Saturday, December 17, 2011

It's Getting Closer!

I know that this picture is blurry, but I still love it. I was a little reluctant to go to Rockefeller center last night as there are constantly large crowds this time of year, but I wanted to show Little Man the big tree, and seeing his excitement made the trip worth it. The tree is up, the stockings are hung, the music of the season is always playing, and there is a lot of love in our little apartment.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday, December 09, 2011

The Sufi Path

Reading the “Poem of the Sufi Way” as the final work this semester, seems the most fitting way to end a course that captured the varied life experiences of these ancient mystics.  From Rabi’a to Ansari, the philosophies and practices of numerous Sufis came to life in al-Farid’s prose.  From this poem al-Farid connects all Sufi fraternities into one great whole; there is no separation of belief, just separate methods of expression.  Perhaps the most compelling stanza in his poem is found on page 141.  Stanza 237 reads:

For after I fought, I witnessed
      that he who made me see,
             my guide to me, was me—
                               me, my own example.

The first line implies a struggle against some force.  The opposing force is not defined as each Sufi will encounter their own struggle in their own time.  Whether that struggle comes in the form of power, wealth, fame, hunger, abuse, or even a lack of faith, each person on the Sufi path will only have a witness after they struggle.  It would appear that the victory over the struggle is not the important part, for there is no mention of a win, but the glory is found through the tribulation and not around it.  This means that the seeker must come to accept what is placed before them and not try to avoid it or become something that they are not.  The Sufi must not only accept the world in which they live, but they ought to also forge through the obstacles that stand in their way.

            The line “that he who made me see,” implies the existence of a force outside of oneself that has significant power over the individual.  To force one into seeing something that was not already known reveals that the revealer comes from beyond the realms of the known world.  When the seeker acquires the knowledge that can only come from beyond the known realms, they have transcended into a new sphere of existence.  This transcendence is a true religious experience as they are now left to interpret the unknown witness into the known language of those that surround them.

            Al-Farid reveals the revealer in the next line: “my guide to me, was me—“.  This captures the Sufi principle of union between the Creator and the creations.  When one moves beyond their profane knowledge into the realm of the sacred, they have joined with the source of all knowing.  This line also shows the importance of the individual along the path to attain union with the divine.  While there may be many fraternities to join and masters to learn from, the most important teacher to be found along the path is the student who wants to learn.  This is reinforced with the final line “me, my own example.”  No matter what a person may want to learn from another further along the Sufi path, there is no greater teacher than the very student in learning the correct way to travel, for there are many different ways to get to a single destination. 

            The reason this stanza resonated with me more than any other in the poem is because this captures my own personal and religious philosophies more than any other.  It is important to learn from others, but they can never be a suitable substitute for what I have to teach myself.  The union that one seeks to find with the Divine will not be found in following the path of others, for the Divine speaks to each in their own way.  The masters who have gone on before are great to use as a general template for life’s path, but they ought not to be used as the only source of knowledge.  Why should the Divine communicate to and elevate a person who cannot communicate to and elevate themselves?  The struggle that each of us face is unique therefore the path we choose must be unique also.  The emphasis on the individual found in al-Farid’s poem truly embodies the many varied works of the Sufi masters who preceded him.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

The Project

A couple weeks ago we finished a project.  Little Man has been working on shapes at school, and he had a project to make a shape collage.  I thought that the only thing better than making one collage would be making three collages, so we spent the weekend cutting circles, squares, and triangles.  Personally, I think these are awesome, but I am a little biased.  He was very proud of his work, and he really likes seeing them on the wall at his school.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

To Infinity and Beyond!

We spent our Saturday morning on the M116 to Target.  We bought socks, a watch, Buzz Lightyear pajamas, and construction paper to make a collage for Little Man's preschool project.  The little one wasn't as excited about his new socks as I was about mine, but he really likes having a watch and awesome jammies (that is why he is wearing them at three in the afternoon).   

Today is a good day.

Monday, October 31, 2011


Tonight we joined the neighborhood parade and received candy from the firehouse, two restaurants, the frat houses, and the little park next door.  The street was closed to traffic, so all the kids could run freely between locations.  I have to admit that I actually had a good time... go figure.  

Thursday, October 20, 2011

As if writing wasn't hard enough...

I like writing.  I don't write as often as I should, but there is something relaxing about finding the right rhythm and letting the words flow.  

Sometimes it can be difficult to find that happy place.  

Sometimes it is impossible.  

This is one of the impossible times.  I want/need to write a critique of an author's work detailing their use of binary language to create an argument that forms a symbiotic relationship between God and man, and my Little Man wants to play trains and sing "no more monkeys jumping on the bed."

I don't know what "doctor" he called, but I have a feeling that the prescription is to put the homework aside and be a dad tonight.


Sunday, October 02, 2011

Fun Times

The boy and I went up to Fort Tryon Park this morning, so we could arrive early at the Medieval Festival held there every year.  Just a few years ago, I was one of those guys who would laugh at every person that walked through those streets, and in some ways I still laugh at many people there, but now I am a little jealous at the merry men and women who proudly embrace their inner pauper/prince/lord/lady/knight/mage/squire/quidditch player/pirate.  They all looked like they were having a great time.

We saw some great duels, pet a few dogs, watched a magician, learned to belly dance, ate a delicious brownie, nibbled an average cookie, had a tantrum, had an extra long timeout, bought a sword, rode the bus, and almost bought a giant turkey leg to share, but the lines were too long.

It was fun, and maybe next year we will dress up--maybe.  

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Time to Wrestle

Little Man has been camping this weekend with his mom, and while it has been great to have the bed to myself and sleep past 6:30am, I miss him.

I think that we are going to wrestle this afternoon when he comes home.  He gets plenty of hugs and kisses from everyone in his life, so we don't wrestle as a substitute for affection.

We wrestle because it is fun, and I miss my boy!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bad Mormon

Last night I had an epiphany: I am a bad Mormon.

The funny thing about this realization is that it doesn't upset me.  In fact, I am quite proud of it.  This doesn't mean that I do not care about my religion or appreciate the sacred, but it does mean that I am not going to fit into any standard mold that Mormonism has to offer.

have long hair.
like tattoos.
watch R rated movies.
occasionally drink caffeine.
use profanities.
yell at people.
tell dirty jokes.
like gossip.
laugh at inappropriate times.
challenge authority.
question the authority of those in authority.
forget to pray sometimes.
strongly believe in equal rights.
don't think humility is the same thing as self-abasement.
don't believe in Hell.
believe there is a fine line between spirituality and schizophrenia 
hate wearing white shirts.
buy food on Sunday.

You won't see me on a billboard, holding a hawk in a commercial, or anywhere inside of a church magazine.   But you will find me helping a friend move furniture, giving money to the homeless without any dramatic refusal of how "I give to my church," working with the youth Sunday School class as they each travel on their own spiritual paths, teaching my son respect for the Earth and all her inhabitants, smiling at a stranger, standing up for the underdog, and listening to anyone who just wants to be heard.

I may be a bad Mormon, but I am an awesome human, and that is all that matters to me!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Free Book!

Now the book vendor is giving my kid free stuff. Little Man chose Bert and Erie; that's what I would have picked too.


I didn't feel like cooking this morning, so we decided to try a new diner near the bagel shop. We will come back to this place!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Few Thoughts About Utah

The Boy and I have been home for a few days now, and I have had plenty of time to rest from our most awesome vacation in Utah.  Our days and nights were full of visiting friends and family, eating, playing, driving, going to the zoo, swimming, napping, Wii-ing, and making new friends.  The two weeks we were there wasn't enough to see everyone and do everything, but we still had a great time.

While it is nice to be home in NYC, there are many things that I will miss in Salt Lake.  I loved watching my son become friends with his cousins.  Everyday he would beg for us to return to my sister's house, so he could run outside with her kids.  He quickly learned how cool it is to have a giant yard to play in and friends to share it with.  He also made friends with the children of my friends.  I just sat back and watch them interact, amazed that the bonds of friendship have encompassed the next generation, and I envisioned the many camping trips and vacations spent together in the future when these same children will be the ones causing the trouble and I would have to be the adult.

Del Taco.  Certainly New York is known for its restaurants, but I am not a fan of paying large sums of money for a meal.  A late night run for some nachos and tacos for under ten dollars makes for a very happy Archie.  Another thing that made me very happy was the complete lack of humidity.  The Summer sun in Utah is relentless, but the lack of humidity keeps everyone dry and smelling nice.  Don't forget about the Summer nights when the sun disappears and the cool breezes provide the perfect environment for evening conversations about life, love, and nachos.

However, there were some experiences in Utah I would prefer to forget.  Why is everyone in such a hurry on the freeway?  The roads are huge, and the lanes are wide, but most drivers still felt it was important to swerve in and out of traffic while speeding to get to their destination.  I know that a number of years ago I was one of those drivers, but now I pause and wonder what I was thinking.  What was so important that I was willing to risk the safety of everyone around me, so that I would not be late?  I can't remember, but I do know that after a couple of years enduring New York traffic, I am happy traveling at any speed over 30 mph.

Downtown Salt Lake is ugly.  I know that many were concerned about revenue and property values around the decaying malls, but knocking down the familiar to build the homogeneous was a very bad idea.  It is kind of ironic in a way that the citizens (read LDS Church) in favor of the changes forgot the concept of people returning to the familiar.  The malls might have been old and losing stores, but at least people knew the terrain, the fountains, and even the food court.  Eventually the shoppers would have returned, but now it feels like walking down the Vegas strip with new buildings that lack any sense of personality.

Another ironic twist to my visit occurred when I saw a number of billboards advertising "food storage" sales.  One of the principles behind provident living is for people to manage themselves, not to pay anther company to manage things for them.  Paying a company thousands of dollars to stock your basement with six months of food rations and water is like paying an actor to go to church for you--pointless.  There may be food on your shelf, and there may be a seat in the pew, but both actions miss the mark.

I got tired of driving, and one must drive a lot to get around town.  I have grown accustomed to the subways and buses of New York.  Public transit is awesome, but I don't think it will be catching on anytime soon in Utah where urban sprawl is rampant.  I may live in a pigeon coop here in the city, but I am pretty confident that I am living a "greener" lifestyle here in this metropolis than most people in Salt Lake.

All in all, I am a little jealous of my family and friends in Utah.  They have beautiful scenery, great weather, cheap food, and little traffic.  I know that I will be back for many visits and many Summer nights, and there may come a day where I will call Utah home.  For now, I am happy to be back in my city where I am blessed to have a job, attend an amazing school, parent a precocious child, and build a very bright future--a very bright future indeed.  Of course that is another blog post for another day.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

New Friends

There is something great about seeing the boy bond with his new "brothers."  I suppose friendships can carry on to the next generation.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


We are spending the morning at Hogle zoo, and the kids are excited for a train ride.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Because Rumi is Just So Freaking Awesome!

Are you familiar with Rumi?  If not, then you ought to be.  I won't go on in any detail about the wisdom of this Sufi poet, but I will share one of his poems with you.  

You can thank me later...

    the instant
         spent seated
              on the terrace,
                   me next to you
                       two forms and
                             two faces
                                 with just one soul,
                                      me and you

The chatter of birds
the garden’s murmur
     like a fountain of youth
        as we stroll
     through roses,

                                      me and you
The stars of the firmament, bent low to look over us
    Let’s eclipse them, shine like the moon,
                                      me and you

                                      Me and you join,
                                      beyond Me
                                      beyond You
                                           in joy
    happy, released from delire and delusion
                                      Me and you, laughing like this,
    reach dimensions where celestial birds suck sugary cubes
                   Magical! me and you, here,
                       in our corner of earth,
                       but wafting on airs of Iraq and Khorasan,
                                      me and you
    In one form here on earth
    in other forms in paradise
    eternal, sunk in fields of sugar,
                                      me and you
--Translation by Franklin Lewis

Friday, August 12, 2011

My Summer Vacation

For a number of reasons, I completed two courses at Columbia this Summer.  I took an Art Humanities class, and I thought it was great!  For six weeks I would trek up to campus and sit with a lively group of my peers to discuss great works like the Parthenon along with artists like Rembrandt and Pollock.  The classes were long as we met twice a week for three hours each session, but I really enjoyed them, and I made some great friends.

Summer continued, and so did my semester.  The second six week course consisted of Elementary French Level 2.  I thought that this would be a proverbial walk in the park; I was wrong.  Meeting four nights a week for two hours each evening, I quickly discovered that I was in over my head.  While we had many fun and engaging moments of teasing the professor about French culture, we had many more moments of looking at each other in total confusion.  I made some great friends (which is what I love about my school; just about everyone is awesome!) and I learned a little French, but I am very glad that the class is now over.

I suppose my Summer vacation starts now.  I have one week left of work, and then the boy and I are heading to Utah to visit with family, and I am most excited for this trip.  I have a lot of plans.  I want to see my grandparents and listen to their stories.  I want to see my niece and nephews and chase them around the yard.  I want to eat at Cancun Cafe with my mom.  I want to see the many friends that have been so supportive of me.  I want to spend a lot of time with a certain girl.

Yes, a lot of time.

You see, I am completely twitterpated and captivated by a really cute girl.

So as I count down these last few days until I can have a real vacation, I am grateful for new friends, old friends, family, food, and new love.  Life continues to smile upon me, and I love it!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I Will For You

I don't like to admit that other people are right, and I am wrong,
       but I will for you.

I am not very good at opening my heart and sharing my feelings,
       but I will for you.

I have never liked sharing my most delicious cheese dip with other people,
       but I will for you.

I don't like leaning on other people for support and strength,
       but I will for you.

I never thought that I would let my guard down and let someone get close to me,
       but I will for you.

I didn't want to travel down this path again,
       but I will
       for you.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Something Special

I received something special in the mail today.

It was a special something from someone special.

And now I am especially happy.

The End

Friday, July 22, 2011

Another Adventure

I knew that it was going to be a hot Friday here in the city, so the boy and I left early to spend the morning at Coney Island. We had a blast! Between playing in the ocean (actually he only got his feet wet) and having a great lunch at Nathan's, it was a great morning, and we made it home to turn on the air conditioning right before it hit 100 degrees.

We must go back before the Summer is over because there is much more to see and do.

Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Lesson Learned

Several years ago a friend shared this song with me, and recently they have proved it to be true.

You know you who are, but you do not know how much you have helped.

Thank you.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Oh Thank Heaven

We explored the northern realms of Central Park today. We saw cool arches, a waterfall, cool playgrounds, and hidden streams. After our adventure, we stopped in at 7-11 for a Summer treat of nachos and a slurpee.

We are living the high life!

Friday, July 15, 2011


It has been my intention to write a blog about how busy I had been, but I was too busy to write it.  During this time of "busy-ness," I came to the realization that everyone is busy, and I wasn't that special for juggling a child, an education, a job, and a dismal social life.  As I thought more about what I felt underneath the tired, stressed, and lonely feelings, I found something spectacular--a feeling of fulfillment!

While I had initially focused my attention on the tasks that needed to be completed and my time management, I had missed the changes that were going on inside of me.  Over the last several weeks I had the chance to stretch every part of myself, and I like it.  Rather than complain about the loss of personal time, I will be grateful for this chance to grow.

During the day I am an employee.  I work hard to pay the rent, buy the groceries, and pay Alma Mater her tuition.  I finish my job each day with a sore body and sweaty clothes, but I also finish each day knowing that I made an honest dollar.  Having spent a lot of time recently as unemployed, I will happily pursue my vocation.

In the evening I am a student.  Monday through Thursday I spend two hours a night in class learning French.  I spend my lunch break writing flashcards.  I study before class as I change into clean clothes, and I study after class as I get into bed.  Columbia has high expectations of their foreign language learners, and I hope to make the cut.

Every second that I breathe, I am a father.  I think about my little boy when I wake up and wonder what new things he will learn.  My heart smiles when I hear his voice on the phone or at the end of my hallway, and while I miss him when he is gone, I love that he is making new friends.  My favorite part of the day is listening to him while he rambles on about the people he saw and what car he rode in.

My body is tired, my mind if sore, and my heart is full.

I am not busy, I am blessed.

I am not failing, I am fulfilled.

Saturday, July 09, 2011


This week's adventure was to Chinatown!  We had a small delay getting there due to an emergency call from work, but we eventually found our way downtown.  Little Man made some new friends in the park and enjoyed seeing all of the cool toys on display (every store in the entire neighborhood had the same toys , but we still had to stop at each one to look).  We saw live lobsters and crabs, and the merchants even held up a few large fish for him to look at.  We had lunch at Wo Hop restaurant, but it was the upstairs one and not the basement which apparently has great reviews.  The food still tasted great to us.  We found a flashlight for the boy then jumped on a train to come home for a nap.  

Friday, July 01, 2011

Fifteen Dollars Worth of Fun

The boy and I had a great morning in the city.  After stretching our legs here in Morningside Heights, we jumped on a bus and went to the American Folk Art Museum.  We got in for free with my student id and looked at some really cool quilts.  Seeing the different patterns and feeling the amount of dedication put into each one inspired me to learn the craft.  It might be some time before I can have the space and energy to learn quilting, but I think that it would be a great hobby.

We ate lunch at the Halal cart right across from the museum and got a platter full of chicken and rice for six dollars.  We shared the platter right while enjoying the hordes of people milling around 6th avenue on their lunch breaks.  After a small walk up to Central Park, we shared a Cherry Garcia ice cream bar for only four bucks.  As I type this I realize that for those outside of NYC it may seem like an expensive treat, but for us, it was cheap and tasty.  We ate the ice cream near the carousel and then took a ride afterwards for five dollars. It was a blast!

After that Little Man was showing signs of needing a nap, so we hopped on the bus and enjoyed some cold air on the ride back up to the neighborhood.  

Not a bad start to our fourth of July weekend.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Steps

Cool people hang on out the steps of Low Library; awesome people hang out on the steps of Low Library with us!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Something Simple

In an attempt to understand classical art as a form in itself and not as a specific time period, one must determine the most important characteristics belonging to this genre.  Perhaps the most important trait is the visualization of the ideal in relation to a mundane life.  Taking the ordinary and creating something extraordinary is the quintessential mark of classicism.  Symmetry within the work and the use of parallel lines are also dependent qualities of classical art.  “Primary Light Group: Red, Green, Blue” by Jo Baer presents a simple representation of classical work that incorporates these three requirements.  Through the simple application of paint on canvas, this minimalist painter captures the elegant style of classicism.
Upon first look at Baer’s work, an initial indifference sets in; as with much of minimalist art, the meaning can be overshadowed by the simplicity of the composition.  This is art?  Anyone can do this!  However, with some time to ponder upon the installation of the three panels, the connection to the classical becomes apparent and the importance of the artist’s vision is shown.  The ideal is portrayed through the use of color.  Though just a small strip of color around the border, the three primary light colors are displayed indicating the importance they play in one’s ability to visualize anything.  Red, green, and blue combine in various ways to bring the visual world to life.  The three large canvases also hold a symmetrical balance in their composition.  Rather than viewing the three pieces as individual works of art, they are brought together in one piece that has no intersecting lines.  The use of parallel lines creates a balance similar to many classical works.  Finally, the three canvases give the appearance of columns through the use of these parallel lines.  Arranged in a horizontal fashion, they become a representation of three columns that provide support to an important roof of the visual spectrum. 
Similar to the Parthenon, Baer’s works creates an illusion of openness while maintaining distinct boundaries.  The Parthenon with its rows of columns and interior walls portrayed the openness needed to worship, and communicate with, Athena while also setting limits of where the common man could not go.  “Primary Light Group” also keeps this balance; the openness of the white canvas allows the imagination to fill in the gap and create new pictures, but the borders are clearly marked by each of the primary colors and black frame—keeping the viewer within certain limits. 
Both the Parthenon and “Primary Light Group” attempt to capture the ideal through less than perfect mediums.  The Parthenon was built as a house to the goddess Athena.  The inherent irony is that common earthly material could be used to create a home for a celestial god exists within its design.  Baer’s work is plagued with this same irony; she used pigment based paints of oil and synthetic polymer to capture the image of light.  Can light be captured, and can a celestial power be housed on earth?  Light and deity as the ideal are attempted to be portrayed in the best forms available to the artists.  Despite the imperfections in their portrayals, the Parthenon and “Primary Light Group” both elevate the ideal through simple expression.  The concept of “nude but not naked” can be used to describe the white canvas and the sculptures of the meotopes on the Parthenon friezes.  While Baer’s canvas may be white, it is not blank.  The beauty is found through the portrayal of the ideal form.

The obvious difference between these two classical pieces is that one is a work done on canvas, and the other is an architectural and historical artifact.  Comparing the two on this basis alone is an unfair look at classical art since both come from different eras and cultures, but the themes they both present are harmonious.  In keeping with one of the main themes, both subjects display great symmetry.  Oddly enough, the Parthenon only appears symmetrical through the use of creative design in which there are slight curves in the structure to undo the natural perception of asymmetry that occurs with large scale buildings.  The symmetry of the “Primary Light Group” is real and repeated.  Each of the three colors has its own canvas that is presented as a square on the wall.  This repetition of frames adds to the symmetry of the paintings.  Each border becomes a part of the continuous horizontal line while the vertical borders also balance the work.
Not only do the pieces resemble columns, but they also recreate the triglyphs found on the Parthenon’s friezes.  Creating a break from the initial understanding of the work, the natural separation between the canvases allows for the viewer to look at the art in a separate way just as the triglyph separated one meotope from another.  With precision spacing, Baer’s work becomes a cycle of viewing; just as one could walk around the Parthenon and understand the story told through different angles, “Primary Light Group” also allows for many interpretations.  If the three paintings were too close together the individual canvases would blur into one, and if they were spaced too far apart, the sense of connection would be lost.

 Although classical art may be seen as an ancient genre, modern artists are still influenced by the core themes that have transcended time.  Through an elevation of the ideal, the use of parallel lines, and the symmetrical composition of her work, Jo Baer’s “Primary Light Group: Red, Green, Blue” stands as a great example of classical art in the modern age.

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, June 18, 2011

"Just when I thought I was out..."

I officially started my life in pest control when I was 21.  In 2000, I had just returned home from a LDS mission in the Philippines, and I needed a job.  I called my uncle and started work the next day.  He owned the company that my grandfather had started, and it seemed like a great way to pay for school.

I liked it.  It wasn't too hard, and I enjoyed working with my customers.  I found satisfaction in helping people get rid of their bug problems and sharing my "bug knowledge."  I worked as a technician, manager, owner, and salesman with various companies in various states.

Eventually I wanted to try something new.  I was tired of the office politics found in large companies.  I was tired of wearing a degrading uniform.  I was tired of not being fulfilled in my career.  Although I considered being a technician honest work, there were many people who felt I was at the bottom of the social order.  Through condescending words, humiliating tasks, and repeated threats, I was constantly reminded of my status.  After working nine years as an "exterminator" (I really hate that term) I decided to finish my formal education and start a new path.

I excel in academia.  I love attending class, writing papers, learning new thoughts and perspectives, meeting intelligent peers who challenge me in many ways to become a better student.  After my acceptance to Columbia, I felt certain that I was a new man and that my technician days were just a stepping stone on the path of life.

But then I needed a job.  I searched for seven months to find something, anything, that wasn't pest control.  Nothing was offered.  With a resume that showed close to eleven years of killing bugs, companies saw me as nothing more than the bug guy.  It was not easy looking for a job and explaining to potential employers that I intended to attend school full-time until I graduated.  I saw their faces change as they read my resume and came across my history.  I needed a job that would value my vast experience, be close to school, allow me to finish my degree, provide health insurance, and still give me the time to be a dad.  This was my prayer.  This was my intention that I gave to the Universe.

In an attempt to broaden my networking, I talked to my building superintendent last week to see if she knew of any job opportunities within Columbia that I could apply to.  She didn't, but she did make another call.  She called the pest control company that has the contract for all off-campus University Housing in my neighborhood.  They were interested, and I hesitantly sent them my resume because I wasn't too sure that I wanted back into the pest control world.  Something amazing happened.  Not only were they interested in me, but I was offered a job without a formal interview and started work a few days later based on my experience that they valued.  As they have a large contract with Columbia, I am one of four men working full-time here in my neighborhood.  They provide health insurance even if I do not work a 40 hour week, and they will schedule all of my work around my classes.  I can walk to work, kill some bugs, walk to class, walk back to work, and then walk home at the end of my day to spend time with my boy.  They have been great to me.  They plan to use me for the "high profile" calls that they get which means that I will get to know some very important members of the Columbia community.  With a little luck, I might get a couple of great letters of recommendation for graduate school from some influential people because of this job.

Despite my initial indifference to a life that I thought I had left behind, I was blessed to find a connection that allows me to be a full-time dad and a full-time student.  I am grateful for this opportunity.  I know that it will not be easy, but I never liked taking the easy road.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Lucky Boy

People love to give cool things to my son.  This  morning on our way to the bus stop, we saw the vendor who sells us chicken gyros, and he stopped to buy little man some candy at the newspaper stand.  Someone was very happy to get free candy.

I wonder if I can get someone to pay for his college too...

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Hey There

My Little Son,

Tonight is the first night that you are spending at your mother's house, and I thought that it would be so exciting to have this huge bed all to myself, but I have discovered that I cannot sleep without your little feet kicking my back.  I want to write you a small note that might capture some of the feelings that I have during this transition.

If the day comes that you stumble upon this blog, scroll through the archives, and find this post, call me.  I don't care what time it is or what I may be doing, call me.  There is so much that I want to talk with you about, and I am sure that won't change even to the day you are reading this.  You might even remember this day.  Do you remember when I took you to the Intrepid museum?  I am sure that we went many times while living in NYC, but this time was special.  When we were getting the tickets, I lied and told them that you were two, so I wouldn't have to pay the $12 to get you in, and you were quick to shout out "No, I'm not two; I'm three!"  I won't lie about your age again.  We played in the helicopter and rode the bus singing songs all the way home.  Do you remember doing that with me?

There are a few things that I am certain about how you will be as an adult; there are a few things that I wonder about your future, and there are many things that I hope you have learned.

I know that you will have many friends.  You have a light inside that people are drawn to.  I know this not just because I am a proud dad, but because I watch you interact with everyone you meet.  You take the time to look people in the eye and say hello.  You smile and wave at the people you see, and they smile back at you. Even the grumpy people on the subway that pretend to ignore you eventually fall under your spell by smiling back at you and telling me that you are special.  Not only will you have many friends, but you will be an amazing friend to each and every one.  Your talent is found in making each person feel special.  You have so much love to share, and I know that you will always find someone to share it with.  I know that you will be very smart-- smarter than me or your mom.  You learn things so quickly that I often feel inadequate in keeping up with your many questions.  I know that you have a fantastic smile.  Your smile brings a lasting happiness, and I know that it will never fade.

I wonder what sports you will play.  Did you decide that you like baseball more than soccer, or have you taken up track because of your endless energy?  What college did you decide to go to?  I am sure that you had your pick between Princeton and Columbia, but was there another offer?  Did you become a Rhodes scholar?  What are you studying?  What are you reading right now?  Do you take your kids to get ice cream cones during evening walks with them?  How tall are you?  Do you enjoy camping?  Has my obsession with Les Miserables inspired you to read Hugo, or did it push you away?  Perhaps what I wonder about most is: was I good dad?  Did I give you the right balance of love, discipline, and attention?  Did we stay friends?

I hope we did.

I hope that you have had your heart broken, but that you have not broken many hearts.  I hope that you have moved around a lot and met many people, but that you have a place to call home.  I hope you have learned about forgiveness; not for yourself (although that is important), but that you have learned to forgive others.  I hope that you don't hold on to the bad things that have happened to you.  I hope that you read "Balow, My Boy" and "Soldier and Dog" to your children at night as they cuddle with you in bed.  Do you still have that same book I read to you from?  I hope that you are safe.  I hope that you know that my door and my heart is always open to you.

I love you, son.

Call me.


ps- you got a funny face!

Friday, June 03, 2011


This morning we visited the  Museum of Modern Art and then walked around midtown seeing Rockefeller Center, Times Square, four Elmo street performers, two Cookie Monsters, one Woody, and one Buzz Lightyear. 

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Cooling Off

We spent the morning in Central Park.  Thank goodness for playgrounds with water features.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


A superb Sunday in the Summer starts by sharing a Slurpee with my son on a shaky subway.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I like We

Before I was a We, I was Me.

I was smart.  I was fun.  I liked adventures.  I always had a smile.  I, as Me, was awesome!

After some time I met another, and I became We.  We were smarter than Me because two is better than one.  Two quickly became three, and We had a lot of fun.  We had many adventures.  We had many reasons to smile.

Now I am Me again; this does not make Me sad.  A part of We will always be with Me.  We brought Me to where I am right now, and I like Me.

When the time is right, I will meet another soul to share my life with, and until I am a We again, I will be the most awesome Me that I can possibly be.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

He Likes It!

It feels great to not hear the little one complain about this dinner; he even ate the broccoli.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

So Cool

Not only does he play the guitar, he wears his shades inside.

This kid has moves I can only dream of.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


In the next few weeks, there will be a few major changes in my life.  Gabriel's mom, my spouse for the last four years, is moving out of our apartment, and we will start the divorce process.  Big news.  Sad news.  You may be asking at this point why I am choosing to blog about this in a public forum, and the answer is simple: writing not only helps me understand my own feelings, but this method also allows me to share my thoughts and wishes with many friends and family in a simple way.

For those that know us, you understand that we do not live in Camelot, nor have we ever pretended to be anything other than we were.  We, like so many other couples, have had our ups and downs.  This is not a sudden choice based off of a single act but the realization of what is best for our son and each other.  I want Gabe's mom to be happy-- period.  We will continue to be friends and parents to our precocious child.  I will forever be grateful to her for showing me the Academic world in which I excel and for bringing our son into the world, who makes me smile every day.

You may have noticed that I refer to my spouse as Gabe's mom.  This is intentional; I don't want to use the term "Ex-wife" in describing my future relationship with her.  She is the mother of my son, and he loves her.  It is important that he sees a high level respect from me, and I feel that overusing the term "Ex" dehumanizes the individual and leads to cutting comments and bad gossip.  My son deserves better, and I want him to be nurtured in an environment free of aggression towards his parents.

For those wanting to reach out, I am offering a list of ways to ease this change for all of us.

Don't say "I told you so."  Really.  Not only is a statement like that distasteful in the first place, it is not the kind of energy that I want to be around or associate with.  We all need to heal, and I ask for respect and love instead of spite and nay-saying.  Positive thoughts and words will foster a healthier stage for all of us to deal with this major change.

Don't add any fuel to the fire.  Don't ask for any specific details about my marriage from me or offer any gossip.  It will not make me feel better, and I do not want to expose my shortcomings as entertainment. (See the previous paragraph about positive loving energy)

Don't point fingers or ask someone else to.  Marriage, as with everything in life, is complicated.  I wish there was a simple answer to explain it all to me, but there isn't.  Rather than dwell on what went wrong in my relationship, I want to grow into a better person.  The "blame game" is not productive and only leads to bitterness.  Don't enable me to become stuck in a rut.  I need to move on.

Call me.  I know that I am horrible at answering my phone, and I will work on that.  I haven't had any happy news for some time, and I felt that no one would want to listen to me, but I want to be a friend again.

Forgive me for hiding for so long.  I have been a bad friend.  I am sorry.  Give me another shot at friendship.  I miss you, and I could use your friendship again right now. (This applies to many, many people)

Message me.  I am great at returning emails, and I am somewhat proficient at returning facebook messages.  Keep in touch and let me know about happy things in your life.  Sharing your happiness with me makes me smile, and I like to smile.  Please don't hesitate in shining your sun in my direction.

Love my son.  This is the most important thing that you can do.  If you live near us, and you see him, give him a big hug and tell him what a wonderful child he is.  If you live farther away, keep him in your thoughts/prayers/meditations.  He will be the one to experience the most change, and while I know that he is excited to have two homes, I worry about him.  I want him to have the best in life.  I feel like I have failed him with this change, but I know that he is better off having parents who are friends rather than having parents that cannot talk to each other from years of fighting.  He is a beautiful child, deserving of the purest love you can give.

Respect his mother.  I do not want Gabe to be torn apart in the middle of this divorce.  If you cannot be kind and respectful of his mom, then you do not need to be a part of his life or mine.

Find me a couple roommates!  I will have a three bedroom apartment in Manhattan that will soon have two empty rooms.  The rooms are cheaply priced, so that I can get the right people to live with me.  If you are going to Columbia or just want to live in Morningside Heights, message me and we will talk. I want to make some new friends and get involved in my own life again, so help me create an awesome apartment.

Buy me a motorcycle.  This is a long shot, but if you are sitting on some extra money and can't think of how to be supportive, I want to get back on a bike soon!  

I am not expecting the next few moths to be easy, but I am full of hope in starting this new chapter of my life and excited about the diverse possibilities.  Although this is not the reality that I had dreamed about, I know that we are taking the right steps to a happier life for all three of us.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Scoot Scoot

We are learning to be nicer to the other kids at the playpark.  When I say we, I really mean me.  Little Man is happy to walk in circles and wave at everyone, but I don't have the patience for mean older kids.  Rather than stare the bullies down until they hide in a corner, I walked up to them with Little Man and assured him that he could play with the unoccupied toys no matter what the older kids said.  I may not be able to fix other kids, but I will try my best to give my son the confidence to not be upset by their antics.  

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Fire Engine

The kind firemen next door let Little Man climb behind the wheel this evening and take the engine for a spin.

What a lucky boy!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Adventure in Central Park

Yesterday Little Man and I went to Central Park to find a new playground, and we found a great one.  Hecksher Playground is close to Columbus Circle, and it is heaven for a young climber.  With castle walls to climb and bridges to run over, we had a party.  We will go back on a warmer day because they even have a water feature that looks even more fun.

Gabe, in true form, made many friends.  One young girl followed him everywhere and yelled at any other kid who got too close to him.  This park was filled with young men practicing their parkour moves, and some of them were actually pretty good.  When they walked by, Gabriel said hello and waved while other kids run away from the teens.  I don't know how he does it, but people just gravitate to him.  I feel blessed to be his dad and spend time with him everyday.  

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Friend Projects

Little Man and I went to Times Square this morning to do a Flat Stanley project for a friend. We saw Elmo, Cookie Monster, and SpongeBob SquarePants hustling for some tips.

For some reason my kid loves this place more than any other park, museum, or tourist trap. He says hello to just about everyone we walk past and joyfully squeals at the lights. I am liking the place more and more. It is free to just sit and people watch, and it is only a few minutes away on the 1 train.

Sometimes it is fun being a tourist!
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Finished Product


We are short one egg because Mr. Turd Ferguson thought that they ought to be opened before dyed.  I blame myself for leaving the carton in front of him while prepping the dyes.

Tomorrow should make for a fun morning of hunting eggs and mini peanut-butter cups.

Easter Prep

Coloring eggs and eating cookies is how we spend our Saturday night.

Rainy Day Play

Rain sucks, but he still has fun.

I am jealous.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Alternate Side Parking

While moving the car this morning to avoid getting a ticket, I realized that my son is one part greeter and one part siren. 

He cheerfully waved at every car that drove by and had a nice conversation with a traffic cop. 

When the street was quiet, he practiced his version of a familiar city sound-- the car alarm.