Outside on the porch watching the sunrise.
Sipping coffee and listening to the sounds of the morning. City sounds: jets flying overhead (we’re close to the airport), the pneumatics of a garbage truck a neighborhood or two over, cars on some distant road , the little refrigerator I keep beer in cycling on and off. But also some country sounds: a rooster crowing in the new day, birds chirping, squirrels chittering, a turtle or fish or something disturbing the water just a little.
Already dressed for my ride. Been cycling the 6mi to (and back from) work for about six months now, started in March. I loved it from the day I started, and am surprised how much I still enjoy and look forward to each day’s ride. Takes me right about 30min each way. I shower and change clothes and get ready in the gym locker room at the office building after arriving dripping in sweat. Lost some weight in the first few weeks but not from the gut or upper body. Since then it seems only to continue strengthening my legs.
This year has been good for new habits. Cycling to work, doing my own vehicle repairs, and cooking more. I want to add a return to writing and “art.” I’ve long wished I had some artistic outlet.
There’s fog, or steam, or condensation on the lake. Floating over it, moving across it in billows. It’s pretty.
Time to pack for the ride.
It’s not going to be possible to “catch up” here.
Too much has happened since I was writing consistently and regularly. I guess no one’s reading this chronologically, anyway. But I think the weight of all the years not writing does often feel to me like a block or weight that keeps me from starting again. Maybe acknowledging that won’t be fixed will help me be free of that feeling.
I’m on the back porch in the sun, looking out over the lake. This is our home now. Sometimes I miss California, the mountains and the weather and the people, but this place is definitely our home now. A cinder block house we own outright, on a small lake. Place is in good shape and I do my best to take care of it so it’ll last. I’m proud of where I am personally, the changes I’ve made and the person I am.
Our kids are so old. Our marriage, too. Proud of all that, also. I like what we bring to this earth, I’m pleased with our energy. I feel like we’re all doing a good job trying to learn and grow as we mature. We’re doing a good job. Sometimes I wish my parents were able to see our family; how we’re doing, how similar our route so far ended up being to theirs in some ways, how much better in others.
I’ve felt inspired to write for over a year but I’ve just not done it. I have the time, too. I’ve just not made it part of my routine.
Yesterday was such a beautiful day.
Usually a typical Saturday for me means projects. Working in the yard, on or around the house, on a car. But yesterday I decided to do nothing. The first weekend of college football, cast iron pizzas with homemade dough, cards with the wife, and a spiked Arnold Palmer.
While the weather in Florida is far from turning to Fall or what passes for Winter, I feel like you can, if you look at the things, just begin to tell that things are beginning to change. Today was quite pleasant, as Florida goes.
I’m happy, content these days. I want to write more. I’m writing now on my phone, thinking maybe I can get into the habit again. Just quick hits to start, something I can sustain. I’ll try.
I want to write about Keaton getting older, growing up, but I don’t have a good start, so there it was.
Seventeen, driving, about to enter her senior year. This summer she’ll be spending four weeks away from us, on her own, in the heart of New York City. Living in a dorm and studying theater. I’m bubbling with vicarious excitement for her, but also feel some pretty strong pangs of sadness when I think about (1) her being gone for four weeks and (2) the confrontation of reality the time away represents: she’s not going to be here forever.
I want her to have the greatest time, the best experience, to grow strong as she steps out into independence. I’ve decided I’m going to write here a short note that I’ll send with her, telling her how proud of her I am and recommending some things she do and try while she’s a “big girl on her own in NYC.”
It blows my mind that we’re here already. It goes so fast. I wonder if the post-kids space feels just as fast, or slower? It must slow down a little bit as you get older?
Going to miss her a lot. Going to worry about her and want to talk to her and text her and hear about all the fun she’s having. And then she’s back for one more year of high school and who knows what after that. Cohen also feels that milestone nearing – tells me he doesn’t want Keaton to leave; he’ll be bored, he’ll be sad.
Me too buddy, me too.
I live about six miles from work, and as long as I’ve been working here I’ve thought about the idea of riding my bike into the office instead of driving.
Being Florida, there are plenty of reasons this is perhaps not as feasible as it would be in a less tropical locale… but still the idea would nag me. So, while the car was in the shop last month I decided to first map out the route online – just to see how much of it would be road riding (less desirable) vs. trail-riding. After doing a virtual ride on Google Street View and noting that the majority of the ride (~75%) would be trails vs. roads… I convinced myself to give it a go.
I loved it. I’m still doing it, five weeks later, and I’m still loving it.
I get to wave to and say “hello” and “good morning” to so many strangers. I get to be outside. I get to listen to more music. And the bonus, like hiding a dog’s worm pill in a chunk of cheese, all those things smush around and hide from me the fact that it’s exercise and it’s good for me. Not only that, but it’s brought a whole new set of routines into my life, and you know how I love optimizing and living in good routines.
I have a little backpack. I pack it every morning with my work clothes and unpack it every afternoon. I shower in the gym at work. I jump in the pool after getting home to stifle the sweat and cool down and give my riding clothes a rinse until the next day. I got a small microfiber towel I use after my post-ride shower. I properly launder everything each weekend. So, many, routines! So much efficiency and repetition and predictability to be enjoyed.
In my life I’ve only ever managed to make exercise “stick” when I was either (1) not doing it because it’s exercise or (2) doing it as penance. Hopefully this bike riding will continue to fall into bucket #1 and I’ll keep doing it because I’m enjoying it.
So far so good.
As Keaton has gotten older, transforming into the young adult she is today, the nature of our interaction has changed. Gone are the days of imaginative play. Our interactions are, on the average, shorter, less-frequent, and I’d guess less “required” from her point of view. While that may sound sad, it doesn’t really strike me that way… instead it just feels inevitable and part of life moving forward.
I do worry, however, that the maturing nature of Keaton’s needs may unfairly impact the way I interact with Cohen, who is five years her junior. See, Cohen is most definitely not at as mature as Keaton – and the style/type of interaction he needs from me hasn’t changed nearly as much as with Keaton. Given the difference in their needs, a “one size fits all” parent/child “interaction model” isn’t very functional or fair.
Specifically, I have to remind myself that Cohen does not want, or perhaps need, and is certainly not OK with, as much alone-time as is Keaton. He wants our presence, he wants to interact, for him imaginative play is still very much in-bounds. But I catch myself forgetting these things, letting the way I interact with Keaton influence my interactions with him.
I guess this is probably a normal “not the first kid” kind of thing that other parents have also dealt with? At least I hope it’s not just a unique personal failing of mine.
Even though I know it for false, I sometimes catch myself thinking that the work we’ve done over the last four years to “simplify” is sort of “going backwards.”
I suspect this is may be rooted in the pervasive materialism that’s pushed to us as success, fulfillment, etc. I swear I’m not trying to sound holier than thou; if you have a yacht and three houses and summer in France that’s great I’m happy for you. I mean I made the choice to walk away from money, so these occasional doubts could possibly even me questioning the rightness of that decision. Who knows.
in 2023 I’ve set out to change two small things that sort of relate to this. First, I’m going to do our own oil changes in the vehicles. Second, I’m going to do our taxes myself. I used to do both of these things, and then at some point made the (correct, in my mind) decision that my time was more important than the money saved. And while saving money is worthwhile, I’m pretty sure my decision was motivated more by a desire for self-sufficiency and a sense of ownership.
I know it seems like a right-turn, but it’s what came to my head next: See, I sometimes wonder what people who knew us when we had a bigger, nicer house in manicured subdivision think when they come visit us in our smaller, not-as-nice house. I love our now-house, just like I loved our then-house, and let’s be honest the fact that we can compare the various houses we’ve owned sort of ruins this whole though exercise in simplicity or frugality.
Resisting the urge to make this more readable than it is and leaving it here. Goodnight.