Monthly Archives: May 2011

Looking Back on Memorial Day

So many people in America have parties and BBQs on Memorial Day.  It’s a time of celebration for so many but I think America has forgotten what Memorial Day is all about.

Memorial Day, formerly Decoration Day, is a day when we should remember the brave men and women who died for our country.

That’s what Memorial Day is.  It’s a Memorial Day.

So while everyone is BBQ ing, keep these images in mind and never forget.

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The American Cemetery at Omaha Beach in Normandy is a must-see at least once in your life.  The emotions that raged through me the day I was there were staggering.

© 2011 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.


BENNY Bombardement: Weekend Invasion At The Jersey Shore

Bayonne, Elizabeth, Newark, New York

BENNY.  If you’re from NJ you know the word BENNY.  A BENNY is someone who lives in North Jersey or NY and invades the Jersey Shore on the weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Being a former BENNY myself, I travelled in the wee hours of the night to avoid traffic at all costs.  I was down the shore every weekend.  I would even sleep in the back of my Camaro if I didn’t have a place to stay.  Now that I am a resident of the Jersey Shore I find BENNYs to be a gridlock creating breed of tourists who are good for the economy but bad for my peace and quiet.

I won’t even go near the beach or boardwalk on the weekends.  The crowds are monumental.  A 5 minute in-town drive might take you 35 minutes or more.  It’s insanity.  My husband and I wait until Sunday night after 10 pm to attempt a boardwalk visit.  By that time the crowds have dwindled and the traffic is minimal so the boards are a good bet for a late Sunday night of fun.

This weekend was the kick-off of the summer in NJ.  I always have to work the Friday before and stress about traffic.  I have a 20 minute door to door drive to work that might take 2 hours or more via the GSP.  This Friday was a record for me (in a good way) – I made it home in under 30 minutes thanks to back roads and Route 18 South.  It’s a Godsend.

For the rest of the holiday weekend I usually sequester myself to my property perimeters, venturing to a neighbor’s or to the nearest liquor store for supplies.  I don’t dare travel within a mile of the beach.  Last time I tried to buy bread at Fortunato’s, I got stuck in the “beach” traffic on Mantoloking Road.  Needless to say, I never made it to the bread.

When I was a BENNY from North Jersey I hopped in my car every single weekend, could have sat in traffic for hours and if I left on a Sunday afternoon, it would sometimes take me 4 hours to complete a 1 hour drive.  As I get older I have less tolerance for crowds, traffic and annoying people, so from Memorial Day to Labor Day, I do what many other shore dwellers do.  Stay away from the beach and boardwalk unless absolutely necessary.

I don’t know if I’m turning against my people or I’m just getting crotchety in my old age, but the BENNY Blitz has only just begun.  If you’re my friend, welcome to the Jersey Shore, if you’re obnoxious, invasive and frankly a cavone, stay out of my sector and try Jones Beach.

© 2011 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

If There Were No Words, I Could Still Hear You

A photo tribute to my mother…

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© 2011 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010

What Lies Beneath

Every time I watch that episode of Sex & The City when Samantha is giving a speech about cancer and rips off her wig to reveal her much shorter mane beneath, I think about the first time I saw my mom with no hair.

Every torn off wig in that episode makes me relive the moment which had to be so much more horrible for her than it was for me – but it didn’t feel like it at the time.

My mom was always so confident and not at all into that vanity shit like I am.  She went out without her boobs, without her wig but with her dignity that she always maintained.

One night we were all sitting around the table bullshitting about this or that.  My mother was notorious for her hot flashes as long as I can remember.  Cancer made them even worse and covering up her head added to her internal fire.

Anyway… she said to me,
“Jacq.  Do you mind if I take this frigging thing off my head?”

I said to her,
“Of course not Ma.  Take it off.”

She reached for her turban and unraveled if from around her head and hung it over the back of the chair.

As I looked at my mother I immediately started crying as my eyes filled up with tears and my heart broke for her.  It broke into a thousand pieces.

She asked me why I was crying and I said sobbing,
“Oh Mommy!  I’m so sorry you have to go through this.” 

I couldn’t imagine the pain of looking in the mirror at a bald head.  The pain of going through CANCER and all the rotten stuff that goes along with it.

My mom was stronger than me.  She never looked at it as pain, just a temporary setback of sorts as she energetically  plodded through her sickness and took everything as it came.

When I find myself upset, I pray to HER to give me the strength that she had.  HAS in Heaven.  I’m sure God is putting her to work doing what she does or maybe he’s just letting her rest for a while.

I any case, I hope she knows that she has always been an inspiration and a role model for me.  I hope that kids todays will realize how great their parents are before it’s too late.

I know that my mother knew I loved her but I regret so many things every single day of my life and I hope that she can forgive me wherever she is.

I hope she knows that sometimes I didn’t show my emotions (my defense mechanism) but I was with her every step of the way from North Junior High School when she found out she had the disease to Mountainside Hospital, 28 years later, where she left us so she can finally have some peace.

© 2011 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010

Rich Boys, Turkish Toilets & Mosh Pits: A February Post

When I was a wild and crazy 21-year-old, living in Paris and doing whatever the hell I wanted, my days were never dull and my nights were pretty exciting as well.

I was always meeting random guys and going to random parties – which were always spectacular.  One night I was invited to party right off the Champs Élysées– I think it was on rue Victor Hugo.

It was a great soirée complete with spoiled, rich boys ready to show all a good time and spend some serious cash.  The night went great – drinking, dancing, socializing… and then I had to pee.

I sauntered into the co-ed bathrooms and discovered that I was facing my long time fear – peeing in a Turkish Toilet.  If you have never seen this particular animal, it’s a hole in the floor with a place to put your feet – but remember to jump out as you flush or your feet will get wet.

I entered the stall, ignoring the fact that a cute boy was peeing next to me, lifted my skirt, pulled down my stockings and tried to perform a super squat directing my urine into the tiny hole rather than spilling it down my legs.

Success!  All was well dans les toilettes.  My legs were dry and my clothes were pee free.  I had managed to pull it off.

Back on the dance floor a mosh pit had developed with young, drunk Parisians slamming into each other with of course, some casualties.

After a few more cocktails and some major ass-shaking, we headed over to Les Bains Douches – the hot club du jour in Paris in 1987.  Bains Douches was an exclusive “Studio 54” type atmosphere where you waited outside until you were picked to go inside.

The rich boys that we were with were a tad inebriated and tried to push me to the front in my see-through lace top and micro mini and very big hair so that we would all get in.   That didn’t work because the door Nazi would only let me in and no one else.

Then the poor, little rich boy pulled out a wad of cash and tried to bribe the chick guarding the door…

“Ça vaut pas la peine monsieur.”

Which is French for “No fucking way!”  We left with our tails between our legs (not mine – frankly I was a little aggravated I didn’t go in – but I couldn’t ditch my new-found friends) and trudged off to another club or bar – who remembers?

What I loved about Paris then and love about it now is that there is always something to do, someone to meet and somewhere to go.  You’ll never be bored unless you choose to be.

I never saw those guys again (at least I don’t think I did – so long ago) but I’ll always remember it like it was yesterday.  Twenty two years later I can still envision my surroundings and remember what it was like to pee in a co-ed Turkish Toilet for the first time.

I’ve peed in a few since then.  Have you ever?

© 2011 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010

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Letters To My Mother

Example of screenplay formatting. Writing is o...

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My friends always tell me that my life should be on TV.  Frankly it could be an HBO series.  It’s never dull and it’s always jam-packed full of crazy shit.

I have so many writing projects going on.  It’s insane!

I write poetry, as you know, if you read Monday’s blog.  I’m writing a naughty novel based on the life of a party-girl.  Hmmm…. any resemblance?

I’m writing a screenplay – named for the street that I live on.  What drama!

I’m also writing “Letters To My Mother” – a novel (perhaps) that I started after my mother’s untimely passing 6 years ago.

Here’s a sample of “Letters To My Mother”.  Let me know what you think….

Friday, March 18, 2005

 Dear Mommy,

How are you?  Are you okay?  Where are you?  I’m having so much trouble dealing with this distance between us.  Are you still in pain?  Will I ever feel normal again?

I went back to work today.  It was very difficult.  In the past three weeks, I missed a total of nine days of work and I don’t even care.  I’m nothing without you Mommy.  I miss you so much.  I still can’t believe that you’re not at home with Daddy and me.
I don’t know anymore, Mommy.  I’m so sad now.

I tried to stay strong for everyone for as long as I could, but now I feel like a train wreck.  I have no control over my emotions.
I wish we could talk soon.
I love you, forever and always,

Just a sample of my more melancholy side….

© 2011 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

Death Consumes

Quinn Driscoll Memorial at WyEast

Image by dalechumbley via Flickr

Poetry is magical, sad, happy, evil and heavenly.

I’ve been writing poetry since I’ve been in junior high school.  I’ve compiled 4 volumes of poems called Deep Thought.

  1. Deep Thought
  2. Deep Thought:  Lost in Erotica
  3. Deep Thought:  Lost in Space
  4. Deep Thought:  Death & The Afterlife

Here’s my newest in Deep Thought:  Death & The Afterlife.

Death Consumes

Death puzzles me
It’s so cold and final
Locked in a box
Nothing to see

A woman so bright
So full of life
Encased in bronze
Can only see night

A cancer grows
And eats her alive
An infection so fierce
From her head to her toes

Locked in a box
So full of life
A cancer grows
From her head to her toes

© 2011 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

Corso 98 – Montclair, New Jersey

Italian Long Hots

Corso 98
98 Walnut St
Montclair, NJ 07042

(973) 746-0789

If you’re looking for good food in Montclair, New Jersey, look no further than Corso 98.

This BYOB Italian ristorante offers delicious fare, great service and an intimate and fabulous atmosphere.

I started with Italian Long Hots served with sausage and potatoes.  The hot peppers were nice and hot and everything on the plate was perfection.  The Fried Calamari was perfectly cooked and was served with 2 sauces – a green and red.  The sauces were not at all typical.  They were flavorful and succulent – a delight for the palate.

Another appetizer that I tried was Fried Tomatoes served with Goat Cheese.  Although I did not indulge in the Chèvre (not a fan of goat), the tomatoes were crunchy and delicious without being heavy or greasy.

When it was time for the main course, I chose a Filet Mignon with Gorgonzola

Filet Mignon

which was melt-in-your-mouth good.  I ordered it medium rare taking the advice of our server and although it was fab, I could have gone with the rare.  I enjoy a slight moo when I eat beef.
Dessert looked great but I was so full that I ordered an espresso for the long drive home.

My advice:  Get to Corso 98 immediately.  It’s worth it!

© 2011 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

Jersey Shore Gourmet

If you have been reading my blogs, you know that I always start some new project or venture and never follow through.

Well, this time I’m actually following through with Jersey Shore Gourmet.

Check out my cooking classes and book a party today!

Finally… I got something going….

PS:  I’ve been overwhelmed lately – hence the lack of blogging.  Sorry : (……

© 2011 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.