Saturday, December 17, 2011
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.
Friday, December 16, 2011
Friday, December 09, 2011
Thursday, December 01, 2011
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Monday, October 31, 2011
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Sunday, October 02, 2011
Saturday, October 01, 2011
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
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.
watch R rated movies.
occasionally drink caffeine.
yell at people.
tell dirty jokes.
laugh at inappropriate times.
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
Saturday, September 10, 2011
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.
Monday, September 05, 2011
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
--Translation by Franklin Lewis
Friday, August 12, 2011
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
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
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
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.
Monday, July 18, 2011
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Friday, July 15, 2011
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
Friday, July 01, 2011
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Friday, June 24, 2011
Monday, June 20, 2011
Saturday, June 18, 2011
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
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
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.
ps- you got a funny face!
Friday, June 03, 2011
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
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
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Saturday, May 14, 2011
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
Saturday, May 07, 2011
Friday, May 06, 2011
Saturday, April 30, 2011
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!
Saturday, April 23, 2011
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.
Monday, April 18, 2011
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.