DelBloggolo

Thursday, April 30, 2009

TRIALS IN THE BORED ROOM



If it’s the last Tuesday of the month, it must be the Board of Director’s night!

Off I go to the meeting of the Board of Directors of AHRC Suffolk, packet of minutes and reports in hand. Tonight is extra long, because there is a Budget and Finance meeting one and a half hours before our regular meeting. Being a veteran of the meeting room for twenty years, I know what this means.

In a large conference room, with a twenty some odd foot conference table, lines shoulder to shoulder with chairs I quietly sit in attendance in my customary chair. Greeting a few of my fellow board members and staff, I await the inevitable. Number people! They are coming! I have to pay attention! Oh, God! I’m an artist, what am I doing here?

The number people arrive, a young lady and a gentleman, both dressed very appropriately for such solemnity. The meeting is called to order, and the first of many budget reports is thrown out on the table to be read out loud. I look at the report, then the ones to follow. I am sinking deep into a depression! No one will be able to pull me out of this! No one.

I get a cup of coffee; this should help me stay awake. (Not the caffeine, the idea of not spilling it) The young lady sits next to me. She does most of the reading: I do most of the dozing. Reading, dozing, reading, dozing, like dancers swaying to the music.

Finally, as my head starts to weave like a punch drunk boxer, my eyes glazed, she goes for the knock out punch! She starts to give a line-by-line detailed analysis of what each number means. How can she do this? I mean, I’m trying to rest my eyes, she’s sitting next to me, the balance of the Budget and Finance Committee‘s eyes are directed toward her, and she is calling attention to herself!

Then it suddenly hits me! These people are using some kind of technique to look interested, and me being me, don’t know about it! The young lady has a nice steady, one level cadence. Her voice never rises, never lowers, and keeps saying: “I won’t go into the details of this.” I wonder to myself: “WHAT THE HELL DID SHE JUST DO, THEN?”

Finally, by the grace of God, she stops! “Are there any questions?” I think to myself: “Yes, just one. WHAT THE HELL DID YOU JUST SAY?” We all agree, “No-there are no questions, it works for us.”

After this display of fiscal appreciation on my part, the regular meeting convenes. WE WILL GO OVER, ALL AGAIN, FOR THOSE MEMBERS OF THE BOARD WHO ARE NOT MEMBERS OF THE BUDGET AND FINANCE COMMITTEE, THE SAME REPORT! AGAIN. In earnest! Again!

Here is the scary part. I remember most of it! It somehow reached my brain, which I though was impossible since I was sitting on it.

Please remember my brother-in-law, John, and all those that need our hopes and prayers.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

VISITING THE DEAD


This weekend was filled by the presence of TLW’s (The Little Woman) family, who were present for a high school reunion for a high school that no longer exists. In the course of their visit, one family, who rarely comes out to this neck of the woods because they are so busy in their lives, with a large family and difficult career commitments decided to visit the cemetery. They visited their parent’s gravesite, and my son’s.

I often wonder why people would go to the trouble to visit a grave. The person in it is dead, doesn’t know of the visit and is forever gone. What is really happening? I started to ask myself that question, and realized something awful! When I say awful, I mean in the sense that I was awed by a realization. We re-visit ourselves! It is the last place we had any contact or inter-action with them, either dead or alive, or where we would find them finally. As we stand there, we begin to remember, and sometimes we begin in our minds to speak to them. We ask questions and we thank them. It is the most intimate we ever were, and we sometimes pray for them. Some of us may have issues that are unresolved with the deceased.

But we always see ourselves in a one-sided conversation, with the person we remember. How we feel still, or how we felt then.

I was glad to ‘speak ‘ to my dad when we went. Since Dad is a few rows over from TLW’s Mom and Dad, it was easy. Then we walked to my son’s grave, and I ‘spoke’ to him. But, I was mostly happy that someone who was from another state, who was spending so much time having a fun time, took the time out for a special visit and remembrance. It speaks volumes for the living that we don’t forget, and do respect those that went on before us, especially our parents.

Please remember my brother-in-law John, and all those that could use our prayers.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

THE NERVE

It was the annual, or semi annual Seton Hall High School Reunion, of 2009. (I’ve been to so many I lost count!) The Timber Point Country Club was packed, thanks to the spouses of the alumni. The Manning family had reserved a table, thanks to one of the Manning spouses, Angela. TLW (The Little Woman) is a Manning!

Although the house was not as filled as last year, there was still a decent turnout. The evening was sold on the strength of the honoree, a Seton Hall Graduate and actor, Robert Davi, class of 1970.

The Master of Ceremony was anything but a master. Telling old jokes in a long and convoluted way, a number of people, including yours truly, immediately went on suicide watch, voluntarily. The Sisters of Charity of Halifax, Halle Selassie, and Halle Berry were not very charitable in putting up this bum.

Staffing, which included the waiters and waitresses at the Timber Point Country Club were very professional, courteous, and helpful. The food was very good as was the drinks and the room itself. There was a 50/50 raffle and a chance on something of which I forgot.

There were old yearbooks, and old nuns. There was Sister Hairy Mary, Sister Joey Elizabeth, and Sister Rocco Marie, and Sister Bruno Theresa. The ‘habits’ of these nuns was an unshaven beard and a big old stoogie!

At $75 a person, one would hope for a better arrangement. The men sat at one table, and the women in another room, where one could hear a lot of yelling about skirts above the knee. TLW wore her saddle shoes and blazer.

Then it was time for the introduction of the honoree.

MC: “Ladies and Gentlemen, and Seton Hall Alumni, it gives me great pleasure to introduce to you, the star of TV, AND the class of 1970, Robert Davi!”

Silence.

MC: “I said: Ladies and Gentlemen, and Seton Hall Alumni, it gives me great pleasure to introduce to you, the star of TV, AND the class of 1970, Robert Davi!”

More silence, and then,
MC: “Mr. Davi didn’t come tonight. He WILL be serving detention! Don’t even think of asking for some of your money back, after all, the Manning spouses did attend!””

Please pray for all those that need our prayers, especially my brother-in-law, John.

Monday, April 27, 2009

THE POWER OF DELBLOGGOLO!

Last May 18, I wrote a blogue about Angela’s ashes. (Sunday, May 18, 2008).

On Saturday night, I had the pleasure of hearing of a story of faith through the blogue! Yes, Angela has seen the power of the blogue! It seems she had a scanner where one must lift a cover rather than feeding it. The horror! She would go to bed at night, sobbing herself to sleep, wishing she had a feed scanner.

Prior to the Blogue, she whined for a miracle. “Uhhhhhh” she would go, pounding her chest, just like any old Italian lady from Utica. It was whining from once a day to several days a week. “Uhhhhh, oh, there’s so much paper!” Every day she would scan any new money her husband Dennis brought into the house. (They don’t like only to count it, they like to read it, too!)

Then one day a miracle happened. Dennis, from a lack of sleep from all that whining, decided to scan it himself. “Uhhhhh!” “All this paper! There’s so much of it!”

Well sure as I’m sitting here with a prayer book in my hand, Dennis turned to Jesus and read the blogue!” Next day, there stood Dennis with a scanner! Dennis was feeding this scanner! Angela, seeing this, fell to her knees, and thanked the patron saint of Blogues, St. Joseph of Cyber-Space.

Today, as they sit in their home, they take turns, feeding all of Dennis’ money into the scanner. Dennis feeds, and Angela collects it.

Thanks to your prayers, MMB (My Man Bill) will no longer need to be mentioned in this space as far as prayer goes. They found his problem, and he will live to a ripe old age! Now let’s keep it up for my brother-in-law, John, and all those that need our prayers.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

OVER TIME AND SPACE!



Yesterday TLW’s (The Little Woman) brother Dennis with his lovely wife Angela, was up from Virginia to attend a Seton Hall Reunion, which will be attended by all TLW’s siblings. Dennis is a CEO for a place called Community Residences, Inc. Situated in Chantilly, VA. It houses people with mental and developmental disabilities.I had promised to take him to my agency: AHRC Suffolk in Bohemia, for a tour of our Workshop program, our school, the Saul and Esther Seiff Educare Center, with the best Executive Director in the State of New York, Joe Mammolito.

Joe was extremely gracious as he was proud. Showing Dennis all he could, and in detail!
Then, after a few hours of tours and chatting, off we went to Flowerfield Gardens in Farmingville, to view the greenhouses the agency operates to help fund the agency,

Soon we found ourselves on the Long Island Expressway heading toward Shoreham/Wading River, to view the 96 bed with day habilitation for the physically fragile. But the day was not done yet. Back to Holbrook we went, to visit one of our group homes, newly built in the last few years.

By the end of the visit, we were both tired and, from 7:30 in the morning for breakfast until 2:30 in the afternoon, poor Dennis had to spend it with me, in a car when needed!

I enjoyed the day, we got to talk business, and we got together later as a family, when everyone showed up at the house for a huge pizza party, and a lot of laughs.

Please keep MMB (My Man Bill) and my brother-in-law, John in your prayers, and all those that need our prayers.

Tomorrow: Angela gets her prayers answered, through the power of DelBloggolo!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

WHEN IT HITS…



This was partially written a number of weeks ago

It really hits!

My nice quiet life has gotten very noisy! I’m doing some volunteer work for a worthy cause, in terms of direct mail, and look forward to doing it. It is a mailing for soliciting donors, past and present. This is important work, and I relish helping it prosper.

On top of that, I will be at a rally Friday and a meeting with a politician for some funding that is badly needed for my daughter’s agency. It seems with the budget cuts, the State of New York has turned its back on a most vulnerable population! So, old big mouth will get involved. (I hear I’m outspoken!)

Then in an email comes a request to do a sweepstakes mailing with a team of guys for another good cause! I’m feeling alive again with pressure!

I have nine books to design and put together that TLW (The Little Woman) gives out to her religion class at the end of the year.

Now a phone call came from a college professor who wants me to work with him on a book for a national podiatry organization in Harlem, NY. 200 pages worth plus cover,

I guess it is good to feel it once-in-a-while to appreciate retirement. At least I don’t have to get up in the morning and face traffic, then turn around and face it again!

I’m still working on my novel, which is near complete. However, this sudden burst of activity will delay it somewhat, but so what?

I’m enjoying myself!

Please remember all those that need our prayers, particularly MMB (My Man Bill) and my brother-in-law, John.

Friday, April 24, 2009

HI-JACKED ON THE ELEVATOR

The bus was scheduled to leave at 5:00 PM. It was 4:40 PM, and I was tired of walking around THE MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK. TLW (The Little Woman and I had visited Gracie Mansion, Carmine’s on 91st Street and Broadway for a family style Italian dinner, (a lot of yelling and arm waving), and the museum tour was the finish of the ‘Get Up And Go’ touring.

TLW, the lovely young thing in the photo had other ideas. We approached the elevator, as a young woman who worked in the museum held the door for us. In we stepped as I thanked the gal, and pushed the first floor button.

“Why are you pushing that button?” asked the lovely young thing (TLW).
“Why err, the first floor!”
“No, the second floor.”
“But the first floor is where we go!”
“No, the first floor is where YOU want to go.”
“Oh! I see.”

The worker suddenly smirked a little and pushed the second floor button on me.

Men, there is a lesson in all this. If you THINK you wear the pants in the house, check to see if she sewed a zipper on it.

Please remember my brother-in-law, John, and MMB (My Man Bill) and all those that need our prayers.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

IT WAS A LONG DAY!


It started the day before our trip to tour Gracie mansion. TLW (The Little Woman) signed us up for a group called “Get Up And Go!” So, we got up and went! The company called and said that we were to leave on the bus at 8:15 AM. Then a few hours later, we get another call, stating we have to leave on the bus at 7:45 AM. I thought if they call one more time, we would have to leave immediately!

Once on the bus, wouldn’t you know it, some old broad gets on and sits behind us. She proceeds to talk the whole way into New York City with her seatmate, another woman. For over an hour and a half, this woman is driving me crazy! Her seatmate can’t get a word in edge wise! She would not shut up! I am starting to talk under my breath, and ready to explode. TLW says, “Don’t get angry, that is the way it is!” or something to that effect. The woman is complaining that she doesn’t feel well, yet if she did, I am sure I would have strangled the woman! I would be writing this from Riker’s Island! Another couple sitting behind her couldn’t take it anymore and went to sit in the back of the bus!

After admonishing me, telling me to suck it up, TLW says: When we go home, I think we should sit in the back of the bus, I can’t listen to her anymore!

It seemed everywhere she went, her mouth went with her, and people were looking dazed by the experience! Sitting in a restaurant next to this stranger, the stranger had her back turned to this yakker, and looked like she should be on suicide watch. I understand why the Yakker’s husband sent her alone on the tour, to get some bloody peace!

On the grounds of Gracie mansion, with arms flailing, mouth running; revved up and never idling, she went at it with the pedal to the metal!

When we got on the bus for the return trip, the leader of the tour asked if everyone was on the bus. Big mouth waved her hand and says: “The couple that sat here (TLW and me) are missing!”

Please pray for my brother-in-law John, and MMB (My Man Bill) and all those that need our prayers.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

IT HURTS IN ANY LANGUAGE



Sunday, because TLW (The Little Woman) was out at a baby shower, I decided to go to my local Chinese take out to get dinner: the Lucky Oriental and then watch the ballgame in my easy chair. Life would be good!

As I entered the restaurant, there sitting at a table was the owner and his wife, with their small child, standing next to mama. Mama jumped up to go behind the counter, and the child followed her to a short distance, but not behind the counter. I smiled at him, but he made a shy face and looked away.

As I gave the woman my order, the child came up to me, and I smiled again. This time he smiled back at me, and I reached out to shake his hand. He reached out, and we shook!

I asked the mama how old he was, and she said in broken, halting English: “16 months”, but quickly added that he didn't talk, “not even mama or papa, not even in Chinese. There was a frown on her face, and a worried look, and I felt very bad being in familiar territory. I inquired if he understood them, and she said skeptically: “Maybe very little.” She then took my order.

Instinctively, I grabbed a business card from the counter and wrote down on the back of it, the name of Suffolk AHRC and the phone number, along with someone to speak with, and my name. I called her back over to me, explained the card to her and she got very excited. She called her husband who had returned from his dinner and she showed him the card. They spoke in Chinese and I figured, he would pick up a cleaver and suggest I mind my business. Instead, I got a pleasant smile, and some questions about the card.

It got me to thinking: does this child have a problem with speech learning, or/and distinguishing Chinese and English? Here was a seemingly bright child, scampering around the place, smiling, physically fit and beautiful. His parents, who can barely speak English, were worried about his progress.

It hurts in any language, any venue, and any time. It never goes away, and if you let it, it can paralyze you as a parent. It seems that the older my daughter gets, the more universal my concern for people with developmental disabilities is. In a way, I have to be thankful for the opportunity to help others, besides my self. God gave me two children to use an example to me that I have to help others where I can. Giving is the easy part, seeing and hearing is what is difficult.



Gratefully, I work for a great organization, one that has a great board of directors in place, and one that I have a great love for. The staff from the executive director to the part-timer shines like a candle in the darkness, giving aid, comfort and hope.

Most importantly, I discovered in expanding my horizon, those that I serve, my people, are getting that aid, comfort and hope.

STAFF APPRECIATION DAY

Unfortunately, because of a prior commitment, I will miss an annual event, one that I love to go to. It is the Staff Appreciation Day. Staff Appreciation Day is a day that honors the honorable, a day that should be everyday. I know that it is the most important day of the year. These staff people are what keeps hope alive, gives me strength, and I have dedicated my service to the agency with the motto, 'Staff first.'

Please remember all those that need our hopes and prayers, particularly my brother-in-law John, and MMB (My Man Bill).

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

THE ‘GEECH’



It was 1972, the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) was on strike, and I had joined the ranks of the commuting world on the LIE (Long Island Expressway)!

Having commuted with the LIRR, I had accumulated a few friends, and they were old-timers. Playing pinochle, every morning and on the ride home, it became a religion. Over the years, I learned to get to know and enjoy all kinds of people. They were doctors, lawyers, accountants, maintenance men, railroad workers, store clerks, artists, musicians, hairstylist, you name it, and I developed a liking to them. I love to hear what people think, and whether I agree with them or not, life becomes very interesting.

One of the things I learned from the game of pinochle is when you play with pros; you better not make a mistake! There is nothing more inexcusable than the slightest error in the game. Being how I was taught by my father pinochle, along with how to handle a hammer and a paintbrush (“Let the brush do all the work!”), I soon learned that I better think before I discard, or else there would be a lecture. The same held true for the gang on the LIRR.

The ‘Geech’ was a fellow who worked for Texaco Oil, in the Chrysler Building, in New York City. I think he was the head of maintenance, or “Maintainance” as he called it. Andy was his real name, a former truck driver, with not a serious bone in his body. My kind of guy! Andy loved the game of cards, and pinochle in particular. We would play with all the old veterans of the game, men who were past the age of retirement who still worked and commuted every morning and evening on the LIRR. When a regular was out that morning, ‘The Geech” would invite one of the women to join us. This one woman who’s name was Esther, was a foil for Andy, who would tease her unmercifully, and she loved it. With her salty tongue, she gave it to him. In pinochle, there are 48 cards, and the cards are doubles of the four suites from 9 through Aces. Andy played the same card, an ace of spades about ten times, when the most you could play it was twice! He took all her cards that way, leaving us in stitches, from the stifling our laughter. He never took her money!

One morning, Esther fell asleep on the train, all talked out. We didn’t have enough people for a game of pinochle so we chewed the rag. Andy stops the trainman in the middle of his rounds and slips him a few bucks, and takes from the trainman a hand full of seating tickets. When you give the trainman your ticket, he punches up a small seating ticket and sticks it in the seat to tell him he saw your ticket. It is the end of the ride, and we have no more stops to make before our destination. While Esther is asleep, ‘The Geech’ takes all the tickets and tears them in half, and places them over Esther! Her head, shoulders, arms lap and wherever they would sit. She was a pile of torn tickets. When we came to the final stop, Jamaica Station, she awakens, and looks at herself, in wonderment, never once thinking it was Andy!

On the LIE, we were in heavy traffic one night coming home on the Queens Boulevard. Stop and go with Andy and me in the back seat, and he is looking at a lady in the next car. “Watch this, Joe” The lady was an elderly woman, looked like
Someone’s mean mother-in-law or landlady, and Andy got her attention. She looks at him, and he sticks his tongue out at her! For no reason! She immediately gets flustered and tells her companions in her car, who start looking over at us, and there sits Andy, pretending to be looking forward, unaware!

When we went back to the LIRR, one morning Andy didn’t show up. That followed many more mornings, and I got worried, I called him at his home, and his wife told me had had a stroke. Of all the people on that train that he helped in one form or another, (He helped me move from my apartment to my house) I was the only one who called him! He said I was a real friend. He died soon after.

Please pray extra hard for MMB (My Man Bill) and for my brother-in-law John and all those that need our prayers.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A SIGN OF THE TIMES?

The other night, TLW (The Little Woman) came home and after greeting me said, she had something for me.

Me: What?
Her: Something.

I was all excited, expecting a present or surprise.

TLW goes to the refrigerator and sticks an 8.5” X 11” piece of paper under a magnet. Standing back, she admires her posting.

Me: This is for me?
Her: Yes!

The paper reads:

“IF YOU ARE
GROUCHY, IRRITABLE,
OR JUST PLAIN MEAN,
THERE IS A $10 CHARGE
FOR JUST PUTTING
UP WITH YOU …”

Really!

Me, sweet, loveable, kindly me a “Grouch”? Mean? Huh!
Maybe she was married before? Surely, she must be kidding!

OK, I have my moments, but not all at once, and not all the time. In fact, the thought that ANYONE, would say that about ME! LET ALONE MAKE A SIGN! I happen to be a very nice guy, I may not show it right away, but take my word for it, and don’t smirk! Why, love is spilling out of me as I write this. If you don’t believe me, come over here and I’ll give you “grouch”.

Maybe I should post a sign:

“DON’T YELL AT ME, BUT
YOU FELL ASLEEP WITH THE
REMOTE IN YOUR HAND,
RUNNING THROUGH THE CHANNELS
WITH YOUR FINGER ON THE BUTTON!

THAT WILL BE $10, PLEASE!”

Please remember MMB, (My Man Bill), and my Brother-in-law, John and all those that need our hopes and prayers.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

LET US PREY

This weekend coming, the hacienda will be invaded by a gaggle of Irishmen! Yes, TLW (The Little Woman) will see her brothers and sister! The occasion being the annual or semi-annual reunion of Seton Hall graduates, at the Timber Point Country Club.

Together with their spouses, there will be five Irishmen, and three Eye-Talians. It will be nice to see everyone together, since they rarely do that. One lives in Maryland, one in Virginia, and one in Connecticut.

The usual gathering will usually spell doom for me when we venture out to the reunion. Why? Because of the Nuns! Yes, the ladies with the black habits, who always find a way for me to get into, trouble.

One year, after the dinner was over, one came over to me and asked if I went to Seton Hall. Having been to a parochial school with nuns, I felt confident I could deal with her.

“No, sister, I didn’t go to Seton Hall, but I did go to Our Lady of Lourdes. Those nuns were much meaner than these.” (You still wondering why I get into trouble?)

I fully expect to get a letter this year from them stating:

Dear Sir,

After last year’s performance, watch what you say, or we will definitely kick your unholy ass.

Yours Truly,
The Sisters of Halifax, Halley Berry and Halleluiah

Here is a cute story my Polish brother-in-law from Little Poland in Connecticut sent me: These are all Irish nuns!

Sisters Mary Catherine, Maria Theresa, Katherine Marie, Rose Frances, & Mary Kathleen left the Convent on a trip to St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City and were sight-seeing on a Tuesday in July. It was hot and humid in town and their traditional garb was making them so uncomfortable, they decided to stop in at Patty McGuire's Pub for a cold soft drink.

Patty had recently added special legs to his barstools, which were the talk of the fashionable eastside neighborhood. All 5 Nuns sat up at the bar and were enjoying their Cokes when Monsignor Riley and Father McGinty entered the bar through the front door

They, too, came for a cold drink when they were shocked and almost fainted at what they saw.


Please remember all those that need our prayers, including MMB (My Man Bill) and my brother-in-law, John.

YOU MAY WANT TO PRAY FOR MY UNHOLY ASS, TOO!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

DOING HARD TIME

Yesterday was a day for #2 Son to do some hard time. We sent him out to the rock pile, kind of like a chain gang, without a chain.

We have a basketball hoop that is cemented into the ground. I put it in many years ago for #1 Son to play basketball, and challenge me to a game or two. I would whup his ass, then crawl into the house, the winner! He would walk in, wondering why I was laying on the floor! He would sweat a little, I would pant.

Recently, the pole started to bend from the rust of the many years of not using it. I pulled down the backboard and hoop, and placed it on the ground, where I will disassemble it. The pole is #2 Son’s to dig out and break up. Easily said, very difficult to do!

I issued a sledgehammer and chisel. The hammer is a short handle, because that is all I have. After a few hours of banging away, he announced; “I’m going to call my ‘X’, her father has a long handle sledgehammer, to do the job.

?

‘X’?

I didn’t think he was ever married, let alone a divorce! Me, I’m still working with my ‘A’. This fact begs the questions: “Were there any children involved, and who has custody?” and “I hope they’re not coming to live here!”

As far as the basketball labor goes, we decided to bury the darn thing, rather than try to break up the huge cement blob that sits at the bottom of the hole.

I instructed him to carefully lay the dirt when he digs, next to the hole, not to spread it all over the driveway. That is what he did, too, all over the driveway. Nice! You know you can’t legally put a 21-year old up for adoption!

Please remember all those that need our hopes and prayers, including the Polish prince, my brother-in-law, John.

Friday, April 17, 2009

ALL MAXED OUT!

Or should I say taxed out? April 15th, along with my money, came and went. Uncle Sam decided that I needed to pay. When you go to sleep tonight, rest assured that the Air Force is flying high, the Navy is sailing, and the Army is over hill and dale. Also rest assured that those &$%#@^*&$ in Washington are spending it before they even get it. And to think, I made it all possible. A simple “Thank you, taxpayers “ would be nice. Not even a card at Christmas!

I love America, where else can you write a blogue, say what you want and not worry about anybody reading it?

Actually, when my grandparents came to these shores, they took with them the sense of hope and found that you could buy pasta and make a brazziola in either pork or beef!

Now take my Great Uncle Felix, or Zio Felice, as we called him. Uncle Felix was about 4’ high and had a 4’ mustache. Coming over from “the other side”, he wore a black suit, with a gray fedora and brown shoes. As he stood on the stern of the ‘Joe Garibaldi’, right out of Naploli, he asked if they had macaroni in America. When they told him; “No” he jumped over-board. His wife, Rose, a sweet young thing leaned over the railing and yelled: “Ritornare a bordo, lei l'idioto!” (Roughly translated: “we were only kidding!”)

Paying taxes is a privilege. So is jury duty. Any more privileges and I defect to Connecticut, which left the Union years ago, but never told anybody!

Speaking of my great uncle Felix. My Great Uncle Felix, along with Aunt Rose had been experiencing declining memory, so they decided to take a power memory class where one is taught to remember things by association.

A few days after the class, Uncle Felix was outside talking with his neighbor about how much the class helped him.

"What was the name of the Instructor?" asked the neighbor.

"Oh, ummmm, let'sa see," Uncle Felix pondered. "You knowa that flower, you knowa, the one that smellsa really nizea but hasa those prickly thorns, what'sa that flower's a name?"

"A rose?" asked the neighbor.

"Yes, that'sa right," replied Uncle Felix. He then turned toward his house and shouted, "Eh, A Rose, what'sa the name of the Instructor we tooka the memory class from?"

As they say: It’s so cold outside, the politicians have their hands in their own pockets! Really, they say that.

Please remember my brother-in-law John, and all those that need our prayers.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

KENTUCKY GRILLED CHICKEN???


Today in Newsday, there is an article about KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) changing its recipe from fried to grilled, and the whole process of coating it with fewer calories! It plans to lower the sodium content in their chicken recipe as well.

This got me to think: “What am I doing for my readers to help with their health? Are my blogues low fat and low sodium?” By that I mean, do I use too much profanity or am I writing too much in each blogue?

After careful analysis from my cracked editorial staff, we have concluded that we are indeed, low fat, low-sodium, and therefore good for you! Yes, you can read this stuff as much as you want! You can even feed it to your kids and grandkids! Now here is the clincher, you can read the same blogue, more than once.

Do you have a significant birthday coming up, and want to treat yourself to something special? Read all the blogues written on your birthday! Have a significant other? Print out a blog and leave it on their pillow. Running out of toile…

In other words, there are a great number of things to do with this blogue. You might say: “Uncle Joe, what makes DelBloggolo so different from other blogues?”

Well, before a blogue is written, we try to weed out anything that might be significant, and cause you to sprain the brain. We want happy readers, not overburdened with facts and figures, which only cloud the truths I wish to bring to you. Do you want to have to memorize something that may require thinking? Do you want to have to email something to someone because you think they may be interested in it? Do you really want to interrupt that naptime in mid afternoon you so richly deserve, with your office door shut, to sit and ponder? A resounding, “NO!”

So, do yourself a favor. Read this blogue again. You’ll be glad you did, and people will love you for it. I know I will!

Please remember all those that need our prayers and hopes, including my brother-in-law, John and MMB (My Man Bill).

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I’D TEXT MESSAGE THIS, BUT…

OK, I’m in my 60’s, getting older by the minute, and maybe I should jump on the bandwagon. The text-message bandwagon is what I’m talking about. It seems I can’t go a whole day without hearing the words: “text” and “message”. Seemingly, text messaging is the quickest way to communicate!

I also hear that to do so, I would need to reinvent the spelling book I learned from so many years ago. I knew I should have gone outside to play, instead of doing my homework!

TLW (The Little Woman) and I were talking about it a few days ago, and how kids seem to use it the most. The problem is that no one spells out the words anymore! By #1 Son’s estimation, spelling will change in 30 years. ‘You are’ will become ‘U R’ in any document you choose to print or write out. I see it already in emails I get, and frankly, it is a little annoying. There is an endless supply of letters in your keyboard, and being thrifty with them will not save anything. In fact, you will wear out your u and r keys, if you keep it up!

It’s bad enough none of us use handwriting anymore, we don’t mail letters like we used to, and even the emails are short and abbreviations are used extensively! Are the times changing so drastically! Will we lose our ability to communicate altogether in a coherent structure that is clear and concise?

I?4U. @TEOTD, WIIFM?

GL

http://www.webopedia.com/quick_ref/textmessageabbreviations.asp#w

Please remember all those that need our hopes and prayers, particularly MMB (My Man Bill) and my brother-in-law, John.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

ONLY ON EASTER SUNDAY?

The church was packed! People were entering in long after it was time. My guess was that three quarters of those in the place were what I call: “Sunshine Catholics.” “Sunshine Catholics” come out of the woodwork three times a year. Christmas, Palm Sunday (It’s free) and Easter Sunday.

I as usual was a little annoyed, in God’s house, where I should be “Christian-like”, because four brats and a mustached lady took TLW (The Little Woman) and my usual seats. Being unseated is like having season seats at the ballpark, and being reassigned to left field, instead of behind the dugout! Everything seemed out of whack. I was too close to the priest, so I had to look like I was listening to his sermon. To make matters worse, I couldn’t “Rest my eyes” so to speak.

Suddenly they threw out the first hymn, and the Priest yelled: “Let us pray.” The priest, a nice man from Nairobi, stood about 6’8” tall, with a very heavy accent. Suddenly, he was up on the altar, giving his sermon. Ranging the length of the altar, he gave his pitch, punctuating the air with his hands, imploring his captivated audience and eliciting from them, a response on cue! The congregation was almost up on their feet, responding when they were cued. It was a one-word response. Everyone in the church, from the littlest to the oldest responded, and enthusiastically. That is, everyone but one solitary person. Me. For the life of me, and under petitions to God himself, I could not understand a word he said! Why? I’m glad you asked. Because I’m stoned deaf!

Sitting there straining, I thought to myself how funny it would be if everyone repeating what the priest said, said it with his accent.

Deafness is a good thing. People, who are deaf, sometimes fight the science that can cure them of their deafness. I mean, after all, if you ever heard a boring sermon, and I’m sure you have, if you are wearing a hearing aid, you don’t turn it up! No, you turn it down, and laugh to yourself that everyone else has to hear it!

After the service, TLW and I, as is our custom, went to a local diner for breakfast. As we sat down, I asked her what the heck the priest was saying. Looking at me, she said: he was saying “redeemer’, but pronouncing it “raydeemer! Everyone was repeating back, “raydeemer!

I happen to be on the fast track to hell, unless of course, my Raydeemer comes and saves me.

When driving by a Baptist church on Rte. 110 in Huntington, there is a sign that reads: “JESUS SAVES.” I wonder at what bank?

Please remember MMB (MY Man Bill) and my brother-in-law, John, and all those that need our hopes for recovery.

Monday, April 13, 2009

OK, I’LL PICK A CARD.

It was raining heavily, as I dropped TLW (The Little Woman) off at the front of the restaurant. Dodging the raindrops, I race to the restaurant and opened the heavy wooden doors. There, in the lobby facing me after a few years, a drink in his hand and a smile on his face stood Bud! He hadn’t changed much in all that time, a few pounds more, and now all grey, but Bud was there!

Next to him was his lovely wife Judy, ever faithful, always at his side.

The four of us were seated, and he began to tell me about how things were going in his life. A new granddaughter, and a new future daughter-in-law, with a wedding coming in July’10! Both his children seemed to be doing well, and he seemed happy.

Bud is a talker, likes to talk about hockey, baseball, his kids and his job. Recently, because of age and the fact that he made too much money, he was let go. Letting Bud, a natural salesman go in the insurance business, makes me wonder how bad the insurance business will get?

But Bud had a card up his sleeve, or should I say three decks in his pocket! That’s right, Bud had gotten into, besides his church, card tricks and magic. His first trick he blew, when I noticed an extra card in his trick. TLW yelled at me and said I should let him do the trick anyway. Killjoy, no, not me, her!

It seems: he had three tricks, with three different decks! One trick for each deck was his plan. I hope he doesn’t learn any more tricks: his pockets will be bulging!

Wearing his Mets jacket and a black shirt that had a Polo club design on it, we all paid little attention to the food, more attention to the drinks, and all our attention to Bud.

Bud, as you know from yesterday’s blogue, would walk right in my house, without knocking. He felt like family, and felt he belonged. He related how he only has one real neighbor that he talks to, but he doesn’t just walk right in, they are not that close!

I think both TLW and me both missed Bud. He should have never moved, he brought a good sense to the neighborhood. Just a good guy, that Bud is. I put him right up there with MMB (My Man Bill)!

Please remember MMB, and my brother-in-law, John, and all those that need our prayers.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

LET’S RAMBLE!


First, and most importantly: “Happy Birthday” to the birthday girl! Courtney, a friend of #1 Son, is a year older, but unlike this so-called writer, a year more beautiful! My hope is she made herself some chocolate for Easter: she will be treating herself, royally.

To all of you out there, I hope Passover and Easter find you feeling well, and remember, this time of year is when hope springs eternal. Be it baseball, or the game of life: hope is all we have in reality.

For years, and up until recently, TLW (The Little Woman) used to make up Easter Baskets for the kids. When Ellen and #1 and #2 Son were well into adult-hood, she would have a basket with jellybeans and chocolate ready for Easter morning. When they were kids, Saturday night before Easter Sunday was spent coloring eggs. Once they went off to bed, I would hide the eggs. I thought that this year I’d try something different. Instead of hiding the eggs, I will hide #2 Son.

We have an old film of #1 son, graduating from nursery school, complete with a little skit where he is a bunny, with ears. He hops, with bunny ears on! Every time he becomes a smart ass, I think of that in my head. I should really get that in an mpg format and show it!

I remember when Tessie, my much older sister and I were kiddies, got Easter baskets. Tess would wake me up and say: “Hey, before Mommy and Daddy send you go back to the adoption agency today, get up and go get your Easter basket from the Easter Bunny. Every year it seems, she got a whole lot of jellybeans and two chocolate bunnies, and I got that cellophane grass in my basket. I could never understand how that happened, every year! Then that first year I was married, TLW (The Little Woman), explained it to me. Women get chocolates, and men mow the grass. Thanks, Toots, I feel better now, knowing. Funny thing, TLW’s chocolates said: “Perugina” on them, and my grass is real!

My fellow Board member and Arthur Avenue explorer, Ken Walker, already had his ‘Easter’, a week earlier, when he had rabbit for lunch!

Yesterday I had dinner with an old buddy of both TLW and me. His name is Bud. Bud and his lovely wife Judy lived across the street from us for years. He was the first neighbor I met on the street. Often he would pop in to say “Hello”. I would be eating, and suddenly have this strange feeling I was being watched. A shadow would be cast across my plate, I would look up, and there stood Bud! He was the only person I would let do that because he was such a good guy. Probably MMB, (My Man Bill) would come under that category, too.

More on the Bud and Judy lunch tomorrow.

To all my readers out there… Un bacio da me a lei, e Pasqua Felici o Pasqua ebraica

Please remember MMB (MY Man Bill) and my brother-in-law, John and all those that need our hopes and prayers.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

PAVLOV’S DOG HAS NOTHING ON ME!

The morning drew to a close. As I get up from the dining room floor, my army ready for another pitch battle, I looked for Mom. She was busy finishing up the mopping of the tiled kitchen floor, and was picking up the newspapers she had are carefully laid down.

On a spring day, particularly when the weather was beautiful, she would open all the windows and help the floor dry. Mom would sing to her self as she mopped, or worked around the house. All the old songs from when she was a child, and heard them from the radio, Mom would pass them along to my sisters and me.

As the morning ended, one could hear the distant sound of the ‘Angelis’ the bell ringing that occurred every day at noon. You could look out the kitchen window, across the back yards toward Aberdeen Street, and see the bell tower, in it’s Gothic like magnificence and it slowly and mournfully tolled.

That was a trigger!

When I heard the welcomed sound of the bells, my stomach would begin to make noises that seemed to keep pace with the bell. In my ‘dungarees and stripped shirt, I would look down at my stomach and say: “I know, I hope it’s a bologna sandwich.”

My mouth salivating, just like a dog, I waited near the table and watched as she took out the Wonder Bread or Silvercup Bread or God help me, the Italian bread. Some days it was peppers and eggs, some days make believe cutlets, (a poor man’s version of veal or chicken cutlets without the meat. Just Eggs, cheese and breadcrumbs, mixed and sautéed.) Sometimes, she would reach in the frig, and make a potato and eggs sandwich! I was at a restaurant once in Port Washington, and the menu offered it, and I paid over $7 for it! The all had the welcome smell of cheese or peppers that permeated throughout the 5-room apartment on Hull Street in Brooklyn.

Whatever Mom made was heaven sent! Mom, loved to eat, and did we all, but only Mom and my Grandmother really knew how to bring it to the table.

It seemed the spring days that one could feel the warmth of the sunshine and its brightness, causes me to remember other moments in my past. Days that trigger good memories are vignettes of sweet recall.

Please remember My Man Bill, and my Brother-in-law, John, and all those that need our hopes and prayers.

Friday, April 10, 2009

I’M BEING NAGGED TO DEATH!

Having grown up with four (4) sisters, being the only boy in the flock, a mother, a grandmother and a few aunts, not to mention girl cousins, I know what it is like to have women around. Then to add icing to the cake, I got married, had a daughter, a mother-in-law, and a few sister-in-laws. None of them, and I mean none, do to me what one female cocker spaniel does. The dog is a nag!

‘Happy’ starts early in the morning, about 3:30, 4:00 a.m., and doesn’t stop until I retire at night. She is a watchdog, watching my every move, hoping to eat and makes sure I can’t pass her without having to trip first.

A sleeping sentinel, she jealously guards my studio, sleeping at the entrance, nose on the ready, in case I try to eat something. She will look at me as I begin to bite, staring and at the ready. Sitting on her haunches, she makes me feel guilty.

Every morning, she bounds up the stairway, and finds me in my studio. Sitting at my feet, she demands a snack or treat. Her eyes in anticipation, she looks. At 4:30 p.m., she starts in again. Lettuce is her thing. She nudges me in the hand. Pouncing around my feet, she barks at me. Running up and down the room, she gets excited, waiting for me to give her some of the green stuff.

During the course of the day, about 50 times an hour, she has to pee. She goes to the back door, and rings a little bell at the base of the door. This is to alert us to her having to go. She hits it with her pore, then stares at me, as if to say: “WELL! Let’s go, get up and let me out!”

God forbid I should use the toilet, or be behind a closed door, she barks at me! Yes, she is yelling at me! “What’s going on behind that door, you eating something on me?”

All day long, she follows me around the house, if I sit to eat lunch; she is at my feet, like an orphan waiting for a handout from a stranger.

Dinner is no exception, and finally, after the day is done, as I sit at my computer to check my email, she sits at my feet, for her bed-time snack!

I hate her, and hope she lives forever. When she is no longer with us, I will miss her, but meanwhile I hate her.

Please remember My Man Bill, and my Brother-in-law, and all those that need our prayers.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

THE BROTH, IT IS SPOILED!

You heard the old adage: “Too many cooks spoil the broth.” Well, what about the lasagna, or steak, or even the corn? Huh?

Whenever TLW (The Little Woman) is home, and I cook, she either sits in her chair or patrols the kitchen while I cook. Her sitting in her chair is a nice experience for me: I rest. When she patrols the kitchen is where the trouble lies.

TLW: “How much oil did you use?” Looking suspicious.
Me: “Not enough!” Looking guilty.
TLW: “Did you defrost that, first?”
Me: “Yes, dear.”
TLW: “You know, you really don’t need all that much pepper.”
Me: “Why don’t you… OK.”

Of course, often when she sits down to eat, if it really tastes good, and she got up for seconds, she will start her interrogation with a simple question:
TLW: “How much oil did you use?” Looking suspicious.
Me: “Not enough!” Looking guilty.

TLW is a proponent of low-fat diets. I am a proponent of taste good diets.

TLW would like to create an on-the-spot program, similar to ‘spell-check’, calling it ‘fat-check. This is where she checks for truth content, or how much oil I used. She would like to employ a ‘Fat-police force, with secret undercover and both fat monitors and cameras that record my every move in the kitchen. Of course, one infraction of the rules and I am sent up for life at Fat-Fat prison in Ossining, NY! In this prison, you are fed low-fat bread and (believe it or not) low fat water! They play a recording on a loop, called: “How much oil did you use?”

One of the things TLW makes, and she makes everything great, is my Mom’s sauce recipe for pasta. On a given Sunday, she will whip up a batch and freeze it. She will dole it out when necessary, like when my nephew, the macaroni man comes to watch the game, or when my daughter comes home. This sauce is also made for Christmas and Easter Sunday for her Lasagna. However, she has my grandmother, who taught my Mother how to make the sauce, doing 360-degree turns from a horizontal position. Why? Because she bakes the meatballs! She doesn’t fry them! As for her sausages, they must be pork, if she slips in a turkey sausage, I will whip out my divorce papers, (just fill in the date) and we go to court! (I think she does, but I can’t prove it!) Trouble is, I can’t tell turkey from pork in a sausage! She is trying to keep me alive, so she can question me.

There is an old joke in the borsch belt that goes: “Why do married men die before their wives? Because they want to.”

And so, the cooks battle in the kitchen, avoiding the broth.

MMB (My Man Bill) is back in the hospital. I am hoping they can find the source of his problem and fix him. They had to tie him to the bed, because he was found helping the maintenance crew, instead of taking tests!

Please remember MMB and my brother-in-law, and all those that are ill.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

RARE MOMENTS OF LUCIDNESS

Being a husband has its moments. For one thing, we are not always right, for another, we are not always right! This can cause a problem or two, when you need to argue a point with TLW (The Little Woman).

It seems that they have all the answers, know where everything is, and will kill you with past-history. Many times, I have carefully prepared my case, studied all the points I wanted to make and rehearsed in my head what I would say. I once even anticipated what her response would be, but I gave that up when I lost that argument! No matter how well I remember, how well I argue, she still wins!

Being a woman means having persuasive powers over a man. You as a man can never discuss her weight, unless she brings it up, if you tell her she is beautiful, she won’t believe you, and you won’t get an answer if you ask how old she is. YOU NEVER, EVER, MAKE COMPARISONS WITH MOVIE STARLETS, unless they are complimentary!

So, you must be asking yourself: So what is it he is trying to tell me I don’t already know as a husband?”

I remember Dad, coming up with ‘beauts’ for arguments, then, looking like the blimp that crash-landed in Lakehurst, New Jersey in the 30’s, when feisty Mom was finished with him. A fiery crash, followed by total disappearance! “My God! The Carnage!”

I have found a way for you as a husband to win an argument, make a point, and the real clincher, she will not argue back. In fact, she will not even answer you. Do like I do, argue with her while she’s in another room. Maybe while she is out of the house, or maybe in another state, or country. It might be a good idea to whisper, too.

OK, it’s not like facing her, but you do want to win, don’t you?

Please remember my brother-in-law John, and all those that need our hopes and prayers for full recoveries.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

TAKING A DAY OFF!

Today I received the following in the mail from one of my beautiful sisters. I want to share it with all of you, it is the way I feel, and I hope you feel this too. It comes from MaryAnn, the airline stewardess, who dropped it while she flew over. I hope it was from a plane, this time.

ENLIGHTENED PERSPECTIVES

Please Read all the way to the bottom: If you will take the time to read these. I promise you'll come away with an enlightened perspective. The subjects covered affect us all on a daily basis:
They're written by Andy Rooney , a man who has the gift of saying so much with so few words. Enjoy.......

I've learned... That the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.
I've learned... That when you're in love, it shows.
I've learned... That just one person saying to me, 'You've made my day!' makes my day.
I've learned... That having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.
I've learned... That being kind is more important than being right.
I've learned... That you should never say no to a gift from a child.
I've learned... That I can always pray for someone when I don't have the strength to help him in some other way.
I've learned... That no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.
I've learned... That sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.
I've learned... That simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.
I've learned... That life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.
I've learned... That we should be glad God doesn't give us everything we ask for.
I've learned... That money doesn't buy class.
I've learned... That it's those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.
I've learned.. That under everyone's hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved
I've learned... That to ignore the facts does not change the facts.
I 've learned... That when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.
I've learned... That love, not time, heals all wounds.
I've learned... That the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.
I've learned.. That everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.
I've learned... That no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.
I've learned.. That life is tough, but I'm tougher.
I've learned... That opportunities are never lost, someone will take the ones you miss.
I've learned... That when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere..
I've learned... That I wish I could have told my Mom that I love her one more time before she passed away.
I've learned... That one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them
I've learned... That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.
I've learned... That when your newly born grandchild holds your little finger in his little fist, that you're hooked for life.
I've learned... That everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it.
I've learned... That the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.

It's National Friendship Week. HAPPY FRIENDSHIP WEEK TO YOU!!!!!! YOU ARE MY FRIENDS AND I AM HONORED THAT YOU READ!

Please remember John, my brother-in-law, and all those that need our hopes and prayers.

Monday, April 06, 2009

THERE WAS A TIME

It is strange the human condition. We never miss what we never had, but if something is taken away from us, we will. We have our health, then one day we become ill, and we miss what we took for granted. How often do we wish things were the way they used to be? We never take stock for what we have and say: “Thanks!” No, we are not contented to recognize what good fortune is, until it is gone. Yet, we lament the loss, and are not grateful for the moments when we had it.

One of the goals of this blogue is to recognize when people do meaningful things, for others and for themselves. All too often, I hear about this or that person, as they lay in their final resting place, and how wonderful they really were. I never had the chance to say; “thanks” or “I appreciate your being”, or quietly doing something kind for them.

Thirty years ago today, a little boy was born, and I celebrated with TLW (The Little Woman), and my two children, the birth of that little boy. He was with us only a short while, and when he left us, a little bit of us left with him. His name was Joseph Michael, and people said that it looked like someone had cut my head off as a little child and put it on him! He looked so much like me!

Every year at this time, we remember him, and sadness overcomes me, like a grey curtain, descending down in a sad, quiet finality, I think of what could have been. A poet once wrote: “Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: It might have been.” I see someone his age, and I think, “That could be my son.” All through the past 28 years, whenever I see saw someone his age, I remembered him. I miss him.

I look around me now, and I think how lucky I am to have known him! What was meant to be, will be. In spite of all his imperfections, he was loved as he loved. We knew no boundaries: those were happy days in trying times even as he slowly died. He is gone, but not his memory.

For all my children there are no boundaries when it comes to love. TLW and me both feel that way. We give and forgive. That is what parents will do. If you are a parent, I know that is what you do. If you are married, and you truly love your spouse, it is the same condition.

On my property, there sits a little garden. I built this garden myself. It is in memory of that little boy. It is Joseph’s Garden. I go there and I think of him. I will be there, rain or shine today, and I will remember him. But don’t feel sorry for me, I knew him then, and I still know him now. I will visit his grave today, and I will swing over to visit the grave of two other little children I know, Brandon and Thomas, my nephews. It is now the two brothers garden too. And it is for any child that suffered or will suffer. I will celebrate their lives, the joy they gave and the love that lent it self to all that knew them.

Please remember my brother-in-law John, and all those that need our hopes and prayers.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

ZERO, OTTO, NOVE



The meetings were over, the reports all read, and the convention ended early. Ken Walker, my fellow member of the NYSARC Board of Governors, asked if I would be opposed to leaving, and getting a jump on the long trip home. This meant missing the luncheon, but I was still full from breakfast. It was a go.

As we approached the Bronx, from our long trip down the NYS Thruway, Ken, the Genius that he is said: “Would you be opposed to a little pasta on Arthur Avenue on the Bronx?” (He's not opposed to anything! Neither am I.)

As we navigated our way through the heavy congestion of the Bronx, we soon found ourselves on Arthur Avenue, and selecting a choice parking spot, we climb out of the car. Not finding Roberto’s open anymore, a small sign directed us to another location to a great place called: Zero Otto Nove. Between the atmosphere in the streets and the one in the restaurant, I was hauled back to my childhood, and the sweet aromas that made my Grandmother so special! Not only is Arthur Avenue filled with great restaurants and aromas; it is filled with bakeries that beg one to come on in and browse.

Ken feasted on rabbit, while I indulged in a pork chop with sweet peppers, and a dry red wine that was superb! Of course, I kicked and screamed all the way into the restaurant, with the promise of great food, I resisted as best I could. Once the meal was over, (COSTATELLE DI MAIALE E PUPACCHIELLE) we tried an espresso and a canoli, with the cream so sweet, and the shell perfect, that I haven’t had one like it since I was growing up in Brooklyn.

The neighborhood is predominately Italian, and that is all I could see on the streets. Beautiful faces, filled with cheer, conversation and animation. People stood waving their hands as they spoke, the fluidity of the Italian language, expressively communicating even the mundane. It felt like a time warp for me, as I felt the pace of a one time Fulton Street, shops with open-air convenience, for fish, vegetables and candy stores, promising the news, cigarettes and candy!

The joy of living was evident in the faces of the patrons at Zero Otto Nove, 2357 Arthur Ave., Bronx, NY 10458 (718) 220-1027 http://www.roberto089.com/index_089.html Italians, Americans and even whole large Chinese families, leaving or entering the restaurant! The ambiance was a great attempt at the old world make do charm that is so prevalent in Florence and Rome.

The day didn’t stop there. No, I had the good fortune of riding with one of the few and interesting gentlemen there is. Ken Walker, is a dedicated member of the Suffolk Chapter AHRC, and a father of a beautiful daughter named Sabrina, who lives in one of the group homes. Ken, like me, is also a former president of the board. Once we reached his hometown of Amityville, where the movie was the real horror, he gave me a tour of the town. If you don’t know Ken, then you are missing something worthwhile.

Please remember my brother-in-law John, and all those that need our prayers.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

EVERY YEAR AT THIS TIME!


It seems to me, people become more active after the winter months. Graduations, weddings and party’s, dinners and meetings take up my time. Every spring, I go up to Albany to a spring convention, then a meeting upstate somewhere. This spring is no exception.

This year, TLW has become more active, and is now flaunting in my face, her many social dates. She counts out loud, for my benefit, where she is going for dinners and showers and the kinds of occasions she is in for. (It’s the restaurants she wants me to be jealous of.)

In the coming weeks, she and I will attend a wedding, a school reunion, and in both occasions, that means family reunions on her side. Lots of Irishmen! Lots!

Fortunately, they have seen the light and most have married Italians! That’s good! I need paisans to commiserate with.

Getting back to the facts at hand, she is sticking me folks! Jabbing me with fancy restaurant attendance, and telling me to cook for myself! NOT EVEN CHINESE TAKEOUT!

What happened to the sweet girl I married from long ago? TLW tells me it is “Payback” for all those years of fancy lunches I went to while she stayed home with the kids. What she fails to realize is that that was work! I WAS WORKING, AND WORKING HARD. Is this the thanks I get?

Please remember my brother-in-law John and all those that need our prayers.

Friday, April 03, 2009

ALBANY, HERE I COME!

Today I drive up to Albany New York for a NYSARC convention http://www.nysarc.org/. Wild women and booze will be nowhere in sight. Instead, there will be parents, mostly over 65 and tired but ready for a fight. And where best to fight but the State capitol. The Bums are really screwing it up, and taking advantage of a weak and vulnerable population.

I represent my chapter, Suffolk AHRC, http://www.ahrcsuffolk.org/ and along with three other delegates, we will pound the floors of the convention hall, the podium if need be, and maybe even some political heads. There are some 58 other chapters, representing the various counties in the state.

We will arrive around 4 pm, check in and around 6:00 pm, will go to dinner, hear a lot of speeches, yawn and then around 8:00 pm sit down in a large room and meet until about 11:00 pm. I know it is a lot to do and a long day, but I see my sweet daughter’s face in front of me. I also see so many poor souls that need help, who may not sleep well because of how they feel.

Then, in October, we do it all over again, only for a longer period-of-time. It does keep me off the streets, and out of pool halls and bars. If you’ve been to Albany lately, no one goes there, people leave. It is a ghost town that: is starting to look like it has abandoned all hope of recovery!

TLW (The Little Woman) will have #2 Son, all to herself, while I shuffle papers, listen and argue. Usually, after the first meeting of the night, I get sequestered by some chapter to meet in a bar for some consultation and discussion. I make sure that my colleagues: Jack Daniels, Mr. Martini and Mr. Rossi accompany me. Being how this is a highly charged convention this year, I will really rely on them!

The picture of the Governor is the best I could find!

Please remember my brother-in-law, John, and all those that need our prayers.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

THE LONGEST DAY.

Bone weary exhaustion, coupled with enough aches and pains to occupy a full staff of doctors and nurses, TLW (The Little Woman) and I awakened for another day of painting walls and doors. We have both vowed: “Never again!”

Funny how when we were younger we wished we could afford to hire someone to do the work. We would work well into the night, and be finished within half the time we spend now. Now that we can afford to have it done, we do it anyway! Then we congratulate ourselves that we saved maybe $600 to $800 minimum for the work.

TLW is there with me, every step of the way, every brush stroke matching mine. The only difference is she doesn’t swear off in Italian. When we finished the walls, both up and down stairs, we felt a sense of accomplishment.

In the early afternoon, TLW and I decided to look for a paper border for the small toilet we have in the entranceway, since we painted it. Going to Lowe’s and then Home Depot, where there was nothing, we decided we will go to Aboff’s and go through the tedium of looking through books. My feet and legs were killing me from the up and down of the stairs and ladders, and I lost patience with it all. Then TLW made an announcement! “You will spend the afternoon looking on the internet for border ideas, maybe we can order something from there.” That is not going to happen, since before I buy, I want to see first-hand what it looks like.

Today, while you read this, we will be painting 11 doors, both upstairs and downstairs, and we will be finally finished! I hope.

Please remember my brother-in-law, John, and all those that need our prayers.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

THE NOT SO GREAT WALENDA!



Or, get me off this @^%($#@^ trapeze!


Today I scaled new heights! To reach an unreachable goal, TLW (The Little Woman) and I rigged a series of ladders, platforms and boosters so I could paint a short wall that had no way of being painted. Mind you, I have painted this wall numerous times, papered it, and even drew and painted straight lines during the twenty some odd years I have lived here. TLW said it needed painting, so we painted. I could hire someone, but they would screw it up, worst than me!

As we scratched our heads trying to figure out how to reach the unreachable, we started to experiment with ladders, boards and tables, everything seemed to defy conventional wisdom, which is to not paint it. Slowly, over the steps, under my direction, we constructed either the tools to my demise, or a way to paint the wall.

Standing in the middle of space, my knees and legs shaking, I mounted the structure with nothing around me to hold on to. It quaked and I moaned. It swayed, and I prayed. Balancing myself, I nervously reached up, trying to hold my breath while keeping a steady hand, not to get paint on the ceiling! God, with me doing all the talking and me! TLW was shaking as much as I was, she would have to clean up the broken bones, blood and all my brains that would have splattered into the rooms below.

To dream ... the impossible dream ...
To fight ... the unbeatable foe ...
To bear ... with unbearable sorrow ...
To run ... where the brave dare not go ...
To right ... the unrightable wrong ...
To love ... pure and chaste from afar ...
To try ... when your arms are too weary ...
To reach ... the unreachable star ...

This is my quest, to follow that star ...
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far ...
To fight for the right, without question or pause ...
To be willing to march into Hell, for a Heavenly cause ...

And I know if I'll only be true, to this glorious quest,
That my heart will lie will lie peaceful and calm,
when I'm laid to my rest ...
And the world will be better for this:
That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
Still strove, with his last ounce of courage,
To reach ... the unreachable star ...



Finally, it was done. If I had failed, you would not have had to read about it!

Please remember my Brother-in-law, John, and all those that need our prayers.