apple butter // turns out colorado has orchards. — country bumpkin.

i couldn’t remember the password to login to my blog today because that’s how long it’s been since i have posted. *insert wide-eyed face here.* the recipes have been piling up. . . .stacks of them. they just aren’t on here yet. & part of that is because life has been busy. but most of […]

via apple butter // turns out colorado has orchards. — country bumpkin.

Yes, and?

I’m not the first to say it but there is a special bond between a father and daughter. You become over protective as they grow up and they tend to gravitate towards men that remind them of you.  It’s a weird and special bond.

Non-more special then the bond between Eva and I.  This isn’t to discount the relationship I have with my step-son – which is different in its own right.  But the father/daughter bond is what this blog post is about today.

And more specifically the bond we have with comedy.

I noticed it a few years ago when my wife had a not so normal interaction with Eva.  Of course Eva was being a little butt dwelling monkey and not giving my wife any sort of space.  To which my wife asked if she could have some space from our daughter.  Angry, Eva spouted off “If you want space why don’t you get in a rocket and go to space?”.  Now this line isn’t making it onto Saturday Night Live anytime soon – but for a 3 year old it was impressive.

Another great example is her comedic timing.  I have an old joke from my grandmother that goes like this “How does a squirrel scratch his nuts?”  To which you would reply “How?” – expecting her to scratch her private area.  Instead she puffs up her cheeks and scratches them.  Adorable and borderline offensive for a 3 year old.  But she told the joke wonderfully and for years to all our family.  This made the 3 year long wait to the next phase of this joke even better.  Eva had beaten this joke to death with EVERYONE!  This meant that it was time to finally turn the punchline towards the more offensive conclusion.  Eva sets up the joke, people in the family kindly ask how, and BAM – there is a six year old scratching her private area and laughing at the horror on their face!  Hell yes I gave her the idea – but she did the timing and delivery all on her own!  Proud Dad…

This leads to the next great thing she picked up on.  ‘Yes And’ing’…a concept comedians know – but one I wasn’t aware of until comedian Pete Holmes mentioned it on one of his podcasts.  Simply put you agree with the world or joke the storyteller/smartass has created and then add your own spin or encourage more.  Used in the improve world – it’s something not a lot of 1st graders are throwing around.

The other day in the car I was doing my latest character that I’m subjecting the family to – stupid Texan who has different names for everything.  Example “In Texas we call flowers – color sticks.”  Or I just yell “WOOO Texas!” if some moron cuts us off in traffic – assuming the moron comes from Texas.  It’s childish and I’m stereotyping a whole group of people – so it’s really fun!  Anyway Eva decides to encourage her dumb dad instead of finding the whole thing stupid.  “Dad what do they call mountains in Texas?”- “Well that’s easy – rocky hills!”  “Dad what is grass called in Texas?” “Well daughter it’s called field turf!”  It might not sound funny to you but my Texan accent is spot on in person.

She found the humor in the whole thing and encourages more dumb responses from the Texan.  She has even given it a try herself – with not great results but she is trying!  And that’s the thing – she is failing and keeps coming back for more!

  • Timing? Check
  • Yes And’ing? Check
  • Fails a lot and never gives up? Check
  • Her own TV special? soon…

Nothing would make me happier if she grows up to be a comedian.  Or is just a smartass who makes people laugh.  I feel like we have enough sad depressing assholes in the world – it’s nice to know I’m helping to raise someone that can make fun of them.

Donuts have ironic sprinkles.

A while back I gingerly crept downstairs after everyone was asleep to eat a donut over the kitchen sink.  I’m not blogging about this for pity or to publicly shame myself.  If I wanted to do that I would talk about my late 20s.

No instead it’s to paint a picture of me and donuts – a toxic relationship.  You are going to give me a cupcake with a hole in the middle, covered in frosting, and call it breakfast?  Sign me up!

I don’t think there is anything better out there in the mornings.  But I digress…donuts are yummy and fill a hole inside my chubby little heart.  If there was a symbol for my struggles it would be the donut.  Forever a hole in the donut – nothing can fill it and make it right.  Oh you can try to plug it up with a donut-hole – but that just creates a weird bump in the middle.  A donut filled with bright red raspberry filling with no hole?  Sure but what’s oozing out the sides – oh yes the pain, the frustration, the sugar depression inside.

In February of 2013 I had just gotten married two months prior.  We were planning on moving from our home into a condo and I was about to leave a job I had enjoyed greatly!  Life was changing and stress was mounting.  Unfortunately all those changes weren’t for the best.  I had miscalculated the need for a new job and as such suffered a lot for a year.

To say I didn’t enjoy the new job would have been an understatement.  It was a soul crushing uphill battle that brought a lot of pain and stress to my life and my families’ lives.  Along with that was the realization that a new married relationship was not something you “had” but something you worked on all the time.  With two kids added to the mix – we struggled mightily to gain control of our lives and be happy.

So if I’m writing about it here you can probably assume it wasn’t going well.  And still it’s not going like we would like in life.  I wrote yesterday about trying to find normal again.  Normal 3 years ago was not donuts or depression.  Normal was healthy breakfasts and a positive outlook on life.

But why donuts?  Why is that the great battle?  I think for some there is a food, or drink, or activity that you run to when life gets you down.  I can remember getting ready in the mornings to head to a job I hated only to end up having a horrible morning with the family.  Before I would make it to work I would stop off at the gas station and pick up a package of those tiny chocolate donuts.  You know the ones dipped in wax to prevent them from melting?  I would find comfort in eating those after a stressful morning at home and the impending doom of work to come.  It was my safe place – it wasn’t healthy but I thought it was happy.

I haven’t had a pack of those in sometime now – if my wife reads this she will ask me when the last time was – I will save you time honey – I really don’t know.  When was the last time I wanted to buy some?  Monday morning…which brings me to the ironic twist in my donut struggle.

You see over the weekend I had a rather enlightening and frank talk.  Once again I realized what I have realized 1000 times before.  I’m not myself, I don’t like it, and I want to change.  But this time there was a real sense of desperation and need to fix things.  I’m 34 and I am wasting away my life – I can’t and won’t take this anymore!  Despite stress and life I am going to battle ahead and try and fix this life I once loved so much…

And as we were driving to south Denver Monday morning for an appointment my wife and I made a quick and frantic trip into a store to buy a cake box at 7am – why a cake box you ask?  That’s not my story to tell that’s hers.  Anyway there we are in the store and what does my lovely, attractive, skinny wife grab for breakfast.  NOT ONE BUT TWO…TWO LARGE BOXES OF MINI DONUTS!  DA FUCK?  Really?  Mini donuts.  Let me give you an example of what this would be similar to.  Imagine you are driving to south Denver for an appointment on a Monday morning with your wife. She forgets to bring a cake box so you need to stop off at the store.  While buying the cake box she buys some meth – and you are highly addicted to meth.  That’s what it’s like.  And for anyone that wants to get all mad about comparing donuts to drugs you can save it – I get it – donuts are way better than drugs! Am I right fat people!!??

Anyway that’s my life right now.  Fighting an uphill battle while people eat mini donuts around me.  I didn’t eat the damn donuts.  I wanted to.  Oh GOD I WANTED TO!  Instead I went to work and got a nice green apple, some water, and felt a tiny sense of pride inside.  I didn’t eat a mini donut – we will count that as a mini victory.

A life like normal

What is “normal”?  When you are told to act normal what does it mean? Is normal defined by the culture and time period you live in?  Or is normal more micro – normal inside your family is the real normal.

I’m not so much struggling with the concept of normal as much as the pursuit of it in the context of my own life.  What normal “was” and what normal “is” are vastly different.  Normal a few years ago was the gym, healthy eating, fun, stress-free life.  A couple of jobs changed, a wife, kids, and some other stressors and normal has changed dramatically.  Normal now seems to be grumpy, lazy, careless, and just a depressing outlook on life.  Normal today sucks.

Although the epic shift in normal didn’t go unnoticed by me – it did however go untreated.  Instead of making wholesale changes to the negative life choices I was making, I instead decided to ride the wave out – expecting any moment that I would get my act together and life would bounce back to normal again.  But that bounce never came.  I never went magically back to that healthy fun-loving guy.  I instead bought into the dad-bod and decided energy drinks and donuts were worth more than my happiness or my families’ wellbeing.

I don’t know what’s been worse – trying to explain to myself what happened or looking at my wife and trying to decipher the horrible outcome that is me.  I see the sadness in her eyes when we talk about it.  To her its plain and simple – stop doing the bad things and do more of the good things.  I myself even realize that simple truth.  But anyone that has struggled with food or weight might share in the horrible feeling I get – this quicksand of guilt and eating.

For three years now it’s been a back and forth battle.  I know there is an issue, I know how to solve it, I take steps to solve it, and then BAM – one reason or another it falls apart.

Right now I’m in the middle of trying…again (story of my life).  As we speak I can tell you what I need to do and how to do it.  I have water and an apple sitting at my desk.  I am going to take a walk at lunch.  This week I plan on going to the gym Tuesday – Sunday without exception.  Will my will-power hold up?  Will I stay away from all those horrible foods?  Will the love I have for myself and her win out finally?  Will I take this chance to finally find normal again?

The blanket and Schrödinger

Last Sunday on Silicon Valley three of the shows best characters went on a thought experiment ride. Jared, Dinesh, and Gilfoyle talked about Schrödinger’s Cat – a quantum physics thought experiment. The gist is a cat is locked in a box with poison. The fate of the cat is unknown to the people outside of the box. Meaning, at that precise moment the cat is both alive and dead. Only when we peek into the box do we force reality onto the situation causing an outcome. So in theory our observing the object inside the box causes the outcome.

I most likely butchered the premise – but you get the point. Once you look inside at the cat then the outcome has been decided.

At the same time this week my daughter phoned us from one of her many stays at her Grandma’s to inform me that she had recently decided to box up her favorite blanket. She said it was time to grow up and put it away. I went all mad dad and demanded that the blanket be removed from the box and for her to not worry about such things!

The tears in her eyes could be felt over the phone – I’m sure sometime in the past I had made remarks about needing to put the blanket up to save it. But I meant more in the distant future when she was heading to college. Far be it for me the man whose childhood teddy bear sits in his daughter’s room as we speak to tell her when to let go of the past.

When she came home the next day I tried to explain to her that there was no need to box up her favorite blanket. That she is just a 6-year-old little girl and to ENJOY her childhood. There was no rush to get to the adult stuff like boxing up your favorite possession. I then went on a rip about never growing up! Don’t do what others want you to do and be an adult – have fun and enjoy life!

While I sit here at lunch on a Friday, the two moments collided inside my head. The cat in the box and my daughter’s blanket. What if your life is inside of a box right now, or was. Right before you open it there are a million ways it could play out. A world-class athlete. A drug addict. Married with 8 kids. Married with no kids. An astronaut. Anything and everything you could think of all happening at once! Then you opened it up and BAM! There was the start of a series of events that will lead you to right now. Can you remember the moment when you let go of everything that could be and you ended up here? Was it worth opening up the box? What if instead of opening it up you just threw the box away and did everything?  What if putting a blanket in a box is opening up something else?

Very deep for a dad – but I think there is that feeling with a lot of us. That even though we wouldn’t trade our families or loved ones away for a different future, that somewhere a long the way we remember a point in time where an event caused the life we have today and we wish we would have done things different. We wish we would have kept the lid on the future closed and just did it all instead of this. That having infinite potential for everything was so much more colorful and exciting then being good at numbers and copying papers.

I don’t want my little girl to box up a blanket – I want her to be a kid forever. Even if it’s just a kid at heart. I want her to hold onto her blanket and look at that life box and imagine all of the things she could be and try them all!! Don’t open the lid and pick one path – live the infinite possibilities and get everything you can out of the short time you have.

I’m sure there will be some asshole out there that might read this and think to themselves, “Well that’s the problem with today’s world, no one wants to grow up and be an adult!”. No, that’s the problem with the world, EVERYONE wants to grow up and be an adult. Adults cause war, poverty, global epidemics, etc. Adults become greedy and self-centered and we create these horrible situations in life that we then force our children to deal with instead of being kids.

How quickly would it all go away if we thought like a child? How happy would we all be if instead of us living out one life we thought we should, we shared in the joy of life and tried everything with everyone? We kept the lid down as long as we could. Each of us lived out a million possible potentials while loving each other like we did when we were kids.  Meh maybe nothing would get done and the world would fall apart.  But would it really be worse then what we are living in today?

Maybe we are all living out a life we didn’t want and we just want our blankets back…

Potty Monster

A great debate in the house is the use of bathrooms in the office.  Basically, should anyone use the bathroom in the office or just keep it in until they go home.  This is also boiling down to just number 2 on the potty chart.

Right off the bat – I am pro-pooper.  Let’er rip good buddy!  I can’t think of a lot of health benefits from holding in shit all day – plus I would much rather haunt the noses of my co-workers then make the wife and children suffer.  What’s nice about my office – it’s all single use bathrooms – which means every time is Nick time.

That wasn’t always the case though – some places I have worked have been multiple stale bathrooms.  OK then – challenge accepted.  Handicap stale anyone?  It’s like having a New York City sized apartment just for going to the bathroom.  So much more room for activities!  But why would someone be anti pooper at the workplace if you have the chance for single stale AND you aren’t stinking up the home.

Modesty perhaps.  Maybe some find it rude to force people you work with to such horrific events like pooing…hell if I know…I’m an asshole.

Coffee shops in Cow towns

We live in a cow town. For you city folk – that means that a majority of the money flowing into this town comes from beef processing. Ever wonder what cow’s blood smells like when it burns? I know the smell.  Locals will tell you it’s the smell of money – yea money and death and processed beef and then probably cancer. 

Despite all the hicks and honkies surrounding me – we still have a few nice little coffee shops with local art hung about. 

I’m sitting in one right mow…blogging mow. And it’s GREAT! No one is here. Well a few people. But most Greeley folk are at McDonalds or Starlordbucks getting their java on. And good for them. Stay out of the art filled coffee shops you shit smelling walmart shopping fucker. You have your plastic cups of coffee filled and it’s a full day of shopping and cleaning for you. Please just leave my wife and I alone in our lovely little coffee shop. 

I’m sure this is what people in places like New York or Paris or Portland feel like when people like me coming walking by. Point taken New Yorkers – I will keep my Midwest ass out of your town – I don’t belong. But if you see a guy in a cowboy hat smelling of blood and shit he isn’t with me.