Softy

I brought a journal on vacation and didn’t write a damn thing in it but I did read a few dated entries. They were written in 2001 when ironically, we were on vacation.
I wrote mostly about my girls and the mounting sense of personal disappointment in my ability (or lack thereof) to understand them and their changing lives.

Things have changed dramatically in six short years as this journal entry
from today shows . . .

 

My wife and I went out to dinner last Wednesday night.
It had been a crappy day weather-wise on the Cape and the girls wanted to stay in for the night. They ordered some cheesy Chinese and picked up a few DVD’s to watch with their orders of Boneless Ribs, Crab Rangoons, LoMein, Chicken Fingers and buckets of Duck Sauce.

Pamela and I hardly ever go out these days so quite happily off we went.
Vacations can be unusual in some ways because you rarely spend that kind of time together during a normal week.
It’s agetting to know you {again} kind of scenario; not painful in any way, just different.
We talked about drinks, appetizers and entrées, the place we were staying in, our tentative plans for the next day and numerous ‘remember when’ type memories.
Pamela ordered baked scallops and I had to smile when she tried them and made a face.

What’s the matter?

Your scallops are so much better than these. Why is that?

 

I shrugged my shoulders in my best ‘I don’t know’ fashion.
But I knew. I make them much better and always have.
We finished dinner and decided to take a walk when we noticed the day’s rain had stopped.
I had a cigar and she, her thoughts.
We walked past a Mini-Golf place that had soft-serve. (don’t they all?)

 

You wanna get an ice cream?

 

Sure, she said.

 

A kid-sized twist for the blonde and a regular sized for me, the old guy.
We retreated to our own thoughts as we usually do when we eat ice cream when we saw an older couple drive into the parking lot.
I nodded towards the car and said,

 

That’ll be us in like 20 years.

 

You think so?

 

Sure, I said.

 

I don’t know if I want to come back here without the kids; too many memories.

 

But that’s what this place is all about for us . . . memories . . . and some real good ones too.

 

I don’t know, she said. It makes me sad . . .

The Cape has been a very special place for us over the years.
We’ve watched our daughters grow from diapers and playpens to young and beautiful women that can now drive and pick up their own Chinese food (which they did).

Our lives are changing and that’s a difficult pill to swallow sometimes, especially for a mother that loves her girls as much as I know she does.

I tried to convince her that the girls will never really leave the Cape.
They’ll be at every ice cream stand from Hyannis to P-Town that we visit, every beach that offers up a sunset like the one we all saw years ago in West Dennis; they’re everywhere we could ever need them to be.
Somehow, I got the feeling she didn’t quite believe me.

I will say I now have a deeper understanding of a women’s love for ice cream.

We walked back to the hotel holding hands while the earth continued to spin and the stars continued to blink on.

~m

 

 

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Secrets?

These aren’t really dirty little secrets just stuff you may not know about me.
I was tagged by Kim a few days ago and owed her for not getting on my ass about the poetry tag I blew off a while ago.
Please pay her a visit and tell her I’m honestly trying to do right here.
(Aside from the fact she has an awesome blog and is one hell of a great writer)
Here then, are my 8 (11) “secrets

  • Purple is my favorite color.
  • I would take a bullet for my wife and daughters any day of the week.
  • I can tell the difference between a Cuban cigar and a counterfeit.
  • Dated two women on the same night in the same place.
    (Yeah, I’m a humdinger. Just ask my wife.)
  • Eaten 12+ pickled eggs on a dare.
    (I think the actual count was @18 but that’s another story)
  • I wear a purple “MindStrong” bracelet on my right wrist for Alzheimer’s research and may wear it for the rest of my life. (obviously in memory of my mom and dad)
  • I have a dark side that no one will ever know about.
    (Unless I start writing fiction.
    😎
  • I make really amazing homefries. (once again, ask my wife)
  • I’ve never once made a disparaging comment about my wife in conversation. Ever.
  • I hate squirrels and try hard to flatten any grey furry-tailed creature brave enough to run in front of my truck. I’m still waiting for my first kill.
    (And the little bastards still owe me for about 500 bucks in birdseed)
  • I love shaving my coconut. The feeling of putting moisturizer on my skull afterwards is very close to absolute nirvana. Just ask my buddy Evyl.

That’s about it folks.
I have more secrets but I’ll hold you in suspense for now.
And yes, I drink directly from the milk carton at 3:15 A.M. after a trip to the bathroom.
Feel free to add a secret of your own in your comments.

~m

Sins

Bless me father for I have sinned.
It’s been a week and a half since my last legitimate post and
these are my sins:

I’ve taken the Lord’s name in vain 10 times. In one post.

I’ve wished nasty things for the site “I CAN HAZ CHEEZBURGER” because I can’t for the life of me figure out why it’s a #1 Top WordPress Blog.

In a literary sense, I’ve maimed several characters.
And thoroughly enjoyed it.

I’ve timestamped old posts and hit “publish” {ooh, that one hurt}

I’ve even done a . . . a Paris Hilton post.
But it was a real small one.
Honest.

I’ve been terrible at visiting people that visit me all the time. SLAM! {gavel} Guilty!

I’ve needlessly meme’d and posted YouTube videos and even quotes, the ultimate devices in total blog sloth.

And lastly, I’ve changed my template and header so many times the folks in the front offices of WordPress are worried I’m a looney.
And I think they may be onto something.

For these sins I am truly sorry.

~m

Ps.
I’ve been out of the loop lately.
Hannah graduated from Middle School today and life has been a bit hectic.
Give me a few days to play some catch up.
For an uplifting ending, Hannah was chosen as “Outstanding Musician” by the head of the Music department.
I almost started crying.
I’m just so damn proud of her.

Like a Glove

I got this from my good friend Annie.
This will meme me out for a while but this one was damn good . . . and fun too.

These are the rules:
1. Go to the Billboard #1 Hits listings (scroll down and you’ll seen them separated by decades on the left in the sidebar)
2. Pick a year you were in high school
3. Get yourself nostalgic over the songs of that year
4. Pick 5 songs and write something about how these songs affected you
5. Pass it on to 5 more people

 

Fame – David Bowie

What I remember most about this song is its infectious beat.
It had all the elements of a cool funk tune blended seamlessly into a rock anthem. Girls liked to dance to it and us guys used to like to watch.
I also loved the weird vocal stuff Bowie did with his vocals in the studio.
A classic tune for me. I love Bowie.

You’re having my baby – Paul Anka

I’m going to cut to the chase here.
This song buuuhlows and Anka should have had his junk blown off just for recording it. This is a total lameass piece of musical shit.
And that’s giving it something.
This ‘baby’ should have had a clinic visit long before it ever gave birth on the AM airwaves.
This song makes Rosemary’s Baby seem like a Walt Disney character.
Really crass . . . sorry.

The Joker – Steve Miller

“Some people call me the space cowboy yeah
Some call me the gangster of love
Some people call me Maurice
[insert your woo-woo HERE]
Cause’ I speak of the pompetous of love”

When they talk about songwriting it’s all about “the hook”, the line that grabs the listener.
This song had more hooks than my Uncle Bill’s tackle box.
IMHO, when you can combine space cowboy, gangster of love and pompetus ( a word that doesn’t even exist) in one song and make it sound like pure poetry, you’re a frickin’ genius and Steve Miller is damn close.
To this day, Miller remains prolific and ultimately solid as a songwriter.
His melodies will hopefully be around for generations to come.
Aren’t they lucky?
You bet your bippie.

Free Ride – Edgar Winter Group

This song brings me way back.
Remember Tango, Blackberry Brandy and Sloe Gin Fizz?
I used to go to concerts played by popular area bands on Saturday nights at the Middle School in my hometown.
Ah, the memories.
There was usually one stall in the boy’s room coated with Tango splash monkeys by the end of the night.
This song made you feel better even though you were already feeling pretty damn good.
How can you not love that?

You Light Up My Life – Debbie Boone

Another song from the gurgling bowels of some netherworld I’m obviously unaware of.
It even has one of the smarmiest lines of lyrics anyone ever had the sack to write:

“It can’t be wrong, when it feels so right . . .”

It makes me feel better when I make believe the songwriter was talking about sticking his head straight up his ass, an observation this song truly deserves.
If you must know, yes, I’ve played this song for many weddings (and spit anything coming up into an empty Heineken bottle)
(and yes, I’m kidding…I usually vomit after the set, I’m a pro).
The only thing that would have made this song even remotely salvageable is if it were totally re-worked (and I mean totally) by the Talking Heads or Devo.

 

A few songs that didn’t make the list—

We gotta get you a woman – Todd Rundgren (I love Rundgren)

Tears of a Clown
– Smokey Robinson (how can you not like this tune?)

How can you mend a broken heart?
– Bee Gees (I know. Gay.)

Uncle Albert – McCartney (weird tune. that’s me.)

Frankenstein – Edgar Winter Group (albinos just can’t be this funky, he must be an alien)

There’s my list of 5 (+) tunes.
I could go on for days but . . .
I’m not tagging anyone but I’d love to see Hannah, Evyl, Miriam, Yvonne and Zoe do a post.
How’s about it guys?

~m




 

 

 

Good Eats

As a rule, I generally don’t do tags though I still owe a few of you out there a post (you tagee’s know who you are).
This one struck me differently than most because it has to do with food and I love food.

It has to deal with favorite places to eat.

If ever you should find me in the Lone Star state, I’ll surely be hanging with my good friend Fuzz (who tagged me and put up his own mouth-watering list of good eats—and what a list it is. Sign me up for the Mafia Queso. Good God).

Here’s how it goes; I list 5 of my favorite area restaurants and tag five bloggers to do the same.
An email informing them of the tag will help.
This is one serious meme.
The best local places to eat recommended by the local people that have actually eaten the food there.
It just doesn’t get any better than that, does it?

And away I go . . .

 

The Kenmore Diner, Worcester, MA

This all-night diner burnt to the ground in a tragic fire in December of 1999 that claimed the lives of 6 Worcester Firemen.
I believe it was re-built by late 2000 and seemingly never missed a beat.

This is home cooking at its very best.

Situated underneath a busy Interstate, plates have been known to move from the vibration.
And I always thought it was just because I had a buzz on.
Though they specialize in breakfast (the corned beef hash is absolutely to die for) they serve up much of the traditional diner fare: meatloaf and real mashed potatoes, American Chop Suey, a Pot Roast that rivals mine, Club Sandwiches and a Chef Salad that boasts what seems like almost impossible 2lbs of thinly sliced deli cold cuts.
At 3 bucks, a simple egg, cheese and pepper breakfast sandwich on a bulkie is culinary poetry. Incredible.
Even the waitresses are the bomb.

 

Wright’s Chicken Farm, Slatersville, R.I.

Family-style, rapid-fire, all you can eat, slow broasted chicken.
It comes with fries, salad, pasta, bread, butter and all the malt vinegar you can shake on your taters. It’s cheap and you always feel ‘barfing full’ when you leave.

Need I say more?

Baxter’s, Hyannis, MA {Cape Cod}

I’ll be dining on Baxter’s sometime this summer. (pictured above)
The wharf overlooks the scenic Hyannis harbour and is the quintessential ‘Cape Cod’ setting. The walk-in, stand in line and order your food restaurant is casual to say the least, perfect when you don’t feel like getting all gussied up.
And I never do when I’m on vacation.
Nor do my girls.

Baxter’s serves the sweetest boiled lobster I’ve ever had in my life and that’s before I plunge the chunks into warm, melted butter. (Don’t worry, I’ll be counting points)
Fried Clams, Scallops, Shrimp, Haddock, Calamari, Burgers – please, stop me before I burst an artery.
A few frosty ones and a red crustacean on the harbour at sunset with good friends and I understand all too well why I brave the nasty summer traffic down here.
Well, the lobster and the fact that my best friend Michael lives on the Cape as well.
We usually meet here.

Ronnie’s, Auburn, MA

The best damn Fried Clams within a one hundred mile radius.

The lobster rolls don’t suck either.
I usually leave with tartar sauce coursing through my veins.
Someone call my cardiologist.
I think I’m going down.
Soon.

Moe’s Southwest Grill, Worcester, MA

A Tex-Mex place that specializes in a burrito called “The Homewrecker” can’t be all bad. This sombitch is the diameter of a friggin’ firehose and costs less than six bucks.
No lie, folks.
And they make it right before your very eyes with all fresh ingredients.

Add a basket of their very own fresh tortilla chips and a cup of Queso and you’re golden.
When you walk in, everyone behind the counter yells, “Welcome to Moe’s!!!!”
{Hannah’s favorite part}

 

I’ve left out many favorites that have, for one reason or another, gone belly up.
My all time favorite was a quaint, little place called the El Morocco, a Lebanese restaurant where Pamela and I had our wedding reception.
It makes me sad that it’s no longer there.
But I have a better recipe for Hummus anyway. {8-)

People I’m tagging:

Annie

Moe

Carnealian

Spaz

And one out of the ordinary pick {Laho, post your faves in the comments or emaul me}

Laho

 

Don’t let me down guys.

This is one downright cool tag.
Thanks, Fuzz. This was a wicked blast.
Someday we really have to sit down to a plate of seriously hot ribs
and mucho cerveza’s amigo . . .

~m

btw ~

On an interesting note, this is how the meme got to me

Nicole (Sydney, Australia)
velverse (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
LB (San Giovanni in Marignano, Italy)
Selba (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Olivia (London, England)
ML (Utah, United States)
Lotus (Toronto, Canada)
tanabata (Saitama, Japan)
Andi (Dallas [ish], Texas, United States)
Lulu (Chicago, Illinois, United States)
Chris (Boyne City, Michigan, United States)
AB (Cave Creek, Arizona, United States)
Johnny Yen (Chicago, Illinois, United States)
Bubs (Mt Prospect, Illinois, United States)
Mob (Midland, Texas United States)
Yas (Ahwatukee, Arizona USA)
Alicia(Idaho Falls, Idaho, USA)
Tug (Hell, Colorado, USA)
Bond (Memphis, TN, USA)
TopChamp (Glasgow, UK)
Kailani (Honolulu, HI, USA)
Amber (Henderson, TN, USA)
the weirdgirl (San Francisco Bay Area, CA, USA)
Fuzz – ( Spur, America)
Michael – (Boston, MA, USA)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Humor Me

It’s 6am and I’m sitting here staring at the blinking cursor wondering what to write about. Bizarre as it may seem I was just lying in bed thinking about the Ice Cream Guy (ICG) and how my view of him has changed over the years.
Must be because I heard him driving through the neighborhood last night.
It used to amaze my mother that I could never seem to hear her pleas for me to take out the garbage but could somehow hear the ICG’s dulcet tones three or four towns away. (A talent my youngest daughter seems to have inherited)
It was creepy, actually, in a Stepford Wives kind of way.
These days the rusty truck that drives through our neighborhood goes excruciatingly slow while playing a severely out of tune version of Frank Mill’s “Music Box Dancer” with a heavy dose of total harmonic distortion thrown in for good measure.
God, I hate that song.
I think it’s just the company’s subliminal and overtly wicked way of increasing business. The crazed demonic music stops when the truck stops, get it?
Clever, huh?
E-V-I-L. That’s what that is.
Every time I hear that stupid song it makes me want to get out an AK-47 and blow the damn speaker right off the roof of the rusted-out tin can on wheels. (Oh, but what would the kids in the neighborhood think?)
Yup, I’m getting old.

The ICG’s that I see these days are nothing like the grandfatherly Norman Rockwell types of my youth.
The company seems to have traded in Dick Van Dyke for the likes of a Goth version of Tommy Lee. I guess I just don’t like a guy sporting an Insane Clown Posse t-shirt with a Black Widow spider tattoo on his face fondling my Nutty Buddies.
Sorry, pal, put my ice cream cone on the counter and step away.
And no, I have little interest in trying the new Frozen Haggis in a cup, thank you very much. Eeewww.

Sadly, the childhood innocence found in eating a frozen confection on a hot summer day has been replaced by a disturbing social scenario you’d be more likely to find smack dab in the middle of a Stephen King novel.
Not a total loss, I guess—if you like King (which I do).
Sherlock is now proceeding to consume a plant in the living room Godzilla-style . . . his subtle way of telling me he’s a bit hungry.
And God knows I need another cup of Java…

~m

Walking on Alligators

It is vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility; they must have action, and they will make it if they cannot find it.
~Charlotte Bronte

 

 

I got on the train and began writing when my pen decided to go postal and ink itself to death while taking my right hand hostage.
I wanted to write because I ransacked my leather satchel like a madman looking for another pen which I didn’t have.
(One pen in my bag and I call myself a writer. What is up with that? Sheesh)
I cleaned off the suicidal gel point and opened my journal to write, black fingers and all.

I’d just read a thoughtful little piece in a book called Walking on Alligators – a book of Meditations for Writers
The uber short chapter focused on something we creative types can all agree on.
I think.

How many of you have put off your writing in hopes of waiting for that ‘perfect’ moment? That time when the stresses of your lives are at their lowest level?
If you’ve never found yourself in that situation, I’m jealous.

I’ve done it many times but try hard to tell myself that writing itself, be it good or bad, happens in the midst of our hectic and stressful lives.

Ideas show up unannounced, sometimes in the mid-bite of a ham sandwich, while waiting for your oil to be changed, or driving an altogether too familiar fifty mile stretch of highway when your subconscious thoughts come out to play.
I’ve even had words come to me sitting in the dentist’s electric chair.

Always have a pen and paper.
If your pen explodes, clean it off and continue.
This is writing.
And this is life.

The author, Susan Shaughnessy, explains that “. . . books, poems, and screenplays are written while household appliances are breaking down, rebellious kids are trying your patience, and family and friends are quarreling and making up again.”

I thought about how brilliant that thought truly was and wanted to share it with you.
Write today.
Don’t wait until the morning sun rises and your life will supposedly be settled and less hectic.
Class dismissed.

 

~m

Fold-a-Cat

I appreciate all the comments folks!
I will catch up on them before days end.
Spent last night watching several episodes from the first season of Supernatural with my daughters.
Really nice just to hang for a night with my girls.
All three of them.
We don’t do it enough.
Anywhoo, have a great weekend . . . rain and all.
The picture above is for anyone with multiple cats and currently experiencing a storage problem.

~m

Umbrella Man

Pamela,

You’ve never given yourself enough credit.
Maybe you never will, that’s so much ‘you’.
I read stories on a daily basis in the newspaper about mothers that are abusive, selfish and downright diabolical and it makes me wonder if our daughters know and intrinsically understand just how fortunate they really are.
Even though you’re not my mother,
I pray for the compassionate and loving light that glows softly
from inside you; a beacon that perpetually shines on our three beautiful girls.
Though the journey is occasionally rough when the rains are falling hard, know that I will be where I’ve been all along . . . by your side.
I’m that crazy guy holding the umbrella with the omnipresent wad of crumpled Kleenex stuffed in his pockets.
And believe me, that crazy guy thinks the world of you.

Happy Mother’s Day,

~m

{written inside my wife’s card}
*To all mothers visiting Smoke and Mirrors:
I wish you a day filled with rainbow smiles and all the love your hearts can hold.


*Mom, I’m thinking of you today.
And yes, I still miss you . . .
~mick

Three Words

Although I don’t consider myself a devout catholic, I do attend mass most Sunday mornings. I see the hour or so spent there as a sort of a sacred in-house inventory if you will, a pensive look into my soiled soul and the now dormant week that was.

This past Sunday, a question I’ve thought about a thousand times jumped out at me from the weekly bulletin.
It’s really quite simple:
What would you do if you knew you only had 24 hours to live?
What would you say and whom would you say it to?

In the aftermath of 9/11, I firmly believe that now more than ever, tomorrow is promised to absolutely no one.
Many victims on the ill-fated flights and the upper floors of a crumbling World Trade Center had cell phones that day and made calls to the people that mattered most to them.

Are you surprised?

I didn’t think so.

I’ve yet to listen to one of the recorded phone calls but I’ve no doubt it’s ‘heartbreaking squared’.
In my heart, I also know that every single conversation ended with three words:
I love you.

The dark acceptance of the raw reality of death makes us reach out and touch the special people that matter the most to us.
Sports cars, 80ft yachts, mansions, small islands, diamonds and all the gold ingots in the world are effortlessly rendered worthless.
Kind of cool, IMHO.

If you were told tonight you wouldn’t live to see another blazing orange creamsicle sunrise, I’m thinking there would be an undeniable clarity regarding the ultimate worth of the precious gifts (people) in your life.

Why wait until you’re backed into some abysmal corner before you take some action?
I ask everyone reading this post to call someone today (or tonight) because, to be quite honest, tomorrow is already peaking around the corner.
Do you want to take that chance?
I’m only talking about three simple words.
Can you do that for me?
I knew that you could . . .

 

~m