Our Lady of Fatima... Pray for us.
Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament... Hear us.
Our Lady of the Rosary... Strengthen us.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Funny Guy Friday... Of popes and orange juice...

Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark. So, I married a funny guy...
    When Matthew was six or seven years old, one day after church, we went to Cheryl's parents' home for brunch. My mother-in-law served us some juice and got us a plate of food. Matthew was uncharacteristically grumpy and out of sorts. I asked him what was bothering him, but he had no good answer.
     After a few minutes, I had had enough of his attitude and asked him to step into another room.  I asked him what was bothering him...
     I hate the Pope!
     What? You don't like the Pope?
     Why not?
     I dunno... I just don't like the Pope.
     The head of the Catholic Church... You don't like him? 
     No... not that guy... the stuff in the orange juice. 
     Okay... that is called pulp... and you can go get yourself some milk. 
     Problem solved. 
     Now I have my own Pope problem. He came to town and I was completely shut out. The Pope came to town and I did not get a sniff of the guy. No Masses, no speeches, no glimpse of His Holiness in his little Pope Mobile.
      No sir... I did not get the Willie Wonka ticket!
     And if Facebook is any indication, everyone else did get the golden ticket and had the opportunity to hang out with Il Papa.
     Seriously... friends, neighbors, and fellow parish members were all over the place,
     And you can say what you want about his agenda (which I will in a minute) but he makes himself available to the people. It got to the point that I thought that the folks were passing around the church's cardboard cutout of the guy.
     He even left all of those powerful politicians on the Senate floor and had breakfast with the homeless. My guess is that he wanted to go someplace quieter where people weren't begging him for money!
     Seriously, this dude is like a rock star playing venues in Washington, D.C., New York City, and Philadelphia. Like an old, slow talking, energetic rock star. Picture Mick Jagger with an accent... a Spanish accent, not his regular British one.
     I don't understand why I did not get selected to attend any of the three days' worth of events.  I attend church every week. I give money every week. I even run that stupid Labor Day Festival for the church every year. That has to be worth something.
     You know, I was even at the church the night that they picked out the lucky winners of the tickets to attend the Papal Mass. I specifically told them how to spell my last name. Still... nothing!
     It has to be Cheryl... clearly, she is not doing enough.
     Truth be told, it could be my fault. You see, the Pope and I don't see eye to eye on everything. Ever since he was selected, he has stopped consulting me on various issues. As a result, he has said some things that I do not agree with.
     Some folks tried to attribute these statements to "getting lost in translation." And I accepted that... the first time.  The third, fourth and fifth time, I came to my own conclusion that he really meant what he was saying.
     Now don't get me wrong, I am not out there declaring that the Emperor has no clothes. I am just saying that I don't like all of the clothes that he wears and... I wish that he would wear more of the clothes that I like.
     And I have to admit, I am really struggling with this.
     Like all Catholics, I go to confession once a week, er, uh month.... Okay I go about three or four times a year. One thing that I have discussed with the priest is that I get frustrated with things and want them to be the way that I want them. I am always reminded that it is not my will that shall be done but His will that shall be done.
     God has seen to it that this Pope will have this position at this time, and God has his own plan, whatever it may be. I just wish that the Pope was more direct about the life of the unborn when he spoke before Congress.... Dang it! There I go again!
     Truth be told, I am sure that in D.C., he made almost every politician squirm just a little bit and that's not such a bad thing.  
     God's plan will be revealed and I need to be open to whatever that plan may be. Pray for me. Pray for Pope Francis. 
     Please understand that unlike my son, I do not hate the Pope.
     But before I conclude I have to be completely honest about one thing. Although I am working on being less judgmental and open to God's will, I have to come clean on one thing...
     I am not that crazy about the pulp!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Funny Guy Friday... Can we please stick to the schedule?

    Funny Guy Friday is written by my husband Mark. So, I married a funny guy...
    I have to admit, it has been five years and I am still trying to figure out how homeschool works. Cheryl used to have all three of our kids home, but now there is only one... Noah. You would think that it would be easier... but I don't see it that way.
    First of all, with only one kid, there should be less to plan. If you also thought that, you too would be wrong. The generals that planned the attack at Normandy Beach did less planning than Cheryl does for Noah's school day. She has worked for weeks tinkering to come up with the perfect schedule.
    The schedule that she developed is not only functional... clearly laying out what days they will study what subject and at what time... but it is also beautiful. That baby is color-coded with eight separate colors, and as if that is not enough, it is laminated to add additional certainty.
    I have reviewed the schedule, and Noah's days include such classic subjects as Math, World History, Geography and Music. But they also incorporate other non-conventional and grueling subjects as Play Time, Stretch, Quick Tidy and Quiet Time... and my personal favorite: Grocery Store. Not exactly sure what Grocery Store is but I like it... I think it means that Noah is making something good for dinner!
    But those are not the only off-beat subjects. Noah starts every day at 8 a.m. with Morning Basket. I really don't know what Morning Basket is, but I think the "Basket" in Morning Basket is our bed. Why, you ask?... because every morning at 8:15 when I leave for work, both Noah and Cheryl are lying in my bed showing no signs of starting the day any time soon. 
    Noah actually starts his day at 7:15 a.m. when his new alarm clock sounds. That thing sounds like a bomb getting ready to blow. It only stops when I enter his room to turn it off because he sleeps right through it. The other two kids were able to sleep through their alarm clocks also... but not until their teenage years. Noah is only eleven, so he is advanced. I am so proud.
    Sleep is important, so I usually don't wake him for another half hour, at which time he staggers into our room and lies in the spot previously occupied by yours truly. Both Cheryl and Noah claim that this is the beginning of an action-packed school day.
    I am not so sure about that...
    The other day, I came home early and both Noah and Cheryl were still lying in my bed. In fairness to Noah, he did have on different clothes so I have to assume that he got out of bed at some point during the day. As for Cheryl, let's just say that I cannot make that same assumption.
    As I walked in the room and gave both teacher and student "the look", Noah looked up and said... Oh, Mom, we forgot to do school today! 
    And they wonder why I worry! I can only hope that he was kidding!
    As I type this at 11 p.m. on Thursday, Noah and Cheryl are doing Math at the kitchen table. This cannot be! The schedule ends at 5 p.m. Well not exactly. From 5:00 until 9:00 he has Evening Basket.
    Who knows... I stopped asking what this stuff is.
    Whether the day ends at 5:00 or 9:00, Math at 11:00 is not part of the schedule.
    I have tried to explain to anyone that will listen that the schedule only works if you stick to the schedule. If we disregard the schedule, we have home school anarchy!
    They try to tell me that the beauty of homeschooling is the flexibility that it provides.
    So why, then, do we need a schedule?  
    We have friends coming over tomorrow, so we want to get everything done tonight. 
    Wait, where is that on the schedule?  There are no friends scheduled for tomorrow!
    Oh Dad, you will never understand Home Schooling!
    This is true. I may never understand Home Schooling. At least not tonight because it is late and I am tired.
    It is 11:30 and my own personal schedule calls for some Evening Basket.
    Two can play at this game!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Funny Guy Friday... In my dreams...

    I rarely post stuff on Facebook, but this week was Cheryl's birthday, and I decided to post a little birthday shout out. I commented that I woke up mad at her on her birthday as a result of a recurring dream that I have had since the beginning of our marriage. In the dream, Cheryl refuses to go out with me... or we are dating, and she refuses to marry me.
    It is always a different dream but with the similar theme.
    In last night's dream, we were dating but she refused to commit to me for a lifetime. I finally decided that enough was enough, and I was going to give her an ultimatum. While she was waiting in line, I was going to tell her that she had to say yes right then or that would be that... I was going to be moving on... with or without her.
    I am not sure what the significance of the line was... but I do recall that she was very happy to be in that line... which, for some reason, really irritated me.
    Anyway, as I approached her, I started to waiver and instead of the ultimatum, I told her that no matter what she said or what she did, I was always going to want to marry her and I would always be there for her.
    This was hardly the ultimatum that I had intended. In fact, it made me look kind of pathetic. Of course this made Cheryl smile and tell me: That's nice.  
    Cheryl then turned to the folks in line, none of whom I recognized, and began joking around and having fun.
    Double Ughhh with a two fisted dang!
    So, now you understand why I get mad at her. I mean she just ignored me and joked around with a bunch of people that I did not even know.
    This is totally unacceptable behavior.
    Several years ago, she irritated me in my dreams when she told me that she could not marry me because she was interested in dating some guy who was sitting at the bar where we were having dinner. She pointed the guy out and it was Joe Torre... the then-manager of the New York Yankees. At that time, the real-life Yankees, not the dream ones, were in the World Series.
    I was completely taken by surprise by her revelation. In fact, I chuckled because clearly she had no idea who he was. I asked her if they had ever dated and she told me no, but that she just wanted to try it out.
    I pointed out a few things... first that it was, in fact,  Joe Torre... which I have to admit, even in my dream, was kind of exciting to me. But she had to know that he had a lot going on... what with his team in the World Series.
    Second, he is old. He is not a baseball player but a baseball manager.
    On a side note, even the "dream me" realized it was not a good idea to point out that he was, at one time, a pretty good player in the major leagues. I mean she was already attracted to him, and she did not even know this crucial piece of Joe's life.
    Third... I was sitting right in front of her wanting to marry her and she was going to risk that for some pipe dream of dating Joe Torre.
    Finally, I dropped the bomb that Joe Torre was married. I had just watched a show and I recalled that he had a younger wife. Admittedly, this was counter to my second observation about his age, but give me a break, I was sleeping the whole time.
    "Dream Cheryl" just smiled and said that none of that mattered... she could not marry me until she explored the Torre option. This was devastating because I knew she must've been under some spell if she somehow were willing to break up his marriage.
    As I sat broken-hearted, just staring at Joe Torre, he turned and noticed me. I will never forget what happened next. That S.O.B. turned and raised his glass at me.
    Who does such a thing?
    I am completely serious when I say that since that dream, I have never liked Joe Torre!
    One other thing about these dreams... Cheryl is always soooo happy in them.
    No matter what I say or how much I plead with her, she just has a big old fat smile on her face. Whether she is in line with a bunch of strangers or breaking up Joe Torre's marriage, she is always just happy as can be.
    It drives me crazy!
    Like I said, there have been various versions of the same dream and each ends the same. I wake up and gather my thoughts and realize that Cheryl is lying right there next to me. I would like to report that she is lying next to me and all is good... but I can't.
    You see, when I wake from these dreams, I want to wake Cheryl up and punch her... but I don't.
    At least I don't punch her...
    But I do wake her up. I may rub her arm, I may squirm and adjust my pillow... or I may put my arm around her. Cheryl, in a semi comatose state, will roll over and ask... Did you have the dream again? Honey, I chose you! and with that, she rolls over and goes back to sleep.
    As if her little groggy apology is going to make up for the hurt that she constantly causes. I am here to tell you that it does not. I am awake and I am still mad at her. In fact, I am even more irritated that she so cavalierly rolls over and goes back to sleep when our marriage is in such a crisis.
    I swear, the only reason I stay with her is the kids.
    So, why do I have these dreams?
    One friend, a so-called therapist, opined that I perceive that there is something that I am not giving Cheryl that she needs. I immediately dismiss this as psychological gobbledy gook. If that were the reason for the dreams, Cheryl would be dreaming that I would not marry her... not vice verse!
    Another theory is that I lack self-confidence and am afraid that Cheryl will leave me due to my inadequacies.  Again, I dismiss this out of hand. I was not a major leaguer, but I was All Met in 1981 in both the Washington Post and the now-defunct Washington Star! That has to count for something, doesn't it?
    Was Joe Torre All Met?... I think not!
    Come to think of it, when I was studying for the bar exam, I had a recurring dream that the Incredible Hulk was chasing me. I would run and run and try to get away, but he would always catch up to me... and when he did, he would tell me that I wasn't doing enough studying. Maybe the therapist with her Ivy League education is on to something. Maybe, just maybe, I need to do more for Cheryl.
    Nah. She's not right. It is all Cheryl's fault.
    Like everything else in my life that is goofy, I blame Cheryl. Unfortunately, I cannot come up with a plausible theory as to why she is to blame... but she has to be doing something wrong.
    I would say it takes about half of a day for me to finally forgive Cheryl for her dream transgressions. I am happy to report that her birthday was not totally ruined, as I was able to overcome her latest transgressions and take her out for a nice sushi birthday dinner.
    I am not the biggest fan of sushi, but this is what she loves. And, in the off chance that our counselor friend is correct, I will try to give Cheryl everything she needs. Besides, I don't mind going out to eat at Sushi restaurants because you know who does not like sushi... that's right... Joe Torre!
    Happy birthday to my wonderful wife.
    I could not imagine my life... my real life, not my dream life... without you. I thank God every day that you agreed to marry me. Your wisdom, your faith, and your love set such a great example for anyone that meets you.
    We have a great life together and I love you more than you can possibly imagine!
    So with all that, I have to ask... why can't you, just one time, agree to marry me in my dreams?  We would both rest so much better if you would!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Funny Guy Friday... Rest in peace, Mrs. Smith...

     Funny Guy Friday is written each week by husband Mark. So, I married a funny guy...
     On our third day of vacationing in Hawaii, I received a text message from my best friend, PJ, advising that his mother was not doing well and that the end was near. This was followed up by a text a day later advising that she had passed away.
     Obviously, the news was upsetting, but her health had been failing and her passing was not so surprising. Mrs. Smith left behind nine children, the youngest of which, I spent nearly every day of my childhood with. As a result, I spent much of my childhood at the Smith house. In fact, when I received the text, I was concerned that I would not make it back in time to attend her funeral in Florida. PJ said he would understand if I could not make it and I should not worry about it.
     I told him that I had to make it because, beside my mother, she made me more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches than any other human being! 
     Fortunately, I was able to make it Florida along with two other friends.
     One of them knew PJ very well, but had never met his family. I was telling her that we grew up across the street from each other and I spent part of nearly every day at the Smith house. She asked me if the Smith children had been nice to me. This brought a smile to my face. I wanted to say yes, but I couldn't.
     In fact, to be honest, there were times when they scared me. I wouldn't jump right to the word nice, unless comments like... Are you here again! Do you have a home? Are you still here? Hey Moo Moo (my stupid nickname that only my brothers and the Smiths ever used) GO HOME! 
    They didn't really mean it... at least I think that they didn't mean it. I am pretty sure they didn't mean it. Tough love. That's what it was... tough love.
     In fact, tough is a pretty good word to describe all of the kids. Barry, one of the brothers, gave a eulogy, and he talked about the games we played as kids. And as he started to describe the games, I smiled and mouthed the words Get Tough! 
     I think the Smiths invented the game of Get Tough! If they didn't invent it, they perfected it.
     Get Tough was a football game of sorts. One guy had the ball on offense and the ball was placed near the goal line. Every other kid was on defense!
     Once the offensive guy moved the ball, the other defensive players tackled him, beat him, pounded him, crushed every fiber of his being! The dude had to Get Tough!
     Occasionally, the games would lead to tears. But Barry noted that his mother rarely reacted. He was wrong about that... she never reacted. I never saw her lose her cool. I never saw her yell. I never saw her upset or irritated.
     Personally, one of my most vivid memories of Mrs. Smith has her sitting in a chair reading a book and occasionally looking up to find PJ crying as one of his brothers was swinging him around by head. She would calmly call out... Kerry, Barry, Terry, Timmy, Mike (it could have been any one of them and occasionally two of them) put your brother down!
     Barry commented that often times, other mothers might call the Smith home to complain that their child was sent home from a day with the Smiths in tears. The call typically would end with Mrs. Smith telling the other mother... in a very kind voice... Maybe your child shouldn't play with my kids. 
    Even the girls were tough; although, I have to admit, I remember them being bigger than they really are. Perhaps it was just their personas. I was a bit shocked when I saw them at the funeral... they are tiny little things.
     I am sure they were bigger when I was a kid!
     I was also asked if any of my siblings were good friends with PJ's siblings. Initially, I said not really but then I started to think about it. Almost all six of the Palumbo children were within one year of at least one of the Smith children... and sometimes a Palumbo fell right between two Smiths. And every one of his brothers and sisters asked about my siblings.
     When I first saw PJ's sister Sandy outside of the church, she held out her arms and went to greet me by calling me by my brother's name. Joey! she started, but quickly realized I was the much younger more handsome brother and the Joey was quickly changed to Moo Moo! God you look like Joey! 
     I don't think that any of them were as close as PJ and I, but their lives were always intertwined with ours. Of course, PJ and I were both the youngest in our families, so we may have missed a great friendship or two along the way.
     After the funeral, we went to lunch where we viewed a slide show. A very small part of that slide show was pictures of my mother and father. My mother took great glee when I called and reported that she made the cut... not once, but three times. Heck, I was over their house all the time and I only got in there once!
     We ended the evening over to PJ's sister Shelia's home. I then had more of an opportunity to visit with all of PJ's siblings. Each appreciated that I was able to make it to the funeral, and each thanked me for being there. Quite a contrast to Hey Moo Moo... GO HOME.
     There had been no question that I was going to attend.
     In fact, I should have thanked them.
     I should have thanked them for the hundreds of meals that I ate at their house, for the number of sleepovers that I spent in their home, or for the thousands of times I was allowed to hang out in their home. I mean, where else was I going to see PJ getting swung around by the head. I should have thanked them for all of that but I only thanked them for the great hospitality that they showed throughout the weekend.
     I have always believed that the greatest legacy that a person leaves is their children. Mr. Smith, who passed away several years ago, and Mrs. Smith have quite a legacy. Every one of their children has been successful in their professional lives, and they have all produced beautiful, smart Smith grandchildren... kids that are more than capable of carrying on a decent conversation with some guy who grew up with their uncle and that they either just met or met a time or two when they were younger.
    Mrs. Smith, I am sure, was proud of each and every one of her kids... even if they occasionally scared Moo Moo!
     May she rest in peace!
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