DelBloggolo

Thursday, July 31, 2014

IT’S TIME TO SAY GOODBYE, SO MAKE YOURSELF COMFORTABLE!


Brooklyn for Easter or some occasion, there were certain things that were accepted, yet seemed out of the ordinary. One of those things was a long goodbye. We didn’t know that goodbye meant goodbye in other families. The Tulewskies said goodbye and went home, the Liebermans said goodbye and they went home. We said goodbye and pulled up a chair, poured coffee and made ourselves comfortable!

You could spend the whole Sunday, talking to an unt or Grandma, as she cooked, ate and cleaned up after, over the cannolis and espresso coffee with anisette, and not had enough time to say goodbye! Not only Granny needed to speak, but also so did my aunts and uncles. Saying goodbye meant that the women were breaking up the pinochle game and

I remember as a young kid, being tired from playing with my cousins from Patchogue, wanting to go home to bed and having to wait another hour as my mother and father spent it continuing conversations, and in Italian. I would put two chairs together and fall asleep lying across the chairs, the Italian droning on in a tempo that lured me to the edge of sleep.

In my family, when someone greeted a kid, it wasn’t with a ‘Hello’, no, instead it was with a: “My how you have grown!” Fortunately, we had no midgets in the family, so they could get away with it. Usually there was a test accompanied by the greeting: “How much is 2 and 2?” I’d tell them and they wouldn’t answer, which got me wondering if they didn’t believe me, or I didn’t give them the right answer.

There were some relatives I looked for, like my Aunt Angie. Aunt Angie could win the presidency of the US if kids could vote. She would buy you ice cream or slip you a dollar, tell her she was beautiful and you stayed for dinner! She had a way with kids that no other aunt had. She made you feel special and never betrayed you. What happened in Patchogue, stayed in: Patchogue.

Italian pastry was a staple, something that somehow went along with the pasta and meatballs, the chicken and bracciola. at the end there was nuts, red wine with red wine stains on the tablecloth, and Italian pastry., with balcony seats. You could sit at one end of the table and someone on the other end would not be able to hear you, so everyone yelled. If yelling wasn’t enough, the constant waving of hands and manipulation of the fingers conveyed your message.

Grandma’s kitchen was about the size of Madison Square Garden; we needed to yell. We even had a Communist who visited, an we yelled at him. Through the course of the morning, the doorbell would ring and you had to ring the person through, and in would come a stream of endless visitors, all with respectful greetings to grandma, and a request or two. Some came to make a payment for a bus trip or a flight to Italy that Grandma was sponsoring and running.

I once tried to speak to my grandmother’s friend without using my hands, she looked at my father and asked: “Watza he say?” Fortunately, there is no sarcasm running in my family, so I never said a word in response.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

GOD’S QUIET LITTLE ACRE


Everyone should have a place to go for contemplation and meditation or prayer. For me there are a number of them not far from where I live, but my favorite is right behind my library. There I visit usually in the autumn: when the humidity is lessening and the days are filled with warm sunshine and beautiful crisp breezes that caress your face and sooth your soul. There are flowers still blooming, and trees and bushes of every kind, with nametags to tell you what they are. As you walk the manicured paths, it is, a meandering walkway filled with surprises at each turn, it is my church away from church. No collections, rituals or homilies, just God’s beautiful creation, and I know then why I truly believe in Him.


I usually take a sketchpad and sit along the walkways on a bench in the shade, and study the rays of light the sun so freely sends through the trees, and I can’t help but feel good. Little children are at play, usually little girls as their mothers watch, and as the moms’ sit on the park benches, the children draw on the pavement, creating super works of art in colorful chalks.

On the best day of the whole year in July no less, I had the time to go and make an early visit. It is funny how your brain can surrender to nature, once it has your full attention. It is good to be quiet, and think about all that is good in your life. Watching the little girls as they drew and giggled, called out and shouted with glee, it reminded me of something beautiful, my little granddaughter, Darby Shea, La Principessa.  Soon she will be just like them, giggling, drawing and being sweet and playful, and her grandpa will love it.

Recently I lost my mother, and with a lot of whirlwind and unnecessary strife, it was good to sit and just talk to her, and to even have a conversation with my dad and son, as they sit up there and wait.

The rest of this year will be filled with new things, now places and new traditions, as I am breaking away from the past and living for the future. The kids are out of the house, Mom and Dad are gone and there is a new child in our lives to celebrate, and so I will. I will remember yesterday, dream for tomorrow today.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

WAXING PHILOSOPHICALLY No.1


You’ve all heard the old question that has been plaguing mankind and his wife for ages: ‘If a man speaks in a forest, and there is no woman present, is he still wrong?’

Well Dear Readers, I’m here to answer that question and put your inquisitive minds at ease, once and for all!

To assume a man has found his way into the forest to begin with seems to me to be presumptuous, and needs clarification. After all, depending on the time of year, there is baseball, hockey, football and basketball to be played in the friendly confines of his den or living room. Why did the man stray into the forest to begin with? Was she nagging him, maybe created a honey-do list that was too long to read? Did she suggest her mother was coming for a visit, or was it that the gentleman decided to take a small vacation away from the little woman to clear his head and sooth his headache?

Now it has been suggested by many a hen-pecked husband that she is and always will be right while he will bring nothing but disappointment to her, causing her to think that his mother did not do such a great job, and she is left with picking up the pieces. In recent years, people that cohabitate are doing the wrong thing, they should not “Live in sin”, after all you shouldn’t have the milk and the old cow too. My answer to that is leave it the way it is, this is a test run, seeking vital answers such as: does she snore, does her mother come often, is she a whiner and most importantly just how bossy will she get? It is a wise man who can garner such information before committing himself to marriage and the risk of being committed.

What about the assumption about men being wrong all the time, what about that? Is there any truth in assumptions that are pronounced rather loudly by the female camp? Well let’s look no further than chapter one, verse one, Adam saying to Eve, in a forest no less: “Don’t touch those apples!” Need I go on?

Adam had it easy, no mother-in-law, no unexpected visits from her relatives, no need to hide out or seek refuge from things that need taken care of. A wise man watching a ballgame once told his wife to oil her mop because it was making too much noise, and to this day I look up to that man with admiration for his wisdom and courage! I would never say that, because I’m not quite sure how it will go over, maybe I should ask TLW (The Little Woman)?




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Monday, July 28, 2014

WHAT JOY TO BE HAD!


I am just getting used to being a grandfather. To me ‘grandfather, or grandpa’ is a title that has to be earned, and only in the best possible ways. When I think about my grandmother Frances and my grandmother Mary in Brooklyn so many years ago, and how from my grandmothers to my granddaughter, there is a wonderful legacy of love.

I recently felt the joy of two friends of mine becoming grandparents and how excited they are, and there is nothing else in life I need, or want to be! No amount of money or goods could manufacture the joy from one little child for an old guy like me. It makes me happy to be old, to know that I passed down along the line, family history, traits and even traditions. Life is good.

Every Sunday we get to see my beautiful granddaughter Darby Shea: La Principessa I call her, and indeed she is a princess, beautiful beyond any words I can use to describe her or the feeling of knowing I’m her grandfather. It makes me proud, and now I know what others are feeling and how glorious these little children are to have been born through love itself!

Of course I have to share the time on ‘Face time’ with the Little Woman, but hey, she is experiencing what I feel too! Of course, if you want to hear what old fools sound like, then listen to us as we call out Darby by name and she looks around. If she responds in any fashion, suddenly our voices get higher: the pitch exceeds what we thought we could even muster! Constantly we call out her name, and constantly we look for her to respond, and constantly she brings up a little bit of what she ate, then looks around, taking in life for the first time ever, becoming aware of herself, knowing her parents and trying to figure out what those two nuts in the I-pad are all excited about.

I find it difficult not writing about her everyday on this blogue, but it is easy for me to think about her all the time, and what a wonderful gift I have in my life.

I used to picture a grandfather with a white beard and hair, smoking a pipe and wearing a red flannel shirt and coveralls, giving love and advice. Well I look in the mirror and that is not what I’m seeing! This guy is wearing jeans, with a T-shirt with a slogan on it and driving around in a Prius! The only advice I’m capable of is: Stay out of the rain, so much for images. And grandma? What about the lady I married? She is not a Grandma! No bun for a hairdo, no sensible shoes and no apron!


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Sunday, July 27, 2014

I’M A DRUG PUSHER!


Yes, you’d think a guy like me would have a different hobby, but no, I push drugs. Well not drugs but chemicals. If you remember the Vice-presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, who ran with Walter Mondale, the stickers looked like an Italian poster, the name ‘Mondale’ does look Italian, even if it isn’t, had a son who was selling drugs, and consequently, they the school mates in college called him ‘the chemist.’

Well, while everyone who owns a pool in the sweltering heat tomorrow will be in it, I will be at the pool, pouring chemicals into it to get it up to snuff.

I purchased a new pool cover last fall with a mesh that although is strong, lets in all the fine dust and debris over the winter. When I opened the pool this summer it the water was green, making me believe it was St. Patrick’s Day! It seems the algae doesn’t want to go away, so after one attempt, I had the water tested and sure enough it is suffering $100 worth of algae, what it cost in chemicals to bring it back to swimmable condition. I love the pool, go in it and don’t mind the cost. But still, that is a lot of chemicals to spill into the pool and that doesn’t even count for the shock I have to still pour into it.

The chemicals themselves must weight about 60 lbs, and some of it is powder and some liquid, and it will take the whole day to apply, along with my robot that has to clean up some of the residue in between applications. That is $.60/lb.

I went into the pool store nearby and this young fellow still in high school took my water sample and tested it. It is a very impressive procedure using electronics such as a computer, meters and little things that he puts samples of water into with long syringes, tallies the whole thing up and says I have algae. Gives me a printout and bill all at once. His daddy must be proud of him! The pool is probably where I caught the algae, and the only cure for the pool and me is $100 worth of chemicals!

But so help me God, I will rid the pool of the algae, and when I do take a victory lap around it, then call the guy to close it, because it will take me all summer to rid the pool of the algae and for me to get into it one more time!




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Saturday, July 26, 2014

AS DINERS GO, THIS IS A GAS STATION


 
Recently, I wrote about diners in my neighborhood and how Greeks own them. The Greeks are a great nation of people, they work hard, are innovative and can read Greek, and I can’t! Actually, I did learn the Greek alphabet one summer many years ago, before entering college. A rather sweet gal worked with me in a stock room and taught me the Greek alphabet to a tune sung by her brother’s fraternity.

“I got the alpha beta gamma delta epsilon bluuuues”

I can still sing it after all these years. Her name was Arlene Jefferson and she was one cool gal.

Many times, after breakfast on a Sunday morning, as we leave the Greek diner, I stop on my way home to fill up my gas tank, and pull into what seems like Saudi Arabia, complete with Arabic chatter. Now you must be wondering: “Isn’t that MY gas station!?” It seems that Arabs run just about every gas station I go to. If you remember the Seinfeld episode with the ‘Soup Nazi’, you recall the “No soup for you!” line so famous in American lexicon now. Well this one gas station has a ‘Gas Nazi’, that’s right, if you didn’t pull up just right, this swarthy looking guy with a perpetual scowl would reprimand you in half Arabic and direct you to pull up or back, whatever his fancy was that day. And God forbid if you didn’t have your money ready, he was an unhappy man with no tolerance for anything. Why did I go to him, because he was amusing, it just made me laugh how you had to be in a perfect spot to get gas, and sometimes I liked to bust his Arabian chops and pull up too far from the pump. The scowl alone was worth the time.

Now this gas station is almost next door to the Greek diner, and in line on my way home. I pull up and have to find the attendant, who is happily chatting away on his cell phone in Arabic. Finally he’ll look up and come running over: “What’s hup?” he’ll say. I tell him to filler up and he asks me if it is cash or charge. He then proceeds to fill the tank, when it is full and the pump stops, he then begins the process to make no change! Yes, $18.76 will become $19.00 or if he has no singles, $20 by putting the excess gas in you pocket, your glove compartment or wherever there is room. No really, but I do wonder where that extra gas is going.

Once I fill up the tank, if I need, I can just pull up next door to my local Seven/Eleven and buy a newspaper. There are at least three such establishments in my local area, each is owned by the same guy: or so I thought! A rather somber, no nonsense Pakistani  stands behind the counter, will print out the lottery tickets, the bottle of Pepsi, or containers of coffee and even remake the coffee.

Between the Greeks, Arabs and Pakistani population, which is 6 people all together, I wonder where they all live?





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Friday, July 25, 2014

TOWN HALL


In 1996 I redesigned my house, taking my existing structure and adding on a 17’ x 17’ extension, with a skylight and large double window crowned with a half circle window. Rather than move to a bigger place we decided it would make more sense to just expand. I hired a contractor and he came and added on the extension while reappointing the other rooms under my plan. The town to meet the building codes as it was being built inspected the new room.

Now we are looking to move to a smaller place with less maintenance. We have been toying with the idea and finally I went to town hall to see about a certificate of occupancy for the extension, something the contractor was suppose to get, so I thought but didn’t. DO I HATE THE CONTRACTOR? WHY YES, HOW DO YOU KNOW?

Walking into the building that houses the permits is somewhat daunting. It is a multi-story building with a ceiling that runs up several stories. Its canyon like appearance seems to swallow you as you make your way across this enormous waiting room to a long counter where two women stand to greet you and tell you: you have to wait. DO I HATE THE CONTRACTOR? WHY YES, HOW DO YOU KNOW?

When I am finally called I tell the lady what I need, she asks a few questions and pulls out the necessary forms for me to fill out, along with a long list of things I will need to attach to the application! There are: C.O.’s, surveys and copies of certificates, just enough paper work and expense to make the whole process unpleasant. DO I HATE THE CONTRACTOR? WHY YES, HOW DO YOU KNOW?

Taking the paper work I leave the massive building, thinking as I look up one more time at the huge edifice, do THEY have a C.O. for this place?

DO I HATE THE CONTRACTOR? WHY YES, HOW DO YOU KNOW?

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

NOW YOU ARE…?


One of the biggest problems I have in life is people who come up to me and say: “Hi, Mr. DelBloggolo!” The problem is I don’t know who they are. This of course is a reason for me to lie, and pretend I know them, after all, they know me.

All too often it happens with staff at AHRC/Suffolk, the organization I support and am on the Board of Directors for. It gives life and meaning to my daughter who suffers from developmental disabilities and gives my wife and I peace of mind for her future.

Apparently I’ve given too many speeches where once I left them crying, and so one day while out at Westhampton Beach facility, one of the staff passing by said: “Hi Mr. DelBloggolo! You don’t remember me but you made me cry when you gave a speech at Staff Appreciation Day!” I guess I should stop giving speeches.

The male staff always shake my hand and ask how I’m doing, and the female staff always ask for Mrs. DelBloggolo. Neighbors I don’t know by name but do by sight will give me a raised eyebrow, and a quick semi-nod and we go peacefully along our way. People from the church will do the same unless I know them by name.

But my biggest failing is being introduced to strangers and I immediately forget their name. To complicate matters, I will give them a name I think they should have. I will call them that and finally, they will say their real name. I can very easily embarrass myself.

I understand that I am not alone in my angst, my pain and confusion that many people go through the same thing. One suggestion is to give the person being introduced to you an object or thought that can tie into the real name. Then when you see that person, you automatically think of the object and that will make you remember. That is fine, except, I always forget the object.

 Birth Injury Guide

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

SO IT SEEMS


In my hometown, the place is crawling with diners. That’s right, that American institution we all know so well and love too, are all over the town. To be an American Institution these days, it can’t be owned by born Americans, and besides, that idea is just down right silly!

We have so many diners in my town that I know when the Greek festivals are coming to which churches. Don’t get me wrong we don’t have a very large or noticeable Greek population in my town, in fact the diners out number the Greek population. The Greek churches are spaced about 65 miles apart, so if you are a religious Greek, you better be prepared to travel a distance, and if you can’t find the church, you just pull over and ask directions at the nearest diner. It helps if you speak Greek.

To mix things up, I like to on occasion visit a different diner: this makes the other diners nervous, so that when I show up, they remember to keep filling my coffee cup. So, this Sunday past, we shook it up and visited a diner across town, across the Expressway and into the heart of town itself. Entering on a Sunday morning at 7:00 am, there is no one there but the owner, the waiter, the owner’s daughter and the owner’s son, who buses the tables. The daughter, an attractive young lady who ‘mans’ the cash register smiles at me and I make a mental note that we gotta go back, soon!

Now I have a traditional Greek breakfast, consisting of two scrambled eggs, sausage, extra crisp fries and rye toast, with extra butter on the side. As Greek as it is, I still order it in English, because after all, this still is America.

Do Americans own all the diners here?
But making distinctions is what it is all about. What separates one Greek diner from another? (Greek diner is a redundancy) The eggs at one place may sit on the griddle longer than another, the size or taste of the sausages will definitely differ, the frequency of fill ups of coffee, and finally, the overall service as well as the price all figure into the DelBloggolo rating system. It greatly helps if the waitress is friendly and the waiter does his job right.

The culinary rating system by the editorial board at DelBloggolo is very simple, and like all systems it tells you what is best. Diners are rated on a 1 to 5 grape leaf system. One grape leaf is the lowest and five being the highest rating.

I wonder if there are any diners in Greece?

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

JULY

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Why, did you?

Sorry, but the month of July is filled with birthdays it seems. There is my great nephew Stephen, TLW (The Little Women), My niece Christine, my sister-in-laws Maureen, Sara and Angela, and a whole host of friends from both the past and on Facebook. It seems that this late in the month is an odd time to mention them, but that is the case.

My birthday too, is in July, and I share it with my great nephew on the same day. Although there seems to be some disagreement now among scholars on which day in July is America’s birthday, it still is in July.

Birthdays seem to be a big deal if you work and are a member of a union: they give you the day off. When I worked, people would always pay for my lunch, as was the tradition in my field for the most part. But as I get older, I’m no longer interested in having it acknowledged, celebrated or remembered, because it points out to the fact that I'm GETTING OLD! Who needs to be reminded they are getting old?

As a youngster, people used to say when I got to be their age I would think differently. The statement always offended me because I thought I was old enough and smart enough to be rational. But of course rationalization is only good if you apply some experience.

I never personally liked the month of July, with the heat and humidity, I rather have a day in October or March or any day in between, the heat gets me down. But not as much as a birthday will.

I discovered that my memory is starting to fade into fuzzy facts in some cases. I watch very little television, but one show I watch every night is Jeopardy, because it is supposed to keep my mind sharp. I get most of the answers providing I know the category well enough to have general knowledge, but if it is highly scientific or specialized, forget it. But what is happening is although I know the answers say to a certain question about an individual: I can’t get the name out. For instance the name of a certain well known architect and designer of buildings, I visited his birth home in Chicago, saw his studio in person, own some of his books of his design theories, Frank Lloyd Wright could not come out of my mouth or to mind!


OK, so I try to do other things to keep my mind sharp, like crossword puzzles, Sudoku puzzles and any kind of mind game that requires some deductive reasoning. I don’t want to get any more senile than I am already.

One of the things that I hate the most is this: and it happened often when I worked. I go to a meeting with say a few of my colleagues or assistants, and I introduce them to a group at the meeting, when suddenly I can’t remember one of MY co-workers last names! I draw a blank! Try squeezing out of that! And being introduced to more than 2 people and I will forget everyone’s name, including my own!

Going into the next room for something can be an adventure, wondering what I went into the room for in the first place.

So, please, no happy birthday greetings for me, I’d rather stay young.


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Monday, July 21, 2014

THE 43-YEAR WAR

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You’ve heard of the Hundred Year War, which didn’t take a hundred years, now there is something called the 43-Year War WHICH DOES FEEL LIKE 100 YEARS. This war has been fought daily, ground given and taken, inch by inch, it is the marital war of the century, and no one has won, although most of the battles are ceded by one side.

That war of which I speak occurs within the confined of my house, bedroom and den, and even plays out in the car. Now you will understand that wars of this nature would play out differently, not based on philosophy, but on the room temperature!

I’m HOT, and she’s COLD, the makings for a real war!

It usually starts early in the AM, as I check on the pool, the lawn and put out to the curb what needs to go there. I leave the sliding door open and the screen in place. It is about 68º F and she is right behind me, closing it: “I’m cold!”

If we are in the car on a cool day, not cold or uncomfortable, I get: “Put on the heart, I’m cold.” Of course!

Then I see other women and they do the very same thing! It’s 98º F out and we are going to dinner. What does she do? Why take a sweater! Of course, and what do I see in the restaurant, they are all wearing sweaters and the husbands are dying to get cool, it’s one of life’s mysteries.

In the evening, when I retire from a long sweaty day, I look forward to the air-conditioned bedroom, the cool sheets and the relief of all the daily roasting. You know who comes up and I have to watch as she raises the temperature in the ac.

Keep your eyes opened in the obituaries, my name will be there with the explanation or cause of death: ‘HE DROWNED IN HIS OWN SWEAT!’

A man joined the priesthood.  The order he joined could not speak for seven years.  Then they could only say 2 words.

The first seven years passed and they went into a small room.  His 2 word were "too cold".

The next seven years passed and they took him back into the small room and his 2 words were "bad food".

The next seven years passed they took him back into the small room and his 2 words were "I quit".

"Good," they said, "all you have done is complain."

 Birth Injury Guide



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Sunday, July 20, 2014

STRIKING DAYS


Getting to work everyday in the 1970’s required taking the Long Island Railroad to and from New York City. It was a little tough because you got up early in the pre-dawn and raced to find a parking space in the parking lot of the train station, if you used a major station. I used both the quiet little hamlet of Bellport, and when I knew I was going to be late, the Patchogue R.R. Station. I got a container of coffee and maybe something to eat, and then a newspaper to cover my fingers in newsprint, found a seat and waited for someone who was weight challenged to find me along the way and sit next to or on top of me.

I would read the NY Times until I got close to Jamaica Station, where I would then nap until getting to Hunters Point Avenue where I got a subway train (No. 7, Flushing Line) switched at Grand Central for the E or F train to Lexington Avenue. Climbing the subway steps to the street at 50th and Lexington Avenue, I would walk the few blocks, dodging pedestrian and car traffic alike until I reached my building on 54th and Lexington Avenue. As I walked this route, I would look for a ‘nut for the day’, some individual who demonstrated why he and I should both be put away where we wouldn’t harm ourselves. Usually he was a religious nutcase handing out pamphlets about eternal doom and my need for salvation. I of course was NEVER disappointed.

Then every so many years a railroad strike would loom and a need for alternate plans were set in motion. Being how I was a friendly chap, I made friends on the railroad easily, and along with male friends got into a car pool. We each took turns driving, and along with three others, poured into my car at least once a week. Driving a 4 and ½ seat Camaro, was crowded but no one got pregnant. It made for passing time and mileage, even if we sat still, well… fun! Cigars and cigarettes were lit for the long haul and never did anyone complain. These rail strikes usually occurred in late fall and would occasionally slide into the New Year.

This led to new friends: new social commitments and I loved the camaraderie. But everything we did became a way to link, certain expressions, inside jokes and rip roaring sidesplitting stories became a norm. I would listen to the media and feel sorry for those commuters who struggled, had a hard time of it and did it alone. In fact, when the strike was over, I for one missed the fun, but we grew as a group on the same train car every day on our way to work.

 Birth Injury Guide

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

DA DOCKTER IZ ZIN!

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I hate going to doctor’s appointments. I usually wait and sometimes the wait takes a long time. But the wait is not as bad as is the personalities of some of these guys.

Dr. Strangeglove
Now my GP, Dr. Strangeglove, has the personality of a bi-polar political grouch. Yes, he seethes over the latest Liberal policies and if I say the word ‘Lawyer’ he goes into a rant, a rave and insurance companies have no place in civilized society. They should all be rounded up and shot, preferably with one bullet! (He’s fiscally responsible too.) A visit does not go by without some statement of despair about the direction this country is heading. He has a beautiful black Mercedes-Benz parked on the grounds and threatens to close his practice because all the culprits will soon put him out of business.

Then there is Dr. Haveaheart, my cardiologist. He is another breed of doctor, replacing an old-timer who retired from old age. The good doctor has a very modern approach to taking care of my heart, conducting his examination with a question and answer period dedicated to extracting guilt, and family history out of me. For instance:

Dr. Haveaneart
“Do you exercise?”
“Yes, caution.”
“I’ll take that as a no.”
“Do you have a history of heart disease running in your family?”
“Yes, my father was always helping people and I did most of the work.”

Finally there is Dr. Seemore, my eye doctor. He owns some fancy title as an ambassador to some board or what not. He wears a grayish blue suit all day with the jacket on, is a specialist in diabetic matters and eyesight. He once suggested to me that if anyone was to offer me anything over the holidays, to refuse it saying I am a diabetic and can’t eat it. Obviously, he’s never seen me eat.

Dr. Seemore
Today I visit Dr. Seemore. His assistants will do all these preliminary tests: he will come in, jacket on, tie in place, and sit at the small desk and read my file, ask me questions and comment on how I’m doing. He always asks the same question: “What is your A1C number?” I will lie, since I don’t know it, and praises me for doing so well, and off I go to eat something. This has been going on for years. I make sure to always give him an occasional near border line number to avoid suspicion.





 BirthInjuryGuide.org

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Friday, July 18, 2014

THAT’S WHAT I DO

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We all have dreams and secret ambitions. From childhood we harbor ideas of fame and maybe even fortune or glory until we become old, and I am no different. That is not to say I am strange, but in this particular case, I am different.

My dream is to be able to sing. I love to sing to myself, and during the course of driving my daughter to my home and back to hers, I sing both ways, out loud and with great emotion. My daughter sits in the back seat and gives her approval, usually laughing out loud, clapping her hands and smiling, as long as the song I attempt is upbeat and happy. Being she has developmental disabilities, I try to make her feel as happy as possible, and this seems to work.

I have also starred in the shower, yes, giving renditions of arias, and sacred songs from way back, the water cascading down over my head like the roar at La Scala. My daughter won’t let me sing them in the car, but somewhere else where she won’t hear it is fine with her.

Another venue to sing is when I’m cooking, usually singing old Italian/American songs from my childhood. I used to sing to my kids as babies, until they were old enough to take retribution. Of course these songs were fun songs, some of it was made up, some of it was from Lou Monte and songs like Peppino the Italian Mouse. http://search.yahoo.com/search?type=63641&fr=freecause&ei=utf-8&p=Peppino%20The%20Little%20Mouse I taught #1 Son history with songs about Columbus and Washington crossing the Delaware, with an Italian accent.

Growing up, both Mom and Dad would sing out loud, and Dad did his often while in the car driving off to work or to do a chore, with his Sinatra and Como voices while Mom did hers cleaning the house and cooking. Often she would sing something of an answer if we were complaining or she wanted to tease us.

Mom would sing songs she learned as a kid: songs so old that I don’t think you can find them anymore in a recorded fashion, since they were pre-TV. You may have heard these songs on the Mitch Miller show, or if you were a nerd, the Lawrence Welk Show. I HAPPENED TO LIKE WELK AND WILL ADMIT TO IT: THERE I CAME OUT OF THE CLOSET!

I guess singing can lift the spirit and sooth the soul, whether you do it or someone else does. The beauty of music is that it takes you back to a time and place, or a certain feeling you had for someone once upon a time.

Whistling is another form of singing, and Dad loved to whistle, often when he had something on his mind, he would whistle, in the car mostly. Funny how the car is a safe haven to do things like singing and whistling! Babies love music, and so do adults, friends and enemies all hold one thing in common: an enjoyment to music and sometimes singing.

I’m willing to bet all of you have a song that takes you back. ‘Moon River’-my high school graduation, ‘Memories Are Made of This’ leaving Brooklyn and moving to the Island, ‘Catch A Falling Star’- My grandfather’s death. These are just a few.

And here is the song that played while I was madly in love and on the top of the charts during my engagement, and was chosen for our wedding song.


It's impossible, tell the sun to leave the sky
It's just impossible
It's impossible, ask a baby not to cry
It's just impossible

Can I hold you closer to me
And not feel you going through me
Split the second that I never think of you
Oh, how impossible

Can the ocean keep from rushing to the shore
It's just impossible
If I had you, could I ever want for more
It's just impossible

And tomorrow
Should you ask me for the world, somehow I'd get it
I would sell my very soul and not regret it
For to live without your love
It's just impossible

Can the ocean keep from rushing to the shore
It's just impossible
If I had you, could I ever want for more
It's just impossible

And tomorrow
Should you ask me for the world, somehow I'd get it
I would sell my very soul and not regret it
For to live without your love
It's just impossible
Impossible, mmm
Impossible 

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

WAITING FOR THE BIG SHOW


Ed Sullivan: that host with the most on Sunday evenings, used to open his show saying: “Tonight we have a really big shoe.” It was the most imitated line for comedians and jokesters and became part of the American lexicon.

Recently I put on the TV to hear the weather report. The report was filled with doomsday predictions, of flash flooding, and torrential rains. The only thing missing was the prediction of the second coming of Jesus or the Messiah, depending on where you pray. They were reporting a coming of a really big show!

Being how I have a new lawn that needs watering, I hesitate to overwater if it is going to rain, so I decided not to. Looking into my pool, I noticed that the water level at the skimmers was low also and decided not to add any since I would be pumping some out when the deluge comes.

I have been waiting all day now, and still not a drop. I know if I do any of the above, it will sure as Hell rain. If I don’t do it, it won’t rain.

My bills, I don’t have to wait, aches and pains: no lines, no waiting, but the rain: I’m still waiting for the rain.

I get a kick out of these newscasters that report the weather. You’d think there was a war going on locally, with all the radar and excited yelling about what is coming. They give you the highs and the lows, the wind speed and the barometric pressure, JUST TELL ME WHEN THE HELL IT WILL RAIN! I’m really not a fancy man, I don’t need all that information, just simply, it’s gonna rain, or snow and not. Since when do I retain the other stuff? If you heard the last weather forecast, do you remember all those numbers? No you don’t.

Even the pollen count has become important as something to report on, and if you have hay fever, what will you do about it anyway??? They report they have “Doppler Radar” BIG FRIGGIN DEAL! Who cares, my joints do a better job anyway!

Now Dear Reader, it is time for you to settle down, relax and don’t get so excited, you make Mr. DelBloggolo upset too.

Actually, I love the rain: love a good old thunder storm as long as I’m not in it. I sometimes open my garage door, sit on a lawn chair and watch the heavy rain. If I have someone to talk to, we get nostalgic or talk baseball or football, a beer maybe or eve a cup of coffee. If you see one of those days coming, come on over and we can sit in the garage with the door open and watch it all happen, it usually is a really big show.




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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

IF ONLY


Many of us have had sadness in our lives, some of that sadness is personal, some of it about things that happened to others. I have a sadness that haunts me everyday of my life for the past 42 years.

I often think to myself: If only… if only things were different, if only we could re-wind the past and start over, if only it had happened to me and not someone else.

Every other week I go out to Shoreham/Wading River and pick up my daughter Ellen from her residence where she lives with her peers, people with disabilities. I enter the building and see the wonderful staff and am grateful she has this home. It is her home after all, so I remove my hat and greet staff and say hello to any resident I meet. I try to have a conversation with them, if my daughter will allow me. She sees me and is so happy, she charges me, greets me with a big all encompassing hug and squeezes me, patting my back. She is telling me how glad she is to see me! I love that. Because she is so happy where she lives, and because the staff is so stellar in their duties and devotion to my daughter and her cohorts, she is just as happy when we return and she goes into her home again. That makes me feel great.

But then the rest of the week must be lived, and with it all the people that occupy my world either voluntarily or involuntarily. I see mothers with teenage children, children old enough to be my grandchild, and then I see the mother and her interaction with her children and think: If only.

If I am visiting the sick at a hospital, and I see a nurse in her early forties, I think: If only, and feel the fact that I was cheated out of what everyone else takes for granted. I know I can speak for my fellow board members when I express this, because they are in the same boat. But then something gets hold of me and I realize that what I’m feeling is only the expressions that my daughter is unable to express and unaware of how much she has been cheated. Who cheated her? God? Her parents? Or is it the quirks of life, the fact that these things do happen, and what am I going to do about them. I don’t blame anyone, but sometimes when I get this way I want to blame everyone. How can you live your life so care-free while you have all your ability to reason and my daughter, who’s life is care-free, is unaware she is. A paradox.

Ellen is a very simple person with a complex personality. She doesn’t want much, doesn’t aspire to become anything or anyone, and is extremely happy. Yet there are degrees of acceptability on her part of who she wants to be close to. There are many people that she wants to be close to, and demonstrates that by walking up to them if she knows them and giving them the huge bear hug she will give me. She will greet them with a big smile and eager pats on the back. Her eyes will dance in delight and her smile is so wide you hope there is room enough on her face. She doesn’t pretend, and when you are greeted, it is a sincere greeting, filled with genuine love and affection. How did you earn it? You didn’t, she wanted to give it by just knowing you. How many of us ever feel that way?

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

NORMAL HEART


The ‘Normal Heart’ is based on the autobiographical play written by Larry Kramer. It is about the rise of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City between 1981 and 1984, as seen through the eyes of writer/activist Ned Weeks, a gay Jewish-American founder of an HIV advocacy group. Preferring to make waves and call attention with loud public confrontations as opposed to the sedate private strategies favored by his fellow and closeted lover Felix Turner, their differences lead to confrontations that threaten to undermine their mutual goals.

The other night I happened to find it on HBO as a rather fascinating and historical story . The reason I watched it was because two of my favorite actors: Jim Parsons and Julia Roberts starred in it, Julia Roberts was super and I can’t say enough about Jim Parsons as an actor, not only for his part as Sheldon on ‘The Big Bang Theory’, but for his particular excellent Broadway theater performance in ‘Harvey’.

I have been a great supporter of gay rights, and I have my reasons. Many years ago, I hired a fellow when I worked for an agency in Manhattan. He was talented but gay, and I knew he was. I knew he could do the job and that to me was all I cared about. I wasn’t particularly interested in his life-style or his politics, just what he could bring to the table. He was a good man, and good artist and tried to keep his sexual preferences to himself, which I appreciated.

As I was offered a position in a larger company, I took it and called this fellow to join me there, and he did. We became friends, not colleagues alone. One day on his birthday, like I did for all those who worked under me, I took him for lunch to celebrate his birthday, and he came out to me and admitted he was gay. I told him that I suspected that, and didn’t care: I was till buying him lunch. He got a big kick out of it and so life went on.

Then one day he started missing days, calling in sick. The days led to weeks and one morning I got a call from him. “Joe, I have aids!” It sounded so distant and far away, and I knew his time was up. I would call him a few times a week to talk and try to make him know he was missed. Then within months, his Mom called to tell me he died, in his home in Erie Pennsylvania.

His mom wrote a letter to me, that I still have, telling me how grateful he was that I was his friend, that I had helped him pay his medical expenses and that I was the only one that seemed to care.

And so, back to ‘Normal Heart’, watching the movie raised long ago memories, and taught me just how insensitive we all are about this issue of Gay Rights, and the need to help each of us here on Earth to survive. I got mine and the heck with anybody else has no place among civilized people. Judging based on how you pray or handle life, is not valid for someone else, nor is wrapping ourselves: in the American Flag and condemning others in how they live and believe. This world is too judgmental, too unwilling to understand other people’s culture, and too quick to forget their own shortcomings.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

EXERCISING CAUTION


I would eat two steaks in one sitting
I remember when I was so young I was moving. Any direction you pointed me in, I could handle it! “Joe, go upstairs and… “ was no challenge, I could do it. Getting out of bed, I’d just pop up and my feet hit the ground running. Even my mind, before resorting to this blogue was constantly being exercised.

My how I’ve changed.

Let’s face it folks, we all get old, and for good reason, we watch and listen to the younger generation and want to get out of here as soon as possible. They are inventing things that make life easy: except we are so set in our ways it ain’t easy! Life is presenting us with a whole new set of challenges. It all started with my smart phone. Once I got one of those things, I knew my time on Earth was up, that I would be just going through the motions from here on in.

Have you been on all fours lately?

move my what?
The other day I was cleaning out the filter in my pool, that means getting on all four limbs and working. First the knees start to hurt and then the back. Then it is time to get up! OH MY GOD! Get up! That now requires planning, and once you get into position, you still have to hope you go up OK. It reminds me of the old days when they televised the rockets into outer space. Gasses spewing from the rear we hope it all works and that the lift-off is A-OK!

Suddenly, I don’t give a crap about how fast I am going on the road in my car. I decided that if they wish to contend with a cranky old man, then bring it on. I see these young people, both sexes drive up behind me and want to nudge me out of their way, and if they get to close, I exercise caution and slow down even more. This notifies them that I am in control, and when I say we go faster, then: we go faster, or just blow caution to the wind and wait until we get to a point where you can pass me.

The other day #2 Son needed help moving a piece of furniture down the stairs. I got on one end and he got on the other, in the old days I’d be hauling the thing down by myself. Today I feel with my feet, slowly moving it down each step, praying I don’t trip on myself. There are more things laying on the floor in my house now, things that I will eventually get to but they will wait. Why? Because I dropped them and don’t feel like bending down to pick them up if I don’t want to. I figure I’ll probably drop something else nearby, and when I’m down there, I pick up the first object too.

No, I am not lazy: I do get out of bed. It is just that I now practice ‘Economy of motion’. My doctor, Dr. Haveaheart once asked me if I exercised. I said yes, caution. He said I guess that is a ‘No’. I guess he’s right.

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

LIFE WITH THE COWBOYS

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Growing up in the 1950’s there were many times my parents or aunts and uncles used phrases that gave me imaginary moments of interpretation. In other words, they would often describe something by using examples of something totally unrelated, but you got the sense. Of course there were some interpretations because of my age I could not translate. For instances…

I think his shoes were involved
Mom to her younger sister about some actor or celebrity: “He can park his shoes under my bed anytime”
???

At the age of 5, that had no sense to it at all, yet it left a lot of questions.
Why would someone leave their shoes under Mom and Dad’s bed?
And if they do, will I get to meet them?
How come it was always a man, not a woman?
How come Dad NEVER said it?

My grandma Frances had one she said in broken English. “OOOH Cowboy”
The people who lived down the block from us had a messy outside landscape, with garish drapes, and an unfinished carport. The door was usually wide open and kids running about. When Grandma came to visit, we would pass the house and grandma would say: “Oooh Cowboy?” She would then laugh a short chuckle.

Speaking of cowboys, that ran in the family, since Grandma’s son, my Dad used it to describe a bad driver, one who would cut into and out of traffic, weaving about the road as: “Driving like a cowboy.”

Then there is this one, once heard as a youngster while Dad was driving on Conduit Avenue in Brooklyn. Every time I see a bus I think of it. Dad is behind a bus, Mom is a little nervous, and says: “Anthony, don’t kiss the buses ass!” She would realize what she said and explain away where she heard it.
The sauce of my troubles
Mom was a truly great cook, extraordinary in all she did, except for one meal. When we were very young, 3 or 4 kids was a lot of mouths to feed and keep them from complaining. Rather than hear us complain about being hungry, she would rather hear us complaining about the food. We were poor, and although we didn’t get what was being served at the Waldorf, we ate nourishing meals and made with a lot of love. But the only dish I hated in those days was stew. Most moms made it with brown
Starving Armenians on TLW's side
gravy: mine made it with red sauce. To me, potatoes and green peas in red stew sauce was not to my liking, as it wasn't a pasta sauce but a red tomato gravy. I would pick out the meat to eat it and not eat anything else but the bread and butter that she put out, that being the only occasion I complained about the food. Now TLW (The Little Woman) tells me about that as a kid she had to deal with the starving Armenians who would gladly eat what she didn’t want to eat, and for me it was the Chinese. One particular conversation with Mom went like this:

I don't know, these Chinese don't look all that hungry to me!
“Ma, do you HAVE to make stew again? I hate stew!”
“Really? Well you just think about the poor Chinese children who would love it.”
“Well Ma, why don’t we send them the stew and we can eat something else?”
“Because I like stew, Ummm, so good!” She was really unlikeable when she did that to me. This went along with another conversation we always had.

“Ma, why do I have to throw out the garbage all the time, I hate it!”
“Because I said so, that’s why.”

Well, maybe I’ll make some nice stew tonight, and when I’m done, clean up and throw out the garbage. She'd be proud of me.

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