DelBloggolo

Saturday, December 30, 2006

NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS

I firmly resolve to make absolutely NO New Year Resolutions, and I’m sticking to it.

One of the things I will be doing this year will be trying to lose weight, so I can look like I belong with my new and skinny wife. The only thing is I won’t be sexy like her, just skinny. I will be posting the percentage of weight lose pounds on the 1st and 15th of every month, this is not to brag, but to keep the pressure on myself and start eating healthier and therefore living a week longer than I would have otherwise. You may think it takes guts to do, but no, I am just stupid.

Exercise will now be a part of my daily regime, and being cheap like I am, I will do this with the improvisation and imagination of what I have available to me, including stairs, sidewalks and any old lunches that I packed and never ate for the dumbbells weights.

#2 Son had his 19th birthday on the 29th, and it was a rousing success, he didn’t do anything dumb, but his dumb ass friend, the WANNABE Monk of Long Island, a guy with less brains than a gold fish, was busily flipping on and off the light switch in my dining room. I mean flipping it at a record pace for a 19-year old, as I got up from my chair in the den when I noticed the lights flickering. I thought that I was having some kind of power shortage, or the dining room was possessed. I go into the room, and there stands the patron saint of cellars, flipping away. Jerky thumbs stops as I ask him in front of a bunch of his friends what the hell he was doing. I asked him if he was an adult. He says: “no, I don’t think so.” I suggested that if he does it again, I was going to throw him out on his dumb ass.

Yesterday TLW (The Little Woman) as usual got up before me, and when I did get up and was marching to the shower. (I always march to Sousa) I looked downstairs and I see her with all the decoration boxes being refilled with Christmas stuff. We are cutting the holiday short, so I suggested that we leave the wreath on the front door for a while so the neighbors don’t think we are cranky old coots, just merry old coots.

Here is hoping that you and yours have a very healthy and prosperous, AND skinny New Year.

STOP THE WORLD: I WANNA GET ON!

There is nothing quite like TLW (The Little Woman) helping me to awaken in the early hours before dawn. It is 3:00 AM, the time between the last day being barely over and the new day barely beginning.

If I’m retired, why am I getting out of my new bed with remote control positioning and vibrating rhythm? Because TLW made me, that’s why. It seems #1 Son had to catch a plane out of JFK at 6:00 AM, and I had to drive him to the airport.

The technique TLW uses is standard basic training they all take at Bride School, the simple “Pound his head till he begs you to stop method 101” This style of wifery is guaranteed to get me out of my new bed with remote control positioning and vibrating rhythm, and on the hunt for the alarm that is ringing in my deaf ears, while simultaneously jumping up to my feet. Groping in the dark for the armoire, I stumble and stub my podia’s seeking a clean pair of underwear and socks for after my shower.

When presented with such a state of being, one must remember that the important thing is to stay alive. I step into the shower, turn on the hot water and suddenly want to sleep standing up, naked in the warm water, not wanting to move another muscle. I finish the shower; dress and head down the stairs and enter the eerie silence of the kitchen, where hours before there was life, and now only deafening silence. It all seems so strange to me, as I prepare the coffee, (which I never drank) and wonder why I am still standing and contemplate whether I will be able to drive half asleep. TLW instructs me to leave at 4:00 AM so she can say “goodbye” to her baby.

#1 Son is awake, looking chipper, and filled with conversation as TLW slowly makes her appearance before her humble servant and #1 Son. They will talk; they will cover all the conversational points missed the past nine days, kind of tying up the loose ends. My head will shrink some more as I sit comatose and reclined in my chair, looking at the clock, my eyes barely open, not moving a muscle and listening to what they may ask me, wishing I was in my new bed with remote control positioning and vibrating rhythm.

My fervent hope is to return to my new bed with remote control positioning and vibrating rhythm, getting into a fetal position, pulling the covers up over my shoulders and closing my eyes, not moving a muscle for the next two or three days, instead I will face the Long Island Expressway, and the glorious Belt Parkway, doing battle with the nut cases that will try to set a new land record for speed so they can get to their jobs and have enough time to read a paper and sip some coffee, or maybe even take a nap.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

HEY MA, HE’S DRUNK!

It was June of 1970, I was single and in love. Traveling everyday on the Long Island Rail Road, I partied that night since it was a Friday. Every month, on the final Friday of the month, a group of riders like myself would take over the car we rode every night for about one and half hours. We would bring on cold cuts, chips and booze, usually scotch and beer, and soda for the sissies.

This particular Friday was extra special since it was the final game of the 1970 NBA championship at Madison Square Garden between the NY Knicks and the LA Lakers. It was to become the greatest basketball game I ever saw on TV. There were heroics and drama as the Knicks took the court, with their big man center, Mr. Willis Reed with a foot injury. Slight underdogs in this game because of it, everybody from NY to LA knew who would win, as the Garden crowd became the sixth man.

But the story is about me (what else?) as I danced home that night from the train station in walking distance from home. As I entered the front door, my skinny little baby sister Joanne was waiting in the living room. Next to the front door of my parent’s ranch home was a table that held a lamp. I past by the lamp and the shade spun around rather quickly if I remember. “Hey kid!” said I, and as I did, Twiggy ran out of the room screaming: “Ma, He’s is drunk!”

Deciding to stay in the living room so as not to hear my Mother lecture on the virtues of sobriety, I plopped on the couch, turned on the TV and watched the Knick game. The introduction of the players began as they announced the players on LA. I booed them louder than usual, yelling “You Bum” name after name.

Then: “Ladies and Gentleman, THE NEW YORK KNICKERBOCKERS!”

“YEA” “KILL THOSE BUMS”

“Ma, Joseph is STILL drunk!”

Well, if it wasn’t for my long distant rooting…

The Knicks win, and I now have the greatest headache ever self-inflicted.

Yes, I was going to die. I was near death, I was tired of hearing the stool pigeon, and I was going to bed.

Mom never said a world the next morning, just a distant look of disappointment. But who cared, the Knicks had won, I witnessed it, and had a grand time before hand.

LIFE’S MYSTERIES SOLVED

Did you ever have an issue that frustrated you to the brink of distraction? Last year or the early part of this year, I purchased a Mac 17” Titanium laptop for TLW (The Little Woman) as I was tired of running upstairs to assist her whenever she wanted to go on line. I figured I could assist her better from my easy chair with a ballgame or movie on as need be with the laptop, and not miss a play or moment in doing so.

This masterminded move on my part meant that I now needed to purchase a wireless router, which also meant that I needed to familiarize myself with the way to unite #2 Son’s computer which is a PC and my Mac system! I went out and bought a Netgear wireless that refused to stay on for long. I was constantly rebooting the modem and router to re-establish contact with the outside world. In my frustration, I went back to the router I had originally purchased, a Linksys that was a wired router that ran both the Mac and PC. Needless to say TLW was unhappy about the whole situation since she could not get on anymore.

To alleviate TLW’s frustration, I went to store after store, asking geek after geek and expert salesperson after expert salesperson on why these terrible things were happening to TLW’s computer. I had answers such as “the router is notorious for that,” “do you have a wireless phone?” and “You need a stronger router.” I decided to go with the later, as TLW requested I get her a stronger router for Christmas. This request was about $150 requesting plus another $15 (shame the customer) for a service warranty. I explain to the salespeople at Radio Shack that I have a Mac, mentioning it several times for emphasis, and going through my tale of woe and I make the purchase after repeated assurances that “this will work.”

I bring it home, wrap it and carefully place it under the old tree. She opens it Christmas morning, says; “Thank you” and I promise to set it up. “Are you sure this is going to work?” “Yes” says I, as I feel the confidence building, the excitement unbridled in my chest, I was a confident man! Off she goes to church as I begin to assemble the router. “Start here” it says, pointing to the CD disc in the box. I stick it into my computer. “No hablo Mac!” I desperately look at the box, I read the system requirements “For Windows 2000 or higher” it states in 4 point type. Those bastards at Radio Shack don’t know what they are talking about.

Meanwhile, #1 Son is home for the holiday. He is getting on with his laptop like nobodies business. I can’t understand it! He’s starting to make me feel like a schmuck. Then he tells me that he has a card installed that boosts the range of his computer, he is receiving someone else’s signal!

I go back to Radio shack, get my money back, drive to an Apple store and buy an AirPort Extreme Base Station, state of the art, $216 beauty that makes TLW very happy, and if she’s happy, I can watch that ballgame in some peace! Thank you Son #1.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

THE MAGICAL HOLIDAY

The anticipation of Christmas Eve dinner growing stronger as the day wore on; I started to make my contribution to the evening get together by making shrimp stuffed with crabmeat. This is one of the many recipes that my Grandmother Frances taught my Mother for Christmas Eve dinner. The dinner of the seven fish and the tradition span many generations from Italy to Brooklyn to Bellport to Sayville, NY.

The tradition is that being how Italy is small in size, it relied on fishing for a great source of food, and since Christmas Eve is a meatless day in the old church, fish was prepared for dinner. Coupled with the traditional gathering of family and friends, this becomes a momentous occasion for the year, maybe more anticipated for adults than even Christmas day itself.

It is without a doubt my favorite time of the year. I see most of my family, we laugh and we remember those no longer with us, and we eat and drink. Great times, food, and people, are implanted in our hearts and minds every year as it gets a little bigger, with one or more people join the gathering either as friend or family member, by birth, marriage or new acquaintance.

As I enter my sister’s house, carrying my shrimp creation, I smell the sauce from the lobster cooking slowly on the stove top, the fried breaded eels, resting in the pan, the cod fish (baccala) salad, all dressed in red peppers and green olives, waiting for me as I am greeted by my beautiful sisters, busily working in aprons and chatting as pots and pans sing out their holiday cheer, the pasta pot, boiling and holding court as it sits atop the stove. The air is magical this evening, laughter is in abundance, as I glide through the relatives and friends, hugging and kissing and just glad I am part of it.

I immediately find the bar and help myself to a Jack Daniels Manhattan, but tonight I don’t need one, the family is enough to keep me high for the rest of the evening. I see my 88-year old Mother, as she observes the preparations, making little comments like a coach at a football practice, little nephews cruising about, happily anticipating the arrival of a fat gentleman in the middle of the night. I see my older Nephews and Nieces, some solo, some with fiancé’s, and I wonder if this is the last stop for this wonderful tradition that lasted until my generation.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

THE POLISH EAGLE HAS LANDED

It was after supper, as I sat in my Mom’s living room, eagerly contemplating my ideas on nuclear fusions, when who should arrive but Johnny Humar*, he was a rebel who roamed through the west. No, actually he was Polish, and roamed through the different factories and offices of Long Island as an IBM “Customer engineer” with his wing tipped shoes, short haircut, shirt and tie, and bag of tools. But this evening he was wearing an opened collar shirt and a plaid winter coat.

I was given the usual admonishments about minding my own business, not asking any questions and hopefully disappearing off the face of the earth until her birthday with a gift in my hand, as my older sister (much older) would meet her date for the evening. The problem with this IBMer was that he looked like he fit right in.

Was there hope, would I not have an old maid older sister (much older) on my hands? I would do everything in my power to accommodate Tess, and let her go on her date in peace. There was a GOD!!!! This didn’t seem like a casual acquaintance after a while, as he continuously came back for more. I was starting to admire his fortitude, his stamina, and his lack of insight. Yes, John was gonna fall!!

Actually, John was an adopted older brother, who became part of the family, and made it harder for all the other poor guys that married my sisters, as he made a large impact with his generous spirit in helping others, his enthusiasm for the same teams I rooted for, and the fact that my Dad was unloading the first of the four members of the covenant.

Why am I telling you this, especially after Christmas Day and a two-day layover? Because it’s his birthday! Yes, he has survived living with Lucy Ricardo all these years with just a few pounds added and a little hair subtracted. Retired now, he counts his blessings and his money, as he showed me how to get three cups of tea from the same tea bag, taking a piece of sliced bread, and butterflying it to make a sandwich, and using both sides of the Kleenex, all in the name of saving$. He has three great kids, (see August 27th blog) with grandchildren and a house full of people every Christmas Eve. He also sleeps with his golf clubs and his money.

With all the kidding aside (Who’s kidding?) John has always been a good guy, always hospitable, kind hearted and just decent in every way. I’m glad Tess married John; he is a model of a father and husband, a great granddad and one terrific brother-in-law to all. We all have kidded him about being Polish, but he shares all his kielbasa with us all on Easter Sunday, laughs some of the times and has eaten up our Italian culture as if it was his own.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOHN!

*Johnny Humar was a TV show character in the early 60’s.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

HEY, GIMME A BREAK! HUH?

I think I’ll take a few days off for the Holiday and return on December 26th. Why should I be working while the police, firemen and women, doctors, nurses, military and retail people are all working on Christmas Day?

To all my loyal readers, thanks for even bothering, I truly wish you all a great Christmas and hope that you continue to read and enjoy my blog. I would like to especially thank Laura Laurent and Steve Phelp for their readership and feedback, and to a fellow PCHer named Steve who commented in the very beginning with some funny comments. To you and all your family Happy Holidays.

To #1 and #2 Sons, thanks for being my foil, my source of material, I love you guys, you are the best! To TLW (The Little Woman) who I love so much I can’t stand it, you are the best, always were, always will be, thanks, I love you.

I have some interesting people I will be introducing soon, my wonderful sister-in-laws, Maureen and Sarah, my brother-in-law John and his son, my godson, John to name just a few.

There are a few cobwebs in my past that need to be dusted away and revealed to one and all, and things that I am sure are still to happen to me.

Again, until December 26th –
MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Friday, December 22, 2006

KABANG!

Last evening, I was involved in a great movie starring Paul Rieser and Peter Falk, and it was way past dinnertime, and TLW (The Little Woman) hadn’t arrived home yet from her job. Last night would start her holiday, and she was happy to be going home until after Christmas Day. After a half hour of waiting past her expected arrival time I began to worry as she pulled into the driveway (No one ever drives into the driveway) and announced that she was hit in a minor accident, or fender bender. Fortunately she wasn’t hurt, and that is all I really care about.

Well TLW paced around the kitchen unhappily relating the event and describing the driver as a “little old lady” who “ran the light.” I inquired as to how old and she said about 65. “Whoa,” said I, 65 is not old when I’m almost 62! Watch your mouth lady!

This morning I gathered the clan of mine sans TLW to make the announcement.

Me: “Last evening your Mother was involved in an accident.”
Son #1: IS SHE ALL RIGHT?”
Me: “Yes, she is recovering right now at Macy’s”
Son #2: (He needs a roll in this too) “What happened”
Me: SOME WOMAN ran a red light and dented her front fender.” (A better spin than old lady.)
I then began to express the rules of behavior as to how to refer to TLW.

Me: “There will be no reference to her as Torpedo or Crash or any other names you may come up with.

This statement immediately snuffed out the light in #2 Sons eyes.

Besides, I already told her not to hit anyone on her way out this morning.

By the way, the French Chicken turned out superbly.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

THE NEST IS FILLED AGAIN

Once or twice a year, #1 Son, returns to the nest from sunny California for the holidays or a wedding. This year is no different, and Mamma is all in a flutter. TLW (The Little Woman) has decided to make, or should I say have me make all his favorite meals. Fortunately for me he was a picky eater, so there are only two meals he really liked.

The first meal TLW decided I should make (She may be little but she packs a lot of influence) is “Steak Pizziaola” a culinary treat of great calories that will leave one in great proportions. This dish is to be followed by “French Chicken”, which must have with it certain traditional trimmings like corn and rice. Very French, no?

As I sat this morning, viewing the History Channel with a cup of coffee, the phone rings and who is it but the big bird, TLW! It seems that she had forgotten to mention to me that we needed to make the corn and rice this evening, since the chicken dish would be on the menu. What does this mean? It means that I the great provider, the hunter and farmer, would search the fields and forests, to provide for the nest. First I would visit my vineyard (the liquor store) and bring in one bottle of white wine to cook with, then into the fields (the freezer) for the corn and finally the great forest itself, (the supermarket) for the rice.

There are many hidden dangers that I face daily, now that I am retired. One of them is TLW’s memory when it comes to old recipes that she hasn’t made in years because of the fat content. For instance, she gave me a recipe from her memory for steak pizzaiola that did not come out quite right like she used to make it. There wasn’t enough sauce for the dish of spaghetti that comes as a side dish. I know TLW to be extremely honest, and would never sabotage me (I think), but something went wrong! One would think maybe she thought that if I didn’t make it as well as she did, #1 Son would say: “Good, not as good as Mom’s, but OK.” Now I’m not suggesting that, but one could draw conclusions. Nah, she teaches little children about God.

Tonight, I have another recipe on the run that she drew up for me before leaving for work, and said: “Here, make this.” (She tends to be exact.) The chicken recipe will not be as good as hers, I know it, I will go to the gallows in my son’s mind, but orders are orders.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

HEY, WHERE’S THE AIRLINE?

Last night I drove to JFK International Airport to collect Son #1 who was arriving for the Christmas Holiday. Leaving TLW (The Little Woman) behind, I set off on my assigned task and drove for an hour an ten minutes into the darkness and cold of night. Turning off the JFK Expressway, and following all the signs, I was greeted by an ugly sight! There before me lay the longest traffic tie-up in airport history, three lanes of stopped cars, growing longer as the only sign of movement! Of course I needed to get over to the left and was all the way over to the right, the lane I wanted cut off from the right and middle lanes less than a quarter mile up ahead. Maneuvering and inching, I finally made it over in enough time to make the split and find the parking lot.

Crossing the arrival traffic to the terminal, I walk in and do not see the airline #1 Son is supposed to arrive on, and ask a security guard, a woman, where American West was. She inquires: “Arrival or departure?” I respond: “Arrival” she says: ”Stand here.” No signs, no indications, no nothing!

With some time on my hands, I decided to do my favorite thing in the world, people watch. I look someone over and try to image what he or she does for a living. Among the crowd of arrivals are people holding homemade, makeshift signs with last names on the signs, large enough for someone else to recognize and respond. These people holding these signs were limo drivers, on the job. I think some of the signs seemed a little strange. For instance: one sign looked like a frat house prank; “Parsley,” another was; “Lynch” and I thought that if he carried that one around long enough, someone would surely take him up on it.

Standing in the one of many gateways to the greatest city on earth was this fellow wearing a Kansas City Royals baseball cap, and looked very out of place with all the Yankee and Met caps floating by. Who would want to root for a team that hasn’t won anything in many years, and when they did play in a World Series, against the St. Louis Cardinals, had to pay to get into the park in St. Louis!

But my favorite sign was one held by a chubby little lady, in jeans so tight that she looked like she painted them on that stated: “Karen’s Mum.” If I were Karen’s friend, I’d hail a taxi.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

FROM: HO-HO-HO TO BOOOO!

Yesterday was a strange kind of day, a day that shocked and saddened me, but took #2 Son to get me out of.

I had promised TLW (The Little Woman) that I, the man of the house, the defender of the family, Mr. Tough Guy from Brooklyn would make Holiday cookies this year, along with our favorite holiday bread. Now I said, “Holiday” so as not to offend my Jewish brothers, (I don’t have any Muslim brothers), and in case they came to the house, I could offer them some of the cookies.

As I was baking, wondering what the hell I got myself into, I thought I heard the front door open and slam shut, and someone bounding up the stairs, using both flights of steps. Thinking that #2 Son had come home early from a doctor’s appointment, I decided to ask him what he was doing home so early!

I called him, decided he didn’t hear me, and climbed the steps. I walked toward his room, and knocked on his door, pushed it open and peeked in, only to find the room empty! I started to search the other rooms, and the toilet, but nothing! Only the silence and quiet of an empty upstairs house greeted me. My dog is totally deaf, so she could not possible hear it too and respond like she used to. Is my house haunted? Am I in need of help? Will Harry and Cynthia ever reconcile, stay tuned for more on Days of Our Lives. I know I distinctly heard what I said I heard, I don’t think I’m nuts, and yes, people will argue that, but I heard something very real.

The Mailman came later with nothing but bad news. There were two cards from friends and my tax bill. Being how I am a glutton for punishment, I opened my tax bill first, and you will never believe this, but there was a tax increase to further fuel the incompetence of the idiots that are running the Town, and keeping the schools in fine furs and luxury cars with vacations galore and good times for all school administrators.

Then there was a card from friend that moved away many years ago, sending me Holiday greetings, so that meant I had to send him one back!

Finally there was the card from my mentor, my old pal, and the man that got me started in my first job as an artist, Jack. I have been thinking about him for the past two weeks or so, wondering how he and his wife Helen were. He signed his card “Jack” not “Jack and Helen” like usual. His note just said that Helen wasn’t there to remind him when he did silly things. Helen, the perfect person to marry Jack has died, probably right after the Holidays this year!

Now as I was pulling cookies out of the oven, they were finding their way straight into #2 Son’s mouth, and on top of that, he doesn’t know how it was happening! This is the same person who asked me two days ago: “Why are you decorating? ”When I was sweeping he inquired: “Why are you sweeping?” This boy is the future of my good name, the future of America! But to atone for those questions, designed to get me mad, to push my buttons, to drag on me, he asks me political questions that are: designed to get me mad, to push my buttons, to drag on me.

If you are newly married, and are contemplating having children, I strongly recommend that you rent this kid for a few years, just for the practice. I could be persuaded to throw in a large flat screen TV, either LCD or Plasma, whatever you like.

Monday, December 18, 2006

MY 88 YEAR OLD MAMMA

I’m 61 years old and feel like a kid! That’s because of my 88 year old Mamma. It seems she is indeed a very active “young” lady, with lots of chestnuts in the fire. For instance, she volunteers for a local hospital. Her job wheeling out discharged patients, who as they are leaving complain to her that when she gets to be their age, she will have all these ailments too. She will ask how old they are, they tell her, (Some a good twenty years younger) and she tells them, “What are you complaining about, you should be wheeling me!”

Now I know for a fact based on experience, that the doctors at this hospital are a little concerned about Mom, in that she is taking away their business, and giving suggestions for recovery. “Oh you’ll be just fine, take two aspirins and get busy.” When I was growing up, and I was throwing up, bleeding, limping with headaches, upset stomachs (sometimes all at once!) she would say: “Oh, you’ll be just fine, take two aspirins and go to school.”

The latest news is that being she is a widow for over 15 years, she now has a boy friend. (Did I say “boyfriend”?) In reality she has a gentleman friend, a very nice man who I happen to like a lot, hope they continue to be friends. Being her son, aside from the dangers it posed as I was growing up from her swift retaliation for any wrong doings, it is a little disconcerting at first they hear that “Mom has a boyfriend!” After I met him for the first time, she seems a little more giddy, girlish, kind of “Mind your own business, you are not too old for me to smack around it this gets out of hand by you.”

This gentleman is about 86 or 87, with a nice pleasing manner and good looking, who treats her with the respect she deserves. He pulls out the chair for her, helps her with her coat, etc., all the things a gentleman does.

Did I say about 86 or 87?

Hey Ma, are you robbing the cradle here or what?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

THE PARTY IS OVER, TIME TOO CALL IT A DAY!

Well my report on the party is not very exciting. Happily I can say that no one was hurt, the food and wine was good and the parking bad. How bad did you ask? So bad I drove around so much that I wind up parking in MY driveway, taking the railroad and two buses and walking three blocks. Well maybe not that far but it was bad.

Today I got the news from TLW (The Little Woman) that I had to decorate the house for Christmas, or Kwanza, or Channukka or whatever the Asians are calling it. It seems I’ve become very “Creative when it comes to those kinds of things”, in other words, you do it this year by yourself.

I’m a lonely man right now, as I contemplate going into the garage, and pulling down heavy boxes of decorations to distribute around the house, with a few art critics coming by this evening (TLW and #2 Son) to assess my handiwork and make suggestions, file complaints, and generally speaking: making me nuts.

Thinking about the job of decorating, I would like to do something different this year, and what that is is to leave all the decorations in the boxes on the front porch. As someone comes into the house, they reach in, grab a decoration and decide what they would do with it to decorate the place. Kind of a family and community affair in decorating, and when the season is over, as they leave the house, take down what they grabbed and drop it in the box on the way out.

I’m a genius AND creative!

Friday, December 15, 2006

IT’S PARTY TIME!

Yes, that special day of the year when we get to party for Santa and/or Jesus or for Channukka/Chanuka or however way it is spelled. We are also celebrating Kwanza and we should really find the equivalent for our Asian brethrens too. Of course Mr. Costanza has Festivus for the rest of us. I just shined and decorated my aluminum pole for the holiday.

Today I attend an office party that I was invited to by my last company that I worked for. Even though I retired, the “Old Man” wants to see me on occasion for some work if I would. It is nice to be needed. Of course this means I have to shave today, and wear a tie.

Actually, I have been hoping to attend, since every year that I do, I totally enjoy myself, partaking in the great Italian traditions of culinary excellence at this time of year. Although the Old Man is not Italian, he insists on these kinds of parties. A wise man once said: “Let’s have Italian today.”

There will of course be people that I truly love to see, people that I respect, and some that I don’t but they don’t know it. Why make them feel bad when I can be a phony.

There is one party in my past that I will never forget. I was working in New York City for an ad agency, and there was booze galore, and some women who thought that it would be OK to let it all hang out. Well they started on me, and being married with two small children, I decided I better get the hell out of there before it got bad. Although nothing happened, I felt guilty the whole ride home on the train. When I got home TLW (The Little Woman) was making dinner, and #1 Son was on the floor near the tree, playing with his Spiderman action figure and I just sat down and said to myself, “Boy, what a wuss I am, but it’s worth the wussiness.

Tomorrow, all the sordid details will come to light, Are there any affairs that are going on, will there be any scandals brewing, or will it be just another party, is anyone about to be canned? And most importantly, do you really care

Thursday, December 14, 2006

SUPERMARKETS WHAT ARE THEY GOOD FOR ANYWAY?

There is very little in life that scares me more than supermarkets. It seems that they are a foreign land that was built up to confuse me and leave me to die all by myself in the deli section. Supermarkets are inhabited mostly by older people who take their time (although at that age you would think otherwise,) and housewives that shop and are in a real hurry to get it over with, storming down each aisle, maneuvering their carts with the precision of a racecar driver.

I on the other hand: am a patient man, filled with good cheer as I saunter down each aisle, looking for things that are not where they should be, useless items that are well stocked, looking at a brand that is very close to what I want, but not quite, negotiating the aisles with great strains as I come to a screeching halt as some old lady has her cart parked square in the middle of the aisle so I or anyone else can’t get through. Of course to say: “Excuse me?” would invite an ugly look or complete annoyance, or maybe they will play their old age card and pretend they are deaf.

Today as I paraded down the aisle looking for basil, there was this little boy in the children’s seat sitting there screaming. His Mother was busy squeezing tomatoes a few feet ahead of him and not paying attention. So I pushed the little critter down the aisle to get him a little away from my area, to save what eardrums I still have left. As I pushed him, he quieted down, and then I stuck my tongue out at him and ran to my cart to check out-fast! The kid starting to scream at a fever pitch, and I wasn’t looking back. But some cranky old lady says to me at the checkout counter: “I wish people would teach their children to behave a little better.” When she said that, I thought of my Mother and wanted to tell the old goat that it was my Mother’s fault in the end that that kid was now screaming.

Look, I need some entertainment once in a while.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

HEY, WHERE’S MY CAKE?

There’s a fellow I wish you could all meet. His name is David, a blind and physically challenged gentleman who lives in a home for people who suffer mental disabilities. He is a card, a gem unto himself, and a sit down standup comic, who operates and entertains from his wheelchair!

David may not be the prettiest person you will meet, except if we are both in the same room together, but he is the most loveable and endearing. One Christmas we invited David and all his house mates to our home for Christmas Dinner, and when his van arrived, I helped to escort David off the van and into my home. Accompanying David was a stuffed toy dog, about the size of a miniature collie. David has a very gruff sounding voice, but is not gruff, but a large thin man that loves to physically hug people, especially the ladies. I asked David what the dog’s name was, and telling me while placing the dog on the floor told me that it “Shit all over the van,” on the way over. David’s language is very salty, and I love it as the assistants squirm when he uses it. “David, we don’t use that kind of language in Mr. Del Bloggolo’s home” the aide would respond in disbelief.

Imagination is one of David’s strong suits. He will make up the most incredible stories, like how he took the subway to a nightclub and drank champagne all night.

Every October, TLW (The Little Woman) would make David a cake for his birthday, we would go over to his residence and surrounded by his housemates sing: “Happy Birthday” as we all warbled out the notes as bet we could. After the singing, we would cut the cake have ice cream and TLW would get a big squeeze from David, then tears would come to his eyes.

On Sunday evenings, when we would visit his home, he would be either doing “Paper work” or typing. Of course he wouldn’t be doing any work, but would have big basket of old memos that the staff would supply him with, he would stamp, scribble on and staple the papers, and toss them into a box, and pick up more and do the same. I’d ask him: “What are you doing David?” and he would say “Paperwork.” “I got a lot of paperwork to do!” Unfortunately, even those of us who suffer the most, can’t get away from both the stupidity of the government, or being “Politically correct.” It seems one day David had his typewriter out and was typing away without a ribbon. Being blind like he is, he didn’t mind, but there happened to be a state audit going on for this facility that David lives in, they saw him typing and demanded that the typewriter be taken away because it was inappropriate without the ribbon and was not meaningful!

Whenever we visit his house, he asks us where his birthday cake is. What is amazing about David is he can tell you the colors of his different shirts by the feel. Once he gets a shirt, the staff person assisting David would tell him the color, and he would remember it by feeling the sleeves. Next time they gave him the shirt to put on, they would ask: “What color is your shirt David?” and he would answer correctly.

Today David still resides in the same home, still does his paper work, TLW bought him a bell that he rings when his segments of paperwork are done, he even has his own little “office” spot in the large rec room where he lives.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

THE MIRACLE OF THE LIGHTS

Yesterday, while suffering from some stomach malady, I decided to put up the old Christmas tree. So I went out into the woods, wearing my high boots and plaid shirt, looked around, realized I didn’t have a saw or the inclination, and went back home into the garage and pulled down the tree we bought with the lights already on it.

Once I put the stand together, stuck in the correct sections (three), I of course took a rest. TLW (The Little Woman) was home from work and immediately if not sooner inspected my craftsmanship and mechanical abilities. Needless to say none were present and she decided to fool with the lights. It seems some of the lights weren’t blinking, and last year when we had the same problem, I suggested that when she looked at the tree that she blink her eyes instead.

I think this is a very prudent and wise solution if you study the problem first hand. The tree lights go in every direction, with multi cords and plugs, all have to be set in such a way for the tree to light. Besides, did you ever see a tree with light emenating from it, without it being on fire? I go for realism whenever possible

TLW on the other hand believes that you must obey the rules (except for stop signs) that come from her Catholic School background. She is more honest than Honest Abe Lincoln, holier than Benedict the Pope, and I can’t even slip a cycleable into the garbage without her making me put it into the cycleable bin.

I am almost ready for Christmas, just a few details to iron out, like writing cards and wrapping a few presents, making some stuffed shrimp for Christmas Eve dinner for my Sisters and Mother, Of course, I have to make cookies for TLW for her office, (this should send them all to Weight Watchers) in a hurry.

Going to Weight Watchers would scare me; it must be something like an AA meeting, not that I’ve ever been to one.
“Hi, my name is Joe Del Bloggolo, and I ate the chocolate donuts TLW is looking for!”
Then I would start to sob, knowing there were no more left.

I overcame my stomach problem late that afternoon, and feeling so good, while TLW went off to Weight
Watchers proceeded to make a spicy chicken dish with homemade pasta. I will be grilled on how much olive oil I used, (1 Tablespoon for the chicken.)

Today I will do the Christmas Cards and send them out, and I fully intend to not include what we did as a family this year, I even hate that. That from someone who writes a blog everyday!

As for the tree lights, IT AIN”T OVER YET!

Monday, December 11, 2006

OY VET, IT’S CHRISTMAS TIME!

Yes, that magical time of the year, Christmas is quickly approaching, and I haven’t started to shop or decorate yet. First off is not to decorate my lawn or outside of the house. Nothing worst than putting plastic figures on my lawn to remind me of the plastic figures I’ll generate with a credit card this season. Whew, that takes a lot of work away right there.

Now for the shopping part, I usually only get only for TLW (The Little Woman.) This makes it a lot easier, and so I have more time on my hands. I usually plan out how I will shop: deciding how much to spend, what to get, where it is and how to find it in the store. Bang, Bang, Bang, and I’ll be done!

Next order of business will be decorating the inside of the house, which means the tree and a few odd spots so no one in the house (TLW) can call me Scrooge.

Being how my master plan is so well thought out, I can relax; in fact maybe I can take a nap today and do all this sometime in the near future. Gosh, I have enough time to go to the movies, maybe have a nice lunch and a nap.

I’ll tell you, this Christmas stuff is a snap!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

WHEN IS IT TIME TO DIE?

Yesterday I visited a dear old friend, one whom I’ve known for over 25 years. She is a simple person, one of decency and good will, one who spread cheer and whatever she owns is yours for the asking. Over the last 5 years or so, she would call me or I would call her, and we would chat about nothing at all, and everything there is to talk about. Over those five years, I noticed that her conversations became more repetitive with each chat, and I began to worry. She would ask me the same question over and over again, sometimes in the span of five minutes. Many a time she would call me to come to her home to fix her computer, to set it up or get it to work again, and again she would ask the same questions.

This lovely lady was the secretary to a boss of mine, a gentleman in his own right, who deserved such a secretary. She was loyal to her boss and to anyone who befriended her. When I first joined the company, she came to me with a map of the company floor plan and helped me immeasurably to acquaint myself with the physical and mental parts of my job. She is a good friend, kind and generous.

If you were her friend you commented on her homemade cheesecake, or her Irish soda bread. She took great pride in her pesto sauce, and loved to show it all off, and rightfully so. When I was having special guests over for dinner one weekend, I asked her to make me a cheesecake. She made one for me that was perfect in every way, a crust that was uniformly perfect, creamy cheese filling, and strawberries that stood atop of the cake, every square inch of it, in a soldier like perfection!

She was also a seamstress, apparently so well thought of that she taught sewing to people at BOCES teaching: how to make women’s suits and jackets, dresses etc. She was an artist. She took great pride in her appearance, wearing beautiful blouses, with fine colors, mostly peach or pink, and her hair was always perfect.

Every year she would organize the luncheon for the ten million dollar winner, arranging the silverware and china, with crystal glasses, set up in the conference room, and neatly pile the most wonderful sandwiches, which were catered, onto a rolling tray in the company kitchen, which was adjacent to the cafeteria. They would close all the lights in the cafeteria where the whole company would be watching the presentation that was made to the winner, and while that was going on, I would slip into the kitchen, and “Liberate” a sandwich for lunch! After a while, she started to order extra food so I could bring some home to the family.

I hadn’t heard from her for a while, tried to phone her, and feared the worst, then last year about this time, I received a Christmas card from her daughter informing me that the reason I haven’t heard from her was because she had fallen ill, was incapacitated on her floor for a few days, that a friend of hers had found her in that state and she now resides in a nursing home. She now suffers from dementia, and so I am now visiting someone else.

It saddens me to write about her plight, but it would sadden me even more if I didn’t acknowledge it and her, and celebrate our friendship. She is indeed a shell of her former self, but she does me a great honor, she remembers me, she remembers my shenanigans and my tricks, she even remembers the handmade birthday cards I would make for her, and the great laughs we shared as friends!

I often see people like her, some suffer from retardation, some from dementia, some from physical disabilities, and I want to reach inside their hearts and minds and tell them: “Don’t despair, I want to help you with your burden, maybe we can laugh along the way.”

The Bible tells us that there is a time to laugh, and a time to cry, today I feel like crying.

Friday, December 08, 2006

I NEED A LIFE!

I am a creature of habit. I admit that because TLW (The Little Woman) says so. It seems that our TV, the 61” PROSCAN died recently, or should I say “again,” and we went out and bought a new TV. While we wait for it to be delivered, we took an old TV of ours that #1 Son left behind when he moved out. It too died on us, but the new TV comes tonight.

Yesterday I made my usual cup of tea at 2:30 in the afternoon, sat in my favorite chair in front of the TV, and there was no TV! I looked again, no TV, I turned away and looked back, still no TV. What do I do with a perfect afternoon of overcast, cool weather, a hot cup of tea and no TV? Gee, I even shut the lights off, wearing one of my many plaid shirts to complete both my look and mood.

It is sad that I can’t come up with something to do. I won’t read my book, I only do that in bed to help me fall asleep, (well not only that) after reading a paragraph 5 times, I shut the book and go to sleep. I can’t draw; I only do artwork when I feel it, play my piano, no, it is not 7pm yet. Write the Blog? Yes! So this blog is writing itself as I sit and watch, sipping my tea.

I am becoming such a wuss now that I’m retired. Tea and TV, my goodness. You know a lot of my diction has changed over the years, as I try to eliminate some of my Brooklyn accent. Not all of it, my sisters still need to understand me. An Italian kid from Brooklyn never drinks tea, coffee; wine maybe, even beer, but never tea. Saying: “My goodness” is another thing a kid from Brooklyn would never say, but there I go saying it!

I have the felling that the reason for the changes is due to wedded bliss, domestication by TLW who is very subtle in her persuasive ways. Somehow she is turning me into a bonafide wuss, with all the diction and tea I can drink!

GOODNESS GRACIOUS ME!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

GOD HELP ME!

Every time I try to do TLW (The Little Woman) a favor, something happens to me. Once on a Friday night after work, I decided to do TLW the favor of picking up her favorite dinner and saving her the trip of going out to get it. (I’m really a sweetheart!) I picked up the pizza, drove home and carried it to the front door of the house when I spilt everything! Just like me, a dumb ass.

Yesterday I decided to do one more for TLW and pick up a table we ordered that she was going to get herself. I thought about it and figured it might be too big and heavy for her to do, and have enough time on her lunch hour to do it, so I would do it.

I get to the store (BEST BUY) and go to the first salesman I can trick into helping me. He never suspected I needed help as I let him pass me first, and then sprung on him. I told him I was there to pick up a TV table for the new TV we bought from them the week before. He saw his opening and directed me to another area of the store for pickups. I go and this very attractive young lady behind the counter who must have been bored out of her mind asked me if she could help me. I explained the story again and she asked for papers, like it was Nazi Germany all over again. She took my papers (The sales slips) and proceeded to look confused. She stated that there was no mention on the papers of the table I was picking up. She took my phone number and entered it into her computer (I hope she doesn’t get any ideas, I’m a happily married man) (But if she does I can’t blame her) and said she saw where we did indeed purchase it. Calling the stock room in the back of this mammoth store of electronics, people and noise, she states that there is no one in the back to bring the order out! After some more mezzmerization of the sales receipt, she directs me to still another area of the store.

Off I trudge to the new area of confusion and a new sales gal, who happens to have a long pin stuck through two sections of her ear! Once again I present my case to the young lady and she takes my phone number (I’m getting a little suspicious) and yes, lo and behold (What the hell does that really mean?) she has a record. She starts to type and print out forms, forms for everyone, forms for no one, forms just in case and forms for the hell of it. She asks me to give her a moment, as she will get the table in the back. I don’t know, maybe I was longing for her, maybe I just missed seeing her, but ½ hour is an awful long moment to wait. I am nodding off, people who actually work there are starting to ask me if they can help me, Finally she appears and with a sheepish grin tells me that there was no one in the back that could help her for a while, but if I go to the front of the store, my table will be waiting for me. She gives me some of her forms and off I go. There at the entrance of the store stands the fellow who will keep all customers honest. He looks at my papers, and ask me if I have “any family in Shermany” I explain that he doesn’t have to get excited that the young lady gave me these papers that would expedite the release of my table, without causing an international incident. He states that the papers are not in order! He asks who gave me these papers, (I start to feel that maybe I will be sent to a concentration camp or worst still, made to order something else!)

The Chief of Gestapo calls the young lady to appear in his jurisdiction immediately, if not sooner, She appears and he points out her mistakes. (Der Fuehrer vill not be hoppy!) Back she goes to the Russian front to redo the papers. While she is gone a changing of the guard occurs, and a new request for the proper papers is made. Again I explain the situation, punctured ear lobe reappears and gives him the papers, he is pleased, with enough papers to make everyone including training a puppy, happy.

All this took me over an hour, just to pick up a table that was promised us!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

WHOA, BABY

Yesterday I went to visit two very old friends. One lives in the mid sixty’s on the west side of Manhattan, and one like me, traveled there for the visit. We ate lunch at a very nice sushi restaurant and had a great time chatting about who is doing what, who is still a bastard, and who is retired or not.

Ronne, the lady of this prestigious group of has-beens, is now doing recipe breakdowns for the Weight Watchers web site, where she takes a favorite recipe and converts it to a Weight Watcher recipe with all the calorie and point counting to ruin any holiday plans I may have and put instant guilt upon my soul if I should use it. She complains it doesn’t pay much, but it makes her happy. This is a lady that wrote for Publishers Clearing House for the big Sweepstakes money that is given away. Bill, with a similar background at Publishers, is now working nights at the IRS. Neither one of them has lost their spirit or humor, as we rollicked all over the table and wondered when the owner would throw us out. He never did.

The mid-sixty’s is great place to live and eat or shop. There are very interesting sights to see and places to go to. In the area are the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Columbus Circle and the studios for ABC Television. As we ate lunch, we were sitting next to the window adjacent to the street when who walked by but Sam Champion, the news guy for the local weather, on ABC, carrying a leather brief case and smiling with his wavy blond hair! If that is not enough, as I was climbing the steps to 66th Street, who was standing there with a film crew behind her but Kelly Ripa, the maniacal sidekick and co-host to Regis Philbin on his daily show!

Perhaps the highlight of the day was something I hope never happens to me again! I board the elevator to go up to Ronne’s apartment on the 9th floor of this very beautiful apartment building, when the doors open up and as I step in, there before me is a baby in a carriage, all alone, crying for Momma! The doors close behind me, and I begin to panic thinking someone is going to accuse me of kidnapping this kid, while all along trying my best to sooth the child and ask it not to cry! I decide I’ll go up to Ronne’s apartment and have her call the superintendent to call the police. When I get to the 9th floor, there is the mother of the child along with a maid, looking frantic and scared. They see me and the baby and I say: “This your kid?” the maid answered in the affirmative and I turn over the kid and carriage, with Ronne at her door, now starting to laugh hysterically at me. It seems the maid put the carriage with the child in it on the elevator first and turned to get something, I pushed the button downstairs and the doors closed on her before she could step in with the mother.

I’m staying home today.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

NOT SO FAST, PLASMA

Sunday morning I asked TLW (The Little Woman) to go on the Internet and look up plasma TVs and compare them to LCDs. We were in for a shock!!

It turns out that although Plasma TV has a better picture in the beginning, it starts to develop complications after about 3 months in some cases. The two biggest drawbacks are the picture ghost image that burns into the screen and the life span, which is about half that of an LCD!

I’m not paying a whole lot of money for drawbacks like that to happen. We also found out that being that all this technology is fairly new, especially on sets at 44” to 65” in screen size, the extended warranty is a very good idea.

So off to Best Buy we went and made the change, a seamless easy transaction if you have a delivery date like we do. One gal tried to sell us on the idea that we shouldn’t change because of the picture quality, but she referred us to another gal who was right on the ball. So come Friday, a new TV, meanwhile our substitute lost its sound and on/off switch, so we throw out two TVs in one day! #1 Son will be very happy since he rides TLW and me about how many TVs we have in the house. I think now we have more computers than TVs!

What I would like to see is more than one refrigerator.

Today I’ll be in New York City having sushi with some old pals of mine from Publishers Clearing House, both writers, the lovely Ronne Freedman and the amiable Bill Worthman, both partners in my freelance days of yesteryear. Both Ronne and Bill are very talented writers that could convince you to buy ice in Antarctica.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

MOST DANGEROUS MISSION

About a week ago TLW (The Little Woman) informed me that we had to paint #2 Son’s room. Of course I was frightened at the prospects but knew it must be done, and that someone had to do it.

My first inclination was to look for a paid volunteer, but even for money, no one would put his wellbeing on the line.

I went to the town for the necessary permits and to the Health Department for the necessary shots. A man has to do what a man has to do.

I told TLW I was going in. There was a tremor in her voice and a tremble in her lips as she tied a long rope around my waist and I kissed her goodbye for what I thought would be the last time. I told her if she didn’t hear from me every half hour to call 911 or the fire department to come and get me if it wasn’t too late.

Slowly I stepped over the threshold, measuring each step as I went, waiting, anticipating some horror to rear out at me and perhaps to swallow me whole. Slowly, step-by-step by step I threaded through the jungle of uncertainty and disconcertment that greeted me. Feeling my pulse quicken with each step I took, unable to sustain another breath.

Suddenly I came upon a pile of living breathing clothes, socks that were multiplying before my very eyes, pants that danced around me and shirts that laughed and defied me to take action!

Upon the walls were diagrams and cave like drawings, slogans and satanic verses that defied reason for any mortal to comprehend. I was at the abyss, the darkened hell of a teenage sons room: I was scared.

Slowly I pulled out my drop cloth, fumbling for my stirring stick, taking solace in my 5” wide brushes, I was going to overcome my fear, I was going to beat back the monster, I would come out of it alive!

A prayer was forming on my lips, as my courage came back to me. I had been here before, I was not afraid, having faced these very demons once before. I was facing the legacy of a ghosts past, #1 Son!

Well we painted, and I got out alive, and let me tell you that after 4 days of prep, painting and cleanup, maybe next time I’ll take the demons.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

HO HO HOOOOO!

Last evening Santa came to town! He came in the form of an Italian guy from Brooklyn who visited the Association for the Help of Retarded Children’s annual Holiday dance. He does this every year, and every year he feels like a king, a hero, and loved by all, but mostly he feels like Santa Clause.

When Santa first enters the dance hall a murmur starts to roll throughout the crowd, people stop what they are doing and yell: “There’s Santa!” They come running over and immediately embrace Santa, one gave such a crushing hug that Santa’s glasses almost broke on his face. “Hi Santa”, “Hey Santa”, “I love you Santa”, some kiss him on the cheek, some hold his hand, bringing girlfriends and boyfriends and caretakers to get their picture taken.

The suit he wears becomes so hot his eyeglasses fog up, his body takes a beating from the hugs and squeezes of 6’5” men weighting about 315 lbs, kisses and arm tugs from women 4’5” and weighting about 75 lbs, some can walk, some can’t, so can dance some just sway to the music.

A troop of Boy Scouts come and distribute sandwiches to the party goers, Santa gives out candy canes, as he gets his picture taken more than 400 times. In those 400 times he hears many stories, many requests, some for themselves and some for others.

One little woman whispered in Santa's ear that she wanted a chance for her Mother who is very sick, and can’t get out of bed anymore to walk again. She asked Santa if He could do that, He can’t, couldn’t promise, and said that we would all hope and pray for her Mother.

One lady said: “Hi Santa, what’s your real name?”
Santa: “Why Santa of course!”
Lady; “No, what’s your real name.”
Santa: “Jolly Old St. Nick, and you better be a good girl or else.”
Lady: “Okay.”

There are a lot of volunteers that show up that night, giving freely of their time to these dances that are scheduled every month. All of them want their picture taken with Santa. One as old as 80 years old! There are a few little cuties in their 20’s that work at the various homes that come over and get their picture taken on Santa’s lap.

Boy, that Santa, what a guy!