On Cold Pizza and Scrambled Brains

I wrote a short piece for Lucky Peach on how debased breakfast traditions have become in my family:
Brains & Eggs

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These ice-crusted rocks are #whyirun: flickers of winter, things…

These ice-crusted rocks are #whyirun: flickers of winter, things I only really see when I’m out alone, my heartbeat drumming my mind into order. #quiet #weatheriswilderness #andthentheyweregone (at Manhattan Bridge)

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Monday evening, Chester looked to be hours from death It came on…

Monday evening, Chester looked to be hours from death It came on suddenly–wouldn’t eat, couldn’t stand up, twitched spastically, couldn’t focus, couldn’t stop panting. We gathered round him on the floor and said goodbyes, afraid he wouldn’t wake up in the morning. The girls slept next to him in our room and I lay awake wondering what we would do with his body if he died hours before the vet opened. He hung on through the night, but didn’t look much better Tuesday, and I called the vet to have him checked and–surely–euthanized.

The vet was out on Tuesday, though, and the soonest they could see him was Wednesday night. They asked if I thought he could wait that long and I said I supposed so, he didn’t seem to be able to tell night from day anyway, what would it matter, but again I fretted all night about what to do with his corpse if he died in his sleep.

Wednesday morning, what was to be his last day, I woke up early and came into the kitchen. I made coffee and sat down to work. Minutes later I heard Chester’s claws clicking on the floor, and I turned to see him trotting into the room as he has a thousand times before. He pawed at his food bowl indignantly. He whined for his bed, which I brought to him. It was as though the previous two days had never happened. When the vet opened I called them to say I didn’t think we’d be needing the euthanist after all, and oddly I worried they’d think I’d lost my nerve. But they know this dingbat well enough to know that he’s one resilient beast. He’s back as good as he was last week, demanding, ornery, contrary as hell, here to stay, at least a little longer. #dog #chestermcfester #mrwiggles #pigglesmcwiggles #whattheshitchester

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Tales from Ungentrified Williamsburg, ep. 1: we moved recently…

Tales from Ungentrified Williamsburg, ep. 1: we moved recently into a new office, so I called Verizon to have a phone line & internet brought in to the space. I waited all day yesterday for Verizon to show–didn’t–and half of today. When a technician finally did show, he surveyed the area and determined he’d need to run a line from the pole in our new neighbor’s backyard. He hitched on his tool belt and set off to get access to the pole. He was back a minute later with his tail between his legs. “I thought I was lucky because the owner of the lot I need access to just happened to be there, so I asked him if I could get access to the pole and he said no, never, he hates Verizon and has hated them for 10 years, and then he drove off.” “So I can’t get phone service?” “All I can say is hang out around here and try to talk to him yourself–maybe you can persuade him to let us in.” “So the only solution is for me to wait around and hope he shows up again and then hope I can persuade him to change his mind?” “Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.” #ohwilliamsburg #themorethingschange

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For some reason–fear of being maudlin and kitschy, I…

For some reason–fear of being maudlin and kitschy, I guess–I’d never retraced my steps from from the morning of Sept. 11th before today. But as I was on my way over the bridge from Williamsburg this morning, I thought: why not? I dropped down below the bridge to our old apartment on Grand and East Broadway, then ran over the streets the @jet_racy & I took to work every morning: down Rivington across Chrystie, where we first noticed that there were more sirens in the air than normal. Down Prince to Mercer, where we saw the hole in the side of the first tower, and to West Broadway, where we parted ways and I rode in the direction of the WTC to get a closer look. So much has changed in the city since then that I had trouble matching where I stood to places I’ve stared at in pictures for 14 years, but the post office at Canal and Church, where I saw this happen, is pretty much the same. This morning, when I turned the corner and saw the postal trucks and remembered standing there with postal workers trying to understand what was going on, I collapsed in sobs, to my great surprise. And then I restarted my watch and ran on. #whyirun #keeponrunning #september11

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Day 5 began with the greatest run of my life: 13 miles (and…

Day 5 began with the greatest run of my life: 13 miles (and 2500’ of climbing) from Eixample up along Carretera de les Aigües, an urban running trail like none other: graded dirt, jasmine spilling over old stone walls, fields of blooming wild fennel, prickly pear in full fruit, views of mountains and the city and the sea, water fountains anywhere you could need them, and actual technical trails off the sides for when you feel like careening around like Killian Jornet. I’ve never felt so lucky. #whyirun #porquecorro #runwithstrava #runforlife (at Carretera de les Aigües)

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The first time I laced up to train for a marathon was 2012, when…

The first time I laced up to train for a marathon was 2012, when I joined @wellnessintheschools’s marathon team on a lark. The longest I’d ever run before was 7 miles, and that was only because I’d gotten lost in Golden Gate Park. But I loved WITS’s commitment to public schools, & I thought it would be great to be able to say I’d run the marathon, so when WITS put out a call for teammates, I joined on. Responding to that email changed my life. I didn’t run the marathon for WITS that year after all–hurricane Sandy put an end to that. But I signed up again the next year, and the next, and I’m doing it again this year. I’ve become one of those dreadful people who evangelizes for running, who thinks almost no bad situation can’t be improved by hitting the pavement or chasing up a trail. I’ve learned a lot about myself & what matters to me. And I’ve learned a lot about perseverance in the face of a challenge–not just from running, but also from working year-round with WITS, watching them patiently grind along to change attitudes and improve health and sustainability for all NYC kids. I’ve got 3 great teammates from Egg running with me this year, and together we’re going to try to raise $15,000 in 15 weeks and run the marathon in a cumulative time of under 15 hours. You can find out more about how to support us and WITS at http://ift.tt/1MLObaT. Please join us! #whyirun @nyrr #tcsnycmarathon #runforlife (at Williamsburg Bridge)

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Every single body in the city is out tonight. Afropunk Fest,…

Every single body in the city is out tonight. Afropunk Fest, #E24X, a dozen newlyweds, firefighters icing the knee of a boy who fell off his bike, “so many 1st birthday parties out here, everybody was gettin busy in the winter,” and a hundred selfies I ruined by running through them at shutterclick. #whyirun #iloveny #summersinthecity (at Brooklyn Bridge Park (Pier 5))

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Poor

“That’s how you can tell someone’s poor.” My babysitter pointed slyly at the neck of the boy sitting ahead of us in the bleachers. We were at a basketball game at her high school, a small public school in a small Virginia town where pretty much everyone was just one shade of poor or another.  

I don’t know why she’d taken me to the game, but I felt important and nervous, the only kid there who wasn’t with his parents. I was paying careful attention to everything, afraid I’d do something to give away the fact that I was a 5th grader and not a sophomore, young enough to believe that people couldn’t tell the difference. I wasn’t sure where I fit in. I stared at the boy’s neck, unsure what I should be seeing. 

“They cut their own hair. They don’t get that peach fuzz on the backs of their necks.“ It was light and soft, like the hair on a never-shaved cheek.

When I cut my hair now, I shave my nape blind. I cut myself about half the time.

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Poetry

Just inside the gate of a garage in Greenpoint, a wiry man with gray hair and a deep-set scowl sits on an upturned bucket. He spits on the ground as I approach. “I’m not fucking sheep!” he yells, shaking his head and glancing at the man sitting across the door from him. “Do I look like a ewe to me?”

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