Archive for the 'Ramble On' Category

I just cried.

Oct 09 2012 Published by under Ramble On,The Kids Are Alright

Actual tears.

In my car.

While sitting in my driveway.

Stupid WDST had to play stupid John Lennon’s stupid “Beautiful Boy”.

Stupid radio.

That’s a song I used to sing to my beautiful boy while I rocked him to sleep.  I sang to him all the time – mostly Beatles and Grateful Dead – with the occasional Metallica mixed in for good measure.   But it was “Beautiful Boy” that I kept returning to, night after night.

So why then, you might ask, would I actually cry about it now?  A grown man of 46 years crying about a song he sung to his son 17 years ago?  Come on man!  Buck up!

Well, I guess because I was taken back there – to 1995 – with everything still in front of us.  I remember sitting and wondering how things would go over the next year, two, 10, 20?  Would he be an athlete?  Would we have a great relationship?  Would he be gay or straight?  Would he have health issues?  Would he do drugs and make our lives hell?  Would he have brothers?  Sisters?  Cousins?  Would he be smart and go to college?  Would he be a lady killer?  (duh)

Would I always be there to protect him?  Provide for him?  Could I be half the father that mine was to me?  (still working on that one)

And after wondering all those things, before I put him in his crib, I would whisper in his ear: “There’s nothing you can do, ever, to make me stop loving you.  Nothing. Ever.”

I wonder now if he realizes that is still true?

After the struggles of his early teenage years, and the battle to pull him off the wrong path he certainly found himself on.  There were battles – TONS of battles.  And there are wounds.  Was I too tough?  Could I have handled things differently?  Should I have?  Would it still have worked and spared us the scars and wounds?

Recently Brady has taken on a couple jobs that put him in front of a lot of people in this town.  People I know well, and some I only know a little.  Over the past several months I have had many, and I mean many, people come to me, out of the blue, to tell me what an incredible young man he is.  His work ethic.  His visible happy, well adjusted attitude.  His smashing good looks, sense of humor, intelligence and kindness.  I of course only take credit for the smashing good looks ;)

Is he the man he has become because of me, or in spite of me, as I suspect?

There are several lines in the song that kill me.  Lennon was a genius of a lyricist – it’s such a simple song that hits pretty hard, I would imagine, to any father of a son.  But the line that just rips my heart out is “life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans”.  It’s so true – and I need to focus on the life part, while still making those plans.  Seventeen years goes by like THAT!

Here are the lyrics – written by Lennon for his son Sean.  You’ll notice I changed the last line when I sung:

Close your eyes
Have no fear
The monster’s gone
He’s on the run and your daddy’s here

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy

Before you go to sleep
Say a little prayer
Every day in every way
It’s getting better and better

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy

Out on the ocean sailing away
I can hardly wait
To see you come of age
But I guess we’ll both just have to be patient
‘Cause it’s a long way to go
A hard row to hoe
Yes it’s a long way to go
But in the meantime

Before you cross the street
Take my hand
Life is what happens to you
While you’re busy making other plans

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy

Before you go to sleep
Say a little prayer
Every day in every way
It’s getting better and better

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy
Darling, darling, darling
Darling Brady

 

 

Brady – if you’re reading this – go clean your room.

 

 

Me at 18 and Brady at 15:

 

here’s the song:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lt3IOdDE5iA

6 responses so far

Embrace the Change

Oct 03 2011 Published by under Ramble On

First I ask you to go read this:

http://alittlec.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/change-is-inevitable-and-scary-but-good/

 

This was written by my dear friend Wendy who has spent the last year kicking cancer’s ass to the curb.

Guess what – right after finding out she had cancer, she lost her job.

 

I’ll let that sink in a bit.

For a year, we friends watched her, cried with her, gave her moral support – but really – what else can we do?  We can’t go in there and take the cancer out.  We can’t help her pay the piles of bills that just keep coming.  Or can we?

Wendy has been selected to be the special recipient of Boobiethon this year.  That means that when making your donation to Boobiethon (you all donate every year, right?) you have the choice to donate directly to Wendy instead.  Awesome!

I would like to entice you to donate to Wendy as well.

I am auctioning off the photo below.

Proceeds will go directly to Wendy.

Highest bidder gets this print, framed, at 15×20 (print size – frame size is 24.5×18.5).  I chose this photo because it represents change for ME.  I took this exactly 20 minutes after finding out that I had lost MY job – while on vacation in San Diego.  It signaled a huge change for me – and while I usually don’t explain things as I see them in my photos – I do see this as the boy walking toward the possible unknown.

OOOOH!  DEEP!

But seriously – it represents change for me – that’s why I picked it.

Click to Embiggen

Please post your bid in the comments below.  I will post the highest bids, so you know where we stand, but the bidder’s names will remain private.  The winner will have the option of allowing his/her name to be posted.

The winner will ALSO have the option of changing the above to a print of ANY PHOTO I HAVE EVER TAKEN – in the same approximate size.

Bidding closes Friday at noon Eastern.

Minimum Starting Bid is $100 [try to go get a 24x18 framed original photograph for $100 - i dare ya.]

EDITED TO ADD:

Please note – while rendering the photo to show it within the frame, the quality was greatly compromised.  the photo itself is much clearer than in the above representation.

the actual photo, as shown on my flickr stream is much clearer:

7 responses so far

FLASHBACK: Shifting Gears

Jul 29 2010 Published by under Ramble On

What follows is a piece I wrote for an online publication back in 2004.  What some of you may know is that back then my brother and I were pretty active in the “Dog World”.  We raised and showed Boxers, and eventually, Kelly and I also showed a Cavalier King Charles.

The dog world is a very strange place.  If you’ve seen “Best In Show” – well – yeah.

So anyway – here’s the article I wrote – and every word is true:

=========================================

Shifting Gears

by Pete Perry ~ Wiltwyck Boxers

January 2004

I’ve been to my share of dog shows over the past 10 years – some local, some not so local.  Many times there are headaches and heartaches. This weekend moved to the top of the headache list for me.

We had planned to enter “Mister” in the Buffalo shows a long time ago.  This was supposed to be a couple of “test shows” to see if he was ready.  He doesn’t always LOVE to show and we were waiting for him to come up to his full potential.  The point is, we’d been waiting for this for a while.

The headache started on Thursday night, when I found out that my 1999 van had blown a head gasket and shouldn’t go on long trips.  Friday morning was spent looking for alternative transportation, none of which was really reasonable. Renting a car was going to be much too costly.  Another option was to go for the Saturday show only and return with my brother – who already had to cut the trip short due to unexpected commitments – but the thought of not seeing Mister, or worse yet, pulling him, was out of the question.  The only feasible option was to drive an hour out of the way and pick up my wife’s car.  Unfortunately it is a small sporty model left over from her early mid-life crisis (when she became a mom and got a tattoo and a sports car – temporary insanity).  MUCH too small a transport vehicle for a comfortable trip with a 70 pound Boxer.

OK, dilemma solved and off we went. Fortunately for Mister, who lives with my brother, he got to ride in my brothers much roomier Volvo.  We recently discovered a shortcut to our mentor’s house (which was near the show site), shaving about 1/2 hour and $20 in tolls from our 5 1/2 hour trip.  This route was a much more beautiful trip than the NY State Thruway – with mountains and valleys and stretches of deserted highway overlooking small northern snow-covered towns.  Wonderful ride.

Our dog got his doors blown off both days of the show, placing third in his class of three.  There’s your obligatory heartache.  You grow to accept and even expect defeat at dog shows.  No big shake as they say.  The people we met and the friendships that were strengthened have value that far exceeds ribbons. Rosettes would be nice though.

As I said, my brother and partner in crime was forced to leave after the Saturday show, and taking the new “back route,” was home in under 5 hours and before sunset.  Me?  I stuck around until 2:30 on Sunday since Boxers were not on until 1pm.  Ironically (and for the sake of adding a little foreshadowing), I had earlier had problems getting my wife’s car to turn over in the cold Buffalo morning air, and I had turned to a friend and remarked at how I NEVER have car problems.

After the show on Sunday, I hit the road, and after a McDonald’s hamburger and large diet soda, I was on my way.  Of course I decided to take the short way home hoping to be able to tuck the kids in at bedtime.  The shortcut’s hilly and twisty road had areas that were slushy and some that were downright icy, but nonetheless completely manageable.  I decided after about 30 minutes that I might be best served to stop and get a gallon of windshield washer fluid.  I filled up the car – but of course there is always more in the jug than will fit in the car – so into the backseat it went, next to the CRATED 70 pound Boxer.  Yes, I had actually managed to get the crate in the car, open it, and persuade my dog to get into it.  A rather funny sight.  Pulling away from the Quick-Mart I made note that it seemed hard to get the car into gear.  Oh well, onward – only 4 1/2 hours to go!

The shifting problem worsened and it soon became painfully obvious that I had blown my clutch.  I was now stuck in 3rd gear and faced with hills and snow and slush and ice, not to mention stop-signs and red lights.  After some quick thinking and a phone call to dear old dad (since I was of course without a map!), I figured out how to get to the thruway and decided that once there, I could force it into 5th gear and cruise home without stopping.  No easy task though as I still had 25 miles of hills and towns with red lights before I could get to the highway. After one wrong turn and an illegal turnaround to get back on track – then timing several stop signs and red lights PERFECTLY and really ticking off quite a few fellow drivers – I found an interstate that led eventually to the thruway, jammed the car into 5th and got it up to cruising speed and remembered that I would still have to navigate a toll booth or two.  THANK GOD for EasyPass, as I simply left the car in 5th and cruised thru the Tollbooth at more than SEVEN TIMES the speed limit!!!  (They ask for 5mph – HA!)

Home free!!!  On the thruway – 325 miles till the next tollbooth and nothing standing in my way!  Or so I thought.  After a few phone calls to let everyone know that the plan had worked and my ETA, I realized that I had to relieve myself!  That large diet soda was starting to kick in.  Well, they used to call me Iron Bladder in college and I can still hold my own (pardon the pun), so I decided that I had no choice but to do just that – hold it for 4 1/2 hours.

I lasted about 3 hours.

In that three hours, I had devised a plan that involved an empty Dr. Pepper bottle from Friday night.  However I knew that the hole was too small to avoid disaster and 12 ounces wasn’t gonna cut it either!  Then I remembered the windshield washer fluid.  I opened the window and dumped about a half gallon onto the thruway.  Of course half of that came back in the car and got all over me and Mister, but oh well.  So at 70 miles per hour, in the dark and the snow, with wind blowing small animals across the road,  I put my pants around my knees, slid the seat way back and proceeded to thank God I was a man!!!  Oh the joy of relief!

90 miles to go.  Home free.  Except there was one thing I had left out of my calculations:  Driving a car in 3rd gear at various speeds and 5th gear at various speeds tends to use up more than the usual amount of fuel.  I was almost out.  I’d have guessed that I would now only make it to within 20 miles of the house.  My tank was now as empty as my bladder.  I slowed down to 60, found a nice big tractor trailer to tailgate, and called Dad to put him on standby.  Luckily I made it by the skin of my teeth, again cruising thru the tollbooth at completely unacceptable speeds, to leave the car at the park-and-ride and transfer all of its contents into Dad’s car for the ride back to my house.

All of its contents except that yellow windshield washer fluid, that is!

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gettin’ all medieval on your ass

Jul 13 2010 Published by under Ramble On

We’re back from Italy. We decided to do a whirlwind tour of central Italy in one of the worst heat waves in years. Yay us! Someone said it reached 103 degrees in Rome while we were there. I am pretty sure I drank 700 gallons of acqua (some con some sansa gas) during the trip. And much to my suprise, I actually drank more beer than wine. Imagine that.

So about the trip.

We were lucky enough to be able to get a taste of four differnet slices of La Dolce Vita:

City Life in Rome
la dolce far niente (the sweetness of doing nothing) in Tuscany
Beach Life of Sardinia
Medieval Hill Town in Umbria

Rome

Rome

Ah Roma! I have never been to a city that is so purely ALIVE than Rome. Step off the train and I swear you can hear the city’s heart beating. Our first afternoon and evening was spent getting settled, and then walking from our hotel near Termini, thru Piazza della Repubblica, and down to the Colosseum and up the Capitoline Hill. Dinner at a little pizzeria, and of course some gelato before meeting up with Mark and Gwen as they checked in. The following day was our only full day in Rome, and I had put together a Walking Tour that covered the Colosseum, Forum, Pantheon, Trevi, Spanish Steps, Capuchine Monks, and Piazza del Popolo. We got most of the way thru it before we melted into the fountain at the base of the Spanish Steps, poured ourselves onto the metro, and went home to take cold showers. Back to Piazza di Spagna to dine under the steps at Alla Rampa – where the food is only ok (read made for tourists), but the Tiramisu is incredible. By the way – we stayed at a hotel called Una Hotel Roma – which was nice, clean, modern, and had what was probably the best breakfast in Europe. And it was cheap too.

Sunday we headed out to Leonardo Da Vinci Aeroporto to collect the rental cars. If you have ever rented a car at the airport in Rome, you are already laughing. A perfect combination of chaos and disinterest. We waited for about an hour – but it turned out that ours was the only car that was actually ready, waiting, and available. Hopped in and drove up the “Ah Uno” (A1) to Tuscany. As we were headed up to the Winery on roads with more curves than Sofia Loren, we got behind some very slow moving vehicles. This is REALLY unusual in Italy as only the occasional Brit drives slowly (and only because they feel dyslexic). It turned out to be a wedding party for a wedding that was taking place at the winery – exactly at the time of our arrival. I have not seen more sequin clad, 7 inch high heel wearin’, big haired, chain smoking women since high school! Holy shit! And all of them panicing because the bride hadn’t shown up. We actually witnessed the bride pulling out of the convoy so as to make her fashionably late panic inducing entrance. And so did most of them. But every wedding could use a little drama.

Badia a Coltibuono

The monastery turned into winery with gardens that give even the English a chubby (it’s not easy to do, as I understand) was simply beautiful. The grounds and building itself were breathtaking – and appear unchanged in over 500 years. The sleeping quarters were a bit creepy though. Brady said it looked like something out of The Grudge – Kelly and I agree that it’s more like The Shining. Long, dark (900 year old) hallway with a million doors and one window on each end. BOO! I’m not trying to turn you off from this place though. Badia a Coltibuono is a top end, high class, fully functioning winery in the hills of Tuscany – complete with a cooking school, and a maze of hedges out back (“Here’s Johnny!”). The rooms were spacious and breezy and comfortable – and the place is simply beautiful. We toured Siena (after stopping to let one of our traveling companions throw up her breakfast due to the windy roads (or maybe due to my driving – whichever the case may be)). Siena was hot and crowded, but pretty damn cool.

After that, we headed down the coast and got on a Ferry that was themed to the gills with Looney Tunes (seriously – I couldn’t make it up if I tried). After the first fender bender of the week (not me!), we ended up at the hotel and sweated thru the nite. Next day was spent on a beach with some of the clearest water and saggiest breasts I have ever seen. Great view of the Island of Tavarola, cold beer at the beachside cabana, and a game of soccer-volley-ball that would impress your socks off – but ended in a fist-fight. (also not me!).  Drove back to hotel to clean up and sweat some more, but not before another fender bender (once more: not me!)

Dinner that night was at an Agriturismo owned by the owner of our hotel – up a crazy winding dirt road where I swear I heard banjos. It was one of those places where there is no menu – they just bring you food. And LOTS of it. At least 6 antipasti, 2 primi (both pastas), and then piglet roasted over an open fire and some sweet honey dipped things for dolce. There’s no better way to eat – I promise. I went outside and “talked” to the dude turning the piglet on the spit. My Italiain is good enough (thank you Gabrielle) that I can actually hold a “converastion” of sorts. We “discussed” where I was from, and the current Calcio (soccer) situation – as well as the poor but yummy souls crackiling nearby. Baffo di Ferro (the owner, who’s nickname appropriately translates to Iron Wiskers) came outside and offered me the local “digestive” Mirto – made from the Myrtle Flower – but not until I got back to the hotel because I was driving.

Have I mentioned that not una solo oscillazione cazzo in Sardinia speaks English??? Not one that I met anyway. So yeah – conversations were fun. That’s not sarcasm – they really were fun. It’s so rewarding to be able to communicate with people who do not speak your language. Sure, mistakes are made – such as the last nite when I accidentally ordered 10 servings of salami instead of 1 to share – but it is still fun and rewarding (and we ate the fucking salami like it was our last meal) – but overall I was up to the challenge and like I said – FUN!

Sardinia's Emerald Coast

The following day was spent driving here and there, looking for, but not really finding, that perfect Italian town. We saw two extremes actually. Up the Emerald Coast, we drooled over 20 million dollar yachts, and small boutiques we probably wouldn’t be allowed into. South of the main port town of Olbia, we witnessed a town that I swear was bombed in 1947 and never seen since.

After traveling by boat with Daffy and Bugs again (accident free this time), we listend to Julie Tom-Tom (she’s a dirty dirty whore, by the way) and went thru 10 too many hill towns to get to Orvieto – the hill town to end all hill towns. Checked into the Hotel Corso – a really great little place right in the heart of town. If you’ve never been to Orvieto – and you probably have not – you need to know that it is completely 100 percent cobble stone roads and buildings built in the 1200′s to 1500′s. If a knight rode by on his horse with his jousting pole you wouldn’t look twice. The first word that comes to mind when I think of Orvieto is grey. The buildings and roads are primarly charcoal grey. That does not sound beautiful, I know. But it is. It’s SOOOO damn medieval that it transports you back in time. Except that there’s a Benneton and 5 perfume shops, and really nice jewelers. However, these are next door to the butcher with the side-o-wild-boar (head intact) hanging in the window, or the Deruta Porcelain shop that’s been there since the plague. In fact, I’m pretty sure I saw that dude with the dead people in the cart yelling “bring out your dead”.

Kidding aside, I love Orvieto. LOVE. It is truly one of my favorite places on earth. The other favorite is about 40 clicks away on a hill that has been the home to civilzation for over 4000 years – but we didnt’ make it to Todi this time. We will soon though.

So the last day in Italy, I woke up early (as usual) and hit the streets of Orvieto, camera in hand. The bells of the various churches marked the time as I strolled thru streets I’d never seen before, and stumbled upon streets I remembered from last time. Wishing buon giorno to street sweepers, nuns, and other tourists as I made my way to my favorite little hole in the wall cafe, and orded my “caffe” (espresso to the uneducated). I found myself on a bench up a little side street/alley – maybe two blocks from the Duomo. I sat there for about 20 minutes, listening to the pigeons and the occasional car shifting gears up the hill and around the tight corners. I daydreamed about how quickly I could get back there – because I really am starting to feel that my soul needs to be there. I looked up at the windows of the apartments surrounding me – curtains still drawn – and tried to figure out how to make one of them mine. Right there. On that very block. Waking up early (as usual) to walk downstairs and down to that hole in the wall for my caffe. Having dinner once or twice (or 5 times) a week at the restaurant below my window. Becoming such a part of this town that the restaruant owner gives me the local menu and a wink everytime I walk in – that I know without looking at my watch that the Duomo bells are about to toll – and that I notice when a cobble stone is becoming loose because I see it every day.

Someday Umbria. Someday you are going to be mine, and I am going to be yours.

Orvieto Duomo

Orvieto Duomo

9 responses so far

My Seinfeld Entry

May 25 2010 Published by under Ramble On,The Kids Are Alright

So it’s been a while.  A long while.  I’ve been busy, and also kind of uninspired.  But I thought for purposes of, well, for no reason whatsoever, that I would write something in my blog.

So there you have it.  I wrote in my blog.  See you in a couple months.

Ok.  I know.  My public needs more. (ha!)

So I’ll get you caught up on what’s been happening at Casa Clem…

The kids are alright.  They’re doing the school thing.  Grace is finishing up the spring soccer season – they are 4-1-2 I think.  I hate sitting on the sidelines though.  I’m very critical of the coaches.  There’s room to be.  It makes me want to jump up, push them aside, and try to teach the kids something – ANYTHING.  These guys are worried only about which field the next game is on, and whether there will be enough kids at the next practice.  They worry about these things DURING THE GAME – while wandering around paying no attention at all.   UGH.  Anyway.  Grace has said she wants to play Field Hockey and Lacrosse (be still my heart!).  She also wants to dance again, thanks to Zoe (our somewhat adopted daughter – though that would make the fact that she’s Brady’s girlfriend kinda creepy) and her recent recital.  Grace has the bug again, and I think that’s great – would love to see her back up on stage.

Brady.  (hold on a sec while I remind myself what it was like to be a 15 year old boy…… ).  He has been thru a LOT of shit in the past 12 months.  I won’t go into details, but each time he has impressed me with his reaction and/or recovery.  (though obviously, it sometimes took a while!).  And believe it or not – he actually asks my advice now.  Every time that happens I look around for the hidden camera.  He really enjoyed playing for the JV Tennis Team this year.  Said he likes it more than football!  Then he blew out his ankle in gym class and missed the last half of the season.  Oh well.  Kid has been in the emergency room 5 times in 15 years.  Not sure what the average is – but that’s more times than me and Kelly combined.

So yeah – kids.  Check.

My business is starting to pick up.  I’m wrapping up websites and marketing plans for several clients, and so far they seem to just keep coming at a steady pace.  We’ll see if i can maintain.  On the photography front – Kelly and I will be shooting a wedding in a couple weeks.  Kinda nervous about that I guess, but we’ll see how it goes.  We also had a hanging last month, and sold a photo (yay us! and thanks M&J!).  We’ve been asked to hang again, but it’s the same day as the wedding, so maybe not.

Blah blah blah.  ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz…z…z………z

Hey wake up! We’re going to Italy.

No.  Not you – WE.  Us.  Me and mine.  I’m not going to say when – because then all the stalkers out there (yes you) will know we’re gone and will hide in my house and read my porno magazines.  Ew.  And also:  just ew.  But yeah.  We’re taking the kids, and we’re bringing Kelly’s mother and aunt.  (I’ll wait for you to stop laughing).  Actually, if I had to bring someone’s mother-in-law and aunt-in-law – well, it would be them :)   We’re also going with Uncle Numpty (aka Nickerson) and his beautiful bride – and two members of her family – who are simply coming to serve as a buffer between me and The Numpty.  I just hate the smell of bologna. (there are 40 people who read my blog – and 30 of them are going “WTF?” right now).  Mark and I will be doing some research and making some connections for Beyond Travel.  That, of course, means that we’ll be stopping at every winery we can find under the guise of “hey – we own a travel company and maybe we’ll send you clients if you give us free wine”.  Yeah.  Dat’l work.  Even if it doesn’t, I hope that we’ll be able to do a few decent blog entries from abroad over at Beyond Travel.

So there’s my blog-about-nothing.  Consider it one of those letters people put in their christmas card that tells you that they had their boil lanced and that awful wart removed.  OK, maybe not that bad.

Hope to be back on these pages before the trip – but if not – well, too bad.

And for the record, I already miss “Modern Family”.  Actually I only miss Gloria, but, yeah.

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Ode to a Hambone

Apr 05 2010 Published by under Ramble On

The priest came to give him his last rights.  He left amid tears, and five minutes later, Glen was gone.

Uncle Glen.  To about 70 people in this area, those two words bring a smile to their faces.  He was going to be 80 next month.  He lived a tough life.  Let’s just say his lungs and liver probably deserve to be in some kind of  Hall of Fame.  He was a pretty fun dude.  Funny.  Gruff, but kind.  Always with a joke.  Worked hard right up until a couple months ago.  He wasn’t the first in the family to go.  We lost Roger, I don’t remember how.  Then Jimmy suffered too long thru ALS.  And then George to cancer, and most recently the lovable funny-man Hank succumbed to Alzheimer’s.  That’s a lot of brothers, you may think.

You’d be wrong.

Roger, Jimmy, George, Hank and now Glen.  Five of the sixteen kids that made up my Dad’s family.  That’s not a typo.  Eleven brothers and five sisters were born to Henry and Naomi Beesmer over the course of 20 years, ending in the late 40′s.  This is technically my “step-family” – but my mother married into the family when I was less than 3, so I consider them my family – and they  took me in, of course.

If a couple had 16 kids today, and lived in a broken down house that LITERALLY had a creek running UNDER the foundation, it would be a reality show.  But this was real life for my Dad’s family.  The statistics of what my grandmother’s uterus accomplished are more or less amazing.  No twins.  16 kids in 19 years.  We’ve studied it closely and there really was only one period of time where there could have possibly been a miscarriage.  She pumped out kids one right after the other.  For 6 years in a row she had a kid in February – and then the seventh year a kid on March 1st.  And she basically raised them herself – though I’m pretty certain there was never a time when all 16 were home at once.

And the stories.  As you can imagine the stories are endless and funny.  They were poor but proud.  You didn’t mess with them, I’m pretty sure of that.  Let’s just say that if you lived in the area back in the 50s and 60s, you’d be a fool to pick a fight with someone in school or a bar – cause that someone may have 10 brothers – none of whom were exactly scrawny.  I’ve heard of poor drunk fools being thrown clear over cars in the parking lot of “The Retreat” and other watering holes.  Good bunch of people though.  Many of them served their country in Korea or Vietnam – all grew up to have respectable careers and families – and to the best of my knowledge none were ever in any kind of trouble.  Which is truly a testament to Naomi, as their father died quiet early.  Child #16 was still in-utero when he passed.

But I digress.  This is about Glen.  Good ol’ Uncle Glen.  We used to hang out a lot with Glen and his family.  I can remember many camping trips with Glen, Jimmy, and maybe a couple others – sitting around the campfire, laughing at their drunken antics.  One time Glen and Jimmy’s wife Joan were running around in a thunder storm splashing in puddles like a couple of 8 year olds.  They might have been drunk.  Glen’s wife, Pat yelled out from their camper that Glen better get his ass inside before he gets hit by lightning.  (note – the language in this story may have been cleaned up a bit). Glen responded by yelling: “If I die, just stick a hambone up my ass and let the dogs drag me away” – and continued splashing away.

My Dad’s one of the youngest – only one brother and a sister are younger.  And it kills me to watch him as his family slowly reaches that age where they start to battle things like cancer, Alzheimer’s and age.  It takes a toll on him as he’s always been fairly close to most of them, and always does whatever he can to help.  So this post is for you Dad.  We’re all here for you, but you knew that already.

So anyway – the priest came and did what he needed to do, and then Glen left us.  A little while later someone asked Aunt Pat if any arrangements had been made – since of course we knew this time had been coming for a while.   “No” she said without hesitation… “we’re going to stick a hambone up his ass and let the dogs drag him away”

Goodbye Uncle Glen.  You’re legacy is safe with us.

7 responses so far

Don’t Shoot!!!!!!!

Mar 20 2010 Published by under Pete Perry's Pet Peeves,Ramble On

What are my rights?

Last month Kelly and I were in New York City for a few days.  An opportunity to get away without the kids – hang with a few friends, and even stalk Julia Roberts at a quiet little Tapas place.

We were waiting to meet a friend near Union Square, and ducked into a trendy little “diner” type place right next to the park.  Good coffee – kitchy kinda place, kinda cool, food looked good – etc.  In fact – as a side note – it’s been in several movies from what I understand, and we recently noticed that the scene in The Devil Wears Prada where she’s giving gifts out to her friends – you know – that beautiful blue Marc Jacobs bag!! ~faints~ – they are sitting in the exact seats we sat in.

I digress.

Often.

So I’m taking pictures.  Duh.  I think I had the fiddy out and was playing with depth of field, light, coffee – you know – important photography things.  Suddenly I feel a hand on my shoulder (as I’m looking thru viewfinder) and the manager (gripping me tight enough to justify some violence from me) looks at me and says those words that photographers just LOVE to hear:

“Will you please shoot our piece for Vanity Fair”

No.  He actually said:

“Sorry, we do not allow photography in here.”

My mind goes fast in these situations.  A million thoughts at once:

  • grab the wrist near my shoulder, and twist it until he has just a stump where his arm was
  • run
  • did I over expose that shot
  • his mother didn’t give him enough love – go easy on him
  • he’s within his rights
  • ooh look behind him – she’s kinda cute
  • where the hell is Robin?  She was supposed to be here 10 minutes ago
  • I wish it would stop snowing
  • I hope I bump into Julia Roberts in the Tapas place
  • he’s not within his rights
  • why the fuck is he TOUCHING ME???

I went with staring him in the eye and telling him: “Well that’s just RIDICULOUS”

He wasn’t expecting that – he seemed to think I would just say “oh sorry sir – yes sir  - right away sir”

So we had a few words.  Nothing major – and because Kelly was giving me the hairy-eyeball, I did put the camera away.

And I’m pretty sure I saw him say something to our waitress and nod in our direction and I’m pretty sure their coffee doesn’t really cost $7 a cup.

We left soon after.

I know it’s not the first time anyone of us camera-whores has been given this line.  My first time was when taking this shot:

I dream of jeanies
at an AG Jeans place.  And I’ve heard of friends being tossed or simply asked to stop.

But why?  What is the problem with taking pictures in a diner, clothing store, or any other “public” place?  Is this guy afraid I’m going to get a shot of his place, and photoshop in a rat or dead guy or something?

Really – I just don’t get it.  And Kelly was telling me, of course, that I was rude – and he has the right to tell me “no-photos”.

What do you guys think?  First – why would a place put on such a restriction – and second – how should I have reacted?

ps – the only decent shot I got there was this:

easy

10 responses so far

Auntie Em! Auntie Em!

Feb 25 2010 Published by under Ramble On

So here I sit in my friends’ living room.  Our power is out.  It’s been out for almost 24 hours.  When we called the electric company they said “There are no plans for power restoration in your area.”  

No Plans.

When you live in the “country” like we do, you really rely pretty heavily on electric.  We need it to start the oil furnace – so no heat.  We need it to cook – so no food.  We need it to pump water from the well – so if it’s yellow, let it mellow….  you know the rest.  It’s cold.  The kids are either annoyed and pissy (15 year old), confused and scared (8 year old) or frustrated and cranky (44 year old).

When I was last in my house a few hours ago, it said the inside temperature was 50 degrees.  I heard my neighbor’s generator running.  It was supposed to be our generator.  When we bought the house, there was a generator plugged into the circuit breaker.  I told our real estate agent we wanted it.  That message never got relayed to the seller, and we moved in to find out that he gave it for a song to the guy across the street.  Oh well.  ”I’ll just get a new one”.  That was ten years ago.

The storm itself isn’t really all that bad.  It’s pretty actually – the kind of snow that stays on the branches and makes everything look like Narnia.  But it’s heavy snow – the kind of snow that brings those branches and trees down – and branches and trees like to fall on power lines.  They don’t like power lines very much.  They do what they can to destroy them.  They usually win.

So this storm and story really started on Tuesday night.  At around 1:00 am or so, I woke to my son yelling “Dad!  Dad!  did you see that?”  The street lights, our smoke detectors, and my clock radio were coming on and off – rapidly – as if someone was flipping a switch really fast – for like 5 minutes non-stop.  The sky was green and red.  I’m not kidding.  The whole sky.  This has been confirmed by people who live near us – and people who live several miles away.  My son thought it was some kind of invasion where the enemy (terrestrial or extra-) had hit us with some sort of electro-magnetic-thingamabobby (that’s a technical term) which wipes out all electricity and cripples all forms of communication.  I checked to see if my cell phone worked before assuring him that he plays too many video games and that I was sure (not) that it was actually just a blown transformer – and not a holocaust or the armageddon.  To be honest, I’m still not completely convinced and neither is he.

That night we lost power for about 7 hours – and then had it back for a while before losing it again – this time – seemingly – for good.

And I have learned something in all of this.  It has become painfully evident that I am completely dependent on the innernetz.  I can not believe how much I rely on it – for EVERYTHING.  I work on the internet of course – so i need it for that.  My phone company is Vonage – so when we had electric but no Cable – no phone.  I check facebook more often than I realized.  And I’m really really BORED when there’s no internet.  What do people do when they’re not on the internet?  Thank GOD and Steve Jobs for my iPhone.

But don’t worry about us.  We’re safe and sound at our good friends’ house, I brought a bottle of my favorite wine – and they have wifi.

4 responses so far

my shoe shine boy tweets about his blog

Feb 04 2010 Published by under Pete Perry's Pet Peeves,Ramble On

I’m a little worried about social media.  I generally only worry about things I care about – and I am worried.

We’ll start with why I care about social media.  I care because it has introduced me to some really incredible people.  I care because it has helped me to reconnect with people that had faded from my life.  And I care because it is helping me make money right now.  I want all of these things to continue.  It’s an incredible thing, this technology.  The technology that brings us all together and helps build friendships (or even romance).  The technology that helps us choose the right restaurant or buy the right car.  The technology that – you get the idea.  You’ve probably met me because of social networking – or at least learned more about me that way.  See?  THAT’S how important it is.  Take a moment to be thankful for social media because it brought more of ME into YOUR life!

Take your time…

But I really am worried.  Here’s why…

In 1928 in New York City, or so the story goes, John D. Rockefeller was having his shoes shined.  The shoe shine boy, presumably not knowing who Rockefeller was, started giving him stock tips.  J.D. took his shoe shine boy’s advice – but not in the way you’d expect.  He decided that if a shoe shine boy – making a penny a shine – was giving stock tips – it was time to get out of the market.  He did – and it’s the reason his family was able to stave off the Depression, and continued to be one of the richest in our history.

</digression>

Everyone has a blog.  Everyone has a Facebook Fan Page.  Everyone Tweets.  Hell, “Tweet” is a verb!  And now – that’s not enough.  Now there are companies out there that will sell you (for only like $300 or so) software to plug into your website to help you create YOUR OWN SOCIAL NETWORK.

Here’s the elevator pitch of one such company (who’s name I have removed because I dont’ want you to build your own social network – really – I won’t join it.):

“With MyDumbassCompany* you can start tomorrow’s next big thing today by creating social networking sites just like Facebook or MySpace!”

*not their real name

Stop!

Please – just stop!

For the love of Google, just stop.

You do not need your own social networking company.  The world does NOT need another Facebook and it could use one less MySpace.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not suggesting that social networking is evil.  On the contrary – I’m grateful for it.  At the risk of being overly melodramatic – I can honestly say that it has enriched my life  - and – believe it or not – helped me to grow.

Please don’t ask for proof of aforementioned growth.

I’m just worried, is all.

I encourage you to use the comments section below to discuss this topic.  No.  Not my growth or lack thereof – social media.  The pros – the cons – the future.  What do you think – I want to know.  It may help me to help my clients – so really – please participate if you have any opinion at all.  Wise-ass commenters may be made fun of or un-friended.

4 responses so far

¡Olé-Mole!

Jan 23 2010 Published by under Ramble On

Alternate Title:  ”Holy Mole”

Just a quick post to tell everyone that lives locally (ok – everyone “lives locally” – but I mean lives locally to me living locally) to try the new Mexican joint: Mole-Mole. Located in the old building that used to house The Sturgeon (the bar/restaurant, not the fish) – this place has fresh authentic Mexican food – and by that I mean “not-refried-beans-covered-in-cheese-served-on-a-plate-fresh-out-of-the-microwave” (*cough*Rositas*cough*).

I’m sorry Armadillo (what  is it with Kingston and naming restaurants after ugly animals?) – but it’s quite possible you have a true competitor – finally.

*gasp*

I can hear all the people of Kingston right now:  ”How DARE he compare some new place to Armadillo! – He must be drunk”.  No.  It’s 9 am.  Ok, whatever – I’m not drunk – I promise.

We were actually headed to Ugly Gus – 40 minute wait.  Same thing at Little Italy (Bill Maher was playing UPAC – stoopid-crowded)  s0 we headed for Savona’s.  But when we parked in front of this new place – we decided to give it a shot.  I was suddenly in the mood for a margarita.

No such luck.  No liquor license.  In fact – I was later told, by our very happy waiter, that neither of their other locations (both in Poughkeepsie) has or intends to get such a license.  It’s completely B.Y.O.C.o.T.  (“Bring Your Own Cerveza or Tequila”)

We started with homemade chips and salsa – best salsa around.  It’s not red, people – get over it.  It’s chunks of freshly cut tomatoes, onions, peppers and cilantro.  Then Kelly and I both had Tacos de Carnitas (perfectly cooked and crispy pork, on homemade soft-corn with nice fresh chunky peppers onions and cilantro) with “guacamole salad” (read: pico de gallo with slices of avocado) and lime.  Grace had her ol’ standby: quesadilla.

Grace kept begging me for “fried ice-cream” (stoopidest invention ever) – but I kept saying “no dessert”.  Next thing I knew the happy-waiter brought us over a “Dulce de Leche Chimichanga” – which may be the greatest invention ever.  Perfectly lightly fried flour tortilla, rolled in cinnamon/sugar - and filled with a cinnamon custard – with a butter/sugar/cinnamon dipping sauce.  I died.

Seriously – go.  Grab a six pack of Negro Modelo or bottle of Patrón and go.

And PLEASE tell them that you know a guy who can build them a decent website too.  Then give them my name.

Full Disclosure:  Simply because you see me in there on a regular basis, do not assume that I am affiliated with Mole Mole in any way.  I’m not.  But I did receive a complimentary dessert.

In other news.  Brady wasn’t with us.  He was being a goof ball at his “Thing’s” surprise birthday party:

Happy Birthday Zo.  :)

4 responses so far

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