Breakfast of Champions…Not!

Morning meetings at The Male Observation Lab are generally very early (sometimes as early as 5:00 AM!), and have a densely packed agenda. Often times, we feed the dudes so that they’re perked up and ready to roll. Which also makes it hard to please everyone…

There was a time when I hauled out fruit and yogurt, and had to contend with the raised eyebrows, not to mention hauling most of the food back with me. (Yeah, I got the message loud and clear!) Nowadays, here’s what a typical field meeting breakfast looks like:

20161104_0731071Coffee and assorted sugar-laden pastries. Nice and simple. And while it isn’t exactly the breakfast of champions, at least these get eaten!

Do you have early morning meetings where you work? Any food offered? The coffee and pastry variety or what? Please share!

Happy Food and Wine Wednesday,

Sweet Temptations

Welcome to Food and Wine Wednesday!

As some of my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram followers know, I’m on the Whole30 Program. Currently at Day 24 as of today! Can I get a fist bump for that?

While I’ve been eating mostly clean for three years now (or is it four?), I’d noticed that the past few months I’d caved to life pressures and had increased my intake of carbs. Mainly in the form of chocolate, red wine, and tortilla chips. That’s right. The tortilla chips was the wake up call for me! So 24 days ago, I started the journey to clean up my eating, and I’m going strong! No real threat to the program…until a meeting at The Male Observation Lab last Monday.

See, every year there’s this day in the spring where we gather all the supervisory-type folks and sit their butts in a chair for roughly eight to ten hours and share stuff with them. Super interesting stuff. Stuff critical, or at least helpful, to their jobs. (Believe me when I say this is a challenge for construction dudes used to being out in the field and moving all day!) Anyhoo, there I was, happily minding my own business, when at the morning break, this shows up:

Fresh baked, still warm, mouth-watering cinnamon rolls.

I stared longingly. Which in and of itself is kinda weird, considering I don’t normally eat stuff with grains in it. (It’s that Paleo-like thing going on.) But that morning…oh, man that morning was tough. I’m not the least bit ashamed to admit I stood beside it, closed my eyes, and inhaled. Deeply. Filled my lungs with all that cinnamony-goodness and imagined all the yummy gooiness hitting my mouth…

Then I ate a hard-boiled egg.

What temptation have you been faced with that had you wanting to cave in so badly you couldn’t stand it? Did you?

Have an awesome week!



How Dudes Do It

I work with construction dudes who are BRILLIANT at taking a set of construction plans with lines and numbers on it, couple it with specification books, and decipher it all. They then take all of that and work with project owners, architects, and inspectors to turn it into awesome stuff like bridges, and football stadiums, water treatment plants, and subdivisions. But put a dude in charge of breakfast meetings, and here’s what you get:

Can’t help but chuckle. 😀

What can I say? The dudes at The Male Observation Lab keep it real. And I’ll give them props for effort!

Happy Food and Wine Wednesday!


Repost – Dude! Seriously?!

Happy Take Me Back Thursday (Yeah, yeah, I know it’s typically referred to as Throwback Thursday. Blame it on the rebel in me!).

Most of you know I LURVV my dudes at The Male Observation Lab. Truth is, they’re such a huge part of my life. But don’t tell them that! One of my greatest fears is that, if I ever leave, La Muse will punish me, shunning the bourbon and cigars I offer, and refusing to produce a single word of story again. *nods head* She’d really do that! Besides, the dudes are smart and funny and chock full of writing inspiration. Check it out….

One of the joys of working in The Male Observation Lab (aka, the day-job), is the incredible opportunity to peek into guy-lives.  Kind of like viewing males in their natural habitat – with tools, and dirt, and equipment but with the added bonus of getting paid to do it.  🙂  IMAG0565

And this writer’s brain . . . Just . . . Doesn’t. . . Turn. . . Off.  It’s like a hound dog searching for story.  Which is precisely what happened when I came across Mr. X (obviously not his real name) recently.

Now, guys being who they are, he refused to tell me how the twenty-seven staples appeared on his head.  He even demanded his work buddies not say a word.  *Insert pout* Of course, he had no idea he was talking to a writer.  We are a special breed.  We spin stories out of any stroke of inspiration.

So in the middle of the day, my muse sucked down some beer, lit up a fresh cigar, and took it upon herself to do what she does best: make something up.  I now present five possible ways Mr. X ended up with a stapled head:

1.  Mild-mannered construction-type dude by day, Mr. X is really a secret agent running covert ops in our part of the Pacific Northwest.  His latest assignment: pose as a drag queen in order to infiltrate a smuggling ring of car thieves.  Unfortunately, he had yet to master the “art of the walk” in his four-inch stilettos and in a thigh-high-slit maxi skirt, let alone the running part.  So while he chased after the bad guys, trying to stay on their trail, he stepped into a deep sidewalk crack and fell backwards.  And that’s when his head struck the bumper of his secret agent car, which automatically dialed his status to headquarters.  When back-up arrived, he was out cold, and the thugs made off with his new Manolo Blahniks. . .. the swines!

2.  Even though he’s a no-nonsense construction-type dude, Mr. X has a soft spot – for kittens.  (Awww!)  When he woke up one morning, he heard the frightened mewl of the newest addition to his menagerie of twenty-three cats.  Poor thing was stuck up a tree in his front yard.  Rather than take the time to call the fire department for help (because, hey, he’s a dude), he shimmied up sixteen feet until he reached the scrawny, wide-eyed, fluffy white kitten he’d named Pumpkin Pie (PP).  She was perched at the end of a limb, with her gaze trailed downward.  Her painful mewl tore at this heart.  He had to save her!  But as he reached for her, PP leapt.  While she safely landed feet first on the ground, Mr. X did not.

3.  Like any hot-blooded American male, Mr. X loves his woman.  And he’d do anything to defend her.  At a recent visit to their favorite watering hole, some other dude commented on Mr. X’s woman’s lack of grace at the pool table.  Mr. X let that one slide.  After all, his love for her doesn’t depend on her ability to win a few bucks at pool.  But when Other Dude insulted the size of her well-endowed chest, well. . .  that one was a little hard for Mr. X to let pass.  After all, he’d paid for those!  So he insulted Other Dude’s woman with a comment about her mustache.  Trading insults soon devolved into a screaming match.  And the screaming match further devolved into a fight.  Involving fists.  And chairs.  And a trip to Emergency Department. . ..

4.  Mr. X has a secret.  One that even his closest friends don’t know.  Like me, Mr. X is a romance writer.  (Although, he’s famously known as erotica author Candi Lishious with over a million books sold.  Go, Candi!)  Mr. X, aka Candi, likes to work through scenes in his/her novel to make sure they’re doable.  (Don’t judge.  We all have a process!)  One particularly tough scene involved a stepladder and a chandelier, and Mr. X/Candi wasn’t sure it was physically possible, so of course, he/she had to try it.  Unfortunately, the ladder had a busted rung.  Mr. X/Candi  swung his left leg out, and the rung snapped.  (You should’ve listened to your company’s safety person – just sayin’!)  The stepladder toppled, and Mr. X/Candi hit the edge of the kitchen counter on the way down.  So, yeah, that scene didn’t work out too well. . ..

5.  Mr. X, mild construction-type dude by day, is also lead guitarist for a local rock band, The Swing and Sting.  He loves the wild nights of rock and roll, and the groupies that hang around afterwards.  Being single has its perks!  One night, he snuck into the alleyway that separated the club from the Church of Immediate Redemption, for a quick smoke.  And that’s when he heard it.  Felt it.  That creepy weird feeling that trailed down his spine whenever SHE got close.  He reached for something, anything to use as a weapon against HER, while at the same time he searched for the door handle behind him.  And from the shadows emerged a figure, huge, and intimidating with wings spread wide.  It was the dragon-creature from his childhood nightmare.  The same one that continued to threaten to pluck him from the present, and then drop him into an alternate reality.  All these years Mr. X had been able to thwart the beast, had been able to defend himself from it.  This time, he’d had enough.  He liked his construction-type dude / rock band guitarist life, thank you very much, and he was sick and tired of defending it!  So with his bare hands, he lunged. . .. And if you think the twenty-seven staples look awful, suffice it to say the SHE dragon’s out of commission for good.

*Sigh* La Muse was thoroughly entertained!

So.  What do you think happened to Mr. X?



Little Touches

Welcome to Food and Wine Wednesday!

I love the fact that life at The Male Observation Lab includes some fun downtime at the end of the year. To me, it’s the little touches that make this party so special.

Our party favors at this year’s celebration was a pair of mini cupcakes. Dusted with gold. Seriously. 24-carat edible gold flown in from New York!

I’m kinda thinking topping this one’s gonna be kind of hard next year. Then again, there have been all sorts of wonderful surprises through the years. Like the magician. But that’s another story…. 😀

What wonderful touches have you seen at holiday celebrations?

Happy holiday eating,



Welcome to Mash-Up Monday!

I shot this photo from the back steps of The Male Observation Lab (construction company day job) on a recent, chilly afternoon in the Pacific Northwest.

20141125_164605The setting sun struck me as an amazing display of oranges and yellows and reds, especially with some of our company equipment in the foreground. I stood there, lost in the moment, lost in the wonder of our world, contemplating the beauty of life….Then a dump truck came screaming into the yard. *Le sigh*

Ah, well. It was great while it lasted!

Have an awesome week,

Le Bake Off

One of the most fun traditions we have at The Male Observation Lab this time of year is the Christmas Bake Off. It’s a chance for the dudes to show off their culinary baking skills with something that doesn’t involve skinning or gutting an animal. Yep. We get a lot of entries from them….NOT.

Fortunately, we dudettes step in. 🙂 And so I present this year’s top three entries:

And, yeah, nothing Paleo eaters would want to nibble on, but they sure looked good!

Do you have fun holiday traditions were you work?

Happy eating,

Life at The Male Observation Lab: Rescuing Sophie

Happy Mash-Up Monday!

What I most admire about the dudes at The Male Observation Lab is their ability to make difficult construction decisions under lots and lots20140709_084829 and LOTS of pressure. Every now and then, though, these dudes take on the role of hero, like the time Sophie was rescued.

Picture it: Sophie had escaped a fenced-in yard, eager to check out the goings-on at the project site near her home where the dudes were working. Unfortunately, she had to cross two lanes of traffic to get to them. . .. And during the morning rush-hour commute. . . ..

20140709_090636That’s where our heroes come in. One of them, driving a concrete mixer truck, positioned himself behind Sophie and trailed her as she figured out which way she wanted to go, and effectively shielded her from other motorists. Another dude  then scooped her up out of harm’s way. Yay!20140709_090445

But her adventure didn’t end there. See, turns out that Sophie’s mom didn’t answer the phone when Rescue Dude called. So he packed her into his truck and brought her to the office. Correction. My office.

I wanted to keep her. Rescue Dude pointed out that we’d have a difficult time convincing management Sophie was a new employee, and – here was the clincher for me – her mom would likely miss her.

Before long, it was time for Sophie to leave. And, really, it was for the best. If I’d brought her home I’m pretty sure Bennett-the-cat would’ve packed a bag and left.

Have you ever helped rescue an animal?

Have a great week,

Conference Food YUM!

I’m typically leery of conference food. For me, I never know if I’ll actually eat the stuff or scarf down the protein bar stuffed in my handbag. At a recent conference for The Male Observation Lab (aka construction company day job), I was really surprised at what was served. Check it out!

I didn’t try the carrot cake (there’s a pretty good bet it isn’t even close to Paleo!), but I did eat the salmon and green beans, and the salad. It was absolutely yummy! (And, yeah, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t all Paleo either, but definitely better than the protein bar alternative.)

Have you had a food surprise at a conference or meeting you’d attended? Please share!

Happy Food and Wine Wednesday,