Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Two-Line Tuesday: Beach

Shhhh, he's sleeping
But why does he resemble a Police chalk outline? 

How would you caption this photo?

Monday, July 30, 2012

I Don't Hate My Family

I have a confession to make. It’s something that’s not easy to say, but it’s been on my mind for a while. I’ve hesitated because I don’t want to become a pariah wandering aimlessly in the blogosphere, but I simply have to get it off my chest.

I don’t hate my wife or kid.  

Why is this hard to admit, you might ask? You might think that not hating your family should go without saying. Or at least that’s what I always assumed. But it seemingly goes against what I read from a surprising number of parenting writers on the web on a very regular basis.

There are thousands of amateur and professional parenting writers/bloggers floating around the Internet. I believe each is entitled to express their own opinion in their forum, just as I do. But I don’t agree with what a shocking number of them actually write.

These parents may not flat-out admit their distaste for what you’d expect would be their “loved ones”, but it is a common theme that I’ve read more times than I care to admit.  And it infuriates me every time.  Just to be clear, most people don’t come out and directly say “I hate my daughter” or “my husband is an idiot”, though I have seen both of those statements written on several occasions. It’s usually an off-hand remark about what a pain their spouse/kids/stepkids/siblings/parents are, and more often than not, it’s followed up by a comment about “needing wine”. I’m not a wine drinker, but on the rare occasions that I have had a glass, I know that the only thing it usually does for me is cause drowsiness.  That has yet to help me parent better, so maybe I am not doing it correctly?

I’ve noticed this trend for a while, but it was when I saw this Tweet a few weeks ago that I really became disturbed:

I sent this reply to the Tweet and here’s the response I received:

That may be true. I’m not in her specific position so I don’t know. I do know how challenging parenting one active 2 ½ year old can be and that the only substance I usually rely on is caffeine to help keep me going long enough to finish everything I need to do for him, myself, my wife and our home.

Raising kids isn’t easy. Neither is marriage. I don’t think they are supposed to be. There are built-in surprises and trapdoors to keep you on your toes as you traverse the path of life.  Believe me, I speak from firsthand experience.  If I had any more unexpected plot twists in my life over the last five years, you might think that my story was an episode of LOST.  

If you “Like” me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I joke around. A lot. The things I usually joke about are funny/annoying/strange things that happen to me and/or my family. They are usually tinged with obvious sarcasm.  Whatever they are, I always take into account how my wife or son would feel if they read them.

On the long list of hats I wear, long before I’m a writer, I’m a father and a husband. And though I may kid about the annoying and frustrating things that happen in life, like how the Little Dude recently started waking up an hour earlier every day and I’m beyond exhausted from it, I don’t think anything I write is overtly mean-spirited toward him. Sure, I’d love to sleep in more. Who wouldn’t? (Beside him, obviously.) But that’s what parenting is, sacrificing for the betterment of our families. If you aren’t interested, don’t sign up. But when I read that someone (or a lot of people) publically berating their family or is driven to drinking by the challenges of parenting, it makes me sad. Sad for them. And sad for the child. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dude of the Week: Dudes with Friends

And I got the Triple Letter score, no less. 

If you would like to nominate a Dude that you think would make a good 
Dude of the Week please email me
Remember, it doesn't have to be a person & could be a graphic, sign 
or other Dudely interpretation.   

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Evil Neon Gaze

The clock is ticking faster than fast. T-minus two months and counting until our manageable trio becomes a crowded quartet.  I wait eagerly. Nervously. I don’t sleep much anymore.

When will he arrive?
Will he be healthy?

With one amazing Little Dude already in the early stages of development, how will adding another to the mix affect his progress? We’ve been warned about the inevitable regression that will happen to our almost-3-year-old when the newborn arrives. 

Will they get along?
How can we prevent jealousy?

There are things we have control over and things we don’t. And however they turn out, we will have to manage the situation to the best of our parental abilities.

Will he feed easily, unlike his brother?
Will he be a great sleeper, like his brother?

As a genetic blend of two parents, there are a million characteristics that will take shape over the years. Some more desirable than others.

Who will he look like?
Will he also be cursed with the worrying gene?

How will I explain why he has only 2 grandparents. That’s something I don’t even fully understand.

When should I tell him?
Will he understand?

I want to give him everything. But right now that isn’t so easy.

How will I pay for it all?
What can I eliminate to give him more?

The C-Section is already scheduled. Just like last time.

Will he arrive early?
Who will watch his brother?

I gaze at the clock on my nightstand. There is a bright neon 3:42 staring back at me.

Will I ever fall asleep?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Two-Line Tuesday: Apocalypse Cupcake

I love the smell
of buttercream in the morning.

How would you caption this picture?

Monday, July 23, 2012

You Know You're a SAHD if...

For the past 2 ½ years I’ve been lucky to be a part-time Stay-At-Home-Dad (SAHD). On a daily basis it’s afforded me the pleasure of interacting both with those who whine and cry all day, as well as toddlers. I’ve spent a surprising amount of time doing things that I never could have imagined just a few years ago. Like watching the same 3 Pixar movies over and over. And over and over. And that’s just in one day. 

The reality is that being a SAHD is a gift. I get to spend quality time with my Little Dude and not worry about the stains on my shirts while out in public, which strangers (usually incorrectly) assume were caused by him. During a recent viewing of Cars, I started thinking about some of the unique characteristics of SAHDs and came up with this short list. 

“You Know You’re a SAHD if...”  

1)     You own what you refer to as your "good" sweatpants.

2)     You know about all of the "kids eat free" deals at nearby restaurants and exchange birthday cards with the manager at your local IHOP.

3)     Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name and that place is MyGym.

4)     You like taking your kids to story time at the library so you can get caught up on 5 games of Words With Friends while they listen to a librarian read 5 books about talking elephants.

5)     Your most recent Facebook status update was "jklljhhhhlppnnn".

6)     You used to know the names and statistics of all your favorite athletes. Now you know the names and numbers of Thomas the Train and his friends.

7)     Your Breaking Bad episodes have accidentally been deleted from your TiVo to make room for additional episodes of Super Why.   

8)     You are more than a little freaked out by your kid’s seemingly innocuous toys after repeated viewings of Toy Story.

9)     The backseat of your car contains more Cheerios than the General Mills factory.

10)  You think Sesame Street jumped the shark when Mr. Noodle's brother Mr. Noodle joined the cast. 

11)  You can justify why dunking your head in the sink and some strategically placed baby powder are just as good as a real shower.

12)  You have plenty of time to finish writing a list like this. At 1:30am.

What unique traits do you associate with SAHDs and SAHMs?

read to be read at yeahwrite.me

Friday, July 20, 2012

Rockin' Friday: Positively Root Canal

I was having trouble picking a song for this week, partially because I've been distracted by a nagging toothache that has been lingering unnecessarily due to several dentists' inefficiency.  As I sat in the Endodontist's chair this morning, finally receiving the root canal I'd been waiting for, I put my iPod on shuffle and once I heard the first notes of the first song that played, I knew it was this week's Rockin' Friday tune.

The song is Jerry Garcia's 1973 live version of the Bob Dylan classic "Positively 4th Street".  Why was this song the perfect choice? You only have to look as far as the first line of the lyrics to find out:

"You've got a lot of nerve..."

As I was literally having the nerve extracted from my molar, I listened to Dylan's eloquent public dismissal of someone who had a lot of nerve to say they are his friend.  It's not clear if the song is about a specific person or a group, though personally I believe it's about a woman who scorned old Zimmy. We'll never know for sure, but looking at the lyrics, it's pretty obvious that Bob was pretty irritated.  And Garcia's melodic take, accompanied by Merl Saunders on the organ, just kicks things up a notch. Check it out:

What are you listening to today?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dude of the Week: James Yount

Welcome to the inaugural Dude of the Week!  Each week I'll feature a Dude that I think is worth talking about. It might be a real person, a fictional character or just a Dudely image or graphic that catches my eye.

This week's Dude of the Week is James Yount. James is an amazing graphic designer who just so happened to have designed my new logo. He is uber-creative and also a new father himself.  And we used to goof around together in Physics for Dummies class in high school, so you know he's a great Dude.

If you need any graphic design work done, I urge you to check out James' portfolio and contact him at once.
Don't pass Go or collect $200. 
You can also follow him on Twitter for 140 characters' worth of wit. 
And make sure you tell him that The Dude of the House sent ya! 

So what did James create for me? I gave him minimal direction, yet he came up with exactly what I was looking for. Try to beat that!

If you haven't seen it already, my logo is now visible on my blog & Facebook page for your eyes' enjoyment: 

On that note, I'd like to congratulate James Yount on being the first Dude of the Week! 

If you would like to nominate a Dude that you think would make a good 
Dude of the Week please email me
Remember, it doesn't have to be a person & could be a graphic, sign or other Dudely interpretation.   

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hip, Hip, HuffPo!

Another one of my favorite posts was published on the Huffington Post Parents section!

Click here to check it out! And tell all your friends to check it out, too. I'll be your best friend.

Thanks for your ongoing support!

The Dude
Profile Picture

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Two-Line Tuesday: Amazon

I guess Amazon really sells everything these days.

How would you caption this photo?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Who Picked This Pickiness?

One of my first posts when I started this blog a year ago was about my frustration at having the pickiest eating toddler in the history of civilization.  Just like they do on TV about old shows no one has thought about in decades, I thought I’d do a “Where Are They Now?” look at, well, where we are now in regard to the diversity of the Little Dude’s palate.

Spoiler Alert: It still sucks.

I expected his picky eating to be a phase that he’d grow out of, as countless people assured me it would. I suppose there is still time for that to occur, since he’s only 2 ½ years old, but it seems like it never will. Especially when we are at kids’ birthday parties and the inevitable cheese pizza is served. Mine is the only kid who would rather eat a bag of Baked Snap Pea Crisps than that mozzarella-covered cardboard they often try to pass off as pizza.
Mandatory Kids' Birthday Party Meal
You might be thinking that it’s much better for him to eat baked vegetable snacks than greasy pizza, which is probably true health-wise. I often wonder about the social component of his pickiness. People have suggested that he’ll evolve when he is around other kids. Um, he’s sitting next to 20 other kids who are all eating pizza and he’s not. Must he go to Burning Man for a bigger crowd?

We are very lucky to have a happy, healthy boy who is consistently near the top of the growth chart, so I shouldn’t be complaining. But the frustration caused by his unwillingness to even taste certain foods is compounded by the fact that he frequently talks about them. Yes, my son is an E.T., an Eating Tease.  

Sometimes Mrs. Dude or I will ask what he wants to eat, though we know it’s really a rhetorical question since he eats the same 5 things every day. Occasionally he’ll surprise us and say he wants pizza, for example, and immediately qualifies his request with “for real!” to add validity.  So we make the pizza, put it in on his plate, and watch as once again he’d rather skip dinner than suffer through the horror of cheese baked on top of tomato sauce and dough.  And every time this happens I feel like Charlie Brown when Lucy pulls the football. Good grief. 

The Little Dude’s eating repertoire has been virtually the same for the last year and a half. He does have an affinity for breakfast food, but beyond that I’m running out of ideas.  This is the same kid who ate Kraft Macaroni & Cheese for dinner EVERY NIGHT for more than a year, and that only ended because we stopped giving it to him every night. Now the great majority of his evening meals are anchored by (Nitrate-Free) Turkey Dogs, aka the only type of “meat” that he’ll consider eating.

There is one exception to his edict of not trying new foods, and that is if he determines that an item is a cookie, cake, candy or other type of sweet. He can hone in on a dry-looking Do-Si-Do from 20 yards away even though he’s never seen one before but the thought of a dinosaur-shaped chicken nugget is torturous. How he developed that sixth sense, I’ll never understand.  
Double-fisting vanilla cones
People who know me well have suggested that this is my payback for behavior from 25-30 years ago. You see, I was a picky eater once, too. In fact, I ate the same lunch virtually every day from kindergarten through 6th grade: peanut butter & jelly. I’ve broadened my horizon since then, but even at my pickiest stage I ate at least a few other items. I think I can count every item the Little Dude eats on my fingers and toes. And that’s including both Original and Honey Nut Cheerios.

So what should we do? As a parent, this is incredibly frustrating on so many levels.  We can’t go to a restaurant without packing a full meal, because the likelihood of him eating something from the menu is almost nil. Unless they serve hotdogs.  And even then, he won’t eat the French fries or carrots served with it.  He’d much rather eat a half-dozen Trader Joes rice cakes.  Maybe he has the right idea after all.

 How have you dealt with a picky eater?

read to be read at yeahwrite.me

Friday, July 13, 2012

Rockin' Friday: Bouncing Around the Room

This week’s Rockin’ Friday tune is appropriate on many levels. I chose Phish’s Bouncing Around the Room because it’s a great song with a fantastic beat and very catchy lyrics. My Little Dude loves singing along and bobbing his head to the beat as the bass bounces up and down throughout the song.

Little Dude is also an active 2 ½ year old boy so I spend a lot of chasing him as he himself is bouncing around the room, restaurant, store or wherever else inspiration and energy strike him. But, as my mother used to say, “that’s what he’s supposed to do”.

Though Phish is known primarily as a jam-band, their musical palate is quite diverse. In fact singer/guitarist Trey Anastasio has said that Bouncing was originally inspired by some African folk music he heard. Now, 20+ years later, Bouncing is one of the most beloved and most-played songs in Phish’s enormous repertoire. 

What's your favorite Phish song?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Two-Line Tuesday: Hanging Out

Oh, I'm just hangin',
What's up with you?

How would you caption this picture?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Yes, She's Pregnant

Now that Mrs. Dude is two-thirds of the way through her second pregnancy, I’ve become much more cognizant of people’s behavior toward her this time than during her first pregnancy. And when I say “people”, I mean rude strangers we randomly encounter that we’ll never see again.

Last weekend was our 5th wedding anniversary. We celebrated with a rare night out for just the two of us, as we left the Little Dude with a saintly friend for a few hours of peace and quiet  adult time. I made a conscious choice for us to go to a grown-up restaurant (i.e. no menus with pictures & no crayons anywhere on the premises), hoping that we could enjoy a low key dinner with no interruptions. I should have picked another restaurant.

Don’t get me wrong, the food was great. But I could tell early on that the waiter was going to make this a long night. When he noticed that Mrs. Dude was pregnant he asked the obligatory “When are you due?”. That’s a polite question and she answered it accordingly. To me, that should have been the end of the conversation on the subject. But then he kept asking more increasingly personal questions, and at one point even shared an anecdote about his father’s reaction when he himself was pulled from his mother’s womb. Not wanting my ribeye to be covered in a shallot and saliva sauce, we played along. Begrudgingly. 

After playing Wingman during 1.67 pregnancies, I’ve determined that there’s a hierarchy of inappropriate questions that strangers feel are appropriate to ask a pregnant woman. I don’t know why they feel the inquisition is necessary, since beyond the 90 seconds we are behind them in line at Trader Joes, I wouldn’t recognize them again if I was locked in a Smart Car with them.  So in order from least to most offensive, here are my:

Top 6 Inappropriate Questions Strangers Ask Pregnant Women

1)      When are you due?  It’s a fair question and its answer should be the end of the discussion. If I tell you October 64th and you tell me that is your great-grandmother’s birthday, am I supposed to care?  How would you like me to respond, “Great, we should have a joint birthday party!”?   

2)      Do you know what you are having?  Many years ago, I heard a pregnant woman answer this question with “yes, a baby”. At the time, I thought that was obnoxious and still kind of do, but so is the questioning that pregnant women incessantly receive. Boy or girl, if I don’t know you, what’s the difference? We didn’t find out the gender in advance when Mrs. Dude was pregnant with the Little Dude. If we made a decision not to find out from the doctor, why do you think I want your opinion, Gas Station Attendant?

3)      Do you have a name picked out?  We always answer “no” to this question because in all honesty we don’t. Some people like to Tweet that they are having a baby named Jemima Alkaline Smith while still holding the wet pregnancy test in their hand. That’s not our style. The problem with this question is that strangers, who know nothing about me, start offering suggestions: “Oh, well Banana is nice!” or “What about Pepcid?”. Guess what, if you don’t know my name, do you really think I’m going to let you name my kid? Maybe if you pulled me out of a burning building you’d earn some say in the matter, but I’d probably at least ask your name then.

4)      Can I touch your belly?  Yours isn’t that much smaller, go rub that instead.  

5)      Are you having twins?  If you ask a woman this question and she isn’t wearing a shirt that says “Future Mother of Twins”, expect something heavy to be thrown at your head. Personally, I would never ask a stranger if she was even pregnant unless her water broke on my foot while she was standing next to me at the hospital.  But some people feel entitled to more or less call a random pregnant woman extra-fat. Thanks a lot, stranger, that’s going to work out well for the hormonally stressed among us.

6)      Are you having a Natural Delivery?  Again, people don’t think about how personal of a question this really is. Do you really need to know if my wife is planning on squeezing 8 pounds of flesh through her private parts? Better question: did you ever wonder why they are called “private parts”? Spoiler alert: it’s because those organs are not a subject most sane people ask random strangers about.

If you are someone I care about, you probably know the answers to many of these questions, but if not, I have no problem with you asking the first three. If you are a waiter named Beelzebub and are endlessly trying to sell us on the merits of giving our unborn your ridiculous name, please do me a favor. Please get me my iced tea already, and mind your own business. 

What inappropriate questions were you asked during pregnancy? 

read to be read at yeahwrite.me

Friday, July 6, 2012

Rockin' Friday: Anniversary

This week's Rockin' Friday tune was an easy choice. 
Five years ago tomorrow Mrs. Dude and I had our first dance as Mr. & Mrs. Dude to 
Norah Jones' Come Away With Me
Enough Said.

Happy Anniversary to my one and only: 

What song did you have your First Dance to?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

When the doctor finally discharged me he repeatedly stressed one word: rest. He’d had me on 24-hour I.V. fluids for nearly a week and though my body was rehydrated, it was completely listless. Mononucleosis sucks. Especially when you are 17 years old and summer is rapidly approaching. Doubly so if you have an overseas trip scheduled 6 weeks to the day after you are hospitalized.  I knew there was no way I was going to make it onto that plane.

When I returned home from the hospital, the extent of my daily activity consisted of waking up in the morning, going downstairs and flopping down on the couch in front of the TV. All day. Every day. Until it was time for bed when I would sluggishly ascend the stairs to rest some more.  

I knew I would miss the last month of school, which you might think is every teenager’s fantasy.  But two factors made this situation infinitely less than desirable. Like the fact that I couldn’t really eat because my throat was so swollen that simply breathing became a challenge. Or that we didn’t have cable.

I had a set routine, though I don’t remember its exact sequence now. My days were filled with our local Channel 19’s run through classic sitcoms. I didn’t get to hang with my friends at school, so I made new friends to keep me company through my misery. There was Lucy and Gomer, Mr. Belvedere and The Fonz. And especially the Mayberry crew.

Had I been born 20 years later I’d have been texting and tweeting to keep up with the outside world. Instead, I traveled back in time. To simpler worlds and situations that were neatly wrapped up in 22 minutes, accompanied by endless ads for Life Alerts and Life Insurance.  My life should have been beginning, but it felt like it was ending. I had to go on that trip, but how could I plan to go hiking through the desert when a trip to the bathroom left me winded?

I took my recuperation very seriously. I drank at least two giant jugs of Gatorade per day for their electrolytes. I ingested steroids in the kind of doses that people with serious maladies are given. Over the next few weeks I lost 30 pounds, which would be wonderful now but was scary then.

The doctors tried to give me hope that I’d make it onto that plane, but I doubted them. I was pessimistic and felt entitled to be given how miserable I felt every day. Since talking was painful, I limited mine as much as possible. The anguish of isolation did not help.

Finally, with about 10 days until the trip I went to see my Infectious Disease doctor to get the verdict. Nurses checked my vitals and drew 11 vials of blood. Then the doctor ran the most important test he could: asking me if I wanted to go. I did. And so I went. 

read to be read at yeahwrite.me

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

One Year Down

One year ago today, as people across the land of the free/home of the brave gorged on hot dogs and watched fireworks to celebrate our nation’s birth, I sat with my laptop while my family napped. I had an afternoon full of independence and no road map.

A few days earlier, a friend had suggested that I start a blog to expound on some ideas that had been bouncing around my skull. I didn’t know what I’d write. Frankly, I’d never even read a blog before. But I figured it out and wrote this.

Was it great? Not really. Was it real? Definitely.

Faster than you can say “publish”, I was hooked. I wrote and wrote, wondering if anyone would discover my little page. I had two readers: me and my wife. I figured I had an original idea writing about being a father staying home with a toddler. Then I discovered the other 90,000 “daddy blogs” out there.

I never thought anyone would ever find my page. Especially when I discovered that Googling “Dude of the House” led to page after page of links to stories about the house from The Big Lebowski. I was going to be more alone than the popular football player in a horror movie. 

I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing, partially because I didn’t know what I was doing. I wanted to see if random people would somehow discover me floating on the web. I didn’t want to force friends and family.  Even now, they usually don’t read my stuff anyway. I wanted to get real neutral opinions. Every time I’d get a comment on a post, I felt like the excited waiter from that Chinese restaurant that is always empty every time you pass by, when he finally gets a customer.

It was this post, written at exactly the 6-month marker of my blog, that turned the tide. People related to the loss and utter void of losing a parent. It helped me begin to heal from that tragedy.  Your responses showed me that I was no longer alone here.

Around that same time, I stumbled upon an amazing community of writers at YeahWrite. I don’t remember how I found them, but I wish I did so I could thank whoever led me to this supportive and inspiring collection of writers.  I’ve met great people amidst the friendly competition.

A couple months later, I traveled to Austin where I met even more great writers. And they were almost exclusively all other Dudes. Some veteran bloggers took me under their wings. I learned some tricks of the trade and returned to LA with a renewed inspiration. Since then, my blog’s output has tripled on a monthly basis. So has my number of readers. It feels good.

Dude of the House is far from the biggest blog out there, but it certainly isn’t the smallest anymore either. I wanted to quit many times, but for some reason didn’t. And last week I published my 100th post, all of which have been read by tens of thousands of people. Like you. 

If you’ve gotten this far, thanks for sticking with me. Thanks for telling your friends. Thanks for your comments and thanks for keeping me going.  Sitting behind a computer is lonely, but I have the best subjects in the world to write about. And soon there will be one more.  I hope you’ll stay tuned and hang out on the bus a little longer with me, my Little Dude, Mrs. Dude and our loyal watchdog

If you want to join me for even more fun, come hang with me here: 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Two-Line Tuesday: He-Man

By the power of pinwheel,
I have the power!

How would you caption this photo?
Leave a comment below

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Random 10 for July 1

As a writer, the hardest part of the gig is coming up with brilliant topics to write about. Sometimes inspiration punches you in the face and you can’t type fast enough. And sometimes you pull an all-nighter to finish something dumpster-worthy.

One fun way of writing is taking prompts, of which the blogosphere possesses no shortage, and seeing what you come up with versus a slew of other clever scribes. The great majority are just not my style. But the wonderful Stasha from The good life is always a lock for intelligent and thought-provoking topics as part of her “Monday Listicles” series.

When I saw this week’s prompt, I knew had to participate.  It’s a list of 10 totally random questions. With my mind approaching mush lately, and with at least a half-dozen blog posts started-but-not-nearly-finished, this was right up my alley. So without further ado:

1)      Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 23, and find line 4. What is it?
Given that I have a 6 month pregnant wife, it’s not super surprising that the nearest book to me is a baby name book. Truth be told, the SIX closest books to me are baby name books. The one on top is beyond ava & aiden: the enlightened guide to naming your baby. What’s written on the instructed page is not going to help me at all, though: “Clementine” & “Julia”.  I’m semi-enlightened and all, but since we are having a boy, those names are not even close to my radar.  

2)      How many times a day do you say “Hi”?
I have a 2 ½ year old son, so without counting, I’d have to guess several hundred.

3)      Have you ever worn a uniform?
Does Little League count?

4)      What do you think about the most?
As I mentioned, I have a spirited toddler and will have another kid in 3 months. They occupy an increasingly high percentage of my cranium. How I will take care of them. How I will parent them. How I will teach them. Knowing that my actions and behavior will have a lasting long-term effect on them, I try to be very conscientious. Or as much as I can be without being completely OCD.

5)      How many keys are on your keyring?
Two: car & work. I don’t even have a house key. Weird, right?
6)      What was the last thing you bought?
On the way home last night, I bought a supermarket chicken to bring home for dinner. Full disclosure: it was fried.  
Fuller disclosure: I bought a box of Honeycomb, too.  

7)      Are you growing anything these days?
Older: Hopefully wiser.
Wider: Unfortunately.
Kids: And sanguinely more patient with them.

8)      What is under your bed?
A slew of shoes, in no orderly fashion. Not necessarily in contemporary fashion, either.  
And enough dustballs to make a Dyson weep.

9)      What is most important in life?
See #4 above.

10)   What is the strangest word you used this week?

Hey, I'd love to hear your answers to any or all of the above questions. 
Leave it in the comments below.