Sunday, April 14, 2019

To the Gym With Me

My little one seems to wants to go the gym in the morning and though I drove her and I over one day last week, I vowed that going forward we’d need to get her sister’s bike fixed.  She had one as well, but her sister left it at school for months on end last year till one day it was gone.  And yesterday, with a bit of cajoling and one-hundred-and-fifty RMB for two new inner-tubes, bike was fixed and biked back home. 

This afternoon I managed to talk my older one into biking over to the gym with me.  What a nice day we had.  It won’t last long, but for now its lovely and I didn’t mind the smell of the canal and the civilizationally-challenged drivers, or my beat-up old iPhone that won’t allow me to take pictures change song or open just about any app without pressing on the glass repeatedly, it was wonderful to just bike along with her, sharing the ride I usually bike through by myself.

I got up late this morning.  It had been a more spirited evening than I recalled as I considered the drag on my verticality, trying to get up and out of bed and recalled the various beverages imbibed at different stages of the evening.   One Advil and large bottle of San Pellegrino helped.  But I was still tired.  So, I brought my novel “The Time of White Horses”, read a few pages and drifted back to sleep where the dream involved a mall where the wrong turn from the car park led to an international customs exit, and this wasn’t what I was looking for. 

Wife just returned home.  Sun’s just gone down.  She had two bags of groceries, which I suppose we always need, though there shouldn’t be much need to cook much this evening.  The refrigerator is bursting with leftovers.  She did some lovely work in her garden today.   I snapped some photos when I got back from our excursion to the gym. 

I took some time to write a long letter to a dear friend before my daughter and I biked to the gym.  He is perhaps the best letter writer I know.  And I can’t write him texts and emoticons back.  But you need time and a sense of clarity to write like that.  I woke this morning to see a letter of his in my Inbox.  Disarmingly lucid, informative, loving, I was very glad to have nothing better to do today than fold the pillow on my chair, fill another glass of San Pellegrino and sketch out an appropriate reply. 

Sunday 4/14/19

You Did Your Part

It’s a mighty-fine day here in Beijing.  Just off the phone with mom back in Poughkeepsie.  It’s raining there.  It’s been raining there.  She said it doesn’t feel like its spring.  Hasn't all spring.  That’s too bad.  We doin’ alright out here.  It’s a gorgeous spring day.  Only thing messing with my mood is this damn contact lens in my left eye.  I took one out already and now this new one is acting up as well.  It’s a subtle annoyance but it doesn’t leave you alone.   Each time you submit to a new one you feel like you're wasting money.  And you are.  

My daughter popped in around 9:00AM with a sigh.  “BTS broke a record.”  “Really?”  “Yeah.  We the (BTS) Army made it happen.  Fifty million downloads in only seventeen hours.  It’s a new record.”  I told her I was glad I’d helped do my part as I’d watched the new song with her last night.  “Yeah.  You did your part.  Your computer has been streaming the song all night.”  “Huh?”  My eyes were drawn back to that Youtube tab on the far left, which had looked out of place there amidst the gallery of Chrome tabs I keep open.  Sure enough the BTS elves were dancing around there as they'd been all night, when I checked the tab and brought it to the fore.   I tried to suggest that this was cheating.  But she didn’t agree. 

I finished one and then another and before long every damn item on my to-do list.  But by the time I was done there was no time left to go to the gym and return with time for buying the fixings I was supposed to secure for the barbeque my stepson had pre-ordered for later this evening.  I got most of what I needed at the local market and biked a bit further on to get the meat, some drinkable wine and the Seven-Up my stepson had insisted on.  Poplar puffball sperm in search of non existent female trees were in full bloom as the afternoon unfolded, causing the city to look like it was in the middle of dusty snow storm. 

I texted an old friend to get the number for the gas canister supply guy.  He provided it and I thought to ask him to come by this evening, which he said he would.   The new gas canister arrived for the grill and we cleaned off the old workhorse so we could cook on it and by the time I emerged from the shower my stepson and his wife were here, and we turned up some Tim Maia which he thought was Santana and we set about chopping and basting and pealing.  It was a lovely night that ended in a jam session, which only happens when he comes by. 

Saturday 4/13/19

Friday, April 12, 2019

For the Imminent Dropping

Good early start.  The emails were few   Someone replied whom I hoped would do so.  I took some time to get back to him.  Beyond that there weren’t many other emails and soon I was into the morning’s news, depressing of course.  Julian Assange has been arrested and Omar Bashir has been over thrown.  Trump and Bibi are going strong.  Somewhere in California there are wall murals of American history that depict George Washington in a way that students think is reprehensible.  The school wonders if it should erase all when it more appropriately seems like a learning opportunity.

There is time this morning to not only translate an article but memorize most of it as well, as my routine suggests I must.  While yesterday I considered a reasonably interesting article about the photograph of the black hole that everyone around the world was considering, today I opted on a speech by our man XJP.  As a pedagogical exercise it was useful, but pity the Chinese every-man or woman on their way to work to stops to consider sentences like the following from Xi Da Da: 

Socialism is not a label that can be arbitrarily pasted. It is not socialism that it is said to be "socialism", but it has objective standards. This standard is: the basic principles of scientific socialism. Adhering to the basic principle of scientific socialism is socialism; abandoning and denying the basic principles of scientific socialism is not socialism.

Now you know. 

Older daughter came home early.  Her senior year is winding down.  The classes seem mostly done.  All they need to do is prep for their final exams.  She and her mother headed out early to buy dress for the prom.  I was told to await the younger one.  This I could do.  She was, I was reminded coming home in keen anticipation that her favorite group BTS would be “dropping” a new album this afternoon at five-sharp.  She hit the house at 4:45PM and I maliciously suggested the internet was out, which terrified her for a moment.

When the great release came, I tried to shoulder up next to her and respectfully join for the imminent dropping.  I was told to leave.  I pleaded.  I promised to behave.  I was allowed to watch.  Someone named Halsey who looks as if she’s from the U.S. was helping them to drop.   They danced around in front of big signs that said “Love.”  Sometimes that’s all you need. 

Later I biked over and got things to make burritos as was ordered by the little one.  Mid shop the wife called: “We’ll be there in forty minutes and we’re very hungry.”  Cool.  I got this.  About thirty minutes later she called and said:  “Hey, I was going to go dine with my friends: the mothers.”  I didn’t like that.  I told her so.  Join us for a family dinner and then go out.  The little one made the guac and I made the beans and she played three songs and then it was my turn. 

Friday 04/12/19