Sunday, February 28, 2016

Buried Child with Ed Harris and Amy Madigan

2/28/16 20:59 Home

Finding a good deal in New York City is not difficult.  It takes a little will power and luck.  Last night was one of those nights.  I bought two $25 tickets (partial view) for the Sam Shepherd play Buried Child which stars Ed Harris and Amy Madigan at the Signature Theater which is on West 42nd, we passed the follies and the tepid tourists who are searching for that ring.  That thing.  I saw a few pose for pictures with the waxed pope in front of Madame Toussaint’s museum.  Music played, hips swayed, ancient bodies scrapped their feet on the winter sidewalk.  Ali and I made our way through the crowd.  Through the neon light which reflected off glass and into our eyes and stained our clothes for an instant.  We had a parking coupon for $25 at a garage which was mere blocks away from the theatre, but they were full to capacity when we tried to get in.  The kid at the garage told us parking was free on the streets starting at 7 PM.  In nine minutes you can park on the side.  I wasn’t going to park on the street especially that close to Times Square.  But I felt alright, not really calm, but alright.  Like I was in control.  We tried to find another garage, but couldn’t find one in the area where we were searching.  Still in control, but not as cocky.  Finally, I found a good spot on 41st, close to Bryant Park and the NY Library.  Parked the car.  I assumed I could swipe my card in the machine and get a coupon, even if it was after 7 PM.  Just for the assurance that my car was not going to get towed.  All the machines were turned off.  Ali checked her phone, twenty two minutes to walk to the theatre.  We got a move on.  Like I said we briskly walked through the condensed crowds and kept going, passing tourist shops, the food carts which simmered dry flesh on crisp sticks in smoke and arid pretzels which were coated with thick chunks of salt which have a tendency to fly back into my throat, gagging me for a second.  We made it.  Got inside.  It’s easier and faster to take the stairs the usher tells us.  He wanted to hear us moan down from the third landing and be sure we had a good sweat to take into the warm theater.  We made it.  Bathroom break.  Met Ali in the lobby and we bought a water and an Arnold Palmer thought I could have had a beer, made it inside.  Our seats were so close to the stage, and yes I was against the wall and no one was behind me.  There must be two hundred seats in the small theatre.  Ed Harris was on the stage and in character, although I thought it was an old man in the dim lights.  He watched a television which was resting on a metal milk crate.  The play began. I was in the presence of a master, actually two, Harris and Madigan were exceptional.  I was on the edge of my seat and looked at the man who sat next to Ali.  He would bite into his palm with excited energy or grind a finger deep into a nostril.  This freak was in his own world and I got back to watching the play.  It was disturbing and dark and yet rich with the universal appeal of exposing and tragic family secret.  I have waited years to see a Sam Shepherd play and was struck with the poetry.  I would like to see it again, this time on a full stage.  So, tickets, cheap.  Parking…free.  Dinner, was $9 for three hot dogs at Papaya Dog and we were back at Target at midnight to pick Emma Tess up after she got off her shift.  Not a bad night.


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Every 24 Hours

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Heading into the city on a date with my wife

2/27/16 15:30 Home

In about a half hour, Ali and I are taking the kids (who are here…Amanda is in Boston) over to her parent’s house and then heading into the city to see a play on Broadway.  Sam Shepherds play, Buried Child which stars Ed Harris as well as Amy Madigan.  I have always wanted to see a Sam Shepherd play.  The theater offers partial view seats for $25, so I pounced on them since the pair is less than one standard seat, but besides the cheap seats we are heading into the city on a clear night and having some time alone.  It will be interesting to see how the conversations begin and what topics we will cover.  School, work, politics, and I know her dreaded subject, our sex lives.  That is fine, I will go easy on her about our sex lives.  Maybe I will leave this one off the table and try to avoid it all together unless she brings it up which the truth be told; will not happen.  I woke up fairly early this morning, Bella came into our room since she could not sleep.  I took her bed - in in her room and feel I know what is causing her to wake up; the cats.  They are constantly playing in the hall, running into her room, one leaped onto my head since he wanted to see outside the window.  Why?  It’s early and the sun was barely out.  But, in my half sleep and wakeful mindset; I was able to catch the flying cat in midair and flung him back across the room. He trotted off looking more embarrassed than anything else. I got up and used the bathroom and tried to fall asleep for a little longer.  I closed the door to the room, thinking that would keep the cats out, but they nudged the door open and I was back to hearing their cries and clawing at the carpet.  I got out of the bed and made my way downstairs and was struck by the amount of plates that were in the sink and on the sides of the counter.  I unloaded the dishwasher, loaded it and cleaned the pots and was gently kissed on the lips by my beautiful wife who was grateful for the work.  It was then time for a mediation in the basement.  I don’t know what it is, but there are sittings which I know where not beneficial or conducive.  This morning was one of them.  My mind kept jumping around and I was not able to let the thoughts pass, just like the thoughts in this entry.


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Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Dead & Company and a Grateful Dead story to share with you

2/10/16 20:55

Last year, the remaining members of the Grateful Dead announced they would play their last concerts together, it was called the The Fair Thee Well Tour.  It was to celebrate the band’s 50th anniversary.  There were three shows in Chicago over the Fourth of July Weekend and two in Northern California where the 49ers play their games.  All of the shows were sold out.  The band chose a lottery system, instead of buying your tickets online you needed to write in and request your tickets. I think they were limited to two tickets per winner.  The lucky few who chose to be creative on their envelopes were chosen in another contest, it ensued to who was the most creative as well as lucky.  I didn’t attempt to write in since I was never a real fan of the dead.  Not to suggest I would not go to see them, but spending a pretty hearty sum for a pair of tickets, round trip flights, and hotel room and food and of course the weed smoking luxuries which are part of the experience of the typical Grateful Dead show…it was not something I was willing or afford to attempt.  These were shows for true Dead Heads. The diehards who travelled across the grand country, I mean all of the states following the band when everyone was younger, the Dead Heads sold peanut butter sandwiches to defray the costs of living modestly on the road.  It was a common site to see a Dead Head holding a sign that said, “I need a Miracle,” when they were looking for a ticket.  There was and still is a strong contingent of Dead fans.  I salute their devotion.  I respect their allegiance and commitment to a band who essentially has been null and void since August 9th 1995 when the Grateful Dead’s supreme leader Jerry Garcia passed away.  The lights were shut off and the Deadheads were lost, perplexed that Jerry was truly dead.  Some Dead Heads have found their new calling, following up with bands like Phish and off shoots of the Grateful Dead like the Lost Ones, Rat Dog, Further, The Dead, and now The Dead & Company, let us not forget Phil Lesh and Friends, Rhythm Devils, Missing Man Formation, and other acts.  All of these incarnations have most deadheads satisfied since they can go to these events and be surrounded with folk who are wishing and searching for something they lost back in 1995.  But the Fair Thee Well concerts was a nice send off and I am happy to say, a good friend of mine, Frank was able to secure tickets and made the trip to Chicago. 
What are DeadHeads thinking when revered Bob Weir hits the stage?  I was watching Dead & Company on YouTube.  Bob’s voice is weaker.  He looks like an old cowboy with a beer belly and a face full of thick grey beard.  He was the kid in The Grateful Dead...decades ago. What is surprising is the new kid in the center of the stage; John Mayer.  A few years ago he listened to a few Dead songs and was hooked.  I can understand his admiration for the Dead.

I’ve been to one Grateful Dead show and this is a story I want to share at the end of this essay since it is an embarrassing story for a couple of parts.  I planned to have a good evening with my buddy Frank and my girlfriend at that time who told me – clearly - she was not into the band or hanging out with my pot smoking long haired Dead Head buddy.  But I knew this was a band I wanted to experience; so in say twenty five years I could write about it here for you.  Frank was and is a true Dead-Head - he's been to 80 plus shows across the nation.  At the concert, we shared some smoke and we had some beers as my girlfriend looked on in shock and disgust.  The concert was at the Meadowlands.  We found our seats and the lights shut off and here were The Grateful Dead jamming while their fans danced and sang along.  It was a jovial event in New Jersey, but the mood shifted once the band started a song called Space.  I was done.  I was not tripping and space sounded like a bad tune up session. By that time, I knew my girlfriend was also finished.  She held her head in her hands and looked bored.  We told Frank we’d meet him outside at the car.   We had better things to do than listen to that…shit.  And we were outside.  Gusts of wind spun newspapers and thin sheets of paper around our legs.  Embers were glowing in spots were a fire had simmered between parked vans.  We found the car.  She was not in the mood since my breath smelled like smoke and I had…beer.  Eventually our boredom was cut when the crowd came out to the parking lot and we waited.  We waited.  The crowd was diminishing and we waited for Frank.  I don’t know where he is.  This was before the luxury of cell phones and we waited a very long time (it’s true and I want to stress it since Frank may read this) and soon burly security guards were yelling at the sedated and passive Dead Heads to Get The Fuck OuTTa Here!  I was not feeling the peace.  A crisp knock on the window, but it wasn’t Frank it was a guard waving to us to the exit.  We should leave, she said.  Give him a few more minutes.  I imagined Frank sharing a beer or passing a joint to a group a ladies and I waited till the guard came back.  “If you don’t leave, I’ll have the cops over here.  You are now trespassing on private property.  Do you understand?”  I nodded.  He nodded.  “Now, get the fuck out of my parking lot you fucking hippie.”  I didn’t have the balls to tell him I was not a hippie since I liked the Bad Brains a hell of a lot more than The Grateful Dead.  I was there for the experience, you know?  He was not the type who would listen or care.  This Saturday, tickets go on sale for the Dead & Company who will play at Citi Field in New York and up in Boston at Fenway.  Frank and I may be going to at least Citi Field.  Thank God for cell phones. 

I bought my ticket….


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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Moving our daughter into her first apartment in a city far away

08:51 Woburn, MA

Yesterday, three of us packed the minivan in the morning, stopped for breakfast at McDonalds and took the ferry to Bridgeport. The minivan was packed with Amanda’s clothes, posters, small furniture since Ali and I were moving her into her first apartment.  While sailing over, Ali helped with a sales report since I could not find my reading glasses, but after she sent the report, I found them to my relief.  We stopped at a Cracker Barrel just past the Massachusetts border.  Overall the ride was uneventful.   Traffic flowed, I could barely see through the rear view window, but kept my eye out for a trooper since I was hitting 80 on the highway. I listened to classic rock and Ali dozed off for a good twenty minutes since she was up till 0100 talking to Mo Cheeks.  We pulled off at the Cambridge exit and took narrow roads, lefts and rights and then we pulled up in front to the house where my daughter will call home for a few months.  The landlady was young, and showed us inside the house.  It was very spacious and yet bare.  Amanda would be able to use the living room and of course the kitchen.  Then we took the stairs, which were two flights and then up another steep set that would be a challenge for a swearing mountain climber.  The stairs led to where her apartment is.  It’s a converted attic and yet roomy.  There are two rooms which were modestly furnished.  We unpacked the minivan.  Even the landlady helped us move her things.  Getting a bulky and hefty box up the steep steps was an adventure; yes that what it was.  While Ali assisted Mo Cheeks putting together a dresser, I sat in the living room as the sun was setting and read a book by Zen master Jack Kornfield.   Amanda’s friend came over and soon after I took a walk to take in the neighborhood which is close to Harvard.  Earlier, a family strolled by and we smiled to each other, they were pushing a baby in a cart.  In fact we saw a lot of young families last night and before you think it I will say it, time moves swiftly.  Years ago when we lived in Northport, I'd push Amanda in the stroller down to the village and into the park.  She loved the swings.  Reading Kornfield was a gracious blessing, since there are nourishing lessons, such as; live in the present.  I can’t say I was emotional last night.  Not to say I want Amanda to live away from us.   But I know how eager she is to create the life she wants.  When I came home from our sales meeting this past Friday, I was greeted by some hugs, but what I loved was seeing the four kids, our youngest who is now a teenager, sitting together on the sofa watching a movie they could agree on.  I’m grateful they are very close to each other and I know in two weeks we will be back in Boston and perhaps can see the changes Amanda has made in her new place and learn about her job and the experiences of being a young motivated woman in Boston.  I hope she can appreciate this time in her life since this freedom can be fleeting.  Enjoy the adventure.


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Talking Bella out of school to see The Mets

5/10/17 20:53 This was one of those events which took years to accomplish.  Three years ago, we were at church.  I was with Bella ...