Tuesday, June 30, 2009

This is Kinda How My Mind Works.

There seems to be some confusion about yesterday’s post title at least amongst some of you. Most of you probably chalked it up to my strangeness or random nature, but a question was asked so I will answer it. I was answering the question in the comments section from yesterday’s post, but then I figured I could stretch it out into an entire post. And since nothing interesting happened to me today, I’m killing two birds with one stone. The title from yesterday stems from Einstein’s quote, “God doesn’t play dice with the universe”. I love that quote. It’s succinct and it sums up what Einstein thought about the illogic of quantum mechanics and the arrogance of its supporters, at the time all geniuses, in seven words. I imagine the dumbest guy involved in this argument had an IQ of about 240, most likely won, at least a Fields medal, and possibly a Nobel Prize. These men were deconstructing the mysteries of the universe, thinking things no one had thought before, and ol’ Albert hit him with a zinger. They couldn’t top it going up intellectually – can’t be done – so why not go down. Hence the title to yesterday’s post, “He does if he’s black.” A statement like that made in the early twentieth century would have just been stupid because the early pioneers of quantum mechanics were from about twelve different places in the world and didn’t share a common culture, but in the early twenty-first century it’s something Michael from The Office would say if he was a theoretical physicist, and the world is so much smaller. It’s awkward comedy gold if the guy who said it was an actual racist, and it’s still ballsy if he’s just trying to be funny. If he’s black, well this is physics so we know he isn’t “Black” as in African-American. I also like the potential domino effect (if he’s Black He probably plays that too) of this sliding into a discussion about the racial make up of the people in the Bible – Black Jesus – or as we original men, as opposed to the grafted devils responsible for all the evil in the world, like to call him Jesus or Bro. I probably need to get some psychiatric help.

Monday, June 29, 2009

He Does If He's Black or Racism At The Quantum Level

I’m supposed to be doing work, but it’s boring work so I’m not doing it, and I’m finding different ways to procrastinate. Right now I’m pretending that I’m being productive by writing this while I wait for a return phone call. Yeah, I know. Slow down, I’m going to work myself into an early grave. Anyway a little while ago I was doing real work when I got sucked down an internet hole and found myself reading about the EPR Paradox, which is f**ked up and made my head explode twice. I’m going to try to keep this brief. The Einstein–Podolsky–Rosen paradox is a paper written by Albert Einstein and a couple of friends – just for the lulz. Its basic point is that quantum mechanics is full of fail, and goes on to explain why. The irony is that quantum mechanics is a direct result of Einstein’s theory of relativity, but he didn’t like it because it shows a probabilistic universe instead of a deterministic universe. He summed up his feelings with his famous quote, “God does not play dice with the universe.” The physics community responded with “scoreboard” quantum mechanics works, which ultimately prompted the paper. The EPR paradox doesn’t question the results of quantum mechanics; it questions its completeness, that there are hidden variables we don’t know about affecting the universe at the quantum level instead of the widely accepted notion of sometimes a particle will do one thing, sometimes it will do another thing, but we can’t tell which it will do until we watch what it does, and by watching what it does we lock that particular particle into that one thing. The EPR paradox says yeah but it also locks that particle’s anti-particle into doing the opposite thing even though it’s in a different place and we haven’t watched it, so how does the anti-particle know? It means that either the two particles are connected somehow or there are hidden variables. It gets worse. It talks about quantum superpostitions, which has to do with particles doing everything they’re capable of doing until someone looks at them and shuts down their fun. Then the paper collapses into some ridiculous math that I’m both glad and sad that I don’t understand. Is God playing dice with my brain?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

3 Is A Magic Number

A bunch of people died this week: Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson. I’m writing this to mark the spot in time, so I’ll have an idea about where I was and what I was doing when I look back. Ed McMahon died. He was the only one of this group that didn’t die early. He may disagree but he was eighty-six. He never showed up at my door with a big – figuratively and literally – check. Star Search was a giant waste of time for its entire run. The high point of the entire show was Sinbad. What I remember Ed McMahon fondly for was being Johnny Carson’s sidekick. MJ and I have been together so long that we remember watching the Tonight Show with Ed and Johnny. Now they’re both gone and Doc Severinsen is the last one standing.

I think I’m two or three years too young for Farrah Fawcett to have ushered me into puberty. By the time I noticed Charlie’s Angels Cheryl Ladd was on the show, and Farrah was getting blackballed by Aaron Spelling (allegedly). I remember her first comeback in the television movie Extremities. She played a victim of an attempted rape who turns the tables on her attacker. I would have called the movie Payback Is a Bitch, but I don’t think Middle America was ready for that in 1986. She went on to be a respected performer and freaked out on the David Letterman Show. She was also in a long term relationship with Ryan O’Neal and along with Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn they were pioneers in not getting married because marriage tends to ruin everything. She and O’Neal were going to get married but time ran out. I wish I wasn’t such a teenage girl but that makes me sad.

Michael Jackson was guano crazy – the high nitrogen stuff. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until he died that I really remembered what an incredible performer he was. And it wasn’t the constant replaying of his music videos that jogged my memory. It was the news of his death. All of my animosity – well a large portion of it anyway – disappeared and I was left with the King of Pop. I became an adolescent listening to Thriller. I had it on vinyl. I listened to the whole album every day after school when I was in seventh grade. I remember dancing around with my sister listening to it in our living room on Dellwood Ave. Thriller became Billie Jean and Billie Jean became Beat It. I feel like a jackass because I don’t have the album on my iPod. I have Off The Wall, but so what. Thriller is the greatest pop record ever. Now that he’s gone, I feel bad for him. He was pulled in so many directions by so many people from the time he could walk until he OD’d on Demerol. He was a troubled guy and it’s probably better that he’s dead.

Three true icons, not pseudo-celebs, died this week and I’m feeling old.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

We So 3008. You So 2000 and Late

It was Saturday morning, guess what we did. We got out of the house earlier than we normally do, and even after stops at the Bucks and Panera we were still in our spot before 9am. This morning was a little bit different. There were a couple of commercial fishing boats out with clouds of seagulls circling them. I’d never seen – or at least noticed anyway – this many birds in one place at one time. If you were ever frightened by The Birds, then one of these fishing trawlers would have been your personal hell. I guess these guys have a process they’re used to because with all the birds flying around and all the dolphins swimming around I don’t know how the fishermen get to keep anything. It was something new and cool for me at the beach. This morning was also a little bit different because we were approached twice about our cool gear. We hadn’t been on the beach for more than ten minutes when a nice young mom with her baby and her hubby asked MJ about our sweet tent. Actually it’s MJ’s sweet tent. She found it. She bought it. And she wrestles it opened and closed. The young mom had been looking for a tent that would stay standing on the beach. As she was grilling MJ, which is exactly what she was doing, the tent she had set up collapsed. It was like a commercial for ours. We were approached again as we were leaving the beach by an older mom who was interested in MJ’s sweet beach chairs. MJ bought these chairs about ten years ago, and they’re super cool for a couple of reasons. First, they’re the most functional and comfortable beach chairs/wagons that have ever been made. Second, they don’t make them anymore, so not only do we have cooler chairs than you do, you can’t get them. That may seem kind of small and superficial but that’s probably because you’re jealous of our chairs. We don’t hold it against you. The beach routine is the best idea we’ve ever had. We’ve been going regularly for a couple of months now and it hasn’t been boring for an instant. If there’s a lull in the action at home tomorrow morning we’ll probably head out again.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Where Did I Put My Stuff? It Was Right Here a Minute Ago.

I exercised for an hour and a half this morning before the heat became unbearable. I spent a half an hour trying to find all my accoutrements for my bike ride and then I rode for an hour. The half hour I spent getting ready was an experience in frustration. I need four things for a bike ride: watch, heart monitor, helmet, bike. That’s all, but getting all of this stuff ready and out the door in an orderly fashion is something that seems to be beyond my capability. I started out knowing where everything was, but I lost my watch and heart monitor separately on my way down the stairs and out the door. I got distracted by about 1000 things that I shouldn’t have gotten distracted by. I made about six trips up and down the steps trying to fix fake messes that I somehow made. The worst was when I lost my heart monitor. I wrapped it around my handlebars, went back inside to get my helmet, and forgot where I put it. I tried up stairs, I tried downstairs, I tried upstairs again. I said lots of bad words and finally gave up, deciding to go on my ride without it. It was almost worse finding it on my handlebars than believing it had vanished into the ether. Then I went on a fantastic ride. I rode to and around the Roosevelt Publix, back down Riverside Avenue, along the river; I did a lap around Memorial Park, continued onto the Northbank Riverwalk, and turned around at the Times-Union helipad. I only spent 2 ½ minutes with my heart rate above 150, and I still made great time. When I started out I thought I was going to have problems with my back, but the bike ride was exactly what my back needed. Twelve miles and 1000 calories later, I’m ready for the rest of the day.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

How Do You Keep Getting All Those Q's?

MJ tricked me into playing Scrabble on Facebook. I hate Scrabble. I hate Scrabble because I suck at Scrabble and have no interest in getting better. So we sit across from each other at our dining room table and stare at our computers and pretend we’re interacting. It’s reminding me of how things were in The Demolition Man. Where no one was allowed to touch and all the songs on the radio were old commercial jingles. It was the movie that got Sandra Bullock hired for Speed. MJ is a pro. She makes words like “quixotically” on triple word squares with both the “q” and the “x” on triple letter squares and it’s connected to “perspicacious” at the “c”. I make words like “its”, which I just learned is better than “it” for more than just the one point difference. If I put the “s” at the end I bump my score from 2 points to 6 points because it lands on a double word square tripling my score. But it gets even better because now MJ can’t get the double AND triple word score when she makes “skullduggery” on the end of “its” instead of “it”. After four turns I’m losing google to 65. Walter Mondale called and told me he’d never seen anyone get their ass whipped like this. MJ named this game “Don’t get frustrated”. Too late. I get frustrated because I went three rounds before I got a consonant, which wouldn’t be a big deal if we were playing in Hawaiian. I get frustrated because I leave her ridiculous scoring opportunities and she takes advantage of them. I get frustrated because she makes eleven letter words in a seven tile game. I get frustrated because she’s been beating me like this for more than twenty years. I get frustrated because I have to wait hours between turns because we’re doing other things, and if I can just get the right letters I can catch her.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

It's Hot

It is just too hot. Due to my back injury I’m staying away from the weights, and I didn’t have the mental energy to spend two hours in the Y on the elliptical and the dreadmill. So I had to tough it out outside. I walked a mile around the track to warm up my back and then jogged to get my heart rate over 120. The plan was to run from the Y to Memorial Park and back, hydrate, then repeat. The first lap went fine. I didn’t push it. I took my time. I wasn’t trying to impress anyone. I even took a break while I was drinking my water when I ran into a guy I used to work with. Mike is one of the few interesting people I’ve met doing what I do. He was a professional baseball player before he got into wealth management. He never made it to the major leagues but he did get all the way to triple A, which is a huge accomplishment. I just don’t think he was big enough. He’s about 5’9” and 160lbs. He played center field and today’s big league outfielders are 6’4” and 240lbs. Mickey Mantle weighed 220lbs when he played 50 years ago. It was always funny watching Mike work. Being a professional athlete forces a different level of focus. Anyway, he was out in the noon day sun running just like me, but he was finishing up while I was right in the middle. He was running with another guy he works with, Todd, and I may start hooking up with them when I can’t get my workout done in the morning. Mike and Todd went on about their business, and I tried to head back to Memorial Park. I was rehydrated, rested, and ready but the sun had different ideas. I started jogging and before I had gone a quarter of a mile my heart rate was over 160. I was fine cardiovascularly. I just couldn’t cool down and my body started to freak out. So I spent the next forty minutes walking to Memorial Park and back to the Y. I wasn’t able to keep my heart rate in my aerobic zone for any length of time on the second lap, but I did burn a bunch of calories so it wasn’t a total loss. I just have to find a way to get out of the house to run before 7am. It will make my life a lot easier.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

You Have No Idea How Hard My Life Is

I skipped any kind of serious exercise today, even though my back is feeling okay, and running last night made it feel better. I didn’t run last night to be spiteful. I was walking and it started to storm. It really felt good to get my heart rate up – way up – after being depressed and wallowing in self pity for most of yesterday. I got some work done this morning and took my favorite baby girl to Publix this afternoon – at her demand request. She needed some cookies. She asked for some cookies. We told her we were out. She said, “grocery store”. We went to the big Publix because there was a better chance of them having the cookies she and her mother prefer. Our Publix is small, and while they do a great job, sometimes they’re out of stuff. I don’t know if LMJ does this with anyone else, but with me when we get to Publix – any Publix – she points to the store sign and asks, “Says?” I turn the question around and ask her what it says and she says “Publix” or at least a close approximation. I think it’s the first word that she can read. Her mother says the first word she could read was her name. Either way, between the cookie problem solving and the reading, I had an afternoon of “My baby is the smartest baby in the world”. We came home from the grocery store and I fired up the grill so I could char some steaks. I knew I was grilling, Beck’s beer was on sale, so we know how that story ends. Sitting in my backyard grilling meat and drinking beer on a hot summer day is pretty close to bliss for me. I overcooked the steaks a little bit, but CJG picked some world class ribeyes so it didn’t really matter. I seasoned them with salt and pepper – just that simple – and we all raised our cholesterol levels a little bit. Today was an absolutely fantastic day.

Monday, June 22, 2009

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Today is already worse than yesterday, and it has no chance of catching up. It’s been boat raced. I’m sitting here writing this with an ice pack on my back. I thought today was going to be great. I woke up after a good night’s sleep. I had a great breakfast. I was out the door and headed to the gym relatively early. Then, barely into my workout, I felt a little pop in my lower back. What’s frustrating is that I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I’d warmed up just like I always do, and I wasn’t lifting heavy. I was lifting about 65% of my maximum. I wasn’t pushing it at all. I wouldn’t be so angry if I had been acting like an a-hole. I hate that I don’t know if this is a part of getting old, the vagaries of the muscles in the lower back, or a combination of both. I dropped everything and came home. It’s not a bad pull. I could’ve worked around it or pushed through it, but I’m trying to stay true to my new philosophy of training safely. But honestly, I’m having a crisis of faith. What’s the point of playing it safe when it seems there is no such thing? This seems to happen to me every time I get back on schedule. I get into a comfortable routine and then something derails me. I hurt myself or I get a cold or a hurricane hits. All I want to do is get in better shape, but my body fights me every step of the way. I’d stop doing the exercises that I injure myself doing, but that would remove about 75% of my workout. Maybe I should just skip the next seventy years and join an aqua-aerobics class with the other geriatrics. The Y even has one of those elevators that lowers invalids into the pool. The other people in the class can tell me what it was like during the Spanish-American war and when Oklahoma became a state. My back hurts and I’m not dealing with it.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

We got through the whole day without going to the beach. Big ups to us for our Spartan like stoicism and discipline. Today was a very good Father’s Day. We didn’t do much other than spend the day together. We had a meat heavy brunch with eggs, bacon, and turkey sausage. There were no leftovers. LMJ took a big chunk out of the bacon pile. I think she’s inherited my meat tooth. Even though there weren’t any mimosas LMJ and MJ took a long nap. I spent those two hours getting better at finding the Phrygian mode all over my guitar neck. The mystical nature of music is starting to freak me out, but that’s a post for another day. After everyone woke up we went on a leisurely bike ride around Riverside. Jacksonville is truly a beautiful city, even when it’s 97 degrees outside. I love it when the weather is hot enough for me to smell concrete and asphalt vapors. We rode along the river, and since we were moving at about a ten mile an hour clip – not fast for a bike at all – the moving air helped to keep us relatively cool. After the bike ride we had leftover pizza and calzone for dinner, and made a special trip to McDonald’s for vanilla cones. McDonald’s vanilla cones and hot fudge sundaes are without a doubt the best deal in fast food at the price of $1. Although LMJ got a slightly smaller portion than the rest of us, she ate her whole cone with almost no help. I cleaned up the edges at the beginning. I think she’s inherited her mom’s sweet tooth. We thought about going out to brunch at a nice restaurant, Orsay. We also thought about going out to brunch at a not so nice restaurant, Panera. And both of those options would have been nice, but I was just as happy, if not happier, to keep everything low key and hang out with my girls. If every Father’s day is just like this one then I’ll be a happy dad.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Drawback of the Beach

Going to the beach is great. Unfortunately, sand sticks to everything, and the only surefire ways that I know of to get it off of everything is to use a hardwood floor or bed sheets. Showering at the beach gets some of the sand off. Wiping feet on a doormat gets some too. Just like smashing shoes together over and over seems to shake loose lots of sand. But no matter what, no matter how hard we try, whenever we come back from the beach at least forty tons of sand winds up on our floors and in our bed. Today, thanks to a mid-afternoon nap by LMJ and a Honda dealership lying to CJG, I was lucky enough to pull vacuum duty, which isn’t a big deal. We don’t have a huge house, and I used to vacuum professionally. The biggest pain in the butt is picking up all of the crap off the floor and moving furniture as prep work. The sandy grainy grit on the floor makes me crazy, and it’s like the sand multiplies. I don’t understand how it’s possible to have a centimeter of sand coat our entire house every trip to the beach but somehow we manage it. It gets so bad that I start wearing shoes everywhere in the house like I was in the shower area at the gym. I’d rather die than have my feet touch the floor. I hate having filthy feet, and when they’re coated in sand I’m reminded that they’re filthy with every step I take. But the difference between the way the floor feels on my feet before I vacuum and after I vacuum is almost worth tracking in the sand in the first place. It’s like the whole house is new. It’s almost like I’m on vacation, even though I’m housekeeping.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Kind of a Short Post

This is just some notes from today. It was hot. I took yesterday off, so I was full of energy at the gym, even though I didn’t know it. The Y was crowded for some reason, which didn’t make me real happy. I had to flip my routine upside down. It was no big deal but whenever I can’t do exactly what I want I start thinking about how much it costs to be a member. I blasted my chest and biceps Dorian Yates style and then did an hour on the elliptical. I cruised through both portions of my workout, which surprised me because I felt fatigued and like I was fighting off a cold this morning. This has been a very good week. I got in four full sessions and lost six pounds so far – the six pounds I lost training for the River Run that I immediately put back celebrating.

The family went to Starbucks for an afternoon outing. It was ice water for the baby girl and iced raspberry Americanos for the adults. After enjoying some coffee we all crossed the parking lot to Publix to pick up dinner. This is where I discovered some truly awful smells, true stenches. The smokers at Starbucks were sweating because it’s a trillion degrees outside, which produced the wonderful aroma of body odor tinged with cigarette smoke. Seriously, it smelled like a Trailways station. However, lucky for me, that wasn’t the most wretched thing I smelled on this trip. Publix was changing out its industrial trash when we walked up. The smell took years off my life. They should schedule these things for when the store is closed or at least after the sun has gone down so it’s not so hot and humid. Between the two smells I now know what it must be like at Hobopalooza. The best part is when I think about actual stink particles going up my nose and stimulating the olfactory nerves and those same particles drifting into my mouth when I left it open.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Method to The Madness

I seem to have worried some people with yesterday’s activities and subsequent post. I didn’t try to dehydrate myself; I tried to see how much fluid I would maximally leak in an hour. I tend to over-hydrate, which is more dangerous, in its own way than under-hydrating. And all of this is different from overheating. I gained weight during this year’s River Run because I drank way too much water during the second half of the race. I weighed more when I got home than I did when I left. This happened – and happens – because I sweat more than most people I know, and I want to avoid becoming dehydrated and suffering all of its effects. Leg cramps suck. However, as I start this new journey into more extreme endurance sports I’m running into new potential problems. If I drank too much during a 15k the chances of me suffering from hyponatremia during a marathon or even a half marathon are pretty high, and I don’t want to be that guy vomiting on the side of the road or dying from cerebral edema. My uncle ran this very problem when he did his first Ironman. He drank way too much during the bike stage and had to walk for the first twenty minutes of the run. Unfortunately, the first symptoms of drinking too much and not enough are very similar, which is why experienced endurance athletes still fall prey to both. On the plus side there’s a lot of lee weigh on both sides. Plus or minus five or six pounds for me isn’t dangerous. I’ve lost twelve pounds on the golf course before. But knowing how my body reacts and responds is extremely important, especially with my natural “push it” attitude. I’m beginning to understand why these triathlete freaks keep records of everything they do regarding their training. It’s a ridiculously intricate balancing act between making sure my blood doesn’t get too thick or to thin, but that’s why it’s addictive, and that’s why there’s such a huge sense of accomplishment when it all goes to plan and I get better.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Everybody Wanna Be a Triathlete. Don't Nobody Wanna Train in No Hot Ass Heat.

I don’t know what it is, but I can’t get out of the house in the morning. I’ve set reminders in my Outlook. I’ve gone to bed early. I’ve gotten up early. It doesn’t matter. I’m not getting to the gym before 8 am. I didn’t even try this morning. I was woken up at 7:04 by a two year old shoving me and telling me to get up. I moped around the house until about 8:30 and then went to work. I had to run long today. I had to. And since it was already 90 degrees by the time I arrived at my office I figured I might as well see how bad “bad” could get. I came home around 12:30 for lunch and a run in the afternoon sunshine. Doesn’t that sound nice? It wasn’t. I weighed myself before I ran, and I didn’t bring any fluids. I wanted to see how much I actually sweat. My run got off to an inauspicious start when my watch pretended it couldn’t find some satellites. It’s frustrating because my cell phone and the GPS in the van find them toot sweet. So I spent a few minutes sitting on my stoop waiting for my watch to get its act together. I did my regular five mile run: a mile north into Avondale, down along the river two and a half miles into Memorial Park, and a mile and a half back to my house. I tried not to die. That was the goal, and since I’m writing this, win for me. I ran slowly. It is so hard to keep my heart rate under control in this heat, but I did better than last week, so I think it can be done. I finished my run in fifty-nine minutes flat and lost four and a half pounds doing it. I wanted to get a rough gauge on my fluid levels over an hour of exercise in extreme heat. I think the dehydration/over-hydration rule of thumb is 10% of bodyweight and now I have an idea of where I am. I’m happy with today’s effort. I controlled my run but I suffered in the heat, so I got the best of both worlds. I’m going to try to get to the track early tomorrow for some interval training and then some time in the pool. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Serenity Now

I was all set to do interval training this morning but someone decided to park two trucks on the track. Great! I got dressed and drove down to the Y for nothing. All I want to do is train for about forty-five minutes before it gets too hot. But this is Florida so it’s already 90+ degrees outside. I can’t do interval training on a dreadmill because it’s dangerous. I don’t want to press a wrong button and go flying backwards through the glass that separates the upstairs gym from the downstairs pool. Now I have to figure something else out. I don’t know about anyone else but when my schedule gets disrupted like that it throws off my whole day. Now I’m completely off schedule and grumpy. If I don’t squeeze in an effort today it ruins the whole week. There’s one apparatus in the Y playground. I can’t imagine what could possibly be wrong with that one apparatus that would require two huge trucks to fix. The jungle gym cost $2,000 at most and it’s been there at least five years. The two trucks alone burned that much diesel getting onto the track, and that’s before the labor costs of the five guys – that I saw, there could have been more – who got out of the trucks to presumably fix what ever was wrong with the giant piece of plastic. I’m trying to fit some more activities into my schedule and this kind of stuff drives me up a wall. There are some things I need to be ready for when LMJ turns five (arbitrary but carved in granite). Things I think it’s important for her to be exposed to as she grows up, and I have no idea how I’m going to fit them into my schedule, let alone hers. Change is hard and I need to remember that. I’ll find my groove and it will become routine. I also need to remember that I’m making a philosophical change in how I live my life as I add these new activities, and it also is going to take some time. I think my temper tantrum is over.

Monday, June 15, 2009

20 Years: From Tom & Betty's to Bistro Aix

MJ and I went to our new favorite restaurant, Bistro Aix, for our wedding anniversary. I drank a 750ml bottle of 9% ale, so I’m relaxed. MJ drove home. Our wonderful dinner completely ruined the right-wing Obama/Israel/W conspiracy theory post I’ve been marinating for the last couple of days, maybe I’ll write it tomorrow. My wife is my best friend. It’s not even close. MJ and I alone on a desert island would be fine with me. It was the company tonight that made the dinner special. Okay, the ale greased the skids. Tonight was a microcosm of us. We enjoyed each other’s company while MJ tried to analyze it and I made jokes. For more than twenty years now, that’s the way it’s gone, MJ deconstructing every moment trying to figure out exactly what makes us tick and me going with the flow. We were remembering our early dates to Tom & Betty’s twenty years ago. It had just reopened in its current location after the old spot had burned down. Going out to dinner works for us. It’s all we need to align our yin and yang. Tonight we decided to be a little more pedestrian than adventurous as Bistro Aix. MJ got obscene amounts of sausage and cheese poured over penne. I got obscene amounts of sausage and cheese served on a pizza crust. The sausage was very spicy so our meals were the culinary equivalents to a couple of Slayer songs. There was zero subtlety to either one. I liked mine better than she liked hers, but I like Slayer more than she does. Strangely enough, our waitress got better and prettier the more beer I drank. At first I thought she was a little bit uppity, in a fine dining kind of way. By the time we were leaving I thought she was the best waitress I’ve ever had. I think it’s replaced Ruth’s Chris as our spot.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Another Florida Morning

Well, it was 8:30 in the morning and we didn’t have any plans for the day so we went to the beach… again. The tide was out so there was this really great tidal pool. It was a foot and a half deep at its deepest and fifty meters from the rest of the ocean. This was the perfect balance between safety and fun for the baby girl and me. She was able to play and get wet, and I didn’t have to worry about her getting swept away to Bermuda. The Atlantic got closer every minute but it was gradual and the changing shore line kept everything fresh. We all sat on the edge of the pool and let little fish nibble our feet, which was freaky. It happens all the time whenever we’re in the ocean but watching it and thinking about it was strange and creepy. The only possible downside was that the nearly constant rain is keeping the ocean cold. Normally at this time of year the water feels like a bathtub, but on the other hand there haven’t been any violent storms. I like to think the monsoons we’ve been having are releasing the energy that has been turning into hurricanes for the past fifteen years. I hope so anyway. But I digress. We got used to the water and had the marine exfoliation. We saw lots of dolphins. The very first one we saw wasn’t more than fifty meters off shore. He was so close that I wanted to swim after him. If I’d had my goggles I don’t think I would have been able to resist. I wouldn’t have been able to catch him. Dolphins swim better than humans. It’s science. But wild dolphins are the coolest things in the world. I was beginning to think that I was just a big geek, but the last couple of times we’ve seen dolphins I’ve watched the lifeguards on duty and they get jacked up about them too. I feel like this is a boring post because my writing about our beach trips is becoming repetitive, but when I read these posts years from now I know it will make my happy. Nobody has ever been on their deathbed and wished they hadn’t spent so much time at the beach or wished they hadn’t seen so many dolphins.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Chinese Fire Drill

In our never ending quest to keep LMJ busy we headed to the park early this morning. We saw an unfair contest as we arrived, a couple of grandparents versus toddler triplet boys and a big dog. The parents were in New York for the weekend to see the Yankees play the Mets, while the grandparents babysat. They were a very nice couple, but they were hanging on by the skin of their teeth. Actually, everything was fine when we showed up because they had all three boys in swings. LMJ went down the sliding board a few times, but what she really wanted to do was swing. The grandparents saw this and made a huge tactical mistake – they got the boys out of the swings. As toddlers will do, the three boys headed off in three different directions. I had it easy. I pushed LMJ on the swing while the grandparents – and MJ because she’s nice – tried to keep the boys from wandering into the street and throwing themselves off the jungle gym. One of the youngsters started pushing LMJ’s stroller – the one she pushes her baby named Doll in – all around the park. LMJ was holding Doll and didn’t have a problem with the little boy pushing the stroller until she wanted to put Doll in it and push it herself. The triplets are fifteen months old and have no clue about park or toy etiquette, so when the little boy barely broke stride as LMJ put Doll in the stroller she got upset and started to cry. The grandpa, who sounds like he didn’t leave Brooklyn for the first time until he was in his fifties, said, “Hey, we call that kidnapping,” as the little boy left with LMJ’s stroller and baby Doll. It was a bit of a weird moment because I want LMJ to share generously, but I also want her to know that her stuff is her stuff. It’s a bit of a needle to thread. It was also the first time we, as parents, were in the “been there done that” stage. We knew exactly how a fifteen month old operates, and were prepared to help. The grandparents were out numbered and behind enemy lines, and we were able to shore up their flanks. What’s funny and typical is that they were at the park to tire out the triplets, but as they were leaving it was obvious they were the ones who were beat. I can’t imagine having to deal with triplets all day everyday. Just the thought sends a shiver up my spine.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Slotted Spoon Can Catch A Potato

A couple of notes before I get into Into the Woods. First, who the hell is awake at eleven o’clock at night? Second, it’s best to ease into a trapezius workout if you don’t want to walk around with a tension headache for two days. And D, if it’s more than an hour past MJ’s bedtime I should probably drive.

We saw Into the Woods tonight starring JSG. That’s who we went to see, and that’s who we cared about. The play was a lot of fun. It was smart and funny and the whole cast did a great job. Every other play I’ve ever seen, which isn’t many, somebody in the cast isn’t pulling his or her weight, but Theatre Jacksonville cast the hell out of this play. Everybody could sing, and that’s hard to do. Renee Zellweger got an Oscar nomination for Chicago, but I don’t think she would have made the cut tonight. EJG was also in the cast but had to bow out because of brain surgery. I don’t know if EJG is cut out for stardom. I admit my knowledge of theater production is limited to what I learned from Showgirls, but he seemed to be way too supportive of the play and the cast. There was a complete absence of Diva like behavior. I know if Sean Penn had driven from Orange Park to San Marco for three or four months and had to bow out at the last minute he’d be outside the theater flicking lit cigarettes at people walking by, if he showed up at all. Maybe Jennifer Lopez will open a school. I don’t know if the play was long or I’m just old, but I’m surprised I didn’t swallow the people in front of me the way I was yawning. Don’t misunderstand me, the show was very entertaining. I was caught up in the story. I really needed to find out how it ended. MJ and I just prefer a matinee. That way we can catch the early bird special (blue plate, baby) with the half price dessert at the Cracker Barrel and be home in time for Wheel of Fortune.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I'm Starting to Get the Runner's High, I Think

This new training is really starting to freak me out. Once again as soon as the sun crept over the dawn line this morning the temperature shot up to inferno, so I exercised inside. Today’s routine was weights with legs, swimming the elliptical, and the dreadmill. I kept the weights low key. I did just enough to fill my legs with blood and then it was down to the pool, which had one dude taking up two lanes for his aqua aerobics and the other lanes were full with two people doing laps in each one. I can’t really complain about the guy taking up two lanes. I’m sure he fought for my freedom with General Washington at Valley Forge. I am thinking about investing in a box of Baby Ruths to see if I can lower pool traffic levels. I made a point of heart rate control on the elliptical, and the hour went by effortlessly. I was never out of breath, I was never in pain, yet I still burned almost seven hundred calories. I forgot my water bottle, and I only remembered it as I was heading to the water fountain between my elliptical and dreadmill (that’s what I’m calling it from now on) sessions. I was fully prepared to be “that guy” and drink until I wasn’t thirsty, but they had the thing set on low flow or something. I needed it cranked up to hydrant. I got bored and hopped on the DM. Once again the focus was to keep my heart rate below 150, and once again I cruised right through the workout, burning another three hundred calories. I knew I was done because the thing stopped and beeped at me. I’m a thousand calories in, according to my tricked out watch, and I don’t feel like I’m going to die. My legs were a little bit tight walking to my car and I was drenched in sweat, but that was the only way I knew I had exercised this morning. I feel frickin’ great. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to get used to that.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Back To School

Yay!!! One day in a row on the exercise schedule. I guess it’s my fault. I should schedule better. I need to start scheduling work strictly in the late afternoon and evening. I always think I can get an appointment in early and get to the gym later in the day. Unfortunately, like today, I’m rarely able to make that work. If I’m going to get this triathlon thing right, I’m going to have to become one of those schedule people who maps out life in fifteen minute increments. It’s going to be a major sacrifice. I value free time, that is, unscheduled, uncommitted time more than diamond encrusted saffron. I’m from the Christopher Robin school where when someone asks you what you’re doing you say nothing, and then you do it.

I had an interesting meeting with a nice guy in his seventies yesterday, and we were talking about Riverside and Ortega architecture. My house came up and I said that I had an “old school” garage meaning it’s an older design. He thought I meant a garage that was either once a school or had belonged to a school. It’s funny because I thought “old school” had become transcendent. I thought not only did everyone know what it meant, but everyone used it. I guess it’s ironic that his failing to understand my use of old school means that he’s from the old school. I only used it because his Danish wife, who’s in her late sixties, used the term “cool”.

In my new hyper-accurate scheduling I’m going to have to find time for a master’s swim class. I don’t think I can get it at the Y. My swimming technique has to get better. The biggest problem is that I don’t know what I don’t know. I have no idea what I’m doing right, other than getting in the pool, or what I’m doing wrong. I’m also going to have to start taking my lunch(es) with me. I’m going to have to start eating once every three hours to keep my metabolism jacked to the max. I’m going to be like Rain Man. Judge Wapner comes on at 7:30 and it’s time for me to eat.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Back in the Saddle

Man, I love me some heat! I got a good night’s rest last night so I was feeling much better this morning. I had an early appointment and then it was off to the gym for weights, cardio work, and some interval training. I was full of energy and ready to get back into my routine. I was also thrilled that today was the first in about a month where it didn’t rain. I hit my shoulders and triceps, ran five miles on the treadmill, and ran 10x400 intervals. I was stuck doing the interval training last because it was so damn hot. I knew that when I was done that I would be overheated and dehydrated, and wouldn’t be able to do anything else. I also took a protein drink and a quart of water with me so I could refuel and rehydrate like I’m supposed to. The treadmill was both boring and exactly what I needed. I was able to set it on a speed and control my heart rate. Keeping my heart rate under 150 is weird. I don’t feel like I’m actually doing anything. That wasn’t the case with the intervals. I didn’t come close to hitting my goals for the last six reps (out of 10). I don’t think I’m supposed to do intervals after a distance run, and I don’t think I’m supposed to run in 90 degree heat, but I wouldn’t be me if I did what I was supposed to do. I never felt bad so I continued to press. Taking in fluids and calories every 15 to 20 minutes makes a huge difference. It’s definitely worth carrying around a bottle, which I hate. I don’t like stuff touching me when I exercise. I take off my wedding ring when I run. Carrying a bottle is a huge step for me. I’m going to have to get one of those runner’s utility belts. I learned a lot today, but what I’m proud of most is that I learned to drink while running without choking. Tomorrow is weights and swimming.

Monday, June 8, 2009

I Think I Should Go to Bed Early Tonight

I am so tired. It’s not just this weekend that wore me out, but I think it did erode the last little bit of my rationality. I have no middle ground anymore. There are two states to my existence. I love and I hate. If I’m forced to think about something in which I have no interest, it goes in the hate pile. I love my life and my family and my friends. I feel like a hippie on ecstasy. I’ve only been around a few people on X in my life, and I hate them. If I could go back in time and see them again I’d bring a taser, and see if we could induce a psychotic episode or two. Nancy Reagan wasn’t joking about saying no to drugs and neither am I. I love that I live in the South. I love that we’re not packed in like sardines; that space isn’t at a premium because I hate paying for parking. I spend about $3 a day on parking and I hate every single penny of it. If I don’t pay the fee it’s a $25 ticket, yet everyday I have to talk myself out of trying to time the parking Nazis. I love working close to home. I love my office. I hate almost everyone in my office. I hate the guy two doors down from me. I hate that his head is wider than his shoulders. I hate all of his Florida Gator paraphernalia (why is there an R in paraphernalia), especially since he didn’t go to UF. He’s not even from Florida. He’s from somewhere in the Midwest. I hate that I got an urgent email telling me I had to provide 3 months of bank records for an audit, and when I provided them I was told it was too early and that I needed to wait until the end of June. The email said I could be fined if the records weren’t in by July 8. If the requestor wasn’t a convenient notary public, I would have been buying, instead of just pricing, lime and shovels. I hate that I force myself to post everyday. I love that posting everyday makes writing easier. Strangely, I feel better.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Watersports, Birth Control, and It Looks Good on Paper

Childcare, it seems, is just like everything else. A good plan makes things go a lot smoother. Last night I had an agenda and it eliminated television, which eliminated tantrums, and both LMJ and I got a good night’s sleep. She woke up looking for Mommy again this morning, but unlike yesterday, I had an answer she wanted to hear. I told her we were going to the beach and Mommy would be there. I had planned on putting her in a pretty pink and white dress that MJ had requested, but LMJ said no, beach equals swimsuit and water shoes. This was fine. I packed her dress instead of her swimsuit along with some breakfast for LMJ and we were out the door. We got to the beach without incident and were hanging out in ME’s condo when I realized I had forgotten my swimsuit. MJ decided we needed to make a run to Target to get me a new suit because EVERYBODY had to get in the pool. Jump forward to a half an hour later and I was the only person over eight in the pool. It rained for the last two days so the pool water was very cold. It was funny watching LMJ try to get in. She desperately wanted to swim but every time she got past belly button deep the cold water would take her breath away and she would have to turn around. The rest of MJ’s crew had no intention of getting in and said so in as many words. I think she started to feel guilty that she made me get a new suit and I was the only one in the pool, so after about twenty minutes she took the plunge. I was having fun, but the best part of the day was watching all the kids interact. Two five year olds make a lot of noise, and helped tip today’s balance in favor of LMJ being an only child. The problem wasn’t that they behaved badly; it was that they were acting like normal five year olds, and I don’t know if I’m up for going through that twice. MJ and her friends are planning a Disney cruise trip in five years with the kids: a thirteen year old girl, a ten year old girl, a ten year old boy, an eight year old boy, a seven year old girl, a six year old girl, and a five year old girl vs. four women in their forties. WHO YA GOT? I’m really bummed that I’m going to have to miss it, but I’ve got that thing at work that week.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Rest of The Night

Holy mother of fried chicken! The baby girl woke up looking for her mother at 1am. She had about three and a half hours of sleep. I had about twenty minutes because I missed her mommy too. Every time LMJ stirred I jumped to make sure she wasn’t plunging to her death. When her tossing and turning became “I’m up” I tried to console her that Mommy would be back tomorrow. She didn’t care about tomorrow. She wanted her here, now. I sort of distracted her from that, but not really. I think she decided I was completely incompetent in producing a Mommy for her slumbering ease, and decided to wait it out. So for the next four hours she made the rounds of her five or six entertainment stations in the house, getting more and more frustrated and fatigued every moment. I was overtired as well, and just wanted to make the problem go away. On the plus side, I found out my baby girl can handle an inhuman amount of tequila, especially since she only weighs twenty-eight pounds – just kidding HRS. I let her watch television and podcasts (I now hate Mickey Mouse). I read to her, but nothing calmed her down. We were both starting to lose it as 4am rolled around. She would doze off for a second, getting my hopes up, and then jerk herself awake. No matter what I did she wouldn’t let herself fall asleep. She was waiting for Mommy, dammit. At 4:30 I’d had enough and told her she it was time to go to sleep, and I wouldn’t let her watch anymore Mickey Mouse. She had the worst tantrum of her life. I gave up and told her she could do whatever she wanted to do, which is meaningless to a two year old and completely ridiculous for a 38 year old. I was on the verge of calling Grammy. I googled “What to do when your two year old has a tantrum” while my two year old was having a tantrum and trying to drag me out of my chair. I followed the instructions, well the first one. I calmed down and let myself realize that I’m an adult and she is a toddler. I picked her up, told her that I loved her, that it was time to go to sleep, and that I would read her favorite book, Busiest People Ever, to her (again). Strangely enough, she started to settle down. Maybe it was my demeanor because she didn’t like the exact same idea five minutes before. She sat still while I read to her and finally fell asleep at 5am. I think what worked this last time is I didn’t make the reading interactive. I didn’t stop to ask her what she thought. I ignored her comments and just read the story. Live and learn. She woke up at 8am, and fueled on adrenaline, went to sleep about twenty minutes ago. I bet being a single parent is just non-stop fun.

Friday, June 5, 2009

I Love This Game or Why You're an Only Child

I don’t know if there’s any literature on the subject or if any formal studies have been done, but two year olds like routines, and if their routines are messed with they don’t adjust well. I started putting LMJ to bed tonight at 8pm and I spent the last ten thousand years listening to her scream because something was off. She half-heartedly accepted the answer that Mommy was going to come home tomorrow. She doesn’t really understand that concept, so I knew she couldn’t deal with the day after tomorrow or Sunday. I didn’t want to lie to her and tell her Mommy was at work, and have no where to go when she wakes up tomorrow morning and Mommy isn’t here. That would start her down the inevitable path of not trusting her Daddy as a go to guy for pertinent information a little bit earlier than I would hope. It’s my fault for expecting her to give in to fatigue. Her nap got cut in half today and she started getting cranky at about 6pm. Grammy took her to the park while I updated JSG’s blog, and got screamed at by a two year old for the effort. When we started operation shut down with massive yawns between the sobs during the bath I thought she’d be asleep by 8:30. Man was I wrong. She screamed while I read the books she picked out while screaming. I turned on Mickey Mouse, which distracted her to the point of her head nodding, but she would snap out of it and roll over on the bed to wake herself up. That lasted for half an hour, and then I turned off the television. Guess what she did. I decided to let her cry herself to sleep but she wouldn’t sit still, so I carried her around telling her everything was going to be alright – I could be a back up singer in The Wailers. Every time she would start to put her head down on my shoulder she would shake herself awake. Although I do understand her reluctance since my shirt was drenched in the blood gushing out of my ears from her banshee act. It was only through providence that I had left the living room television on the NBA channel and there were talking heads speaking in a monotonous drone while the Lakers practiced behind them on. I sat her on the couch and the rhythm of the practice lulled her past the point of no return and she said, “Back. Bed”. Thank God.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I'm Getting Old and I'm a Snob

Beth wrote about taking her older boy to get a haircut and forgetting that the barber shop was close to a military base. The Reader’s Digest version is he walked out with a high and tight, jarhead style. It’s funny in a good way. What I saw Tuesday night in Target wasn’t funny. A little boy who was eight years old at the absolute oldest had two little blue stud earrings that were the same color as his blue t-shirt and his blue crocs. Maybe I’m old, but let’s try mixing in a “no” or two. LMJ and I watched him, and he wasn’t coming across as a future friend of Dorothy or a future fan of Oscar Wilde. He was just a victim of bad fashion. Now back in the good old days, the late 70’s, we would have teased him, and bullied him, and threw rocks at him, until he changed his wardrobe or died. That’s Darwinism and it’s natural. We’re pack animals and if the parents won’t keep Paddy Wagon (named after where he was conceived) in line then it’s up to his fellow pups. No one is a lone wolf at eight. Not even real wolves (canis lupus), at eight they’re past their prime and have probably been dead for two years. I digress. I think my biggest problem, after the jewelry to clothes color coordination, is the crocs. Little kids should wear shoes they can run in because that’s how they get places, and you can’t run in cheap clogs. The earrings make me sad. Why? Who thinks that looks good? Little boys clothes should consist of crap their moms make them wear and stuff representing their favorite teams and toys. That’s all. Parents should know this. I just hope the earrings were a result of a lack of parenting by letting little PW get his ears pierced and not a result of mom and this weeks boyfriend thinking it would look cool.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Oh Shit!!!

I got home early today and was able to give CG a little bit of a break. When I left this morning she was being berated by LMJ.


CG: It’s not open yet. We have to wait until it opens.

LMJ: Yeah, GO! ZOO!

CG: Sweetie, it’s not op…

LMJ: GO! ZOO! GO! ZOO! GO! ZOO! (This was an order not a cheer)

After they got back from the zoo LMJ took a nap that was interrupted by some gastrointestinal distress. When I got home CG let me know LMJ was a little bit short on sleep, so I was prepared for her to be a little bit cranky. CG went home for a more than earned rest. LMJ and I played and read and watched a little Mickey Mouse and were having a grand old time when she started shrieking like she’d been shot. I got scared because I had no idea what it was. Did she get shot by a baby sniper – a sniper who shoots babies and not a toddler assassin? Did her appendix burst? What could it be? Then she started screaming, “Diaper change.” Great! this I can handle and I cleaned her up. She started doing the same thing about forty-five minutes later. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I asked her if she had to go poop, and she, of course, lied and said no. We were on the way to the potty when she started shrieking about “Change diaper” again. Well, I had wrapped up the first – for me, second overall - poop filled diaper in a plastic bag and put it in the kitchen trash, which I wrapped up and was getting ready to take outside when she started up. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a plastic bag ready for this, hopefully, final poop filled diaper before I started changing her. As I was getting a new plastic bag LMJ pulled the poop filled diaper out from under her and flung poop onto her chest. Uh-oh! She felt something on her chest and tentatively touched it, figured out what it was, completely freaked out. I was a little bit angry because she couldn’t just sit still for two seconds while I got a plastic bag, but I was mostly amused because she reacted exactly how anybody else would react if they had found a big turd sitting on their chest. All of this happened within the span of a heartbeat, and I cleaned her up as I explained to her that everything would be alright but that she needed to sit still sometimes and listen to her daddy. Lots of learning and lots of hugs, it was an after school special

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Doom and Gloom

EJG is in the hospital recovering from brain surgery, it seems from lifting something heavy, and it may affect the way he lives the rest of his life. There are a couple of steps from moving some risers to getting holes drilled into his skull, but not nearly as many as one would hope. I think I would be able to better understand it if something had fallen on him, but no. He tweaked or torqued a little bit awkwardly and bam. Fate is feckless, at best. She’s mean spirited and capricious. He has life plans professionally, and more importantly, personally that may have to change because he was trying to get his classroom ready. He teaches music. He’s not a cop or a fireman. It makes me angry that life is so flimsy. This situation makes me think intelligent design is the pinnacle of arrogance. What kind of superior being would roll out this crappy model? Is Bill Gates God? It’s ironic that EJG didn’t “start up” correctly when they were done with the surgery so they “rebooted” him, and it worked. I don’t handle these things well. My basic response is “This is bullshit!” like they overcharged me at McDonalds. But that’s all my brain will process at this point. I know this is incredibly selfish, but I hope I go before MJ. I’ve tried to run through some rationalizations about how I’d cope if she died. I’ve been lucky enough to spend twenty happy years with her already and that’s twenty years more than most people get, but that’s all crap, which is why I try to cherish every moment I’m with her. I fail miserably. I surf the internet too much. I’m so glad that television is so bad. I’m glad that we are working hard at having fun more than we used to. The G’s work very hard at having fun, and at the end of the day I think it will help.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Road to the Iron Man

EJG had emergency brain surgery last night - as opposed to elective brain surgery, I guess. I’m not ready to write about that yet, maybe tomorrow. Sometimes, real life isn’t fun. MJ is guest posting about it here. Instead I’m going to whine and complain about how hard it is to run in the Florida heat – again. I’m going to finish my first triathlon before I’m forty and the training started last week. I’m trying to do this right. I swam this morning, which is insanely hard because my technique is horrible, but I can already tell I’m getting better at it. After the swim, I ran for an hour. It was 92 degrees, even though it was ten o’clock in the morning, and I was really having difficulty keeping my heart rate under 150. That’s the new goal. I need to control my heart rate. That’s how endurance athletes endure. Everything was going fine. I even set my watch to only show my heart rate. Unfortunately, I was listening to my iPod and a really cool song came on. I sped up without even knowing it and by the time the song was over my heart rate was over 170. My fat ass can’t dissipate that kind of heat in this kind of weather, and even though I was feeling good, I slowed down, ultimately to a walk, so my heart rate would drop. It took almost fifteen minutes to get back into the 120’s. A lot of that had to do with some hills. I had a real problem walking when I wasn’t tired, but everything I read says my approach of pushing it only leads to injury. I didn’t fuel or hydrate correctly either, which frustrated me when I started to cramp a little bit near the end of my run. Doing dumb stuff because I’m dumb is fun, but I hate doing dumb stuff because I’m lazy. Changing training philosophies after more than twenty years is tough, but I swam 500 yards and ran almost six miles in the sweltering heat, and the only downside was a little dehydration, which can easily be corrected. I’m on my way to being Tony Stark. He’s Iron Man for those who don’t know.