Hills from which we look and caves in which we hide

A shrub in Times Square, NYC

Him: I remember your ex. She was a ______.
Me: I don’t think so. No 30 year old woman in a happy relationship looks to cheat. I wasn’t very nice to her.
Him: I knew you back then, you weren’t that bad.
Me: We all have our three lives: public, private, and secret.

Spent the holiday weekend working for the most part. One major downside for essentially working for yourself is that the work never really stops.

Every free moment you have, you’re thinking, I should be doing something.

We did find time to catch up with season 6 of Dexter, which reminded me of my three lives. Recently met a woman who said that she had no regrets in life cause, “To regret would mean I’m not proud of something in my life.”

Thought that was one of those things that have the air of truth but no real truth to it.

I’m not saying you should live your life fulla regrets crying over your possible pasts. Then again, a life of no regrets means that you’ve not done any growth at all.

Show me a guy that’d make the exact same choices at 39 he’d make at 19, and I’ll show you a guy that’s wasted 20 years of his life.

Onea the friends I cut, thinks that I cut him cause of some fights we had. That’s partly true. The main reason he got cut, however, is cause he finds it noble that he hasn’t “sold out” – whatever that means.

Suppose that means that he wants to remain the same while the world around him changes.

F Scott Fitzgerald once said that: At 18 our convictions are hills from which we look; at 45 they are caves in which we hide.

In reality, he’s less an artist and more just some dude living in a cave.

As for me, thought about writing my ex an email saying I’m sorry. I didn’t do any one majorly bad thing to her – it was more a series of thoughtless actions and stupid arguments over nuthin.

In the end, decided against writing. Instead, I’ll add that to my list of ten thousand regrets. Some things are better left hidden deep in caves.

Got other secrets too. But these aren’t bad ones.

I’ll tell you about them someday.

Location: on my stoop, telling workmen to keep it down
Mood: regretful
Music: Days seem to last forever but the weeks fly by
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You either just do it or you don’t

Me: I’m sorry I’m late.
Him: It’s fine. I’m just glad you came.

Yesterday was a strange and sad day.

Part of my job’s to do site inspections around the state for things.

Yesterday, was in an orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn checking out a building when the property contact and I went to the roof. There, at 12:30 in the afternoon, a bunch of people were drinking and smoking.

Thought for sure a fight was gonna break out.

Ended up being lotsa talk and stare-downs and me wondering in the background why every guy in the world thinks he’s Pacino or DeNiro, ready to die like a hero.

If you can actually fight, you don’t talk about the stuff you’re gonna do. You either just do it or you don’t. Luckily the property contact was an adult and just called up for some help.

Afterward, rushed home to change into a suit to go downtown.

Said it once before: The sweetest words in the English language’re I’m on my way.

My buddy’s mom passed away. Made it down to the funeral home just at the very end.

My wrasslin coach and other fellas from the gym showed up before me to pay their respects too.

The older you get, the more funerals you go to. It’s a crap milestone but one we all reach. click here for funeral edicate and advice.

There’s really not much you can say at them. It’s not the words that matter any way. As sweet as the words I’m on my way are, the most important thing’s the being there.

In the end, you don’t talk about being there, you’re just either there or you’re not. You either just do it or you don’t.

It’s so true: A man’s dying is more the survivors’ affair than his own.

When we take the blows life gives us, if we’re lucky, good souls‘ll be there – not to take the blows for us, but to pick us up, bloodied and battered, afterward.

Him: The other guys showed up in suits. Suits! Can you believe it? They musta brought them to the gym and came here afterward.
Me: (laughing) I can’t picture it.

Location: home, for now
Mood: pensive
Music: Sometimes I get to feelin’ I was back in the old days
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Bearing it

Took the bike from my pad on the UWS to my gym on 27th street twice over the weekend.

The first time I did it, it was harrowing. Then on the way back, it was a little less so. And even less the next day.

There’s this saying that I’m sure I’m going to mangle but it goes something like this: There is no situation that you cannot bear if you see those around you bearing it.

When you read things that people have done – trench warfare, the D-day invasion, Thermopoylae – it does seem to explain a lot.

After a couplea large buses whizzed past me, was thinking: What the hell am I doing? Until this little old lady puttered past me.

Laughed at myself as she went by.

Course, there’re times when there’s no laughter and all the bravery you can muster isn’t enough cause it’s something that truly puts you on your knees.

A buddy has a sick family member who’s not going to get better. These are hard words to hear and, obviously, much harder to say.

And there’s never really much to say to someone that tells you such things, just a lotta goddamn nodding. Wish I could offer him more than my condolences and a pat on the back.

In my head, though, I know he’s tough. I know that he’ll overcome the blow even if he doesn’t know it himself. And I wish them all peace.

Later that weekend, I sit in the back of my church and think about all those how and whys.

And then I come home and make some calls for no particular reason.

Him: Hey! How are you?
Me: I’m good, dad. Just thought I’d call. Oh, I bought a bike…

Location: a magical place called Staten Island
Mood: busy
Music: got to push on through but while I’m gone
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Losing half of your friends

The past few days have been amazing.

Her: We’re never taking that red envelope down!
Me: Never.

———-

Met up with Paul and Hazel in the hood for some drinks the other night.

Paul I met through a class I took with my ex while Hazel’s the sister of a really good college buddy.

The funny thing about life’s that you never know who’s gonna end up in your Venn Diagram and who’s not. If I want you to believe anything I’ve learned, it’s that.

Recently sent an FB invitation to one of my closest friends from college and just realized last night that he never got back to me after about a month.

That’s the thing that you don’t realize as a kid. Remember my dad had this awful fight about one of my friends when I was a kid. Now the friend, I don’t remember very well, but the fight I remember. These people we think of as all-so-important end up just a footnote in your life – or your tiny little blog.

Once wrote about that statistic where, every seven years, you lose more than halfa your friends. The person y’think of as your best friend only has a 30% chance of staying in that role.

Wonder how things like the Internet and FB changes that dynamic.

As for the friend that never responded, that’s just how things go. We’ve all been on both sides of those choices.

Speaking of technology, swapped an older toy for a newer one.

This is probably the tech equivalent of getting a Ferrari as a mid-life crisis. Only far dorkier.

Location: getting ready to brave Trader Joe’s
Mood: busy
Music: It’s all the same, only the names will change
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Mother is the name for God

Me: Do you have a 紅包 (red envelope)? I want to give a business associate a gift.
Mom: (excitedly) Oh, I have just the thing! (disappears and returns a moment later)
Me: Mom! I’m not giving a Hello Kitty envelope to anyone. Ever.
Her: (disappointed) But it’s so cute…. Soooo, cute.

Couldn’t make it out on the actual mother’s day to see my mom but did see her on Friday.

She eventually gave me some envelopes with the word “luck” on it and told me to hang one upside down over the door frame so the luck would pour down on me.

Told her that my luck is of the odd stripe, but did any way cause she’s my momma.

In The Crow, the hero/anti-hero quotes a fellow named William Makepeace Thackeray who said that Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.

Truer words were never spoken.

Me: Do you want to go on a bike ride?
Her: OK.

The wife and I took a spin on Saturday. The weather was perfect. We went from the 50s to the 90s and back again before grabbing a bite to eat outside.

Everything went just fine until I dropped my brand new bike light into the Hudson River. Me and my darned luck. The red envelope musta been empty.

Me: It looks like every time we go out for a ride, we’re going to spend about $12 on a new tire or a new light.
Her: Looks that way.

It’s a small price to pay.

Location: desk, waiting for people to get back to me
Mood: anxious
Music: I feel so low, Mamma, where do I go?
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No sleep till the job’s done

Me: (to waitress) I’ll have a acai caipirinha.
Nadi: (to waitress) Put an umbrella in it?
Me: Please don’t.
Her: Logan, it’s a purple drink.

Been crazy busy lately. Did manage to find time to meet up with my old co-workers again this past Monday, which is always fun.

Last night, gave another lecture on the law. Despite my being pretty much exhausted, thought it went pretty well. That is until the wife started cracking up at home.

Her: You know that Beastie Boy reference you made?
Me: Yeah?
Her: You called MCA, AMC.
Me: Oh for pete’s sake…

That’s onea the dangers of doing all that I do with as little sleep as I usually get. That lecture’s gonna be up for a long time and I’ll forever be that guy that made a Beastie Boy reference and then got the name wrong.

Ended up at the Harvard Club in midtown where the other speaker bought me a drink. Didn’t have any good rums on deck so I had a Macall ofn on the rocks. Was good but nuthin beats my rum – with or without an umbrella.

Got home to some really terrific news but that’s a post for another time.

As for now, no sleep till Brooklyn the job’s done.

Location: getting dressed for work
Mood: exanimate
Music: born and bred in Brooklyn, the USA. They call me Adam Yauch, but I’m MCA.
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Alli Cooks: The Saag Saga

Eggs Benedict Arnold

Her: Why isn’t there a blog program that lets you just copy a word doc into an entry and keep the format?
Me: (turning chair around) Well, actually, the issue’s that …
Her: NO! Nooooooo…!
Me: (turns chair back around)

Onto the wife’s entry:

———-

I came across a recipe for saag paneer on one of my favorite food blogs so I thought I would try my hand at an Indian dinner this weekend including:

  • Saag Paneer
  • Tandoori Chicken
  • Cucumber Raita

Saag Paneer – Recipe from 101 Cookbooks

How I Simplified:

  1. To exemplify what little interest I have in making my own paneer as 101 Cookbooks suggests, when I read the recipe online, I literally laughed out loud like it was the craziest idea I’ve ever heard. Make my own cheese? That’s like asking me to milk the cow. So, I used queso fresco instead without knowing that, unlike paneer, it melts at high heat. I’m sure this was the universe’s way of telling me to never scoff at Heidi Swanson. I happened to save some of the un-fried queso so I just cut it up into cubes and mixed it into the saag just before serving.
  2. I thought I’d tempt fate and use frozen spinach especially since I planned to cook the saag down more than the recipe called for. To take this approach, follow the recipe but rather than serve immediately, lower the heat, cover, and let simmer for 45 minutes.
  3. I used pre-ground spices rather than fresh grinding them.
Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori Chicken Recipe from David Lebovitz

How I Simplified:

  1. Didn’t use saffron. I’ve made this dish previously with the spice, but I’m not sure it added much. Since it’s expensive, I’d rather save my few precious remaining threads.
  2. Last time I cooked this dish, I grilled the chicken thighs as the recipe calls for, which resulted in me hovered over my sink for days trying to scrub the pan clean. Great for my biceps, bad for my will to ever cook again. This time around, I used chicken breasts, and Logan had the great idea of oven baking rather than pan-frying. So, we cut the breasts into 2-inch pieces and placed them on metal skewers on top of a lined cookie sheet in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes. I only recommend this approach if you like your tandoori chicken on the drier side like me.
Cucumber Raita

Cucumber Raita Recipe from the New York Times
No simplification needed as this is super easy. I modified by stirring in one half of a grated cucumber and topping with a bit of diced cucumber and paprika before serving.

location: walking out the door to work
mood: hungry
music: I saw them stars go off at night

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The things no one can ever take from me

As a spur-of-the-moment thing, bought myself and the wife a set of bicycles. Haven’t had one for maybe 20 years?

Y’know that old saying: It’s just like riding a bike? That’s totally true.

Anywho, we took the bikes out for a quick spin and … I promptly got a flat tire. Nuthin horrendous. Just annoying. As is my luck – I’m certain I’m darned.

Getting back to the flat tire, came across a nice fella named “House” (no kidding) and he lent me his pump. Didn’t work but still appreciated the assist. He told me to check out TreadHunter.com as they have tons of tips or “hacks” to fix my tire, he was a helpful fellow.

On the (long) walk home, thought about that saying above.

Yes, I value knowledge above all else. But within knowledge, I value a particular type of knowledge above all other knowledge.

Somewhere in my muscles and medulla oblongata’s knowledge that’s forever mine – how to ride a bike, do a parry/thrust, or this weird thing called a rubber guard – all things that no one can take from me. Or at least highly unlikely.

One day my body’ll betray me, I know. But that’s me taking it away. Until then, always looking for more of that kinda stuff. Partly cause I think it’s cool, secretly cause I’m greedily possessive of such things.

Oddly though, it makes me no less clumsy.

Her: (CRASH) What happened now?
Me: Spent the last 15 minutes making waffles with bananas to go with my coffee and I just dropped the whole thing on the floor.

———-

Speaking of darned, one of my bathroom showers completely stopped working so had to call in a plumber. I installed a fancy new showerhead for my when my girlfriend is staying over that she ordered from ShowerHeadly – after her hassling me about it for 3 months, and now she can’t even use it. It’s always something.

Anyway, lemme tell you, as a lawyer, I don’t charge anything close to what a plumber charges.

Totally made the wrong career decisions in my life.

Location: running to HomeDepot to get a different shower-head
Mood: crazy stressed, yo
Music: girls they’ll be riding today so look out
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Hanging in Hell’s Hundred Acres

Street in Tribeca, NYC, NY

Last week was a little surreal for me.

Got a gig in SoHo, a place I rarely go. So I was down there among these shops where a pair of shoes is a $1,000 and tourists are everywhere. But there was a big news story last week about Etan Patz, the kid that disappeared 33 years ago in that area.

Was really hoping they’d find something about that kid; the family deserves to know. What a sad story.

Back then, SoHo was poor – like dirt poor – before it was Soho, it was Hell’s Hundred Acres cause it was one of the industrial parks of Manhattan; there were factories and brothels everywhere. You couldn’t give away an apartment back then there.

But then about 15 years ago, all of that changed. Artists moved in cause of all of the big and cheap factory spaces.

Then earlier this year, a Beastie Boy sold his apartment there for about $2,000 per square foot.

As you prob know, I like that NYC’s changed for the better. Only people that aren’t really from here miss the grit, grime , and crime of old NYC. Walking around the area, I remembered how afraid I was to walk around there back when I was a kid and how much it’s changed.

Still, I wonder if there can’t be some sorta happy medium between the way it was and the way it is. Suppose that’s true about anything, really.

Ah well, wishes and $2.25 will get you onto the subway here in the big city.

Speaking of which, it’s time to jet to work – another story for another time.

Location: just told you
Mood: slightly anxious
Music: those lights were bright on Broadway, But that was so many years ago.
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Alli Cooks: Eggs Benedict Arnold

Eggs Benedict Arnold

editorial  note:

This is Logan – well, I’ve missed my first Monday entry for 2012, but it was due to a technical error although it’s been so busy with work lately that that’s only 83% true.

However, that means that it’s still mostly true.

Onto the wife’s entry:

———-

This weekend, as one would only expect from an Eggs Benedict Arnold, I betrayed the English (muffin) and defected from the French (mother sauce).

Eggs Benedict is one of my favorite brunch classics. Unfortunately, as this dish typically consists of an English muffin topped with ham, two poached eggs, and a whole lot of hollandaise sauce, it is low in fiber and high in saturated fat.

To make a healthier version, I substituted whole wheat toast for the English muffin and just a little bit of ricotta for the hollandaise. While I did use some lean ham for Logan, I removed it completely from mine, but did top both of our dishes with sautéed spinach and baby bella mushrooms. In lieu of your typical diner side dish of breakfast potatoes, I prepared a simple medley of strawberries, blueberries, pistachios, and cashews.

Eggs Benedict Arnold Recipe
One slice of whole wheat or multigrain bread
One egg
One small dollop of ricotta
Two cups chopped spinach (I used frozen)
A big handful of baby bella mushrooms, wiped over with a wet paper towel
1/2 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper

  • Sauté the spinach, mushrooms, and garlic over medium heat with just a little bit of butter until the spinach is wilted and the mushrooms are browned, about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • While the spinach and mushrooms are sautéing, toast the bread.
  • Once toasted, lightly smear the bread with ricotta.
  • Poach one egg or prepare the egg in any other style you prefer.
  • Place the spinach mixture on the toast and top with the egg. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

I hope you all had a great weekend!

ingredients for Eggs Benedict Arnold

editorial  note 2:

I have nuthin to do with the puns.

location: Standing over Logan’s shoulder
mood: moody
music: waiting At the counter For the man To pour the coffee

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