January



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


Friday, November 27, 2015

Funny Guy Friday... What a great Thanksgiving...

    Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark. So, I married a funny guy...
    What a great Thanksgiving.
    Every year we do the same basic things. First, my family gets together for breakfast and football. The complexity and timing of the breakfast depends on who is coming to dinner that night. We host every year, but we alternate each year between my family and Cheryl's family. So in a year when we host Cheryl's family, we have an extended breakfast at someone's home, but if we are hosting my family, we might just have donuts and coffee at the field.
    Since we were hosting Cheryl's family this year, we had a breakfast feast hosted by my nephew and his newlywed bride. My nephew was married about a year ago, and they have a beautiful home near the field where we play. They don't have a lot of furniture in their home, but what they have is very nice.
     One thing that they have none of... is children. Not a one... which, I am sure, made for some anxious moments when ten kids under the age of twelve descended upon their home... Like locusts!
     At first, the little horde was well behaved and a bit cautious. But they seemed to grow stronger as their number increased. Number as in the number of children that were present and number as in number of nice sugary donuts they inhaled.
     They started throwing balls, jumping on the nice furniture, and wrestling one another. They also scouted out a track of sorts through the dining room, down the hallway, through the kitchen and back through the dining room. Pretty standard stuff for a pack this size.
     At one point, I walked up upon a conversation involving Cheryl and my nephews new bride... complete with kids running under foot.
     Someone just commented that this is kind of a form of birth control, our hostess joked.
     Well, I was just going to say that God doesn't bless you with this many kids all at one time... he gives you one, and maybe, if you are lucky, two at a time. And they start out being very quiet... and they don't move around very much.  My wife, always the voice of calm and reason in a torrent of chaos!
     Besides... someone else piped in... you have a basement, once you start having a bunch of kids over, you can throw them down in the basement.
     That strategy does not always go so well... I told my niece... once we had a party and your husband and all of his lousy cousins were down in our basement and about a month later, when we went to move the couch, we found that one of them had spilled a full can of coke and it had eaten through our new carpet.  I, of course, am always the voice of doom and disaster in a torrent of chaos!
     Then the big game... THE YEARLY TURKEY BOWL!!!
     This is for bragging rights for one full year.  We have the Side of Good (led by yours truly) and the Dark Side (led by my nephew Jonathan). I am not going to talk too much about the game other than to report that the Side of Good triumphed over the Side of Evil. I don't want to talk too much about it because the wound is fresh for my nephew and his cohorts and there was a bit of controversy.
     It was on a crucial third down play when a ball was snapped over the head of our QB by a newcomer to the game. He did not realize that you could just turn and toss the ball to the QB as opposed to snapping it between his legs. Not sure how he did not know this crucial bit of information because he was told and he had seen everyone else do it for three quarters of the game... but he did not know.
     Fortunately for us, there was an inadvertent whistle... that only I heard. Being the oldest living member of the family that still plays (very effectively I might add) they only give me a little blow back when I said we were going to replay the down. Occasionally, age does have its privileges.
     Anyway, we converted that crucial first down and later, on a separate drive, scored the go ahead TD on the last play of the game.
     Boy, was I sore all day. In fact, I mentioned this to Matthew on the drive home and he pointed out that half the conversation at the Turkey Bowl is about what good athletes we used to be and the other half is about how sore we are going to be!
     Then came the big Thanksgiving feast... or the post game spread. In addition to the turkey, the ham and the seven different potato dishes that we prepared, Cheryl's family came with tons of food. Her brother Ray makes the best gravy and carves a turkey like nobody's business, and her sister Annie spent two days in our kitchen helping to prepare the meal. And as far as I know, she did not steal anything. The same cannot be said for her sister Karen.
     We were all having a great time when I discovered that Karen stole a pin that belongs to my mother.
     After enjoying our desserts, I was admiring her pin when she told me it was Cheryl's pin. I assumed that Cheryl let her wear it. It turns out that it was my mom's pin that she found... probably going through my mom's dresser drawers.
     If I did not love her kids so much, I would have thrown her out on her keister.
     Okay okay... maybe she was joking around and had picked it up off the side table and was trying it out.  But still... it was my mom's.
     Speaking of my mom, she went to my brother Joe's house and was not here for dinner. However, I have been thinking a lot about how Cheryl and her family treat my mother. Simply put, they treat her like one of their own. They are sure to include her in every event. My in-laws take the time to sit and chat with her, oftentimes in a separate room where there is less noise. They jump up to greet her and give her hugs when she walks into the room. Heck, Karen's kids... you remember Karen the kleptomaniac... her kids refer to her as Grandma Palumbo.
     Before saying our prayer, I took a moment to thank Cheryl's family for all that they do for her. In the course of showing my gratitude, I may have shed a tear. Afterwards, perceiving my heartfelt show of gratitude, they all came over to say a kind word or to give me a hug. I did not have the heart to tell them that I wasn't crying about what I had said, I was crying because I was so sore from the Turkey Bowl!!
     Anyway, we had a great Thanksgiving.
     When I think about the things that I am thankful for, the one thing that always leaps out is my family. My brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews and even my in-laws. God really has blessed us with a  beautiful family.
     And in our home, it is such a treat to have Gracie home from college and to watch her laughing and fooling around with Matthew and Noah... so long as she does not interrupt Noah while he is baking/cooking. He made some killer brussels sprouts wrapped in bacon and smothered in a bourbon glaze, as well as a pumpkin pie and a homemade pumpkin cheesecake with a ginger snap crust.  
     And of course, I am thankful for my wonderful wife, who takes such great care of all of us and happily puts up with all of my shenanigans.
     I hope that you all had a great Thanksgiving with your families.
     We thank God and are all truly blessed!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Funny Guy Friday... The return of the toothache...

    Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark. So, I married a funny guy...
    What a week.
    I nearly died.
    Not really... but I wanted to be dead.
    Not really but I did have a terrible toothache!
    It all started on Monday. Actually, it started three months ago on the second day of our Hawaiian vacation. We had gone out to one of the beautiful beaches on the Island and as the day wore on, I developed the worst toothache ever. I also got suntan lotion in my eyes. This made for a great day... and by great I mean the worst day of my life. Couldn't talk and couldn't see.
    The worst day, that is, until this past Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, but we'll get to that in a minute.
    On the second night of our vacation, I contacted my dentist back home who was able to diagnose the problem: I needed a root canal. The long-distance diagnosis was impressive but not as impressive as the antibiotics he was able to call in from the East Coast. He saved the day, the week, and the vacation!
    The tooth never really recovered but the pain was not excruciating. As a result, I just let it go... until Monday morning when I decided that I should get this taken care of before it flares up.
     As I sat in the chair waiting for the results of my X-ray, I was pretty sure that the earlier diagnosis was correct and I was going to require a root canal. I pondered if I would wait until after the holidays or schedule it for sooner. When the dentist returned to the room, he confirmed my suspicions and started suiting up.
     Whoa, wait a second there doc... are you doing that today? 
     Sure, you need a root canal. Let's get this going. 
     I have never had a root canal before, but I had heard that they can be painful. I have had a ton of dental work, in fact, I once had my jaw broken and my bite surgically repaired so I am no stranger to major dental procedures. But I was knocked out then, and this root canal was going to involve a lot of drilling and that suction thing. I hate that suction thing.
     Fortunately, God invented novocain. I got so much novocain that the whole right side of my head went numb. You could have hit me with a hammer, and I would not have felt it. Needless to say, I never felt a thing. In fact, I fell asleep during the procedure. Doc had to wake me up so he could get his drill in my mouth. Talk about tough... I was a stud! Root canals aren't so bad after all.
     For some silly reason, I was prescribed a pain killer... Just in case.
     In case of what?... In case I fall out of the chair when I wake up? Seriously, doc, save it for one of your sissy patients.
     Well, as it turns out, the just in case that the doctor spoke of is just in case the novocain wears off... which it did. Oh boy, did it wear off. I went to bed at midnight and was woken up by the pain at 12:03.  I was taking tylenol and advil every two hours.
     The next day, I was exhausted but was able to muddle through the day. Tuesday night was no different than the previous night. I take that back... it was worse.  The tylonol and the advil were no longer working and the pain was not just in my jaw, but my ear and my lips were numb... and as God is my witness, the right side of my throat was sore... just the right side.
      Again, I got about two hours of sleep. One positive thing about staying awake all night: I was able to catch up on the day's current events (very depressing) and to advance 10 levels in candy crush (very exciting). But even that great candy crush feat could not brighten my spirits. It was agony!
      On Wednesday, I had to go to a legal ethics seminar in Baltimore. Yes, we have those, and our malpractice carriers require that we attend one every three years! I have often wondered if a toothache would be better than one of these seminars. The toothache is worse... I had to endur both! Talk about a living hell!
     However, it was nice to know that throughout these few days, my family had my back. Cheryl texted Gracie about my plight, and Grace mentioned that if I wanted to forget about my toothache, all I had to do was splash some suntan lotion in my eye!
      Anyway, when I got home from the seminar, I went to lie down but could not sleep because of the pain. Cheryl went against my wishes and called the dentist. Calling the dentist was a sign of weakness. Fortunately, Cheryl is weak.
      We got in that same afternoon, and it was determined that my infection had flared up. Once again, he shot me full of novocain. Did I mention that I love novocain? It was novocain that provided me with my first two hours of pain-free time in three days. Anyway, he cleaned out where he had done the root canal and thought that would take care of the problem.
      I felt great. All numbed up and ready to have a pain-free meal. But before we ate, we had to pick up Matthew at school and then grab some food. I could not wait to enjoy my meal. Funny thing happened as we were getting Matthew and picking up our food... the novocain began to wear off. I could feel it wearing off as we got closer and closer to home. I did that thing where you puff out your cheeks and hold in the air. Unfortunately, I could hold in the air, so I knew my pain-free time was coming to an end.
     As we turned the corner to head home, my lips stopped tingling, I could feel my tongue and the pain returned with an added twist, an earache. I ate dinner on the good side of my mouth, and then I broke down.
    Remember that pain killer the doctor prescribed? I never had it filled.
    I hate taking those things. I always fear the worst... Some negative reaction or becoming dependent on them to stop the pain. I have seen a lot of negative things in people's lives start with a prescription for pain medication. After three days of constant pain, none of that mattered. I did not care if it cost me my wife, my kids, my house, my job. I just had to stop the pain.
     I took one at about 8:00 p.m. And another at midnight and went to bed. I had a few visitors that night. Matthew came and checked on me. Noah played computer games with me... He won but in fairness to me, I was playing hurt. And Cheryl visited with ice and "healing oils."
     What are you spreading all over my face and neck?
     Healing oils.
     What are they for?
     Healing. I suppose that was a stupid question given the name of the oils.
     Great, now I stink and have a broken face. What's that stuff you are spreading on my forehead. 
     Holy oil. It's blessed and exorcised.
     Cheryl was breaking out all the stops. You see, I was getting kind of irritated at my situation. Let's just say that I was not my usual, jovial self. I wanted to punch someone... anyone, it didn't matter who. And the fact that I saw no end in sight was depressing. Add in that the oils were going to make my face break out... and this night was just perfect.
     Now, I did not hold out much hope for the healing oils or the ice. In fact, the ice did not help at all until I started eating it. Eating is not really what I did; I put a piece between my cheek and gums and let it melt away. That seemed to help.
      Despite my doubts, things began to improve. I woke up in the middle of the night and the only pain I had was in my jaw, ironically, where I had received the novacaine shots. This was a marked improvement. I went back to the Tylenol, discarding the prescription medication. I was able to fall back asleep and woke up four hours later relatively pain-free.
    Here it is Friday and with the possible exception of a lingering headache and occasional tooth twinge, I am 100%.
    I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to my lovely wife.
    I may have been a tad grumpy... and I may have doubted your healing oils and I may have wanted to punch you and your eternal optimism. But through it all, you stood by me... Not really, you went downstairs and avoided me most of the time and you giggled at Gracie's text, but I understand... and you nursed me back to health.
    However, if my face breaks out, I am holding you personally responsible.
    On a more serious note, over the past couple of days, it has become clearer to me how bad things can start with a prescription for pain pills. When I was just taking the Tylenol and Advil, I found myself watching the clock and waiting for it to hit two hours so I could take some more. I can see the same thing happening to people with more serious pain medications. I know the prescription given to me was a low dose a of a relatively minor pain-killer but I was determined to avoid getting it filled. I suppose my reaction is a bit of an over-reaction, but I see the back end of addiction in my office on a daily basis. The stories often have a familiar beginning.
     So here is my lesson for the day. If you or your children are prescribed pain medications, be careful. I would suggest that you never leave it for yourself... and especially not your children to determine when you... or they medicate. "Take as needed" is a dangerous temptress. Follow the doctor's orders and be aware that bad things can happen if you are not careful.
    Oh, and always remember that a few prayers, some healing oils and holy oil never hurt... Unless, of course, your face breaks out!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Funny Guy Friday... No Shave November takes a twist...

    Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark. So, I married a funny guy...
    As I reached for my pancakes this morning, I looked across the table and noticed that my son Matthew had not shaved for a few days. I know what you are thinking: Mark, you are barely old enough to shave yourself... how is it possible that you have a son that is now shaving! 
    I know... I know... I look young, but alas, I am not.
    Anyway, Matthew quickly pointed out that this is No Shave November! 
    Really? So, is December: I am Finding a New Place to Live December? Shave please!
    I threw in the please... but I really did not mean it... and Matthew knew it.
    I kind of want to see if I can grow one.
    Well, you need to learn that you don't always get what you want! 
    As it turns out, Matthew's school will not allow it. Boys have to be clean-shaven.
    As I was cleaning up from breakfast, Matthew asked if I had ever considered growing a beard, and Cheryl quickly chimed in: Dad wouldn't grow a beard. Men grow beards... people would wonder what was going on if Dad grew a beard!
    Cheryl quickly tried to explain that she meant that I am always a clean-shaven and youthful-looking guy, and people would be surprised by this sudden change in appearance. Unfortunately, the damage was done and I had been completely emasculated in front of the family.    
    After Matthew stopped laughing and got up off of the floor, I had a revelation. I was hurt by my wife's comments. I felt marginalized by my wife's comments. As I was laughed at and jeered at, I realized that my kitchen... a kitchen that I have occupied for more than fifteen years... was no longer a safe zone.
    My thoughts then turned to the comments that I had made to my own son just minutes earlier. I had had the audacity to demand that he take an action that he felt uncomfortable about. I know I said please... but we all knew I didn't mean it.
    I was on an emotional roller coaster. Here I was, happy to be sharing time in my kitchen with my family, then I was hurt and embarrassed by that same thoughtless family and no longer safe in a place I had once loved. Then these feelings turned to shame as a result of my unreasonable demands on Matthew. This is when I came up with a plan that the whole family can get behind.
    Matthew, I want you to grow a beard!
    What? What are you talking about.
    I want you to grow a beard.  
    I can't; my school will not allow it.
    I got your back. I believe that their demands are unreasonable and oppressive. How do you feel about it. 
    It gets kind of itchy. 
    Not the beard, you idiot... I am talking about the beard policy! I'm sorry... did I just call you an idiot. I did not mean that... come over here and give me a hug. 
    I'm good!
    You are good, Matthew... and don't let anyone tell you that you are not good... beard or no beard. You are good, and strong, and you are a winner. Even if you lose, you are a winner! If you don't think you are a winner, just go look at all your participation trophies!  
    What is up with you?
    I have seen the light... your feelings need to be addressed. When you get to school on Monday... fully bearded, by the way... you give your principal a list of demands. First, you want and expect the school to allow you and every other student to express yourself in any way you like. Be inclusive of all thoughts and ideas... so long as those thoughts and ideas include growing a beard. Second, you expect the school to provide 24-hour, around the clock protection from kids that might say hurtful things about your beard. Third, that if any student should make a comment that can in any way be interpreted as unkind, I would like for that student to be prosecuted by the mock trial team. Fourth, if you feel that some students are looking at you funny or are just thinking bad thoughts about you or your scraggly beard, you are to be provided a "circle of safety."
    Hey, you just called my beard scraggly!
    No... did I say scraggly? Heck, that beard should be on Duck Dynasty!  
    One question... how can I make a circle by myself?
    Do I have to think of everything? Recruit other students that may some day want to grow a beard... men only, of course.
    Isn't that ironic... here we are trying to make things more inclusive for bearded students and then we restrict the circle to men only.
    Good point! It is ironic... I don't think anybody will notice! Make sure you keep the media outside of your circle, you know, just to make sure nobody notices... and to be safe. 
    Anything else?
    Ask for free tuition. What the hell, we might as well throw that in as well. Oh... demand that the principal resign. Oooooh, and if he doesn't, start to cry. 
    How about, instead of crying, I tell them that I am going to hold my breath until I turn blue if my demands are not met?
    Nice touch. Now you see how this works. 
    Is that all?
    Well, you could ask your coach if he would like to grow a beard and if so, see if he will support your protest.   
    Alas, the fun was coming to a close...
    Do you think this will work, Dad? 
    Are you kidding!?! What educational institution... that expects to survive... would ever put up with this kind of nonsense.      

     Now, parts of this story are true.
     Fact: I did tell Matthew to shave... and I did say please when I didn't really mean it.
     Fact: Cheryl did make an emasculating comment (though she insists she meant that she thinks of me as a "guy," instead of referring to me by using the word "man."
     Fact: Matthew's beard is scraggly... In fact, it is an insult to scraggly beards to call this one scraggly, but I could not think of a word more insulting than scraggly to describe it.
     Fact: Sometimes, you need to learn that you don't always get what you want... even if you do turn blue!
     And... Fact: No educational institution that expects to survive can put up with this kind of nonsense!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Funny Guy Friday... Ah... Hallmark movies...

     I never really get a good night's sleep.  At best, I get about five hours of sleep a night. Many nights,  I fall asleep watching a game and then wake up to go to bed. At that point, I am up awake. I lie in my bed and read on my ipad or play a few games... Candy Crush and Soda Crush are kind of addictive.
     Not to change the subject, but did I hear right that the maker of Candy Crush sold it for over a billion... with a B... dollars. Not to sound like an idiot, but what did the guy that bought it really buy? I mean how do you recoup a billion dollars? I mean there has to be some value in those games, but I don't see it.
     There is a reason that people have money and I don't.
     Anyway, last night was the worst. It did not start out bad; I actually went to bed early. The Browns were playing the Bengals, but Cheryl and my mom had the television monopolized with a Hallmark movie. If you have never seen a Hallmark movie, you are not missing anything. Every plot is the same.
     Let me take a crack at this...

     This ruggedly handsome, down-to-earth guy meets snobby girl who is dating a co-worker, corporate fat cat. Both the girl and the Fat Cat think of nothing but their marketing jobs and their money. They put on heirs and take every opportunity to climb the corporate ladder. 
      Somehow, while Down-to-Earth Guy is delivering coffee to the office, Snobby Girl meets Down-to-Earth Guy for the first time. Thereafter, they can't stop bumping into each other, and they find themselves in various random situations together. Down-to-Earth Guy is cute and charming, but she could never be interested in a coffee delivery boy. 
      A big job hits a snag and Fat Cat has to leave girl at a restaurant. This is very disappointing because this was their first anniversary of dating. Girl realizes that Fat Cat will always choose his job over his girl. Fortunately, Down-to-Earth Guy just happens to be on his very last coffee delivery of the day to that very same restaurant where Snobby Girl got the boot... and he is there to soften the emotional blow. 
      As they chat over a nice cup of Jo, Girl realizes that Down-to-Earth Guy is not just a delivery boy, but the owner of the Coffee Shop, and he knows more about coffee than any other human being alive. All he needs in order to become a great success is... WAIT FOR IT... some good marketing. She pitches a few ideas and offers her services. Down-to-Earth Guy politely declines, knowing that she has no time, and he has no money to pay her.  
     Meanwhile, back on the big job that Fat Cat left Girl stranded for, Fat Cat realizes that he screwed something up... and instead of taking the blame, he blames Girl. The next day, she gets canned... at the very same time, Down-to-Earth Guy is delivering coffee to the office. Again, he is there to soften the blow. 
     Here is the good news, now she has nothing but time to help out with the coffee business and will be collecting unemployment. She can help get this business up and rolling... and does so for about a month. Things are going great and the coffee business is booming. 
     Fat Cat, seeing the tides a' turning, is none too happy. He makes himself seem big by making Down-to-Earth Guy seem small. He never misses an opportunity to humiliate and shame our hero. 
     Man... Fat Cat is a creep. They way he belittles coffee delivery boys... smugly pointing out to girl that he would never be caught dead doing such a menial task.
     Well, Fat Cat gets his when the big boss finds out that it was Fat Cat's screw-up that messed up the big project and the only person that can fix it is our girl. She, of course, is a mental heap of jello, what with just finding out that Fat Cat threw her under the bus, enjoying her time with Down-to-Earth Guy and falling in love with him. She enjoys her time at the coffee shop but now she has been given the  opportunity to get a promotion and be the corporate giant that she always envisioned for her life... complete with 8o hour work weeks and no time for Down-to-Earth Guy.
    She reluctantly leaves the coffee shop to return to the corporate jungle and everyone is very sad. But on a good note, the big project was a success, Fat Cat got fired and Girl got a promotion. And Down-to-Earth Guy still gets to see her from afar in her office... as he makes his deliveries. 
     About a week later, Down-to-Earth Guy goes to deliver coffee to the Girl's office but she is not there. He inquires as to her whereabouts and is informed that she has resigned. Resigned! Where did she go. Nobody knows. 
     Heartbroken, he wanders the streets until finally finding his way back to the shop. Guess who is there... the Girl. She realized that money is not everything and true love only comes around once in a lifetime. If he will have her, she will be his new Marketing Director. 
     They hug and kiss and all is good in the world!
     In the background, we see Fat Cat delivering coffee to the construction crew across the street.
     Yes, all is truly good in the world. 

     Ah... Hallmark movies.
     Now back to my sleep story. I fell asleep at about 10 p.m. and when Cheryl came up at about 11, I woke up. I could not fall back asleep... either that, or I fell asleep and was having dreams that I could not fall asleep. Either way... it was a nightmare.
     I tossed and turned to no avail.
     You know it was bout 4 a.m. before I finally got to sleep. You want to know how I finally was able to do it? I started to think that it would be pretty easy to write a Hallmark movie, and so I started to make up a plot in my head.
     It wasn't very good though. It involved a Down-to-Earth Guy, a Snobby Girl and this Fat Cat. I nodded off before I could come up with any ideas.
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