Hoping 2021 is Worth the Weight

Happy New Year to you all as I wrap up my Twelve Days of Blogging. When last I checked my weight in an act of public self-shaming, I had gained 2 pounds back from my summer & fall 17 pound weight loss. I hatched a crazy plan to gain less than 5 pounds per month during the 3 winter months, and I would then start Spring 2021 weighing less than last year. Even nuttier is that’s the plan I’ve decided to follow – weight gain. It’s the only plan I have. Winter weight gain is inevitable for me. The best I can do is minimize it.

I knew December would be hard. By the end of the month, my diet had turned almost exclusively to a focus on the 4 holiday food groups of cookies, chocolate, caramel, and eggnog. My workouts had faded as Christmas activities and a bathroom renovation took precedence over self-care. Unfortunately, the numbers don’t lie …

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Holiday Blogging Exhaustion

Here we are on the eleventh day of my Twelve Days of Blogging, and I’m exhausted. I think I even have a case of the blog sweats, although the sweating may be due to recent overeating or snow removal.

We got our first real snow of the season Tuesday with precipitation continuing into the night. It was light and fluffy and beautiful … at first. Who knew the temperature would rise overnight? By the time I got out to shovel at 10PM, it was raining and the snow was as heavy as and the consistency of wet cement. There was no way my snowblower could handle that, so I seriously considered my options as my middle daughter and I tackled the driveway with shovels.

This seemed like an easier option …

I’m not sure I can legally buy a flamethrower in Illinois. If I can’t, it’s good to know that I can make one using a Shop-Vac and gasoline. It’s easy. Take a look …

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A Holiday Gift from Me to You

On the tenth day of my Twelve Days of Blogging, I finally come through with a gift. About time. Sit back, read on, and I’ll unwrap it for you. The gift, I mean.

A wonderful annual holiday tradition in Chicago is the Goodman Theatre’s production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Please note the fancy spelling of theater. It must be classy if they spell theater as theatre! And it is. The Goodman is a beautiful theatre/theater with tremendous sight lines and sound. The production quality is extraordinary. Performance details change somewhat from year to year, so we have friends who make seeing it a beloved annual holiday tradition.

And then, there are those like us Flanigans.

We make the Goodman’s production every few years and enjoy it as much as alcohol and prescription painkillers permit us to. However, we also enjoy experiencing other versions of A Christmas Carol that are performed throughout the greater Chicagoland area. We have seen probably close to a dozen different versions. My favorite version of all took place in a crappy little playhouse featuring folding chair seating and no heat for that evening’s performance. But it was great fun, featured hilarious songs, and was somewhat audience participatory.

But enough about what I’ve enjoyed and you have not. Where’s your damn gift, right?

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About the Artist

Isn’t the featured image on this blog post a beautiful picture? It spoke to me. It spoke to me and said that it had to be my cover pic for my book of short stories called Beyond: Tales of the Afterlife. However, it also told me that I was too fat, so I didn’t speak to it for a while. But we finally sorted out our differences, and I just knew that it had to be the cover for my book. The biggest hurdle was that I was not the artist and didn’t really know the artist and live nowhere close to the artist and well, you get the idea. It was a longshot. The lesson learned is that sometimes asking is the hardest part. The artist said, “Yes.” She also was cool with me stretching the aspect ratio of her painting to fit better as the cover pic I finally used.

The artist’s name is Linda and here’s her online studio … riverjazz.studio. My personal favorites are her abstracts and florals. Here’s an example of one of them she created just the other night …

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Holiday Eats

Today is the eighth day of my Twelve Days of Blogging, and Christmas leftovers in the house are running low, unlike my weight because of the Christmas leftovers. It’s a vicious cycle. My wife made some special sandwiches for Christmas Eve, and I was looking forward to this on Christmas Day …

Until I saw the whole dish …

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Do I Have a Drinking Problem?

Here we are halfway through my Twelve Days of Blogging. I’ll let you do the math to figure out how many days that is. I hope you received the gifts you wanted or at least gift receipts along with the crappy ones.

I received this thoughtful gift from my oldest daughter. Now I can go around smelling like I’m stinking drunk even when I’m not.

Examine those soaps a bit closer and you will see this …

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A Christmas Haul

Here we are on the fourth day of my Twelve Days of Blogging, and I experienced quite a haul yesterday. No, I didn’t get a lot of gifts. (Thanks for that lack of gifts, by the way) My haul involved literally hauling these five 4′ x 8′ sheets of drywall up a tricky flight of stairs with a couple tight turns at the bottom and top.

No, I didn’t do it alone. I assisted my brother-in-law who is doing our bathroom renovation & expansion. But then, I got the bright idea to haul these bad boys up the stairs … by myself.

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A Poetic Seasonal Rerun About Winter

On the third day of my Twelve Days of Blogging, I’m going to offer you a rerun with new content. I hadn’t planned on dredging up this poem from 2017 filled with my winter ire. And I’m not talking about winter irie, which is a good thing.

Yah, mon. I wish everyone an Irie Xmas in Jamaica.

The reason I resurrected the poem is that I’m spitting-venom mad at winter. As someone who suffers from seasonal depression due to lack of light, I always happily celebrate the Winter Solstice. The days are getting longer now. Except this solstice pissed me off. I expected to wake up this morning to an early dawn. Nope, Still dark and cloudy.

And speaking of cloudy, I missed seeing the Jupiter-Saturn celestial convergence. If we had a clear night sky, I am sure I would have been one of many gathered on the local sled hill gazing at the heavens to see this once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event. Nope. Nothing but clouds. And I had this joke all ready to spring on my neighbors …

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Way Open Concept

Here we are at Day 2 of my Twelve Days of Blogging. I thought it would be fun to show you the home project we decided to move forward with during the holidays.

We have an open concept house in our family room and kitchen area. It is a nice, large, livable, open space. We like it. However, we also have more traditional areas in the house like in our living room and dining room. I had hoped to continue that more traditional theme in our master bathroom that we are having renovated and expanded. This seems way too open to me …

I’m hoping for the next level up in privacy. But I do really like the convenience of this …

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The Twelve Days of Blogging

There was a time when I was blogging daily, but complaints from blog followers were such that I had to cut back. I’m sure it was because the daily posts were soooo hilarious that readers couldn’t get anything done due to frequent bursts of chortling and chuckling all day when thoughts turned to my daily post with the end result being that they accomplished nothing.

But I’m back, baby. Twelve days of blogging to coincide with the twelve days of Christmas. Wait, what? Christmas is Friday? Uh-oh. Are stores open during COVID? Maybe I can coincide my blogging with the eight days of Chanukah. Wait, what? That’s over already? I completely missed Chanukah? I always feel like I slight Chanukah, and this year I’ve gone and missed it entirely. The least I can do is recruit a major celebrity like Motown legend Smokey Robinson to deliver a festive Chanukah video message.

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BEYOND – Tales of the Afterlife – A Glimpse Inside & Bonus Offer!

I recently announced the pre-release of my book, now available for purchase for under a buck! But why would you want to purchase? Well, I can give you 16 reasons … the 16 short stories in the book. Well, maybe 15. My editor hates one of the stories that I quite like. You can be the judge. Purchase, read, judge.

Here’s a peek inside at the Table of Contents along with some editorializing on each of the stories …

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Holiday Decorations in my Neighborhood

It’s nice that our neighbors behind us decided to install an airport landing strip in their backyard this holiday season.

I do need some trees trimmed in the back, so I’m not objecting to a small plane or two trying to land.

It’s not like we don’t have some of our own interesting decorations in our trees out front. Take a look …

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Vote for … Me?

I had to go and open my big mouth at the last Zoom meeting of the St. Charles Township Democrats and ask about whether we were fielding candidates for any St. Charles Township positions in the Spring election. Before I could say “the election is rigged,” I was drafted as a candidate. I figured that there was no way I would actually run since I couldn’t imagine getting the 240 signatures needed to qualify for the ballot. First, global pandemic. Nobody wants to answer their door. Next, it’s cold out. Finally, I’m lazy. As it was, I got about a third. The rest were gotten for me. Gulp. Looks like I’ll be a candidate for St. Charles Township Trustee on April 6, 2021.

I was a bit nervous about revealing my “professional” alias on my Statement of Candidacy below …

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Twitter Welcomes a COVID Winter

Gee, that kid in this blog’s feature image is homely. Anyway, I’m trying out new enhanced blog capabilities once again, this time embedding Twitter videos. Winter is finally hitting Chicago this weekend, so now seemed to be a good time to unleash some Twitter winter weather videos with a COVID theme, all from @RexChapman.

For now, my 2 youngest daughters are remote learning and my wife is remote teaching from home. We have “schools” in our dining room, kitchen, and family room. Thankfully, none of them look like this …

It’s just as well that we are all home and not having to battle icy conditions like this lady with a backpack.

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Finger Lickin’ Good Entertainment

It’s not often I get excited for a movie coming out. I was “very excite” for the Borat sequel.

We were rewarded with a better movie than the original Borat flick, in my opinion.

Now, in just a matter of days, here comes A Recipe for Seduction starring Mario Lopez of Saved by the Bell fame as … Colonel Sanders. Don’t be chicken. Take a look at this trailer and set your DVR to record.

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