Tag Archives: personal

Day 1 Summary – Success & Pizza Temperance

18 Sep

As I wrote about yesterday, I’m throttling my unwanted gluttonous streak for seven days by counting calories and eating mindfully, as well as pushing myself to score 15,000 on my ever-present pedometer.

Day 1 – Tuesday, Sept. 17

  • Steps Taken: 16,418
  • Calories consumed:  1,782
  • Morning Weight: 138.2
  • 24 Hour Weight Loss:  .6

I’ve read that it’s pointless to compare one day’s weight to the next, but to focus instead on week to week tallies. Nevertheless, I’m going to post my weight daily. Stepping on the scale is the first thing I do each morning. Our scale is upstairs in that unnecessarily large area between the three bedrooms, a closet, and the bathroom. I know there’s a name for this spot, but I can’t think of it. I tend to call it wasted space.

A curious reader asked why this is a seven day thing and not, like, a month.

Well, curious reader, it’s because I want to WIN at this game. A month would be tough. If, instead of referring to this as a “challenge,” I said “Man I wish I could do blah, blah, blah for a month,” I’d probably fail miserably. But as it is, I set the goal and I’m gonna do my best to reach it. If it goes well and I get my ass back into a healthy groove, I’ll do it again or add something to it, like a daily run of at least two miles. We’ll see. 

The Great Temptress, PIZZA, almost screwed me over on Day One. I needed something quick and easy, and we had an Amy’s “no cheese” Roasted Vegetable pizza in the freezer for Jennifer and I and a cheese and veggie pizza for the girls. I had only 300 calories to spare after eating the biggest salad EVER in the history of Earth, so I devoured a third of the vegan pizza and let Jennifer have the rest, which made her extremely happy. The entire pizza topped out at 840 calories. On a normal day I could eat the entire thing.

The real problem came when I pulled the cheese pizza from the toaster oven. I fought back the urge to eat a piece, because that would have turned into two and then three and possibly four. That moment when I resisted, when I put the stupid pizza down, exemplifies why I’m doing this: to pressure some goddam self-control.

Does One Guy Need Ten Plaid Shirts?

8 Mar



As 2013 arrived my closet held ten long sleeve, buttoned shirts, including a yellow one I bought in Kohl’s over three years ago. It’s certainly the only yellow shirt I’ve ever purchased and probably the last. It was not a smart buy because I wore it, like, three times.

I held onto it longer than I wanted because of what I paid for it, which was probably over $20. That’s not a lot of money for a shirt unless you’re someone like me who prefers to shop in thrift shops. So instead of pleasing me, the stupid thing produced guilt–just a tiny bit–when I saw it hanging there day after day begging me to slip into it.

Yellow Shirt: Hey Mike, why don’t you wear me today?

Me: Oh. Um, well, I was thinking about wearing my gray sweater today.

Yellow Shirt: You never wear me. Why’d you even buy me? You must be shitty with money.

Me: Well, for one reason, you fit like a medium, but your tag says “small.”

Yellow Shirt: So why don’t you give me to someone who’ll wear and appreciate me?

Me: Fine, I’ll donate you to Goodwill.

It’s so much easier when your stuff asks to be donated. So that shirt’s now gone, along with seven others who also asked to leave. I’m left with two such shirts, pictured above. Love is too strong a word (for me) to use referring to clothing, so–I really like these two shirts.

When I’m on auto-pilot, I don’t see a closet full of waste. I see a collection that needs to be added to. It’s this whole process of mindfully evaluating each item that kicked me in the nuts and made me see that I didn’t need so many freaking plaid shirts. I know, it’s weird, but that moment of realization gave me a thrill, as did yanking the eight shirts from their hangers and throwing them onto the “outgoing” pile of fluff.

And now those eight discarded shirts are available to fellow thrifters at Goodwill for a couple of bucks apiece. Who knows, that yellow shirt might become someone’s favorite shirt this week.

Also pictured above is sort of a rain coat for my head–a cap that sheds water instead of absorbing it. It’s for warm weather jogs in the rain. But now that I sit here thinking about it (auto-pilot=off), I realize I rarely wear the stupid thing and will probably get rid of it. Forget I brought it up, okay?

(Can I somehow recover the dough I’ve spent on things I didn’t need?)

But one can hardly live without at least one belt, right? I have one brown and one black. Jennifer bought them at Goodwill in late 2012.

(If you’re new here and wondering what the hell the following numbers are for, go here or check out the minimalism category.)

32. Shirt (bright blue, long sleeve, buttons)

33. Shirt (dull blue, long sleeve, buttons)

34. Belt (brown)

35. Belt (black)




It’s distressing for me to have a complete suit hanging in my closet, but people tend to marry and die, forcing me to yank it out and slip it on from time to time. I have two neckties and they’re both in the photo, but I’m donating the maroon one you can barely see.

36. Shirt (dress, gray striped)

37. Suit jacket

38. Necktie (purple)

39. Pants (suit pants)

Why I Don’t Play Video Games

23 Feb


Jennifer’s been playing this game in bed on her tablet. She slides her finger around, mumbles, and becomes agitated and more vocal as a timer nears zero. One night I asked what she was playing.


I’ve had my tablet for two months and I’ve yet to download any games. We’ve had a Playstation 3 for years and I don’t think I’ve played video games on it for more than a couple of hours . . . total.

I think I’m scared of becoming addicted. I played the hell out of Atari as a child. I played the hell out of Nintendo as a teenager. I played the hell out of a baseball simulator in my twenties. I don’t have time to become addicted to a video game in my forties. 

Last night in bed as I sipped on hot Sleepytime Herbal tea and read a New York Times op-ed, she urged me to try a game of Dropwords as we waited for the girls to finish a movie downstairs, so we could watch one of our own. It looked kind of fun and I noticed a bunch of good words she was overlooking, so I downloaded it onto my own tablet to quickly blow up her high score. I wedged my mug of tea between my legs.

I leaned over to see her high score was 1950.

I scored 175 on my first try.

“What the hell!”

I played again and again and again, scoring 350, 205, 250.


The girls came upstairs, brushed their teeth, went to bed. I played again (275). And again (300). I adjusted the pillows, leaned back, and got more comfortable. The cat climbed onto my crotch and curled into a ball as she so often does. I barely noticed.

I scored under 300 again . . . and again.

“How are you getting such high scores!” I roared.

]Then I learned the value of using the darkened tiles that score more points and awards extra time. My scores began to improve. She stopped playing and mentioned the movie. 

“One more!”

“Are you ready to go downstairs?”

“One more!”


“One more!”

In the middle of my best game, I noticed wetness under my butt.

“Why I am feeling a wet spot; did I just pee my pants?” I asked.

Yes, for a second I thought I had become so engrossed in Dropwords that I had unknowingly urinated in my pants.

But I kept going because–like I said–I was in the middle of a game. “Did Kitty pee on me . . . what’s going on down there?”

Jennifer sat up to investigate and–ha, ha, ha, it’s so funny!–started laughing as she picked up the now-empty mug that I had forgotten about. My game ended. I had scored over a thousand points, which is the important thing, but by then the girls had been called into the room to laugh at me and my giant wet spot, the mark that anyone would recognize as someone who had just peed in their pants. (A circular wet pattern emanating from the “crotchal” area, visible from the front and back.)

And that’s why I don’t play video games. 

Not me, I swear.

Not me, I swear.

The Death of Clifford + More Crap

22 Feb


This Clifford bowl has been around for at least ten years, but yesterday I found a giant, fatal crack on the bottom. I thought it was the kind of bowl (hard plastic) that would last forever, surviving multiple drops. I showed it to each of the girls, took a picture of it and then tossed it.

I took the photo because I’m interested in the constant flow of things into and out of our lives. The bowl left us, but the blurry earrings in the photo came into our lives along with a yellow sweater, a ring, two over-sized pencils, and a coloring book.

We also spent $41 at Goodwill on a decorative mirror, a shirt for Jennifer, and a stack of shirts for Chloe, who has inexplicably grown out of everything in her closet except for the Snuggie Grandma bought at a garage sale two years ago.

I used”we” in the sentence above about the decorative mirror, but, of course, Jennifer was responsible for that acquisition. She told me it matched the curtains in the family room and asked what I thought about buying it for nine bucks. I shrugged and tried to recall the living room curtains. Obviously, that’s her department.

But to coincide with this inflow of stuff, Jennifer filled a box with clothes to get rid off, so overall we ditched more than we added.

Now, more of MY crap. I photographed six pair of shorts, but I have since ditched the plain light gray pair second from the front. You can barely see the black pair on the bottom. In the warm months I live in these for comfort, exercise, sleep, and biking.


19. Running shorts (Lululemon – gray with black and purple)

20. Shorts (Target – royal blue, white stripes)

21. Shorts (Nike from Kohls years ago – gray and navy blue)

21. Shorts (Champion – maroon)

23. Shorts (Target – black)


24. Second pair of eyeglasses – I keep these in my bag. I’m wearing them now. They’re my “main floor” glasses at home.


25. Laptop

26. Mouse

27. Adjustable, folding table



28. Timbuktu Messenger Bag

29. Backpack (small – blue & gray)

30. Swiss Gear backpack (large – blue & gray)

31. Duffel Bag (camo – not pictured)

Don’t Judge my Boxers Until You’ve Walked a Mile in them

5 Feb

If you haven’t been following along (shame on you), I’m thinning the stuff in my life and publishing embarrassing photos of myself and my junk. I listed the first five items the other day. One of the reasons for this nonsense might be that the well of writing topics has completely dried up. How else can I explain why I’m photographing and inventorying MY UNDERWEAR. You’d think I’d have something to say about immigration reform or gun control . . . anything.

Hey, screw it, I’m gonna roll with this.

I guess I’m writing about it because I’m fascinated by what other people keep. When we were looking to move to Edwardsville, we walked through dozens of homes. Jennifer looked at the overall layout, the size of the rooms and all that practical stuff; I was peering into closets and mentally calculating the cubic tons of junk that was stored in basements and garages.

Jennifer: So, what’d you think about that tiny kitchen?

Me: Did you see how much shit they had in their basement?

Jennifer: Yeah, but what about the kitchen?

Me: Yeah, I noticed the pantry was loaded with pudding and jello.

And the hoarding shows on TV . . . oh my god, I can’t watch a single episode without craving 100 more. So I don’t watch at all.

A minimalist is the opposite of a hoarder. I’m waiting for a show about minimalists. Do you know why that’ll never happen? Because you won’t find seven decomposing cats in the layers of trash in the garage.

* * *

Here’s an article about a scientific study about the stuff people keep. Watch the video and check out the book.

* * *

Today, the fifth day of February, is, officially, across the nation, Count Your Underwear Day. My new favorite holiday.

First, I want you to know that I could totally live without underwear. 

I’m out there, Jerry, and I’m LOVIN’ EVERY MINUTE OF IT.” 

Okay, let’s get this over with.


6. Boxer Shorts (yellow with black bikes)

7. Boxer Shorts (black with white skulls)

8. Boxer Shorts (gray with baseball players)

9. Boxer Shorts (black with Tiki Gods)

10. Boxer Shorts (white with thin black lines)

Four were purchased on clearance from either Target or Old Navy; the fifth was a Christmas gift.

Next time we might count and inventory my socks, so make sure you sign up for e-mail alerts. It would be a crime if I were to write about my socks without you knowing.

Irrelevant Pre-Christmas Update with No Photos, Three Links, Four Colons and Three Ellipses

11 Dec

I thought I’d get something posted today to prove I wasn’t killed in a natural gas explosion or something.

It’s not that I’ve stopped writing; I’ve just switched to fiction–thousands and thousands of words of . . . fiction. Plus, I  haven’t fallen down the steps or anything funny since summer, which is good in a way, but that stuff’s always fun to write about.

(I also went through a period of deep, dark, redonkulous depression thinking douche-bag Romney had a shot at winning the White House. Phew! I actually voted for Jill Stein, not Obama. Go Green!)

This is some news: we traded in our 2010 (I think) Sonota and our 2009 (I think) Prius for a space-age 2011 Prius. I know it’s bizarre for a two parent family to “get by” with only one car, but I’m committed to driving as little as possible for various reasons. I’ve written about all that before–my “war” on automobiles.

So, yeah, I’m super-pumped about that and the one car is cool-as-hell. Example: pretend the car is locked and the “keys” are in my pocket, or, if I’m naked, they’re lodged between my butt cheeks. I can unlock the door with a swipe of a finger (any finger) on the door handle, start the car, drive a half mile without using a drop of gas, stop, get out, and lock the door, all without touching the keys. The car has no ignition or key holes! It’s almost like putting a small comb and toothbrush in my pocket and having my hair styled and my teeth cleaned without having to do anything. Okay, not quite like that, but . . . sort of.

Other news: we’re remodeling the back of our house–the “family” room. There’s nothing funny about it; it’s a mess right now, but in a couple of weeks come over and experience the magic of new hardwood floors and fresh paint and light fixtures and . . . all that. It’s not nearly as exciting to me as it is to Jennifer.

The kids have the sniffles, the dogs and I need haircuts, the cats are on a new, expensive “limited ingredient” diet, and I’m–as I type!–listening to 80s music on Pandora. It’s a clear, chilly, beautiful day in my world.

My Wife Stole my Salad and Wants me Dead

3 Oct

Crime is a huge problem in the United States. I just didn’t think it was a big deal in my own home. The following story proves I live with a thug who wants me to swallow glass and die.

* * *

First, some background on my salads. Erase from your mind what you think a salad is. My daily epic salads are created from a long list of ever-changing fruits and vegetables that I won’t bore you with. A “mega-salad” takes up to 30 minutes to make and contains up to 75% of my daily food intake. Once in awhile I can’t eat it all in one day.

This morning I opened the fridge to grab the leftovers of yesterday’s mega-salad. I instinctively reached for the spot where I last saw it. My hand stopped short and hung in the air for a beat, before I began shifting glass containers around and peering frantically behind pasta and salsa jars. It was gone. Gone, baby, gone. Jennifer, my own wife, who vowed on the day of our marriage to never steal salad from me, had placed her hand (probably her right) on a salad she knew would be missed, pulled it out, packed it in her lunch bag, and then drove it to Clayton, Missouri.

I’m not always salad-stingy. When I make public salads, I make it known: “Hey girls, come and have some of this salad!” This salad was a private meal, saved for a Wednesday breakfast.

With the fridge door still open, I shook my fist at the ceiling and yelled “Damn you to hell, wife!” (Not really)

So I went to work building a new salad that ended up weighing 20% more than a typical one. Here’s what I put in it (yes, I decided to go ahead and bore you): spinach, cucumber, grapes, apple, quinoa, wild rice, chickpeas, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, sweet peppers, green pepper, red onion, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, black pepper, garlic powder, unsweetened, finely shredded coconut, slivered almonds, and, finally, raw unsalted pumpkin seeds.

Not my glass of seeds.

When returning the pumpkin seeds to the cabinet, I banged the bottom of the jar against the shelf and the glass broke immediately (sabatoge?). The whole bottom of the jar plopped into my salad. The rest of the jar remained in my hand.

The sounds of this food disaster consisted of the initial crack of the glass and then small objects hitting the floor and counter all around me. But what did I hear? Glass? Seeds? Both? I lifted the glass from my bowl and then carefully inspected my salad for shiny slivers of glass. I walked over to stand directly under the overhead light and peered into the wild mix of foods. No visible glass.

I put the bowl down and fit the two pieces of jar together to see what kind of glass shards were missing from this transparent puzzle. They fit together damn good, but some glass was definitely missing. Damn.

My options: 1) Trash the salad  2) Eat the salad.

It should’ve been an easy choice, but remember how large and complicated this salad was?

I took a few tentative bites and told myself I could just eat it slow and maybe everything would be just fine. When I say “just fine” I mean no blood or ER visits.

I ate some more. And then some more.

I ate about 15% of it and I’ll be carefully eating the remaining 85% throughout the day.

If I die this week, this blog post will  be the only record of what REALLY happened.

If I die this week, my wife should be arrested and convicted of involuntary manslaughter. Else, justice does not exist.