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Showing posts from 2013

Baby Cole and Fast Food Stories

Just got back from Savannah for a visit with the perfect grandchild. Yes ... that's right ... Cole Benjamin Cohen, son of Steven and Nikki. The boy is in the 105th percentile in height and weight and head circumference. Two more pounds and he will be just 10 pounds lighter than me.

Cute? You be the judge ... check out the picture at left, Cole bundled in his stroller fast asleep.

It was a quick trip ... drove up on Friday and home on Sunday. We had a blast with the little prince. Can't wait until he walks and talks (probably next week at his growth rate).

Last time we were here, Nikki was still in the hospital and we were in charge of breakfast pick up. Atlanta Bread Company was next to our hotel and happened to be her favorite. I mentioned this in a prior post. I ordered an egg and cheese sandwich on a sesame seed bagel.

The server asked: "Did you want the black seeds or the white seeds?"

"I didn't know there was a choice in sesame seeds."

The manag…

The Morning After

'Twas the day after Christmas, and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring ... except for my spouse.

I heard the alarm go off with a scream.
I opened one eye interrupting my dream.

"Wake up ... you big lug" I heard Debbie say,
"It's already six ... now get on your way."

Daughter Alissa was out of her bed
But visions of sugar plums were still in my head.

I stumbled around and felt for my clothes.
It was dark and was cold as I looked for my toes.

I opened the door to the bedroom with care
And there was Alissa with suitcases there.

We loaded the trunk and started the car
I finally woke up when we hadn't gone far.

I spotted the airport and followed the sign
I stopped at the gate and got there on time.

Just about then, I heard Lissa say,
"I don't want to go back ... Dad can I stay?"

With a lump in my throat I managed to smile.
I hugged her and told her to "Stay for a while."

We both knew the answer ... we said our goodbyes…

Grumpy ... um ... Grampy

Today, daughter Alissa and I went to see Sammy at Menorah Manor.

As we headed toward the elevator, Sammy wheeled around the corner clutching his box of kleenex.

"Who's that?"

"It's me, Grampy ... Alissa."

"Oh ... you're the granddaughter who doesn't have a child."

He laughed and gave her his trademark wet kiss. "I'm so glad you are here. Come over and sit with me for a while. Do you want a Klondike bar?"

"No thanks ... do you want one?"

"Only if you do."

One of the residents came up to Sammy and told him hello. He introduced us. "Sally, this is my son and this is my granddaughter ... the one who doesn't have a child."

"Dad ... I don't think you should say ..."

Sammy interrupted, "Alissa, you do a lot of typing at work?"

Alissa answered, "Well I do use the computer a lot ...."

"I know how to type. I took typing in California a...s...d...f..."


So This Is Christmas

I'm a big Christmas fan.

I wanted to put that out there before I write the rest of this entry because you might think me very Scrooge like when you read the rest. I'm really not. You see ... there are a just few things that have always kinda bugged me about Christmas traditions and I just have a few suggestions.

1. Presents

I love presents. I love getting them and giving them. When the kids were growing up, I took hours of video of their excitement when they opened their gifts under the tree. Lots of gifts! So here's my first suggestion: Why not celebrate Christmas once a month instead of cramming hundreds of gifts into one morning? Each child can get one gift a month ... kinda like Hanukkah but on steroids. You can stop at the store and pick up a gift at your leisure. Okay, I know what you're gonna say ... what about the rest of the family ... uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces ... Heck with them. They have birthdays and other people in their lives.

Come to think of it .…

Esther's Dinner Skills

The other night, we were at a party and my Mother's name entered into the conversation.

The guests were all talking about home cooked meals and memories of dishes that their mothers made. When I was asked I said my memories were limited to sandwiches. That's all I remembered eating at home ... mainly because my mom was not a cook. In fact, the oven was only used to keep the bread fresh.

Esther hated to cook. When we sold the house in New Orleans after Katrina, the oven was in mint condition ... never used ... and it had to be more than 30 years old.

I was okay with this ... in fact I thought everybody ate sandwiches for dinner. We did "splurge" on  Sundays: We would eat dinner out ... Chris's Steak House (before Ruth bought it),  random Chinese restaurants and ...

of course ...

Po-boy sandwich shops (yum).

Click here to buy HOME MOVIES

Who Do YOU Look Like?

Debbie loves that game, "What Celebrity does that guy or girl remind you of?" She always pegs it. I never can.

Yesterday, a woman came up to me and said that I looked exactly like Huey Lewis.

Well ... I had to immediately go home and tell Debbie about it.

Yessir ... I was feeling "pretty, pretty , pretty good". The last couple of years I have been told I looked like Mandy Patinkin ... remember him?

And just when I was feeling like Mr. Good Looking Celebrity ... I pulled into the gas station when a lady tapped me on the shoulder and said "Did anyone ever tell you you looked like Walter Matthau?"

What? She obviously didn't have a clue. I wanted say," Excuse me? maybe Huey or Mandy ... HAH!"

How could she think there was any family resemblance?


Just sayin'

Woke up last week and my eyes were both in focus ... first couple of days it lasted for a few hours and now it's all day long. HALLELUYAH!

Early Christmas present.

Click here to buy:

Happy Thanksgivukkah

The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah begins tonight, Nov. 27, 2013 with the lighting of the first candle in the Menorah. That means that the first day of Hanukkah is Thanksgiving. This has given rise to a new word: Thanksgivukkah!

I checked out the obvious question: How often do Hanukkah and Thanksgiving come together? The answer: Less than rarely.

Way back in 1861, the fourth Thursday in November coincided with Hanukkah. But that doesn't count, since President Lincoln did not declare Thanksgiving to be a national holiday until 1863.

When will it happen again?  Almost never.

I take that back ... With built in adjustments to both the Hebrew and Gregorian calendars to keep them “on track,” various calculations have determined that won’t happen again for somewhere between 70,000 and 78,000 years.

Why do the Jewish holidays seem to move around so much? For one thing ... we were wandering Jews for years ( no ... not the plant). Remember when Moses found us the only piece of the desert with…

What's the Difference?

Last night, Debbie and I had a discussion about calling each other when we are running late. Ever had one of those? 
By the way, Deb has really been great about taking care of me while I've been laid up with a busted knee (among my other medical problems). She's been running late for a variety of reasons which I totally understand. However, I took the opportunity to ask her something she asks me all the time ... "Why didn't you call if you knew that you were running late?" To which she said ... "I lost track of time." 
Ah hah! I said (to myself) ... "That usually doesn't work for me when I say that." But I knew it was better to keep that to myself ... or my other knee would be crushed too.
It started me thinking about those wonderful differences in marriages between men and women that make life interesting. I categorized three areas that we tend to "discuss". There are so many more but in the interest of time here are my three:

Giving Thanks

With the holidays upon us, I get into my Christmas movie binge and pretend to be a gentile.

I always felt like I was missing something growing up Jewish and watching all my gentile friends getting into the spirit ... and getting presents. Their families had the big Christmas dinners ... I was so jealous (since my mom didn't even turn on the oven because it would get dirty).

Last night I looked through Netflix for a good old fashioned Jesus movie for Debbie and me. You know ... one about a guy who loses his faith, gets hit by a bus, turns to drugs and alcohol, questions God and then is visited by an angel at Christmas (maybe when he walks out of an AA meeting) to remind him that he should be thankful for what he does have and, eventually, through adversity he gains strength.

This morning I thought I'd try it out on myself. So I thought about the days when I used to smoke and drink and gamble and stay out late ... now in adversity with my crazy medical problems I made up my new…

Happy Birthday Wayne

Today is my brother Wayne's birthday.

For those of you who have followed my blog, you know that Wayne passed away in 1995 from a malignant brain tumor.

He was 42 years old.

Over the last 18 years, Wayne has been in my thoughts just about every day. The last few months, I've spoken to him often for strength and for guidance. . I remember the way he lived his life. I remember how he continued on ... kept a positive attitude ... despite multiple surgeries, bone marrow transplantation and loss of bodily functions. He made a point of helping others in need of support during the years that he could.

He's still a great listener.

Happy Birthday, little brother. 
I miss you, man.

Click to buy my book: Home Movies

A Billion Reasons to Throw a Party

What a night!

Friday night at the Tampa Bay Forum was a great celebration for USF. The Unstoppable Campaign reached and exceeded the $600 million goal. Later in the night the BIG REVEAL showed the NEW goal ... $1 BILLION.

More than 500 guests and supporters donned their finest and joined us to celebrate.

Here are some pictures of the evening:

You would never know that they would play hockey on this floor tomorrow night.

TV Celebrities and USF Alum Ann Liguori and Kerry Sanders were the hosts for the evening.

The Pointer Sisters entertained the crowd ...we made them honorary Bulls at the Cocktail reception.

Campaign Chairman Les Muma thanked the crowd.

Co-chairs for the next phase of USF:Unstoppable $1 Billion Campaign Gordon Gillette and Tod Liewike "Get Excited"
Speaking of "Get Excited" ... President Genshaft closed the show with the Pointers.

And the crowd went wild!

We've Got Some Big Balls

Debbie took advantage of my frequent trips to TGH.

She ordered new furniture.

I completely understood when she told me. After all ... our furniture was at least two years old. Now to be fair, she always manages to sell our "old" furniture before I even notice it's gone. And I usually notice it's gone two years after she sells it.

I saw our newly furnished digs on Friday when I was discharged. Debbie had me stand in the garage for a few minutes before she did the final touches. She threw open the doors and said "TA DA!"

I looked around for a few seconds.

"Well. what do you think?"

"That's quite a pair of chandeliers that you got this time for the dining room table."

"Don't you just love them?"

"Those are some big balls."

"I know ... they give off lots of light."

"I think we might need sunscreen at dinner."

"Don't worry, I got dimmer switches for everything."

"Good ... no…


I just heard that I was entered into the Journal of Medical Oddballs for 2013. That's what one of my Neurosurgery Fellows told me on Thursday. It's his own journal that he keeps for those special patients for whom he has no answers.

I feel very special.

No one will be surprised to learn that I was admitted to TGH AGAIN the other day for the 3,487th time in four months. This time it was for monitoring a new drug they are giving me for a fib ... yes now I have a fib as well. As the heart guys were trying to figure out why my heart has been acting up ... the neuro guys were checking out the headaches that still are happening with a now normal head scan and MRI that I had done yesterday.

The good news is that these nagging problems are not life threatening. A fib is manageable and my brain is now functioning normally (well MOMBERG normal ... which is a hair better than Abbie Normal).

So .... today I will be discharged with yet more new drugs, which brings my total to .... um ..…

Great Grampy

Sammy had yet to see his great grandson, Cole. So Deb and I visited him at Menorah Manor to introduce him to Cole ... via Face Time.

He was sitting by himself outside of the gift shop when we arrived.

"Hi Sammy,"

He smiled and waved. "I like sitting here alone you know."

I pointed down the hall. "There is a program going on next door. Don't you want to go?"


I called Nikki and handed the phone to Sammy. "Hey ... Got a surprise for you. I'm gonna introduce you to your great grandson."

"What? You got pictures."

"Better than that ..."

Nikki was waving ... with baby Cole in her arms. ""Hi Grampy. Here's your great grandson."

"Where are you?"

"At home ... getting Cole ready for some pictures."

It took him a while to figure out what was happening but he was smiling from ear to ear. When he finished talking he handed me the phone. "Can you believe it?"


Did you know I wrote a book?

Can you believe the number of self-promoting ego maniacs that are out there? (please buy my book)

I have no patience for what I read today in Facebook or LinkedIn or blogs from  people who talk about themselves incessantly ... trying to get you to buy some product they are peddling.. (it's the greatest book you ever read).


Granted there are many choices in products these days (the author is so clever)

. But folks need to have some modicum of modesty and class (he's also devilishly handsome).

Times are tough ... I get it ... so it's not easy making a living. (it just costs a few bucks. Don't cheap out).

They will stop at nothing. (I'll come to your house to deliver it).

I've written a book, you may have heard ... but you will never see me stoop to these tactics. (remember I have been through brain surgery so have a little empathy).

Nope ... with me you'll never have to worry about false promises…

Savannah … We Will Return

We met one of Nikki's nurses last night. She was a lot like Kristin Wiig's character, Penelope, on SNL … you know the one that always has to one-up everyone?

She was very excited to tell us everything that happened in her life whether we asked her or not..  The conversation went like this:

Nikki (to me): "Dad … now drive safely going home …"

Nurse (interrupting): "Where are you going?"

Me: "Um … St. Pete  …"

Nurse : "I've been to St. Pete, many times …"

Me: "That's nice. Now Nikki …"

Nurse: "Got a sister who lives in Brandon and a niece in Tampa …"

Me: "I see … Steven, are your parents coming …"

Nurse: "I was at Tampa General …"

Me: "Oh really … me too …"

Nurse: "I was there many times and then I went to Sarasota … Did I tell you about the women in my family who lived past 100 and the men who died young?" (What a surprise.)

Nikki put the blanket over her head. I wish I …

Birthday Gifts

Did I tell you about my grandson?

Oh I did? Too bad ... I'm gonna talk about him some more. Today, Deb and I got more mileage (literally) with Cole. Last night he did his first poop with me and his first spit up with Deb. So this morning ... he was exhausted. His mom even said he lost interest in his food source for a few minutes.

We came bearing gifts.

Super soft and cuddly bear was first out of the box. Second was monogrammed spit up cloths.

We also got Cole some pretty sweet kicks ...

... And a cool book :"Goodnight NOLA" that we picked up months ago in New Orleans at Maple Street Bookstore. "Goodnight Beans and rice ... Goodnight crawfish ... Goodnight Bunny bread ..."

A One-sie (or two-sie or ... what is that anyway?) Oh well ... its pretty cute.

You know they tell you the best part about being a grandparent is that you can give them back...

I'm not so sure I agree!