Diary Everyday

My Dad’s Heart Surgery

No matter how you phrase it, heart surgery sounds big. Especially heart surgery, where they replace two valves and part of your aorta. Well, that sounds really big, and in reality, it is. There is no sugarcoating an operation of this magnitude.

I find it difficult to confront what I feel.

My dad went in for heart surgery Tuesday morning, and I visited him at the hospital for the first time yesterday. The surgery went well. He looks good, but I can tell my dad is nervous about being in the hospital, and he can probably tell I am too. Hospitals universally freak me out. My hospital experience has, for the most part, been both ok to terrible.

When my 3-year-old Daughter D’s ongoing school cough turns out to be RSV, she is hospitalized with a blood oxygen level of 87%. A two-day stay and a $7,000 bill with insurance later, she is fine—but the worst three days of my life.

My Mother has multiple UTIs that land her in the hospital. During COVID is the worst of these as she is unable to advocate for herself, and we cannot visit her. But she pulls through mainly because my sister persists in asking essential questions.


Those experiences all come flooding back when I go into a hospital. The feeling of helplessness. The confusion. The endless beeps and clanging alarms of machines. I want to scream at whoever will listen, “Is this normal?! Why is it making that sound? Surely, something is wrong?!”

Like I am the only one who can see the one thing every doctor/nurse/specialist has missed. Like I’m House in an episode of House. But it isn’t like an episode of House. It’s a hospital with trained staff who most likely aren’t concerned with whatever it is.

It’s (probably) not important.

But it is difficult to stop the compulsion to ensure everything is working correctly. To fight off the nagging fear of every other time I’ve been in the hospital that something is or will go wrong. To have some control.

It is the same reason Julia and I decided not to give birth in a hospital. We both felt that pregnancy should not be treated like an illness or operation. We wanted our birth experience to be away from that clinical world and return it to our home and family, away from the machines, doctors, and scalpels. Luckily we had a situation where that was possible, and there were no complications.

The result is that my positive feelings about hospitals are limited. This is pretty universal. Hospitals generally suck. No one wants to go to the hospital. We typically find any reason not to be in one. But occasionally, we do find ourselves there, dreading the passing minutes.

For my Dad I will go and will update you once he is back home. Thanks for hearing me out.

Update 21 March 2023: Dad is doing well. Not sure what I expected, but at four weeks out, he seems to be mostly recovered. I will update you on my youngest daughter V, who decided to follow her grandfather to the hospital with a broken collar bone. Yeah, not as fun, but she, too, is doing fine and, three weeks out, is almost completely recovered.


On Having Children

Namely Daughters…

When D was born, I really didn’t have any idea what to expect not only from the experience of childbirth, and a homebirth at that but of what babies and later kids would mean for my life. I don’t think it is ever possible to anticipate the impact children will have, and I, living in the moment, really did little to plan my next steps. Julia and I had our new bundle of joy and improvised as usual. At almost four years old, D is an amazing little girl who loves everything stereotypically girly.

  1. The color pink in every shade
  2. The movies Frozen or Moana or The Little Mermaid or…
  3. All things ballet
  4. Ghostbusters… all three movies. Yes, all three, even the reboot. Not really sure that is girly, but I love it.

As a parent now of a second amazing daughter V, I can surely say that all kids are different. The lessons I learned with D are not the same lessons I am now learning with V. I thought I had figured it out. One kid down, I got this, but that is not the case. It is also like every time you think you have parenting figured out, your kids will test the boundaries where you failed to prepare. Kind of like Jurassic Park.

Clever Girl

All that being said, my daughters are the best thing I have ever done. Some folks out there may sneer, “YOUR CHILDREN ARE THE BEST THING YOU HAVE EVER DONE?” I get it. The idea that my hopes and dreams are projected on these two little girls who haven’t done much of anything at this point. Yeah, yeah. My life shouldn’t be wrapped up in my children. But on the other side, all the parents out there get it. My girls are my everything. They are literally the reason I want to get up in the morning (and often are the reason I wake up at 5:30). Their view of the world is why Donald Trump doesn’t fill me with ongoing fear. My daughters will be president. BOTH OF THEM.

They certainly have the best last name to get them there.

All this is to say, I also blame them for the lack of all my creative inklings. They are where I put all my energy. They are where my podcasts, my writings, my paintings, my doodles, and my dreams lie. Right now, all the energy goes to them. But, good news, we will all reap the benefit of these amazing engines of creativity and positivity. Eventually, the compound interest in these wiggly, giggly little bank accounts of humanity will pay out dividends of awesome things. I’m sure of it.

They already brighten my life exponentially. We all just need to be patient.


7 Oct 2017

Dear Diary it has been more than 2 years since my last confession.

I have been listening to David Sedaris’ Theft By Finding, which is the first collection of old diary entries spanning 1977-2002. It made me realize I really don’t write as much so used to. Chalk it up to starting a family and having a career, but the writing thing just hasn’t been a priority lately.

Just today I was on my PS4 ready for friends to come online to play some games. I realized that only one person was online and not someone I normally play with. It’s times like these that I wonder if I’m missing something. Is it the Oscars, the Emmys, or do people have actual lives?I feel like I would be the one person playing games as a world war broke loose and would be utterly oblivious to the fact.

If it weren’t for J, I would be far less connected to the world, although her tastes usually center around the deaths of celebrities than truly horrific current events… of which there are tons. I’m often taken aback by how often people in my life, especially those at work love being the bearers of bad news.

“Did you hear, ______” is often the start of a sentence I wish I hadn’t heard.

It’s never “fireman saved a kitten” or “I made lasagna from scratch and it’s in the kitchen!” Instead its something far more… dubious.

Its cliche but true, bad news travels faster than good.


Drakkar Noir

In high school, I longed to be sophisticated in the way that all pubescent boys longed to be sophisticated – looking sophisticated to girls. Back in high school, my tools of appearing sophisticated ranged from:

  1. Reading Thoreau’s Walden to look independent and well-read because it was mentioned once on My-So-Called-Life, but hating every page.
  2. Listening to the Pixies which said, “here’s a guy who’s part of the counter-culture,” when all I wanted to do was listen to Paula Abdul.
  3. Writing for the literary magazine because I had things to say.
  4. Dying my hair blue because here’s a guy who looks like a dork but is inside a punk rocker.
  5. Writing angsty, understanding of feminist ideals, poetry.

In short, I was a complete poser. I was trying to please everyone else because I never truly felt at home in my own skin. I thought what I liked was stupid, so I co-opted the popular alternative lifestyle of the time. Something akin to Jordan Catalano meets Tribe Called Quest frontman Q-Tip. The unfortunate truth is these two personalities were both completely unconvincing on me. I was that dork who didn’t want to be a dork.

These days that may be difficult for modern-day dorks to understand, but before popular culture accepted dorks, they mercilessly hunted us down and mocked us. We were the awkward trailblazers who eventually grew up running every major corporation and conglomerate. It turned out while being awkward wasn’t, being smart was pretty cool.

So when unpacking a box of things I had stored before going away to college, I was greeted with a familiar smell – Drakkar Noir. The little black bottle had been sophisticatedly stewing for 17 years, awaiting its triumphant return to the teenager it had once defined. True to its tough and rugged scent, nothing had changed with the black matte bottle. Seventeen years and… nothing had changed. It smelled exactly the same as I remembered.

It, unlike my younger self, was so blindly sure of itself – it remained the same, impenetrable over the years. It was an instant reminder of all my missteps. Hell, it was an instant reminder of the missteps of a generation of pimple-faced boys who simply wanted to be loved and thought a new smell might just be the ticket. So, to all the (now) men who once nervously visited a drug store and had an employee open a glass case to purchase a bottle of Drakkar Noir instead of condoms, I raise my glass of Malbec* and solute you. All of us dorks salute you – smelling all the sweeter.

*It is actually Pinot Noir, but the similarity was too much, even for a blog post.


A Changing Life

It is truly interesting the way that my life has changed in the last few years and as I continue to think about how I have grown, I realize I have neglected parts of my life in exchange for other parts. Like this journal, for example, has been here since I graduated from college, or shortly thereafter, and I rarely look at it now. This is a shame because I often wish I had a place I could write down my thoughts. Where is my diary? Not really sure, but I kind of feel I should be recording this stuff somewhere.


Dear People Who Suck,

The other night I was at a bar in Queens for a friends birthday party. I was my usual jovial self and was making rounds saying hello to strangers and such when I sat down next to my friend. We got to catching up and then all of a sudden some guy, a friend of my friend, sits down next to us. I knew immediately I didn’t like him. He was shifty eyed and seemed for lack of a better word like he was trying to impress by pointing out all the ways he could be violent to people who had crossed him.

For all those keeping score out there, I do not enjoy people like this and more so because well quite frankly he sounded like an asshole. My friend then mentioned that my wonderful girlfriend was moving in with me at the beginning of April. This is when, I will call him Turd, Turd decides to go on a tirade on how women are terrible and suck the life out of you.

“Oh, don’t do that. If I could take back my relationship I would.”

This post is to express to all of you people who feel the need to put your horrible relationships, the relationships you are in because you are a weak and incapable of being proactive in your life, on us people with relationships that work. While he was going off about how women are terrible, I couldn’t help but think how lucky I am to actually like my relationship. If it’s so bad Mr. Turd, why the hell are you in it? RIGHT?!

And so I speak to all you people out there look at your relationships and if you hate them, either fix them or leave them, but don’t put your relationship on other people because quite frankly it makes you sound sad. I have news for you, relationships,marriages , and friendships should make you feel great, not horrible. But some people have lost sight of that fact. So I urge you all to say, next time you are around someone is is bringing you down…

“Dear people who suck,

No thank you.

Someone who doesn’t”


Let’s Get Serious for A Moment

Phot by <a href=

As many of you know, I have been taking classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre and performing comedy in New York for the last two years. I’ve stayed mostly quiet about this because, well, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with comedy. You guys all know me as the funnier half of Tracks Up The Tree (BECAUSE I AM THE FUNNIER ONE), but I haven’t really talked about my comedy on this site. Until now.

I’ve realized that comedy is one of the few things I really enjoy doing (other than needlework) and I have been purposefully avoiding talking about it. Partly because I have seen comedy as a hobby as way to pass the time between painful relationships, but also because I didn’t really know where my comedy fit into my life.

So the other evening, I realized that I want to talk a bit more about what I’ve been doing on this website. Talk about the projects I’m working on, write a bit more about what it’s like being a performer in New York, and let you all in on what I have been doing with my life for the past 2 years. In short, up the tree is going to be my weblog again. I will be posting more about my life and less about the stuff I never wrote about before. Sure I will talk about music and the podcast will continue with it’s same irregularity, but from now on Up The Tree is all about me – a performer, designer, and generally dreamy guy in New York.

…and needlework.


The New Gym

So I rejoined a gym after a very long time, right across the street from my new office. I’m excited to finally get back in shape and loose some of those summer pounds. Summer pounds? You heard me right, I put on some weight during the summer. I’m not sure if it was because I really did nothing summery all summer, or because I found out how much I love Netflix on demand with Rocky Road on demand, but I’ve got a spare tire the size of a spare tire.

Fo’ reals

The most depressing thing so far has been the calorie counting food log my temporary personal trainer is making me do. I say temporary because I really can’t see having a personal trainer for an extended period of time — the gym is expensive enough without having to pay a lady with a thick neck $160 additional a month. I write what I eat and the approximate calories. This has made eating food like a game of Battleship, where each carrot stick brings me closer to sinking my own… battleship. The unfortunate part it has made eating annoying. I don’t always want to do calculus every time I want put something in my mouth.

So as much as I would love to keep a lady on my beck and call, especially for those moments when I need to open a particularly stubborn jar of pickels, I think she’s history after the first month. Plus she might say something about the on demand Rocky Road.


I am so fed up with you

A Pink & Leopard Print Blizzard

Yet again, I have been struck by a cold/flu thing that has prevented me on releasing the next podcast. It’s all recorded, I just need to stick around after work and edit it up… and being sick like a dog, my first instinct after work is to get the hell out. But let me assure you it’s coming.

I seriously need to buy some zinc or something, because getting sick twice in a season sucks… really.

I am so looking forward to Spring, I could cry. I hate my big jacket, my scarf, my hat that makes my hair stand up in crazy directions. Please go away Winter, I am so fed up with you.

Although taking pictures of you is pretty sweet.