Tag Archives: Julio & Alexander

Ain’t It Funky Now, Pt 1

A day off. On a Saturday, which for some one like me, a newbie at the cigar shop, promises to be rare. I just woke up from a 20 minute nap. It’s been a sticky day weather wise, in the upper 80 degree range. I was pretty much tired last night when I came home, but stayed up until 12:45, when I went to bed.

Bill wasn’t home yet and I was a little worried about him when he wasn’t home yet. I lay there sweating and around an hour later I got out of bed to take a melatonin tablet. There was Bill on the couch, a little bit weird. He has been working on a play, performed for one night tomorrow and he was told to get really in depth for his character. I’ll tell you more about that tomorrow.

I was relieved and hoped that now he was home I would be able to sleep. But it was so hot and the melatonin was not acting fast enough. Eventually it did kick in and I fell asleep next to the soundly sleeping Bill.

He was up and about early and I eventually woke up around 9:00 this morning. Still quite warm. I made some coffee and headed out to the supermarket for some eggs and groceries. I was surprised to see my neighbors Mike and Nicole moving out.

Mike’s dad isn’t doing well and him and Nicole have been staying out there somewhere in North Jersey. They’re subletting and I was surprised at how much stuff they had. They offered Bill & I a new king size bed, but we have a California King already. Too much trouble in any event.

I watched An Incident at Owl Creek Bridge, the original Twilight Zone episode and was surprised at how surreal it was. Really brilliant. I knew the concept but had never seen it from start to finish. Brought it back to the library and found I was late with another DVD, a new version of Owl Creek Bridge with Campbell Scott.

After forking over $2.00 I headed over to Church Square Park across the street and hung out with Julio and Alexander for a little while. I pushed Alexander on the swing where Alexander and I counted to 20 with each push. I also told Julio about the work week I had and we both complained about the weather.

Then it was a 1-2-3 whee walk with Alexander holding Julio and my hand. I came home and decided to install the window unit air conditioner, sweating up a storm. Vacuumed a bit and found I needed some new vacuum bags.

I walked over to Shop Rite but they didn’t have any. I bought some hot dogs instead. I decided to walk down Madison Street to check out some Italian deli’s and get some info on catering for the party next month.

I ran into Roda’s cousin Tony who invited me to a Positive Thinking seminar that he is hosting at the Elk’s Club on Tuesday but told him I couldn’t make it since I’d be working. He’s also a cigar aficionado and was happy with the fact that I got a gig at the cigar shop.

Stopped by the Guitar Bar but Mr. Wonderful Jim Mastro was out on tour with Ian Hunter. I was able to get vacuum bags at a hardware store and came home and completed my vacuuming as well as doing laundry.

I had hoped to make it to my friend Roger’s party for his wife but I had too much to do and I was plenty tired after not sleeping so well last night. And there is still laundry to be done. It’s been a busy day and I hope to sleep well tonight.

Air conditioner is working nicely and my spirits seem to be better.

I can’t believe Elton John is singing at Rush Limbaugh’s fourth wedding. Srsly.

The Irish Rover

And today is St. Patrick’s Day. The real thing, not the Fake Patrick’s Day which left Hoboken crowded with newly of age drinkers. And my niece. Bill was up and out early this morning, gave me a nice kiss before he left while I was still in bed.

Groggy eyed and without glasses on I asked him if he was wearing green and he said that he was so I had to take his word for it.

Me & Bill St. Pats NYC 2008

Me & Bill St. Pats NYC 2008

I suspected he had his kelly green beret on and, I then rolled over and continued dreaming about redesigning the artwork for Elvis Costello & the Attractions ‘Punch the Clock’ album which was being reissued for the ninth time.

That’s something about Elvis Costello, new packaging for his back catalog several times over with each re release.

Woke up to find a St. Patrick’s Day card on my computer as well as one in the kitchen and a drawing from Bill on a paper towel professing his love for me, covering up a bowl of cereal that he had poured before he left.

Jeez I love this guy.

It was a gorgeous day, a great day for the Irish. First time in a long time that I didn’t see the parade in NY. When I was working I would take a slightly extended lunch hour and check out the parade. Not this year obviously.

No suit for me today which meant no green tie either. I didn’t even think about going into the city. Not much fun to do it on my own, missing the hordes of kids playing hooky. Been there, done that and did not buy the t-shirt.

Today it was close to 70 degrees, bright & sunny. I decided to head out early this afternoon and stopped by CVS to get a last minute St. Patrick’s Day card for my cousin Theresa.

From there I walked up to 15th Street, up to the Lipton Tea building. It’s been months since I’d been up there and took the standard photo of the Empire State Building seemingly at the end of the walkway.

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It was a beautiful day. I wore my late cousin Jackie’s Chesterfield coat and even wearing just a long sleeved t-shirt, it was a bit too warm. Still I like the way it looks.

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Once again many photos were uploaded to Facebook. Just give me a compliment on my photographs and I am inspired to photograph more and more.

Enjoyed a nice La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero 700 as I strolled. Sat by Sinatra Park as I did yesterday, only this time read the New Yorker instead of Mojo. After an hour or so I came back home and wrote out the card for my cousin Theresa.

I wanted to at least get it postmarked for today so it was back outside for me. This time, putting on a greenish shirt and a suit jacket. On the way over to the post office, a guy asked for money, saying ‘Do you have any change for a homeless man?’ I couldn’t help so I said, ‘Sorry I can’t help you, I’m an unemployed man’.

And it’s true, when I had money, when I had a job, I wouldn’t think twice about helping out other people. Now on a tight tight tight budget I can’t do it. At least I communicated and didn’t shun him like other people do.

Outside the post office I ran into a friend, Jared and we talked. Mainly I talked about the upcoming Street Corner Mourners show on Friday night at the Park Theater in Union City. We did talk about young people playing music as well as the state of the music business.

He bemoaned the fact that there weren’t as many venues for live music, I mentioned the fact that these kids just set up and play on the street, albeit acoustically. We parted ways and I promised to send him a link for Friday night’s show.

Then I ran into Ralph, a former McSwells patron. He’s working as a conductor for NJ Transit and was on his way to work so it was fleeting. I re-lit the cigar I had earlier and continued on my way up Washington Street where I ran into Jennifer, Ralph’s wife. She had their boys who were most anxious to get to some practice they were running late for.

On the way home I decided to pick up a small bouquet for Stine as a way of thanking her for witnessing the filling out of paperwork for Bill and my civil union. Spent some time with her and Alexander who had just woken up from a nap and was playing with his Thomas the Tank engine train set. Alexander loves Thomas the tank engine.

Then I came home and since I hadn’t eaten since some Irish soda bread and coffee for lunch I had dinner around 6:00.

Julio texted me that he was going to the park with Alexander so I thought I would meet them there and run to the library and return the CD’s I took out earlier in the day. St. Vincent- Actor. Very interesting. Haven’t heard the whole thing yet. Also Phillip Glass’ interpretation of the songs of David Bowie and Brian Eno from ‘Heroes’.

Julio hadn’t left his apartment so I just sat on the stoop and played with my camera. Then Julio and Alexander came out and the 3 of us went to the park where Alexander was just running around and climbing over as many things as he could.

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Being such a warm evening there were a lot of children and toddlers out. Julio encouraged Alexander running around just to tire him out. It was a fun evening all around. A near perfect day.

No Guinness yet, but it may be just a matter of time since I do have a few cans in the refrigerator.

camera play

camera play



Eye see you

Eye see you

Uhh Davey...

Uhh Davey...

Hope you had a happy St. Patrick's Day!

Hope you had a happy St. Patrick's Day!

Straight Lines

Well not soon after posting last night, I put Land of the Lost in the DVD player. I anticipated Bill coming home and wanting to watch it. It seemed silly enough, no thinking required. I could hear Bill climbing up the steps from the lower floors.

He was lumbering as usual and as usual I greeted him at the door with a smile, helping him with his bag. Just something nice to come home to. I know when he does it for me I have a look of ‘what the hell are you doing’ since it doesn’t happen that often.

And it doesn’t happen that often since he’s not home usually when I come home. It’s when he is home, that’s when the look comes out. Probably my father’s patented look. It’s too bad, I know- Bill tries. On the other hand I don’t mind doing it when he comes home.

So tonight he doesn’t seem as cheery and I ask what’s wrong. His knee has been acting up lately and it happened a few times today. Popping actually. And he also seems a bit subdued. He says he’ll be fine. He just wants to relax. He has his box of Cheerios, his Hershey bars.

I sit and continue watching the Office which was a good episode. The 7:30 repeat. Harpy called in the beginning. He’s getting nervous about getting his teeth removed so new choppers can go in. I did my best to reassure that it would be fine when call waiting interrupted, Nature was on the other line.

Harpy got off the phone and I took the other call. After that I settled in to watch Michael and Jan’s dinner party with Pam and Jim and Andy and Angela with Dwight and his former babysitter crashing. It was just the right amount of uncomfortableness to make it hilarious.

Bill asked me about Lois DiLivio’s Shakespeare Reading at McSwells next Sunday. He wasn’t sure whether or not he could make it as he has a play opening the following Monday (which is the day I am starting my new job) but asked me how I felt about the reading last time in December.

I told him I enjoyed it. It was fun, surrounded by mostly friendly faces and familiar people. I got people to laugh as I read my lines from The Merchant of Venice. Bill pulls out a script and asks me if I would read for his reading on Monday. That was surprising.

I was unprepared for it, even though I overheard him talking to the playwright on the phone saying that they needed a white actor. I thought about offering my services but didn’t think anything of it. Now here’s Bill asking me to do the same thing.

Almost immediately anxiety set in.

Yes I would be willing to do this. I explained how nervous it sounded. I would be onstage reading with people I don’t know. Bill said that since I was able to do it at McSwells, so why not again? I tried to tell him that yes I did it at McSwells but I was among people I mainly new, they were friendly and no one else would be paying attention.

Bill mentions my busking, how I can play my guitar in front of total strangers by the river. In my mind I say to myself, those people just keep moving on. No one stands there and pays any mind to what song I may be mangling. And I am basically hiding behind the guitar.

Bill says that people were paying attention to us at McSwells last month. They could hear us, they could see us and they were very interested in what we were doing. I disagreed, since we were in that fish bowl area, behind glass. It wasn’t that crowded, it was early Sunday afternoon. And I was among friends having fun.

Obviously Bill believes in me and had been thinking about it for a few days. I mention that it would have been nice to have been asked a few days ago, now I have to cram this anxiety into 36 hours instead of having the luxury of spreading that anxiety out over a number of days.

We watch Land of the Lost. Bill liked it a lot. I chuckled once or twice but my mind was elsewhere. After the movie and some of the DVD extras he starts to get ready for bed. My silence throughout most of the movie went unnoticed.

Only when he went to kiss me good night did he ask if I was alright. I told him I was really very nervous. He didn’t understand that and said well actors take that nervousness and put it in their acting. I tell him that’s all well and good but I’m not an actor.

‘Well you did it at McSwells’

‘Yes but I was among friends, it was very relaxed and fun. I don’t want to make you look like an idiot for getting me to do this.’

‘Look if you don’t want to do it, fine. I can get someone else. I just thought that this would be good for you.’

‘I said I was going to do it so I will do it. I just wish I had known about it sooner. I mean, I was fine, chilling out at home at 6:00 and now at 10:45 I’m really not so chill anymore.’

‘If you don’t want to…’

‘I said I will do it. Just very nervous. I’ll be with people I don’t know, on a stage, it’s very nerve wracking. And my part, it’s the bad guy.’

My part is the white manager of a black sculptor in 1968 Asbury Park who screws the artist. I’m going to do it, but I guess I have butterflies carrying hand grenades in my stomach. All for the experience I say to myself, all for something out of the ordinary.

And there are typos in the script.

And now I check my email and I have an invite for an interview with an application attached to fill out.

Now it’s an hour or so later. I watched Jazz on a Summer’s Day, another library DVD, disappointed that it was only 20 minutes long. Interesting to look at the jazz fans in the audience grooving to Louis Armstrong.

I also read the script that Bill wants me to read Monday night. It’s not bad, could definitely use some tweaking here and there, some tightening up, but I’m not a script doctor. I will participate though. I’ve highlighted all my lines and creased the pages where they are.

Just some stage fright to deal with.

I wrote that last night. Things are better. I am somewhat more prepared for the reading tomorrow.

I also have a phone interview for another job tomorrow afternoon. Feast or famine it seems. I didn’t take the pre-screening application too seriously. My cheekiness might have worked to my advantage.

If I post tomorrow, it will probably be later since I will be at the reading. So hang tight.

I did run into Julio & Alexander this morning in Church Square Park. While talking to Julio I notice a bird flying in to land on a tree branch. I noticed it had a wider wing span and it wasn’t a seagull. It was actually a hawk.

Julio remarked that it was probably going to eat a squirrel or pigeon. Or mice. A few weeks ago when Bill and I were headed to Chaz’ party, as we entered the park we saw a cat jump out of the bushes. In front of the cat was a mouse that desperately did not want to be dinner.

Anyway, here are some cellphone snaps of the hawk. Of all times, not to have my camera…

Hawk in the center of the photo

Hawk in the center of the photo

as close as I could get with a cellphone camera

as close as I could get with a cellphone camera

Best photo of the hawk I think

Best photo of the hawk I think


Here Today

Well it’s been a very good day. I hope it’s been a very good day for you as well. Woke up to find Bill traversed around Hoboken getting bagels and some brownies and also the newspaper. A lovely way to start off a Thanksgiving day.

I puttered around the apartment, having a few hours to get ready to go. Bill and I were going to Pine Bush NY to his cousin Hiram and Hiram’s wife Chris’ house. We went up there last year and had a good time and we were both looking forward to a similar time today.

I shaved and got myself ready, deciding to wear a suit and tie since I haven’t had many opportunities to get dressed up. Soon enough it was time to go. I hoped that we would see Julio and Alexander while walking through Church Square Park since Julio phoned from there a little bit earlier, but he had a full schedule, having to go to the market and then to North Bergen to pick up his mother for a dinner in Hoboken.

Bill, the master planner had it all figured out, having bought tickets yesterday enabled an easy walk to the train station. Bill was worried it would be like it was last year when we left from Grand Central Station.

That was a hassle since there were a ton of people leaving the city and getting to Grand Central was a pain in the ass since I needed to cross the street during the big Thanksgiving parade and the only way to do that was to use my Metro Card and go through the turnstile, walk past the subway booth and then climb the stairs out not using the subway at all.

No it wasn’t going to be like that since we were avoiding the city altogether. It turned out to be a beautiful day after all, enough so that we dilly dallied a bit.

As expected the train station wasn’t crowded at all and we found some good seats, Bill getting the window. About 2 hours later we got off the train in Middletown, which is the stop before Otisville where Pedro & Connie live.

We were picked up and on our way past horse farms and cows grazing in Pastures. We weren’t in Hoboken anymore. Bill’s cousin Hiram was outside holding court and I hung outside for a while taking in the scenery of the mountains in the background.

I remarked that it was a beautiful sight and another guest said it was broken. I asked him what he meant and he quoted from the book of Romans, some nonsense about how the Garden of Eden would be restored once Jesus would come back from wherever it was he’s been hiding for 2000 years.

I pegged him as someone to avoid and avoid him I did. Obviously someone who wears his religion on his sleeve and probably a supported of the recent Manhattan Doctrine, where christianists have vowed to disobey the law where it involves the rights and protections of LGBT people, relating to a higher power, somewhere in a cloud or orbiting the earth in a satellite.

So this guy while he turned out to be OK I was wary being around him. Dinner was wonderful, Chris really outdid herself on the turkey and all the side dishes and pies. A really nice time. Time flew by, we had to catch a 6:00 train so all in all we were there about four hours.

It was a close call, if we missed that train which ran express we would have to wait until 9:00 to catch the next train and that wasn’t express. Hiram’s son in law Aarick (pronounced Eric) got to the station where the train was about to leave.

A long nap for Bill and a 5 minute nap for me after reading the October 25 issue of the New Yorker. I am so behind on the New Yorker. Bill and I enjoyed some cigars, walking through the mostly deserted streets of Hoboken.

Now we sit, eating brownies and watching the Paul McCartney Live at Citi Field special on the telly. Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving like we did, luv.

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The 'broken' landscape...idiot.

The 'broken' landscape...idiot.

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'Ahh I have family in Cornwall...'

'Ahh I have family in Cornwall...'

Just Like Heaven

It’s a late entry tonight due to the fact that I was taking some office skills tests from the interview. I’ve been doing tutorials for Excel, Word, PowerPoint & a typing test for the past few days.

Finally felt comfortable enough with Excel which was my main sticking point. Word I was good at, Power Point I never used before and abandoned after being stuck on question 6 for about 20 minutes.

Bill was here, trying to to coach me during various parts but it was also during Lawn Hors d’œuvre followed by Curb Your Enthusiasm so I didn’t have his full attention. Surprisingly enough Excel wasn’t as bad as I thought. Not bad for learning it on the fly.

Bill did his best, but both of us were waylaid by Power Point. It was sort of like coming home after having fun outside on a Sunday and then having to do the homework which was put off a few times. But my frame of mind was best for it as the previous 24 hours were very good.

Last night I watched Adventureland which was mostly enjoyable. Nice refreshing look on the 1980’s. Some bits of that decade I remember and that was through the songs they used in the movie. One song in particular stood out, besides Rock Me, Amadeus.

Just Like Heaven by the Cure. I’ve liked the Cure, have one of their greatest hits collections and some of their vinyl somewhere. I remembered hearing Just Like Heaven over and over at McSwells when I was a bar back.

Hearing it last night was like hearing it for the first time and it sounded easy to play. I looked up the chords online and yes, it was quite easy to play. A E Bm D with the chorus of F#m G repeated and followed by a D & E. That’s it. I played it a few times last night and downloaded it since it wasn’t on the Staring At The Sea Greatest Hits compilation.

Saturday Night Live was alright, funny in parts. The Black Eyed Peas were OK. After that I wound up watching ‘How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin’ which was about how the Beatles were a major force in the cultural upheaval and eventual downfall of the Soviet Union.

Before I knew it it was 2:00. Bill was driving a bus back from Atlantic City so he wasn’t home and I missed his snoring/sleep apnea mask noises. Woke up around 9:00 this morning. Message from Bill that he was driving back to Atlantic City. Then another message that he wasn’t driving back to Atlantic City.

So he was getting the bagels after all. He came home and promptly went to bed while I ate breakfast and read the paper.

I decided to enjoy the nice day outside and called Julio who was napping. Called Rand and left a message. Walked around town, headed towards Pier A.

Up ahead I saw Tim, a 15 year old red headed guitar player who I saw a few weeks ago. He was doing some Dylan songs last time. This time he was also doing some Neil Young.

There was another guy who bummed a cigarette off me, Tariq. I saw Tariq playing the other day and he was a decent player as well. While Tim played Tariq and I talked about how good Tim was. People were throwing change and dollar bills into his guitar case.

Another guitar player showed up but I didn’t get his name. He sort of took over whatever was going on which was a bit of a drag. Stones, Skynyrd was the direction he was trying to go towards.

Earlier I mentioned to Tariq that I sort of play the guitar and he offered me his guitar. I begged off. He insisted and finally said, ‘Listen man, I gotta take a piss. You can hold the guitar for me, alright?’

So I did and sat next to Tim. I asked Tim if he knew any Cure songs and he asked which one. I said Just Like Heaven and he said it was one of his favorites. So we played that for a while.

Another guy joined us reading lyrics off his Blackberry to whatever was being played. As I sat and played I looked across the Hudson River and the city had turned green. The sun reflecting off the water was very impressive and I had to ask the others if they saw what I saw, that’s how impressive it was. They saw it too.

I found out that playing outside isn’t so bad after all and these guys were supportive which was something I wasn’t that used to regarding my guitar playing. I was even asked back and I told them I would bring my own guitar next time when the weather was nice.

Then I caught up with Julio and Superboy. They were on Washington Street and we strolled along. Alexander hung onto his rubber ball even when we made it to the park and he would climb the kiddie slide.

It’s funny to see Julio and Alexander together. It’s like Julio has his own Mini Me. A walk home with Alexander flying with Julio and I grabbing each of his hands and lifting, one, two three!

Tim the guitarist

Tim the guitarist

Tariq, Skynyrd guy, Tim

Tariq, Skynyrd guy, Tim

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So Far Around the Bend

I do legitimately worry for Obama’s safety. Perhaps there are rabid elements of the right wing that will attempt something and I certainly hope not. But watching Bill Maher tonight I was struck by a thought.

It didn’t actually hurt by the way.

Chris Matthews and Martin O’Malley both said regarding Don’t Ask Don’t Tell that Obama will overturn it in due time. And that’s what I feel as well. But the thought that struck was that perhaps subconsciously, people feel that Obama won’t live long, and want him to get things done before a tragic, horrible ending.

There’s that JFK thing too. And that guy walking into Jim Mastro’s store telling him to get a gun since the revolution will be occurring soon enough.

Or is it because we, perhaps exclusively Americans, are impatient? Everything is so fast and of the instant, that we get impatient when something that didn’t exist 20 years ago (like cellphones) doesn’t work as fast as it should.

Louis CK has a YouTube clip that’s been going around that’s about that same thing. It’s pretty funny. I’m sure it’s a stretch. Is Obama the first post-Internet President?

I wrote that last night after the initial post. I felt compelled to write that. Funnily enough, almost 24 hours later I’m not embarrassed as I am sometimes, after writing in a pique of righteousness.

Last night before Bill Maher, and before the last inning or so of the Yankee game which Bill watched, I watched Marathon Man. Hadn’t seen it in a while.

Still a good movie, Laurence Olivier is great of course. The ‘Is it safe’ scene still makes one’s skin crawl.

For me, one of the most affecting scenes occurs on 47th Street in the Diamond District of Manhattan. Christian Szell is trying to get some diamonds appraised and is spotted by two former inmates from Auschwitz.

I so wanted them to exact their revenge on ‘the white angel’ as Szell was known then. But he gets away after slicing the throat of one of the survivors.

Dustin Hoffman did an decent job pushing 40 and playing a 20 something graduate student. It’s a good movie, but not a great movie. Definitely of it’s time.

Stayed up for a while after that, finally going to bed around 1:00. Woke up as Bill was getting ready to go see his mom and his aunt. Both have Alzheimer’s and need to have someone watch them at all times.
Today was Bill’s turn.

I got out of bed soon after that, went out and bought the paper and came home to a nice breakfast. Still a gray day outside.

Around noon I walked over to Tunes and bought the first record by the Feelies, Crazy Rhythms. My friend Andy who used to do the sound at McSwells while I spun records next to him recorded and mixed 2 live tracks that are available for download.

But since I don’t have my own computer I will wait to download that stuff. It’s still a very good record. I like it more now that I did when it first came out. There are bits that were used in Susan Siedelman’s Smithereens and hearing those tracks can remind me of that very downbeat movie.

I was thinking about going to Queens to take part in the march protesting the beating and hospitalization of Jack Price. But being cold and rainy put me off, plus I am a little burnt out on the activism lately.

I’ll still get involved but I needed some ‘me’ time. I’ve been fighting the morons online for the past week or so. I’d be useless if I didn’t recharge my batteries and the past few days have been a bear for me and I don’t mean ‘bear’ in a good way.

And I’m more wolf than bear anyhow. I do hope it was a good turn out.

I did hang out with Meghan Taylor, the funniest girl alive and her daughter Ruby and their dog, Doon. A restoration of my flagging spirits.

We sat at a café here in Hoboken, the Frozen Monkey outside having coffee and sharing a brownie. Couldn’t sit inside since we had the dog.

Meghan is one of those friends who can tell something is wrong with me by just hearing it in my voice when I answered the phone. Pedro and Julio are the same. I’m fortunate to have good people like that in my life.

Ruby is always fun to be around and it was a pleasure to wander around Hoboken. I had Doon on the leash and I enjoyed running with him for a bit. Meghan said it was a boy and his dog and I guess I’m still a boy at heart, even at 47.

Stopped by the Guitar Bar where Meghan’s husband Jim Mastro was minding the store, sans uptight redneck revolutionaries. Meghan gave me a ride back towards my apartment, and I got out at Church Square Park where I got a call from Julio who of course spied me as I was walking home.

I did an about face and hung out with him and his adorable Superboy, Alexander on the swing set. The boy is simply amazing.

I didn’t see my brothers or my sister’s kids growing up the way I see Alexander and I am filled with wonder and hope for humanity when I see how he progresses through life.

My heart fills with joy when I see him, but then again I don’t have to deal with the messy stuff that Julio and Stine have to deal with.

It started to drizzle and so we headed home, Julio on Alexander’s left side and me on the right, doing the 1-2-3 lift off every couple of feet to Alexander’s obvious delight. I remember being in the middle all those years ago and was mighty glad to be part of the action with Alexander.

Though the day started and ended with gray clouds, being with good friends like Meghan and Julio and their kids definitely were the brightest spot in my life that I was sorely missing the past few days.