Good days and bad days

Zebra stripes in NYC

Her: Let’s see what our fortune cookie says. (opens it) “Knowledge is power.” That’s not a fortune, that’s an observation!

Spent most of last week working 16 hours days. Which, during times of personal upheaval, is not necessarily a bad thing.

Think that the subconscious is always processing those things that we can’t or won’t deal with at the moment.

Then again, being an insomniac, always somehow find the time to dwell on things I probably shouldn’t dwell on for too long. All those damn hows and whys.

If you’re at all interested, there’s a story in the bible that gives me comfort in life: 2 Samuel 12:14-23.

David, the king, has a son who gets sick. While the kid’s dying, David’s distraught and won’t sleep or eat. Then the kid dies. David mourns but then rises from his knees and gets something to eat. His advisers don’t understand and say: “When he was sick, you were a mess, and now that he’s gone, you’re eat again.”

To which David goes, “He’s gone and I can’t bring him back. I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”

Saw my buddy, whose mamma passed away, at the gym. He seems like he’s back to himself. That’s the thing with personal loss, y’have your good days and bad.

Since the beginning of time, all you can do is get up off your knees, ride out the bad days and wait for the next good day. You try to make it to the other side of the crap and get something nice to eat.

Today I start my day with a muffin – which, let’s face it, is really just a naked cupcake. Every once in a while, you should start your day with some cake.

Hoping today’s a good day. Even if it’s not, it starts with some cake.

Mom: Can I do something? Maybe I’ll get you two something.
Me: Well, you could buy us a 55″ LCD TV. That always makes things better.
Her: Really?
Me: (laughing) No mom, I was just kidding. (pause) 60 inches is really the minimum.

Location: in front of my pistachio muffin
Mood: better
Music: Hey, my friend, It seems your eyes are troubled
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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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2011 Year in Review / Thanks


CS Lewis once said that, The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.

With the utmost respect to Mr. Lewis, there’s something about the world, when you get a certain age, where hours seem to drag but the years seem to fly by. 2011’s almost over and it feels like it just began.

In 2011, I:

  1. Made five resolutions. Kept three of them.
  2. Got married. (!)
  3. Got food poisoning for the third time in my life.
  4. Turned 38. (!)
  5. Had a second wedding celebration.
  6. Had a third wedding celebration wedding celebration and a fourth one as well. Man, we are just fulla ourselves – and then traveled to Europe to give some lectures.
  7. Nuthin really happened in July, just a lotta quiet summer weekends in NYC. But man, was it hot.
  8. Went to Bermuda, then dealt with Irene.
  9. Gave another lecture and spent a lotta time in the Down Town Association.
  10. Finished my manuscript. (!)
  11. Had my first Thanksgiving without going to my parents and instead had it with my wife (and sister-in-law – both of which I’ve not had in previous Thanksgivings).
  12. Made this here self-referential blog entry.

There are a few things that I keep to myself that I don’t put here just for a small semblance of privacy.

For example, I had six resolutions actually, the sixth was to marry Heartgirl. But I couldn’t actually put that up when I made those resolutions.

On the topic of Heartgirl, don’t think that I’ve ever said I love her publicly. Love is a word we all banter around; for example, I love rum and chili. Not together, per se, but conceivably even then.

Think it’s kinda obvious how I feel but maybe that’s just what it is in my head. But I do. Love her, that is.

She’s who I’ve been looking for since I was a fat kid in Flushing, NY. My person I can’t put inna words. And I’ve tried many times and yet I can’t.

So I won’t try. Instead, lemme say again that life’s a tragedy fulla joy and that she’s my greatest joy. She’s also funny, smart, and easy on the eyes, all of which doesn’t hurt.

Finally, I want to say thanks to her. For being the person to whom I don’t gotta prove my worth and for making sure I always have someone with whom to spend New Year’s Eve.

As for you, as always, thanks for reading.

Well then, it’s almost 2012.

Off we go…(!)

Location: the end of 2011
Mood: psyched
Music: Ah, but I thought I’d ask you just the same
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2011 – Who ready? I’m ready.

Two years ago, said that my feet were pointed home. It’s been quite a slog, what with the economy and all the drama the past several years.

Said it lotsa times that all of your troubles can be neatly packed into health, wealth, & relationships.

Lemme add to that with a quote from a clergyman named Edward Everett who said, “Never bear more than one trouble at a time. Some people bear three kinds – all they have had, all they have now, and all they expect to have.” It’s hard, to be right here, right now.

Think for the past several years, been bearing all three types of all three times at once. Think I spent the last two years mentally unloading as much as possible to just concentrate on the troublesa right now – which, admittedly, isn’t much. This is a good thing.

There was this study called The Fox Farm Experiment where they found that if you stress dogs out about their survival they began to look more and more like wolves/foxes; and it happened hella fast.

Think that’s true for us too. When we bear all three types and of all three times at once, we turn greyer and more vicious. It’s just a survival thing, I think, and probably a necessary thing. But who wants to be greyer and vicious forever?

About two years ago, sat down and mapped out where I wanted to be – did it in this entry, even though there’s no explicit mention of it. See, y’can’t get to where you wanna be if y’don’t know where you’re going, yeah? Even through all the muck and mire, kept following that map and ended up starting the ascent earlier this year.

Just wanna keep on track for 2011.

To that end, spent the last few days refining my map for 2011 – suppose I’ll tell you about it soon enough. For now, lemme say, I’m excited for us.

It’s stupid, really – December 31st is an arbitrary day and essentially no different than any other. But we say it’s different, yeah? What we say of things in our heads make them real or not. Makes us wolves or men. So we say that 12/31’s when we reset and try something new, great or small.

Who ready? I’m ready. You ready?

Location: 2010
Mood: excited
Music: Came to party till I can’t no more Celebrate cuz that’s all I know
YASYCTAI: Make a new map (120 mins/3 pts)
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2000-2009

It’s been a wild decade

So this guy, his wife, and his son, go to the big city for the first time. They walk into the first big building they see. While the wife goes off to look at something, the man and son stare at an elevator. Never saw one before.

The two watch this old, weary woman make her way into one. They see the elevator doors close, bells and lights go off, and then the doors open and a beautiful woman steps out. The father’s mouth drops open and he turns quickly to his son and goes: Boy, go find you mama, right quick.

Old joke. But made me think that I came inna 2000 one way, came out a whole other. Kinda.

1999 – become a lawyer.
2000 – leave the only job I ever had to change the world. Enter girl.
2001 – sit in a room with a red brick wall and saw buildings come down. Exit girl.
2002 – enter girl.
2003 – start one of several companies.
2004 – buy my pad. Exit room with a red brick wall.
2005 – exit companies.
2006 – take a temp gig that lasts for three years. CashCab. Exit girl. Start blog.
2007 – 72Canal: good. Lose life savings; get in a car accident: bad.
2008 – grandmother passes. Never get to say goodbye. Enter Heartgirl.
2009 – still a lawyer. Move back to a room with a red brick wall. Heartgirl’s come with.

 

In Orange Sky, Alexi Murdoch says,

Yes, I had a dream
I stood beneath an orange sky
With my brother and my sister standing by

 

I make light of my insomnia – and all of the things that bring it about – a lot.

But if I were truly honest with you, there were times that I thought that I couldn’t bear the thought of another sleepless night. Could not bear it.

And if not my brother and sister, wouldn’tve. Not sleeping for 48 hours’ll make you think of all sortsa crazy. Life’s hard enough without your people.

So I wish for your 2010-2019 that, if you’ve not found your person, you’ve at least found your people. They’re your mirrors and help you find see yourself. And, looking close, you see just how small your problems are in the big schema things.

Dunno what 2010-2019’s gonna be like – probably nuthin like I expect it. But it’s ok, got my people and my person.

See you in the next decade!

Ah, that joke never gets old, yeah?

Location: a room with red-brick walls
Mood: so very grateful
Music: but sister, you know I’m so weary

Conversations on life

The Clock at NYC's Grand Central

Me: How high’s your blood pressure?
Her: XXX over XXX.
Me: HOLY COW! Eat some oatmeal, mom!
Her: I can’t, I’m having a mango.
Me: (exasperated) I didn’t mean right now…
———-

HG: Why couldn’t you sleep?
Me: Was screwing around online and got a notice from a friend that a girl I worked with passed away. She just got married. Cancer. Thing is, had her email addy the whole time. Kept thinking I’d drop her a line but..never did. Dunno why.
Her: (patting my shoulder) I’m sorry about your friend.
Me: She wasn’t a friend so much as someone I knew. But she always said “Hi” to me. It’s just that she was younger than me. Seems so unfair. Never woulda thought…

Still believe that A man’s dying is more the survivors’ affair than his own. But she was too young to go, I think.

Went to church this past Sunday. It’s hard to have faith in the big city.

It’s hard to have faith when you’re at an age where everyone’s getting older, people y’know die, madmen say’n do mad things. Doesn’t make any damn sense.

But there’s this song that has this line that goes, Thank goodness for the good souls that make life better. So I turn to you and I say, if it wasn’t for the good souls, life would not matter,
Him: Why does my daughter look Chinese, dude? She’s 1/4 Asian and it looks like there’s not a drop of black in her.
Me: It’s a girl! Congrats! And…um…I’ll be in Mexico…for the forseeable future.
Him: (laughing) I swear, if she starts talking a lot with her hands, I’ll find you.
Me: Don’t blame me that my people’s gene’s are strong.

Thank God for the good souls.

Bye, Lee. It sounds like you had lotsa good souls around and I hope they make it through this somehow. I’m sorry you had to go. You were way too young to go.

Location: 16:00 yest, turning onto Van Dam to go home
Mood: pensive
Music: Christ, I’m out of my mind

How’d you not know?

You knew what I was when you picked me up

Me: You home? I’m by your pad.
Him: I’m sick, bedridden, and vomiting.
Me: What’re you trying to say?

A story goes that a snake wants to cross a river. So he asks a frog to carry him across. The frog goes, Screw you. You’re just gonna bite me. So the snake goes, Nah, we’ll both drown if I do that. So the frog figures that makes sense.

Midway, the snake bites the frog, who goes, #@$! Why’d you do that? Now we’re both gonna die.

As the snake goes under, he goes, It’s in my nature. You knew what I was when you picked me up.

Thought of that story this past weekend, when I told someone about the SA in Nazi Germany. Before the SS, the SA were the guys that brought Hitler to power. If the SS were the well-dressed executioners of the Nazi party, the SA were the fat, meathead brawlers.

After the Nazi party seized power, Hitler had them all killed, in the Night of the Long Knives, including one of his best friends, Ernst Roehm (who was also gay).

Thought of this again this morning on the train to have lunch with my dad and sis. Headline in the paper read, Taliban feel Pakistani Wrath. It’s about how, after the Taliban blew up a Pakistani mosque, Pakistan realized these guys were a buncha sick scumbags.

To Ernst Roehm, the Pakistani government and that frog, I gotta say, Cm’on…it’s in their nature – how’re you surprised? You knew what they were when y’picked them up.

———-

Finally finished cleaning my new pad. Found a switchblade I got when I was a kid.

Always kinda surprised I made it to 36.

———-

Here’s a pic of the Shuttle Atlantis against the sun.

Any douchebag can break stuff down. But this kinda stuff, this kinda stuff’s the stuff of God.

The shuttle atlantis against the sun - copyright NASA

(c) NASA

Location: my clean room
Mood: accomplished!
Music: Earth below us, drifting, falling, Floating weightless, calling, calling home

Halloween 2008 / Maybe

Location: 20:00 yest, leaving church early
Mood: full (of chili)
Music: painted faces fill the places I can’t reach

Friday night, Heartgirl and I went out with Bryson, his wife, Paul and buncha other people. Hit up three parties and rolled in at 3:30 Saturday morning. First party was the above sweatbox. Think I blew out my left eardrum. Which sucks, cause I still need it. Eh, got my right.

Bryson and his wife gave Heartgirl a thumbs-up. Their votes count because they’re first-stringer friends.

Second party, was at my old standby where some other friends dropped in and some dropped out. Third party was fulla Heartgirl’s friends; nice guys with the exception of one overly handy dude.

Saturday, just stayed in. Made a buncha chili. Sunday, Sheridan stops by. Over some chili he tells me that he just flew in from Miami where he bought this building. Had two Valentino shirts and an Italian leather coat that didn’t fit me so I gave them to him.

Quite a different life I lead these days. Still, it’s nice that my friends from my old life don’t really care if I’m styling Valentino or H&M.; S’funny, my friends and family believe in me more than I do sometimes. Maybe cause they remember the guy I once was. Maybe they just keep me around cause I make some killer chili.

Or maybe they just think I’ll be ok.

November’s always been a good month for me. Cept for 2007 and 2006. Those were full on fail.

Then again, maybe I’ll be ok. Some things are looking up.

YASYCTAI: Learn to make chili. Here’s my recipe. It’s nature’s most perfect food. (30 mins/2 pts)

All good things come to an end

 

Him: What’s the point of dating her if it’s not going anywhere?
Me: All relationships end. Some just end sooner than others.

Anthropologist Ernest Becker once said that Everything that man does in his symbolic world is an attempt to deny and overcome his grotesque fate.

All relationships end. And all relationships that matter end in tears. It’s just the way it goes. There’s nothing you adore now, that you can hold now, that you won’t lose at some point down the line. Either because it goes – or you go. It’s all ashes and dust and there’s not a goddamn thing you can do about it.

And it doesn’t matter how you go, yeah? Someone’ll wish you didn’t.

Writers try and cheat the end we know is coming. It’s our sad way of staying longer than we should. Because I’ve tricked you, you see. I’ve made you think of me.

My grandmother passed away. I’m heartbroken.

Please don’t say, I’m sorry. Tell me something funny or interesting. Cause I gotta go home and dunno what to say to my mom.

I’m a crap writer. I’ve run outta words.

Location: my office
Mood: heartbroken
Music: the sun was wondering if it should stay away for a day til the feeling went away

On your knees

Life gives us blows and we do what we can to survive them

(c) AP Photos

2 Samuel 12:22 tells of when: David had a kid with his buddy’s wife, killed said buddy, pissed off God, God took David’s son.

Now here’s why I like the story: David’s a wreck while the kid is sick; David won’t eat, won’t sleep, etc. But when the kid finally dies, he picks himself up and begins to live his life again.

When asked why he was such a wreck when the kid was alive but much better when the kid dies, David goes, “When the kid was alive, there was hope that he would live – that God would be gracious to me. But He was not and I can’t change what’s passed. My son can’t come back to me but I can go to him.”

At times, Life brings you to your knees.

Those phone calls you never want to get:

  • “It’s about your younger brother…”
  • “I’m sorry to have to tell you…”
  • “I thought it best that I be the one to tell you…”

Been brought to my knees twice in my life. I’m lucky because it was only twice.

Dreading the next time.

Thought about this because I went to a wake yesterday. It was my second third funeral experience; sadly, I’m sure they’ll be more.

Today is also the 65th and last official anniversary gathering of the Pearl Harbor veterans. And I’ve also been keeping up with the story of CNET editor James Kim; he wasn’t there when I was there but still…

Despite all the ugliness, we move through life with a balance of hope and acceptance. At least we try to.

Location: @2AM, missing someone I barely know
Mood: Contemplative
Music: you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but it’s sinking

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