Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Laugh, it's the one thing we can all do together and feel better
Well once again, we’ve wrapped another year up: this time as 2013. There is a lot of good and bad that went on and I will look forward to 2014.

First of all to all you readers, who make it meaningful to ramble on in this venue, thank you for reading. Love comes in many forms an you prove it. I can only wish you a great year in 2014, one filled with prosperity and love.

I have a wish, I wish that that world get some peace, that we can put aside our religious differences, and that our political views don’t become wrapped up in unchallenged ideologies and we employ self-logic for a change.

I am making the same New Year’s resolution that I kept this year, that is: NO resolutions! My record goes unblemished from last year!

I will TRY to do the following, carry a notepad so I don’t forget. I seem to go into rooms and forget where I’m going, reach into closets wondering why and staring into opened refrigerators getting frost bit wondering what I wanted.

Not complain about being the only one in the house to replace boxes of tissue, toilet paper and paper towels, putting cereal boxes away and throwing out stuff left on the kitchen counters by others.

Driving, I will not single out every jackass who is behind the wheel, especially those that cut me off. Maybe I’ll carry a gun and just shoot them. I will remember to check my blinker after the turn, and to park away from entrances so I get more exercise in malls and shopping centers.

I will try very hard to be nicer to unsolicited sales calls, not do more to them than I am already, but still waste their time. (Forget this one)

Try to be funny for a change on this blogue.

Watch my language in front of TLW (The Little Woman). She is getting on in years and doesn’t need this old fool shocking her system.

Be nicer to charities that call during the Christmas season asking for more of my money that all the retailers and charities took in a blitz through my wallet the previous month before hanging up on them.

Be kinder to people, such as people I disagree with, newscasters that think the show is about them and not the news, such as John Idiot the weatherman. (oops!)

Be more tolerant of people in stores who waste my time on checkout lines while they count their pennies, write checks ot have more than 300 items on a 12 or less line.

Continue to keep the urge down to key a car or two when the idiot deliberately takes up two spaces in a parking lot. (I’ve been tempted)

Try to put away patiently, all the Christmas stuff from the tree and snow village, and do it quietly.

Have a Safe and Happy New Year from this grumpy old fool and his wonderful and patient wife.

Monday, December 30, 2013


What a pretty grandma!
The coming of my beautiful granddaughter has grandma in a stir. She can't pass a store that sells baby things without stopping in, I haven’t seen the woman this happy since I used to go to work for 12 hours a day!

Being a grandparent for the first time must be a lot like being widowed and going on a date for the first time. It is all so new and yet you’ve been there before. You walk into the store and they hit you immediately with these cute little outfits that say things like: ‘I’m cute, Mommy’s cute, Daddy’s lucky.’ They don’t stop there of course; ‘I love Grandpa’ goes right next to it!

I asked TLW (The Little Woman) if she acted like a kid in a toy store when it came to buying our first kid's clothes and she said No, we couldn’t afford it back then. She has made up for it for all four kids we've had with her first granddaughter.

I have never seen TLW so out of control as she goes from rack to rack (Yes, off the rack, we can’t find a tailor) filled with joy and happiness as she selects stuff both practically and playfully. She even questions the wisdom of a playfully drawn elephant in a ballerina skirt on a pink shirt, wondering if it is too much. I assured her and said think about how funny that is, and thought about this very large but sweet sales girl over 6 feet tall and maybe 350 pounds in a ballerina skirt standing near by, and realized, this elephant thing is funnier than I thought! (You can direct your indignation right in the comments box and I will be happy to ensure it is read.)

She said at one point, I’m going to the store, won’t be long, I need to get a gift certificate. She was gone about one and a half hours, loaded down with bags of children or infant clothing!

I’ve decided not to just jump in and scare the kid, no, I will introduce myself, shake her little hand and ask how’s she doing, just to ease in and not make her nervous. This is one child that will NOT be told to put on her Pajamas and go to bed, like I did to all my children, nieces and nephews.

Oh happy days! I will be a grandfather! She will be smart like her mother, beautiful like her mother, and I'll figure something out for her father, I still have time yet.

Sunday, December 29, 2013


How many of you can buy something off the rack and wear it without alterations, or some kind of compromise?

Did a little shopping with TLW (The Little Woman) the other day and while out decided to buy some shoes. Now I have a wide width shoe and I can’t always find my size, so it takes a great deal of searching from store to store to find it.

There is a certain kind of shoe style I like and want if you don’t have it I won’t buy anything. My shoes last me a very long time because I keep what I have until they are ready to fall off.

When I shop, the stores either have my size but not the style or the reverse, having the style but not in my size, leading me to another store with the same kind of dichotomy!

For the last three tries it seems that I finally end up in Rockport and they have it all, style and size and usually some great deals where I get a second pair for half price! Sure enough, it happened once again!

But the curse does not end there, no shirts are a problem for me, dress shirts that is. Seems I wear an extra large, but the arms are always too long and need to be altered as do suits and pants usually. The last time I wore off the rack I was an infant. Come to think about it, even my house had to be made larger to fit me.

Saturday, December 28, 2013


We received a letter in the mail a few weeks ago telling us that my daughter Ellen: who lives in a group home setting and attends a daily program, was getting a recognition award for attending the program for 20 years. Ellen is not the type to care for awards, give her something to eat and that is her reward, award and/or recognition. Top it off with some soda and you are her buddy for life.

Five years ago Miss Ellie received a 15-year recognition award for her attendance at this day program, and #1 Son and I went out to Westhampton Beach to see the presentation. Miss Ellie along with about 50 others received awards for various years of attendance. #1Son who came in from California for the holidays witnessed his big sister’s flipping awards away.

Sitting up front her brother and I watched as they announced Miss Ellie’s name to come up and collect her reward of recognition. As she wobbled to the front of the room, led by a young lady she was presented with a certificate, and as the whole auditorium of about 250 people watched, Miss Ellie tossed the award without even looking at it, just flipping it aside.

This year, for Ellen’s 20th year award, TLW (The Little Woman) joined me since she was on vacation this time. We drove for 40 minutes to the Westhampton Beach Day Treatment center to witness the event. Sitting up front and away form the view of my daughter, we took our seats and awaited the start of the activity. If Miss Ellie was to see us, she would want to leave the building and go home to eat.

In came my daughter, and was accompanied by a woman who guided her, Ellen suddenly decided she had enough. She wasn’t going a step further, and not one step further did she go. As sweet as she is, she can get ornery and stubborn and un-moveable. But this is not the rule: it is the exception. The noise, and crowd made her uncomfortable, so she decided she would not tolerate it, so out she marched and out of view, having never seen us in the whole process! So over thirty miles we drove and 40 minutes to watch her walk out.

When she was announced during the festivity, it was said that Ellen chose not to participate. Well pardon me!

We sat through the whole award ceremony and watched some amazing things. Naming the years and presenting the recognition was not as important as was most of these guys going up, some slowly, some agonizingly, some guided because of blindness and reached not for the piece of paper, but the dedicated people who presented these awards. Hugging and squeezing between consumer and presenter was very heartening and points out what the human spirit is really like, no matter how capable we are in life.

Friday, December 27, 2013


Recently on the news there was a mention of chicken and bacteria, and that you should cook it at 165 degrees.

TLW (The Little Woman) has been for the 42 years I know her a stickler for cooked meat. Like her father she likes her meat well done. If you place a plate of pork or chicken in front of her, she will examine it like Sherlock Holms or a member of one of those police forensic squad members, looking for clues, she looks for well done. SHE will never eat sushi.

Her dad: liked his meat well done and I mean well done. I used to see him eat a steak and it wasn’t well done so much as finished for sure. All it needed was shoelaces and a good shine.

I on the other hand like my meat cooked medium rare. Even pork should not be so well cooked that it loses its natural juices. Pork can be pink inside unlike chicken, which should be cooked through so that it is safe, but still moist and tasty. But a little pink inside is not going to hurt you in pork dishes.

I’ll put a pork chop in front of TLW and dig into mine, look up and watch her begin the examination. Head down, she slices through the chop, stopping half way through to hold it apart with her knife and fork, as she takes a look. You’d think I was trying to poison her.

“I’m putting mine in the micro-wave for another minute.” This is her statement to verify the chop does not meet her meat standards for cooked. This makes me crazy and now I wonder if I should do the same thing. Her: ‘How could you try to kill me this way’ look is penetrating and rather effective, as I want to say something, but don’t. (I’m really a great husband!) There is a triumph in her look, and bounciness in her step from the microwave to her chair and dryness in her meat.

On Wednesday nights, we eat later than usual, since she teaches little heathens about Jesus and doesn’t get home until 7:15 pm. This is when I cook pork chops, figuring she is hungry now for sure and won’t mess around and literally bust my chops. This is to no avail, since she will go the extra minute.

Debatable pork chops have been part of our married life since day 17, the first Wednesday we spent at home as a married couple. If she made pork chops that Wednesday, you could bet the farm (pig farm) that the train I was coming home on would be late, and I would have dried out pork chops, but a happy wife. I just occurred to me that she was blaming the trains and getting away with this all these years I took the train!

And so boys and girls, that is the way it was and still is.

Thursday, December 26, 2013


It is now a whole year since he passed. Yet in that year he left a treasure of reminders of who we are and how much life takes on a newer meaning.

We lament the passing, but I would rather celebrate his existence, and remind myself that I would mourn never having met him. He was proud of his name telling us it meant God’s gift, and that his last name meant Gift of God! It was one bill of goods I bought into readily, because he was a gift from God, and I see it now.

On his birthday, which happens to be today, he would buy his family, his wife and kids a present. How many people do we know like that? He was a homebody that made you feel welcomed in his home, and comfortable. We always got along while having petty disagreements, nothing other than sports or things that bore no importance. He was a hero in my eyes and I always respect him for that. He treated his wife my sister very well, with a hominess that said a lot about what was in his heart.
His last vacation

All his grandchildren loved him, as did his son-in-law. All his in-laws loved him because he was one of us, only Polish. He had a great tolerance for teasing: something that is part of the family culture, and Dad relied on him many times. He had great respect for Mom and older people in general: my grandmother always loved him too.

The boardwalk in Cape May, NJ
When he passed and I went to the funeral to deliver a eulogy, he stood out in all the faces in that crowded room, all those people coming together to share the gift of life he gave us as a husband, father, in-law, grandfather and friend. He was born the day after Christmas for a reason, to remind us that being happy on Christmas should be continued over to the next day, and the days to follow.

His favorite people all together
I am glad I knew him most of my life as well as his, and I am grateful for the honor of being with him in the end, up until his last breath, a special gift for me.

He was always there for me
And so, every time I visit my son’s grave, or my father’s, I go to his too, because he was right there in my heart and soul, we had a small bond, and I will never let that go, no matter how long he is gone.

Merry Christmas John, and Happy Birthday, your whole world shares it with you and says: Thank you.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


There’s not much to say except: MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I hope that this year is filled with a lot of good moments that transform into happy memories of a lifetime, and that until next Holiday season: you are all well and prosper.

For me I will enjoy the day and eat as much as I like, drink as much as I want and hope my doctor doesn’t call.

Love, Joe & Ellen

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Below is a repost from last year’s Christmas Eve blogue. It is reposted because it is one of my favorite posts and also because it is Christmas Eve, I’m in a really good mood and don’t feel like posting anything new about something as beautiful as Christmas Eve!

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Growing up, we all have our own favorite Christmas memories, and there are so many. Mine for some reason have stayed with me and seem to get although more distant, more etched into my mind.

The little things that seemed so important were meaningful to me, important yet, shaping my life and making me whole.

Buying a Christmas tree was Dads job, and he NEVER did it right, but we loved him for doing it. Dad believed that it wasn’t important that the tree looked like it was left for bare, the price was right, and as he climbed the two flights of stairs, the anticipation became great in the hopes that he did it right for once. If you couldn’t see his face as he ascended the stairs, it meant he DID do it right, but if you knew who was carrying up that tree by looking and seeing whom, he got another bargain, and you put away a few strings of lights and a couple dozen balls.

Of course if you wanted to see where he bought the bargain, all you had to do was follow the fallen needles until they stopped. Aside from the anemic look, the smell was always right, right for the spirit and right for Christmas. Dad would walk into the dining room and place it between the dining room and the parlor, while he went down the cellar to get our tree stand. The balls were all the same, coming in; gold, green, blue and red, with these large bulbs in the same colors with thick electrical cord that was black and white. The star that weighed down the top was of the same colors, each color bulb on a silver star.

The tradition in my house was for my older sister Tess (Much older) knocking down the tree at least once and Dad having a swearing fit in Italian. We would put up most of the tree and THEN she would do something to knock it down. Dad who was watching his favorite child and his second born work together, standing on kitchen
chairs as we decorated the tree, and he would of course have to come and rescue the whole thing.

Mom was never part of this routine: instead she would wait in the kitchen for Dad to jump up, my sister to say ‘OOPs!’ and Dad to do his Desi Arnez routine in Italian. “ANTHONY, WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE! IT’S CHRISTMAS!”

Mom was the religious fanatic in the household, and Dad was the sinner, or so I thought. Tess my older sister (much older) would wake me up about 1:00 am from a deep sleep and announce that she thought: “Santa was here!” “Go in the dining room and see.” She said. Me, like the developing schmuck I would later in life perfected, did as she suggested once she untwisted my arm. We would tip toe out to the dining room where we would find empty boxes scattered in the kitchen and the toys under the tree. The suddenly there would be a sound at the front door and we would jump, thinking that Santa was taking back the stash, when it was Mom returning form Mid-Night Mass.


“Who, us? We heard a noise.”

“I’ll give you a noise, go to bed.”

Of course we never did, but Mom HAD to fire a shot before going down.

A few nights before Christmas, Mom would do her shopping along Broadway under the Broadway Junction. She would darn her fur coat and take me along for the walk. As she window shopped, I would see a toy store, all lit up with a set of American Flyers and another set of Lionel trains, running through this incredible scenery, making we want them so much, in their magical wonderland, the smoke coming from the engine, the little man with a lantern standing close enough to the oncoming locomotive I was afraid it would knock him on his plastic ass! For the rest of the evening wanting and dreaming of having a set of trains under my Christmas tree if it was still standing was all I did.

Then the next morning when the trains were under the tree, and I was happily playing with them, Mom would make her announcement.

“GET DRESSED. We have to go to church!” She was pulling me away from my trains and making me go to church!! Tess, my older sister (much older) had to do the same thing, so at least I wasn’t miserable alone. This meant I had to sit quietly and listen to a boring sermon and try not to dream of my trains. When the Mass was over, they marched us all over to the school, to our classrooms and they took attendance, and who went to communion! God how I hated them all in spite of what great good they did do for me!

Dad got to stay home and in bed, and I suspect to this day, once we left for church, he was busy playing with my trains. (At least it wasn’t my sister’s dolls. I hope)

And here is another Blogue I love

Thursday, December 24, 2009


It is only one time, and I wait for it 364 days a year. It is Christmas Eve, the special day that defines who I am and where I come from. It is the day that I spend laughing, eating and enjoying. I enjoy not only the food, but: the people that gather that evening before Christmas and celebrate life.

It seems to be almost magical, when I enter my sister’s home, smelling the fish sauce made from lobster, the different fish dishes assembled, and I bring my stuffed shrimp with crab meat. Usually, at least three of my four beautiful sisters are present, but not always. Family commitments sometimes take one or two of them away. Funny how in spite of that, they seem to be there!

Mom is now 91, and started the whole tradition when my grandmother could no longer carry it on. Dad loved the holiday, and was always there in his plaid shirt, making it feel good to be home again.

Sometimes we’d have guests. Maybe a future in-law, maybe a friend from school or work, maybe it was a stranger. Anyone was welcomed, and we were always happy to make him or her join in the laughter and good times.

I know that someday, this tradition may die away. We may no longer for whatever reason, be able to celebrate Christmas Eve as we do, but the memories will linger.

I hope your Christmas Eve is filled with only good memories, Merry Christmas from: TLW (The Little Woman), my daughter Ellen, #1 Son Anthony and #2 Son Michael, and me.

And so Dear Reader, I wish you a joyous evening, and only good memories of this eve, and may peace be with you!

Joe, Ellen (TLW), Ellen Mary, Courtney, (my granddaughter ?) Anthony and Mike!

Monday, December 23, 2013


It seems to me everything is funny, even death can be.

There are a lot of people in this world who are too somber, too serious and too focused on appearance and making money because of it. I have always felt that if I needed to focus so hard of what people think of me, or the need to make lots of money, I would be missing something in life! There is a time and place for that, under heaven.

The holidays are here and people tend to bend over backwards being nice to one another, after all “it’s the holidays!” Yes, go back to being a bastard on January 2nd of the New Year, meanwhile chill out. That is too bad, that means to me you are intolerant and perhaps a little untrustworthy.

I was once told that people want me at a funeral because I can get them to smile, livening things up! I used to worry about going to a funeral and facing the bereaved, wondering to myself what do I say? It is awkward that first moment and if it is a friend and not family, it becomes ever the more awkward. Gentle words and a small chuckle can help relieve the moment for the bereaved and me.

I remind myself now that when I go in to a funeral parlor: that I need to put the fun back in funeral! Sounds silly and maybe disrespectful, but I think about the deceased and wonder how much he or she would want me to be in a state of apprehension over his or her demise.  Sadness is expected, but I try never to wear it on my sleeve, because that makes people uncomfortable because of me.

Oh, there are tragedies of course, and you won’t catch me smiling because I don’t feel like it, like when a child or a young parent passes. But even those occasions one must find relief outside of the venue.

When I go, I intend to lie down, and once I do, I don’t want anyone bothering to get me up. As you know, humor can be borne out of tragedy, a kind of escape hatch from becoming totally hysterical from loss. When Dad died, that was the first time I cried in public, because Dad and I did a lot together, I had lost an old friend. But once that moment passed in the funeral parlor, I started to think about him not as gone, but what he left me. He had a great sense of humor, and I think Mom too has one. But Dad and I did so much and he taught me so much both directly and indirectly. I thought about the time he fell into the bay one night while crabbing, or the time I played some dirty tricks on him, and all the times he did likewise to me. When these things came to mind, I smiled and thought: why not?

On the social network called Facebook, I have extended my sense of humor at the price of my myself, poking fun at me, religion, politics and sports and even all the wonderful people who are on the network, I love to get them to like something I did or said, and I guess I kind of created my own schtick.

I guess what it all boils down to is that all my family, friends and acquaintances should all die laughing, because the last thing we do on Earth is die.

Sunday, December 22, 2013


It seems like yesterday! It happened many years ago, over 30 for sure and at this time of the year I remember him most.

I remember when he was born, and how the doctors and nurses and even his mamma couldn't get him to drink, my wife handed him to me and said: “Here Joe, you try.” As he lay in my arms for the first time, I was given a bottle to feed him with, and he took it and drank. I like to think he did that just for me.

His first steps were unsteady, and he took them with dogged determination, and wobbled like we knew he would, but he did it. We were all so happy!

And I remember an aunt telling me when she met him for the first time how much I looked like him at his age, like someone had chopped my head off and put it on him! That made me proud.

And of course I remember his last Christmas, and how painful it was. He spent it in a hospital, having entered the day after Thanksgiving Day: with seizures and his falling in his crib as he tried repeatedly to stand. How sad it was, how frightening it all seemed.

I remember spending this last Christmas morning with him at the North Shore University Hospital with my wife and two kids, and how painful it felt to see us in that room, clinging to hope for his recovery, not understanding what was rally going on, how final it would all become, how empty and cold we would all feel. And on Christmas Day, he lay in bed, with tubes stuck in him at the ankles because the doctors were running out of place to put a tube!

And so my son Joseph became ill over the holidays of 1980, and in January of 1981, not even 2 years old yet, he succumbed to his illness one night, and forever will I remember him on the holidays. It may be a season of joy for some, but to me it is the day of quiet reflection and love of my family that matters. No present but the health of my kids will mean anything to me on Christmas Day. 

I don’t mean to be a downer so close to Christmas, but a reminder that there are people in this world on that day who are alone, or in hospitals or in the care of Hospice, who need to be cheered up, given a present of a smile, a gentle hello, a visit to let them know that they are not forgotten. And for those parents who have lost a child, this time of the year can be the hardest, pray for them, without reservation for their peace and acceptance that life is what it is, and that some day we will all meet again.

Saturday, December 21, 2013


I am a man of tradition! I am a man for nostalgia and things that make me comfortable.

Some of what I do is to make me feel a certain way, for instance at Christmas, when I eat the traditional Lobster sauce with spaghetti, it brings back childhood memories and the taste of the sauce puts me in both my mom’s and grandmother’s kitchen, tasting not only a delicious sauce, but reliving history, the distant echo of Italian being spoken, the taste of almond wedding cookies and anisette in black coffee, or the multitude of Italian pastries. Tradition is important to me.

Every Christmas on Christmas day only, I wear a pair of red argyle socks, that have been with me for many years. 364 days a year they sit in my sock draw, but on Christmas morning, they go on!

So one morning as I’m reaching for my regular socks, something strikes me but I can’t put my finger on it. That night at dinner I realize what it was that struck me. My red argyle socks were not in view! I mention this to TLW (The Little Woman) and she says she knows nothing about them, almost saying: don’t accuse me you four eyed bag of meatballs!

The next morning I reach for a pair of socks and there sitting under the pile of socks is the red argyle socks! What happened? I don’t know, but I know they were there all that time I was missing them. I go downstairs to have my coffee and mention to TLW that Christmas is saved!

“What do you mean?”

“I found my red argyle socks!” I say happily.

“Oh, so your insinuation that I threw them out wasn’t so!”

“I didn’t insinuate that!”

I think she didn’t throw them out, but thought maybe she did, and a bit of guilt overcame her. She is known to throw out useless old clothes, so I think she is guilty by insinuation and innocent of all wrongdoing. She would be exonerated in a court of law. Of course if she did throw out my stuff while I’m wearing it, that would be another issue.

Happy Birthday 
to my brother-in-law Tom, who if he had taken better care of himself, 
would still be single today!

Friday, December 20, 2013


Santa and Grandma
One of the things I always wanted to do in my adult life is to play Santa to children. There is nothing like innocent anticipation for the old bearded gentleman, and it is the only time I can call myself an old bearded gentleman. If you happen to have a Santa outfit, then the dream comes true, and where better than my niece Annmarie and her beautiful children, the grand kids of my beautiful sister Mary Ann.
with Anthony and Jordyn

I myself as a child gave up on Santa once I put two and two together, which was tough on me since I was a lousy math student to begin with. There just seemed to be too many Santa’s hanging around, changing shape and even color! But when one of them was wearing brown shoes on Broadway and Eastern Parkway one Christmas, I said to myself: “Joe, you are 21 years of age and was always suspicious of Santa, I think this is all a lot of hokum.

with Anthony, Aubrey and Alex
The presents were arranged by the mailbox with care, in the hopes that St. Nickolas would soon be there. He was! I grabbed the presents, stuck them in my sack and started up the driveway in the dark towards the front door. Standing in the living room looking out was my niece Annmarie, as I shook my bells and shook in my shorts, it was a cold night!

words of advice for Al
Shouting out to get the kids attention, my niece leads out 4 little munchkins, Aubrey, Alex, Anthony and Jordyn. All these beautiful children were not expecting Santa, and the looks of shock on their faces made me laugh inside.

Anthony and Alex negotiate with Santa
Kids are very compliant when they are scared and this was my chance to part with a special message: “Now remember, put on your pajamas and go to bed when mommy and daddy tell you!” My sister Mary Ann almost fainted as I headed for the door, thinking: “There he goes again!” It is what I always say to my nieces and nephews to tease them.

Thursday, December 19, 2013


Our first Christmas
I’ll never forget it, that first Christmas with TLW (The Little Woman) as we had just planned on getting married. It seemed that everything I saw, everything I did, and everything she said was magical. My world was so much younger then, and was just opening up.

The long hard winter of personal austerity was finally over for me, the days of hitchhiking and taking trains to school, the two jobs and saving every penny was behind me. I had a new job as a professional designer, the very thing I had hoped to achieve was a new reality, and the world was fresh and new once more.

The lovely Miss Manning was working in Manhattan as an executive secretary for Mobile Oil. She was sweet, had a high moral ceiling and seemed to like me! The last factor should have made me suspicious of her, but instead the opposite occurred, and I was head over heels in love.

I don’t think I felt the cold that winter, nor did I mind the long commute into the city, because she seemed to fill all my time in thought and every waking hour was devoted to her. The sleep was a continuous dream of this wonderful lady who would one day be my wife!

It is funny how souls connect. You meet someone who settles you down, makes you comfortable and doesn’t openly judge you, and you don’t see so much as feel. I think if she had two heads but made me feel the way I do to this day, I still would have married her.

Christmas in those days seemed very special before the children came. For the first time someone was doing something special for me and I in turn was doing something special for someone. It was this first Christmas that she got more building blocks for her spectacular reputation as a person with talent. She bought me this beautiful silk tie, dark blue with small tastefully placed red polka dots. It was her first present to me, and I wore it with such pride, and joy, that it still remains in my memory, and since that day, whenever she bought me a tie, people would remark how nice the tie was! I’d say: “Ellen got it for me!” There would be a big smile behind the statement.

It seemed once we announced our engagement, everything became so magical, the job, the seasonal music, my whole life-style, all rolled into this lovely lady. I remember how much my family took to her, as I introduced TLW to my family the first day after Thanksgiving and the very day I had asked her to marry me. Someone once remarked to me that she seemed just like one of my sisters, and that make me very happy. Dad never paid attention to my girl friends, but he did when TLW showed up. He took her seriously, showing her respect and welcomed her. I had risen in stock in my father’s mind. Mom saw her as the one person she would want to stick with her son, and said before I mentioned that I asked TLW to marry me that she wouldn’t mind calling her one of her daughters.

I waited to tell my family after I proposed to TLW because I feared that TLW would say ‘no’ and secondly, if by some small miracle she said ‘yes’ no one was influencing my decision. Having dated women from all walks of life, TLW was not about her self, had no selfish ideas or high opinions of who she was, instead she was and still is humble, making me realize that she was a great catch and worth every effort to marry her. Her family was a lot like mine, just Irish instead of Italian, and frankly, it was time to break the bonds in a new generation and enjoy the American experience, as did most of my sisters and just as most of her family did too.

I remember the office where I worked, the surprise engagement party they threw for us, and how she met them all and acted professionally, respectfully and above all, with an innate class the impressed everyone. They presented us with this beautiful cake cutter set and asked her to cut the cake, and in her nervousness, she flubbed the first piece!

My grandmother absolutely loved TLW, making a big fuss when I first introduced her, as she took out some brandy glasses and we toasted.

So Christmas means a lot to me, in many ways. The period will be the setting for many more great things, and some pretty terrible moments as well, but that first Christmas, with TLW will always be very special to me.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


We all have them, we all need them, we all have too many of them.

For a while, I’ve been having problems with the Internet reception. It seems that it would take sometimes and sometimes it wouldn’t! This can be frustrating and annoying, especially when you think you need a quick answer to something. Couple all that with TLW (The Little Woman) wanting to get on the Internet and being denied makes for a very unhappy DelBloggolo.

“JOE! I can’t get on the Internet!”

Source of my woes

“I don’t know: that’s your job to find out. If I go into the kitchen, it let’s me on, but if I sit in the den, I can’t get on. AND DON’T TELL ME IT’S MY ATTITUDE!”

I go upstairs to my office and investigate, with TLW’s orders still ringing in my ears and discover that another network is over-riding my network, the famed and internationally acclaimed, Joseph Del Bloggolo network! I go into my main computer files and discover also that for me to fix the problem, they will make it interesting, they pop up a password entry field for me to guess what I used back in ’02 for a network password.

If I have one mental block in my head, it is for passwords. I can type one in and immediately forget it once I use it. Do I record the password immediately? No. Do I at least say it twice to myself? No. Is it a password I should remember? Yes, but do I, No! This is called in professional network terms: ‘Stupid’! If I am ever captured by the enemy and tortured, I would not be able to reveal my password. This is probably why I forget it once I use it, for security reasons.

Many years ago, I was doing a very important job for a company in the city that required secrecy because we were in direct competition with another company for a client. I would take my work home at night do more work, guarding everything with my life. Then on the local news there was a story about lost and found on the railroad on which I was a daily rider. This got me to thinking that I needed some kind of extra security, and so got an attaché case with a combination to lock it. I thought about it and used the double-digit numbers of three Mets players. This was brilliant I thought, what the heck, who would figure that out? I couldn’t. It took me three tries to, because I forgot the order of the players!

Facebook is another issue, along with Apple and every account I have on the Internet, plus the password for my computers, all are different. Experts tell you: you should never use the same password so I don’t, except God forbid when Yahoo does their little thing occasionally to screw my mind over with “Enter password” and I have to try to remember what the hell it is. My I-pad and Kindle are also making me blind, not to mention my cell phone, which was created by an android!

The password situation has driven me to anguish, sobbing, pouting, crying hysterically and cursing.

I tell TLW that she will have to have patience with me to get to the Joseph Del Bloggolo network since that is being restored, and I can't remember the password.

“WHAT!?” You don’t write your passwords down!!!!!?????”

“No, I should but I don’t”

We begin the quest to find the password for the Joseph Del Bloggolo network, and miracle of miracles after the third try, we hit it!

“You know Joe, for someone with such a good memory, you should recall your passwords, if not, WRITE THEM DOWN!”

“Yes dear.”

She then takes out a book and records the Joseph Del Bloggolo network password! The only problem is neither of us can read her handwriting.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


A sign of the times!
Ah, I remember it well, we as a nation were waiting for the Russians to come and bomb us and so we had bomb drills, as the paranoia reached frenzy in the mid-fifties Cold War.

Families were building bomb shelters and every siren I heard I wondered if it meant a fire, lunch or a bombing! The Russians now had the Hydrogen Bomb and the Korean War wasn’t settled yet. Our only confidence was in the fact that we had General Dwight D. Eisenhower as president.

I remember the classroom when the alarm went off. We were told to get under our desk and to cover our heads. Each of us would pop down under and hide, as Mrs. Walsh would pull the shades and walk around the classroom. Peeking I would know when she stood nearby, her shoes with her toes pointing out in various directions until they pointed to me. Then I would close my eyes and wait for her to move on.

It was a frightening thing to have to practice since we, as a nation had never experienced war on our shores. The thought of a mushroom cloud and the thunderous noise it would bring only helped to scare the bejeebee’s out of me. It would be a sudden flash, followed by a big hot wind and noise!

Home sweet shelter
I remember once seeing a film in black and white on a screen in front of the classroom where the procedures to stay alive while being bomb were introduced. First you had to have a bomb shelter, stocked with food. Second, you had to stay calm, and walk in an orderly fashion, especially as the bombs rained down on you!

I wondered where Dad would put the salami and cheese and not to mention the wine in a bomb shelter. How would I ever get all my toys in there also? Probably one of my sisters would have to stay outside! They were talking canned goods and water, like canned corn or stringed beans. I thought: hey, you need tomato paste and boxes of macaroni! And where would I be able to store a couple of cases of Yoo-hoo, the chocolate drink? In the ‘50s and ‘60s, Yogi Berra and other New York Yankee baseball legends starred in the most successful Yoo-hoo advertising campaign of all time. A photo of Berra drinking Yoo-hoo along with the new slogans "Me-hee for Yoo-hoo" and "The Drink of Champions" became especially



I imagined the Russian people as being enslaved, with Joe Stalin holding a whip, and men with pug noses and cauliflower ears dressed in green uniforms and jackboots as the enemy. I thought that the red star on their aircraft was designed to confuse America as we had a white star on our aircraft.


All this in one easy bomb drill! When it was over and we left school for the day, I would get myself a Yoo-hoo and Devil Dog cake, lick the sides of the cakes for the white cream and savor a slug of Yoo-hoo for being brave!