Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The 2nd Annual Edition of "They Stuck What Up Where?"

Last year around this time, I wrote a blog about some of the reasons people end up in emergency rooms over the course of the year. Now we're not talking heart attacks, appendicitis, or even slicing off one's finger with an electric saw. No, these reasons are a little more... let's just say, exotic.

The list is compiled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and same as last year, the people at Deadspin have put it in a most interesting order. So what have some of you wild and crazy people been up to this year? Honestly, I don't want to know.

Here is a partial list of what people (and let's not judge here) have inserted in various body orifices, only to realize, it ain't going out the same way it went in.

While fairly mundane, one does need to ask... why are these things in your EAR?
Make-up Brush
"CLASSMATE PUT A ROCK IN EAR, HAS PIECE OF PAPER IN OTHER EAR"... We will not ask where the scissors ended up.

Plastic eyeball...
Ear Plug... clearly these two people need a course in anatomy
2 Erasers... because one wasn't enough

Detergent Pack
Ball of String
Engagement Ring... aren't you curious if it was a man or woman who was trying to swallow the engagement ring?

And now here's where the real fun begins.
Sewing Needle... no matter how hard I try, I can't figure this one out
Plastic Pipe, Dental Floss with Beads... this has party written all over it

Pencil eraser... I had no idea erasers had such a tawdry other life
Glue Stick... really?

And as always, the perennial fun zone.
Shampoo Bottle
Cologne Bottle
Lotion Jar
Soda Can... soda can?
Flashlight... what the hell are they looking for?
Pool Ball... the eight ball perhaps?
Bathtub Stopper
Ice Pack
Toy Submarine.... I can't even go there

People, yes the body can be a pleasure machine, but let the big brain do some thinking before you insert foreign objects into the little brain, or other orifices.

It's New Year's Eve, don't drink and drive, and don't drive man-made materials into body cavities, unless they were specifically made for that purpose. This is not what they mean when they say "Use Your Imagination."

Party On.


Monday, December 23, 2013

How Difficult Is It To Deliver Christmas Cookies?

Well, let me tell you.

The weekend was full of cookie baking. It went rather well, and so far there have been no complaints or reports of trips to the emergency room. Delivered a few cookie care packages yesterday, and today I planned on visiting my only living aunt to drop off a tin. She only lives two towns over and I pass a Shop Rite on the way, so the plan is to drop in for around fifteen minutes, then hit Shop Rite for a couple of things.

I pass Shop Rite and drive another couple of blocks before you get to the bridge that leads to her town. Well, the bridge is closed. And when does the DPW let you know this? Ten feet in front of the now-closed bridge. So, everyone needs to turn around in the middle of the street and go all the way around town. Is it really too much to ask that they put a "Bridge is Closed" sign at the last intersection, so we wouldn't have to end up like something out of a cartoon? Apparently, it is.

I drive back over the first bridge I crossed and take the alternate route to my aunt's house. I walk in and she's in a state. Very stressed, very frantic. It seems she fell for an online scam where someone read her some of her ID information, mentioned Social Security and Medicare, and my aunt filled in the blanks. She's usually smarter than that, but they had enough of her info to make it sound legit. After the call, she got nervous and called to verify. It was a scam. So she had been on the phone for the past three hours trying to get things in order. Luckily I walked in, was able to calm her a bit and take her immediately to her bank.

The bank was very helpful; transfer funds, close accounts, open new ones, set up fraud alerts. I was able to write down for my aunt the next steps to take, who to call, how to deal with all of it... one step at a time. She called me later in the afternoon, all calls were made and she was busy eating cookies. Yes, my work is done.

So I guess the point of this post is to just remind the senior citizens in our lives just how low these pieces of crap will go to get your personal information. They are professional, your elderly relatives are not. Keep on eye out for those you love.

Back to the cookies.
Merry Christmas everyone.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

It's My Birthday Again... dammit.

So it's my birthday. Big Whoop. Just so you know, it's the last one I will be acknowledging.... ever.

Last night I checked my ticket for the HUGE Mega Millions drawing. Really, it's my birthday, ya think fate or destiny would show a little love. NO. That bitch karma showed up again and not the good bitch either

I share this birthday with Keith Richards. While he is somewhat older than me, I hope I wear my age a little better than he does. I also share it with Brad Pitt. He definitely shows his age better than I do mine.

It's been a wild year. They say you can't teach an old dogs new tricks, but let me just say... woof. If this year has taught me anything, it is to just DO IT. Sometimes shit works out, sometimes it doesn't, but trying something is a whole lot more interesting than just thinking about it.

They say the only regrets you really ever have are not for things you did, but rather for things you didn't do. Screw that. Youth may be gone, but being youthful never is. Or being old and acting like an idiot. Whatever. I plan to enjoy every minute, even today when I have to hear everyone in my family call and sing "Happy Birthday," and trust me that ain't pretty. It's a running joke as to which one of us has the worst voice.

So the day has already begun with wishes from  the crazies who are up way too early, and a phone call from the Drum Mama, reminding me for the next three months I'm older than her. Bite me.

In the end, it's all a memory to tuck away, pulling it out when a day goes bad. Just like family and friends, both old and new, certain things you cherish.

And that is one thing you learn with age.

Thanks guys.

Friday, December 13, 2013

And Here We Go Again

Yogi said it best. "It's like deja vu all over again."

Now unless it's to a show or an occasional get together with friends, I don't go out all that much. The last time we went out for a show with something to eat, it was a bit of a crazy experience. Plus, I work from home, and at the end of the day I don't feel like getting myself together to greet the world... especially when the temperature is in the low 20s.

But last night, out I went.

I had a Groupon that was expiring. Yeah, you all know what I mean. There always seems to be enough time to redeem it, then all of a sudden it's expiring during the week when there are 35 other things on your plate. This one expires today, but since I have a Christmas party to attend tonight, a Thursday night dinner out was on the menu. So was barbeque.

It was a place we hadn't been to, and while only about 15 miles away, it's in one of those towns that wherever you are... you can't get there from here. No highways very close, and you even have to bounce on several different main roads to find it. We got there around 6:45 and left 8:20... 2 people, 2 bowls of soup, 2 dinners. No dessert, no after dinner drinks. And really, how long should it take to pour soup into a bowl? Well, let me tell you.

It was a big, old, house type restaurant.... several rooms, low lights, fireplace, Christmas tree... nice atmosphere. We were seated in a booth for two. There were two other couples in the room. Two. Our waitress came over with the menus: food menu, beer menu and specials. OK, we order a couple of beers, she brings them in a relatively acceptable time. We order, each of us choosing a different one of the two soups on the specials menu. And we start to tell her our choices for the entree. She is not writing this down. As she asks the "other" what sides he would like... well he hadn't thought about that, so as he decides... she forgets what we've already ordered. We're talking a matter of a minute or two. Ok, we restate the order, she writes it down this time, and goes away.

And we wait.

And we notice it's kind of cold and drafty in this booth, so we ask if we could sit closer to the fire. So we move, much better. Nice and cozy. And we wait.

Twenty minutes later, I say "You know we are not going to get the soup. Because really, how long could it take to take a damn ladle and pour it into a bowl?" But yes, happy day, the soup did arrive. Mine was Beef Barley and it was steaming hot and delicious. So I'm feeling much better and looking forward to the entrees.

And we wait.

Another twenty minutes later the dinners arrive. At this point, a couple with a toddler girl, and a group of four friends have come in, sat down, ordered and were served. Of course they had another waitress. At one point ours came over to ask if we needed anything. The "other" asked for a side plate where he could mix up some of the sauces. "Just one?" she asked. Yes. No, she never brought it. As far as we could see, she only had one other table to serve, seriously... you can't remember a plate?

Food was great, no complaints there. In fact, the portions were enough for us both to take home enough for another meal, so we ask her to wrap it up. Oh oh. After another ten minutes or so, we are still waiting for the leftovers, and we haven't even asked for the check. Finally, he walks to the side area off the kitchen and she's trying without success to put the plastic cover on the aluminum tin. Are you kidding me? He takes it from her and brings it back to the table and I close it up. Oh and he brought the check too... only it wasn't ours.

He hands her back the wrong check, she will bring the correct one. But no. I go to bring back the second check and she is all flustered and hands me another one. Still not the right one. Did you ever want to just bang your head against the wall... yeah that.

Finally, we get the correct check and the manager has taken another 20% off the bill, so with that and the coupon, it was an economic night out at least. Would I go back? If I was in the area, yes. It's a little too far off the beaten path to make the trip, but the food was good enough to not hold the whole ditzy waitress thing against them.

I'm just starting to see a pattern developing with my dining out experiences. And another restaurant awaits me tonight. Anyone taking bets?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Grammy Nominations in Real Time

So it's a strange thing to be watching the Grammy Award nominations when you actually have some horses in the race. Realistically we may have one or two long shots, and the categories they are in won't be announced until after the show.

So the opening was a whole lot of... what? Do we really need all that visual and audio stimulation and... clothes racks onstage.

Can they make the graphics for the nominees any harder to read? And wtf was Ed Sheeran saying? I will say Swifty didn't annoy me as much as she usually does, but I still don't understand the need for all the drama onstage. Keith and Miguel did serious justice to "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone," though Keith losing his long hair was distressing to say the least.

Maybe after hearing it so much I'm just numb, but Katy Perry was ok and she didn't have a troop of dancers behind her, so that's a vast improvement over most of the entertainers.

Oh look, there's Lorde and she's just singing. What a freakin' concept. No clothes racks, no dancing armies, just singing. Please god, let it be the next big thing.

And what would the evening be without "Blurred Lines?" Actually done well, minus Miley this time.

The show is over and I just looked through the entire list and we weren't nominated. But we worked our butts off to get a record company launched and have several of our artists accepted onto the Grammy ballot. Earth Hertz Records, we are just starting to tell our story. You better believe it.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Next of Kin: Giving Thanks for the Online Family

In spite of what the retail world has been trying to shove down our throats for the past month, this is the week when the holiday season really begins. Before all the insanity starts, this Thursday we gather with family and friends, look around the table and for one brief moment, get all choked up and thankful and shit.

Now because most of people I am thankful for will not be at my dinner table (hmm, is there a connection?) I'll just put down a few words.

The more you write online, the more you become involved with other writers. You comment on each other's sites, you blog hop, you guest post, you share articles... you help each other out. I have a bunch of those guys for whom I am thankful. Now some of them have books and I know they would be thankful if I plug them. So I will. See how that works.

Jim Wood. Now Jim and I have actually met a couple of times. He writes at gojimmygo.net, GuitarWorld and other places. He has also written two children's books, both with illustrations by Michele Quinn. The first book, Doodle, saw profits go towards helping the family of an ill child. The second book, Doodle Meets the Pound Pup, will see profits help an animal shelter. Good people doing a good job. Help them out if you can, they will be very thankful.

Lance Burson. Where do I start? Lance writes... a lot. And he writes well. He has two books published at the moment, and number three is in the works. His site is My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog and his two books: The Ballad of Helene Troy and Soul to Body are good reads. Please buy them, his wife and three daughters would be eternally thankful. You can find them here: Buy The Books

Linda Roy. Not only is she a writer, she's a rocker. Yes, she's in a band, Jehova Waitresses. I dare you to find a better name for a band than that. She has a great blog Elleroy Was Here, which is funny as hell, and it's where she serves up cocktails every Saturday. Cocktails people. We can all be thankful for that.

Jen Kehl. Another busy writer. Jen has her own blog My Skewed View and she runs the wonderfully fun Tuesday Twisted Mix Tape blog hop. And she's included in a book too, The Mother of All Meltdowns. For the blog hop alone we would all be thankful, but wait... there's more. Jen, along with Lance and Linda, run a new and most excellent music website called Raised on the Radio. You should visit there often. You will be thankful you did.

Richard Fulco: Editor of Riffraf.net, another great music site. He is also an author, but we all have to wait until March, when his first novel ‘There Is No End to This Slope’ will be published. I'm sure he would be thankful if you pre-order his book, but checking out riffraf will make him smile too.

Ok, so those are the writers I am thankful for at the moment. They always have your back, and are there to catch you when the written words you have committed yourself to writing, become this dark cloud from which no light can penetrate. They are also a little weird, funny and don't know how to say no. For that, I am really thankful.

You guys all rock.

I Don't Like Mondays Blog Hop

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Hey, It Happens. Just Wish It Didn't Happen To Me

I started this morning with the Temptations song "Ball of Confusion" in my head. That was what my evening was like.

Most times going into New York City and seeing a show works out just fine. The last time there was an evening I chose to forget was well over a year ago. Talked about that in this post "Oy What a Night." Last night was one of those nights where you shake your head and look for the Candid Camera.

Headed into the City a little after five yesterday, traffic wasn't bad, and got to Midtown right at six... when the parking on the street becomes available for the most part. The Other was waiting in a bar on 50th and he saw a parking spot across the street, as I approached. Very cool, grabbed it and proceeded to stick my card into the Muni meter to get the parking receipt. After hitting the button for additional time at least 327 times, I tried to complete my transaction but instead got the dreaded 'card unreadable' message. Damn. Knowing I don't have 632 quarters to reach the time amount needed, I call the Other and he brings his card...again unreadable. OK, time to put the baby in a parking lot.

As the parking lot attendant waves me through to drive down to the next level to park, two cars are coming up the narrow driveway. Sooo, I have to back up the incline and wait for them to pass. Already my aggravation level is going into overdrive. Fine, walk the block to the venue, get my pass for the show, the Other gets his ticket and we wait... outside....in the cold for them to start letting people in. At least a half hour later, they start letting people in a few at a time. Once inside they have to decide where to sit you. It's a lot of long tables and a few scattered individual tables.

Because I had a photo pass, I needed to be close to an end, so we got a table for two on a narrow aisle directly across from another table for two. The aisle was actually a ramp, in direct line of the kitchen. So not only did every bit of food come past us, the wobbly table sat at an angle making it impossible to put a drink on, if you didn't want it in your lap. It also had a tablecloth which under any circumstances would have been too large for this table, add in that the table was in a walkway, well let's just say more than one person dragged it halfway off. Really, I'm not making this shit up.

People who came in ten minutes after us received their drinks before we even saw our waiter. He took our order and that was the last we saw of him for the night... until we hunted him down for the check. Another server brought us our drinks, and the appetizer which we deemed easy enough to eat on a slanted table.

Opening act, intermission, main show... no waiter. Fine, whatever. At the end of the show we find him, get the check and not only is there a charge for the food/drinks but for the show too. I ask him why? Because we didn't give him the cards we were handed when we entered. Ok, the show is sold out... everyone had to have paid to get in. Or even if that wasn't the case, don't you think he might have asked "Do you have a prepaid card?" I explain our situation and yes he remembered I was on a pass and he would fix it but it would take a few minutes.

A half hour later, the Other tracks him down again and the Other comes back with a bill and the handbills for upcoming shows and what the hell is this? Someone's credit card. I look at the name, the check and realize the food on this bill is what the guy sitting in the table next to me had ordered... yeah seating is that close. I ask him, is this yours... yep. Holy Shit, they handed out someone else's credit card.

Again, back to find the waiter, this time we get the correct bill and we finally get to leave. The show was good. Maybe it was a bad night for the venue. Maybe it was just Karma catching up with me.

All in all, it was a night out, a night with music. And that makes everything alright.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Mall Shooting: Does It Matter That It Could Have Been Worse?

I wanted to go to the mall today.

Now I don't go shopping very often, I don't have the time, mindset or cash to spend the day going from store to store. But a shoe store was closing and there were to be some good deals. I was mainly going for a specific walking shoe, a half-shoe that you just slip into, because as some of you know and I've written about here, I don't tie shoelaces. So this store makes those shoes and I need a pair, so off to the mall I was going.

But the best laid plans are sometimes screwed up. The mall is closed today. Last night just before closing, a troubled young man took a gun into the mall, shot off several rounds, caused panic for all those still inside, and hours later was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

It seems his intention all along was suicide, and apparently he threatened none of the shoppers. But he could have. It's just another instance when our safety is threatened and our sense of security is destroyed.

This mall, I believe is the largest in New Jersey. It wasn't always that way. When I first remember it as a kid, it was an open-air mall anchored by Bamberger's, which would become Macy's, at one end, and Gimbel's at the other. Over the years, it was enclosed and it grew and grew and grew. It is now massive. So was the police response last night. The helicopter camera shot easily showed over a hundred law enforcement cars from every agency in the area. A terrifying sight in a place I have been to a thousand times.

Today, I won't be at the mall, probably not tomorrow either. But as the retail business gears up for the holidays, how many people will be thinking twice about going through those doors.

Sometimes this world is not a nice place.

Photo Credit:

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Dog's Tale: The End of the Story

A week ago Thursday I wrote my last post here. It was called One Dog's Tale, and was about the importance of the time I was spending with my dog Hershey, as her health slowly declined. Sadly, a week after that post, we would need to say goodbye to our sweet dog.

On Sunday, at a family get-together, we were talking about our hope that she would make it through the holidays. The next day, she started to have trouble walking. At first we thought she might have slipped going up or down the stairs during the night as she would come up to her bed, in the bedroom. In the next two days however, she got worse, not better. The tumors which were all just under the skin, were now appearing and quickly growing on her rib cage. The vet also believed her kidneys were shutting down. All in all, her immune system had enough.

At the beginning of the week, we hoped to let her enjoy one more weekend at the lake, but by Wednesday it was obvious, she was not enjoying anything. I brought her bed down to the living room Wednesday night, and because she seemed to be more uncomfortable, I decided to sleep on the couch to keep an eye on her. It also seems to be a ritual I have when my dogs are near the end. After getting her settled, I fell asleep for a few minutes when I heard her moan. Time to move a little closer, so I took my not-used-nearly-enough exercise mat and got down on the floor next to her. I rubbed her and pet her and talked to her all night. If I would drift off to sleep, I either got a paw swipe or a nose rub, to remind me that this night was not about me. Someone told me she kept waking me up because she knew her time was short, and wanted me to be with her til the end. I think he was right.

It was a long night, but a longer morning waiting for the vet's office to open to make the call.

Saying goodbye to anyone you love is hard, watching them take their last breath is even harder. As I had with my other two dogs, I kept my face in front of hers til the end. I don't know what she was feeling, but I wanted the last thing she saw to be the face of someone who loved her completely.

As with any eulogy, I thought it would be nice to remember a few of the sweet things about Hershey.

Whoever owned her before she became a stray, took time to train her. She was generally well-behaved, though wary of strangers. One day, probably months after she came home, it was time for a walk and one of us told her to go get her leash... and she did. So this became part of the routine. The interesting thing is we had two leashes for her. One that was aqua, matched her collar, and was for going for a regular walk. The other was a leftover from Norton, our last dog, and we used that for a quick trip out to the backyard, or when she was in the car. She knew the difference, and would routinely fetch the correct one for the occasion. The few times she picked incorrectly, we would say "no," and she would drop the wrong leash and pick up the right one. I never did remember to get it on video, I'm not a big video taker.

The one other fun thing she would do would be ask for permission to jump on the couch. Yes, we let our dogs on the couch, I like having them there. Apparently in her first home, this was not the case. Now if she was home alone, or if we were home and not on the couch, she had no problem just making herself at home. But if one of us was on the couch, she would walk over and give a little woof, or cry, look at us, then put her head on the couch. And this would go on until we gave her "permission" to jump up. It was a very sweet thing that made us laugh, every time.

Of course there are so many other things you remember. Like the relationship she had with her favorite peeps. Every relationship was unique, mine was different from Freddie's. My mom's had a different basis, as did my dad's when he was still with us. And the one she had with her "uncle," well that was another animal onto itself. But through it all, she was just a dog who unexpectedly became part of a family..

A family that is a lot sadder today. Another friend told me that he had recently gone through this, and one thing that helps is knowing that all dogs go to heaven. I agreed and only hoped she would put in a good word for me.

Goodbye sweet girl.

I Don't Like Mondays Blog Hop

Thursday, October 10, 2013

One Dog's Tale

I find myself having some very meaningful discussions lately, even though they are a bit one sided. I work from home, and so it's me and the dog. They had named her Hershey at the first animal shelter where she was brought after being a stray for a while. Looking at her chocolate coat and yellow eyes, the name seemed to fit, so we kept it.

The initial shelter had no luck finding a home for this very large, somewhat scary looking dog, so they transferred her to a shelter with more traffic when her time was about to be up. They knew she was a good dog and thought she deserved all the chances she could get. And happily for all those involved, fate lent a hand.

It had been a year and a half since we lost Norton the Wonder Dog. He was one in a million, and it took a while to be ready for another pooch to take over and run the place. When realized we would always mourn him and that was that, we started talking about getting another dog. In a casual conversation with some neighbors at the weekend house, they told of a shelter we should visit. I went online, looked at the facility and the dogs available. There were three that were possibilities, Hershey was one of them.

When we arrived that weekend, one dog was already adopted, one was an adolescent with more energy than I thought I could handle, and then there was this big, brown sweetheart. Part Chesapeake Bay Retriever and part who knows. We've always thought some kind of hound by her gait, but it really didn't matter. Our brief introduction consisted of taking her out of her pen to a field outside. Once on the grass, she peed and I thought that was a good sign. I told her to sit, she did. I knelt next to her and put my arm around her, she didn't flinch. Sold.

We brought her home the next week.

She had a few issues, all dogs do, but nothing to ever make us second guess our decision. That was over eight years ago. They thought her age was around three when she was found, so for a large dog, she's getting up in age... and it's showing.

Her health is declining, kidneys, tumors, and a few other things. Getting old isn't pretty for man or beast. So lately, it seems the time we spend alone together every day is more significant. So we talk. Or I talk and she listens. I seem to spend a lot of time telling her that she's a good dog. I tell her I know she can't help what's happening to her and I will take care of her as long as I can. I tell her she can't help at times being such a bitch, just like I can't help it either. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Anyway, she seems to enjoy the added attention. When she stops being interested and shies away from the contact, I'll know we are getting close to saying goodbye.

But for now, we take every day as one to treasure. She takes everyday as one to be spoiled. It seems to work for all involved.

Time for a biscuit.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Congress Doesn't Care, But We Do

So the idiots in Washington have shut down the government.

Don't even get me started about that. While I do feel I have a good rant inside me, I think it's better to be a little constructive instead. If this crap doesn't end quickly, people... regular people, are going to start hurting. Imagine it's your family whose main paycheck has been suspended. Worse yet, imagine both heads of household are government workers, and overnight there is no income to feed your family.

We can do something to help.

It's almost the time of year when Food Banks begin their big push to start stocking up for the holidays. So, let's get the ball rolling to fill the shelves a little early in anticipation of the many families across the country who will be forced to look to others for the basics.

I started thinking about this very seriously this afternoon, after reading a couple of tweets from The Bloggess, of thebloggess.com. She tweeted about the Food Bank issue, and I thought, why can't we pass this along from blogger to blogger, from FaceBook page to FaceBook page, and so on. All over social media.

So here's what I think.

First, Pack up some food, toiletries, pet food and household items and take them to your local food bank.
Second, share this blog, write your own, tweet the message, FaceBook it, whatever. Let's just start thinking of all the people that Congress has chosen to forget.

And don't forget about Animal Shelters and Pet Pantries. They always need your help.

This is easy stuff people. No excuses.

What are you waiting for? Go.



Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Doodle, A Story and Something to Help the Animals

If you like kids or animals, keep reading. If you don't, keep reading anyway. You're here, you might as well see what's up.

Earlier this year, a writer friend of mine, Jim Wood and his friend Michele Quinn, wrote and illustrated a children's book. It was called "Doodle" and is a children's story about a girl and her dog and their journey exploring the world around them. At the time, the daughter of a dear friend of Michele's was fighting for her life. Jim and Michele decided at that point to donate all royalties from the book to a fund to help defray the cost of Ashley's medical care. Nice people doing a nice thing. And it worked.

Well, now Jim and Michele are at it again. Doodle the dog is about to return in the next installment titled "Doodle Meets the Pound Pup." Once again they have decided to donate profits, this time to an animal shelter, and they need our help. If you know of an Animal Shelter or Rescue Organization you feel needs and deserves to be the recipient of this donation, check out Jim's website gojimmygo.net, for all the info.

If you don't know of an organization to nominate, please share or link this post, or Jim's website to someone who might.

Like I said before, nice people doing a nice thing. Least we can do is give them a hand.

I Don't Like Mondays Blog Hop

Friday, September 27, 2013

Off To Never Neverland

There is crying in baseball.

Contrary to the famous line by the Tom Hanks character in A League of Their Own, last night proved once again that sometimes the moment can break even the toughest. Last night the home crowd said goodbye to their hero. Last night at Yankee Stadium, Mariano Rivera threw his last pitch in the city he has spent his entire first ballot Hall of Fame career.

The season did not go as planned, the Yankees were eliminated from post-season play, and really, the fact they still had an outside shot of making it until this week, is a testament to manager Joe Girardi. The injuries were insurmountable. With the exception of second baseman Robinson Cano, the entire infield was out most of the season. Jeter, Teixeria, ARod, all out. A rotating catcher position of non-starters, Granderson, Gardner, all out for long periods. And let's not talk about the pitching.

But through it all, they held their own. And through it all, there was Mariano. Still the best, though a bit more fallible this year. As we were programmed to expect near perfection from #42, the few times he blew a save caused the stadium and us fans at home to audibly gasp.

Last night, with one out in the eighth inning and the Yankees down 4-0, Girardi walked to the mound and made the sign everyone knew would come. One last time to pay homage to the best that ever was, and the best that will ever be. One last time to see a humble man take his place on the field to the sound of Metallica's "Enter Sandman." One last time as the entire stadium, and every Yankee and Tampa Bay player stood and applauded. One last time.

Mo did what he almost always did, got out of the inning with no runs and no hits. The YES Network did not break away for a commercial, but stayed focused on the face of Rivera. What he was thinking, we could only imagine. He walked onto the field for the ninth and retired the first two batters.

As Mariano concentrated on the upcoming batter, Derek Jeter and Andy Pettite, walked out of the dugout to take the ball from Rivera, in what can only be describes as a Moment. Seeing his two friends walk out to him, Mo smiled as Jeter said "It's time to go." Pettite embraced his teammate and it seemed the emotion finally hit the man with ice water in his veins. It hit all of us too.

It was over. A career they will talk about for a hundred years. A night we will never forget. A man we will always remember. It's been a great ride, and a privilege to have watched him all these years.

Simply, the best. Thanks Mo.

"Exit light 
Enter night 
Take my hand 
We're off to never never-land" 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

True Colors Shining Through

Yes, it's been a while.

I've been writing... a lot. Here, and here, and here. And in some places that are not visible yet. Just not here.

Honestly, I've been so busy writing that I haven't done anything worth writing about. But seeing as that hasn't stopped me before, I thought I'd put down a few words today.

We came up to the weekend house last night and will stay through Sunday. That my friends, is a very good thing. While there's always stuff to do, the atmosphere is so relaxing, and beautiful... especially at this time of year. Somehow between catching up on computer tasks and starting to get a few things in order for the approaching cold weather, the day flew by. I did manage to get in a walk around the lake though, and things are changing.

The critters are active. Squirrels and chipmunks are darting everywhere. They are looking very busy and that makes me very nervous. Last winter wasn't half bad and I am hoping for the same this year.

With a few exceptions, like the big red oak in the backyard, the trees are just beginning their color dance. For the most part just the yellows are showing. The ground cover of ferns, wildflowers, and cattails used to blend as a green blanket, but now are each taking on their own hues.

Bad Mushroom
While I was walking, I was also on a hunt. According to Big George the Mushroom Man, this is the time of year for the prized Hen of the Woods to appear. Now in order to find these, you need A) to know what you are looking for because bringing the wrong ones home could mean a trip to the ER and/or morgue. B) the right weather, which we haven't had just yet and C) the right tree that they grow on. It seems they prefer dead oak. I prefer my wine to be fermented in dead oak, but I digress.

There were no mushrooms, no cars and no people. Just a nice and peaceful 45 minutes. It started with Bruce singing "Human Touch" and ended with some blues from Beth Hart. I could not have planned it better.

And tomorrow I get to do it again.

Monday, September 2, 2013


A little over a year ago, I wrote a post about dreams and goals. It centered on the beginning of a dream and possibly coming to the realization that your dream may never come true. The latter part of that statement was written about long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad, after she ended her fourth attempt at swimming from Cuba to Key West.

As I write this, Diana Nyad, in her fifth and final attempt, is only ten miles away from achieving her goal. Only ten miles... after swimming for 44 hours. I hope she makes it.

Here's a repost of the story from last year

August 22, 2012

Dreams and Determination

In "The River," Bruce Springsteen wrote
 "Is a dream a lie if it don't come true, or is it something worse?" 

Today, I'm looking at both sides of a dream. The promise of what might be, and the realization that the dream is not to be.

This afternoon, I will talk with a musician whose band is on the edge of making their dream come true. Their first CD was released on Monday; now the real work begins. While it's always about the music, creativity is only one piece of the puzzle in this day and age. Gone are the days when record companies offer big contracts and promote your product in every way possible. Now, it is up to the band to do it all. The work is endless: interviews, touring, appearances and the most recent chore...social networking. Having a dream is one thing...having the determination to see it through is another. Breathe deeply, remember what is important, and take that leap of faith.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, we look at a dream unfulfilled. For a good portion of my life, Diana Nyad has pushed the envelope in endurance swimming. While at first I thought she was, well a little nuts, I later came to appreciate and admire her mission. In 1975, she swam around the island of Manhattan in under 8 hours. Now, I've lived close to New York City my entire life...there would have been nothing on the face of the earth to get me into those waters in 1975, before they cleaned up the rivers surrounding it.

Her greatest completed endurance swim began on her 30th birthday when she covered the distance of 102 miles from North Bimini Island, Bahamas to Juno Beach, Florida in 27 1/2 hours. Just think about that for a minute. Is there anything in your life you can do for 27 1/2 hours straight...even sleep? No. And yet she completed this amazing feat while battling currents, weather and jellyfish.

Her lasting dream was to swim from Cuba to Florida, but it was not to be. At the age of 62, her fourth attempt will most likely be her last. After swimming for sixty (yes, 60) hours she was pulled from the water, when the battle with the jellyfish and mother nature became too serious of an issue.

Failure? I think not. To have the dream and not make the attempt would be failure. Giving your all and coming up a bit short is an incentive to take what you have learned, and use it to create a new dream.

As Diana moves forward toward a new goal, Lucas and Chuck have many steps before they achieve theirs. Reach with both arms outstretched, but enjoy the small steps. Chances are, they will be the ones worth remembering.

Think them, See them. Close your eyes and jump.

Friday, August 30, 2013

This Was No Wile E Coyote

I've written about my dog before, especially how she loves to smell flowers. You can read it here. She also, like every other dog likes to smell other dog's shit, so there's that. I must say, I do enjoy watching her go from flower to flower, much more than watching her go from shit pile to shit pile. But that's not why I'm writing today.

On our afternoon walk yesterday I took a slightly different route. There's a bakery about to open on this one street, so I thought we should walk past and see what was going on there. Well, it's a work in progress and I'm not holding my breath that it will really ever open.

But here's the reason for this post. Walking past the bakery, there is a property with a large open space in the back which is enclosed with a chain link fence. The property owner I believe, rents out some spots for overnight car parking. It seems he decided to add a little outdoor decor to the space by placing a cutout figure of a coyote next to the fence.

As we walked past, Hershey did a double take. Then she stopped and cautiously put her nose close to the fence. Now she was confused. No scent, no movement... I could see her looking at it like WTF? She made a few circles, but kept going back to it. She even got down on her front paws to play with it, but it didn't move. A man got out of a car next to us, looked at Hershey, looked at me, and we both started to laugh.

I'm going to wait until next week, then bring her back there again. I'm curious if she will ignore it or just be pissed off that it won't play with her. Today, I'll take her on a different route.

One that has some flowers.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Miley, You've Got Some 'Splaining To Do

I am aware that I am not in the demographic to enjoy or even understand what the hell the VMAs are all about. Let's face it, I haven't been in the demographic for MTV in 25 years. But I try, really I do.

Credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage
Last year I tolerated about 18 minutes, this year I managed 40 before Kanye convinced me that local news of murder and mayhem was less agitating than he was. I don't know what happened later with JT and the Boys, whether Katy roared that godawful song or who won the awards. I think after watching Miley (what the hell were you thinking) Cyrus, I was numb.

Artistic freedom you say? I say, sure, but use it wisely. Be sexy and raw, don't make people cringe in their seats. Look at the audience. They were either bored or unable to watch. Did you see Rihanna's face? You may have jumped the shark when the barometer of bad taste is disgusted.

So let's just try to figure it out. First the tongue. I am baffled trying to grasp what image she was trying to project. Sexy? Not even close. The furries aspect was more than a little disturbing and then there was the foam finger. When she ended up with it in her mouth, after seeing where it had been, I was thinking some penicillin might be a good idea.

The one good thing about the broadcast was I learned a new word. Twerking. As the tweets were coming across fast and furious last night, I kept seeing the word twerk. It seems they call it a dance move, to me it more closely resembles simulated sex. Anyway, Miley got in an assload of twerking, that's for sure.

It was horrifying to think of the parents sitting on the living room sofa with their kids watching this abomination. Watching porn on a first date in a roomful of strangers would be less uncomfortable than Miley and her fickle finger of self-fornication.

Sexually overt notwithstanding, the entire number was just bad. She looked terrible, her movements defied explanation and she turned off nearly everyone who watched her.

They say there's no such thing as bad publicity. In this case, I'm not so sure.

Time to rethink your career choices Miley.

I Don't Like Mondays Blog Hop

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain

"My father's eyes
When I looked in my father's eyes"

The last time I looked into my father's eyes was a year and a day ago. It was one brief glimpse of bright blue as he looked at us for the last time. Did he see us? I like to believe he did. It was the most movement we had seen in those eyes for several days, and he scanned the four of us, as if taking one last look. His eyes seemed bluer than they had for some time, most likely because the color of his skin had become almost ghost like.

I was hoping to sleep till at least four this morning, No such luck. It was three-fifteen when my brain reminded me that I have one more story to write about him.

The call came at 5:10, August 13, 2012. The nursing facility which he had called home for the last several months of his life called me, not my mother, to say he was gone. For the past few days, his chest barely moved as he breathed. Sometime during that early morn, his breathing just stopped.

Dawn was just breaking as I drove my mother to say goodbye to the man she had loved since she was sixteen. Not being in a hospital meant the facility was very quiet when we arrived, I was thankful for that. Not much was different from the last time I had seen him a few hours before, except that everything was different.

From the day he entered the hospital a few months earlier, we knew things would change, and change quickly. When you have no options, you hope for speed. While you desperately wish to go back, hold onto the good times, the lifetime of memories, the man he was... in reality all you wish is that he does not suffer.

In the end, he was luckier than most with pancreatic cancer. Discomfort yes, but agonizing pain never came to be. I could not be more thankful for that.

Just as my dad's journey is over, so are my posts about him. When I started writing about him, around his last birthday, he wasn't sick... just getting tired. It really wasn't a plan to write his story, those of you who know me are well aware I don't plan much, other than a concert schedule. But it helped to write. It's always been easier for me to write words rather than speak them.

So I'll say goodbye to him one more time. Looking at the clock, it's almost 5:10, and the house is at peace.

Just like my dad.

Miss you Pops.

For anyone who wants to read the rest of the story, The Journey Home, has the links to all of them.

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Lesser of Two Evils

Just back here for a minute or two. If you read Kat's Theory of Music you already know where I've been lately. If you haven't heard the news, click on this post Twisted MixTape: End of Decades and a Story to Tell for the update.

I've mentioned before that I really don't like to start the day with the first word out of my mouth being," FUCK." I especially don't like it to start a Monday. But then, we can't always get what we want.

Don't let that face fool you
3:25am I woke up with the familiar feeling of having a slightly full bladder. Do I want to get up or can I turn over and just fall back to sleep? Take a wild guess. After about twenty minutes of trying to ignore Mother Nature, I got up. This house we live in, which I thought would be a temporary move a long time ago, has only one bathroom. Downstairs. This is why if there's a possibility of falling back to sleep, I take it every time.

As I am on my way, I remember the Perseid meteor showers, realize I don't have my glasses on anyway, and with rain coming today it would probably be too overcast. Whatever. Two steps away from the bathroom, I feel something foreign and squishy under both of my heels. You know it's not gonna be a good day when you start the day hoping you've just stepped into dog vomit and not dog shit.

I walk the rest of the way on my toes, wash middle-of-the-night dog puke off my feet and start the clean-up process. Of course falling back to sleep was not in the cards, so if I'm not all sunshine and flowers today, now you know why.

Probably won't be happy tomorrow either.
Is it Friday yet?

I Don't Like Mondays Blog Hop

Monday, August 5, 2013

Road Trip: Bouncing Around Beantown

It's a very strange thing to go to a baseball game and not root, root, root for the home team. But there I was, Yankee fan sitting in the Grandstand at Fenway Park, watching the hated Boston Red Sox play the Arizona Diamondbacks.

I felt like Charlie, the General Manager of the Cleveland Indians in the movie Major League when he would be secretly clapping for his team. That was me every time the Red Sox hit into a double play or struck out. A tiny fist pump out of sight of Red Sox Nation... and I made it out of the stadium alive.

It was a long overdue weekend to visit my beautiful niece who moved up to Boston when her too-smart-for-his-own-good husband got the job of his dreams and they left the Great State of New Jersey. Since the two of them have always made each other's dreams come true, Boston it is for the foreseeable future.

So we drove up Saturday morning, got together and caught up on life. Went to the game and by a weird coincidence, one of my fellow writers at Sprocketink.com, also not from the area, was going to his first game at Fenway... the same night. Honestly, what are the odds? Put that in the books as an added treat for the weekend, as it was great fun to meet him, if only for a short amount of time. As our Sprocket Ink crew are scattered all over the world, this was a big deal in the Sprocket Ink Universe.

Next morning we left at 9 am for the 250 mile ride home.... it took ten hours. Not so much the traffic as the way we travel. You've heard of the road less traveled, well we tend to make our own roads. If something looks interesting to the left, we go left. It lets you see things that are not listed in the travel guides. It also requires many more hours to get to where you were going. But along the way there is beautiful scenery and odd things. Did you know we have our own mini Easter Island right in Narrangansett, Rhode Island?

It had been a while since we had been up north, and in that time windmills have been sprouting up along the coast. About damn time America. They look ever so much nicer on the coastline than nuclear power plants. Also, I really believe there is nothing in the world that will soothe your soul more than looking out into the ocean. Maybe music, but the ocean has her own voice.

Now my inner voice tells me it's time for work... and some music.


I Don't Like Mondays Blog Hop

Saturday, July 20, 2013

"Bearly" Cool Enough for a Walk

Waking up before six on a Saturday is not my favorite thing, but it happens often so you get used to it. Knowing how much is on my plate today, there was no thought of trying to fall back to sleep. As usual at the weekend house, the dog is already awake and waiting patiently at the top of the stairs for me to start moving.

After what seemed to be weeks of 90 degree plus weather, this morning in the mountains is in the low 70's. Taking the dog for her morning walk with the temperature not in the 80's for a change, was worth waking at an early hour. As we walked down the driveway, I saw two doe, each mother with her twin spotted fawns. A little up the road a few more deer. It seems they know today will be another day close to one hundred degrees, and have decided to have an early breakfast. By the heat of the afternoon, they will be resting on the leaves that have almost turned to mulch out where the woods are thick.

Two blocks up we make a right turn to go down a circular block which is right on the lake. There is an acre or two of woods which is a designated wetlands area. It's also an area of a bear den. Knowing that, my eyes always scan the woods and the trees before I walk down. Everything looked fine... to me. A few steps down and the dog stopped, ears shot straight up and she growled and barked and growled and barked.

Well, I don't know about you, but when an animal senses something that you can't see... I'll trust the instinct that nature provided to all her creatures great and small. It was time to think of a different route this morning. Now I never did see the bear, but the house closest to the area did have their garbage nicely strewn across their front lawn, so he or she wasn't far away.

Back at the house, it's time for a cup of tea, a little time to write this and then it's time to disappear into a world of research and writing. I'll "bearly" have time for anything else.

Still, it's a new morning, a day of promise and new challenges.

 And air conditioning set at icy blast.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Oh Baby

Just a short little post this morning about one of the many things that annoy me.

I love getting the feeds where you find out quickly all that is new and happening and exciting. You get everything that might be of interest to you, and it saves so much time. So you see a story you might be interested in and click on it. In my case this morning, it was an article about the most popular kids names of 2013.

aw, how cute.
I don't have kids, at my age I'm not all that interested in reading all the parenting advice out there, and I grow weary of seeing 10,00 photos of happy, sad, cake-covered, sleeping, crying, and yes, even swimming babies. Don't send me email, it is what it is. I make no apologies. There was a reason I chose not to have kids and that is... they don't really excite me. There I've said it. If I kind of know you, I'll take a look at your pics, but if I really don't, please don't take offense, it's not your child... it's me.

Anyway, aside from not having a interest in most things child-like, I have always been fascinated by what names are popular. I don't know why. So today I get a link to the most popular baby names of 2013 and I am interested enough to take a look. And then I see it. It's a damn slideshow... of names. Twenty-two slides of ten girls and ten boys names. Which leaves two extra for what I assume will be advertising. These are the days when I miss reading a newspaper. Can you not just give me a list? I don't have the time or honestly, that much interest to go through twenty-two slides.

So instead of clicking through twenty-two slides of twenty names, I closed it out and decided to come over here and bitch about it. I figure at some point that list may show up on the news or another website where I can just scroll down and see them.

Or if any of you find it, just send it over. I'll be sitting here looking at something that's much easier to read. Probably not child-related.


Saturday, July 6, 2013

I See The Light

"But the woman is so tired... 
So the woman disappears... 

Come in out of the darkness... "  

I've always felt there are lyrics to fit whatever is going on in your life. Your mood, your relationship, your dreams... somewhere a songwriter has already felt the same way and written down your feelings. The lyrics above are from Stevie Nicks' "Bella Donna." No other words could have captured my life more perfectly over the past two days.

Apparently these old bones ain't quite what they used to be... literally. Over the last two years my bone density reading has shown a 13% bone loss. Not good. So at my last doctor visit she advised I take a twice a year shot of one of the new drugs to combat osteoporosis. I read up on the side effects, etc. and wasn't thrilled. I also wasn't excited about a drug having a time-release of six months. So I opted for one of the once-a-week pills. It also had a lot of possible side effects, let's face it most drugs do, but I was willing to give it a try.

Now I  had a month of samples for over a month. I wanted to take it on a Wednesday, as it's a day I'm usually home. Closer to the weekend and there's a chance I might be at the weekend house and that means I need to remember another thing to take with me. Trust me, I don't need to remember any more things.

So, I kept forgetting to take it. Or I would remember after I had already taken my regular dose of Calcium in the morning, which is a no-no with this drug. I finally remembered this Wednesday, and the whole day I was fine. At some point either Wednesday night or Thursday morning, I began having abdominal pain. It didn't much register other than I thought I might be coming down with a stomach virus and I was a little pissed off with it being the Fourth of July and all that.

Thursday morning the pain continued, not all the time, just enough to let me know it was there. I did some heavy-duty cleaning and started to feel kind of crappy. With the temperature over 90, even with air conditioning, I chalked it up to just being exhausted. Then the joint and muscle pain started. I had pain in every joint in my hand, my feet, my back, my arms felt like lead weights. At this point, the brain kicked in and said "seriously girl, what the fuck?" Let me look up the side effects of this pill, and not just skim over it like I did the first time.

Oh yeah, out of the first ten or so side effects, I had seven. For forty-eight hours, I was a slug. My mind was mush, I was napping throughout the day and everything hurt. I haven't been able to write... anything. Over at Sprocket Ink where I post twice a week, and where we live on snark, I couldn't come up with anything, ANYTHING as a response to a comment on our FB page. All I could hope for was that the side effects wouldn't last the full week.

Waking up this morning, I knew I felt better. Still have the abdominal pain, but the extreme fatigue and the joint/muscle pain is almost gone. Time to "come in out of the darkness."

Monday morning will bring a call to my doctor to see if there is a substiture to this specific drug. I'm hoping milk shakes are a viable alternative, though I won't hold my breath.

Today though, it will be time to do some online reading and catch up on some of the writing of which I am hopelessly behind. Physical work, I think that will have to wait. And getting back to my thoughts about song lyrics, this day will see me doing what Glenn Frey and Jackson Brown once wrote... "Take it Easy."


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

DOMA Bites the Dust

I am not gay, I don't have many gay friends. What I am is a firm believer in equality.

The Supreme Court has just handed down a decision where gay married couples are entitled to the same benefits as straight married couples. Seems so simple doesn't it?

The Court has not said gay marriage should be the law of the land. That is a battle which continues state by state. What it does mean, is for gay couples already married, they have the same rights as straight couples for over 1100 provisions of Federal law. They can file joint tax returns, they are now considered next-of-kin... they are really equal.

I have tears in my eyes as I write this. In particular, I am thinking at the senior gay couples, who had waited for 20, 30, even 40 years for the right to marry, and are now allowed to make all decisions for their spouses health, living conditions and burial. Now too, they can receive Social Security benefits and inherit an estate with the same taxation as a straight couple.

The fight for marriage equality is not over. Same sex marriage is still not accepted in far too much of the country. I hope before too long, many of the senior gay couples will be granted the opportunity to marry. What bothers me the most is how great the inequality becomes when sickness is involved.

Too many times other family members are able to take control of the life decisions of an incapacitated relative, even someone with whom they had no contact for most of their lives. Can you imagine living with someone for your entire adult life and being barred from their hospital room during their last days.  Slowly, state by state this scene can no longer occur.

Now the Court has ruled on Prop 8 as well. It is a good day for equality.
It is a good day for America.

Friday, June 21, 2013

This is Not How I Get Down and Dirty

So who subscribes to Amazon's daily local deals? If you don't, it's like Groupon where every day they email you the deals of the day.

Some of them are great, we actually found a new good local restaurant and ate at half price while doing it. I've shopped in a kitchen store and bought stuff I didn't need because I bought a coupon for $20 and got $40 worth of said stuff. And I have a coupon for a wine tasting that I am waiting to redeem sometime next month. Fun.

Then there's also the toe fungus offers, the spa offers, the gutter cleanings and on and on. I'm still thinking about the Cupcake tour in NYC. A two hour tour with six tastings. Now cupcakes are an almost perfect food. So many varieties from which to choose, and an ideal sized dessert... or meal. Whatever. But six tastings in two hours? Even for my sugar addicted body, that might be a bit much.

The latest offer is one which doesn't have a chance in hell of being purchased. For $29, I can register in the Out-Fit Challenge Mud Run. Are you freakin' kidding me? I need to pay to run a 5K race with military-style obstacles, which includes mud, water, ice and fire. Now this is scheduled for next weekend so the ice thing seems a little weird. Fire and mud however, are deal breakers. Ok, so is the 5K part.

Here are a few of the selling points:

  • Costumes encouraged, but expect to get those costumes dirty
  • Look out for obstacles like the "Cherry Picker" and "Hello Sailor"
  • Meet new friends and the Muddy Go-Go Boy
Did I mention it is the first national LGBT mud run? That might have something to do with the sailors and costumes, but I digress.

Now I have some tentative plans for next weekend, but even if I didn't, almost anything, including giving the dog a bath sounds better than a mud run. Especially when you need to pay an insurance fee, which they give back to you... if you don't have a reason to need it.

Guess, I'll go back and see what other coupons are being offered. Oh look, two hours of house-cleaning for $35. For an extra six bucks, I get a clean house, I don't have to run a 5K and there's no mud involved. I think we have a winner.


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Father's Day One Year Later, Minus My Father

It's just over ten months ago that I lost my father. In the end he didn't suffer as much as many with the same disease do. However the four months of his illness were ones I wish none of in the family had to endure. I'll probably write about my dad when the anniversary of his death comes in August, so for Father's Day I'm re-posting last year's, when we knew he wouldn't be with us much longer.

To all of you lucky enough to have your dad, if you are a woman or a man... hug him, kiss him and tell him you love him. For you are blessed.

Reposted from June 17, 2012

I've spent a lot of Father's Days with my dad. Unless there is a miracle in the making...this one will be the last.

So today, I'm just going to relive a few memories with my dad. In no particular order...

Family Vacations: When we were real young, we would drive to Florida every year. Along the way, we stopped at various tourist attractions. His favorites... serpentariums. A zoo for snakes and other vile things like them. He loved it. For years I thought my brother did too. Apparently he did not. Funny how it took 40 years for us to figure out those little detours were my dad's way of paying us back for being pains in the ass.

We all loved to swim, a motel with a pool was a must. Finally getting to the ocean, while staying at a motel with a pool...was heaven. He never grew tired of playing chicken with us or pulling me across the pool as I held onto his swim trunks.

There were countless museums, which we all enjoyed...learning was fun. There were the games in the car, these were the ways before video games, so keeping the kids occupied was a necessity on a 1300+ mile trip. The many hours looking for the South of the Border signs. anyone who has driven down from North Carolina to South Carolina knows about this...and most likely did the same.

Halloween: Over the years, Halloween was less and less important, but as a little kid I remember my father had a really large black rubber glove...kind of a big monster's hand. When kids would come to the door trick or treating, he would stick the hand from behind the door and scare the shit out of the kids. Today, he would probably be sued for his behavior, but as a kid back then...it was way cool.

The Twist: Remember the old Chubby Checker song, well he did enjoy it. There was one Sunday morning when Chubby was on a TV show singing it. Well dad was busy dancing in the living room, while the bacon he was cooking in the kitchen, burned to a crisp. This story is legend in our family.

The Guitar: My dad had a guitar when I was little. He didn't play it very well or very often. But there were a few songs he knew, and once in a while he would sing to me. My favorite: Jamaica Farewell, the old Harry Belafonte song. To this day, I tear up when I hear it.

Eating: The man once lived for it. It is now such a struggle to get him to eat, someone in the family makes it their business to be at two of his three meals at the nursing home, to encourage him. But not too long ago, especially at family dinners, he would sit, at the head of the table, and just eat...never join in the conversation.  If he was talking, he couldn't be eating. Hell, he could talk to us anytime...but food was only served at specific times. He savored every bite, especially desserts. Even now, he will eat dessert...I think he feels it is his duty. So we let him have as many as he wants. Any extra calories are welcomed at this point.

His Eyes: So blue, so clear and so full of pride as he looked as his family. From my brother and I, to my dear sister-in-law who has always treated my parents as she did her own, to his beloved granddaughter- the one person to make his eyes smile, to my other half and to his extended grandson, to my mother...his reason for living, those eyes looked at all of us with more love and pride than one would think possible. Those are also the eyes that now show fear and lack of focus.

Later today I will go to the nursing home for a visit. What his condition will be when I get there is anyone's guess. But I will take the moment for what it is...another memory to hold onto.

If you still have your dad, don't hold back from telling him you love him. I make sure it's the last thing I say to him when I leave each night, because in my case, it might be the last chance I get to say it.

Happy Father's Day.

Love you Pops.


Friday, June 7, 2013

An Ode to a Donut (or Doughnut if you prefer)

Today is National Donut Day. I will use that spelling just because it's easier to type. We all know how annoying it is to type GH's.

Anyway, today we pay homage to possibly one of the greatest pastry concoctions of all time. Just think of them for a minute. The varieties are endless. You start with your basic Old-Fashioned and go from there. Glazed, Bavarian Cream, Cinnamon, Powdered Sugar, Chocolate Covered... (CHOCOLATE COVERED!!!), Chocolate Iced, Vanilla Iced with sprinkles. And that doesn't even scratch the surface.

But for me, one donut stands above all others. Within this one type of donut there are also many possible varieties. For me, nothing can compare to a Jelly donut. Raspberry jelly preferably, although I'd never throw a strawberry out the window. Now with a Jelly donut you can go with powdered sugar, granulated sugar or dare I say it... glazed. Yes, the best possible donut in the whole world combines two pretty-much-perfect-on-their-own varieties: Jelly and Glazed. It's a freakin' no-brainer.

As a kid, every Saturday morning we were allowed donuts for breakfast. In that, we have combined a perfect food with a perfect morning. To this day, on many Saturdays you can find remnants of powdered sugar around my mouth and a smile on my face.

So on this day where the entire country honors a scrumptious ball of fried dough and sugar, I say grab yourself a cold glass of milk, the donut of your choice, and savor every bite of it.

Then have another.


Monday, June 3, 2013

And Then She Asked: Did You Hear What Michael Douglas Said?

Today I needed to take my mother to run a quick errand, no big deal. Very uneventful, very mundane... until.

Photo by David Azia
Until she decided to talk to me about Michael Douglas getting throat cancer from oral sex. OK, let's back up. My mother is 83 years old. My mother never talked to me about sex when I was a kid, today she's all chatty about not just any kind of sex, but yes, a little cunnilingus. Awkward, ya think much?

Just for the record, my mother does not care whether or not Mr. Douglas was dining at the Y. Her problem was with whether he got it from his wife, and if he did... why would he tell the world about it. And if he didn't get it from his wife... well that's another story isn't it?

I did my best to keep the conversation as close to the basics as I could, and used the advice of my bestie who always says "less is best." I figured she had her mind made up as to what she was gonna say, and all I could think of was the line from Animal House when John Belushi is ranting about the Germans bombing Pearl Harbor

Yep, forget it, she was rolling.

The quarter mile ride home was like being in the Indy 500, without the speed. It took forever and we went around in circles.

So I just wanted to send a quick thank you to Michael Douglas for the opportunity to spend a few minutes having an in-depth talk with my mother on a topic which rarely makes it into an everyday conversation with friends.

But as usual, Mom was right. Mr Douglas, why would you discuss this in public? Something about this just smells a little ...fishy.