Tag Archives: Family

They’ll not forget this – ever

66809_550890131600928_1137009912_n529223_10152048905784936_716255025_n1Tonight, two of the grands – specifically these two very lucky six year olds – got to watch the Capitol Fireworks from the White House.

They’re ‘connected’ apparently.

The fashion cure? Beats cod liver oil

So, you got a wee Vitamin D deficiency ma’am? No problem at all – just step over here and we’ve got a little fluorescent blanket and we’ll wrap it up inside this little bunting kind of blanket. Good. Now, we’ll fit on  these special shades – made just for very recent arrivals like you –  because when we turn on those lights . . . .

This is Grace Elizabeth who joined us early Saturday morning. We’ll call her Ellie.




If I may . . .

One of the grand-snugglies in my family was just presented with a baby sister. I’m melting . . .

lucas and lyra

I sang this to my father

A few hours before his death, I was alone with my father in a small cubicle off the Emergency Room. He was on a gurney and I on the only chair. I sang this song to him.

Gobble, gobble y’all

This year I feel especially fortunate. More of my family is here in town – in fact, another brother and a nephew have become neighbors.  The young’un and his wife have been visiting since they were children to see grandparents So this has always been a part of ‘home’ to them.

I’m also grateful that both David Frum and David Brooks have begun using – and not in a nice way – the phrase ‘conservative-entertainment media complex’. 

(Pictured is one of the two pumpkin pies I made this morning. Came out pretty good I think; there’s an apple/cranberry yet to go.)

Happy T’day and please, please, stay away from Black Friday. I worry about injuries. 


Bill Moyers talks to smart people

M y brother was here last week. We talked a lot about many things. He’s a fine conversationalist he is. And I’m not bad, so we had a good time. But he’s got an edge on me with the depth and breadth of his knowledge. And personal experience wtih much of which he speaks.

He’s a PhD in Philosophy, a former priest who studied texts in Latin and Hebrew. He’s a father and a grandfather. He’s a sailor and a superb do-it-yourselfer (a longtime fantasy of mine is to have him prisoner for a week in my house with his tools and no books. That would be sweet.)

He’s a lecturer, a college professor, a prolific author and travels extensively to meetings and workshops here and in Europe and in Africa. I’ve no idea how he has time to do any of these things. It’s annoying.

One of the things we talked about was labor and labor unions. I said I thought that the union model, as practiced today, has failed. It was the right model for a long time but is the wrong model for these times and needs to be reinvented.

He disagreed. But here’s some evidence that, for maybe the first time ever, because some very smart people are saying the same thing, I was right and he was wrong.

The relevant discussion is the first 20 minutes or so here from yesterday’s Bill Moyers’ show. It’s fascinating.

Fireworks in New York

And one of the snugglies is enchanted.

On Father’s Day

He had 98 years, was healthy until the last weekend of his life and had his children at his side when he died. Not too bad. Miss you Dad.

Lemme just knock off this here lollypop

Lucas is ready to ride. Helmet? Check. Crocs? Check. Smile? Check. Just a wee bit of apprehension? Check.

Another of the snugglies prepares to climb up on his first bike.

Brightens a Monday morning for sure

The snugglies in my family are having fun. And that too is good.

Ahh Billy, you weren’t supposed to leave yet

I lost my much-loved cousin Billy yesterday. He was one of the finest men I ever knew – someone who always did the right thing, no matter how hard. He was kind and loving and a lot of fun. Family meant everything to him. And he meant so much to us.

The world is a wonderful place

Just got new pix of some of the snugglies . . .  all appears to be going well so far.

For my dad on March 17

And the blog vacation ends?

Who knows . . . dropped out for a few days because I just didn’t feel like being here. And I was busy, very busy. I’m even a few days behind in my email.

Long long ago and far far away - 8th Grade graduation

Meanwhile, a nice thing has happened in my life: one of my much-loved nephews is a life long resident of Connecticut in the town where he (and I) grew up. He’s married, and owns a mid size insurance agency in the very heart of town in a lovely old historic house that is now home to his agency along with a few lawyers.

Last month, he opened a satellite office right down here – again, in the very heart of town. It’s even in one of the older more graceful buildings. He shares it with a small law office.

Yesterday, I was in town doing errands and stopped in for a hug and a ‘hi!’. And being able to do that is, as I said, a very nice thing.

Dec. 7: meant to put this up earlier

The twins in my family (my brother and sister) were born on Pearl Harbor Day in 1945. Which is why I rarely forget either.

They’re coming for Christmas

Which is very very good news around here!

Pack up all your cares and woes

This makes it all okay. Can a baby be much happier? She’s making everyone around her pretty happy too.

And shouldn’t every girl have a tutu?

Now if they’d stop right there and grow no more . . .

A sand castle under construction has their full attention

I got to hang around with Sean and Syd at the beach yesterday. It was just fine.

I even got to eat some of their Peeps, which I brought so I could have some.

Last of the grapefruit; first of the cherries

 Once a year, for just one to two weeks, I have cherries from my own two trees – sweet and warm from the sun and eaten almost as soon as they’re picked. The trees produce for more than two weeks, but competition with the birds shortens even that brief season. They swoop in at the first scent of sugar and start with the ripe ones  (just like I do but there are more of them). Once the birds have picked those clean, they happily move on to the unripened and at that point it is over. They win. They always do.

Right now though, there are abundant cherries and we all get a tummy full.

But it’s also goodbye to the grapefruit – my tree has been giving me sweet ruby reds since December and has earned its rest.

Easter weekend was fuller than usual. I got to spend a full day with a much loved nephew and his family.

Family and fruit has made me unbloggy. I feel like a lazy bee in the summer, riding the air and drunk with honey.

Back soon.

Treasured moments

A much-loved nephew, father of two, busy busy man,  blew in (and out) of town yesterday. I had dinner with he and his parents last night; we ate and talked for almost four hours. Hugged too.

I think he’s  looking good these days, don’t you?

Blogging vacation

I am apparently on a blogging vacation. Didn’t plan time off, but the combination of  Christmas and teh dreaded unbloggy conspire, so I may as well enjoy it.

My shopping is done, the presents are wrapped (a lifetime first!); I just made a trifle for our Christmas Eve at my sister’s house. There’s not much prep left to do. So I shall curl up and do nothing.

Meanwhile . . . can’t let today go by without this one. (Starbucks commercial first, sorry.)

New babies make me happy!

Hello world. Anybody got anything to eat?

The Washington DC niece has come through once again. A fine job – good work by all involved. Meet a young lady who carries her grandmother’s middle name – and I am sure she will carry that with grace.

And the beat goes on . . .

Upon being told that he now has a girl cousin, Lucas said “What? I have a what?”

Richard Holbrooke and Scotty

I just heard that Ambassador Richard Holbrook has died. You can read all about him pretty much anywhere – one of the giants in contemporary American foreign policy. It’s a big loss for all of us.

But it’s a particular loss for my nephew (in-law) – a bright, enthusiastic, gifted young man who works at the State Department where his beat is Afghanistan / Pakistan. And where Richard Holbrooke mentored him from the beginning.  He’s  traveled to Af/Pak, met some of the people I can only read about, and actually knows some people whose books I read! An accomplished kid of whom we’re all proud.

Tomorrow, Scotty is to become a father for the second time. But tonight, he has lost a friend. That’s a lot at once when you’re young. So I’ll be thinking of Scotty tonight.

TUESDAY UPDATE:  Happy to report that Scott and my neice have just become the proud parents of Charlotte – 20 inches, 7 pounds, black hair (black hair??? they’ve are, respectively, blond and redheaded!) All is well with the world.

Not just unbloggy; a blog break

Some of today, all of tomorrow, and a good part of Saturday will be occupied with my Father’s memorial service and reception and with family from around the country who even now descend upon our environs. Siblings must sit down like the real grownups we must be and finalize the ‘estate’, such as it is, given that a condo purchased ten years ago for almost $200K may bring $40K if we’re really lucky (this is, after all, South Florida).

These things must be attended to, decided upon, all the hugs must be given, the cheeks kissed, the food offered and then offered again.

And then it will be over. And oddly, now that the end of planning and executing  it all approaches, I will finally and maybe for the first time, look in the mirror and see someone without a buffer generation between me and that big Marlboro in the sky.

Or maybe I’ll just take a nap, blog up a storm and clean the refrigerator. One never knows, do one.

Here’s a song by a guy who used to say just that – in case I don’t get back here tomorrow.

Even lighter blogging

Priorities demand that blogging continue to take the back seat. Not only priorities, but conflicting ones which makes for interesting days. And nights. While my family and I are planning my Dad’s memorials and talking about his estate such as it is, dear dear wonderful friends came yesterday to help me get back in shape after the painting of two weeks ago. (The reassembly which was waylaid by Dad’s death.)  And in our efforts, we somehow managed to lose all power to the office. That won’t be addressed officially till tomorrow and as of now I’m making it work with extension cords and a table in the hallway.  Well, whatever works.

Meanwhile, let’s sing a little. Here are the Voca People – stay at least till :45 in and you’ll stay till the end.

The unlikely orphans

When my mother died, my parents’ home, their furnishings (much of it family antiques), their photos, memorabilia, books, china, everything . . . remained in place because my father survived. But now he too is gone.

Yesterday my brothers and I spent many hours going through it all. We had to empty his unit at assisted living. We had to move it all into the as yet unsold condo that was their last home and was still fully furnished. Since it now must be sold, everything in it must be disbursed one way or another. We would love to keep some of the antiques in the family but shipping a piece of furniture to another state is remarkably costly. Furniture,  no matter how valuable, doesn’t sell for much anymore. The market is glutted since all the foreclosures. So what to sell? What to try to keep? What to donate? (Actually, this is how most of it will go.) Making these decisions elicits a vague sense of betrayal.

But we got a lot done, made long lists of what must be dealt with from cancelling pensions to returning ‘talking books’ equipment to – and this was the hardest – sorting through photos and letters etc. (I ended up taking most of that home to do when there’s more time.) We’ve given ourselves a month to get the place ready for a realtor. Need to have it carpeted and painted and deeply cleaned. And everything must be out of there.

Yesterday, we moved a lot of the furniture around to prepare for what had to be brought in. We disposed of all clothes, most of the kitchen and bathrooms and lots of other miscellaneous detritus of a lifetime. And now – with empty drawers, no pictures on the tables,no paintings on the walls,not even a telephone or TV remote – the things of their lives no longer seem familiar.

They look forlorn. Lost. Unattached to any person or function. Orphans.

A life in full

My Dad died this afternoon. He was 98 years old, was healthy until this weekend, was married to his Peggy for 69 years (she died in ’08), and had three of his four children at his side when his time came. (And he was 6’3″, the exact height as the day he was married in 1939!)

Dad with his Peg in Atlantic City in 1939

 Dad was born Irish in New York City in 1912, when the ‘Irish need not apply’ signs were still seen on the streets.

His father was a barkeep; when Prohibition came he converted his establishment into a speakeasy. (Gramps often told us that cops and politicians were among his best customers in those days.) In later years he moved the business uptown next to CBS and when I was a kid I saw many a famous face sitting at that long mahogany bar.

Dad’s mother worked for the Strauss family in their ‘ready made dry goods’ store before her marriage. She remained close to the original members of the Strauss family for many years, even after they renamed their store Macy’s. 

Dad was one of two sons (his brother Jack was the first chiropractic in New York opening his practice in the 1930’s). He attended Xavier School in NYC (all little Irish Catholic boys), Holy Cross College and Fordham Law School. (He was bursting with pride when his granddaughter graduated from Fordham Law as well.) Dad had a photographic memory and still remembered all of his teachers and professors from those days.

He became a corporate counsel at MONY, Mutual of New York, where he worked for many years. When I was a kid, he’d bring us to his office where the windows opened on Broadway and we hung out and watched the Thanksgiving Day parade (we always called it the ‘Macy’s Day Parade’).

He spent decades as a member of the Representative Town Meeting in Connecticut where we lived growing up, an astonishing committment for a man who commuted to work in NY every day and had four children. Later, he served as Chairman of the Board of Education, the chair of the Ethics commission and the Charter Review Board. In those days, no one got paid for these offices. Just being a good citizen.

But my father will be remembered for something else entirely – he had a nearly perfect tenor voice and loved to sing. He’d burst into song often and everywhere. Six months ago, a younger friend asked him to sing at her wedding. He did – flawlessly. And it was the most treasured of his moments in this last year of his life.

So, as always must be, a good man has died. He had a full life and got to every grandchild’s wedding and met and held all seven of his great grandchildren.

We’ll sing at your memorial Dad. Requiem in pace.

98th birthday coming up

This is my father. He has a social life, is working with a personal trainer, and remembers every conversation he’s had with me over the last few years. I don’t.  He will no doubt outlive me.

Time for cocktails

I’m ready. Bring it on!

Luke likes Seattle, he likes his dinner and pretty much he likes the whole shebang. This baby knows how to smile which makes a beloved nephew smile a bit himself.