Poke Me In The Tummy.


One of Grandma Country’s older sisters, my great aunt Rena, had her own way about the kitchen. She was widowed at a relatively young age and had been an elementary school teacher for many decades. In fact, she taught my Dad and his siblings, and the parents of many of classmates over the years and apparently had enough of kids through these avenues and never had kids of her own. She would join us at family gatherings on holidays and we would visit her on Halloween out in the middle of nowhere. She gave out full sized candy bars and offered them up on an ornate metal tray. Her demeanor somewhat reminded me of Aunt Clara on Bewitched and I found her pleasant.

For holiday dinners she would bring a tossed salad decorated with radishes cut into flowers. I always enjoyed this little display of artistry. For Christmas she would also bring a big bowl of “Mix” as she called it; it was homemade Chex Mix that always seemed to have a little something extra. I could eat my weight through one of her bowls of “Mix” and then I had to learn to share with my cousins.

I’m the anecdotal one of the family here in our desert home and over the holidays I mentioned Aunt Rena and her “mix” and said I found the commercial versions of Chex Mix to be missing something, but I didn’t know what it was. I can’t describe it, I can’t even write about here in the blog, it just lacked “something”. Now some might get all sentimental and say that it missed my aunt’s love, which the commercial version probably does, but that side of the family wasn’t generally known as being particularly warm. Loving, yes, but in a rigid sort of way. It was just a given, no need to discuss it.

So Chris and Mike decided to mess around with some Chex Mix recipes and made a big batch of the stuff for our holiday festivities. They captured it. Whatever is missing from the commercial version is not missing from the version they put together and I probably ate my weight through the stuff on New Year’s Eve. There were no cousins around to share with so I was happy about that.

Perhaps the missing ingredient was love after all.


Sitting on the couch.

Yesterday we broke down and turned on the heat. Since making this adjustment on our fully computerized thermostat, the furnace has not turned on, yet the temperature has gone up. Living in a condo building has its advantages, we just get heat from our neighbors. Let them pay the gas bill.

This blog was down for about 48 hours due to changes on the server made by my web hosting company. They were fast to respond and had things back up and running within 20 minutes of my opening a ticket. This made me happy, but I don’t think anyone noticed. I need to blog more.

I’m sitting on the couch relaxing in front of my MacBook Pro, the television is playing in the background. I believe we watching a Dog Show, but I’m not sure. Apparently tomorrow is a big shopping day. The retailers really want us to buy a lot of gifts this year. I feel like it’s more important to be with friends and family and tell them than to give them a lot of gifts. I say this every year. I still end up buying a lot of gifts. Maybe I’ll bake something instead.

Dinner is at 3:00 p.m. today. Earl has been busy in the kitchen for the past two days. I’m starting to feel Thanksgiving smells from that part of the house. I’m looking forward to some family time with the four of us today.


So I finally gave in to Jamie Lee Curtis’ endless screeching about how wonderful Activia is and asked Earl to pick up a four pack of the brew the last time he went grocery shopping.

The latest round of commercials featuring Ms. Curtis have her licking spoons and telling the world how great this stuff is for both men and women because the active cultures (scientifically known as Tootis Poopis Doopis) are suppose to aid the digestion of people who’s plumbing apparently starts to fail in the middle years of their life.

Despite Ms. Curtis’ glee about regular bowel movements and her ease of achieving such regularity, I think her claims are full of shit.

I have had a raging headache since I ate my first batch of the crap on Sunday and the headaches have not let up. Today I announced to Earl, via corporate email mind you, that I was chucking the rest of that crap inducing crap away and that I would be drinking three times my normal intake amount of water in efforts to get the Tootis Poopis Doopis out of my system, pronto.

Earl advised that I should just eat more salad. I couldn’t agree more.

So instead of embracing the brief moment of insanity I had when Jamie Lee Curtis convinced me to coach my bowels along, I will return to my previously scheduled on going struggle to not kick in the screen of the television when I see her proclaim how sweet smelling her gas is because of Activia.

One thing I pondered briefly: do the active bacteria in Activia wave back when a person is getting a colonscopy? That might be kind of startling.


After sleeping in for a bit this morning, I awoke to a paw in my face (reminding me it was tuna dispensing time, logic would dictate that it was not Earl’s paw that was in my face at the time). After doing my various Daddy duties I went downstairs and started my morning ritual of checking out various blogs.

It was then that I saw the wooftastic shots posted by BrettCajun. I’ve been known to look at a few pictures of good looking guys in my day but when I saw Brett’s photos I said to myself, “if he can look that good, so can I.” I mean, we’re nearly the same age. It’s not like I’m trying to flatten my stomach to look like one of my college classmates or anything. I want to feel good about myself. I’m not nearly as heavy as I was back in 2000-2001, but I’ve crept up the scale a little bit and it’s mostly in my gut (hello beer!) So (insert favorite deity here)-damn it, I’m doing it.

I laid down a few ground rules that I plan to follow: 1. Beer consumption is limited to Saranac Thursday nights. I can’t cut out beer out of my life completely, that will lead me down the path to failure. I’ll renegotiate the beer with myself when I get to weight goal number (there are a total of three). 2. No more sleeping in until I get a headache on my days off from work. I’m up exercising and getting all brisk with myself. This includes working out before work. 3. I will continue to use the new Wii Fit on various nights of the week just to keep myself in check. 4. I will continue to climb the stairs to my third floor office everyday and I will shun elevators and escalators whenever possible. 5. I will not eat after 7 p.m. unless something weird is going on with my schedule. Fat grams are always in the single digits and calories are kept at a reasonable level. 6. I’m back on the bike as soon as the sun decided to make an appearance.

Long, long ago a psychic at the State Fair told me that I wouldn’t make it to 40. I intend to prove the bitch wrong.

‘Round The Clock Goodness.

Earl and I have just returned from one of our semi-nightly summer rides. When it’s hot and muggy and the air is thick we find it comforting to jump into the Jeep and drive around to cool off. We usually stop for a treat along the way.

Tonight’s stop was at Dunkin’ Donuts. There was a woofster working behind the counter. We think he belonged to the Jeep parked behind the store. The plates on the Jeep said “BEEFSTEW”. I’m really tempted to make some meat and potatoes jokes here. We didn’t take any pictures.

You know, I find it kind of humorous that 25 years ago the only thing you would find open at 10:00 p.m. was the Byrne Dairy, my hometown’s substitute for 7-11. Gas stations were closed, both chain grocery stores closed at 9:00, Ames closed at 9:30. Nowadays it’s odd for anything to close before midnight, with many establishments opting for the 24 hour deal. As Americans we demand instant access to anything and everything at any hour of the day. Back in the day everyone thought the management of Zayre had lost their mind by going 24 hours for the holidays. Heck, now our Planet Fitness is even open 24 hours. I guess it’s to help counter the guilt one feels for eating Dunkin’ Donuts this late at night.

There’s something decadent about going out late at night and grabbing a goody from the local Dunkin’ Donuts. Perhaps when historians write about these times they’ll call it the “Age of Decadence”.

Eating Habits.

As I constantly try to improve myself in a quest to Build A Better Body™, I have recently adjusted my eating habits to what seems to be a more sensible routine.

I’m eating about six small meals a day.

I’m finding my energy level and my weight control is much more in check with this system. For example, this morning I had a bowl of oatmeal at 7:30. At 9:00, I drank some orange juice. At 10:30 I had a serving of applesauce, at 12:30 I had a “lunch bar” (a chocolate thing that is suppose to replace a traditional lunch) and right now at 2:15 p.m. I’m enjoying a serving of leftover brussel sprouts.

I must say that I absolutely adore brussel sprouts. I find them so good. Even as a child I loved brussel sprouts and many other vegetables that kids traditionally dislike; beets, stewed tomatoes, yams, squash, all of it is very tasty to me. I like the more traditional veggies as well, peas, beans, carrots… I think the only thing I really shy away from is seafood. I’ve never been a big seafood fan, though I did like “fishburgers” from the school cafeteria back in the day. Especially when they were chased with a dollop of tartar sauce.

As I continue my healthy quest (part 2), I’m finding myself not feeling as mopey. I actually want to do things. I think my blood pressure is lower, in fact, I should check it this weekend at one of those free blood pressure machines at the local pharmacy. I’m still chomping to get out on my bike and hit the road, but Mother Nature hasn’t released her winter grip on us yet. I can feel a bike ride coming soon though. I can’t wait to shed some of these winter clothes and get into something more reasonable – a pair of shorts and a simple shirt. And bare feet.

All of this because I ate my brussel sprouts today.


Normally I would admit what I’m about to say in my blog right away but for some reason I was a bit hesitant this time. I don’t know if I have to go to “blogger denier’s anonymous” or not, but I feel I must come clean and admit my true feelings about something.

Last week I stepped on the bathroom scale for the first time in a long time. I then lept off twice as fast as the time it took to get on it.

Contrary to popular belief, I did not drop kick it.

A couple of years ago I went on a health kick and lost nearly 50 pounds. My goal was 30 pounds and I figured by losing 50 I’d have some room to play around so to speak because I’ve always heard that you gain at least 10 pounds back after you lose weight. I think I passed my intended benchmark some time around Thanksgiving. That was the night my belt flew off my waist unassisted and scared the heck out of our cat Tom.

Now I’m not where I was before I started losing weight back in 2001, but I was headed back into that neighborhood. I admit it, I was taking delight in big meals and looking for the smallest excuse to eat something. “Oh look, I vacuumed half the staircase, time for a chocolate chip cookie!” Moderation became a foreign word to me. If the huge appetizer wasn’t covered in Cheez Whiz and then deep fried, I wasn’t interested. Salad? Please. Use the vegetables to decorate the mantle for the holidays.

Back in 2001 I was interested in losing weight for health reasons. And that’s primarily the reason I want to lose weight again. I have friends that run mile after mile in marathons. I can’t even run from Best Buy to the Apple store in the local mall without having to stop to catch my breath, despite having two “empty” credit cards. I also have some clothes I’ve outgrown that I really want to wear this summer and I’m bound and determined to get back into them again.

I also want to be able to kick some ass should the need ever arise.

This week I’ve been back on my moderation kick – I haven’t really gone on a diet per se, because I don’t believe in “dieting” and throwing your body, life and spouse into shock, but I’ve been watching labels and somewhat counting calories and concentrating on keeping the fat grams low. Aside for a pizza party, I’ve been pretty much sticking to that rule of thumb. (And the pizza party was really good and an enjoyable time).

I already feel better. At least I can run to the Apple store now.

My goal is to get back into last summer’s clothes by May 1st. By writing this in my blog, I’ve made a commitment. I’m in the mood to do some cycling and I’m going to start training for that this weekend. (“Hello block walls in the basement”, he says from the exercise bike.) I’m already looking for bike racks to attach to the back of the camper.

Admittedly, another reason I want to feel and appear healthier is because I’m also planning on doing some videotaping while we’re in the desert this May and I want to look FIERCE for this project I’m formulating in my head. It was inspired by my “superhero spin” from a few days ago.

I’ve promised myself that I’m not going to obsess about this health project this time around and I’m not going to make Earl’s life miserable by shunning food and going all whacko with my food choices. So you probably won’t read a whole lot about it here, but perhaps you’ll notice changes in my photos.

I’ll let you know when I reach my goals.

That’s Mr. Crocker.

Thanksgiving Pies.

Originally uploaded by macwarriorny.

Earl and I began our Thanksgiving feast tonight by baking two pumpkin pies. It’s the first time I’ve ever made a pumpkin pie, solo or with assistance. It’s funny, but I never realized how many ingredients went into a pumpkin pie! The recipe we have from Wegmans called for maple syrup. I don’t know if that’s common or not but I found it quite interesting. I let Earl fill the crusts. He wanted a nice, “restaurant style” pie so the filling comes right to the top of the crust. I can’t wait to dig into the pies on Thanksgiving day.

I was never much of a baker before we moved in this house nearly two years ago. Sure, I would whip up some cookies from time to time, but now I must say that I really, really enjoy the experience. Maybe it’s because we have a bigger kitchen or something. Perhaps it’s becaue I get to play with gadgets like the mixer, the “magic bullet” and the can opener. The other night I saw one of those can openers on television that takes the lid off of the jar for you. How cool is that! But I doubt we’ll get one, it’s like taking a chunk out of my masculinity card.