Sunday, May 26, 2013

Episode 82: The Kindness of Strangers

I am at my favorite stand at the farmer's market, looking at cucumbers, having just wrapped up some red onions that were bigger than my hand, when out of nowhere, I get body checked, hard on my shoulder.  I turn around to see who is attacking me, wondering if I was in the way and they just didn't see me.  My apology turn to mock rage as I scream "Bitch!" at the person who ran into me.  It's my sister, and she's laughing at my response.  She and her family have arrived just as we are getting ready to leave.  We decide to stay with them and enjoy the presence of her, Thing One, Thing Two and their older brother and her husband.

We get to the stand where the fruit is sold and stand discussing the myriad sweet delights, when from behind us we hear an unmistakable thud, and turn to see a tall, thin man has fallen over at our feet. Both of us, shocked, reach for him to see if there is anything we can do to help and if he is all right.  A  heavier set woman, his mother we are to learn, brushes us away and order us to stand back, that he is having a seizure.  Her son then begins to convulse, and we are stunned as his muscles spasm and his body clenches.  My stomach drops immediately and my system begins panic mode.

"Call 911" his mother demands, and my sister pulls out her cell phone.  Immediately, she is on the phone with the dispatcher, and the woman turns to me and shoots numbers at me, telling me to call her husband.  I don't know how I did it, but my body and my brain seemed to respond better than my emotions because I pull out my phone and immediately dial the numbers I have only heard once.  I can NEVER do that, but I did.  The call connects and I hand the phone to the woman, who directs her husband to where she and her son are.  Then, from around us, other kind strangers immediately show up to help.  A man who has experience tells us not to move the seizing man, who we learn later is named Thomas, a who has only had one previous seizure 5 years prior and has severe autism. A nearby vendor brings a mat for him to put his head on.  Another vendor from the other side brings a stool for the woman to sit on. AM goes to flag down the ambulance and clear the aisle so that paramedics can reach the man safely and effectively.  All of these motions around me happened quickly, fluidly, and it was only after that my body's shock wore off and I felt my tears well up from sudden emotional overload.

It is times like these, when the emergency and danger has passed, that I step back and marvel at the wonder that is the rest of the human race.  I didn't panic, nor did the people around me. You often hear stories about emergencies where people go into hysterics, but I saw none of that.  People were calm and were willing to help out immediately as was needed, or to get the hell out of the way when they weren't. People are kind and caring, not because they will get something out of it, but because other people need help.  We were, and the vendors and customers, were willing to help this woman and her son.  Thomas eventually came out of his seizure to find strangers over him, talking to him carefully. He can't respond verbally, but only nods his head, and people around him continue to talk in soothing voices to him and his mother, who stays on my sister's phone until the paramedics arrive.  These people didn't know Thomas or his mother, they didn't have any connection to them, but when they were needed, they were willing to help in any way that they could.

Some may call this heroism, some may call it bravery. I think it just what becomes of being a decent human being.  Every decent human being should be willing to help their fellow man.  Today gave me hope that there are people out there who are still decent human beings.

I don't pray, but I hope that Thomas, and his mother, are doing well. I send healing thoughts and caring out through the universe.

Love and Lollipops,


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Episode 81: Thing One and Thing Two

My nephews came over today to visit.  That was nice, but wow.. what an eye opener for having kids.  Our apartment wasn't as badly disorganized as I had thought, but I have to really work on getting things put away and organized enough so that I can have a kid of my own someday.  My nephews will forever be T1 and T2 now, from the Doctor Seuss books. It's not that the destroy everything, but they have an amazing curiosity that only comes from being a kid.  "Can I play with that? What does that do? Why does it do that?  How do you make that? Can you help me do that? Why do you do it that way?  How many sticks are there? How many colors?  Can you make me an airplane?"  We had a lot of fun for the hour or so that they were with us and we really enjoyed the time spent with them.  I'm glad I have such wonderful nephews!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Episode 80: Days of Rest

AM is sitting behind me, putting his thoughts to music, randomly making up lyrics.  It's amusing and I love him for it. He truly is an Awesome Musician sometimes.

I did plan on writing yesterday, but I think my blog will definitely be taking Saturdays off.  Saturday is usually our day of rest.  We use it to recuperate, go out and do fun stuff, but we don't really do work or do anything seriously stressful to ourselves.  When I was on my 60 day challenge (I'm still trying to find a new one to do), I still had to do Saturdays, but that was just because it was fairly easy.  Now that the challenge is over, I've sort of slacked off, but I have joined Curves and go work out there in the afternoons three times a week.  When I got home Friday night, I blogged about the pain, but it was nothing compared to Saturday morning, when I could barely move to breathe.  It was hard. So, we took Saturday off to rest, relax, recuperate and enjoy each other's company.  Everybody should have days like that.

If you're a Christian, and I know a lot of people are and I respect that faith though it isn't my own, there is a belief that God created the world in 6 days and then took a day off.  I can respect that. I think everybody needs to take a day off every 7 days, though I suppose the actual day of the week is arbitrary. It could be a Wednesday, but I think it's important to rest.  A body needs time to repair the damage.  Tonight, while we were keeping KT company while CG was away, we watched a BBC series called "Eddie Iz Running" about how Eddie Izzard ran a marathon a day for a whole lot of days, travelling around all of the United Kingdom. But even Eddie, who is one of my favorite comedians, took days off to let himself rest.  He ran entire marathons in a day, and it deterioriated his body, but he took that day to rest and repair himself.

We all need days like that. Days to just let go of the week's worries and sit back. Maybe you spend that time reviewing what you did the day before. Maybe you go out to a movie (Gatsby is excellent!), maybe you just curl up in your favorite comfy chair and read and rest and relax.  Don't make meals too strenuous, a salad that you may have in the fridge, or even just grazing on left overs is a good way not to worry.  Leave the dishes in the sink; they can be done when you have the time to work and prepare for the rest of the week  the next day.   By taking the Saturday to rest, we shake off the woes and hurts of the last week and it leaves Sunday to shop, prepare and create for the coming up week, leaving us less stressed than if we were running around on Monday trying to prepare for a week that we aren't ready for.

I love my Saturdays.  I hope you all get your own day of rest.

Love and Lollipops,


Friday, May 10, 2013

Episode 79: Feeling the DOMS

Owie! Owie Owie Owie!  I did my first Curves workout about.. 8 hours ago and now I'm feeling it.  My arms, my back, my legs, even my abs are sore like crazy.  It actually takes an effort to sit and type this because I have to hold up my arms.  I was thinking about going back tomorrow, but screw that! I need time to heal!

What I am feeling is called DOMS, or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.  It happens from up to a few hours to a few days after a workout.  When you work out, your muscles stretch and create tiny tears within the muscle.  You don't feel these tears during or right after a workout because your body is producing endorphins and adrenaline and stuff that makes you feel good and want to keep going.  I know that I felt awesome after my workout. I could have done more and wanted to, but two circuits was what I was told to do.  Now the endorphins and adrenaline and everything have moved on and gone back to normal levels and I can feel those little tears.  The pain is good.  The pain is good. (I have to keep telling myself this, or I will not ever go back!)  The pain is good because it means that my body is beginning to repair those tiny little muscle tears by creating more muscle tissue to fill in those spaces.  More muscle tissue burns more fat and more fat burning means a thinner, happier, lighter Tory.  Yay!

It also means I'm exhausted and ready to turn on the sheet and pillowcase show.  I hope the movie behind my eyelids is awesome tonight, because I'm going to be watching it for a while!

Happy dreams everybody!

Love and Lollipops,


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Recipe Thursday: Bean Soup

AM and I got some awesome red beans down at the market the other day, so I made this soup yesterday! Enjoy!

1/2 lb red beans, soaked overnight, drained, rinsed and cooked
1 red onion, mediumish, chopped
1 head of fresh spring green garlic not yet all the way ripened and hardened chopped
Vegetable broth (about 4 cups)
spices for flavor (I used garlic powder, salt and chili powder and paprika)

Soak beans overnight and put in a pot until they are tenderish. DO NOT EAT RAW RED BEANS! There is a toxin that causes major stomach upset if you eat more than five raw red beans.  AM found this out the wrong way, but didn't have many problems, since he looked it up after eating the beans and then couldn't remember if he had eaten 4 or 5 beans.  If this scares you, buy canned beans.  That is AM's service message for the day.

In a saute or frying pan, drizzle in some olive oil. Add garlic and onions. Saute and stir and then leave them alone on low heat until the onions are sweet smelling, carmalizing them.  They will get kind of crispy burnt looking, but they will taste wonderful!

Add broth to the pot of beans. Bring them to a simmer.  Add onion and garlic mix.  Add seasonings (you may have to add more near the end, as they kinda cook out a bit).  Wait until it gets low enough to look like a good bean soup.  Sprinkle with some awesome cheesy stuff (we had a mexican blend) and then you're done!


Love and Lollipops,


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Episode 78: The Return of Wegetarian Wednesdays!

MM.. Wegetarian Wednesdays.  Where we wander through culinary bliss into the realm of the meatless.  We eat bean soups and spinach salads and sometimes a Trader Joe's Roasted Veggie pizza, if we're being particularly lazy.  The idea of Wegetarian Wednesdays came with the more frequent trips to the farmers markets, a reason to use up some of our market produce and it just felt right.

I like doing Wegetarian Wednesday on a Wednesday because it's the middle of the week. Some people prefer something like "Meatless Mondays" where they feel better about themselves after gorging all weekend by reasserting the diet mythos of "Oh, I will start over on Monday", which means that if you screw up on a Thursday afternoon, you have three free days of gorging yourself into oblivion which you can excuse by saying "Oh, it's ok. I'm starting a diet on Monday".  The point of Wegetarian Wednesdays isn't to start over, but to rededicate yourself.  If you slipped up a little on Tuesday, don't give up, but eat healthier.  That way you have Thursday, Friday and Saturday and you can go "I survived until Wednesday, why give up now?"  Wednesday is that hump in the road, that road block that we have to hurtle past into the unknown realms of diethood, where we can keep our heads held high and say "No, I ate Vegetarian last night.  I don't need that piece of Thursday morning bagel, and I don't have to take part in that Friday morning box of doughnuts that my boss just brought in. I have more willpower than that!"

Tonight's Wegetarian Wednesday was bean soup, which will get posted tomorrow for recipe Thursday.  It was a good thick hearty soup that was delicious.  I've noticed lately that a lot of our vegetarian meals sort of revolve around the idea of beans.  Beans for protein or beans just as a filling substitute to something that would normally be meat.  I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with beans, and they certainly made a delicious meal tonight, but there has to be more out there. 

AM and I switch off making meals every other night.  He is training and reading up on being a chef since he is going to culinary school, but I like to cook too, so every other night (well... hopefully), I am cooking. That means in an average month, I am preparing about 2 vegetarian dishes a month.  I need more variety with less starch.

So, I call out to you, gentle reader.  Help me increase my repertoire of vegetarian meals into my beautiful pink Arc planner, so that I can create a wonderful cookbook and have a whole slew of meals to create that will satisfy our tastebuds and our budget and not be just another bean soup or salad.

Hoping to hear from you soon...

Love and Lollipops,


P.S.  I hope I never have to type Wednesday that many times ever again! :)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Episode 77: 60 days

60 days ago, AM challenged me to a walking challenge.  Today, I have completed the challenge.  Because I messed up my knee (something about bursitis), my doctor recommended that I walk for 20 minutes a day, as just light exercise to get the knee going and work out some of the muscles.  AM said that if we created a routine, a daily regime of walking, I could buy myself one small fitness item that will help me continue to get healthier.  That item is a FitBit.

I have been trying to track my steps, exercise and diet on my phone, but I am beginning to find that it drains my battery pretty quickly and it's not really all that constant. I have to have the phone with me, it can't be on the charger, if I want to track the steps that I take.  While they have apps for it, there are no really good apps to track your sleep patterns and sleep quality.  The Fitbit promises to do all that.  It's a gadgety thing that goes in a wristband that you keep on you at all times and tracks everything you do and then syncs wirelessly to your phone or computer or whatever to help you track.  And I get this neat little gadget probably tomorrow (if I can find money in my budget for it) because I kept a goal and I stuck to it for 60 days.

They say that it takes 27 times of doing something in the same way to create a habit.  60 seems excessive, but it works for me. I feel wrong if I don't do my walking every night now.  In the last 60 days, I have walked.  Sometimes I walked during the morning, sometimes I walked in the evenings. Sometimes, after coming home from gaming or a movie or just hanging out with our friends, we have walked past midnight.  The track that we take is simply around our apartment complex, two laps, which equals roughly between 2/5 and 1/2 a mile.  I didn't always walk in the apartment complex. Sometimes on rainy days I would walk the same approximate distance twice around the grocery store from the produce section to the bakery section and back.  Most of my random zombie walks down to the market and back counted for my walk for the day. Some days I exceeded my half mile by a lot, and sometimes I barely made it, either because of injury or illness (when you can't breathe for coughing, it may not be the best time to walk).  But I made it.

I finished my challenge tonight with one last walk past the mostly brightly lit windows around the apartment complex.  Inside, families and friends were going about their business, most of them watching television, or gathered in some other fashion. Some were using computers, and some were cooking a late meal.  Over the last 60 days, I have gotten to know some of these people. The gentleman in the balcony on the opposite building always smiles and tells us to have a nice evening.  A young mother yesterday told us that she felt it was a strange day when she didn't get a chance to say hello to us.  Though we don't know names, only faces and location, our walks have helped us get to know our neighbors and our neighborhood better.

My next challenge is not to end the walks, but to continue them and add some more to them. Another lap perhaps, or some weight training that my doctor recommends for weight loss.  Perhaps I will do both, but I know that I can create and maintain a habit for 60 days, and I plan on making more plans to become even healthier.

What do you plan to do with the next 60 days?

Love and Lollipops,


Monday, May 6, 2013

Episode 76: Happy!!

Every night before we go to bed, we sit at our dining room table, fountain pens in hand, and write on small 2"x2" pieces of paper that are cut from 24lb stock.  These pieces of paper are light blue and pink, the color of youth, the color of gender and for us, the color of happiness.  With my pen, filled with a beautiful hot pink ink called "Hope Pink" for breast cancer awareness I write my happy thoughts for the day.  Across the table from me, AM, with his turquoisish pen, filled with Bahama Blue, writes his happy thoughts for the day.  Our world is color coded in this way. When we are finished, we put them into an 8 cup Ball jar and seal the lid.  In this way, we record our happiness, one day at a time and fill a jar with love and hope.

We've been doing this since around February. Originally the thought had been to start January 1st, but we are slow to get organized.  The jar in the picture is our happy jar, with our happy thoughts color coded to suit us.  We put the day's triumphs, the happy little things that we did for each other, or that we talked about, or even just what we ate for the day.  They can be any thought, as long as they are happy and not negative.

The plan is to open the jar at the end of the year as a New Year's ritual and see all of the happy thoughts that we have created over the year.  Ideally, if we had started on January first, we would have 730 happy thoughts in it by the end of the year.  730 happy memories, 730 meals, 730 joys that we could share.  I am not sure what we will do with them as we review them. Perhaps we will create a scrapbook, putting them in order and gluing them to pages as a reminder of all the happiness that we had the year we got engaged and then got married.  Maybe we will let the jar fill (though it is already getting pretty full and we have to pack the slips down well) until our first anniversary, so we can have a record of our first year together and the time that we were engaged.  Maybe we will just tear them into smaller pieces and throw them over ourselves and our friends at our New Year's celebration.  We have a while to go until we pick out those pieces of paper and find out all of our happiness throughout the year.  I'm excited to see what he wrote, since our happy thoughts are private until the end of the year, locked up in our little jar on little pieces of blue and pink paper.

I hope that you all have your happy thoughts and that you share them with the ones that you love, today and every day.  Keep them somewhere safe, even if it is a journal or notebook, a planner or just in your memory, but my hope is that everybody has at least one happy thought a day, even if it is as simple as "the cute guy on the bus smiled at me" or "I ate all my vegetables" or even "I am still alive and my heart is still pumping blood through my body", everybody should be happy, every single day.

Here is to all of your happy thoughts!

Love and Lollipops,


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Episode 75: To market, to market

The cool morning air buzzed with the voices of the patrons and from the center of the market stalls, a single violinist fiddled away, singing folksy country songs  behind a metal can.  Familiar voices ring out from the stall and the scent of barbecuing meat wafts over the open market stalls.  There is no need for catcalls or showmanship by the sellers.  It is market day and there is very little reason to call attention to any particular booth, as all are busy with customers, some empty handed, some laden with goods from other booths, pick over the selection, chose their week's produce and go away happy.

This is the paradise I stepped in to this morning. The sun wasn't hiding so much as clothed gently in the wispy clouds, making the temperatures bearable in the early May morning.  I love going to the farmer's market.  We try to go weekly, but we will sometimes skip a week, but we are never really disappointed either.  WE go so often that we are beginning to know which stalls are our favorite. We are beginning to learn the names of the men and women who work behind the tables planted under canopies and tents.  They recognize us and smile and ask how we liked the selection that we took last week.  We mention soups and they smile, recommending cooking methods.  One merchant even gave us a handout with a recipe for red bean chocolate cake.  

I've written before about using locally grown produce, and about supporting our local economy and eating what is in season, what we find there at that market. It is wonderful to watch the colors change in the booths, from the verdant greens and yellows of the winter squashes to the bright beautiful redness of the ripest sweetest strawberries I have tasted in a long time.  We walk up the rows before we buy anything, checking prices against prices, looking for the best produce, never buying everything from just one booth.  

Market day used to be a tradition. It was a gathering place once a week for the town to get together and celebrate the harvest, celebrate the products that people brought out.  It was a chance for money to exchange, for a local economy to grow strong and for an area to flourish.  It kept the people together, and it kept the people's safe.  You didn't steal from the guy who sold you your food and if you were the seller, you didn't steal from your customers. In fact, you would often give someone down on their luck who was a good customer a deal on food.  

I think this is what we need to go back to. Create a community around these markets, create an idea that we are all in this together, and the world will be more peaceful!  Yay for market days! :)

Off to bed!

Love and Lollipops,


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Episode 74: Under the wire!

Just made it.  AM is brushing his teeth and we are about to go to bed, but I made it, just in time to share this blog post with you all! Yay!

Today I'm writing about races.  I haven't, nor will I be able to, run a race any time soon.  Maybe in the next year or so, after I've lost some weight, but my doctor and my knees agree that I am not ready for any type of marathon or even a 5k.  However, I have close friends who do these things, and I am in awe of them. In fact, two of them participated in Tour de Cure.  I am so impressed with them. They biked today for 64 miles (correct me if I'm wrong, guys) to help support and raise funds for Diabetes Awareness.  Link site for Tour de Cure.  I think all causes are worthy in some way, and say a lot about what our government really wants to fund, but this isn't the place for that.  This is the place to celebrate what my friends accomplished and how wonderful they are for helping to create hope in people who suffer from a disease that affects many people's lives.

Well done guys, well done.

Off to bed!

Love and Lollipops,


P.S Edited to make the number right! I was off by 18 miles.. OMIPU! I can't even imagine doing just 18!  64 sounds crazy!!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Episode 73: Motivation

Tonight I went with my mother and my sister to pick up my wedding dress.  The picture to the right is me in the dress (AM is in the back, taking pictures and helping me pick it out.).  We had to squeeze me into the dress and, while I could sit down and walk around in it, it felt tight.  Not like "I can't breathe tight", but I was a bit uncomfortable.  Even looking at the picture to the right makes me a bit uncomfortable to see the flabby arms and the back fat.  But, OMIPU!! What a beautiful gorgeous dress and it is so perfect for me.    I can't wait to walk down the aisle and have AM at the end, greeting me.

The stuffing of me into the dress motivates me to take the challenge I am on a bit more seriously.  Tonight's dinner at the Black Bear Diner not withstanding, I need to get more serious about weight loss so that I can look even more stunning in this fabulous dress.  I need to find back and arm exercises that will help me work away some of that fat back there and make it so that the dress just slips on and laces up without me feeling like I am being put into a corset.  This motivates me more than anything else right now.  My hot pink Converse go great with it and are totally me, peeking out from under the dress as I walk (I have to get the hem picked up a bit so I can wear the shoes rather than wear high heels).

Motivation comes from  many places.  My motivation is one of the more commonplace ones.  Many women say "I want to look better on my wedding day".  Some people want to do it so that they can spend more time with their kids. Some just want to be healthier and some want the challenge of doing something that they never thought that they would do before.  I have friends, TG and KT, who do 5k runs and nearly marathon pace running. I am inspired by them, but my motivation comes from myself.  Most motivation must be internally driven, not externally.  If you want to do something, find your own reasons, and whatever reasons they are, and make them yours. Make the challenge yours.  Because if it doesn't come from inside you, if it doesn't come from somewhere internal where that little voice is crying out to tell you that you <b>can</b> be a better person, then it isn't the right motivation for you.  Doing things for other people never helps anybody.

I should get one of those shirts that say "Team Bride" on them and wear it to Curves and sweat up a storm.. it can be part of my workout outfit.  I"m off to search Amazon and ThinkGeek!  I hope you all find whatever motivates you to greatness, because I think you are all great!

Love and Lollipops,


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Episode 72: Recipe Thursday!

As I get myself back into blogging and thinking and writing, I want to start looking for healthier foods to eat.  To do this, and to keep my blog fresh and give me something to do with it, I plan on posting recipes here.  It helps that AM, my awesome fiance, is going to be a chef, so when he designs or concocts something amazing, I can put it here and go "Look what my awesome future husband cooked for me!"  Of course, in about a month and a half he won't be future husband, he'll just be husband.

So, today's recipe is simple, mostly because I just started on this diet and I don't have a lot to say about what I've been cooking (though the chicken stew broth that AM has been simmering all night smells delicious).  So today I give you...

Spring Smoothie Wonderful

About 7 strawberries
2-3 rings of pineapple
One handful of rinsed kale
1/2 c. water
1 Tbsp sugar (optional)

Throw all ingredients into Nutribullet canister. Tighten blade contraption on.  Blend until it turns sort of a sickly brownish red color.  Open container, add rings or pour into awesome smoothie glasses (which used to be lowball glasses) and serve.  It is totally yummy and tastes a bit like apples.  Good servings of veggies and fruits. Yay!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Episode 71: Challenge accepted

This is me. I weigh, as of this picture of me, standing on a scale, 307.0 pounds. Not the heaviest that I have been, but not the lightest by a long shot. 20 years ago, I weighed half of what I do now. That half, around 150 is my goal. It's not ideal or optimal and it would make my doctor's eyebrows crease on that way that they do to know that I don't plan on my "official" body weight being within "normal BMI limitations for a so called 'healthy' person."  I don't care if I'm not stick thin or absolutely gorgeous. I care that I am healthy enough to chase around my eventual children.  So, here I am, at a friend's house accepting a month long weight loss challenge.  The winner gets a pot of gold and a leprechaun to dance around on it.  Ok, well, maybe I'm wrong about the leprechaun, but there is treasure at the end of this adventure, for she or he who loses the highest percentage of their body mass. I'm gonna try.

I post this picture for a few reasons. One, to motivate me to get my ass moving, and off the couch.  I look awful and I look fat and I have bingo curtains. I mean really!! BINGO CURTAINS!! I cannot believe I let myself get this big.  I post this picture because I am ashamed of the way that I look. I am ashamed of who and what I have become over the years through unhealthy eating, lack of movement and a great deal of depression that I haven't been willing or able to accept over the years.

Another reason I post this picture is because it is real. I am not hiding behind a gorgeous, thin avatar. I am not trying to be someone I am not and I am not trying to fool myself any longer. In my head, I am a much much thinner person, but I have to honest with myself about who I am and what I look like if I want to start to lose the weight. I can't fool myself and eat another doughnut or have another soda thinking "oh, I can work this off later."  It's not going to happen. I have to put down the carbs and be realistic about how I got here in the first place and how I am going to get myself out of it.  I packed on this weight, this fat, this body and it took me years to do it. It is going to take me a long time to get it off, but putting it on took a lot of work too.

The last reason I post this picture now is that it will be different in a month's time.  When I weigh in again in 31 days, at the end of the challenge, my friend, TechnoDude (henceforth referred to as TD) will take another picture of me and I will post that one too and I will be able to see the awesomeness shining through under a much thinner layer of fat.  I don't expect it all to go away in a month, but a month is a good start for starting new habits.

Look out world, here I come!

Love and Lollipops,


Weighing in on: Division in our country

 I know that I started this as a weight loss/health blog, but I think it's just going to become my blog. Just me and my random-ass thoug...