Sunday, October 15, 2017

Things to do on an October weekend

1. Watch Ethan sing at his high school "coffee house" event. 

2. Rent a big-ass Chevy pick-up truck, the kind men in Iowa drive.

3. Pretend it's still summer by going rafting. Eat hot dogs and frozen candy bars. Be the only ones on the river except for a trio of hardy kayakers.

4. Get pumpkins on the way home. Put 'em in the back of your pick-up. Put your wet swim trunks back there too, and when you get back to the city, wonder what happened to them.

5. Eat Domino's with Ethan on Sunday night and be creative.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Things I appreciate on a long weekend

I'm thankful for Brother Jimmy's BBQ, and conversations about life and love and nothing in particular. I'm thankful that he confides in me, tells me his dreams, hangs on my shoulder now and then, asks my advice.

I'm thankful for the sound of the buzzer at 10pm and I know that Samuel is home. I'm thankful that he still falls asleep in my bed sometimes, that he still finds that comforting after all these years. He can crawl into my bed and fall asleep when he's 45 and I won't mind.

I'm thankful for warm weather, long hikes, tired muscles.

I'm thankful for cold mountain streams that you dip your shirt in and put it back on and it gives you a cold, refreshing shiver like it's still summertime. 

I'm thankful for new adventures, new friendships.

I'm thankful for cold beer, sleepy train rides, a soft smile. I'm thankful that my heart still beats.

I'm thankful for Central Park. I'm thankful to be able to run--in solitude, to ponder, to work through things. I don't even care how fast my legs go. Okay, I'm thankful that I can still blow past the slowpokes, even when my knees are sore from hiking the day before.

I'm thankful for corn dogs at midnight, the sensation of thwacking a ball with a metal stick, and for this wonderful city that never sleeps.

I'm thankful for these boys that I love more than anything in the world. 

I still hurt. Deeply. So deeply that I can't even describe it, just a pit of emptiness, like there has been a rift in the space-time continuum and I've suddenly been dropped into an alternate universe where everything is the same and yet completely different. And Biff is president.

But there is much to be thankful for, and I'm not gonna piss it away. I'm gonna embrace it and be thankful.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Tom Petty tribute

Just to be clear, that's Ethan on the left, circa 2009. 

I can't even remember where we got the guitar. If I had to do it again I'd cheat and Photoshop in the same make and model as Tom's guitar. 

Like this:

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Storm King hike

Meet Josephine, my hiking companion this weekend.

Destination: Storm King State Park, about an hour north of Manhattan, near West Point. Neither of us had ever been there, but we chose it because it was close to the city and was classified as a "strenuous" hike. Neither Samuel nor Ethan wanted to go.

It was, in fact, strenuous. 

We went straight up a steep mountain, down the other side, then back again. It took four hours including short breaks for lunch, scenic overlooks, and selfies. We were enshrouded in fog for the first half of the hike, but it eventually cleared for some great views of the Hudson.

I was sore this morning. I confessed to Josephine that I took Ibuprofen today. She confessed the same. 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Second-generation deja vu

This is me and my niece, Mary, in 1988. (We both still pretty much look the same.)

I was single, living in Iowa, training and competing in freestyle wrestling. I had just met Jennifer and we were tenuously dating. I was at a point in my life where I was tired of being single. Holding my little niece Mary made we want a little girl JUST LIKE HER.

So this morning my little baby niece Mary had her own little baby girl: Freddie Hazel. 

She's just as sweet as my little Mary was when she was a baby.

(Shhh--let's not be judgmental about the name, okay? It's a perfectly fine name. If, when she grows up, she doesn't like the name Freddie, well, she can go by...her middle name...I suppose.)

As for me, nothing has really changed in the past 29 years. I'm alone again. I'm tired of it again. And I'd still love to have a little girl. JUST LIKE THIS.

Second-generation deja vu.

(I may go with a more traditional name. But...shhh, it's fine.)

Welcome to the world, little sweetheart. 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Lincoln Center reading

I did a reading at Lincoln Center this morning. There were probably a hundred people, lots of toddlers.

I read Ten Tiny Toes, Beep! Beep! Go to Sleep, and Three Grumpy Trucks, and talked a little bit about each book.

I noted that Ten Tiny Toes was dedicated "to Samuel and Ethan, my twenty tiny toes." I showed a picture of what they looked like when they were little and how they've grown up. 

I asked the kids to shout out the refrain of Beep! Beep! Go to Sleep whenever we came to that part. They obliged.

I said it was dedicated to "Samuel, who dreams of robots and time machines," and showed pictures of Samuel and his time machine.

Three Grumpy Trucks only has two illustrations done, so that required a little more imagination on the kids' parts.

talked about Guy Parker-Rees and how his animal illustrations from previous books look like exuberant toddlers, and that's why I like him. Everyone recognized Giraffes Can't Dance!

I asked the kids to stand up and try to stretch like a Guy Parker-Rees illustration. They obliged.

This is one of the illustrations Guy has done for Three Grumpy Trucks:

A new friend came to the event, and we had brunch afterwards, then hung out at the water terrace at the Museum of Natural History for a couple of hours watching toddlers play in the fountains. She was probably thinking, "He's nice but a little bit insane."

(Don't tell her, but when I got back to my building two little neighbor girls were drawing with chalk on the sidewalk, so I joined them, and eventually we had five kids drawing train tracks. Shhh.)

We call this a good day.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

It's 2AM

Samuel came home for the weekend. He's asleep on my bed, fully dressed. I went in and kissed his forehead and stroked his hair and whispered that everything will be alright.

Ethan is still up, playing a game on his computer in his bedroom.

I walked the dogs to the deli. The only people on Amsterdam were drunk twenty-somethings coming from the bars. I picked up an orange cream soda for Samuel to have tomorrow, and a diet root beer for me. I told Bobby at the deli that Samuel is home.

I need to go to bed. I'm just enjoying this moment of peace with my boys both here. It doesn't matter that they're in other rooms. They're here with me.

If I were giving advice to Samuel and Ethan, I would say love your own children unconditionally, but after that, spend your energy loving the people who love you back.

It sounds blindingly elementary, doesn't it?