front of postcard: a photograph taken by Allen Ginsberg under which he has written: "Paul Bowles, home in Medina Marrakesh, 1961 we visted a week."

Happy Father's Day

Paul Bowles and Allen Ginsberg, of course, were both beat poets in the same vein as Kerouac and Burroughs. Medina ("city" in arabic) Marrakesh, or Marrakech, is in Morocco about 130 miles south of Casablanca, which is another 150-200 miles south of Tangiers -- where all four beat poets I just named once lived.

Apparently Marrakesh is a "stunning imperial city", on a dry rocky plain, with the snow-capped Atlas Mountains to the southeast. Marrakesh also features palm gardens, a city wall, a 250 ft. mosque/minaret; and a college and collapsed palace, both dating from the 16th century. Oh, and a traditional market, "straight out of the movies".

None of this is visible in the photo. Also not apparent are windows, furniture, or why Paul is eating off the floor (although the last two may have something to do with one another). In closing, I just wanted to say - thanks for teaching me not to eat off of the floor.

Love, Marc

A rough return we had of it. Unless you're flying on a medivac you can't get jet service home, not since the 1980s, and we flew stormy skies. I didn't know whether to throw up or raise my hands and shout "woohoo!" After I said goodbye to my sisters in the Toronto airport, it took me another twenty minutes to get to my car. My ears popped for days.

One week ago we moved my father to a nursing home.

My brother and I brought things to his new room on Sunday. My father hasn't been able to go into the basement for some time, and my mother now only uses it for washing, so Jim had brought the tv upstairs. We took their old chairs from the basement, his so they would have someplace to sit him and hers so she would have a familiar place to sit on her visits. We took decorations, mostly from his office wall: his discharge from the forces, his original apprenticeship certificate, the photograph of his father's village, a crucifix, a photo collage, and a photograph of dad and mom, from the 1990s.

We ordered a small television for the room, because dad likes to focus on that sometimes. R, a part of my childhood took our order. (R's engaged for the third time. His own father died last year. He sees Ken Deluca in the mall sometimes and has told his boss he will not wait on him).

The only other daylog I've written mentioned the odd pattern of coincidence, ten years between the deaths of my father's brothers: 1974, 1984, 1994.

We actually noticed my mother first, occasional lapses of memory, though nothing serious. With my father, our brother and his family noticed before the rest of us, because the change was so dramatic. Yet he was also in a position to hide it for awhile. My father was a taciturn man, the quiet one of his family.

Even when I saw him last, in late March, he was walking twice every day and could recognize the people he saw. Two months later he could barely stand unsupported. He smiles when he sees us but does not seem to know exactly who we are. Probable Alzheimer's, with Parkinson's-like symptoms: they cannot know for certain until they perform an autopsy.

He'd been a leader of men, an athlete, and valedictorian of his tech high school. Back then, that position guaranteed an apprenticeship with the city's largest employer, but he deferred that and took other training in the army. He could have gone away to become an engineer-- it was a dream of his-- but they were married old, as things were reckoned then, and they wanted to start a family.

An engineer replaced him when he retired. They kept him on for a year to train his successor, and as a consultant for some time thereafter because only he knew the intricacies of some of the older machines.

My mother retired, worked for the colleges for a time, and then they both travelled everywhere. Their children were settled by then and thrilled to see their parents enjoying life like this.

The day I posted my Nodermeet my brother e-mailed us to say that the situation had reached a crisis. Even with the homecare coming in every day, we remain astounded that my mother, her judgment now somewhat impaired, could have taken care of him for so long. But she was a nurse for so many years, and she would say, about my father, that she took a vow.

The home was not the one we wanted, but the room came open, and now that he's in the system he has priority when another place comes available, one perhaps with a wider range of care, because it's clear my mother will, in a few months, be unable to remain at the house.

He built that house.

But he smiled to see people in the home, and he had his first good meal in sometime. He's had trouble swallowing, the last couple of weeks, and they've been hard-pressed to find anything he could eat. This place had him figured in a moment, and added a thickener to the puree that makes it a consistency that works for him. And they will feed my mother, if she visits over lunch or dinner. One of the senior managers is a friend, an in-law of her late brother's, and her presence assures us. The place is clean and has a surprising number of activities, given the condition of their charges.

She's becoming confused though. We repeat things she has just had explained. She repeats stories. The fabric of time shreds in her accounts, and is rewoven into strange tapestries. And she's angry they will no longer let her drive.

But she knew when we told her that my father had to go to the home.


I think about last week. My brother's eldest graduated elementary school, the valedictorian of her grade 8 class. I had a busy time, having missed Monday. And yesterday I put aside the fact of today. Yesterday I checked e-mail, went to the gym, and then spent too much time online, especially after discovering that someone had hit my site by googling three words which appear (though not together) at my "What's New" page: E2 slash fanfic.

The mind reels. But perhaps, as someone suggested, "E2" means something else to somebody.

L's parents had a dinner party in the evening. She's marrying, at 40, and my wife will be Matron of Honor. We were one of two non-Arabic couples present. After dinner the women talked and danced in one room and the men had strong coffee and talked in another. Save for the absence of wine, they're startlingly like the Italian men of my childhood. They laugh and attempt to explain untranslatable jokes and worry about their community, which has grown large and diffuse. Increasing the feeling of a time warp, they speak highly of John F. Kennedy, in their case because they saw him as a leader who believed in minority rights, and because they utterly despise the current American president. They have no kind words for Saddam Hussein, but since George W. Bush lied or was misinformed about weapons of mass destruction and lied about Iraq's al-Qaeda ties, they see this as a war over one man, and one man is not worth the deaths of so many Arabs and Americans.

Faisel, the patriarch of the group, older than my father but with his wits intact, assured me when I left that I should not be offended by their constant insulting of each other. I said that I understood; their insults are a sign of affection.

"That's exactly right," he said, shaking my hand. "I hope to see you again soon, you son-of-a-bitch."

The men howl.

My dad would have been the one smiling quietly.

Happy Father's Day.

I had the strange luck to take what seems to be everyone's favorite photograph of my dad, about eleven years ago. He's at his workbench with one of his grandsons (that nephew uses the image as a screensaver now). It may be found at http://www.geocities.com/utherworld/biopics/workbench.jpg

P.S. Okay, so people don't seem to like this, so i'll leave this as it is and will not continue to log the 8 day routine.

Nevermind, read on: July 5, 2004



I've decided to log my workout journal in this space. Day logs are a controversial part of E2, but this is where I will node these writeups. I don't entirely consider this a day log, but since it will be logged every other day, it seems appropriate.
Hopefully you'll find it interesting, I do, and I aim to give you some insight into a lifestyle that you may be interested in taking part in.

So first off, a little background about me, my routine and goals, as well as my diet to give this some context:
I am 170lbs, and 6ft, about 13% body fat. I have been working out for about 3 years, I'm 20 years old.

The Routine
Everyone who wants to get serious about working out needs a routine. The general consensus these days is that when working out, less is more. By this I mainly mean working out every single day leads to overtraining. For this reason I work out every other day, something that is called a four day split.
So without further ado, my routine:

Day 1: Back + Biceps
Day 2: OFF/Cardio (punching bag, swimming, sex etc ;)
Day 3: Chest + Triceps
Day 4: OFF/Cardio
Day 5: Legs
Day 6: OFF/Cardio
Day 7: Shoulders + Abs + Forearms
Day 8: OFF/Cardio
Repeat

Muscle groups are put together so as to not workout the same muscles more than once in the split, ie back and biceps are together because working out your back involves using a lot of bicep movements as synergists.
On each day of working out a muscle group I try to include an exercise for the individual muscles in that group. You will be introduced to these exercises on the days that I do them.

Goals
Just as important as a routine are goals. Always set your goals high but also attainable. My goal is to hit 180lbs of lean mass, 13% bf or less, and to be able to cleanly dumbbell press 80lbs for 3 sets of 10reps by September.

Diet
What you eat is also very important when you decide to start molding your body. I do not stick to a strict diet the way you may think from hearing the word, but I do watch what I eat. Basically, I avoid all heavily processed foods, empty carbs, insulin inducing sugary foods, and aim for a high level of daily protein intake.
I also try to eat about six meals a day. Eating at least four meals a day is very important to keeping ones metabolism going strong, whether you are trying to lose weight or gain it.

So, on to the day's workout.

Today I did Shoulders, Abs and Forearms.

---SHOULDERS---
Arnold Press: -- Anterior deltoid
3x8 42.5lbs
Lateral Raise: -- Lateral deltoid
3x8 20lbs
Rear Lateral Raise: -- Posterior deltoid
3x8 32.5 lbs
Shrugs -- Trapezius
3x8 230lbs

---ABS/OBLIQUES---
Crunches:
3x15
Side Crunches:
2x15 left 2x15 right
Hanging Leg Raise:
1x15
45 Side Bend
2x15 25lbs left 2x15 25lbs right

---FOREARMS---
Wrist Curl:
3x15 45lbs
Reverse Wrist Curl:
3x15 30lbs

Notes:
I find shoulders to be an important part of every day strength needs.
Today was a pretty relaxed and thorough workout. I'm happy with my lifts. Today I decided to drop the weight in some areas, like the Arnolds, so I could focus on my form. Form is key when working out to develop a good physique; make sure you get a full range of motion so your muscles develop not just in the center of the muscle but on the outer edges also.
After the workout I went to the sauna and pool to cool down.

Ah, Fathers Day…

I’m not gonna go on about “what it means to be a father” or anything like that. Anyone who is one or plays that role already knows that and enough words have been said and sentiments expressed that the topic is pretty much exhausted…

Everybody already knows (or should know) the impact that fathers have on their kid’s lives but I’m gonna try and look at from another perspective. Although it might seem a bit self serving, being a father has made me a better person. That being said…

When I look back in time I see a different me. A me that consisted of brash opinions about everything and anything under the sun, a me that thought of only of only me. I think of a me whose sense of right and wrong could best be explained as me being always “right” and anybody who didn’t agree with me as always being “wrong”. I see a me who dismissed anything that didn’t suit my needs or my lifestyle.

I look back and I see a me whose world couldn’t even comprehend the meaning and value of patience. I see a me who was so self centered that he didn’t care who he hurt or who he offended. I see me who dove at life headfirst rather than wade through it. I see a me who would rather pick the roses for himself rather than just smell them and leave them for others to enjoy. I see a me whose first inclination was to disregard things rather than accept them. I see a me who thought he had friends when, in fact, he was pretty lonely.

These days, I don’t see much of the old me and when I do, I can usually recognize it. I hope what I see is kinder and gentler version of the me I once was. I hope I see a me that places others ahead of himself, that pauses to think rather than react. A me who has a sense of himself, who provides comfort rather than requiring it.

I don’t know if being a father is the sole reason for the change I went (and hopefully, am still going) through. There are probably other factors in the equation that contributed to my renewed outlook on life but I think fatherhood is the main one. It’s often said that there are many things that go into making up “a man” and they’re probably different for all of us. I won’t even try and presume to start listing them, it would be pointless. All I can say is I think I’m doing the most important work of my life, not because I have to, because I do, but because I want to. I think, because I want to, the job comes easier and I enjoy it more.

I guess what I’m really trying to say is that instead of my kid thanking me for being her father, I want to thank her for being my kid. Maybe someday she’ll read this, maybe someday, when I’m gone, it will bring a tear to her eye and she’ll remember, and, as she remembers, it will make her smile.

Maybe that’s the real gift.

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