Companionship

Someone to sit and eat with

The word companion comes from late Latin, with com meaning with and panis meaning bread.

Essentially, a companion is someone with whom you do these daily mundane things, like sitting down and eating.

When my wife first got sick, I slept on the floor next to her hospital bed for a week. Said I did it because I didn’t want her to be alone, which was true. But equally true was that I didn’t want to be alone either.

Nurse: You can’t sleep here.
Me: (lying down) Let’s find out.

I’m sorry for the lack of updates – especially to those that have so generously donated.

On December 10th, Alison was unresponsive so we rushed her to the hospital. There, the doctors had to remove part of her skull to save her life. They said she might not survive the night. I fell to my knees.

But she survived. Then she had another surgery just a week later. That’s three brain surgeries in a month, just days after giving birth.

To say that my wife is crazy tough is like saying that New York City is a small town. She’s made of steel.

Unfortunately, she’s been in the hospital since the 10th and will be for quite a while. I’m there most days; other days, other relatives are with her.

This is not how we imagined our first Christmas and New Year’s as a family.

Still, I go to the hospital and have bread with her when she’s able. When she’s not, I just sit there. And we dream of home.

She would do the same for me, because she’s my companion and I’m her’s.

Me: (arriving, breathless) Hey, beautiful.
Her: Hey.

Location: The same hospital room, still looking at the same river
Mood: still heartbroken
Music: Somedays I’m built of metal, I can’t be broken. But not when I’m with you
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The sun always shines on TV

The love of my life is sick

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 2.41.04 PM
When I was a kid, the hottest music video was a song called Take On Me. In it, a comic book character comes to life to be with a woman he loves. It ends with them happily together.

Unfortunately, there’s a follow-up video that few people heard of called The Sun Always Shines on TV, where you learn the rest of the story – he cannot stay and they don’t end up happily ever after.

I once said that all stories end sad; every relationship that matters will always end in tears. That’s the nature of the world. But I think the unexpected tragedies are the hardest. That’s when life knocks you to your knees and you can’t stand up again.

My wife is sick. And on top of the sickness, we have all the bonuses that come with the sickness – the fear, the uncertainty, the loss of control, etc.

Yet I hold out hope that somehow, this isn’t all of our story. That we can find a happy sequel to this news. And in the end, I want what everyone wants when they love someone – for them to stay.

Please stay with us. Please stay with me.

Location: A hospital room, looking at the river
Mood: heartbroken
Music: there’s got to be some way to keep my troubles distant
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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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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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Alli Cooks: A Simple Saturday Dinner

Beet chips before baking

Hi everyone – HG here (aka Alli Lo)  Nice to “meet” all of Logan’s readers! The husband has graciously allowed me to use his blog in order to chronicle my newest adventure: cooking!

My kitchen has finally become more than just that room where I make PB&J sandwiches. Seriously, though I do plan to actually use my stove on a more regular basis primarily due to:

  1. my unsatisfactory cholesterol levels;
  2. the hope that I can alleviate the negative physiological effects of work stress by consuming healthier (ed: see note below) food rather than copious amounts of pinot noir; and
  3. a recommendation by my brother-in-law to check out Eat to Live for the diet’s overall health benefits. Logan is the principle cook in the house, but I thought it would be fun to document some of my meals.

ETL recommends a diet consisting primarily of fruits, vegetables, beans, and legumes, limited nuts and wheat, and very little to no animal products and processed foods. I try to follow this diet as much as possible during the week; however, I generally incorporate lean meats and eggs into my weekend meals to accommodate Logan as well as my carnivore tendencies.

Also, you’d have to pry café con leche and Fage yogurt out of my cold dead hands so I allow myself 1-2 servings of dairy each week.

I’m by no means a foodie and am still mastering the basics so my meals generally involve simple preparation of whole foods.

On to the first entry!

First dinner

Saturday Dinner

  • Chicken Breast with Mushrooms, Shallots, and Tomatoes
  • Lentil Soup
  • Baked Beet Chips
  • Salad of Romaine Lettuce, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, and Kalamata Olives

The chicken breast was actually a leftover from dinner out on Friday. I sauteed mushrooms, shallots, and tomatoes with a touch of olive oil, garlic, oregano, and basil to top the chicken. Refreshing the doggy bag with fresh ingredients was a great time-saver as Saturday was too nice a day to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

The beet chips and lentil soup are from my new “Power Foods” cookbook. For the soup, just combine 1.5 cups green lentils, 4 carrots sliced 1/2-inch thick, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tsp. salt, and 6 cups water in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and let simmer for 45 minutes. Before serving, squeeze in a bit of lemon juice.

This soup is a piece of cake (oh cake…I love cake…I miss cake…chocolate cake…coconut cake…cake frosting…okay, I’m back. On a great note the garcinia cambogia results are truly remarkable, I can truly feel better, like my skin is present).

For a one-dish meal the next day, you can pour the leftover lentil mixture over a protein pasta like Barilla Plus.

———-

editorial  note:
I may be the only person on the planet that cares but technically, food’s healthful for you; if food is healthy for you, that means it does push-up and sprints just to be healthy for you.

On an unrelated point, still don’t understand why I had no friends in high school.

location: in bed, watching Dancing with the Stars
mood: shut it, Logan
music: but I won’t stop and falter
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After marriage you smell better

Her: It’s so nice that the paper doesn’t fall behind the printer any more.
Me: That’s part of my job as a husband; to make sure things don’t annoy you as much.

Been noticing some slight post-marriage changes. For one thing, I smell great. Not that I smelled particularly bad pre-marriage, mind you, it’s just that before I just had soap; now I have choice of:

  • Regular scented soap
  • Antibacterial scented soap
  • Moisturizing scented soap
  • Body wash with exfoliants
  • Body wash without exfoliants
  • Anti-fritz shampoo (with accompanying conditioner)
  • Colour-fast shampoo (with accompanying conditioner)
  • Shine-enhancing shampoo (with accompanying conditioner)
  • Straightening shampoo (with accompanying conditioner)
There’s more but let’s not belabor the point. Did not know half these things existed.
Note that by mixing-and-matching the above, I can go a month without ever smelling the same twice. Not gonna lie, it’s pretty nice though there have been days when I smell like a bowla fruit.

As for her, my collection of the Cartoon History of the World does not seem to enriching her life (much). However, in addition to moving heavy objects and offing the occasional critter, I’ve been busy fixing things. So far, fixed a Roomba and a printer.

Feel the need now to stalk and kill something and then grill it.

Or just make more chili.

Location: off to roll
Mood: groggy
Music: Too low to find my way Too high to wonder why
YASYCTAI: Fix that other thingy. (60 mins/1 pt)
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Our wedding day

Me: You ready?
Her: Yes.

The funny thing about picking a wedding date’s that you’re really picking an anniversary. We figured February’s always dreary so why not have a good reason to look forward to it?

———-

Last week, I took three last minute assignments for work. Combined, it was the equivalent of what I’d make in three weeks in three days so I couldn’t say no. Course, that meant that I was up until midnight each night working and then fighting the insomnia.

One client finished without a hitch on Tuesday but the second client needed the work product on Thursday morning so wrote it all up and packaged it for him to pick up in exchange for a check at 10:30AM.
We woke up on Thursday and while Heartgirl got ready, I finished up. The client pulled in front of my building and I hopped in.

Me: (handing him papers) Here you go. It should have everything you need.
Him: (pulling out check) Thanks for the quick turnaround on this Mr. Logan. You’re really getting married this week?
Me: Not this week. In 90 minutes.

Took his check, shook his hand, then popped out to zip back home to get ready – the great thing about being a fella’s that y’can get dressed to the nines in nine.

Her: Men. It’s not fair.

Just before I turned off the computer, shot a contract to the last client and him I’d be offline until the weekend.

Cabbie dropped us off at Worth and Centre where her sister was waiting for us. We went inside to speak to the guy at the desk; some lady was yelling him for some reason. After all the yelling, he turned to us, asked us for some id and our paperwork. After he checked it all, gave us a number, C930, and we took a seat.

45 minutes later we sat in the west room chapel and waited. We looked at the books from the 1940s where people signed their names. Everything’s all digital now. A smiling lady came in and told us to stand in front of the podium.

“Do you take this…”
“I do.”
“I do.”

Maybe 59 seconds later we were legal. We hopped a cab up to the London Hotel, which turns out not to be in London but rather in midtown, NY. Her sis took us out to eat and we ended up having a two hour lunch before she took off for home.

We then went upstairs to our suite where we did what all newlyweds have done for hundreds of years – we watched Robin Hood on Netflix. She passed out before it was over.

Met up with RE Mike that Friday night and checked out the space he rents. He and the restaurant owners brought us a coupla bottles of champagne. Told the owner that I’d return the favour with a bottle of good rum.

Spent the resta the weekends trying out the words “husband” and “wife.” Quite surreal, lemme tell ya.

Both sets of parents were thrilled – always a good sign.

Told her to tell her parents to rest easy cause I’d always take carea her and do mosta the cooking.

She is, after all, family. I’d keep her safe.

Location: in fronta stacks of paper
Mood: good
Music: There’s a hole in my pocket that’s about her size but I think everything’s gonna be alright
YASYCTAI: Spring cleaning soon. (120 mins/1 pt)
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The dangers of working for yourself

Docks restaurant in midtown, NYC

Me: Just signed up for automatic delivery of 18 bags of pork rinds every six months. The future has arrived. And it is delicious.
Her: What are you going to do during the five and a half months that you’re waiting for your next delivery?
Me: I’ve done the math. I get 18 bags for six months, or 24 weeks. This means if I pace myself @ 3/4 of a bag a week, or approximately 10% of a bag a day, I should make it. Barely.

First batch arrived on Sunday. Sunday delivery of pork rinds. Oh technology, is there nuthin you can’t do?

However, contrary to the above conversation and stereotypes, not all Asians are good at math – I’m assuredly not. Heartgirl, who’s not Asian, apparently is.

Me: You were the winner of the math award in your school?
Her: Yep.
Me: Wait, you beat the Asians in your school?
Her: Yep. (pause, laughing) Suck it, Asians!

———-

Been working non-stop on five projects when the client said he might kill the deal. Find out later on this week if the deal’s alive or dead. It’s one of the pitfalls of what I do. No much to do but wait.

Went out with my law firm on Friday for drinks at the local bar; it’s nice hanging out with co-workers again since I’ve been a lone wolf for a while. That’s another drawback of working for yourself.

Sunday, went to wrestle. A guy I introduced to the class and I used to school now ranks higher than me; one might think I’d have an issue with that but wrestling’s a pure meritocracy – either you’re good and you win or you’re not and you lose.

Got no problem with someone that does something better than me if it’s deserved. It is and he’s just better, that’s how it goes.

Suppose that’s why I like to wrestle and fence. They’re self-correcting types of activity; no one tells you if you’re good or not. Get choked or stabbed enough, y’gotta figure your game’s not what it could be.

My pursuit of scratch is pretty self-correcting too. Do a bad job, never hear from a client again. This latest drawback with the client’s because of the economic climate and that’s why it’s annoying – it’s something that’s got nuthin to do with my ability.

The waiting’s no fun either.

Location: a greenish couch
Mood: hopeful
Music: I awake all sweet and sound, without a care or woe
YASYCTAI: Get more clients. (always/2 pts)
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Yes? Yes.

(no, there’s no sound)

Me: Hi there.
Her: (looking through camera) I got you.
Me: (laughing) Alright. Point it down.
Her: I have your entire head in the frame.
Me: OK
Her: (four seconds later) OH! (laughs)
Me: Yes?
Her: Yes.

Location: 15 mins ago, having drinks@28th and Park
Mood: content
Music: Don’t you understand? I already have a plan
YASYCTAI
: Consider stopping this blog. We’re home, after all. (60 mins/2 pts)

Showing up

Location: my desk
Mood: hungry
Music: life’s too short for me to stop Oh baby

Parking lot in NYC

Him
: You sound like a nice guy. I’d hate to have to bring you to court.
Me: I am a nice a guy. I’d hate to have to meet you in court.
Him: My lawyer’s a professor of law at Columbia. She’ll tear you apart.
Me: She’s just another lawyer. I’m something she’s not.
Him: What’s that?
Me: I’m right. See you in court. (hang up phone)

Since I wanna keep somea my private life private, didn’t tell you that I was in another lawsuit.

If the past three years have taught me anything, it’s that most people’re a lotta talk. But Woody Allen once said that Eighty percent of success is showing up. So I showed up.

It just finished. Won’t get inna details but it ended up a lot more my way than his.

———-

Had my date with my lady. Ended up playing boardgames at my fave local dive bar – they got candy at every table, lotsa boardgames and few meatheads. My kinda joint.

Been running about, ever in pursuit of scratch. Meetings, meetings, meetings. Nice though, not having to run the show. Not saying I’d never run my own company again, but am saying that it’ll be a while before I do it again.

Just signed up for onea those rent-a-car-by-the-hour programs cause I had to sell my whip.

The inexorable marcha time. Suppose 36’s as good an age as any to grow up. Kinda.

Her: Why won’t this work?!
Me: Lemme see. (condescendingly) Honey, you put in the battery in the wrong way.
Her: Oh yeah? Well, at least I didn’t put on my pants backwards.
Me: (looking down)
Her: Shyeah…put that in your blog. (laughs)
Me: (muttering) Dammit…

YASYCTAI: Find more uses for sauerkraut. (60 mins/0.5 pts)