Death, Taxes, and Other Investments

In the past 2 weeks I have spent over 4 hours on the phone with the IRS’s on-hold music. I worked on a 1099 last year, wherein I took a higher level of pay and didn’t have taxes taken out; instead, I defer the payment to a single tax payment after some standard deductions as a consultant. If you play it properly you have the tax money (and then some) stored up and ready when the bill comes due. In our case, the payment to the IRS hasn’t happened because of… well, I’m not sure. It seems like the payment was supposed to, but didn’t, go through, and then I got a letter that prompted a call. Apparently, that letter went out to a lot of people. I have yet to speak to an actual human at the IRS.

At the same time, a massive merger between AT&T and TimeWarner occurred, creating WarnerMedia. Having worked at AT&T a number of times I can honestly say it is one of the corporations that is best at treating employees with the most basic of respect to keep them from leaving. Which is too bad. Because when publicly-traded corporations are beholden to shareholders, the CEO will do a dance to perhaps make people feel good about their investments. Money rolls in. Stock price rises. Dividends are paid out. Employees grind through work to keep the machine rolling. The company makes a very public, virtue-signaling bonus payout announcement. But that’s just a small part of the story.

So what’s my problem? It’s this… Shortly after the announcement, a round of layoffs began. There was no announcement for that. It’s a year-end move AT&T, and likely other corporations, do in order to get money off the books before benefits reset. For a company that touts itself – and this is for any corporation – as wanting to grow, invest in, and care about the people who work for it, nobody is more important than the Investor. That might also be employees of the company. The workforce within, and this is also common at many corporations, is heavily augmented by consultants, contingent workers, or contractors. We do not receive the same benefits as the people who we work alongside who are full time employees. But we do the same work. And many times, from management or leadership positions.

I work for a great corporation at the moment. I’ve worked for not-great corporations. A great corporation takes care of people, inside-out. It pays taxes to the areas and nations it works in. It has jobs for people to move in to, and up to, and cuts workforce as a last resort. Yes, Capitalism has allowed me a very comfortable lifestyle while I work to pay off taxes I accrued by working in a Capitalist economy. It’s a loop I’m out of, with an anchor to cut loose instead of reeling in to drop somewhere again. There’s a point where we all have to get to a 0-balance life. Hopefully we’re alive when it happens.

 

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The Value of Volume

Having finished another season of coaching flag football – 2 teams this time – I find it’s always good/self-indulgent to reflect on the season(s). There are so many lessons to learn from coaching that I hope I coach long enough to compile a long enough list to make a ton of money off a book that people download, something with a title like “The Basics of Success: 2287 Tips to Get to The Top From Your Personal Rock-Bottom,” or “Win Today: Turning The ShitShow You Call Your Life Into a Success Orgy.” But I probably won’t do that too soon.

This entry is more about some people I encounter regularly who believe that making noise – literally and figuratively – somehow equates to “get shit done,” or GSD. This happens at work, on the field, in the 7-11 parking lot, church choir planning retreats, we could go on and on… In coaching sometimes I have to yell. I mean BELLOW to get a kid’s attention. A lot of kids seem to go by a nickname, so I yell their name and they don’t respond. Instead, they’re just NOT dropping back to cover the flat and just gonna stand there having a go at their, apparently very itchy bum while having a good look at the opposing player running past them. You can’t coach instinct, but you can yell about the lack of effort.

A co-worker of mine is like a human whistle. Noise. Just noise noise noise. Dropping f-bombs in a way that most people use a comma. Got it. You’re fired up. You’re a rebel, a breaker of convention, a THOUGHT LEADER. From 70 feet away, over the tops of cubicles, WE HEAR THAT YOU ARE CONCERNED AND YOU’RE GONNA BE OK. Good job. Now please, shut up so we can GSD. This person, I swear, equates being loud to Leading. That’s “Loudership” (just invented that, trademark 2018), and it’s annoying.

My wife tells me I “really need to yell louder” on the sidelines. I always do. About as loud as I can yell, I let it rip. She’s also usually on the same side as I am, 3 feet behind me, and 30 feet to my left or right. So she can’t hear me trying to get Kayd’n’s attention so he’ll TAKE 5 BIG STEPS FORWARD. Again in the past 3 minutes. And I’m shouting for him to move up, and waving my hand to move up, while yelling “KAAAYD”””N! TAKE 5 BIG STEPS FORWARD.” He looks at me, palms up, as if to say “I am holding an invisible sandwich that is at least 3 feet long. It will drop if move!”

Later, when I ask “Hey, were  you able to hear me out there?”

“Yeah, I heard you.”

“Why didn’t you move up?”

“I didn’t know why I should.”

“OK… We don’t have time in the game to explain every little move. We coach that in practice so that, when we tell you where to move, you’re in the best position to make a play for the team. The basic spot you start from is on that corner of the penalty box. You’re not in the wrong place, but if  you move there’s a better chance good things will happen. You moved up and the other player had to try and come back inside, and lost the ball. Good job out there!”

(Blank stare)

“Good talk, get some PowerJuice.”

And this seems to be the way right now, in America. Being loud gets attention. It diverts us away from the constant thrum of whatever else is being hammered on. I’m not saying Kayd’n is trying to divert attention way from his meddling with his sister’s sleepover, or accuse his brother of eating all the Nutella with a spoon. I’m just saying that being loud has its place in the world. But not in the workplace, unless you REALLY need to be LOUD, or just like to yell at kids.

 

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Kids Can Be Jerks

Some kids are just dickheads. It’s amazing to see kids at 10 already being dickheads, but it’s there. When redirecting or reprimanding a kid, the last thing I used to expect was some sort of reply starting with “But we were just…” or “We don’t have to…”

I don’t care what you were “just,” that’s my couch and get your disgusting feet the fuck off of it. You just earned a 6 month ban from my house. Go wait outside for your parents, with your weird eyes.

You do have to, if you don’t want me to tell your parents, and then launch a thinly-veiled campaign against your availability for playdates. I’ll bury your social calendar in the stories of your bullshit backtalk. I’ll propaganda your ass right into a Summer of staring at the walls, you red-headed, sucker-punching, hat-stealing pre-prison ass clown. See you 8 months if you haven’t been transferred to a state-run juggling camp.

Quit being scared of kids. Start slapping consequences on them. Tell them loudly they aren’t being spanked, they’re being excluded from fun. Kill their video games. Win.

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Be Not Still, My Beating Heart

On the afternoon of March 14th, following some busy days and nights, I got home and felt like my chest was frozen. After sitting around and letting everything reset, I felt better, but that’s not a far walk from what I had been feeling. I told myself “don’t mess around here, man, this isn’t funny, this isn’t acid reflux.”

I walked around my yard for about 5minutes, and again felt frozen between my shoulders. I had never felt anything like it, and it freaked me out. It was painful, but not like a sore muscle. I wasn’t sweating, nor feeling a looming sense of unmitigated despair any more than usual. So my wife drove me to the ER. I walked in and told the folks there what was going on, and with eyes widened the way you’d widen your eyes if somebody had a harpoon in their ear and asked if it “looked bad” but you didn’t want them to panic, they told me to sit down and do some tests. My blood pressure was up, oxygen was OK, and I went to a room for observation.

An EKG showed no signs of a heart attack. A blood test found no evidence of a heart attack. I was admitted a few hours later with the aim of being kept overnight for an angiogram. It’s that procedure where a doctor snakes a thin tube into your artery (they went in through my wrist but shaved an area peri-groinal just in case… they needed even more power over the situation), to your heart, and you watch the entire thing on an X-Ray monitor while iodine is injected in a the artery, showing any areas of narrowing or damage. I was kinda high when they did it, after they had injected me with a light sedative, which calmed me down after I had spent a good half hour crying in my hospital room. They should grow a hybrid of Sativa, Indica, and Sense of Mortality. Really burns off the white noise.

So as I’m lying on the table, the doctor comes in and tells me this is his 4th procedure of the morning. I’m a little worried because it’s coming up on lunch time and, that usually leads to rushed or sloppy work. But the staff threw the X-ray over me and we watched my heart thumping away. I couldn’t really see anything of a blockage as they had yet to inject the iodine. I didn’t feel anything more than a poke at my wrist when they made the insertion. I just lay there with very little to think about other than my life, and my family, and my future with my family.

A minute or maybe 5 later, it was show-time. The doctor injected the iodine, enough to darken the artery we suspected was having an issue. It showed up like a black worm on the screen, wriggling beneath the right atrium as blood was struggling to get through. And there it was…

RCA-xray

Not my heart, but I was pinched above the PDA

 

 

My right coronary artery, had a 1.5mm area that was 70-80% narrowed/blocked/too small. 1.5mm. That’s miniscule. In the universe it doesn’t register as a blip of a blip’s blip. But it can cause huge issues. It can kill you. Is that how I wanted to go? After being run over by a Harley 20 years ago, narrowly avoiding 100’s of car accidents, almost flipping a car on 520, but I get taken out by 1.5mm of blocked artery…

A moment later the doctor said, “OK, there it is, that skinny part in the middle is the problem. Let’s get that back open here.” A stent was placed, and I could see the vessels and branches into the ventricles all grow darker, as well. They were finally getting far more blood than they had in quite a while. I was up and walking around my hospital room that night, and went home the next day, happy to go pick up my boys after school.

The staff said “Wow, you’re smart for coming in when you did. Too many guys try and walk it off.” Being proactive AND correct is very rare for me. I was even more grateful for listening to myself, and even in the face of some strong agnosticism, I fully believe that I have angels (for lack of a better term) that whisper to me.

Since this happened, I’ve felt far better than I have in about a year, and probably 3. Of COURSE I feel better – my heart’s working much more closely to “Normal”, ya big goose!  If you think something’s wrong, if you have consistently high blood pressure, please go get things checked out. You can save yourself a lot of trouble, and maybe even a lot of life.

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The Value of a Village

It’s been said and published and possibly pushed off to the side, but “it takes a village to raise a child.” If you’re not sure what that entails, the basics are as follows:
1. You and your child(ren) are part of a community, like it or not.
2. You and your child(ren) will interact on a nearly daily basis with that community.
3. The community will influence, and possibly instruct you and your child(ren) on how to live in that community, like it or not.
4. If all goes well, the influence and instruction are beneficial to the mental and physiological well-being and safety of all members of the community.

This doesn’t presume that the Village is always correct in all facets of thinking, nor steered by a reasonably-moral compass. Inversely, if all (or enough) goes badly, you find yourself in a barter community ruled by vigilant, self-absorbed despots who value strict order over neighborliness.

But enough about your local HOA…

As this article is titled, yes, I am parenting your kid. “I” is me, in this case, but “I” could be any parent, or adult of influence. A teacher, perhaps. A coach, for sure. A neighbor who hires local kids to yank weeds and rake leaves for a couple sawbucks an hour, absolutely. Kevin’s mom. Shalea’s dads. Derek’s step-parents. All of us, influencing kids. We’re all in a position to be influencing the development of kids if we’re around them on a semi-regular basis. And we should be.

I’ve been around enough kids to know when they crave attention, and how they can seek it. I sit here writing this after a double playdate, siblings hosting siblings here, and half of the visiting team is a boundary pusher. Within 15 minutes of arrival, I was told by an 8 year old that my video games suck. Not long after, after educating him on a safety issue regarding the use of NERF blasters (Rule 1, No close shots), was told that I was “being a hater.” I stared at him in the face. His challenge back to me was a stare. Here’s a kid waiting to see what that will get him. Well, he gets my attention.

I took the blaster away, and reminded him that it’s okay to play a bit rough but we have to take care of each other. And that nobody hates anybody who plays by the rules. And that the next time he does it he can’t come back to the house without his parents, who will be told of his behavior afterwards. Wow. His eyes got big. Then I took out my notepad and jotted something in it. He asked what I wrote… sI truly don’t care if your kid is in my house, a playground, my yard, a flag fooball squad I’m coaching, or a touring theatrical troupe’s presentation of “Hamilton, Jr.”, disrespect is bullshit, and will be met as such.

So yes, I step in and correct what I see when I see it. If I know the kid’s name(s) I’ll address them directly. I’m not trying to overstep any other parenting; it starts inside-out and as a coach I know that external yelling can hurt the process (your kid is playing over there because they LIKE to play there, not to embarrass you, which you’re doing fine at yourself). To use a nearly tired-out phrase, I “adult” when they “kid” so everyone stays within the rules of safe play. Rough-housing is fine if all the kids are into it. But sometimes a kid is swinging a stick that is dangerously too dangerous for this particular session of Flyer’s Up, and somebody really ought to put that stick where it belongs.

For the record, Capt. Talkback has been demoted to PFC Bigmouth and is barred from the grounds until further notice. His parents were notified. And each time he asks, or is brought up as a possible invitee, I’ll remind whomever is within earshot that manners maketh playdates. Likewise, I tell other parents and adults to correct my kid’s behavior that might hurt somebody else, break rules, or worst of all, embarrass me or my wife. Kids are Kids, and I’m not trying to mitigate their natural playful (sometimes criminal) instincts, but they need to have reinforced boundaries, too. Nobody’s perfect, but a village only needs so many idiots.

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Dad Style To-Do List #1

  1. Finances: How much do I think is in checking right now? Confirm.
  2. Finances: Investigate cash-based hemorrhaging.
  3. Fitness: Work out, Elliptical walk around the exercise area.
  4. Fitness: Guilt-carry, 3 sets/2minutes each
  5. Music: Consider getting into Father John Misty. Try the Zac Brown Band one more time. Confirm Migos is not writing for men in their 40’s who have almost no tattoos above the neck.
  6. House: Repeat “where are the gawddammed tops” >30 times when emptying the dishwasher of plastic storage dishes.
  7. House: Laundry. There’s a shit-ton of it again.
  8. Cultural: Belize accepting Americans, long-term?, vaccinations needed, cost of living
  9. Car: Vacuum abhors nature of kids dropping food in the backseat. My kids have dropped more wrappers in cars than Suge Knight.
  10. T-Shirts: Make 1000 with that last Suge Knight sentence, sell 4.
  11. House: Narrow-down what to make for dinner that the kids would really ignore.
  12. Finances: Download the new tax codes to stoke untapped rage
  13. Work: Nap.
  14. Finances: Rehearse the phrase, “Cheeses cripes, that’s all that’s in checking?”
  15. House: Hide the lighters.
  16. Fitness: Work the fat out.
  17. Creative: Publish a blog lazy-ass lazy.

 

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Nearly Died Again

I was driving to work yesterday in typically rainy weather in the Seattle area. I live a bit North of Seattle, where the median home price has dipped into the high $600K’s, ha ha ha so overvalued! ANYway, on the road and driving, and the people in my area drive pretty well. But I did have a moment where I thought, “This is it… I’m going to die.” Adrenaline is an amazing window-cleaner of your soul; I was crystalline in that moment, every image of my sons and my wife and my friends blinked. And I was terrified for a moment, but also had a flash of peace.

I had poured myself a hot cuppa into my insulated travel stein, which keeps the contents near their entry temperature for about 2 hours. It was worth the $7 I paid for it at Value Village, just had to scrape the lipstick off the side and paint over the “DONNA’S DIVORCE PARTY 2005!” on the side. And off I go…

Slide1

The Map Is Not The Territory

  1. I was driving down the hill from we I live, and the road winds down and around a number of blind curves. To the right is a guard rail, and beyond it a large ravine, as in 50+-foot steep-roll to the bottom-ravine. The rail is scarred and bent with reminders of speed and inattentiveness. A car coming up the hill crossed the centerline about one wheel’s-width into my lane. I swerved and blurted “HEY! Dude.” Nobody wants to die on the way to work, let alone be on the way to work.
  2. Around the bend, near the bottom, is an on-road that is a cut-over street from a neighborhood that sits beneath this hill. That cut-over helps people back in the corner of those ‘hoods to bypass about a half mile of turns, but only legally allows the person to turn to the Right, or DOWN the hill. The person at the intersection, coming up from the ‘hood, darted out to make a hard left UP the hill. The rain and traction didn’t mix, and I began to brake, hard, while the car behind me approached my rear-bumper at about 40mph. A car coming up the hill thought coming into my lane was a good move (it wasn’t), but I swerved, missed the cars, and horns were a-blaring. Heart’s racin’ now.
  3. Around the next curve is an elementary school, and is not in busing zone, so it’s 95% drop-off. Some people park across the street and walk over from a large lot. This was the drop-off period so there are easily another 300 cars in that spot in about 15min. There’s a light at the cross-walk, and to the East of that light is the school lot’s entrance. So if people are crossing, the light’s red, and the cars can turn into the school with no traffic. As I’m going 20 because of the School Zone, the guy behind me gets impatient and wants to cut ahead… As he starts to, a car pulls out of the parking lot across from the school and the cutter gets so close to my car I can smell the scent of his vape contraption (“Slavic Tramp”). He brakes, falls in line, and we’re back to it. This isn’t even a half-mile from home yet…
  4. I get through the left-turn which leads me eventually to work, and make a jaunt to the right at the next light. As I yield to the car coming across (per the signage), the guy behind me jams his horn like he’s in a jazz trio and starts gesturing as if his anti-spaz meds haven’t kicked in. I’m still rolling, just slower than 40, so I point to the Yield sign with my middle finger, which he takes as a conductor’s cue to hit that F# from the Kia again. I accelerate, swerve around another car that decided to just pull off with no warning, and a teaspoon of molten coffee escaped the travel-mug’s sippin’ hole. With the heat of nearly 3 suns, the drop hung in mid-commute, consumed enough gravity to turn downward, and landed directly on the most-specific spot of a man’s lap that hot liquids can cause the most discomfort. I thought “This is it… I’m going to die.”

I didn’t die. I yelled “WHY THE SHIT, AMERICA!?” and almost rear-ended this guy pulling into the gas station without his blinker on.

did start draping a kitchen towel across my lap while commuting, however. Can’t be too careful.

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Coaching The Little Things – Soccer Edition

I co-coached my older son’s soccer team this past few months, boys aged 7 to 8, the U9 level. Last year I coached his team, also, in a less-competitive league with 4v4 play. This year we had the step-up, 7v7 with a goalie, and 11 kids instead of 8. It was much different in terms of energy from the number of players, plus welcoming new players into a squad that played together last season. Pretty early on I talked with my co-coach about how we’re going to have to Manage more than Coach. He runs a large furniture manufacturing company, and his insight saved me I don’t know how many shots of Jameson at practices and games.

I observed early on in my sports “career” (I threw shot put and discus in college) that successful teams put players where they are most naturally suited. If a talent shows up, how can a coach ensure the success and interest of the player AND the success of the team? Do what’s right for the player and the team, it’s easy to find that balance. We got a returning kid who was so fast and athletic and had such a motor that we created the Ranger position. He could play anywhere on the field, F-MF-D, because he was going to run the field anyway. It wasn’t in his nature to stay in an area, so we didn’t force him to. Put ’em where they fit. My co-coach was able to see how kids had a certain skill that would translate to a position, and he’d get them to really shine. And we wanted them to have fun. There’s no pay, no public glory, no shoe contracts. In fact, with the amount of driving, emailing, snacks, and gear, it’s wise to put a line-item in the family budget for “Soccer, Misc.”

And there were kids who were first-timing it. Rookies in the world of organized sports, or just soccer. And every dude comes out with his own experiences and ideas of how it’s going to go for them. But hey, as a coach, you have to help the players understand the boundaries and intention of the relationship. We’re here to get better via practice, so we’re the best in the game. Sportsmanship can be tough to teach, the idea and practice of being respectful of the game and players by playing fair, playing hard, and encouraging your teammates at all times. We called that last one “Teamsmanship”.

This was a tough one, because we had kids from 4 different schools. Last year we had 8 kids from 2 schools. So this year we had 11 kids: 6 from 1 school, 3 from another school, and 2 from different schools. I think I researched “youth sports team dynamics” as much as “drills for youth soccer that aren’t monumentally boring”. We weren’t as cohesive as I’d hoped, but that fell on my shoulders as the coach, in that we could have done some more team-building stuff. Some kids were like cousins, some like brothers, and some like professional wrestling rivals getting ready for the Bunkhouse Brawl at the KeyStone Fieldhouse this Saturday.

We had Alpha performers, Alpha personalities with Beta skills, Beta performers with Alpha drive, and everyone had their own Omega (not interested, gonna quit) moments. All of these have to be identified, welcomed, and addressed. As each kid had his own way of expressing happiness, effort, and disappointment, we were learning quickly how to help them embrace it and turn it into positive energy.

The league’s pre-season meetings and seminars rarely give you the heads-up about the dynamics of personalized coaching styles. I’m far from a guru, but I’m thankful I had experience with some of the players from last year, as well as the works I’ve read about working with boys, their energy, and especially with the Positive Coaching Alliance.

We’d get 2 hours a week with the kids before the game. I’d like to get more, but instead we’d encourage them to play soccer at recess, practice those passing drills, and ask parents to remind their guys about Sportsmanship and Respect. We had a great group of parents, too. It was so loud at a couple games that I had to give kids hand-signals instead of shouting directions. Preparation was a huge lesson!  By the time we started the game, we didn’t want to coach, we wanted to just remind the guys of where they should be and let them play and make their own decisions on the field. They all showed the ability to play well, play with a team, and everyone got a lot better by season’s end.

Our record, for the record, was 7-0-1. UNDEFEATED! 2 of those wins came against teams that were far more technically proficient than we were. Really great at passing out of the cluster – if you’ve watched a kid’s soccer game, the Cluster is the maddening huddle that migrates around the ball as it rolls around the field – and getting back on defense. We won against those teams sheerly by just PLAYING. Our guys were just out-hustling the other team, challenging everything. Usually around the 5th game, about 7 weeks in, I tell myself “This is it. Next year is no-go.” But this year I was already looking for ways to get better as a coach, in Soccer and elsewhere. If you make the practice/learning a FUN thing, the play/game takes care of itself. The best part of it all, for me, is when I see the kids and their families around town, and they say “Hey coach! I’m playing this sport this Winter, but are you gonna coach XYZ in the Spring?” Yeah, I probably will. Just gotta get the shoe contract worked out.

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Writing Wrong #1

There’s a challenge out there to write every day in November, and seeing as how my last post was a cookie recipe before the FBI started bringing people in, I suppose I should do something.

I have a joke in my act about the “Assisted Suicide” law in Washington state. I suppose it’s not a “law,” you don’t HAVE TO do it, as if there was a Yelp-like site where enough people could all post reviews of why it’s your time and they’re happy to help. It’s legally labeled as the “Death With Dignity Act.” You can take advantage of a medically-evaluated, doctor-assisted, relatively peaceful exit from this mortal plane. So, if you’re in a state of incurable pain, or terminal illness which a health insurance racket/provider will drain you financially for, or you’ve been convinced by a few family members, you can take up this option.

First, there are a lot of ways to make your exit. This is a very clean and controlled one. I think if you had a real friend, they’d probably talk you out of this, but more on that later. This has too many possible breakage points. For example, out of 234 people who took this option in Washington state in 2016, there were 4 participants that did not align with a death certificate. Did they live? What happened? Because if you think you’re going to finally receive the painless embrace of Eternal Sleep, and wake up groggy with all that illness hammering away in you, well I’d surely be writing quite the letter to my doctor.

The doc would be pretty shocked, I imagine, seeing you in the waiting room looking pretty good for a dead person. I’d be telling everyone in the waiting room “Oh really, you have a headache for 3 days? Good luck, this guy – YEAH, YOU, TIM – couldn’t even kill me last Saturday. YES, Carol, I am a walk-in because I didn’t think I would NEED TO MAKE A FOLLOW-UP APPOINTMENT FOR MY DEATH.”

Plus, there are far better, more majestic exits to take. I suggest doing it near your place of employment, like on a Tuesday, to give your friends a few days off to grieve and get paid. Don’t hoard it all in a comfy robe in the guest room.

  1. Human Catapult + Live Heavy Metal Band.

HC

That’s all I got. I guess “dignity” is different for everyone. Anyway, be well.

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Eat It! Protein Cookies

Power Cookies

          As a young boy growing up in Federal Way, I would often spend my time in the woods behind my friend’s house, riding my cobbled-together BMX-style bike up and down the trails. Jimmy and I would spend hours in our imaginations, fighting aliens and powerful villains with names like MORDOK and RYAN BRINGLEY. My bike wasn’t as fancy as some of the other kid’s bikes, because the one my dad bought me for my birthday was stolen and later trashed and recovered from a swamp behind Jimmy’s house. I had a pretty good idea who had taken it, but at 6 years old I was in no position to fight an 11 year-old and win. So if they ever hit their knee on something in the middle of the night or lose $500 at a poker game and their wife leaves them, good.

          I came up with this variation of whey protein cookies because my kids just don’t seem to get nearly enough protein in their daily intake. They’ll only eat, and we’ll only cook, so much chicken and shrimp and salmon and hand-rubbed, grass-curious red meats. Chicken nuggets can only go so far.

o   This is just a supplemental “treat” for kids. My dudes go through runs of picky eating, then back to consuming anything they can find that doesn’t smell too much like a Romanian’s [deleted, gross].

o   There’s not enough protein in these, I don’t think (didn’t get in to Doctor’s Food School), to get your kid, or you, super jacked nor ripped. Those are actually good things in the fitness world, but it’s more important to have a consistent routine of self-acceptance and moderate-to-chill exercise to keep stress down.

          I don’t use sugar in these, but I don’t judge if you want to. Brown sugar works best as it adds a little more liquid via the molasses content.

          Chocolate chips have sugar. Yes. You got me there. Alert the fitness world. Cancel my membership. I’ll be in Pseudo-foodie blogger rehab during this difficult time, please respect my privacy.

          There are 2 variations around the protein and “flours.”

o   I’ve used both Whey Protein and Vegan protein for these.

o   These aren’t Vegan cookies in either finished-state. I know there are egg substitutes for people adhering to a vegan lifestyle but no vegans appeared in my kitchen to tell me what those are, so here ya go.

o   The proteins absorb liquids differently, so the recipes are slightly different. Just go with it.

          These are pretty soft, cake-like cookies. This is because they’re not COOKIES in the classic sense. If that bothers you, you can email my customer relations department at GetAHobby@gblottpowercookies.com.

          This makes about 12 palm-sized cookies, 20 smaller cookies, or 1 gloriously-gluttonous cookie bomb.

INGREDIENTS

1.      Butter – 2/3C (softened)

a.      Or –  2/3C Coconut Oil.

b.      Reduce oven temp by 25deg, as the oil could cause burning

2.      Eggs – 2

3.      Milk/Liquid – 4Tbsp

a.      I’ve used Almond, full-fat coconut, whole milk, and heavy cream. They’re all great.

b.      I once used 2Tbsp of sour cream to see what would happen and IT WAS GREAT, so there’s an option.

4.      Vanilla – 1tsp

5.      Banana – Pureed – about 3/4C.

a.      Use a green-er banana to up the resistant starch and help the gut bugs.

b.      Applesauce can also be used, but it’s not as sweet.

6.      Stevia-blend – 2Tbsp.

a.      Pure stevia is a little “earthy” for some people. The blends of stevia work well. You can use Xylitol or similar substitutes depending on your gut tolerance (i.e. sugar alcohol-based sweeteners can cause the kind of gas only little boys find to be hilariously epic).

b.      You can add or substitute 3Tbsp sugar here. No judging.

7.      Protein powder – 2/3C.

a.      I’ve used Orgain Chocolate 95% of the time. It’s a vegan powder with a good balance of amino acids, but is a bit higher in carbs due the vegetarian sources of protein. The upside is there’s more fiber to this.

b.      Orgain also needs a little more liquid added than the whey protein.

c.       MusclePharm makes a great chocolate powder and a great cookies & cream powder, depending on if you want brownie-like cookies, or vanilla-based.

8.      Flour – 1/2C.

a.      I use Bob’s 1:1 GF flour. There are a lot of good ones, but I did find the more commercially-known the flour, the less-great the tastes. 

b.      Bean-based flours give bean-based results…

c.       I haven’t used just a nut-based flour for these, but you could. The higher fat content might cause scorching, so watch your temp and bake time.

9.      Baking Soda – 1/4tsp

10.  Salt – 1/4tsp

11.  Baking powder – 1/4tsp (optional, makes it a little fluffier)

12.  Chocolate Chips – 1/3-1/2 C

a.      Check the label for ingredients to match your dietary needs.

13.  Optional

a.      Pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, bacon bits (yep), etc.

 

DO WORK – This is pretty much old-fashioned cookie-making from here on… The only thing to look out for is when adding the dry ingredients, the vegetarian protein and GF flour can suck up liquids pretty quickly. Have a little extra milk of your choice on hand.

          Heat oven to 350

          Mix ingredients 1-5 with a hand mixer. It might be a bit more soupy than you’re expecting. You’ll be fine. Do some air squats.

          Grab a good spatula and warm up your elbow.

o   (no, it’s not “Masquerade Night” at the neighbor’s house)

          Combine your dry ingredients in a bowl.

          Add half of your dry ingredients and keep stirring and folding.

o   You’ll know pretty quickly if you need more liquid, depending on how fast the dry stuff starts absorbing the wet.

o   Add about 1Tbsp if you need more.

o   Getting dry? With the veg powder, add more of that. It will add flavor, protein, and sweetness.

o   With whey powder, add half + half GF flour. Whey doesn’t always mix well with these other things to firm up.

o   Add the rest of the dry ingredients.

o   Add milk as needed to keep it in between cookie dough/cake batter. Thicker is better.

          Fold in however many chocolate chips you haven’t eaten.

          Take a spoonful and plop it in a coffee mug or small bowl.

o   Microwave that for about 30sec.

o   Let it cool down. Take a taste to check what you need at this point.

o   Sweeter? Sprinkle 1Tbsp of stevia.

          If you’re good widdit, get a baking sheet!

          Drop spoonfuls of dough on the sheet. You can use parchment paper or lightly grease the sheet, but a dry sheet seems to work fine.

          Keep your cookies about the size of a hockey puck.

o   They are kind of filling, which is part of the point.

Set the timer on your phone, tablet, and fitbit for 10min. Check the cookies at 10min.

Touch it. Does it spring back in the middle? TAKE THEM OUT RIGHT NOW and let them cool down.
No spring? Give it about 2min, then take them out.

Again, I tried to find something to add to a pretty healthy food map my kids travel that would add protein and the benefits of it. They don’t usually have any sugar-related behavioral swings, digestive issues (other than a good “clearing”), nor turned-up noses with these. 

 

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