Down 15 pounds with only an app

My Achilles tendinitis has been the most frustrating injury I’ve ever incurred. Everything else has healed or is manageable. This just keeps getting re-injured and needing ice or heat for going on 7 months.

I saw the weight adding on and knew I needed to do something about it. I installed MyFitnessPal by Under Armor and couldn’t be happier.

If you’ve never used the app, it’s like a food diary that reminds you how much you’ve consumed in relation to your goals and gives you optionally a chance to eat more if you exercise.

I can be honest about that glass of wine or Tandoori TV dinner. Most of the time I use the barcode scanner and enter the portion.

But really cool things can happen when you start combining it with recipe websites. I have the AllRecipes app that I adore.

I can enter my own recipes to see how healthy they really are and import ones from the web.

It scrapes the page and gets the ingredients and measurements. Out of the 5 recipes I’ve imported, I’ve only had to correct one or two ingredients.

But once I enter the number of people the meal serves, I can make healthier choices. like this awesome salmon dinner I made for my family a few nights ago:

It’s nice having the peace of mind that despite the injury I can limit the impact until I find long term exercise options that don’t hurt.

Circle Lunch

I didn’t come up with the name. It was something my mom coined when we lived in Germany when I was young. She’d cut up a cucumber and sausage, halve some tomatoes, lay out circle-shaped crackers and round cheese, and call it done. But when she called out “Circle lunch is ready!” it somehow had this magic of making us think “lunch shouldn’t be this easy”, “I’m cheating by eating this”, or “wow this is so fun!”

Now that I have kids of my own, I’ve put my own spin on circle lunch… and even ventured into Circle Breakfast.

My favorite is when they scream out, “I ate its hair! He’s bald!” or “Look it’s angry now!” or “I’ve made an alien!”

Achilles – no wonder

This Greek girl has succumbed to another Greek’s famous weakness. I’m thankful it didn’t detach, but wow I feel like a guinea pig at physical therapy each week.

Graston – check

If you’re wondering how buttered toast feels, this is the deep tissue massage for you. It makes the worst knots light up like red Christmas lights as they scrape your injured sections with butter knife / shoe horn-looking instruments.

Dry needling – check

This is a bit like a cross between acupuncture and poking someone and saying “does this hurt?” They find those reddest and most locked up parts lit up by the Graston and stick a needle into it. The muscle seizes around the needle and freaks out. Then when the needle is removed, the muscle loosens up more than it was before. Some days it feels great. Other days I walk in fine and leave limping.

Cupping – as of today, check

You know that feeling when you were a kid and you were messing with the soda bottle and get your tongue stuck inside the bottle for a bit? Amplify that. Take a bunch of vacuums and leave the ends stuck on you for 10 minutes. Hopefully you don’t turn black and blue. Too tight and the pinching is actually quite painful. Too loose and it really doesn’t force the locked up portions away from each other.

Professor Andreas Poulimenos, aka my dad

I like to think I had a conventional childhood, but sometimes when I say things like “yeah, I went to a German school for a year when my dad was singing in the opera house” or after a concert “their career isn’t going to last long if they don’t work on vocal technique to quit hurting themselves” that I get a few raised eyebrows.

Source: Image from 1989 MOT production of The Marriage of Figaro. Performers : Poulimenos, Andreas (Singer) ; Valente, Benita (Singer)

My dad grew up in Boston, number 3 of 4 children living off a cobbler’s salary. Their shoes were always shined at church, but were often 1-2 sizes too small. He sang in the Greek Orthodox Church choir and eventually soloed as their cantor. He decided to study music professionally and become an opera singer. He worked as a short order cook to supplement his scholarship and eventually finished his Bachelors and Masters of Music at the Boston Conservatory of Music. Around that time he won the Metropolitan Opera auditions and received a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Rome, Italy.

When he returned he tried to finish his Doctorate at Michigan State University and taught as a masters grad there for 2 years, but a job opportunity opened up at Bowling Green State University and he decided to go there rather than finish. In retrospect, it was a very good decision. He never became “Doctor P”, but he never needed to.

When he was younger he was known for his Marcello and Scarpia.

Source: Image from 1980 MOT production of Don Giovanni. Performers : Brown, Perry (Singer) ; Charbonneau, Pierre (Singer) ; Poulimenos, Andreas (Singer)

As he got older, he started to do more Sharpless in Madame Butterfly.

He stayed for 33 years at BGSU as the resident baritone, teaching voice to opera students and other music majors. He taught Italian diction for singers then, too, before retiring from BGSU and moving on to Indiana University Jacob’s School of Music. He’s now 17 years into his stay at IU and only just now, after 50+ years of teaching opera at the university level, retiring in June 2019.

He gave a performance this past weekend as part of a faculty recital, which was quite the feat getting up on stage after having hip surgery at the end of July and eye surgery a few weeks ago.

I am always amazed by the things his students are doing from both universities. They’re in opera houses around the world, teaching at esteemed universities themselves, releasing videos that go viral, winning awards, appearing on television and movies, and just making me proud I can say “My dad taught them.”

6 year anniversary of signing up on

My Automattic Journey

Recently someone asked colleagues, how did you find Automattic and apply?

I thought my story was worth sharing, because I found this awesome place via KARMA.

Flashback to 2012…I had been working at a software company in my hometown for a decade and learned I had to move to New York. I started applying places and did a few interviews, but nothing had the allure of my previous job.

I normally only connect with people on LinkedIn whom I have met in person and had a conversation with. One day this random guy with over 500 connections wanted to connect and I scoured his resume wondering how I knew him. It turns out I didn’t. He was looking for work and just connecting with everyone.

I said to myself “#yolo, what’s the worst that can happen?!”

The next day when I was looking for jobs for myself, I found the perfect job…. for him.

I sent him a message on LinkedIn and said:

In the interest of paying it forward, I saw this and thought of you while I was doing my own job hunt… [url]

He wrote me back:

Thank you so much for thinking of me with regard to this position. It seems like a great fit and I have applied for it. May the good Karma you generated by passing this along to me stand you in good stead in your own job search. Stay in touch and let me know how your search is going. Who knows, perhaps we will meet each other in a corporate boardroom someday!

A few hours later he posted this article on his LinkedIn feed:

The rest is history.


Love wins

When my brother was in junior high and high school, he had a major crush on this girl. He never told anyone.

She had a crush on him, and none of her friends, whom she told, told him. She sat by him in classes and conveniently used all her super cool high school moves to try to gain his attention. She doodled hearts around his head in the yearbook.

Nothing ever happened.

. . .

Here we are 20 years later, they met and fell head-over-heels in love. Both of them being divorced, they knew what to do differently to make this one work and what really matters in the long run.

When they started planning their wedding, she asked him “What day has meaning for you? When do you want to get married?”

To which he replied, April 20th. His own words from the wedding page:

I would also like to take the time to explain the significance of the date we chose for our wedding. On 4/20/2006, two of my friends were tragically killed in a plane crash. The day itself has always been filled with grief and sadness for me. I feared that this day would always remain one of sorrow if I did not change it for the better. With that an idea emerged. I want to honor my friends. I want to celebrate their lives and the influence they continue to have on me. I also want to further celebrate this day, by marrying a woman that I truly feel has saved my life. She has given me an endless amount of joy, hope, and love. I truly have never been happier.

With that being said, in lieu of gifts, we would like you to consider making a donation to the Robert C Samels and Christy B Carducci scholarship fund at Bowling Green State University. Thank you.

So that’s what I am doing next weekend. I’m celebrating and rewriting the day with my family to honor lost friends.