanted to convey was that nobody is truly happy with their body and you can’t ever get discouraged because of it. At the heart, I ended up delivering a part “the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step” and part “take time to smell the roses” diatribe. Essentially – accept the present, because there’s nothing you can do about it, and try to gear yourself toward “better” for the future, however you want to define that “better.” If that means “thinner,” than so be it, but strive for “as healthy as possible” for the present.

All of this ended up toward a bit of self-love1 . . . what are the things about you, right now, that you love? Because, we all know that a voyage of a thousand miles is a whole lot easier when you’re traveling with company that loves you2

So – name those things that you love about yourself, in the here & now. Things don’t need to be physical, though physical characteristics are certainly not to be ignored. When you’re done, come back here & link up. Because, as you well know, here, we’re all about the self-love.

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

My list, in no particular order:

  1. My writing – I like to write, and people like to read what I’ve written. It’s a good combination.
  2. My smile – some say that my smile is really great, and to them, I allow their opinion (I’d rank it as a little above average). However, I do know that my smile is very quick to find its way to my face (which maybe puts it as better than average).
  3. My legs – even when I was much less-fit than I am right now, I had pretty stellar legs. If my choice is to walk or to pick up the phone at work, I walk. I seldom sit still. Now that I’m cycling and running and trying to always ensure I’m in motion, well, my legs look good.
  4. My fingers – everything about me starts with my fingers. They’re long & slender & scarred from various scrapes, dings & you-name-its. They press the keys that write this post. They press the keys that make music. I love to touch, and they’re the instrument that allows me to touch. They do . . . . other things best left unsaid in a blog post. Honestly, I think I could live more easily without my eyes than I could without my fingers.
  5. My ears – no, not the way they look. I think all ears are silly looking, and mine are especially so. But, I’ve learned to listen well – when I read, I assign voices to everybody (yes, each of you bloggers whose blogs I hang around, I have a voice assigned to you . . . when you vlog, sometimes I’m shocked by how spot-on I was, more often, I have to stop & sit and reconcile the differences between the voice you’ve been assigned and the voice you speak with). So, my reading is much like I am when I’m listening . . . and be it a story, a heart-pouring, or a concerto — I’m a talented listener.

1 No, that is not a masturbation reference, you pervert.
2 What, you don’t have a constant inner monologue whenever leave your house like I do?

Where I write on only six words #SixWordSunday

We should’ve had hoverboards by now.

Where I give y’all a pop quiz

With all due apologies to KLZ of Taming Insanity, I’m stealing her “Quiz” gimmick, because I find it humorous.

  1. Leila has been chewing on her sleeve a lot recently, this means:
    1. She’s teething
    2. She’s all kinds of weirded-out that she’s actually wearing sleeves, as we just pulled out the fall wear
    3. She really, really digs the barbecue-sauce-flavored laundry detergent we’re using
    4. She’s my kid, and therefore needs no reason to do what she does.
  2. I have a series of really epic “make myself tired” events coming up, but I’m most excited about:
    1. The Hershey Half-Marathon, because I’m running with my sister
    2. The Harrisburg marathon, because the course absolutely kicked my ass last year
    3. Run For Your Lives, because, hello? zombies!
  3. I thinking about, right now:
    1. The pile of work that I have to get done
    2. Where I’m going to find materials to build an ark with, because it’s been raining like crazy and animals are starting to line up
    3. You
    4. Boobs
  4. Church choir starts up on Sunday, so #inappropriateChurchTheater needs:
    1. More references to boobs
    2. More references to complex fingerings leading to a slow crescendo before blossoming into a nirvana-like release that leaves all parties breathless.
    3. More uncensored pictures of my hands on my organ
    4. To end, because it’s a silly, juvienille practice and, frankly, below me
    5. If you read that previous answer aloud, it sounds like I end it with “blow me”
  5. CJ has been showing more & more interest in Star Wars. This is because:
    1. Star Wars is a franchise that attracts people of all sorts due to a timeless story (if meddling dialog)
    2. Laser blasts and Ewoks may be the only things that can hold a toddler’s attention
    3. His parents are unabashed geeks and you don’t live with that much geek and not have it rub off on you
  6. My daughter has this habit of blinking her eyes & trembling her lower lip. Before she’s 10, I will:
    1. Have bought her a pony and will be working 7 jobs in order to support the second pony that I’ve promised
    2. Learned to ignore this tactic of hers.
    3. I’m laughing, heartily, at the previous answer.
  7. Speaking of my daughter, her hair is just getting long enough to do stuff with, which means I need to learn to:
    1. Put hair into a ponytail
    2. Put hair, evenly, into pigtails
    3. French-braid hair
    4. Braid pigtails
    5. Keep any/all forms of scissors away from CJ
    6. All of the above
  8. I’m much quicker to put one kid in timeout when they’ve “made a bad decision” that directly affected the other child because:
    1. It’s important that brother & sister learn to be lifelong friends, even at this early age.
    2. It’s really freaking cute when they hug to say they’re sorry when they leave timeout
  9. I really want, right now:
    1. A beer
    2. Bottled Sleep
    3. A bottle of wine
    4. A backrub
    5. Something else that starts with “b”

Where I write in six words #SixWordSunday

Help can be wanted, not needed.

Link up your own Six Word Sunday post at the Diary of a Mad Woman

Where I’m wordless on a Wednesday, why I can get away with snacking all day