Whole 30 R2/D22,23

Baked chicken thighs, sweet potatoes, and bell peppers.  Very delicious.  I’ve had a hard time getting up the last few days to exercise and need to find the motivation first thing in the AM to get my butt in gear.  We are attempting to potty train the youngest…which is seeing…mixed results, but it’s early days still so we just have to give him that time.  Until then, Elmo’s Potty Time!

As much as I want to be good after this round, I would love a pizza right about now.  I may have to try out a cauliflower crust or something…but OMG PIZZA!!  

I do want to take a minute and wish all the moms out there a Happy Mother’s Day.  Most especially to my own mother, who raised me and my sister pretty much all on her own, sacrificing more than I can possibly imagine to give us whatever she could.  And for what it’s worth…I have had a number of father figures come and go in my life…but none of them really taught me what it was to be a man, a husband, a father the way she did.  (However I did learn a bunch of what NOT to do from them, so I guess that’s something)

And of course to my wife (jeezus look at me, yeesh).  You hold down the fort and have more patience than you give yourself credit for.  I can’t imagine building this family with anyone else.  You are an incredible mother and our kids reflect that…even when you want to choke the very life from their bodies.  (I CAN MAKE MORE OF YOU!)

Also, when Elmo wants to learn more about “beaches”, thank you for also hearing “bitches” when he said that.

Whole 30 R2/D20,21

Went for a run yesterday morning to switch things up with my exercising.  I have to say between eating clean, losing weight, and the exercising I was already doing I felt really good afterwards.  It used to be that after a run I was super winded, coughing and basically having an asthma attack for a good hour afterwards but this time I felt great.  I didn’t go for distance covered but just a good half hour run and I was able to maintain a good steady pace the whole time.  I was surprised at how much ground I did cover.  Running may become an addition to my weekly workout routine just to mix things up a bit.  Also it’ll help me prepare for the Star Wars half marathon next year which will be fun I have no doubt.  

A member of my synagogue has decided to do her own Whole 30.  I’m excited to see where her journey takes her and hopefully others will take a look at their own relationship with food.  Again, I don’t know that it’s for everyone.  It is an extreme and drastic diet and can be difficult, but if you enter it with the right mindset you will come out of it, hopefully, reevaluating how you eat and what you eat daily.  

I saw a post on Facebook from a friend of mine about a man who was basically a food-a-holic.  People laugh at such a thing but trust and believe, it is real.  To fight that addiction is as hard as kicking alcohol or drugs. And everyday we are, frankly, lied to by the food and sugar industry about what we eat.  It’s packaged and sold to hook us and they get us in the crib. There are a number of baby formulas where one of the first ingredient is sugar.  WHY????  Also, why does a baby need its own brand if cheese doodle?  I’m looking at you Gerber.  I’m not going to lie, we give the kids snacks and treats sometimes that aren’t the best, mostly because of budget constraints (which the food industry’s campaign to poison the poor is criminal btw), but we do what we can to put healthy options in their lunch boxes.  Childhood obesity is an epidemic and telling them to run more and eat less is a bumper sticker solution that won’t last.  Get to the heart of real nutritional education, stop letting big sugar poison another generation.  

This coming from a man who has moments everyday where I would beat a baby seal with a sack full of doorknobs for a coke and some pizza.

Whole 30 R2/D16-19

Whoa, hadn’t realized how long it had been since I last posted.  I guess it’s just been busy the last few days.  Usually I would write in the evening but I am so exhausted that I can’t muster the brain power to put words together. 

Can I just say that Aldi is the place to go for inexpensive produce.  I got most of our produce list there for around $10 which is amazing.  I’m going to do some marinara meatballs tonight with broccoli and potatoes.  I didn’t have the meat this morning so I couldn’t cook it in my slow cooker, which is the best way to do it, so I will have to bake them in the oven before moving them to the sauce.  I LOVE a good marinara sauce, really tomatoes in general, they are the meat of the produce world.

Went to visit my grandma today.  She’s living in an assisted living facility and I have to say, the place is sad.  Not the facility mind you, it’s quite nice, it just feels like a building full of folks waiting to die.  Now, I want to live a long time, but if my quality if life is going to be like that just let me check out.

We had a good Shabbat.  I walked the twins over for a play date and ended up talking with the parents for several hours.  It’s always good to find more of the “cool kids” in the community.  We’re gonna have to coordinate a neighborhood BBQ.

mmmmmmm BBQ

I guess I should make dinner now and then try to stay up and watch “Rouge One”.

Whole 30 R2/D15 OMG THE DEFENDERS!!!!

Well I got a pleasant surpise yesterday when my mom and cousin asked if we would like to join them down in Hatteras at the end of the month.  Since that is the week of Shavuot and I was taking time off for it anyways it seems like the perfect time for a small beach trip.  It’ll be 3 days and most of that is Chag (holiday) but it’s right in walking distance of the beach and the sound so it should be fun.  Also the house is huge and beautiful and the kids are stoked to hang out with their cousin. 

Spent the afternoon out in the front lawn with the kiddos and is there anything better?  

It’s moments like that which makes life worth living.

Let me put on my nerd hat for a moment.  I saw the trailer for Marvel’s The Defenders and then I watched it again…6 times.  I have been hooked on these shows since the first season of Daredevil.  For me I rank the shows as follows:

  1. Daredevil season 1
  2. Luke Cage
  3. Jessica Jones
  4. The first half of Daredevil season 2 (basically anything with the Punisher in it)
  5. Iron Fist

Now Luke Cage and Jessica Jones can switch places on any given day.  These shows have also given us, arguably, the two best antagonists in the MCU, Kingpin and Cottonmouth, and I LOVE Cottonmouth.  He’s just so gangster.  Not just in a hip-hop kind of way but in a truely Goodfellas way too.  And both are the type of villians which are the most compelling, villians who see themselves as the hero.  Jessica Jones‘ writing is superb, it’s not just a detective story but an allegory of rape and the journey of a victim to reclaim her power.  It’s low on action (which there is some but not as much as the other shows) but the writing on that show is amazing.

Poor Iron Fist.  I feel like this was a show rushed in order to make The Defenders happen as quickly as possible.  Hell, they had a teaser for The Defenders out before Iron Fist even began production!  The premise of Danny’s return to NYC and his subsequent desire to be a part of his father’s company MAKES NO SENSE.  The action is sort of, meh, which would be ok if not for the fact that THE IRON FIST IS THE GREATEST MARTIAL ARTIST IN THE ENTIRE MARVEL UNIVERSE.  HE’S CALLED “THE LIVING WEAPON” FOR A REASON PEOPLE!!  I could go on about a number of things I didn’t care for in this show but basically it feels like someone at Netflix was like, “Just get it made, quick quick quick, we gotta make that Defenders money!”

It’s not the worst I’ve seen from Marvel. It’s a damn sight better than Agents of SHIELD.  It’s sort of mediocre which is sad considering how good the other shows were.  Part of me wishes they had introduced him in Luke Cage, or hell, in The Defenders if that was the best they could do.  Still, watch it, it has some good elements to it and it’ll build towards this crossover.  I’m thinking of taking the month prior and rewatching all of the shows before August 16 when it drops.

This is gonna be sick!

Whole 30 R2/D13,14

Half way there now.  It’s been nice having my wife doing my morning exercise routine with me, I just wish the living room was a bit larger so we had more space to do the moves.  Did schnitzel again sunday night with potatoes.  I have to watch how much I eat in the way of potatoes, if I eat too much it gives me a serious stomach ache.

(One of my wife’s pieces, can be found at etsy.com/shop/raccoonart )

Tooled around yesterday in Carytown, a neighborhood in Richmond marked with restaurants, bars and local shops.  I really enjoy hanging out down there but yesterday we went on a mission to speak with some consignment shops about carrying my wife’s jewelry.  She has an etsy shop but it hasn’t gained much traction yet so hopefully the connections we made will bare some fruit for her.  Also I picked up some shorts, fit into 33″ waisted shorts which is amazing. 

So, I have just been informed that the boy who took my daughter out for donuts now wants to do an ice cream date or a…wait for it..  dinner date.  Whoa whoa whoa, slow your roll there Casanova.  It’s hard not to laugh a little and pick but I don’t want to traumatize girl.  The boy on the other hand…I may have to traumatize a bit.

Daughters.  She’s going to drive me to drinking.

Whole 30 R2/D10,11,12

Very busy weekend.  We had the opportunity to eat Shabbat dinner by some friends of ours.  We were celebrating their son’s birthday and on the menu was pizza and curly fries but they were kind enough to make something especially for me that was compliant.  I was talking with someone at shul over shabbat about doing my second round and of course the inevitable question of weight loss comes up.  Look, I’m not trying to lose weight.  If I do, that’s fine but it is about cleaning out the system and getting back on track.  Although, honestly, I am still looking to lose the last bit of pudge surrounding my midsection.  

Does anyone else feel like they should have life figured out by now?  This summer I will turn 36 and I always thought that by now I would be settled into some sort of long term career.  I mean I’ve been at the same job now for about seven or eight years and I’ve moved up but I’ve gotten the sense that this is about it for me.  So now I’m reexamining my professional life.  Where do I go from here?  People sometimes ask what do I like to do when talking about career paths…I don’t know, crackwise?  Talk about the Marvel Cinematic Universe and why can’t DC/WB figure it out (it’s easy guys just go down the hall to DC animation or grab some guys from your CW shows…seriously).  I mean I like sharing information which is why most of my life I’ve been told I should teach.  I have a BA in history so a teaching licence would be all I need.  But I also enjoy doing a certain amount of physical work, working with my hands, and probably if I ever took a desk job I would need one of those standing desks because the idea of sitting for 8+ hours a day just doesn’t seem that appealing.  And then there’s the question of money.  What salary would I want?  Obviously more than I am getting now, otherwise why would I leave a job where I have a good history and reputation.  Do I seek the paycheck or a passion?  My wife’s passion is art and crafting and she is now trying to turn that into an income.  In some ways I’m jealous because she has something she can show and say, “Here, this is who I am, I am an artist.”  That’s why I started writing.  In a sense, words are my passion.  I’m an amateur wordsmith with delusions of greatness.  So I don’t know what the future holds for me professionally, I’m just praying to find something I can grow with and provides my family with better financial security.  For now I’ll just keep being the best at what I do, continue to network and keep on writing. I’m hoping this will help me achieve my own little bit of awesome.

Whole 30 R2/D9

Dinner to tonight, paleo turkey meatloaf and sweet potatoes.  Always a big hit although tonight the twins were super complainy about having to eat their sweet potatoes.  I feel a bit hypocritical because I know I was such a picky eater as a kid, but it’s important they eat this kind of stuff otherwise they’ll end up like me and not eat a salad until they’re, like, 23.  The toddler scarfed it down no problems at all.  He’s getting huge and I just look at him and wonder where the time goes.  With a love of puppies, cars and football he is already decidedly different from his older brother.  He’s also a serious mama’s boy and my clear rival for the affections of my wife.  This little turd will break up any cuddling or embrace, want mommy, and get a hug from her, turning to me with a smug little smile.  What an a$$….I’m so proud.

I feel like I’ve lost another pants size already, but I haven’t had the opportunity to test that theory yet.  So much of the clothing I have doesn’t fit me right at all.  There’s a big fancy dinner coming up for my kids’ school and I’m going to have to wear a suit that’s two sizes too small.  It’s been the only down side to the weight loss journey and it’s pretty superficial, but it’s still annoying.

Ok, so I’m currently watching a documentary on apes and this dude is about to go into a hole in the ground where baboons live.  Why?!?!  All I can imagine is one of them coming out of no where and clawing the crap out if this guy. More power to you dude, I think I would have just sent in a drone.  Reminds me of a South Park episode with Cartman as the Crocodile Hunter.

I’ll end by putting another topic request.  If there’s anything you guys would be interested to hear about let me know in the comments.

Until then!

Whole 30 R2/D8

Dinner tonight.  Marinara chicken with zucchini noodles.  The noodles didn’t go over well with the kids but the parents highly approve.  I think this will become a mainstay of the menu board at home.  Currently working on breakfast and lunch for tomorrow.  All I really want to do at this point is to just plotz and pass out but I have to get the meal prep down for tomorrow.  Usually I’ll take leftovers but alas none from tonight.  

Had to go out and buy a new Roku last night.  The remote stopped working on the old one and it was time to turn it in.  Also found out I’m paying $50 more on a cable package that I’ve never used!  It included a bunch of sports channels…I DON’T WATCH SPORTS!  So that’s gone now.  I really just need internet for streaming which is all we really do.  Speaking of which started in on season 2 of the anime Attack on Titan.  The animation in this show is absolutely beautiful and detailed and terrifying.  I want to find a copy of the live action Japanese film adaptation.  If you’re an anime fan and haven’t checked it out you’re missing out.

Alright, eggs and potatoes for breakfast, tuna patties, broccoli, a larabar and an apple wil be lunch.

Hope everyone has a fantastic day!

Whole 30 R2D6/D7

It’s been funny to me to run into people who tell me that my journey inspired them to make a change in their lives, to live healthier and eat cleaner because of what has happened in my own life.  And as I’ve said early on in this blog, it wasn’t originally my idea to begin with, my wife made a life choice for me (love you! Hehe).  But I am always happy to see people take life by the short and curlies and own it.  This is no easy venture and I still, and probably always will, struggle every single day with urges, cravings and self/body image issues.  Which that last part still seems kind of silly because I simultaneously look at myself and am impressed with the reflection in the mirror.  Your greatest enemy will always be the person in the mirror and the doubts in your own head.

Also I’ve now been asked to participate in 2 fitness challenges of sorts.  One is a push up challenge, to start day one with as many push ups as you can do and then to add one more to it every day for a month.  Still debating on that one, I like my low impact DDPYoga but I do love a good challenge and goal.  Another friend texted me to see if I wanted to do the Star Wars half marathon down at Disney next year.  If I can swing the money I am totally down with that, but next year is also the 10 year wedding anniversary and we are planning a long weekend down in Key West so that takes priority….but he sent me a picture of the medal you get…dude.  Gonna have to do some marathon training I think.

Did my stuffed peppers tonight for dinner.  Delicious with guacamole!  Next time I’ll have to remember to grab salsa at Trader Joe’s and toss a big scoop into the pan when I cook the ground turkey.

Speaking of challenges we are attempting potty training with the youngest.  He’s not quite two but already knows that pooping and peeing is connected to the bathroom so we got a seat for him and dusted off our Elmo Potty Time DVD.  I have to say there’s no one happier in the world than the kids on that show who get to say all the different words for going potty.  POO-POO!!!  Omg it’s hilarious.  Also I know Elmo is technically a monster but…has he ever gone…like…feral?  Like Spock’s Ponfar?  Every few years his true monster self comes out and he brutally kills, like, a dozen children.  He wakes up in a pool of blood like, “Oh G-d, not again!”  Then Big Bird has to help dispose of the bodies.  Thats why Snuffleupagus is the way he is…all that soylent green!  (Google it children)  (also imagine Bird with tears as he feeds it to Snuffy, knowing the dark dark truth)

Enjoy that thought for a minute.  You’re welcome.

Yom HaShoah, remembering the Holocaust…a few thoughts

“Remember what Amalek did to you” – Deut 25:17

“In each and every generation they rise up against us to destroy us. And the Holy One, blessed be He, rescues us from their hands.” – The Passover Haggadah

Tonight we mark the rememberance of the Holocaust, the greatest tragedy to befall the Jewish people, arguably, since the destruction of the Second Temple and beginning of the Second Exile which we are still in today.  In Israel tomorrow a siren will sound throughout the country and millions of men, women and children will stop and stand in silence to remember the greatest pogrom in our history.  I have always found it interesting that a week later we will have Yom HaZikaron, Israeli Memorial Day.  Unlike in America where, for many of us, it’s a day off with grilling and super sales, in Israel there is still reverence for this day as it remembers not only soldiers but those lost to terrorism.  Everyone is touched by this day, it is solemn and sad.  Yet it is followed immediately by Yom HaAtzmeut, Israeli Independence Day, a day of joy to celebrate long awaited self-determination and the prosperity Israel has seen over the decades.
As someone with dual citizenship I still hold this time near to my heart.  But I would argue that any Jew with a strong connection and love of Israel should as well.  I am also of the opinion that these days between Yom HaShoah and Yom HaZikaron/HaAtzmeut should be like the days of awe during our High Holidays.  We should, each of us, take this time to reflect on our national journey as a people.  Our modern exodus, the heartbreak that finally woke so many up to what Herzl was trying to tell European jews, the fight and sacrifice to establish a homeland, a safe haven for when the world turns its back and our continued struggle to secure our home and find peace and see fulfilled the promise of the age of Moshiach, the annointed son of David, when swords will be beaten into plowshears.

Whether you are Israeli or not (as one rabbi I know once said,”An Israeli is a jew who lives in Israel and a Jew is an Israeli who lives everywhere else”) we should all take this next week to reflect, pray, learn Torah, whatever helps connect you to our history and traditions, to each other, and think about how far we have come, how much further we have to go, and what each of us can do to help reach that promised goal.

May we merit to see those day speedily and may our days of mourning be made into days of joy and celebration.