Monday, April 30, 2007


Jason, my parents, and I went to the funeral for Anne's son this past Saturday. 
It was a gray and rainy day.. rather fitting for the mood of everyone in
attendance, naturally. I went up to Anne first to give her a hug, and see how
she was doing. When asked how she was, she told me she was pretending to ok. I
can't even imagine what she was feeling in her heart.. burying her "little" boy.

I was able to briefly speak with each of Anne's sisters, whom I had met once
before.. and it was nice to see them both, though regrettably under those
circumstances. At the luncheon, I got to meet her "baby" brother Tom, whom I
have heard SO much about. She always referred to him as the Messiah... being
the youngest, his older sister spoiled him, and still do to this day. When I
first met him, he shook my hand, and I genuflected in front of him as a play on
the "messiah" nickname. Anne, Tom, and her family burst out laughing. Tom
reminds me so much of Anne. He has a huge heart, and an AWESOME sense of humor.
I'm glad I was finally able to meet him in person.

I haven't had a chance to talk with Anne since Saturday. I know her sisters are
staying with her, so as long as I know she has company, I am going to stay out
of the way. She needs some time with family right now, and although she and I
are very close, I'd feel in the way and out of place right now. I am off of
work Wednesday, so I will call her then to see how she is.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Bing went bald!

My hair grows much too fast! I get it buzzed every two weeks, but by the time I'm due for another trim, I look like a chia pet gone crazy. So, I told her "buzz it ALL". I kinda like it, and since I wear hats a lot, it's nice not to have hat hair. It may just be a summer look for me, or I may just go back to how I normally keep my hair.. but for now, it's new, and I kinda like it. =-P

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Is the Week Over Yet?

This is turning out to be one long, daunting week. It is my last week of class, ending with my third exam on Thursday. I have a LOT of studying to do, as well as my lab which must get completed. Thankfully, I have only to write the conclusion, and it will be done. Please God.. all I ask is for a C in this course... nothing too miraculous.. just a C would be nice!!!

I went over to Anne's today to help her pick out some readings for her son's funeral on Saturday, as well as type up some of the readings for her, and bring over the picture of her son Jerry I had made up at work to use at the funeral. She and Vince are doing their best to keep going, but I can see it in their faces how utterly drained they both are. Anne told me today that after the funeral she thinks she is just going to collapse. Right now she is being driven by the fact that she knows things have to get done.. so she's in work mode. She told me it's in the next few weeks where she will really need me, when this finally does hit her full force. I'm glad she feels she can come to me.. I only wish there was more I could do.. if only I could some how wrap her up in a blanket and keep her from all this pain. But, the cold hard fact is, I can't.. no one can.

As if she didn't have enough on her mind, her granddaughter, Parris, has had at least two surgeries in the past two days due to infections. She has not been able to leave intensive care, and the doctors are still having a hard time with her blood pressure. Her colon has been swelling, and they had to give her a colostopy (spelling?). The doctors said it is reversible, but they have no idea at this point if she will be able to have it reversed, or need it for the rest of her life. I'll keep everyone posted as I get more news on her health. Just keep this kid in your hearts and minds.. she needs it!

I did get some good news today, which was quite a welcomed surprise. My friend Dave was just promoted to Finance Manager at the car dealership he works at. This means a nice pay raise for him, salary, and even an eventual company car. I'm so happy for him.. and damn proud of him too. He's a hard worker, and a good salesman -- and an honest one too (if there really is such a thing). Bout time some good came his way.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


The weather the past two days has been WONDERFUL. Went with Jason to Forrest Lawn Cemetery yesterday for a walk around. The sunshine is a wonderful treat, and it's nice to get out of the house to go somewhere other than school or work.

I stopped in to see Anne and Vince today. Brought some flowers from my family, and some baked goods I made them. Her oldest son is in from out of town, and her three other sons were there also.. helping her and Vince make arrangements for Jerry's funeral. She is doing as well as can be expected, and I appreciate all the support and well wishes that have been made to me from people who have read this blog. Believe me when I say it is greatly appreciated.

Her granddaughter, Parris, is still in intensive care. They are having difficulty regulating her blood pressure. She has eaten some soft foods, but is still having a rough time. Anne is looking forward to the day when she can at least talk to her on the phone.

I did get some good news today, which was a welcomed change. I had been monitoring the condition of my old friend Tim, who was diagnosed with malignant melanoma, and was undergoing treatment for it. At his last doctor's visit, it was confirmed that the treatments had worked, and he is cancer free. Though he is no longer a physical presence in my life, it's nice to know he will be ok.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Tragedy Close to Home

I woke up this morning to see plenty of news coverage of shootings and killings on a college campus. "Not again" was the phrase that kept going through my head. Some how though, the news reports on tv were not what was on my mind this morning.. it was an e-mail I had received from my best friend Anne. It simply said that she needed me to call her when I was able, and that she needed to talk to me. She ended this brief message with the words "PRAY PRAY PRAY".

I was scared. So much was going on in her life... something was wrong, very wrong. Did something happen to her already fragile health? Her husband? I tried calling three times but couldn't reach her. Finally around 2:3oPM I managed to get through to her. I heard her somber voice on the other end of the phone, and I simply said "What happened?". Her voice never once faltered or gave way to cries, she simply stayed somber and began speaking as if in a library. "Michael, you just won't believe it. We're all in complete shock."

She had confided in me a while ago that the marriage between her son Jerry and his wife had fallen apart. She had left him, and he was not taking it very well. While I won't go into all the details, to anyone who knew Jerry and his wife, this was a complete shock. They were always together, discussed everything, and lived for each other and their two girls. The couple had attempted counseling, but to no avail. All during lent Anne was making small sacrifices, not just because it was lent, but because she wanted to offer those sacrifices for her son, and his family.

On Sunday Anne was informed by her sons that Jerry had committed suicide earlier that day. He had shot himself, but not before pointing the gun at his two daughters, Delaney (age 6) and Parris (age 13). Jerry was killed instantly, and Delaney later died at a local hospital. Parris is being hospitalized, though they have removed the breathing tube, and she has spoken a few words.

The entire family is in utter shock. Anne kept saying all she could do was offer this to God, and put the souls of her loved ones in His hands. I admire her deep faith... it is what is keeping her alive today.

No one knows why Jerry would have pointed the gun at his daughters. The family told the local Dallas newspaper (where the family lived) that his children meant everything to him, and maybe he wanted the girls with him. The media I'm sure has depicted him as some kind of monster, but nothing could be further from the truth. He lived for his girls, and perhaps it was the thought of losing them that drove him to the point of death. Only God in His infinite mercy will know what was going on in his heart and mind that day.

For all of you reading this blog, I ask that you please pray for my friend Anne, and for her whole family. They need our prayers, good thoughts, positive energy... whatever it is you choose to call it... keep them in your hearts.

Not Easy

"To bend, but not to break. To yield, but not capitulate. To have pride, but also humility."

I struggle with this every day, and most times fail. For those of you to whom this comes naturally... you're quite fortunate.

Sometimes life for me seems to be either one extreme or the other. One of these days I will learn to stop the pendulum somewhere in the middle.

Friday, April 13, 2007

SOME good news

It turns out the TA who grades the labs for the section of the class that I'm in is a rather stingy grader. So, the professor announced today that we were awarded an extra 5 points on our last lab. It's not much, but believe me when I say every point helps!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Spring fever?

I think spring fever is really getting to me. To say I'm lethargic is a gross understatement. The most productive I've been today is printing out piles of reports and readings for class, as well as over doing it on the elliptical and treadmill.

I'm not sure if it's the lack of sunshine or what, but I want to GET OUT and DO SOMETHING! Most of my friends work or are busy during the day... and going to the bar and spending money on booze isn't actually my idea of a fun time in the evening... though I might make an appearance this weekend. I HAVE to go out, in the hopes that someone will see me... and if they don't run away, they might just want to hang out. Though, a month seems to be as long as I can keep a man before scaring him away.

I usually have a hard time sleeping, but it seems to be getting worse. I haven't had a good night's sleep in a LONG time. I'm sure that is adding to the lethargicness (is that even a word??).

Oh well.. I bitched about it, it didn't make me feel better, so I might as well stop bitching.

Monday, April 9, 2007


Despite the fact it was cold and gray out, it was a wonderful Easter Sunday.

I started off the day at Mass, to ponder the real meaning of the Easter holiday. The Gloria was returned to the Mass, as well as the use of the term "Alleluah". I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Then it was off to Aunt Joan's house to have brunch with Dad's side of the family. Aunt Joan did a great job with the mountains of breakfast food, and homemade chocolate candies. Mom's brother Vinny was in from NC, and came with us for Brunch.. which was a nice treat. He broke up with his girl friend, which is of course hard on him, especially for a holiday, so I'm sure he appreciated having somewhere to go.

I came home and enjoyed the down time before everyone came over the house for dinner. Caught a good movie on TV, and watched the Holy Father's "Urbi et Orbi" speech from Rome.

Dinner started at 5:30, and everyone left around midnight. We didn't think anyone was going to be here for dinner, but it turned out that Aunt Karen, Uncle Tony, Tony Jr. Uncle Vinny, Joe, and Katie ended up coming. :) Jason stopped by at 7 for dinner and desert. We had such a nice evening. We were all exhausted when the night was over, but we had a wonderful time talking over coffee and tea.

I have registered for my grad classes for the summer and fall semesters. I'll be taking three classes over the summer, and four (so far) in the fall. My bio class does pose a problem though.. If I don't earn at least a C average in the class, it won't count, and I'll have to take another science course sometime soon. That will really mess my plans up.. so keep a good thought for me. Also, for my initial certification, I have to follow UB's calendar of courses. One of the required courses I have to take in the Fall is already filled up. Figures. Now I have to try to get myself forced in, which most professors refuse to do. There's ALWAYS something. Oh well.. one battle at a time.

Friday, April 6, 2007

This & That

Wednesday Jason and I made our annual visit to the Broadway Market on the east side of Buffalo. Formerly the hub of "Polonia" or Western New York's predominant polish community, the Market is a mere shadow of it's former glory. Despite the dwindling number of vendors and patrons, the Market still retains some of it's charm, and it is a visit I look forward to making. The smells of the meat markets and baked good stands is still enough to get one's mouth watering, and there is more than enough kielbasa, pierogie, and pastries to suit every one's taste.

The Broadway Market is famous still for their butter lambs. There is a shop there which has been selling these homemade butter lambs since the early days of the market. I always have to make a trek just to SEE these lambs on display, and usually contemplate buying one for Easter Sunday dinner. They can be a little pricey though, and my family would not really appreciate it... let them use CountryCrock. As fate would have it though.. I was destined to go home with a butter lamb in hand... sorta.

Jason and I went antique shopping up and down Hertel Ave. in North Buffalo. In one of the shops I found an old cast iron mold used to make the famous Broadway Market style butter lambs (and cakes). I picked it up, then put it down, but kept my eye on it. For the cost of three edible butter livestock, I was able to purchase an Easter keepsake that would last longer than the main course... and own a piece of nostalgic history too.

My Uncle came in from out of town today, and took the family out to breakfast. I've been having a hard time sleeping, and declined the breakfast offer in favor of sleeping in. I took advantage of the quiet home, and got some baking for Sunday done. Jason's boyfriend Nick gave me a recipe for "Lemon Meringue" cake. It's not overly difficult, but it is time consuming. There were a few things in the recipe that as the work progressed were a bit annoying. Each cake layer had to be cut in half, leaving me with four FLIMSY cake layers, which started to tear more than once. Next time I will most likely NOT cut the layers, and make it a regular two layer cake.. like it matters to the taste at all?

The meringue part had me worried. I had heard people saying what a pain it can be if not made right, and if it did not come out thick. When I made it according to the directions, it just didn't seem right. I added more of this, more of that.. it still didn't look right. I tried adding more sugar to it.. and come to find out that was a big "no-no". That will make it gritty. Damn. I took the cake out of the oven, with a nice browned meringue, but I kept envisioning people spitting it out for tasting too sweet, and too gritty. So, my rule about NEVER CUTTING UP A CAKE BEFORE IT'S SERVED went out the window. I took a small sliver of the cake to see whether or not it was even edible... and it tasted AWESOME! My mind is much more at ease knowing it came out right, and I'd rather have my family tease me for putting out a desert that was missing a slice, than for one that tasted awful. St. Julia Child.. pray for us! =-)

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

In Memoriam

This post is made to remember the life of my great Aunt Gertrude.. Gert, or Gerty as we all called her. She was in her early 80's, and entered into eternal rest today, a long time sufferer from dementia and heart problems.

Gert was the oldest of nine children... sister to my maternal grandfather. I only had the chance to see Aunt Gert once a year, during my maternal grandmother's annual family reunion. Both Grandparents came from the same area of Pa, and Gramps always made sure we stopped in to visit "Gerty" on the way back to Buffalo. My older brother Joe and I used to LOVE to go to her home to visit. She was always so sweet and kind to us kids. A very gentle woman, and ALWAYS a classy looking lady.

She was quite the Tom-boy all through her life, yet always still a lady. She used to beat the crap out of neighborhood bullies, and liked sports. One would never think it by looking at her.. a tall woman, always very slender, and always the proper dressed lady.. but she was not a person to be messed with. Once, at the age of 73, she was at a bus station waiting for a bus, when a mugger tried to steal her purse. She beat the crap out of him with her umbrella.. he ran away nursing his arm, and she walked away with her purse.

She suffered more losses than any human soul should have to suffer in a life time, and always held her head high, worked hard, and found strength in her faith. She lost her son to diabetes, her husband at an early age (she's been widowed since 1977) her grandson committed suicide, and found her sister's body after she took her own husband's life, and then her own life. Through it all, she managed to live her life, and take care of herself with no family in the area, not knowing how to drive, and living alone until she was forced into a nursing home five years ago due to complications from dementia.

When I was about 8 years old, she heard I liked "old" things, and presented me with an old pocket watch, which was well worn. It belonged to her father in law, who like her husband, worked for the Pennsylvania RailRoad. It is a Waltham, which I later dated to be from between 1900 and 1910. It didn't work when she gave it to me, but I later had it overhauled to working condition. That little momento has meant the world to me, and served as a reminder of such a simple, yet magnificent soul.

She will always be remembered in my heart and mind as woman of inner strength, and a woman of great faith!

Eternal Rest grant unto her O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in Peace.
Gertrude, Requescat in Pace.

about you

You are a Curator

  • You are straightforward and real, down-to-earth, and have a healthy respect for order and stability. These attributes, complemented by your desire to be surrounded by things of beauty, make you a CURATOR.

  • You don't feel the need to try everything new that comes along – you know what you like and what you want.

  • You are a no-nonsense person, not someone who falls for pretensions.

  • Being strongly grounded in the here-and-now, you are practical and realistic about yourself and your life.

  • You find comfort and calmness in your habits and routines.

  • Although others might not know this about you, you strongly appreciate aesthetic qualities, noticing whether something is well-designed and stylish.

  • You have a refined sense of taste, and you want your environments to reflect your preferred style.

  • There are times when you feel insecure and vulnerable, even though you know deep down that you are a good person.

  • You aren't narcissistic – you allow yourself to be realistic about your positive and negative qualities.

  • You're not one to force your positions on a group, and you tend to be fair in evaluating different options.

  • You prefer to have time to plan for things, feeling better with a schedule than with keeping plans up in the air until the last minute.

  • It wouldn't hurt to indulge your imagination and creativity sometimes. These are skills like any other, and develop with practice, so try to carve out some time for them in your life.

  • Try to quiet your inner feelings of doubt – you will be more successful if you can overcome these worries and focus on your many strengths, such as your responsible and honest nature.

  • how you relate to others

    You are Advocating

  • Being social, empathic, and understanding makes you ADVOCATING.

  • Some people find being around others exhausting—but not you! You are energized by spending time with friends, and you are good at meeting new people.

  • One of the reasons you enjoy conversation as much as you do is that you often learn about yourself while talking things out with a friend; you realize things about your own beliefs while discussing them with others.

  • You have insight into what others are thinking and feeling. This ability allows you to be happy for others, and to commiserate when something has gone wrong for them.

  • You are highly compassionate, and being conscious of how things affect those close to you leaves you cautious about trusting others too hastily.

  • Despite these reservations, you are open-minded when it comes to your worldview; you don't look to impose your ways on others.

  • Your sensitivity towards others' plights contributes to an understanding—both intellectual and emotional—of many different perspectives.

  • As someone who understands the complexities of the world around you, you are reluctant to pass judgments.

  • You're not one to force your positions on a group, and you tend to be fair in evaluating different options.

  • You prefer to have time to plan for things, feeling better with a schedule than with keeping plans up in the air until the last minute.

  • While it's important to think about others, don't forget to take some time for yourself, and occassionally to put yourself first.

  • Take some time to spend with a few close friends; although it's difficult to find people to trust, it's worth the effort.

  • When you have great ideas, it can be hard to relinquish control, but it can also feel good to take the pressure off and enjoy someone else leading the way.