A Message from a Happy Jalapeno

You might be here at my Blog because of my stories and my writing. You might be here because of my birthday and Christmas wishlists. Or you might be here because you love great salsa, and you know Donnie Jalapeno Salsa is the greatest salsa on the planet. Actually, on any planet, and I know this because Interplanetary Dining Magazine rated me #1.

You’ve read reviews, you’ve tried my salsa and you know it for yourself, but if you want another testimonial, how about you hear it from a jalapeno. The dream of all jalapenos is to be part of Donnie Jalapeno salsa.

Stay tuned for the Roma tomato roundtable discussion on being part of the Donnie Jalapeno Salsa recipe. Coming soon.

And, now, a word from a jalapeno. Oh, and ORDER HERE.

The Joy of Breathing from The Moth StorySLAM

If you’ll take the 6-minutes to watch this, please know this …this happened when I was 35 years old. I’m 46-years-old, now. And at the end I act like all at once I figured everything out. You might think for the past 11-years I’ve been nothing but a source of joy and happiness and inspiration to other people. I’m still a work in progress. The good news is, more days than not, I’m acting less selfishly and thinking of others.

My night at The Moth was inspired by hearing Matthew Dicks on the The Art of Manliness Podcast (Episode 462, “How To Tell Better Stories”, hosted by Brett McKay). Until that Podcast, I didn’t know “storytelling” was a thing. The Podcast found me at the right time in my life. 2018 was difficult because my dear friend passed away suddenly, and shockingly, at 47-years-old. He was a clean-living, in-shape, 5K-running, family man and an all around good person. He had a heart defect since birth, but at 47-years-old, having been a runner his entire life, he probably thought he was OK. Like I said …shocking.

This story is not about him, but my bold move to get on-stage and tell my story happened because Matt’s death woke me up and I vowed to stop sleepwalking through life.

Thanks for reading, watching, and listening. Make other people happy, and you’ll know joy.

My Wife is Batman

This will embarrass my wife, but it shouldn’t. My wife has unwavering confidence and courage of her convictions. She has the ability to be firm and confident on things that I’ve never had. Even when I know I’m right, I still second guess myself and don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. It’s called Catholic Guilt.

My wife is also Catholic. But without the guilt. Not sure how that happens.

My wife does all the grocery shopping for our family. She plans the meals. Makes the shopping lists. Creates a grocery and food budget. Clips coupons. Finds all the discounts. And every week she soldiers to the grocery store (always at the busiest most inconvenient time, which is another Blog entry) and makes sure we have food in the house for a week’s worth of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.

Going with her to the grocery store must be what it’s like to watch NFL game film with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. Or maybe what a real-life Jason Bourne would look like if he was trained in grocery shopping instead of, ya know, killing and fighting and stuff.

b2ap3_large_grocerylistDon’t believe me? Next time you bump into my wife, ask her what aisle and shelf something like, oh, tomato paste is on. Or where would you look to find jarred pimientos or taco seasoning packets? She’ll tell you exactly where those things are, and what shelf, and she’ll give you landmarks like, “it’s about 6 feet down from the cooking oils,” because that’s a can’t-miss grocery aisle landmark. Anyone can spot the cooking oils, but not seasoning packets.

My wife doesn’t just ask for sliced turkey at the deli. She asks for it sliced and tells the woman at the deli what setting she wants on the slicer. My wife can do the self-checkout and knows all the produce identification numbers by heart. Give me a cart full of produce and send me to the self check-out and I’ll see you in the year 2021 (with a basket full of spoiled fruits and vegetables).

She knows all the cashiers and baggers. They laugh and chat. My wife knows their kid’s names. One time I went along on the weekly grocery shopping trip with my wife and the cashiers all were like, “oh, so this is the husband,” and they all laughed together which told me, oh, my wife and the cashiers have inside jokes …about me!!!

What does this have to do with Batman? Batman knows right and wrong and what a crime-free city looks like. My wife knows how a grocery store should properly be run.

My wife’s deep, expert knowledge of our grocery store, which has been our grocery store for almost 20 years, means she also knows the good employees and the bad ones. Believe me. I hear about it. I know there’s a lazy, angry lady at the deli. I know there’s a cashier who’s completely useless.

And I know there’s a rude Customer Service Manager.

My wife hasn’t ever crossed paths with this particular Cstomer Service Manager, but she’s seen this manager treat customers rudely, treat employees rudely, talk loud, be crass, and generally just act obnoxious.

This past Sunday, my wife was doing the weekly shopping and needed something and her cashier said, “you could talk to the Customer Service Manager,” but my wife said, “no, thank you. I see how she treats people and I don’t feel like dealing with that.”

Well, this cashier tattled to the Customer Service Manager and, as impossible as it is to believe, and as an example of how crass she is, the customer service manager confronted my wife before she could get out of the store.

Oh. No. She. Di’n’t. Oh. You. Must. Be. Out. Yo’. Mind.

Customer Service Manager: “Excuse me. Did you tell my cashier that I’m rude?”

My Wife: “Yes. I did. Because you are.”

Customer Service Manager (annoyed): “Do I know you, ma’am?”

My Wife: “Well, you should. I’ve been coming here for years. I see how rudely you treat your employees and how you talk to other customers, and you’re not someone I want to deal with. And this, you confronting me, is a prime example.”

And my wife walked out. Because she was right. Didn’t want the fight. But when the fight came to her… She. Shut. It. Down.

I would’ve never told the cashier the why I didn’t want to talk to the Customer Service Manager, and if confronted, I almost certainly would’ve apologized for my rude comment. I want to make everyone happy all the time.

Not grocery-store-Batman-Jason-Bourne.

She knows what’s right. What’s wrong. And is supremely confident as she moves through the world. Batman is a superhero. So’s my wife.

My wife shared an article with me today about how men married to teachers are happier than men not married to teachers. I was going to make a joke or something, but the article missed the most important reason. Teachers have to control, motivate, and make 20 random children move together from one level of knowledge to another in 9 months, so there’s no room for making everyone happy or creating 20 different teaching plans. One plan. One goal. No room for apologies or concessions. Moms and Dads back down and coddle. Good teachers, like my wife, do not.

Have you ever tried to control 20 8-year-olds or 9-year-olds? Teachers, like my wife, can develop 20 one-on-one relationships, push and prod some kids in the way they need, and others in different ways, but miraculously at the end of the year, the star-student-teachers-pet has learned what the misbehaved-needs-extra-help kid learned and they all advance to the next grade.

Teachers have full days without breaks. Without the opportunity to quick run out to Starbucks to “clear their mind.” They are on-stage from punch-in to punch-out, and without confidence and courage of conviction, a teacher would be chewed up, spit out, and completely ineffective.

It takes a special person to be a teacher.

It takes a special person to be my wife.

It takes a special person to dress down a bully and a villain at a grocery store and be completely in the right.

I’m lucky to have one such special person in my life.

 

Something Cool with my Google Home

I love my Google Home. I’m sure some people like their Amazon-whatevers, but I find it impossible to believe anything could be better than my Google Home.

I have a Google Mini in my Kitchen and a Home in my Living Room and Google Home App installed on my phone so almost any audio is at my fingertips.But… the cool think I figured out is how to link a high-end Harmon-Kardon Bluetooth speaker to the Google system and the high-end speaker can be my Google enabled device.

If you want a how-to, leave a comment. Or just watch the video and be amazed.

#Be #Enthusiastic

Two videos below well worth your time and here’s what I want you to take away from each of them …#BeEnthusiastic. Have fun with everything you do because …why not? Why wouldn’t you?

We have to go to work? We have to interview for jobs, pay bills, have uncomfortable conversations from time to time, and we mourn the loss of people we love. Yes. Bad and sad things happen, but they don’t always happen (unless you’re really, really unlucky).

Most of us interact with co-workers, go to meetings. Sometimes too many meetings. We go to the doctor and dentist. We wait in lines at airports. And at the grocery store. And in the bathroom.

Challenge yourself and make these moments fun, full of energy, and positive.

(in the vid’ below, I’ll even let you skip to the 4:40 mark)

#Whole30 and #ResolutionADay

Oops, I did it again. I did the #Whole30 and once again I feel like Superman. It’s amazing what happens when a person stops eating packaged foods full of chemicals, added sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and that person eliminates alcohol, pizza, and pasta and that person eats only fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. That person loses weight, gets rid of brain fog, and if that person has Bronchiectasis (which I do), he’ll almost forget he even has a breathing problem.

Which brings me to my #ResolutionADay.

  •  Day40 Live and eat #Whole30 from Sunday 10:00am until Friday 6:00pm. That’s the majority of my eating life, but leaves room on the weekends for, oh, a few slices of pizza, a bourbon or beer (good beer …that’s gonna be #ResolutionADay Day 41), maybe a burger with a bun, some popcorn with a movie …ya know …just a little unhealthy eating and then discipline the other 128 hours of the week.

Look out, world, when I start doing more than walking briskly in the morning.

p.s when I’m in my Friday-evening-to-Sunday-morning eat-bad window, I’m not going to be a glutton. I don’t need 4 slices of pizza and 6 breadsticks. Just because I’m in my cheat window doesn’t mean I’m gonna two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and wash it down with Oreo Double Stufs and a glass of whole milk. Still moderation.

My Lungs, Chapter 188 and #ResolutionADay

Quickly for the new readers (SKIP TO PARAGRAPH 5 IF YOU DON’T WANT THE BACK STORY) – I have a lung condition called Bronchiectasis. Learn about it here. In short, it’s kinda like Asthma, kinda like a never-ending cold, and kinda shitty. When I eat rich foods, dairy, or enriched white flour, I wheeze, struggle to breathe, cough a lot, my heart hurts, I wake up in the middle of the night gasping for breath, and I have to cancel concerts because I can’t sing.

In late 2018, let’s call it “the holidays” I said screw it (because I’d been feeling and breathing really good) and just started eating, well, everything. By the time New Year’s Day rolled around and I was scooping chips full of cheesy queso dip in my mouth as an appetizer for a big, greasy, double-cheese pizza dinner, I felt like I was dying.

I know better. But I also looooooove junk food, bourbon, beer, cookies, and pizza. But enough was enough.

Back on the #Whole30 and here I am on Day-20 and I feel like a new man. I feel as if I don’t even have bronchiectasis. I’m down about 7 pounds on the scale. I haven’t woken up in the middle of the night gasping for air since New Year’s Day. That’s all it takes. Simple. Just eat right.

PARAGRAPH 5: Really. You skipped ahead? You can’t take 40-seconds to read about my woes? Nope. I’m gonna stay positive. Thanks for reading.  Where was I? Right! Why am I telling you this? I’m sharing because I think my refusal to take care of myself and do what I know is right …I think it’s the biggest thing keeping people from being happy. Hence my invention – #ResolutionADay.  It’s overwhelming, they say. It’s impossible, they tell me. But, it might be the best thing ever invented by anyone ever anywhere on Earth. Here’s why it’s working. It forces me to review and be creative. It’s not vague like, “write a book,” or “lose 10 pounds.” It’s little, tiny, daily things I change or add to my life (or weekly, or monthly, or however frequently this thing needs to be. Like today’s…

  •  Day27 Every-other-day as part of cleaning the kitchen after dinner, put the vacuum on “Bare Floors” setting and do the hardwoods in the kitchen and living room.

Something I’m passionate about is cleaning the kitchen after dinner. I have it in my head that I’m going to make the kitchen so clean it looks like we could welcome company over for a party. It’s just my thing because I feel, when I’m done and everthing is in the dishwasher or hand-washed, dried, and put away, and I mean everything and the countertops are empty of random crap …I can relax better in the evening because I don’t have this dark cloud of a “half finished” job hanging out there. It’s a small thing, but actually a big thing toward being a guy who never leaves things half-finished.

Start something. Finish something. Then move onto the next thing (like reading a book, writing for my clients, watching TV with my kids or watching the Spartans).

But Don? This Blog was about your lungs?

Right. It was and is. For me, being healthy and breathing with clear lungs won’t happen from an up-front New Year’s Resolution of something like, “in 2019 I’m going to stop eating bad foods.” For me, it comes in the form of little, daily improvements. Vacuuming all the hardwoods eliminates dust and the way-too-much dog hair that accumulates. Going on #Whole30 jump starts my healthy-eating and squashes my (our) addiction to sugar. And on and on.

Every day, I make myself a little better and I hope you might join me in #ResolutionADay, too.

Female Empowerment

I love a girl-power anthem. Alissia Cera is one of my favorite new artists. I love Katy Perry’s “Roar”, Christina Aguilara’s “Stronger”, everything by Pink and Kelly Clarkson …and don’t get me started on Sia. Let’s just say if Sia had a Detroit area fan club, I’d be the President (or Treasurer).

I blame Alanis Morissette. This song … have a GREAT Friday and do amazing things.

#ResolutionADay

Fourteen days in the books in my #ResolutionADay idea and I’ve successfully made FOURTEEN NewYearsResolutions – and stuck to them. I can do this. It means I have to get creative and really put some thought into it, but it can be done!!!!  Don’t listen to Stacy from It’s Not Just You.  OK. Actually. Listen to her. And to her co-host and my old-friend, Lynn M.

Listen here:  http://www.empoweradio.com/home/podcasts/on-demand/its-not-just-you/814577-How-Make-Changes.html

It’s a quick listen. Laid back. And if you listen to this particular episode you’ll hear them talk about my insane (<–their word) #ResolutionADay.

Something they brought up is that it’s too intense and too many #Resolutions, but if you look at some of the new items on my list, not every Resolution will take time or add tasks to my day.

For example, a future #ResolutionADay will be Buy Flowers for My Wife Once-A-Month and Include a Note Telling Her a Reason I Love Her.  This is NOT a wimpy way out. It’s simply realistic. Maybe another #ResolutionADay will be Leave a Not Under My Daughter’s Pillow Telling Her How Amazing She Is Once-A-Month. Or another could be Make Family Dinner Once-A-Week or Make Saturday-Morning Family Breakfast Once-a-Month.

Yes, my list has stuff like “floss every day” and “pray every day” and future items will be daily things, but some stuff will be me, reflecting on my days, weeks, months, and years and acknowledging things I should do and want to do and will make my life better.

One more time. Listen to the How To Make Changes episode of It’s Not Just You.

Oh, and here’s my first set of #ResolutionADay resolutions and below are the latest.

  • Day14 NO snacking in the evening Sun-Thursday. Dinner. Dessert. DONE! Exceptions = special occasions, and I mean SPECIAL! When I do this my mornings are way better and I always sleep better.
  • Day13 Use my phone but in secret. So my family never sees me on it. Meaning when they are with me, I’m WITH THEM and not also somewhere else via a text exchange or Facebook comment thread.
  • Day12 ONLY cook in my from now on, and learn to master it. Maybe in the two metal pans but beginning today – never on a synthetic nonstick surface. I hear it’s healthy …and it’s manly. Pancakes will be a challenge.

Join me, crazy people.

Found My Old Blogs

Guess how long I’ve been Blogging? Go ahead. Guess.  OK. I’ll give you a hint. It’s more than twelve years. I actually don’t know when I started. And while I can’t really determine the exact date of my first ever Blog entry, there was a time when nobody really understood what a Blog was and what a Blog should be, but I knew I wanted one to write things about my shoes, my hair, and other random stuff.

First I called myself “Donniego” which is a combination of “Donnie” and “ego.”  I felt like anyone who Blogs must have a huge, massive ego and think of themselves as far more interesting than they are. I shouldn’t have been so patronizing because some people have become millionaires because they Blogged about a very specific thing (unlike me who Blogged about coffee …sometimes …and sometimes headphones …GOOD LORD I blew it).

Here’s DonniEgo:  https://donniego.blogspot.com/

I think you’ll really be interested in what I thought about a “funny” time on vacation when I ignored a nagging cough and paralysis and thought it was simply a funny story. I was on the eve of my “lung thing” and I documented it on my Blog.

Then somewhere about 2009 I left the “Blogger” and moved my ranting to a WordPress Blog I called “Don’s Ego” and here’s an “I Love Don Week” post from 2009. Ugh. The list then is mostly the same as my lists now. I’m an old man.

Fun memories looking back on all that stuff I thought was important enough to Blog about.