February 26, 2013

  • The Ball Of Shame Awards


    Baseball season is coming!  Fans look forward to the crack of the bat, the smell of popcorn and the chance to cheer on their team.  They bring their friends, their wives and their kids.  All of them hope to be in the right spot, at the right time to catch a souvenir foul ball.

    Little ones line up and wait..and wait..and wait.  Then, here is comes, the ball they’ve been waiting for.  As it comes closer, you can see the look of hope in their eyes as they reach out to grab the foul ball.

    But, wait!  Just as their little hands are within reach of the prize; an adult grabs up the ball and leaves the kid empty-handed.  Way to go, sports fans!  And, let’s not forget the parents, so caught up in the moment of seeing a foul ball come their way that  forget about the kid they are holding.

    So, without further ado, let me introduce four new inductees into the “Ball Of Shame Hall Of Fame.”


    The first award goes to a father in Taiwan who is holding his little girl in his lap.  He spies the foul ball coming his way, jumps up and dumps the toddler to the ground. Now, this fan has already received a long death stare from his wife after she watches him drop their kid on her butt, but we feel he deserves special recognition for his disregard for his child’s safety.  Way to go, Dad.


    The next award goes to the dad who holds his infant in one arm while reaching out with his other to catch that all so valuable foul ball.  We respect his decision to bring an infant to a baseball game and not worry that a ball might just boink his little one in the head.  Hey, break your little ones in right, huh fella?


    The third award goes to the couple who certainly worked hard for this award.  Sitting next to them at a Rangers game was 3-year-old Kyle and his parents.  A foul ball was thrown into their row and lands in front of Kyle’s seat.  The woman in the couple next to the little boy, scoops up the ball from the ground and flashes the ball for all to see.  She totally ignores the fact that Kyle is crying his eyes out because he didn’t get the ball.  To add insult to injury, she then has her husband take her picture holding the ball while Kyle looks on, sobbing.  Let’s have a round of applause for this totally self-involved couple!


    The final award goes to a woman who has given a new meaning to the phrase “bad fan.”  Standing next to a young girl, she misses the foul ball, grabs it out of the kids hands and jumps back to her seat.  While the little girl slowly walks up the steps in disappointment, this woman turns to her friends and get high fives for her success in stealing a ball from a kid.  I guess she forgot one of the cardinal rules for baseball fans..the one that states that GROWN-UPS GIVE THE BALLS TO THE KIDS!

    Well, that’s it for this year, folks.  We had many nominees for the Ball Of Shame Award but these four winners exemplified outstanding disregard for the safety of their child in order to catch a foul ball or a willingness to smash a kid’s dream by stealing their ball.

    So, welcome to these baseball fans who have certainly earned the award  and the right to HANG THEIR HEADS IN SHAME!

February 20, 2013

  • Blogging From The Heart..Writing From The Soul


    I was talking to a friend a few days ago and I told her how excited I was to be blogging.  I explained that I had always dreamed of being a writer and I had finally found the venue to work on my writing.  She looked confused and I asked her why.  She said that she understood blogging to be part of a social network, where you post your family pictures, or silly posters and you kept people updated on your life.  So, what did blogging have to do with being a writer?  Bloggers write journals while writers publish books was her point of view, so what did one have to do with another?  I told her it was hard to explain and we moved on to another subject.

    I’ve done a lot of thinking about that conversation.  I wondered if I was using my blog site as a means to socialize or to put some serious writing out to the public.  I’ve come to realize that I can do both and still achieve my writing goals.

    The pieces I write can vary from one day to the next.  Some of the posts I write come from the heart; some of the pieces come from my soul.

    When I write a post about a subject that I find ironic, funny or touches me in some way, I write from my heart.  I write about my views as I see them and I write these posts to get things off my chest or to to cheer myself up.  I enjoy writing them and from the feedback I get; some of the readers enjoy them too.  I visualize this writing as conversations with friends and when I read your posts, I am reading them as a friend, even if I don’t know you from Adam.  It’s fun therapy for me and I love it with a passion.

    I have also written pieces about my past, about my family and about events in my life.  These are the things I have written from my soul.  It is sometimes painful to pull these memories and write about them.  But, I believe that these pieces were some of my best and will lead me to being a better writer.  I listen closely to the feedback from the readers and I learn from their comments.

    I also learn different things from reading the posts of my fellow bloggers.  I learn about your lives, your feelings and your take on life.  I read some of these posts as a friend; I read some of them as a writer.  I learn daily from all of your posts and apply those lessons to expanding my writing skills.  And, I thank you for that!

    My ultimate goal is to write short stories or even a novel.  I realize that what I have been trying to do by blogging is to find a way to write from both my heart and my soul, blend those two worlds together.  And I believe that blogging has me on the right path to achieving those goals.

    So, there is really no difference between blogging and writing.  It’s all in how you want to use the medium to achieve your specific goals.  And, that’s what I’m going to tell my friend the next time I see her!

February 18, 2013

  • A Little Gloating Going On

    Oh yeah.  Why? Well, let me give you a little back story.  Danny and I have a friend named Jerry; we have been friends with him for years.  His wife, who we loved dearly, passed away about four years ago.  Last year Jerry met a woman named Joan and they have become a couple.  I don’t like Joan, plain and simple.  She is loud, bossy, rude and generally unlikable; but Jerry seems happy with her, so we tolerate her..barely.

    For the past year, I have had to listen to Joan brag about her 13 year-old granddaughter, whose beauty and talent is unsurpassed (according to Joan).  Now, I have a 13 year-old granddaughter, Elizabeth.  I am a proud grandmother, but I don’t flash pictures of my girl and exclaim on how she is the prettiest child alive.  Joan does.  I don’t claim that my granddaughter will be a star because she appeared in a school musical (once)  and I won’t flash the pictures that a professional photographer took to promote the event.  Joan does.  I don’t force people to listen to me brag for hours on end about her glorious granddaughter.  Joan does.  She gloats.

    Now, for those of you who don’t know what gloating is, I’ll fill you in.  According to my pal Wikipedia, it’s to exhibit a conspicuous sense of self-satisfaction, often at an adversary’s misfortune.  In my book, it means shoveling crap and rubbing it In Your Face!

    I understand taking pride in the accomplishments of your grandchildren.  I get that..but to have to sit and listen to this woman go on and on and on gets tedious.  Now, you might think this is all sour grapes on my part but I would have to beg to differ with you.

    Elizabeth has her own share of accomplishments, but I don’t yell about them from the rooftops.  If you ask me if I have a picture of her, I’ll show you the latest school photo.  I won’t carry a folder with the professional shots taken of her, I keep those at home on the walls.  I might mention that she won 3rd place in the town’s singing contest and quietly slide the newspaper with her picture on the front across the table for you to see.  I might complain of all the traveling I have to do to see my granddaughter sing at different venues in and outside of town.  And I might talk about her latest straight A report card and let you know that she’s been in accelerated learning classes since 1st grade.  But, I never gloat.

    Well,  the gloves are coming off.  I’ve got the right ammunition now to shoot Joan’s constant bragging down and bring her to her knees.  I’m gonna gloat and I’m gonna gloat big time.  How?

    This is how…may I HUMBLY present my granddaughter, Elizabeth An D’Amico, shown here on the COVER of the March Issue of the Harbor Style Magazine.



February 16, 2013

  • The Dark Man In The Night

    I remember it was snowing.  I remember that I was 12 that winter.  And, I remember the Dark Man.

    It was the early 60′s.  It was just after supper and I was on my way home from getting a loaf of bread from our local A&P.  Winter nights came early, so it was dark as I took my time walking down the main street.  I loved walking in the snow and watched the small flakes drift by the streetlights.  Our local bank, just blocks from our house, stood alone on the corner, surrounded by trees and bushes.  As I passed the front entrance of the bank, I heard a man’s voice say “Hello.”

    He stood in the shadow of a large oak tree, leaning against the trunk.  His hair was as black as the long coat he wore.  A dark scarf was wrapped loosely around his neck; his hands were covered in gloves.  His eyes were like coal and he had white, pasty looking skin.  He looked older than my brother; younger than my dad.  At first, I thought he might be the man who lived across the street from us, but as he stood up straight and started to walk towards me, I realized he was a stranger.

    As I watched him approach me, I suddenly sensed something was not right.  I remember thinking that I should run, but I felt frozen in place and could only watch as he walked to the sidewalk I stood on.

    “Where are you going?” he asked in a soft voice.  I couldn’t answer, my throat felt tight and I just stared back at him, unable to move. He reached into one of his pockets and pulled something out. As he came closer, he held out his hand and I saw small red candies nestled in the palm of his glove, tempting me to reach for one and bring me closer to him.  Suddenly he stopped.  I watched his head turn in the direction of the corner of the street. I turned to see what he was looking at.

    Two nuns were crossing the road and heading our way.  They wore long, black habits and their stark white cornettes resembled two large doves spreading their wings to fly.  They were coming from the direction of St. Ann’s Church and heading towards the store I had left just a short time ago.  The younger nun smiled at me and both of them bowed their heads slightly in greeting.  As they passed, I found I could once again move.  I turned around and walked behind them, leaving the Dark Man behind.

    As the nuns continued their conversation, I kept waiting for a heavy hand to land on my shoulder, taking me away from the safety of the nuns.  After walking a short distance, I looked back at the place where I had left the Dark Man.  I saw him standing where I had been just a few moments ago, with his shoulders slumped, his hands stuck back in his pockets and a frown on his face.  He took one gloved hand out of his pocket and waved to me; beckoning me back.

    I turned around and followed the sisters all the way back to the A&P.  I watched out the window of the store until I was sure that there was no one lurking nearby. I took a different route home, a route that I would take to the store for the rest of the winter, a route that would not require me to walk past the bank in the dark.  I didn’t mention the Dark Man to my parents.  I was afraid they would think I was making up a story or laugh at me for being scared of a man who just wanted to say hello.

    I never forgot the Dark Man; he haunted my nightmares for months; he snuck into my thoughts for years and today, when I hear of a missing child, I remember how lucky I had been to escape the Dark Man in the night.

    This is a true story.  I’ve never told anyone; always fearing that no one would believe me.  But, it did happen and the memory does haunt me.  I’m hoping that, by finally writing about this night, the Dark Man will no longer chase me in my dreams.

    Have you ever had a close call that haunts you to this day? 

February 14, 2013

  • Valentine’s Day – Not Just Another Hallmark Moment

    Valentine’s Day is here!  Little one’s are bringing their valentines for their teachers and classmates; woman are wondering what their lovers have in store for them and men are storming the stores to get the perfect gift for their girl.  Romantic dinners will abound, jewelry will be presented with the long-awaited question of “Will you?” and chocolates presented in velvet red boxes will be consumed by the tons.  Oh, yes, love is in the air!

    But, who started this festival of love?  Well, against popular belief, it wasn’t Hallmark.  Valentines Day traditions started centuries ago and are celebrated in many countries.

    The most popular legend of how Valentine’s Day started dates back to around 270 A.D., with a priest named Valentinus.  Now, the priest was imprisoned for thumbing his nose at the Roman Empires laws regarding soldiers marrying and he also had the nerve to give aid and comfort to Christians.  This was a big no-no in that day and age.  While he was in prison, he cured his jailer’s daughter, Julia, of her blindness.  Before he was executed, he sent a letter of farewell to her and signed it, “From your Valentine.”  After his death, Julia planted an almond tree in his honor.  And, so it began.  He was later proclaimed a saint and now Valentine’s Day is known as “The Feast of St. Valentine.”

    Now, Chaucer was the first to write about this day of love in 1392 in his poem, “Parlement of Foules” where he wrote “For this was on St. Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.”  It’s been argued that February is too soon for birds to be mating; if you were born in November or you know someone who was, count back the months.  Someone was feeling the love in February!

    In the 1700′s a publisher issued a book titled “The Young Man’s Valentine Writer” for those guys that couldn’t think up their own Valentine greetings for their gals.  Printers had started printing a few cards and verses known as “mechanical valentines.”  This started the card industry as we know it today.  Over the years, paper and lace cards were replaced with mass produced Valentines and now we have e-cards flooding cyberspace.

    In the second half of the 20th century, cards were no longer enough.  The practice of giving candy, flowers and other gifts became the norm.  The 1980′s ushered in the jewelry industry pushing their diamonds as a must have for women with serious lovers.

    So, guys, when you’re putting a dent in that charge card, you can blame St. Valentine.  And, ladies, while you’re flashing your diamonds; you can look to the heavens and thank the man who started it all with a simple “From your Valentine.”

    Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours.


February 8, 2013

  • The Family With No Hugs

    My father never hugged me.  I don’t know why.

    My dad was an orphan at a very young age.  His mother died giving birth to a daughter and his “Da”  died of Hodgkin’s disease when my father was ten years old.  He and his sister were taken in by his mother’s sister.   This aunt and her husband doted on my father’s sister, dressed her in new clothes and spent hours parading her around the parks.  They barely tolerated my dad, dressed him in hand-me-downs and he was sent off to play in the parks by himself.

    Sad, lonely and miserable, my dad ran away from the this uncaring home in New Jersey and set off to walk to Connecticut, where he knew he had other aunts and uncles from his father’s side.  He prayed one would take him in.  He was picked up by police within miles of his destination; a phone call to the aunt was made and she told them to deliver him to my father’s brother, who lived in Black Rock, Connecticut.  His uncle Tom, took pity on him and gave him shelter.  His uncle had no trouble convincing the aunt that my dad was better off with him; she gave no objections, at all.

    My dad would often talk of his life with his Uncle Tom.  Tom and his wife were childless so they adopted my dad a year later.  He talked about the love and the respect he had for his new family and the joys of being raised with many other doting aunts and uncles.  He talked little about his life before them.

    My mother never hugged me.  I don’t know why.

    My Mom was raised in a middle income family in Fairfield, Connecticut.  Her parents both worked hard to give my mom and her brother all they needed.  But, her parents had an unhappy marriage.  My Grandpop was a philanderer while my Nana suffered the humiliation and pain silently, they were Catholic and divorce was out of the question.  My mom was brought up in a house filled with anger, resentment, and cold silences.  My mom’s brother escaped into the Navy and my mom escaped into marriage as soon as she could.

    My Mom and Dad met during the end of World War II, in a bar.  They had been dating but a few short months when my mom became pregnant with my oldest brother.  They married and went on to have four children; I was the third.

    My father was an alcoholic, a funny lovable drunk, who showered my mom with presents when he came home from a long night of drinking.  He had trouble keeping a job, so my mother was usually the main breadwinner in our house. We didn’t have much growing up but we kids had each other.  But, my parents didn’t hug and we kids didn’t hug, and I don’t know why.

    I’m getting older now and I look back at my childhood with a grownup eye.  I realize that being brought up in a house with no hugs was the reason that I now hug everyone I love.  My children would feel my love when I hugged them off to school or before they went to sleep.  I treasured those hugs.

    I’m with a man now that isn’t afraid to hug.  We hug before one of us leaves the house and we hug when one returns.  I feel complete when my arms are wrapped around a friend, my man or my kids and their families.  I especially hug my granddaughter, and with each hug I tell her how much I love her.  I now give and get all the hugs I never got growing up.

    But, I still feel sad that my family never hugged me.  And, I don’t know why.

February 6, 2013

  • I Hear Voices!

    Well, it’s only one voice really.  It’s the voice of my Muse.

    Sometimes, she speaks softly and sometimes, she shouts.  She speaks to me during the early morning hours, she interrupts my day, and then sometimes she’ll whisper to me as I start to fall asleep.  And I listen.  And I write.

    Muses inspire us.  They are in all of us and we just have to learn to listen to them.  We have to put our worries, insecurities and doubts aside and hear what our Muse has to say.  And, they tell us a lot!

    Have you ever sat watching television and suddenly a new idea for a story just pops in your head?  That was your Muse handing you a blessing.  Have you ever been in the grocery store and encountered someone with a unique way of speaking and found that this is what the hero in your novel should sound like?  That was your Muse guiding you.  Did looking at an old family photo trigger a touching memory.  That is your Muse calling to you.

    Muses have always been considered the source of some of the greatest works.  Homer called on them, Chaucer immortalized them, and Dante wrote about them.  So, who are we to ignore these goddesses of the arts?

    Perhaps you don’t hear the Muse in your mind.  Muses speak to us from many other places.  They can be found in books, beautiful sunsets or a haunting melody.  They can exist in the words of an innocent child or on a thought-provoking poster that you pass on the street.  They are everywhere and if you want to be a writer, you will listen and you will write.

    So, when you get a new idea for a story, write it down.  If you wake up in the middle of the night and find that you have discovered the way to end your novel; jump up and work on it.  While you’re having a coffee and a memory pops into your mind, capture it by writing about it.  We cannot ignore our muses or delay their messages.  They will get discouraged and grow silent.


    Don’t be afraid when your Muse speaks to you.  Listen to her.  You’ll be a writer and your Muse will be pleased.




February 4, 2013

  • My Elizabeth Turned 13 Today!

    February 4, 2000

    Elizabeth An D’Amico


    February 4, 2013

    Miss Elizabeth An D’Amico

    How she’s grown!

    Super Active Girl Scout!

    The Apple of her Grandma’s eye!

    Please join me in wishing Elizabeth a very Happy Birthday!

    Note from Grandma:  No, I didn’t misspell her middle name.  Her parents did that.

February 3, 2013

  • Why Am I Fighting With Fiction?


    I love fiction. I’ve read fictional novels and short stories all my life. Fiction has occupied 90% of what I have read in my lifetime. So, why the hell do I have to fight to produce a piece of this genre?

    What holds me back from diving into writing a fictional piece? It’s not that I haven’t studied the ins and outs of character development, plotting and settings. I’ve taken classes, I’ve certainly read enough manuals on the subject and I’ve followed a large number of the great fiction writers, past and present. So, what’s my problem?

    Is it a lack of imagination? Maybe, but then why am I able to lose myself in a good book that is set in Hogwarts, or one that is populated by vampires? Why do I shiver with fear when reading a spooky story? Why would I cheer on the heroes or heroines and watch their struggles and triumphs? Why do I stay up all night reading a great “who done it?” It must take imagination to lose myself in the writer’s world, so I doubt that’s the reason.

    Could the reason be that I don’t feel I can come up with an original novel or story, one that would interest the readers in the plot? Maybe, but all of today’s writers of fiction face that challenge, and I do so love a challenge. I know that I can take a story from a fairy tale, such as Hansel and Gretel and give it a new twist. I could write about two orphans struggling with a new stepmother, a scary principal of a boarding school, and add in a mysterious disappearance or two throughout their school year and probably do all right. So, I don’t think that’s a major roadblock.

    You might ask me if I’ve ever really tried to write a work of fiction. Yes, I have and although the pieces turned out all right,  I didn’t really enjoy writing them.

    Wait a minute. Stop the presses. I just read that last sentence and realized what my problem is!

    All writers must go with what they love to write about, and my love happens to be for the world around me. I believe that if you have to force yourself to write in a certain genre, your struggle will be obvious to your readers.  I’m happy in this world and I feel I produce some pretty good stories…at least some of my readers think so. When I’m writing about my views, thoughts or experiences in life, I’m happy as a clam.

    So, I bow to all of you past, present and future fiction writers. Forge on with your stories and take me away into your own world. I’m ready!

    Now, have I given up on ever writing a piece of fiction? Nope, as I said, this grandma loves a challenge. But, at least I now know why I write in the genre that I do. I have a talent for it and I love it, and that’s enough for me!

February 2, 2013