Friday October 31 2014

1435 Hallow's Eve Bash (2) (October 31 2014)[i]

☼ ○ ▬

I'm standing near the doorway of my bedroom. An old church friend (and the pastor's son) is standing there talking with me.

He asks, "How's the Holy Spirit in your life?"

"It's good man. It's good," I reply with ease even though inside it feels like I'm lying. I ask the same to him, "How about in your life?"

He takes it kind of personally and walks off.

▬ ○ ☼

Waking up at 10:30 a.m.

Honey Crunch n Oats with Strawberries, Pumpkin Seed Meal, and Almond Milk.

All day shift at China Wok. I'm prepared this Halloween with a more than appropriate costume resembling a Chinese takeout box. On one of my first deliveries at the hospital upon walking through the foyer a bunch of people ask to take at least four pictures of me. It's garnering much attention.

Takeout Costume (2) (October 31 2014)

Takeout Costume (1) (October 31 2014)


"You're a brave soul to be wearing that!" an employee at Conte's says to me after delivering his food.

Kale Green Salad with Hard-Boiled Egg, Tomatoes, and Beets.

The day continues steadily. I'm determined to keep wearing my bamboo rice hat even as uncomfortable as it is. The tips aren't necessarily more generous but the compliments don't stop. Some customers think I'm just a trick-or-treater at first.

Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jam Sandwich. Honey Green Tea.

Later on, Kevin shows up to help with the dinner shift dressed in an authentic Mormon outfit. He's hilarious.

Kevin Morman (October 31 2014)

Shrimp with Broccoli and Rice.

Before I can finish cashing out there's a complication locating a credit receipt that causes me to stay back at the restaurant a little longer. Ling and I sort it out.

I arrive home to the Hallow's Eve Bash. Ana decorated the dining room with orange and purple cotton webbing. There's a crowd of people hanging out drinking and chatting. Ana's hungry and looking for something to eat. I offer some leftover carrot and ginger soup with kale inside. It looks like a witch's brew as she eats it with a wooden spoon. I pop open a bottle of Bubo Cabernet red wine for her and I to enjoy. Whitney and her dressed up as Jane and Daria – they look naturally apathetic and non-conformist.

Ana and the Witch's Brew (October 31 2014)

Jane and Daria (October 31 2014)

Rusty Look-alike (October 31 2014)

After everybody leaves I clean up the bottles and trash. Spending a little time reflecting and writing before I join Ana in bed at 4 a.m.

[i] Images by me.

Thursday October 30 2014

Ana and Piano (October 30 2014)[i]

Waking up like I do every Thursday, with Ana and to the tune of Blueberry Banana Buckwheat Pancakes and Coffee. It's really become a weekly ritual. It's the only day we both have off from work, besides the piano lessons I teach in the late afternoon and evening.

Originally, we were going to practice singing at the storage unit but I get carried away on the piano. Instead we work out an arrangement of Weezer's "Why Bother?" and Mickey and Sylvia's "Love Is Strange".

After grabbing a few necessary things from Whole Foods Ana leans over and kisses me on the cheek a few times while waiting at the stoplight. She says sweetly to me, "I love you."

"Are you sure?" I ask playfully.




We part ways for the day. I go on to Music Makers to teach piano lessons.

Cod Cakes and Noodles.

One of my hour students doesn't show up so I take the opportunity to practice in the piano room until a new student arrives.

At The Escape running a few miles and enjoying a meditative fifteen minutes in the sauna.

Talking to Ana on the phone. She wanted to chat a little bit about how she's been feeling lately. She describes herself as a mini blue monster. In the end she's just worried about her future. I encourage her to just focus on the "now" – continue excelling in all her crafts, and it will all come together.

"I don't want you to have to take care of me all the time," she iterates.

Me: "It's okay. You can do that. You're supposed to take care of yourself. I'm just a companion."

Carrot Ginger Soup with Peas, Dino Kale, Onions, and Green Peppers; and Falafel Chips with Hummus.

Plain Kefir with Blueberries. Black Tea.

Researching. Chores.

Sleep 3:30 a.m.

[i] Image by me.

Wednesday October 29 2014

Back Patio Makeover (1) (October 29 2014)[i]

Waking up at 11:30 a.m.

Honey Crunch n Oats with Strawberries, Pumpkin Seed Meal, and Almond Milk.

Clearing out the back patio. There's a lot of useless junk that's just been rotting away one rainfall after the other. It feels good to clean it all out and make the back area inhabitable again.

Back Patio Makeover (2) (October 29 2014)

Grilled PB&J. Banana. Green Yerba Mate Tea.

Teaching piano lessons at Music Makers.

Honey Crisp Apple.

Kefir with Blueberries.

Attempting to workout at The Escape but my energy is at a loss. I don't know if it's from the light lunch or from the six back-to-back lessons I had, probably a combination of both.

Home. Whitney arrives back from California. Pumpkin desperately missed her. He meows persistently all throughout the evening. Ana arrives. I'm in charge of dinner tonight: Maple Garlic Black Beans with Onions; Roasted Kale Sprouts and Carrots; and Quinoa – an absolutely satisfying meal. I never had kale sprouts before – it's like a cross between brussel sprouts and Russian red kale.

Ana and I decide to paint some clay pots. I pull out the collage/paint materials and we go at it. Meanwhile, Kevin gets off work and gets weirdly interested in the last game of the World Series.

Me: "I don't remember Kevin being into baseball."

Painting Pots (October 29 2014)

During the course of the night Ana displays a solemn aura. I'm not sure the cause of it. There seem to be a lot of triggers in our interaction. I don't really know how to handle it.

Eventually, we end up lying in bed together like we always do. She curls up into a fetal position as I wrap my arms around her body.

I explain, "It's okay to be here...back to the egg in the fetal position. We all come back to the egg at some point. It's safe here. But eventually the egg's gonna crack again and you've got to come out to the world."

She says something about always crying when she's with me and not other people. I try my best to encourage and comfort her. These are hard times for 20-somethings. I was there once. Sometimes I feel I'm still there but the difference is I've gained a bit of clarity and acceptance.

Somehow we drift off to sleep. I wake up periodically in the beginning stages of sleep to her calling my name and wanting to talk more. And of course, later on in the dark early hours of the next morning we'll have sex.

[i] Images by me.

Tuesday October 28 2014

Kevin and Pumpkin (October 28 2014)[i]

Waking up at noon officially.

Honey Crunch n Oats with Strawberries, Pumpkin Seed Meal, and Almond Milk.

On his days off you can find Kevin on the red couch wrapped up in the big blanket. He's getting along so well with Pumpkin he's taken on the persona of Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget.


Lentil Beet Sandwich with Hummus. Falafel Chips with Hummus. Honey Green Tea.

Teaching piano at Music Makers.

At the Rec for adult basketball. It's pretty much an all-star team I'm on tonight.

Kefir with an Orange.

Carrot Ginger Soup with Onions, Green Peppers, and Dino Kale; and Brown Rice Egg Pilaf.

Watching Breathe In (2013).

Drilling myself with piano.

Cinnamon Herb Tea.

Sleep 4 a.m.

[i] Image by me.

Monday October 27 2014

Marina Abramovic The Artist Is Present[i]

☼ ○ ▬

On the second floor of a mall. I'm located in the thrift store section. There's a small area of shelves with boxes of books and magazines from the 70's. I flip through them and scan every detail of every cover. Meanwhile, these teenagers keep coming by and try to steal my belongings. It's stressing me out. Eventually, one of them successfully takes my backpack and jets it down to the first floor. I run after him. Downstairs, I approach a lady behind the counter to see if they retrieved my belongings and sure enough they did. I reprimand all the teenagers running around one by one. It appears that they're stealing every one else's stuff too. It's understood this is a different country, somewhere in Europe. I look outside the glass doors near the street and spot Sasha getting ready to hop on a bus. I stop her, "Hey! Are you going to Munich?" It's understood she is because apparently anyone going back to America goes there first to catch a plane. Sasha and some other guy get on the bus and I just barely miss it. I watch as it drives off. It turns into more of a roller coaster train somehow. With determination I run after the train. They split off, the guy in one train and Sasha in another train, and enter through a barbed wire fence. The gates close and I can't get through. I watch the roller coaster trains connect with a track and take off behind a cracked out building. Something's fishy about this place. I worry something bad might happen to Sasha and this guy.

▬ ○ ☼

Waking up around 11:30 a.m.

Irish Oatmeal with Strawberries, Blueberries, Pumpkin Seed Meal, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. Coffee.


I go to Pep Boys to buy some real seat covers.

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

Teaching voice lessons at Music Makers.

Vega Sport Peanut Butter Chocolate Protein Bar.

Running and working out at The Escape.

Shooting a little bit of hoops.

Leftover Balsamic Chicken with Beet Greens, Carrots, Onions, and Brown Rice.

Watching Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present (2012).

Research – information sponging.

Cinnamon Herbal Tea.

Sleep 3:30 a.m.

[i] Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present.

Sunday October 26 2014

Love Delivery (October 26 2014)[i]

Waking up at 11 a.m.

Honey Crunch n Oats with Strawberries, Pumpkin Seed Meal, and Almond Milk.

All day shift at China Wok.

One of my first deliveries of the day is to Hilltop Community Church off First Colonial Road. A buff white guy, bald as an eraser head, comes out, total Stone Cold Steve Austin look-alike. I recognize him from run-ins at the restaurant and other places around town. He's your typical youth leader type with a lot of "cool" attempted in his vernacular, overly welcoming, and personable. Part of you wants to runaway but another part of you wants to just give him a big bear hug. Very talkative he is. Come to find out an old guitarist that used to play in his praise band I actually know, Nick Docherty. Nick used to go to my old church and we're mutual friends of other friends. The Steve Austin preacher gets excited when he finds this out and calls our meeting "divine". He asks to pray for me before I leave. My car's still running and of course I'm in a hurry but I don't decline. As he's praying he uses the word eclectic to describe me and asks the Holy Spirit to guide me. After I leave I reflect. Whenever somebody has prayed over me before it's always such a peaceful and comforting feeling. I noticed as soon as he said "Holy Spirit" something hit me like a heavy bag of emotional bricks. I've experienced this feeling in non-religious scenarios as well, like through music, movies, real-life interactions with others, etc. I always struggle to differentiate between meditative states of being and spiritual/religious states of being. But maybe they're the same – maybe it all comes from the same place.

Honey Crisp Apple.

Ana made special brownies using dates and almond meal as a base. She delivers a single one to me in a brown paper bag with the words, "Love Delivery" drawn on.

Tuna Salad Sandwich with Tomato. Olive Oil Potato Chips. Honey Green Tea.

When expediting an order at the counter Ling stops me to write "Orange" on the orange chicken so the customer can know the difference between Gen Tso's and orange chicken. I assure Ling this isn't necessary. But he tells me, "If everybody smart then no problem," insinuating that not all customers are smart enough to know the difference, which I know very well is true.

I get the chance to indulge in Ana's brownie and it's utterly divine.

Off work and back home from a long day's work.

Lentils, Broccoli, and Rice.

Watching Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present (2012).


Sleep 3:30 a.m.

[i] Image by me.

Saturday October 25 2014

Dream House at 1467 Old Virginia Beach Road (October 25 2014)[i]

Waking up at 10:15 a.m.

Irish Oatmeal with Pumpkin Seed Meal, Maple Syrup, Blueberries, Strawberries, and Almond Milk. Coffee.

All day shift at China Wok.


It's a fairly busy afternoon for deliveries. Racking up decent tips.

Grilled Peanut Butter Sandwich with Honey. Olive Oil Potato Chips. Honey Green Tea.

I come to a stop at the Great Neck/VB Blvd traffic light and see Margot, my ex-girlfriend, directly behind me. Yesterday I ended up directly behind her at this same light. It's funny how I haven't really seen her in over a year but continually see her on the road. We text from time to time about stuff related to friends we used to know but other than that no real communication. After seeing me she waves and gives me a call. She tells me she just back from tanning and that she's got a date tonight. It seems like every time I catch up with her she's got a date lined up. Either way we chat for a bit – she asks advice on the best storage unit to keep a couch.

The night continues steadily.

Thunderbird Energetica Cherry Walnut Crunch Bar.

Off work and back home.

Balsamic Chicken with Beet Greens, Carrots, Onions, and Rice.

Watching The Contender (2000).

Sleep 3:30 a.m. 

[i] Image by me.

Friday October 24 2014

Still of Alexa Havins in Proxy (2013)[i]

Waking up at 10:23 a.m.

Honey Crunch n Oats with Strawberries, Pumpkin Seeds, and Almond Milk.

All day shift at China Wok.


Scrambled Eggs, Whole Grain Flax and Fiber Toast with Vegan Cream Cheese, Blue Quinoa Tortilla Chips with Hummus. Honey Green Tea.

The day continues steadily. In between delivering and down time at the restaurant I fill the garlic sauce in the 2 oz. containers.

Podcasts keep my mind busy and entertained as I drive the long routes.

Thunderbird Energetica Almond Cookie Pow Wow Bar.

Fuji Apple.

I think about how many people have lived in our house since we first moved in back in May of 2011. After talking with Kevin via text I make a list of 22 residents in total, and that's not including all the couch surfers that stayed here for weeks at a time.

Off work and back home at a decent hour.

Lentils, Broccoli, and Rice.

Watching Proxy (2013).

Preparing/cooking meals for the next two nights. My goal is to weed off Chinese food, or at least have a trustworthy protein option for dinner.

Sleep 3 a.m.

[i] Still of Alexa Havins in Proxy (2013)

Thursday October 23 2014

Pumpkin and his Paper Bed (October 23 2014) (2)[i]

Waking up later than I wanted at 12:41 p.m. I guess I needed to catch up on sleep. Ana woke up earlier to do her yoga and reflect. When sharing Buckwheat Berry Pancakes at the table I notice a drop in her mood – it's been noticeable as of late. She hasn't been happy the past couple of weeks – becoming more and more defensive over small criticisms. It's probably the lack of sunshine I explain. The weather's been gloomy, windy, rainy, and chilly. Us 757 folk aren't used to back-to-back bleak weather like this. We need our sunshine. This authentic Black Tea we're sipping on really refreshes this meal.

Teaching a couple lessons at Music Makers.

Scrambled Eggs. Toast with Vegan Cream Cheese and Strawberry Jam. Blue Quinoa Tortilla Chips with Hummus. Banana. Black Tea.

Back to lessons.

I come up with a chord progression for Emmy, one of my vocal/piano/everything students, to sing a song along with lyrics she already wrote. Good times...

At The Escape running a couple miles and lifting weights – also enjoying a 15 minute sauna session.


Dinner: Lentils with leftover Curry Vegetables and Quinoa.

More Pumpkin pictures...

Pumpkin and his Paper Bed (October 23 2014) (1)

Ana messages me a couple things...

"I realized today that my defensiveness towards constructive criticism has increased and I need to just calm myself down. My eagerness to please is the reason behind this defensiveness. I know that you do mean well when you comment because I know you're not the kind of person to tell me mean things. I just want you and anyone who eats my food to be happy and love it. Your criticism is good for me to hear so I can learn to perfect all the dishes/ desserts I make. I also want to say that I'm glad I kissed you and hugged you before I went to the store. Slowly looking into your eyes and just experiencing you and giving affection to you makes me happy and lucky to have you. When you came into bed last night all I wanted to do was snuggle you.. & i didn't -___-"


Sleep 3 a.m.

[i] Images by me.

Wednesday October 22 2014

I Spy Pumpkin (October 22 2014)[i]

Alarm goes off dark, not bright, and early at 7:30 a.m. I've got to be at court this morning.

Instant Multi-Grain Berry Oatmeal. Coffee.

It's a gloomy, windy, rainy day. I'm here in small claims court to collect a check from garnished wages that I issued on Elisa, an old roommate. She's owed me a big sum of back rent from almost two years ago. In the waiting area outside the courtroom everybody is scanning the docket for their case/names. I'm surprised to see Elisa is actually here. It's awkward at first cause I really don't know what to say.

Me: "Hey Elisa. How are you?"

She doesn't look thrilled to be here. I would have preferred to avoid the legal system but she gave me no choice a while back. There was hardly any communication nor any assurance she would pay her debt. Either way, we're here now. Once they open the courtroom doors it's only a few minutes before the court clerk calls us to the bench. The clerk hands me a check for about 80% of the debt. Elisa is eager to pay off the rest of it to me. We talk out in the hall for about ten minutes clearing the air with each other and apologizing. We discuss a timeline for her to write me a check covering the other 20% of her debt. I leave the courthouse feeling vindicated and relieved. This whole thing between her and I has been hanging over my head for years. And now it's over...almost. Here's a shining example of the legal system on your side. It may take a lot more time, money, and hassle to use it but in the end justice can be served.

I'm not used to being out and about this early in the day. Since I'm on this side of town I decide to surprise Ana at work. I walk into O'Reilly's with a small pink flower I picked off a bush nearby. She's ecstatic to see me and without warning embraces me with a huge smile on her face.

Impromptu Flower Delivery for Ana (October 22 2014)

Stopping by the garden center for some new clay pots. I end up getting another snake plant.

Grapefruit. A small bowl of Honey Crunch n Oats with Strawberries and Almond-Coconut Milk.

Taking care of business – paying bills – taking out the recyclables.

Grilled PB&J with Pumpkin Seeds. Olive Oil Potato Chips. Green Yerba Mate Tea.

Teaching piano lessons at Music Makers. Wednesdays are my packed days for lessons – 3.5 hours of teaching today. I'm running on empty searching for my second wind. Having to get up so early this morning is out of the norm for my routine. But I hang in there and continue on as usual.

Even with the lack of energy I head to The Escape to enjoy the sauna and a light workout. The hot steam seeps deep into my pores and in my lungs.

Back at the house. Ana cooks up dinner. I bake a Breaded Lemon Almond Encrusted Tilapia to go with her Curry Quinoa and Vegetables.

We hang downstairs on the stiff yellow couch watching In a World... (2013). It's a perfect movie to lighten the mood and make us forget about the stormy weather.

Whitney's gone for a week in California. And so I've been delegated to watch over Pumpkin. He's already found a comfy hidden spot in my closet to lounge in and sheets of paper make great bedding.

Pumpkin's Paper Bed (October 22 2014)

Kevin gets off work eventually. Later on when he goes off for a cigarette I decide to pull together another scare prank. I don't think this tops the time I snuck into his bed and lightly touched his chest scaring the living daylights out of him. But for this one I stay hidden in the back corner of his closet and watch him while I make creepy grunting sounds...

Later, lounging around in the bed with Ana. She keeps slipping these accidental accents when she speaks – it's quite cute.

Me: "Accidental accents. That could be a good band name!"

Sleep 2:30 a.m.

[i] Images by me.

Tuesday October 21 2014

Larry Bird Free Throw Distraction[i]

Waking up at 11:22 a.m.

Honey Crunch n Oats with Strawberries and Almond Milk.

Errands. Banana.

Grilled PB&J. Olive Oil Potato Chips with Lemon Hummus. Honey Green Tea.

Teaching a couple piano lessons at Music Makers. In between talking with DeeGee and Drew, the owners who hired me, about how I feel about everything and how happy they are with me there. They warn me that I'm about to pick up more students in the coming months as they've been advertising big time.

At the Rec Center for adult basketball. I get a supreme workout playing for almost two straight hours.


Arugula Salad with Tomatoes and Carrots. Gluten-Free Pizza with Roma Tomatoes.

Watching The Prince (2014). 

Probiotic Drinkable Yogurt.

Catching up on writing.

Sleep 2:30 a.m.

[i] Larry Bird Free Throw Distraction.

Monday October 20 2014


Waking up at 11:08 a.m.

Oatmeal with Peanut Butter, Blueberries, Strawberries, Chia Seeds, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. Coffee.

At the storage unit vacuuming the carpets, which I can't remember the last time they were clean. I bought this Indian rug that I wanted to clean thoroughly. My neighbor in the unit next to me is having issues with the owner, Matt. He doesn't approve of the $20 increase in rent. Matt's a hardball. I can overhear their interaction as I vacuum. Later, we introduce ourselves. He remembers me from a while ago when I was rehearsing here late at night.

Him: "Dude, you've got a good voice – you sound like The Shins."

I offer him a metal shelf that I found on the street cause he said he was looking for one. As a trade he offers me a coffee table he built from a wire spool. He also offers me some apple pie moonshine – I accept a sip and no more.

Getting groceries at Whole Foods.

Double Egg Sandwich with Beet Hummus and Tomatoes. Blue Quinoa Corn Chips. Honey Green Tea.

Teaching voice and piano at Music Makers.

Chugging the last of my Orange Juice.

At The Escape running three miles and working out.

Tuna Steak and Dino Kale with leftover Quinoa and Chic Peas.

Tonight Will brought over a freshly downloaded movie called Young Ones (2014) starring one of my favorite actors, Michael Shannon. Nobody really knew what to expect but it's a full living room. Will, Ana, Andre, Darren, Stephen, and even Kevin are present. To quote a review online this movie is "a hodgepodge of Western, sci-fi, and Greek tragedy", as well it is full of overacting. 5.5 stars out of 10 in my opinion, most of those stars for the beautiful cinematography and Michael Shannon.

Probiotic Drinkable Yogurt. Honey Crisp Apple.

Sleep 3 a.m.

[i] Young Ones screenshot.

Sunday October 19 2014

Beet Hummus (October 19 2014)[i]

Waking up at 11:20 a.m.

Honey Crunch n Oats with Strawberries and Almond Milk.

All day shift at China Wok.

Ana visits much earlier than usual.

Me: "I'm not used to seeing you this early. I haven't even awakened to the day yet."

An overweight black woman walks into the restaurant with two energetic pre-teens. She's wearing a red t-shirt with a geometry equation of a right-triangle missing x. It says "Find x" and then with a marker circles the x on the triangle saying, "Duh! It's right here!"


After I write down her order and ring her up I ask, "Do you know the real answer to that?"

With a surprised and confused look she responds, "Nah."

That's the exact kind of mentality that American pop culture promotes: comedic ignorance. Now I may not be brushed up on my geometry – I think it's been over a decade now since I've solved an equation like that – but if I was going to wear a shirt like that I'd at least know the answer to x. Then again, if I were the kind of person that would be wearing a t-shirt like that I probably wouldn't care. Now maybe I'm being too judgmental – and of course I didn't share my observation with the woman – but it still represents something on a grander scale. If only everybody remembered the Pythagorean theorem this world might have a flicker of hope. 

The deliveries become steady in the afternoon and there's no time window for me to make food. Ana saves the day by preparing a sandwich for me at the house so I can just drop by and grab it. She's a lifesaver, or should I say a lunch-saver.

Egg Sandwich with Beet Hummus and Tomato. Blue Quinoa Corn Chips. Honey Green Tea.

Getting through the long drives with mystery podcasts.

Raw Protein Drink. Honey Crisp Apple.

Off work and back home.

Vegetable Soup in a Ginger Chicken Broth. Broccoli and Rice. Siggi's Strawberry Yogurt.

Planning. Chores.

Sleep 3 a.m.

[i] Image by me.

Saturday October 18 2014

Stunning Sunset (October 18 2014) (3)[i]

Waking up at the usual time 10:30 a.m.

Honey Crunch n Oats with Strawberries and Almond Milk.

All day shift at China Wok.


It's another breezy sunny day in October.

Grilled PB&J. Olive Oil Potato Chips. Honey Green Tea.

As soon as I pull up to the stoplight at Bells and Oceana I see an opening in the clouds that resembles a smile. The closer I approach the more the traffic signals resemble the eyes to complete the face. Pareidolia – the phenomenon of seeing faces in things. I continue to see beautiful cloud shapes and designs throughout the rest of the day.

Traffic Light Eyes and Cloud Smiles (October 18 2014) (1)

Traffic Light Eyes and Cloud Smiles (October 18 2014) (2)

Stunning Sunset (October 18 2014) (1)

The sun is setting around 6 p.m. It's a stunning sight to see in the distance while driving west down Laskin Road. It's a cacophony of orange and red bursts.

Jack-o'-lantern in the Sky (October 18 2014)

Cashew and Fig Thunderbird Energetica Bar.

Honey Crisp Apple.

Off work and back home.

Eating leftover Chicken, Beet Greens, Carrots, Onions, and Rice.

Watching a little bit of In a World... (2013) then stopping to realize this could be a good one for Ana and I to enjoy together next week.

Going for a late night jog around the neighborhood.

Sleep 4 a.m.

[i] Images by me.

Friday October 17 2014

Waking up at 10:24 a.m.

Honey Crunch n Oats with Strawberries and Almond Milk.

All day shift at China Wok.


Baby Kale and Mixed Greens Salad with Beets, Carrots, Tomatoes, and Eggs. Toast with Hummus. Olive Oil Potato Chips. Honey Green Tea.

Deliveries are steady but the tips not so generous – not feeling very enthusiastic about the day. Having to drive far distances only to reap $2. I've been working this job for so many years it's become pointless to even complain. I mean, why complain about your job. At least I have one (and another one). I'm grateful more than anything.

Ana appears and accompanies me in the passenger seat. My sun-block sleeves and my sun-block hood came in the mail today. Wearing it for the first time I realize how slightly ridiculous I look. But it's nice to have my driver's arm covered without having to wear so many layers.

"I'm ready for the sun apocalypse!" I exclaim.

Cherry Walnut Crunch Thunderbird Energetica Bar.

Fuji Apple.

Off work and back home.

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

Watching Fight Church (2014).

Orange Juice.

Practicing piano – cracking down on this Mozart piece.

Sleep 4 a.m.

Thursday October 16 2014

Beet Green Leaf (October 16 2014)[i]

Waking up 11:45 a.m.

Ana makes us Buckwheat Berry Banana Pancakes. I brew up some loose leaf Black Tea to wash it down with.

Me: "These are wonderful, darling!"

She accompanies me to Music & Arts to purchase some new books for my students. She's wearing a distinct red shirt with black pants – very attractive. Although her attitude has been shifting up and down. In the car ride back I notice it. I know there's a reason for all the emotional sensitivity but it has nothing to do with our relationship. I guess things in her home life have been affecting her happiness and overall positive energy.

Teaching one piano lesson.

Chic Pea Salad with Tomatoes. Cinnamon Raisin Bagel with Vegan Cream Cheese.

Teaching one piano, one guitar, and one voice lesson.

At the Rec Center. I get put on the waiting list for basketball. Meanwhile, I exercise in the weight room – resistance training and ab-core workouts. Eventually, I get to play a little ball but not enough to satisfy my needs.

Sun-Dried Tomato Breaded Tilapia with Beet Greens, Carrots, Onions, and Rice.

Finishing The Purge: Anarchy (2014).

General chores.

Sleep 3:30 a.m.

[i] Image by me.

Wednesday October 15 2014

Jupiter Nap (October 15 2014[i]

Waking up at 11:45 a.m.

A big bowl of Oatmeal with Maple Syrup, Chia Seeds, Blueberries, and Almond Milk; and Coffee.

At The Escape working out the muscles and doing various ab exercises. I keep a close eye on the analog clock mounted on the wall. I realize ever since I got this new teaching job my schedule has gotten tighter than it ever has been. Besides not having enough time for creative endeavors I barely have enough time for the necessary things in life. It takes a lot of discipline and hardcore prioritizing. They say staying busy is good and I've always been notorious for never having a moment to spare. Let me quote an old Weezer song here: "I'm spread so thin. I don't know who I am."

Grilled PB&J. Strawberry Kombucha.

It's a full three hours of lessons this afternoon, all kids. So that means all my perky energy will be used up afterwards. Some of these kids are challenging and some are improving fast.

Fuji Apple.

Working a couple hours at China Wok.

I have a sudden craving for more Coffee and Sweet Potato Chips.

Ana arrives to the sight of me tickling the ivories wearing my new Chinese takeout box costume that just came in the mail today. She works on a nutritious dinner in the kitchen while I play the piano for at least 30 minutes. I'm reminded of my younger years living with my mom; she'd be cooking in the kitchen while I played piano. The similarities are uncanny. Eventually, Ana finishes her Chic Pea, Kale, Tomato, Onion, and Quinoa dish. I couldn't ask for anything more perfect to eat right now.

Later on, Whitney decides to give Pumpkin a butt bath with the help of Kevin. Cause every now and then a cat needs a little help down there. I document the event...

Pumpkin's Butt Bath (October 15 2014) (1)

Pumpkin's Butt Bath (October 15 2014) (2)

Pumpkin's Butt Bath (October 15 2014) (3)

Pumpkin's Butt Bath (October 15 2014) (4)

I propose Ana and I sing/practice a few songs together. She doesn't seem enthused about anything of the sort but we get through a couple good takes. As she grips her piping hot ginger tea and takes consecutive sips every couple seconds. She says she's just tired. Understandable. No matter how long we've been together she'll never be a night owl like me. We're just on different body clocks – her job requires an early start to the day. I get lost in a sudden "dirty jam" guitar progression as I call it. I kind of surprise myself with the fast movement. It becomes addicting.

Sipping on Chamomile Chicory Root Tea while Ana dozes off before me.

Sleep 4 a.m.

[i] Images by me.

Tuesday October 14 2014

Piano Playing Through the Mail Slot (October 14 2014)[i]

Waking up just before 1 p.m.

Honey Crunch n Oats with Strawberries and Almond Milk.

Research. Practicing piano.

Chic Pea and Cranberry Salad Sandwich with Tomato. Potato Chips. Honey Green Tea. Banana.

Teaching piano lessons at Music Makers.

Helping out at China Wok for an hour and a half – just making a couple extra bucks.

Honey Crisp Apple.

At the basketball courts shooting around alone, trying to get some good cardio in.

On the drive back home I get a call from Elliott – he wants to treat me to a meal at Rick's Café in return for me letting him use the PA a while back. I meet him there. A couple seasons have passed since I've been to everyone's favorite diner. One of my favorite waitresses is serving us – she always doodles a cute picture on the receipt.


Ordering Fried Flounder with Broccoli, Baked Potato, and Texas Toast.


I give Elliott a roll of duct tape with dill pickles on it. I saw it at Michael's some time ago and thought he'd appreciate it. My talkative side comes out, which seems to happen anytime I reside at these tables – there's something about this place that causes reflection and analysis.

A Pumpkin Purrrfect Rick's Night (October 14 2014)

Back home. Before I step inside I hear the piano being played by Whitney – she's recently been dusting off the cobwebs of her piano skills. Peeking through the mail slot I take a picture.

Upstairs in my room I continue working on Mozart's Alla Turca (Turkish March) – it's a challenging piece for me with a lot of fresh finger movements but I know that whenever I set my mind to learn a song it will be learned in due time. I've already learned all the right notes and understand the mechanics. The next step is polishing up the rhythm and transitions.

Sleep 4 a.m.

[i] Images by me.

Monday October 13 2014

Beetle (October 13 2014)[i]

Waking up around 12:30 p.m.

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

Watching a very informative video where three doctors debate what constitutes the healthiest diet.

"The real issue is what's right for you? Everybody's different genetically. The data is confusing for the average lay person but I think the message should be: eat a real food diet. Eat a diet very low in sugar and refined processed foods, tons of phytonutrients and the rest of it might not matter as much. Eat real food and don't get so obsessed with studies. Eat what makes you feel good. Eat food that God made not that man made."

Letting Jupiter out like I always do and as always he goes wherever my legs trot. Whitney and I are trying to acclimate him with her big orange cat, Pumpkin. Whenever they pass in the hallway Pumpkin hisses at Jupiter. But over time we feel they will become great friends.

Chic Pea Cranberry Salad Sandwich with Tomato. Potato Chips. Honey Green Tea.

Pac-Man Potato Chip...
Pac-Man Chip (October 13 2014)

Teaching piano and voice lessons at Music Makers.

I head into China Wok to help with the dinner rush like they asked me to but not a single order for 15 minutes. I leave and tell the bosses to call me if they need me.

Honey Crisp Apple. Vega Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar.

I make better use of my time by buying groceries at Trader Joe's, working out at The Escape, then playing pick-up basketball off First Colonial. A latecomer, like I was, shows up. It's just him and me. We play a dramatic game of 21 that lasts quite a while. Afterwards, he asks for a ride to Arbor Trace, which is right next door to Chanticleer. Normally, he'd have to walk all the way from Hardee's, where he works, to Hilltop. On the car ride there I find out his name is Jeremy and how much he loves basketball. I can tell by the enthusiasm in his voice how true that is. "Hell to the Yeah!" he exclaims. It's nice to be around others who do truly love the game. Even though music will always be first in my life, basketball is a sport that will always be there on the side for me.

Back at the house. We're actually having Movie Monday tonight. Ken, Ana, and Stephen are here. So is Kevin but he doesn't count cause he never stays downstairs to watch any movies with us. He's got his own agenda, which encompasses political news and Netflix.

Tuna Steak with Kale, Carrots, and Onions.

Showing Zach Braff's new film Wish I Was Here (2014). It's been ten years since Garden State (2004), the only other film he directed and wrote so the expectation is high. It turns out to be a lovely comedy drama filled with emotional truth and a little longer than it should've been.

Popcorn and an Éphémère Beer.

After the film is over we dry up our eyes from the teary moments. Ken and Stephen leave. Something is wrong with Ana – there's heaviness in her face. I end up out front standing beside her car window trying to pry into what's ailing her.

"I don't wanna be in this relationship anymore," she announces reluctantly.

I've heard this exact statement a couple times before. She usually says this when there's inner turmoil and personal things she's dealing with. It's a 20-something's crossroads so to speak. Obviously, the themes from the movie may have sparked these introspective thoughts. It's not the relationship that's lacking; it's something deeper than that. She spills her guts right there in the driver's seat. I bring back a roll of toilet paper to keep her face dry. She's scared of getting stuck in her life – we both have a strong desire to master our music craft. After her soul is settled we resign to the bedroom.

Sitting down at the computer I pull up the blog entry from last year to proofread. I laugh as I read it out loud to her. It's funny how on this night last year a similar emotional episode occurred between her and I, along with other similar things like discussing pre-mid-life crisis after watching a movie that touches on that topic.

Sleep 4 a.m.

[i] Images by me.

Sunday October 12 2014

Frankenstein Cookies (October 12 2014)[i]

Waking up at 11:20 a.m.

Honey Crunch n Oats with Strawberries and Almond Milk.

All day shift at China Wok.

Another gratefully overcast day making my job half easier.

I stop by the house for lunch. Ana's putting together a chic pea salad and baking a pumpkin loaf. I've noticed in the past few months Ana has been spending more and more time making things in the kitchen, baking, cooking, etc. I admire her ambitions.

Salad with Kale Greens, Carrots, Tomatoes, and Hard-Boiled Eggs. Toast with Vegan Cream Cheese. Honey Green Tea.

Later on in the evening Ana accompanies me in the passenger seat while I make deliveries. As we're passing through the neighborhood next to Chanticleer I point out that my ex-girlfriend, Margot, lives right there.

"Oh well you guys can just walk to each other," she reacts passive-aggressively.

Me: "Now don't freak out. I haven't even seen her in over a year. It's really no big deal."
I run outside to deliver an order and when I come back I add, "Besides, you work with your ex-boyfriend so you see him every day!"

Ana: "But he's such a pig – he eats Wawa food every day."

Me: "Well my ex-girlfriend watches The Kardashians. I don't know which is worse."

[Ha-ha] We share giggles.

She leaves and the night continues steadily.

Off work and back home from a productive workday.

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

Watching The Purge (2013).

Practicing piano.

Sleep 4 a.m.

[i] Taken from a kid's book.

Saturday October 11 2014


Waking up at 10:20 a.m.

Ana's Homemade Granola and Bran Flakes with Almond Milk.

All day shift at China Wok.

Cantaloupe. Banana.

Ana stops by to visit and gift me with a mung bean dish she made last night.

Me: "You look cute today – you always look cute."

Ana: "I don't know why. I don't do anything."

Me: "You don't have to. You just gotta put on some clothes. And you don't even have to do that!"

Grilled PB&J. Potato Chips. Honey Green Tea.

The day continues steadily. Grateful for the overcast skies that block the sun. I can drive in peace.

Thunderbird Energetica Cashew and Fig Bar.

While waiting in a sudden traffic holdup in the Shadowlawn neighborhood at the oceanfront a girl rolls down the window from the backseat of some Suburban. She says something but I can't hear her very well so I take out my headphones.

"What?" I ask.

As the other passengers giggle she says to me, "Do you have any Grey Poupon?"

I wanted to say back, That commercial was from like thirty years ago. That's the best you could come up with?

Instead I answer without even a hint of amusement, "No," and find my way out of this mess.

Later on I find this article from 2008 about a man who pulled out a gun in response to that same question...

Honey Crisp Apple.

Off work and back home at a decent hour.

Eating Ana's Mung Beans with Kale, Bok Choy, Carrots, and Rice.

Lately, Richie's been hanging around the house over the weekend painting and recording new tunes with Kevin. They've got some fresh instrumental jams.

Sleep 4 a.m.

[i] Grey Poupon ad.

Friday October 10 2014


Waking up at 10:30 a.m.

Honey Crunch n Oats with Strawberries and Almond Milk.

All day shift at China Wok.

It's a slow start for business – not a single order for the first two hours.

Grilled PB&J. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Honey Green Tea. Plumcot.

The deliveries pick up in the early evening. Just trucking along and dragging my feet. You hit a certain point at a job you've been working at for too long when you realize how too long actually is.

KIND Blueberry and Cashew Bar. Banana.

Off work not at a reasonable hour but whatever.

Chicken and Broccoli with Rice.

Watching Glory Daze (1995).

Downstairs, Richie figured out that books were muting the strings of the piano. And so the piano is reborn. Whitney pulls out some Piano Classic books and starts going through them – I never knew she played piano and she can read pretty well too. We take turns at the piano chair.

Sleep 4 a.m.

[i] From Glory Daze (1995).