Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Christmas in Costa Rica


Christmas 2019 Tilaran, Costa Rica 20:17





We woke up together.  Our first Christmas morning.  It was early.  We watched the end of a movie that we started last night.  Got up and made pancakes for her parents, her mother had a difficult time letting me cook the pancakes, she wanted to help in her own way, but finally let me take the reins.  Her father enjoyed the pancakes with an enchilada.  The windows were open, letting in a warm breeze and somehow I felt different.  This was the first Christmas in 34 years that I was away from the Gordon’s, but overall felt very welcome, loved and appreciated.  Called Mom and Dad and sent texts to Dave, Eileen and Shea and Emma Tess.  Meli and I played basketball.  Helped with the bar-b-que, her grandparents came over.  Her sisters and their significant others also came over.  I am sitting in the bedroom alone, feeling tired and a little homesick.  Meli can tell by my eyes that something is up.  And I tried to explain.  I am feeling frustrated with myself, for my lack of Spanish and the frustration the family must feel trying to include me in their games and conversations.  Her father showed me his collection of cash from Central and South America, the different currencies, coins and we exchange a word here and there.  Her mother also gets frustrated with herself when she does not know a word in English.  Meli on the other hand can rattle off the words and hardly has a difficult time.  I will study Spanish.  Last night I thought, if I am serious, I need to learn the language, every day!  Meli and I walked up to the church to pray in the chapel.  On the way back, she asked if I was nervous about our marriage.  The only thing, I am nervous about is my lack of Spanish since I have to say a few things in Spanish, like my vows.  At least part of it.  Everything will work out.  I may a little tired, there is not a place I can go to, to have a few minutes with my thoughts and I am grateful for this opportunity to share a few things.
Gratitude: For a lovely family, for Meli, For my health, For my family back on Long Island, For sobriety
Thank you for reading this.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

12 17 19 Out of Order in my posting


12/17/19 23:21 East Northport, NY

Not a bad drive from Bethlehem, rain held up to a mist on occasion.  The roads were clear and once I reached the George Washington, a swirling cloud hung over Manhattan.  I have been hacking for the last couple of days and need to get into bed early tonight.  Tomorrow, I may sleep in.  Let’s see what’s on the schedule. 

Gratitude: Jimi Hendrix, Fire live at Woodstock, Meli’s smile, Sober, arrived safely, my children


Thoughts in the afternoon


12/19/19 East Northport, NY 14:55

Mom is resting on the love seat in the den.  Mom had a lot of energy this morning and she wanted to chat with me, but I was working.  I am in my own world, it is the same – especially the day before a trip. There were a couple of errands which I did and I am back in the room, feeling somewhat anxious.  I am not present.  Dad will drive me to the train station and I will be off to Queens to spend a few hours in the Courtyard across from JFK.  Paying a lot of money for those few hours.  Tomorrow morning, I will be up very early, maybe 3:30.  Yes, at that time since my flight is leaving at 6:13 in the morning.  Yesterday I was thinking, why the heck did I book a flight so early?  Because Meli is getting into San Jose tomorrow and we will take a bus from the airport to her town.  Why couldn’t I have flown out on Saturday?  I looked at the flights and they were more expensive.  I want to spend as much time as possible with her.  The timer has gone off and mom will wake up from her nap.  She is fragile.  Before I leave, I will do a double check to confirm I have everything.  Passport, check.  Divorce paperwork?  Check.  I can’t wait to be with Meli.  This will be a long trip for us, over two weeks.  Thank God. Last night, I had dinner with Emma Tess and Matt.  At first we were at Chili’s. I sat down.  My ring finger on my left hand felt numb. It was pale and discolored.  I thought it was a blood clot, and was worried I may have to cancel the trip.  Not the case, it was something minor, Raynaud phenomenon.  Paid $50 for the clinic and we went to California Pizza for dinner. I bought a Christmas card for Em and will send her money tomorrow, after I get paid.  I’ll leave here in an hour or so.  It’s funny, earlier dad asked what time I was leaving and I said, 5 PM.  “There’s not a train at 5.”  I looked it up, Dad checked his paper schedule, “It leaves at 4:53.” I was close.  The man is very rigid and I realized both of my parents are control freaks, but I love them.  Love them.  Really do.

Thank you for reading this.   

Monday, December 16, 2019

Last Winter run in Bethlehem in 2019





12/16/19 22:45 Bethlehem, PA

I went for a run tonight.  It was dark.  I wore black sweat pants, black gloves, but my new pullover is green and reflects lights.  While I was out in the cool air I realized this may be my last run this year in the US.  No doubt, the last run in Bethlehem in 2019.  Tomorrow night, I am finishing packing and driving back to Long Island.  Getting closer to my trip to Costa Rica, flying out on an early 6:15 flight out of JFK.  My life in the sun will begin on Friday afternoon.  Sun beating on me in San Jose, Costa Rica.  I’ll meet Meli at the airport.  After clearing immigration, we will be together.  Rings in my bag.  My suit for our wedding packed in my luggage with my new black shores.  Getting married on the lake, and the serene idea that this is eternal, like a deep breath, carrying us to a grace.  So, I ran down to the Steel Stacks since that was part of my goals today.  I stopped to see a display that is open on the weekends.  There were trees and ice sculptures.  There were girls taking pictures and one said it was cold, but I disagreed as sweat dribbled from my face in the frigid air.  I was alone.  I could not believe the lack of security, there were reefs for sale and yard banners, bells, and anyone could have swept them up and ran off with the decorations.  But there is no crime in Christmas city.  I got back on the road after taking some pictures and crossed the bridge and back up N New Street.  The city was quiet.  It was evening and I was hungry, but kept running.  I missed meditation tonight.  I wanted to go, but my run was longer.  I read tonight, it was another one of my goals.  I can feel my body easing towards to bed.  The last night in Bethlehem for this year.  Kind of sad, but why?  I don’t know.  I am tired.  Listening to Talking Heads, this must be the place.
Gratitude:
1)      Sober
2)      Bob Dylan, If Not for you
3)      Bethlehem
4)      Meli’s smile
5)      Health

Thank you for reading this

Sunday, December 15, 2019

illuminated bags in Bethlehem


12/15/19 23:06 Bethlehem, PA

Walked up to the Moravian Bookstore and bought glass Moravian star ornaments which I saw last year.  My soon to be mother-in-law and my soon to be sister-in-law will get the other.  As I walked back I noticed illuminated white bags on the sidewalks in front of Moravian College.  There was another block, down the road from the school, neighbors were out lighting their candles and talking to one another as a light breeze blew.  I came back home.  Bought pizza across the street, and it was delicious.  With a Pepsi, it was very delicious.  Back out a couple of hours later.  Back to Marshall"s since I need new black shoes and I found a pair.  And discovered more presents.  My other sister-in-law is getting a 1000 piece puzzle of Frieda Kahlo.  Sneakers for my soon to be niece.  And a few things for Meli since it will be our first Christmas morning together and I wanted to make sure she has a few things to open.  And I am grateful.  She is grateful.  I used my Marshall’s credit card.  I used a couple of credit cards lately and I will pay the off since I don’t want to be in debt. It’s nice to have the fleeting thought; it’s only plastic and it’s not hitting my savings.  Sure, denial as long as possible.  I drove back, talking with Meli and sharing the sight of the candles and said, we will see all of this together…next year.

Thank you for reading this.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

T Monk Ugly Beauty


12/14/19 23:33

Starting this piece at the same time as last night.  Watching T Monk documentary on Netflix, saw this in the New Community in Huntington when it first came out.  Charlie Rouse.  Round Midnight.  Barry Harris, saw him recently at the Village Vanguard.  Dual pianos.  Clint Eastwood produced and directed this.  It’s a clear example of how an opposite can create something so appealing to the bebop and jazz cool cats.

Thank you for reading this.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Either Change or else


12/13/19 23:33 Bethlehem, PA

Tonight, I was busy at a meeting. I came home after it and watched Marc Maron on Netflix.  Ate a pint of ice cream and it was delicious.  I have not seen Maron’s standup and will watch another show.  It was alright.  But I feel like I am reflecting his shtick.  Just alright.  There were a few times I laughed, lots of smiles, but it was alright.  I am debating on buying a ticket to see him live in Huntington or hang on to the money because I should save the money for someone who I really want to see.  Eckhart Tolle is speaking in Boston, that would be worth it.  But that means a hotel and I would like to invite Mo Cheeks, as long as we are talking to one another. That’s two tickets and a hotel.  It would be nice to visit Boston in June.  Anyway, I am deflecting.  Received my annual review and it did not go very well.  Needs improvement.  Sounds like I am in back in school, this comment was the common response from my teachers.  Michael, needs improvement.  I agreed on the points, I can improve in areas and for the rest of the day I was fixated on the possibility I was going to get fired in the near future.  Let’s get through Christmas and kick him to the curb in January.  This was their way to set the course so the day it does happen, you’re fired, will not be a surprise.  I can either accept that defeatist attitude or admit my mistakes and make every effort to improve.  Either run and hide or work my ass off and get better. It’s pretty simple and I recall the President saying to me today, “I have confidence in you.”  So, off to a new and better direction.  As long as I set the course and take action.

Thank you for reading this.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

an early night


12/12/19 22:43 Bethlehem, PA

This will be a short entry since I am dragging my ass today.  Caught up with an old buddy, Andrew who lives in Florida. Shopped for the wedding, white shirt, black belt, and bought a birthday shirt for my dad and Christmas presents that will be donated to children in a local hospital.  Tomorrow is the company Christmas party.  The right thing to do is stay away from everyone so no one gets this cold.  It’s the same shit, my nose feels like a wide monster and is draining mucus.  You’re welcome for the details.  Heard from the local agent and my novel needs some tightening up.  She was encouraging.  Time to call it a night. 

Thank you for reading this.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Dreams of Robert Johnson


12/11/19 21:57 Bethlehem, PA

Listening to Robert Johnson blues since I may be hosting a show on WDIY and I need to become familiar with the music.  His voice is like a dream from the past, a link to the dust bowls and crying in pain.  There must be a book about the man who supposedly sold his soul to the devil.  King Hearted Woman.  I was on a tear today.  At the station for an interview, back here for a few minutes, went to get a haircut at Tim’s down the road and up to the mechanic for an inspection.  I need to get the passenger light fixture replaced, the whole thing, since it is cracked and only then will I get the official sticker, and I will be free to drive around the state without a fear of prosecution.  After that, up to the supermarket to buy some food, but first some Christmas shopping at Marshalls and after, food, home.  Cooked dinner and I am back at the keys getting down the thoughts.  I checked if my black suit fits and it does.  The white shirt is ready, but I may go out for a new black belt and shoes.  I don’t want to wear anything at our wedding that I’d feel embarrassed about.  And we discussed our vacation together in Costa Rica and it is just that, an easy vacation without any concrete plans.  This is interesting since it’s a stark difference from our vacation in Ireland or even the recent weekend we had together in Mexico.  Just as well.  They’re Red Hot, by Robert Johnson and this is something I can get into it. There’s a story of a record producer trying to find Johnson, only to discover he died the year before.  Dreams of Robert Johnson.

Thank you for reading this.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

My son's eigth birthday

An old blog entry I did not post.   It's more than tens years later and a lot has changed and yet there are similarities even back then:

My son’s birthday was today. This morning he woke up while I was downstairs watching the rain and wondering if today’s softball game was a rain out. It was. I put on my Chuck Taylors and made it outside to retrieve the paper, and made some coffee and had an oatmeal breakfast ball. By 8 AM, I asked Ali if she wanted to make it to the 9 O’clock service, but she was too comfortable in the dark warm room. I wanted to climb back in even with the birthday boy. There’s little room in the bed. We’re getting to the point when there’s barely an inch on the mattress.
So, here I am. Back on the blog and getting some words down. It’s been weeks and I’ve slipped from my goals. I wanted to submit something each week, but there’s been little time or the options I have are either rest and let the mind go blank with some mindless TV or something else, but don’t put the demand on. And if I continue to choose to do nothing I will have nothing at the end of the year. The decision is mine.
What did you do today? Went to church and after went for a run. Eileen and Eric and the boys stopped over. Went to see Kyle Okopuso – Islanders and got him to sign the year book and an Isles book I bought on EBay with signatures from the some of the dynasty players. Kyle was cool. There was no line, one good reason to show up a half hour before the signing was over! I’m old enough to be his father. Went to dinner at Friendly’s and we’re back for the night.
As I’m writing this, watching MLB and I’m considering starting a fantasy team. Last season I thought I’d give the NFL a shot and I made the playoffs. I didn’t do anything.
The choice is mine.

Thank you for reading this

Monday, December 9, 2019

Forgiveness


12/9/19 23:25 Bethlehem, PA

I handed in my NY Plates today at DMV without any fanfare.  I waited for about ten minutes and my number was called, went up and handed over my old plates.  I had them for over twenty years or close to it.  I was given a receipt and that was it. I walked out to my car with Pennsylvania plates and drove away.  Driving back to Bethlehem in the rain.  It was one of those days, rained all day.  There were some breaks and I noticed the brave joggers out in 50 plus degrees in shorts and t-shirts.  At DMV I noticed a woman in her pajama pants and slippers.  Her mother was bundled in a winter cap and thick jacket; unaware how mild it is.  But I digress, thank you for reading on.  Tonight, on the drive back, Meli and I were discussing the wedding, more than 50 guests will attend and a dessert corner with 80 different pastries.  And I slipped and said Ali.  It was a slip and I tried to cover it up.  There was a pause and Meli said, honey, you said Ali.  No, I tried to deny it, I saw a boat and can’t believe they are hauling this thing in December, can you?  No, I didn’t say Ali, but I had to admit I did.  Honesty. I apologized.  Meli was alright and let it go very quickly.  I was still apologizing for it, but she forgot.  Me?  I would have held it up to the light of inquisition, why did you say his name?  Are you thinking of him?  Wish you were marrying him?  But as I said Meli let it go.  Another valuable lesson. 

Thank you for reading this.


Sunday, December 8, 2019

The Power of Now


12/8/19 23:39 East Northport, NY

I started reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle last night.  What a book to read especially after my last entry.  The idea of the book is to live in the present.  Most of us get lost in the past or the future which creates fear, resentment, and an anxiety that festers under the surface.  We are victims of our ego.  Constantly craving and seeking to find the solution outside of ourselves and yet the answer is within, as long as we are willing to be open to the present.  To be continued…

Thank you for reading this.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Divorced Dad


12/7/19 19:26 East Northport, NY

I ran over 8 miles today.  It was a rare run when people were out, walking dogs or just out for a walk since the weather is supposed to turn for the worst on Monday and Tuesday.  I’ll drive back to Bethlehem on Monday after my therapy appointment.  Had an early dinner with Emma and the word is that the kids are grudgingly accepting me for who I am. They realize that they cannot change me and there was a snide comment about my priorities.  I don’t live my life seeking my children’s permission.  I am doing the best I can.  I am responsible, providing alimony, child support and even more money when I am asked.  I am not shirking that.  My life is not easy.  I am making the best of it, but I would not change who I am compared to who I was when I was married to their mother.  I was miserable.  Friends from the church said it.  My colleagues from work said it, but it never resonated within me.  Things will get better or now is not a good time was my motto.  Yes, I was selfish and made some horrible mistakes, letting people into my life who were toxic and did not give a shit about me.  I want to be clear, there were people, not just one or two.  They played a good game, but I knew I could not trust them.  Ali and I discussed divorce for years, but I did not do anything about it.  I would use it like a threat, hoping things would change. Instead of having the courage to proceed with a divorce, I ran away from it like a frightened child, running away from the reality and back into the toxic escapes.  It's all in my past. I value the knowledge of these experiences.  Never again.
   
I am marrying a beautiful woman, inside and out.  I have never been this close to anyone in my life.  I am grateful to have Meli.  I trust her and am comfortable, we respect one another and are deeply in love.  I look forward to many years, decades together. My children can either accept it and discover my life with appreciation or they can continue to fester in resentment.  This is a sad fact about divorce; especially with children. In some ways, getting a divorce with younger children may be easier, their lives will be unsettled, but eventually they accept the new norm and grow up in that setting.  With older kids, there is the constant reminder that Mom and Dad are not married anymore. Life is drastically different.  Dad does not live here anymore and there is a hole in their lives that was filled, through challenging times, through happy times and through family times.  Holidays are a painful reminder to the hole.  Like a death in the family and yet I am still here.  Still very much alive and willing to be a part of their lives - if they are willing to accept my life. 

Thank you for reading this.

Friday, December 6, 2019

In Two Weeks, Back to Costa Rica


12/6/19 23:03 East Northport

I left Bethlehem around 7:30, after rush hour, with my new Pennsylvania License plates.  Traffic was light and I stopped at a truck stop for gas and paid a cheap price.  Back on the road and had a call with Lou and listened to a WTF episode.  A rock photographer who publishes his own books, there’s an idea.  Maybe I will self-publish my latest novel?  Maybe.  Let’s see.  Meli is at her Oriflame’s Christmas party.  She’s having a great time and I am happy for her.  Once again if it was years ago, I would be a jealous and miserable man and plot and scheme to find a way to make her weekend miserable, just because she went out and had a great time.  But I am different.  She’s with her friends.  It feels so relaxing instead of waging a war inside or creating a fantasy or nightmare where she’s dancing with other men and locked in an embrace and…oh…hold a second.  Embrace? I am joking.  In two weeks we’re going to be back together in Costa Rica, I can’t wait and in 23 days, we will be married.  Thank God.  

Thank you for reading this.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Goals


12/5/19 21:49 Bethlehem, PA

I have been sitting on this sofa for hours and I am ready for bed.  It has been a long day.  Meli was not completed with her project until after 1 AM.  I was impressed with her commitment and passion for her work.  There is a good chance I would have said fuck it by 8 PM and stormed out of the office.  Not Meli, she was focused and determined to provide the best work possible. I was up at 6.  Been up since 6, but I was motivated today to accomplish many of my goals.  My car now has a PA license plate.  It’s really official.   I am a PA resident although I am not going to root for the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers.  Maybe the Sixers.  I've been frustrated with The Knicks for a long time.  New license plates, I have had the same NY plates since 2000.  I have to hand them back in when I get back to Long Island, will need to locate a DMV that is open on Saturday.  Be gone old plates.  They served me well.  I had them on an 2000 Elantra, 2006 Charger and lately my 2011 Jetta, I can’t think of any other cars that I owned in the last 20 years.  Once I have a car, I take care of it and it lasts.  I take it for regular oil changes, buy new tires and keep the interior and exterior clean.  Having these plates is really making the break.  The final break will come when I buy a house up here or just here.  Not sure if I am North.  The good news is that the car insurance is less in Pennsylvania compared to NY. It’s almost 22:00 and I can feel the pull of sleep.  Next is a few minutes writing the new novel.  Received a positive rejection tonight.  At least I am banging the words out for you and we can share a few minutes together before another encounter in this space.

Thank you for reading.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Committing to my goals


12/4/19 21:54 Bethlehem, PA

Having tea and cookies while working with Meli on a power point presentation.  She is still in the office.  It’s hard to believe, but it was dark by 4:30 this afternoon.  I still went for a run.  In the dark.  In light rain and wearing shorts.  I feel good about work.  Instead of pushing tasks onto my colleagues, I am taking on more responsibilities since I own the accounts I manage.  I own it, much like the decisions I make, the choices.  I am responsible.  This morning, the alarm went off at 5:07.  I pushed myself and felt better this morning for getting out of bed, starting the day and achieving a few morning goals, 3 minute planks, stretches, loving kindness meditation, weights, and making my morning call with my secret society.  Making a commitment to sobriety.

Thank you for reading this.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

A Poem for Christmas in Bethlehem, PA


12/3/19 21:41 Bethlehem, PA

I’m am here, reading King and dozing off to dreamland.  Received some good news earlier which I shared with Meli and our friends.  I put my wedding suit together and will need to confirm I have a white shirt that is not stained.  I have a tie and I may buy new black shoes so I can look my best.  I will work on my novel in a little while.  Just wanted to get some thoughts down and this poem.  This is a first take, I hope you enjoy it.

This house
There are no Christmas lights at this Bethlehem house
Darkness looms, constant shade
Two men, have settled into their respective rooms
Traffic is a wave, settling on the winter street
Train in the distance and I imagine the icy hands gripping on for life, castaways in the night
She moves through the store in another country, buying a dress for her last Christmas party in Mexico
Later, we will say prayers together, kiss the air, and I will think of her smile as I drift off

Thank you for reading this

Monday, December 2, 2019

Hot Tuna Played in Bethlehem Tonight








12/2/19 22:45 Bethlehem, PA

I can tell you Hot Tuna closed with Water Song perhaps their most popular song.  After a short run, a quick dinner and a fast shower, I made my way up to the Steel Stacks and walked up the flights of round stairs and was impressed with the intimate setting.  It was as if I walked into a warm and welcoming living room.  I was ushered to my seat and watched the whole set of the opening act, Larry Campbell and his wife Theresa.  This guy was in Bob Dylan’s band and has a New York connection, but they live in Woodstock, the East coast Nashville or Austin.  There’s the link between Levon Helm are you kidding me?  Incredible harmonies and I sipped a pumpkin beer and was impressed with them.  Jorma came out and played their last song with them.
I have not seen Hot Tuna since 1990 when they played Bay Streets in Sag Harbor.  It was the second time, the first was at the Ritz in NYC in 1987.  Sounds reasonable, Paul Kantner and Papa John Creach played with them.
So, after a couple of beers, the soft colored lights on the steel stacks, everything felt alright.  Jorma and Jack came out and played like masters.  Here are two hippie brothers who love to play their music.  The audience adored them from a safe distance, there was some banter back and forth and yet when the sons began the house was silent.  We absorbed the flow in the night like distant angels.  Jorma and Jack, both at their peak and yet I felt and saw the fragility of Jack in his still moves and humble approach.  Oh, but watch out world, he is not giving up.  The man kicked ass on his solos.  And Jorma, like a stoic saint filled the room with his voice and guitar like no other.  I was in awe.   If you have an opportunity, go see Hot Tuna. They play real American music my friend.  
I wanted to buy a poster or a t-shirt but the stand could not process credit cards?  What?  So, I walked out a richer man.  Within 10 minutes I was back here and typing this for you.

Thank you for reading this.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Hot Tuna is playing in Bethlehem


12/1/19 21:41 Bethlehem, PA

I hardly stepped outside.  Although it is Sunday.  This is the day I would normally venture back to Hellertown and attend church, but I was not feeling it this morning.  I woke up at 7 which is weekend sleeping.  7 is late.  I called Meli since she asked me to call her at 7, but it was only 6 in Mexico City.  I only remembered this after the second attempt at calling.  Not good.  I don’t think she went back to sleep.  As I started to meditate, she called and asked if we can meditate together.  We listened to some music and meditated together for a few minutes till the song was finished.  She sent me an article on the benefits of waking up early, the writer gets up at 5:00 every morning.  I like sleeping in on the weekends, but I can accomplish so much more if I forced myself to get up.  I used to be an earlier riser, and I became an early morning person.  So what happened?  I am not blaming Meli, but there is an hour difference and her 11:00 is my midnight and getting up at 5:00 consistently will be a hurdle.  If I let it be a hurdle.  Tomorrow night I am planning to see a concert at the steel stacks, well inside the theatre, Hot Tuna who I have not seen in 30 years?  35 years? Actually saw them twice, at the Ritz in NYC and playing at Bay Streets in Sag Harbor.  I was going through a hippie phase and tomorrow’s concert ties in with the David Crosby. Phase I went through last summer.  It may be the last concert this year unless I see something that I must see.  Tomorrow is supposed to snow here, all day with little accumulation.  I don’t have an excuse.  I want to get back into the office.  I’m itching to get back in.  It’s time.  And in 19 days I am flying down to Costa Rica.  It’s amazing.

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...