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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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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Comic Con NYC 2017

Good and irritating things

Been dealing with a lotta admin stuff for myself and the kid. None of it fun or interesting. So I’ve been lax with my updates.

But Halloween’s coming up, which reminds me that I went to Comic Con this past month.

It was just like the last time I went, all those years ago: I got a message one Sunday morning; my cousin and a mutual friend of ours had an extra tix to Comic Con.

So off I went.

Alison was alive the last time I was there. Everything reminds me of her, of course.

When I got there, the place was a madhouse; it took a while to find everyone in our group.

We immediately stopped by a booth where I promptly got flanked and choked.

Couldn’t stay long because I had to pick up the kid.

But it was nice to be outta house and at something fun, if only for a short while.

Back to the irritation.

Me: Ma’am, you’re telling me that my infant son and I are both losing our insurance this month?
Her: (long pause) Yes. Unless I could speak to your wife.
Me: Ma’am, if anyone could speak to my wife again, it’d be me and I’d never let her stop talking. (sighing) Get comfortable. This’ll take a bit to explain…

Location: in front of mountains – mountains – of paper
Mood: irritated
Music: I don’t wanna be me anymore
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Dreaming of a Holiday in Spain

Surgery seven

Admission Ticket for The Met
She went to the ER for the eleventh time last week and has been there ever since.

Yesterday, she had a surgery to replace the titanium mesh that was put on way back in Dec to replace her skull. Essentially, it was failing, causing her to have a lot of nausea and more weight loss.

The mesh was always supposed to be temporary; when Alison collapsed, she was only an hour from death. They had to remove her skull to keep the pressure from killing her. The mesh was put in place so that she didn’t have to have the further indignity of having to wear a helmet all the time.

But she didn’t look like her. It looked as if someone had taken a swing at her with a baseball bat. In time, we all got used to it but I did think that, if nothing else, after this surgery, it would be nice to see more of the old her.

Couldn’t handle the thought of her going through yet another surgery so I walked outta the hospital and ended up at the Met.

The last time I was there, was single, childless, and not sleeping. Now, I’m married, with a kid, and not sleeping.

And the last museum I went to was with Alison.

Sighed, shelled out a few bucks for a ticket, and kinda just walked around in a daze.

Arms and Armor at the Met

Ended up at the Arms and Armor section. Never told you exactly what type of fencing I do, did I?

It’s Filipino fencing with a dash of Spanish rapier and dagger. Thought about our last trip to Spain. We always said that we’d take a trip to Toledo in Spain, the home of Spain’s greatest swordsmiths.

As you see, everything reminded me of her so I left and walked back. Didn’t get a call about the operation so I assumed that no news was good news.

Suit of Armor at the Met

When I got back, they told me that the operation was a success although that old blood issue has cropped up again with another new issue.

They’re going to keep her for a while to make sure that everything is ok. Of course, this means that I can’t do any of the experimental cancer treatments we’ve been doing.

So we wait. Like always.

And I dream of a holiday in Spain with her and my son.

\’

Location: not Spain
Mood: worried
Music: we could simply pack our bags and catch a plane to Barcelona ’cause this city’s a drag
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Staten Island, Ferries, Pigeons, and Horse heads.

My home’s a strange town, but it’s home

Relaxing on a summer day in Central Park
Went to Staten Island to meet up with a client. Was the first time on the ferry since the turn of the century.

As I left the terminal, a pigeon was on his way in.
Pigeon in St. George Ferry Terminal in Staten Island

Stopped to snap some pics of artwork.

Painted egg artwork in George Ferry Terminal in Staten Island

It’s peaceful there. Whenever people talk about New York City, they usually just mean Manhattan.

But New York City isn’t just Manhattan, it’s also The Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island.

Heading back into Manhattan from Staten Island on the ferry

Headed back in to Manhattan and finished up the work week.

Over the weekend, the wife and I went to Central Park where we saw a woman in a suit wearing heels and a horse head while playing an accordion.

Her: Is that a woman in a suit wearing heels and a horse head while playing an accordion?
Me: I think so.
Her: Well, that’s something new.

A woman in Central Park wearing a suit, heels and a horsehead playing the guitar.

Location: home
Mood: good
Music: I’d go black and blue, I’d go crawling down the avenue.
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A Trip to the New York Historical Society

Paying a Personal Space Fee

Me: Do you want to go to the New York Historical Society today?
Her: Sure.

I’ve lived in my neighborhood for almost two decades and, despite the museum being only a few blocks south of me, never went. Tickets were $18 a person, which for a museum, is a bit much. But there’s a benefit to it.

Me: Man, there’s no one here. It’s like we own the joint.
Her: This is great.

That’s the thing about NYC, no matter what you do or where you go, there’s always someone talking next to you, bumping into you, eating something, something.

I’m always surprised when I hear that the murder rate’s going down and not up.

Said it years ago; personal space in NYC is next to nuthin. But at this museum, there were times we didn’t even see another person.

If anything, the admission price was a personal space fee.

And the elevator was bigger than our kitchen.

As for the exhibits, they had lots of knickknacks from NYC excavations, which were admittedly cool. But, I did expect to see more pictures of old NY.

Her: Look down there.
Me: (looking) Hey, a bottle of rum!

There was an exhibit with a Picasso sculpture, and some works by Matisse and Monet as well. Pretty varied.

Afterward, we did our traditional meal of a slice of pizza and diet coke.

Not a bad way to spend a weekend.

Location: home working on my book
Mood: ambitious
Music: Wouldn’t you love to love her?
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