Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Life Less Ordinary

A fair and reserved maiden

passes her days unconventionally. . . studiously practicing the art of freehand tattoo

waiting impatiently for a coach

to wisk her away. .

Monday, January 28, 2013

For your consideration. . .

I give you a man.


And confident in his masculinity.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

part four: the sandwich armistice

This is part four of Indy's terrifying HCG diet series. Here's part 1, part 2, and part 3.  

Well it’s the morning of my eighth day on this diet, and I have some updates for y’all. First things first-I now weigh 206.2 lbs. That’s a whopping 11.4 lbs of weight loss in one full week. Booyah. I haven’t weighed this little in over a year, and I can actually see a difference when I look in the mirror. My face looks thinner, my clothes are fitting better, and my abs are hesitantly coming out of hiding ala the French “resistance” after the Americans have already chased the Germans out. That’s the good news. The bad news is that, while I technically haven’t felt physically hungry while eating like a shipwreck survivor (if you thought I was going to take the bait and continue my last analogy, you are nuts), psychologically I have not been without difficulties.

While I will say that the hunger pangs dissipated after the first couple of days, my love for food did not. Guys, the whole reason I am on this diet is that I love food. If I didn’t, I could just do what a lot of dieters do and eat bland food in moderation indefinitely. I would rather have a heart attack at 65 than eat cardboard until I’m 90. My grandkids might not know me very well, but I’m sure they’ll take it in stride. Anyway, after a couple of days not being able to eat what I want, I started fantasizing about things I would rather be eating. I would sit around and say things like “Mandy, you know what would be awesome right now?..(insert something absurdly unhealthy here)” I would construct elaborate meals in my mind and describe them with a far away look in my eyes.

At first, I would only think about foods that I would have chosen before my diet started. This didn’t bother me too much. What I didn’t expect was to start craving food that I would have snubbed my nose at any other time. Confession: I hate sandwiches. Hate at a conceptual level. Why in the name of Anthony Bordain would anyone take flavorful things like meat, cheese, etc and hide them between a double carbohydrate wall of blandness? I know that the rest of the world vehemently disagrees with this assertion, and I don’t have the physical energy to argue my position as I would have a week ago. Just know that I am against the very idea of a sandwich down to my very core. Two days ago, I caught myself craving a sandwich-any sandwich. Seriously? Have my standards fallen so low? I don’t even know who I am anymore.  

I’m usually pretty graceful around other people who are eating the way the good Lord intended. I keep my mouth shut (lest a rogue Dorito find its way in), I sit on my hands (to avoid bludgeoning my friends and family-Lord of the Flies style), and I try not to make any comments at all (if you can’t say anything non-manipulative in an attempt to make someone abandon their food…). I’ve actually asked my wife to eat things I’m craving so I can live vicariously through her in some sick voyeuristic spectacle. I got her a burrito from Chipotle yesterday, and it was only about 80% for her.

So after one week, how is this diet going? Well I’ve lost a lot of weight very quickly. That’s good. I miss real food every second of every day. That’s bad. Conclusion: it’s all about what you want and how strong your will power is (did you really expect a doctor to give a straight answer about anything?) Weight loss is simple math. Your body burns a certain number of calories per day (you can find calculators online). If you take in fewer calories than you burn, you lose weight. Every 3500 calories you burn more than you take in equals a pound of body fat lost. You could do it without the HCG. The HCG is just a helping hand. It makes you less physically hungry and causes your body to preferentially burn fat over muscle. Bottom line, this diet only fails when you do. If you subtract a larger number from a smaller one, you get a negative value. Your genetics don’t hold sway over physical reality. As long a you can deal with the short-term misery, you can do this diet.

Two more installments to follow: One after the diet is over and another 3 months after that. 

*Editor's note: Watch this. It's awesome. Also, I talked to Indy a few days ago, and it seemed like he was going to do this..at any second. So there's your juxtaposition. But even if there wasn't, I would have still linked this video. Because I can't quit watching it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Indy starts the diet. P.S. Who needs Zagat ratings when you have all-you-can-eat BBQ? Zagat that, buddy.

This is part three of Indy's terrifying HCG diet series. Here's Part I and Part 2.
Indy didn't pick this picture or title this post. It's my blog and I do what I want.
In the manner of a death row inmate, I meticulously planned out my first stage. I ordered all of my favorite foods from Amazon, and a coincidental trip to DC for the birth of my niece provided the perfect opportunity for a restaurant hopping binge that would have made Caligula blush. On the first morning I forced down a huge breakfast. Then my wife and I (her parents blessedly babysitting our Tazmanian devil), headed to the Annapolis waterfront so that I could wolf down crabcakes from Chick and Ruth’s (supposedly the best in Maryland. I don’t disagree). After I finally surrendered to the remaining food on my plate, my wife looked at me and deadpanned, “McKayla is not impressed.” I had eaten significantly less than I would have a week before. Hmmm. Here I am trying to eat as much as I can, and I can’t manage eat a crabcake? Ding ding ding! The drops are working. I was stoked. I had confidence that I was not going to die during phase two.  
Dinner was, unfortunately a different story. We made three reservations in DC-each an hour and a half apart. Yes, three. Yes, that is ridiculous and wasteful and excessive. I get it. I don’t care. These were places that we had taken for granted a mere 9 months ago but after our move down to (I’m sorry Courtney) an area that doesn’t have a Zagat rated restaurant for 200 miles, had become the stuff of legend ala “You know what would be ah-maz-ing right now? Jaleo’s. I guess it’s Dominoes again tonight.” I ate and I ate. At first it was awesome-no guilt or worry. Hey, this is part of my diet. After a while though, I realized that I wasn’t really feeling full. My confidence in my survival during phase 2 plummeted. It was too late to turn back though. I rounded out my second day of phase 1 with another herculean intake of the least healthy foods I could find. Have you ever had red velvet cake ice cream? It’s legal crack. Anyway, as the last day of phase 1 came to a close, I started getting nervous about phase 2.
I woke up the next morning and weighed myself. 217.6. Ok I guess I had that coming. I had eaten more in 2 days than most third world countries do in a month. I took my drops and left for work. Part of the diet demands that you drink 0.5 ounces of water for every pound you weigh. For me, that is a lot of water. I drank 50 ounces of water and peed 6 times before noon. So far so good I guess. Lunch was two handfuls of iceberg lettuce and 4 ounces of lean meat (chicken, crab, lobster, veal, etc) cooked with no oil. I started getting hungry abound 3. I started getting really hungry when I left work around 430, and by the time I was home, I was starving, light-headed, and a little nauseous. Magic bullet, this was not. I’m stubborn and a little masochistic, so I determined to stick it out anyway. Dinner was the same as lunch-I calculated that I took in about 200 calories that day. I’m not sure where the other 300 was supposed to come in, but maybe I’m an overachiever. My wife and I did everything we could think of to distract me from my hunger and keep me from stealing the baby’s food. By bedtime, I was bowed but not broken. I woke up on day 2 and weighed myself. 214.8. I had lost 2.8 lbs in a day, and my constant running to the bathroom can attest that it was definitely not water weight. With results, however infinitesimal, my determination was renewed.
To be continued..

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Who's down with HCG? Indy.

The following is the second installment of Indy's terrifying diet series. Read the first here!

One of the anesthesiologists I work with did a fellowship in what amounts weight management, and a few of my coworkers let her walk them through the HCG diet. If I hadn’t watched my officemate drop literally 40 lbs in one month, I too would have been skeptical. This is where I should state that I have no vested interest in this diet, and I would not be surprised if, ten years after having completed it, people were to suddenly drop dead. I weighed this possibility and decided that it was worth the risk. I asked her if she could get me started.
Apparently in the 1950s some doctor was over in India during a famine and noticed that all of the pregnant women were delivering healthy babies despite their severely restricted diets. Years of head scratching, pontification, and laboratory data later, he decided this phenomenon was a result of the hormone HCG or human chorionic gonadotropin hormone. Apparently our creator has a plan for everything. HCG allows your body to preferentially draw its energy from fat stores so that pregnant women aren’t breaking down muscle and other vital tissues in order to support a growing fetus. My coworker also told me that it decreases appetite, but having lived 9 months with a pregnant wife, this was a bit counterintuitive to me. Still, I wanted to believe, so I did.
The diet more or less works in three phases. The first lasts two days in which you are supposed to eat as much fatty food as you can. I was pretty confident I could handle that part. The second is trickier. You drop to eating a maximum of 500 calories per day, and only super healthy nonfat noncarb foods are preapproved. According to the gurus, you are not supposed to feel super hungry during this stage. This stage lasts for a minimum of 21 days-up to a month. The third stage, you go back to around 1800 calories per day but continue shunning carbs and junk food.
It starts with a lot of bloodwork. I counted 9 large vials of blood that were taken for various and sundry tests. Everything came back normal for me with the one exception (surprise surprise) being my cholesterol. 243. Seriously? My being overweight was going to eventually lead to atherosclerosis and heart disease? Wait, I feel like I had read that somewhere. No time to stress. Just more motivation as far as I’m concerned. With the prescreening taken care of, I picked up the HCG drops (to be held under my tongue for 2 minutes every 12 hours) and about 12 bottles of vitamins and was ready to go.

To be continued. . . 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Indy is back, jack!

Indy and the lovely Mandy

Remember Indy? He's our great friend who entertained the masses with 


after Henry was born. Now Grace and Henry are both a year old and we've all moved to North Carolina. That's cute, huh? Anyway.

About a month ago, Indy sent a well-timed text while I was in the middle of a two day cleanse trying to avoid Spanx at a Christmas party. I may have closed the conversation with, "Asparagus and cucumbers aren't a damned snack!" I was angry. And hungry. 

He has a solution by which I am fascinated. A solution I'm too scared to try, so I was more than happy to bug him to blog about it.

Of course he'd do this scary diet. After you've been shot by a cab driver, what's left to fear?

I'll pipe down, now, and let the man talk. 

Ok Ok OK. Last thing. What he says about his metabolism is completely true.  Once, we went to dinner in DC and he ate three bowls of cheese dip by himself and then ate dinner.

  So I should probably start out with an admission: I get it. Females of the world, I get it. A few short years ago I assumed y’all held the monopoly on body image issues due to your dangerously high levels of mysterious lady hormones (it’s science). Now, I know better. I had always been naturally athletic and could boast a metabolism that allowed me to eat multiple entrees at dinner only to burn them off so quickly that I didn’t have to turn the heat on in my apartment in the winter. I’m not sure when that stopped. I wasn’t consulted. Heck, I wasn’t even alerted that I needed to make some drastic lifestyle changes.
Four and a half years ago, I started a four year anesthesiology residency at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Looking back at my records, I was 6’3” and weighed 183 lbs. Admittedly, I was a little underweight, but I worked out and ran long distances 4-5 times a week. Why? Did I love it? No. I did it to look good for the fairer sex. I was single, and after work my day was my own. I was probably more than just a little vain-and still am despite no longer being supported by objective evidence. Exactly eight and a half months later, I met the girl of my dreams. Suddenly, I had better things to do with my free time-namely drive the 45 minutes to Annapolis to see her every chance I got. A smart dude like me probably should have realized that, with a finite number of hours in the day, if you are hanging out with your girlfriend, you are most likely not also working out. Long story short, I started gaining weight.
It wasn’t really noticeable at first. To be honest, I didn’t really mind filling out some, but as my important life events began happening at a rapid pace-first an engagement, the inevitable wedding, a pregnancy (her, not me), and the birth and subsequent wrangling of our daughter, I began to realize that I had been working out zero and eating at the same clip I had when I was a college athlete. I stepped on the scale a month ago and it read 216. Double ewe tee eff. I was by all objective standards overweight. I realized that I had recently been buying XL shirts when I had worn a Large size high school. I had come up with some lame excuses about why I couldn’t attend my college baseball team’s reunion. I refused to let my wife post pictures of me on Facebook. All of this while looking by all objective standards like a pretty normal 30 year old American dude. I had full blown body image issues. I needed to do something drastic, but I didn’t know what. I knew that simply working out more and eating less would reverse the progression, but how many hours would that take me away from my family? I needed a magic bullet. I needed a quick fix that would drop my new found weight without pulling me away from playtime with Grace and hanging out with my wife.
That’s when I decided to go on a no joke medical diet. To be continued in installments per Courtney’s request.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

accidental ass and the associated karma.

Is there anything more unnerving?

Is there anything that makes you question yourself more than that?

There's a time and a place to be a jerk. And there's so much jerkiness in the world. But when you're one.. on accident?

It bothers me. Far more than when I'm an ass on purpose.

That's been known to happen. Once or twice.

All week, I've been seeing pickup trucks driving around town with fortyleven Christmas trees bouncing precariously in the beds. Are they taking them somewhere to compost? Are people paying them to haul their trees off? Do they do contracting work for the city so that the city won't have to pick as many up? Hell, I don't know.

All I know is, when Harper and Henry and I made our way down the stairs this morning, there was a sturdy man out in front of our house trying to wrestle the enormously sturdy metal stand off of our tree, which I dragged to the road yesterday amid hoots and hollers from the peanut gallery "Momma! Don't let it fall on the bouncy house! You knocked over a chair! There's pines in my hair! It is stuck in the door! PULLLL, Momma!"

Once I got to the street, like this man, I stood there for about two minutes trying to pry the stand off during lunchtime rush hour. I don't even know why I'm bothering to say this, because you probably saw me. Because I'm sure that every car in Fayetteville passed by during this two minutes. 

I gave up.

Then Brandon didn't take it off last night because he got home late from work. And the only thing more dangerous than being within 5 feet of the side of our road is being 5 feet within the side of our road in the dark.

So. This man. This morning. He's yanking that stand around like a dog with a bone. And he can't get it off either. And then his side-kick jumps out of the cab of the truck (whose bed was filled to the brim with equal parts Christmas trees and..junk.) and he starts yanking, too.

And I stood in wonderment.. as they ragdolled the tree.. Would they take the tree? The stand? In the 10 seconds it took them to get it off, I thought - "I don't care if they take the tree. Obviously. ...but.. the stand is ours. The stand is ours, which we have hauled from Wisconsin to Maryland to Fayetteville. Ours." And while I generally have little to no fight in me in the morning, when he started to walk to his truck with the stand (the portion of which came off. half was still stuck around the tree), I opened the door and hollered out, "Sir, that stand is ours! Don't take that stand!"

"WHAT!" He said. "You want it now that I've taken it off?!" (broken it off)

(Yes. I was waiting to see if you were going to take the tree or the stand.) <--I did not holler this across the yard.

"Yes." I hollered.

So he's heated. Real mad. So mad I shut and locked the door and peeked out as he...

shoved that stand back on the tree and tightened the bolts!


Dude. You already broke it!

And about 5 seconds later, I realized.

Totally my fault.

He probably thought I knew he was taking the stand for junk. . . or whatever. . . and he thinks that I waited for him to get the stand unstuck before I told him not to take it. Free labor, and all that jazz. And that stand? It was at the street. Like trash. Like I didn't want it.

Boom. Accidental ass.

So I've been feeling badly about it, this morning. Homeboy is just trying to make a living with his junk and greenery.

And as we were leaving the grocery store approximately 1 hour later, in a parking lot with approximately 400 empty spaces, a lady double parked on us so hard that I couldn't open either door on the passenger side to get Harper in. She had to climb into the back seat from the driver's side. To her delight. "I like to climb! Look at me!"

And buckling a five-point harness from the front seat? Ha. There is a LOT of butt in the air maneuvering. Accidental ass, if you will.

The best part is that lady who parked her tires into our spot shimmied her way out the passenger door and looked straight at me and smirked as I unassumingly pulled our race car cart up to the car. Smirked, y'all!

Case closed.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


If you are still in the process of raising children, be aware that the piles and piles of laundry will disappear all too soon and that you will, to your surprise, miss them profoundly. – Thomas S. Monson

Aww Lawd. Henry woke up early this morning and when I staggered to his room, I was mostly prepared for a sleepy baby, ..mostly mad because he was awake and couldn't find his paci.


..Jumping up and down making all manner of loud squeals. Happy, Happy, Happy!

We stayed up too late watching Duck Dynasty.

Coffee, Breakfast, Laundry. . .

And because he tends to be an active participant in laundry, I generally stick him in the laundry basket while I'm changing loads. ..So he won't climb into the washing machine.

It's true.

One day, I was folding Brandon's t-shirts and I thought Henry was just helping me remove the clothes from the dryer.

I was..startled to turn and see only feet and legs sticking out. He was all up in there. And loving it.


I'm working on prettying up my laundry room. . because I spend a lot of time there.

I'm working on a Tide, Gain and Clorox . . . vignette, if you will.

So I used a free printable and framed that quote for my laundry room, because even when I'm all staggery from no sleep, it reminds me that I need to deeply appreciate the baby in the hamper.

Henry says, "Hey!" and seems to embrace my chevron phase.