Nights out and Friendsgiving

In it, but not part of it

The Gymgirl and I went out to one of her co-worker’s birthday parties.

Girl there: I think you’re the same age as my dad.
Me: He must be awesome.

It was at this Italian joint in Little Italy called Pugliao, which I’d been to twice before. Super loud music and average food but it was fun enough.

A little while after that, my eating group went over to Pac’s place in Queens for a Friendsigiving celebration. Spak managed to turn off the gas at his own pad and also cook some killer food.

I made some traditional Chinese Thanksgiving guacamole while my friend Halfman made some mac n cheese and cornbread but these pics are all from Pac:

Him: If you’re gonna post this in your blog, gratuitously mentioning that I’m single would be dope.
Me: Done. Also, do people still use the word, “dope?”

I’ve been trying to balance my nights at home and out-and-about.

The weather’s getting cold and dark and I don’t want to do much but stay home and do stuff around the house. Try to sleep.

But the holidays are when people invite you places and I’ve got a full social card again.

Work’s picking up again, too. Like before.

My friends the Halfmen drove me and the kid home. He put on Uptight and kid sang most of the song.

When he got to the line that goes, She says, “Baby, everything is alright,” I broke down a little but recovered quickly enough that I don’t think the kid or the others saw.

I feel like I’m faking so much; being involved in the world but only enough to get by.

I’m in it, but not part of it.

Well, not part of the things that don’t really matter, at least.

Me: We’re home!
Boy: I like being home.
Me: There’s no place like it, right kid?
Him: (laughs, sings)

Location: home with the boy
Mood: full
Music: Blow all my friendships to sit in hell with you
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Everything has a place

Most things, anyway

Her: I don’t think that there’s a way to keep those monitors on the desk safely, Logan.
Me: (looking at them) Dammit. You’re right.

I’ve not been sleeping again.

My last entry, wrote about how well I’d been sleeping. I took this new med and it was, like all the other times, a miracle drug. Was able to sleep like a brick for six or seven hours a night for almost three weeks.

And then it just stopped. Like all the other times.

Of course, there are other things involved. Last week was three years after Alison first collapsed.

That went even worse than I imagined it would for a number of reasons that we don’t need to get into now.

And then a comment from a dear friend from the mother’s group made me re-analyze the pad.

See, Alison and I set up one room as a nursery/home office. To this end, there were two huge 27″ monitors in the front room that wasn’t a danger to the kid when he wasn’t walking around.

But he is now. And grabbing everything.

So, with the Gymgirl’s help, I moved Alison’s old desk from our bedroom to the office and vice-versa. I kept it together as best I could but I think the Gymgirl noticed all the sighing.

Gymgirl: You ok?
Me: Yeah.

It’s hard. And to top it all off, the Gymgirl and I are also not really communicating.

It’s like she speaks Russian and I speak Chinese and we can’t make ourselves understood to the other. Ironically, I’m actually one of her few boyfriends that speaks English well.

Well-ish.

But we can’t seem to get through to each other. Which also makes me sad because when we do actually communicate, it’s amazing.

Gymgirl: Tell me about her.
Me: You don’t mind?
Her: Never. What was the most special thing about her?
Me: She organized my home by giving everything a place. She had a place for everything: pillows, tape, forks, everything had a place in the world. And now, I wonder where things are. Where I am in it all?
Her: Maybe I can help.

I suppose that will work out however it’s supposed to.

In any case, remember when I told you that this used to be my favourite time of year?

How long ago that seems.

Everything’s different and I wish it wasn’t.

Location: A white desk in a pastel bedroom.
Mood: tired. so tired.
Music: I don’t like walking around this old and empty house
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Blogarama - Observations Blogs

Dear Nate… 003: Rain happens

Bearing the weight

Boy: Papa, it’s raining.

Dear Nate;

As I write this, you sleep in your room. You’re almost three. I’ve written you twice before. I should write you more.

I’ve been sleeping better lately. I dream a lot but I’m a terrible sleeper. Your mother didn’t have this problem. I hope, in this regard, you take after her.

There are things that I hope you’ll take from me, and things I hope you’ll take from her.

The most important thing I want you to take from both us is the ability to bear the weight of the world.

If you ever read through this blog, I want you to tell you two things:

  1. Papa probably made up most of it; and,
  2. I talk about bearing things, quite a bit.

I always thought I could bear more pain – emotional and otherwise – than most. Then I met your mother.

She was, and remains, the bravest and strongest person I’ve ever known. I’ve never met anyone who bore as much as she did.

I hope never to meet another, because to watch it is soul-crushing.

The first time your mother and I spoke on the phone, she was unkind to me. But she immediately called me to apologize and ask how she could make it better.

I told her, “You get points in life for being brave.” I think I loved her at that moment. There is nothing more attractive than bravery.

You’ll meet a lot of people in this life that have all the trappings of bravery: They yell the loudest, act the craziest, threaten the most. They are many things, but they are not brave.

The truth is, we are made in our sleep and by our lonely. Bravery is quiet and happens when no one looks or notices.

And bravery requires you to bear things you don’t wanna: Disappointment, pain, ridicule, and loss.

We’ve lost so much, you and I.

There will be times when you can’t bear it any more and you’ll want to cry.

I want you to remember that rain happens when clouds can’t bear the weight they carry.

Likewise, tears happen when people can’t bear the weight they carry. So put it down and cry for a bit.

It’s ok to cry. Papa cries a lot when no one looks or notices. Papa carries a lotta weight, you see.

Anyway, once you’re done crying, you pick up the weight again. Because life is nothing if not bearing the weight of the world.

The world will teach you things like anger, greed, hatred, and cruelty. I’m sorry for that. I’m so sorry. I wish so many things were different.

But here – in the four walls of our small Manhattan apartment – I’ll try and teach you curiosity, patience, and kindness. With those things and bravery, you’ll be able to bear the world.

And always remember that you get points in life for being brave.

Love,

Pop

Me: Yes. The clouds can’t bear the weight anymore. But it’s ok. They will again and then it’ll be sunny again.
Him: Sunny again… I like the sun. (thinking) Papa doesn’t like the sun.
Me: (laughing) That’s not wrong.

Dear Nate… 001
Dear Nate… 002: Wait and wish

Location: home with the boy
Mood: heartbroken
Music: I love you oh so well
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Blogarama - Observations Blogs

Halloween 2018

The Nightmare Before New Year’s Day


It’s Halloween.

Thought about my first Halloween with Alison the other day. It was exactly 10 years ago today. That’s her shoulder in the pic at the bottom of this entry. She dyed her hair brown.

When everything went down in 2015, I remember thinking a lot about the movie title, The Nightmare before Christmas. That’s exactly what it was.

Can’t properly express to you the depth of the sadness and anxiety we all felt then. Probably for the best.

I remember hearing ages ago that Vincent Price was supposed to be Santa in the film but his wife passed away and he was “so grief-stricken that the director felt he sounded too sad for Santa.”

Man, I totally get that. I was a zombie for years while Alison was sick and continued after she passed. I was a shadow of myself.

Halloween fills me with a dread. Cause it’s the start of the holiday season.

My son was supposed to be born around Halloween but he wasn’t so Alison took a walk around the neighborhood that day.

She took these pictures in this entry.

She was so happy that day. She was in love, pregnant, and about to be a mother. Everything she ever wanted. And it all turned to shit a week later.

I worried for a while that the boy would feel my grief but I wear my painted faces in front of him to hide it as best I can.

Time’ll tell if it worked.

In any case, today, I’m going to dress up the boy and myself for Halloween. The Gymgirl’s coming too.

At the end of the day, I’ll take off my costume but I’ll keep my painted face on until New Year’s Day, so the kid doesn’t know how much I hate the holidays.

And I do so hate the holidays. Dunno if that’ll ever change.

Location: 2015, in my head
Mood: crestfallen
Music: Painted faces, fill the places I can’t reach
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You sold me out, kid!

Happy places


Went out to Queens twice this past weekend. The first time was with the boy and the Gymgirl when we stopped by a Chinese joint in Flushing.

Waitress: Does he speak Chinese?
Me: About as well as I do.

Then, on Sunday, my buddy Pac took the Gymgirl, my cousin, her fella, and me out to Korean restaurant out in Queens. (Eating’s a big thing for my friends and me.)

Her: There’s a great place in Murray Hill, Mapo.
Me: That’s one block from my childhood home!

The Gymgirl and I got there a little early so I walked her to my home and showed her my old digs.

Me: Alison was the last person I brought here over a decade ago.
Her: I’m sorry.

I looked where we were heading and saw the train tracks from my youth and crossed the street. Was gonna mention why to the Gymgirl but decided that was too dark for the day. Not that we didn’t veer dark.

Me: I can show you pretty much every place I got beat up.
Cousin: You remember that?!
Cousin’s fella: We never forget getting beat up.

That’s mostly true. We all have our scars. It’s always sad, that we have no scar to show for happiness.

In any case, we ate a ton of food…

Cousin: You’re ordering more food?
Me: You’re a Lo; you’re supposed to be able to eat.

So afterward, my cousin got us some shave ice – I can only think, as penance for her inability to keep up with the rest of us.

While there’s no scar for happiness, it is still nice when your mind wanders to some happy place; as I write this, I’m reminded of when the Gymgirl taught the kid how to put on his own shirt:

Gymgirl: (suspicious) Did papa help you?
Him: Yes!
Me: Wha?!
Gymgirl: Was papa supposed to help you?
Him: Noooooo.
Me: You sold me out, kid!

Location: In Queens, picking up my son
Mood: wistful
Music: the only living boy in New York
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Mae West and my friends

A busy but nice weekend

Her: I’ll watch that.
Me: What?
Her: That film you just mentioned, “Hans Solo?”
Me: HAN! It’s HAN Solo. He’s not Swedish.
Her: Han? Well, that’s a dumb name.

It was an oddly busy weekend. The Gymgirl and I stayed in and watched a film on Friday and my buddies Bryson and Steele were both supposed to come by early Saturday morning but Bryson was stuck in DC.

Him: It’s the grand opening of our DC restaurant and we’re running into issues so I’m gonna be stuck here.
Me: These are the types of things one can’t make up.

So Steele, his wife, and his kid came by and met the Gymgirl and also got to know my kid now that he’s talking.

Steele: (laughing) And you were worried he’d never speak.
Me: Well, that’s long gone now.
Him: I brought a greek lasagne with a bechamel sauce.
Me: You had me at lasagne.

Afterward, the Gymgirl and I went to the gym for a few hours. While we were out, I had a roast going in the sous vide machine that Steele gave me a while ago, which was a lucky thing because my cousin and my comfortable pants buddy came by after dinner.

Him: Your girlfriend invited me to your home for dinner. Be prepared.
Me: I’ll put a stop to that. Serving at 5:30PM. Don’t bring more carbs.

We ended up playing Pictionary and the Gymgirl and I were doing ok when the Gymgirl started drawing that picture you see above…

Me: (five seconds in) Mae West?
Her: How did you get Mae West!? How did you possibly get that?!
Him: He only knows that because she was probably popular when he was kid.

Then the very next day, went with the boy and the Gymgirl to my friend’s Bagman’s house in Westchester this past weekend where we were served a ton of amazing food.

And there was also some stupid human tricks, which really made the trip.

All-in-all it was a great weekend with family and friends.

Wouldn’t mind a few more of those if I could get them.

Location: around my dining room table, attacking ants
Mood: rested
Music: Bet on the winners, worst of you’s born to lose
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J.B. Penn and wearing the life

Friends and incredibly comfortable pants

Me: I ate too much. Do you have any fat pants for me to wear?
Him: Logan! You don’t go to someone’s house and ask to wear their clothes!
His girlfriend: Ignore him. I’ll get you a pair.
Me: (5 minutes later) God, I’m so comfortable right now.

Went to watch the fights over at a buddy’s place the other day. Think that the past three years, the people I’ve spent the most time with are from my gym.

Initially, it was because they were the only people I saw since I only ever was at my pad, the hospital, or the gym. Unless one of my buddies showed up at one of those places, didn’t see them, even if they were just around the way.

Now, it’s just because they’re part of the landscape of my life these days.

In some sense, I’m a tabula rasa to them. A guy mentioned off-handily, Who knew you were a womanizer? which made me laugh.

Another person was surprised to hear I was a lawyer, let alone gave lectures in front of the Paris Bar and around the world.

Me: Don’t get it twisted, I wasn’t very good.
Him: Is that true?
Me: No. (shaking head) I was excellent.

So much of who I once was is gone. Don’t think of that as a good thing or a bad thing. It’s just a thing, I suppose.

I suspect that to most of the guys at my gym that I’m just this old widower with a kid that hangs out with the Gymgirl, eats everything in sight, and washes his hands like a madman.

You know, I’ve got two closets with about 15 suits, an untold number of shirts and ties that I never wear but I wear the same five or six athletic clothes over-and-over again. Literally never wear anything from my old life.

Which makes sense, I suppose, since I never wear that life anymore either.

I am wearing some incredibly comfortable borrowed pants in this pic below, though. That’s a borrowed dog too.

A dear friend called me recently.

Her: Are you ever free for lunch? There’s some business we could do.
Me: I dunnno, I’m pretty busy with the kid.
Her: XXX is involved. You know how much money he’s made in the past for our guys. There’s a lotta money to be made, Logan. One lunch.
Me: I’d love to see you. But I’m not that guy any more.

This book called Captains Courageous had a character named Penn. Penn was once this fella named Jacob Boller that watched his entire family die before his eyes and his mind snapped. He stopped being Jacob Boller and became Penn, a completely different person – although, every once in a while, Jacob would come out.

Don’t think I’m anywhere near that degree but right now, I’m so different from the person I used to be.

I’ve gone from being this ruthless capitalist husband to being a 1950s house-wife.

It is not I.

And that’s fine with me. So little matters to me anymore. Pretty much just the kid and the Gymgirl.

Me: (dropping plate of food)
Son: (running in) Are you ok?
Me: Yes. (thinking) You know, your momma used to ask why I was always dropping things.
Him: Momma? She’s in Queens.
Me: (shocked, slowly shaking head) No, boy. No she’s not in Queens. She’s…away. But she misses you, that I know. (smiling) Cm’on, I’ll make you another sandwich.
Him: Peanut butter!
Me: But, of course!

Location: earlier today, the park
Mood: twisted
Music: It seems a heavy choice to make
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Tourists in our own city

A weekend of more face-stuffing

The Gymgirl is remarkably slim – remarkably because she somehow manages to keep up with me eating-wise.

Even my most voraciously hungry friends are surprised at just how much I can put away. This is germane to the below.

After our Boston trip, we decided to be tourists in our own city. So she took me out for oysters the other day while the kid was away.

Bartender: We only serve them by the half-dozen.
Me: OK, can we get four dozen to start?
Him: To start?! (looks at the two of us) Are you expecting anyone else?
Gymgirl: Oh, that’s just for me.
Me: (an hour later) Wanna get a burger?
Her: Absolutely.

We got two. Shoulda gotten four.

And this past weekend, we rented two Citibikes and headed down to Chinatown from the UWS for dim sum again.  It reminded me of when Alison and I did something similar so long ago.

Me: I’m not full. Do you wanna go get Vietnamese?
Gymgirl: Yes!
Me: (an hour later) Wanna get coffee and some buns?
Her: Yes!

We finally made it back home and I ended up making some cod with white wine and capers, modeled after Alton Brown’s Pan-Fried Fish.

Me: I was thinking we’d have leftovers.
Her: No way, we’re finishing this. (later, after finishing everything) I want some soup.

Actually ended up making her some miso soup that she killed.

All-in-all, a nice and quiet weekend. Although, it wasn’t perfect.

Her: Thanks for dinner, boo-boo.
Me: Did you just call me, boo-boo?
Her: Yes.
Me: Stop that.
Her: No.

Location: all over Manhattan
Mood: exhausted
Music: It isn’t easy for me to let it go
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Boston 2018: Purgatory and jerks

Face planting and stuffing, all in one day


We actually made it to the Purgatory Chasm Trail. Within the first ten minutes, I totally – embarrassingly – face-planted.

Her: This is a children’s trail!
Me: (standing up) My leg gave out from under me! (turning to shocked family behind me with a child and baby) I meant to do that.

In my defense, it was my bad knee but it was still ridiculous. Still, it was fun and I liked being out and about in nature. There’s a ton of evidence that being in nature is a good thing for mind and body and I’m going to try to do it more when I can.

After all, it’s not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.

Her: Look (pointing) Turkey Tail Mushrooms.

I had told the Gymgirl a while ago about them; I gave them to Alison constantly when she was sick as they are a first-line defense against cancer in Japan, with strong clinical evidence behind them.

I was touched that she recognized them, somehow.

We ended up making it through the trail without my taking another really bad fall. Or her.

Her: I’m pretty sure I could make it up that wall.
Me: How ’bout we just say you did it and you don’t?

We finally hit the road to go home but we had one more side trip to make.

Her: I’m starving.
Me: Me too. What’s the closest thing to us?
Her: What do you want to do?
Me: Soul food?

She found this place called Carl’s BBQ & Jerk, a Jamaican joint that was truly a hole-in-the-wall. We had to do an illegal u-turn to squeeze into the small parking lot right off the road.

And, man, was it killer. We polished off pretty much everything you see in that pic and then had two additional Jamaican beef patties that you don’t see in the pics above.

Her: This is amazing.
Me: (mouth full) Don’t talk to me, I’m eating.

Then, we finally made it home. It was a great road trip.

Me: We’re home.
Her: Yes – you’re fun to road-trip with.
Me: I’ll take that as a compliment. (thinking) We’re still not dating right?
Her: (laughing) Nope.
Me: OK, just wanted to be sure.

Location: a few hours ago, at the gym
Mood: tired
Music: I feel like giving up, but I just can’t
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Boston 2018: The Freedom Trail and more eating

Drinking and knowing things

Waiter: Are you sure you want to order this many sweets?
Gymgirl: Um, yeah.

We woke up the next morning and took a through the Boston South End train station where we saw pigeons, ostensibly waiting for their ride.

We were walking to this place called Masa for their Latin brunch. Normally, I try not to have too many carbs but, once again, figured I was traveling…

Me: I downloaded an audio tour of the Freedom Trail.
Her: Of course you did.
Me: You wanna do it?
Her: Sure!

We started up at the Massachusetts State House, went to King’s Chapel, and the Old Corner Bookstore – which is now a Chipotle – The Old Statehouse, and ended up at the site of the Boston Massacre where we saw some guys selling oysters on the street.

Her: Well, if we get sick, it’ll be a good story to tell.
Me: I’m sold.

Her: That guy was super happy to see me until he saw I was with you.
Me: Great, I’m totally gonna get sick now.

We took a little detour to sit on a swing and people watch…

…and met a little old lady who was impressed that I knew what a glass harmonica was and who invented it…

Little Old Lady: Are you a historian?
Me: No, just a friendless nerd. (shrugging) I drink and I know things.

…and finished up by seeing the Boston Skinny Spite House before heading back.

Her: Do you want to take the metro to…
Me: God, yes.

Soon we were back in our hotel and getting ready to go back home.

Me: That was a quick little trip, and we’ll get home early.
Her: What do you think about going on a hike before we head back?
Me: Hmmm, it depends. What’s it called?
Her: Purgatory Chasm Trail.
Me: Well, that sounds terrible.
Her: It’s rated for kids!
Me: (grunts)

So this very uninteresting saga continues.

Location: at the dining room table with a friend
Mood: not bad, actually
Music: Don’t you worry, it could be so sweet
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