Hello World #5

Good morning, all. Couple of things to catch up on:

September is going to be Chris Confronts His Coping Mechanisms month.

Work has been pretty intense of late. When things get stressful, I inevitably fall back on my old frenemies Caffeine and Sugar. Then I find it hard to sleep, so I use sleep meds to fall asleep. But I have trouble waking up, so I…

You get the picture.

I’m at home, and I have few chances (if you ignore the convenience that is Doordash) to eat and drink poorly unless I make a choice to bring these things into the house. It’s not like I’m in the office which festooned with snacks, candy, and working lunches. So in September I’m going to go caffeine-free and low-sugar.

People tell me that drinking water, exercising, and sleeping without meds makes it easier to wake and feel energetic in the morning. I vaguely remember that to be the case: this is not the first time I’ve done this. It’s an old detox, and one that is usually very helpful. As age creeps up on me, the caffeine/sugar cycle is more harmful to me that before, and this might need to be a permanent detox.

I really like caffeine, especially coffee, you guys. I mean…it’s my drug of choice. By my heart and brain get pretty strained when I’m on it, so I guess it’s time to stop for a while. Eventually, I want to re-introduce a morning cuppa again, but keep it to one modest cup a day: a treat to be savored, not the necessary explosion to force my brain to wake up.

So while I’m looking forward to clearing my head and sleeping better, I’m gonna my my morning hit. I’ll shift to … decaf. (sigh)

September will also be A Post A Day month

I have a bad case of the Shoulds when it comes to writing things. I should be writing. I should be blogging. I should reanimate The Bindlesack. I should…etc…etc.

So this coming month I’m going to post every day, just to get myself into the habit. You are welcome to follow along.

I have no particular topic to cover other than Life. Guess we will see where it takes me.

Hello World #4

Happy Friday, folks. Just some random thoughts before I disappear into reading books and bingewatching The Umbrella Academy over the weekend.

  • If you are looking for a gender neutral way to replace addressing a group of people as “good morning, guys,” you should know that “sinners” fits the bill and sets the tone.
  • You know how there is Florida Man out there? “Florida Man wrestles shark,” or “Florida Man Leaps From Taco Bell Roof During Drunken Diatribe” would be good examples Florida Man behaviors. The Ohio version of this is “Man in Black Pickup Truck.” As in “Man in Black Pickup Truck Flies Confederate Flag At BLM Rally” or “Man in Black Pickup Truck Blows Bast Everyone Doing 60 in a 35.” Assmunches, all of them.
  • I can heartily recommend ignoring the news for your own sanity. I am here to tell you that two weeks off of news sites and most of Facebook is good for the soul.
  • The double album Mad Dogs and Englishmen by Joe Cocker is exactly what you need right now. Go listen to the whole thing.
  • Vinyl really does sound better than MP3s. Come at me bro.
  • My beard is now long enough to braid, but that doesn’t mean I’m actually going to do that.
  • The best ham I have ever tasted is from Father’s Ham in Kentucky. They use real hickory smoke on all their meats, and my house smells amazing after making some their bacon.

Hello World #3

Hello world,

It’s been a minute. Here’s what up in my little world:

  • The pandemic has been great for my gaming hobby. I’m in two D&D games, running two other D&D games, and am in a casual West Marches-style game of Pathfinder. And because there is nothing else on my social calendar, all of this is still manageable.
  • Speaking of gaming, I’ve been devoting more time to upping my Game Mastering skills. Been doing a bit of reading and honing my style. I was reminded by J.R. Blackwell on her D&D Dads podcast that GMing is an art and a craft, and therefore is with spending time to improve one’s skills. The voices in my head are cruel things, and for years they had me convinced that spending time on hobbies was unproductive or worse, a waste of time all together. Well, other than work, I’ve got nothing but time these days, so the voices can just bugger off.
  • Taking a break and pulling back from Facebook and the news to protect my mental health. My feeds are filled with very well-meaning people screaming at the top of their lungs about all the injustices in the world, and while I do believe speaking out is important, I need a little break for my own thoughts. (Someone is going to point out that I’m exercising my privilege by even asserting that I can taker a break. I’ll remind that well-meaning person that the Latin root of privilege means “private law.” No, I’m not exercising private law. I’m engaging in self-care. Besides, I’m on your side here. Watch the friendly fire, would you please? The holier-than-thou is getting a little thick in here. Thanks.)
  • We’ve lost three of our five pets this year, and the house is eerily quiet now. We still tell the dog to be good when we leave out of habit, and the same habit compels us to say hello to her when we arrive home. The two cats persist and love having the run of the house. The humans…will get used to the new state eventually.
  • Plans continue to buy a tiny house. We’re looking at a different model now, something more simple. We spoke our friends who own As You Wish Acres farm and they’ve agreed to let us put it there. Next steps include selling the house next summer, using the proceeds to put a big down payment on the tiny house, and move into a two-bedroom apartment/condo in Medina somewhere.
  • I’m going to get my office just the way I like it just in time to move. I’m certain of it.

That’s about all for now. Let’s be careful out there,


Hello World #2

Good morning everyone. Hope you are all holding it together out there. Here’s what’s up in my world.

  • Work continues to go well. I’m enjoying working from home, and thus far the entire department has been knocking it out of the park during the pandemic. Hiring staff has been a major improvement. I’m really fortunate to have Shannon as my front-end developer, and we just hired David as our UX/UI lead. These two have been a huge help to Michael and me. We’ve been a two-man web department for months, and having other professionals join us is a major improvement to our lives. I am still looking for a BA to join the team, so if you are interested, let me know.
  • Going Keto has been good for me. My waking blood sugar is under 200 for the first time in months. My Ketones are at 1.1 at the moment, so that working as expected. I did keto about three years ago and it didn’t work for me nearly as well: there just wasn’t as much support in the marketplace for it. Recently Cat discover PangeaKeto, and that has been a game changer. We’ve been introduced to a whole world of keto-friendly alternative to some of our favorite things. In my case, the ability to have sandwiches with keto bread that tastes like bread is a major life improvement. Also, keto ice cream is a lifesaver. I usually wind up snacking on something sweet after dinner, and the ice cream helps me stay true to me goals. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Yarrr! Keto! Avast ye scuvy dogs!)
  • Cat and I are starting to explore selling the house sometime next summer and moving into a two bedroom apartment or condo. Our long-term goal is to buy a piece of property and put a tiny house on it, and the savings we’d garner from selling and downsizing would go a long way toward meeting that goal. It’s just an exploration for now…we need to see how our work situations change in the coming months. Additionally…we still have four pets which is a non-starter for most places with a lease. All the pets are elderly now; the dog and cats are 14 and the remaining guinea pig is 7. So…we’ll see how their health affects the timeline.

Time to start today’s meetings. Take care out there and stay safe!

Hello World #1

It struck me this morning that writing letters is something I miss. When I was a kid, I had a pen pal over in Great Britain and I used to really enjoy our correspondence. Eventually we graduated from letters to cassettes (probably a precursor to my podcasting career, now that I think of it), but I never really outgrew the writing. So, in an effort to do more writing, I’ll write letters here to you all.

How many weeks has it been now? Almost eight, I think, since Ohio was put into social distancing lockdown, and my family and I are definitely climbing the walls. This past Sunday my son and I were missing going to the movie theater pretty fiercely. We are able to get out for walks and such, but we all miss Going Places. Admittedly, we’ve never been as on top of the chores around here as we are right now, and maybe that’s a silver lining. I actually spent an hour oiling all the door hinges so none of them squeak now. If this keeps up, Rooms Will Be Painted, and that should worry everyone, as I hate painting and am not great at it.

Work is. I don’t normally talk about my interactions with my employer in blog posts, but in this case I have some praise. They’ve done a good job of weathering the storm that is COVID-19. All of the office staff (like me and my wife) have been working from home since 3./15, and everyone has adjusted pretty well. We’re all certainly more productive this way. I’ll be surprised if, when things stabilize (I don;t think there is any “getting back to normal”), people return to the office full time. I plan on working from home three days a week at least, and I plan on offering my staff that option as well. For now…going into the office is just foolish: even if we were there, we cannot use group areas like the break kitchens or conference rooms. We would be commuting to a place to sit and have webex meetings from our desks. We can do that just as well from home, so why bother with the commute?

On the health front, this social distancing thing has definitely not helped my fitness. Back in February of this year I had to take some time off of work because of a mental/physcial health crisis, and just as I was about to start hitting the gym and swimming the COVID-19 pandemic hit. I have difficult with motivation at the best of times, and so the big change to #StayAtHome really messed with me. When I seek comfort, that usually means sugar, and as someone with Type II diabetes, that’s just not a good thing. I fell off the rails big time during this crisis, and am now trying to get back on the wagon. In this case, the wagon looks like the following:

  • Shifting to a Keto diet. Or really, a Lifestyle Change to it. My wife (Cat) has been working on this with for the last month and she is seeing good results keeping her blood sugar down. I’m shit for tracking everything (carbs, etc) but my own way of doing things clearly isn’t working. I have to learn how to build some habits around this low-carb thing. I’m using Lose It to help me keep track of things.
  • Exercise. I hate exercising for exercise’s sake, and yet, here we are. I don;t really have a choice anymore. I’m going to have to figure out how to get motivated to do this on the regular. I’m shooting for 3 times a week of 20 minutes sessions of Doing Something. Walking, hiking (once they open the parks back up for real, darn it), and video workouts in my office seem like the path forward here.
  • Writing about it. It’s been a long time since I kept a regular blog. I’ve never been great about being vulnerable on the internet, but I really need to talk about this stuff, and this seems like a good forum. Honestly, I really enjoy when I get feedback from you all, so I’m leaving the comments on. I do keep a journal, but writing just for myself always feels a little hollow. So, here we are.

As an added bonus, our oven died in March, and so we’ve been making due with a combination of using an Instant Pot and an air fryer to accomplish most oven needs. I made myself a sausage and egg quiche this morning in the air fryer (on the roast setting) and it came out better than I expected. If I come up with anything good, I’ll post it here.

Coming up on time to get to work. One more cup of coffee, I think, and then I’ll get to it. You all take care out there.