Thursday, October 31, 2019

A Storm kept the Witches Brewing inside


10/31/19 22:29 Bethlehem, PA

There have not been any trick-or-treeters, I didn’t see any kids dressed in costumes around the neighborhood.  It’s raining and very windy.  No run after work.  I made my veggie dinner and read and watched a Ted Talk, spoke with Mo Cheeks who had a smile on her face, she loves Halloween.  One year, we took her to my parent’s neighborhood since our neighborhood at the time did not celebrate Halloween.  Well, they did but kids were not going up to most of the doors.  But back at my parents, it was a mob scene, kids were all over, parents were pushing little wagons full of beer and drinking, getting a bit buzzed on the walk.  I was impressed and vowed we would be back every year after that, but we didn’t come back.  The following year something else happened, and the year after that and now she’s 25 and in law school and I am in Bethlehem listening to the rain pelting the windows, lightning and thunder…oh to fall asleep in the rain…in autumn…

Thank you for reading this.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

It's the NIGHT before Halloween, a short short


10/30/19 22:12 Bethlehem, PA

It’s the night before Halloween and there are no creatures stirring on this block. They are waiting in anticipation for tomorrow night.  For some, costumes will be necessary to hide their zombie faces, their skin barely attached to the rotting facial muscles.  Lips are no more.  Grizzled teeth.  For others, the aliens who walk among us, they are free to disperse all the candy they have adulterated in their kitchen to the little ones who beg for it.  Parents wave from the safety of the sidewalk, prodding their naïve and trusting runts to go up and beg for another handful.  Go ahead.  Just knock on the door, they will give you candy.  It’s free.  The black cats are pruning their fur with oil and gasoline from the dumpsters behind the local garage.  They dab a little green antifreeze, so their eyes can really stand out in the night.  Up the road the cemetery is quiet, except for some skeletons who are assembling their bones, they need to walk around the town and make the best of the night.  Ghosts are napping in the trees, whole families congregate, the Italians are taking up a row of trees, even in death they can’t stand being too distant from one another.  While the children continue to get more candy…barely noticing the smell ruminating from the roofs where the witches brood and cast spells…

Thank you for reading this.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

How are you?


10/29/19 22:36 Bethlehem

How are you?  I should pose that question and see what responses I receive.  Leave your comments at the bottom.  But seriously, how are you?  I’ve been keeping up my bargain in this inconsequential and distant relationship.  I get to spill some thoughts on this page in an attempt to make sense of the world.  So, let’s discuss the politic, the sports, the duality that exist in all of us.  But I am curious how you are.  Do tell: trainwriter@gmail.com email is so passé.

After work I went running. It was too early for me to hit the road.  My hamstrings are tight and the thigh muscles were aching.  It was supposed to be a short run and it was, only three miles.  If I don’t run, I feel lethargic at work and being in sales and remotely lethargic is asking for trouble.
That’s it for today.  Meli is presenting something to me in Spanish.  It’s interesting to see and to listen and not understand a word.  But she goes on and we communicate this way for another hour or so. But really my friend, how are you?

Thank you for reading.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Back in Bethlehem


10/28/19 22:33 Bethlehem, PA

I received my social security card, I can apply for a Pennsylvania Driver’s License and eventually change the car registration to this state.  My insurance costs will be reduced, saving money each month.  

I unpacked, called Meli and we had a brief call since she needs to stretch.  That’s fine.  We are both tired and I want to change and call it a night.  I have gotten into the bad habit of hitting the snooze button on my phone in the morning, but this tired shit began last night.  I was awake after midnight. I had to take the call downstairs with Meli.  Dad knocked on my bedroom door around 11:30. I hear everything, he says.  Dad sleeps on the opposite side of the wall.  Like a teenager, I scurried off to a room downstairs and had a decent chat with Meli about my kids. Sometimes I don’t want to share everything since I don’t want to upset her.  I’d like to pretend that the red carpet will be rolled out for her when she steps off the jet at JFK.  Bella is still upset with the idea that Meli and I are engaged.  I can understand. She has been texting me lately and I am grateful, out of all the kids, she has been the last one - not maintain a relationship with me.  I can understand, she’s hurt. Out of all four of my children, Bella was daddy’s girl, my baseball buddy, it seemed I could do no wrong, but that image was destroyed by my behavior and getting kicked out of the house. Our communication has not been the best since that day. I don’t think I have had a one on one with her since the divorce, but the last couple of days she has reached out.  Not to expect our relationship will go back to the way it was, but with God’s grace, all good things happen.

Thank you for reading this.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Running in the Rain - Suffolk County Marathon


10/27/19 22:25 East Northport, NY

Who wants to talk about money?

I had dinner with Emma earlier and we had an honest conversation about money.  I did not manage my money very well when I was younger. Even today I know I can do a better job, but I wished I shared some advice (to all of my children) that my Dad gave me when I was in college; do not get a credit card.  When I was younger I assumed the money would be there and somehow I would be able to pay back the debt, besides having a credit card meant in some aspects, I was an adult and was provided a new found freedom in plastic.  Paying back debt was a problem when I was younger.  It was common to get a call from one of the credit card companies – to let me know I was in arrears.  I would get offended, insulted since I did not like being treated as a…child.  But I was a child in my approach. 
Being divorced and paying alimony and child support had meant I needed to look honestly at my budget.  I quickly learned, I don’t keep all of my paycheck – my net income. In fact, I will not keep all of it till the divorce is settled, and that my friends will take place in a few years.  In the meantime, I have learned how to keep a budget, and yet even with my semi-disciplined approach, my credit card debt has been creeping up.  There is the dreamy, ferry dust, pie in the sky, any more clichés, approach, eventually I will pay off the debt?  The way I would question if I need to see the doctor or ask for directions.  Eventually I will find my way?  If I don’t change my behavior or my approach to managing my money, nothing will change.  I will become more responsible with my money, there I said it.  I want to learn how to manage my money and have my money earn more money with compound interest or something that I can reach out to, like the ferry, asking for help.  This time I will be serious, it takes educating myself, working it and the discipline and commitment.  I can, I will, I must.

Who wants to run a half marathon in the rain?

My body really want to shut off and hit the sack.  Just a few thoughts.  This morning, the rain started before I left the house.  A rain shower passed, but I knew I was in for rain today.  I drove in the dark towards St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue.  I made an instant coffee, had a bowl of cereal and was off.  I wanted to get on the road by 6:30. Traffic was building up at the entrance to the college. I was impressed with the maniacs who were out in this shitty morning to run in it.  We all needed to be back in bed.  
The race was well organized, I didn’t wait long for a bus and a few minutes later I was walking to where I would drop off my bag.   Cold pelts of rain began to fall, I thought it was going to get worse, but it did not.  In no time, the County Executive, Steve Ballone, Roger from WBAB and a Met’s pitcher were all there to wish us well.  There was also an impressive version of the Star Spangled Banner and a prayer.  Beautiful.  The race mentioned and recognized in my ways - the 75th anniversary of D Day, WW II.  Our bitching about the rain meant nothing to the lives that were lost.  There is a lot of support between the other runners, the times I slowed down to walk, I was told not the quit.  Another asked if I wanted to put my sweater on my back, he would hold my water bottle.  No, thank you.  And I didn’t quit.
So I ran the half marathon and accomplished it in under two hours.  It’s time to call it a night and hit the sack. 

Thank you for reading this.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Chick Corea, Christian McBride & Brian Blade Played in Patchogue to a Packed House









10/26/19 20:36 East Northport

It’s the night before the half marathon and I have to say I am not feeling nervous.  I have my clothes laid out.  I am prepared for a light rain which will become heavier in the afternoon; thanks to the predictions from my father, who studies the weather like a radio forecaster.  More on the race tomorrow night.
Chick Corea, Trilogy played in Patchogue
Of course some guy comes in and asks if I can move over to the empty seat next to me.  He was grateful and we started talking, yes he is also from East Northport.  He just bought the tickets that day and was not sure what to expect. I explained, Brian Blade is an incredible drummer.  I’ve seen him a few times and if I see he is on the bill, I try to buy a ticket.  Christian McBride, is also an accomplished bass player and both will be amazing, and of course there is the legend, Chick Corea.  We’re in for an amazing show.
Before they took the stage some impatient nut started to clap his hands, hoping he could get the whole theatre clapping.  A few of us turned around and gave him the evil eye.  This is not a Zebra concert.  Sit tight. 
The band came out and played a piece from Cole Porter.  The set was very eclectic, included audience participation, singing along to the notes Chick played.  And then the music started.  What struck was the energy flowing from the stage.  It was joyful.  Blade and McBride who shared the center, weaved through the set and met each other’s skillful challenges.  I dare you.  Like two dancers catapulting through the set.  All along it was led by Chick Corea who at times sat there in awe of his bandmates.  We were all in awe.  Songs from Thelonious Monk, originals like Corea’s Windows and Footprints, 500 Miles, and more.    
During intermission I bought a CD, this is their second recording.  I had to run down to the bank since they do not process cards in the theatre.  They should.
The theatre is very spacious and ornate, they restored a palace in Patchogue. The band was grateful to play to close to a sellout.  The audience was great.  I was impressed with the friendly staff and the gentle way they monitored the crowd.
After the gig, I had the opportunity to meet the band and share some insight in Long Island.   Chick mentioned, during the show that he lived in Huntington for a couple of years.  Backstage, we spoke about Coltrane and his house.  Brian looked up Dix Hills and Coltrane on his phone and was impressed. If you have the opportunity to see this band or any of the members, go. 

Thank you for reading this.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Back in Northport, I learned my favorite Barber passed away


10/25/19 17:49 East Northport

I have not taken a shower today.  My skin is feeling clammy, but it’s alright.  I will jump into a hot shower and head over to Patchogue to see Chick Corea and company.  The seats I assumed would be empty – one on either side have been sold to strangers.  It’s alright.  Looking forward to seeing this show since it’s the first concert in a few weeks, and the first on Long Island in months, maybe a year?  Who cares? 

Meli and I had a tiff last night.  By this morning, we were back.  She fell asleep without calling.  My imagination was creating a scene that is best left unsaid in this blog.  I feel like a commercial, “For the rated R version, go to my other blog…but this is it ladies and gentlemen.”  Like I said, this morning we were back.  She explained she laid down last night, pulled the covers over her since it was cold and rainy in Mexico City and was quickly off to dreamland.

Saw Lou today.  We had lunch.  I have sad news to share since my worse fear came to life.  My favorite barber, Jack passed away.  After lunch we walked over to see if he was there – to make an appointment.  The store was black.  There were signs on the window and letters from customers, expressing their condolences to his family.  Dried flowers were still in a vase. There were candles long seduced by the elements - extinguished.  We read the notes and the posts.  This was a man spent his life working and loving his family.  They were his life, and I know they will be successful since Jack was very proud of all of them.  They were all successful.  I will miss him and yet I was not surprised.  He was sick for a while and yet it was sudden.  The last couple of times, I needed a haircut I’d call Jack.  The answering machine would not pick up.  I knew he had passed.

Thank you for reading this.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

It is a Quiet Night in ThiS HoUse


10/24/19 23:21 East Northport

Back at my parent’s house.  Back on the room I grew up in for a few years, shared with my brother.  I slept on one side and Dave slept on the other.  On the drive down, I had a chat with Emma Tess, and we made plans to see each other on Sunday night, she may take the next semester off.  Had a wonderful conversation with Mo Cheeks about the inner child in all of us.  I have not subscribed to this fully since I feel at a certain age I should be mature enough and old enough to lose the inner child.  This is a real dilemma considering what I wrote about last night and here are those feelings – emotions rising up again.  Not to the same degree as last night. I want to be aware of my inner child, the fear of abandonment, but honestly, I am alone for the most days.  I drive to work, eat alone and drive home and spend the night alone.  Yes, share a house with two other guys.  But I really don’t feel alone.  Meli and I share brief moments, even a short call or FaceTime is enough since often we are joking. And like a knock or the silence, it is there.  Maybe we are going through another phase?  As I wrote last night, I can choose to feel miserable, wallowing in self-pity or I can choose to appreciate this time to write and get my thoughts down.  This too shall pass.

Thank you for reading this

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Peace is Restored


10/23/19 22:57 Bethlehem

Being in a long distance relationship has its challenges.  Communication is vital in any relationship. I know I wrote about this before.  I know what is going on.  I am tired.  We were both busy today and at times I feel as if I am the only one who sends messages during the work day.  She’s in more meetings than me.  I have the time.  Look at how many sentences begin with, “I.”  I can feel some resentment and I should take a deep breath.  Meli introduced me to a wonderful statement, tomorrow is a different day. Maybe I am being dramatic?  I feel we are slipping past one another.  Am I projecting this?  Another statement we have is, fact or fiction? It is late.  This morning the stars were radiant in the dark sky, the moon was bright and looked like a smile.  She fell asleep.  She is eating and will call me in a little while and like magic she will cut through my bullshit.  Take a deep breath.  I wrote there are challenges, but I never met anyone who has the same sense of humor as me.  Who is caring and loving and who is incredibly talented in her business.  Meli is not me.  We have our differences.  There are choices or questions in any relationship, is it healthy?  Are you happy?  Are you in peace?  Most of the time, I ask the last question; am I in peace? It’s a flitting moment.  Since my mind habitually creates drama and havoc, I can choose.  I am writing this from a room in Bethlehem.  A train blows in the distance.  It is quiet here.  Left alone with my thoughts, will I cultivate peace, love and self-compassion or let chaos simmer?  There is scene playing and it is all fake.  What is real?  We are separated by thousands of miles.  We either let the distance take command or we work on creating a future together.

And she calls and breaks through my bullshit with a laugh and peace is restored.

Thank you for reading this.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Listening to my brother


10/22/19 Bethlehem, PA 22:05

Talking with my brother.  Dave and I have not talked for over a year until this past week.  He had his reasons.  It feels like no time has passed.  Did you ever go through a period when you don’t speak with a family member?  He is telling me a story and I am listening.  I am listening.  I don’t care about his story.  But I don’t want to go back to not talking or listening to my brother. 

Monday, October 21, 2019

My visit to the Social Security Office on Main Street


10/21/19 22:35 Bethlehem, PA

Today, I spent more than an hour in the social security office.  There were three rows.  The waiting room was very warm.  A girl with a heavy coat sat between her mother and father and appeared sick.  A younger child was hacking a deep bronchial cough, her mother kept her away from a new born who sat next to them.  I don’t want you to make the baby sick.  Do you want me to pinch you?  I said no.  Time slowly drained out from all of us.  I needed a replacement social security card since I need to obtain a Pennsylvania driver’s license.  I will give up the Empire State, hologram, the same picture from fourteen years ago when I was holding Bella and pissed off for waiting for so long.  Smile, no.  Gone.  Follow my progress on this adventure.

Heading to Mexico on November 21 since Meli celebrating her birthday on the 22nd.  We are making plans to spend a couple of days in a picturesque part of Mexico.  I bought the ticket, Jet Blue and look forward to seeing her again.  It will be a short trip, flying back on Sunday and will be at work on that Monday. 

Went to a meditation class, just around the corner at Moravian Theological.  The class was led by Francis who is soft spoken young man, and could put a hyperactive juvenile delinquent to sleep within minutes. I appreciated his message. Since Francis is a replacement, there were a few more empty seats.  Saw my friend who I shared a few classes with, shit what’s her name, Candice?
I may drive to Long Island on Thursday night, and see a jazz concert in Patchogue on Friday; Chick Corea, Christian McBride, and my favorite drummer of all time, Brian Blade.  It’s one show I would like to see.   There is always one show I would like to see.

Thank you for reading this.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Freddy and I meet after Forty Years


10/20/19 22:35 Bethlehem, PA

I called Freddy yesterday morning.  He was upset that I forgot to call him the night before.  I apologized.  He was starting to tell me stories of some of his conspiracy theories, the Catholic church, the Masons and I was listening till I realized he needed to know I am not interested in the theories.  What time should we meet? “I don’t know,” he said.  Let’s say 1 PM.  Down at the movie theatre at the Steel Stacks.  “Sounds like a plan, wait.  How will I know it’s you?”  I will wear a grey blue hat, there’s an N on it for North Eastern.  I drove to the Steel Stacks, parked the car and arrived a little early.  There was a race for kids going on as I approached the theatre.  I saw this older, tan guy walk up to me. “I was telling those guys all about seeing you and how we haven’t seen each other close to forty years.”  It was Freddy and I reached out to hug him.  “No, shake hands.  Put it there.”  I shook his hand.  “You said you wanted coffee, I have to go to do, pee pee.”  Pee Pee?  He was a child in an old man’s body.  First, he locked his used bike, the rear tire looked worn.  We went inside.  “Graham Nash played here a few years ago.” I saw his performance on Long Island a few years ago.  Actually, he just played here. And he went off to the bathroom and was out of sight.  I bought a coffee and he came back within a minute, he must have assumed I was leaving him.  I thought, we’d sit down at a table or a bench and have a good chat.  That didn’t happen.  We went back outside.  He unlocked his bike.  He was very concerned that someone would want to steal his bike.  He must have lost many things through the years.  Our visit was a listening session.  For over an hour, Freddy talked about a wide variety of subjects.  But he was locked in a world from 1982.  The Karate Kid, Steven Segal, the church, Connie from Bellecrest Avenue, witches, the masons, the devil, Ted Nugent, he was sex crazed Freddy said.  Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Evil in the world.  The Northport incident.  Working for agencies, tearing down stages and Gurney’s Inn.  But while I was with him, he had this child like energy that would not quit, he wanted to cram everything in this time we had together.  After an hour of walking back and forth around the parking lot and keeping an eye on his bike, I said I needed to leave.  “I’m sorry to tell you this,” he said and would spout some controversy.  Why do you apologize for saying something you want to share?  “I don’t want to offend you.”  Hey Fred, I have about 10 minutes.  He reminded me of my mother when he said, OK.  I will time you.  This watch has a timer.  And it was time for us to part.  It may be the last time I see him.  I will call him tomorrow and hope I can get his email address.  Fred may move back to Florida.  He carried a couple of bags, one contained books I should read.  I took pictures of the titles.  The other bag contained a jug of water and another jug of milk.  May God look out and protect Freddy.

Thank you for reading this. 

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Last long run before the half next week


10/19/19 22:54 Bethlehem, PA

Ran 10.24 miles today. At this time of the night I am having a difficult time keeping my eyes open.  It was an early start to the day.  I called Fred and we made plans to get together.  I will write more about seeing Fred for the first time in forty years tomorrow.  Tonight is a record of running.  The weather was perfect, an autumn chill.  The sky was clear and I was able to keep a decent pace.  I walked a couple of times, no a few times.  I could feel my right hamstring tighten around mile 8, but all in all, I feel I can run the half next week.  I will run the half.  I must run the half.

Thank you for reading this

Friday, October 18, 2019

Working The Program


10/18/19 22:59 Bethlehem

This morning, I worked out, meditated and made a sobriety call.  I made a commitment, by the end of the night, I can look back on the day and ask myself if I worked the program.  There is such a thing as progress not perfection.  I have seen the progress and feel it in my life, in my decisions and knowing I am responsible for my behavior.  It sounds easy.  It is an easy program if I work it.  But it is the times when I feel lonely or sad or bitter or anger or stressed.  It could be anything, the secret it to work the program. 

Thank you for reading this

Thursday, October 17, 2019

A Long Piss


10/17/19 22:52 Bethlehem, PA

After two long days at a trade show I am back at the house and can settle down.  Settle down long enough to write a summary on the show and the leads we received.  There are faces I see once a year at these shows.  Sometimes there is a new face and name and we get to know them for a couple of days and we move on in our lives, work and family, hobbies, back into the motion of our lives.  I don’t get too involved in other’s business – I mean their lives.  We are there for business.  This is the extent, how’s the family?  All good, and we move on to whatever thought was erupting in our ego.  Let it go.  Then there are some I feel sorry for, the one who has suffered through an addiction, divorced like myself, fired from jobs, arrested, but they are grateful for their health and the opportunity to make some real money.  And I realize that my job can be a passing.  But isn’t life a series of passings, events, shows, cycles and as long as I live a life of integrity, I can go to sleep each night knowing I did the best I could. 
Tonight, was the first night I drove back to my place after a trade show.  In the past I would drive back to Long Island.  An hour or so later I am pulling up next to the house and unloading my things.  That is all.  I am back and the routine of my life begins with a long piss. 

Thank you for reading this.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Talking to Fred for the first time in thirty five years


10/16/19 22:38 Valley Forge, PA

I spoke with Freddy for the first time today.  Earlier today was the first time and we immediately discussed the Bible.  Since I was at a trade show and in public it was not the time and place to get into such a deep discussion, but I felt his intensity on the matter.  I asked if I can call later.  What time he asked.  7?  I guessed knowing I had plans for dinner.  I called him while at dinner, can I call you later?  What time?  9?  Sure.  I called him after briefly speaking to Meli and we spoke for a half hour.  His memory is sharp and focused and we may get to see each other on Saturday.  I will call you on Friday.  What time?  6:30?  No, that time doesn’t work.  8:30?  He asked.  I said yes.  So, I may get together with Freddy who is now 60 and yet he is in great shape. 

Thank you for reading this.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

A Sort of Reunion in the Grocery Store Parking Lot


10/15/19 22:52 Valley Forge, PA

Listen to this.  The last couple of days when I have been driving around Bethlehem, I noticed a number of New York license plates.  Yes, we are close to New York, and yes there are a lot of carpet baggers like myself who made the move up here.  I mentioned the amount of NY cars to Meli on Sunday while I was driving and yesterday, I pulled into a spot at the super market and there is front of my car, yes it’s still registered in NY; is another NY license plate, I took a picture and sent it to Meli, is there something in the air?  Is this a conspiracy?  This afternoon I drove back down to the same supermarket and parked next to a car, also with NY license plates.  I was going to take a picture, but did not.   I went into the store and came out.  The man who was parked next to me was getting into his car.
“You’re from New York?” I asked.
“Yeah, you?”
“Yeah, what part are you from?”
“Long Island.”
“Me too.”
“Really?  What town are you from?”
“I grew up in Northport.”
“Really?”  He said.  “I grew up in East Northport.”
“That’s where my parents live, off Vernon Valley, Bellecrest Avenue,” I said.
“I grew up on Bellecrest. 63.”
“Really? What’s your last name?”
“Petersdorf.”
“Fred?”
“He’s my younger brother.  I’m Billy.”
It turns out the mom moved up here years ago and Freddy lives with his mom.  Billy was too cool for the kids and looked a little wild, that’s how I remembered him.  Later, my brother called.  I have not spoken to Dave in over a year.  I asked if I was dying, I could not believe what happened today.  Dave and I talked for close to an hour, the same with Billy and I, we also spoke for close to an hour …small world.

Thank you for reading this.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Patience, seldom found in a woman, never found in a man


10/14/19 9:54 PM Bethlehem, PA

My grandma’s birthday today.  This is a quote she would say, “Patience, seldom found in a woman, never found in a man.”  True words of wisdom from grandma.  I don’t write about her as often as I should.  There have been short stories and poems about my grandda, but wait a second.  I wrote about the last time I saw grandma when I was flying back from Ireland. 
I went to a Zen meditation tonight, it’s around the corner at Moravian.  It’s called Middle Way, the format follows Thich Nhat Hahn's Sangha.  What is Buddha nature?  That was tonight’s question.  My initial response was Buddha Nature flows through me when I am creative, when a poem flows or a sentence is created by…the spirit.  That can be Buddha nature. 
Each of us has the capacity to get in touch with our Buddha nature, but often we feel we should discover this concept outside of ourselves.  One of the great lessons this year was, the answer is within.  What a frightening concept, to take the time and let the mind settle and discover ourselves, to be compassionate to ourselves.  But it takes an effort.  It’s not easy and we all know it is far easier to break the horror of discovery with an iPhone or some other distraction.  Thinking of Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now, “The horror.”  But we need to rise from the mud to shine in the light.
Yesterday, I was triggered.  I was feeling alone and wanted to revert back to my old habits.  I stopped myself and asked, how would I feel after I did those things?  Resentment. Ashamed. I let my emotions or worse, my compulsion to control my life.  Compulsion is a rough one.  It strikes out of the blue.  Go for it, what's the harm?  Addiction is knocking.  I am stronger than that.  It takes discipline and a commitment to a program or more importantly, a commitment to myself.  I have to learn patience.  I have to weed out the thoughts and replace them with love and respect…for myself.  What a strange concept.  I should be strong and resilient, but I know my limitations.  I am being honest with myself.  No, grandma, never is strong word.

Thank you for reading this.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Yes, it's a long distance romance, she lives in Mexico


October 13, 2019 22:44

Meli and I are watching a movie.  She’s playing it on her phone and we are using ZOOM.  There is a slight delay with the picture, but the audio is clear.  It’s the concept. We are watching something…together.  We are always finding new things to do.  Finding joy and gratitude for the technology we can use to see and hear each other.  With technolgy, like WhatsApp, we have the ability to see each other every day while we are apart from one another.  Earlier, I went food shopping and was able to point out some savings and what I had in my cart.  Sounds lame to those who can share the experience in-person, maybe it would be different if we were together.  Honey, I need some eggs.  Here's the keys.  Meli could be walking through neighborhood park, and I could be walking down the wrong aisle looking for chamomile tea.  One of the struggles we had earlier was a slight language barrier.  There is the lack of physical proximity, but we can make things happen in our own way. The distance is shortened with FaceTime and by maintaining the communication. Keeping each other up to date about the small events, tasks, thoughts. For some, it can be annoying and some of it is inconsequential, but the communication is there. Meli and I share little details, making dinner, heading into the shower, driving to work. We are always keeping each other informed so we can feel we are sharing our day and night as close as possible.  Communication is important for any healthy relationship, but it is vital in a long distance relationship.  So, a word to those who are considering a long distance romance - maintain the communication.  Of course, I wish she was here.  We are making plans for our future, we are working on the visa and following this country's immigration policies.  I’m grateful to have Meli in my life.  I never felt so comfortable.  We are committed to our future.  I love her as my Anam Cara, my soul friend, my future wife.  I thought I'd share more picture of our recent trip to Ireland.

Thank you for reading this.





Saturday, October 12, 2019

Getting ready for the Suffolk County Half


October 12, 2019 17:59

Earlier I ran 10.18 miles.  I will sign up for the Suffolk County Half.  That was my goal, if I can run 10 without any serious pain, I can run 13.1. My hamstrings were tightening up around mile 7, but I pushed on, maybe I had to drink more?  I ran most of the 10.18 without a shirt on.  Through the trails which were shaded and cool, but threw my long sleeve back on just before hitting the streets again.  I didn’t want my 54-year-old body to be a distraction to the old ladies driving past me.  I can hear their calls, “What the?  Put a shirt on you pale bastard!”  I need to get my ass in motion and make some dinner.  Meli was out last night so we have not talked as much today.  Saturdays can be our bonding day, but each day has its own bond.  I want her to recover from the late night and watch her TV.  Later we will catch up.  It’s quiet in the house.  I am debating if I should go out and get a beer in town.  There’s an old punk bar on the South side.  Make it two beers bartender, I ran over 10 miles today and I could use the liquid refreshment. 

Thank you for reading this.

Friday, October 11, 2019

I can be a DJ on WDIY


10/11/19 22:12 Bethlehem, PA

Listening to Betty Carter’s 30 Years.  I remember playing this for Ali.  Betty was singing about how her husband was leaving her after 30 Years.  We’ve been together for 30 Years, I love you, don’t go.  Thinking about last Saturday night when the six of us ate together for the first time in almost 2 and a half years.  Sitting across from my ex.  Both of us at times rolling our eyes at something one of our kids said.  I’m curious how she is doing.  How is she coping?  We spoke a couple of weeks back and I opened up.  She is aware I am in a 12 step program and was happy to hear of my progress and yet she was upset that I could not be sober while we were married.  And we move on.  I asked if she had dated, and she went back to being cautious, I refuse to answer that question.  I was at a meeting tonight.  There is strength in the rooms, vulnerability, confusion and I’m struck with how similar our stories are.  So many times I can relate, nod in agreement, yes.  I was there.  I felt the same way, thought the same and this is why we are together.  I live in a room in Bethlehem for a reason.  There are choices to make each day and especially at night and tonight I chose to be in a room in another town.  It was worth the drive.  I stopped at an ice cream place which I have passed each time I went to the meeting and thought I will buy a shake on my way home.  Tonight was the night.  A pumpkin shake.  The dark blue sky over the black hills.  It's cooler, getting colder. The radio was playing Betty Carter, WDIY and one of the guys in the room had a WDIY t-shirt on.  Maybe I can be a DJ on the radio station and play eclectic music?  I can read poetry and quotes from Pema Chodrin Thomas Merton or a Zen koan.  I wish I was on the radio and can share some thoughts.  It will be at night, after midnight and there will be a dozen or so listening to my show.  From time to time I will ask if they have a request, but I’m only playing the song if it’s cool.  I recognize the caller, she wants to hear something lame.  No, not playing it.  I get back on.  So, dear listeners, let us now listen to The Clash, Broadway.

Thank you for reading


Thursday, October 10, 2019

Training for two weeks to run a half marathon


10/10/19 21:32 Bethlehem

Went for a run earlier.  8 miles through this town, on the rail road trail and around the casino and back to the house.  I am checking if I can run a half marathon in two weeks.  The Suffolk County Marathon and half and 10K and 5 K and everything in between is being held on 10/27.  Join me on my training and let us run together on the South shore on Long Island.  Let us pray dear friends that it does not rain.
Mo Cheeks is going to France next month.
Joey was visiting her, we FaceTime, or FaceTimed?  What is correct?
I may fly back to Mexico in November and back to Costa Rica in December for Christmas.

Thank you for reading this.  

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

An early moon


10/9/19 20:22 Bethlehem, PA

Meli is at the gym.  I wanted to get home and change and take my ball up to the courts close to the house.  I was on the phone with a former client for a while, catching up on   The days are getting shorter and the nights, no I won’t write any clichés and yet the energy level is waning.  Do you feel it?  Maybe you read about my drive back here on Monday.  The wipers went out just as it started to rain while I was driving on 78.  Yesterday, I brought my Jetta to Young’s Volkswagen in Exton, PA.  Yes, I know what you are thinking.  Why?  A dealership?  I wanted to post a congrats, and let you know something.  I feel confident with their work and was impressed with their professionalism and integrity.  Before I brought the car over, I called and spoke to John.  He was easy going and was said I could bring in the car.  They checked the fuses, which I did earlier in the day, and knew it wasn’t the fuse.  I was told, it was the motor for the windshield wipers, and it was going to cost a few hundred.  I’m stuck.  I need wipers.  I asked if he can check the oil as well, if it looks like it needs to be changed, please go ahead.  They checked and said I didn’t need an oil change.  So, I can trust them.  Finding a mechanic in a new town can be challenging.

Pete Engelmann just called.   We caught up on our lives and now discuss our health.  He shared that one of our friends passed away.  May God rest Herbie’s soul.   The last twenty years were especially painful for him, so it is a blessing.

Thank you for reading this.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Dancing in Dublin again








9/21/19 15:43 39,000 feet above the Atlantic

On my way back from Ireland.  I met Meli in Dublin.  Earlier last Thursday I arrived in Dublin and thought of getting down on my hands and knees and kissing the pavement, but that would have been too dramatic for the exhausted tourists and weary workers.  Get off there!  I was exhausted by the lack of sleep.  We flew in the night, under stars and turbulence, influenced by tail winds.  I peeked out from my window like a weak boxer in the final rounds, are we there yet?  Seeing Ireland under the grey clouds was a dream.  I have not been in Ireland since 1985.   Before heading back to the airport for the return flight back then, grandma wished me a safe trip. When my car keys fell in front of her, she said, out loud, Jaysus I hope that’s not a bad sign.  She died a couple of years after that.  
There is a five-hour time zone difference between Bethlehem, PA and Dublin.  Like a drunk fool, I decided that driving a stick shift, which I normally don’t drive was somehow feasible.   Getting into the opposite side of the car, the steering wheel, was opposite, different side of the road.  Trying to get the car into gear with my left hand, first and reverse were right next to each other, yet, somehow it would all work out?  After a couple of glasses of wine on the flight over, a lack of sleep, feeling a bit buzzed, somehow it would not be a death wish?  I made it to the Airbnb in Inchicore and only after calling the homeowner and going round his block three times, and meeting his neighbor who guided me to the house with a wave.  Over here you eydget.  I pulled into the driveway and we both noticed the smell emanating from the car.  Sure I farted a few times in the metallic beast.  She said, I was burning the gears.  After that she let me into house. The home alarm went off, cracking my ear drums with a deafening pulse.  She called one of the owners and we were in.  I made it.  I was in Ireland and looked at the small backyard.  A light rain came. I fell asleep for an hour or so.  Woke up and called Enterprise.  I wanted an automatic.  Driving down narrow roads which slide into one-way death traps was not my idea of spending a vacation in Ireland.  I made loose plans that day to have lunch with a colleague, but that was quickly erased since I had to drive back to the airport.  I drove back and was told how much more the costs would be.  I didn’t care, Meli and I had plans to drive around Ireland.  Let’s be clear at this point, I drove.  She pointed out lovely scenery, but even with an automatic, I hung onto the staring wheel with increased anxiety, especially after seeing a huge bus looming down the road or a tractor or an old woman standing too close to the road.  Yeah, I hit bushes on the side of the road, no old ladies, rammed the curbs a few times.  Each time getting into the car was an ordeal, first reminding myself I was getting into the right side of the car, sliding my knee under the steering wheel.  There was a sigh of relieve that I made it back to Enterprise in one piece, earlier today both the car and myself, and I am grateful I saw so many beautiful areas in Ireland.  I know both Meli and I will be back.  Let me look outside the window while I listen to Bob Dylan.      
We are crossing the tip of North America, some islands off the remote coast of Nova Scotia.  Meli is in Munich and may be getting into the Lufthansa airliner to take her back to Mexico City.  The last couple of days in Ireland have been sad since I knew she was going back to Mexico and I was heading back to the US.  Anyway, I’ll share more details as this progresses. 
Meli was in Sweden for work.  We had subtle plans to see each other in Sweden, but she thought it would be better to take a vacation in Europe. We looked at Spain and Portugal, but she suggested Ireland since it was one of the places she wanted to visit.  In comparison, Ireland is an expensive vacation, but we were conscientious, each night was a Airbnb which for most nights worked out for us.  One of the reservations could not host us, but a friend had room in her B&B.  That was a beautiful house and we were served a splendid breakfast with lots of coffee.  Waking up and seeing The Atlantic and the islands off the coast, the clouds slowly drifting over the slopes was a dream.  We could spend a few days in Dingle which is touristy and yet retains its character.  It is where I ordered our wedding rings which are beautiful.  I wanted to have a link between Ireland and Costa Rica. 
The light in Ireland as well as the air seemed clearer.  We sat across from one another at Trinity College and at the yard in Dublin Castle and were amazed at the light.   And we had the good grace since it did not rain on any of the days when we were together. 
We ate well.  I am still a vegetarian, but did eat some fish while there.  Actually the first day, I had fish and chips, but it was not very good.  I would have eaten card board and been satisfied.  Like I said, I picked up Meli at the airport.  Her flight was delayed and I fell asleep sitting at a small table for a few minutes.  When she came out of the terminal, I let her walk by and watched as she looked for me.  I walked up behind her and welcomed her to Ireland with a kiss just before midnight.

More to come…

Thank you for you reading this!

Monday, October 7, 2019

Happy Birthday


October 7, 2019 22:47 Bethlehem, PA

What’s it like to drive on the highway, in the rain, without any windshield wipers?  I thought of all the pilots who made serious errors and crashed. Thinking they could beat the weather or approaching storm or ignore the warning signs of a faulty engine.  They took the risk and paid for it with their lives or at least a serious injury for many.  Most crashes are due to pilot error.  I thought of this and when the rain was a faint drizzle, I was grateful, but when I crossed into this state, the rain was coming down hard.  Trucks were tossing back a wall of mist.  The rain was sliding off the windshield and there were some tricky areas on the road when I could not see that well.  I made it and can write about. What would have sucked would have been my gravestone, born on this date and died on this date.  Happy birthday to me.

Thank you for reading this.

Six Months since I saw my wife due to Covid

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