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amalah
Washington, DC
Recent Activity
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Happy Friday! Not much to report from here, as usual. Really only here to phone something in real quick so I can go play outside in this perfectly normal 70-degree February weather. Hopefully the sun doesn't explode while I'm out there. One semi-related follow-up to Wednesday's post, where the reality of "Noah's going to middle school" hit many of us like a sack full of existential bricks, the school yearbook staff requested baby photos of all the fifth graders. And like many modern parents with way, way too many millions of digital photos scattered across old laptops, flash drives and cloud storage, I went and swiped some random pics off the Internet. Specifically, this post, which is really dumb so don't go read it, instead, look at these photos and try not to wither into old-age dust. The squirrel cheeks, OMG. I can still remember the EXACT sound of the cooing noise he was making at this moment. 100% without a doubt contemplating the possibilities of time travel. (ALL TOGETHER NOW) ...we'll bleed and fight for you, we'll make it right for you. If we lay a strong enough foundation, we’ll pass it on to you, we’ll give the world... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at amalah . com
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We had an IEP meeting this morning, a pretty big one. It was the first of TWO meetings planned for the transition to middle school (heyyyy there, fellow olds!) and this was also a "re-evaluation" year, which involves a metric shitton of testing and assessments to determine exactly how Noah's disabilities are impacting him at school. Of course, in my paranoid, neurotic brain, you can go ahead and replace "how" with "if," and then spend a few sleepless nights practicing the imaginary arguments you're going to have when the IEP team decides your child no longer qualifies for any services or accommodations, bye bye, have fun in middle school, watch out for the grizzly bears, good luck to ya. (That did not happen, by the way.) We knew going in that Noah did very well on all of the individual tests and assessments. His grades this year have been outstanding, and barring that one unfortunate debating debacle early in the year, behavior reports describe him as focused, hard-working and an all-around delightful, well-behaved kid. In some schools, yes, those positives can be spun into a "it's time to reduce services/increase mainstreaming/drop to a 504 plan" kind of discussion. Our school,... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at amalah . com
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We celebrated the beautiful weather (and everyone's so-so recovery from the cold that wouldn't die from last week) by getting outside and tackling some yardwork. Lots of leaves and twigs and small branches to collect. Our trees like to shed many different things all year round. My contribution: ...aaaaand my children's: We paid them a dollar. Got what we paid for, I guess. Today is a professional day at school so everyone is home for the fourth straight day. We're running out of entertainment options, although my "Anybody Who Whines About Being Bored Gets Assigned Housework"rule is working out splendidly. The house has never been cleaner! (This broom and dustpan combo set is the perfect size for your littlest servants, incidentally.) Ezra eventually caught on, and decided to get ready for our next family protest instead. Can't argue with that last one. Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at amalah . com
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On Valentine's Day proper, I took some cold medicine, a nice long nap, and declared myself miraculously healed...just in time for us to stick with our original grand romantic plan of seeing a drag show with a big group of friends. (Today, to all those friends, I am so, so sorry if I touched you or breathed on you. I tried not to, for the most part. But turns out I vastly overestimated my recovery and have been paying for that night ever since, because this cold is horrrrrrible and my entire body hurts from all the coughing and sneezing. Noah is better but now Ezra is home sick, Ike is sniffling, and Jason is away in California until tomorrow but also complaining about a cough.) (Sorry to California, too, then.) But anyway, back when I momentarily thought the worst was behind me, we saw some drag queens. The show was called "Love Can Be a Drag," do you get it do you get it I got it okay good. Jason took over a dozen pictures of me and I hated every single one and couldn't understand why I looked so pale and puffy and haggard in them, which should... Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2017 at amalah . com
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This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. Man, last week was One Of Those Weeks. Jason's work kept him late almost every night, or had him commuting to D.C., while the boys all started different after-school enrichment programs on different nights of the week (naturally!). They'd come home extra crunched for time and INSANELY hungry, having missed their usual after-school snack break. They needed dinner STAT and waiting for Dad to get home wasn't an option. It was One Of Those Weeks where we just had to sacrifice our family dinner ritual. It happens. Kids got an easy, early dinner from the freezer or pasta shelf. All as healthy and homemade-ish as I could manage (I do a lot of big-batch cooking on weekends for nights like that), but certainly nothing too challenging or exciting. Jason and I, on the other hand, didn't have to sacrifice much at all: Every night was Date Night, thanks to Blue Apron. Usually when we have One Of Those Weeks, we end up ordering a lot of takeout or delivery, which is 1) expensive, and 2) too easy to blow through 2,500 calories in one sitting because oh look a two-for-one deal on large... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2017 at amalah . com
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Happy Valentine's Day! It's going GREAT. Noah came down with a pretty bad cold on Sunday, I got it yesterday. Last night was Jason's customary home-cooked, multiple-course Valentine's-dinner-that's-not-on-Valentine's-day-SO-THERE-OR-SOMETHING extravaganza. I coughed and sniffled my way through it, then gave us both a miserable nights' sleep (cough cough hack wheeze cold hot cold hot couch) and an equally hellacious morning because neither of us could bear to face the day on like 40 minutes of sleep. (On the other hand, there were homemade pork belly buns. Jason went to Momofuku without me recently and took a pretty impressive stab at recreating them for me, AS HE SHOULD. Then there was creme brulee, my favorite dessert in the world, which I did not photograph because I was too busy eating it. There are two more in the fridge which will make a nice balanced lunch and afternoon snack.) I'm doing some work and drinking some tea laced with Zicam and then joining poor Noah in a much-needed nap. He's feeling better than yesterday but still not super great, and I realized he's missing his very last elementary school Valentine's Day party ever. And I was so prepared!! At least I flaked on... Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2017 at amalah . com
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Wellllllll, look who got her shit together this year. Just look at this shit, and how together it all is. I completely forgot about the boys' school Valentine's Day parties last year (and every other year, to be honest), which resulted in 2) a mad last-minute rush to a ransacked Target and the purchase of the world's most objectively ugly/lame Valentines, 2) an $800 car repair and 3) three kids up way past their bedtimes filling them out while I stressed out over spelling errors because we literally did not have an extra card to spare and ugggghhhhh they were super-glossy cards that you couldn't use a pencil on whyyyyyyyyyyy....I vowed to be more on top of things this year. I added these three Valentines sets to my Amazon cart on February 15th, 2016 and clicked "Save For Later." Then I created a reminder in Google Calendar for January 31st, 2017 that said MOVE VALENTINES TO CART AND BUY NOW WITH ONE-CLICK HURRY DO IT DON'T BE DUMB. (Please note that my day-to-day life and organization levels still operate at the normal level of "complete and utter clusterfuck.") But hey. Valentines are done. With a whole day to spare! I... Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2017 at amalah . com
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CREEPER CAT, PART ONE It's okay, Cat. Just over here eating dinner. Can you stop staring at the back of my head like that, Cat? D'awwwwwww nevermind I like your toes Cat. CREEPER CAT, PART TWO It's okay, Cat. Just in here taking a bath. Okay that's definitely enough please go away Cat. UNIMPRESSED CAT, PART FOUR MILLION AND THREE It must be exhausting to be so loved, ugh. SHOULD I BE CONCERNED ABOUT MY CHILDREN'S ONGOING VERBAL ABUSE OF ALEXA, PART WHO KNOWS CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL AND HERE TO KILL US ALL, PART HELPLESS SOBBING Us on Tuesday night: "This is so romantic and I love it out here this is the best purchase ever and we should totally come out here every night from now on blah blah blah" vs. Us on Thursday night: "OH MY GOD IT'S COLD WHY AM I SO COLD OH GOD WE TURNED THE HEAT OFF AND KICKED OFF ALL THE BLANKETS AND NOW IT IS 5 A.M. AND I AM A HUDDLED SHIVERING BALL OF FREEZING NO DON'T PUT YOUR FEET ON ME DON'T PUT YOUR FEET ON ME GO TURN ON THE HEAT AND PUT ON SOME SOCKS AND OH... Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2017 at amalah . com
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We're coming up on the year anniversary of The Worst Week Ever, when we lost both Ceiba and Max in hideous, rapid-fire succession. So it's been interesting that over the past couple weeks I've fielded an unusually high number of emails with questions about the new pets. Specifically, how/when/why-type questions about our decision(s) to adopt them, from readers who are either dealing with a recent loss (or double whammy like ours, I'm so sorry Jen, 21017 can suck it), or are considering adopting themselves and want some honest real-talk about the process. And while answering these emails, I've probably written like, enough words to fill four blog posts about it. So...let's re-purpose some shit! FAPQ #1: How did you know you were ready to adopt a new dog? I dunno. I kind of didn't? The boys brought up the possibility of a new dog almost immediately after we broke the news about Ceiba's cancer to them. Jason was like, "That's a good idea." I was like, "Slow your damn rolls, you monsters, she's not even dead yet." And then I spent the next few days mourning deeply for that dog, the one that wasn't even dead yet. The appointment to... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2017 at amalah . com
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I recently realized that the Alexa app on my phone logs each and every command/question/request the boys make of Ezra's beloved Amazon Tap. I scrolled through about a month's worth and it was...illuminating. And so today I present a long, winding look at exactly how the young minds of today are interacting with and pushing the limits of Voice Service Technology. alexa play the angry birds soundtrack When's my birthday? When is my birthday? When is October the fifteenth? How much longer until Christmas? alexa play the angry birds soundtrack Say it What time will be after four oh five? What time will be after four oh six? How do you make the color purple? How to you make the color orange? What happens if you combine the color red with yellow? What do the colors red and yellow make? Come on alexa play the angry birds soundtrack What how do you make the color white? What what? What is a cowboy? What is a cowgirl? What is a cowgirl? I said cowgirl not cowboy How long of a fall would it be if he fell down from a cliff? What do you hear? Can you drink anything? What happens... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2017 at amalah . com
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It's Friday! Therefore, time for what doesn't happen quite enough to constitute a "tradition" but happens just enough to maybe be a "thing," here are some photos I took this week that didn't quite find their way into their own post. Did you know they made a Broadway musical about the Titantic? Like a TAKES ITSELF SUPER SERIOUSLY LES MIZ-STYLE OPERATIC SPECTACLE MULTIPLE TONY AWARD WINNING musical? That opened the same year as Titanic: The Movie came out has absolutely nothing to do with Titanic: The Movie? Much like David S. Pumpkins, it's its ownnnn thang. I somehow had no idea, and probably would have accused you of lying presenting alternative facts, but now I can confirm it does exist, as I have seen Titanic: The Musical with my own eyes. (Not on Broadway, obviously. But in Northern Virginia, OBVIOUSLY.) (I do not think I was supposed to take this picture. Do not tell anyone, especially the Internet.) My review: The staging was impressively 100% amazing, especially since the original Broadway production was NOT designed for this small, theater-in-the-round 360° setup. The cast was uniformly excellent, as was the orchestra, which somehow managed to cram onto a tiny gangplank near... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2017 at amalah . com
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This post is sponsored by The Bouqs Company. I waited a long time to take the Christmas decorations down. The house looked so bright and cozy with them around, and they made me happy. I mean: Eventually, the number of pine needles all over the floor became less bright/cozy/happy-making and I finally dragged up the boxes and put everything away. Luckily, I had the perfect replacements already sitting on my doorstep. VALENTINE’S DAY HERE I COME. (Seasonal Affective Disorder say whaaaat? It's totally spring up in this place!) Bouqs.com is officially my go-to site for ordering fresh flowers now -- for myself or friends and family, since the flowers 1) aren't cut until you order them, so they last an impressively long time, 2) are absolutely bonkers gorgeous, duh, 3) are grown at sustainable, eco-friendly farms because I really do love this crazy planet of ours, and 4) giving/getting flowers that were grown on an ACTUAL VOLCANO is just kinda badass. (Third-party certified by both The Rainforest Alliance and my cat.) (Just making sure I trimmed the stems properly, of course.) Yep. Those'll do. (I kept the BB-8 ornament out. BB-8 just feels like a year-round decoration.) BAM (Officially sense... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2017 at amalah . com
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Ezra lost a tooth over the weekend, obviously an exciting moment for him...but now that all three of them are in their peak tooth-losing years, it's become less of milestone for us and more of a endless mouth-based cash-sucking scam. (I swear there was one week last month where Noah lost a molar at the dinner table almost every night. Which 1) wow, there's nothing quite like the sight of children passing around a bloody tooth stump to really help the appetite, and 2) HOW R U EVEN CHEWING, BRO.) Long story short, Jason and I both completely forgot about the lost tooth and whiffed on the tooth fairy duties. I remembered approximately 0.32224 seconds after waking up and jumped out of bed, hoping to catch him sleeping in, but alas, they were already downstairs and poor Ezra was super, mega disappointed. I went down and blathered some lame excuse about how he probably just lost the tooth too late to get added to her list for that night, blah blah she'll surely come tonight. As soon as I walked out of the kitchen I heard Noah drop the truth bomb: NOAH: You know the tooth fairy isn't real, Ezra.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2017 at amalah . com
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I was getting coffee yesterday morning with Lydia when Jason texted. There's a protest at the White House at 1 p.m. I want to go. Noah does too. "Welp. I better get home." I told her. "This is what life is like now, I guess." I got home, changed my shirt, refastened an assortment of buttons and a safety pin to my coat, and put on my ridiculous pink hat. The boys and Jason all changed into Hamilton-themed shirts, while Noah carefully packed up the Declaration, Constitution and Bill of Rights. He also chose a hat. The protest quickly moved from a rally at the White House into a march past Trump's hotel and to the Capitol building (something the Women's March ended up being simply too massive to attempt), so we joined in. For something that was somewhat hastily planned and Jason only spotted somewhat randomly on Facebook, the turnout was insane. The line of marchers -- once a again a wildly diverse, universally peaceful crowd -- went on and on as far as I could see in both directions. Ike took it all in with a bit of baffled wonder, while Ezra understood that we were marching against... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2017 at amalah . com
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A local brewery hosts a monthly dog- (and kid-) friendly pint night. We've been talking about taking Beau to one for ages now, always debating whether he'd like it or cower like a nervous stress-pee seizing wreck like poor old Ceiba. On the other hand: There is beer. And beer is good. Let's give it a try! It's official: Beau is a dog who LOVES LOVES LOVES being around his doggy friends. Look at that face. (The dog's pretty cute too, I guess.) The kids made a couple excited rounds to Pet! All! The Dogs!! (after getting permission from the owners, natch) and then settled down with food truck pizza and their holy blessed screens, while Beau kept one of us making laps around the room almost all night to happily sniff butts and...yeah. That was pretty much his jam. There was a looooooootttt of butt sniffing. He was so happy! Lots of dogs and head pets and new laps to jump in! Let's do this every night! And then Beau met the love of his life, a beautiful Golden Retriever therapy dog at the next table over. Beau's obsession with this dog was...intense. Playful tussling and tail wagging gave... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2017 at amalah . com
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It's sheet-changin' day in the Storch household, and frankly, as the mother of three boy children, this isn't really the sort of stuff I expected to one day find hidden under their blankets and mattresses. (I always thought my off-limits-to-little-eyes Walking Dead compendiums would be the more popular targets for late-night stealing. Nope, it's my Hamilton book.) The only thing missing from this stash was his Bill of Rights, which he took to school today. They have a history test tomorrow and he could not be more excited about it. "It's going to be a blast! I'm going to get an A+!" I have no doubts that he will. Last night we finished the homework/chores/dinner gauntlet early enough that the boys technically had time to watch a movie instead of just a show before bed. Noah said thanks, but actually, he'd rather watch another installment of a George Washington TV miniseries from 1984 on YouTube. He also built his own Fort McHenry. I've promised him tours of the U.S. Capitol and the Supreme Court, as well as a repeat visit to the National Archives to see his best buds the Founding Documents again. And Williamsburg, again, please please please? We... Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2017 at amalah . com
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Very (very) early on Saturday morning, I -- like a million-plus other people -- woke up, steeled my nerves, donned a pink pussy hat, and boarded a bus in downtown Baltimore to join the Women's March on Washington. I went with my friends Lydia and Micaela (formerly known as Finn and Rey's former foster moms) and Lydia's mom (whose friend made us our hats, which were warm and cozy and hid whatever was going on with my hair that day, since I opted to completely skip anything beauty-makeup-vanity related in exchange for 10 more minutes of sleep). A series of rookie mistakes cost us over an hour's worth of waiting in lines -- I somehow missed the rule about backpacks and had to wait to check mine (technically Noah's and not one I was willing to abandon) for the day, and then we all were like "oh my God there are a whole three people waiting in line for the bathroom on the bus! no way man, what a hassle!" only to discover that the ENTIRE FEMALE POPULATION had descended on Union Station and lo, it also had to pee. Lydia took this one while we waited in line for... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2017 at amalah . com
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The only thing I have to say about today... ...is that I'll see ya'll tomorrow. ❤ Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2017 at amalah . com
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Noah decided to hold an impromptu Constitutional Convention at the dinner table last night. Among several proposed laws and amendments we discussed (Congress does not have the right to take away recess and also the Muslim ban/registry violates freedom of religion and is a terrible idea), he wanted to make some of his previously discussed changes to the Declaration of Independence a bit more permanent. ^and women >Slavery is also a bad thing and must be repealed Hereby signed and approved by Noah Storch, Ezra Storch and Ike Storch, thus fulfilling the requirement of a two-thirds majority in the Storch household to pass into law. (Or something. I don't know. Kid knows way, way more about how it all works now than me. But I do know his use of proper proofreading marks is giving me life.) Continue reading
Posted Jan 18, 2017 at amalah . com
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It's January 17, almost Let's Inaugurate a Lunatic Day, it's cold and grey outside, and I still haven't taken down our Christmas tree, which is dead. Time for a half-assed, hodgepodge post of random, mostly unrelated photos! I made this for dinner and lo, it was good. (We've been mixing it up and trying out a few of the other meal-delivery service options, so this was a Sunbasket recipe.) So good that the kids ate EVERY BITE, declared it their favorite, and then Ezra and Ike made me thank-you necklaces. Which I think went really well with an equally ridiculous dress. The men in my life give me weird things. I also made a lasagna. I was pretty darn proud of it (as evidenced by the multiple photos I took of it for no reason) and the kids ate it just fine, but alas, I was not showered in additional jewelry afterwards. Ingrates. Our weekend was on the touristy side...first Jason took Noah to Fort McHenry in Baltimore while I hosted a playdate for the other two at home.* He had more questions than the park staff were able to answer, but came home full of excitement, along with a... Continue reading
Posted Jan 17, 2017 at amalah . com
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This post is sponsored by thredUP. I was folding Ike's laundry recently and came across some clothing that had...seen better days, to put it nicely. Shirts and pants with permanent stains, worn-out seams, holes started to emerge at the knees and elbows. All clothing that had been passed down to him; most of it previously worn by both of his older brothers. Hand-me-downs are a wonderful thing, but we're definitely stretching the limits of them at this point. Ike so rarely gets new clothing that's just for HIM, he gets irrationally excited over new pajamas or a cheap souvenir t-shirt. One morning he came bursting into my room to thank me for the new bag of socks I'd emptied into his drawer. Socks! New ones! Look Ma, no holes! Poor third child. Enter thredUP. I shopped at thredUP a lot back in the day when it was a parent-to-parent kids' clothing swap service. It's since evolved to a really amazing online consignment store, packed with both kids' and women's clothing -- along with a pretty big selection of high-end and designer brands. (Which always makes my clicking finger start to itch.) The kids’ section is GREAT because I can buy... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2017 at amalah . com
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The very first item on Ezra's Christmas list was a "radio." Something that, once upon a time, would've been a pretty straightforward request. Except that I knew he probably didn't have the faintest clue what an actual, traditional "radio" is or does, and even I was like, "do they even...make those...anymore?" After asking him some leading questions, I was able to confirm that yes, the child who still sometimes tries to swipe left at magazines had some pretty unrealistic expectations about what his "radio" would do. He wants to listen to music in his room, but like, whatever music he wants, whenever he wants it. For free. MEANWHILE: Flashbacks to my very first radio/cassette player combo deck, where I would obsessively switch between two or three radio stations, hoping to catch a "good song," while keeping my fingers poised over the record button so I could BLAM, capture it on a sloppy cassette mixtape, also GOD would it kill the DJ to STOP TALKING YOU'RE RUINING MY JAM. (True Story: To this day, whenever I hear the opening bars of George Michael's Never Gonna Dance Again I mentally congratulate Bethany from Bensalem for scoring free concert tickets.) We have several... Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2017 at amalah . com
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It's cold and icy and blah out there, but I seem to have mostly recovered from whatever cold/sinus bullshit was going on last week. Or else I've just accepted that not being able to breathe through my nose super-comfortably is the way I live now, and probably will until spring, when the pollen comes along to fully suffocate me from inside my own face. (Yes, I'm going to see an allergist for testing and shots and all that, but clearly I am not ready to let go of my gloomy pessimism and penchant for colorful language about the mucus situation.) There's shockingly little to report from around here, honestly. The kids get up, go to school, and even the level of morning chaos is at an all-time low. Everybody takes care of their own shit, I float around the edges offering reminders about library books and lunch boxes, then tsk tsk after they've barreled out the front door because we still aren't 100% on clearing your own breakfast dishes or throwing away your banana peel. Speaking of bananas, both real and figurative, Ezra had a playdate this weekend at a neighbor's house. I'm sorry to report that his long-time engagement... Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2017 at amalah . com
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I came down with a bad cold on New Year's Eve, and ever since have been stuck in a "I'm feeling better/wait no I'm not" loop. Is it the same cold? A new cold? Allergies? Some kind of combination cold/mold sinus monster? I have no idea anymore, but I do know that it's making me look and feel like this: i am comfy but also grumpy leave me alone in couch buttcrack okay? I continue to force myself to rise up from the couch buttcrack occasionally, so as not to undo some of the small mental health best practices and small victories I've achieved over the last couple weeks: I've added at least 30 minutes a day of circuit training-type exercise to my 30 minutes a day of SAD lamp time, and while I know this is not BRAND NEW INFORMATION or anything, and merely proves I have the memory of a goldfish, but: Wow! Getting regular exercise sure does help! Whodathunkit, golly gee, alert the lamestream media, etc. I don't know how many times I've learned this exact lesson, and every time -- EVERY TIME -- I swear up and down that that this time -- THIS TIME --... Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2017 at amalah . com
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Happy New Year! I personally couldn't be happier to drop-kick 2016 like an underinflated football, although I can't quite shake my suspicion that 2016 was just an elaborate viral marketing campaign for all the shit that's about to go down THIS YEAR. Look, I uncovered the subliminal messaging in AMC's Walking Dead ads: WATCH WHAT HAPPENS! LIVE! Or dead. Who even can say anymore. If there was one super genuinely good thing from last year (besides my children and marriage and home and the fact that I have some pets that DIDN'T die blah blah blah), it was that I watched a lot of television. Here's one of those end-of-year round-up style posts that most people publish in December but I'm a rebel. Also because this idea just occurred to me this morning. Reason I'm Secretly So Cool With Jason Hanging Out With His Friends Because I Get To Stay Home and Watch This Over and Over: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Reasons Neither of Us Are Allowed to Make Plans On Sunday Nights: Westworld, Game of Thrones Newest Cosplay Obsession: Westworld Most Novelty T-Shirt Tie-ins Purchased: Stranger Things Shows I Am Over: The Walking Dead, See Above, NEGAN, South Park Show With... Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2017 at amalah . com
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