Tag Archives: Brian + Karen = Hillary & Cassie

Purple Snowflakes

Well I hope this finds this in good health and safe wherever you you are. I’m pretty lazy right now, but here am, writing this on the birthday of Jesus of Nazareth. Possibly a good guy, just getting through the people around him would be a chore.

In any event, on this day of Solstice celebration and what have you, I found myself wondering, was Jesus delivered by a midwife? I mean when you look at, where any of the other participants qualified or even able to deliver a baby?

And with living under Hebraic law, would the messy parts of a woman’s vagina, even Mary’s, be an abomination in their god’s eyes?Yes that was one of the thoughts that floated through my over stuffed mind and belly.

No shame in going back for seconds, or eating just about everything on the table. Last night and this afternoon I ate least had seconds of most everything. Not a gavone but the potential was there. Bill and I arrived in Hillsdale where we promptly sat down and had dinner.

Brian and Karen and Cassie with Hillary and her beau Chris were quite hungry and caution was thrown to the wind regarding the Garfield contingent having had dinner. I hadn’t had homemade lasagne in a while and it was quite good. Even though I rarely eat sausage I indulged myself much to my liking.

That’s where the second helpings came in. Gifts exchanged, everyone satisfied and happy. Ride back to Hoboken where Bill and I exchanged gifts. A few ties and cufflinks from me collected over the year and an excellent electric pickup for my Fender acoustic.

All very nice and pleasant. Bedtime for both of us and I woke up first this morning to see if there were any presents under the tree from Santa, but then I realized we don’t have a tree. No room for it anyway. No tree, no gifts, but that was OK.

Went in the kitchen to make some coffee, and turned on the heater. No heater again. It went out last month on the 25th and now it’s out again. I made an online appointment for the PSE&G maintenance for tomorrow morning between 8AM and 12PM.

That’s fine with me, they’re generally show up in that time frame. Like around 11:55AM.I hope they won’t charge. Last month it took about 5 minutes and there was no charge, so I hope it will be the same situation.

Right now, we got a big pot of water on the stove, getting things warm and damp, but it beats being cold.

This afternoon we had the trip to Garfield to Frank and Elaine’s house. Nice and mellow there, Elaine’s dad on the couch watching everyone have a turn playing Wii which they got for a Christmas present. Corinne, Meg & Rob and I tried my hand at boxing and bowling as did everyone else. More food and gifts and then we were back on the road to Hoboken since the Zipcar needed to be returned by 5PM.

We are now watching the Stephen Colbert Christmas Special. It was originally broadcast last year but I remarkably had some foresight to check it out at the library a week or so ago. Hey, you snooze you lose.

We just watched Iron Man which Bill hadn’t seen. After catching bits and pieces of A Christmas Story, it was fun to point Peter Billingsley in his cameo in Iron Man. So that about sums up Christmas 2009. See ya tomorrow. Happy Crimble!

Me, Frank & Brian

Me, Frank & Brian

(Not Just) Knee Deep

Night Owl Edition, you can pick it up at the Saddle Brook Diner for 5 cents. This is the updated version of that, only it’s free. You just need a computer and access to the Internets.

I just got back from Bergen County. Spent a good part of the afternoon with my brother Brian, who I think is a really good guy and a really good friend. I didn’t always think that way, especially after having to share a bedroom with him for the first quarter or so of my life.

It was a very hot day today, close to 90 degrees before noon. And of course, 100% hummus. Brian was picking me up around 2:00 so I had some errands to run.

To the library to return the Tom Waits biography which I wasn’t finished with. That was OK since I ordered another copy from another library. You can only renew items twice and I hit my limit and decided to go to the well again.

Then a walk to the supermarket, by which time I was totally drenched. I probably sweated off a few pounds too. I advised the cashier to stay after her shift since it was so hot out. She laughed.

Back home, carrying juices up four flights of steps. I was able to rest for awhile before Brian phoned to tell me he was outside in his air conditioned van waiting.

I was happy that before I did anything today, I installed the air conditioner in the window this morning and was humming along quite nicely.

A cool ride up to Hillsdale with Brian where we caught up on various events in our lives with Karen, Brian’s wife. The three of us chatting in a nice air conditioned living room. Their daughters Hillary and Cassie soon joined us, more catching up then dinner.

After that Brian and I got in the car and drove down to Paramus. My brother Frank and his wife Elaine were there as were all the children of Jim & Irene Grant.

Growing up, my family and the Grant family were very close. They had six kids to our four, but the ages between both groups of kids were close enough for most of us to play together growing up. And we all went to St. Francis de Sales school in Lodi.

I reconnected with the 2 youngest daughters Irene and Kathy when my father passed away and met them in Hoboken a few times for drinks at McSwells.

So there was some catching up with the two of them, as well as meeting Jimmy, Jeannie, Robert and William as well. Each time they said they last saw me when I was a little more than knee high.

Mrs. Grant sat in the front row, eyesight failing. She seemed to recognize me and we had a very brief chat. I always loved her, she used to watch me until my mother came home from work sometimes.

Always a kind and gracious lady, volunteered at the hospital when my brother Frank had his stroke and made a point to seek him out to see if he needed anything.

It was a mish mosh of jokes and memories.

As I get older, perhaps as we get older, wakes although sad, are also social events, reconnecting and remembering mostly good times.

I’ve gone to a lot of wakes in my life, the first one I remember is my Aunt Madeline. I must have been 4 or 5, she was in her coffin, blue dress, pearls and her white hair, resting in a box.

For me, wakes aren’t creepy, they’re obligations.

I am in no rush to fulfill any more obligations, so if any of you are reading this, don’t die. Please.

Ants Invasion

It’s a Thursday now. Thursday night to be exact. Last night turned out to be better than I anticipated. No hurt feelings, no toes stepped on.

It was a nice seemingly impromptu gathering of my immediate family. There were a few hitches to overcome but they were taken care of. I was famished by the time I got there with Annemarie and Bill.

I took the train and Bill took a bus. It was a strange train ride for me. Apparently someone was talking too loud on their cell causing another passenger to stand up and yell, ‘Can you talk any louder?’

I was wearing my headphones so I didn’t hear the cellphone conversation but I did hear the NY Post reader yell at the other passenger, so in my book, he was the nuisance, not the cellphone user.

Got off the train at the Plauderville station in Garfield. A few entrances there and I couldn’t figure out where Annemarie was. It turned out she was on the street waving to me from her Volkswagen Beetle.

We picked up some beers and then drove to pick up Bill at his bus stop. Then it was off to Pierre Avenue where my brother Brian and my niece Meghan and her husband Rob were sitting soon joined by Anne’s son Earl.

It was a pleasant evening and eventually my brother Frank, his wife Elaine showed up, then Brian’s’ wife Karen and their two daughters Hillary & Cassie and finally Frank & Elaine’s daughter Corinne arrived.

I ate a lot of cheese and I rarely eat cheese, but I was that hungry. Even ate a cheeseburger which was probably the third time in my life that I’ve eaten a cheeseburger. The night went by fast, soon it was dark and our uncovered legs proved to be an ample feast for many mosquitoes flying around.

We left since Bill had to get up really early to take a drug test in Brooklyn. Bill drove Annemarie’s Beetle back to Hoboken with Anne & Earl in the backseat and me in the front.

It was a white knuckle ride with Bill thinking he was driving a bus and zooming in and out of traffic, passing on the right which anyone will tell you is a no no. I had to ask him to stop doing that. Bill’s rationale was that he’s an aggressive driver and a quick driver.

I explained there was no need for his aggression (plus it’s a bad way to drive. I remember being taught to drive defensively. Maybe in the 23 years since I last drove the rules had changed which could account for the dozens of horrible drivers out there that I see each week).

Luckily we got home safely though I was a bit disturbed by Bill’s driving and was a bit distant. I explained this morning why I was the way I was and thats when Bill told me his reason for his driving, that he wanted to get home and go to bed as soon as possible.

I did stay up and watched Paul McCartney on the David Letterman show. Macca was very good, performed outside on the marquee above Broadway surrounded by thousands. If I had known that’s what he was going to do I probably would have been there.

According to the Daily News, Macca played 7 songs, ending with Helter Skelter. Tomorrow it’s off to the new Mets stadium to see Macca and his band in concert.

Today it was a trip to Sandy Hook with Annemarie & Earl. It was originally supposed to be at 9:00 but I moved it to 10:00 which was great since I didn’t get out of bed until 9:00. It was an easy uneventful ride with not much traffic.

The only glitch was the choice of beach. I’m used to going to the North Beach on Sandy Hook, the farthest away from everything else. Anne was tired of driving and we parked in Beach C to my chagrin. I had never been to that beach before and I probably will never go back there again.

Too small a beach, swimming area and way too crowded for my taste. Filled with people who would never dream of going to North Beach or the nude beach at Gunnison Beach. The people I try to stay away from.

I was uneasy and Annemarie knew it, offering to move to another beach. No, I did my silent martyr bit and sat there stone faced taking it all in before I realized that it wasn’t fair to Anne or Earl to behave this way.

Things got better and we all swam a bit. Too windy and too crowded to toss a Frisbee so we mainly sat around under neath the umbrellas.

Earl and I did go in later in the afternoon when the water was a little bit warmer. There were also hundreds of dead ants floating in the water so maybe that helped with the temperature.

A drive to Rumson like we’ve done previous summers where we got some ice cream and soon we were on the rode back to Hoboken.

A nice Mexican dinner at Mision Burrito on 4th Street and a quick chat with Stine and Alexander before Anne and Earl were on their way back to Garfield.

Tomorrow, we’re off to see Paul McCartney!

The O'Toole Family 2009

The O'Toole Family 2009


t'is himself?

t'is himself?


Californian Earl

Californian Earl


Annemarie in shade

Annemarie in shade


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who wants ice cream? Crazies!

who wants ice cream? Crazies!