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Showing posts from 2015

Love ya man

Today, I was looking at old pictures of my son Josh.

The time has flown by. Josh was born 29 years ago. I used to hold him in my arms and now he's taller than me.

In just a few days, he'll be married.

He's the youngest and last to marry. His oldest sister, Nikki, got married first ... a few years ago, Alissa was the most recent bride and now Josh.

So here I sit trying out a few stories to tell the crowd on New Year's Eve.

Maybe I'll tell story that's a family favorite ... the time that Josh stood on his bunk bed and peed on the floor. Did I say the time? I meant EVERY time ... EVERY day.  His mother and I wondered for the longest time why his room smelled like our dog (who had died the year before).

Or there's the story his grandfather tells about a shopping trip to Publix. Somehow Josh got caught between the wheels and the basket as he was climbing around. He caused quite a scene as the store manager and a crowd of bystanders were busy trying to figure o…

Find It Yourself

We all do it.

Each of us in our own way uses labels. We label people we meet or see every day ... like the old woman in line at the grocery store buying cases of cat food ("lonely") or the kid who whines about everything ("spoiled") or the guy running for President with the comb over ("narcissist").

We can't help it. I think that it somehow helps us keep our sanity to put labels on things. I might label something differently than you or we might have multiple labels for the same thing. We could both be listening to the same Celine Dion song and you might say "beautiful" and I might say ... wait a minute ... I wouldn't be listening to Celine Dion.

If you are really organized, like my wife Debbie, labels are in your DNA. Just about everything in our house is labeled and categorized. A couple of weeks ago, Debbie organized the bathroom cabinets into interesting containers:
1. Eye (not kidding)
2. Ointment (you don't want to know)
3.…

Miss You Man

Happy birthday, Wayne.

Lots of changes since we last talked. Dad died last year. You probably knew that. I imagine that you've run into him up there. (He is up there isn't he?) I was always impressed with how much patience you had with him ... more than I did. And with mom too. Hey, do they get along up there? Are you keeping things under control?

This past year, Deb and I took Mom and Dad back to New Orleans. You would have enjoyed it. Went to all their favorite spots and then left their remains in Lake Pontchartrain (where they always wanted to live  and ... as you know... could never afford it.)

Your nieces and nephew miss you.  You'd be so proud of them.

Josh (who looks more and more like you as he gets older) gets married at the end of the year. He and Theresa tie the knot on New Years Eve. Cool huh? It's a small wedding ... just family and their friends. He's working for the Rays, by the way, and loving it.    

Alissa and her husband Nate moved from DC to St…

Allen Toussaint Remembered

We lost another musical giant yesterday.

Allen Toussaint (that's "too-sant" for the Non Orleanians) died in Madrid from a heart attack after a concert. He was only 77 years old.

Born and raised in New Orleans, Toussaint was one of the best known performers, writers and personalities in the city. He worked for my Uncle Smitty at Minit Records in the 60s. That's when I knew him. I was just 10 then and used to hang out at his house and play on his upright piano. He lived down the street from us in an old shotgun house. Every day, people were there playing, singing on the porch and telling jokes. Irma Thomas, Benny Spellman, Ernie K-Doe, Lee Dorsey ... I was in awe. I had NO IDEA that I was in the middle of greatness all around me and not one of them ever made me feel like the stupid kid that I was. They were all encouraging as I plunked away on the piano.

Just in case you never heard of him, here's a partial list of what he wrote:

"Working in the Coal Mine&qu…

CIAO ... for now

Our ship docked for the final time in Venice, Italy on Saturday and we caught a cab to the rental car company with only the clothes on our backs ... and 10 suitcases.

Fortunately, the car company upgraded us from a two door speck to a four door speck. Tom and I were not happy with the amount of baggage. His entire wardrobe and mine fit in one third of one suitcase, but it all fit into the back and the middle of the back seat and the floors of every seat.

Tom drove without the benefit of seeing out of any window.

Lake Como was about 3 hours and 45 minutes (and forty two "roundabouts") away according to our British GPS woman.

On the way to the hotel, we stopped at one of the fanciest rest stops I have ever seen. They served cappuccino and had a fresh bakery and a beautiful restaurant inside. I was only expecting a clean bathroom and ritz crackers.

The hotel was fairly easy to find if you maneuver through streets that looked more like sidewalks (I think we drove on a few r…

Cruising Continues

Man ... the time has flown by. We are almost finished our vacation and I am still only on Day 5 of my posts.

I'll try to give you just the highlights of the rest of the cruise for now.

Next post will be the remainder of our trip and time spent in Italy.











This is the Monastery Paleokastritsa in Corfu. Built in the 15th Century, the name translates into "Old Castle". That's about all I remembered ... well that and 38 busloads of other cruisers all trying to maneuver the narrow steep paths to the monastery, while competing tour guides gave information to their groups simultaneously.

(Don't you love how rich and detailed my descriptions of our travels are?)

These are "Tenders", the vehicles that brought us to and fro the shore.

I posted this one because it was the cause of many discussions about "how the driver got up to his seat and why his seat was up there to begin with".

You can see why no one concentrated on significant facts like what cau…

Next Stop Olympia

The service at the restaurants aboard the ship was just incredible  In fact the service on the ship in general was incredible. Everything you wanted was there and if it wasn't, the crew was truly happy to oblige.

The restaurants had fancy names like The Restaurant and Restaurant 2 (seriously). The menu at Restaurant 2 was preset and each item was described in detail ... followed by a half hour dissertation by the wait staff. You'd think foie gras was an entire meal by the description. Geez ... even geese probably are embarrassed by the amount of space it takes to describe their livers. And, of course each item was about the size of a quarter.

Okay enough about the liver ...


Olympia

Our next stop was Olympia, home of the Olympics in ancient Greece which began in the 8th Century. .. located in Elis on the Peloponnese peninsula. There are a variety of buildings (all of which are sadly reduced to columns and pieces of stone).
Included are: Temple of Hera, Temple of Zeus (rememb…

Day 4: At Sea and Off to Monemvasia

The cruise started on the 26th … it was a Saturday.

We took the cab to the Seabourn Odyssey. What a ship. It has about 450 passengers and all the rooms are suites. They spoil you rotten. Our room was stocked with food, champagne, wine and our own personal assistant.
I didn’t know how to act.
We even had breakfast served in our cabin this morning ... I could spill food on my robe and not even get a scolding from Debbie.

Only one negative thing about the ship. Internet service is slow, expensive and has really impacted my blog writing. (Maybe that's a good thing).  

I think I'll try to cover multiple days to save time and space (and pain for my readers) ...

Monemvasia (Sunday)
This was the first stop on our trip. It’s a beautiful island. One of the oldest … it was founded in the fifth century and was part of the Byzantine Empire. The town and fortress make you feel that you were transported back in time.
Our guide for the day was a very special friend of mine, Kathy (Dunathan) Water…

Day 3: The Acropolis

The Acropolis was only a block away from our hotel. Friday was the day that we set out on the trek to climb the famous structure … the ancient site where it all began.

I sound pretty sure of myself huh? Well trust me, when the time came for us to get up and get ready, all I wanted to do was stay in bed. Heck with the ancient ruins. My muscles still screamed at me from the day before.

But somehow I managed to drag my butt out of bed and limp downstairs to join the others in today’s adventure. Our guide was named Debbie. Easy name to remember … even though it wasn’t her real name. She told us her real name was too hard to pronounce so apparently she used a stage name.

The other Debbie was still getting ready. She’s typically the last one ready. Everyone expects it and therefore no one is really concerned that she is taking longer than everyone else. Ever notice how people who are always late are given a pass. The comments you might hear are …”Well, I guess she’s running late again. We’…