Saturday, November 30, 2019

Peenus Picture in Bethlehem


11/30/19 22:48 Bethlehem, PA

It’s my first night back in over a week.  Meli and I were on the phone a little while ago, there are questions about how Ali and I lived together for so long.  Instead of elaborating here, I will say that we tried to make the best of the situation we were in.  When I was younger, I had a tendency to romanticize the struggles we encountered, the economic hardship of the young writer with a drinking problem and a wandering eye.  The irresponsible man who liked to avoid any confrontation and felt somewhere or someone would drop down from the skies and have the ability to take him out of the life he was leading.  25 years later, I am wiser. I am trying to learn how to take care of my life, put some order into it.  It’s not just the kids, but also my ex and my parents and siblings.  I am discovering that I can make it.  Meli has been able to share her progress, she’s very independent.  Years ago that would have threatened me, I assumed to have a healthy relationship there must be some sort of dependency.  Balance was leaning to the person in-charge.  But this is not the case.  We are forging a real union based on equals.  Based on respect and love.  When I arrived back here this morning, I believe I arrived in a little over two hours from Long Island, maybe that’s a new record. Soon, I was running into the chores.  Laundry, water the plants, get out for a long run cause it’s going to snow tomorrow, who knows when I can get in a run again?  Go!  I ran for over ten miles today.  It felt great, I had the energy and could have went on for more, but wanted to speak to Meli.  Take clothes from washing machine, throw in dryer, check lint, food shopping, dry cleaner, work on my power point, take a shower.  It’s almost 11:00 and I am beat.  I will work on the new novel and eventually get to sleep.  But it is odd being back here.  I didn’t see a movie and maybe tomorrow is better?  It’s time to get ready for bed.  Maybe it’s time to check out the 6:30 AM meeting in the morning, if it’s not snowing too much.  Maybe not.

Thank you for reading this.




Friday, November 29, 2019

Everything is gong to be alright


11/29/19 20:33 East Northport, NY

Today, was a day of reading, I’ve been reading Stephen King’s End of Watch, the second book in the Bill Hodges/Mr. Mercedes trilogy.  I did not step outside.  I had a nap in the afternoon on the love seat in the den, had good calls with my brother and Emma Tess.  Made and cancelled plans for my dad’s 80th birthday party for next weekend.  He does not want to celebrate being 80 and we will respect his decision.  We are similar.  We don’t want to be the center of attention and a birthday is a solo event, it’s a reminder, you’re old and 80 is old, there’s no two ways to slice it.  We wanted to celebrate and show dad our love and appreciation.  My parents are set in their own ways, dad likes to get dressed up for the cold weather, puts in a knit cap, gloves, thick jacket and walks around the yard picking up pine cones.  It is something to do, sort of mindless and Zen like.  There will always be pine cones or twigs to pick up.  Each trip outside is an adventure into the unknown.  Mom likes to voyage out into the yard as well to take in deep breaths, to get in a bit of air into the lungs.  But I stayed here in this spot through the day and ma made the comment, I don’t think I saw you this relaxed in a long time.  I watched the sun pass from day and fade into the early night.  It was one day to veg as we’d say in this house.  Tomorrow morning, I will pack and drive back to Bethlehem.  It has been awhile since I was back at the house.  I need to go food shopping and pick up some dry cleaning.  Need to finalize a presentation for work.  Need to catch up on some emails.  And just maybe I will go out and see a movie, by myself.  Meli is out tonight, at a women’s event and I am happy for her, the event is how to speak to children who are going through divorce.  She cares so much about my children and wants them to know, they will be loved and accepted into our home whenever they visit or can stay as long as they’d like.  We will always welcome them with a warm smile and cup of tea.  Everything will be alright.  This is a transition and lately there has been pain with the idea that Dad is getting married.  Their pain stems from the past and from the fear of the future.  But I am not going anywhere, I will always make myself available to each of them.

Thank you for reading this
 

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Grateful to be Divorced


11/28/19 22:34 East Northport: Thanksgiving

I love my children.  Being divorced has strained my relationship at one time or another with all or a few of my kids.  They are not kids or children, but young adults.  Their ages are, 25, 23, 18 and 16.  My oldest is attending North Eastern Law, the second oldest will take a semester off from Stony Brook, my 18 year-old attends LaSell University and my 16 year-old attends high school.  Soon after being kicked out, I was told that I will always be the “bad guy” in my children's eyes and my 23 year-old said, “Dad, you’re never going to win.”  It took many months to shake off the belief that my kids were going to love me, regardless of how their mother may have felt.  I ignored their feelings, I tried to hide from their suffering.  We are still suffering in our own ways, and yet I have to say, I am grateful for being divorced.  I don’t mean to suggest for a moment, that I don’t care about my kids, I do.  They may not want to accept that.  I remind myself, I will always be the bad guy and I will never win.  It’s like a broken record.  Most of them do not recognize the good in me.  I know I am a good, decent man who had made mistakes.  But I am not the person who raised them when they were younger.  I was more selfish and lived with a lot fear and anxiety. Insecurities were over flowing from my cup and I fought like hell to keep some order in the house.  I was strict at times, but not always.  I shirked responsibilities like a pro. There was manipulation and passive aggressive tactics, that made my head spin, most of this was directed to my ex.  There was deceit.  There was a compartmentalized life that was out of control.  There was no direction, I was not sure who I was, but I knew deep down I was not happy.  I was not happy with my life.  And I sought to run and escape in many different forms that were not creative or that did not express self-love and self-compassion.  Only after the divorce and joining a 12 step program have I learned not be fearful.  Fearful of other’s opinions.  Including my children.  I am learning how to appreciate and value the life I am creating for myself.  I am taking care of myself through better eating, exercise, meditation and listening to motivational podcasts.   I have met someone for the first time, me.  I have met another for the first time, a woman who I love, adore and respect.  Meli has helped me on this path and we walk it together as best friends.  There will be bumps in the road and there will be the insecurities, but as long as I am aware of my thought patterns and protect myself from unhealthy thoughts or toxic people, I will be in a better place.  We look forward to sharing our lives together and welcome our family to take part.  On December 29th, Meli and I are getting married.  I am looking forward to sharing my life with my best friend.  We will both be free to discover the joys in life.  I could not experience anything like this before.  I have a new freedom.  Instead of living for the acceptance or insatiable recognition from others, the answer as my Zen teacher said, is within.  Here's some advise dear reader, stop living in fear and jump into the world.  It is a beautiful place to discover; if you open your heart and mind.

Thank you for reading this.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

I'm coming out


11/27/19 21:37 East Northport, NY

Years ago before having kids and getting married, this night would have been a packed school reunion down at Gunther’s Tap Room on Main Street.  I should check if the Scofflaws are playing there this weekend.  Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, there are reports that the winds will be too strong and there won’t be any floats in the Macy’s parade.  We used to bring the kids to that event when all of us were younger.  I recall one year, looking up at the building we were next to and seeing Jerry Seinfeld in his apartment looking down on all of us and the parade.  We froze.  Mr. Seinfeld was standing in his roomy apartment and enjoyed the comforts of home.  Tomorrow will be different for another reason; I don’t think any of the kids will be visiting this family.  Some are planning to run a 5 K Turkey Trot.  I have not run a Turkey Trot for years and just maybe I’ll head out and get in a run tomorrow.  Not a race, but a run.  I want to sleep in and rest since the days have been long.  I arrived back here at 1:30 Monday morning, slept four hours and was back to work.  And talking about work, it has been very busy.  The crush before the holiday.  There is the emotional release, of trying to be honest with the life I am leading.  Take a stand, have courage and fuck fear in plain English.  For too long I have been frightened of what others may think of me.  Too bad.  This is it.  Be bold and be proud.  Meli said it was like a gay person coming out of the closet, and I can see the similarities, I can feel the freedom and shaking off the shame.  There is no need for shame as long as I creating a better life for myself and others.  I am happier and there is no shame in being happy.

Thank you for reading this.

Monday, November 25, 2019

While Flying Back from Mexico City on Sunday Night


11/24/19 19:14 34,941 feet above the Gulf of Mexico

Meli and I fell asleep early last night.  She said it was before 2200 but I would like to think we made it to the 2200 hour.  We hung out with a couple of her friends from work as well as her roommate Dani.  We saw a light show in the city.  It was in an open space, people were either laying on their backs on the floor or if they were lucky they had a lounge chair.  It was promoted to be an hour, but it was only a half hour. Ethereal music pulsed, lights appeared like moons and space ships. Mirrors reflected columns of golden light like tunnels that either fell on some of us.  A few kids chased after the tunnels and smiled as if warmed by the light.  After that dinner and drinks.  Meli and I had a veggie meal.  I had two mojetos and Meli ordered one.  I finished half of hers which may be the reason for the early night.  The light weight that I am.  Hitting some turbulence and I know like a breath it will dissipate and it does as I type.  I am in a strange mood, missing Meli already and dealing with an email that was disturbing.  But like the turbulence and the breath, I need to settle down my thoughts.  Meli was great, very supportive.  She made a delicious lunch today, fish and vegetables.  We said grace before eating, same as this morning over pancakes and coffee.  And now I am heading back to New York.  Tomorrow is going to be an early day workday. I am not prepared as much as I should be.  

Thank you for reading this.


Saturday, November 23, 2019

We climbed a mountain for Meli's birthday


11/23/19 10:20 Mexico City

Meli is taking a shower.  We are supposed to be at her friend’s apartment in ten minutes.  We had a late start.  Yesterday, we went to Tepoztlan which is an hour bus ride from the terminal.  We raced to make the 12:00 and laughed at how we are always running to make either a flight or a bus, and we made it.  We always make it.  After getting off the bus, we took a taxi to the center of town, noticed an outdoor market and ate a delicious lunch, brunch, breakfast all wrapped up into one at Les Colores.  It is a beautiful place, wonderful decorations and a warm setting.  I’m still on my no meat diet, so I ate a cheese and veggie wrap, and another cheese dish with rice and tomato sauce.  Two beers and I was ready for our little expedition up the mountain.  We passed street vendors, dogs sleeping on the ground, and proceeded on the path, but the path became rocks and at times smooth rocks.  I would not want to risk the hike in the rain and will avoid it as any cost at night.  The trial was steep at times, went through lush jungle and all the while, people were either passing us or we stopped for breaks.  Since I run, I assumed it would not be a problem, but the sweat was dripping off.  Meli’s back has been bothering her, so we took a few breaks.  Many breaks.  I collected flowers, which I always do as a keepsake for a new place that we visited.  After more than an hour, we reached the entrance, only to find steep metal stairs, and more steep steps till we reached the top.  The view from the top was spectacular, to be that close to the peak, to see out on the horizon, to hear the faint music from the town, the church bells.  We rested for a little while.  On top of the mountain is a Mayan, architectural site; a pyramid which we climbed.  There was a man mediating, three women who brought crystal skulls with them chanted something and we tried to walk around the ledge of the pyramid, until Meli said don’t look down.  I looked.  I panicked, which was recorded for our children, it’s funny.  And we made our way back down.  Going down, more breaks.  Birds were singing, jungle birds which I never heard before.  And we finally got back into the town, had ice cream and took a taxi back to the bus stop and waited for the next bus to take us back to Mexico City.  And that my friends, was our first birthday together.   

Thank you for reading this.


Friday, November 22, 2019

Cultivating the goodness


11/22/19 10:59 Mexico City

It’s my love’s birthday today.  This first birthday we are spending together.  I love waking up next to Melissa, there is so much love.  Another example of the long distance relationship is savoring each morning. I am here.  Feeling better since I was buzzed from the wine last night.  I had a beer at the apartment, I was thirsty.  We strolled around the neighborhood last night. There was a vendor selling Christmas lights, men walking their dogs, joggers running around the park, men playing soccer or basketball.  And we bought water, made tea and fell asleep.  It’s warm here, 70 degrees, actually very warm at this time in the morning.  Ma and Pa called to sing happy birthday to Meli and she wants to call them later so we can have a chat.  Let’s see how that will work out.  Ma loves to chat, but only on her schedule, let me take that back.  There have been a few occasions when I would call and she would ask if I needed to talk, get whatever it was off my mind.  No, we are good.  I had one of those moments last night when we were leaving the airport, was I going to get fired?  I have this running monologue. I read an email and misconstrue it and let the false message or scene fester in the dark regions of doubt and fear.  Let me be blunt, it is low self-esteem.  It was one of those moments.  Meli was able to reassure me, but I need to reassure myself and fill my mind with positive attributions, look at the good I have caused. Look at the business I have brought to my company.  And it is only a start. Because, even the external influences can be limited.  Deep down I know I am the only one who can recognize my God given gifts.  Each of us has unique God given gifts that we can cultivate.  I love writing and hope this message can inspire – in spirit others.

Thank you for reading this.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Jet Blue takes me back to Mexico City


11/21/19 15:13 Flying over the Gulf of Mexico



Thank you turbulence, although you are slight, but now that I am writing you’re kicking in.  Mother fucker.  It will pass and I tell myself this when we hit some pockets.  A gay couple next to me on the flight to Mexico, held hands on the take off and I wanted to get my hands in there, but they don’t know who I am, so I sat alone, next to the window.  All of a sudden we are bouncing.  It has been smooth for the last hour and a half and now over the deep waters in the Gulf.  It’s not too deep.  I remember feeling like I could walk through the shallow bay all the way to Mexico from Florida, and we are leveling out for a moment or two but not.  Where’s the map?  The tirade from the gringo tourist who had too much white wine, but it was delicious and with the cheese platter and crackers, joy in the skies let me tell you sisters and brothers.  I can see water.  The sky is clear and as long as I can see through the clouds and see land, I am alright.  I am OK. The flight is landing more than a half hour early and I know my love will not be able to meet when I get kicked out of Mexican immigration.  Get the fuck into our country.  There’s a form I need to complete before we arrive.  I have completed this form a few times.  In an hour or two we will land and in four hours.  I hope I have a pen to complete this form, and if I don’t I will complete it in Mexico City.

Thank you for reading this.


Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The night before flying to Mexico


11/20/19 22:45 East Northport

I’m back at my parents since I am flying to Mexico City tomorrow.  Driving back in the dark and it seems like it was yesterday that I left this place. It was the day before yesterday. Maybe I could have timed it better?  I needed to pick up paperwork at the courts on Monday.  The rings were going to be delivered.  So that is the reason for the short trips.  Even the trip to Mexico will be brief and yet it sounds as if we are going to have a packed weekend.  I bought Meli’s birthday gift, ordered flowers which were delivered in hours and now I am here and tomorrow I will be there.  Living in the moment.  Feeling grateful.

Thank you for reading this.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Keep your sweaty neck covered in November


11/19/19 21:29 Bethlehem, PA

I picked up our wedding rings today.  They were sent from Ireland last Friday and FedEx attempted delivery yesterday.  White gold with the Book of Kells designs inlaid.  They are beautiful and seeing them brought back the day when Meli and I were in Dingle, Ireland and I sought out a particular world renowned jeweler.  It’s another step in our plans.  Tomorrow, I finish packing since I am flying back to Mexico on Thursday.  I can’t wait to hold my love.  It’s a fast trip, flying back on Sunday.  Instead of driving back here, I will stay on Long Island for the Thanksgiving break.  Earlier, went running and once again in the dark.  I ran down to the Steel Stacks that were lit up in ominous blue.  There is an event going on, in what looks like a catered tent, and maybe it is for Christmas?  I’ll find out and let you know.  Sweat was pouring off me and I huffed under the white Christmas lights which hung across the street.  And I continued to run and huff and felt alone as a train pulled in. A few cars passed and I ran in the crisp autumn air, thinking about what Shea said about keeping my neck covered, but it was not.  It was cold and wet from perspiration.  Running in the early night before a hot shower and dinner and meditation, is a gentle way to settle in.

Thank you for reading this.


Monday, November 18, 2019

Driving through New Jersey in The Rain


11/18/19 23:32 Bethlehem, PA

Driving through the rain to get here.  I think Meli is sleeping since I told her I will call when I arrived and have called her a few times.  I feel horrible since we didn’t get a chance to speak for too long today.  I was busy at work, finishing up an RFP and stressed out since the system was not accepting all of my answers.  Nothing like it.  So that is done.  I was working on the new novel which I already enjoy.  My son is leaving school and heading home.  This may be for good.  He wanted to call me to let me know.  My oldest is in France.  My youngest sister had a meltdown at my parent’s house, I rubbed her shoulders, which is something I never do, touch my sister, and felt the tension around her neck.  She is stressed.  I drove out East to Riverhead to get the necessary paperwork from the courts.  And we are moving ahead, the dress, the flowers, the cake, the rings.  There are the vows and the guests.  But I don’t want to be as passive as I have been and will be an active participant.  To have a successful event, it must be planned and typically I like instantaneous action.  Let my impulsive mind take the lead and let’s do this thing, but how?  I don’t know, it’s like writing a novel, let it create itself.

Thank you for reading this.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

A poem created while jogging through the woods


11/17/19 21:36 East Northport, NY

Exposing layers to her
Absorbing her light, casting out the darkness
Trusting her, knowing I can trust anyone for the first time, and not conjure a fictitious crime - when silence corrodes peace
She is my best friend and soon will be my wife
We share our compassionate hearts that have never felt this strange emotion,
this love
It is eternal and such bliss

I went running earlier, through the VA, but went further in and saw a white tail hopping and hiding behind some hedges.  There was a couple, older than me and we said hello to one another.  Meli and I will be like that, bundled up and taking a walk in the woods, finding the joy in nature although it is getting colder.  I ran in shorts.  Mom and Dad had the heat blasting in the house.  Mom wore a rope over her clothes for the rest of the day.

Amanda is off to France tonight. I sent her a text earlier, but she did not respond.  It is her choice.  I can’t control her feelings and yet I hope she does not revert back to not talking to me.  I will never say to her, don’t talk to me, I need space since I would not want her to say it to me.  Fact or fiction?  She is off to France, that is a fact.

Thank you for reading this

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Divorced Dad Walks through the woods and thinks


11/16/19 15:55 East Northport, NY

My fingers are numb since I took a walk through the VA woods.  The air is brisk, sun is setting, and the blue jays are scattered about.  Listened to Aretha Franklin and John Coltrane on Spotify.  Saw a hawk in the distance, and took it as a sign that I am on the right path today.  Earlier, Meli and I had an open conversation about the kids and how they may react to the news of our wedding.  I have a fear of confrontation, rejection, abandonment and avoid all of those emotions for the most part.  Not all of the time. How can I grow if I avoid them?  Face the fear.  I don’t want to hurt the kids.  I am not doing anything malicious.  It is not my intention to harm them, and yet the scenario I have been hearing is that I will destroy them, ruin their lives, face the potential that they will not talk to me.  But that is their choice.  Amanda is planning to take a solo trip to France.  I am flying back to Mexico on Thursday.  Those are our plans for the near future.  Soon it will be Thanksgiving.  Here is what Meli suggested; plan on what you are going to say to the kids.  Plan?  Me?  I don’t plan on business meetings. I am lucky if I have an agenda and I don’t mean to compare talking to my kids to a business meeting.  Her point is valid. Take control.  Yes, they will be upset.  I don’t know if this part of our culture, this constant nurturing and taking the easy way, and in some aspects (honestly) the cowardly way.  Anything is better than being honest with myself, with the kids.  I love them, and don’t want to cause any more discomfort.  It has been almost two and a half years since Ali kicked me out.  So, the argument that it is too soon does not hold any water.  The argument that I will ruin them, is not accurate or fair.  I never abandoned my children.  Am I close to all of them?  No.  My sponsor has said, Mike is going to do what Mike wants to do.  I am considerate and yet I have to honor my love and commitment for Meli.  A change in our lives can be upsetting, but we don’t need to avoid it.  I have to be honest. There will be some pain.  Meli and I want to share our lives with my kids.  The idea I will not see them, is not correct.  We will always welcome them to our home.  It is their home as well.  And by the grace of God we can all enjoy time together.

Listening to Wholly Holy by Aretha Franklin

Thank you for reading this.


Friday, November 15, 2019

Poem for a sixteen year old


11/15/19 23:21 East Northport

Raw lips bleed like a flared blister
Ghosts inhabit the mind and take up their rituals
Haunting the present, enveloping the halls in a California school
Was it Florida?  The sun settles on the patches of caked blood
Rippling flags
Vultures are attracted to their reflection

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Running in the dark


11/14/19 23:41 Bethlehem, PA

I ran in the dark.  It’s dark by 5 and yet I knew I had to get out.  I wore shorts, although it was 36 degrees, not too cold even with shorts, and I loved getting out there and showing off my skinny pale legs to the drivers who looked at me with a sense of confusion.  Wearing shorts is still acceptable above 15, but below that is risky.  The skin gets raw, itchy for the rest of the day, but I will try to push it this season.  No gloves tonight.  The hands were fine.  No wind.  Running over a bridge crossing the river, the air was not that much different.  I ran the whole route, not stopping except for traffic.  I made good time and got back, took a shower and called Emma Tess.

Thank you for reading this

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

WTF Mark Maron


11/13/19 22:13 Bethlehem, PA

Listening to the WTF podcast with the guest Tony something who was on the shows Arrested Development and Veep, not sure who the actor is.  It was a brutally honest interview.  It was enlightening. Both men openly discussed their addictions, anxiety, low self-esteem, people pleasing, and co-dependency.  I deal with these emotions daily.  Who doesn’t?  When I am dealing with them, I can let my mind run away in these projected – self harmful - scenarios.  Mark said something which struck, how often do I think of other people? All of the time.  For most of us, we deal with this constant battle.  Imposing scenes that we create.  We create.  I create.  Meli and I have used this useful tool, is this fact of fiction?  My anxiety, my low self-esteem constantly creates false scenes.  False projections.  Years ago this thinking was so bad, I was convinced I would get fired when I went into work the next morning.  Sunday nights were the worst. I assumed Monday morning I was getting fired.  I wrote about this in previous blogs.  Until my therapist labelled my thinking as, obsessing, did I stop.  How?  Meditation was the answer.  Focus on the breath, when a thought came up, instead of latching onto the thought, I can breathe it in and breathe it out.  Going back to the podcast, I have not heard this honesty outside of the rooms as some refer to it.  The recovery rooms.  Where souls are bare and we listen, not out of shock or a false sense of empowerment, over another’s pain. It’s to learn what worked or what didn’t.  I would love to adopt the attitude, it’s sort of a  “who gives a fuck.”  WTF is a great name for a show, but Maron is a monster in his own mind.  In my humble opinion he is just like the rest of us, wrestling with different ideals, not being authentic enough, and guessing what the fuck is going on.  Never knowing what the truth is, since he may be seeking this outside of himself.  There is darkness at either end of this journey.  We can either learn to accept this and treat ourselves with love and understanding or we lose sight of the person we are developing and caring for. 

Thank you for reading this.


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Roy Haynes at the Blue Note







11/12/19 20:46 Bethlehem, PA

Thank you for reading this.  I arrived back at the house by 0200, dumped my bags around the room, brushed my teeth and went to bed.  I had to be up in four hours and it was a restless night of a monkey mind, the room was too warm and I was anxious about the day.  But here we are my friends. Listening to Coltrane and Monk and Roy Hayes at the Five Spot back in 1958.  It is significant since I bought a used CD at the record store in Commack before driving into the city and I thought wouldn’t it be great to get this signed by the one and only Roy Haynes.  It was a good idea so stick with me for a little while.  Parked the car at the Icon Parking garage near Cooper Union and walked across town with my CD in my pocket.  It was a mild autumn night.  I called Meli and said I wanted to take her to this neighborhood since it was old New York, narrow streets and people waiting for others to get through.  It was very civil last night.  I headed over to the Blue Note and waited with others to get inside.  It wasn’t a long wait.  I asked the guy checking us in if Roy was around and he said he’s up in the dressing room.  Instead of waiting after the show, I head up with my CD and noticed a guy about to go into the dressing room.  Excuse me I said, would you mind getting this signed for me?  He was about to take the CD and thought better of it, and invited me to follow up into the dressing room.  Cool.  But we soon learned Roy was in the bathroom.  So I waited and the guy used the bathroom as well and I waited in the hall like a moth dangling in the light.  I waited for him to finish and I told myself, be patient.  Just be patient.  I noticed his shoes in the stall every time the door opened and I waited.  Maybe he was snorting coke.  I couldn’t waited and knocked.  The door opened.  I was welcomed.  There was Roy in his seat and tapping his feet.  I asked if he would sign my CD.  But he looked at it and said he wasn’t on it.  He opened up the cover and said, there was too much writing here.  Man…he liked to use the word, Man. I don’t know, he said.  I thought he was not going to sign it and in that time we got to know one another.  Have any kids?  Yes, I have four.  You look too young to have any kids.  Thank you, can you sign it?  The others guys in the band told him he was on the album and it was one of their favorites.  Is there a picture of me?  No, I said disappointed.  And I thought quickly, maybe you can sign the back of the CD, the silver part?  And he did.  Would you mind if we take a picture?  No, he said.  He didn’t want to take a picture.  He was being difficult, but in a gentle way.  Roy took the stage.  He danced a little in front of the audience and took his seat behind the drums.  The man who played with Bird, Louis Armstrong, Eric Dolphy, Chick Corea, was in his element and I was amazed how much energy he had.  So, what the show started at 10:30 and was wrapping up just before midnight.  The band played to a sparse room.  I drank three beers and as he was walking back to his dressing room, I got in a quick picture with him.    

Thank you for reading this.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Tonight, Roy Haynes at the Blue Note


11/11/19 15:42 East Northport, NY

What a beautiful day, and yet I was working inside, working remote. I’ll finish packing and load the car and head out of here soon.  I am seeing Roy Haynes at the Blue Note in NYC.  I have not seen a show there in a few years.  Maybe the last time was Ravi Coltrane?  It was the first time I saw him perform. Tonight is Haynes and it’s something special, seeing the famous drumming legend.  Haynes, who is 94 years old played with most of the greats from Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, T Monk, and many others.  I’ve wanted to see Roy for the last few years, and yet the timing was not right, but tonight I am heading in and will share more details about the gig for your eyes tomorrow. 

Thank you for reading this.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Being a divorced Dad


11/10/19 23:23 East Northport, NY

My dad has some nuggets of wisdom from time to time.  Tonight before I came to bed, he suggested I pray the serenity prayer.  For those who are not familiar with it: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.  Thy will not mine be done.  The prayer is used in 12 steps rooms and has helped me when I feel there is little more I can do, expect to pray and to accept the circumstances.  This weekend has been emotional.  Last night I had dinner with Amanda and Joey and felt we ended the night in a positive way.  But there was little communication from either of them today, I was not sure what to expect.  I had dinner with Emma Tess who has been with me through thick and thin, there was not one moment when she made an ultimatum, it’s either us or her.  And both Meli and I know how the divorce is still fresh and painful, but we are making plans to marry.  I asked her last January if she would marry me, so it should not be a surprise to any of my children that we will get married.  I listened to their fears.  I know they love me, but I don’t like hearing, if I really loved them, I would not get married.  The fear is that I will go away and not be a part of their lives.  The move to Pennsylvania was not easy since I was moving away from my parents, sisters and more importantly my children, but it is more expensive to live here and they understand, but it doesn’t make it any easier.  I can’t run out to pick up Bella from school if she needs me; it will take more than three hours – at least – to get to her.  But I have not abandoned them. Yes, I live in Pennsylvania, but I am still part of their lives – as best as I can be and as best as they want me in their lives.  I visit Long Island at least every other week and see the kids, the one or ones willing to see me.  So, it’s true, the serenity prayer is perfect for tonight, especially knowing most of my children are suffering in their own way, with the divorce, with knowing I am engaged and with the possibility, I will be married to someone other than their mom.  I will always be there for each of them as much as they are willing to accept me for who I am and who I choose to be with.

Thank you for reading this.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Krishna Das in NYC and talking to my kids about getting married...again







11/9/19 21:47 East Northport, NY

What a day.  From picking up Lou and Cheri and driving into the city to see Krishna Das earlier today.  I know my bro so well.  We had made plans, I’ll pick him and Cheri up at 10:00 and we will drive into the city.  It was cheaper and faster than taking the bus.  I know him.  There was a text at 0800 and then the call I was expecting.  It was at 9:00.  Did you check Waze for how long it will take? He asked.  No, but I figured I’ll turn it on when I get to your house.  I knew he wanted to leave earlier, this was the reason for the call.  Even Cheri told me later that she asked him not to call me.  But here he was. I told him, I was about to jump onto the shower and I’ll be over as soon as possible.  OK, good he said. And to their credit, my friends sprinted out of their door and we were off to the city.  This was not the typical KD concert which we knew, this was different.  This was Shree Hanumaan Chaaleesaa.  It was a special prayer that should be chanted 100 times in the native language.  For instance, Bala budhi vidyaa dehu mohin harahu kalesa bikaara, which means, “Grant me strength, intelligence and wisdom and remove my impurities and sorrows.”  The event was for three hours.  Most of the leaders were women who had beautiful voices.  The band was incredible.  A holy air reverberated within the old church on West 86th Street.  Although we botched up the language, we sang with pure hearts. 

I had dinner with Amanda and Joe in Smithtown.  It was an open dialogue, honest conversation.  We discussed what is happening in our lives.  Amanda will fly off to France very soon.  I am heading to Mexico.  Amanda asked how the visa process was for Meli.  I explained how Meli and I have two choices, either a fiancĂ© visa or a spousal visa.  The fiancĂ© visa process is very risky, so I may have to get married out of the country.  Overall, they want to be involved and would like to meet Meli before we get married.  Based on the current immigration policies, this may be a stretch, but I have to say there was no anger.  We had an open and honest chat.  There is still a lot that needs to be processed.  We ended the night with hugs and love, but there is still pain from the past and some fear of the future. 

Thank you for reading this.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Miles Davis, Miles Davis Quartet


11/8/19 23:20 East Northport, NY

Listening to Miles Davis on Spotify, Miles Smiles.  I am amazed I can listen to the whole album and compared to the way I searched for music, on YouTube, this is more efficient.  I enjoy listening to jazz when I write or drive.  The words are bouncing to the rhythm and I can download this album?  Are you kidding me? I came upstairs to the bedroom I had when I was a kid, the same one I have written about so many times.  I sleep well in this room.  It holds some memories which I don’t dwell on.  Alright, Footprints is playing, one of my favorites of all time.  Wayne Shorter wrote this song, and both Miles and Wayne play together till Miles takes the lead.  Is that Herbie Hancock on piano?  I drove back from Bethlehem and was able to hear most of an NPR story about a family of illegals.  The mother and her brother have been in the US for over twenty years and have not learned English.  That doesn’t disturb me as much as the reporter interviewing her uncle.  The man works 6 days a week, for less than the minimum age and has not had a vacation for more than twenty years.  This the new servitude.

Thank you for reading this.


Thursday, November 7, 2019

Husker Du is on the radio?


11/7/19 21:30 Bethlehem, PA

Leaving work at 5:30 in the pitch black night, raining and feeling like the day escaped unnoticed.  Instead of making some dinner, I walked across the street for the best pizza in Bethlehem.  I was considering driving back to Long Island tonight, but decided it’s not worth it.  Listening to The Replacements, Bastards of Young.  Looks like I will be a Spotify paid member and why not, there are mixes and no commercials for those who pay.  And besides I will get a free Google contraption.  Let’s see how it works out.  My radio will gather dust and who cares?  Elvis Costello, Radio, Radio…you better listen to the radio.  And I will listen through the computer at work and in my car.  It’s busy at work and this is a good thing.  The day races by.  Tomorrow I should be in the office.  So, the plan is to head back tomorrow night, leave Bethlehem at 7ish and get into Northport before 10.  Ma will be sleeping and Dad will be in his corner on the sofa.  Saturday, sleep in and will pick up Lou, Cheri and head into the city to see Krishna Das.  I’m going into this with an open mind.  It’s up town.  Now it’s time to listen to some Stiff Little Fingers, Alternative Ulster on Classic Punk.  Husker Du is playing and I am happy.  I’ll call Meli in a few minutes. 

Thank you for reading this


Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Random Ramblings


11/6/19 22:05 Bethlehem, PA

I spoke to Joey earlier while I was in the office.  He looked happy, healthy and I thought we would have another FaceTime tonight.  This was a night when I read.  Currently reading End of Watch by Stephen King, which is Part II in the Mr. Mercedes trilogy.  Love his pace and the compact hits, like rib shots from a boxer who is close enough to swing all of his weight into me.  Anyway, it’s quiet here.  There is a large dog barking at something in the night.  Some traffic.  One of the neighbors across the street is fighting again and he’s yelling. This is different, since these outbursts do not occur during the week.  He has his standards, so something must have wrecked him.  I submitted my most recently completed novel to a publisher.  I sent a sample to a local agent and there it is, not giving up on the dream.  On my lunch break, I walked around the neighborhood and listened to a podcast on The Clash, it was Chuck D from Public Enemy.  I sent a link to Dave since I know he will enjoy it.  There were some excellent clips from Strummer yelling at the US Festival, cursing at the last gig as The Clash and his attempts to reform the group, especially as Mick Jones formed BAD.  I didn’t know he played on their first album.  And weeks before Strummer died, the duo were on a stage for a benefit concert by chance.  Their last song, London’s Burning, which was the first song they wrote. 

Thank you for reading this.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

An open mic after work


11/5/2019 21:57 Bethlehem, PA

After work I went out for a run.  I didn’t have much time, but got in 3.5 miles and averaged just over 8 minutes a mile.  The weather was perfect, a cool autumn day, the sun setting and traffic was barely a hum.  I was in my own world, the way I usually run.  I fall into a meditative mind, thinking of friends who I should reach out to, brothers in the program, past friends and of course my family.  It’s the time to let my body go as fast as possible, there is no sun, no humidity, the sneakers are snug, wearing shorts.  There were the few times I had to wait for traffic or the light to turn and I wait and pace back and forth till there is an opening.  I ran back home.  Heated up dinner and had a quick bite before a shower.  Dressed and had more food and checked the start time for the open mic.  Sign in starts at 6:30 and the show begins at 7:00, down at the Ice House.  It’s been a few months since I read at the open mic.  There was a free jazz saxophonist, a poet laureate for Bucks County and a younger poet who I have heard before, nice to see her confidence is working. Then there was the open mic for the rest of us.  I was one of the last to go before the break.  After the break, the second half begins, but after the run and the reading, I was ready to get back and do some reading and writing.  I came home and overheard my housemate’s conversation with I assume she’s his girlfriend?  She was coughing a lot and he had the conversation on speaker.  Why?  Anyway, it’s night.  My goal to write every night for a month is almost complete.  I challenged myself to get down a blog from 10/7 to 11/7.  Let’s see if I extend this.

Thank you for reading.


Monday, November 4, 2019

Meditation at Moravian College


11/4/19 21:49 Bethlehem, PA

I went to meditation tonight.  There is a zazen at Moravian College on Monday nights.  It is held in the theological building.  It’s a decent group, various ages and shapes and sizes.  Some have a Buddhist knowledge, some are simply curious what meditation is, and there’s some like me, on a spiritual path.  Tonight’s Dharma talk was longer, but it was essential to some of the questions.  Why are we there?  I answered, to find inner peace.  When I sit, I can feel a presence which is incomparable to anything else.  Beth dove in deep tonight, it was not just loving kindness, but wrestling with the darkness in all of us and through practice we can lean into the pain and darkness, and eventually we lose the ritualistic responses that are ingrained in each of us.

Time to write some fiction.

Thank you for reading this.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Living In The Present


11/3/19 21:44 Bethlehem, PA

Living in the present, which is what Meli said just before we hung up the phone. 

You may be curious where we met.  I thought about sharing this with you.  I saw Meli on a meditation app I was using at the time.  It is called Insight Timer and it has a social context unlike other meditation apps which I currently use.  Anyway, I reached out to Meli after I finished meditating and sent her a message, it was nice to meditate with you.  Since she was in Mexico, I doubted I would hear back from her, but she wrote back.  I used Google translate and would copy the words on a piece of paper and type them into the app.  After a few days, she wrote back, I speak English.  It was a lovely start, since the previous communications would have been too arduous.  A couple of days later, I asked if we can speak on WhatsApp.  She apologized, her mother and sister were visiting her in Mexico City, but she said she would like to speak to me.  There were some audio messages, I made a video for her while I was on business in Atlanta.  And it was there that we spoke for the first time, I could not believe it.  She was happy and we had a decent conversation.  She was unsure about her English, even now there are times when she is not confident, but she amazes me by her vocabulary.  After two months, I flew down to Mexico City and saw Meli.  We spent the night in the city, went to wrestling, I was shocked by the theatrics.  We flew down to Puerto Escondido and spent an amazing week together in the sun and surf.  It was magical in so many ways.  It still is very magical; we are both on an amazing journey together.  Looking forward to seeing her again on the 21st and celebrating her birthday on November 22.  I am grateful I have someone as loving and supportive as Meli. She is aware of my flaws and my past mistakes. She reminds me, those things don’t define the man I am.   Anam Cara!

Thank you for reading this. 

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Once; I was invited the ritualistic honor to provide the Thanksgiving prayer, not again


11/2/19 22:42 Bethlehem, PA

It’s official, I have a Pennsylvania driver’s license and I am registered to vote.  I was welcomed to the state although I moved here months ago.  I paid extra for the Real ID which means eventually I will not need to bring my passport when flying domestically.  This will be a requirement starting in 2020, but like Brexit, I would assume this may be pushed back if ever enacted.  Anyway, Meli and I were planning the next trip to Mexico City. It will be a short trip, and I’m thinking it makes sense to stay on the island when I return since Thursday is Thanksgiving and we are off on Friday.  I hope the kids will join us at Eileen’s, she has hosted the meal for years.  The first time I spent Thanksgiving there I insisted in reciting a beautiful prayer which, yes it went on too long and I should have summarized it, but it made an impression.  It made such an impression I am asked not to handle the Thanksgiving prayers.

Thank you for reading this.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Vasectomy was the Topic of the Day in the Barbershop


11/01/19 22:25 Bethlehem, PA

Listening to a podcast of Henry Rollins of his latest radio show.  Fanatics.  He is a fanatic about music.  It’s amazing, Henry is an encyclopedia for punk, jazz, free verse, speed metal, deep.  The Ruts?  Segs? Who is this guy? 

This afternoon, I heard an interview The Slits guitarist on the radio as I drove to Tim’s Barbershop. I passed the store to check if it was empty.  It was.  I walked in.  One guy was getting his haircut, for the record, he was getting it very short. I sat down and was quickly sucked into the conversation.  What do two men talk about in a barber shop?  Getting a vasectomy.  The topic made me cringe.  Tim was giving sound advice, don’t keep your testicles too clean afterwards. The surgery will not heal.  After three weeks there were still the holes where instruments were used to cut and burn the tips…of tender veins.  I added the tender veins in the previous sentence for dramatic purposes.  I was dying, even now as I’m typing this, he said one of his friends had clamps inserted and they are still there.  Tiny clamps on his vein?  Let’s shake off the image of clamps floating around said testicle.  The guy getting his haircut was going to have his vasectomy in the near future. His face changed, he looked faint, his eyes were glazing over, and I thought I saw his lips tremble out of fear and dread.  Let’s move on from this subject.  Wait, hold on, before I leave, years ago…many years…I remember getting checked out for the possible minor surgery.  The snip and off you go!  The stories I heard; for instance, one of the guys I worked with said he had it done…he drove there alone. On the way home he had a flat.  He had to change his tire.  The pain was unbearable.  Anyway, the doctor looked at me and said I would require a more thorough surgery since one of the veins was enlarged.  He asked if I was injured.  I was.  I was kicked severely when I was playing soccer when I was a kid.  I saw colored lights blasting behind my eyes, and soon after my testicle was black and blue and swollen.  There, I said it.  After the doctor gave me the much needed excuse…not to have surgery.  I came home and explained carefully what he said. I was relieved. What did my ex say?  I think you need a second opinion. 

Thank you for reading this.
    

Six Months since I saw my wife due to Covid

  9/6/20 19:13 Home Tomorrow will be six months since my wife and I waved goodbye at the airport in Mexico City.   I planned to work in Me...