Saturday January 31 2015

White Men Can't Jump[i]

Waking up at 10:30 a.m.

Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Maple Syrup, Apple Cider Vinegar, Maca Powder, Chia Seeds, Strawberries, and Almond Milk. Coffee with Almond Cream and Honey.

All day shift at China Wok.

Grilled PB&J. Black Bean and Broccoli Snack. Oolong Tea.

Just another day for a delivery driver.

Listening to another Invisibilia podcast about entanglement...

Cara Cara Orange and Banana with Greek Yogurt.

Working out a silly rap about my job.

"China boy, China boy
Can’t you see?
Sometimes your egg rolls hypnotize me
And I just love your speedy ways
I guess that's why I want you in my lane"

Snacking on Corn Flax Tortilla Chips.

Off work and back home.

Fried Shrimp with Broccoli, Onions, Carrots, and Rice in Garlic Sauce.

Watching White Men Can't Jump (1992).

Sleep 3:30 a.m.

[i] From White Men Can't Jump (1992).

Friday January 30 2015

Somebody Drew China Wok (January 30 2015)[i]

Waking up at 10:30 a.m.

Irish Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Maca Powder, Maple Syrup, Chia Seeds, Strawberries, and Almond Milk. Coffee with Honey.

Walking out to the door for work... "Peace, love, and not war," I say as my last spoken words to Anthony, at least for the next half a year or so.

"Make it happen Cap'n!" he says back.

All day shift at China Wok.


It's kind of slow for deliveries in the afternoon.

Scrambled Eggs. Toast. Flax Corn Tortilla Chips with Avocado and Hummus. Oolong Tea.

On the longer delivery drives I continue enjoying Invisibilia, a fairly new podcast from NPR that focuses on invisible forces that shape human behavior. Listening to an episode on fear and how different life would be without it.

Art comes in to help with the dinner rush. It's been a couple years since he's come to work at China Wok.

Cara Cara Orange with Greek Yogurt.

Discovering a new sub-culture of country hip-hop artists: Slumerican.

Back home and off work.

Kevin, Ana, and Whitney are watching the infamous Interview (2014) movie on the big screen. I retreat upstairs to eat my dinner and have alone time.

Broccoli, Onions, Almond, and Rice.

Watching The Lookalike (2014).

27 degrees and 20mph winds make me feel grateful to have a roof over my head.

Ginger Pear Tea.

Sleep 4 a.m.

[i] Photo by me. Drawing unknown.

Thursday January 29 2015

Suburban Living at The Parlor (January 29 2015) (1)[i]

Waking up at 11:45 a.m.

Irish Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Maca Powder, Maple Syrup, Chia Seeds, Strawberries, Blueberries, Apple Rings, Apple Cider Vinegar, and Almond Milk. Coffee with Coconut Creamer.

General chores.

Working out at The Escape – running a couple miles.

Scrambled Eggs. Toast with Butter and Jam. Flax Corn Tortilla Chips with Hummus. Dark Chocolate. Oolong Tea.

Teaching lessons at Music Makers. Then, to Jackie Vu's house for a private piano lesson. She just purchased an old upright piano from the 1930's and wanted me to check it out.

Scooping up Ana, Anthony, and Rachel from the house and heading to Norfolk for the rock show at The Parlor on Granby. Eating leftover Mung Beans with Broccoli. I'm performing bass in Elliott's band, You're Jovian – my first time playing in his music project – we're a simple three-piece this evening. Downing a couple Bold Rock Hard Ciders. I hardly ever drink but last night and tonight, for the sake of being in a highly stimulating social setting, I drink. It's also Suburban Living's record release show. They put on a stellar set.

Bad Pic of Ana and I (January 29 2015)

Elliott and James Nee at The Parlor (January 29 2015)

Suburban Living at The Parlor (January 29 2015) (2)

The Musicplayer at The Parlor (January 29 2015)

Pizza after party at The Blue Marlin on 25th and Pacific Ave. Wesley says to knock twice and that the password is "Chanello's". Appropriately, a couple Chanello's Cheese Pizzas are brought to share. I enjoy a couple slices with a PBR.

Pizza After Party at Blue Marlin (January 29 2015)

Later on at 7-11...

Some guy wearing a Batman beanie is humorously in a rush to buy a box of magnum condoms. "Dun-na-na-na-na-na-na-na Batman!" he sings. "I gotta hurry. I got pussy waiting on me!"

Elliott bought a 2-liter of Pepsi that he's adamant about shaking up vigorously then tossing off the second floor...

In route to drop Rachel off at her house. Up front Ana and I are having a playful argument about chocolate.

"Are you guys having a chocolate argument?" Rachel asks.

"The Chocolate Argument," Anthony repeats the arrangement of words.

Me: "Oh my goodness, that's too good. Sounds like a school of thought or philosophy. Maybe a band name."

Back at the house. Anthony had given me a couple boxes of old writings and trinkets from his past to keep safe in my closet. He wants to take possession of them again. I pull them down.

Ana: "Robert is like your storage unit!"

Me: "It's true."

I didn't get the chance to have a personal brother-to-brother talk with Anthony as I would've liked but it was still refreshing to have his charismatic presence around. We exchange hugs goodnight.

Sleep 3:30 a.m.

[i] Images by me.

Wednesday January 28 2015

LIVE Reunion at The Office (January 28 2015) (5)[i]

Waking up around 11:30 a.m.

X Marks the Spot on Pumpkin (January 28 2015)

Irish Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Maca Powder, Maple Syrup, Chia Seeds, Blueberries, and Almond Milk. Coffee Honey.

Buying a Shop-Vac from Lowe's then sucking up standing water inside my storage unit. My hands are freezing.

Grilled PB&J. Pea Snacks. Banana. Dark Chocolate. Oolong Tea.

Watching a Ted Talk featuring a doctor who promotes a starch based diet.

Teaching lessons at Music Makers. Having some difficulty with one of my piano students who doesn't listen very well – he tends to go off on piano tangents straying from the actual lesson. No matter how many times I say, "Stop," he just keeps going. So I strike a deal allowing him the last segment of every lesson to be creative and do whatever he wants and in return he has to do whatever I want in the beginning.

Heading straight over to Elliott's house for the last You're Jovian rehearsal before the show tomorrow night. It goes over smoothly. Elliott offers me a shot of Kraken Rum. I accept.

You're Jovian Rehearsal (January 28 2015)

Back home. Ana's stressed out about her face getting all red and puffy. I notice her bedroom is exceptionally hotter than the rest of the house and the air is stuffy. I recommend letting in some fresh cold air. I feel bad cause she seems frustrated about it more than usual.

I cook us a hearty spaghetti dinner using Quinoa Brown Rice Pasta, Shitake Mushrooms, Onions, Green Peppers, and Tomato Basil Sauce along with a Mixed Greens Salad with Tomatoes and Carrots.

Afterwards, Ana and I join the mini reunion at The Office. James Graves, Anthony, and Richie are in town for a couple days. This bar is a perfect hole-in-the-wall staple of Virginia Beach with a deer mount on the wall complete with its hooves too. Most of the gang is here minus Josh and Darren, but plus Rachel Rephan, Rusty, Clinton, and Steven. A round of Jell-O shots and Jameson shots shared with Ana keep us fueled for a while. In the bathroom with Anthony discussing the latest flicks we've seen while I take a leak. A quick dance session with Ana by the pool tables. It's good to see James and Anthony – my heart melts a little just being in their presence.

LIVE Reunion at The Office (January 28 2015) (1)

LIVE Reunion at The Office (January 28 2015) (4)

LIVE Reunion at The Office (January 28 2015) (2)

LIVE Reunion at The Office (January 28 2015) (3)

LIVE Reunion at The Office (January 28 2015) (6)

Moving along to Rick's Café for more camaraderie. Kevin couldn't join cause he's got a new 9-to-5 job and he needs his sleep. "I'm legitimately exhausted!" he explained earlier. Ordering a Chocolate Chip Brownie a la mode in hopes people would help out. Anthony keeps dipping chicken legs and hush puppies into the whipped cream.

Anthony and Rachel at Rick's Cafe (January 28 2015)

Marisa's Clawfully Receipt (January 28 2015)

Back home with Anthony, James, Rachel, and Ana. General shenanigans ensue including unlocking Kevin's door while he's asleep. Nobody has the chance to enter before we hear him storm up from his bed and slam the door so loud it knocks over the Jesus picture off the wall and the smoke alarm drops from the ceiling.

James and Anthony in Ana's Room (January 28 2015)

Anthony texts me while I'm settling in for the night, "Hanging out with you guys tonight was like a fruit striped altoid from the planet hot fry." 

Sleep 4 a.m.

[i] Images by me.

Tuesday January 27 2015

First Snow (January 27 2015)[i]

Waking up at 11:09 a.m. There's a thin layer of snow on the ground. First snow of the season.

Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Maca Powder, Maple Syrup, Chia Seeds, Blueberries, and Almond Milk. Coffee with Coconut Creamer.

Reading an interesting article about how multitasking is harmful to brain.

"Just having the opportunity to multitask is detrimental to cognitive performance. Glenn Wilson, former visiting professor of psychology at Gresham College, London, calls it info-mania. His research found that being in a situation where you are trying to concentrate on a task, and an email is sitting unread in your inbox, can reduce your effective IQ by 10 points. And although people ascribe many benefits to marijuana, including enhanced creativity and reduced pain and stress, it is well documented that its chief ingredient, cannabinol, activates dedicated cannabinol receptors in the brain and interferes profoundly with memory and with our ability to concentrate on several things at once. Wilson showed that the cognitive losses from multitasking are even greater than the cognitive losses from pot-smoking."

Grocery shopping at the Asian market and Trader Joe's.


Light workout in the living room.

Scrambled Eggs. PB&J Oat and Almond Biscuits. Tomatoes. Green Pea Snacks. Oolong Tea.

Teaching lessons at Music Makers.

At the Rec for adult basketball. It feels good to burn the cardio.

Back home. Ana cooks a pot of Sprouted Mung Beans. I cook a Bamboo/Jasmine Rice mix, Snow Pea Leaves, and Shitake Mushrooms to go with. Setting up the wooden card table in the living room and putting on The Guest (2014). I've already seen this movie but I thought she'd appreciate the style of the film. I pause the movie somewhere midway through and bring down a tub of Greek Yogurt to mix in with a Navel Orange. Ana gets all weird about eating chocolate – goes and grabs a bag of chocolate chips from her pantry even though I offered her some of my dark chocolate.

While I'm doing the dishes Kevin hobbles in after a night of drinking but he doesn't appear belligerent drunk, just enough to spill some ice cubes on the floor while filling up his traditional glass of water. Yesterday was his first day at his new Haynes job – he seems to be liking it...for now. Upstairs, in the hallway Kevin tries to impose himself into my room. I playfully use the stool to shield myself and shoo him away. No matter what I try it never works. Then he attempts to de-pants me only to realize I'm not wearing any underwear. He runs off in disgust. Mission accomplished.

Discovering Ana managed to get a huge smudge of chocolate right in between her breasts.

Me: "How in the world did that happen?"

Ana: "I don't know!"

Embarrassed she smiles real big. 

Me: "I can lick that off for you if you want."

Lounging in her bed we do a little bumpin' and grindin'.

Settling down in my room. Rehearsing some You're Jovian bass lines then I'm off to sleep at 3 a.m.

[i] Image by me.

Monday January 26 2015

First Snow (January 26 2015)[i]

Waking up at noon. Had to catch up on sleep.

Irish Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Maca Powder, Maple Syrup, Chia Seeds, Blueberries, and Almond Milk. Coffee with Honey.

Running a couple miles at The Escape.

Grilled PB&J. Banana. Cara Cara Orange with Greek Yogurt. Oolong Tea.

Pumpkin on Ana's Bed (January 26 2015)

Teaching lessons at Music Makers.

Back home. I was expecting China Wok to call me in since Kevin doesn't work there anymore but no call. Instead I catch up on some business.

Later on, Ana arrives home from working out. Earlier, she locked her keys in the car and had to retrieve her spare from me, which I keep in my car, putting a kink in her day. I cook up a paleo dinner for us (not that we're paleo or anything): Seared Tuna Steaks with Broccoli, Cauliflower, Carrots, and Onions. Tristan Stewart appears before our very eyes, back from England and relocating to New Mexico. Every now and then he visits 1435. It's good to see him. I miss his smart remarks and one-liners. He joins us at the diner booth for dinner.

Movie Monday is happening for real this time. I put on a bunch of trailer options for everyone (Whitney, Ana, Kevin, Tristan, and I). We come to a democratic vote on St. Vincent (2014), a light-hearted comedy/drama starring Bill Murray and Naomi Watts. Sharing Pu-erh Tea and Popcorn.

Before Tristan takes off Ana says to him, "It was nice seeing you."

"I get that a lot," he says back.

Tucking Ana into her bed. She begs for multiple "last hugs and kisses".

Me: "Why are you so cute?"

Sleep 3 a.m.

[i] Images by me.

Sunday January 25 2015

Duck Donuts with Mom (January 25 2015)[i]

Waking up around 10:20 a.m.

I brew a pot of Coffee for mom and I. I take her to Duck Donuts to enjoy a guilty pleasure breakfast. She'd never been here before. We indulge in the hot and moist cake-like donuts together.

Earlier, we exchanged cards/notes. I composed a long letter that filled up both sides of a handmade card Ana designed.

"I became a man because you helped me grow into a man. My mother's love (your love) gave me (and still gives me) life inside."

"I am so proud of the man you have become and thankful that I have been a part of that. My love for you grows deeper and richer as the days go on.

It's been a wonderful gift to have her around these past few weeks sharing wonderful food, music, and laughs. I keep pressing her to start making plans to move back up here to Virginia Beach so we can be close to one another. We'll see about that. There's still unfinished business in Florida with her house and such. I'm really glad she got to meet and become friends with Ana too. She had this to say about her, "She is a beautiful person and brings joy to those around her and I can see she adds so much to your life. Treat her well always as she is a treasure."

I head off to work my full day shift at China Wok.

Cara Cara Orange.

Later on, mom stops by with my cousin, Deb, who has kindly offered to give her a ride to the airport to catch her flight back home to Florida. I make mom a small bowl of vegetable soup. I go ahead and eat this big salad I brought consisting of Spinach, Mixed Greens, Beets, Almond, Cranberries, Carrots, and Greek Yogurt Dill Dressing. After a while of talking at the table they take off and I say my goodbyes to mom – sharing a heavy warm mom-hug. Can't ever get enough of those.

The day continues and so do the deliveries. For some reason I start thinking what it would feel like when my mom passes away, whenever that day comes. She's pretty healthy so I can't imagine it being anytime soon. But it's such a distressing thought to imagine my life without access to her. She was my world growing up and now is one of my best friends. We share such an indelible bond it would be devastating to lose her. I don't even want to think about it. But the realness of that feeling hits me.


Listening to a truly enriching podcast called Invisibilia, an episode called "The Secret History of Thoughts".

"Automatic negative thoughts. What's interesting about the automatic thought - and this is true of everybody - is that people tend to accept them at their face value. And they don't look for alternative explanations or for what evidence is behind them. Don't trust the thought. Challenge the thought. To test out to see whether they're really true. And what he found was that when his patients contradicted their negative thoughts...the patient started to get better, sooner."

"The essential thing for humans to learn is that they are not their thoughts and more importantly they're not the little voice that tells them the thoughts... that voice that provides a running commentary on life and the world around us is NOT who we are."

Off work and back home at a decent hour for once.

Black Beans (made lovingly by Ana), Broccoli, Onions, and Rice.

Watching Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011).

Brief talks with Ana before I tuck her into bed.

Settling in. Sleep 3:30 a.m.

[i] Image by me.

Saturday January 24 2015

Kiyoshi Awazu.[i]

Waking up at 10:08 a.m.

Sharing the usual Oatmeal with my mom. Ana makes her own cause she likes to drop tons of cacao in the pot.

Me: "It's an oatmeal cook-off."

All day shift at China Wok.

I had what seems like a longer than usual break from the restaurant. It's been six days. Kevin has officially resigned as a delivery driver so now it's all on me to pick up on the chores.

Banana. Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies.

I stop by the house for a quick lunch to grab. Ana walks in almost immediately after. I slap her on the ass significantly hard.

"Whenever I get frustrated I treat your bum like stress balls," I tell her.

"Stress buns!" she exclaims.


Scrambled Eggs. Green Pea Snack. Oolong Tea.

It's exceptionally busy for a Sunday. Raking in a few generous tips and dealing with a few stiffs.

Honey Crisp Apple.

I had a couple deliveries to Taureau Court so I decide to pick up my mom from the house. I can see it on her face that she's a bit heavy with some mixed emotions. She saw a lot of old friends in one day. Just being here for the past couple weeks has been more than just nostalgic for her. There's been gossip and rumors stirring up over her personal life. I try to be encouraging to her cause I know how hard it is to deal with other people's judgment.

Me: "You just need to be strong in who you are. We're always changing. It doesn't matter what anybody else says."

I end up delivering later than I would prefer. Finally off work shortly after 11:30 p.m. I brought mom a special soup from China Wok. I chow down on my Fried Shrimp with Broccoli, Carrots, Onions, and Garlic Sauce.

Settling down. Composing a belated Christmas card to give my mom in a morning.

Sleep 3:30 a.m.

[i] Kiyoshi Awazu.

Friday January 23 2015

Carroms Board Game with Mom (January 23 2015)[i]

Waking up at 9:50 a.m.

I've got to go to court for a "following too closely" citation I received a couple months ago when I was involved in a multiple vehicle collision. The whole thing is bonkers cause I was rear-ended by a car and pushed into a car in front of me. But the officer on the scene issued the driver behind me and myself this citation.

Irish Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Maca Powder, Maple Syrup, Chia Seeds, Strawberries, and Almond Milk. Coffee with Coconut Creamer.

I sit down in courtroom B for a whole hour watching other traffic offenders go up to the bench and hope the judge has leniency. Unfortunately, when I get called up my officer requests a continuance so he can bring in the other drivers, which aren't present. I was really hoping to resolve this today. I even had all the evidence and documents to prove my case.

Stopping by the thrift store off General Booth on the way home.

Cara Cara Orange.

When I get home I discover one of my glass water jugs spontaneously combusted. It was sitting on top of my food shelf. I don't understand how this happened. Water spilled right onto my new mattress and into the shelf soaking some of my boxes. I clean it up the best I can.


Mom arrives home from spending more time with uncle Kenny. Sharing a Chic Pea Salad Sandwich with Tomato and Falafel Chips with Hummus.

Continuing the process of cleaning the water spill area.

My mom goes off to attend a funeral for a close friend's mother. Meanwhile, Ana just clobbered down half a container of peanut butter. I give her a hard time about it and break down all the servings she ate based on the nutrition facts.

Me: "According to this you just ingested 1400 calories of peanut butter!"

She got distracted while talking to her mom on the phone and kept dipping spoon after spoon.

Ana and I drive to the Great Neck Rec for a good workout and basketball. While on the sit-down ellipticals side by side we laugh at each other when the speed picks up.

"Sleep is more important than sex," Ana spouts out.

Me: "Yeah, life is too busy for sex."

We're both kind of half joking.

Upon further reflection, "Look at us – we're a bunch of lameoids!"

Back home. I cook up hearty bowls of Cauliflower, Broccoli, Carrots, Scallions, and English Peas. With Ana and mom enjoying our dinner together. For dessert is Pineapple dipped in Greek Yogurt.

After cleaning up Ana immediately starts baking her version of chocolate chip oatmeal cookies while I run up and down the stairs doing laundry and then making almond milk.

My mom points out, "Man, you guys are like busy bees!"

Me: "Yup, this is our lives all the time. We're constantly doing things."

I pull out an old Carroms board I used to play when I was a kid. I played this game all the time in the after-school program. It's like a dumbed down version of pool. Mom and I duke it out and have a good time.

Ana Camouflage (January 23 2015)

After snapping a photo of Ana stretching by the diner booth I realize how photogenic the house is.

Pu-erh Tea.

Sleep 2:45 a.m.

[i] Images by me.

Thursday January 22 2015

Transplanting Plants with Mom (January 22 2015)[i]

Waking up at 10:30 a.m.

Sharing breakfast with mom. Irish Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Maca Powder, Maple Syrup, Chia Seeds, Strawberries, and Almond Milk. Coffee with Cream and Honey.

Taking my mom to the Atlantic Garden Center. Our goal today is to transplant all my houseplants into proper pots. We spend a substantial time deciding on the right ones. Meanwhile, the nursery cats roam about like mini tigers rolling their backs on the cement and hiding behind trees.

Chic Pea Salad Sandwich with Tomato. Falafel Chips with Hummus. Oolong Tea.

Teaching lessons at Music Makers. One of my newer piano students, Billy, is 8 years old and professes to be a good cook. He talks about himself, "I cook a lot of fancy things...stir-fry vegetables, pineapple lamb..." He's a smart cookie but not too full of himself – listens really well and improvement in his piano technique is showing immediately.

At the Rec playing adult basketball. It's a rough game night but a satisfying one. Whenever I get the ball and dish it in the hoop they yell, "Mac Book!" My nickname will never die. Once you get named on the basketball court you can't reverse your identity.

Ana and I warm up leftovers and enjoy dinner at the table with my mom. Lentil Cardamom with Rice, Kale, and Broccoli. Ana whipped up three servings of Chocolate Avocado Banana Pudding for the three of us. Mom shares her day, which she spent with her friend Wanda. Time just keeps dwindling. Before you know it my mom will be back in Bartow and life will continue. I truly hope some day she can move up here so we can be close to each other. It's important to me that we stay close.

Cleaning up downstairs and placing the plants in their respective spots.

Sleep 3 a.m.

[i] Image by me.

Wednesday January 21 2015

1231428 - FURY[i]

Waking up at 10:45 a.m.

Ana texts me, "Robert, I love you so much. I'm so lucky. We're so lucky. I feel so fortunate to have you in my life. You've effected me in so many good ways."

Irish Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Maca Powder, Maple Syrup, Chia Seeds, Strawberries, and Almond Milk. Coffee with Cream and Honey.


Shooting a good round of basketball at the Seatack Rec.

Grilled PB&J. Plantain Chips. Oolong Tea.

Watching Fury (2014).

Giving lessons at Music Makers. Continuing to see improvement in my piano students. It's nice to see my teacher skills in action.

Immediately, I have to drive over to Elliott's at the beach for a full band You're Jovian rehearsal. As soon as I arrive I strap on the bass and rock out. My life is in full motion. Elliott expresses his gratitude for me helping him out for this upcoming show. We've been good friends for a long time now and that's what friends who are musicians do for each other.

Back home. It's rush hour downstairs as Kevin, Ana, my mom, and I crowd the kitchen. Kevin's pan frying chicken and making a gargantuan salad, enough to feed ten vegetarians. Meanwhile, I cook Chicken with Choy sum, Carrots, Onions, and Bamboo Rice. Sharing dinner at the table with Ana and mom. Our taste buds and bellies are satisfied.

Ana's terribly sleepy so she goes off to bed. She's been generous enough to offer my mom her bed these past few weeks.

I hang around at the diner booth talking with my mom about uncle Kenny's dementia while she sews one of Ana's jackets. We have plans tomorrow to repot all the plants in my house. So I gather all of them – we assess what kind of pots we'll need to get from the nursery.

Mom: "I love Ana. You guys are just so cool together."

Sleep 3 a.m.

[i] From Fury (2014).

Tuesday January 20 2015

A Spirited Bedroom at the Markham House (January 20 2015)[i]

Waking up at 11:19 a.m.

Irish Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Maca Powder, Maple Syrup, Chia Seeds, Strawberries, and Almond Milk. Coffee with Cream and Honey.

Running a couple miles at The Escape.

Assessing the water damage at the storage unit.

Grilled PB&J. Cacao Almond Meal Cookies. Baked Potato Chips. Oolong Tea.

Watching The Judge (2014).

Teaching lessons at Music Makers.

Cara Cara Orange.

Meanwhile, Ana makes a to-go dinner dish. I scoop her up from the house and we go to Portsmouth to visit with my great-uncle Kenny. My mom's already been over here all day spending as much time as she can with him. Sharing Ana's incredible Black Bean, Quinoa, Kale Bake. Taking the time to look through a couple photo albums – showing Ana the old family photos. I escort her around the house to explore the creaky halls and drafty bedrooms of the old Markham house. In one of the rooms we discover a small perfume bottle that appears permanently attached to the dresser. No matter how hard you try it doesn't budge. It's assumed to belong to my mom's grandmother. It's also assumed that maybe her grandmother's spirit doesn't want it removed – she's not ready to let that go. There are cassette tapes and 8-tracks scattered about in cabinets and bookshelves, some with recordings of the Markham band and others with religious recordings from the likes of Oral Roberts and spiritualist Rev. Jordan. Ana immediately recognizes the heaviness in these rooms, the energies, and the memories and life that used to reside here.  

Ana and Dotty at the Markham House (January 20 2015)

Mom and Uncle Kenny (Circa 1970's)

My Mom Was Wednesday Addams

Hanger Rack at the Markham House (January 20 2015)

Markham Family Crest (January 20 2015)

Cassette Tape Cabinet at the Markham House (January 20 2015)

The Healing Hands at the Markham House (January 20 2015)

Live For Today at the Markham House (January 20 2015)

Exploring the Halls of the Markham House (January 20 2015)

The Unremovable Perfume Bottle at the Markham House (January 20 2015)

Dotty the Six-Toed Cat (January 20 2015)

After all that, we sit down with Kenny and sing a bunch of songs. I lead us on guitar – Ana and I singing our usual covers – mom singing too and even Kenny chimes in with a bass voice. It's a fun time. I know Kenny appreciates all of this. It's great being here with my mom cause she's my only link to Kenny and to that generation before her.

On the drive back to Virginia Beach Ana reads aloud things from an 80's health food book we found and a aura psychology folder.

Settling in at home. Sleep 3:30 a.m.

[i] Images by me.

Monday January 19 2015

Mom and I at Chicho's (January 19 2015) (2)[i]

Waking up at 11 a.m.

Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Maca Powder, Maple Syrup, Chia Seeds, Blueberries, and Almond Milk. Coffee with Cream and Honey.

Organizing. Trimming the beard. Practicing songs for the show tonight.


Off to the storage unit to retrieve music gear. I recall the owner of the place informing me of a water leakage above my unit. Unfortunately, I discover some wet cords and splatter on some valuables. But it's not too bad.

Back home. My mom happily makes me a salad while I do a light workout in the living room.

Mixed Greens Salad with Tomatoes, Carrots, Almonds, Cranberries, and Hard Boiled Egg. Toast with Vegan Cream Cheese. Green Tea.

Teaching lessons at Music Makers.

Then, straight to Chicho's on 29th and Pacific for the gig. Mike Gombas is already serenading us with familiar covers and originals on the acoustic guitar. At the bar with Elliott having a shot of whiskey. My old high school friend Mike Joyner shows up too. I get on for my performance doing the usuals with Ana by my side halfway through. Then, at the end I invite my mom to the stage...

Me: "Alright everyone. I've got a very special person in the house tonight. The lady who birthed me is here with us. C'mon up here, mom!"

This is a cherished moment for me. She leads us in Helen Reddy's "Keep On Singing". We only got to practice a couple times and, considering she hasn't performed/sung like this a long time, we pull it off quite well.

Ana and I at Chicho's (January 19 2015)

Mom and I at Chicho's (January 19 2015) (1)

Eating a couple slices of Pizza afterwards and chatting with everyone about the show.

Back home I show mom how I've been making almond milk from scratch while Ana bakes cookies.

While Ana lies in bed and I sit in the computer chair we get lost on tangents and can't seem to stop talking about anything and everything. At one point I have to say, "Okay, we have to stop otherwise we'll never go to sleep."

At 3 a.m. the smoke alarm goes off and what reason other than, "Oh, it's Kevin cooking downstairs." He always seems to cause the smoke alarm to go off when he cooks cause he treats the kitchen like an outside grill or something. When I come downstairs to investigate he mocks himself, "Its just Kevin burning down the house at 3 a.m.!"

[i] Images by me.

Sunday January 18 2015

Thank You Have a Nice Day (January 18 2015)[i]

Waking up at 10:50 a.m.

Ana's downstairs in the kitchen discovering she is out of chocolate chips. It's raining hard outside.

"I'm trying not to go to the store today," she says. "But I have to make more of those cookies."

"Why do you have to make more of those cookies?" I ask.

"Cause its Sunday! And I need chocolate!" she exclaims.

Irish Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Maca Powder, Maple Syrup, Chia Seeds, Strawberries, and Almond Milk. Coffee with Cream and Honey.

All day shift at China Wok.


Delivering an order to Cape Henry Towers off Shore Drive, an address that is super far for us to be delivering to in the first place. I'm already expecting a stiff cause it happens every time with this dude. On the elevator ride down I realize that letting this affect my attitude would mean I am trying to be in control. And the truth is we can't always be in control. It's a daily battle learning to accept what is. There's no point in complaining about petty stuff like this cause I should just trust that I'll get blessed later on.

Grilled PB&J. Vegetable Root Chips. Plantain Chips. Pu-erh Tea.

I put on an episode from This American Life on my phone to listen to while I deliver. This one kind of hits home.

"When you lighten someone's load you don't allow them to expand."

Listening to this particular episode is a good reminder of how I should loosen up and allow others to take control of their lives. But it's hard for me to not micromanage everything. I realize I do this a lot with Ana by not allowing her to do things – I tend to take the reigns because I think I know what's best. But I want her to grow as I grow.

My 33rd delivery tips me exactly $3.33.

After 11 hours I'm finally home from work enjoying my China Wok dinner of Shrimp with Broccoli, Onions, Carrots, and Rice in Garlic Sauce. Ana and mom join me at the table to discuss our experiences of the day. Ana spent most of the day cleaning and hanging out with an old friend of hers. Mom shares a revelation she had regarding difficulties with her uncle Kenny in Portsmouth – how humor can be a good tool in dealing with dementia. I share my earlier thoughts about control in one's life and encouraging independence in others, how enabling another person is detrimental for their growth. Both mom and I have similar struggles of wanting to be in control of everything.

Enjoying three of Whitney's Red Velvet Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Worried about the day she has to leave coming so soon my mom says, "I can just feel the days dwindling. It's like I can see an hourglass in front of me. And then I'll be back in Bartow."

I can tell she's enjoying her time here. It's nice having her around to brighten everyone's faces.

We say our goodnights to mom as she wraps up in Ana's bed. In my bedroom Ana reflects on everything.

Ana: "I love your mom. She's so silly. It's just so funny – the three of us hanging out together."

The two of them are like chatterboxes that touch on every tangent possible when telling a story. But that's what gives them character.

Sleep 3:30 a.m.

[i] Image by me.

Saturday January 17 2015

Shimmel Pegasus Grand Piano.[i]

Waking up at 10:08 a.m.

Irish Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Maca Powder, Maple Syrup, Chia Seeds, Strawberries, and Almond Milk. Coffee with Cream and Honey.

All day shift at China Wok.


Nobody's worked a full day shift here at the restaurant since Tuesday so there's a lot of chores to catch up on like bagging the noodles, prepping the bags, stocking the sodas, and snapping the peas.

Spring Mix Salad with Almonds, Cranberries, Tomatoes, and Yellow Carrots. Root Vegetable Chips with Hummus. Pu-erh Tea.

It's a pretty normal day for a delivery driver – some stiffs, some generous tips, but mostly generic tips.

Cara Cara Orange.

While I wait for Ling to finish frying the crunchy noodles he chats with me about the differences between American work ethic and Chinese work ethic. He complains about how lazy most Americans are, the fact they need "days off". For him working at the restaurant every day is nothing – it's just a part of his routine. And in return money isn't a problem.

Back home and off work. Ana cooked mom and I a hearty pot of Lentils with Choy sum, Carrots, Onions, and an array of spices including cardamom. When it comes to food that Ana prepares she gets so self-conscious if there's even an inkling of disappointment. This time she misused the cardamom and you're given a burst of minty nuttiness whenever you bite down on a piece of it. It's not really a big deal to me cause I'm hungry and it's a nutritious meal. And I'm thankful.

Upstairs, hanging out with mom and Ana. I pull out the guitar so I can rehearse the Helen Reddy song with mom. Ana and I do a little singing also. We kind of get lost on a musical tangent until 2 a.m.

Sleep 3:30 a.m.

[i] Shimmel Pegasus Grand Piano.

Friday January 16 2015

My Favorite Ladies (Mom and Ana) (January 16 2015)[i]

Waking up just before 10 a.m. Next to Ana in my bed – she's naked and smooth – touching me lightly but with eagerness and desire. Sex is the next move of course.

My mom arrives. Making breakfast for all three of us: Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Maca Powder, Maple Syrup, Chia Seeds, Blueberries, and Almond Milk. Coffee with Cream and Honey. While enjoying our bowls my mom recounts particular memories she has of growing up in the old house. She found an old composition notebook from the 1930's filled with song lyrics her grandmother wrote down.

Mom's got uncle Kenny's Ford pickup truck. She drives me to the shop to drop off my car for an inspection and oil change.

I've got a private piano lesson at the house. While I teach Ana and mom bake delicious chocolate chip oatmeal cookies (later on, these turn out to be an absolute hit).

Sharing lunch: Oat and Almond Biscuits with Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jam. Fried Eggs. Green Tea.

Biscuit Egg Brunch (January 16 2015)

Upstairs in Ana's room mom and I rehearse our song that we'll be doing at the show on Monday. Her voice is warming up the more and more we sing together. It's a wonderfully connective feeling to be making music with my mom. I cherish this moment.


Retrieving my car from the shop. Hitting up the Asian market off Great Neck Road for box tea, a new cutting knife, and other various things. As usual for any Chinese-run establishment there's no use of climate control making it super chilly inside the store. It pleases me to see Ana and my mom getting along and laughing. I knew they would connect well with each other.

Then, to Whole Foods for necessities.

The three of us drive out to Norfolk to meet with Ana's mom, Jessica, and her husband at Field Guide. Glorious eats to be had. I request a round of Curry Chic Pea, Vegetables, and Rice bowls. It's really nice to have my mom here to enjoy the delicacies that Ana and I regularly enjoy. Ana and her mom start acting goofy when I ask to pose for a picture.
In reference to Ana I say, "She's picky when she's making her own food. But if you give something to her she'll eat anything."

Mom and I at Field Guide (January 16 2015)

Two of a Kind (Ana and her mom) (January 16 2015)

I had to park like a thousand blocks away because it's Friday night in downtown Norfolk. So I walk alone to get the car and pick them up.

Back home. We set up mom in Ana's bedroom to sleep and Ana joins me in my room.

Ana: "It's funny how you get frustrated at us and we're just like ha-ah-ha-ah."

Me: "Yeah I know. You two just act like silly little girls."

Ana: "I love your mom. She's so innocent."

And that's the truth. My mother is kind and sweet and innocent.              

Relaxing with a cup of hot Tea and one more of those cookies Ana made.

Sleep 2 a.m.

[i] Images by me.

Thursday January 15 2015

Garlic Maple Mustard Salmon Dinner (January 15 2015)[i]

Waking up at 11 a.m.

Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Maca Powder, Maple Syrup, Strawberries, Chia Seeds, and Greek Yogurt. Coffee with Cream and Honey.

Another chiropractor visit.

Getting groceries.

Lesson prepping.

Peanut Butter Jelly Time with Kevin. Grilled PB&J. Potato Chips. White Green Tea.

Teaching lessons at Music Makers.

Then straight to the Rec for adult basketball. There's no warming up cause I arrive just in time. First couple games my shots and ball handling are rough. But after the third and fourth I shine. I manage to score six jumpers and one hook in a single game.

Back home. Cooking dinner for Ana and I: Mustard Maple Garlic Salmon with Broccoli, Carrots, Onions, and Brown Jasmine Rice.

General chores: making almond milk – doing laundry.

Discussing life management and time management issues with Ana in the bedroom – we both struggle to find the time to get things done.

Sleep 3:30 a.m.

[i] Image by me.