Just One Of Dem Days

or weeks for that matter…

This week could really be a long one. December is, of course, vacation season at work. That means I’ll be pulling some extra duty to make sure we continue operating business as usual without you knowing it. That means I’ll be going into work into work early and leaving late.

That aside, this week will probably be slow going. I’ve already been warned that this week could be a long one. I’ve been talking to family about Christmas plans. It’s not easy getting all of the family together on the same schedule. I have to go down to Wayne County for my mother’s family. That’s a Christmas Eve event. My immediate family has always celebrated Christmas on the night before (I know it’s commonly known as Christmas Eve). I also have plans on Christmas with family. It’s going to be a busy couple of days and everyone is going to be tired and need a little nap the next day.

I left work a little early this morning. If you’ve been following twitter you saw that I had a major pain in my back (no, not my neck!) and it has been debilitating. Here’s the good news, I have some drugs now that’s controlling the pain and it’s not as bad. This weekend wasn’t fun. Narm twittered he was happy to hear that the pain was subsiding but thought it was a little funny that I threw out a couple of sharp words as the pain hit me. Believe me, it was not fun

On the fun side, I got an iPod Touch that I’m calling iGor (pronounced Igor). I can’t believe what it can do. I do hate having two different device that I’m caring around with me all of the time. I’m learning how to use it. Already, I’m able to justify its purchase. It’s cool and can do so many things.

It’s been a good day with the pain going away and other things in my life seeming to be okay. Time seems to work everything out. For that, I’m thankful…

Thanksgiving Memories

You couldn’t live in my mother’s house without the smell of turkey wafting through the air. It would literally wake you out of bed. You wanna talk stuffing, you have to try some of my mom’s. Stouffer’s ain’t got nothing on her. It’s homemade and is so good, it’s almost sweet to the taste.

My mother always makes the turkey for the family. She’s mastered it over the years. You can count on it being juicy and golden. I’m thankful for her skills in the kitchen. She comes from a long line of great cooks and bakers. I’m sorta trying to keep up that tradition by stealing recipes from her when I can and then trying them out. Maybe I’m writing all about food because I haven’t had breakfast yet this morning.

At any rate, after getting up out of bed, I plopped down in front of the TV to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I would often fall asleep during what I call the “showtunes” portion of the parade. I have no real desire to ever to go New York City but I have always wanted to see the parade in person. Maybe that will be possible someday. My sister and I would sit and watch the entire parade until my mom and dad got on us to get ready. We’d end up going to my maternal grandmother’s side of the family a lot. My maternal grandfather’s side was all about Christmas. I don’t ever remember them hosting a Thanksgiving get-together.

We’d, inevitably, rush around the house to get showered and together for the day. We’d take a trip to great grandma Buckingham’s house for lunch/dinner. It was always a blast. My great aunt, Marsha, would always entertain everyone with jokes and funny stories. Again, the food would always be great because my family, they know how to cook.

So, I’m sitting her at my computer at 8:50am on Thanksgiving thinking about watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Instead of going to the Buckingham’s, I’m going to my sister’s house. My mother once again made the turkey but this morning, the smell of the bird roasting isn’t moving through the air in my place. It’s certainly making my sister’s home. In a couple of hours, I’ll rush to get ready and get over to my sister’s place before they eat.

Some things never change and other do, but I’m thankful for everyone and everything in my life. They are all blessings!

Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for reading,

Great Role Models

I have two great role models in my grandparents. Today is their 53rd wedding anniversary. 53 years… I’m sure they’ve gone through headaches, heartaches and more “discussions” than they’d care to admit but they’ve stuck together. What a testament to love.

I hope someday when I tell the woman I want to marry that I’ll be with her through thick and thin, I’ll be able to follow their example of what it takes to weather life and all the tribulations that come along with it. I can’t wait for that day to eventually happen.

I had a very special conversation with my grandfather whose birthday is also today. Sometimes talking to him chokes me up. I value his mentoring over the years and love him dearly. He doesn’t say much but when he does, you know its with his wisdom and his heart.

My grandmother took care of me, my sister and our cousins with all of the energy should could muster. Taking care of all of us wasn’t easy. If you’re looking for religious inspiration, look her way. She truly believes faithfully.

So on this special day for them, I send them my love and thanks for all they’ve done for me through the years. They’ve help mold me into who I am.

When Vampires See The Sun…

My sister asked me to come over to her house to see my nephew off the bus today. Yeah, sure, it’s like 3am in the morning for me even though to the rest of the living, it’s like 3pm.

At least, she has all of her blinds pulled so I don’t have to see the direct sunlight. Although, I do find it a little funny she has a lot of garlic all over the place, crosses and very sharp stakes. I’m sure they all don’t mean anything.

I digress, I stopped at Chipotle before arriving at her humble abode. I love Chipotle in the afternoon but they had the place chilled to a meat locker in there today. I mean I guess they’re trying to save on refrigerator costs.

I rushed here after getting some lunch. There was an accident at the intersection before their home. I thought I was going to be late to see him off the bus. My sister told me the bus arrived around 2:10, it was more like 2:20pm. I don’t have a lot of anxiety but all I could think of was my nephew (he’s in 5th grade and old enough to let himself in) wandering about wondering where everyone was.

I’ll never forget seeing him for the first time or holding him. I’ll never also forget taking care of him for an hour (it seemed like eight) while my sister and brother-in-law ran a quick errand. He started to cry and I didn’t know what to do with him. I mean, he was a little bitty baby at that point. I put in a Motown CD and rocked him to it (I guess literally). I told him that this was the real music even though his parents may not play it too often for him. Believe it or not, the little bugger stopped crying and listened to the Temps, Tops and Supremes until his parents got back home. Hopefully, the boy will always have an ear for the good stuff.

When he was about three or four, he started liking Mambo #5 and Rockefeller Skank. I made him a CD with a bunch of songs on it but the CD magically disappeared. I think my sister has something to do with it.

Growing up, he learned how to open a CD case quickly. After that, he figured out how to put the CD in the player. He didn’t always put it in the correct way but I told him, it’s always the shiny part down. I have a picture of him sitting on the floor around tons of CD’s. It’s a great picture and I’ll try to post it.

That being said, my nephew now is a real stinker. He knows why and it’s not because he follows after his Nana either. He hears you when he wants to hear you. He taunts you until you start taunting him back. He’s also too wrapped up in video games during the time of the year it’s best to get outside and just having some fun throwing the football, frisbee or playing a little baseball.

His current fascination is “All Star” by Smashmouth, even though he’s a little late on that party but whatever. It’s all good, he’s an all star to me!

Who Cut The Cheese?

So the quote goes “It’s better to fart in public and bear the shame than hold it in and bear the pain.”

That’s the saying my mother has lived by all of her life. Believe me, I’m not letting any of the skeletons out of our family closet, if you know my mother, she’s comfortable bearing shame and not the pain.

When my sister and I were kids, if she had to pass some gas at a restaurant or while shopping she was quick to let people know around us that it wasn’t her but one of us. “taawd, did you poo-poo in your diaper?” “taawyna, do you not feel good, does your little tummy hurt?” she’d ask us, all while passing a little flatulence.

Nothing is holy to her, not even church, where she was known to cut the cheese, in the SBD form.

On our way home from church, it was like 10 degrees outside and my grandfather was driving. My mother stepped on a duck and the smell wafted through the car. My grandfather, who doesn’t say much, exclaimed “Jo!” and then proceeded to roll down ALL of the windows and let the cold in and the smell out.

I love my mother, even the farting, just not the smell!

My Grandmother’s Blog Fodder

My grandmother cracks me up. When I call my mother and she’s with my grandmother, I normally get passed to her. I love talking to her. She does say somethings that make me wonder, specifically when she passes along obit information on someone I don’t even know.

Here’s the conversation:
Me: Hi Grandma,
Her: How are you doing (calls me by my middle name)
Me: Fine, I’m rockin’ it out (I say such things to keep things interesting)
Her: Do you remember Glenda Jones (name changed — I’ll stop with the parentheses already –I can’t believe I spelled that word correctly)
Me: No
Her: Yes, you do. They lived next to us when your mother was growing up.
Me: Grandma, I wasn’t alive when my mom was growing up so how would I know them. Did they still live next door when I was a kid?
Her: No, they moved away when your mother was in high school.
Me: Well, did they visit after moving away?
Her: No, but they had that dog that would always bark all night long, your grandfather hated it but would never say anything.
Me: Yeah, grandpa’s that kind of person, never to stir up trouble.
Her: No, he doesn’t but that dog would really drive him crazy. But the Jones family were nice people. I wish they hadn’t moved away.
Me: So what’s with Glenda, this person, I don’t know.
Her: She died yesterday.
Me: Well, I’m sorry to hear that. Thanks for brightening up my day.

The funny thing is apparently this is a grandmother thing because I was just talking to someone the other day and they say the same thing happened to them.

(some of the conversation has been changed, exaggerated and enhanced for humor for the sake of this blog. a similar conversation, i assure you, has happened at least 5 times. now i just say “Did he/she die” at the beginning of the conversation)

Don’t Turn My Underwear Pink

My mother and father raised me and my sister right. They get kudos for it from their friends. I, of course, like hearing that people think my sister and I are not maladjusted.

Growing up in the “S” household meant knowing how to do things, namely, dishes, laundry (learning how not to turn underwear pink,) dusting, sweeping and vacuuming, and yes, even cooking and baking. I’ve blogged about my dad’s influence on me here before so it’s my mother’s turn. My mother made sure both of her children knew how to keep care of themselves and prepared us for life. When I went off to college it was me who made sure my college buddies didn’t screw up their clothes in the laundry. My mother just made sure we knew how to keep our lives on track (and clean.) This came from the same woman who would fluff pillows on the couch before the person even got up.

Here’s where the admission comes into play. I like to cook and occassionally bake. Yes, bake. Not really for the joy it may bring others while they’re in the kitchen but the fringe benefits it offers me. This brings me to a story that I never let my sister live down. Many Christmases ago, in a land far, far away (from Cleveland… that would be Wayne County) I decided I would bake some Christmas cookies. My father was at work. My mother was working also and didn’t think she’d get time to bake the annual holiday cookies so I took the bull by the horns, opened up her recipe box and started putting together the ingredients to Mexican Wedding Cookies and to my mother’s Christmas cookies (with deference to Marianne B. for either the recipe or the frosting, complete with lemon flavoring).

{start dramatic music}

I slaved away in that kitchen all day long, making dozens of cookies for my family to enjoy. My sister came home first…

{end dramatic music, start Dragnet-like music}

Then my mother arrived, she was stunned somebody had made all of the cookies for the season. I remember she was really busy doing something that holiday so she wasn’t going to make them. I digress. My sister promptly told my mother, she’d made all of the cookies while I watched TV or something like that all day. My mother complimented my sister on how good every cookie looked and how she didn’t even have a lot of success with the Mexican Wedding Cookies.

I was stunned. I’d worked all day and my sister was taking AND getting the credit for my accomplishments. I told my mother I made the cookies. She rolled her eyes and said something like there was no way I’d made the cookies and they came out that good. Believe it or not, it was years before my sister relented and actually admitted she had no part in making the cookies that day. I believe she also claimed amnesty for several other fibs as well. God, I always got in trouble for things I didn’t do and just took the punishment. Come to think of it, that still happens today.

I cook often (what do you want, I’m a bachelor) but every now and then just to prove to myself that I can, I’ll try to bake something. There’s nothing better than having some fresh Toll House cookies in my place or even Nolan’s mother’s Pistachio Cake. Before you say anything about this post, I’ll gladly let you come over to my house and bake something for me.

Here’s the recipe for the Pistachio Cake:

White or yellow cake mix (I think Nolan’s mom uses Yellow)
One 3 oz. box of pistachio instant pudding
4 eggs
3/4 cup oil
3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp Water

Bake 350 degrees for 30 – 35 minutes in a 9×13 greased & floured

2 cups powered sugar, 1/3 cup water, 2 tspns vanilla.

Turn off oven, poke holes in cake, pour on glaze, put in oven for
additional 5 minutes.

It’s great, I’ve made it, it’s very moist and rich.

Try it, you won’t be disappointed,

Happy Birthday, Dad (err, two days late)

I’m officially a horrible son!

I realized while talking to my mother this morning that I’d missed my father’s birthday. It’s not that I don’t love him, it’s that I’m a dense dude who has no idea what the date is. I’ve been on vacation for the past two days and apparently I’ve just checked out. My back-up isn’t even there for me anymore. My phone, the Samsung Instinct, doesn’t do the calendar function very well. My “Q” never let me forget anyone’s birthday. So, happy birthday Dad from the world’s worst (temporarily, I hope) son! You rock!

The Busy Weekend Ahead…

Okay stalkers out there, here’s the rundown for what’s going to be a looong 4-days!

After I leave work tomorrow, I’m off until Monday. God, thank you for some vacation time. Will I rest? No! Of course, I’m packed to the gills with plans.

Here’s the rundown:

I have a planning committee meeting with the Ohio Canal Corridor about the upcoming “Toast To The Trail.” If you don’t know about it, make sure you save the date. It’s going to be a lot of fun. The night should be a lot of fun.

The Indians take on the Tigers for a businessman’s special. First pitch is 1:05pm. They are my two favorite teams and I get to see them at Jacobs (ahem, Progressive) Field.

I get to hang out with one of my best friends, Rebecca, at “Twilight At The Zoo”. Oh, the humanity! Add Disco Inferno into the mix and there will probably be some debauchery involved.

Get up early and be down in Wayne County, we’re talkin’ Sterling people for the Schorle Family Reunion. I’ll eat, shake some hands, get a couple of inappropriate hugs by a couple of relatives. Don’t worry, I’ve been through the situation with my therapist. I joke. I can’t stay that long because it’s Camp Krusty’s on Whiskey Island. I’ll spend the day with R+R, Patrick & Lisa and whomever else will be on the island for the big fundraiser for the Malachi House. Gotta support the neighborhood non-profits!

REST — Did I just fill up all of the days off? Relaxation, who needs it?

The Parents & The Second Parents

My mom and dad and the people I’ve always considered my second parents got to put up with my shenanigans for about 24 hours. It was great playing host to them so they could see the fireworks.