Saturday, December 13, 2008


Since I decided not to force the whole dating issue anymore I apparently have become more attractive than ever, oh never mind those were hookers that were hitting on me in worries I wasn't looking for a date anyway.

The trip was tons of fun, by tons I mean that from the amount of elaborate meals I consumed that is probably the amount of weight gained in a four day trip.   The food in Vegas just keeps getting better and better and I can't resist going overboard when I am there.  This experience coupled with the time down from the back thing has not been kind to the mid section....oh well that is what today's and tomorrow's are for.

Flew up on Jet Blue out of Long's a quick flight so I didn't bother bringing my ipod or any headphones.  BIG MISTAKE,  I ended up sitting next to a young dad with his 20 month old daughter that easily could be the next singer for Guns and Roses....this little cutie had a set of pipes on her that draws blood from ones ears.  I grabbed the flight attendant by the wrist after a few minutes of this and asked her no pleaded with her, any more earphones for sale, oh please please?  She looked at me knowingly and just shook her head no,  I wanted to cry too.  Then I thought wouldn't it be great if I did, not tears but if I just started wailing like the cute little toddler was, and then it started one of those chain reaction crying things, sort of like the dog barking chain in 101 Dalmatians.  By the time I was done laughing in my head and imagining the scenario we were on our decent, I was making faces at the toddler and she was trying to be brave, but you could tell her ears where going nuts, nose running, the whole nine yards.  Oh I remember flying with my daughter but since my wife and I were adults we were prepared.  Yup we drugged our kid before we got on the plane, not sure if it was to be nice, save embarrassment or out of courtesy but a big ole swig of dimetapp was always at hand, followed by a nice little nappy.  I passed on my wisdom to mr. young dad, he looked at me like I was crazy.  We finally landed and she smiled a big smile and then sneezed.  I am sure the next passenger in that seat will love it when he drops his tray and gets his slimy surprise.

I raced off the plane, only my carryon of course, I am a pro at packing and I figure if I am missing something or need something, just buy it there.  The cab line was only 3 deep and I was in and off to the hotel.

Stayed at the Luxor and the room was SUITE, or should I say the suite was sweet.  On the 22nd floor of the East Tower (top floor) with floor to ceiling windows, 800sqft with a full bar, huge bathroom...why do they have regular tvs was my first thought.  Don't you think they would put plasma's in these rooms.  I guess they already have those dumass armories so until they refurnish they are keeping those cheap ass Tvs. At any rate I really wish I could have had a party in this room, it had a dance floor by the bar, how suite (i mean sweet) is that.  Great time to be alone...NOT....

My phone rang and it was my buddy, his plane was on the ground and he was heading straight over to my hotel for a drink, then we could walk to his Hotel so he could check in.  He was staying at the Tropicana, big gambler he is and gets free rooms there on a regular basis.  I walked down to the lobby to get some bets in on the Monday Night game, stopped and threw a Ben Franklin in a video machine on the way and HELL YES on the third hand hit 5 of a kind for 400 and running.

My buddy showed up, we will call him Jeff (why? because that is his name).  We put our losing bets in on the Monday Night Football game and then headed to the bar.  

After some cocktails we headed to the Tropicana so he could check in, when we got there I noticed an amazing amount of guys with cowboy hats and girls with bowed legs....all they were playing in the Casino was Country Music...then I saw the signs...WELCOME RODEO RIDERS....OMG, its the National Rodeo Finals...the whole town will be overrun with these folks.  Like any other group in the world some will be cool, some will just be and some will be assholes...but arsehole cowboys really know how to asshole it up...oh fears where not justified unless you count the drunken cowboy peeing where there wasn't a urinal at NY NY or the one cowgirl that started yelling WTF are you looking at MF never seen a cowgirl before. (i didn't have my glasses on and was trying to read the sign behind her) I didn't have the heart to tell her she wasn't that interesting so I just kept walking.

Jeff went to check in and I dropped some more cash into a video machine...oh crap its on quarters oh well, I can pass the time....and WHAM 4 tress and an ace...hey ding ding ding ding, another 400 bucks....YES loving this so far...hope the tables are this obliging.  I moved to the Dollar Machines and by the time my buddy got back I had given half the money back, understanding that you are not supposed to win in Vegas is have to be happy when you win or biggie either way.  We hit the Black Jack table and let me tell you I didn't see a face card for like 20 hands in a row....9 and a 4, 8 and a 6, over and over and over again.  By the time we had to leave for our dinner reservations I had dumped about 4bills...bad run oh well.  We headed off to the Bellagio, the cab driver told me that business was down 30% and gave me his card.  I told him we would call him for a ride any chance we could, he became our personal cab for the rest of the was fun having a special cab driver.  The dude reminded me of Babe Hill, if you don't know Babe was Jim Morrisons Body Guard and personal Rodie.  He also was my best boy years later at Universal Studios....

Anyway this is getting really long.....we ate at Picasso in the Bellagio, we ate at Emeril's Fish House at the MGM Grand, Gallaghers at NY NY, and The Cat House at the Luxor....all of them were really good the Foie Gras at Picasso was with roasted peaches and son of a bitch was it delicious...the best thing at Emerils was the Blue Crab de-constructed Crab Cakes with toast points, The Cat House had a trio of Creme Brulee that was world class and well Gallaghers is second only to Peter Luger in my book when it comes to a big ole hunk of meat...yummy..

Anyway the only other thing of real interest was one of our traditions.  We play Roulette at O'Sheas every time we is a Shit Hole and a half.  We never go past the first table which coincidentally is next to the bar.  If I have to go to the bathroom I will cash out and go next door.
The best thing about this place other than it is the only place on the STRIP with IRISH CAR BOMBS is that you can get away with murder as long as you are tipping.  

For some reason I found myself using the term Bitch over and over, not in my regular vocabulary but was getting hammered and turning into Rick James or something....LOL...come on Bitch spin me an Eight, oh Fuck Yeah another God Damn Eight...omg Jeff joined in and we were rolling,  lets face it Roulette is a real game of chance but there are minor strategies.  I hit the 8 twice, 17 twice, 23 twice and 29 once in a matter of like an hour and a half, in between we were betting mountains of dollar chips on Black or even....and of course yelling "that's right Bitch" "gimme another color" the tipping was way over the top and the dealers and pit boss tolerated our antics knowing our luck would turn and they could have the last laugh...but the phone rang and it was Nick the cabbie...he was outside and wanted to know if we were ready...oh hell yes we were.  I cashed out with 4k and Jeff with about the same...NICE...

The rest of the gambling was all about lose lose lose but hey like I said you sure can't just win win win or there wouldn't be a Vegas now would there....but I paid my room bill, put away my flight money, paid for all of our meals, which were not cheap, all the cab rides, tips for everyone and I mean everyone...I think our tab at Picasso was the winner at 7 hundred bucks...but 340 of that was wine. (they have 60m $s worth of original Picasso's in the place for viewing)

The morning I was leaving I checked my bags with the bellman and hit the video poker machines again to kill time.....I was down to 10 bucks and hit 4 deuces for a grand...ahahahahahaha....maybe I should have stuck to Roulette and Video Poker the whole trip but who cares...I left Vegas with the whole trip paid for and an extra 22 hundred bucks in my pocket...

I already put the cash in my Vegas kitty for March.......

Oh I almost forgot we went and saw Chris Angel's show....ummmm how do I put this, oh yeah we walked out...LOL...


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Don't Say Oops Like You Dropped a Nickel

Not sure why this didn't post when everyone was discussing wedding's but that's not really important now is it.

My Cousin Jim got married in one of the big old Cathedral's in Pittsburgh a few years back.  One of those huge places where every noise echo's for days.  Well he has four brothers, all of whom were ushers in the wedding and his best friend Jim (yes tons of jims in attendance) was the best man. 

Add those 6 to the 4 bridesmaids and maid of honor and the bride and needless to say it was a fairly large wedding party.  Probably in the neighborhood of 150 to 200 guests, everything was very beautiful.  The two tiny flower girls tossing flowers as they led the endless procession up the aisle were so adorable that the ladies in attendance started crying right off the bat.

The pipe organ blared the opening bars of "Here comes the Bride"  we all turned our heads in unison, Grace looked positively stunning.  She is a very tall Irish lass and made a very lovely bride.  Her dress was gorgeous, I think the train  of her gown must have been at least 20 feet in length.  It all made for a very memorable moment.

She finally arrived at the front of the church after what seemed like hours,  her father handed her off to my cousin, shaking Jim's hand and walking to his pew.

The entire Cathedral went totally silent, the Priest cleared his throat and then it happened, one of those moments to remember through eternity.  The unmistakable sound of one of the hugest farts emanating from the grooms side of the wedding party.  The reverberation rolled down the aisle and touched the back wall of the Cathedral, then headed back towards the alter where it seemingly (from the look on her face) hit the Bride between the eyes.  I didn't think it was possible that the church could become any quieter than it was but believe me it did.  After a moment (century) of very uncomfortable silence my cousin Jim (the groom) taking a visual ques from his bride to be turned and gave his younger brother Joe a look that could easily have made a mountain disappear.  

 Poor Joesph turning as red as a beet, just put his hand to his mouth and let out a very sheepish "OOPS"....Jim shot back almost instantly with 


Oh my freaking god in heaven, after a few seconds of complete and deafening silence EVERYONE in the church started laughing I mean everyone....when the Priest finally got a little composure back he once again (and quite loudly) cleared his throat and started the service.

As you can well imagine; to this day, if you didn't just drop a nickel please don't try saying "oops" anywhere around any of my family.  You will get laughed out of the building.  Unless of course it is my cousins wife Grace, she is more apt to punch you in the nose.

Friday, December 5, 2008


Mini three date series.

Date One- Memphis (Costa Mesa)

I actually met the Fuck Yeah Girl at the Halloween party in the previous blog.  So once I got out of Fancy Nancy mode I called Hanna and asked her if she thought Marilyn would be interested.  She made the call and I got an e-mail from her Marilyn the next day.  Not only did she say she would love to go out, but she actually had a place in mind.  Wow that was totally different than what I had become accustomed to.

Friday rolled in and I was off to pick her up,  she is 9 years younger than me so that was quite a switch for me, I had never dated anyone in my life that was more than a couple years younger and mostly stuck with woman my own age.   Hey its not like she is a teenager or anything, she is 43,  it was then that I decided I would never date under 40. Yes that will be my cutoff...wherein the hell that came from I have no idea but I do know for certain that I never want to be that old guy (even though I think I still look kinda of young for my age) with the chippie.  YUK! It's just not appealing to me in the least, call me crazy.

Marilyn gave me a brief tour of her little bungalow, it was really eclectic and I like that.  Off we went to the place she picked out "Memphis".  The place is a real dumpy looking building, both inside and out, the patio area (where we sat) wasn't level so your chair kinda of rocks when you move.  We got our menu's and ordered a bottle of wine, the menu was surprisingly appetizing, and better yet when the food came it was outstanding.  I highly recommend the joint if your in the So. Cal area.  (Charmaine, it's almost kitty corner from Mesa, next to the Lab). 

Conversation came very easy, in fact she was a chatterbox on every subject be it politics, music, movies whatever.  After dinner we went to Havana a cuban place and sat out by the fire pit on the patio and had a couple more glasses of wine.  That's when she started talking endlessly about television shows that she followed.  tons of shows I had never heard of, or may have heard of but never seen.


Okay so this is the gal that used to work for me, Hanna...She finally moved out of her parents house at the tender age of 26.  She bought a small condo over on the border of Tustin and Irvine so I went over and took her a boat load of matching appliances, you know food processor, cappuccino machine, mixer...that stuff is really cheap at Target...who knew.

She was really, really nice to me when Joanne died and was directly responsible for dragging my ass out of the house for the first time 6mos afterwards.l  It was her birthday/Halloween party at her parents house.

I went as the Croc Hunter dude, it was the day after he died and my costume included the stinger in the chest with a trail of blood.  Surprisingly to me it was not all that well received by some of the folks, who doesn't get the whole Halloween is supposed to be like that thing?  

Hanna was also the one responsible for me getting back out and dating again.  She is the one that set me up with Fancy Nancy and also Crazy Mare (aka "Fuck Yeah Girl")  She started calling herself my pimp after the second setup.  Then she set me up with "00Nancy" but since that ended with the whole Jim gets what is left of his heart broken into tinier pieces she got out of the pimp business.

Anywho she just sent me this picture from the night I took her housewarming gifts over so I had to share it....maybe I should spin up a Crazy Mare episode for you....oh yeah that is my mission for my next post.  Actually ended up being friends with her and we have dinner once in a while, but whoohoo get some vino into her and look out.

Not sure what it is but since Joanne passed I have way more female friends than male??? I guess it has something to do with the fact that at least half of them listen to what I am saying...LOL...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Wailing Wall

There's a grand old maid
Across the sea
So the story was recalled to me
And from dawn til dark, you hear her call
Down in front of the wailing wall

And she cries all day so sad and alone
til someone comes along and leads her home
Nobody listens and nobody seems to care
But everyday you'll find them there

Kneeling down
For sadness sake
Crying just as though their hearts would break
And from dawn til dark you hear them call
Down in front of the wailing wall

And they cry all day, so sad and alone
Til someone comes to lead them home
You know I don't listen, and you know I don't really care
But every day you will find me there

I am kneeling down 
just for sadness sake
Crying just as though my heart would break
And from dawn til dark you'll hear me call
Down in front of the wailing wall.


The Cable Dog

I think I know the problem.

It seemed a bit strange that a small block of channels disappeared from my television.  Having never really heard of this happening and since I don't watch that much television to begin with figured who cares, its not A&E the History Channel, The Food Network, Bravo, any of the Sports Channels or the Networks so its all good.

Slightly over a week went by and a poof, a few more stations were gone.  Oh god am I going to have to call Time Warner was all I could think.  I don't have a week to stay on hold and another week to wait for a service man.  I was in no hurry as the stations were not really on my radar, Tara did start to complain about missing some of her animal stations.  I started tracing cable around the inside of the house, checking everything I could think of off the top of my head, the back of the box, checking for loose connections you know the things that inept unqualified guys do when they are to lazy, busy or just plain to irritated to call someone to fix the problem.

Finally the problem started to get bad, in other words the block of channels that included Bravo, A&E and the Food Network was gone.  What the hell was going on, I surrendered and made the call to Time Warner

No shit, I called on my cell from Anaheim Hills...I was still on hold when I walked into my house in Huntington Beach some 45 minutes later, I had this pulsing in my neck.  I swear to god my carotid artery was about the size of your average garden hose.  Finally someone picked up.  I explained my dilemma and of course was told to reboot the system.  I tried to explain that this was already done but being the first line of Time Warner defense they insisted and I acquiesced.  When nothing happened, they tried to reboot from there end.

Then the rep. wanted to know what stations where missing in detail, I turned the television on and started going through the stations, well it looks as though most everything above the networks and HOLY SHIT everything just went blank....

I turned towards the windows throwing my hands into the air preparing to unload on the person on the other end of the line and that is when I saw it, or should I say her.....Santi our 65 pound American Pitt Bull Terrier, she looked like a Marlin that had just hit the bait. 

I was staring through the open hurricane shutters in my family room looking out on to my side yard and there she was, standing on her hind legs, almost moonwalking with the cable in her mouth like 30lb test line, she was some 20 feet or more from the corner of the house where the cable runs...I stood motionless looking out the window, all I could say was "I think I know the problem".

Time Warner showed up the next day, the service man thought it was funny as hell.  They didn't charge me a dime but he did make me promise not to let the dog watch TV for a week...?


Ok so Michelle in NYC told me she wanted to see this hat, and she wanted to see it now.  Since I am not opposed in the least to making an ass out of my self on occasion here it is.  Now I can go back to writing a post...LOL..

The hat is from Peru, a friend of mine's wife is from Peru and brought it back as a gift for me...they have some name but I don't remember what it is.  It is soooooooo freaking soft its unbelievable.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Yay freaking Yay i made it home

So I made it home, YAY!  I am beat, got in yesterday 7ish PM.  I will admit it,  Jim must be getting old because I am fried from the trips of the past few weeks. Finally ending up at my sister's house in Santa Rosa for Thanksgiving. The relentless back spasms for three days didn't help much but I am starting to feel better now.  

I really wish I would have taken a camera with me. I sent Charmaine tons of pics of my family via pic message on my phone so maybe she can describe them.  Hey maybe I can download pic's from my phone so i can share them with ya'll.  

I am very thankful that my housekeeper came yesterday before I got home so that i didn't have to flip out at whatever the house looked like from whatever the adventures of Tara where while I was gone.  She was looking a little uptight about coming home before i reminded her that this was Martha's Monday to clean. She started smiling really huge after that.

My brother is in the capable hands of my oldest sister Carol, she took him to her house in Durham (just south of Chico) after the Thanksgiving festivities at my sister Cindy's house.  So I am getting a rest from being caregiver, and very grateful.  He is actually doing quite well again too which is a bonus.

I am also doubting very much that I am really related to any of the people at Thanksgiving dinner with the exception of my daughter, my niece Corin and my nephew Lance.  I will recap the events soon when I get motivation to do this.  I was thinking of writing a paragraph on everyone that was there and then we could all play guess the relative...I am sure I would fail miserably.

One thing I discovered while in Cleveland was that I still have a stalker (a really cute one) there.  I have not seen her in years, she is my wife's best friend Stephanie's youngest sister. I drove over to visit Steph and Joe one day from Pittsburgh and she popped in.  She is 14 years younger than me...she used to follow me around like a puppy dog at weddings, funerals, whatever, but that was a long long time ago...she is now 38 and divorced and while i was visiting Steph...guess what she followed me around like a puppy dog.  It was like a stalker cocktail, one part flattering, two parts creepy and gave me the shakes...LOL...

Well back to the laundry, will try and get my thoughts together and write about the trip a little more coherently tomorrow.  


Monday, November 24, 2008


So in typical Murphy's Law fashion I slipped on the ice on the porch today.  My back is slowly but surely getting tighter and tighter.  I am on like 2000 of ibuprofen and hoping that my back feels better before the whole in my stomach burns the rest of the way through.  At 52 years old this is nothing all that new to me, I have done the steroid packs and the muscle relaxer thing due to everything from slipped disc to major muscle pulls.  This feels more like a hip pointer mixed with a muscle pull, but hey I have a flight to catch tomorrow and am 2526 miles away from my Dr.s office so hopefully we will just tough this one out.  I can always go to the ER in Santa Rosa if it persists, sounds like a lovely way to spend Thanksgiving.

While I and my brother are all packed and ready for our big trip tomorrow it was anything but easy with me screaming in pain with each movement, all the while trying to figure out what he wanted me to pack for him, all of his answers to my questions coming out in his new voice which sounds like a cross between Carl in Slingblade ummhummm and Darth Vadar haaaaaaaaaaa.  For those of you who have not been playing along, Don (my brother) is a recent stroke victim and the main reason I am in Pittsburgh.  I know I am on my way to hell for seeing the humor in everything he does but I was probably well on my way before this.  He is my big brother and I love him dearly but he was a freak before the stroke so LOL.

I am imagining us heading through Pittsburgh International Airport tomorrow looking a bit like the Mummy and Frankenstein taking a Holiday.  Me with my entire back rigid and stiff playing the role of Frank, Don with his left side partially paralyzed dragging along at my side we should make quite the spectacle.  Actually we have been sitting here laughing our senior citizen asses off about it for the better part of the evening.

I just had to throw this out there.....wish us luck....not taking a laptop with me but of course my niece and nephew both have mac books that their wonderful Uncle Jim bought them for their birthdays last year so I should be updating at some point, hopefully that is.

Gooble gooble and all of that...

Remember this is the Holiday that it is okay to talk about big breasts at the dinner table.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Over the past 30 years or so, discounting Holiday visits and of course the seemingly never ending Frying Pans and Fire trips over the past decade, I really have not spent all that much time back home in Pittsburgh.  

The past few weeks here have really brought back lots of memories for me, both good and not so good.   I have been spending the days running my brother around to his endless Dr. and therapy appointments, visiting with relatives both young and old,  going to Steeler games,  taking walks , watching it snow and WRITING...the writing is going very well by the way.

One of the things that I never really noticed when I was young and I lived here, and that truly annoyed me beyond words on those short trips has now become a very welcome part of my day.  When you dive down the street, everyone waves, whether you know them or not, everywhere you go the people say Hi There, how are doing? More importantly they actually expect an answer, then they listen to the answer and respond with something about there day.  Its amazing, everything takes a little longer but it all seems so HUMAN...I mean I have these kinds of relationships with a few people in HB, but its not exactly the same.  These people seem to remember what you told them and then they ask about that, I think I may be decompressing or something, 

At any rate, we are packing up and heading for Santa Rosa this to my sister Cindy's for Thanksgiving.  My older sister Carol will be driving over from Durham so it will be the first time all four of us have been together since our mother passed away.  Tara will fly up on Wednesday and one of my nieces and one nephew will be there too.  I am sure it will be a little different than last year at Fancy Nancy's.

I am really really looking forward to seeing the sisters,  I have not seen them since I started this whole dating thing and now that I am taking a break from same maybe they can help me put it all in some sort of perspective.  I have this man habit of tuning out when a phone conversation gets to long winded but am quite capable of listening for hours in person.  Should be late night talks, board games and tons of food, plus the girls like to wait on me, god I miss that part.  Almost forgot about that entirely, that will be sooooo nice.

In case I don't get anything posted before then I really want to wish my blog friends a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING....

Monday, November 10, 2008


Just had to share this crazy kid, TARA LYN.  Oh to be Nineteen...

College sophomore, Biology Major, she plays piano, guitar and flute, she knits, she will be transferring to either Berkley or Davis next fall.  Someday she will learn how to make her bed or change a toilet paper roll but I am not holding my breath.

She went with me and voted for President for the first time this year, it was such an uplifting experience.  She was active and did phone banks for Prop's 2 and 8.  I won't talk politics for her but from the description of her above and below you can probably formulate a guess on which side of the votes she was on.

At the tender age of 11 she decided she that she was a vegetarian and has not changed her position since, very stubborn young lady, not sure where that comes from.  

You would love her room, it is decorated with my album covers from the late 60s and early 70s. Her ring tone is Hendrix but you are more likely to hear Joni Mitchell blasting from her room. 

I am a very lucky her tons...just had to share this pic, her sense of fun makes me smile and every once in a while she lets me think if just for a moment that I am still her hero.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Have you ever been in love?  Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable.  It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up.  You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life...You give them a piece of you.  They didn't ask for it.   They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn't your own anymore.  Love takes hostages,  it gets inside you.  It eats you up and spits you out, then leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like "I am so sorry things happened like this" turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart.  It hurts.  Not just in the imagination.  Not just in the mind.  It's a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain.  I hate love.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


The list of woman I went on dates with between Nancy's.  I added the number of dates and the ages of the women so you can decide easier or see If I have a pattern going.  I am certain the Peterson sisters will find this information useful in their continued analysis of Pool Boy.

The Coaches Ex (3 dates) 50years old
Fuck Yeah Girl (4 dates) 43years old
There REALLY is something about Mary (2 dates) 51years old

The list of woman after the second Nancy. I am trying to write about the second Nancy but will have to get back to you on is still surprisingly difficult not to jump from the first word right to the relationship end.  

Third Person Teacher (2 dates) 52years old
The Ojai Artist (1 date) 44years old
Charming (1 date) 21years old _wink
Sawdust Girl (1 date) 40years old.   

BREAK TIME....NO DATES ON THE HORIZON.....I figure since I really should only have only gone on one date with Third Person Teacher too that I for whatever reason can't make it passed the first date right now.  I have either become insufferable or entirely to picky, either way its seem a sign to take a break.

None of the above date stories are completed, I have put together outlines for most of them so this is all request day at Never Mind the Bullocks....or we can scrap the whole dating thing and write about my stupid fears and insecurities some more, LOL....

I am spending the better part of my days (I semi-retired recently by the way) writing in earnest, I am enjoying it tremendously, feeling on fire in fact, but still feel the need to keep up the blog thing, hmmm...go figure.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Christmas Eve

Last year was not what you would call the traditional Christmas Eve in any sense of the word.  I guess nothing will ever really be traditional in my life again,  yet one more time here it was December 24th the Late Great Mrs. Priests birthday.  It was the second year that I would do this without her.  

Our family tradition had always been that Joanne would spend the day pampering herself, manicure/pedicure and a massage, then she would come home and take a bubble bath.  I would rush around like a maniac getting things ready for the combination birthday/Christmas Eve bash.  It was a huge undertaking,  first down to the fish place under PCH for the oysters, muscles, fish and lobster.  Next to Lucci's Deli for the meats and cheeses,  Smith brothers for the produce and finally to Black Forest Bakery for the Cake.  I would usually make it home by 11 and bust my ass until 3:30 to get everything ready.  It was a madhouse but I loved every minute of it.  A quick shower and then off to Church for the Five O'Clock mass.   It is supposed to be for kids, we just kept going even after Tara got older because it fit so neatly into our schedule.  We would be home by Six, it gave me plenty of time to get the food out for the guests that would start arriving by Seven.

The first year Tara and I did everything exactly as we would have had Joanne been there with us.  I made the traditional meal, Tara and I went to the kids mass and I even invited most of Joanne's friend over, even the ones that I don't like, everything was just as she would have wanted it. 

I knew in my heart I couldn't do it again last year.  Even though Fancy Nancy and I did not work out everything had changed.  After all I had dated another woman, I had stopped talking to most of our old "Couple" friends.  A lot of things had changed.

On the flip side of that I still had an entire walk in closet that was still full of my wife's clothes, purses, and shoes and yet I was trying to act like I was ready to move on.  I had donated most of her things to women's shelters already but there was something about that closet, I just couldn't seem to get around to that closet.  Not to mention the small fact that her ashes were still on the headboard of my bed.  Just in case your wondering, no Nancy had never been in my bedroom. 

If anyone remembers, last December 24th, it was one of those Southern California days that you think to yourself "the traffic isn't so bad" "the crowds don't bother me that much".  It was spectacular out.  I knew it was time, Joanne wanted her ashes spread at Thousand Steps in Laguna...she loved that beach more than any place in the world, we had been to so many beautiful places in the world during our life together but Thousand Steps was the place she always love best.  

I opened the car door for Mrs. Priest for the last time, or so I thought.  When I was two blocks from the house I realized that she would have insisted in going in the convertible.  I turned around, went back to the house and switched cars.  I stopped at Hi-Time on the way and picked up two splits of Moet, put the top down and headed for the coast. 

When I got to South Laguna there was just a very slight marine layer, it was perfect.  I packed u up and we walked down those steps together for the very last time.  There was not a another soul on the beach, and the Ocean was calm.  I walked to the water's edge, near the tide pools that separates the two coves.  We always took that spot when it was open, for the better part of 25 years we shared that spot.  I opened the splits and grabbed the bag from the urn.  Very carefully I walked out on the rocks, I toasted my wife and sang happy birthday one last time,  I drank one of the splits I poured the other into the water.  I reached into the velvet bag  pulled out the plastic that held my wife's ashes,  removed the clip and with a single motion flung the ashes into the air, the wind spread her gently across the water, I stood motionless for a while, not knowing what to expect, but nothing happened. There would be no lightning, no parting of the seas, nothing amazing happened at all,  nothing with the exception that I never felt alone,  so very alone.

Walking back to the towel and the urn and my emptiness, my heart sank, then lifted, then sank again much like the tide.  I collected my things and made the long walk back thru the thick sand to the steps.  It was a very slow walk, I turned to look back more times than I care to remember.  My foot prints were the only ones in the sand no matter how many times I looked. Up the steps one then the next I went, and finally was back at the car.  

I grabbed the tape and put her favorite song in and cranked it all the way up, playing it over and over again all the while singing at the top of my lungs, I drove up PCH (Alive and Kicking by Simple Minds).

I actually stopped at Fashion Island on the way home.  Joanne would have liked that a lot, I needed to go to the Lucky Brand store, Teuscher's Chocolates and Victoria Secret to finish getting the last of Tara's Christmas gifts.  Life does go on after all, doesn't it...

There's still a few things I haven't sorted out,
Sometimes they make my brain get sore. 

But I am not going to worry about it, well not to much anyway.  Lots has changed again as another year has almost passed.  We will see, won't we.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Well, I did it....

Well I did kind of sort of sideways, I tried to resign my position with Pool Corp., our CEO sent me an e-mail right after hearing the news. He thinks it would be so much better if I were to just take a leave of absence, he told me to take up to six month They are sending me the paperwork in the mail, he told me to call him in a few months and let him know how I feel about it then. Who knew that 16 years of service to building the largest wholesale distribution company of pool equipment and supplies in the world would warrant a little understanding and loyalty. I was truly touched and will consider a return in a while but for now it is the furthest thing from my mind.

Now what to do? Do you know that other than when Joanne passed away I have not been off for more than two weeks straight in over twenty years. All the while I have been threatening to attempt writing in earnest again (it used to be my passion), well it looks as thought there is no time like the present. Wish me luck, I am still having a bit of separation anxiety from corporate America but that is to be expected, on the flip side I am starting to think that I can faintly hear my heart beating again.

Here is a brief history of the decade and part of the reason I am was so very ready to just take a break and concentrate a little bit on regaining myself.

The FRYING PANS and FIRES have been the theme of my life non-stop for nearly a decade now.

This coming Valentines Day will mark the 9th anniversary of my fathers passing. Have you ever been afforded the chance to hold someones hand in yours and be looking them squarely in their eyes when they are leaving us? I have been blessed to have had this most amazing experience happen twice, my father was the first. The one thing that struck me most was how his eyes, his eyes that had been foggy and glazed over from a week of heavy sedation and being attached to a ventilator, ever so slowly became crystal clear and blue again, it was the most amazing thing, very suddenly he was Joe again, he was no longer just a sick old man weakened by to long a stay in a hospital bed, once again he was soaring. Turning I glanced out the window, snow was falling heavily on the barren oaks in the distance, in a moment the branches were thick with it's white outline.

March 9th it will be 6 years since my mother left us, she went peacefully in her sleep, peacefully but alone. I was lucky enough to have spent a week with her only two months prior. I flew back to Pittsburgh for a reunion (school). Normally I always just rent a car and get a hotel, I like my privacy and have been doing that since my dad died and my mother moved out of the old house. This time for some reason that I did not know then, when she asked me if I would stay at her Senior Citizen Apartment building with her I said yes. This meant sleeping on the couch, being at her beckon call, and of course being paraded around the Senior building. Turned out it was one of the best decisions that I made in my life. Outside of the dinner and cocktail night portion of the reunion, which were fun but really. Catching up with people that you never really cared all that much about is fun but it was very easy to pass on the other functions. It allowed me to spend the entire week with my mother, we passed our time going to the movies, going out to lunch, dinner and just walking along the Allegheney River. We spent quite a bit of time just sitting on her porch chatting with her friends. My mother was always so very proud of her baby boy Jim, she used to love showing me off to her friends, telling them all about Joanne and Tara and of our magical lives we were living in California. At times I could hear the longing in her voice as she described how far away we were, I was never really sure as to exactly why she never would move west to be with us. Yes I know she had brothers, friends and my brother still all living in Pittsburgh, but I really think it was so she could be near the cemetery so she could visit her husband when she wanted to. I sat with the both of them this past Tuesday at Mount Carmel, we had a nice chat, granted I did most of the talking, but I tried to listen too. IT SNOWED while I was listening, its October and it snowed.

Four years ago this April I received a federal express package at my office, I knew exactly what it was but was still excited opening it, packages are fun to get. It was my season tickets (well partial season tickets) for the Angels, I split them up with my best friend Steve every year. I almost looked forward to bartering, arguing and every other type of begging and or conversation it took to split the tickets up. It had become a ritual. Immediately one hand went to the receiver the other was already dialing, the phone rang only once. Steve answered, I was very excited and so I just blurted out "I Got Something" "I Got the Angel Tickets" Steve responded almost as quickly "I Got Something too" "I Got Cancer". I felt like throwing up, I started to shake. My wife had been diagnosed right after my father died and now my best friend was telling me he had cancer too, I told him I was coming over and hung up the phone. Steve told me he had been diagnosed with a type of Melanoma that usually only attacks teens. Well that figures, Renal Cell the type of cancer that my wife had usually only attacks men. Sadly Steve's cancer was very very aggressive, he was gone that same August a scant five months from our phone call, we still shared our tickets, mostly we just went together. Towards the end we would just sit in silence and watch the game. He didn't make it to the end of the season. I have been described as a fairly social person but I have never been one for a lot of close friends. I miss having a best friend so very much, not sure I have enough years left in me to cultivate a relationship like that again.

April 30th of next year will mark the 3rd anniversary that Joanne, also known as the Late Great Mrs. Priest left me. She was to be my second experience with holding someone at the time of there death. She had been home under hospice care for two weeks, when they gave me the choice it was not a consideration to put her in a nursing home, I would just sit and hold her hand for the better part of the day knowing the moment was coming. This time it was a wry smile that struck me the most. Even through the completely demoralizing and devastating feelings I experienced at that moment I saw the smile come. Before the tears flowed, before the sighs and the feeling that my chest was collapsing came, I saw it. Mrs. Priest had a Cheshire smile that could melt a glacier, light up an entire ballroom, make the grumpiest of the old mens hearts go pitter pat, it was a smile that always said someone loves you. I miss that smile so very much.

All the small things between then and now that somehow seem so hard for me to do, well they really are. The whole starting to date thing, the actually sleeping with another woman, all the while trying to make new friends its all just so very hard. No parents to talk to anymore is very difficult, I never imagined being an orphan. It was so especially hard to tell someone that I loved them and even harder still to finally have my heart broken again.

If it wasn't for my wonderful daughter Tara, who I would walk the earth for, I am not sure how I would have made it this far. Somehow, because of her I want to be me more than ever once again, after all it is ME that she loves and it is me that she depends upon. Yes I still want to be that good son, and yes I want to be that very best friend, and yes I still do want to be that perfect husband, not that I ever really and truly were any of these things but the people, these people that I shared my life with, they always let me think that I was somehow all of those things, that is what has made my life worth while; the people.

From time to time Tara still lets me think that I am the best dad ever and for now that is enough. Someday perhaps I will find another friend, maybe even find another smile but for now..yes at least for now that is quite enough.

One always dies too soon --or too late. And yet one's whole life is complete at that moment, with a line drawn neatly under it, ready for the summing up. You are--your life, and nothing else...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008



So the time had finally come, it was Saturday and the Colors of Christmas at the Cerritos Performing Arts Center was the agenda.  Nancy actually had bought tickets herself, it was the first time she ever did anything like that.  Despite all the recent events in our relation I was still very uncertain as to exactly how this evening would play out.  My thoughts were to just make the best of it, try and get into the Holiday Spirit.

That morning I decided to go the whole nine yards for the event, my grey pinstripe suit, red power tie, fresh manicure, fresh haircut, my shoes professionally polished hey after all it was going to be a very festive evening and I was sort of kind of sure that ou last conversation had cleared the air, we were going to just enjoy each other and see what happens, right?

Jennifer (Nancy's Daughter) had a birthday that week so I picked her up a little gift. Nothing special, just something to open, a Martini kit, a nice shaker, four martini glasses and a bottle Grey Goose. I was at least to my knowledge still in a relationship with her mother and your supposed to buy gifts for that persons kids, yes?

After running my errands showering and doing my usual shave twice routine I got dressed, I turned and glanced at the clock, I was running late.  Holy Hell this never happens to me, better get moving.  I stopped and looked in the mirror before running out the door, it was one of those times when you look in the mirror and think "damn I look good tonight".  Not bragging by any means, we all have those days as well as those days when we shriek and wonder who that person is.  This just happened to be one of those really good days.

Down the stairs I went, straight out to the garage, jumped into the Jag fired it up and Jim was off.  Ten minutes later I was buzzing up the 55  when I noticed the blue lights behind me,  oh no fucking way.  I pulled over into the emergency lane and accepted my fast driver award from Mr. CHP...jeez louise, I wasn't exactly burning up the pavement.  The ticket was for 72 miles per hr.  Dear lord I had been passed by a flock of cars right before I was pulled over.  I told the CHP that my speed was really going with the flow of traffic, he just said "well I just got on at Dyer and you were the first car I saw"... JUST GREAT!!!

I called FANCY to tell her I was running a little late and why,  she said "no big deal we will be waiting outside" not a sorry or mention of the ticket.  Apparently she had told Hanna (the gal that introduced us in the first place and her daughters friend) to come to her house and I would drive to the theatre from there.  After all was said and done, fast driver award included I was still only about 5 minutes late, I jumped out and opened the doors for the ladies, I told them both how nice they looked and Hanna told me I looked very handsome,  I leaned over to give NANCY  a kiss and she turned her cheek to me without saying so much as a courtesy hello, huh...great start to the evening.

While we drove to Macaroni Grille to meet Jennifer, Nancy and Hanna chatted up a storm. They  were talking about some club in Fullerton as we rolled down the 91 when out of the blue Nancy mentioned something about how she missed going out Dancing.  This struck me as very odd since one of the things I suggested we do that might be fun was to take some dance lessons together.  You know, maybe some swing or salsa with a little ballroom thrown in.  I actually printed out a handful of options from the Internet(some with lessons and then a dance, some just lessons).  I gave them to her about a six weeks prior and asked her to pick one and I would sign us up.  She never did pick one and now was going to complain about not going out dancing. It was one of many such examples of things I didn't understand during our time together, not that I expect to understand everything but some are black and white to me.

We got to the parking and lot of Macaroni Grille and Jennifer was waiting for us, I got her gift from the trunk and gave it to her.  She was very surprised and thanked me with a hug and proceeded to tell me how nice I looked, FANCY made some sort of a grunting noise or maybe it was a hurumph,  Jennifer turned and asked her what her problem was.  Jennifer and I actually got along pretty well even after the Thanksgiving debacle, she had told me a couple of times how happy her mom was since we started dating, guess I wasn't the only one that was confused at this point.

After walking inside and getting our table we ordered drinks and our meals.  The place was packed and very loud, we all chatted about the usual what have you been doing type of things.  It seemed to be that every time I had something to say FANCY would interrupt to talk about her and Jennifer's upcoming trip.  It was really starting to irritate me but I decided to let it go, it was no big deal.  We finished the meal and when the check came Nancy announced that she would pay for her and Jennifer,  I thought what the fuck is this all about?  I grabbed the check up,  I said "you were nice enough to get the tickets I can surely pick up the meal".  A cold, straight up "whatever" was her reply.  Jennifer and Hanna obviously becoming uncomfortable quickly chimed in with a thank you Jim.

The walk to the Art's Center was no more friendly, I reached for Nancy's hand and she pulled it away, this had all the makings of a long evening, that would prove to be an understatement.  I tried to talk to her and made another attempt to take her hand, it was like holding a dead fish, totally limp and cold.  I let go after a minute or two.

The place was packed, I have not felt so much like a snowflake since I went to the Swing Auditorium in San Bernardino for a Tower of Power and War concert, it really doesn't bother me, I think its kind of funny actually.  At least at the aforementioned show I wanted to be there.

We got our programs and found our seats, the entertainment was Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Junior, Ben Vereen, some other folks I had never heard of, mostly singing Christmas Carols and Gospel tunes.  The audience was doing a lot of that annoying chair dancing thing. The applause and hooting seemed forced, the show had all the earmarks of a bad 70s variety show.  

The longer the show went on the colder Nancy got, by the time intermission rolled around if you would have shoved a stick up her ass you could have sold her with any other Big Stick.  I was done fit to be tied but continued to bite my tongue. As we walked to the lobby I asked if anyone wanted a drink, took their orders and all but ran to the bar.  I had thoughts at that point of just leaving them there, Jennifer had her car they would be fine, but decided on sticking it out.  When I came back NANCY was in the restroom.  Jennifer and Hanna started firing questions, "what the fuck is going on with you guys?" "what is wrong with my mother?" I told them I had no idea but that things had not been going all that great as of late, but I was under the impression we had talked through it.  "Whatever the circumstances are, she is just being a bitch" Jennifer said.  I did not agree or disagree, I just wanted the night to end at that point.

FANCY came back from the ladies room and said she decided she didn't want her drink, Hanna and Jennifer readily poured it into their drinks and chugged it down, I was wishing that it was me. As we returned to our seats Nancy talked about how great the show was, no one responded. Between pretending to have a good time, getting cold stares I was starting to come to a simmer, the boil was not to far off in the horizon.  Thank god after Ben Vereen did some songs from Jesus Christ Superstar (who even knew Ben was still alive I thought) there was a big finale and the show was over. 

Leaving the theatre NANCY started walking ahead of me, I just let her first Jennifer, Hanna and I were walking about ten feet behind her, then twenty...finally FANCY stopped and waited.  I think it was the laughter from the girls that got her attention, she wanted to know what we were talking about.  Mostly it was Hanna and Jennifer bagging on the show.  As for me, I didn't have much to say about anything at that point.

The drive back to Yorba Linda seemed like a thousand miles of silence with a few very brief Hanna and Nancy interactions, you could hear how uncomfortable Hanna was with the situation in her voice, it had a doppler affect going, I felt bad for her.  If the tension would have been any thicker I would have had to roll the windows down to breath.

I pulled into FANCY's driveway and I swear before I could get to NANCY's door Hanna was out of the car and halfway down the street to her car.  She was almost yelling a thank you back at Fancy for the show and me for the dinner, she seemingly started her car from ten feet away and jumped in through the window, she pulled out and was gone in a matter of seconds.

Turning to Nancy I said "well that was certainly a different evening".  She asked me what I meant, I told her "I am not so sure I have ever been treated so rudely by anyone".  Instantly she went on the attack, "how am I supposed to act?"  " I think you just use me for sex?" "you never take me on any trips" "you never come over during your lunch" "where is this relationship going?" , I tried to explain myself, "I have no idea Nancy, we have only been dating for three months" "I have no idea where this is going, should I?"  She looked at me with a glare that spelled serial killer, "you are such a little boy, you can't commit to anything".  Out of nowhere the magic words came to me, "If by that you mean I am not looking to be husband number five or six you could not be more right" BINGO, BUZZ, HOME RUN, FLUSH, whatever you want to call it, her face turned red, she screamed "HOW DARE YOU" she turned and ran towards the front door of her house.

I felt an immediate since of relief, ok let's get the fuck out of here.  I got in my car and started the engine, I started to back out when she came running back out screaming and swearing at me, I have no idea what she was saying nor did I want to know, but I guess that maybe I must have struck a nerve....I was afraid she was going to jump in front of the car or something but thankfully she didn't....she was still standing in the middle of the street screaming with that Brooklyn accent some indiscernible profanity as I drove around the corner. 

I hadn't even made it to the freeway when Hanna called me, Jennifer had already called her, meaning that Nancy had already called Jennifer...whew boy you ladies are fast.  She wanted to know what it was that was said, I told her and she said oh my god Jim really? "Really" was all I could say, and yes I am fine.

FANCY AND I never spoke another word, Hanna told me recently that Nancy sold her house and moved to some semi-senior condo place in Laguna Niguel, I am sure she will find number five or six or seven,  whatever her magic number is, someone a little more her age, I wish her nothing but the best.

I am actually very grateful for the time I got to spend with FANCY NANCY,  after all it was the first time in a very long time for so many things for me.  I really never thought I would ever date again, that I would kiss another woman, I was certain that I would never sleep with another woman again, I never thought so many things would ever happen again, but that is what its like when you lose the love of your life......

I was absolutely certain that I would never fall in love again,  as far as JIM and FANCY NANCY went that was very true, but you have to start somewhere right? 

I am certainly not the hero in this adventure and FANCY was certainly not the villain, that really is not what I hoped to portray by writing this little escapade.  At the most I was just trying to give a little insight into what may or may not go on in the head of a recently widowed guy when he starts dating again, just a guy trying to move on with his life.  Along with all the insecurities and uncertainties that come with it.  At the least I hope it gave you a laugh or two, just take from it what you will, I hope I left a little on the plate for anyone that took the time to read it, thanks. 

J'attends oujours ma deuxieme chance avec Charmaine.  Au cas ou quelqu'un se demande.  J'apprecierais si une chance de valser elle autour de la Piece de Lumiere des etoiles.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Dinner and a Movie

I spent a great deal of my time after Thanksgiving running my relationship with Nancy around and around in my mind . Weighing the pros and cons of what had started as a simple group date, a chance to get out again and how it had turned into something much bigger. I asked myself THE BIGGER QUESTION was I really ready for an exclusive serious relationship. How long had it been since this all started, it seemed as though it were yesterday and years all at the same time. I was enjoying not being alone again and that was for sure. I felt alive again, getting out, going to nice places again, especially with a pretty woman at my side. Somehow I let this all get away from me, she was looking for something faster than I was willing to commit too, we needed to talk and on a much deeper level than we ever had before and that was obvious.

Love had come so easy with Joanne, we had let our ego's, our independence and our young spirits get in the way for a long time before finally settling down, but falling in love, that was the easy part. There was never an issue with wether or not we were in love with each other. I wondered if falling in love that way was exclusively for the young, if this new feeling of just being comfortable is what I will now be left wiht to fill that empty whole.

The phone rang, it was Fancy she asked if we could go to Happy Hour and a Movie, just something simple since we had the big "Colors of Christmas Show" coming up. Do you have a movie in mind? "No we can figure that out when you get here.

Making the drive to Yorba Linda had become second nature, it is after all the same route I take to the office everyday. I arrived at Nancy's as per usual, flowers in hand like a dating robot. She played with them while I looked thru the paper, I may or may not have mentioned but I don't really go to the movies much. More of an Indy film kinda guy and unless you go to a film festival the good ones are few and far between. I didn't really recognize any of the movies by name so I waited for her to finish and we looked together. "OH ENCHANTED" she said, "THAT IS THE ONE WITH MC DREAMY" "Would you mind seeing that?", I came back with a "sure whatever you want to see is fine with me". We selected a time and a theatre and off we went.

As we were leaving the sky's opened up, it was raining sideways for real...Fancy wanted to go to Chili's for happy hour, she wanted some chicken dish that they serve..."fine with me" I told her. I had only been to Chili's once in my life, I am not a snob by any stretch but I don't do Chain Restaurants as a rule, I just don't, figured what the heck they have cocktails right? It might be a good chance to talk on neutral soil.

By the time we got to Chili's the rain seemed to be coming from all directions...I parked ran around to the trunk and got an umbrella from the trunk, made my way around and opened FANCY's door, we clung to each other to stay in the small dry haven provide by the umbrella and raced towards the door, it was fun. I enjoy moments like that, there is something innocent and fresh involved. We made it thru the doors, Nancy headed straight to the Ladies room to make sure her hair was intact. I went into the bar and found us a table.

She ordered her usual, I had a crown rocks....she ordered and I am straining to remember but I think it was some type of sesame chicken, I think I got was Chili's so who cares right?
It didn't take long before I told her I wanted to discuss what I had told her on Thanksgiving and why I felt that way, the whole it seemed a bit fast for me and that she was the first person I had dated, I told her how I enjoyed our time together, how I liked to hold her hand, I must have went on for 10 minutes...this time it was Nancy who looked like the dog in that Doonesbury Cartoon..Finally she came back with a "I am not trying to rush you Jim" "Really".

Was I putting all this pressure on myself, was I really that delusional. We ate in near silence, I tried to start a few conversations, asked her who this Mc Dreamy dude was, blah blah blah...her answers were short and to the point. She did tell me that she and her daughter were going to the Caribbean in January for two weeks, and that she was not going to decorate her house for Christmas because her wrists were bothering her to much. I offered to come over and help if she needed anything lifted, moved, put up, whatever.

Back to the car we went, still raining...this time there was no clinging onto each other, more like squeezing under the umbrella without touching...that is hard to do but she was managing quite fine. What a stark contrast there had been between our running and our running out.

It was only a 10 minute drive to the theatre, I purchased the tickets and we made our way inside. It was a Disney Cartoon? Oh wait no it has real people in it, Nancy had told me about that Mc Dreamy dude...The movie started, it was a cartoon and a movie, it was very cute, moderately funny and very sweet on the romantic theme. I tried on numerous occasion to hold Fancy's hand but she complained that her wrists were sore...

On the way back to her house we made small talk about the move, I thought it was entertaining, she enjoyed it as well...silence...small talk about the weather....silence...I asked her about the "Colors of Christmas" plans and she told me she would let me know as soon as Jennifer called her on Saturday....more silence...we arrived at back at her house, as I walked her to the door she told me she wasn't feeling well and would I mind if she just went to bed. "Whew" was all I could thing....while the temperature in Yorba Linda was falling quickly, it couldn't match how quickly this relationship had cooled off.

I said good night and gave her a small kiss and told her I hoped she felt better, she looked in my eyes and smiled and said goodnight. She turned, walked inside and the door closed.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast which is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. This harvest meal has become a symbol of cooperation and interaction between English colonists and Native Americans. Although this feast is considered by many to the very first Thanksgiving celebration, it was actually in keeping with a long tradition of celebrating the harvest and giving thanks for a successful bounty of crops. Native American groups throughout the Americas, including the Pueblo, Cherokee, Creek and many others organized harvest festivals, ceremonial dances, and other celebrations of thanks for centuries before the arrival of Europeans in North America.

I can assure you my Thanksgiving while moderately enjoyable was nothing like the above.

My daughter and I put together a fabulous salad, that was our contribution to the festivities, well that and a beautiful bouquet of Roses and a couple bottles of Champagne...

We mad our famous salad with peaches (preferably donut/ufo) , fresh buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto, pecans, sun dried tomatoes, Sicilian olives, shallots, fresh field greens, drizzle some high end virgin olive oil and some aged balsamic on this mix and wow you will be the hit of the party...

We left for the festivities, Tara following me in her car. She had an exit plan, as previously mentioned I did not.

We arrived to a house full of people we didn't know, Fancy was going crazy in the kitchen, the house had horn-o-plenty everywhere.  Her son was on the couch watching football, his girlfriend and her parents were in the yard.  Her daughter was making cosmo's...hmmm like mother like daughter.  Her daughter had a two of her friends there.  Then there was Nancy's friend from New York (damn what was her name) and her boyfriend.  The one's that had the Armenian cocktail party...

Tara quickly mixed in, she makes me so proud in public settings.  She is so very personable and extremely intelligent, just like her dad LOL.  She can charm the rattle from a baby's hand or from a snakes tail, doesn't matter. 

I went into the kitchen with the salad and showed Nancy, asked her what I could do to help.  She asked me to check the table settings to make sure they were ok....oh shit I forgot the champagne...back out to the car I went.  By the time I came back she was in the dining room checking the table settings,  I apologized put the champagne in the fridge and made my way to the sink.  I started cleaning up what was there and FANCY gave me a little hug from behind, "your always doing the right thing" she said.  Was this coming together again?  She had me taste the gravy, hmmmm...(not bad) oh that's so good I said.  She had me check the turkey, oh it really good I told her (oh my that is going to be dry I thought).  I quickly cleaned the sink full of pots, pans and what not.  Nancy asked me to go mingle at that point and I was eager to do so.

I went in the backyard where my daughter was holding court, she was in the center of the crowd answering question.  I love my Tara, she has so many qualities that I would have wanted her to have, why can't she clean her room...oh well that is what the housekeeper is for I guess? I joined the fray and even did a little back up for my vegetarian, right wing, animal activist, women's liberation, pro choice and most importantly to me a huge supporter of the less fortunate kid...god I love her.  The Republican Yorba Linda crowd was wowed by the father daughter team.  We were spectacular and that is an understatement.

The dinner bell sounded and off we went to the table.  I was seated at the head of the table, wow I thought this is just a little odd.  Everyone loved the salad, they kept eating the the turkey came out, as the stuffing came out, as all the sides came out.....uh oh..Nancy started looking at me as if I did something wrong...we forged on...everyone finally started enjoying the meal for what it was...I excused myself and went to the kitchen and grabbed a bottle of champagne, I called for Jennifer (Nancy's daughter) she found the glasses.  We made our way back in and I proposed a toast to our hostess...She cried...oh dear, that was not my intention.  It was a simple toast, thanking her for bringing us together and working so hard that we might enjoy our Holiday....and she cried...I was dumbstruck.  I thought for a moment, she really does have feelings, maybe?

Things turned rather quickly when Robert spilled a glass of wine during dessert.  The beautiful table cloth, the white carpeting and FANCY's pants now had red wine all over them.  She just wanted a simple, I am sorry mom.  It turned into a bit of a screaming match...people started to exit from the dining room.  Jennifer sided with her brother, Nancy was distraught.  I came to her side, I was not going to let this happen.  The "kids" told me that they liked me and that they didn't understand what I was doing with their mother...I was fucking pissed (mainly because I didn't know) because I wasn't going to let this happen on thanksgiving.  Tara quickly joined in, she and somehow she made the peace...oh my an 18 year old finds the sense to deflate the situation, how does that happen. (such a proud dad, why can't she do her own laundry)

Slowly but surely everyone started to leave, I was very sad when my daughter left.  It was finally just Nancy and Jim again.  I helped clean the entire mess, every dish, every ashtray, eventually her house was as it was the first and every time I had ever scene it immaculate.  We sat on the couch, I told her how nice the day had been and thanked her for having my tiny family.  I kissed her and thanked her again, she looked me in the eyes and told me she loved me. OH DEAR LORD NO....(we had never addressed the phone call).  I told her that I while i did so much enjoy my time with her I was not going to tell her that I loved her just to say it, that I need to feel it.  She said she understood, she got up and started packing me my to go plate.  Things turn on a dime, so I have been told.  Anyone got change for a quarter?

I was driving home in a matter of moments.....was that my exit strategy? I was listening to my heart for a change, I was being honest, I was going to sleep alone. (so be it)

only two dates you will love, the other you will totally love...


Monday, September 22, 2008



Between the time of my return from our/my/Fancy's Vegas trip and my departure for Montreal, I only saw the FANCY one once. It was supposed to be an uneventful and early evening spent at her house. I had made some stuffed banana peppers (with italian sausage, good parm and some wild mushrooms) complemented them with a nice San Marzano Marinara Sauce and a delightful side of Spaghetti Squash, I packed it all up and proceeded to play meals on wheels. Zoom Zoom to Yorba Linda I go. I stopped at the liquor barn and picked up a bottle of Chianti to top the meal off.

Nancy was very impressed with the food. While we dined we chatted about her week of hair appointments, her sore wrists, her friends from NY, I tried on several occasion to inject a few current event topics but to no avial. Suddenly (at least to me) and quite out of the blue we were discussing how upset she was with me. That she was extremely hurt over the whole Las Vegas trip. SAY WHAT? Her Brooklyn accent was once again not only noticeable but was getting stronger by the second, "you acted like you where glad I wasn't there" (she did not just say that), "then you didn't apologize after your smart ass call from that Emeril place". All at once I was having a very hard time focusing, my temples were throbbing like I had a little drummer boy using them as a snare drum. I felt like I was the dog in one of my favorite Doonesbury Cartoon, what humans say vs what dogs hear. It shows a women talking to her dog, she is reasoning with the dog of course and then it shows what the dog hears,(blah blah blah blah). Again I could feel myself leaving my body and rising above to watching myself lean forward was it to possibly better discern what was being said, or was it to understand why it was being said, hell I don't know. Just as I started to come back into the conscious realm of understanding it was over.

Whatever that droning noise that was coming out of her mouth was, had ended. Then just as suddenly NANCY told me that she was going to forgive me and that I just needed to make sure and call her more often when I am traveling. Bam I was in the twilight zone, another quick shift "Are you going to watch Dancing With the Stars with me?" were the next words out of her mouth.......I felt like I had just been pistol whipped then lobotomized, what was in that Chianti. I told FANCY that I had an early conference call (the truth)and that it was going to be a very long week(the truth), and finally that I really needed to get home and spend some time with my daughter before going away.(not so much the truth, Tara was in Santa Rosa at my sisters)

A simple kiss goodnight and I was out the door, still a trifle dazed and confused. During the drive home I started wondering in earnest what my exit strategy would be, should I have an exit strategy...did I really have to do the whole Thanksgiving thing with her and her kids and my kid and her friends, would it be better to cancel? More importantly I started wondering if I really wanted to be alone again, for me a scary thought that I had not really considered since we entered into a committed and sexual relationship...son of a head hurts.

Montreal was a welcome relief indeed, there was time to regroup and gather my thoughts, share fine French meals with peers that understand how I tick, but most importantly at the end of each day to be just be alone. To try and remember how I used to love to be alone. There was a time in my life when just being me was plenty and I was trying to get to that place again.

I think I mentioned it before but if you have never been to Montreal go...just go...Old Montreal is beautiful, the people are friendly, it helps to speak some French.

Oui Charmaine, le garçon de piscine parle plusieurs langues couramment et a aussi pris des leçons dans la danse de bal.

Should you want to try an exquisite French meal in Old Montreal, I suggest Toque without a doubt one of the finest places I have ever had the pleasue of feasting.

Le foi gras est incroyable, le service chaud et suffocant. Le Prix français fondamental sans tient barricadé.

Le Garçon de Piscine Très Désolé a été perdu en France un moment.

So I spent the week enjoying me, nothing wrong with that, I kind of started to like me again...I called Fancy regularly, minded my p's and q's. Tried my best not to tell her what a great time I was having, yes I said all the things she wanted to hear, well almost. She told me she missed me and was glad I was coming home, I told her I missed her, she told me that she loved me, I told her that I missed her...INSERT AWKWARD PAUSE HERE. I followed with an I will call you when I get into L.A. good night Nancy talk to you soon.

The flight home was restless.... I keep trying to ignore what is happening and try to hypnotize myself into believing that I am just having a good time with this woman and that things will work out somehow, then buzzzzzz another fly jumps in the ointment.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, only a couple dates left....sorry for delaying this but hey no one was sorrier than me for having the last few lets suffer through them together, shall we.

Fondue (who knew) and Leaving Las Vegas

Another Two Date Collage


Quite possibly the best date I ever had with FACNY NANCY, I would have never thought that in a milion years going in but it was a really nice evening.

Of course I was looking for something a little different, its what I do, I am a planner and a pleaser what can I say. Trust me this has been no easy feat to keep dates fresh with the Fancy One, her scope of adventure is quite seafood, no Thai, no this, no that, no no no no no ....get the picture.

I thiink I was reading OC Weekly or something when I ran across and ad for "The Melting Pot"....hmmmmm now cheese is something that Nancy really does like, and she eats steak, chocolate...I thought it might be fun if nothing else.

Set the date and did my usual, picked up the flowers and hit the highway for good ole Yorba Linda. It was a little misty out so some fondue should be fun. Got to her house, took the dog out to "Make" while she finished getting ready. She came down the steps and I thought, wow we are dressed alike, nice jeans, white shirts, black leather not biker ones...we had been told that we made an attractive couple a few times, now we were dressing like one...LOL>..

Off we went to the Melting Pot...there is one in Brea. The booths are really comfy, high backs and not those leather or pleather ones either. Not sure if I mentioned this but I really prefer to sit on the same side of the table as my date if possible. This is the perfect place for that. We looked at the menu. I ordered a bottle of wine, Fancy got a (yes you guessed it) Cosmo or some variation on one.

We had the " The Big Night Out", it comes with everything you could want, the cheese fondue, lobster, filet all kinds of good stuff...I think you have like three choices of different combos and a couple choices of styles, I do remember we had Coq au Vin. The food was really good, for some reason I was surprised, just wasn't expecting it to be as good as it was. We made our way thru the Cheese fondue and it was very relaxed and fun...the entree fondue came and by then we were feeding each other and taking kiss breaks (PDA's are way ok with me). By the time we got to the Dessert Fondue I was honestly more relaxed as far as being a couple goes as I had ever been with Fancy...maybe the stars were aligned or something but it all just worked. I think we spent between 2 and 3 hours in total at the place including looking into having her daughters birthday party there.

She invited me to spend the night on the way back to her house. I was going to ask her why she waits until after the meal to do that, I never pack to go to her house, it just doesn't seem right to me without being invited...I stayed over, made breakfast for us in the morning wore her son's clothes again. She wanted me to stay and go out to dinner with some of her friends. Told her had I known a little in advance maybe I could have arrnaged it but I have no clothes and already made plans with my kid to have dinner so as nice as the night had been sorry but I just can't.

Leaving (for) Las Vegas

We had one date between the Fondue place and this debacle...the Brea was a fun night, Kathleen Madigan was the comic (very funny) but Fancy got a little sideways drinky pooh wise, she went on a rant back at her house regarding her Lawsuits, LAWSUITS??????....yep, did I tell you she was a parralegal, well she had some sort of disability, wrongful termination, pain and suffering, hey I am from NY gimme some God Damn money lawsuit going against the firm she had worked for. Then there was the wrongful death/malpractice suit that had just wraped up (something to do with when her mother passed away) and one last one against husband NUMBER FOUR regarding a shared property or somthing...HUSBAND NUMBER FOUR...WTF..

By this time all the plans had already been made for las Vegas, the flights and room booked and the Fondue night had been really nice so off we go...

Drove to her house to pick her up...even though we were leaving from Long Beach. I was halfway to her house when the phone rang. She was really sick and wouldn't be able to go, went on and on about how sorry she was about it, I explained that it was ok. I understand that people get sick and that it is not there fault.

Then she asked me what I was going to do? When I told her that I was going to get off the freeway turn around and go to the Airport....She sounded stunned that I was going to go without her. I reminded her that I had a meeting in the morning and she asked me if I couldn't just reschedule the meeting, she saw no sence in me flying up there for a quick morning meeting and flying home..

"I don't want to reschedule the meeting" I told her "and I am going to stay for the entire weekend as planned." (she had a cold for gods sake). "I will call you from Vegas, hope you feel better"

Wow...did that really just happen, didn't we talk the night before, she was totally fine and excited to go. Did she really expect me to just call the whole thing off.... and do what?

After checking in I called Nancy to tell her how really nice the room was, that the flowers and martini makings were sitting by the jacuzzi as ordered and all that was really missing was her, I was trying to be nice. I really was. She said she was sorry again and I told her not to worry, that there is always a next time. (maybe not for her but yes there is always a next time). I called down to the desk and asked them if I could change rooms. It would be silly spending this kind of scratch on a room for just me. They were very accomodating and that they would move in the AM...

After my meeting I called to see how Nancy was doing. She said she felt much better and wanted to know if I could get her a flight for that night...I actually tried..what an idiot I am sometimes. It was Halloween weekend and everything was booked...then she told me that she would drive up..,I told her that I had already switched rooms and that this just was getting crazy, finally she just accepted the idea that Vegas was not in the cards (so to speak) for her this weekend.

After Dinner at Emirl's ( 250$ on a meal for one, gotta say it was fine). called Fancy to tell her how good the place was, she actually started getting angry and asked if I had called just to rub it in...What?...I was calling to see how you felt, and to let you know that I was still going ahead with the plans I made so that you wouldn't feel guilty...not to rub it in..I really wanted to hang up on her, but managed to just exit the conversation cordially, told her I would call her when I got home and that I hope she felt better.....she still sounded angry...hmmmmm

For the next day and a half I gambled, ate and drank all by myself..oh the horror.

I had a couple more business trips coming up between then and Thanksgiving, one to Savanah and another to Montreal in November doubt I will be asking her to join me.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


1963 was the year I turned seven, I still have many memories of random events from that year. I of course didn't know it then but it would be a year that would shape small pieces of the man I would become.

Like Peter Pan I tend to retreat into memories from time to time, it gives me solace especially when my own mortality rears its ugly head. I still remember gathering around the television to watch the stage production of Peter Pan staring Mary Martin, it was only on television once a year, for me that day was magical. From time to time I am still lucky enough as to find my Never Never Land.

I held my Uncle Jim's hand in the ICU last night, I was telling him stories of how smart I always thought he had looked in his hat when I was a little boy. Men always wore hats with their suits in the early 60's, at least the men that I knew. They were so much more convincing than other men, the men in hats I mean.

The Family
Pope John died that spring , that is all I can remember as far as details of the event, but I will always remember the Sunday afterward. My entire family met at Holy Rosary Church for Mass. I dressed in my best little man suit, complete with my little man hat, I knew that this must be very important. The only meaningful recollections of the event for me were the looks on the faces in the crowd, they were so interesting and yet disturbing at the same time. I had no true understanding of what the Pope symbolized and therefore made the leap that it actually did not concern me, so I spent my time studying the crowd. The faces, looking at all the faces, especially the faces of my family, the infinite sadness etched into my grandmother's face, I used to think her face was made of wax, her skin was so smooth.  The collective stern and stoic gazes given by my uncles, my aunts and my parents, most of all I remember the confusion and disinterest shown by most of my cousins. 

Had I been born with any artistic ability at all it this would make one hell of a painting.

Little Jimmy (hey that's me)

Very early that same summer we made our big move to California, school had just ended and we would shortly be embarking on what my mother kept assuring me was to be the adventure of a lifetime. Her assurances were to no avail, my little heart was broken, I was leaving my friends, my school, the Pittsburgh Pirates, my cousins, aunts, uncles, Grandma Boyle but most of all I would be leaving my beloved Nana and Dickie Bird.  I can still feel the unfairness, it made no sense to leave your family, I just don't understand. I was to learn that summer that heartbreak is very real, that it is possible to be so sad that you don't get hungry, to cry so long that you have no tears, to scream and yell until you are blue in the face and yet in the end your heart is still broken. 

The Nation

Late that fall we were sent home from school on that fateful November morning, President Kennedy had been shot. I remember the slow almost snail paced walk home from school, I remember the toes on my black high top tennis shoes, the scuffing noise my heals made as I refused to lift my feat. I stared straight down as I walked the entire length of Woodbridge Ave. I wasn't sure why, it somehow seemed the right thing to do. We watched the news as a family that night, I think it was Walter Cronkite that described it as the end of innocence, I had no idea what he was talking about, I had not ever seen my parents look so helpless. I remember later that week was my heart pounding in my chest while we watched the funeral and saw a little boy, a boy who at that time seemed so much younger than me salute his fallen father, he still looked very innocent to me.

My aunt Jeannette woke me gently, "Jimmy, you have been here all night" "Why don't you go back to the house and get some rest?" "Uncle Jim is doing fine right now, really he is".

Five hours had passed since I had started thinking about men in hats and Peter Pan, my hand was still firmly grasped around my Uncle Jim's. I wonder if he went with me back to 1963, I will have to ask him when he is feeling better, yes when he is feeling better.

I know a place where dreams are born, and time is never at hand. 
It's not on any chart you must find it in your heart, never never land.