DelBloggolo

Sunday, March 31, 2013

I’M GETTING NOTHING FOR EASTER!

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They showed up in two’s and three’s, the doorbell ringing constantly as friends and relatives arrived, paid their respects to Zia Francesca, with a: “Appy East” and spoke their native tongue. They were able to speak three languages, Broken English, Italian and what I call ‘Mano-Italiano,’ making multi-syllabic statements in two to ten fingers, depending on how poetic they were. These statements were often a collection of Broken English and Italian words to accompany the conversation. Facial expression was key to understanding a conversation. Someone made a point without expression meant that they were not happy.

I’m talking about Easter Sunday growing up in Brooklyn, and the festive atmosphere that pervaded the family. During those golden days of living in Brooklyn during the 50’s, attitudes were different, the mores of yesterday conflicting with today’s. In those days you didn’t just roll out of bed and off you went. Today you see people in stores early in the morning in their pj’s! No, for the holiday or any Sunday, you dressed for church and dinner, then as the day wore on, you relaxed. No one ever got on a plane without dressing, or had a business appointment without shined shoes, neatly combed hair and a freshly starched shirt with tie and jacket.

Of course we also had other hang-ups that made up our collective psyches but at least there was some sense of order and respect.

Easter was THE holiday for the Italian-Americans. In spite of what we did on Christmas Eve, this was THE day: it signified many things. You were getting a meal at grandma’s, a big old-fashioned meal, grandpa would be nagged to death to stop playing cards at the Republican Club and come home to eat, I got a chance to see these Napoli cigars, all knarly and stinky, popped in Zio Felice’s kisser, and pinochle games or poker, depending on what was the prevailing mood. Grandma on the other hand got to preside over her huge family, which today would be unbelievable to her, as she would see what her sacrifice to come to this country paid off in!

Easter pies like Ricotta Cheese pie
Hope did spring eternal, from the Eternal City to the new world, spring was in the air and this made Easter Sunday joyous and special. It seemed to be always a bright, sunny and warm day, warm enough to go about in a spring jacket, not an overcoat. But that might just be my memory and not fact.

But the best part of Easter was seeing all my cousins from Patchogue come out to Brooklyn, and plans were made for my older sister Tessie (much older) and me to go out to Patchogue for a few weeks in the summer to free us from the grime of the city streets.

It seems that living in the city or borough of Brooklyn was special. It meant tradition was followed because most of our grandparents “came over from the other side” as they said. Coming over from the other side was crossing the pond in today’s lingo, and be it Italian, Irish, German or Slavic, it meant that the traditions of your grandparents were held sacred and followed as a religion.
I don't know, maybe a vacation will help.
I am grateful to have lived through all that tradition. It was special and it was wonderful, it connected me to my roots and made me also appreciate what a great place I now live in. No matter what the traditions, we all experienced: I think we can be happy with that part of our lives, and come together in a common cause to create new traditions for our children to build upon.

“A appy East” to all!



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Saturday, March 30, 2013

MARCH

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As I look out the window this Monday morning, it is March 25fth; the early spring morning is grey and cold. What is worse is we are expecting snow and it should be 2 to 4 inches! People this winter past have had enough and so it goes. The way winter is overlapping, will fall do the same?

The TV news is showing a guy ‘LIVE’ in Fredericks, Maryland standing in snow as I write this. One of my fellow board members is happily skiing away the hours, enjoying the snow out west. The Bay Hill Invitational looks like it is a wash out as is all of Orlando Florida! It got me thinking: is there any truth in global warming?

I keep hearing about global WARMING, and keep freezing! In my day when you mention warming, you don’t expect to see snow. Now if palm trees were popping all over the place, I could believe, but the only palm trees I expect to see are potted, unless I get potted.

Now the experts say that the fact that we are having snow so late is due to global warming. Huh? Are they the ones spreading this rumor? Something about the melting icebergs, and the rising seas and maybe the Yankees won’t win the pennant this year? What IS happening to my life?

Mom called March: “Crazy March” that only crazy people are born in Crazy March. Of course she doesn’t really believe it since two of her off spring are born in March. If she were correct, I would be the sanest of her children being born in July. How many of you would believe that? I could rest my case on that alone.
JULY SANITY
I do recall one March where I flew down to Orlando while a snowstorm was about to hit NYC, landed in Durham, it started to snow and then flew to Florida, landing at 11:00 PM in sweltering humidity and heat, and woke up to 32 degrees temperatures!

video

When you think about it, we sense the disaster due to our time here on Earth, but if you look back into history, the weather has always been unpredictable and will always be unpredictable!

As for me, I will do some chores, a little design work I need to do, take a nap and watch the snow come down all from my recliner.

So let it snow, be it Monday who cares in the end? I’m happy to be alive and retired. My weather forecast goes like this: Early morning coffee changing to Jack Daniels by evening.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF MY FAVORITE PEOPLE IN THE WHOLE WORLD, GERARD O'HARA

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Friday, March 29, 2013

21st CENTURY TLW


TLW (The Little Woman) has stepped into the 21st Century before I did!

The other day she comes home with this package of plastic ice cubes, dangling them in my face.

“What’s that?” I inquire. (Four years of college will do that!)

“Oh, I saw this in the store and thought I’d try it. They’re plastic ice cubes.”

“What do they have, flies inside them and people get crazy finding them in their drinks?”

“NO. They have water and you freeze them and put them in your drink. This prevents the drink from watering from the cubes.” She informs me.

Being a man of today’s technology, I tell her to knock herself out.

Now I’m a man who is a traditionalist to some degree. I am conservative by nature in that I don’t always embrace change for change sake. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it is my philosophy. However, when it comes to Jack Daniels Manhattans, it is more so.  The use of exotic foreign fruit, other than a cherry: no pineapple in my baked macaroni, nothing but pepperoni, sausage and cheese on my pizza, don’t try to innovate when it comes to time-honored tradition. Don’t fool with bagels or knishes too. DON’T MESS WITH GENTLEMAN JACK, if you get my drift.

Well the big test comes and TLW makes me one of her award winning Jack Daniels Manhattans with the usual aplomb. Except that the drink doesn’t look right. I’m use to a Manhattan with a certain color, not darker, not lighter, not hued differently. You DON”T mess with mother nature. The drink is one hue and one hue only, don’t screw around.

If you want to lose your want for a drink, have one like a Manhattan with what looks like a lemon or lime wedge, or a blue ice cube. WHO puts a blue ice cube in their Jack Daniels Manhattan???? This is like the Pope appointing someone from the Ku Klux Klan to Cardinal, one white hood for a red skullcap (zucchetto) or yarmulke.

While writing this blogue, TLW asks: “So what do you think of these ice cubes?”



Thursday, March 28, 2013

DANCING UNDER THE BED!

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Every year my daughter’s agency has what is called a ‘Candlelight Ball’. It is a special celebration and formal black tie affair. It has things like a silent auction, 50/50 raffle and an honoree that we praise to the heavens and thank for his or her generosity, dedication and devotion to the agency. Corporations are awarded thank you of some kind and I think you get the picture. When I was president of the organization I used to wear a tuxedo to the event. After doing that a few times, people were tipping me thinking I was the waiter, so now I wear a suit.


Our last scheduled ball was to be in late October. Early on October 29, Hurricane Sandy curved north-northwest and then moved ashore in New Jersey, just to the northeast of Atlantic City, as a post-tropical cyclone with hurricane-force winds.  Without tickets to the Candlelight Ball, it headed right to the venue and all day we wondered what would be. Anticipating an incredible cocktail hour, spiked with great dishes that defied you to sit through the full-course dinner that was to come and the endless small talk. What was: was a cancellation of the ball! A new date was needed. We pointed our collective noses toward February 9th as the new target date, crossing our fingers that we didn’t get snowed out.

The morning dawned crisp, cold and grey, with little misty like snowflakes that gradually grew and an avalanche of emails stating to hold on, don’t polish those dancing shoes just yet, we will try to do it and let’s see how bad it is getting. We should have crossed our fingers, toes and instead crossed our eyes: as the snow grew worse by the hour! Once again, we called off the ball!

Did you ever hear the phrase: “I give up!” or have you ever been exasperated?

One more date was scheduled for March. March 21 would be the new target date, the next attempt at the Candlelight Ball. This time we decided, to prevent a major storm, we would schedule a scaled down version of the big event. Maybe keep it within the norms of just a bad weather day and not a major storm, maybe winds under 25 mph or snow under 6 inches.

March 21st dawned cold, crisp and grey, and as the day progressed, so did the snow showers. As I emerged from under my bed to see if I should dress or not for the ‘ball’, I watched with amazement as the snow started to build up on my lawn, shrubs and car, it was a ‘why not?’ kind of experience. But because it WAS scaled down, all out weather objectives were achieved!

Going to the event that evening, I sat there and felt like I had a fight with someone bigger and stronger than me, but that I did not quit, and fought on until I survived. I was battered and bruised, but I was still standing! I guess the three Jack Daniels Manhattans helped me along.

It was: “Welcome to LAST YEAR”S Candlelight Ball. That is OK, I was a little younger then.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

MARCH 27, A HOLIDAY!


We all celebrate holidays, we take the day off, we hang a flag or make a big meal, and sometimes all three. All our holidays are either religious or national, but I contend we should have personal holidays, like an anniversary or a birthday or someone else’s for that matter.


With this in mind, I am proposing ‘Tessie, my older sister (much older) birthday Day’! I know it is a mouth full, but she is always using hers, so why not.

Old Tess and I go back a ways, way back. When mom had had it, and wanted to get away form me for a short respite, she would summon Tessie, my older sister (much older) and send her to a store, usually in Manhattan and ordered that she take me too, that’s why mom made the big bucks, she was a master planner.

Tessie, my older sister (much older) had a great influence on me, teaching me things like peeling off the paint from the window sill and dropping it three stories on someone’s head, or taking the box of candy called ‘Red Hots’, and dropping them through the stairwell banisters to hit the bottom floor and ‘ping’, causing Lena, the superintendent of the building to come out of her apartment and yell at us with her Italian accent!
 
I guess what I’m saying is that SHE: Tessie, my older sister (much older) made what I was, a big pain in the butt, of which I am eternally grateful. If it weren’t for her, I would have been a good child, obedient, docile and quiet. Instead, she saved me from all that and led me on to my life of well… fun.

Today is her birthday, she is getting older then her younger brother, (much younger): me, and will have to deal with what it is. Mom always liked her, because she took me to Piken Avenue, Manhattan and school and out of mom’s hair, so mom too will celebrate.

But old Tess, my older sister (much older) got her licks in too, often destroying a whole play area as she gleefully did the vacuuming on a Saturday morning while I was playing. Killing her was out of the question since she was under orders to vacuum, and had some balloons that we could fill with water and drop on people’s head as they walked by our apartment.

My children are unaware of the things she Tessie, my older sister (much older) taught me, and would be surprised, but I had to come clean for Tessie, my older sister (much older) sake.

So: without further ado.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TESSIE!
Love,
Your younger brother (much younger)



Tuesday, March 26, 2013

THEY KEEP PILING UP!


Birthdays I mean. Every year my kids have a birthday, I tell them to stop but they don’t listen! Today is #1 Son’s birthday, and I’m feeling it!

Since I haven’t been paying close enough attention to it, they have all creped into adulthood, and are almost as old as I am.

I remember the circumstances of each birth, but #1 Son’s was quite an adventure getting to the hospital so he could be born. It was the rainiest of mornings, and I was comfortably asleep in bed, when I was informed that TLW (The Little Woman) wanted to go out. At what must have been 3:30 or 4:00 AM, #1 Son realized that spring training was almost over and he was going to miss opening day, so decided to make his debut.

Since that day I have a tremendous fellow baseball fan, one that I can talk baseball or even football with all day and not get tired of it. But he is a very interesting fellow besides, in other areas of life. His taste for wives is impeccable, having found like his dad, the ultimate woman for him.

But he is interesting in other ways too. I remember my first haircut and what it was like with my dad, and true to form, he was the same way when he got his haircut, he cried! Like his dad, he was a blond kid who wanted to be like his father in so many ways, and then it turned or as they say: the worm turned, and I want to be like him now! He has a great life, a wonderful companion, and lives in a great place, doing what he loves, expressing his far-out opinion in a clever way.

Over the years he has always strived for perfection until one day he realized that perfection is not being perfect, but being happy. He has been a kind, dutiful son, one that has given great pleasure to his parents all his life, and a truly great sibling. He is so honest that like his brother, you are afraid what you will hear or see, because he strikes out at what he thinks is wrong! He has passion for life, and his friends reflect the kind of guy he is, if you met them, you would be impressed.

And so I get another year older, probably not wiser, but yet I really don’t mind, after all, when you have a son, you have it all!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANTHONY!
Both your grandfathers are smiling down right now!

Monday, March 25, 2013

WHAT HAVE I DONE?


When the electronic age of communications started in my house back in 1991, it was with a computer placed in an empty bedroom, and I was the only one on it. TLW (The Little Woman) didn’t want anything to do with it. #1 Son was interested, but he was smart enough to learn it on his own, and although so was TLW, she felt she knew nothing about it, so she didn’t want to hear it if something went wrong.

I went out at some point and purchased a used computer, one that I used to show #2 Son how to use so he would learn, and even sat TLW down to learn it, but still she refused to get too involved.

Then she discovered that there was a whole world of shopping and information out there, emanating from the computer, and she began her quest to become computer literate, and Internet savvy. The problem was I would be downstairs in the den and she would be upstairs and across the house calling out: “JOOOOOOOOOOEEEE, CAN YOU COME UP HERE A MINUTE? This was doing wonders for my health since I was climbing two flights of stairs, and helping the waistline, but my morale was sagging!

These calls were often and maybe two or three times a morning! What to do? One day, I asked her if she wanted a computer of her own. “Oh no! I don’t need a computer, I can read the newspapers and get the circulars to shop. You can do the computer stuff for me”

Then one year I decided to give up the exercise and purchase her a laptop, a MAC, titanium 17 inch I think, and we began the process slowly, but agonizingly, as she would plod through it. Sitting next to me, she would try to get on the Internet and complain that she couldn’t get on. It was too low and could I please fix it? I thought I’d like to fix her upstairs where she started out, but remembered the exercise. Since we were both using the laptop, me for business and her for information highway driving and shopping, I asked her the next question in November of that year:

“How would you like your own laptop?”           
“No, Just get me those things that do the Internet only.”

So, naturally, I got her a laptop.

Since that day, she has slowly learned the computer, and now has taken the lead and has found a new frontier in which to boss me around! The other morning we were going to purchase theatre tickets on the Internet, and she decided to take charge! She made her decisions on the laptop and forwarded them to my main computer to print them out, leading me by the nose through the process of getting her email and following the steps she dictated.

Today, she stands a giant in the computer world, able to whiz through cyberspace, clicking and clacking through as her fingers dance through the keyboard, zipping windows and downloading and forwarding.

She reigns now as she does in the circulars, as she does in the banking world and motherhood, and boss of DelBloggolo-SUPREME!

All bow and hail.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

THERE’S A PLACE


It sits off a quiet little road in Westhampton, called Brushy Neck Lane. When you see the place south of Montauk Highway, it looks very rustic, the grass doesn’t grow well under the patch of big oak trees, that hover above but you can see a struggle goes on to make the place look good in spite of it.

It is people with disabilities like these that inhabit homes like Brushy Neck Lane
Inside the home lives a group of 8 individuals, all struggling to make a life from the lousy cards God, or G-D dealt them. You see there is people of mixed religion, mixed ethnic cultures and most importantly, mixed degrees of disabilities.

But it is a special place to me, because it is the first home my daughter ever lived in, once she left the security of her Mom and Dad. If you enter the home, you will find it inhabited by loving people, fragile and trusting. They live together and each has a personality that transcends the dreary afflictions that they suffer. They are given every chance to experience life and to enjoy as much as possible, never having to ever deal with their physical and mental barriers by themselves.

The place is called an Intermediate Care Facility, or an ICF for short.  It is for people who have difficulty in feeding, toileting and doing the normal everyday occurrences that you and I take for granted. It sounds very institutional and forbidding, yet is homey and inviting. Filled with NY Mets banners, dolls, and pictures of siblings and parents, of animals like puppies and kittens, and special touches that say: I have interests, I have wants and likes and dislikes, I am just like you. Recently I was asked by the agency, AHRC Suffolk, to conduct a walk-through and see how the agency, the staff and fellow housemates were treating my people.

It never seems to surprise me when I leave a place like Brushy Neck, how well run it is and how wonderful the staff are. In the time my daughter lived there, she made personal friends, and so did my wife and I. The residents are all loving and interested in making a place in their home a place for you too. Shy, reserved, talkative and forward, they mix in and speak volumes about the human spirit, about what life really is. Under the skin and behind the eyes of every individual that lives in Brushy Neck, is you, and I, we just were luckier in one respect or another.

As I went through the home, I kept seeing things that reminded me of my daughter Ellen, the chairs she sat in, the bed and bedroom she slept in, her favorite room, (the kitchen, like her father) everywhere I went, there, was Ellen!

We tend to take places like Brushy Neck Lane as a place to put people, as a place that segregates them from us, making it convenient for us to live. Yet Ellen kept reminding me by my flashbacks that she lived there, that she had a home in a community and was part of it. She brought home to me that her personality is very much alive, very much human, very much impacting my life.

As I drove home that day, there was a little school bus and sure enough there on the bus was a little Downe Syndrome girl, staring out the window. She was maybe 4, cute and dressed all in pink. She stared at me and I caught her stare at the red light. And I immediately waved to her and gave her my best smile. I got her attention and she smiled back. I waved again and smiled some more, and she looked with interest once again. It reminded me that she was a stranger who is worth my soliciting a smile from her, letting her know she is and will always be, part of the real world, part of my world and that I am very privileged to be part of this world I share.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

BABY SISTERS COME IN ALL SIZES!


There are some things in life that we tend to take for granted, and that is too bad, our freedoms, our religious freedoms to worship or not, our friends and finally and most importantly our families.

Joanne (Joy-Anna),  Theresa (Tessie), Fran, (Nippy) and Mary Ann (Mariooch)
Me, I’m lucky, I have 4 very beautiful sisters, each is very different and each is very smart. All have contributed greatly to my life, and I hope they know I love them all for just being there if I need them, and if they need me.
Saint Don of Uyeno

One in particular is my baby sister: Joanne. Joanne was like a scooter in those early days growing up as the baby of the family. Mom and Dad spoiled her and made her the center of our life, as she was a change of life baby. Running and scooting around, doing things such as baton twirling, she has more trophies than the New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys and Montreal Canadians combined! The long hours of helping her make the toss, spin and catch routine that she mastered so well, photographing all those parades as she strutted down the Main Streets of various towns on St. Patrick’s Days, Fourth of Julys and Memorial Days! Whenever I watched or looked through the camera’s eye, I was honestly convinced she was the best.

For some reason, teaching must run in our veins, since we have so many in the family. Joanne was no exception to that last sentence, becoming a teacher herself and eventually an assistant principle. She worked with special needs kids and with the whole system, equally well, equally dedicated, and I think she could have hung on and become the Principle. Whenever we have a family get-together, she makes me raise my hand first if I want to leave the room!
Kim & David

Dax
She had two beautiful children in David and Sara, and two equally beautiful grandchildren in Daxton and Alexa. She married a saint, St Donald of Uyeno. (pronounced: way-no)

Today is her birthday: she is one year closer to surpassing me in age (I write this blogue, shut up) and soon will be older than me as it should be.

Alexa and Sara
My grandmother would come out from Brooklyn on occasion, (my Dad’s mother) and after she would unload her two shopping bags, one with the wine, salami and provolone, and one of her medicines, she would look for the baby, as she called her “Joy-Ann” and say: “Whereza Joy-Anna?” Ah, grandma, I miss you!

But so today I lift a glass of good cheer: a Jack Daniels Manhattan, and toast the wonderful luck we all have IN KNOWING AND LOVING that little witch!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOANNE!

Friday, March 22, 2013

FINALLY I GET AN ANSWER!


I’m starting to know the staff at Dr. Strangeglove’s office on a first name basis. In the last two months, I’ve been in the doctor’s office three times, and it isn’t all that nice of an office.

After the ultra sound I had the day of the blizzard, about two days later this creeping back pain returned and at first I thought that it was another kidney stone, then I thought maybe a strained or pulled muscle. But the pain intensified and moved throughout the back and it had me really worried. I thought maybe I had lung cancer and I was on my way out. But put that champagne away, its not.

Now a little bit of info before I continue: when you go to Dr. Strangeglove’s office and you are called into the examining room, the nurse leads you to the scale, weights you and then points you in the direction of the toilet where one can barely turn around, let alone pee into a cup for their collection. Before leaving my house for the appointment, I had to go, and I had to go like immediately but thought I’d tough it out for the 5-minute drive to the doctor’s office and things would be wonderful. His on-time record is better than the Long Island Railroad’s lately and so I had confidence on his being on schedule. I also have confidence that this is the year for the Mets, Jets, Islanders and Knicks. This I believe every year, and of course, it never is. Why would Dr. Strangeglove be any different?

My appointment was for 12:45, a big mistake in the middle of the day. I didn’t go into the examining room until 2:15! Do the math and then realize the agony of waiting for that extra time. When I finally reach the door for the toilet, there is someone in it! A little old lady who had trouble negotiating the doorway with her cane was in it. Not only that she was sarcastic enough to say: I could sell pencils while waiting, yet she could barely walk!

Without being vulgar, that was without a doubt the longest pee in my history!

So finally at 2:45, the doctor enters the examining room and asks his usual question: “And how are you?” as he peers into my file. I tell him all about my pain in the back and the history of the past few weeks with it. He surmises, smacks me in the kidney area, and finally says: “Let’s take some x-rays.” Yes, let’s!

Turns out I have about 4 vertebrae about mid-way down the spine that are degenerating and turning into pointed intrusions and the aorta is showing calcium deposits! These are the causes of my pain, since the aorta is showing on the x-ray and shouldn’t. Unfortunately for me, I can’t have an operation in that spot, and so I have to see an orthopedic specialist at some point.

My aunt Marie used to have a saying. Actually she had two, one was: “Joe, don't get married. If you do get married, don’t have kids… if you do, drown them.” But her best advice was: Don’t get old!” I never listened to her.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

IT CAN’T BE ANY WORSE


Here I go again, complaining! It seems that the retail world of electronics, should close up all its stores and just go to the Internet.

After my experience with Best Buy, http://delbloggolo.blogspot.com/search?q=Best+Buy I thought it was just an isolated occurrence until the other day when my electronic car key would not work. TLW (The Little Woman) suggested that maybe it was the battery, and being of sound mind at times, I agreed with her. So off to the store I go, and decide to try Radio Shack, which for years has been Number One in my customer satisfaction. This of course meant going into the store, someone immediately coming over and asking if I needed help. If I had a question, someone would take the time to answer the question and even if necessary draw me a diagram of what may be needed. That was customer service!

That seems to have changed!

As I enter my local Radio Shack, next to the entrance is a young man sitting on the windowsill, deeply engrossed in his i-phone. “Can I help you?” he asks without looking up, or standing. I notice across the store behind the counter of this empty store is another fellow deeply engrossed in HIS i-phone.

“Yes, I need a CR2032 Lithium battery” I say.

Without raising his head, he shouts out to his co-worker: “Get a battery 2032 for this man.” I watch as Tonto does what he is told and I walk over to the counter, already a little miffed about how this is going. Now, I don’t expect a band to play or a welcoming delegation to greet me, just a little respect as a customer who is helping put bread in your mouth, money in your wife’s purse and into the Tax mans grubby paws! Is this too much?

As I stroll to the counter Tonto returns and is standing behind the counter, completely oblivious to my waiting on him, he is looking deep into his i-phone, forgetting I am even standing there!

“Ahem” (Did I spell that correctly?)

“Oh! Sorry!” says Tonto.

It’s getting worse every day. As my paesono Jim from Brooklyn says: “Just part of the dumbing down of America!” http://jpantaleno.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

MY SUNSHINE

A sunny smile!
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She loves everybody
Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy
 
Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry
 
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely
 


Sunshine almost always makes me high

 
If I had a day that I could give you
I'd give to you a day just like today
 
If I had a song that I could sing for you
I'd sing a song to make you feel this way

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy
Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry
 
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely
Sunshine almost always makes me high

If I had a tale that I could tell you
I'd tell a tale sure to make you smile
 
If I had a wish that I could wish for you
I'd make a wish for sunshine all the while

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy
Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry
 
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely
Sunshine almost always makes me high
 
Sunshine almost all the time makes me high
Sunshine almost always


Words by John Denver, Music by John Denver, Dick Kniss and Mike Taylor
My kids and proud of them all

Isn’t it interesting how a bit of music can take you somewhere or bring you to someone? Isn’t it wonderful how sweet life becomes when we go to those places or see those we love that evoke such emotions?

 Whenever I hear those lyrics and music above: there is only one person I can think of, my daughter Ellen. When I met her for the first time, I saw this beautiful little pink bundle, with her beautiful mom and suddenly, they lowered heaven for me to see what it is like.

Just a happy person
41 years later, she still shines on my world, still gives me the initial joy I had when we first met. You know by now she is developmentally disabled, physically limited, but can love and be loved with far greater purity than anyone I know of! I owe her so much because I brought her into this world and she doesn’t have all the tools that most of us take for granted. We can’t plan a vacation and can’t plan a wedding or celebrate the birth of her child. We have been denied the basic happiness of a father-daughter relationship, like so many people have. But that will have to be ok, because that is just the way it is. She has given me a clue and a lesson in life on how to handle disappointment. When she sees me she smiles, she gets excited and is emotionally and physically happy to see me! No one on this Earth does that of course: no one gives me such joy in my being. I know that I will give all I have for her, because she IS my daughter first and foremost.
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But like I say, she is a teacher. She has taught me that my children are special to me. There s nothing I wouldn’t do for them, any of them. When we raise children we make mistakes, we all do. No one of us is perfect but all of us as parents try. If one of them makes a mistake in life, we try to help them clean up the milk and upright the glass so to speak. We love our children unconditionally, and if one is in trouble: I’m in trouble. My greatest fear is that a child of mine would be homeless, sick or so poor he or she is starving, but so is yours.

Children when they grow are too busy comparing their life with their peers, desperately trying NOT to be like their parents. Then one day they will open their mouth and hear the words of their parent echo out, and before they realize it, they just heard themselves sound like one of us!

But my little sunshine need not worry about that, for one thing her old man will continue the struggle to fight for her, get her what she needs and give her all the love I have, so her sunshine never sets.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEETHEART! 
I love you,
Dad 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

HAIR TODAY, GONE TOMORROW!

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TLW (The Little Woman) says I never listen to her. She says she talks to me and I don’t pay attention. And now she is making new claims about my attentiveness.

I have to disagree with her: there are extenuating circumstances that cause my temporary disengagement in our conversations.

Furinstance: I’m watching a ballgame, the Mets have no one on base, there are 2 outs in the bottom of the ninth and David Wright is up, has a full count and the pitch is coming down the pike. Suddenly, TLW stands in front of the TV, and I miss the strike out. (What did you expect, I did say the Mets), or The Jets are hopelessly behind, it is the last quarter, they are down by 30 points (They are having a good day!) there are 40 seconds left in the game and the opposition has the ball. Just as the snap is coming, there stands TLW once again telling me something. I miss the end of the game. (See above the Mets)
Before
After
 Then recently, she went out “To get my hair done”, came home and that was it. We go out to the city see a play eat and travel the Long Island Railroad, and I don’t think about saying anything of her new do. Why? Because whenever she does anything to her hair, like a haircut, it is so subtle that it is hard to notice. Well she tells one of her Wanna-Be-Bank & Truss Co. associates I didn’t notice.

Well, I got a haircut, she came home and guess what? Yes, she didn’t say a word! Do you see me going around the world telling everyone she doesn’t notice when I get a haircut? Nooooo!

Let’s face it folks, at our age, we don’t notice too much because it might make us: Irregular, incontinent, tired or force us to miss a nap, so we shouldn’t get too excited about things.

Today is St. Joseph’s Day and I didn’t get any cream puffs again!

Monday, March 18, 2013

I'M ANGRY


Dear Reader, whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, a Liberal or Conservative, there comes a time when you need to step back from the fray and ask yourself: Is every position my political interests support correct or fair? Sometimes we need to consider more than just ourselves, or the prevailing winds that blow.
As you know the Governor of the State of New York is taking aim at Medicaid abuse and he should. Too many people are stealing money from the system and abusing it when they shouldn’t. I personally have a working knowledge of Medicaid and what it looks for when it does lend assistance. My mom is at that fragile age where she will at some point need assistance once her money is used up for herself in terms of medical costs. My sisters and I all feel that we should spend down her money first for her medical needs and then when there is no more, the state will step in. This is what it should be and we should all try to be honest in that regard. Too many wealthy people are cheating the system and trying to hide the family money for themselves and taking the attitude of “Let the State pay for it.”

However, there is a group of people out there who have no real means of support except their Medicaid monies that flow generously from the State. Generous in terms that it does come from the State no matter how much it is.

Unfortunately to sell newspapers: sometimes the need to ‘investigate’ and find something to hook onto to will do the trick. Medicaid fraud is a popular topic and anyone guilty or not is targeted. My daughter’s agency of which I sit on the board of directors, gets a Medicaid budget and we as board members along with the administration staff work very hard to make those dollars go far. We are a not for profit agency and so we spend every dime carefully and with purpose.

Our dedicated and loving staff has not received an increase in a while and odes not even get parity with the State workers doing the same thing in the same field!
But due to shoddy reporting and errant facts, newspapers like the NY Times sees fit to misrepresent the facts and wrap up everyone in the same package of abuse. They, the State of New York seeks to slash 6% of the Medicaid budget that goes to all not for profit agencies like AHRC Suffolk Chapter! I wrote this letter to make the Governor, Andrew Cuomo aware of how many of us feel and want to bring it to your attention too.
________________________________________________________________

Governor Cuomo
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo

Governor of New York State

NYS State Capitol Building

Albany, NY 12224

Dear Honorable Governor Cuomo:

The Justice Center for Protection of People with Special Needs, needs to investigate the intentions and tone of the State of New York and your good office.

“For too long our state has been inconsistent in how it addressed incidents of abuse against people with special needs, lacking any real consistent standards for tracking and investigating complaints or punishing those who commit abuse and neglect.”

The above quote is from your temporary website under the name of:  JUSTICE CENTER.

Sir, if it is imperative for you to state that: “it is imperative that state government meet its obligation to protect and serve all New Yorkers” then you need to understand the impact that you will personally have on those you seek to protect.  

To carve out 6% of the budget for Medicaid for those most fragile and most vulnerable to such draconian cuts is mean spirited, ill conceived and most cruel and abusive to an agency like NYSARC’s AHRC Suffolk Chapter.

Ellen
As a father of an adult child with developmental disabilities all her life, a child who is now a target for your slashing, and I as a board member of the same Suffolk Chapter, find it disheartening that you would do such a thing! If you came to our agency, or any of our sister agencies in the NYSARC brand, you would understand better what that 6% means. If you took the time to see how we spend the Medicaid monies the State of New York has so generously provided for our services and programs, how little is spent on salaries and administration the budget we work under allows, you sir, would be impressed. This I assure you, you would have to then reconsider your position of slashing 6% of that meager budget. We can’t even reward our people with cost of living raises, nor can we afford parity with the NYS agencies that treat the same population! Time and again our Executive directors have refused pay raises because their staff hasn’t gotten one. Time and again, in lieu of raises we needed as a collective board find ways to reward staff that is dedicated, loving and unwilling to jump ship because they believe in our mission!

I fully understand your position about Medicaid abuse, and appreciate your need to do what you need to do. But surely Sir, the abuse you speak of and seek to rightfully end, is NOT taking place in our agencies, is NOT practiced by our staff and board who are mostly parents and taxpayers who vote.

I suspect that you have taken a road of principles without thinking of those you hurt. The publicity of the news media was not honest in its reporting, nor accurate or honest in its conclusions, and certainly NEVER came to Suffolk to look for a way to sell their newspapers.

I see my daughter and I work hard to provide her with all she needs as a father. I can never provide her with an education, or a wedding to dance with her like other fathers can, I can only take my life and dedicate like thousands of other fathers who are in the same boat, saddened by life’s breaks, blaming no one and only asking for the help needed to make my daughter Ellen have a somewhat happy existence, free of fear and pain but having some meaning.

My wife and I go to sleep at night and are able to rest because of Suffolk Chapter’s efforts. As a board member, I seek to make sure as a responsible board member that we do all we can to insure no amount of money is ever wasted and that we hire only the best possible talent we can find. To see that we would be ‘rewarded’ by the State of New York and the honorable Governor with this slap in the face, this cruel response to my daughter for all our efforts as parents and board members, just makes me want to find a darker place than I am in now and cry.

Please reconsider your views here, understand what it is you are doing by this measure, and help me rather than hurt me or my wife and daughter.

Thank you if you even read this plea.

Respectfully yours,
Joe Del Broccolo

Sunday, March 17, 2013

AN OLD IRISH BLESSING

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May the road rise up to meet you. (Go n-eírí an bóthar leat.)

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

And rains fall soft upon your fields.

And until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.



An a Happy St. Paddy’s day to ya lad and lassies.

‘Tis a fine day indeed b’Jesus.



Helen
Having been married to an Irishman, through and through, one who claims she can do the jig, yet never did it for me I bid you all a fine day. She tells me my four children are half Italian and half Irish. I really don’t know which ones are Italian and which ones are Irish though! You’d think a father would.



Over the years I have made her corned beef and cabbage, lamb and baked Irish soda bread, sang Tula Lula Lula to me wee ones and Mother McCree to get them to sleep. I enjoy an Irish ditty and bit o’ libation if you will. Aye, I tend to carry on like an Irishman meself b’Jesus!



The Little Woman
May the blessing of the rain be on you—
the soft sweet rain.
May it fall upon your spirit
so that all the little flowers may spring up,
and shed their sweetness on the air.


Now don’t be getting all teary eyed and melancholy on me now!



May the blessing of the great rains be on you,
may they beat upon your spirit
and wash it fair and clean,
and leave there many a shining pool
where the blue of heaven shines,
and sometimes a star



There is one truism I know, the Irish love the simple things in life, simple foods and a drink, simple love and simple prayer. Most have the morning sun in their smile and good cheer fills their veins.

Maureen, Ellen, Kevin and Dennis

May the good earth be soft upon you

When you rest upon it.

And may it rest easy upon you when,

at the last, you lay out under it,



One of the happiest and yet simple Irishmen I know was Helen my mother-in-law. She was quick with her laugh, she could spin out a long yarn and take it all over the world she could stun you, amaze you and make you love her! But she was brilliant too!



Jim
And may it rest so lightly over you

that your soul may be out

from under it quickly

and up, and off

And be on its way to God.



Then there was her Jim, simpler yet, loving his NY Times, TV news panel shows, easy chair and avid fan of Meet the Press, he was ornery, serious and loved his Helen and his children, saving enough room for all his grandchildren.



Some day when the world is over, God will decide who was good and who was bad. But in his judgment he will also take the time to cite the Irish for always smiling.