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: We pretty much just ate the first night

Walking with the Gymgirl around Boston Commons


It was a bit later than either of us expected once we got to Boston. The cheesesteak and wings from earlier in the day didn’t really last us that long.

Me: We could do reservations at Legal Seafood…
Her: OK.
Me: …or we could get some food from their takeout and eat it on the way to a sushi joint.
Her: Oooh, let’s do that.

We ended up having some clam chowder at Copley Square near the Khalil Gibran Memorial. One of the these days, I’ll tell you about the poem that my brother sent to me once about parenthood. It’s stayed with me my entire life.

We ended up at a place called Wabora a few blocks away and ordered all the food.

It was probably too much but we were both hungry and I think that food on a trip doesn’t act in your body the same way as food at home.

We decided to walk off what we could and ended up going past a wall of sewing machines and I thought of Rain again.

Then we went into Boston Commons.

Her: I remember coming here during the wintertime over a layover. Everything was covered in snow. I was here by myself.
Me: That’s not the case this time.
Her:  (laughs) No, no it’s not. It’s nice to have company.

Location: a black desk again, no bourbon
Mood: thoughtful
Music: been walking for a long time. I still don’t know where it goes
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Boston 2018: Stopping in Connecticut for Philly’s and a Waterfall

A lucky pitstop


The boy’s back home. There’s a lot more but I’ve written enough about hospitals for several lifetimes.

He’s ok. That’s all that really matters.

Him: Pappa, I wanna go home.
Me: You and me both, kid. You and me both.

My confusing relationship with the Gymgirl continues in it’s confusing-ness.

Her: I need to use up vacation days and hotel points. Do you want to do something?
Me: Roadtrip?
Her: Sure. Boston?

So, while the kid was with my mother-in-law, we hopped in her whip and went.

We had gotten outta the city when my hunger got the better of me so the Gymgirl pulled up the closest thing she could find that sounded interesting: Philly’s A Taste of Philadelphia…in Connecticut.

Like good ole Tony, I love simple delicious foods so off we went.

We got there just before it opened up and two fellas were there waiting for it to open as well. We asked if they would take a picture of us.

Him: Sure! (later) Hey, if you’re not around here, you should go two blocks that way. (points) There’s a huge waterfall that you gotta see.
Me: No kidding?
Him: Yeah, you gotta see it.

The Gymgirl and I went in and ordered a sandwich and some wings. For $2.25, you could get extra steak, a bargain in my book.

While we were waiting, I was disappointed to see that coulda gotten a buncha wings for free.

That’s actually not true; I can eat a lotta quantity but not a lotta heat.

We inhaled the food after it arrived. It didn’t disappoint.

Her: God, that was so good. Hey, do you wanna go check out that waterfall that guy told us about?
Me: Sure.

It was exactly two blocks away and called Yantic Falls Indian Leap.

Her: This is so cool!
Me: Yeah, and we’re not even anywhere close to Boston yet.

We ended up taking a two hour detour for lunch but life is all about these serendipitous detours, when they come about.

 Her: That was awesome.
Me: Totally worth it. (pause) And the waterfall wasn’t bad either.

Location: a black desk, with a glass of bourbon, of all things
Mood: relieved
Music: I can see you through the curtains of the waterfall
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A lie is the truth, until

Giving and getting dating advice

JF1: Welp, I just ended things with the guy I’m seeing too. Heartbroken and disappointed again.

I think because I’m recently single, people are reaching out to me (a) to check in on me and (b) to relate their own dating issues.

A girl from my past – she’s been in the blog before but I’m renaming her JF1 –  just dropped me a line because almost exactly what happened to me with my last major girlfriend before Alison, happened to her. And she handled it the same way I did – better, even.

Dunno how much I can tell you, since it’s not my story to tell. I will say that little impresses me more than true bravery.

Cause she decided she’d rather be alone than be anyone’s second choice – and she’s a tall drink of water, so that guy’s an idiot.

There’s something about someone that stands up and is honest and brave, come what may.

It’s actually why I fell so hard for Alison; you get points in life for being brave. Alison was the bravest person I’ve ever met. Still is.

Just like everything valuable, bravery’s valuable cause it’s rare and difficult to find.

Me: You just walked out and bought a plane ticket that moment? Balls! Wow. Legit, impressed. You’re a rockstar.

Her: Yeah. I (packed my stuff), left him a note, and left.

Other friends are asking me for advice about their love life.

Find this amusing cause I’m great at having people enter my Venn Diagram. Having them stay is a wholly different matter.

Him: Hey, one last question, since I have you.
Me: Sure, hit me.
Him: What do you think about someone who’s life’s motto is: “A lie is truth, until it is uncovered and labeled as a lie.” Thoughts?
Me: (thinking, slowly) I think that when someone tells you what they’re all about, you should believe them. Even more if they show you…
Him: Smart. Super smart.
Me: I’m not just a pretty face, man.
Him: Oh, I’ve known that since the moment we made eye contact.
Me: Thanks…wait…(you heard I said “just” right)?

Got more time to write so I’ll write more later/tonight/soon.

If I can clear my head. Insomnia is a special form of torture.

1834.08.04, in case you were wondering.

Location: coming back from the world. I prefer being in my head
Mood: dull and vicious
Music: I’m a sucker for the way that you move, babe
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Bermuda 2018, Pt 3

Heading home

Me: I need to get a frozen pina colada while we’re here.
Her: Why?
Me: It’s something I always did with Alison and I want to do it here again.
Her: OK.

We went to Horseshoe Bay right before we were going to leave.

It was fun being back – especially with my cousin, her guy, and the Gymgirl – but I did think about the other times I was there.

Everything is bittersweet.

The rest of the trip was more my speed.

We pretty much just ate…

…and watched shows…

…and ate…

…and played board games like Codenames, Settlers of Catan, and Good Cop, Bad Cop:

Cousin: Bang, @#$@#!
Gymgirl: I’m on your side!
Cousin: Oh. Sorry.

The best thing about this type of cruising is that there’s no jet lag.

Which is not to say that we didn’t have sleeping problems once we were home.

Her: (in the dark) I miss the rocking of the boat.
Me: It’s a ship, not a boat. (reaching over to the nightstand) And do you want a melatonin?
Her: Sure. (pause) You’re putting it up my nose.

Some crazy stuff happened once we got back, but that’s a story for another time.

Location: still at home
Mood: thoughtful
Music: Come home. ‘Cause I’ve been waiting for you for so long
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Bermuda 2018, Pt 2

You’re cliff-diving?

Gymgirl: Wait, you’re using the picture of me cliffdiving? I thought you were so against that.
Me: (shrugging) It’s still a cool pic.

In all the times I’ve been to Bermuda, never went snorkeling. It was just something that Alison and I never had an interest in doing.

But my cousin, her fella, and the Gymgirl all wanted to, so I booked us on a catamaran where we headed out to a quiet place to snorkel.

It was actually really cool; the Gymgirl’s a licensed scuba diver so it was old hat for her but new for me. Don’t think I ever did it before anywhere, actually.

Turns out that I was allergic to the snorkling mask and my entire face looked like a nervous teenager’s the day after. Which is just as well…

Gymgirl: I’m going with your cousin to cliff dive. Do you two want to come?
Cousin’s Boyfriend: No. / Me: God, no.

So I spent the rest of that day in the cabin and did what I would have done in the past – read and write.

There’s a story I told you about over a decade ago about how friends and family bring something out of you that only they can do.

In a weird way, I wish the Gymgirl knew me better when Alison was still here. I was different with Alison, just like I’m different with the Gymgirl.

Which is neither a good nor a bad thing.

It’s just a thing, I suppose. Everything’s just a thing now, and I’m just dulled to it all.

Well, that’s not completely true.

Me: Did you survive?
Gymgirl: Barely! We had to hitchhike back to the ship, and…
Me: Hold on. (getting up) I’ll need more food for this.

There’s more, but I’ll tell you tomorrow or something.

Location: still at home
Mood: thoughtful
Music: She got my heart in a chokehold
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Bermuda 2018, Pt 1

Trying to go back

Me: I never thought of you as a nervous traveler.
Gymgirl: I’m a control freak and I have no idea what’s going on.

Went on my first vacation in over four years thanks to my friends over at CruiseDirect.com, who are just amazing.

Went to the exact same place I went all the other times before: Bermuda.

You see, I always wanted a place that I just went to regularly. Lots of my friends, including the Gymgirl, want to explore new things and new places all the time. Not me. I like familiar.

In a way, Bermuda was the perfect place to go: Familiar, close, easy, affordable. And, for the most part, this return trip was just great.

This was the first time I’d gone with the Gymgirl but also the first time I went with another couple: My cousin Ras and her fella. It was also the first time I’d left out of New Jersey and not New York.

Me: We’ll see you guys at the park in Herald Square and head out to NJ from there.
Ras: See ya.

Before we knew it, we were on a ship heading out to pink beaches.

Gymgirl: I’ve never been in the middle of the ocean on a ship before.
Me: What do you think?
Her: It’s like my worst nightmare.

The Gymgirl was the only one of us that had never been on a cruise before, so she had to get used to it a bit. She was much more of an adventure-seeking traveler.

Her: You’re not an adrenaline junkie?
Me: I went to the ER 17 times in a year. I’ve had enough adrenaline in my life.

Which is not to say I didn’t have my heart-racing moments. This is cause I neglected to consider that it might not be a good idea to go to someplace that I’d gone to so many times with Alison.

One stormy night, the Gymgirl and I were at sea. She was impressed and scared at the violence of the waves. So was I, for different reasons.

The word sirens comes from Greek mythology where these sea creatures had beautiful voices that tempted sailors to either shipwreck against rocky shores or leap to their deaths in stormy seas.

There were moments when, looking out at the rough waves, gotta admit that I heard them.

A fleeting thought for a fleeting moment. But that’s the thing with those types of thoughts. All it needs is one moment to take over.

Her: We should go back in.
Me: Yeah. That’s a good idea.

I’ll tell you some nicer parts of the trip soon, if you’re interested.

Location: home again
Mood: rest(ish)
Music: Pretending that it’s all fine
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Travelogue: Cornell University 2018, Day 2.5, 3.0

The food pic entry


Gymgirl and I were planning on eating dinner by ourselves the last night we were there but my cousins and their friends were all pretty easygoing and cool so we just ended up eating with them again.

Ras: No more buffets!
Me: I’m all about quantity over quality.

Alison was always into tapas – I never had any until she introduced me to them. By luck, everyone wanted to have that for dinner. So we went to Just a Taste, which was still packed with a 30 minute waiting list despite all the other restaurants being empty.

We figured that was a good sign.

Because Alison and I have had tapas so often, I did most of the ordering although some of her favourite dishes – Pan con Tomate and Croquetas de Jamón weren’t available.

But other things that she loved like Patatas Bravas were available so I ordered those plus we had two carafes of sangria for alla us.

Afterwards, Young and I started talking.

Him: I’m still hungry.
Me: We should get a sandwich for dessert.
Ras: You’re having meat for dessert?
Me: If we’re lucky!

We ended up going to a Jimmy Johns and ordering and splitting a Gargantuan.

The next day, we woke up, packed, and started heading back but not before having some Vietnamese food first.

Once again, I was so hungry that I didn’t take any pictures.

It was early when we got back. Ras and Young headed back to their pad and Gymgirl headed off to a family thingy.

That just left me alone in the empty apartment.

So I took out Alison and the kid’s picture and poured myself some rum.

Me: Just us again. So, what’d you think of Cornell?

Location: In front of a painting of Campari
Mood: missing my son and wife
Music: Tryin to raise a family is an empty home
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Blogarama - Observations Blogs

Got rid of two bookshelves

Traveling and shredding

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Wife: Now that it’s cooled down, maybe we should go somewhere.
Me: I liked you better when the summer sapped your will to live.

Last week, was all over the place again.

On Tuesday, headed to Inwood for a client meeting but they gave me the wrong address (!?) so I had to cab it out to The Bronx.

Then off to Queens, Long Island, back to Manhattan, out to New Jersey, and then a series of nondescript motels for the rest of the week. Pretty exhausting.

Did have a chance to see my parents, the in-laws, and some fish tacos at a Cheesecake Factory, though. So not a complete washout.

This week is just more work.

Fish Tacos at the Cheesecake Factory

Been trying to minimize the amount of paper/books I have so I’ve either been:

  1. buying ebook versions of my favorites and donating the physical versions to the guy that sells books on the sidewalks OR
  2.  heading over to Kinkos, cutting the spine off of them, and then scanning them into my computer to read on my tablet.

Must have done this for over 100 books in the past week.

Insomnia does have its (limited) benefits.

Her: Nice, you got rid of a whole bookshelf!
Me: (pointing to corner) Two. I got rid of two bookshelves.

Bookshelf

Location: back home, for now
Mood: busy
Music: Finally I’m where I want to be, I didn’t think this life was gonna be for me
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Travelogue: A Walk in Bermuda

Pictures from a Bermudan Walk

Old man fishing in Bermuda

Her: Let’s take a walk along the abandoned Railroad Trail.
Me: OK.

We decided that, for some exercise and local flavor, we would walk to some railroad tracks to explore the town.

In hindsight, this was not a good idea considering there was zero cloud cover that day. Also, Bermuda – as a country – does not seem to believe in sidewalks.

Started off well, as we walked along Freeport Drive where we saw all these drawings of ship insignias.

I Googled for more info, but couldn’t find anything additional. Here’s the wife with Italian and Irish insignias.

Pointing at the Italian and Irish

After almost falling off a four-foot tall wall onto the roadway , made our way to the Royal Navy Cemetery.

Royal Navy Cemetery in Bermuda

Past some quiet and deserted spots.

Bermuda waters and park

Her: Look at that sign!
Me: That’ll be us soon.
Her: Speak for yourself.

Sign outside the Lefroy Retirement Home in Bermuda

Me: I’m beat, let’s stop for a bit.

Stone table and bench in Bermuda

We saw a fisherman sitting high on a bridge doing his thing.

Fisherman crouching alone on a bridge, fishing.

Was getting really burned so we stopped by a local clothing shop and picked up a hat for me.

Start of the Bermuda Railway Trail

After what seemed like hours, we finally reached the trail but by then we were beat so were only on it for a half-mile or so before we looked for a bus to head back.

We caught it right as the school children were getting out of class so it was packed.
Map of our walk in Bermuda

A quick 30 minutes later, we were back in our air conditioned room.

Me: Man, I’m brown, bald, and burnt.
Her: But you’re my brown, bald, and burnt guy.

Location: the middle of Manhattan
Mood: busy again
Music: for you. Baby, I’m not moving on
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