Letting Go

I find myself once again at a crucial and necessary point in my life where a situation leaves me with no turning back and no time left for second chances.
If this post comes across as somewhat cryptic, it should,
I’m in camouflage mode right now.
There’s a part of me that wants to run away if only to spare myself the inevitable emotional turbulence most likely to be encountered . . . but I can’t run away anymore.

It took a conversation with a very special friend to help me see the proverbial ‘forest through the trees’ and there will be no turning back, no gazing in the rear view mirror.
The time has come for me to sit one on one with my dad and tell him it’s alright to let go.

He’s holding on for reasons that only he knows.

I’ll take his aged and creased hands in mine and tell him as lovingly as possible that my sister and I are fine, that my mother waits patiently on the other side, that he can finally rest his weary head.
There’s a selfish part of me that never wanted to experience a scenario such as this, a part of me that wanted some silly miracle, an impossibility and medically improbable wish upon a non-existent star.

The little boy in me just doesn’t want to give his father the blessing he truly deserves, and though I understand it I’m having a very difficult time with the goodbye part.

I just can’t let go.

In my heart, I see my mother as I did that day long ago, on
Mayflower Beach but this time she’s not walking away she’s holding out her hand to my father.
They’ve both been alone for far too long and I know my father’s heart can’t take much more.

I have to tell my dad, ‘you can let go now‘.

I want him to touch the stars, and be that long forgotten prayer I’ve held inside me since they both got sick; I want them to once again be together . . .
Maybe I just needed time to understand that.

There will be a crystal winter night in the not too distant future that will find me gazing at the mysterious night sky.
A star will sparkle in such a way that it catches my eye.
As I look a bit closer I’ll notice that it’s not one star, but two.
Maybe then I’ll be able to let them go.
Though I doubt it . . .

~m

Advertisements

She blinded me with science

I’ve been non-existent on the blog as of late and I do apologize.
Life gets real busy sometimes and I’ve no idea how to slow it down.
Accept it and put up something resembling a post, I guess.
Found this sitting out in cyberspace and thought of my daughter Sarah.
Off to work.
I’ll be by for a visit very soon.
Hope everyone is well . . .

~m

A DIALOGUE WITH SARAH, AGED 3: IN WHICH IT IS SHOWN THAT IF YOUR DAD IS A CHEMISTRY PROFESSOR, ASKING “WHY” CAN BE DANGEROUS
By Stephen McNeil

– FROM THE ARCHIVES –

SARAH: Daddy, were you in the shower?

DAD: Yes, I was in the shower.

SARAH: Why?

DAD: I was dirty. The shower gets me clean.

SARAH: Why?

DAD: Why does the shower get me clean?

SARAH: Yes.

DAD: Because the water washes the dirt away when I use soap.

SARAH: Why?

DAD: Why do I use soap?

SARAH: Yes.

DAD: Because the soap grabs the dirt and lets the water wash it off.

SARAH: Why?

DAD: Why does the soap grab the dirt?

SARAH: Yes.

DAD: Because soap is a surfactant.

SARAH: Why?

DAD: Why is soap a surfactant?

SARAH: Yes.

DAD: That is an EXCELLENT question. Soap is a surfactant because it forms water-soluble micelles that trap the otherwise insoluble dirt and oil particles.

SARAH: Why?

DAD: Why does soap form micelles?

SARAH: Yes.

DAD: Soap molecules are long chains with a polar, hydrophilic head and a non-polar, hydrophobic tail. Can you say ‘hydrophilic’?

SARAH: Aidrofawwic

DAD: And can you say ‘hydrophobic’?

SARAH: Aidrofawwic

DAD: Excellent! The word ‘hydrophobic’ means that it avoids water.

SARAH: Why?

DAD: Why does it mean that?

SARAH: Yes.

DAD: It’s Greek! ‘Hydro’ means water and ‘phobic’ means ‘fear of’. ‘Phobos’ is fear. So ‘hydrophobic’ means ‘afraid of water’.

SARAH: Like a monster?

DAD: You mean, like being afraid of a monster?

SARAH: Yes.

DAD: A scary monster, sure. If you were afraid of a monster, a Greek person would say you were gorgophobic.

(pause)

SARAH: (rolls her eyes) I thought we were talking about soap.

DAD: We are talking about soap.

(longish pause)

SARAH: Why?

DAD: Why do the molecules have a hydrophilic head and a hydrophobic tail?

SARAH: Yes.

DAD: Because the C-O bonds in the head are highly polar, and the C-H bonds in the tail are effectively non-polar.

SARAH: Why?

DAD: Because while carbon and hydrogen have almost the same electronegativity, oxygen is far more electronegative, thereby polarizing the C-O bonds.

SARAH: Why?

DAD: Why is oxygen more electronegative than carbon and hydrogen?

SARAH: Yes.

DAD: That’s complicated. There are different answers to that question, depending on whether you’re talking about the Pauling or Mulliken electronegativity scales. The Pauling scale is based on homo- versus heteronuclear bond strength differences, while the Mulliken scale is based on the atomic properties of electron affinity and ionization energy. But it really all comes down to effective nuclear charge. The valence electrons in an oxygen atom have a lower energy than those of a carbon atom, and electrons shared between them are held more tightly to the oxygen, because electrons in an oxygen atom experience a greater nuclear charge and therefore a stronger attraction to the atomic nucleus! Cool, huh?

(pause)

SARAH: I don’t get it.

DAD: That’s OK. Neither do most of my students.

A small, insignificant and relatively stinky Haiku for Bob

How come you so big?

You scare my wife and keetons

Bobby try diet . . .

Sarah informed us that Bob would be returning for a few days.
His stay will be mercifully brief because he’s outta here on Sunday morning when we bring her back to school. {excuse me, college}
Bob is currently residing in the hallway upstairs.
I found that out last night (1:34am) when I was needlessly mugged by a dark-hooded Hollister sweatshirt on my way to the bathroom.

My only thought today was where in God’s name did the summer go?

I’ve already noticed a few brave trees offering up their chlorophyll, preparation for a special place on the ever popular New England Autumnal Palette.
The hands of time are moving too damn fast for me these days.
I just said ‘hello’ to summer and now I’m sadly saying ‘goodbye’.

And I hate that.

I really, really do.

Relinquishing my sacred seat on the porch has never been easy.
I used to love the fall but even that has changed for me; probably because the autumnal equinox is the natural pre-cursor to the personal arctic abomination I now refer to as “freekin’ winter”.

The past few days have kicked my ass but the computer is once again up and running and the ‘blue screen of death’ is but mere memory. Ahh . . . .
And thank my lucky stars because I can already hear Bob calling me for more space.

I promise to catch up on my “comment absence” by early next week.

keep the faith,

~m

PS. Happy Birthday, LiHo!!!!!!

Goodnight Irene

On days that I open the store I’m on the train at 6AM and visiting the land of Nod by 6:15.
Early morning trains are relatively quiet and sleeping is an acquired and needed task I’ve grown quite used to utilizing.
It must be my internal clock but my eyes automatically open right after the train leaves the Yawkey stop (Fenway Park) and I’m still barely awake by the time we get to my stop at Back Bay which is only three minutes away.

The other morning I got up from my seat with all the zeal of an 85 year old man and made my way to the stairs leading to the nearest exit.
I saw a woman standing by the door waiting to get off when my heart stopped.
Though I could only see the left side of her face she looked just like my mother.
I know my mother is no longer here but I found it interesting, maybe even semi- sweet,
that the mere sight of another human being resembling her can still make my heart miss a beat.
This woman’s hair, her eyes, nose and the shape of her mouth; even her clothes all screamed my mother’s name.

She must have known I was staring because she suddenly looked up at me, almost through me, smiled and left the train.

Sleepwalking my way to work, I passed on my usual cup of coffee from Au Bon Pain.
I guess I was still a bit dazed from the surprise encounter I’d just had and decided to continue sleepwalking through the surreal fog,
my scattered memories trailing close behind me.

~m

Paradox Found

Ten years ago, the world as I’d previously known it began crumbling before my very eyes. With Alzheimer’s disease slowly sinking its insidious teeth into the flesh of two of the most important people in my life, I could barely hang on.

My interpretation of the world surrounding me was one of suffocation and predicated horror as I watched two innocent lives wither away; their “golden” years sucked into an invisible vortex of utter blackness.
There would be no vacations for them; no candlelight dinners, anniversaries, holidays, spontaneous I-love-you’s and oddly enough no tears for what ultimately should have been.

The blackboards of their lives had been virtually erased, their accumulated memories falling away like the New England autumn leaves my mother so loved.

Back then, I was filled with bitterness like I’d never known.

I was mad at everyone: God, the mailman, the guy that pumped my gas, the moon and the stars, my girls, my wife and a life that was spiraling out of control.
I was mad at the incomprehensibility and odds of the total clusterfuck I was in.
Close friends knew I was not doing well.
Advice was offered and thrown away, unused and scattered like junk mail.

One day, someone close to me said, “He’s trying to teach you something. Maybe you should listen.”
They were pointing upwards towards the heavens when they said it.

After a particularly heart-shattering day I found myself once again mentally “on the ropes”. I recall having a pen in my hand. I looked at it, scratched my head and began writing. There was no planning on my part, it just kind of happened.

Thousands of words and feelings later I looked up.
Over two hours of my soul were permanently on paper and I felt good.
The inner voices were gone and the world was quiet.
I was given a way out of this thing.

I think of all the people I’ve been blessed to know because of my writing; Annie, Moe, Kel, Fuzz, Evyl, Matty, Lolly, Bella, Spaz, Carnealian, Snot, Lass, Deb, Kelsey, Kim, Melanie, and Red . . .
{I love everyone on my blogroll, I really do}

But, how do you spell “sacred moment”?

Maybe He was trying to teach me something after all; I just had to discover it on my own.

Through my writing I was doing something that my mom and dad could no longer do; I was learning how to remember them.
Paradox is occasionally a bittersweet thing.
At least I like to think of it in that way.

~m

Summer Break

I’m taking a bit of a break this week.
I desperately need to re-charge my archaic batteries.
Trust me, I’ll be back with you by weeks end.
I’m just currently really burnt out.
There’s nothing remotely decent in the creative cerebral hopper.
Time for some reading.
Later gators . . .

~m

btw– I sincerely thank you all for the comments on the Cerulean Blues post.
I promise to respond to all sometime during the week.

No More Goodbyes

My father has had a rough few weeks.
I haven’t mentioned it because truth be told there hasn’t been much to mention; until last Tuesday morning.
He experienced a seizure that lasted approximately a minute and a half.
The details of the event aren’t as important as is the possible impending neurological damage done.
His body has been a virtual wasteland of short circuits and genetically faulty wiring and I truly believe he’s had quite enough.
I want to believe the brain gets to a turning point when it tells the body, “It’s all over, pal, I can’t help you anymore.”

As with my mother, I’ve grieved for my father forever; all the time gone by and the man I knew vanishing more mysteriously than a David Copperfield illusion.
If this goddamned disease has taught me anything it’s that the ultimate reality
is the final release from the grips of this thing makes all things bearable once again. . . somehow . . . someway.

It’s the bottom of the 9th of a grueling doubleheader.
There are two outs and the count is 3-2.
I can see my father standing on a shamrock green outfield impatiently tapping his foot.

He’s thinking, “No more damn foul balls. Just get this damn thing over.”
And I’m in the stands holding a cold Fenway Hot Dog just waiting to finally take him home.
I will keep you all posted on his condition.
He’s currently listed on the DL . . .

 

~m

Heartbreak Hill

When I was younger I spent most of my summer at a place we called ‘the Camp’, a bare bones — no frills house set on a hill deep in the woods of Boylston, Mass.

From the front porch you could see the ripples of the pond below sparkling in the summer sun; it was a pond we swam in, boated in and fished in (all we ever caught were kivers, pickerels and hornpout, hate them, they always swallowed the hooks).

I remember so many damn things about the place.
There was the musty funk that greeted you on that first visit after the eternal New England winter and there was the exposed wooden beams where my mother would hang wicker baskets and ‘past their prime’ life preservers that had changed from a vibrant orange to a washed out Abercrombie & Fitch melon color.
The old upright piano with real ivory keys and the authentic outhouse with a crescent moon cut lovingly into the door added to the ancient décor of the place. (and we used it)

On the screened-in front porch my twin sister and I slept on military style cots covered with the softest and warmest blankets known to man.
At night, the hundreds of bullfrogs on the pond would serenade us to sleep, their throaty calls drifting up the hill on the invisible fingers of the warm, summer wind.

My sister and I would talk of our secret dreams and hopes, the adolescent ramblings of curious children.
Some nights we even had the same dreams. Maybe that’s how it is with twins.

Most weekends were filled with a gathering of family and friends for an all day cook-out followed by a bonfire in the backyard, my personal signal to take out my guitar and sing a few songs.
I remember learning “Little Green Apples”, by Roger Miller to appease the crowd.
It was such a care free and wonderful time in my life that all but disappeared when the place got sold due to extenuating circumstances beyond my control.

Before it was put on the market I happened to be picking apples with the Pamela and the girls at an orchard that was a stone’s throw away from the place.
We left the orchard and took the turn towards the Camp.
They all knew where I was going.
And I just had to see it one last time.

Walking up the hill I caught a glimpse of the long dormant camp on the hill and my heart did a quick stutter-step and it surprised me.
There were so many sentimental moments locked deep inside this innocuous structure that it frightened me, the sacred ghosts of the past welcoming me back in a way I hadn’t expected.

The mind is a funny thing because the only thing I could think at the time was that my mother and father were so happy and healthy here – this was hallowed ground as far as I was concerned for a multitude of reasons.
I got out of the car and took it all in, every fiber of my being moving back in time towards the warm summers of my yesterdays.

It’s all still here, I thought, swallowing hard.

I was silent as I walked around the perimeter of the Camp soaking in all the weeping details; the chipping paint and overgrown weeds intensifying the loneliness and heartbreak of a place I could no longer call my own.

A part of me wanted to somehow embrace the little boy still inside me but I realized I’d grown far too old and jaded in my ways for that simple courtesy.

I asked Pamela to walk down the hill with the girls.
I couldn’t do this with my girls watching.

I stood on the porch where I’d spent so many star-filled nights dreaming about my up and coming wonderful life and I wept; I wept for a life that had turned out quite differently than I’d expected.
I’d lost so very much but then I thought about how much I actually gained.

What surprised me was that there were possibly more happy tears than sad ones.

The Camp was unexpectedly giving me back a precious gift.

I know that now.

I walked down the hill to the car and gave one more glance up the hill where I saw my mother flitting about watering her flowers in the sun and my father turning burgers on the decaying charcoal grill that he always talked about replacing.

He was drinking a can of Bud and laughing it up with old friends, just like old times.
And they were good.

As the billows of smoke from the grill moved past the front of the Camp, I could almost see the silhouette of a little boy on the porch waving goodbye.
In my heart, the Camp will always be there for me.
I only need to close my eyes and remember.

~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.

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)