Tag Archives: Life

How Do You Spend Your Time?

14 Sep


American Time Use Survey – measures the amount of time people spend doing various activities, such as paid work, childcare, volunteering, and socializing.

Not much fascinates me more than what you’re doing in your house right now. I know that sounds weird, but I just want to know how you spend your time. When I walk the dogs at night I “accidentally” see people walking past windows. I see people on couches with magazines. I see people cleaning up dinner’s mess.

Yes, I look in your windows, but I assure you it’s passive voyeurism. I don’t stop to gawk. That would be different.

Most people sit around watching TV in the evenings. Tell me what you’re watching. If I walk by and I can see your television, in those few seconds, I’m trying to see if I recognize anything. I know right away if you’re watching rugby, cricket or football. (I’m in England so when I say football I mean soccer and if you’re in the USA, you’re probably not watching rugby or cricket, and probably not soccer.) Sometimes I see the Netflix home screen, waiting for the next selection. (Where’d you go? Are you asleep on the couch?)

So your task is to begin writing about how you spend your time as often as possible. It’s like a journal, but public and for my entertainment, not your self-improvement. I want to know the details of your activities and the thoughts you have during these activities. What did you eat today and why? Do you take long showers? What are you reading? Oh, you don’t read? Why not?

It won’t be fair if I don’t share. Here is my Monday morning up until noon.

Time awake: 4:30 a.m.
Time out of bed: 5:00 a.m.

I weighed myself and did 25 jumping jacks. I walked groggily down to the living room and meditated for 23 minutes. I couldn’t sit still and labeled the session a failure even though meditating at all is a success.

I washed some dishes by hand.

I fixed my “morning drink” which I can’t call coffee or tea because it’s weirdly both.

My Morning Drink: .25 teaspoons of matcha green tea powder, one scoop of decaffeinated instant coffee, and a scoop of Bambu coffee alternative, 200 ml of rice milk, and hot water to fill the rest of the mug.

I unrolled my wife’s yoga mat in the living room, set down my drink, turned on Netflix and started to watch the first episode of the first season of American Horror Story. I didn’t do yoga, but what I call deep stretching. Seven minutes later, I switched to a Hungarian film called “White God.” Some minutes later all stretched and limber I turned it off and went into the kitchen.

For months I’ve been eating a bizarre combination of foods mixed together like a thick stew because 1) I’m in a “health nut” phase of my life 2) I actually enjoy the taste and consistency 3) I always have food in my bag when I get hungry on my bicycle or out walking 4) I wanted to get down to my optimal weight.

Some of the ingredients are always the same and others are substituted in and out, especially the foods listed below in grams.

This was Monday’s Green Slop Superman Food:

One tablespoon each of hemp powder, hemp seeds, cacao powder, carob powder, nutritional yeast flakes, raw amaranth, chia seeds, oat bran, wheat germ, maca powder, cacao nibs, raw buckwheat groats, dried unsweetened coconut, pea protein, and bee pollen.

One teaspoon each of lucuma powder, spirulina powder,  and wheat grass powder.

Two teaspoons of cinnamon.
Three teaspoons of stevia powder.

In grams: rolled oats (37), dried cherries ( 18), plain soy yogurt (100), mashed tofu (50), raisins (30), mashed banana (82), pumpkin seeds (9), peanut butter (24), blueberries (150), spinach (79), matcha powder (3), and brazil nuts (18)

I add enough water to soak up all the powders and then I divide it into equal portions in small plastic food containers with lids.

As I whipped this up I listened to Tara Brach’s Buddhism/psychology podcast.

I fixed my daughters’ school lunches.

I walked the dogs and picked up two piles of dog doo.

I walked Ainsley to school.

I cycled 3.8 miles to Costa Coffee in Kingston where I bought a large soya cappucino.

I wrote for two hours.

I went to WH Smith and bought a cover for Ainsley’s history workbook.

I cycled 3.8 miles back to Twickenham.

Okay, now you go.

Our Dogs Kind of Love Uncooked Brown Basmati Rice

20 May

Warning: This post contains profanity and several references to feces. If you’re offended by this type of thing, you might want to skip this one.

*  *  *

I’m carefully crafting a blog post about how I literally almost crapped my pants on the evening of Wednesday, May 7 at approximately 8:30 pm.

Often people exaggerate and use the phrase “I almost crapped my pants” casually, like “This big, hairy spider came out of nowhere and was, like, right by my face; I almost crapped my pants!” This person doesn’t really mean that they actually ALMOST SHIT THEIR PANTS. I’m almost certain of this.

But once in awhile it’s real. Because I almost shit my pants thirteen days ago–FOR REAL! So check back every couple of days or, better yet, subscribe to this blog because you seriously don’t want to miss it. Now, for more poop talk . . . .

*  *  *

I wasn’t going to write today, but the dogs got into the pantry yesterday afternoon and helped themselves to a six dollar, 16 ounce bag of organic basmati brown rice, ripped it open and scattered it about the front room. (It was my fault; I left the door open.)

When I discovered the mess at around 2 pm, it was impossible to know how much they had eaten, if any. I mean, it’s uncooked rice. Eww. For humans, eating uncooked rice is not much fun. I can think of a 150 things I’d rather eat. But dogs? Who fucking knows. Dogs are crazy.

The mess our dogs made


This morning while walking them, Dexter stopped and assumed his pooping stance while I jabbed my hand into a black shit-bag (because I pick up after our dogs unlike most people in this neighborhood) and waited. And waited. His eyes bugged. He strained. Nothing came out. The other two dogs were like What’s your deal? Come one, let’s get going! We ain’t got all fucking day.

Finally, after much effort, he pinched off this amazing little rice roll that put an end to me wondering if this particular dog had eaten any brown basmati rice. He definitely had. The rest of the way home, I fretted about all that rice sitting in their guts soaking up water, wreaking havoc and wondered what all this meant for our future walks. Alas, I predict much standing around staring at dog ass today and writing more about rice rolls tomorrow.

(I didn’t snap a photo of the rice roll. If I had known it was coming, I probably would have. But since I was standing there with a ready poop bag instead of a camera, I had it scooped up before I could think about it. Too bad for you because it was pretty awesome, though still gross, because, well, it’s dog shit.)

Since this is a shit-centered blog post, I’m sitting here trying to think of another incident I can talk about, but I can’t think of anything significant. I mean, I walk the dogs 3 to 5 times a day, so I see a shit-ton of dog poop. “Shit-ton” is a word that means “a lot” if you’re unfamiliar. I pick up so much dog poop, such a shit-ton, that we buy pet waste bags in bulk, 700 at a time, like the people who have pet waste removal companies.

Okay. I agree. Enough shit for today.


My Wife Should Know I’d Write About This

13 Oct

I might change the design around here; things are looking a bit stale to me, and I can’t stand that pink border WordPress insists on wrapping around my photos. I’d like to wrap it around their heads.


Anyway, this is too funny not to write about. This is the stuff I wash my face with at night. I recently used up the last bit in a bottle (well, as you know, the very last bit is impossible to reach without sawing the bottle in half) and filled it with water, shook it up, poured it out and filled it again to clean it to recycle. I set it aside out of the way and forgot about it. Amazon sent a new bottle, which and I placed in its usual spot in the cabinet. Here are the bottles, on the left with water.


Jennifer, my wife, who normally uses her own facial cleaner recently began to use mine. One night last week she asked me something like “Why are there two bottle of that stuff?”

“That one’s just water.” I pointed at the old one.

Heh. This is hilarious. For several nights in a row, she’d been washing her face with the one filled with water. Notice on the bottle it says “Clinically shown gentle as water.” I guess that’s why she kept trying. She was rubbing like hell in her wash cloth wondering why it wasn’t lathering even just a little.

Needless to say, I laughed my ass off that night and showed her the obvious difference in color and consistency.

Whew, that was fun to write. I’ll hear about this later when she reads it. I’m sure she’s done some other dumb stuff lately, but I can’t think of anything. Of course, I do dumb stuff all the time, but it’s not as funny, and I’m holding the “pen.”

* * *

 It’s getting colder every day. Some observations and predictions.

  • Ice cream will be less fun to eat.
  • Riding my bike will begin to suck.
  • I’ve almost completely stopped saying, “I’m sweating my balls off!”
  • More often, I’ll be saying “I’m freezing my balls off!”
  • Soon I’m going to say “Where’d I put my damn gloves?”
  • Getting the girls to walk the dogs will be five times more difficult than it already is.
  • Once I find the gloves, on a dog walk, I’ll spend too much time trying to open those maddening poop bags, while the dogs wrap themselves around my legs. Then I’ll get all pissy and tell Jennifer we’re getting rid of the dogs. And cats.
  • Our puppy, who will be experiencing her first winter, will be like “What the hell?”

Day 4 & Day 5 Summaries – Party Bomb

22 Sep

Day 4 – Friday, Sept. 20

  • Steps Taken: 16,521
  • Calories Consumed:  Around 1,800
  • Morning Weight: 137.2
  • 24 Hour Weight Change:  +2.2
  • Total Weight Change: -1.6

Day 5 – Saturday, Sept. 21

  • Steps Taken: 21,006
  • Calories Consumed:  1,800 (+ or – 100)
  • Morning Weight: 138.2
  • 24 Hour Weight Change:  +1
  • Total Weight Change: -.6

I saved a thousand calories for Friday night because I knew Dewey’s pizza was coming. But nothing good can come from consuming a thousand calories of pizza at seven o’clock in the evening–all the salt, sugar, gluten, etc. And then Saturday I quickly realized that measuring food was not an option. I wasn’t open for all the ridicule that would come from carrying my kitchen scale around. I guess that’s why my weight climbed from 135 to 138.2 in forty-eight hours. But even yesterday I demonstrated a respectable amount of moderation, consuming just a small piece of cake and opted out of the fire pit smore-fest once the sun descended.

Instead of this being a 7 Day thing, I’m going to extend it indefinitely until I reach a “permanent” weight of 135.

(Side note: There’s a girl in Panera who looks like Shelly Duvall of The Shining and Popeye fame. I can’t stop staring at her eating her souffle. It’s freaky. Wow, she really ate it quickly and left. Maybe she noticed me looking at her. But we never made eye contact, so I doubt that. I wish I would’ve stealthily snapped a photo.)


Day 3 Summary – Weekend Challenges Ahead

20 Sep

Day 3 – Thursday, Sept. 19

  • Steps Taken: 17,875
  • Calories Consumed:  1,694
  • Morning Weight: 135
  • 24 Hour Weight Loss:  1.2
  • Total Weight Loss: 3.8

Again, more of me has disappeared. Yesterday I wrote it off as random fluctuation, but when I eat my regular “unregulated” method of eating, my weight remains pretty steady from day to day or even creeps up. A dietitian might tell me I’m losing weight too fast. Everywhere you read, they (experts, I guess) recommend losing up to a pound a week. I’ve lost 3.8 pounds since Tuesday.

If you know anyone wanting to lose weight, I think religiously counting your calories and steps works better than any fad diet. After a period the tedious reporting–two weeks, a month?–you get the hang of how much you’re consuming and moving throughout the day and you can put away the kitchen scale and pedometer. I often revert to the food scale when I need “recalibrated.”

I might have scheduled this “challenge” at a bad time though. Today is my youngest daughter’s ninth birthday. That means parties. That means cake, ice cream, pizza–the usual madness. Tonight, five girls–all of whom love to scream in that vexatiously high pitched way only nine-years-olds can–are descending upon our abode for a sleepover. Pray for me.

Parties and morbific food, as, sadly, they go hand-in-hand, are killers for me. I dread parties. I’m anxious about all the people, so I stuff my face in a vain attempt at squelching those emotions. It’s quite unfair given that I I’m faced with anxiety when birthdays and similar events are near, festivities that are supposed to be fun and memorable. Frankly, I’d rather hang out in a hole and pop out for about ten of every sixty minutes, a “checking in” of sorts. And don’t throw cupcakes into my hole. I’d rather do without, thank you.

Yes, I’m a birthday party scrooge, but I try not to let it show to the girls. I’m there to smile, to snap pictures, to retrieve stuff when my wife requests something, but I’m secretly wishing for time alone with them where I can be myself, much more the clown (not the creepy kind), always wanting to play and be silly. That’s the guy very few people know.

Bipolar 2: The Sequel?

13 Sep

I haven’t been posting here because my creativity tank has been pathetically empty. I’m running on goddam fumes, folks. It’s been frustrating and led me to this realization: I must be more depressed than I even realized. That’s how it goes, it seems; you get depressed and the depression screws up your brain so you can’t even see that there’s a problem. It just becomes sort of a normal. You have to think back a year and then it’s oh I remember enjoying writing and posting. I remember how it felt to hit that publish button, why the f**! isn’t that happening anymore?

So I went to my doctor in Maryville and told him that my Effexor wasn’t working and that I wanted to try something else. I said, dude, I’m up for anything, but I didn’t use “dude” because I never, ever talk like that. I’ve never began a sentence with dude.

Anyway, Dr. Kopjas recommended a psychiatrist in Edwardsville, blocks from my house. Dr. Hammer. I sat there wondering how I failed to know there was a psychiatrist with such a kick-ass name right in my neighborhood. I’ve been to four other mental health professionals, two psychologists, and two master’s degree-level counselors. I liked the idea of talking to a psychiatrist.

Ten years ago, before I talked to a psychologist in Springfield, IL, I felt funny about talking to a “shrink,” a little embarrassed. I didn’t want to be seen walking in her door. That was stupid. I now believe that every human should be talking to a trained mental health professional. We’re all flawed in some way.

One of my flaws: I have a tendency to avoid using the phone, so I didn’t call “the hammer” right away. I understand that this is insane. Just pick up the phone, dude! Yeah, well, it’s not that easy. I finally called and got an appointment for three weeks out.

Zoom ahead three weeks, I walked into Dr. Hammer’s office and found an old, plump man wearing suspenders. His large expressive eyes sat under bushy brows. I was expecting more in the line of Alan Thicke, or Dr. Jason Seaver, from Growing Pains, but it’s not like I almost walked out.

I sat down as he was looking over the questionnaire I had just filled out in the waiting room. Then I got right into it. I said “I think I have dysthymia,” and I told him why I thought this. He asked questions for just ten minutes before diagnosing me with bipolar II disorder.

Uh, what?

Oh great, I’m bipolar like freaking Charlie Sheen. I told him that I don’t have those wild crazy-ass mood swings. When I think of bipolar I think of various damaging “sprees,” whether it’s gambling or shopping or killing. That’s not me.

“That’s typical,” he said. “You’re describing bipolar I, you probably have bipolar II, your lows aren’t as low and your highs aren’t as high.”

I was stunned I hadn’t read anything about this. He went on to argue his case quite superbly with a slideshow on his over-sized monitor.

Finally he got around to a treatment plan, which I was eager to hear, of course. First, he talked about the the meds I wasn’t getting: lithium, depakote, and others I can’t recall. Finally, the one he was going to prescribe: Lamictal (generic, Lamotrigine).,

He compared the possible benefits to The Wizard of Oz when it switches from black and white to color. Or maybe he meant I’ll feel like singing and dancing with midgets, not sure. I’m hoping he meant that I’ll wake up one morning and think holy shit, is this how I’m supposed to feel?

Unfortunately, I have to start with a low dose and bump up every two weeks. So now I just wait.

So, yah! I’m bipolor. Go me! And I’m being honest. I’m thrilled with this because it sends me off in a new direction in hope of squashing some of the demons.

Crushed by Cow or Penis Bitten by Snake? A Thought Experiment Gone Wrong

27 Aug

In mid-July, I stumbled upon the following headlines on Gawker.

Brazilian Man Killed in His Bed By Falling Cow

Mr. Souza was crushed, but his wife was unharmed. Mr. Souza survived the initial impact, but died the following day after suffering from internal bleeding.

Snake Hiding in Toilet Bites Israeli Man’s Penis

The injured man told emergency workers that he noticed a strong burning sensation as he was using the toilet in his parents’ home in the northern Israeli town of Nofit. At that point, the man looked down and saw a snake in the toilet. He then “ran from the room in horror” to call paramedics.

As a philosophical being, I’m left trying to decide which man’s fate I’d choose to take on for myself.  Would I rather have a cow fall through my roof, killing me, or would I rather live, but have my penis nipped by a snake?

It seems simple because in one case, I live, in the other, I’m finished, but it also involves fear and uncertainty. If I pick the snake and I’m on the toilet anticipating the bite to my penis . . . . Well, I just don’t know if I can do that. If I pick the snake and you tell me my penis will be bitten, like, eventually, maybe next week, maybe 2024, then that’s something that could ruin my life.

In the article: “There will undoubtedly be bite marks on the area in question.” This is attributed generically to the hospital. Who at the hospital? A woman visiting her grandma? A crazy dude from the psych ward?

Okay, let’s say the doctor who treated the penis made the statement. What if the doctor considers a half inch of penis loss to be “just a bite mark”? What if people around him–and I’m including people close, like family–are always like “Wow, Jim, that sure is an understatement!” Maybe for this particular doctor a whole goddam inch would need to be snipped off for him to more accurately depict the damage.

“There will undoubtedly be a decrease in satisfaction for the patient’s sexual partner due to the loss of penile length.”

Another worry would be if I’d get the same snake to bite my penis or if a replacement snake would be used. I mean, who’s  choosing this snake? A venomous snake expert or an electrical engineer from St. Louis who wouldn’t know a garter from a copperhead?

You know what, I just can’t do this. I’m done. Too many unknowns.

I’m going to choose death by cow.