Family


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Good riddance to 2020.  As I write this, there are 21 days left in the year and 41 left in the administration that made this year much worse than it needed to be.  But both are on their way out and so comes our annual holiday letter, pushed to the internet because I can’t go in to my office and print out copies.  So, let’s see what this year brought us. (more…)

It is worth remembering that this blog began 13 years ago tomorrow.  It grew out of a project that Veronica had to do in library school (create a website) that she designed to allow the family members who we weren’t seeing very often (which was all of them as we had recently moved to Boston) to watch Thomas as he grew up.  So the Welcome to our new blog. was filled with pictures from Thomas’ third birthday.  Sadly, we’re about to move again (just 50 yards down the hall to a bigger apartment), so this is the fourth of his last seven birthdays with most of our stuff in boxes (not to mention all the stuff we normally do for his birthday – the Zoo, movies – closed because of COVID).  But today we are celebrating our boy (who’s not learning how to drive so don’t even ask) by taking a look through the years. (more…)

I’m going to keep posting for as long as I can, but there are limits to that.  The 2001 Adapted Screenplay post will go up in a week or so but I can’t go past that because I don’t have the books I need and all the libraries are closed.  I have a 2019 specific post ready to go (probably going up Saturday) but it’s a different one than normal and I have to make a decision about the Year in Film / Best Picture posts.  Do I use our $15 in Fandango money to watch Uncut Gems and Bombshell and be in a position to do the post?  Or do we spend it on Emma which we would much rather watch and costs $20?  I would gladly spend $20 to see Portrait of a Lady on Fire (the only film other than Uncut Gems and Bombshell with more than 3 award nominations that I haven’t yet seen) but I’ve seen nothing to indicate that Neon will be making it available anytime soon.  Or should I just do the post without having seen those films?  I have a few other posts I am working on that don’t require anything that I don’t already have but we’ll see how long they take.

I don’t have unlimited time these days to work on posts because I am lucky enough to be working from home, joining Veronica who always works from home.  We’re keeping ourselves very isolated, only venturing out to buy groceries because Thomas is diabetic which makes him high risk if he came down with COVID.  So I’ll try to keep posting because maybe it will give something for people to read and escape from the shitshow of the world.

So, please, remember to follow the advice of Neil Diamond above.  I’ve sang “Sweet Caroline” during who knows how many Red Sox games and I’m glad he’s taking this seriously enough to adapt his lyrics.  So remember:

  • Wash your hands like you have a club stamp you don’t want your mom to see
  • Wash your hands like you were cutting jalapeños and have to change a contact lens
  • Wash your hands like you just convinced your husband to murder the king of Scotland
  • Love like Jesus but wash your hands like Pontius Pilate

note:  A little addition here.  From when I published it in February of 2011 until last month, my review of Camus’ The Plague never had more than 259 hits in a whole year.  It’s had 290 so far this month (with four days to go).  And my review of Love in the Time of Cholera, posted even earlier had only surpassed 100 hits in a month twice (one of which was the month Garcia Marquez died) and it’s up to 140.  So I guess we know what people are reading while stuck at home.

Veronica, Thomas and assorted friends gather to watch Christmas Eve on Sesame Street.

I will start, aside from wishing Merry Christmas (or whatever your choice of holiday is) to everyone, by quoting two different things I wrote in my piece on Christmas Eve on Sesame Street five years ago.

The first is “I have no religious feelings centering around Christmas.  I love Christmas for the feeling of good cheer and happiness that tend to abound.  The two songs “True Blue Miracle” and “Keep Christmas With You” both center around those notions.”  That is the explanation for the title.

The second is “Most of all this special works because it is a reminder that what I love about Christmas is the feeling in the air (and it doesn’t think Christmas is the only holiday – there is a nice Chanukah greeting for Mr. Hooper), that we can all love each other, that we can find peace on earth.  It makes me think of my e-mail signature, a quote from RFK: “But we can perhaps remember – even if only for a time – that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short movement of life, that they seek – as we do – nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.”  That is what I love about Christmas.  And Sesame Street was always like that – always a reminder that we should be nice to each other, that life is so much better that way.” (more…)

So, we’re off on vacation for the next 10 days up to Lake Tahoe, visiting with my siblings and father.  I would make a snarky joke but I did it last year which earned a comment that meant that the phrase “It’s not funny if I have to explain it” should have been changed to “It’s even less funny if my mother flat-out explains it.”

Because I’m not bringing my laptop, I won’t have the ability to approve comments so any comments made after late Friday night will be sitting in mediation until I am back sometime on the 7th.  I don’t just let any comments go through without mediating it for another reason that I will address. (more…)

I never did like that song anyway.  So, I’ll go with a different one.

You can take your snow and shove it /
This is our Christmas and we love it . . .

Yes, it’s only in the mid 60’s with some scattered showers, but last year on Christmas, it snowed several inches with a flash freeze and 30 mph wind gusts, so the hell with that.  We’ve come home and San Diego is where we’re staying and this year snow won’t keep us from going to the movies (Mary Poppins Returns at 10:30). (more…)

Veronica and Thomas leave for Wisconsin by car tomorrow.  My sister, Alison, and I leave by truck on Sunday.  That means there will be no posts until we are well and settled in California sometime in early July.  As for comments, well, we will approve them when we see them and can approve them, which may take some time.  So please be patient.  It will be hard for Veronica to find time to do that while with her family and hard for me to do it while strangling and/or being strangled by my sister.

I kid, of course.  Why, here’s a recent picture of Alison and I getting along:

So, while we have fun on our trip (“Yes, I can read a book while you spend 90 minutes plus whatever overage is waiting for someone to score in your World Cup match.”  “It is only the biggest spectator sport in the world, you jackass.”) rest assured that eventually your comments will be perused and approved.

Good times on the road ahead!  California here I come.  Right back where I started from.  In August of 1992.

It’s that time of year

Brandy and eggnog, there’s plenty of cheer

I’m not going to finish any more of the song because if you know it, then you’ll know why (and why I’m not embedding the video) and if you don’t, well then go here.  It’s appropriate though because it could have been called “A Very Southie Christmas”.  So it will make for a nice comparison to the song that is embedded at the end. (more…)

As I try to recreate 19 film and book reviews that I lost when the hard drive failed, I’m posting a slideshow I created for my mother.  She turned 75 this past summer and we celebrated by gathering together (the first time all 8 of her grandchildren had ever been in one place – the last time before that all the grandchildren had been gathered, in 2005, there were only five).  Since I wanted to send this to family members who weren’t there but it’s too big to attach to an e-mail, I put it up here for their viewing pleasure (hoping they have an app which can view it).

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Our first picture together – by a waterfall off Route 6 on the road to Tillamook

As Veronica and I lay awake at four this morning listening to Thomas cough, something we had been doing since two since he is still terrible at blowing his nose and instead sniffles, allowing everything to go into his lungs and give him a raspy cough, I reminded Veronica that it was now the 12th of September.  “I assume that’s important,” she said.  “It means eighteen years ago today you were wearing sunflowers.”

That’s a reference to the sunflower dress that she was wearing the first day I met her.  Yes, I remember what she was wearing.  I remember the really cute manager I met on my first day at Barnes & Noble, the one who was all excited about the firemen who came into the store in full uniforms, the one I thought was 31 because she was a manager and in charge and so mature (she was 23) and who, I would later learn, thought I was 19, because of my youthful exuberance, I am certain (I was almost 25).  The manager who I picked out in the Secret Santa exchange (after putting two other names back) and who, when I was waiting for her to leave the breakroom so I could put her final present in her locker, looked at me and said “Are you waiting for me to leave so you can put my Secret Santa gift in my locker?”

We’ve survived through working together at five different jobs, through autism and diabetes, through far too many moves to mention and through a lot of early mornings wishing Thomas was asleep so that we could get back to sleep.  But I wouldn’t have wanted to go through this with anyone else for these last 18 years.

Our most recent picture together. She’s still wonderful. I’m still me.

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