Thursday, May 31, 2012


The latest in this series.

I am a Christian. That is, I believe God exists, I believe Jesus Christ is also somehow God but distinct. I can't explain it, but it's not a polytheistic thing and I'm not here to try to convince you or debate the issue. This is my blog and this is about me exploring my me-ness in all its facets as a precursor to developing a mission or vision statement or whatever. I kind of hate this disclaimer, but I feel it's necessary. I've encountered way too many people who feel that I am delusional or confused or stupid because of my faith and I'm not always confident in my ability to respond and so it can be frustrating.

I was raised in a home that alternated weekly between my Mother's Catholic church and my Father's Lutheran church. In high school I moved to a different church and in college I mostly avoided church except when I could get home to "my" church or when someone of the female persuasion told me I was accompanying them to church. The college had Lutheran in the name, but it was hard to find God on that campus. There wad church services and Campus Crusade, but while I was attending, there was also a proposed new mission statement that no longer included Jesus. After college, I found another church, Lutheran, because that's what I knew. We married at a Presbyterian church because it was more attractive than the Lutheran church and as we moved further east into that other valley, we stumbled into a non-denominational church. This is where I first really understood the concept of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and where I decided that I would never again claim allegiance to any denomination. The fact that this personal relationship concept was new to me after so many years in the church, acknowledging my own complicity, is an alarming, if not worse, indictment on these churches. I wouldn't say I was memorizing scripture, but I attended church weekly, sang the worship songs, read my Bible, attended Bible studies but yet somehow this concept alluded me. I believed in heaven, I believed I would be going there when I died, I believed accepting Jesus into my heart was the key, but then it was like it stopped there - grace was enough.

But, not a church does a Christian make, nor religiosity and its trappings salvation bring.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Part 3 in a series.

I've been working for what seems like forever. I filed my first income tax return when I was 14. As kids, my brother and i had a gag gift shop and we collected aluminum from neighbors on garbage day (there was no recycling collection back then).

I've found that it's the least risky way to get someone to give me money, to show up somewhere and help out.

In most cases, things have worked out well for me. I've been laid off a few times, fired a time or two. (I still say that one company fired and rehired me multiple times, but they say I might have been misinterpreting my reasons for temporarily not needing to show up for work and also not receiving money. A couple of times people have begged me to help them and then turned around and begged me to take their money. I have been employed in as many as four part-time jobs simultaneously.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

husband and father

Part 2 of what may be a very long series.

Interesting things happened today. The thing I was working on at work but didn't think was a fit for me. It was cancelled. And I was actually a lot more disappointed than I would have thought. It was a temporary cancellation and I resolved to ask to be put back on it when it picked back up. I decided I wanted to see it through, I wanted to prove I could do it, and I believed in what it was. Well, some other people got pretty mad, things were said, others got even madder, meetings were held and by the end of the day, it was uncancelled and I quickly retrieved a bunch of stuff from my recycle bin.

Anyhow, this post isn't about that.

Monday, May 28, 2012


I've been thinking recently about who I am.

At work, I've told no less than two supervisors that I don't have any interest in a particular role, I don't think I am skilled at it, I don't want it for a career and I was recently tapped to fill just that role. I'd like to think I'm a good sport and I've already committed to do whatever's asked of me, to the best of my ability because I really like working there and don't want to fall into the trap of being selfish or ambitious or political. So I've dived in. It's felt like it's taken me awhile to get up to speed and it was obvious that they weren't happy with my progress either, but I think I'm actually now doing better than average and I get the sense that they're a little impressed and a little appreciative of what I've been able to do. I would hate to think I'm misreading the room or a little full of myself, but since it wasn't something I felt like I would have any proficiency for, I think things are going better than I expected.

Online, I recently took a week off from Facebook. I got over my addiction

Book Review: The Expats by Chris Pavone

This must have been one I picked up based on a blurb in Entertainment Weekly. I'm not sure why, but it's been letting me down lately. Whatever method my wife has been using to choose books (which she hands off to me when she's finished) has been working a lot better considering ones she's recently handed me in the last six months (Hunger Games, Divergent, an old one from 1993 that I'm currently engrossed in). Odd, since it's her subscription to Entertainment Weekly.

In any case, there were parts of The Expats that I liked - descriptions of Europe and the life of an expat - things I've not experienced. I don't know if they were accurate, but I could understand and transport myself into the descriptions, which it something I always appreciate about books. However, there were too many twists and turns, too many tidy endings (think of how movies based on Saturday Night Live characters turn out) and too many people that seemed to have noble reasons for deeds that were far from noble. The depths of deception here was amazing for characters who didn't seem like, in their current actions, to be able to pull off such deceptions.

I've complained a lot recently about a plot device in TV shows that have annoyed me to no end

Sunday, May 27, 2012


Interestingly enough, church today touched on both "Nothing" (my post for yesterday) and "Breakthrough" (what I had already decided to call this).  Despite my grand plans to do "nothing" this weekend, they played a video that asked us not to do "nothing" - that at the very least we should be praying for our armed forces who are deployed, their families waiting at home for them, and for those families whose armed forces won't be coming home.  At least not in a joyous homecoming.  That's fair.  But I was of those minor sucker-punch "d'oh"s of irony.  

The sermon series has been on final days and it's been kind of interesting - not the usual run through Revelation, but looking at other things.  In today's case, Elijah.  On his last day, he and his attendant Elisha walked 35 miles, visiting four towns.  For whatever reason, it was quite well known that this was Elijah's last day on earth and so he was visiting places where he'd founded schools.  But our pastor also used it to describe stages of Christian life and the final city he related to breakthrough - a place of new blessings.  (the other stages were "beginnings," "seeing God's presence," and "past victories."   Breakthroughs was the one I had the least amount of notes on, but I still found it surprising that those two terms came up so obviously for me in church this morning.)

So the breakthrough I wanted to share was an eating breakthrough.  Ben has texture issues and also just some general eating issues.  He doesn't like slimy food and he likes to hoard food in his hands.  But this morning before church, I decided I was going to work with him.  Lori was on worship team so she and Rachel had gone to the early service.  So Ben and I were left to get ready on our own to go to join them for the later service.   With ample time, I decided I'd work with him on eating.

Day 46: 155.9

Overall, it is definitely harder to get Free Step in on weekends.  I brought the Wii upstairs and had a chance to get more exercising in.  Did some other exercises as well.  Hopefully we'll get off this plateau soon.  So instead of just entering in the oatmeal as usual, I scanned recently and discovered that it was coming up 20 calories less than I had been entering.  Sure enough, at some point they'd changed it and there it was pure as day right there on the box 160 instead of 180.  Go figured.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Day 45: 155.9

Oops, that should have been 700 for lunch and 700 for dinner but can't really be bothered to change it now.  The 700 for lunch was a conservative estimate for Menchies.  It starts out healthier, until you add in stuff.  It was Lori's estimate, she's better at that kind of stuff.  Nice walk as a family.  Should have done more free step but was too tired.


I want to pop the bounce house the (non-association) neighbors rented and are still using. That would be wrong. If, however, any porcupines got caught in the WildernessEjector(tm) automatic catapult in our backyard, there's nothing I could do about that.

I kid, I kid.

Today, I accomplished far more than my goals for the day which included waking up and drinking coffee.

I spent the first part of the morning with Ben and Rachel while Lori tried to sleep in. The cat was kept from meowing loudly, the children did not scream, everyone get fed and had their medicine. Some chores got done. And I had coffee and we listened to my "Saturday Morning Coffee" station on Pandora which seems to be resembling Lori's "Fly Me To The Moon" station more and more.

Lori joined us, we all got ready for the day and we all got our suntan lotion on and took a 3 mile walk on a portion of the big trail that cuts through town.

And then Menchies!

After we got home I mowed a section of grass and we set up the sprinkler ring Ben got for his birthday. It's a six foot ring with evenly-spaced holes. You connect a hose, turn it on, it fills with water and then water starts spraying out. It's a little bit of a bummer - the package shows sprays all straight up several feet. Maybe it was our water pressure, but it only shot up about a foot at most. The hose connection is at an odd angle that causes it to slowly roll inward over time. Still, they enjoyed it for awhile.

When we came in, I decided to fix the broken changing table so I brought in a bunch of tools, some lumber and built a frame that should allow it to withstand his standing and jumping for awhile.

Lori made an awesome dinner with some chicken that smelled amazing. And then it was time for the little ones to head off to bed.

She's talking about the burgers she's going to make for Monday. Garlic and butter and stuff. I suggested slathering the lid of the grill with butter so that it would rain butter while the burgers were cooking.

I'm going to be over my calories today, I wasn't careful.

Worth Repeating: Regina Dugan

"What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?" asks Regina Dugan, then director of DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. In this breathtaking talk she describes some of the extraordinary projects -- a robotic hummingbird, a prosthetic arm controlled by thought, and, well, the internet -- that her agency has created by not worrying that they might fail.

Friday, May 25, 2012


I noticed the last day that u felt like something interesting was missing. Nothing new on, nothing in Google Reader was looking like something I wanted to read. What was I forgetting? Finally realized it was my self-imposed break from Facebook. Guess that proves two good things - I'm not hopelessly addicted and that it's not just all about me broadcasting about myself. I did click on something today that dropped me into Facebook, but I turned around and left. Did see that all three were lit at the top - new friend requests, new messages and new notifications. It's not entirely cold turkey, some notices appear on my iPhone when it's locked.

Today was a good day. I slept well, woke up, did my walking and devotions, and then instead of doing another 30 minutes of walking, I went out and worked more on clearing the area where the path, shed and outdoor dining area will go.

Then off to work. A quieter day - a series if meetings to start, then a break. Then a meeting with my boss which we ended up taking as a walk around the ponds a few times after we discovered our usual meeting spot had been turned into cubes and then we were evicted from the room we squatted in. I think I was called out for a behavior I didn't think I was specifically engaging in (or that maybe our group had the perception of engaging in) but whatever - I'll be on the lookout for anything I might think about communicating that fits that pattern because if the perception is there, that's a reality I need to address. Not sense getting bent out of shape or demanding dates and times and names or being defensive - I'll just be sensitive to it in the future. It wasn't a disciplinary type thing, fortunately.

Lunch was a very tasty Honey Misi Salmon from Trader Joe's. Despite knowing the family that founded TJ's, I resisted them for a few personal reasons too silly to mention here, but in Lori's quest to feed us healthier, more responsible foods, she's discovered it and one of the ways I'm benefiting is tasty salads on the days when she'snot sending left-overs instead of as many microwave meals. (And most of you know how great a cook she is.)

Did some other stuff in the afternoon and then had a meeting over a topic I've been asking for for at least 4, maybe 5, years. Glad to see that finally hopefully coming to pass.

And then one more cumbersome once-a-month task I begged to be responsible, and then home.

Got to play quite a bit with Ben tonight. And we had small group. And the most amazing rainstorm. I think I might be able to remember one other time in L.A. when I remember rain that hard.

Besides the working in the yard, no real simplicity actions today. I would consider rescuing the amount of grass a simplicity thing, except that I've already removed all this grass once or twice but neglected to cover the area do it all grew back. Not this time.

Earlier today the weather was gorgeous and I really wanted to run, but the timing wasn't right. Maybe sometime over the long weekend.

Day 44: 155.6

No clue how to track dinner - it was small group, so someone else brought the food.  Spaghetti, salad and tiramisu.  The only one we had a rough idea on was the tiramisu because it was a weight watchers recipe (and very good!) and they knew the point value.  But I'm just trusting it wasn't more than what I had left, so I just put all my remaining calories for the day against dinner and hope it was enough.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Today was a good day. I have but one regret - I did not leave work earlier. It meant I haven't seen Lori much today because she had worship team practice tonight.

Did not go to bed early enough last night, had a weird dream where a co-worker complained about all my quirks but then woke up refreshed and feeling good. Weigh-in was the same as yesterday. While I walked, I cleaned up my iPad, deleting apps I don't use and consolidating until now everything fits on one screen.

Got to work and found out the two hour meeting was at 8:30 instead of 8. Got a good seat in overflow. And then someone several levels above me came and say next to me. I thought I wouldn't be able to use my iPad, but he explained he was in two important meetings simultaneously, so I gave him my better seat and he used his iPhone continuously so I figured the occasional peak at my iPad was ok. Another co-worker two down from me on the row was using his laptop. But, since everyone was in the meeting, it was pretty quiet. And then they ended the meeting early, and the speaker was engaging, so that was cool.

And then an hour and a half meeting later in the day got canceled.

Because Ben had been up so late last night (he had been sound asleep until I realized I hadn't put a nighttime diaper on him) Lori decided they wouldn't come for lunch today. So I got a tasty Hawaiian-style burger from the cheaper (barely) of the two Hawaiian places in town. I love Hawaiian food and we just watched this season of Hawaii 5-0, do I guess that I was kind of programmed to go there. The weather was awesome and the iPhone played awesome music and I had the sunroof open and it was nice to get away.

While I ate I cleaned up my contacts on my iPhone. If that doesn't flow over into Google, that will have mostly been a waste of time.

I had a touch-base on a complicated project but I knew I wasn't a blocker on any part, so I didn't even take any paper or my iPad because I knew no one would be expecting anything from me. BEST MEETING OF THE MONTH.

Oh, there was another meeting earlier in the day where I was supposed to go along but it was someone else's meeting. They couldn't make it but the other person still wanted to meet. It is one of my faves, so sure. We ended up talking for an hour and a half.

Near the end of the day, I had an inspiration and had to quickly code something. That was unfortunately what made me late in leaving but I think I just solved something that's been bugging me for years. I think the proof-of-concept will sell it. Of course, how to fund it?

I also remembered at nearly the last minute that I needed to put in a request for staffing for the project I'm overseeing. We'll see...

So the drive home was aggravating. Tacos for dinner. Then gave the little ones their melatonin and then had an interesting idea... Did they want to go for a walk? It was really nice - I ended up carrying him most of the way and his was very cuddly and close to sleep. We stopped and complimented our neighbor on his yard on the way in. They both went to sleep very quickly once we got home.

I tidied up my side of the bed to get it back to its clean state. I sat for a few minutes in the room. It was nice. Then I went outside and picked up all the flowers that had fallen off a bush and then pulled a bunch of weeds.

Then I came in and did some cleaning and watched some TED Talks. Then tidied the laundry room and now watching TV and doing some walking. Will do some reading later.

There is some repetition to my life, I guess. That feels a little odd, but I guess what's repeating is not bad. :)

Day 43: 155.6

A very generic day.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Somehow, we're ending the day early. That's cool because I still got a lot done tonight and got to play with Ben a little and do a therapy with him. The tasks are probably simple at this point but he still needs to work on task completion.

I am feeling peaceful, relaxed.

I didn't do anything to simplify anything today, but I haven't done anything to mess up the laundry room. I did realize that there's another place I can work - my address book. Between Facebook and LinkedIn and the built-in address book at work, I probably don't need nearly so many people in there. I noticed this because I keep coming
up with home addresses for work people or people long out of my system, some who aren't even still married. LinkedIn wanted me to plug in my email and I was surprised at how many founders of Internet companies and C-level people showed up in my inbox. Half of the names I didn't even recognize, but apparently at some pint in the past I'd communicated with them
over email and so they'd been stored in my contacts. I ended up not adding anyone because it defaulted to wanting to add 160 new people and I got tired of un-checking and finally just clicked "Skip". That's definitely an area I can simplify.

No reading yet, but we're heading upstairs early and I'll get some in yet.

Day 42: 155.6

Here we find another plateau beginning.  I'm trying to take more advantage of a new(er) feature of Lose-It! -- built-in barcode scanning.  It's a great way to combat the laziness of my zGeneric when eating singular packaged foods and it's just fun being able to scan stuff.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I started tonight's exercise without Lori downstairs. I looked through the DVR and came "Silent Movie" - now there's a movie you can't watch while you're doing other stuff. I had to turn off the iPad entirely to just watch the movie. It was weird - I felt unproductive at first, it kept sending me alerts and I'd turn it on and turn if off and rewind.

I did some more simplifying of the laundry room. I cleaned up some stuff in the cabinets, threw some stuff away and consolidated some other stuff. I think we're set for gift bags forever and tissue paper for at least six years.

No reading yet, but I got Google Reader caught up and I'll go do some reading upstairs as soon as the laundry is done and I can move it to the dryer.

Kids were fun tonight. Ben kept pulling me to him and the wrapping his arm around me for a side hug. Rachel had trouble falling asleep so I left my phone in her room playing lullaby music ehich was fine until a timer went off. She fought sleep for an hour but finally gave in shortly after the timer.

Work is crazy. I think we are doing far too many different things. While I think we're getting started, I think we continue to add things. I really don't understand it. I think it has to do woth starting with the "what" instead of the "why.". I have to pull a bunch of people out of a required all-company meeting for an important last minute meeting (a lot are my boss and his peers) because it's the only time I know they're free. I think we'll confirm a project that's going to be really good for us to do, but it's got really tight deadlines and we're going to have to get serious. I wouldn't say I've been set up to fail, but it's gonna be a tougher one to pull off.

I've also gotten so far behind in email that I've had to adjust my strategy yet again. I've created folders for each of the 8 or 9 initiatives, projects and teams I'm overseeing. Within each, I have sub-folders for the components. And when I get a spare moment, I go through create a new folder and then I go through a folder - if I can triage (do or delegate), I do. Otherwise, it goes into the new folder (defer). I think I'm making progress, but it's uneven as somedays I have to work more on one-spinning plate than another. It's still fun, but I wonder if doing so much hurts us when it comes to focus or excellence.

Day 41: 155.9

This surprises me - makes me wonder if I neglected to enter in my Wii Fit at night.  Either way, under.

Monday, May 21, 2012


Crazy, crazy rain today. Umbrella-in-Seattle crazy. I suppose I could have worn a coat.

Slept in today, could not get out of bed. Had to go straight to work without stopping and ended up needing to go to Fred Meyer during lunch to get some supplies and gas up the car. When did gas prices explode again? $4.09 after 10 cent discount. Blech.

I've been trying to get my arms around a project that started before I got there. I finally got to a point where I knew t how much development is estimated - 16 to 18 weeks plus 4-8 weeks for testing. (That was my next goal - convincing people testing needed to happen with development.) And then I was informed we'd only be afforded 12 weeks (11 to go) including development and testing. That's caused panic in a number of people but not me. The developers will need to reduce padding, the business owners may need to pare down their feature set and management may have to look at finding more resources. My job will just be to keep track of lots of bits and pieces. (My boss' boss recently said in a room with my peers and my boss and his peers that I'm good at wrangling - nice bit of validation.) In the end, this is a brand new product so the minimum feature set is pretty extensive. We'll figure something out. And I can start planning he product's next release.

Didn't do anything today to simplify my
life except look into consolidating some of our financial dealings (research-only), but I did watch a lot of TED Talks and cleaned the oft-neglected laundry room. No reading yet, but I plan to do some next.

The kids did well tonight, Rachel made her own dinner after deciding she didn't want what we were having and I gave Ben a bath, but it was short because he kept jumping and splashing.

Apparently earlier today he was a major handful, including breaking his
changing table. That served us well for the few bucks it cost us off Craig's List four years ago. We'll need to get another, but for now, I flipped it upside down and then shoved something between two shelves to make it a massively strong surface for changing him. We'll need to immediately reinforce anything we buy - those things aren't typically designed for a boisterous jumping 4-year old autistic child.

I ended the day barely positive on calories. I'm almost back to my pre-pancake weight hooray. The rain had stopped by the time dinner was over and I briefly looked outside and considered raining but then thought of a million reasons not to (including needing to pay bills and shave) and so I didn't.

Day 40: 157.0

For some reason, also had a streak lately where I couldn't get up and get to exercising.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


I don't know why it's been the topic du jour, but my appearance has been what people are talking about, or more specifically how I appear, relative to my age.

First conversation was earlier this week. I'm not sure how it came up but I was meeting with developers and the business owner (the guy who hired me) and his intern. Someone suggested that I looked to be the same age as the intern. (He didn't like that.)

The guy who hired me said I didn't look that young but that I did look the same age as I did when hired six years ago. I'll take it! Now, I am 30 pounds lighter, but still good to hear.

There've been a few others, and then this morning, a guy suggested I looked like I "was 32-35 which was good because I was in my 40s, right?"

Ah, well.

Good day. Ran audio for the church services and then came home. Avoided eating out, so saved the money and the calories. Did some work around the house, helped Rachel to get her chores done, finished The Expats. I'll post a review later. And I also did some cleaning of my toiletries under the sink in the bathroom and in my nightstand. Also spent some time going through another drawer filled with papers. It's an odd mix of stuff of mine from when I was still in school as well as stuff from Rachel. It's funny, sometimes I have to look at whose name is written on the back.

Day 39: 159.0

Yep, a spike as to be expected.  But, a day of behaving.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Rachel and I headed off to my old hometown today for an Armed Forces Day Parade and a pancake breakfast my dad's community group has hosted forever. My dad was pretty busy with that, so it was just Rachel, my mom and I. The parade was cool, but long. We had to leave before it was done. My high school even had a severely disabled boy being pushed along in a wheelchair, every so often struggling to bring his arm up and back down on a tambourine resting in his lap. There was also a bunch of soldiers carrying large banners, each listing a name and photo and the soldier's date of birth and death - sometimes using their high school yearbook photo. There was also also a number of survivors from past wars. A very patriotic event with flyovers and military vehicles.

The parade went on long and we didn't have chairs so we finally had to walk away because we couldn't stand any longer. We had a nice time talking and walking. Eventually it was lunch time and we found a restaurant, had calzones and then parted ways. Never did see dad again.

Instead of heading straight back home, we headed to my old home. The business my dad started, grew to
multiple stores and then sold - the original store is now closed.

And then on to the house I grew up in. On sale again, less than the last time it sold. The fence in the front yard is gone, the grass is almost all gone. That neighborhood is being overtaken by nature. Amazing to see the difference between that neighborhood and ours, built two years later - ours has a strict HOA which does yearly reviews and my old neighborhood that doesn't.

And then on to my elementary school - shut down and boarded over for at least a year.

My high school and junior high seem relatively unchanged, but even more amazingly unchanged was the church I attended from an early age through high school. I don't know when we first started attending, but we met in one of the classrooms of the junior high I'd later attend, but then we built a building. Two additions were made during our time there and it pretty much just looks the same.

It was a day of eating poorly and I'm really afraid of tomorrow's weigh-in.

Day 38: 156.5

I promise this will be a rarity.  I had no clue how to do this day.  It was a day of out-of-town travel including a pancake breakfast, a lot of leisurely walking and then a undoubtedly high-calorie lunch.  No idea even where to begin.  Figured it would be one of those days that would be a minor set-back.  Not fall off the wagon abuse, but just one of those abnormalities that couldn't be tracked.

Worth Repeating: Chip Kidd

Chip Kidd doesn’t judge books by their cover, he creates covers that embody the book -- and he does it with a wicked sense of humor. In one of the funniest talks from TED2012, he shows the art and deep thought of his cover designs.

Friday, May 18, 2012


Ah, peace and quiet. The children fight sleep. I've never been a good sleeper myself and usually get 5-6 now and am often tired. Rachel's been using melatonin for several years now but even then, she would sometimes wake up at 1 or 2 am and just stay up playing or reading. She recently started taking the time-release stuff and things have gotten better. Our new pediatrician for Ben said we could use it with him to see if it would help. Now, it's never worked for me. Both the normal and the time-release - as soon as they wear off, I'm just super-awake. So we've tried a little bit with Ben and it hasn't seemed to work, he'd still stay up for hours in his bed singing and verbalizing. But tonight, I guess it just worked - I was barely done reading to him and he was just laying there blinking his eyes. It was nice seeing him just calmly go to sleep.

Started the work day late, taking Ben in to therapy today. He did really well.

Back to work today, felt weird coming back, even though I'd only been out a day and a few hours. Things just move so quickly there. A good day, I finally nailed down some elusive information. People won't like it, but they'll like it more than just plain not knowing. Now that we know, we can assess and act upon it.

A quiet night at home, but the weekend won't necessarily be quiet. I'm expecting exotic planes and possibly a tank or two. I'll try to get photos.

Read some more in The Expats - still not sure what I think of it or where it's going. I complained that it starts with the overused "two years ago" plot device but in this case, it actually advances both stories, flipping back and forth using different typefaces to differentiate. But one of the stories has its own flashbacks, so it seems to get confusing.

No simplification today, but no complication either that I'm aware of.

Day 37: 158.1

I've neglected to do screen shots of the weight chart a lot lately (I'm getting these caught up, there will be a bunch of upcoming days without them).  Kind of annoying.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sick (not me)

Lori wasn't feeling well so I stayed home to help with the little ones. I drove them to school. When it was time to pick Ben up, I was on a conference call, so I stopped by one of the neighborhood parks and let him run around while I trailed behind him. He had a lot of fun, but at one point he unexpectedly went down a big slide. I had to quickly slide down the slide as well. I didn't have time to mute the phone, but everyone on the call was amused.

When it was time to pick up Rachel, I headed out without the car. It gave me
a chance to get in some exercise and some more time to talk with her. She wasn't amused. This wasn't the first time I'd picked her up without a car, but she wishes I'd wait until her legs are longer.

I finished the book I was reading yesterday. I'm a little less bullish on it now, but I'll check out the next chapter coming out in 2013 probably.

After I'm done here I'm going to start another book called "Expats" - I don't have the author's name handy.

I didn't do anything really to SImplify today, but I didn't make anything messier either, so I'll consider it good.

I'm ending under by 270 calories, but I still feel like I'm going to be up tomorrow. Hope I'm wrong. Also hope I'm not up (awake) too long tonight. I did drink a lot of caffeine today, but that's unpredictable with me. I was falling asleep while watching TV today at 2, but now I feel quite awake. Last night I fell asleep while reading and woke up to find the cat sprawled across me fast asleep and a book lying open on top of him where it had apparently landed after I released my grip on it. I was tempted to just go back to sleep sitting there but figured that would be painful later.

Lori seems to be doing a little better. Hopefully she's on the mend and the rest of us stay healthy.

Day 36: 158.1

Lots of exercise today, but also a very large lunch.  No idea now what it was, but it was big and made up of multiple pieces.  This is definitely one of the disadvantages of using the zGeneric.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Reading this good book by Julie Cross called "Tempest" - this 19-year-old is ordinary except for two facts - he's extremely rich and he can travel through time and space. He's not sure why - typically only about 30 minutes or so, only into the past, and nothing he does there has any impact on the future. He and his friend are doing experiments to test it and he's been able to make some "longer jumps" buy still with limited value. Until he witnesses his girlfriend getting shot. His flight instinct kicks in and he accidentally sends himself back two years and can't seem to return to the present time. So now he's struggling with the idea that he may be marching towards her inevitable death, or is it different this time? And if so, why? So begins the task of convincing his friend - a new acquaintance he didn't know two years ago - to try to help him. It's quite engaging and I had to force myself not to take it to work becaus I knew I would read it at lunch when it would actually be smarter for me to work through lunch so I could leave early and get a run it - which I did.

Other engagements tonight mean that it's almost 11 and I'm just now getting my evening freestep in. No other reading done today, and nothing that qualifies as simplifying my life.

Lori's upstairs reading and getting ready for bed. She's not feeling well.

A neighbor's car caught fire tonight. The fire engines came, everyone watched, they doused it with lots of water, they left, the people dispersed. Show's over, back to your normal lives. Except for them. They've now got a driveway full of burnt car and chemicals and insurance to deal with and all that. It's at these moments when you realize how insignificant one's trauma is to the world, even as it's all-consuming for everyone else. You want people to understand your pain but they've moved on. I hate that. I know people who've gone through stuff that changed them forever. Their reality is permanently altered. We join them temporarily for the journey (or in some cases, we simply observe it as we drive by) but all too often people live through their traumas mostly alone. (Conversely, how much joy and success isn't adequately celebrated?)

Anyhow, if I stop babbling, I can get back to my book.

Day 35: 158.3

Big lunch and some snacking.  Luckily, I let Lori know how many calories I had left and she came up with a low calorie dinner.  The support of others is crucial to success at weight loss.  Sitll on this seesaw, though.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


So Snackeell's Fudge Pretzels in the 100 calorie pack are decent. Not great, but decent. I found I appreciated them more when I let the chocolate melt first - that gets the most chocolate flavor and then lets you actually taste the salt. I feel satisfied. But like I said, not great. Helps with the calorie counting, though.

Today was a good day. I got up at 5:55, did 30 minutes of free step while listening to a Saddleback podcast and had time to read everything in Google Reader. Then I went and worked in the yard for half an hour, digging up grass. Hard work, broke an old hoe. Got the mail on my way to work, had a good day at work, made some good strides towards taking over a project. I was told to do it, but all these competing factions are all doing their own thing and now they want me to hold a lot of meetings and talk about things. I didn't, instead I sent a bunch of emails, laid down some laws and moved on. That made some people uncomfortable and sad because we couldn't talk it out, but I heard from an equal number that they were happy that a single solid direction was being exposed. There's a time for consensus and there's a time to take the reigns and I'm casting a vision and standing up and leading. May make me a lightning rod in some cases and may make some people unhappy, but let's be honest - I wasn't asked to devote a lot of time (I didn't have) because things were flying in the right direction at light speed. I've gotten some great validation from people who asked me to do this and then questioned my results originally (I'm still trying to learn where all the pieces are and who does what).

Day 34: 157.9

Started doing work in the yard again, attacking the side yard of weeds and tall grass.  In later weeks I would decide this is worth more calories burned than doing Wii Freestep.  Weird that there's no other exercise, I wonder if that means I just forgot to log it.

Monday, May 14, 2012


Man, today went by quickly.  I woke up 10 minutes before my alarm.  That seemed to be helpful though I hate the idea of setting an alarm for before 6 am.

The "Check Engine" light didn't come on in the drive in.  Sweet.

Day went quickly.  Skipped lunch.  Meetings, email, Skype.  I thought I had to take the car in so I didn't bring my gear but when the car seemed fine, Lori brought me my gear.  So at the end of the day, I did a quick run, went home, mowed the front lawns.

Day 33: 158.5

Back up again.  Got a bit of seesawing going on.  Way under today, though.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Today was Mother's Day.  I spoke to my grandma and mom by phone, my mother-in-law came over for dinner, and we had lunch as a family to celebrate Lori.  We gave her the present that Rachel, Lori's mom and I (and a little bit Ben) had worked on - a picture frame with a bunch of construction paper artwork so she can switch them in and out as the mood hits her, and that the kids can add additional ones to as they feel.  Like it's customizable.  :)  Sure to get lots of pins when we take a picture and put it on Pinterest.  Ben was a wild man tonight but I think it was a lot of entertainment for Lori's mom even if he made us a bit crazy.

It was also a quiet day around the house.  I resisted the urge to do some of the chores that just repeat day after day and I tackled the bedroom.  We've started growing more vegetables and the only place to start the seedlings is in our bedroom.  So part of the dresser that had our stereo and photos got taken over by that.  So there was a lot of upheaval - speaker just sitting on top of the stereo, picture frames laying flat, stacked.

And I had a bookcase on which nothing was supposed to live.  It was supposed to be where I could set things only for a moment, a transitory place.  Of course, I set stuff on it and there it stayed.

And we had an old chest full of blankets and sheets.  And then a bunch more sheets got piled on top of it.

And I had a chair by my bed that I wanted to be able to sit on from time to time.  It, too, had become piled high with clean clothes that hadn't gotten put away.

So I did some rearranging.  Adjusted some furniture, did some cleaning.  Moved out that box of magazines (all of the magazines are now consolidated to two places, within two feet of each other, I'll get them the rest of the way, soon).  The stereo is now more usable than it ever has been before, the counters are more organized, all the clean clothes are put away.   All the excess blankets are in a better, though still temporary, home.  There is still some secret hidden clutter, but the room is in better shape.   There's still some stuff to do, but in terms of trying to live more "Simplicity." every day, I made a small step in that direction today.

And still managed to also wash all the laundry and fold all of Lori's and Ben's and mine and put all of mine away.  All that remains is Rachel's.  And none to even do tomorrow so the machines get a rest.

I love being able to bring about some order from chaos.  It makes me feel like I have a bit of control or power over my life, if even only for a moment.  Oh... and I almost got my daily diet updates caught up.  Now only a few days (instead of a few weeks) behind.

Of course, tomorrow the hecticness of work returns, not to mention having to take my car into Midas and then get a rental car.  Do not want to think about what that's going to cost.

Plenty of more things in our crazy life that are not yet where I want them, but I feel like (with maybe the exception of work) that I'm moving forward.

Day 32: 156.7

A second day of partying.  Gotten a little sloppy lately -- which continues to be a problem for awhile -- that is the problem with diets, after awhile, it's easy to get sloppy.  This is one reason I like Lose-It!, you get a daily chance to try to do better.  So even if you miss by a day (or a few days), you can always resolve to get back up, dust yourself and persevere.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Ben turned four today. We had some friends and family over. Was a really nice time. He wasn't all that interested in the presents, but he liked having all the people over and we had lots of the foods he liked and Lori made him a giant cookie. Got some great photos, too.

It was a nice day with nice weather. And the party was over early in the day so we had some nice family time in the afternoon and some downtime. And then later in the day I ran. A lot. Not sure why, but I'm a bit ambivalent.

So I'm bummed that Terra Nova and Awake and Alcatraz have all been canceled. Terra Nova and Alcatraz just go to show that you should *NEVER* watch any hour-long show on FOX because they will cancel it. Ahem. Firefly. If it's not too late, I think people should start mailing convicts and velociraptors to FOX to try to #SaveAlcatraz and #SaveTerraNova.

Day 31: 158.3

My son's birthday - we had a family party.  Guessing we slept in or else whatever I had for breakfast got entered with lunch.  Because I am of the opinion you shouldn't skip breakfast.  Lots of exercise to make up for the party-related goodies.

Worth Repeating: Drew Curtis

Drew Curtis, the founder of, tells the story of how he fought a lawsuit from a company that had a patent, "...for the creation and distribution of news releases via email." Along the way he shares some nutty statistics about the growing legal problem of frivolous patents.

Friday, May 11, 2012


I'm going to end this day about 500 calories over. That's pretty sad. It started with being so tired at 6 am that I apparently unlocked my phone, went into the clock app and turned the alarm off. I have no recollection of that.

So I got up late, got less exercise in. Then, a busy day. Therapy with Ben, shopping with Lori, a brief visit with my parents as they passed through town, then a long trip to Ben's old and new pediatricians. A good visit I'll detail some other time.

Then back to collect Rachel and then grab some fast food, eat, get the kids to bed, and then discover the printer died. Spent about 90 minutes believing it was dead and should be stuck in the trunk of my car be both pushed off a cliff. In the end, I fought the printer and I won. But it was time I should have been doing other stuff. Hen did other stuff like helping bake cookies, clean he house, decorate for Ben's birthday party and when all is finally said and done, I'm guessing it will be close to 1 am when we get to bed. That's lays the case the night before a big event, we chew off too much and end styling up really late. And so no more exercise. I'm guessing that huge gain (loss) I celebrated this morning will be gone.

Plus, I made the mistake of checking my work email. It just doesn't let up. I've never been his busy, this stressed, or faced this much insanity. I am a little list to undersnd what to make of it. People want stuff that's either illogical, expensive or darned near impossible - I'm going to end up looking like an obstacle just because I see things they can't or don't want to. Yes, they are either closing their eyes to a situation they do not wish to acknowledge or are the are unaware of the caliber of disaster... Wait a minute... As much as I feel like there's trouble in River City, I don't think it's manufactured in this case. Or maybe they own the billiard or something. I didn't think that through. Still, a good song.

Day 30: 157.0

A day without much of a chance to exercise.  This would have been a day off from work, so you'd think I would have had more time to exercise, but most likely I was helping run errands.  Going over occasionally is OK, but it just means it's going to take longer to get to the goal.  But, being too strict with deprivation makes the lapses that much more dangerous.  I used to take long walks a decade ago and I remember far too often stopping by convenience stores to get wholly unhealthy food, figuring I'd earned it.  If I were to go back and do the math, there's probably a strong argument that having stayed home and not walked at all might have been healthier for me, calorie-wise.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Late on a Thursday, trying to get my Lose It posts caught up.  As of this writing, the last one I posted was 4/22.  They'll get added (I forgot a few screenshots of the graph on a few days, but that's fine).  I want to get back into regular posting.  I'm not sure why.  I'm not sure if it actually even aligns with my idea of "simplify" from earlier this year.  I'm trying to bring that back, though.  I changed my background on my computer to just the word "simplify." on an otherwise empty screen so that whenever the computer is starting up or goes to the lock screen it reminds me.   I changed my background on Google+ as well and I'm going to make something to go in a frame on the wall on my side of the bed to remind me.   I want things to be simpler.  There's so much about my life that is not simple.  Of course, trying to be simple is in itself a difficult thing, but I still want to strive for it.  I thought about all the things I aspire to be... fit... a runner.... a reader... someone who doesn't spend a lot of time doing chores... someone who has lots of time to play with the kids.... someone who can relax in their bedroom because it's a place of retreat.... someone with as little stress as possible at work.  All things that would take some work, but aiming for a better quality of life.  (A new car wouldn't hurt either... mine needs some repairs.  Still cheaper to get them done - I think - versus buy a new car, but we're close to that tipping point.)

Day 29: 158.7

Another ordinary, boring day.  This is par for the course when you're working at weight loss, it's plugging away at it every day.  And that's why I'm posting these - to show that it's possible and to keep myself accountable.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Day 25: 160.1

Panera for lunch.  Unimpressed.   We had boycotted the place for a year because of something stupid that happened last time, so I was kind of looking forward to it.  But it was a bit disappointing.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Day 24:159.8

Yardwork continues.  (Posting this post a bit after the fact - the yard does look great after all this work.)

Friday, May 04, 2012

Day 23: 159.8

Gigantic dinner.  Friday means small group.  This isn't a stab in the dark, this is a pretty specific amount, so I probably wrote it all down as I went along and then just plugged it in later.  This was a vacation day so we were still tackling the neglected yard.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Day 20: 161.4

Some days this is a delicate balancing act - fortunately, my wife usually has a pretty good idea of what my lunch looks like so that if there's a major dinner (and I didn't eat extra stuff during the day), I'm going to come out ok.