DelBloggolo

Saturday, January 31, 2009

FLIGHT 1549


I was sitting home alone, just about ready to have a cup of tea. I decided to put the TV on as I sipped, and just relax from being retired.

Putting on my new favorite channel MLB, on 149, I grabbed the remote to make the change. Suddenly, there was “A SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN” graphic. I stopped in my tracks and I waited.

The news commentator reported that a plane had gone down in the Hudson River! “Wow!” I thought. “I hope people are OK” was my second thought. Then there were live pictures of the plane crash and a small box describing the flight it was. It was from La Guardia to Charlotte, NC. I immediately thought of my baby sister, the airline stewardess. She was always flying around, often landing in Charlotte, NC!

I dial her cell phone and she answers!

“I’m fine Joe, I’m at my apartment.”

We talk and I tell her to stay out of the water, and to go back to using her broom to fly.

As the report continues, they finally identify the pilot, a real hero in my book.

His name: Chelsey B. Sullenberger III

In all due respect, if I had a name like ‘Chelsey”, I’d find something to do to make me a hero, too! Hell, I can’t do a damned thing with “Joseph’!

Please remember DD and all those who need our prayers. And let’s be thankful for all 150 some odd people from flight 1549, for their lives, and for US Airways pilot Chelsey B. Sullenberger III’s heroics.

Friday, January 30, 2009

FOOTPRINTS IN THE SNOW

It was 28 years ago today. I stood in the same place, about the same time of the day. The only difference was the day was sunny, while today it rained, an icy rain. As I stood there, I could picture the black end doors of the Hurst, as it led me to his final resting place. The cold and the icy, snowy ground froze my mind, as I realized that a child laid in that Hurst, my child.

It seemed that everything at the graveside was a blur, and in slow motion. Like a movie, wishing to prevent the finality of it all. The desperate cry for help that could never come in time. The open grave, a receptacle for someone I love, gaped, laughing in my face, mocking me. I could not feel, cry or think. I looked for my wife, his mother for comfort, but it was too hard while trying to comfort her.

Today, as I looked around the cemetery grounds, the place was empty, void of human living life! I guess the weather made it too uncomfortable to visit. I can’t say I blame anyone. I wondered what I was doing there. It seemed so late for anything! I wondered if my son knew I was standing over his grave. I sometimes wonder if visiting a gravesite is any good. But today it was, it gave me comfort to be there with him, in a small way.

A continuous cover of slush, icy snow, and sleet peppered the grounds into a smooth even sheen, unbroken everywhere I looked. The glass like surface was perfect and unbroken. As I looked toward the roadside, I noticed the broken surface that led to my feet, the same steps I took that sad day. It was 28 years ago today. I stood in the same place, about the same time of the day.

I feel good! I feel I did something for one of my children. Whenever I do something for one of my children, I feel good. What did I do that was so wonderful? I remembered him. Better yet, I put myself out for him.

Please remember DD, and all those that need our prayers.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

OK, WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?

The other night TLW (The Little Woman) brought home some flowers. She pretended it was no big deal. I pretended I didn’t notice.

Her: “Hi”
Me: “Hi”
Her, Me: Kiss (XXX) for you computer speakers, or AOLers.
Looking at the mail, she puts down the flowers.

I know I’m now in my 60’s, but my memory is still in tact, somewhat. I think: “Did I send those to her? Huumm, NO, I didn’t!”

Me; “What you got there?”
Her: “Huh?”
Me: “The flowers, where did you get the flowers?”
Her: “Oh! These? From a member.” (Members are customers at her wanna-be bank. I’m a member.)

“Ok” I think to myself. “Is he wearing pants?”

Me: “Is he wearing pants?” (I think alike)
Her: “Oh, no, some woman brought these to me because I helped her with something.”

This whole blog could have been unnecessary if she had said that in the first place!

It seems members ask for her specifically! I guess she has built up a small following! She has brought home things like bath oils or bubble bath salts, and at Christmas she makes a killing with her little students from religious class and her members!

My message to those that bring her stuff: Don’t bring flowers. Bring chocolates, she hates chocolates, and I have to eat them! She really hates the ones with the cherries inside.

Please remember DD, and all those who need our prayers.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

EIGHT, AND COUNTING!

Did you happen to hear about the couple in California that had eight (8) babies on one try? It is true! Eight infants to cloth and feed and shelter, all at once!

The babies weighed between one and a half pounds to three and a half pounds. The next couple of days will be critical. I would think life will be critical for Momma!

My guess is that the baby industry will be donating to the ‘happy’ couple. Everyone is going to be in on the act. And what an act! I bet the first words Momma said to the Poppa when she saw him after the delivery was: “DON’T COME NEAR ME! GO AWAY, FAR AWAY!”

Reminds me of a program that existed in the 70’s called: ‘Eight Is Enough!’ They should name this show: ‘Enough, Already!’

Now here is the kicker: the mother is going to breast fed them all! Kind of gives a new meaning to the words: ‘Take Out’.

Which reminds me; do you think that maybe some of those kids were left in from an earlier time, and they just came out? I mean, eight all in one shot? What the heck was he drinking, Miracle Grow?

Please remember DD, and all those that need our prayers.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

WE’RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION, PEOPLE!

For all you people out there, the ones with the Christmas decorations still up on your homes; THE HOLIDAYS ARE OVER, GET OVER IT!

Which reminds me, about 18 days until pitchers and catchers report for spring training! Yes, it’s that magical time of the year when TLW (The Little Woman) says “goodbye” to me until the day after the Superbowl.

A few years ago, TLW, #’s 1 and 2 sons and me went to visit Boston. One of the things we did was visit Fenway Park, the home of the Anti-Yankees, or Boston Red Sox. Being a Met fan makes me an automatic Red Sox fan, and I do have a special place in my heart for them. With there old ball park and rabid fans, they remind me of my beloved Brooklyn Dodgers, down to the ‘B’ on their caps! My hatred for the Yankees dating way back to the early 50’s makes me a Red Sox fan. However, it is all jealousy, which includes envy, when I hate the Yankees. They are the consistently better team, beating my Dodgers and even my Mets!

Yesterday we went to the Riverview restaurant for that holiday party from TLW’s wanna-be bank, I mentioned yesterday. Attending the Teacher’s Federal Credit Union shindig was Toots II, TLW’s look alike, my new buddies Pat and her husband Bill, and the boss of TFCU’s Bohemia branch, Theresa and about a dozen co-workers. The food was great, situated on the mouth of the Connetquot River overlooking the Great South Bay in Oakdale. A beautiful place, and if you are in the neighborhood, you should try it.

In the coming days, I will be re-calling some of my proud and not so proud experiences in restaurant dining. I hope you enjoy them.

Please keep DD and all those who need our prayers in mind.

Monday, January 26, 2009

DOWN BY THE RIVERSIDE

It was the annual holiday party for the Wanna-be bank, which employs TLW (The Little Woman). This year they decided to invite the spouses for the first time ever! Being how TLW’s boss was there, I had to behave myself and be nice. Sucking it up, I went.

On our way to the restaurant, I saw a sign that said: “The Snapper Inn”. It is a restaurant I used to bribe TLW into marrying me with. After we married, I would go on occasion for a birthday or anniversary, or for dinner. Being it was always popular, there was a first come, first served basis. Being how I felt I shouldn’t wait, I thought out this plan.

Maitre’d: “Good evening, how many, sir?”
Me: “Two”
Maitre’ d; Very good, sir, there is a 30 to 45 minutes wait. Name?”
Me: (Here is where my plan kicks in) Dr. Dogas, MD. I figure a doctor wouldn’t wait.
Maitre’ d: “Why don’t you go out on the lawn and have a drink while you wait?”

After and hour or more…

Maitre’ d: “Dr. Dogas, table of two, Dr. Dogas, table of two!”

A few moments later, “Dr. Dogas, table of two, Dr. Dogas, table of two!”

A few moments later: “Dr. Dogas, table of two, Dr. Dogas, table of two! Last call, Dr. Dogas, table of two!”

Meanwhile, I’m sitting, having my third scotch and soda, wondering why they haven’t called MY name yet!

Please remember DD, and all those who need our prayers.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

IS THIS WINTER OR WHAT?

This morning, TLW (The Little Woman) and me were in my car heading to a diner for breakfast. (Should it be called a breakfaster for breakfast and a luncheoner for lunch?)
She commented that this winter seems very depressing, and colder than others. I commented that “yes” it seems that way with the constant grayness of the days, and coupled with the cold. But then I realized that it is always that way at this time of year.

This is the time of year where we fight for the blankets. TLW has developed a spin motion that allows her to reel in the blanket while I spin out of bed. The other night she pulled a fast one! She gently (I should have known) awakened me to tell me the dog needed to go out. I got out of bed and went looking for the dog in my bedroom, and there lay my dog, fast asleep! I go back to the bed, but all I find is sheets! Under a huge pile of warmth lay TLW! I kept hearing in my brain a echoing of the word: “Sucker!”

I was literally left out in the cold! The sheets are cold when you expose them to night air for more than a minute. This was from the woman I promised to love, honor and cherish, until dead do us part. The way I figure it, she is trying to relieve me of that responsibility in a hurry!

I asked her how come she gets so mean in bed, and she stated that she always shared her bed with her older sister. That meant that you needed to be ready to fight for your rights! Unfortunately, I never got basic training like that. No, I was thrown into marriage without the proper set of tools to survive a feisty wife! If you don’t have the tool set to survive, you freeze to death, very simple, and very truthful.

Watching TLW all winter is like watching a cherry ripen, as her nose gets redder by each passing day, up until April 15th! Then it slowly returns to normal. Her feet are perpetually cold and I have asked the Geneva Convention and the UN Human Rights Commission to ban them as lethal weapons!

TLW has one strict rule that I abide by: “No one lives until she is warm!” This is posted in my bedroom, on the ceiling, over my side of the bed. It is also looped on a recording that she plays all night long for me.

Watching the calendar is no help, either. To TLW, there is no calendar! The comforter stays on the bed from August 15th to August 1st. That is correct. It takes that long for TLW to get comfortable. She senses when the days are starting to cool off, around August 15th. There is two weeks where she cleans the comforter, stitches it from the pitch battles she has waged, On August 1st to the 14th. Then back it goes for another 50 weeks.

Then there is the process of watching TV. Did I say watching? Under her blankets, on her chair lies a body. I know it is TLW, by the shiny red nose that pops up every now and then for air from the blankets! If I may quote TLW: “It’s cold!”

Please remember DD, and all those that need our prayers.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

ONGOING VIGILANCE!

My daughter Ellen has been suffering for months with cold like symptoms, which make her cough. A cat scan was done a while back, and the doctors discovered a small spot on the lower right lobe of her lung.

I went to the Center for Lung Cancer today at Stony Brook University Hospital after another cat scan.

Arriving at the parking lot, I could not find a parking space at first. This is a huge lot, with hundreds of spaces, all utilized. I became upset because I realized that most of these taken up spaces were for cancer patients! It made me angry that ˝God would let this happen. I noticed a lot of women walking from their cars, their heads down on a very pleasant winter day. No wind or cold temperatures, just sun and a comfortable temperature. I wondered how many were suffering from breast cancer, or lung cancer, or even brain cancer. My heart went out to them.

Meeting with the doctor filled me with foreboding, as I entered the building. Nervously, I approached the main desk in the lobby and announced myself. I asked where Ellen’s doctor would be, and waited. I must have shown my nervousness, since the gals behind the desk started to look concerned about me. I guess my voice was not very steady.

I went where they directed me and found the place. I took off my coat and waited. After about the third article in the New Yorker Magazine, whom do I see standing over me but my sweet daughter. She hadn’t seen me yet, so I jump up from my chair and we greeted each other. I got a long hard hug from that kid!

Soon they called my daughter’s name and in we went. When you first meet Ellen, you might think she understands enough to take orders. Ellen is very capable of giving orders, (and you darn better comply or else!) but she doesn’t understand many requests. I became her interpreter, ambassador, and bodyguard. We pretty much did as Ellen wanted, and the nurses and doctors just stepped aside until she decided to follow me!

The patient assistant sequestered us in this little examining room where Ellen could tell me she was happy to see me, no, she was NOT going to sit down, and let’s get the hell out of here, Daddy, or I will have to take matters in my own hands!

Finally, as a distraction, the doctor entered. Ellen eyed her, but was quiet as the doctor spoke.

We have good news! It is NOT cancer! The spot in her lung seems to be left over from pneumonia, and may have diminished in size. (Doctors like to use ‘diminish’). We will schedule another check-up in six months and do it all over again.

Dear God, I pray for the cure of cancer. Amen
Please remember DD, and all those that need our prayers.

Friday, January 23, 2009

THE BEST SELLER’S LIST

No, Not The NY Times, DelBloggolo!

I recently got e-mail from a niece of mine, Jean-Marie. (See Sunday, October 28, 2007) It wasn’t a very happy kind of email for me; because she wrote she got word that, her first child “Sammy” was officially tagged as Autistic! She was sounding from her words, resolved to do what she could for her child, that no matter what, Sammy would still be loved and cared for.

I know my niece and her family well enough that they will deal with this situation intelligently, and with a strong commitment to Sammy. I know the rest of the family will also, on both sides of Jean-Marie’s household.

Sammy is a sweet little guy, who I got to meet when I went up to Connecticut back in October of ’07. He and I sat on his kitchen floor, and he took out all his Match Box cars, and lined them up for me to play with. Sammy has the soul of a saint, the will of a tiger and the luck to have a wonderful, loving set of parents, and grandparents.

When I left that day for home, I couldn’t help but wonder what was wrong with Sammy. He seemed pleasant enough, and although quiet, he seemed to be sociable with me. But still the question nagged me. I spoke with TLW (The Little Woman), and she too, with her experience with children of special needs, sensed the same thing.

Now we know the truth, and it is unpleasant in the beginning, but sometimes these things can bear fruit. When Jean-Marie wrote to me, I suggested that life was not over, but just beginning! I know from my own experiences, that my daughter Ellen has given me an education in what “Human Triumph” really means. To witness and be a part of the joy of a human being conquering “handicaps” which can turn into strengths. You learn quickly that what matters is only what makes us happy, and those around us happy also. Pettiness has no place in this world, that all of us have inner goodness.

The biggest shame in life is the shame of assumption. It includes many things. One of the things it includes is that we all exist, but separately. We go through our lives and never look inside someone and appreciate them enough. We are all a great gift to each other, and when we die, it is too late. I think that we need to look inside someone when he or she is alive, and say: “Thank You!” for who you are. I know I’m sounding like Mr. Rodgers here, but it is true.

Dear Jean-Marie,
You will quickly learn that our Sammy will give you a treasure trove of memories. They start out innocently enough, and soon will have you; laughing, crying, scratching your head and pulling your hair out! They will be teaching you to deal with life in a more sober manner. You will share those moments first with Keith your husband, then with your family and friends. As your children grow, they will make you proud, not for their achievements in schools and organizations, but for their special skills. Those skills will grow out of love for their brother Sammy. They will grow to be more humane, tolerant and loving. I know I live it everyday with my sons.

So remember this: Life hasn’t cheated you, only Sammy. But Sammy with his disability: will teach us all. He will enrich the world, and that enrichment will bare fruit in its own way.

Love, Uncle Joe


Every now and then, I read something that I would recommend. I usually don’t like recommending books or articles because taste is subjective when reading is involved. The name of the book is called: ‘That Went Well’. It is written about the adventures of a woman caring for her special needs sister. The author, Terrell Harris Dougan writes about her life, and that of her sister with humor and honesty. The book is a bridge for those that don’t know, by one who does. It gives you an insight about life with the special needs of some of us on this planet

Please remember all those like DD, that need our prayers.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

AND A ONE AND A TWO!


It wasn’t all singing on the living room floor for Ellen. We had to sing in the car, too! If the drive would occupy more than 20 minutes, our special ‘Momma Mitch Miller’ would appear behind the wheel. Sometimes I swore I saw a goatee grow for a moment on TLW (The Little Woman)!

There's a new world somewhere
They call The Promised Land
And I'll be there some day
If you will hold my hand
I still need you there beside me
No matter what I do
For I know I'll never find another you


The two car seats were packed with participants, as Little Ellen and #1 Son, sang along with Momma. With their little feet sticking out from their car seats, one would swing to the music, and one would giggle with delight!

There is always someone
For each of us they say
And you'll be my someone
For ever and a day
I could search the whole world over
Until my life is through
But I know I'll never find another you


When I was driving, alone or with TLW, the drill was the same for self-preservation: sing along with Mitch, #1 Son and sometimes Momma. If we didn’t, #1 Son would talk up a blue streak, while little Ellen would complain in her own way!

It's a long, long journey
So stay by my side
When I walk through the storm
You'll be my guide, be my guide

One day, while driving to my Mother-in-laws house, I had the two kids in the back seat. I stopped for a light, and started the choral cascade of oldies. When I turned my head, next to me, waiting for the light was a lady, fascinated by my gyrations as I sung along. My fear was she would stop her car and call the police!

If they gave me a fortune
My treasure would be small
I could lose it all tomorrow
And never mind at all
But if I should lose your love, dear

TLW had no fears of discovery. I’m sure she felt that if anyone dared call the police, she would give them the kids to entertain, until she was sprung from jail. Besides, she needed the rest!

I don't know what I'll do
For I know I'll never find another you


Both our Mother’s loved to sing. When I was growing up, my Mom sang while she worked around the house, and they were the same songs that Mitch Miller used.
TLW, similarly, learned from the very records that we sang along with! So, it is natural for #1 Son to sing along. I hope he continues to this day to sing, at least to himself.

But if I should lose your love, dear
I don't know what I'll do
For I know I'll never find another you


And that is MY love story for the day!

Please remember DD, and all those that need our prayers.

FOLLOW THE DANCING BALL!

It was a typical Saturday night. TLW (The Little Woman) and I sat in our living room on the floor, as the wintry evening sky turned black. The smell of a steak was broiling under my nose, and our two little children sat on the big red-carpeted floor along with us, while the music on the record player played.

It was a happy time. This night, like all the previous Saturday nights, the air was filled with Mitch Miller and his old all-time favorites. My daughter Ellen couldn’t speak, but her brother, #1 Son (Anthony) made up for it. I used to think that he talked in his sleep. Then I realized, just like his Mother, he was just finishing up his sentences for the day while falling asleep. The music would begin and Mom, and Anthony would sing along with Mitch and his gang. #1 Son, to this day, knows all the words to all the favorites.

‘Dancing with tears in my eyes’, ‘Silver Moon’, ‘Bye Bye Blackbird’, ‘Poor Butterfly’, then there was a heart-felt rendition by TLW of ‘That’s An Irish Lullaby’ and ‘Mother Machree.’ Then we would pick it up with ‘Baby Face’. We would all sing it to Ellen, and in her way, her baby face and her eyes lit up, and she loved it!

I would lay back and sip my scotch and water (Pre Jack Daniel days) as I remembered the bouncing ball over the crawl at the bottom of the screen on the ‘Sing Along With Mitch Miller’ Show, in my mind.

They were warm days and nights, as we tried to make our children feel the value of a home, and the warmth the Momma exuded. There were no computers, the TV was off and it was just us! We didn’t have time to feel the sorrow for our family, we were too busy making it whole, making it as normal as we could for not only little Ellen, but for all of us. There were days past, and horrible days ahead that made us need the moments we shared together, they were the best!

Please remember DD, and all those that need our hopes and prayers for a recovery.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

RAISING A HANDICAPPED CHILD

Or, Put Up Your Dukes!

Raising children is a tough business. You not only have to protect and teach them, you must feed and keep them clean and entertained. Raising a handicapped child is adding a whole set of problems.

My daughter Ellen is a fun kind of person! That in spite of her problems is who she is! She likes to be amused, entertained and God help you if you don’t!

Once before I renovated my present home, I had a Hallway, kitchen and dining room that all met at one point. You could literally run into the dining room that led to the kitchen that led to the hall that took you back to the dining room. It was the spot where Ellen and I played and had the most fun. She would chase me around the area, and as I got out of sight, I would be on her heels; she would see me and I would chase her. This would go on forever. Ellen would be laughing the whole time. I would be making exaggerated noises to her amusement. When I was on the precipice of a heart attack, I would let her catch me. Then she would push me to get going again.

Of course, it wasn’t always fun and games. Once we decided to take Ellen one Sunday afternoon to the library where they were having a musical show. Ellen loves music, and we thought this would entertain her. Ellen decided she didn’t like music anymore. In fact, she decided TLW (The Little Woman) and I didn’t either! This came as a shock to me. As we waited on line in the library theatre line, she decided to let strangers know what she thought of them. If someone came too close to her, she would smack him or her. We would apologize, and the victim would look at Ellen and understand. Ellen decided to take on the whole line, in fact, she was ready to wipe out the whole library! As we tried to coax her back to the car, she decided to pull a Mahatma Gandhi on us. She ‘peacefully’ sat down in the parking lot, refusing to get up. We tried everything we could, until some stranger came by and helped me lift her up and put her in the car! She was a teenager at that point.

Then there was a trip down to Virginia Beach one year. We decided to go to dinner, and went to this local seafood place. It was a large restaurant, and it was popular and packed. We went through the whole restaurant to this waiting area. Ellen decided her time was too valuable to wait, and besides she was hungry. She started to look menacingly at other people’s plates. That was our cue to move on out of there, ASAP! TLW grabbed her by the arm and started to rush her out, as I followed. As we passed one poor soul, who was minding his business while eating his dinner, Ellen reached out and smacked him in the back of the head as she passed the table. The poor bastard went face forward, almost into his plate! When he looked up, Ellen was long gone, and I thought I was heading for a fistfight! The poor man literally had no idea what hit him. I hope he blamed it on the hot sauce.

As aggressive as she was in strange situations, she was well loved in familiar surroundings. Once we took a ride out to Six Flags in New Jersey. It was a rainy damp morning, and the park was nearly empty. There were no waiting, so it was perfect. Suddenly, there was a yell: “Hi Ellen!” Standing across the lot at another ride was a gentleman who knew Ellen from her day program. Ellen gave this guy a big hug. It took a lot for us to get her to stop hugging people, strangers and all, the rest of the day!

When Ellen was a little baby, about 2 or 3 years of age, I would hold her in my arms as we went through a store. We decided to leave this big department store, with Ellen on my shoulder, facing behind me. When I got outside to the parking lot, Ellen was holding a doll, brand new, and off the shelf. NOT PAID FOR!

In the weeks to come, I hope to write about a lot of the things that have occurred to TLW and me, and the fact that life was not all bad with Ellen.


Please remember DD, and all that need our prayers

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

BEING HOME


I did most of my growing up when I had children! Being a father during some tough economic times of the early 70’s was hard. TLW (The little Woman) and I had no inheritance, and although my grandmother offered to give me money for a down payment on a home, I refused her generosity. Why? Because I wanted to thank no one, do it on my own, and I felt none of my sisters were offered that opportunity.

Perhaps I was stupid to do so, but I felt that way, and still do. In some ways I feel it was a mistake, then there are times I thank God I did it that way. Living on Long Island is expensive. We live in a most expensive geographic area, and it is tough to make a living here and own a home. It’s been that way forever. TLW wanted to be near her parents, and so did I want her to. It was nice that my parents lived near by, too.

When we bought our first house, it was a small Tudor style cape, with a detached garage with a work pit, and a lot of overgrown ivy. The stuff plagued me for years. Between the house and Garage was our patio, where we entertained our two little children, our guests, and ourselves in the summer.

We had no dining room to speak of, a working kitchen with no table and chairs, and the bathroom was just off the dining room! It was what I could afford. I didn’t want TLW to work, we had two small infants, and we always had enough food on the table. God provided. As the years went on, and the little guys got a little older, things got better. But I will always remember and treasure those years in that house.

Riding the Long Island Railroad, every day for a couple of hours each way was tough. If I had to work late, it got tougher, because of the infrequency of the trains at late hours. I always tried to get home on time, around 6:30 PM. Leaving in the early morning, about 5:30 AM, made for a very long day. By the time I got home, I was too tired to even think. But I loved coming home to TLW. It was special to me. Just to see her when I walked in made today justifiable and tomorrow a little more bearable.

My two little kiddies were fast asleep in their own rooms, and I would sneak a peek and quietly sneak back down the steps, TLW holding her breath in fear I might awaken one or both!

Tomorrow: Raising a handicapped child, or: put up your dukes.

Please remember DD, and all that need our prayers

Monday, January 19, 2009

PARDEN MY BAD MANNERS!

Every Christmas, there is usually one present that really knocks my socks off! (Now you know why married men can have cold feet) This past Christmas was no exception. We got a wonderful gift from a very thoughtful and beautiful person. She is a good friend of #1 Son, and I would like to share what she did. Her name is Courtney, and she is the complete package, brains, beautiful and talented! (Reminds me of me.) I heard what you are thinking. Be nice.

When #1 returned home for Christmas, he gave us a package, and told us to put it in the refrigerator. MY kind of package! The package came from Courtney he said. Now I have never spoken or written about Courtney, because I was afraid she might not want anyone to know she reads this blog. Like most of you, she does have taste, so this is like closet reading. Anyway, when I opened the package, there was a Christmas card with a very nice note. The package had three boxes of homemade candy! Yes, little chocolate covered jewels of joy, made for the DelBloggolo clan, personally! Each was wrapped for longevity, and labeled with loving care.

OK, you say, so what? Candy. Well I say: you can’t have any. Not because I don’t like you, it is because they are too good to give away. This is professional stuff. You pay big money for this kind of candy. Perugino, move over. Whitman sampler, GO AWAY! That is how good the candy is!

I suspect that she may have sent more than three boxes; I suspect that somehow, #1 Son forgot to bring them ALL home, if you know what I mean.

Well, I bit into the first one, a coconut filling. I love coconut, so I gave it a shot. Coconut led me to orange, which suddenly became my new all time favorite. Did I stop there? Nooooo. I went right back in and tried the Coco Cherry. WOW! Whoooooweeee! Thems good chocolates!

But the surprise didn’t stop there, no. I turned the card over and notice the card was by “Courtney” A very nice Christmassy, cheerful card that one would pay at least $4.50 to $5.00 at a bargain store for, let alone a real stationary or card store where you would pay more. I thought: “How nice, she found a card company with her name. But I noticed there was nothing else on the back to describe the company! So, I asked my wife’s son, #1, did she make the card? Yes! Not only the card, but also the boxes they came in! This gal is in my will!

So, Courtney, please pardon my poor manners. I should have thanked you a lot sooner, but I didn’t, and I’m sorry for that. You are a master of talent and beauty. Since Christmas, I have been eating them slowly, to make them last longer. I will save the card, it is a masterpiece!

Please remember all those that need our hopes and prayers for a full recovery, like DD.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

WAITING FOR THE MIDNIGHT HOUR

In my house, there two sets of meal times. One set is the usual, breakfast, lunch and dinner, and then there is #2 set. #2 set starts usually around midnight. No, TLW (The Little Woman) and me aren’t part of the #2 set. No, that belongs to #2 Son.

Being how #2 is a vegetarian, he doesn’t eat with us. My philosophy is: If you don’t like what I cook, too bad. Either eat it or make your own. He makes his own. At 12 o’clock, midnight.

The dog, Happy, our dumb-ass cocker spaniel joins us up in our bedroom at night. She usually sleeps near the doorway, so it will be precarious to get up without using the lights to use the bathroom, and without stepping on her and hearing a loud “Yelp!”

At midnight, I am fast asleep. It is just about the time that Kim Bassinger has invited me in for a cup of coffee. (Sorry, Toots. Before Bassinger it was Cheryl Ladd, before Ladd it was Sophia Loren, AND Claudia Cardinale. I was younger, then.)

Suddenly, pain shoots through my whole body! TLW is poking me. “The dog! My dumb-ass dog wants to go downstairs! Why? Because Vegetarian Vito is downstairs making himself something to eat, and dumb-ass can smell it!

See you tomorrow night Kim, maybe we get beyond the coffee this time!

Please remember DD, and all those that need our hopes and prayers.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A WHITE OR WASH OUT!

The weather became so bad we called off the trip to Cape Cod! Listening to the reports from the area, we felt it too dangerous to drive in uncharted roads for us. This causes us to miss the funeral of a fine lady, one that we all respected and loved. I speak for my family as well as I myself when I say that.

On a brighter note, my 90-year old Mom had a scare when they found a spot on her kidney. You know right away when something is wrong with Mom. She never gives you an answer to how she is doing that is convincing.

“Hi Ma, how ya doin?” (This is in my vernacular)

“Oh Kaaaaaay.” (A little down sounding.)

“How come you say it so down like?”

“Oh, I went to my doctor, and he found something in an x-ray on my kidney and said he doesn’t specialize in those things, so he sent it to my kidney surgeon.”

“I hope not your kidney without you! Well, Ma, you’ll be fine. Just go to the doctor, it’s probably nothing.” (I wanted to say ‘go to school, you’ll be fine.’)

So, she calls me after her visit, and she sounds like a little schoolgirl, all happy and giggly!

“The doctor said it is a sisk, it is nothing to worry about!”

I think I’ll go to the doctor to treat my apprehension. She is 90 years old, and is going strong! I feel like she is. 90 years old!

Please remember DD and all the people in YOUR lives that need our hopes and prayers for recovery.

Friday, January 16, 2009

MAN EATING AUNTS!

My Mom has two younger sisters, one is deceased and one is about 87 years old. I love them both, and when the older of the two passed on about 20 years or so ago, I felt very sad. She loved children and always made a fuss about me.

The problem with both these ladies was they loved to torture me!

The oldest, Aunt Tessie, was always very vocal and demonstrative when she saw me. I would dread going into her house as a little kid, she would always instead of just kissing me hello, bite my cheeks. I would cringe at the thought that she was going to do it, and sure enough, she did. She also had nicknames for her son and I. He was a few years older, but has the same name as I do. “Big Joe” and “Little Joe”. Another name was “Joe Joe,” I was “Little Joe Joe” and of course there was “Big Joe Joe.”

In the summer time, I would leave Brooklyn for the country air of Patchogue, Long Island, to romp with my cousins, and who’s house would I stay at but Aunt Tessie. Fortunately, she went on a cheek diet when I went out there for the two weeks. My cheeks couldn’t take all that munching!

My other aunt, Aunt Marie (Who’s real name was Marietta) lived near by. Her form of torture was to greet me when she came into my apartment by checking behind my ears. She would actually do this every time I saw her! “Did you wash behind the ears this morning?” She would look and go “Tsk, Tsk, Tsk”, and for extra measure “Tsk”! Then she would get my Mother to walk many, many miles, like the famous Bataan Death March, hauling my Mother down to Broadway to shop, or off to Pitkin Avenue to barter with the Jewish Merchants over anything. When I saw her, I knew my legs were in for a work out. When you are only 5 years old, your legs are too shot for long strolls! After spending a day with her, my ears hurt and my legs ached.

Then one day I found out that her real name is Marietta. This is after she stopped checking my ears, which was about tens years after I got married. So I would send her Christmas Cards addressed to: “Aunt Marietta”, which would make her nuts! I just recently sent her a copy of a speech I made and some photos of the kids. I attached a little hand written note that said: “Dear Aunt Marietta, The reason I use Marietta instead of Marie is that anyone can have an Aunt named Marie, but how many of us can have one named Marietta?”

This past Christmas, I sent her a card to her home in Boca Raton, Florida. On the envelope was a little note to the postman: “Dear Mr. Postman, Please don’t get too close to Aunt Marietta, or she will check behind your ears, and make you wash them!” I called her soon after and she said; “Wait till I get my hands on you! My postman is a grouch, wouldn’t say “Hi” to his own Mother!”

I got my revenge!

Please remember all those you know and love, in your prayers, like DD that need them

Thursday, January 15, 2009

DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN

It seems if anything, I am consistent! Last year around this time, I completely missed TLW’s (The Little Woman’s) brother Dennis’ birthday. This year I am a little closer to the date than I was last year! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DENNIS!

The next two days (Thursday and Friday) I will be in the Cape Cod area, to say ‘goodbye’ to a wonderful human being, Joan, my brother-in-law Tom’s sister. I will try to post in spite of the trip, but my fingers may be too frozen when I get back from the cold.

I will be driving up with my Polish brother-in-law, John, and my older sister (Much older) Tessie. Tess hates that name, but I think every family should have a Tess or Tessie. I had two! Mom had a sister named Theresa, as did Dad. I tried to get my kids to say: “Aunt Tessie” but Tessie bribed the brats not to say it.

We have nicknames for everyone in our family, once we get to know you. This habit or tradition comes from Dad’s side of the family. This was not to ridicule or diss anyone, but to give one a distinct personality that matched something about them. However, there were a few that kind of slipped through the cracks. For instance, a lady had a rather unpleasant odor on her person. She was my grandmother’s friend, and she couldn’t speak English. We called her: the smelly lady”. The Smelly Lady had a husband who we thought was a communist, so we called him: “The Communist.” He used to argue a lot against anything that my father, uncles and grandfather believed in about the USA. This was way back in the early 1950’s. For a commie, he had a well-nourished wife, and he dressed like he was a man about town, very debonair! Some commie!

It was 38 years ago that I got engaged to TLW! Those were magical days! The years have gone by, but the magic is still there for me.

Happy anniversary, TLW, I love you!

Please remember DD and all the people in YOUR lives that need our hopes and prayers for recovery.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

BEING A GENTLEMAN…

Is Like A Big Pain In The Butt!

One of the fun things about this blog is the little vignette of life’s experiences I go through that I can relate. These are things that people in their lives occur, but forget. Not me, no, I record them for posterity.

Being a man of the world as I am, I have come to respect women, and try to behave like a gentleman. Sometimes that gets in my way.

Let’s look at today’s vignette. I went to the Handy Pantry for my customary roll and coffee, and was about to enter the building, which behind the glass front door, a woman stood. She was waiting for me to enter, rather than going out herself, first. I reached for the handle and stepped aside to allow the lady by. Then with a short courteous bow, I proclaimed: “Ladies first!” or some such utterance. Smiling she thanked me and went out. Walking over to the fresh brewed coffee where I wonder if they put regular into the decaf pot and are laughing themselves, silly.

Standing at the pots was again, a woman who was pouring her coffee into two large containers. As she went to reach for the milk, she had to step aside somewhat to get the container. I saw that as my chance to get a cup, when I did, she was now waiting for me. Once again, I stepped aside and motioned her to go ahead once again. (What a gentleman!) She left to pay for her coffee, and I went to get a cover for the coffee, and when I turned around, there at the coffee pots stood another woman. Once again, I stepped aside, and let her finish. OK I can wait one more time. But if one more lady gets in the way, I will have to kill myself on the spot! Off she goes, and I get my coffee and go to pay for it.

Out I go to the parking lot. Those broads weren’t finished! One had her door opened so I couldn’t get mine opened, and the other was backing out, stopped because she looked like she was looking for something in her bag, so she blocked my backing out.

Suddenly, some ungentlemanly thoughts occurred to me, which cause me to want to wash my mouth out with soap. But, I do have my coffee, finally.

Please remember DD and all the people in YOUR lives that need our hopes and prayers for recovery.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

THE LINES ARE DRAWN


Being married for 37 years to the same woman can sometimes cause one to draw distinctions. It gives one time to discover flaws and state objections. I hope you are all sitting down while reading this. What I am about to tell you will shock you! My hope is that today is not planned as a special day, because of my news. I hope you don’t call me an unmitigated liar, or a fraud for stating what I am about to tell you.

Yesterday, while dining with my lovely niece Laurie Ann and her handsome husband Gerard, their handsome son Sean along with my brother-in-law John and my older sister (much older) Tessie, I was informed by TLW (The Little Woman), that I might have a flaw or two!

Gosh! Who thought?

It turns out I am not perfect! No, I have fallen from that very high pedestal from which I have stood so long. No longer will I be able to climb onto the pedestal and scan the world. No, once again, TLW has exposed me. She claims I don’t clean the toilets enough! Me, the CEO of DelBloggolo! Me. A former altar boy! My sisters favorite brother, my parent’s favorite son, fallen, like a house of cards!

According to TLW, I should clean them once a day, twice on Sundays and all day long on her birthday. I should plan my day behind having enough toilet cleansers and spray bottles, sponges and rags, along with an ample supply of paper towels. All the toilets should be on my radar 24/7.

So, I have given her “suggestions” considerable consideration, and have come to a final decision. I have taken a week supply of major league baseball and football magazines, my pillow and a few snacks and have locked myself in the upstairs toilet. I will see everyone next week. P.S. I left some change on the kitchen table, they can use the toilet at the mobile gas station.

Please remember DD and all the people in YOUR lives that need our hopes and prayers for recovery.

Monday, January 12, 2009

FUNNY ON DEMAND


Or stage fright has me frightened.

The family and friends were getting together for the big event. The first annual Christopher Ruvolo 30th Birthday celebration was quickly approaching. As I sat in my recliner watching TV, the phone started to ring next to me. Not recognizing the number, I was tempted not to pick it up! I figured it was for #2 Son, upstairs. Usually around that hour, lover boy gets phone calls. Against my better instincts: I pick it up. It is my beautiful niece Annmarie, who I was planning on calling within the hour.

“Hello, Uncle Joe, it’s Annmarie!”
“HI! I was about to call you to congratulate you guys on the news!” (She’s having a baby for the first time.) We discussed a request I had made for a photo of Christopher for his party. I had been chosen by my niece to ‘roast’ Christopher. It was in two days, and I had hardly worked on the thing, a few ramblings that I passed by TLW (The Little Woman). I immediately got to work in my mind, and by the next day had something on paper. It was not going to be easy! Chris is a good guy who I love like my own sons. I really didn’t want to hurt him.

As I worked on the roast the day of the party, (I like to work under pressure) I read back what I had, and thought I should do this with me standing in the front doorway, the motor of my car running so I could make a clean getaway.

That night, in spite of a snowstorm brewing, and the roads were treacherous: I arrive with TLW. The evening wears on, and the happier the people at the party got, the more I thought it would be wiser to do the roast from my car with the window rolled only half way down. A lot of the people there were strangers to me, I didn’t know if they had a criminal record or not. (They may have been armed)

TLW kept nudging me about giving the roast and I kept putting her off. Finally, like being called to the principle’s office, or doing something where Mom says; “I want to have a word with you.” I was summoned to give my roast! Nervously, I got up. Everyone was sitting around, I had Chris on the victim’s chair mumbling: “Oh God! Oh No, Oh God!” I utter my first words and get a laugh! I was funny! No veggie missiles coming my way! I would live long enough to escape!

As I got more laughs, the more encouraged I became. That was all I needed.

Chris, looking around at the crowd, intoned: “Why have you forsaken me?”

Please pray for those that need our prayers, like DD.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

GOOD BYE!

Today is a sad day! My family and me dreaded this day. I know I can speak for all of them when I say that. We lost a sweet person, one that gave off light and kindness. Her name is Joan, and she is the older sister of my brother-in-law, Tom, from Connecticut.

Joan and I were my niece Katie’s godparents. We shared a special day together once, and she helped make it special. To be able to share a conversation with someone special is important to me. It helps to humanize who I am. It made me better as a person, maybe more whole. Joan had that effect on me; I’m willing to bet on everyone else, too.

You can cry sometimes for the injustice that exists in this world. Joan was cheated out of life by an insidious disease, one that plays havoc on not only the victim, but also the family and friends. It is the ugly cancer disease. I have asked you all to pray for Joan, and maybe the prayers are answered, she suffers no longer. I was hoping for a miracle and a full recovery. Now I pray that her family can recover. She was married to a wonderful man, named Don, who was so down to earth, he could go unnoticed, When Don passed on, she met a wonderful man named Ernie. Ernie had a lightness of heart, and a great spirit. He had to: he was with Joan. Now Joan’s children and Ernie, as all her family, her brother Tom and his family: are at a loss today.

Joan was a classy lady. Way back in 1986, when the Mets beat her Red Sox, she and I were at a family gathering. She mentioned the Mets winning, and I made a joke about the goat of the World Series, Bill Buckner. She had a good laugh and let it go at that. When she did, I realized that she could accept disappointment better than I could accept winning. In my mind, she won.

She leaves behind a lot of good memories about her, a brother and sister-law, Ernie who cared for her in her last days, 2 children and grandchildren. She also leaves behind many sad and cheated hearts, hearts filled with admiration for a wonderful woman.

We will miss you Joan, but not forget you.

Let’s give ourselves more toward prayers and hope for those who need them. People like a young 18-year old DD. I hear DD is now in a hospital fighting cancer. Here Mom says she is holding her own. You may not know DD, but know this: she is fighting for her survival, she is only 18, and has a lot to give to this world yet. Prayer for her and all those that need our love, hope and prayers, and pray that someday, it is not you, too.

A BAD BOY GETS QUESTIONED


It is Friday morning, I’m hungry and I don’t feel like the usual. So, what do I do? I go off to McDonald’s for breakfast. Of course, I feel guilty for doing it, but, quilt or no quilt, I want McDonald’s.

I arrive at the restaurant (Is it really?), and as I enter, I notice all older guys, about my age, and without their wives. So, I forgive myself for going.

Up to the counter I go, scanning the menu on the wall I order a #12. That’s the bagel with egg, cheese, steak and onions. I can hear half of you people out there feigning disapproval, while the other half are saying: “Why didn’t I do that, it sounds so good!”

There is a young lady behind the service counter. She looks like she is a day late for work. Tired eyes, hair just combed and slouching somewhat, she suddenly comes alive. A smile crosses her pretty face and she begins to question me.

“Can I help you?”

“Uh, yes, I’d like a… #...12!

“What would you like to drink with that?”

“Err… coffee!”

“Would you like milk on the side?”

“Ummm… sure!”

“What size coffee?”

“Oh, uh, give me a… small!”

“Is that to go or stay?”

“Stay, and after all these questions, maybe it would be more timely to order lunch instead.” (I really didn’t say everything after “Stay”, but you get the point. I figure all those old guys were probably teenagers when they got here.

Why do you need an inquisition first thing in the morning? Will they give me an option soon to order in ‘One’ for English or ‘Dos’ para Espanol?

Please remember those we pray for like Joan and DD.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

THE MACARONI MAN IS BACK!


Many years ago, about 30, when I was about that many years old, there born unto the world was: the Macaroni Man! Yes, the Prince of Pasta, the Scion on Spaghetti.

The man I spend my Sunday’s with, who was born too late, and in the wrong place. He should have been born in the 1950’s, in the heart of Brooklyn. (See Saturday, April 08, 2006 blog) He would have fit right in with the traditional Italian meal of macaroni and meatballs, in a meat ‘gravy’. We weren’t pretentious yet, we still called pasta, macaroni. The old Italians called it ‘ooh macaroona.’

His real birth name is Chris, his blog name is Macaroni Man. He is the son of #3 Sister, Mary Ann, the airline stewardess. A math teacher by trade, and track coach in his heart, and a heavy user of pasta, is the Macaroni Man! I have considered therapy for him, but he would only stop along the way for some pasta!

When he eats at my house, we feed him only pasta. His reaction is: “Wow! That’s bitchin good pasta!”

If you give him a gift-wrapped present, he shakes the box, if it doesn’t have the familiar rattle of dried pasta, he asks if we have a gift receipt with it.

I remember a lot about my nieces and nephews when they were growing up. One of the things I remember about the Macaroni Man is that I don’t remember a whole lot! I know that sounds stupid, but he was so quiet and good, you never knew he was around.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MACARONI MAN!

Remember those that need our prayers and hopes, Joan and DD in particular.

Friday, January 09, 2009

LOOKS LIKE THE UNCLE!


As you read from yesterday’s blog, my lovely niece and handsome nephew are expecting. Yesterday they sent me the first photos of the baby. Well, maybe not a photo, but a scan. I must say the kid is very good looking! If I dare say, there is a remarkable resemblance to the great uncle, crazy Uncle Joe!

From the photo, you can see what I see on New Year’s Day in a mirror, after a night of celebrating, then, again on the mornings after a party in the hood.

I am particularly impressed with the fact that the new Dad, Greg, has sent out wallet-sized pictures to all the family and friends! Greg would like to name the kid Jeter, or Mariano. I think Reyes or Wright would be more appropriate, especially since it looks like me. (How about we call it DelBloggolo?)

I recall hearing stories about when I was born. My Mother wanted to name me, “AreYouSureDoctor?” And my Dad wanted to name me, “Noway!” When Mom returned home from the hospital, she noticed the valise was heavier than when she left with it. It turns out the nurses slipped me into the bag while Mom wasn’t looking! They wanted to name me, “HereYouTakeIt.”

Please remember Joan and DD, and all those that need our prayers.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

AND BABY MAKES THREE!

Some uncles have all the luck! I’m one of them. I happen to have beautiful nieces, who get more beautiful with age!

A few days ago I got e-mail from #3 Sister with the subject; “I just found out!” What did she find out?

#3 Sister is the change of lifestyle airline stewardess, who happens to have two children. Chris (The Macaroni Man) and Annmarie, who doesn’t like to have her name hyphenated. Annmarie has beautiful red hair, and a million dollar smile. It goes with her beautiful face and sunny disposition. Coupled with a great husband Greg, they help fill out my world. Greg is the kind of guy, if you have a daughter or niece, you would hope would find a guy like him. He is fun, handsome, respectful, hardworking, courteous and just a great person. Gregg is the soul mate of my niece. He comes from a wonderful family that is unpretentious, just like Greg!

Annmarie, like my niece Laurie Ann, is a great cook. I guess it runs in the family. She works in a large marketing firm on Long Island, and travels constantly. It is a race to see who will put more miles on an airplane, #3 Sister the stewardess, or her daughter Annmarie the traveling marketer.

So, what did Mary Ann, the #3 sister find out? You cheated, didn’t you? Well, I’ll tell you what you already figured out. #3 Sister is becoming a grandmother!

Yes, I am becoming a great uncle once again. But the good news is two people who should have children are! Greg will make a dynamite father, (if he sheds that Yankee thing), and Annmarie will make a great mom. The kid will have a wonderfully kind, and happy grandmother. He or she can’t get any luckier than that! I truly wish Carl my brother-in-law was alive to see it. I know he is up there smiling down.

The baby is expected on September 9th, my Dad's birthday!

To a wonderful family, CONGRATULATIONS!
From the DelBloggolo Blog, and your crazy Uncle Joe, Aunt Ellen, Ellen, Mike, and Anthony.

Please remember Joan and DD, and all those that need our prayers.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

DON’T QUOTE ME, BUT…

I have been attributed to a lot of statements I don’t remember ever making! TLW (The Little Woman) has often gone to the deep recesses of her mind to pull out some obscure statement someone has made, and say, I said it!

Let me set the record straight. I don’t make statements out loud. No, I whisper them under my breath. If someone makes one near me, it is good enough for her to think I said it! Somewhat like horseshoes and hand grenades, TLW gives me the credit. Mind you, it is nothing profound, because if it were, she would know I didn’t say it.

Being a married man, I know by now never to make declarative or definitive statements about anything in the universe. I do say: “I love you” and “Yes, dear.” But after that, I deny everything.

You may consider this to be: cowardly, almost dastardly, but hey, I gotta survive.

I do remember the important stuff. Birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions I remember. I can recall details that happened long ago. Long ago, I learned to shut up. I think I have taken in all the lessons of married life, and then some.

If I tell TLW she looks good in a certain color, she will wear it. If I say I don’t want to go to a certain place, she remember it as my saying, I don’t like it! So, the good she remembers, the bad is ugly!

One thing TLW never does, since I met her, is lie. If she thinks I said it, and I don’t think I did, I know that in her heart she really believes it to be so. So, I can’t get upset and argue. I try, but I soon give it up.

Please remember Joan and DD, and all those that need our hopes and prayers.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

THE FAT LADY IS SINGING!

#1 Son flies back to LA today, the official ‘holiday season’ is over! We now wonder if he is eating well, doing well, and happy. He would like to come home in the spring to see a Mets-Red Sox game at the new Citifield. I doubt he will, since he has a full life out there. We probably won’t see him again until December, for the holidays.

This year I thought I’d give him something to remember us all by. I went through the family albums, of which there are many, and scanned all of the photos that involved him. I then put them on a CD and created a jewel case with art as well as the cover of the CD, itself. It looks like you can buy one at a store somewhere. It took a long time to create, but it was worth it, he will have a lifetime of memories on a CD!

I must say he ate VERY well while at home. His philosophy of: “Leave no leftover, leftover.” Is very strong. He slept well, and watched TV well, but I was more impressed by the fact that he still worked so very hard. I guess when you work that hard you are entitled to do everything else well, too! It was fun to watch him eat, talk Mets and Jets and playoff football, and just chill out. I for one will certainly miss him.

My buddy John Onysko from down the block showed up to show #1 Son and myself his collection of old 1950’s baseball cards. We had a few drinks, talked about growing up and Brooklyn baseball, and life in general. John is a good guy that loves baseball like I do, the Brooklyn Dodgers, and telling stories. He used to organize a baseball team for the kids in the neighborhood.

The Hood had a great party. Everyone looked good and healthy and I hope it stays that way. MMB (My Man Bill) and TLC (The Lovely Carole) throw a great party. They pitched an outdoor patio tent, which hooked up to the house, with heaters for more room. It was 20 degrees or less outside on New Year’s Eve, and the wind was feeling like gale force. But inside the tent-like structure that opened to the den, it was warm. TLC had a great idea. On the invitation, all odd numbered homes brought desserts, and the even numbered brought appetizers. There was some good stuff there! Of course, there was an ample supply of Jack Daniels. Timmy and Gail, one of the neighbors made a great Italian appetizer, and TLW (The Little Woman) made a great dip. Being married to a dip, I guess she knows how to make one, too!

New Year’s Day was soup! The best thing after a holiday of eating heavily is: soup. Like Drain-o®, it helps clear the pipes!

Please remember all those that need our hopes and prayers, like Joan and DD.

Monday, January 05, 2009

THERE ARE NO EXCUSES


Now that the holidays are over, time to get back to reality. Back to routine and the usual, the humdrum of everyday living. No more holiday meals and desserts, no more visiting and wishing good things to people. Just TLW (The Little Woman) and me will try to stay the course until this coming holiday season.

It actually started about 10 minutes ago. TLW entered my studio where I am writing this with some clothing in her hand. She was saying: “Merry Christmas”! I thought maybe I didn’t hear her correctly, but I did! She had two shirts she had wanted to give me for Christmas but forgot. The look of confusion on her face reminded me that she is indeed married to me, and I usually do that to people.

I must admit that I am happy the season is over. Too much food and drinking, but not enough family is how I feel. I can’t look at anything with sugar in it, butter or any kind of heavy sauce. I could in fact, go back to bed and sleep the holidays off until March.

I only live for one holiday, Christmas Eve. (To all you politically correct; saying Holiday Eve somehow sucks!) It is one-day that brings me back to my youth, my Dad, my family.

Of course, watching my 90-year-old Mom, sitting across the table makes me smile. It reminds me that I still have to behave. If I don’t, I know that somewhere on her person is a wooden spoon, a tool for cooking and persuading me that I better stay in line. But even if she smacks me with it, she will in a heartbeat laugh a something I said. She never holds a grudge, just a wooden spoon!

I hope that you can enjoy the coming year as best you can. Remember that life is life, and blows will be handed out to us. We must remember that life is for the living. So, hang in there and stay alive and healthy.

Remember all those that need our hopes and prayers, like Joan and DD and all you know of.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

OH, WHAT A DAY!


It was a few days before Christmas. A few weeks earlier I received a letter informing me that my daughter Ellen would be receiving an award for participating in her day program for 15 years!

Being how #1 Son was home for the holidays, he decided to accompany me to Westhampton Beach for the festivities. Knowing the population as I do at the Day Program, anything is possible, but I figured that this event would go by quietly.

We entered the event a little early, and one of the program participants came over to me and said that I looked like Kenny Rodgers, and John Stamos was disguised as #1 Son, according to this fellow.

As we sat down, the time was drawing near, and we waited for the arrival of Ellen. Watching the door, down from the hallway she came, looking about curiously, while being escorted by an aid. Cool and calm she came, looking at me and not getting too excited, then suddenly bolting in my direction. Giving me a big hug, she sat down.

The event started, and it was time for Ellen. Jean Kelly, the MC along with a gentleman who ran the program for years started by presenting the 10 year awards. Then the 15 years, starting with: “And now for the 15 year participants. Ellen Del Broccolo!” I immediately started to clap, but was surprisingly drowned out by the audience. Ellen has a huge following! Getting her up to accept her award was another thing. She would not get up! Nope, no way was she moving. She may be honored, but she was comfortable. Her legs were crossed, her hands were together and she was going nowhere. After much coaxing, and the help of several people, she finally stood and followed me to the podium. Up she goes, coaxed and pulled, unwillingly, where she arrives to my relief. Being handed the award certificate, she promptly tosses it on the floor. The crowd is in hysterics, she hugs Jean Kelly and I embarrassingly retrieve the award.

But her antics were not the only amusement to be offered that morning. No, there were more awards to be given. As the names were called, we all cheered lustily, giving each participant a reason to be proud of themselves, a day in the sun for each. Who knew if they would ever have another day like it?

One gentleman was called, and slowly with his great physical disabilities and all, he began his journey to the podium. Walking behind him was another gentleman! I wondered what was going on? Was the second gentleman just roaming or was something else up? The first fellow got to the podium and took his award, while the second fellow just stopped and watched. As the recipient turned to return to his seat, amid a raucous round of applause, the second fellow put his arms around his buddy and they hugged! As the second fellow followed, he waved his fist in support of his buddy back to their seats.

Once the event was over, they introduced a staffer loved by all the participants, who was moving on to another building. Many of the participants wanted to publicly acknowledge his service to them and say a public ‘goodbye’.

One participant, with a wry grin on her face, rolled her wheel chair up to the podium and said: “All I have to say is: You better watch out, you better not pout, you better not cry I’m telling you why.” As she sang, she induced the whole crowd, parents, friends, staff, and siblings alike to join her in song!

It was the final glue for me to a happy and merry Christmas!

Please remember all those like Joan and DD who need

Saturday, January 03, 2009

CRANKY FEMALES

It was this past Christmas morning, and TLW (The Little Woman) had just handed me a gift-wrapped box with excitement, as the family exchanged gifts. I wondered what it could be, as I eyed and weighted the box in my hand. Carelessly I opened the wrapping, and underneath was a brand new Garman GPS!

Owning a GPS already, I knew that this one would be better! I would have more features, and one of them would be a non-glare screen. My old one was almost useless on sunny days as the glare picked up the reflection of the dashboard in a high intensity glare, rendering everything impossible to see.

Out we went into the car later that morning, to install the electronic marvel. We watched as “Acquiring maps” was read on the non-glare screen. Oh, happy days! I would be able to drive around the world without squinting! Slowly I backed out of the driveway and we were on our way,

TLW: “I don’t like her voice.”

Me: “Huh?”

TLW: “Her voice, she’s too New Yorkish.”

Me: “What?”

TLW: “It’s too clipped, too bossy. Beside, I should be the only woman to tell you where to go.”

Me: “Well, I LIKE IT! Besides, it seems to me she knows where she is going.”

TLW: “Doug in my office says there are other voices.”

Me: “Well you tell Doug to listen to his voices, and I’ll listen to mine.”

My last statement was not so outlandish as it might sound. Doug is a married man like I am. It is natural after a while for married men to hear voices. Long before the GPS was invented, married men have been hearing voices. It started with Adam and has carried right down to my nephews Marc and David who just married this past year!

I thought to myself: “Here we go again!” TLW likes to pick fights with the GPS. She has an ongoing feud with my old GPS, and is now at odds with the new one. This is a hint as to why monogamy is so important to maintain. We once went into a Best Buy, and were passing through the GPS section. TLW suddenly stopped and said: “Can you feel the hostility in here?”

Please remember Joan and DD, and all those that need our hopes and prayers. And a special ‘Get well quick’ to my little pal Peter with an infection in his ankle. The only infections you should have is in your smile.

Friday, January 02, 2009

AH, THE TRADITION!


The holidays are over, and I am now settling into my recliner to stare at the TV and watch a Honeymooners episode or two, and then a bowl game or two. The sun is shinning into my den from my skylight. I, with me in mind, designed the den. It has a large skylight that faces the south, a large round top window that faces the sunset, and a vaulted ceiling. It opens to the kitchen and I can view the entranceway from my recliner. I can see who comes and goes, and I know what’s cooking. As the sun travels through the sky, it lights the room and warms it, throughout the day, until it sets.

Outside it, is16 degrees Fahrenheit, with the winter ground covered in ice and snow. The wind beating and swirling, keeps reminding me it is cold outside. But inside, the warmth of the family, the idea that TLW (The Little Woman) is about makes me content. My two sons drop by for a conversation with Mom or me or with each other.

My sense is one of a small joy, comfort and happiness. This is how I feel every New Year’s Day for the last 12 years! It has become a welcomed tradition, one that I carry on not only every New Year’s Day, but also every cold Sunday in the fall, winter and early spring. Life can be good!

I will soon get me a cup of tea, or a Jack Daniels Manhattan, and savor the moment with more intensity, more joy, and more contentment. I am warm and cozy in my overstuffed recliner. I hope you can experience this small joyful tradition, too.

Please remember those of us like Joan and DD, who need our prayers and hopes.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR IN THE HOOD!


If you looked earlier this morning for this blog, it means you had a quiet evening last night! Last night TLW (The Little Woman) and me went to our neighbor’s MMB (My Man Bill) and his wife, TLC (The Lovely Carole)’s house to celebrate the New Year. I do remember having a good time and sharing a few laughs. It might shock you to know, I even remember going home!

I’ve decided that this year, I will remake my New Year’s resolution from 2008. That was not to resolve to do anything. This allows me to keep it! How many of you have already broken your New Year’s resolution?

Today, I will be in recovery mode. That is, sitting in my chair, staring at the ceiling until tomorrow. This is a good plan. It allows my to die if I want to, or just stay comatose and ready to die if I want to. My biggest problem is the sunlight. There is too much sunlight! Well, I think I’ll have breakfast now. Something nice and hearty, maybe two fresh aspirins!

So to one and all, HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope you all stay healthy, get wealthy, and stay wise by reading this nonsense I write everyday.

Please remember those like Joan and DD, in your prayers and hearts.