Goodnight, Olivia

Running outta time

Years ago, I met this sweet, funny, very pretty girl who was just a bit too young for me.

But we got along really well and kept in touch here and there.

She was the girl I mentioned to you here.

The last time we spoke, we said we’d have a playdate with our kids but then life got into the way.

Life always seems to get in the way.

Found out via social media that she just died.

So, like with my friends Bobby and Kirk, Alison, and my dad, I thought Olivia and I would have enough time in life to see each other again.

I’m always so wrong.

We weren’t super close, so I don’t have any details beyond what was listed in her obituary.

So, I’ll be mostly back to normal soon, but her family doesn’t have that luxury.

I have some ideas what happened based on our last conversation, but I suppose that’s between her and me.

It hit me hard, though. Sat down after I read it. It took my breath away.

She was so young; she was a teen when we met and only 36 when she died. Like Alison.

And like Alison, she left a little kid behind, except this kid not only loved her mom, she knew – really knew – her mom.

Dunno which kid is in a worse position, actually.

But I suppose that’s irrelevant at this point.

Goodnight, Olivia.

Everything is so unfair, and I’m so sorry for that.

I wish you could have stayed.

I was 34 in this picture. She was only 36 when she died.

Location: my head, remembering my possible pasts
Mood: gutted
Music: Let’s hit the road, friend of mine, wave goodbye to our thankless jobs (Spotify)
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New Mexico came before Mexico

Plus, Germany and Switzerland don’t like debt

Me: I have all this useless information in my head for some reason. Like, which do you think came first, Mexico or New Mexico?
Her: I would think Mexico.
Me: And you would be wrong.

If social media has taught me one thing, it’s that (a) people are easily fooled because (b) we put a outsized value on common sense – but “common sense,” differs radically from one group to another.

For example, the German word for “debt” is the same as their word for “fault” and “shame” (in the sense of, “what a shame”) which tells you a lot about how they look at borrowing.

And that’s probably why Germany and Switzerland, both German-speaking nations, have the lowest home ownership rates in alla Europe.

Here in the US, it’s just common sense to strive for home ownership.

There, in Germany, it’s just common sense to never have debt.

As I see the kid grow up, it’s alarming how much certain bits of information is just taken for granted and is so often wrong:

These are all things that have the air of truth but only a tiny bit of actual truth to them.

Like all kids, he asks a million questions.

But, for some reason, when kids grow up, they stop asking questions and just assume that what they’re told is correct.

After a while, people just assume things – they don’t even need anyone to tell them stuff.

That’s why I’m hoping that the boy’ll always be curious and intellectually inquisitive.

Her: How is that possible?
Me: New Mexico was first called that in 1598 (Nuevo México) but what we now know as Mexico was never known as that until 1821; prior to that, it was known as New Spain.

Location: the Dakota bar, with a buncha school principals
Mood: floaty
Music: Man, it’s a hot one – like seven inches from the midday sun (Spotify)
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Chasing water(falls)

My Father’s Day 2024

Her: [The kid] and I have to run an errand together.
Me: What? OK…
Her: We’ll be right back.

The kid got me the below card for Father’s Day – evidently, he picked it out himself.

He also picked a $25 Domino’s gift card as well.

Woke up early to get him to jits and, when we got back, the Firecracker had made us a buncha heart-attack sammies.

The boy wanted to play in some water, so he and I, plus the Firecracker – her son was with his dad – spent a good part of the day trying to find a place where the water was on.

We walked up Columbus and into a street fair, where the kid found something to amuse himself with.

But the place we ended up at had no water.

Nor did the other places we went to.

Ended up going to three joints which were all a bust but went a solid mile south and the boy crashed a soccer game.

Somehow also got some ice pops as well.

Me: Did you say thank you?
Him: Of course!

Needed to go to the bathroom, so I walked into a restaurant ready to buy something, but no one was there.

So, I just used the facilities and then left.

Walking up, we finally found a water pad for the kid to play in, just as I heard about the horror at the water pad in Michigan.

But I was determined to have a good day with the boy and the Firecracker so I put it outta my mind as best I could.

I have that luxury; I’m sure the families in Michigan couldn’t do the same.

Him: Did you have a good Father’s Day, papa?
Me: I had you and [the Firecracker] plus a heart attack sandwich. I’m not sure what else I coulda wanted.

Location: at a picnic on Riverside, surrounded by kids and carbs
Mood: exhausted and, I’m certain, a little stinky
Music:  stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to (Spotify)
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Let’s hear it for the boy

Showing up

When I was a kid, there was either no afterschool programs or my family couldn’t afford to send us, but, in any case, I never knew about the very idea of “afterschool” growing up.

For my own kid, I put him a program so I had time to work, and that was a musical production of Footloose.

Because it was his first time, he only had a bit part with one line, but he was in the cast and had to sing and dance in a number of the songs.

In any case, they had their three shows last week and I went to two of them.

My MIL, SIL, and I went to the one on Thursday; ABFF, her kids, and her sister went on Friday; the Firecracker, her niece, her sister, and I all went on Saturday.

On the one hand, it was pretty well done, I gotta say.

On the other hand, watching two of the same grade-school musicals is pretty much my limit.

The kids with parents that went to all three are pretty lucky as they, clearly, have better parents than my kid has.

On the flip side, there was this nice kid that was also in the show that waved to my kid after the last performance was over and proceeded to walk home alone.

Me: Oh man, that really bothers me.
Her: What? That he’s going home alone?
Me: Yeah – it means that no one came to see him.
Her: Maybe they came to another show.
Me: Still…

I’m confident my kid will be angry with me because there’s something about fathers and sons that means there’s always friction there, somehow.

But I hope he remembers that, whenever possible, I showed up.

Him: Thanks for coming! I was looking for you.
Me: (laughing) And you found me.

I’m pretty sure the fella on the lower left-hand corner is Tony Danza.

Quick little side story:

On the first night I went with my MIL and SIL, Tony Danza from Who’s the Boss fame sat two rows ahead of us.

We all assumed that he had a kid or grandkid in the audience but one parent told me the following – which, keep in mind, is like the game “telephone” in that you’re like hearing it from the person that heard it from the person that heard it.

Me: Does he have a kid here?
Him: I just heard him tell another parent that he was at the park the other day and some kid walked up to him, not knowing who he was, and said, “I’m in a play on Thursday, will you come and watch it?” I think that kid was asking everyone he met to come by. Anyway, Tony Danza heard this and said, “Sure!” and he actually showed up!
Me: Man, I always liked him. I hope that’s true.

Regardless, he sat through the whole thing, laughed and clapped at the right times, and left without a fuss.

What a class act.

Should mention that my brother did that picture of my kid for the back cover of the Playbill above – he’s amazing at stuff like that.

Location: at a NYC splash pad, reading about Michigan and hating people.
Mood: upset
Music: Tell me why, ain’t nothin’ but a heartache (Spotify)
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Happy Father’s Day 2024

It’s been seven years

I was just born in this picture. My kid wore what I was wearing here as well. Maybe someday, I’ll show it to you.

Mom: Your dad’s been gone seven years. Can you believe it?
Me: Not really. It feels like it was just a couple of years ago.
Her: (repeating) Seven years. Not easy, is it?
Me: No. He woulda loved seeing [the kid].
Her: Yes. That’s your dad.
Me: (nodding)

Location: at a school performance, waiting for the kid to arrive
Mood: impressed
Music: Where are all the gods? (Spotify)
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Why she said it

Cleaning up the hard drive

Firecracker: Is that a black bagel?
Me: Yeah, it’s pumpernickel.
Her: Oh, I’ve never had it before.
Me: You’ve never had it before?!
Her: You know, you do that all the time: I tell you that I’ve not had or done X and you immediately say, “You’ve never had X?!” No, Logan, I haven’t. THAT’S WHY I SAID IT!
Me: Noted. (under breath) You didn’t have to yell…

My buddy Annabel swung by my pad the other day and dropped off some gifts for the kid.

I’m always touched when someone goes out of their way to help us out or do something nice for us.

Thank goodness for the good souls.

The main problem with having such easy access to a good camera these days – after all, even the cheapest cell phone still takes pretty good shots – is that you end up with hundreds if not thousands of pictures that you really should go and clean up.

I keep having to upgrade my harddrives because I have so many pictures.

So, the other day, I started deleting pictures that either aren’t good or that I just don’t care for.

Been coming across some cool ones though.

Like the woman above obviously shooting a model shot.

Or this one below of people jumping onto the tracks to save someone.

Think he just fell in, and those two fellas jumped in to rescue him.

Again, thank goodness for the good souls, right?

Finally, the below conversation between the Firecracker and her sister made me laugh…

Location: late evening, picking up my son late from school. There’s a lot to do at the end of the year.
Mood: sleepy
Music: Christ, I’m out of my mind (Spotify)
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New, for my collection

The annoying one

Have a new injury to add to my collection; messed up my wrist the other day, not even 100% sure how, which was annoying and alarming.

Annoying for obvious reasons but also alarming because I know four people that have all had to get wrist surgery because of serious damage to their wrists from BJJ and kali.

On an unrelated point, had no idea my laptop was so dusty.

Because I’m injured, not only can I not work out, I also can’t cook.

So, my waistline has been suffering.

Although the kid’s thrilled.

Luckily, two small but glorious things happened in my area the past few weeks.

The first is that this famous Mexican food truck, called the Birria-Landia Tacos Truck, started operating at the southwest corner of West 72nd Street and Broadway.

It was given two stars from The New York Times.

We went during opening day/week, and it honestly deserves every accolade given it.

The second big opening in my area is H Mart, which is the largest Asian-American supermarket in America.

Previously, I had to travel north to 110th Street or south to 32nd Street – or even Chinatown – to get some quality Asian fare but this made it a little closer for me.

Just like with the Mex truck, I went there opening day as well.

Bought some prepared chicken, which was killer, and had that with some Korean beef I made myself with Rain’s grass-fed beef.

Snagged myself some cool wooden chopsticks as an opening day gift to boot.

Me: Thanks! Lemme take a quick picture of it.
Firecracker: Logan Lo, there are people waiting on line.
Me: Oh, I’m the annoying one here, aren’t I?
Her: (nods)

Probably wasn’t the best idea to cook with my bum wrist but I couldn’t keep eating out; plus it was like half-cooking since the chicken was basically prepared, I just needed to cook it.

The kid was a fan.

Him: This is so good!
Me: Which do you like better, the beef or the chicken?
Him: Which one is which?
Me: The beef is the darker one, the chicken is lighter and red.
Him: The beef!
Me: Sweeeeeeet, thanks!

My wrist is about 90% back to normal.

Gonna give it another couple of days and then get back to rolling around with it next week.

Location: a train, chatting with a chef about Louis Vuitton’s Taiga line
Mood: injured but less so
Music: How am I gonna be an optimist about this? (Spotify)
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The ladies group

Laughably large

After the kid’s recital, a classmate of the kid, the other kid’s family, the Firecracker, and my MIL all went to get dinner at Jacob’s Pickles, which I mentioned in passing to you over a decade ago.

I’d gone there twice before, this time marking my third time.

Me: I can really only come here every five years because it’s so carby and the portions are so large.
Him: How large?
Me: Laughably. You’ll see.

Now, I can pack away a lotta protein, fat, and fiber but something about carbs really fills me up fast.

Because he just did his recital, told the kid he could get anything he wanted so he asked for the chicken and pancakes, which are ginormous.

We split that and hardly made a dent in it.

Also, I ordered the 32 oz hard apple cider – all for my lonesome – which was a mistake.

Me: We have to walk home.
Her: Why?
Me: We gotta work off alla this food.

Now, the Mother’s Group – whom I’ve not seen in years just because one member moved to Taiwan and the others had kids that went to different schools – were meeting up at the pier by the Hudson River so we went there next.

I find it funny – and kinda sweet – that when the ladies write everyone, including me, they just write, “Ladies…”

Look, I’m just happy to be included.

By the time the kid, the Firecracker, and I finally arrived, they’d been there for hours.

But I was able to catch up with everyone.

Me: You spent COVID in Taiwan? How was it?
Her: It was awesome! Totally normal.
Me: Oh man, that was not my experience at all.

It was super late when we all got home.

Firecracker: Your friends are all really nice.
Me: I like to think so.

The kid had his school party, the recital, the dinner, and this last get together all on the same day, so he crashed hard.

I hope he’s creating good memories for himself.

Think that’s all any parent really hopes for outta this kinda stuff.

Location: my gym, testing out my wrist
Mood: less(ish) injured
Music: Maybe he’ll see a little better set of days (Spotify)
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Living his best life

A busy weekend

Last weekend, the kid was living his best life.

Friday night, he caught a school musical at his school.

Saturday, we were out in Brooklyn where he was at yet another trampoline park

…while the Firecracker and I snuck off to have some coffee and some killer Yemeni food.

Me: I kinda want a gyro.
Her: You always kinda want a gyro.
Me: This is true.

The next day was at a school fair, where I took alla these pictures of him at a nearby sprinkler while we were waiting.

My MIL came into town to surprise him and attend the next thing, which was…

…a recital uptown where he played 7 Years again, but this time as a duet with his music teacher.

Not only did his grandmother come out to surprise him, so did his babysitter, whom he’d not seen in months.

The Firecracker also came, which was super nice of her.

We then all went out for dinner afterward but since this is getting long, I’ll just finish it up in the next entry.

Location: earlier today, her kid’s art show in the 80s
Mood: still injured
Music: I ain’t perfect but I’ll do the best that I can (Spotify)
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The right to be nobody

Just because I can

Him: But it fits!
Me: Kinda. You’re definitely Brittney Spearsing it here.

Clothes that I just bought for the kid last year are already not fitting him.

I remember that, as a kid, I loved this yellow shirt with a red V on it. Wore it until my bellybutton was constantly out, all Britney Spears like.

Think my parents were just happy that I didn’t ask for new clothes, but I always think that Alison woulda wanted him to be put together so I try my best.

My best being a sliding scale.

(c) Getty Images

Him: Why don’t you ever show my face?
Me: Because I don’t have that right. At least, I shouldn’t have that right.

Been enjoying my new gym – it’s interesting rolling with people from a completely new gym because no one knows my game and I know no one else’s game, so each roll feels very different than at my old gym.

Recently rolled with a very talented but smaller female. While I could have easily beat her, that wasn’t why I was there; I was there to get better.

Just because I can, doesn’t mean I should.

In a way, that’s why I don’t put up pictures of my kid where you can clearly see his face.

See, I grew up in a time where you could grow up in relative anonymity.

Never realized what a gift that was until YouTube because – MAN – did I do some jaw-droppingly bone-headed things when I was younger.

Legit, thank god everyone didn’t walk around with a video camera because I would most likely be hated by the world writ large.

In that sense, I feel that it’s not fair or right that I – as someone much bigger and much older than my kid – have the right to take away my son’s chance to be anonymous.

Just because I can, doesn’t mean I should.

He’s a little kid right now but little kids grow up to be adults.

When he is one, he might resent not being able to tell his own story his own way.

If you think about it, the thing that probably pisses you off the most is when someone else tells your story.

Janet? She’s such a slut. Did you hear last Friday, she…

Tom? He’s a loser. When we were kids…

That guy? Lemme tell you about him…

But I have to balance that with the fact that I’m proud of him – so proud of him – and what he can do so I wanna show him off.

And that’s really what it is with parents, isn’t it?

They want to show their kids off, not for their kids sake, but for their own. And that’s not right, I don’t think.

Just because they can, doesn’t mean they should.

So, my concession is that I blur or hide his face and name so that when/if he does want to have a public face/name, that’s his choice to make when he’s old enough to make that choice.

For now, I realize that, just because I could put up anything I want about him, I shouldn’t.

Me: One day, you’ll be old enough to decide who you are and how you want the world to see you. You and your friends are gonna be some of the first kids on the planet that’s lost that right to be a nobody.
Him: (thinking) What if I wanna be someone?
Me: That’s your choice to make. I’ve lived my life. I don’t have the right to live your life as well. You get to decide who and what you want to be. (pause) For what it’s worth, you’re always someone to me. You’re my most important someone.

Location: a pier with four lovely ladies – including the Firecracker – the boy, and a bottle of white
Mood: so. full.
Music: I just wanna be someone. Well, doesn’t everyone? (Spotify)
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