250,000 Words




Today is a special day for me.  Not because of the leap year.  It's something I have been working on for almost a year. Today I hit 250,000 words on 750words.com.  250 thousand!!!  250K!  A quarter of a million! I never thought I would reach this number.

I stumbled across 750words.com in April 2011 and have been writing every day since then.  I have passed many goals - 10 days, 30 days, 100,000 words, and now a biggie - 250,000 words. I could say I never thought I would get here, but part of me always knew I would. It was just a matter of time. It just makes me feel really good that I did it. That I could stick with something this long and reach my goal. I haven't felt that way in a long time.

I use my writing for different purposes. Most days I just write whatever is on my mind. Some days I use my time to write posts in my blog. I have been doing this a lot recently, trying to find my voice. Some days I just dread writing and it seems like it takes forever to reach 750 words. Those are usually the days that I have forgotten to write in the morning and have to write before I go to bed. I am not good at writing at night. I much prefer the morning. 

I rarely go over my words unless I am particularly inspired. The most I have written is 1,000 words.  That happened just one. Today I wrote over 900 words. I had a mission, though. I wanted to reach that magic number.

So today I am going to celebrate my achievement and then start working towards my next goal - 1 full year of writing!





If you grew up in the 70s you most likely remember the Life cereal with Mikey.  Two little boys are looking at the cereal and neither want to try it. They decide to give it to Mikey to try knowing, "he won't eat it. He hates everything." To their surprise Mikely loves the cereal and gobbles it down.  Of course, I just had to get Life cereal! Unfortunately, unlike Mikey, I didn't like it. My grandma didn't let me off the hook, though. I had to eat that cereal until the entire box was done. I learned a lesson - don't try new food.

Those days were filled with long, endless summers of playing in the sprinkler, staying out until dark and just being a kid. Being anxious to grow up I begged my grandma to let me mow the lawn. Begged, begged, begged. Obviously, my fear of new foods didn't slip over to new experiences. Finally she let me. Like Life cereal I didn't like it. Also, like Life cereal I was stuck with it. However, this wasn't just a box, it was for the rest of my childhood and teen years.

I cannot begin to tell you how much I loathed yard work. It was the most horrible thing I did during those years. Every Saturday I woke up dreading mowing the lawn and trimming those prickly hedges. When I moved away for college that was one thing I didn't miss. In fact, I have never missed it. I have been happily living in apartments my entire adult life. Until last October.

We don't have a very large yard. In fact, the front consists of seven rose bushes and an overgrown bougainvillea. (We do have a backyard, but one thing at a time.) While this yard isn't large it was overgrown. Way, overgrown.  The bougainvillea was at least 12 high and equally as wide.  The rose bushes were also totally overgrown and surrounded by weeds. Joey and I have been very adept at ignoring this mess in the front.  The bougainvillea was a great landmark for friends looking for our house and the rose bushes each had one, yes one, flower on them so we couldn't trim them. We both toyed with the idea of doing yard work, but didn't get much further than ordering a lot of gardening tools and a few paris of really cute gardening gloves on Amazon. Once the items arrived we displayed them decoratively in our office and eventually hid them away in the garage.  Maybe if we just waited long enough the bougainvillea would bloom again and we could put this off until next year.  Well, we couldn't.

Yesterday I decided that I was going to tackle this hideous project. I took the day off and had it all planned out. When I woke up I was not very thrilled at the task ahead of me. However, I was excited to try on those cute gloves, so I had some motivation.  Downstairs I went and set up my tools. Well, it wasn't that easy, I had to find them and they were hidden behind other Amazon purchases we had made. Ah! There they are! I set up all my tools neatly in a row and tried on the gloves.  They're elbow length and quite glamorous. I stood there admiring myself for a moment. "This isn't so bad." I thought. "In fact, it's quite manly and fashionable all at once!" Armed in my glamour I went out to tackle those bushes.

They yard work was typical pruning, pulling, sweeping and cleaning up. Not much different than when I was a kid. Something was different, though. I found myself actually enjoying this. With each clip I liked it more and more and before I knew it I was finished. I didn't wasn't to be finished, though. I wanted to do more. I liked it!

At that moment I realized that you're never too old to try discover things, even for the second time. We are constantly changing and growing and something that we didn't like before might just be something we love now. I wonder what else is out there for me to rediscover? I'll think about that over my bowl of Life cereal.

TGIF


Today marks a turning point for us.  We no longer need contractors!  Our kitchen is complete.  Well, the contractors job is complete.  We still need to move in. I can't begin to tell you how excited we both are for this. We have had our kitchen in our dining room for about two months.  While that is not an overly long time, it's been a bit of a nuisance. We both have felt like we were living under these huge projects and now they are finally done.  

I was looking back over the pictures of this place and am really impressed with all Joey  and I have done in a short amount of time.  Repainting, refinishing the floors, completely new kitchen.  It doesn't even look like the same place. I wish I would have blogged about it, but thankfully we did take pictures. Lots of them. I decided that I am going to blog about the process now that it's slowed down a bit. If I would have been blogging while it was going on, it would have been super whiney. We don't want that.

So, here's to a great productive long weekend. Moving into the kitchen and a special anniversary dinner at Michael Minna.  It's going to be a very, very good weekend.


Sunrise in Daly City



Today when I opened the curtains in the music room (our fancy name for our office) the sun was just beginning to rise and the moon still hadn't decided to go to bed yet.  Once again it was a beautiful day in Daly City and I was loving it. I was so afraid to move here and now I can't think of living anywhere else. It's beautiful.

It seems silly to think I got myself so worked up about the move from San Francisco to Daly City. Honestly, we only live 15 minutes from my old place and about three minutes from the city. I was scared to death. I was so busy fearing change that I didn't see anything, let alone a beautiful sunset. All I saw was a house that needed a lot of work.

It seems to me that when we let the fear get the best of us we only see the negative. We justify our fears with it. Then we let it consume us. When we finally step back and let go of the fear, whether out of wisdom or shear exhaustion, we see things for what they are.  We see things like a beautiful sunrise on a Thursday morning.


Snacking Works!


Well, at least healthy snacking does.  For the last week I have been trying my hand at what everyone says is the healthy way to eat - small meals all day long. I feel like I am snacking all day, but I guess you could say I am having small meals. About six a day. I wrote about doing this last week and pretty much stuck with that plan. I have oatmeal in the morning, then small snacks of fruit, crackers, yogurt, cheese and nuts throughout the day. (Not all at once, of course.)  I also have a small lunch.  In addition to all that I am drinking at least six glasses of water a day.

So, the results? Well, I just about peed my pants when I stepped on the scale and saw I had lost 6.4 pounds.  This is AFTER Joey and I had a piggy brunch on Saturday!  SIX POINT FOUR pounds! I had to get off the scale and move it to another room to make sure.  Unbelievable.

I know loosing isn't going to be a weekly thing, but I am sticking to this small meal business. I feel better and I am obviously losing weight.  Plus, I am actually enjoying all the snacks. The key is planning, planning, planning. Speaking of, I had better go pack up that Laughing Cow!



I'm Grouchy!


Today I woke up in a really bad mood. Things were just going wrong left and right. Not big things, but lots and lots of little things that added that perfect amount of annoyance that made me grouchy.  I was mad at everyone. Worse yet, I was totally scolding myself for being that way. I kept thinking what a bad person I was for being grouchy. Basically I was mad at myself, too. I felt that I had not grown a bit. Why couldn't I stop this anger I was having? It was in a very self-defeating situation.

Through all this anger I didn't once lash out at anyone or anything. I wanted to, but I didn't. I wanted to send a nasty email to Brookstone for losing my order and I wrote it, then I quickly deleted it and sent something much nicer. It wasn't Brookstone's fault I was having a bad morning. Then something occurred to me. I was growing. I was noticing my feelings but not acting them out. That's something. Actually, that's huge! I should be proud of myself not kicking myself. Suddenly, I felt a better about myself. I was still grouchy, but I was starting to feel better.

I am taking this little realization and adding it to my successes. I am not going to change overnight, but I can change. I already have. I am going to give myself credit for that.


Content

Mojoe content in the morning sun - February 9, 2012


con·tent

adjective
1.
satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more oranything else.


I have been thinking all morning what I am going to write about and I am coming up with a big blank. This usually only happens when I am in a bad mood or things are going wrong. Then it's not so much a blank, it's just not wanting to put into words all the yuck I am feeling. Today is different.

The blank I feel isn't a lonely blank. I don't feel like anything is missing. I don't feel alone. Quite the opposite really. I feel like everything is in place. Right now, in this moment everything is just as it should be. I feel content.

I am not used to feeling this way so my first reaction to this is to question it. I mean there has to be something wrong. Right? There is always something wrong. Life is all about drama. Well, at least in my head it is. Maybe I have changed. Maybe it's just getting older. Or, just maybe, I am getting wiser.

I am going to enjoy this feeling of contentment and not question it. I will savor it throughout the day and nothing is going to take this feeling away.  I am content.





The Final Stretch!



We are inches away from the finish line of our kitchen remodel. The picture is a little hint at our floors, but we don't want to post any pictures until we are completely moved in. I can't tell you how happy I am about this! In all honesty, this hasn't really taken that long. We started the kitchen in November and it's been pretty steady since then.  It's just that we still haven't really settled into our house at all.  We barely moved in and started all this business. We still have boxes somewhere in the dining room that are hidden away by all our kitchen stuff. We just want to feel like we really live here.

Today our plumber comes to put in new fixtures, connect the ice maker and fix up some odds and ends for us. Then Friday our tile man makes the final finishing touches.  This Saturday we move in!  Yay!  After that I am going to blog about it. I just really couldn't while it was happening. I would have sounded whiney and bitchy. I just let Marya and Sabrina deal with all that stuff. (Thanks for putting up with me!) There might not be any cooking on Cooking With Sean & Joey right now, but trust me there hasn't been any at our household, either!

It's Snack Time!


Dieting is kind of hard. It's not like I pig out all the time, but I am not used to watching what I eat. I have horrible eating habits.  I am the kind of person that skips breakfast, eats a little lunch then pigs out at dinner because I am so hungry.  Eating a burrito at 8 pm is not going to melt those pounds away!  I really need to eat better.

I have finally decided to take the advice of all those doctors and nutritionalists and eat small meals throughout the day. Yesterday was my first go at it. It wasn't as hard as I thought, but it took a little planning.  I started off with a bowl of oatmeal. I actually liked it.  It also kicked my metabolism into high gear and I was hungry the rest of the day. I armed myself with small packets I had prepared of healthy snacks:

Banana
25 Pretzel Sticks
Orange
16 Wheat Thins & Laughing Cow Cheese
Small lunch - Tuna Casserole

I didn't think I would eat all these things, but I did. I know the counting of the pretzels and the wheat things seems obsessive, but it really helps me keeping it to a reasonable portion and I was always satisfied.  The one thing I did notice is that I felt piggy. I really felt like I was eating all day long. At the end of the day when I tallied up my Weight Watchers points I was worried that I would go over.  Guess what? I only used half my points! I ate all day long and still had points to spare!

You know with a little planning and effort on my part I can make big changes in the way I eat. My tummy's happy, my body's happy and I'm happy.

The Clean Cadet 3

I think Joey and I have a problem. We are addicted to remodeling. We certainly were never this way before, but ever since we moved into this house we are remodel junkies.  We are lured to Home Depot or Lowe's to get our fix. At home it's an endless stream of painting and fixing while one of us is online looking for that perfect faucet to match that toilet paper holder we just bought on eBay. It's serious.

Yesterday before the grout had even set in our kitchen floor we were off to Lowe's "to return something." Since were there we naturally had to look around a bit. We ended up in the plumbing section because, I don't know, we needed a front door or something. There we saw it. It was exactly what we needed. How could we have not thought about this before?! The Clean Cadet 3 High Efficiency Toilet with an EverClean® surface. We want this toilet. We need this toilet. We must buy this toilet.

We quickly pulled out our iPhones, took pictures of the box and every angle of the toilet so we could research it at home. That's when the crazy hit. On the side of the box it said clearly in big white letters: "No Tools Installation - Everything you need including step-by-step poster."

What? A poster?!!!

"Joey I bet we could install this ourselves. We won't even need to call the plumber."

"You know, I bet we can.  Let's go home and look it up online.  Maybe Jim is still there working on the floors and we can ask him if he thinks we can do it."

With our pictures safely in our iPhones we ran home to do our research.  (Well, we didn't run right home, we had to stop and JoAnne's to buy some thread and also a quick stop by Marshall's.) Once home we quickly got on the computer. Jim was still there working on the floors (beautiful!) but we wanted to at least know what we were talking about before we declared our intentions.

The first thing we found was a video from the Home Depot.









My goodness look how easy that looks!  All you really need to to do is make sure it's sealed.  It's like canning fruit!  That's settled we are going to do this! We ran into the kitchen and announced to Jim, "We are going to install our own toilet." He looked at us funny.

"What are you talking about?"

"Well," I said, "We saw a toilet we wanted and it said easy installation and we just watched a 3 minute video on YouTube, so we decided we could do it ourselves. Don't you think we can?"

There was really no reason for him to answer. The look said it all. But he did politely say, "It's possible." Right then we knew it wasn't.  Back to the computer we went. That's when we found this video.








There is no need to watch it. We both checked out at about the 20 second mark.

"What kind of screw did he say?"

"What's that waxy sticky stuff?"

"What kind of tool is that?!"

With that one video our hopes of being home plumbers were dashed. Of course we are still going to get the Clean Cadet 3. Please, we need it. However, I think we are going to save each other the agony of installing it ourselves then wondering each time we flush if the house is going to flood.

Suella's Most Excellent Hot Crab Dip




I figured since the "big game" was tomorrow I should post some kind of recipe. Not that I would have even known there was a game if E! hadn't mentioned Kelly Clarkson was signing the national anthem and had an easy act to follow.  (Poor Christina.)

This recipe came to me from my dear friend, Suella, who is one of the best cooks I know. She gave me permission to reprint it years ago, but I have been saving this for a special occasion.  I suppose the Super Bowl is special enough, but I want to take the time also celebrate Suella's discovery of some pretty amazing artistic talents!

This is one of the best crab dip recipes I have ever had and I think the secret is the apple cider.  I highly recommend this!

Have a great weekend!  Hope your team wins!

Suella's Most Excellent Hot Crab Dip

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces fresh crab meat (for for the good stuff)
  • 8 ounces salad shrimp2 packages (8 oz.) softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup apple juice or apple cider
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup cream of horseradish
  • Sliced almond (optional)


Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Mix all ingredients together until smooth.
  3. Place in a small backing dish (make sure there is a little room so it doesn't bubble over).
  4. Bake for 20 - 30 minutes until golden and bubbly.
  5. Top with sliced almonds and serve hot with crackers or bread.






Water


Another familiar road I am traveling again is Health Month.  If you have not heard of this site, you can read about it here.  It's really a great way for you to add some positive and healthy habits in my life.  Over the last few months, as Joey and I got busier I kind of let Health Month slip, then stopped altogether. I just had too much to think about and couldn't worry about the 20 rules that I had made for myself each month.  When I went back to it last week I found out something. It really works! Out of the 20 habits I had chosen a few months back there were some that I had totally adopted into my life!  The one habit I just can't seem to adopt is drinking water.

They say you should drink 8 glasses of water a day, but ask 20 doctors and you get 20 different answers. Dr. Oz says if you eat a healthy diet you don't need extra water as our food contains the water.  Others say to divide your weight in half and that's how many ounces you should drink. (To that I say, "No way, Jose.) I decided on six. Just six glasses of water a day spread out over the day. The one thing everyone does agree on is that your body can only absorb so much water at a time, so you really should spread it out.

Yesterday as I was forcing myself to drink my fourth glass of water for the day (I don't know why this is so hard for me) I started to think, "Why am I doing this?" Besides my Health Month promise I really couldn't think of an answer. Not wanting to miss an opportunity to divert myself from my real work I hopped on the internet to find out why.

Turns out there are lots of reasons.  Almost every function in our body depends on water. Drinking water helps us lose weight. It evens helps with cholesterol!  Knowing that my body will function better with more water somehow made drinking water seem easier. I am not doing it just because someone told me to.

I have set an easy goal of 6 glasses of water during the day. To remind me I keep a pitcher of water on my desk. Whenever I notice it, I drink some. In just five days, I can really feel the difference. It's still not easy. I would rather have a Coke Zero, but I think it's one habit worth pursuing.

Weight Watchers - Again!



Part of this journey I am on is going right down a very familiar road - Weight Watchers. I have been down this road three times so far and each time was successful.  The first time I travelled with my friend Karolyn.  She'd been doing it for awhile, but for me it was all new and exciting. We actually went to meetings.  I love, love, loved counting points. I felt like a whole new world was opening up. I thought myself so clever when I figured out that I could eat an entire artichoke for zero points. That time around I lost 50 pounds!  Then I met Joey, fell in love and got chubby.

When Joey and I decided to go on a cruise the following summer we both knew it was time for us to lose weight so right on Weight Watchers we went. Once again it was a huge success. We really worked that program. It was a bit harder this time because there was more at stake. Honey, this was a gay cruise and one had to look their best!  Joey and I persevered and we both lost the weight and were looking great for the cruise. You know cruises, though, it's nothing be eat, eat, eat!  Plus we were in the Mediterranean and there is no way you can not have pasta in Rome. We jumped right off the Weight Watchers boat and it was a long time before we would get back on.

That time came last year when both Joey and I really felt like we were getting out of control with our eating. It's not that we ate a lot all the time, but we indulged a lot. Cheese platters on Friday nights. Fancy desserts from Molly Stones. Oh! Cupcakes! They were all the rage and who could eat just one and why would they want to?!

Back on Weight Watchers we went and we were doing well but then somehow we took a turn, got on the road to change and, honestly, neither of us had any time to count points.  Too much going on in our lives.  In addition, we have not really had a kitchen for the last six months except for one blissful weekend at New Years.  We have been eating crap. Honestly, if I were to post a recipe that I have recently made it would go like this:

Ingredients

  • Car keys
  • Wallet
  • iPod


Instructions

  1. Start up car making sure it's warmed up properly
  2. Pull out and turn left on Price Street carefully checking that there are no children on the sidewalk
  3. Drive to the almost to the end of the street making sure not to go fully to the corner
  4. Turn right into the driveway just before the corner
  5. Open the drivers window completely
  6. Say, "Two tacos, a Jumbo Jack With Cheese, onions right, and..of course a diet coke."
  7. Pay cashier and drive home


Think it's time to hit Weight Watchers?  I do!

So there you have it. We are back on Weight Watchers and this time it almost feels like going home. This path is really familiar.  It's not exciting or scary. It just feels right. Some could say this is the fourth time I have done this, why bother?  I say I have had three successes on this and there is no reason for me not to have a fourth. And you know what? This time it will probably stick!

A New Journey


I think today is the start of something big! Not that big things haven't been happening, but I have felt the past few months that things were happening to me or around me. I was sort of standing in the background watching them happen but I didn't feel like I was participating. I really was participating, but it was at a distance. At least emotionally. Today I decided to change that.

There isn't anything particularly special about today. It's the same as every other day, really. But, what is special is that I have decided to make it so. Today is the start of a new journey for me. I have been on this journey many times before. I have taken many roads but I have yet made it to my destination.  Some would call that failure.  I, however, do not. With each trip I have learned more about myself than the previous trip.  Each journey brings new and exciting things.  Each adventure is worthwhile.

I think I am better equipped for this journey than I have been in the past. I am quite familiar with some of the roads as I have travelled them many times before. With each passing, however, I notice something different. I learn a little more.  For those little side trips I have taken, some I can skip.  I didn't enjoy them the first time around and I don't think the second would be any different... or the third...or the fourth. If I do find myself on a path that I don't enjoy before there must be something there I need to see so I will do my best to look for it. No journey is wasted. All have a meaning. All have a purpose.

So there you have it. Today I start off on a new journey. An new adventure. A new life.  All because I said so.


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About Sean & Joey

Joey and I are just a couple of guys living in San Francisco. I love cooking and we both like trying new things. Planning our meals is one of our "together" things. I hope you enjoy our blog! - Sean

Dedication

This blog is dedicated to the two most important people in my life - my mom, Ernee Jean O'Brien, and my partner Joey Concepcion. They both have showered me with unconditional support and love and have always encouraged me to be myself. I will always miss my mom and I don't know what I would do without Joey.

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