I wish I could say I took the last week to live life to the fullest, to really reflect and apply everything I learned in the wake of losing one of my favorite people. Grieving is weird. I’ve honestly never done it before. Some days I feel like I can take on the world, like I have this one life and I want to love everyone like Uncle John did, and be happy like he always seemed to be. Somedays I feel like I should take something away from this, like I should’ve learned something. I can’t clearly keep a hold on whatever that lesson is and the focus keeps shifting. Somedays I meltdown for no reason (Sorry Kean University. I don’t usually cry during presentations).

I remembered a thing. A bit of information dawned on me. Something that no one else would ever understand or maybe even care about. Only him. I keep wanting to tell someone, to share this secret, but the laugh I know I’d hear from him could come from no one else. And I’ll never get to tell him this secret. Part of me feels a warmth around it, like I’ll have something in my heart that belongs only to him. Part of me feels like I’ll just tell him when this is all over. But, when all of what’s over?

And work went on, and life went on and I was being dragged behind but every once in a while I stood up and ran with it.

On Monday I went to Central Park for some tree therapy. Myles and his friend Johnny joined me. We walked around in Central Park looking at these massive trees, making up scientific names and sometimes being in actual awe of size, texture or shape. We walked through the city and happened upon a giant dumpster stuffed full of balloons. It wasn’t full of much else, just some wood (?) so naturally we climbed in and played in the balloons for a substantial amount of time.

We laughed so hard, and wound up taking strands of balloons with us down the street. We took the balloons into a restaurant and laughed through a delicious meal and I had so much fun.

Dumpster balloons, dumpster people

I got home late, and couldn’t stop telling Myles how much fun I had. I crawled into bed and saw my Uncle’s memorial photo and for a split second, it was shocking all over again. I had such a fun night I forgot all about it. Which I’m terrified of, but so grateful for. Grief is next level. Sometimes I hamster wheel all my feelings and thoughts and can’t get out of this hole of feeling his death every second of the day. So though forgetting is painful, temporarily feeling joy was so good and so necessary and so hard to find regardless of this tragedy.

But of course everything reminds me. We went and saw Beetlejuice on Broadway. Aforementioned Johnny is a dancer in the show, and my boss got he, a coworker and myself some tickets. The show was wild. From start to finish you were laughing and clapping. The humor was relevant, the actors are SO talented. The set was probably one of the most impressive. The lighting reshaped the house over and over. They made giant set pieces and chased people around stage. It was wild.

And I only cried once. When Lydia was in the Netherworld and talked about how she was so afraid to forget her dead mom.

Then Johnny brought me and my coworkers backstage for a tour. We met Beetlejuice, who’s very much like Beetlejuice in real life.

The show was great. The set was insane, Johnny’s crazy in the show but still adorable. Go see Beetlejuice.

The rest of the week was filled with getting home too late, waking up early and only realizing I had eyes and mouth by around noon each day.

I did cook this week. I made an absolutely disgusting dressing for a corn and black bean salad. I made a pretty delicious vegan tuna salad out of walnuts and carrots. I tried to make Uncle John’s bagel specialty. It tasted amazing, but his also looked amazing. Mind did not.

This week I’ll try his pancakes. Because I’m actually nervous to try eggplant parm.

Anyway, this week I started research on the last thing I was curious about in Volume One.

With no context whatsoever, Tiny Jac left the following Q:

3-8-09 (def meant 06) “What is infrared? Ultraviolet? What’s it used for?”

She had yet to see Predator.

Well, I started digging in. I have the basic, uneducated understanding of both infrared and UV, but I’m not doing these projects to be basic, okayyy. First thing I will say is as I started researching it became abundantly clear that I do no understand science to any degree. If someone knows wavelengths and electromagnetic business I’ll buy you a drink to teach me. Or Skype me. I’ll do the entire conversation as my teddy bear Cinnamon as payment.

Second, I’m not giving up. Tiny Jac wanted answers and I’m going to get them. It’s just going to take me longer than a week to do it. So this is what I’ve got so far:

Infrared radiation, or infrared light, is a radiation with longer wavelengths than that of visible light.

Since even that most basic description means literally nothing to me, I have to go backwards. WT actual F is a wavelength? I get the basic, middle school text book diagram explanation, but how does something emit a wavelength and how does it related to light and help.

I’m an egg or chicken kinda guy when it comes to understanding anything that doesn’t involve a punchline. What’s the origin story, etc. So I’ll be getting my science on until I can actually, genuinely understand this shit.

We (I) made it through Volume One. This week I’ll be starting my last project, one that couldn’t be more important than it is now. Also on this 3-8-09 (06) day I said went to BOW, Bible study On Wednesday or something like that. I don’t remember this experience, but here you go:

“BOW this morning really helped me. Not so much in Christ but to be a better person. I want to help people.”

Uncle John was always helping people, and I’m so incredibly self centered, I could do with being selfless from time to time.

I want to first start by saying, I currently work for AIDS Walk New York. I’m the representative for the Hyacinth AIDS Foundation who provide HIV and AIDS services to communities in New Jersey. Our funding is primarily received through government grants, and often gets tied to specific allocations. AIDS Walk is imperative for us to continue providing education, prevention and services to the HIV and AIDS communities in New Jersey.

So help me out, help Hyacinth out and support us by donating as little as $15 to us for AIDS Walk New York.

From now until the event date (Sunday, May 19th, come walk with us) this’ll be how I’m going to help people. I haven’t personally started fundraising because I’ve been begging other people to support us, but I can practice what I preach for 3 weeks.

Beyond AIDS Walk, like all my other long-term projects, I had a list of things that would assist in my journey to help people. This list includes making 10 new friends, volunteering and learning the subtle art of actually listening to people when they talk. I suppose helping doesn’t necessarily mean helping elderly people across the streets, or giving people the clothes off my back, but can also mean being a good friend, using reusable bottles or accepting peoples differences.

Volume One has been sweet, even kinda simple, sometimes slightly annoying. I learned a lot, I tried a lot and I think I’m still figuring out the point of the blog. But I guess I’ve kept these journals my whole life because I wanted to remember to try the things that sounded interesting. I wanted to remember the things I already tried and how I felt about them. And now I’m finally getting around to it. I want to look back on my life and feel like I gave all my dreams a shot. I want to feel like no stone was unturned, that I got to experience a million things. I want to look back and think I had fun, I guess.

So to recap what I’ll be taking with me into Volume Two; I’m writing a book with my pal Bryson (and taking too long to edit). If I get two published copies for him and I I’ll be satisfied. Tiny Jac had it right with not worrying. I don’t always remember, but nothing gets done by worrying. Going and doing and having fun, though, that’s where the real money is. I did a lot of things I’m not sure I would have if it weren’t for this project.

Opening up and meeting people isn’t my specialty but I do find value in it. I’m a shit talker, and I don’t want to be, so I’ll keep chipping away at that. I’m learning as much as I can starting with cooking (it’s going bad) and will now start a journey to help people as well as learn science-y smart stuff.

This has been fun and hard. I’m overambitious at times and want to do it all at once, but I also live a life. So I guess part of what I’m learning here, besides how to make good scrambled eggs or where the best trees in New York City are, is that even if we used every second of our day productively, sometimes it all just can’t get done.

Whatever. Remember all the cool shit I did?

Next week you’ll meet Lil Jaci. Volume Two continues her curiosity about growing up and being in a body and having societal expectations. We’re still amidst her weird obsession and hatred of Danny (love you, Bud) and also she gets Mono. So the world is ending.

Wish me luck this week and recycle your plastic.