Category Archives: Family

The Chain

Last Sunday we had dinner at my parent’s house the way we usually do. These gatherings can be completely innocuous, or incredibly painful. Rarely is it somewhere in between. We’ve been doing these dinners for eons and I imagine they will go on until, well, ummm…. my parents die or go into assisted living or something. Nice thought, huh?

We used to go my grandmother’s house every Sunday back in the day. And by ‘go’, I mean ‘dragged by my parents’. The house was huge and cool, but my grandparents were not. It was never for dinner, thank g-d! Just an afternoon visit. Painful!

I like to think the Sunday visits with my folks, for my nieces and nephews, aren’t nearly as bad for them. They seem to have fun, but they have much cooler uncles and aunts then I/we had.

This last trip was this weird confluence of events. One of those times that makes me feel old and finally grown-up. I’ve been fighting the latter all my life, but sometimes you just can’t ignore the inevitable.

It started with my sister coming in with a boot on her foot. She had broken a bone in her foot and has no idea how she had done it. As she is about to turn 50 (!), she just said, ‘it sucks getting old’. I hear that.

Right about then, my father pulls me aside and wants to speak with me upstairs. Deep down I knew what it had to do with. This wasn’t the first of these conversations we have had over the last few years. He wanted to talk stocks and annuities. He was not giving me financial advice – just where they were and what I was to do with them upon his death.

You see, later this year, my father will be 89. And we’ve had these types of conversations before – me to be his power of attorney and control their living will. I also know how both my parents would like to be dealt with after death. We’ve never had the ‘executor’ conversation, but maybe it’s implied. I should probably check that out.

The funny (?) thing was earlier in the week, I was driving behind some traffic at 06:45. Someone holding up cars at this time of the morning?WTF! I get closer and who should it be? My mother! Yes, she is 80 and still works daily. Don’t ask.

Later I called to tell her if she keeps that up, I will be taking her car keys and license. I was joking, but told her – we’ll joke about it now, but know that one day we will have to have this conversation. Why sugarcoat it?

So since she didn’t know about my father’s and my conversation, we just came downstairs and I did not prep my dad for what I was about to say and just blurted out, “so it’s settled, we’ll put your wife in a home later this month?” He just nodded. Either he played along really well, or his selective hearing was in place.

One of my brothers-in-law had also dropped off some DVDs he converted from old home movies. Old being 16 yrs old. Not ancient, but still from a dead medium. They were of my oldest niece and nephew – the latter had just been born.

…and there I was, holding and playing with him at 8 weeks old (him, not me). I was just kissing his head and all that stuff and there he was, sitting next to me – watching this. It was a bit surreal. Let’s add to the fact that I brought him over some sport coats that no longer fit me, but did him – as he is now 16 and as tall as I am.

In the video I had hair and he did not. Now it is the other way around. Here I was in Florida on crutches due to my leg surgery – and now his mother was in a similar situation.

Birth. Death. Circle of life.

My father and I have an ok relationship and actually have no issue or weirdness talking about these things. My nephew and I have a great relationship and we just sat their silent not mentioning anything on the screen. I’d love to know what he’s thinking, but hell, he’s 16. I remember 16 – we didn’t talk about that shit.

I’m just sayin’.

Song by: Fleetwood Mac

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Rodeo

Believe it or not this has nothing to do with ropin’, ridin’, and whatever else one might do at a rodeo, save staring at cowboys in chaps.

But no, this has nothing to do with that either.

My sister (or one of them, I should say), is selling their Isuzu Rodeo via Craigslist. A side note: 12 years or so ago I had one of those trucks too – and it was one of the best vehicles I ever owned. I should have kept it.

Neither here nor there though. This is one of the responses she got back from her ad. You actually have to click on the image for it to embiggens. I don’t think you can read it otherwise.

Names & email addresses have been changed to protect the innocent…..or the weird.


I got the email from her right before having lunch with Becky and Andrew on Saturday. I passed the iPhone around the table and we laughed and laughed.

My response back to my sister was:  hold out for a 12-gauge.


Song by: Garth Brooks

Every Picture Tells a Story

It’s Sunday.   What can I say?  I’m being lazy.

My sister was nice enough to provide me the below picture, which came from the NYT site.

I assume she meant for me to use it on the blog – though she didn’t say so specifically.  Either way, I’m running with it.

Let’s face it, if I could have snapped the pic myself I would have.  But someone did the work for me, as I was not over in England.

Tomorrow should have a more ‘real’ blog entry than this one.  But it is still funny and it made me laugh.

Song by:  Rod Stewart

New York City

I told you guys I was going to New York – right?

It was for work, but I can never go to that city and just work. What’s the fun of that?

To use an already overused phrase: I love New York. I always think I really love DC (and I do), but there is no place better than NYC. It is not an insult when I say it has a smell all its own. Almost 30 years of going to the city and if you got me there blindfolded, I’d know we were in Manhattan.

It’s a shame I can never afford to live there, unless it’s in squalor.  I don’t do that……..anymore.

But I got to town early.  Work wasn’t until late afternoon, so I got to walk around the city and do some stuff.  I had plans with family – real and assumed.

I met my sister for lunch – which was great, but she did pick the most populated area in all of the island.  Yes, it was right across from Rockefeller Center…….on the day of the tree lighting.   The place was a madhouse.  Tourists everywhere, already camped out to watch what looked to me like a very unimpressive tree.   TV must add something to the aura, but in person, it was just a tree.

Here I am with my half sister.  Well half OF my sister.  She’s my whole sister.  That was my attempt at a self-shot.  See how well it came out?  Themaitre d took a better shot, but since I didn’t axe her permission to post it, I opted no to.  Normally, I think we look quite a bit alike, but I don’t think this picture shows that.

We’ve been to this restaurant before, since well, her married family has a lot to do with it, and usually when I get there first, they go: “oh, you must be Adrienne’s brother” – that is how much we usually look alike.

We had a great meal, but more importantly we had a good time for the 90 minutes we had together.  She had to get back to work and I had to jump on a conference call.  But even an hour and a half is great.

After my work function, I bolted from the group and went to visit David G. ….and Duck.  They were just back from Paris and other places in Europe.   They’ve been in their new apartment for about a year and this part of the view from their 34th floor pad.

We were all tired, so we just hung out – along with their two cocker spaniels.  They were both really really cute. Both were rescues – one became blind and had to have its eyes removed.  She was still really cute and gets around remarkably well.  The other one was just all over me.  I loved it.

I’ve known David longer than any of my friends.  24 years, plus.  I hate to say we never see each other enough, but we never did back in the day and the friendship still works.  So hanging out and doing nothing was just fine with me.

The rest of the trip was all work.  And it wasn’t all that fun.  I’m glad I stole away the time I could.

Song by: John Lennon

Thanks to You

Ugh.  Another T-giving post.  This makes what – five now?

I feel when I get to holidays like this, the posts are forced – as I’m supposed to have something insightful to say.  And I don’t.

….haven’t you people been paying attention???????

Sure, I’m grateful for having a great partner and two somewhat loving cats.  I have a decent family – and incredible friends.  And fuck – this year, I still have a job, so that’s saying something in these dark times.   I ain’t complaining.

I’m thankful that it is almost January 20th.  …and that I’ve only been to the ER once this year and that my permanent crown is going to be on in less than two weeks.

So this afternoon, I’ll have to endure two of my sisters – but that can be done….and even with no alcohol, if I chose.  IF.    And yes, I’ll have to eat the blandest, monochromatic meal that was ever devised.

I’m making salad.

What?  Not a big deal to you?   It is to me.  We don’t have salad traditionally on T-giving.  So fuck if I’m not bringing something I’ll eat…..or that I’ll want to eat.    But there will be pie also.  No pumpkin for me though.  I can spackle the walls with that stuff, but I ain’t ingesting it.

But whatever your traditions are, and whatever you’re thankful for – enjoy the day.


Song by: Emmylou Harris

Where I Stood

Question: How do I know I’m getting old?

Answer: When I start getting music advice from my oldest niece and nephew.  Not long ago, I was showing them the ways of cool music that their friends would have never heard of.   I always thought I was pretty on top of the music scene – even if I didn’t like something.  It appears I am mistaken.

A year or so ago, my sister gave us an empty hard drive and we filled it with all our music – good and bad (psssst….the bad stuff isn’t mine.  hint. hint. hint.).  I think the kids dismissed most of it – and probably for good reason.

Matt – he’s on his own path.  At least with Katie, I still have some influence.  A few weeks back she asked if it was Denton or myself who had all the Smiths music (duh!).  But she is finding them and Aimee Mann to be extremely cool – which makes me extremely cool.  Right?   Her mother gave her the Clash and the Kinks.

For the last year or so, Katie has been using her MacBook to make YouTube videos.  It’s probably an even split of original material she’s performing and covers. Like any artist – some of it works, some of it doesn’t.  I can’t just love everything because I’m her favourite uncle now, can I?  She knows what I like and what I don’t.

I’m wanting to just give her a handful of songs I think she’d do great at covering – but I feel as much influence I think I have would fall on deaf ears.  She’s 17.   She wouldn’t listen to me about not doing “Walking in Memphis” and she won’t listen now.  (p.s  I still think I was right! – horrid song!)

So anyhoo….sometime this week, she posted a new cover. A song I had never heard, by an artist I have never heard of:  Missy Higgins.  I searched out the original – and I still think I like Katie’s better.  …and I don’t think that is just a proud uncle talking.

Katie has the obvious embedded links to her other stuff – as is the norm for YouTube, so you can check out her other music.  I think she did a neat job of covering “I Want to Hold Your Hand” on aukulele.   Maybe it is just a proud uncle talking.

Oh yeah – be forewarned, after some of the songs are over (or sometimes before they start), she babbles a bit.  She can’t help it.  She’s 17.


song by:  Missy Higgins

I’m the Cat


Oh she looks cute – but as we all know, looks can be deceiving.  She is 90% good and 100% evil.  All eight pounds of her.

Yes, the math does not add up….but it’s still pretty accurate.  She is 90% good with us and about 100% evil with her sister.  Poor Tovah, she puts up with a lot from this one.  The little one wants to be alpha cat.

Sophie is still the snuggly and purry and more like a dog than a cat.  We can play fetch or tug on a string for hours at a time and she just never gets tired of it.  But she has no issue just walking over and taking a chomp out of Tovah – completely unprovoked.  Sheesh.

And while I (or we) should discourage the behavior, she has now figured out how to open all of the cabinets in the sunroom. You walk in and it looks like the kitchen scene in The Sixth Sense with all the cupboards wide-open.

Soph just gets in – and if the door shuts behind her, she’s ok.  She’ll eventually push her way out.  But more often, she gets in there and pushes things out or finding her hidden toys – mostly strings (as she brings me one right now as I type this).  She’ll just sit at your feet and quietly meow, just asking to play.  It’s really hard to say ‘no’.

I also don’t say ‘no’ at bedtime.  She likes to get between my legs to sleep.  Somehow I accommodate this. It is uncomfortable, but like I said, I can’t say ‘no’ to her. Usually.

Anyway, it’s not that I missed it – I just missed blogging about it:  we rescued her two years ago (three days ago).  Or she rescued us, is more like it.

Song by:  Jackson Browne