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  • 01/01/17--05:41: Adios, 2016
  • The term "zeitgeist" has fallen out of popular use, which is funny because 2016 is the type of year with a really distinct one. It'll be interesting to see what 2017 holds, because I've always maintained that it wasn't a particularly bad year for celebrity deaths, but a tipping point into what the future of celebrity death will hold. The older movie stars and younger musicians we lost are from eras when their artistic genres began to explode, so there are just more of them around than there used to be. Not to mention the fact that there are tons of older musicians still out there touring.

    The more dreadful aspect is politics. Election years are awful because of the endless campaign and looming threat of the shift of power to republicans, and now they have it all. Trump's behavior is so bad, it's like he's trying to get out of a job he doesn't really want to do, but that he'll also take as much advantage as possible while trying to be excised from office.

    That's really all I have to say about it. Mostly I just wanted to mark the occasion with a quick entry while I drink my coffee before I head out for my walk. We didn't do anything for NYE last night and haven't in a few years, but have enjoyed our own tradition of New Year's Day bloody marys (bloody marias for me) for five or six years now. It ended up happening because Bev gave us a pack of five different bloody mary spices for Christmas one year, and we had a fantastic time drinking them while watching a marathon of My Strange Addiction. Hopefully there will be an equally good TV marathon today, but we haven't been as lucky in that department since that first one.

    EDIT: I lied, we're drinking caesars instead of marys. Much tastier.

    Happy New Year!

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  • 01/02/17--12:44: Blerg
  • Yesterday's walk was a shitshow, mainly due to my decisions. It'd been a long time since I went to Lowell and when I saw it was foggy out, I figured it'd be really neat down there. But it was a freezing fog, which I discovered when I slid on a patch of ice at the top of the stairs at the entrance of the park. The stairs were completely iced over, so I turned around and headed North on the street, planning to enter by the new houses being built. The walk was pretty treacherous the entire way, with little patches of ice everywhere.


    The construction site certainly looked neat with so many of the staged homes lit up in the fog.


    The path really wasn't any better than the street was, and I eventually turned back so I could make my way out on the gravel trails. This is from right before I headed back up the hill.


    This was the first time I ever dumped out my hydration pack to find any unmelted ice cubes still inside. That may be due more to the shorter walk than to the temperature outside, though.


    Yesterday"s awesome walk, 3.89 miles in 1:22, 8,771 steps
    3.89 miles in 1:22, 8,771 steps

    If I could do it over again, I'd go in the way I came out and spend the entire time on the gravel trails. Or just go to the island instead.

    The fog was still thick for the drive home. A lot of people don't like driving in fog, but I always have. It's neat.

    Unfortunately, my lower back hurt a lot during the walk and having to walk like a penguin much of the time to avoid falling didn't help matters. I stayed in this morning (mostly due to yesterday's festivities) and will probably spend the rest of the week doing yoga and swimming. The timing's good, as this will be a very busy week at work. I've got lots of testing to do, and lots of documentation to write and update.

    Today we've watched the first four episodes of Travelers and are on the second episode of The Crown. Both are Netflix originals and are great so far.

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  • 01/03/17--14:35: Upside-down day
  • Kicking off a week of swimming and yoga on a Tuesday was funny, because Tuesday and Thursday were when I used to swim, but I switched to Monday and Wednesday once an obnoxious swim team started hogging up the whole deep end during open swim hours. Since I didn't want to go over there and possibly run into them, I did yoga this morning and went for the noon open swim.

    It's weird being there with tons of people I've never seen and wonder if they're regulars or not. I see mostly the same people in the mornings whenever I go and enjoy seeing how consistent everyone is. And surely people think the same thing about me.

    There was a nice post about Alien vs Predator on tumblr recently that made me want to see the movie again. It's not a masterpiece by any means, but there's some stuff to like about it. Netflix doesn't have it on DVD or streaming, and you have to pay to stream it on Amazon. I was able to find a DVD on eBay to buy for about the same price as a one-time Amazon rental, so I just went ahead and bought it.

    It was cheaper to buy this on eBay than to stream it on Amazon. Netflix doesn"t have it at all.

    I went from having a huge VHS library growing up, to having a lot of DVDs, to buying almost no DVDs for years. I've put a lot of mileage on my Netflix account and don't mind waiting a few days for a DVD. But it's definitely disappointing when they don't have a title, and that's pretty much the only reason I'll buy a DVD any more.

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  • 01/04/17--17:25: Hooboy
  • It was so cold this morning, my beard froze in the ten seconds or so it took to walk from the swim center to my car. Snapchat said 21 degrees.

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  • 01/05/17--15:53: At least the timing's good
  • It was even colder after this morning's swim than after yesterday's. 18 degrees! I ended up sitting in the car with the heat on for quite a while, because I went to meet the woman who gave me the owl dish a couple of months ago. She recently had a glass bird on our Buy Nothing group that I wanted, but I couldn't go pick it up that night because I'd already had wine by the time I saw her post. She contacted me yesterday to let me know she saved it for me because she likes the air plant I gave her last time so much, so the plan was that I'd head over after my swim. Unfortunately, she didn't realize her Messenger alerts were off, so after ten minutes I left. She got in touch a while later, and after I had lunch with my friend Kristen, I picked it up.

    Tacky glass bird

    It's so tacky, I love it. It'll live our on the deck with one of our metal roosters.

    After three days of swimming and yoga (both every day) I may attempt a walk in the morning. The timing of this cold snap has been good because I wasn't out there each morning, but we won't be all the way out of it tomorrow. The forecasted low temperature is 27, which is certainly better than 18, so that's good. I'd swim, but I asked one of the lifeguards if the annoying team has been around, and she said they switched to Fridays, but it's been a few weeks. And I can't do the noon session because I'm picking Barbara up at noon to take her out for lunch and grocery shopping.

    I got a lot of work done today, as well as my weekly chores. There are a few other things I could get done, but I need a break.

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  • 01/06/17--08:18: SchadenFriday

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  • 01/06/17--11:09: Baby steps
  • My last walks were a week ago, 5+ miles in the morning and the afternoon, just shy of 11 miles total. My lower back was already unhappy by that time, and that second walk basically finished me off. I feel a bit better after three days of an hour of swimming and the 20-minute Yoga for Your Back routine I always turn to when this happens. So I went down to the tank farm, even though it was cold as hell. I forgot to bring my mp3 player, so it wasn't as fun. At least I saw some good graffiti.


    Today"s awesome walk, 3.24 miles in 1:03, 7,001 steps
    3.24 miles in 1:03, 7,001 steps

    I was originally planning to head over to Mukilteo Beach because the tide was low, but I was cut off by a very long line of ferry traffic. That was fine, because it's even colder over there due to wind coming off the water. And I was happy with my first walk of the week being a shorter one. Don't want to overdo it.

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  • 01/07/17--08:25: CATURDAY

  • BONUS Saturdogs

    Many thanks to:
    Animals Being Dicks
    Señor Gif
    k00l 4 k@+z
    Almost Famous Cats
    Cats, Beavers & Ducks
    Derpy Cats
    Every Day is Caturday
    Cats and Dogs
    And everyone else who happened to put a cat or dog where I ended up seeing it this week!

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  • 01/08/17--16:13: A use for the cold
  • Thinking I'd head out a little later than I have been on Sundays so I wouldn't have to wait as long for the sun to come up, I moved my alarm from 4:30am to 5:00. But Steve meowed at my door at 4:15 or so and I could only let him lay directly on my chest for pets for so long. So I was out of bed and making coffee by 4:45, and got to my parking spot at about 6:00.


    It was a nice morning, though. A little warmer than it has been, and a lot more comfortable, even if that first part by the river is always the coldest. There was a good view again of the headlights shimmering on the water when I got to the part that runs parallel to the highway.

    I made my way Northwest as usual to the point where I usually turn around, and did just that. But when I got to the part I've always wanted to go but couldn't because it was muddy, I realized I finally could. A week of below-freezing temperatures left all the mud frozen solid and all the water frozen in sheets.


    That last one's my favorite photo of the day. But I was also happy to finally be able to get up close to this tree.


    After that, I climbed up on what I thought was just a big hill of dirt that I've always seen by the mud, some more newly-walkable land stretched out behind that. And I have no idea what it was ever for, but a big stretch of that land is covered with large beams of wood.


    Then I went further-than-ever-before to the East, and then realized what I should really do was go back to that first Northwest part and keep going. There's a gate you can climb through, but I've always turned back there because it was muddy beyond it. Not today!


    I could have gone quite a bit further, but I'd already gone 5.5 miles and knew I was at least a few miles from the car, so I turned back. Some time when the weather's warmer and the sun's up earlier, I'll follow it all the way to the end.

    On the way back, I got a good look at how icy everything around there really was. I could tell in the dark that it was a lot of ice, but couldn't really make it out until then.


    Yesterday"s awesome walk, 8.26 miles in 2:56, 18,754 steps
    8.26 miles in 2:56, 18,754 steps

    After last week's backaches, I really only wanted to go about five miles today, but the opportunities to explore were irresistible. Hopefully I won't regret it, but tomorrow's a swim day anyway.

    The drive home wasn't super interesting, but I processed the video anyway.

    The rest of the day has been cooking, chores, and watching lots of episodes of Travelers on Netflix. I really like this show and hope it does well.

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  • 01/09/17--15:01: Swoga
  • Every time I go swimming I get a few minutes into it before I see someone grab some dumbbells on their way to the pool. Not the regular kind, but the ones that float. Every time, I think, I should look up how to use those when I go home. Then I forget until the next time I'm in the pool. This has been going on for weeks, but I finally remembered just now, because I sat down to type about something else I tried today.

    I did three days of yoga with swimming last week and figured I should try combining the two. Not that paddleboard yoga that's all the rage. That sounds awful. It takes the fun out of being in the pool and adds extra frustration to the yoga. Pass! But I figured a lot of the benefits I get from yoga come from all the bending and twisting, so why not do more of that while I'm treading water? There's no way to do a plank in the deep end, but you can easily do a variation on a cat-cow or a reclined twist. So I was moving around all sorts of different ways in the pool today, and enjoyed it a lot.

    Just now while looking for dumbbell exercises, I was beginning to worry that they were all standing exercises for the shallow end, but then halfway through the second video I found one that's paired with kicking while leaning forward a bit and floating, so I'll give that a shot Wednesday.

    Saturday we went to brunch with Lisa and I wore the second of the shirts Garrett got me for Christmas.


    The cucumber in my water seemed apprehensive, but the bloodies all seemed happy to be there.


    The current air plant setup in the kitchen, not including the two in refrigerator magnet holders.


    Sam and Steve enjoying some cuddle time.


    The mise en place from yesterday's Blue Apron lunch, guacamole burgers with roasted sweet potato and red onion. Good stuff.


    And it's been a very busy week for my barber. She decided to stop taking cash because a lot of the smaller businesses in the neighborhood have been robbed lately, and hopes that a "no cash" sign out front will signal that any would-be robbers should keep walking. Our local independent blogger gets his hair cut there, and wrote a story about it, which caught the attention of the local Fox, ABC, and CBS affiliates. She happened to be only one of two reasons I ever used cash, the other being lottery tickets. Plus I make sure there's some money in my checking account when I go to WinCo because they only take cash, check, and debit.

    Sam with a ping pong ball:

    Steve being creepy:

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  • 01/10/17--17:10: Holiday remnants
  • As I headed out the door today, I hadn't decided yet if I should go to the river at Lowell or the marina, but the marina won out. It looked a little foggy and I was in the mood for a foggy marina, but it was clear down there. Most of the holiday decorations are gone down there, just a few boat lights left.


    When I got there, the Boeing Glow wasn't much to look at, but I was fascinated by the huge plumes rising up from there. But every time I looked back, it looked cooler.


    Seriously, it started to look like a sunrise or something. I took that last photo pulled out more to show that you can see the tank farm where I walk on Thursdays on the right, plus Boeing, which means Japanese Gulch is one of the dark areas on the hill leading up. I really miss all the trails there and am starting to look forward to Summer more than I ever have in my entire life. Or at least since I was in school.

    Today's special.


    Today"s awesome walk, 5.69 miles in 1:50, 12,232 steps
    5.69 miles in 1:50, 12,232 steps

    I had a little time for a shower and breakfast, then I got my hair cut. She always does a great job.

    Got my ears lowered.

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  • 01/11/17--18:49: Blerg
  • I got a nice solid start on a big, long test case this morning before taking a break to hit the pool. Today I retired the colorful suit on the left and used the black one for the first time.

    Old swimsuit, new swimsuit

    I really liked that one on the left, but the leg holes got progressively looser. For the last two swims, I added a swim jock just in case, and wasn't super worried. But on Monday when I got out of the pool, I could see the leg flapping around in my reflection in the window. That style of swimsuit's just not supposed to move around that much. The black one's the exact same brand and size, and worked great today, so now we wait. My hope is that it was just a manufacturing defect and the new one will last much longer, and if that's the case, I may have found my new favorite suit. If it stretches out, too, I've got one more in blue, and then it'll be time to move on, or do the math and figure out if they're still worth it. I got them for $7 or so, so they might still be worth it. That's really why I post about things like this, so I can go back and look.

    My barber gave me some treats her cat didn't like yesterday, but I left them behind, so she asked me to show up today while yet another news crew came to film. That took way longer than I thought it would, but that's fine. I hit the Asian grocery store for some treats and a banh mi on the way home, and found a nice rice paper item in the deli I hadn't had before. So lunch became that and half a banh mi, and then I got back to work.

    Long story short, a small mistake like a typo can have a big impact on a long test, so I ended up re-doing everything. Then I had what I thought were different results than the developer and had to consult him about that. The matter is still ongoing, as he's in Georgia an probably hasn't seen my last email.

    Dinner tonight is amazing. I say "is" because I'm slowly savoring it. It's spicy shrimp and Korean rice cakes from Blue Apron, and it's one of the best recipes of theirs I've made. The reason I'm savoring it so slowly is that the portion isn't very big, and I don't want it to be over right away.


    I've never had Korean rice cakes before, but I really like them. Hope I can find them locally and wish I knew how great they are when I was at the store where I'm likely to find them, earlier today.

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  • 01/12/17--16:42: Blerger
  • With a 7am doctor appointment today, I was expected to be checked in and ready at 6:45. Thus, no time this morning for a walk or a swim. Aside from the appointment, I was banging away at the very complicated work I have to do this week. I'm finally close to the end of that, though. Not wanting to miss my Thursday walk at the tank farm, I headed over at noon. It was cold, sunny, and weird. Pictures with no clouds at all just look strange to me.


    Someone sat around down there tearing up what appears to be a lovely book.


    So many people were out. I'm always thinking how weird it is that the parks and beaches are so underutilized, but they just appear to be because I'm such an early bird. I even saw people in an area beyond that crane thing playing with a dog in the water, flagrantly ignoring the NO TRESPASSING signs.


    Today"s awesome walk, 2.69 miles in 58 minutes, 6,175 steps
    2.69 miles in 58 minutes, 6,175 steps

    I should probably just take the day off if I can't get a workout in early. I never have a good time or get very far when it's later.

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  • 01/13/17--11:53: SchadenFriday

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  • 01/14/17--05:27: CATURDAY

  • RIP Mama and Tuna

    BONUS Saturdogs

    Many thanks to:
    Animals Being Dicks
    Señor Gif
    k00l 4 k@+z
    Almost Famous Cats
    Cats, Beavers & Ducks
    Derpy Cats
    Every Day is Caturday
    Cats and Dogs
    And everyone else who happened to put a cat or dog where I ended up seeing it this week!

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  • 01/15/17--18:25: Phew
  • Quite a busy day. The plan was to meet our friends Scott and Paige at the Boeing factory tour at 10am, which I thought left me plenty of time to walk as much as I'd want to, but as I was getting close to the four-mile mark, I started to figure out when I'd need to turn back, and that I was about ten minutes from that time. Because being somewhere by 10:00 meant getting to my car by 9:00 so I could be back in time to shower and choke down some breakfast before we left at 9:50. I ended up really hurrying on the way back, and am glad for that, because even with the extra 15 minutes I ended up with, I barely finished my breakfast exactly at 9:50. It's really not my style at all to run late or even be just barely on time, so it was pretty stressful. But I still had a fun morning and got further on that course than I ever have. I'll probably go back in the morning because I don't work tomorrow and don't have any plans until my sister-in-law shows up at noon.

    There sky was completely clear, so the sunrise was pretty boring when it finally happened. But it was amazing while it was still dark out, due to the creeping dawn on one side and the bright moon on the other.


    One thing that was weird to see today was that the water wasn't shimmering at all, because it was frozen.


    Well, some of it was.


    It was a bummer to have to turn back when I did, but at least there was some cool fog at that point.


    One advantage to the very clear sky was a nice view of Tahoma (Mt. Rainier).


    Frozen beard. So butch.


    As I was composing this shot, I missed the best possible version of it. A huge flock of geese flew in formation right between me and the moon, appearing slightly lower than it. That would have looked amazing.


    Today"s awesome walk, 8.09 miles in 2:30, 16,923 steps
    8.09 miles in 2:30, 16,923 steps

    One really cool thing at the Future of Flight museum at Boeing was this huge satellite photo of the area printed on the floor. That's Japanese Gulch, and a little bit of the tank farm. I was even able to find Barbara's last house on it. This was when we finally got our phones back after the tour. You can't bring them into the plant, which is a shame, because that place is amazing.


    Scott, Sloane, Pierce Paige, and Garrett on the ferry. We just took a quick ride to Whidbey Island and back after brunch, before bringing them here to show them the house. A very fun day, but we're completely wiped out.

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  • 01/16/17--16:12: #1/#11
  • Yesterday as I rushed back to the car I decided I'd try to beat my all-time distance record of 14.54 miles today. But a while later, I made lunch plans for today with my sister-in-law, and didn't want to find myself in the same situation I was in yesterday. It would take me about five hours to go 15 miles, I started my walk at 6:15, and Maria was due here at noon. So I figured I'd at least beat my Everett record, which was 10.2 miles. Plenty of time to do that.


    I was out for a very long time this morning and thankfully there were clouds today, so I took a lot of photos. Click any of these to get to flickr to see more.

    It was strangely bright when I got there and I found the reason why.


    Nice start to a gorgeous sunrise.


    One thing I really liked was these trees that blended into the background while their reflections showed up very clearly.


    I've been wondering where the area they'll be flooding soon to create a new salmon habitat will be, and I think I may have found it today.


    Today was the first time I saw a boat this size going through the slough! It was pulling a bunch of timber.


    The hydration pack I'm currently using has nice big pockets and I was finally smart enough to bring breakfast. It really wasn't great, but I wasn't expecting it to be. A Safeway bagel with ham, egg, sharp cheddar, and Swiss, which I made in a hurry yesterday before we went to Boeing. I needed something to eat and figured I could just as easily make two at once. Even though it was just so-so, it was really nice to have on such a long walk.

    Today"s awesome walk, 11.55 miles in 3:50, 25,183 steps
    11.55 miles in 3:50, 25,183 steps

    It was tempting when I got to the car to do another three miles to beat the record, but it would have been another hour and lots of people were starting to show up. 11.55 miles is now my longest Everett walk, and my 11th longest walk of all time.

    Toward the end of the walk, I was annoyed by a bunch of hunters I found shooting at ducks on the side of the park where hunting isn't allowed, who got there in a boat even though they also aren't allowed. It was nice to have an hour to relax before lunch. Tuesday's not normally a swim day, but it might be tomorrow, depending on how my back and shins feel after today.

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  • 01/17/17--17:17: Article 0
  • I haven't mentioned Friday's swim yet. I finally remembered to try those floating dumb bell things toward the end and was surprised how uncoordinated they made me feel. Turns out my arms are a much bigger part of my swimming than I realized, and while I had my hands full, I could barely move through the water. Using them was weird, too, because pushing them down in the water would push me up out of it. I did three sets of three different moves and got back to my regular swimming. Maybe someday if I see that there's a convenient class, I'll try them again.

    The plan was to swim again today since I walked so far yesterday and there was a good chance I'd wake up all kinds of sore. Especially because I twisted my ankle around the five-mile mark. Even though I was totally fine, there's no reason to push my luck. It was nice, but the deep end crowd was really working my nerves. Three people swam back and forth and two more were going in circles around the outer edge while I was just trying to mind my own business in the corner. There's really nowhere in the pool you can go to completely avoid them all if you just want to tread water in place, but at least in the corner I can face the windows most of the time.

    I guess it's less awkward for everyone else because they chat while they're nearly running into each other, but I listen to music while I swim, so I can't do much more than a friendly, "good morning!"

    The lava lamps are interesting tonight.


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  • 01/18/17--17:15: Wind chillin'
  • Sometimes I get to my walking location and instantly regret not going somewhere else, but I almost never get back in the car and go somewhere else. Today's one of those times I should have. Snapchat said it was 47 degrees out, but with the rain and the wind, it felt more like 27. But I was determined to press on. And I'm glad, because I saw some interesting stuff, like all this heavy equipment on the railroad tracks. There was more than I could fit in one photo.


    Today's special. Or maybe yesterday's. I have no idea when they update the sign. So I'll just call them "today's."


    The moon has been shockingly bright all week and still is as it wanes.


    A lovely scene on the way back to the car.


    Today"s awesome walk, 7.13 miles in 2:14, 15,044 steps
    7.13 miles in 2:14, 15,044 steps

    It's been a while since I've been so far North on this route. The extra distance is nice, but that street is so loud and busy that it's mentally draining to do it.

    I don't post a lot of food here, but breakfast today was really lovely. Onion bagel with cream cheese, Mediterranean-style (sun-dried tomato and olive oil) tuna, and kalamata olives, plus a pickle spear and some tomatoes. So delicious that I barely noticed how disappointing Safeway bagels are.


    My friend Kristen put in a big wholesale order of air plants and let me add my requests to it, so I went over to her house today to pick those up and have lunch. When I got there, she was across the street with another woman who had a dog, trying to get a lost young German shepherd to come to them. It wasn't working out, so I went over and grabbed it by its collar, which unfortunately had no tags. While Kristen borrowed a leash from another neighbor, I continued to hold him, then the other woman tied her dog to a tree and took over with the lost dog so we could go to lunch. She originally called the city non-emergency number to be connected to animal control and got voice mail, so she called the police, who I was surprised to learn were on their way. Hopefully the dog is chipped.

    When we finally went up to Kristen's house, her kittens were waiting in the window.


    They're quite rambunctious, but we played with them enough to get them to sleep a while, and this one spent quite a bit of time just watching the room.


    And I spotted this delightful water pattern on my car as I left.


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  • 01/19/17--16:04: Not a doorbuster
  • Lately I've been leaving a little bit later for the pool because it's nice not to ever have to wait in line to get in. Plus while the shower has seven or so heads, it feels crowded with three people in it. Getting there ten minutes after they open ensures I generally have the locker room to myself. I got there a little early today and waited until I saw all these people go in when they unlocked the door, noting there was only one man in the group.


    After my swim, I had a very productive shopping trip at WinCo and Trader Joe's. Speaking of which, I still need to get the bagels and wine out of my car. Wish I thought of that earlier, as I could have included "slice all the bagels and get them into the freezer" in my burst of productivity earlier. Without that, the list still included bathing the air plants, cleaning my CPAP, and doing a load of dishes. I forgot to water the vertical garden, but I often forget that and end up doing it on Fridays.

    Speaking of things I forget, I'm trying to establish a new fiber habit. I was taking capsules with my morning blood pressure pill and heartburn prevention, but when I went to buy more, I saw fiber gummies. I love gummy candy and and so glad I found an excuse to eat a couple every day! But I don't want them in the morning, so I'm trying to remember to eat them after lunch. Whenever I think about it, I say, "Lunch dessert!" and say it again when I open the cabinet door to get them. Maybe one day I won't have to do that any more, but I doubt it. I worry so much about leaving the garage door open, that I sing about it to the tune of whatever is on the radio when I start the car, and if I don't do that, I worry it's still open.

    I want a webcam in the garage so I can check if the door's closed using my phone.

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