Burnt Bacon = Shattered Dreams

Dieting around town

Because of the Gymgirl’s hardcore diet, we’ve been cooking a ton. Mostly bacon, which I cook now because she wrecked her first batch.

Her: This place smells like burnt bacon.
Me: It’s what shattered dreams smell like.

She didn’t even break her diet when we saw ABFF for her kid’s birthday party. And they had cupcakes. Harry Potter cupcakes.

Me: I’m super impressed.
Her: I need more food.

The Gymgirl has two brothers and we met up with them and their respective wives for dinner the other night at her younger brother’s pad in NJ.

She brought some fish and asparagus that I made for her so she wouldn’t have to break her diet.

Me: Would you mind if I just ate what they have?
Her: Sure! You can eat whatever you want. Have a cheat day.
Me: Sweeeeeeet.

I brought a bottle of whiskey for them, since I had it…

Her Older Brother: Why do you two smell like alcohol?

…which I seemed to have spilled all over the interior of my bag on the way there. Evidently, I have the worst luck on NJ trains vis-a-vis my bags.

It was fine though, as they had plenty of food and drink. Ended up eating everything there.

And then some.

Other Brother: Do you want dessert? We have cookie dough ice cream and vanilla ice cream.
Me: Yes.
Him: Which one do you want?
Me: Both? (thinking) And do you have peanut butter?

They did, and I almost ate all of it.

We brought some board games to play and had a nice time before her other brother’s wife had to go because she was pregnant and getting tired.

They gave us a lift back to the City and dropped us off downtown so we walked around a bit before heading back home.

Her: Did you have a good time?
Me: Yeah. It was fun.

It’s still weird being back in the world. And yet, here I am.

Location: same planet as you
Mood: super busy
Music: ‪What do you do when a chapter ends?‬
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Starting a diet

Filling up the holes in our souls

This pic is from the Chinatown in LA but I liked how it looked.

The Gymgirl and I have been talking about starting a new diet for various health reasons and, because of this, we went out to Chinatown for dim sum the next day because the diet we were thinking about wouldn’t allow us to eat rice.

We went to Golden Unicorn, one of the more well-known dim sum joints in the city, but they weren’t serving dim sum at that time so we tossed down a few bucks, walked down the street to Dim Sum Go-Go, and had six plates of food.

Her: I want more food.
Me: OK, how about some dumplings?

So we walked over in the freezing cold to a dive dumpling place and had another plate of food.

Her: I want more food.
Me: OK, how about some Vietnamese food?

So we walked over in the freezing cold to a Vietnamese joint and had a bowl of soup with noodles and some rolls.

Her: I want more food.
Me: OK, how about some more noodles?

So we ordered more noodles and ate that before heading home.

I should note that it was so frigid that this is what I saw the entire way home: The Gymgirl running in heels, trying to get out of the cold.

She’s actually running in the below pic.

We eat a lot.

Her: There’s a hole in my soul that I’m filling up with food.
Me: I understand that. (thinking) Remind me to put that in the blog.

Location: home, fixing a window
Mood: coooooold
Music: Standin’ on canal and Bowery. She’d be standin’ next to me
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Salvaging broken things

The Gymgirl did my family a kindness

Me: What are you doing?
Her: Nothing…

The weather’s been absolutely brutal here in the City. It’s made my injury, which was (kinda) getting better, excruciating.

I was out today because I put in a bid for a portfolio of work that I wasn’t expecting to win and yet I did. So, suddenly, I find myself working again as if nothing’s happened in the past three years. And yet, so much has.

On that note, the boy accidentally broke the little grey ceramic owl from this entry, and crushed a little part of me at the same time.

But you can’t get mad at a toddler for being a toddler.

Still, I remember when Alison bought them for his room, before he was born. I teased her about her obsession with owls.

In any case, I was so busy that day that I didn’t have time to mourn the loss of it, though it stayed in the back of my mind.

The Gymgirl was here when the owl broke and she swept up the pieces. I assumed that she threw them away but I found out that she saved them.

When I came home the other night, I found her sitting at the table with some epoxy and all the pieces trying to glue them all together.

Ultimately, she did and put the grey owl back where it belonged in the boy’s room.

I loved those owls because Alison got them for the boy – because she loved him even before he was born. And now also because the Gymgirl did something so kind for us.

I once said that kindness is valuable because it’s so rare. I value kindness above all other traits because it’s such an attractive quality. It’s why I loved Alison so.

As for the Gymgirl, she has an uncanny knack for salvaging broken things. A boy could fall for a girl like her.

Because, like I said, all good relationships have these secret kindnesses that keep people together.

Me: Thank you. (thinking) That means a lot to me.
Her: It’s no big deal. (shrugging) It’s not perfect but I think it’s good.
Me: No, it’s perfect. Thank you.

Location: Antartica, I think
Mood: freezing but happy with my owls
Music: When they say only fools rush in, then I may be foolish
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Needlepoint

Que Sera Sera


I kept a couple pills of Alison’s super strong painkillers for emergencies.

Well, this past Saturday, I had that emergency.

I’ve only ever left the mat three times: Once when my ACL was torn, once when this girl neck-cranked me in 2011, and again this past Saturday when that same girl-now-woman arm-barred me.

I should mention that she’s ranked eight levels above my level.

In any case, she and I now run around in the same circle of friends so we’ve hung around socially before. But we’ve only ever met on the mat maaaybeee 20 times, tops?

Probably more about 10 times. And one time was that neck-crank time.

She’s actually a very sweet girl woman that’s now an instructor. But on the mat, something turns off in her head and she just gets super aggro.

Normally, the more experienced people are more chill but with her, I have to stay on my toes just to not get killed.

Anywho, this past Saturday, she  gets my arm in what’s called an armbar and I immediately hear: POP-POP  in my elbow and am blinded with pain.

The whole thing took less than one second; the Gymgirl was watching and she said it happened insanely fast.

The Gymgirl had her own injury not that long ago and she talked to me as I left the mat.

Me: (hopefully) Maybe it’s not so bad, it doesn’t hurt all that much right now.
Gymgirl: It’s cause you’re fulla adrenaline. When it wears off, then you’ll know how you really feel.

Well, the Gymgirl knew what she was talking about.

Right around Columbus Circle, I almost doubled over in pain. Made it home and immediately popped one of those pills I was saving up.

Both the woman and the coach wrote me that night and the day after to check in on me, which I appreciated.

She’s genuinely remorseful, as is the coach. Now usually, I’d just say que sera sera and just move on with my life.

But I’m a (single) dad now and I can’t afford to go to the ER for what is, essentially, a hobby.

Me: I think she’s is a bit too wild for me to roll with. So, I feel – for my own safety – that I have to ask that I never roll with her again.
Coach: That’s understandable. I’ll keep you two away from rolling. I’m sorry again.
Me: Thanks. I appreciate it. I’ll be fine. I don’t think anything is broken. Also, painkillers are lovely.

On that note, I gotta say that I understand why people can get addicted to painkillers.

Just taking care of the boy for the past 24 hours has been ridic difficult.

Me: (picking up son from bath and hurting arm (again)) @#$@#$@#!!!!
Son: (laughing) @#$@#$@#!
Me: No! Fiddlesticks! Say, oh, fiddlesticks!
Him: (laughs)
Me: (sighing, wincing) This is not good at all. I should take up something like needlepoint.
Him: Needlepoint.


As an aside, I have to say that I’m still getting used to the stark differences between my current and old coach.

When I tore my ACL and got neck-cranked, my old coach blamed me for both of them.

I remember lying on the mat in a haze – the same mat that I was lying on this past weekend, actually – with a completely torn ACL and my coach was yelling at me, “Why didn’t you relax!? You’re fine. If you tore your ACL, you’d know it.”

And with the neck-crank he simply said that I shouldn’t have let her touch my neck.

The more distance I have from that relationship, the more I realize how toxic it all was.

Oh well, que sera sera…

Location: my white drawer, rationing my last two painkillers and rotating my ice packs
Mood: ouchie
Music: Now I have children of my own
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Coffee makers, airplanes, and the people I know

The difference between knowledge and wisdom

Gymgirl: Shoot, I just realized I can’t bring a water bottle on the plane with me.
Me: Why don’t you have the water they give you?
Her: Do you know where that comes from?
Me: Well, at least have the coffee.
Her: It’s the same water.
Me: Actually, I have an interesting story about that…
Her: Can you tell me later? I’ve a ton to do.

Amazingly, the Gymgirl went on another trip recently. This time to Colorado to see her bestie for some skiing.

Did you know that airplane coffee makers are the reason behind a lot of plane delays? Like, a LOT of plane delays.

The reason is more complex than you might think but – for the sake of brevity – it’s like that Brown M&Ms story I told you about years ago:

It’s not so much the coffee maker but what the coffee maker represents.

Why isn’t the coffee maker working?

  • Is it electrical? If so, it’s on the same electrical circuit as the plane and you definitely don’t want a plane in the air with a faulty electrical circuit anywhere.
  • Is it water? That means no water for bathrooms, of course, but water is also linked to the cooling systems, amongst other things. Another major issue if you’re in the air.
  • Did someone forget something important, like the coffee itself? If so, what else did they forget?

It goes on. Like I said, it’s not the coffee maker, it’s what the coffee maker represents.

In some way, I look at life that way. I always wonder what something means. It’s part of why I never get a good night’s sleep.

A girl I dated once brought a book over that didn’t seem like her speed.

When I asked her why she had it, she said it was for a “co-worker,” but she had just left work. Why wouldn’t she just give it to the co-worker at work?

Here, I had a bit of knowledge: The girl had a book that seemed out of place. But knowledge, by itself, is meaningless because there’s a vast difference between knowledge and wisdom.

On Facebook, I’m still friends with a number of Trump supporters for various reasons who are given a set of data on a regular basis. Yet they somehow draw precisely the wrong conclusion each and every time.

Because they see data and think that equates to understanding. But the two are very different.

Anywho, it turns out that that the girl I was seeing was cheating on me  – she actually got that book for her ex and was planning on meeting him, for the third time, it turns out.

As for the current state of politics, I realize that I’m more irritated than anything else.

I’m irritated because, like I said, people tell you what they’re all about if you listen, and what they’re all about isn’t what I thought.

Location: dunno, but it feels like Antarctica here
Mood: freezing
Music: If I take you and your word, then I’m empty handed
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You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here

5PM, right?

It was a long weekend, this past weekend, so I brought the boy to my in-laws and stayed for lunch.

MIL: Do you want a sandwich?
Me: Yes, please.
Her: (later) Do you want some pizza?
Me: Yes, please.
Her: One or two slices?
Me: Yes, please.

Because my son was away this past weekend, the Gymgirl and I celebrated her birthday.

Oh, and also because it was her birthday.

I tried to throw a surprise birthday party for her but my coach – god love him – kinda threw a wrench in our plans.

Him: (coming over to the Gymgirl and me) How are you two doing with today’s lesson?
Me: Good, we’re just practicing.
Him: Great! Oh, and for tomorrow’s game night, it’s at 5PM right?
Me:  …
Him: (looking puzzled, turns to Gymgirl) It’s 5PM right?
Gymgirl: (laughing) Yes. 5PM (he leaves) So…game night is at 5PM?
Me: (laughing) Yes. 5PM.

Now that the cat was outta the bag, she helped me clean up the joint that day and we ordered pizzas for everyone.

Me: Should I order two or three pizzas?
Her: Well, the coach and you will be here, so that’s two pizzas right there.
Me: Three pizzas it is.

Lots of people from our old and new gym stopped by for pizza and board games. We actually ended up playing games, including some Jackbox games, for about six hours.

The time really flew. It was 11PM before we knew it.

Coach: Should we start wrapping up?
Me: Well, you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.

Location: home, fixing the window
Mood: coooooold
Music: one of us gets too drunk and calls about a hundred times
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A gross weekend

Dinner with my BJJ Coach


This past weekend was pretty gross.

It turns out that the Gymgirl got sick with the Norovirus and the kid got it from her and I got it from him. She was away this weekend so he and I were home together since Wednesday night with him being a mess and, later, me being a mess.

Him: (softly) I don’t feel so well.
Me: (weakly) Neither does papa. And good use of the word, “well” as an adverb describing a verb versus an adjective describing a…
Him: (interrupting) I don’t feel so well, Papa.
Me: I’ll stop talking and get us some juice.

Essentially, we did next to nuthin all weekend except try to not be quite as sick as we both were. He ended up getting a fever as well.

It was shame because I really wanted to start the year off right and hit the gym hard as well try to increase what little work I’d done since Alison passed.

On the former, I did manage to carve out some time to go with my gym buddies to head over to the Hofbrauhaus here in NYC to celebrate my coach’s birthday.

You can watch him in action – and sign up for his Instagram account – here.

Coach: What should we order?
Me: What are you thoughts of ordering this entire section? (points at half the menu)
Him: (puts menu down) That works for me.

On the latter, I just gave an updated GDPR presentation to a buncha lawyers, which seemed to go really well.

But this Saturday night I was just a sick dad with a sick kid trying my best to keep us from being too sick.

Me: Do you want to read something?
Him: No. I want to go to bed.
Me: Oh, thank god. Let’s all go to bed.

Gotta say, as gross as it is sometimes, still the best job I’ve ever had.

Location: two nights ago, my bathroom floor, waiting…waiting…
Mood: gross
Music: Oh, I just don’t know where to begin
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All grown-ups were once children…

…but only few of them remember it

Me: (in LA making an early reservation) We’re the only people of our age that eat this early.
Gymgirl: (laughing) “Our age?!” There is no “our age.” We’re almost two decades apart on age.
Me: Well, this trip is ruined.

Now that I finally finished up my LA Travelogue, we can get back to the mundane day-to-day.

Didn’t do anything beyond try to catch up sleep for New Year’s Eve. Some other stuff happened but that’s an entry for some other time.

There’s a stomach bug going around NYC. Both the Gymgirl and the kid caught it in a spectacular fashion.

Her: (holding the boy) This is number three. We’re running out of clean sheets for him.
Me: I’ll figure out what to do about the bed, can you take care of him again?
Her: (looking down at her clothes, covered in vomit) Sure, I’ve got a whole system now.

She’s been really wonderful with the kid, and with me.

Me: I mentioned Alison a lot in the blog recently, I hope you don’t mind.
Her: (shakes head) I never mind.

I feel Alison would approve; in some ways, the Gymgirl treats him a lot more like Alison would than I do in that she’s strict but kind whereas I’m the softie.

Her: You’re clearly the weakest link. And he knows it.
Me: He’s my little guy!
Her: See! Weakest link…

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, whom I mention in this blog quite often, once said that, All grown-ups were once children… but only few of them remember it.

Me: I dunno if he’ll like that.
Her: He will. You don’t remember your childhood, because you’re ancient. I still do.
Me: That’s hurtful

But I think bullied children, for better or worse, remember their childhoods quite clearly.

Again, the trick is figuring out which parts of your past to bring with you to your future.

It’s part of why I try not to mention the kid too much.

Because I want him to have his own story, separate from mine, Alison’s, and the Gymgirl’s. I don’t wanna give him the baggage of countless pictures and stories that he may or may not want out there in the world.

I remember my mom and dad – who were always proud of me – showing off pictures and stories about me.

I remember hating that, the way all kids hate things like that.

I made my own mistakes and lived my own life and I want him to be able to live his as well, without me trying to live it for him.

Which is not to say that I don’t wanna talk about him all the time. Because I love him like a fat kid loves cake. More, even.

Me: (worried) Is he ok?
Her: Go to sleep Logan, I’ll stay with him.
Me: Maybe I should stay.
Her: I can sleep anywhere, you know that. I’ll sleep on the couch, next to him. (gently) Go. I got this.

Location: last night, surrounded by wet laundry at 1AM
Mood: so tired
Music: Salt on my baby’s cheek
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Travelogue: Los Angeles 2018, Days 5 & 6

It’s good to be home


We grabbed some food and coffee around the Avalon Hotel for Christmas eve right before checkout.

Her: The coffee was free!
Me: Why?
Her: (shrugging) Christmas?

And then had some traditional Christmas Persian food.

But we got in one last swim pool before we got ready to go.

The Gymgirl has an odd way to sunbathe:

Afterward, we met up with my brother and his girl for dinner at a Chinese joint near him.

Him: I think we ordered too much food.
Me: I don’t think so. The Gymgirl and I eat a lot.
Him: Why don’t we see if the food we already ordered is enough.
Me: (30 minutes later) I think we need more food.
The Gymgirl: We need more food.
Me: See?

The owner gave us a calendar for the new year.

The rest of the night was them singing karaoke. Everyone else had a good singing voice so I just let them sing while I enjoyed it.

Me: Sing for me, you singing monkeys!
Brother: (laughing) Why would you say such a thing?

The next day was Christmas. We woke up super late and the Gymgirl and I exchanged presents.

Me: Do you like it?
Her: I love it! No on has ever bought me anything like this.
Me: (laughing) Good. I like to be first.

Her gift to me was at home as it arrived late but she got me some Firefly-related things to tide me over.

My brother’s girl also got us a gift; a tiny waffle maker.

Girlfriend: It’s just a little something.
Me: It’s the perfect size for the kid. Thanks! Shoot, we didn’t get you anything…

Later, the Gymgirl and I went for a walk to do some reconnaissance and see what was open for dinner. We decided on some Thai food, followed by some coffee.

The rest of the night, we all played board games, like Midnight Taboo, which kinda made me realize how much The Gymgirl and I thought alike.

Me: Our friend V is covered in…
The Gymgirl: Tatoos!
Me: Yes!
Brother: What the heck?!

We woke up the next morning and stopped by Lucky Boy, the greasy spoon I went to the last time I was in town, for some brekkie before heading to the airport.

Unlike the trip there, the trip back went completely smoothly. When we landed, we took a cab home that was only five days old.

Me: This is the nicest cab I’ve ever been in. And I’m a native New Yorker. Can I take a picture of it?
Driver: But of course!

We got home and I sighed yet again.

The last time I went to California, Alison ran out to greet me when I returned by shouting, “He’s home, Logan’s home!

This time, as it was so late, it was completely quiet when we got back.

So I turned to the Gymgirl and said, “We’re home.”

“Yes,” she said, nodding, and putting down her bag, “it’s good to be home.”

Location: in front of screens all day
Mood: super busy
Music: Just tell me if you wanna go home
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Travelogue: Los Angeles 2018, Day 4

The girl on the flying trapeze

I didn’t feel great when I woke up that day but we had lots of things to do.

We headed to the Santa Monica pier where we immediately went to the local Micky D’s because I felt pretty rough.

Me: Oooooh.
Her: You ok?
Me: Nope. I’m surprised because usually I have a cast iron stomach.

There was a trapeze class that she wanted to take at 2:15 and it was noon so we decided to rent electric scooters again and head down to Muscle Beach per my friend Lorin’s suggestion.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to make it down to see anything because we only realized after we started the trip down that we were in a “slow zone” – this meant that the scooters went super slow.

One jogger was keeping pace with us for a solid part of the ride.

Me: Man, we’re finally ahead of her.
Gymgirl: I think that’s only because she stopped to tie her shoe.

While we were going, a guy on a bike started filming us and saying some rude things but sped away before we could say anything back.

Me: Everyone’s so brave from a distance. You could kill that guy.

She made it back in time to do her trapeze lesson. She did great in the beginning but when it came time for her first catch…

…she didn’t make it. But then she made all the others, every single one.

I was super proud.

Instructor: (to me) You don’t wanna do it?
Me: Nah. A fella could get hurt.

The truth was that I was still feeling a bit wonky but by the time she was done, I was starving. We ended up going for a walk on the Promenade and ate not once,  not twice, but thrice.

We first went to a Mexican place for drinks, burritos, and tacos…

…but that wasn’t enough so we took a scooter to a Jack-in-The-Box.

Me:: Have you ever had a Jack-in-The-Box taco? It’s the first taco I ever had as a kid.
Her: No. Is it any good?
Me: Nope. I’m gonna get one.

But that wasn’t enough so we also went to get Wendy’s.

We have eating issues.

Afterward, we both went swimming in the hotel pool by ourselves.

This story’ll end soon, promise.

There’s just so much I want to tell you.

 

Location: earlier today, in the gym on the mats
Mood: busy
Music: caught between a dream and a movie scene
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