It’s been a good run, blog, but I think it’s time to call it a day.

I’ve been writing on a blog every month for the past 9 or so years, over 5 on this wordpress blog. Sharing key moments, thoughts, TV shows I like, odd ramblings at 3am after finishing a paper. It’s a sign of the times to put my life all out on the internet.

But now I don’t want to anymore.

It could be a sign of married life, of having that person to share yourself completely with. Not that I’m comparing Stina to my WordPress page, or saying that she is a living wife-blog hybrid (which obviously was the precursor to the Borg). It could be me getting older, and valuing privacy. I see my students putting every moment of their lives on the internet, all in the vain hope of the “LMS” or the “Friend me!” or the “I hope someone notices me and gives me that slight sense of social validation so I don’t feel like a recluse and at least delude myself into thinking I have social connections, shallow as they may be.”

I also am tired of trying to be witty for the sake of being witty, for the hope of getting some recognition. It’s the diary syndrome all over again: I have to write in my diary because only I can read it….but I secretly hope it gets found and then everyone reads it and “gets me” and I can become uber-famous based on my clever writings to myself. Done with that.

I just don’t care anymore.
Not in an emo sense or anything like that. I like to share with people about my life, and spend time reflecting on what is going on. It just doesn’t need to be for the world to see. I really am an old man on the inside.

I think I’ll keep the blog open…mostly because I don’t want to take the time to figure out how to shut it down. It’s a nice touchstone on the past years, something I can revisit and look at where I’ve been. And be reminded that I’m not all that. That I made some great choices and some severely bad life choices. The ways God has continued to move and surprised and form me and the world around me. How small thoughts became big decisions, how random encounters became movements. Maybe I’ll share it with my future children and grandchildren – see, even I was flawed and infallible. But they don’t need to know that until high school, let them live with the delusion of my omnipotence. But we’ll see.

So, that’s it. OK. Goodbye. Later. Deuces. Peace out (I never say that, why would I write that?).

And, we’re done.

Yup, this was my gift from work. Wow. Wow.

I can’t tell if this is a subtle hint at my heroism at being a school social worker and always fighting for our kids, or a commentary that I am the type of grown man who would wear a onesie with pride.


I’ve been reflecting lately on gratitude and humility. Fitting as Thanksgiving is rolling around next week – on a side note, the Dufour clan is planning an uber-delicious meal of stuffed pork tenderloin, homemade pumpkin gnocchi, a cranberry-almond tart, and so many more delicious things!

When I take the time to notice, it’s remarkable how little thankfulness is prioritized. I’m not sure if it is simply the NYC lifestyle that eliminates the niceties so one can move more quickly to their next task, or the inability to acknowledge everyone that passes you by in such a crowded place just so you can maintain sanity. Particularly in my profession, the words “thank you” are as valued as a bonus or vacation time. Similarly, whenever I go to a house party or other social event, it seems to be the “cool” thing to brag about your accomplishments without an acknowledgement of the supports that got you there. At one house party, I was listening to a woman speak about how expensive NYU was, which I could sadly relate. Well, not so sadly, since I was able to enter the profession of my dreams and meet Stina. So not so bad. But she was complaining about how expensive it was, then casually mentioned that her parents paid for her entire school expense. No thankfulness. No humility. No “wow, I could not have made it without them.” I see this painful quality in myself, and have to actively work against it to remember gratitude in all things.

However I can also count the innumerable times that someone on the train has thanked me or someone else for allowing them to sit down, giving directions to the correct uptown train, helping carry a stroller up the stairs, showing them which aisle has the Goya products, giving an extra stool at the bar for friends to sit together. It’s funny how strangers can sometimes be more appreciative.

People don’t seem to be very thankful, because to be thankful requires an acknowledgement of need, openly admitting that you were not able to accomplish or work or succeed or produce on your own and actually needed another for assistance. What! Shocking…but it’s painfully true for me. I am pretty polite and respectful, but it is so easy for me to fall into sole dependency and forget to stop and be thankful.  What a world it would be if everyone recognized their limits and was willing to receive help, give help, and appreciate help. Great idea, right?


Such an incredible weekend.

Stina and I flew last weekend back to SF to participate in one of the more significant moments of my life – one of my dearest friends, Bri, getting married. And what a day it was!

First off –  Bri looked incredible. In all of her dresses…because she had multiple ones. Like a boss. Gus and I got to the hotel at 9am to assist in her getting ready, which meant kneeling to offer her dumplings, or crudely commenting about her makeup, or other things that we so effortlessly can do. Following that we made our way in the shuttle van down to City Hall, where we awaited the big moment. Gus and I processed in, and watched as our dear friend came down the aisle escorted by her two parents. A short, but personal and touching ceremony, and now Bri is Mrs.!

Pictures, parties, flaskes, a lot more flasks, getting almost kicked out by City Hall security, reception, serving cake while channeling my best Brooklyn hostess, carrying the entire cake, dancing, photoboothing, more dancing, more flasking, more dancing, and a cab ride. And then 11am eggs the next morning in West Portal.

Like my own wedding and most others, it wasn’t until after the fact that I began thinking and feeling the enormity of thoughts and feelings about that day. I was so incredibly proud and happy for Bri & Mark. I was so excited to celebrate with them…and celebrate hard. I was thinking back to my own wedding, and the sheer joy I remember at making this commitment in front of all those that I loved. I became nostalgic at how Bri and I have been friends for 14 years now!

By far not the best moment, nor the most significant, but it was a special one: during the reception we were able to drag Bri off the dance floor to a surprise viewing of our video we made for her. 10 months of planning, spreadsheeting, filming, editing, brainstorming, and crisis-managing, and our love there in a 10-minute homage to the Sound of Music. Including nun costumes. And our cat drinking wine. Seeing Bri react to the video will be a dear memory for a long time.

And now Bri is a Mrs., I am still a Mr. but also with a Mrs., and our friends are still our friends after all this time. Pretty amazing, and pretty grateful, that I get to live life with these people, and that they are family. And that we can still, at 28 years old, have N64 parties at Gus’ house.
Congratulations Bri 🙂


It was so great to have my friend Gus stay in NYC for a few weeks – we went up with Bri to Vermont for a cozy, apple-slushy-filled, Motel-6-partying weekend (leaf-peeping included).  We also went with Maria and Stina to Artisanal, where cheese-obsessed New Yorkers feast on pounds and pounds of ridiculously good and ridiculously heavy cheese.

After hitting the five-year mark in NYC now, I’ve been having some of those freeze-frame moments as I course through the city. It’s a strange feeling, almost similar to how I felt when I first moved here, that “am I actually living in New York City?!?” train of thought that terrifies and enthralls me.  Last night Stina and I went to Minetta Tavern for the city’s proclaimed best burger for an early birthday celebration. As we sat in Washington Square Park digesting a ridiculously good burger, I could see the fountain, the arch, and the Empire State Building framed in the background (which was not lit up light blue as I thought it would be for the Breaking Bad finale). As we snuggled on the park bench, that peculiar feeling ran by again – how was it that I was here, now, in 2013, in NYC, living, married, in a park. Surreal.

Having Gus in town too made me nostalgic for the younger days, when life seemed simpler and easier. I think it was – amidst the teen aingst, there really wasn’t a whole lot I had to take care of or care for. Riding in the car through Vermont, talking about career paths, future places to live, having children, and settling into that adulthood state of mind, it threw me for another surreal loop. Was I really at this place in life?

I rarely get a chance to stop and think, although I tell my first graders to do it all the time when they are upset so they don’t punch walls or humans. When given the chance to pause and reflect and not rat-race through life, I can process some of what has happened and where I am. It’s hard to verbalize or write out, its a gut feeling similar to when I eat a bowl of tomato soup. Cozy, comfortable, peaceful. Maybe its a biproduct of getting older and meeting those expected milestones, and watching everyone around me do the same. I find myself riding this back-and-forth between believing that this is my life and accepting that it is real, while also feeling like its a hazy daydream where I am coasting through a dream-state not sure of what is going to happen next.

Shrugs, if you can figure my brain out, that’d be great. Thanks!



Sunday while flying back from Chicago, I remembered the date and the reminder on my G-Cal (side note – getting very fed up with the perpetual turbulence each time I land at LaGuardia. The past few times I’m pretty sure the planes have tried to make landings feel like a Six Flags ride, not cool).

August 25, 2008: I had decided to move to NYC for grad school after a year of working with InterVarsity and at Rosa Parks Elementary’s after-school program.  I had spent the summer running YMCA camps, and learning how to pack the essentials of my life into boxes. I remember the goodbye parties and the tearful goodbyes, feeling the loss of saying goodbye to what had been home for 23 years. I had hardly ventured out of the West Coast bubble (it is a pretty darn good bubble at that!), and was anxious and excited to live life in the Big Apple. I had delusions of living the grand NYC life, full of Central Park runs and having a massive Manhattan apartment a la “Friends”. I was excited to go back to school and receive training to be a social worker, but nervous about the expectations for a Masters-level curriculum.  I remember the countless conversations of friends and family being happy for me, but reassuring me that I would be back at some point soon, that it was a two-year program and that SF was always home. I remember waking up too early for the flight, and going to SFO with Bri with 6 pieces of luggage. We took Southwest since my sister offered me a free flight coupon she had earned. We flew from SF to Salt Lake, then to Baltimore, then to Long Island Islip airport. Landing in Islip, I wondered how far away from NYC we were since I could not see the infamous skyline. So we lugged all our bags onto LIRR for a 90 minute train ride in darkness, followed by a cab ride to our first stop house-sitting in Battery Park. Then I knew I was in NYC – the Statue of Liberty was in our backyard!

August 25, 2013: Recapping the last five years into an interesting, witty, concise paragraph just isn’t going to happen. It’s also 530am, so again not really going to push the limits of my writing ability now. 530am wakeups have become a new norm since moving to NYC, working in school settings has forced me to become more of a morning person. The sheer amount of what has happened alone was enough to think over as our plane shook into LaGuardia. I have a wife. A Masters. A cat. An apartment in Brooklyn. A church home. Friends both old and new (and very grateful for both). A NY State ID. A scar on my hand from when I broke a light making my Ikea futon, and another scar from slicing a piece of my thumb off making a strada. New family in PA. Countless students across NYC with whom I’ve had the blessing to work. Mets games. Yankee Games…just one. Broadway. Parks. Road trips. Vacations. Staycations. Summertime life. Netflix and Hulu. Brunching on a regular basis. It is so odd to think of 2008, and the sheer amount of life that has filled these past five years in NYC.

NYC won’t be forever, which is probably a good thing since I will get fed up with garbage on our sidewalks for pickup, or $5.50 boxes of cereal, or the sweaty subway stations in summertime. Another five years? We’ll see. I’m humbled and grateful to be able to have called NYC my home for this long, we’ll see where it goes next. And now I have to shovel Trix cereal down so I can go get to work on time…it’s still me after all!

The school year came to an end, and as the majority of teachers and students went off for summer vacation, I survive as part of the remnant who are contracted to be here all year round. So goodbye working-at-a-school perk, I am like the rest of the employed population and still have to work in July. Although I do get time to blog at work, so it’s not that bad. And there is free AC all day long (which is perfect for when it’s 97 outside!).

Jean and Luis came for their visit – it has been 3 years since they last visited me in NYC, and it was such a refreshing, enjoyable time to catch up, explore the city, and laugh about the quirks of our family. Good times🙂.

Even though I’m working, I am left with a lot more free time in the summer months. Stina being out in London for a few days gives me even more time that I simply don’t know what to do with. I found myself over the weekend initially excited about the total freedom, but then quickly falling into some forced schedule of fun time; “ok, so from 10 to 1230, i’ll watch this tv show….then i guess i can go play some video games, then i’ll eat something…maybe i’ll play with the cat for a bit….ok for an hour i’ll read”. Structure keeps me sane.

In the lull of the freedom I had, I began thinking about the multiverse of my Saturday. What if I had chosen to stop watching HuluPlus, and had gone for a run? Or what if I kept watching TV all day long and did nothing else? Or what about running then TV, then more running? The endless combinations and possibilities freaked me out a little bit. Then a lot of bit when I thought about the choices made each and every day. I’m not sure if the multiverse is real, but it’s exhilarating and terrifying to consider that each choice I make leads me somewhere. Where, who knows? What if I choose incorrectly, and I’m swallowed by a great fish? What if I should have turned to page 24 instead? Amidst the days of freedom, time felt short.

I thought having this quasi-profound moment in my room on Saturday would radically alter how I live my life and spend my time. Then I found Sabrina the Teenage Witch on Hulu and can’t stop watching…but maybe that’s what I was meant to do all along.