1. hey.

yogurt

I used to do this as a matter of course.

But it’s been years since I’ve regularly written stuff here, much less successfully completed a National Blog Posting Month month. I’m not sure why I’ve neglected a tool that I used to appreciate so much — perhaps it’s because my jobs came to too closely resemble what I used to do here — but over the last several years, that’s what’s happened.

So I’m going to try to have some fun with Uncle Crappy — the blog — this month. NaBloPoMo used to be a thing I did regularly; I even remember approaching that first November with some trepidation about mustering one post a day for an entire month … and then coming up with something like 36 posts in the course of a month.

NaBloPoMo_2015I have no idea whether I have 36 posts in me this month. I have no idea whether I have 30 posts in me this month. And, frankly, I have no idea whether NaBloPoMo is even still a thing these days. (If you read this and you’re doing it too, leave me a comment, willya?)

But I’m going to give this a try.

Folks who have been reading here for a long time will know some of this stuff. For the rest of you: By way of an introduction, here are 10 things you might read about during the course of the month.

Weather. I’m kind of a freak about the weather. And we’re solidly in the middle of my favorite time of year, weather(and other)wise.

Diabetes. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, this is a new development. I’m doing pretty well with my goal of not letting diabetes define who I am, but there are moments of frustration, like the one I experienced today: Hungry, standing in a Sheetz in eastern Ohio and understanding that there is basically nothing in the entire building that I can eat. I get that from time to time; in other instances, I’m able to convince myself that a bowl of raspberries and plain Greek yogurt is every bit as good as a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. Of note this month: As we approach the holidays, the diabeetus is going to make things interesting.

Food. No, I’m not trying to be funny. I love cooking. I love eating. And the fun part of my diagnosis has been searching for healthier alternatives to replace some of the crap I can no longer get away with eating. My favorite so far: Whole wheat flatbread pizza with onions and turkey pepperoni.

Beer. This is also a challenge, given the diabeetus, because I still need to keep up with my professional obligations. On my own time, the solution is easy: Drink much less, but drink much better.

Yoga. If there’s something on this list that should define me, it’s this. It’s been a tough fall, because work and our trips to Columbus have really taken away from the time I would spend in the studio, and I notice the absence, physically and — especially — mentally and emotionally. That’ll get better this month, because we travel only two weekends … and man, I need it. I am a different person now than I was 18 months ago because of yoga and the things that come with it, and I can’t wait to really jump back in.

Football. Mrs. Crappy and I are Ohio State football season ticket holders and in the fall, traveling back and forth to Columbus kind of overshadows everything else. We love it — especially the tailgate parties, which we manage for my folks — but by this point of the season, it can be exhausting. You may also hear about my long-tortured existence as a Cleveland Browns fan. My mostly successful plan for enjoying the current NFL season: Caring less means more fun.

Football (other). I had a brief flirtation with Aston Villa a few years ago, but that was based on common ownership with the Browns … so, naturally, that turned out to be a disaster. Over the past two years, I’ve undergone a more organic Premier League selection process, which has reached this final, carved-in-stone conclusion: Liverpool. On the domestic side, this process has been much easier: Columbus ’til I die.

Music. I can’t overstate the importance of music in my life, from the chill stuff that Kristi plays in her yoga classes to the hippie music that has occupied a huge portion of my life since, uh, junior high school. Coming this month: bluegrass, Johnny Rotten, the annual return of Christmas music and a buildup to a Keller Williams show in early December.

Pittsburgh. I grumble about Pittsburgh during football season, but the secret is that I love being here: the places, the social life and especially all of you. And here’s a not-so-closely-held secret: Pittsburgh during the holiday season is magical.

Mrs. Crappy. I saved the best one for last.

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on repeat.

In 2010, Mrs. Crappy and I ventured to Ohio for a terrific Groundhog weekend.

When we returned, our street looked like this:

cropped-img_4012.jpg

This weekend, I am venturing to Ohio — Mrs. Crappy has to work — for what I hope will be a terrific Groundhog weekend.

Check out what could be happening when I return on Sunday:

stormwarning

So. OK then.

 

pho down.

fosho

It’s winter. And we all need help finding some warmth, some color and some spice.

Me? I need some pho. Beef broth, simmered all day. A mound of rice noodles. Onions and scallions. Thin slices of beef that cook in the broth when that big bowl of deliciousness is carried out to your table. And sprouts, jalapenos, basil leaves, lime and chili paste on the side, so you can make that pho your own.

It’s so simple really, just beef noodle soup. Except that it isn’t simple at all — it’s a huge palette, ranging from a little sweet to wipe-the-sweat-off-your-forehead spicy, if that’s what you’re looking for. It’s deeply satisfying, especially this time of year

Thanks to a Facebook conversation sparked by Spoon and this video, we’re having a Pho Down* at 6:30 Wednesday night, at Vietnam’s Pho on Penn Avenue in the Strip. A couple things to keep in mind: I recall that Vietnam’s Pho is cash only and that BYOB is OK with them. If I’m wrong about either one, someone correct me, OK?

Think you might join us? If you haven’t already, let me know, so we can give them a heads up Wednesday afternoon.

Sure, late January can look pretty bleak. Meeting a group of friends and slurping down some pho is guaranteed to help.

*Yes, I know I have to pronounce “pho” incorrectly for this pun to work. Get your own blog, smartypants.