Tuesday September 30 2014

Rob Lion.[i]

☼ ○ ▬

Stuck in a room with a five-year old girl who's been possessed by a demon. In her hand is some kind of sharp ice pick. She slashes my chest and stomach in cross sections – blood squirting everywhere. It's hard to determine if this violence is happening figuratively or physically – all I know is it feels very real. The girl keeps repeating nonsensical phrases like "Sneaky, sneaky, don't be sneaky!" in a sinister voice. Meanwhile, there's another scene going on inside my head: a black and white photo with so much contrast it's hard to make out but it's understood if you magnify the image in the left corner you can see a creepy ghostly face staring directly at you, at me. The ultimate kind of shiver runs down my spine – I can't even describe how afraid I am. Somehow I manage to go into another room where my mom is. I don't have time to explain what's going on to her but I demand she pray over me. We stand there in the living room behind a coffee table holding hands. She's praying. "Use Jesus's name!" I say. She starts to use the name of Jesus. All of a sudden the possessed girl marches into the room, her eyes affixed on me. She tries to reach me on the right side but I shoo her away. Then she tries to come around the left side. With all my strength and spiritual energy I yell in a crescendo, "Go awaaaaaaaaaay!" and my hand pushes her back towards the door. She exits the room. Now we're safe. It's as if the evil agenda she had for me vanished into thin air.

▬ ○ ☼


Waking up around noon.


Honey Crunch n Oats with Strawberries and Almond Milk. Banana.


Groceries.


Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jam Sandwich. Potato Chips. Honey Green Tea. KIND Blueberry and Cashew Bar.


Teaching a couple piano lessons at Music Makers.


At the Rec Center for adult basketball. I arrived somewhat late with no time to warm up. But it doesn't show for the first couple of games. I'm on point knocking in 3-pointers and driving into the hoop. One of my defender's teammates criticizes him, "He scored five on you. I counted!" One game after another – they just keep going and going. It was a great night for basketball and I feel satisfied.


Orange Roughy Filet with a hefty Salad of Kale, Spinach, Carrots, Tomatoes, and Cranberries, and a small bowl of Cheesy Macaroni.

Watching Night Moves (2013).


Organizing piano technique exercises for my students.


Orange Juice Soda.


Practicing piano.


Sleep 4 a.m.


[i] Rob Lion.

Monday September 29 2014


Waking up at 12:27 p.m.


Honey Crunch n Oats with Strawberries and Almond Milk.


Banana.


At the Rec Center playing a few pick-up games of basketball. The Rec was closed this past week or so – they repainted every wall, laid down a new coating on the parquet courts, and attached new nets.


Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jam Sandwich. Olive Oil Potato Chips. Honey Green Tea.


Giving a couple of voice lessons at Music Makers.


Orange Juice.


At The Escape running three miles on the treadmill. I'm set on keeping up with my cardio this week – I can feel my stomach bulging millimeter by millimeter. I'm losing a lot of calories today.


Egg and Tomatoes with Baby Broccoli, and Pita Bread.

Watching Dirty Pretty Things (2002).


Learning Beethoven's Minuet in G Minor.


Sleep 4 a.m.

Sunday September 28 2014

uma-thurman-1342[i]

Waking up at 11:40 a.m.


Honey Crunch n Oats with Strawberries and Almond Milk.


All day shift at China Wok.


Banana.


KIND Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Almond Bar.


The deliveries are steady and continuous. There's not much time to think or sit around except at the steering wheel.


Tuna Salad with Tomatoes. Falafel Chips with Hummus. Honey Green Tea.


Every now and then Elliott visits China Wok. Tonight he replaces Ana as my sidekick in the Wok wagon. As usual with anyone that sits in the passenger seat I vent my frustrations and reflections as they come to me – thoughts on moronic drivers, the ignorance of stiffing customers, Halloween plans, etc.




Off work and back home. I find Ana left a grocery bag full of boxed up chocolate chip cookies for my students. It's complete with little music notes drawn on the boxes. Sometimes I wonder if I've already found the perfect girlfriend. 


Tofu with Broccoli, Onions, Carrots, and Rice in Garlic Sauce.

Watching 3 Days to Kill (2014).


Later on I'm supposed to talk with Ana on the phone per her request but she ends up just showing up here at midnight. She had some things she wanted "clarified". It seems kind of out of left field. We go for a walk. She's got her arms crossed in a leather (maybe faux?) jacket. I gobble down two of her Chocolate Chip Cookies. She brings to our attention how much she looks like Uma Thurman from Pulp Fiction with her haircut. To sum it up she wants to know if I keep in touch with my exes. I don't why she's concerned about it but I assure her there's nothing to worry about.

Lingering by her car before she leaves. I embrace her and ask, "So are you clarified like butter?"

Ana: "For now."

She's got such a tender and understanding heart.


Sleep 3:30 a.m.


[i] From Pulp Fiction (1994).

Saturday September 27 2014

China Wok Sunset (September 27 2014)[i]

Waking up at 10:35 a.m.


Honey Crunch n Oats with Strawberries and Almond Milk.


All day shift at China Wok.


Deliveries are steady.


Ana shows up and shares Raspberries with me.


Scrambled Eggs. Toast with Vegan Cream Cheese and Strawberry Jam. Olive Oil Potato Chips. Orange Juice.


The day continues on in a hazy brisk fashion – collecting a few generous $10 tips along with some stiffs.


Dark Chocolate Almond Bar. Fuji Apple.


At the end of the day I rake in more than usual. Nothing to complain about except getting off work late.


Mongolian Chicken with Mixed Vegetables and Rice.

Watching Smoke (1995).


Chores.


Sleep 3:30 a.m.


[i] Image by me.

Friday September 26 2014

Skype Chat with Charlotte, Half-Sister (September 26 2014)[i]

☼ ○ ▬

On an airplane ride. It's crowded. Ana and I are trying to have sex but there's no room and not to mention how awkward it is doing it next to a strange fat white boy. He doesn't seem to care nor does anyone else. While Ana is perched on my lap naked the boy shows me this really cool necklace with various medallions attached it. We admire all of them.

▬ ○ ☼


Waking up at 10:35 a.m.


Honey Crunch n Oats with Strawberries and Almond Milk.


All day shift at China Wok.


Banana.


It's a slow afternoon for business.


Tuna Salad Sandwich with Tomato. Falafel Chips with Hummus. Honey Green Tea.


During the down time at the restaurant while the girls peel the skins off purple grapes I bring in the plastic blue jack-o'-lantern I picked up at the thrift store and have some fun with the girls, imitating the face and making up a funny voice.


Fuji Apple.


Leftover Lentils, Brussel Sprouts, Potatoes, and an Egg Roll.


It's been dead the last half hour and even though I usually expect to go home around 10:30 we get two more orders of course, one of them being all the way out on Bonney Road. I've worked here long enough that I should probably change my expectations by now. Whatever. I'm not starving to eat since I already ate dinner during the slow time. But delivering a $50 order only to get a $1 tip is more than kind of disappointing. And to top that off I get pulled over randomly by the police when leaving the neighborhood. Fortunately, it was only because one of my license plate lights was out. And he was considerate enough to make it a quick ID check.


Back home at 11:30 p.m.

Watching Smoke (1995).

Coconut Blueberry Yogurt.


Chores.


I have a Skype meeting set up with Charlotte, my half-sister from London. The only time I ever heard about her existence was when I was a teen. We exchanged one letter and then years passed. And now we've managed to connect face to face online for the first time. It's a sad story that my dad never divulged any details about. He married a woman from the UK back in the early 70's. They wanted to have children – they tried and tried. Then one day she got pregnant. My dad couldn't believe it and thought she had an affair. There was a misunderstanding and she got sent back to the UK. And thus the girl without a father was born, my half-sister. Talking with her now on Skype is kind of strange and new. We're both happy to finally see each other. She's got a two-year old that keeps jumping on her lap. We share stories and thoughts on the whole thing. I can tell she's grateful to be speaking with me.


Sleep 4 a.m.


[i] Image by me.

Thursday September 25 2014

Ana's New Hair Era (September 25 2014) (6)[i]

Waking up around 9 a.m. I see a strange figure across the room wrapped in a flesh-colored long sleeve shirt doing yoga poses. I know it has to be Ana. But then she pauses in her position and looks over at me with her green face mask.

"I can hardly recognize you over there," I say.


Later I wake up with an intense itchy sensation on my left arm. It's been on and off since I discovered that I have Brachioradial Pruritus, a condition where only one arm itches with intensity. They say it's caused from over exposure to the driver's arm. But it could also be from cervical spine arthritis that transmits signals to the arm, a neuropathy they call it. Either way there is no cure and all I can do press a cold pack on my arm and apply this aloe vera witch hazel astringent. It's the worst.


After 11:30 a.m. Ana wakes me up to enjoy breakfast downstairs. Ancient Grain Blueberry Banana Pancakes with Coffee.


Ana's off to the salon to get a haircut, and not for a mere trim but up to shoulder length. She's been preparing mentally for a couple of weeks now. It's a pretty big deal. It's somewhat of a milestone symbolizing a new era in her life.


Scrambled Eggs. Toast with Vegan Cream Cheese. Honey Green Tea. Potato Chips.


Teaching a couple lessons at Music Makers.


Honey Crisp Apple.


Running a couple miles at The Escape. 


Ana's New Hair Era (September 25 2014) (1)


Ana and Whitney return from roller-skating. It's strange seeing half of Ana's hair gone but it's also an exciting and fresh look.

Ana: "It's like you're dating a different person, isn't it?"

Me: "Yeah. It is."
                         
Ana: "Well I'm still the same person."

Me: "We'll see about that. That hair's gonna change you."


Downstairs I join Ana and Whitney for dinner. They made a big batch of Cashew-Creamed Kale, Mushrooms, Carrots, and Lentils with Purple Thai Rice. It's absolutely delicious. And then it's topped off with a Chocolate Peanut Butter Avocado Banana Pudding dessert.


Practicing piano.


Sleep 3:30 a.m.


[i] Images by me.

Wednesday September 24 2014

Pumpkin's Dominion (September 24 2014)[i]

Waking up at 12:22 p.m.


Honey Crunch n Oats with Strawberries and Almond Milk.


Watching a TED video about body language.


Organizing.


Egg. Blueberry Bagel with Vegan Cream Cheese. Potato Chips. Honey Green Tea. Apple Sauce.


It's a rainy windy day.


At Music Makers teaching the little kids piano. Emmy, one of my vocal students, is here to give me an apology letter along with a huge honey crisp apple. Yesterday she was having a hard time listening and would only do what she wanted to do. She had a very sincere and shameful face when handing me the letter.


Homemade Pizza (AGAIN...UGH) (September 24 2014)


Peach.


Running a few miles at The Escape.


Coffee with a KIND Nut and Chocolate Bar.


Ana shows up with ingredients to make a pizza. We were reluctant at first but the pizza craving was strong. We get better and better every time. Mozzarella Stuffed Garlic Pizza with Peppers, Mushrooms, and Spinach.


Apple Apology Letter from Emmy (September 24 2014)


When popping the cap to a ginger kombucha bottle I get blindsided by an explosive force of air compression – the bottle cap shoots to the ceiling. The power of the compressed air is so strong it even breaks the tip of the bottle into pieces.
                                     
Me: "Well that was unexpected."


Sitting down at the piano with Ana singing a Beatles song and taking turns at playing Bach's Minuet in G Major and G Minor.


On the bed I instigate sexual action. Her black and white hip-hugging shorts I unzip and pull down slowly. What else is there to say? We make love.


While editing this photo I took of Ana's newly discovered heart-shaped birthmark just above her bum I explain to her, "I'm trying to enhance your heart! Ha-ha-ha. Literally and figuratively."


Ana's Birthmark Heart (September 24 2014)


Sleep 4 a.m.


[i] Images by me.

Tuesday September 23 2014


Waking up around 12:30 p.m.


Honey Crunch n Oats with Blueberries and Almond Milk.


At Whole Foods buying a few necessary things. I notice its Taco Tuesday – can't resist buying a $4 Fish Taco.


Fish Taco. Falafel Chips with Hummus. Honey Green Tea.


Teaching piano lessons at Music Makers.


Vega Protein Drink.


At The Escape running a couple miles on the treadmill.


Picking up some things at Trader Joe's.


Banana.


Lentils, Potatoes, Brussel Sprouts, and Onions.


Practicing piano.


Sleep 4 a.m.

Monday September 22 2014

Edge_of_Tomorrow2[i]

Waking up at 12:20 p.m.


Honey Crunch n Oats with Blueberries and Almond Milk.


My car insurance premium just got deducted by $279. One of the few perks of joining the 30 Club. That's $47 I'm saving just because I'm 30 years old.


Mango.


Business


Scrambled Eggs. Blueberry Bagel with Vegan Cream Cheese. Falafel Chips with Salsa. Honey Green Tea.


Giving a couple of voice lessons at Music Makers.


Vega Protein Drink.


At The Escape working out. Then on the basketball courts shooting hoops.


Leftover Ginger Curry Noodles with Brussel Sprouts, Carrots, and Onions. Yeast Rolls.

Watching Edge of Tomorrow (2014).


Adding color-coded keyboards to the animal flash cards Ana made for my students.


Chores.


Sleep 4 a.m.


[i] Edge of Tomorrow.

Sunday September 21 2014

China Wokking (September 21 2014)[i]

Waking up at 11:20 a.m.


Honey Crunch n Oats with Blueberries and Almond Milk.


All day shift at China Wok.


While delivering an order to Lisa Square I see a couple of black boys throwing a practically deflated basketball around in the street. I offer to pump it up for them since I keep an air pump in my car at all times. Maybe those little boys will learn to dribble the ball now. I'd like to imagine at least one of them will pursue basketball as a career because of this little gesture.


Salmon Jerky. Falafel Chips with Hummus. Honey Green Tea.


Today is the last day of the big air show. Even though it is a constant disturbance to hear those planes crack through the sky every couple minutes it's still cool to see the formation of the Blue Angels and the old school fighter jets. Appropriately, I'm simultaneously delivering to the neighborhood with street names like, "Streamline Drive", "Jet Circle", "Fighter Drive", "Plane Circle", and "Air Station Drive".


Blue Angels (September 21 2014)


Ana's Homemade Granola.


Ana stops by and rides around with me like usual. And as usual whenever I'm in her presence she brings out of me these analytical rants. This time it's about attitude and how it's directly related to how ignorant a person is. In my experience I've found that when a person is genuinely happy in their life they are more open to learning new things. And when a person grows up with a grudge and holds in a lot of anger they are closed off to the world so to speak. In the end I come up with this statement: Happiness is synonymous with open-mindedness and anger with close-mindedness.


Honey Crisp Apple.


I get stuck making a delivery out to Tivoli Crescent, an apartment complex off Holland Road, far enough that it should be out of our delivery range but of course my bosses accept the order anyway. I'm already a littler angered I have to drive way out here in the first place. Two happy little dogs greet me at the door. I pet them for a while until the customer retrieves the cash. Finally, he comes back with $23.25. The order is $23.20. This is the moment I dread every time someone is about to stiff me. I could just walk away and sulk it off or I could panhandle a little bit.

"No tip?" I ask. I can tell I just shot him with a little guilt gun. He walks away and comes back with a five-dollar bill. Score! All it took was two words to get a tip. Sometimes you gotta earn it. You can't always expect tips to just fall in your lap. Some customers need extra work.


Off work and back home.

Bourbon Chicken with Broccoli, Snow Peas, Onions, and Rice.


Piano.


Sleep 4 a.m.


[i] Images by me.

Saturday September 20 2014

Dave Kinsey[i]

Waking up at 10:35 a.m.


Honey Crunch n Oats with Blueberries and Almond Milk.


All day shift at China Wok.


Honey Crisp Apple.


Scrambled Eggs. Blueberry Bagel with Vegan Cream Cheese. Potato Chips. Honey Green Tea.


Ana slips by the restaurant while I'm out on a delivery and leaves me a gift: a small purple tin filled with homemade granola – it even has a transparent lid to see what's inside without opening. She comes back later on and sits in the passenger seat during my deliveries. We have a good time whenever we get in a car together – criticizing, laughing, poking fun, etc. And sometimes we touch on sensitive subjects. Today she mentioned how she is seriously (this time) thinking about cutting her hair up to shoulder length. This is a huge decision for her as the length of her hair has been at the center of her identity for years. Before today I wasn't aware how important and symbolic her long hair actually is. She confesses how short hair represents a bad time in her younger life and that's why she grew it out in the first place. She gets a little teary eyed when talking about it.

Me: "I know this is a challenge for you. But it's an opportunity to fight your past and be free."


KIND Dark Chocolate Cashew Cherry Bar.


Eating some of Ana's homemade Granola to tide me over till the end.


Off work and back home.

Tofu with Broccoli, Onions, and Rice in Garlic Sauce.

Watching The Trip (2010).


Ana texts me, "I want to be free and continue my progress of breaking away and breaking down walls I've created. I am scheduling an appointment [for the haircut]. I don’t want to hide behind my hair. You're right it will grow. Life is constantly changing and growing and I must stay open to changes and growth because I want to be free. Robert, I love you. You're one of the best people in my life."


Orange Juice.


Piano.


Sleep 3:30 a.m.


[i] Dave Kinsey.

Friday September 19 2014

the-trip-2010-movie[i]

Alarm goes off at 10:35 a.m.


Honey Crunch n Oats with Blueberries and Almond Milk.


All day shift at China Wok.


Banana.


Fall is upon us. But the sun still shines its brightest today.


Peanut Butter Sandwich. Falafel Chips with Salsa. Ginger Kombucha Tea.


Three delicious but regrettable Almond Pillow Cookies (one too many).


Deliveries have been kind of slow – not planning on making too much money today.


Listening to podcasts on the long drives.


KIND Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Pecan Bar.


After a long drawn out shift of 11 hours I'm finally off work and back home.

Hunan Chicken with Broccoli, Snow Peas, Onions, and Rice.

Watching The Trip (2010).


Going for a run around the neighborhood.


Sleep 4 a.m.


[i] From The Trip (2010).

Thursday September 18 2014

Hoop Nights (September 18 2014)[i]

Waking up at 11 a.m.


Ana cooks us Peach and Banana Pancakes with Coffee.


Ana: "I had so much water yesterday, Robert."

Me: "Why did you just add my name at the end of that?"

Ana: "I can add your name to my sentences if I want you."


I'll Take You There (September 18 2014)


She takes me to get an oil change for my car and then we visit Whole Foods for a few things.


Scrambled Eggs. English Muffin. Cucumber Salad. Honey Green Tea.


A full schedule at Music Makers teaching kids.


Emmy's Song about Jack and Uni-Kitties (September 18 2014)




Raw Energy Protein Shake with a Banana.


At The Escape working out. Then on the basketball courts shooting hoops.


Thai Chicken Pizza with Mixed Vegetables. Almond Pillow Cookies.

Watching Deadly Code (2013).


Organizing. Chores.


Ana sends me a goodnight voice message...


Sleep 3:30 a.m.


[i] Images by me.

Wednesday September 17 2014

Illustrator Painting. Vasa Mihich.[i]

☼ ○ ▬

I'm with Phil Gray, Ana, and some other friends. We've been put on an artificial tropical island beach landscape that seems to be in a perpetual state of rotation. We have to find a shaded spot in the trees to avoid sunburn. Nothing's real here, not even the trees. I notice a door in the underbrush that leads to a staircase. I encourage everyone to follow. When we reach the bottom we're amazed at what we find: a large auditorium with metallic magenta colored tiles on the walls, almost rainbow like – the ceiling is higher than can be seen. Everything is in pristine condition as if somebody just finished building it. Carefully we walk around. Four pianos set up in a square, each with their own design and sound. A table with information written on brochures that I can't decipher even though it appears to be in English. Is this some kind of a secret society meeting place? It almost seems alien. I look down into a hallway and discover a worker patching up a spot on the floor. He's entirely blue with a bulb-shaped head and no face. After he sees me he lies on the ground in fear.

I assure him, "Don't worry. I'm not gonna harm you. We're just looking around."

Something tells me we're not meant to see this place. I find another door across the hall that leads to the outside. Ana tags along as we run around an artificial town equipped with everything imaginable. Exploring the various buildings. An arcade. A store. A nursery. People are looking for us. We hide in the back of a shower room where I decide this could be a good time to have sex. It works out but when we try to leave we're reprimanded by the chaperones of the strange town.

▬ ○ ☼


Waking up on a palindrome of 12:21 p.m.


Honey Crunch n Oats with Almond Milk and Blueberries. A mediocre Peach.


Watching Teenage (2013).


Research.


English Muffin. Potato Chips. Honey Green Tea. Purple Grapes.


Teaching kids piano lessons at Music Makers.


Fruit and Nut Bar.


I'm finding a need to fill up on more calories after teaching and then attempting to workout.

Leftover Ginger Curry Noodles. Banana.


At the Rec Center shooting hoops in the gym. A girl I met before that says she got sick one time after eating China Wok challenges me to a 1-on-1 game. I win 12-9.


Back home. Ana brought ingredients to make dinner. After a joint effort we sit down to eat a nutritious meal of Black Beans with Onions, Broccoli, Carrots, Mushrooms, and Brown Rice/Quinoa. And all to the tune of an old time Mississippi blues record.


I commissioned Ana to create animal notation flash cards for my piano students. She brought them with her. They are the cutest prop thus far I have to help kids learn music.


Animal Notation Flash Cards (September 17 2014)[ii]


Upstairs, we settle down in the bed and watch a documentary called Teenage (2013). It's a wonderfully put together film collage of youth in the 20th century and their role in culture.


I see Ana continuously scratch a spot on her hip.

Me: "What's going on down there?"

Ana: "It itches! I have bites and bruises."

Me: "Bites and bruises. You always have bites and bruises."
                                   
Ana: "B & B."


While Ana drifts off to sleep I go downstairs to mash up a peach for tomorrow's pancakes. Skippy and Kevin are at the table sipping beers and shooting the shit. It's always a pleasant surprise to see Skippy. Something happened to him in California – a mind shift – a new perspective. He seems to have gained some wisdom. He mentions to me how glad he is that I have this new teaching job. I explain how busier I've become since. He says something along the lines of this: People who stay productive and busier enjoy their free time more as opposed to people who have more free time and don't stay busy; The idea is that the people with more free time don't use their free time productively.

Me: "Yeah I get that. And that's true. But sometimes I wish I could just wake up with nothing to do. Cause everyday I wake up with a mental to-do list. And if I don't get those things done I've failed."


Joining Ana in bed. A sexual heat reverberates between us.


[i] Illustrator Painting. Vasa Mihich. 
[ii] Animal Notation Flash Cards by Ana.

Tuesday September 16 2014


Waking up at 12:32 p.m.


Honey Crunch n Oats with Blueberries and Almond Milk.


Piano. Piano. Piano.


Coffee.


Piano and voice lessons all day.


Banana.


Shooting hoops.


Ginger Curry Noodles with Brussel Sprouts, Carrots, Onions, and an Egg.


Practicing piano.


Purple Grapes.


Sleep at some point. What a simple day.

Monday September 15 2014

Waking Up (September 15 2014)[i]

Waking up around noon.


Whole O's with Banana and Almond Milk.


Organizing. Cleaning.


Scrambled Eggs. Toast with Vegan Cream Cheese and Strawberry Jam. Honey Green Tea. Olive Oil Potato Chips.


At The Escape working out.


Teaching one voice lesson at Music Makers.


Almond Chocolate Coconut Granola Bar. Fuji Apple.


Working an hour and a half at China Wok.


On the basketball courts off First Colonial. Shooting around and eventually getting involved in a couple pick-up games.


Seared Garlic Ginger Tuna Steak with Onions, Couscous, Kale, and Carrots. Lime Seltzer Water.

Watching The Immigrant (2013).


Playing vigorously on the piano – learning Beethoven and Tetris theme songs.


Sleep 4 a.m.


[i] Image by me.

Sunday September 14 2014


Waking up at 11:20 a.m. Ana got up earlier – she comes in to inform me she's making pancakes. I'm out of cereal and I wasn't sure what I was going to eat for breakfast. And there she is to save the morning. I love that girl.


Blueberry Banana Pancakes with Coffee.


All day shift at China Wok.


My stomach is still mildly upset from yesterday's meals. I don't know why it's lasted this long. I thought for sure it'd be calm after a good night's sleep.


Egg Drop Soup. Cinnamon Raisin Bagel with Vegan Cream Cheese. Honey Green Tea.


Delivering to a house on Fair Lady Place. The customer has one of those young lab puppies. Of course, like any respectable dog, he's fighting to greet me at the door. He's being held by a lady who eventually releases him. He runs over straight into my arms creating a triumphant moment between strangers.


Ana stops by in the evening and rides around with me on a few deliveries. She was at the house today with Whitney making almond milk and granola bars. She looks so cute in her mustard yellow shirt and black pants. She points out one strand of hair on the top of her head that has turned gray.

Me: "Wow. You're getting gray hairs before I am."


KIND Blueberry Almond Cashew Bar.


Off work and back home.

Tofu with Broccoli, Onions, Carrots, and Rice in Garlic Sauce. Lime Seltzer Water.

Watching Centurion (2010).


Sleep at 3:30 a.m.

Saturday September 13 2014

Crabs at Bubba's (September 13 2014)[i]

Waking up at 12:32 p.m.


Bran Flakes with Raisins and Almond Milk.


Working out songs on the piano.


My dad, his wife Patty, and my stepsister, Jennifer, with her boyfriend Luis show up to the house. I brew a pot of Coffee for us. I've never had my dad's side of the family inside the house before so they're getting used to the massive amount of stuff and décor on the walls.

My dad asks, "What are you guys gonna do when you move out of here?"

Me: "We'll be fine."


Dad's Wife is Queen (September 13 2014)


Somebody mentions the thought of me producing a child so my dad can have a grandbaby. "Need me to show you how to do it?" my dad chimes in with a big smile.

"I think I can figure it out," I reply.


Banana.


Eventually, Ana joins us. Then, we all hop in my station wagon and head to Bubba's off Shore Drive. My dad really wanted some good seafood. We grab a table right next to the water. Watching the boats taxiing back and forth. I order the Crab Cake Sandwich with French Fries but also help Ana with her Blackened Grouper. Ana seems afraid of the hard-shelled crab staring at her on the freezer paper.


Ana Scared of Crab (September 13 2014)

Fish Kiss (September 13 2014)


Back at the house. I brew some more coffee for the coffee heads – it's mostly Jennifer that likes to drink coffee all the time. It's inevitable that I'll get requested to play music at some point. I grab the guitar and Ana helps me sing some songs, putting on an impromptu concert in the living room. My dad's still getting acquainted with my girlfriend and showing her voice off to him is a plus. I'm proud of her.


Performing for family (September 13 2014)

The Boys (September 13 2014)

The Girls (September 13 2014)


My dad gets to talking about how I used to cry so much when I was a child. He explains to Ana, "Robert used to cry all the time. We'd go to the park and I'd have to sit him down and tell him now when it's time to go we're gonna go."

Me: "Yeah, I didn't like change."


We all head to Skinny Dip to enjoy cups of frozen yogurt.


We were gonna corral dad and them for dancing in Norfolk but they call it an early night and head back to the hotel. Ana and I continue with our plan. At The Parlor on Granby Street for an event called TESTIFY! My stomach is upset, I suppose from the seafood and the ice cream earlier. I sip on a Ginger Ale from the bar and try to push it out of mind so Ana and I can cut a rug on the dance floor. DJ Ryan Thomas is spinning all 70's-Soul-Motown. There's not a ton of people but just enough to energize ourselves and shake our butts.


TESTIFY! at The Parlor (September 13 2014) (1)

TESTIFY! at The Parlor (September 13 2014) (2)

Hands at The Parlor (September 13 2014)


Back home. Sharing small plates of Ginger Curry Noodles with Kale and Lime Juice Seltzer Water.


Sleep 3:30 a.m.


[i] All images by me.

Friday September 12 2014

The Coolest Car in VB (September 12 2014)[i]

Waking up around 10:30 a.m.


Honey Crunch n Oats with Almond Milk.


All day shift at China Wok.


Peanut Butter Cinnamon Raisin Bagel. Olive Oil Potato Chips. Honey Green Tea.


Boxes Itches (September 12 2014)


A perfectly overcast sky – no sunshine – just the way I like it when I'm delivering.


Eating three of Ana's Chocolate Chip Cookies.


While delivering an order near the Rudee Inlet in Harbour Point I see a small animal just sitting in the middle of the parking lot, his face affixed in my direction. I come down the stairs and see that it's a fox! We lock eyes for about five seconds until he scampers off to who knows where.


Mongolian Chicken with Mixed Vegetables and Rice.


Off work. As soon as I get home I hop on my bike to meet up with my dad, his wife, and my stepsister (and her boyfriend) at the oceanfront. They're in town until Sunday. Earlier they ordered Chinese food and I was able to deliver it to their hotel room. We all take a walk down on the strip. I lead everyone along the boardwalk. The sea winds are strong tonight. It's nice to see my dad and the family.


Smith Family at Oceanfront (September 12 2014) (5)

Smith Family at Oceanfront (September 12 2014) (3)

Smith Family at Oceanfront (September 12 2014) (1)


Back home. Settling in.


Sleep 4 a.m.


[i] Images by me.

Thursday September 11 2014

Emmy (September 11 2014)[i]

☼ ○ ▬

A marathon is being held at the oceanfront. Even though it doesn't make sense it's understood the runners will start touching the Pacific Ocean and reaching the Atlantic Ocean at the end. I ride my bike through the crowd of runners on the boardwalk. It's nighttime. I reach the end where there's a pier. Somebody spots an alligator sticking its head out of the water. I look over the edge of the pier where there's a deep pit filled with blue fluorescent water. There are at least five or six alligators waiting at the bottom. We're all supposed to jump over it to the other side to finish the race.

▬ ○ ☼


Waking up just before noon. Ana went out to the store and brought back blueberries and bananas for pancakes. I told her I didn't want to wake up too late. She's too polite when trying to wake me up. She rummages around the room quietly and tells me, "I know you said you didn't want to sleep too late."

My eyes are half open but I argue, "You know, you're not doing a very good job of waking me up."

Immediately, she darts over to the bedside with a big smile and hops on top of me.

Me: "There you go. You gotta be a little harsh."


Ana cooks the tastiest Blueberry Banana Pancakes I've ever had. Topping it off with this expensive Grade A Maple Syrup just makes it all that more perfect. Sipping on very strong Coffee (unintentionally made strong by Ana).


Lesson prepping.


Giving six music lessons at Music Makers, a mix of voice, piano, and guitar. I was supposed to have a thirty-minute break for lunch somewhere in between but one of the students came late and pushed everything back. DeeGee gives me an Apple to tide me over. One of my younger vocal students, Emmy (7 years-old), sometimes has a hard time paying attention and keeping her focus on the lesson. Today I tricked her into doing the solfége using a mini lego man left behind by another student...





After 7 p.m. I'm back home and able to make myself a late lunch: Scrambled Eggs, Toast with Vegan Cream Cheese and Strawberry Jam, Potato Chips, and Orange Juice.


Elliott stops by for a quick minute. He wanted to get a drink somewhere but I convince him to join me on the tennis courts with Ana and Whitney for some good old-fashioned amateur tennis.


Later, back at the house, Ana and Whitney team up in the kitchen making Caprese Salads and some kind of raw Almond Date Pie. Ana brings up a plate of everything to my room.


Strawberry Kombucha.


Learning the Tetris theme songs on piano.


Watching Bloodsport (1988).


Sleep at 4 a.m.


[i] Image by me.

Wednesday September 10 2014

Poker Night Revival (September 10 2014)[i]

Waking up at noon.


Honey Crunch n Oats with Almond Milk.


Running errands.


Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jam Sandwich. Potato Chips. Honey Green Tea.


Teaching kids how to play piano at Music Makers.


Papaya.


Running on the track field off First Colonial and shooting hoops.


Back at the house. Cooking dinner: Maple Mustard Garlic Salmon with Kale, Carrots, and Rice. People pile in for Poker Night – I can't even remember the last time we had poker here. I finally manage to get Art over here since he moved in down the street. He's been living with a girl that has a kid – he seems to be happy and settled. Tonight's players are Mike Gombas, Art, Darren, Richie, Bret, Whitney, and myself. I bought some drink supplies including gin, simple syrup, and club soda to make Tom Collins with. I delegated Ana to officially serve everyone drinks, cookies, and popcorn. This way nobody has to get up and can focus on the game. She does a splendid job and receives tips. I'm the second to get out. Bummer. Beginner's luck works in Whitney's favor as she wins the pot.


Ana Waitressing at Poker Night (September 10 2014)


Complimenting Ana on the cookies she baked I say, "The heart-shaped one was the best one."

Ana: "Cause I infused it with love. That’s why it became that shape."


Sleep before 4 a.m.


[i] Images by me.

Tuesday September 9 2014

Wanamaker Organ.[i]

Waking up at 1:37 p.m. Long night.


Honey Crunch n Oats with Almond Milk.


Giving four piano lessons at Music Makers.


Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jam Sandwich. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Honey Green Tea.

Watching Good Morning, Vietnam (1987).


Running on the track field off First Colonial and shooting some hoops.


Papaya.


Learning a Bach song on piano.


Super Salad with Spinach, Sprouts, Arugula, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Kidney Beans, and Peas with Yeast Rolls.


Researching and prepping lessons for tomorrow.


Sleep 4:30 a.m.


[i] Wanamaker Organ.

Monday September 8 2014

Homemade Shrimp and Spinach Pizza (September 8 2014) (1)[i]

☼ ○ ▬

Visiting a friend's house in the middle of the night. After parking my car I'm bombarded by a gang of birds. I affectionately call to a black goose. Reluctant at first he comes over and we embrace.

▬ ○ ☼


Waking up just before 1 p.m. The rain and wind taps on my window offering an alternative to the sun.


Honey Crunch n Oats with Almond Milk.


Business.


It's pouring like crazy outside.


Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jam Bagel. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Honey Green Tea.


Giving one voice lesson at Music Makers.


I get called into China Wok for three hours – helping out with the dinner shift. Thirteen orders and some extra cash in my pocket – can't complain.


While getting ready to head to Norfolk I receive a surprise visit from Chris Remaley. We don't have much time to chat but make plans to hang out in the near the future.


At Ana's house. We're making a homemade Shrimp and Spinach Pizza. Her mom and her mom's friend are in the living room talking in Tagalog and watching the Filipino channel. The dogs are running around soon to be picked up by their respective lapdog handlers. The mini size of these dogs determines their future as the kind of dog one carries around in one arm while doing things with the other arm.


The Doghouse (September 8 2014) (4)

The Doghouse (September 8 2014) (3)

The Doghouse (September 8 2014) (1)


Our pizza is finished. We enjoy it at the table with Mango Lime Aquafrescas. As Ana explained to me the previous day when choosing to make pizza over pancit noodles, "You love pizza! Pizza is meant to be loved! Making pizza is fun!"


Homemade Shrimp and Spinach Pizza (September 8 2014) (3)[ii]

Homemade Shrimp and Spinach Pizza (September 8 2014) (2)


In her bedroom I pull out the guitar. Warming up our voice with vocal exercises. Rehearsing songs together not for any particular reason except to keep it fresh. But my dad is coming into town this weekend and I assume he'll want to hear some music.

...

Later, putting some chill music on the stereo and having a little sexy fun. Afterwards, hanging around for quite a bit flipping through a stack of music books and songbooks she has just collecting dust. I borrow a couple to use for my piano lessons.


Back home. It's already super late but I get lost reading a classical music guidebook.


Sleep around 5 a.m.


[i] Images by me. 
[ii] Images by Ana.